Wednesday, May 1, 2013

EXP Podcast #222: Playtime Check-in 2013

Papers Please logo by Lucas Pope
The spring lull is upon us. Without any huge release on the immediate horizon, Scott and are using this time to visit some of the games currently taking up space in our busy calendars. From gamified exercise to eSports and beyond, Scott and I have plenty of game mechanics to both love and hate. Check out all the games listed below in the show notes and be sure to chime in with your thoughts in the comments below!

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Show notes:
- Runtime: 35 min 1 sec
- Don't Starve
- Spelunky
- Papers Please
- Monaco
- Music by: Brad Sucks


  1. David MenéndezMay 7, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    This episode reminded me of why I love this Podcast so much: you basically covered every game that excited me in the last 6 months. Some notes:

    * Spelunky: You definitely need to give the XBox version a try - maybe when it comes to PC. It's deeper, has more secrets and alternate paths, and it's fairer when it comes to the enemies in my opinion. (Those spiders in the PC version... Those damn spiders.) What I love about this game is how it rewards skill in subtle ways, like when some hardcore players go for the diamond mining strategy and keep dodging the ghost in order to make more money. I'm not strong enough.

    * Don't starve and The Binding of Isaac: Something that connects all of these games is random generation of levels and a large number of items and items combinations. I think Scott's point about how the stakes are reset to zero for every game is perfect, but I would also like to emphasize how these games give the player a feeling of infinite gameplay. There's always something new to see, even after hours of playing. It's probably the most alluring characteristic of this batch of indie games that keep eating away at my free time.

    * Papers Please: So many smart design decisions... Were you surprised when that woman asked you to keep her pimp outside the country, because she was worried about her safety? I didn't, and the newspaper the next day talked about her death. Wow. And I cannot even begin to explain how disturbing it is when you start seeing ugly naked bodies as a result of the mandatory scanning. Genius. I cannot wait for the full game - what could possibly be the endgame?

    Oh, and I need to get Monaco ASAP. Good show, guys. Keep it up.

  2. Thanks for listening David. Our game playing habits lined up with yours? Coincidence or prescience on our part. We'll let that mystery sit for the time being.

  3. I've been going through your archives, and this episode is great as usual. I find Papers, Please to be a super fascinating game because of the way it presents moral dilemma. Upon reading Scott's article on the way this game presents evil to you, I came to realize a few things that I hadn't while I was playing it--that at some point I was expecting to be able to win it all. I expected to be able to save my family and also make decisions that reflected my own moral selfishness. Even when the game ended, or at the end of the 8th day, I dismissed this feeling of dissatisfaction as the game just being in beta and incomplete.

    Now, I don't know what the creator has in plans for the future, maybe we really will be able to win it all. But I hadn't realized how conditioned by the media I was to be able to succeed in every sense of the word-- save the world, save the day, and walk out with my morals unscathed.

    In any case, I think this game is incredibly fascinating, and I look forward to hearing you guys talk about it further.

  4. Thanks for the kind words Chloe! Completely in agreement re: the hero complex most games (and media in general) have given us. I think it's part of the continuing tension between making something "fun" in the traditional roller-coaster sense and "fun" in the sense that it is artistically provocative or thematically satisfying.