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Hello, and welcome to episode 2 of our podcast! This week we were joined by, and hopefully we will be many times in the future, by Ashelia and Sol from Hellmode. It was great getting to talk to our benevolent rulers (j/k) but also quite serendipitous since they recently posted an article that ties in very well to the focus of this month’s ‘cast: Death in games.
Now for the shownotes:
Chronoludic Ep2: The Rationale of Death – Shownotes
00:00:00 – 00:05:41
Introduction to the podcast, Mike’s music “Sad Robot”, and a chat with our guests Ashelia and Sol about how they helped us make Chronoludic.
“Interested or Not” (in which we round up what’s going on at the minute and apply apathy to it)
00:05:41 – 00:12:54
The first part is a chat about Tom Bissell’s “Extra Lives”, being notable for being the only really well received book about the experience of playing games (besides design and theory). The conversation turns to the interview with Peter Molyneux in the appendix, which seemingly catches our imagination…
00:12:54 – 00:23:02
The next subject is Microsoft’s Kinect, and what happened to Milo. Naturally, with us, as all things Molyneux do, it grew out of proportion and we debated the Fable series and Molyneux’s penchant for hyperbole (despite these things Chris and I remain very affectionate toward him).
00:23:02 – 00:28:40
The concluding portion of “Interested or Not” which is more quickfire. Notable for Chris going off on one about Tony Hawk Shred. My bad, I put him up to it.
Feature: Death in Gaming
00:28:40 – 00:29:45
A short excerpt from the track “Undertow” composed by Steve Henifin from the soundtrack to the game Too Human.
00:29:45 – 01:12:29
An incredibly long conversation ensues about gaming in death in its many variant forms. I have trouble drawing lines between strands of conversation to make annotated notes, but to give you an overview we talk about the relationship between narrative death, and ludological consequence, and how it is used in many styles of game, either elegantly or clumsily creating conflicts. Examples discussed include Steel Battalion, Hellgate: London, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age, Heavy Rain, Prototype, God of War, Braid, Fallout and Fallout 3, Too Human, and Planescape Torment.
01:12:29 – 01:13:27
An excerpt of the track “Meander” composed by Milieu from the soundtrack to the space-seedling growy RTS Eufloria.
What We’re Playing – In which, in that classic game podcast style, we discuss what we’ve been playing.
01:13:27 – 01:19:27
Sol talks about Metro 2033, and how it is unfairly treated by reviews seeking comparisons that fit the narrative setting better than the core ludology (people comparing it to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or Fallout 3, where a more apt comparison would be Half Life 2).
01:19:27 – 01:22:38
Sol mentions he’s been playing DEFCON also, and finds its portrayal of death to be more moving and profound in some ways than the methods employed by other game genres e.g. The FPS.
01:22:38 – 01:30:45
Ashelia talks about her disappointing experience of Final Fantasy XIII, despite going in with an open mind. She laments the number of cut-scenes, and the unsettling pacing of the game – which undermines what gameplay she experienced and the beauty of the aesthetic of the game.
01:30:45 – 01:38:15
Chris rounds off this section by talking about his happy experience with Crackdown 2. He applauds the freedom with which to accomplish your goals, and compares it to similar “sandbox” titles in which their ludological freedom is undermined by a conflicting narrative, citing Prototype as a prime example.
01:38:15 – 01:39:39
We say our goodbyes amidst a haze of hand claps and the “Internet high 5″.
Mike Dunbar (Twitter @MikeDunbar) and Chr15 6r33n (Twitter @chrisgreen87)
Sol Invictus (Twitter @StillGray) and Ashelia (Twitter @Ashelia)