Tag Archives: podcasts

Onward

Hollywood

In two weeks, I move to Los Angeles. Phew, I said it.

I will be joining Andrew “Skip” Pfister, former podcast editor for 1UP.com, and Sterling McGarvey, now former editor at GameSpy, as part of a fresh batch of recruits for the online editorial team at G4tv.com. Try not to judge a book by its cover…yet — there are massive changes coming to G4tv.com very soon.

My job will be very similar to the work I’ve been doing for the past several years, both at 1UP, MTV News and as a freelancer. I will be reporting the news. Originally, I had intended to turn this blog into a rebellious outlet for my reporting, giving poor-paying freelance the finger and exercising my talents through this gloriously bland-looking blog. Then, I realized I needed to help make rent. Bad paying freelance is better than no paying freelance.

But I’m very lucky, very humbled by the opportunity to continue doing what I love at G4tv.com. In an economy where most people are struggling to find a job period, to be fortune enough to have options was something I did not take lightly. G4tv.com is particularly exciting, an opportunity to shape the editorial direction of a new outlet, work in close proximity with good friends and colleagues (the working from home thing has grown old) and still stay in California.

I almost moved to New York, but chose not to.

You can start following my work over at G4tv.com, but since working for G4tv.com involves a move to Los Angeles, my contributions will occur in spurts. We are all scheduled to start working in the G4tv.com offices the week before E3, right around the time some big changes to the site are supposed to drop.

I will miss heading to the 1UP.com offices, as I have done for the past month or so, to record Listen Up with John Davison, Garnett Lee and David Ellis. I consider all three of them close friends, and will miss them (and many others) dearly when I move onto The Next Big Thing ™. Unless plans change, I will still be on the next two episodes. Try not to say anything too stupid, Patrick.

But change is good. Change is good.

What happens to this blog? I’m not sure. As expected, it fell by the wayside. I’m considering opening up a Tumblr. Maybe it will continue to be a place I drop the material that doesn’t make sense elsewhere. Or I can just drop LOST theories until the new season premieres. Suggestions are welcome.

Thanks for reading. The best is yet to come.

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Behind-the-Scenes at Co-Op

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Filed under Behind the Scenes

‘Game Over’ Needs To Go Away

“I, unfortunately, didn’t play it long enough. When you can stand there and just get beat by the boss like over and over and over again and have that women save you every time, sort of takes the fun out of the game. It’s like ‘wow, I can’t die, okay!'”

— Gamers With Jobs Podcast, Episode 118, about nine minutes in

Game OverI feel the need to defend Prince of Persia. Folks have chastised Prince of Persia for being too easy, and while I think that often works to the game’s benefit, that’s not what bugged me about the above exchange. No, it’s the notion Prince of Persia’s lack of a game over screen represents poor game design.

The Game Over screen is outdated tradition.

I began to seriously rethink the game over screen over Rock Band. I often played with non-gamers who needed a few drinks before feeling comfortable strapping on a plastic guitar. Almost always, the combination of inebriation and Rock Band’s strict three-strikes gameplay policy meant we made it halfway through a song before failing out. It’s not fun when it happens five times in a row.

Rock Band 2 introduced a “no fail” mode, but it’s hidden away in an option menu. The people who want that option would never find it. It’s as through Harmonix only begrudgingly accepted users aren’t always interested in making their fingers bleed — or they might be drunk — and made the ability to hide Rock Band’s game over screen its own, frustrating mini-game.

But its presence in Rock Band 2 is significant. It’s proof of a social trend directly affecting game development, something Prince of Persia admits, as well.

Prince of Persia

Don’t get me wrong. Prince of Persia’s combat is deeply flawed, padded with unnecessary repetition and unbalanced combos. But the Gamers With Jobs exert dismisses the combat because Prince of Persia does not kick you to black screen — cue sound effect of Prince screaming loudly in agonizing virtual defeat! — and you’re asked to start the combat sequence all over again.

Remember the last time you died during a boss fight because of a single missed button press? Prince of Persia smartly avoids this common frustration by asking the player to tap a command button to receive another opportunity to execute the correct combo or, if they miss the command window, receive punishment not in the form of a game over screen, but an enemy with slightly more health.

Variety in the ways games handle reward and punishment should be praised. Prince of Persia highlights a trend we’ll be seeing much more of, as developers look to appease the hardcore and draw outsiders in. It will be a painful growing process, but what Prince of Persia gets right is important, and ignoring its bold choices won’t do anything to change what’s inevitably coming.

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Filed under Rambling Man