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

Normally I try to think about high school as little as possible. But recently Kirk Hamilton of Kotaku asked us all to revisit our bygone days and think about high school as an interesting setting for videogames. This week on the EXP Podcast, Scott and I put on our school colors and discuss our experiences with media set in high school and the trials and tribulations of our collective youths that might make us turn on our console to visit, of all places, our own school experiences. We encourage you to read Kirk's original piece, which you can find in the show notes below. We also want you to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Discussion starters:

- What games set in high school have interested you and why?
- What high school experiences lend themselves well to gaming?

Show notes:

- Run time: 31 min 10 sec

- "High School Sucked, Can We Please Have More Games About It?," by Kirk Hamilton via Kotaku

- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_153_-_Too_School_For_Cool.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:37am PDT

Long before the advent of Achievement Points, players have chased after goals.  But are all tasks created equal, or are some more important than others?  This week, inspired by Wired's two articles on mandatory missions every well-informed gamer should undertake, we discuss some of the game experiences that give us common ground.  As always, feel free to jump into the comments and share your thoughts.  Thanks for listening!

Discussion starters:

- What do you consider to be mandatory missions?
- Is the idea of a set of canonical video game experiences useful or realistic?
- How has time and technology affected what we would consider to be defining video game moments?

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 here. 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: 34 min 07 sec
- "9 Mandatory Missions All Gaming Geeks Must Master," via Wired
- "Readers’ Picks of 9 Mandatory Gaming Moments," via Wired
- An interesting interpretation of Portal: "Still Live?  She's Free?" by Steve Bowler via Game-ism
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_152_missions.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:00am PDT

No matter how many hours Scott and I spend playing, analyzing, and writing about games, there are still so many sub-cultures to which we remain largely ignorant. Competitive gaming, particular around the fighting game genre, continues relatively under the radar of both gamers and the public. I Got Next, a recently released documentary by first-time film maker Ian Cofino seeks to shine some light on the relationships players have with Street Fighter and its competitive gaming community. This week on the podcast, Scott and I discuss the movie, competitive gaming at large, and the fascinating community of Street Fighter players, friends, and rivals. As always, we encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. If you would like to watch the film before listening to the podcast, you can find a direct link to the Hulu source in the show notes.


Discussion starters:
- What are your experiences with competitive gaming?
- How might the competitive scene change if it were taken more seriously by the public? Is there something about gaming culture impeding its progress?
- What are your thoughts on the film?

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 here. 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: 36 min 47 sec

- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_151_-_We_Got_Next.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:06pm PDT

Admit it: You didn't think we would do it, did you?  You thought all our talk of investigating Facebook games was brought on by too much turkey and an overabundance of holiday spirit.  Today, Jorge and I are happy to present to you a conversation about our initial experiences with a handful of Facebook games.  In addition to the games themselves, we discuss the nature of social games, monetization, and ethical design.  As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and we invite you to join our experiment by befriending us on Facebook.  Thanks for listening!

Here are our dedicated Experience Points Facebook accounts:

Jorge's account
Scott's account

Discussion starters:

- What are some of your favorite Facebook games?
- For those of you who play them, how do the social aspects of Facebook games influence your behavior while playing?
- What game genres are still underrepresented on Facebook?

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 here. 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: 40 min 34 sec
- Games discussed
  - Ravenwood Fair
  - The Sims Social
  - Hero Generations
  - Dragon Age Legends
  - PixelJunk Monsters
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_150_facebook1.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:00am PDT

This week on the EXP IndieCast, Scott and I are joined once again by game designer Nels Anderson, who's recent Montreal International Game Summit talk sparked a lively conversation about systems literacy, 2D indie-darlings, old television shows, player expectations, and so much more. Give this elongated episode and listen and let us know your thoughts by leaving your comments below. As always, you can find bonus material in the show notes below.

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 here. 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: 33 min 11 sec
- "MIGS Slides and Talk Text," via Above49 by Nels Anderson

Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson
Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows
House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski

- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_IndieCast_9_-_2D_Literacy.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:20pm PDT

It's Thanksgiving time here in the U.S., so Jorge and I decided to get into the spirit of the holiday.  In this episode, we each pick a few video game concepts for which we are thankful and chat about the reasons behind our gratitude.  We cover everything from Batman to sado-masochism, and we're looking forward to hearing about the game-related things that make you optimistic!  Additionally, Jorge and I reveal our new initiative to learn more about a certain sizable, yet often under-analyzed, segment of the video game world and we solicit your help!

