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Hey, it’s Mike here. Chris and I did a podcast! It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while and we’ve finally taken the plunge into it. We talk about Red Dead Redemption as the main feature, and there’s some chat on the news and what else we’ve been playing too. For a more detailed run-down check out the annotated show notes below.
RRoD Ep1: Recognising Redemption or Death – Shownotes
00:00:00 – 00:01:31
Introduction to the podcast, Mike’s music “Sad Robot”, and some talk on what the title’s referring to.
“NEWS” (though not really as we don’t do news):
01:31 – 06:58
A brief roundup of E3, general apathy exhibited. Talk of XCom, the announcement by Valve delaying Portal 2 and denying the Half Life Ep 3, and chatter on Deus Ex 3, and by extension the original Deus Ex.
06:58 – 09:46
Chris begins his look at his “pick of the news” with a brief chat on Rock Band 3’s proposed peripherals and their move into making the play experience more accurately portray the playing of real instruments.
09:46 – 14:51
Chris brings up a story that the CEO of SCEE Andrew House has claimed the PSPgo was an experiment to learn about what the consumer wanted from a handheld console. More tellingly, he also said a reason for its mediocre success was that users wanted a packaged library – which falls a bit flat in a world with the appstore in it. Chris also wrote a piece on this you can find here. Conversation also goes to the news that PSN and XBLA will be unveiling a bunch of Sega Dreamcast titles to purchase online. Then it meanders back to the PSP.
FEATURE: Red Dead Redemption
14:51 – 15:16
A short excerpt from the track “Luz Y Sombra” composed by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson from the soundtrack to Red Dead Redemption.
15:16 – 19:04
General chat about the game, that mentions several articles we wrote on it which, if you haven’t read them, do definitely contribute a lot of context to the conversation (though we try to avoid referencing them directly).
19:04 – 24:22
Discussion on John Marston’s characterisation vs your lack of agency in his morality (despite the “honour” stat), and some of the other thematic conflicts inherent in the missions. Also some discussion on achievements/trophies being used as an end to the means in gameplay, which Mike postulates is detrimental to the game.
24:17 – 29:38
[SPOILER] This section contains spoilers regarding the Mexico portion of the game. The conversation is still on the divorce between player and avatar, and player agency in avatar decisions being intermittent and thus untenable. The conversation goes on to address the conflict in the ludic elements fitting uncomfortably with the narrative, also.
29:38 – 33:40
Chris brings up something Edge wrote where they suggest the random encounter mechanic is more thematically relevant than we perhaps think it is. Feel free to refer back to our blog posts – Mike’s final one on RDR talks specifically about elements of the game, including this, where overlaying your narrative experience to make it seem more thematically relevant would be easy, but perhaps is just giving the game credit where there is none, he uses the example of Far Cry 2 – where such narrative associations hold more water and on which he has also written (link to Far Cry 2 post).
33:34 – 34:20
An excerpt from the track “Already Dead” by Bill Elm and Woody Jackson from the soundtrack of Red Dead Redemption.
34:20 – 51:36
[SPOILER] Another big spoiler warning as this (quite lengthy) section deals extensively with the finale of the game, and the endgame – and discusses them with reference back to other parts of the game in their ludology and narrative so unless you have played to the end of the game we would suggest you skip this part entirely and come back when you have. During this section a lot of things “speak” to Mike, it would seem.
51:36 – 56:40
In this summary of what we thought on Red Dead Redemption we discuss how we felt the ending salvaged a lot of what we thought was wrong with the game by being quite brave in some of its choices, but ultimately all of our criticisms still stand. We then go on to talk on how it has been one of the most discussed games this year so far, and has invited discussion on a level with Heavy Rain and almost Bioshock (in that there is a critical acclaim that is constantly under attack, and that the game doesn’t live up to the quality of the conversation around it almost). Then for some reason Mike (me, I hate writing in the third person) goes off on one about Fahrenheit –the article I refer to is here.
What we’re playing – in which we talk about what we’re playing. Obviously.
56:40 – 01:08:21
Chris talks us through his playing of Demons Souls, and quickly mentions wikipediagame, and Sonic Spinball on his phone.
01:08:21 – 01:17:21
Mike discusses the poor writing in Just Cause 2 (wondering how it gets away with it just because people say it’s silly) but praises the fun emergent gameplay, despite the slightly lifeless setting. Chris’ piece on how narrative is dealt with in open-word games “Open Worlds and Closed Narrative: 2D storytelling in a 3D world” is a worthwhile read with that game in mind. Then he talks about Lugaru from Wolfire Studios, a game that was recently packaged in the Humble Indie Bundle, and is about to get a spiritual sequel in Overgrowth.
01:17:21 – 01:19:37
We say our farewells and give you an opportunity to hear the music I slaved over a hot 8-track and drum machine making. Thanks for listening and reading this exciting document!
And few more words:
I just wanted to write a few words here as I recorded and mixed the podcast. We had a bit of a technical issue with the recording in that for some reason Chris’ side of the conversation came out at a much lower bit-rate than mine did. The upshot is his is of a lower quality, but also in Audacity I had to change the rate at which it was read so it would be heard at the correct speed (and thus pitch). The inevitable difficulty I had correctly guessing a random number based on the slight visual clue of the waveform meant that there was slight de-sync that I worked really hard on getting right in this recording. I think it’s more or less accurate, but near the start there may be a few moments where you can sense a very slight time delay. I eradicate that from about 8 mins onwards I believe, so don’t give up on it at the start. Not to sound too negative, but by the next time we record we should have a much better set-up, so try not to be put off if your issues with the sound-quality are too much this time (though I doubt that will be the case).
Also, on a personal note I was knackered when we recorded as I’d just come in from work and had been messing about with the equipment also, so if this isn’t the highest calibre of conversation, again, nerves and that will probably be settled by the time we next record. Thank you for being patient with us new podcasters, and thank you for your support.
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