The Experience Points Podcast
A weekly video game podcast from the co-writers of ExperiencePoints.net

We have covered our games of the year, but 2010 held far more than just six titles, and 2011 will hold many more. This week on the EXP Podcast, Scott and I discuss some of the game we neglected last week, from games we never played to games we look forward to playing. Join us around the table while we devour our leftovers. As always, we encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Discussion starters:
- What games are people neglecting that deserve more attention?
- What games of 2010 do you regret not playing?
- What games of 2011 do you most look forward to?

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: 29 min 25 sec
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_110_-_2010_Leftovers.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:17pm PST

It’s GOTY season, and we just couldn’t let the opportunity go without talking about some of the outstanding titles we played this year.  Naming the one true “Game of the Year” is a hopelessly subjective task, so instead we each chose three games from 2010 that made strong impressions on us.  As always, feel free to join in on the conversation.  What were your highlights from 2010?

Jorge’s Top Games of 2010:

Mass Effect 2
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Red Dead Redemption

Scott’s Top Games of 2010:

God of War III
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Red Dead Redemption

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: 35 min 45 sec
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_109_gotys_2010.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm PST

In clinical psychology, continually doing a repetitive action with little or no justification is tell-tale sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder. In MMOs, it's just called the grind. Why, after so many complaints, is the grind still a major feature of nearly every MMO RPG available?  Inspired a post from Zach Best writing for Game Design Aspect of the Month, that is the very question Scott and I will be exploring in this week's podcast. You can find the original article and a pouch of magic destiny in the show notes. We also encourage you to leave your own gaming experiences in the comments section below.

Discussion starters:

- Do you enjoy grinding? Does it fulfill an important purpose for you?
- Is grinding a permanent feature of games with leveling mechanics?
- How much of the grind is self-imposed?

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: 28 min 20 sec
- “The Opposite of Grind," by Zach Best via Game Design Aspect of the Month
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_108_-_On_the_Grind.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:18pm PST

It’s crucial for games to catch a player’s attention, but what is the best way to ensure that someone will stick around to the end?  This week, we use Leanne C. Taylor’s article to think about the ways both cutscenes and mechanics are used to keep players’ interests.  She examines the concept of the “10 minute rule” that many movies follow when attempting to engage their audiences and examines its applications in video games.  Hopefully, the first 10 minutes of our show persuades you to stick around!  If so, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Some discussion starters:

- What sorts of story-telling devices capture your attention when you start a game?

- Are there specific genres that benefit from a particular kind of hook?

- What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of a cut-scene approach vs. a gameplay approach?

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:
- “History, Mystery and Story: Games and the 10 Minute Rule,” by Leanne C. Taylor, via Gamasutra
- Run time: 35 min 45 sec
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_107_10_minute.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:00am PST

In a series of posts lavishing praise on Nintendo's latest iteration on the Kirby Franchise, Kirby's Epic Yarn, Michael Abbot of the Brainy Gamer has been exploring the game's charming concept. It seems these days you can't shake your Wiimote without hitting a title, from both indie and traditional developers, that exploits some of the tactile art designs, lullaby-like musical themes or children's book narration that comprise some of the elements of the "cute aesthetic." Join us this week while Scott and I discuss the adorable betrayals, cuddly characters, and charming anomalies of "cute" games. As always, we encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and check out Michael's insightful articles in the show notes.

Discussion starters:

- If you had a chance to play Kirby's Epic Yarn, what did you think of the art design? Does it make the game feel "childish" in a bad way?
- Is the textured approach to art design growing old?
- Does the cute aesthetic hold up to the test of time better than other art designs?

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: 28 min 17 sec
- "Kirby's Epic Concept" by Michael Abbot, via The Brainy Gamer
- "Plush Tech," Ibid.
- "Kirby's Epic Sound," Ibid.
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_106_-_Poking_the_Cute_Aesthetic.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:39pm PST