Discussion starters:

- What sorts of video game subjects or trends make you happy?
- Is there anything for which you are thankful that you originally disliked?
- What do think we'll find in our adventure into the wild blue yonder?

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 here. 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 59 sec
- Our dedicated Experience Points Facebook accounts:
 Jorge's account
 Scott's account
- Music provided by Brad Sucks
Direct download: EXP_Podcast_149_thankful.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:00am PDT

Naughty Dog's latest cinematic achievement can finally wow players with a heaping load of spectacle and a fair bit of Nolan North charm. Scott and I get in on the "taste for adventure" this week while we discuss Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. In this longer-than-normal episode, we discuss a range of issues, from the game's gun-play to its lauded story to the future of our witty treasure-hunting hero. If you have joined in on Drake's adventure, we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Discussion starters:

- What are your thoughts on the slightly revamped combat system in the latest Uncharted addition?

- Where would you like to see this franchise go?

- What are your thoughts on Naughty Dog's multiplayer pay wall?

Show notes:

- Run time: 57 min 10 sec

- Music provided by Greg Edmonson via the Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Original Soundtrack (from the tracks Nate's Theme and Second-Story Work)

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_148_Uncharted_3_Debrief.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:17pm PDT

What is the point of doing something if there aren't any points to be won?  Radek Koncewicz's post on the irresistible, but ultimately pointless actions we take in games inspired us to think about the little personal flourishes we add to our game playing experiences.  Maybe you're one of those folks who had to catch the Super Mario Bros. 3 wands in mid-air, or maybe you're a strict adherent to the jumping screen shift in Mega Man.  Whatever the case, games are full of irresistible opportunities to form personal habits that don't always have gameplay ramifications.  As always, feel free to jump into the comments to share your personal quirks.  Thanks for listening!

Discussion starters:

- What are some "irresistible" actions you take?
- What are some examples of actions that blur the line between subjective choices and those that have objective ramifications on the game?
- How do rewards, achievements, and stat tracking influence your dedication to forming unique habits within certain games?

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 here. 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: 32 min 32 sec
- "The Irresistible," by Radek Koncewicz, via Significant Bits
- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_147_irresistible.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:39pm PDT

We have crossed ancient lands, traversed architecturally unsound bridges of questionable origin, journeyed to the heart of this forgotten temple, and place our mics upon a demigods alter to bring you part two of our Team Ico focused podcasts. This week, Scott and I discuss the marvels of Shadow of the Colossus as well as historical collections of notable games in general. As always, we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Discussion starters:

- If you played Shadow of the Colossus at launch, what were your first thoughts of the game?

- How does your play experience differ the second, third, and fourth time you play a game?
- What game series would you like to see given a collector's treatment?

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 here. 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: 51 min 36 sec

- Music provided by Koh Ohtani from the Shadow of the Colossus Soundtrack.

Direct download: EXP_Podcast_146_-_HD_Recollections_Shadow_of_the_Colossus.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:20pm PDT

It's time once again for an independent game roundup!  This week, Jorge and I discuss <i>A Closed World, A Tale By Alex, and Fisher-Diver.  All three games are free to play and boast interesting mechanical and thematic features.  Each game is thought-provoking and well-worth playing; we have a wide ranging conversation that encompasses everything from considering the difficulties of incorporating LGBTQ themes in games to hunting the most dangerous game.  As always, thanks for listening and fell free to jump into the comments with your thoughts!

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 here. 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: 33 min 11 sec

Games:
- A Closed World
- A Tale by Alex
- Fisher-Diver

Additional reading on A Closed World:
- "A Closed World: A Game About LGBTQ Themes," by Hal, via GayGamer
- "Interview: How GAMBIT's A Closed World Tackles Sexuality, Identity," by Leigh Alexander, via Gamasutra
- "'A Closed World' and thoughts on gay video games." and "LGBTQ game design knife fight!" by Robert Yang
- "a closed mind," by Anna Anthropy
- "Anna Anthropy on 'A Closed World,'" by Christine Love

- Music provided by Brad Sucks

Direct download: IndieCast_8_closed_world.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:50pm PDT