The Experience Points Podcast
A weekly video game podcast from the co-writers of ExperiencePoints.net
EXP Podcast #31: Throwing in the Towel Sometimes when the going gets tough, the less-than-tough just quit. At least that's what Sean "Elysium" Sands did when confronted with some ridiculously skilled players of Demigod. We here at EXP have immense respect for the talented writers of Gamers With Jobs, so we would never ridicule Sands' excellent confession in his Personality Flaws piece. On the contrary, this week Scott and I spring board off of the article to discuss unhealthy competition, victory through attrition, player tantrums and cooperative design in competitive games. As always, your thoughts are welcome in the comments.

Some discussion starters:
- Has competition ever soured your gaming experience? What about a need to keep up with other players?
- Is there competitive meta-gaming in gamer culture? Do you think this is destructive or healthy?
- What does a competitive game look like if it's designed to encourage cooperation and mutual learning?


To listen to the podcast:
- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking the title. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

- Run time: 30 min 27 sec
- "Personality Flaws," by Sean 'Elysium' Sands of Gamers With Jobs
- Music provided by Brad Sucks
Direct download: EXP_Podcast_31_-_Throwing_in_the_Towel.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:03pm PST

EXP Podcast #30: The Father of All Podcasts With Father's Day coming up this weekend, we decided to dedicate a podcast to exploring the role father characters in video games.  Starting with an eclectic list of various game dads, we examine them in terms of their gameplay functions, back-stories, and their narrative importance.  A number of surprising patterns crop up that link even the most dissimilar-seeming game fathers.  We finish by theorizing about how father characters will continue to develop in forthcoming games.  As always, feel free to share your thoughts about anything we mention in the podcast, as well as your analysis of any game dads we passed over.

Some discussion starters:

- Who are your favorite game dads? 

- How is fatherhood portrayed in games?  What makes dads important to the gaming experience in terms of story and gameplay?

- Has your perception of fatherhood in games changed over the years?  Will the portrayal of fathers in games change as more gamers have children?

To listen to the podcast:
- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking the title. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

- Run time: 31 min 04 sec
- The Story of Being Homeless in Sims 3: "http://aliceandkev.wordpress.com/"
- "The Absent Dad," by Michael Abbott of The Brainy Gamer
- Music provided by Brad Sucks
Direct download: EXP_Podcast_30_Fathers.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:01pm PST

EXP Podcast #29: The Epic Aesthetic E3 has come and gone, but the over-the-top presentations of upcoming games lingers. Huge screens depicting carnage and head-ripping made epic enthusiasts from around the world spasm with excitement like an epileptic at ananime convention. Which brings us to an article from last month by Chris Remo, Gamasutra Editor At Large and Idle Thumbs entrepreneur, asking if the videogame industry "over-eggs" the epic. I think we've got enough examples of gun-swords and gut-busting work this discussion into a soapy lather. Join us this week while Scott and I ponder chainsaws, crescendos,back flips and fun with Milo. As always, we encourage you to leave your own thoughts in the comments below.

Some discussion starters:

- Is the videogame industry producing a glut of epic titles? Is it the brunt of guilt on consumers or designers?
- What are games do you think restrain themselves yet remain epic?
- Do the titles presented at E3, and motion controls, effect the future of epic?

To listen to the podcast:
- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking the title. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

- Run time: 27 min 44 sec
- Do Video Games Over-Egg The epic? by Chris Remo via Gamasutra
- Music by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_29_-_The_Epic_Aesthetic.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

EXP Podcast #28: Power to the Players? As we all learned from Uncle Ben, "With great power, comes great responsibility."  When Paragon Studios gave players the tools to create their own quests in City of Heroes, it soon became a case study of what happens when people discover a new-found power.  Upon gaining the power to design quests, some players began to exploit the system for maximum experience points with the minimum amount of work.  This kicked up a storm amongst the City of Heroes players, as well as in the larger video game community.  This week, we use Nels Anderson's post on the subject as focal point for discussing the role and regulation of player-created content.  As always, we're interested to hear your experiences, so feel free to create some "reader-generated" content in the comments.

Some discussion starters:

- How should player generated content be regulated?  Should it?  By whom?
- Are games with player-created content fated to be dominated by an elite class of creators?  Is democratization necessary or ideal?
- Why do players exploit games?  Where is the line between optimization and exploitation drawn?

To listen to the podcast:
- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking the title. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

- Run time: 26 min 56 sec
- Nels Anderson's post, via Above49.ca: "About that Player-Generated Content..."
- Nate Ralph's post, via Wired: "Handed Keys to Kingdom, Gamers Race to Bottom"
- Music provided by Brad Sucks
Direct download: EXP_Podcast_28.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:19pm PST