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E20: Hiatus

Recorded on May 21st, 2013 with Brian Fife, James Fingal, and Thomas Westberg.

Brian, Jim, and Tom discuss their plans to put the show on hold for a while. Jim is taking a road trip (follow that here) and Brian's got a new baby in the house.

We'll let you know via this website and the podcast feed when we start up again, but we don't expect to record any episodes this summer.

E19: Streamlining

Recorded on May 21st, 2013 with Brian Fife, James Fingal, and Thomas Westberg.

Streamlining - the way the sequels of a game, or games in a genre are re-worked to be simpler, easier - sometimes even with a dramatically transformed core mechanic - is covered in this live episode.

Brian also adds nostalgia to the discussion list. The group talks about the way we hold old, complicated games in reverence (as well as the resurgence of kickstartered ‘homage’ games). They also discuss what makes a sequel good or bad, and whether, as a rule, you should play the latest game in a series.

Referenced items:

World of Warcraft, Nerf, Community Building - Tobold, How Microsoft Labs Invented a New Science of Play - Wired, Eve Online, XCom UFO Defense, Isometric Game, Bioshock 2, Defender, Stargate, Halo, Jaws 2, Assassin’s Creed, Grand Theft Auto, Jason Statham, Steve McQueen, Mass Effect, Desert Bus, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Madden NFL, Tiger Woods Golf, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, SSX Snowboarding, San Francisco Rush, The Walking Dead, Sam and Max, Monkey Island, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Star Wars: Episode 1, The Matrix: Reloaded, King’s Quest V, Space Quest, Maniac Mansion, Larry David, National Public Radio, Portal, Killzone, Gears of War, Legend of Zelda, Fallout, Everquest, Super Meat Boy, World of Tanks, Social Fabric - Tobold, Red Dead Redemption, Half Life, Goldeneye, Super Mario Bros., Doom, The New SimCity, Diablo Three.

E18: Marketing

Recorded on March 26th, 2013 with Brian Fife, James Fingal, and Thomas Westberg.

Now that video games are big business - perhaps bigger than movies - they have advertising and promotional budgets to match. It is common to see video games promoted in a way similar to other mass media - billboards and television ads.

The group talks about the way they learn about games, keep up on game news (or at least used to and the way game reviews and metacritic scores are handled.

They also discuss their game buying strategy, when (if ever) to preorder, and how they track game sales.

Referenced items:

PAX East 2013, Borderlands Two, Simcity (new), A Question of Competence - Tobold, Square Enix CEO Stepping Down, Indie Game: The Movie, Super Meat Boy, X-Com Enemy Unknown, Bioshock: Infinite, Diablo Three, Guild Wars Two, World of Warcraft, Spaceteam, Rogue WiFi at Super Bowl - Ars, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Fez, Minecraft, The Castle Doctrine, Steam Greenlight, Spy Party, Kickstarter, Planetary Annihilation, FTL, Planescape Torment, God of War, Gears of War, Jerry Bruckheimer, How Early Reviews Hurt Sales - Ars, Kill Screen Daily, GameSpy, IGN, Why We Avoid Metacraitic - Ars, The Verge, Engadget, Gizmodo, Tom Bissell - Grantland, Catherine, Daring Fireball, Joystiq, Kotaku, 1up, I’m sorry, Marcus - Quarter to Three, Steam Mobile, Humble Indie Bundle, When TED Lost Control - HBR, EFF, Child’s Play, Gabe Newell Left 4 Dead Sale- Shack News, Kingdoms of Amalur, Stephen King, Chromehounds, G4 Channel, e-Sports, Call of Duty is Making Us Dumb - PAR, Curling, PS4 Video Sharing, Counterstrike, League of Legends, Letterpress, Anno 2070, Red Dead Redemption, Why I Played Bioshock on Easy - PAR, SLI Graphics.

E17: (Anti) Social

Recorded on March 11th, 2013 with Brian Fife, James Fingal, and Thomas Westberg.

Online games purportedly exist to bring us together and create memorable communal experiences. Few mainstream games actively cultivate positive interactions among their players. Players, particuarly when they are fired up and competitive, can get pretty rough.

Tom reminds Brian and Jim that they are all elitist jerks, and Brian discusses his internal conflict when players use certain types of language while they trash talk.

It is good to take a stand and to shift social norms, but it is not clear how to find an effective way to engage players in this context.

Referenced items:

World of Tanks, Halo, Skype, Ventrilo, Teamspeak, League of Legends, PA Report - Riot Games, World of Warcraft, Journey, Little Big Planet 2, Left For Dead, Valve Anti Cheating, EvE online, 4Chan, Stack Exchange, Call of Duty, Modern Warfare, Not in the Kitchen Anymore (NSFW), Fat, Ugly or Slutty (NSFW), Tropes Against Women in Video Games, Barrens Chat, Counterstrike, Street Fighter Two, Farmville, Simcity, Copenhagen Game Collective Johann Sebastian Joust, Dark Room Sex Game, Guitar Hero, Rock Band.