Episode 4 – Genre Bending Discourse

May 18th, 2009 | Posted by D. Murray in Critical Distance Confab:

This episode of the CDC Podcast is extra long to make up for the missed days in releasing last week’s CDC Podcast. This week we discuss genre in videogames by starting off with the Western and eventually interrogating the role of genre between videogames and other medium, videogame genres in general, and the role of genre and videogame hardware. After this week’s episode the CDC Podcast will be taking a brief hiatus, but stay tuned for future episodes. As always, I urge you to leave feedback in the comments thread and don’t be shy to drop by IRC to chat. The room is #GBConfab under the freenode.net server.


Michael Abbot: http://www.brainygamer.com
Travis Megill: http://www.theautumnalcity.com
D. Murray: http://www.graduateschoolgamer.com
Roger Travis: http://livingepic.blogspot.com/

Show Notes:
Braingamer on Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
The XBOX Live community “Seasoned Gamers”

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8 Responses

  • I really enjoyed this latest episode. I don’t know if it was the quality of guests, topic, new format, or all of the above, but it worked for me.

    I think it could continue like this, with informed guests really focusing on a fairly specific topic. Maybe to maintain the quality it would be necessary or beneficial to do one every two weeks instead of weekly?

    Great job D. and guests!

  • Ben Abraham says:

    I almost forgot to comment as well, but I really enjoyed this one too. The discussion was great, the guests were great and were all really comfortable talking (Michael’s got plenty of experience in front of a mic so that comes as no surprise!). The show flowed really well together, great job Murray.

  • Great episode; I think this is the first time I’ve heard Roger on a podcast, and honestly I could listen to him and Michael talk all day. Hey Roger, how about you start a VGHVI podcast?

    About GTA Chinatown Wars: while I don’t want to minimize the audience difficulties that certain game styles face on the Wii and DS, I don’t think GTA is that great an example. I personally am extremely unlikely to buy it, because nobody has given me any reason why I should spend my GTA time playing it instead of GTA IV, and because I’m not enough of a GTA devotee to want to play multiple GTA games over the span of a year or two.

    Basically, I don’t think that games that are trying to bring an existing 360/PS3 series to the Wii/DS without seriously rethinking it are a good test: that sets up a natural comparison, and the Wii/DS game will almost always be found wanting. The Conduit is an another example that falls more in the GTA vein: while it’s not a new iteration of an existing series, it is a standard-looking iteration of an existing genre, and unless the wiimote controls end up blowing 360 controls out of the water, it’s not going to be good enough to sway significant numbers of people.

    MadWorld and No More Heroes are much more interesting examples to me: they’re new franchises, and ones that aren’t acting like imitations of a 360/PS3 game. Of course, they have their own handicaps: new franchises often stumble the first time, and neither of those games has the polish of a GTA.

    And RE4 is an interesting example in the other direction: RE4 Wii does have a natural comparison, namely to RE4 GC/PS2, and there the Wii version comes out better in the comparison, because it doesn’t do anything worse and it controls better. And, sure enough, it sold well.

    I’m not super-optimistic about violent games on the Wii/DS: I agree that demographics play a role, and asking companies to stay away from existing models while still coming up with a highly appealing game is a very hard challenge. But I think there’s more opportunity there for a company that does it right than Chinatown Wars suggests.

  • I just thought of something that could be improved – More thorough Show Notes.

    Several Western films were mentioned by name and it would be nice to have links to their IMDB or Wikipedia pages.

  • Thanks for the feedback folks. I really appreciate it and I’m excited for the new episode I have planned for you. For those of you that were wondering about the films we mentioned, I think it would be better to give you links to the directors we mentioned because they have are directoral figures of the Western and their language throughout all their films is more relevant that the specific films mentioned in the podcast. Here are the core three that I mentioned:

    John Ford: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ford
    Sam Peckinpah: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Peckinpah
    Sergio Leone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergio_Leone

  • Logan Crowell says:

    Really enjoyed this week’s cast. Definitely your best yet! Focusing in helped the flow and it felt much more productive overall.

    I would have loved a deeper discussion on mechanical genres versus film genres, though. You touched on it but I think a lot more could’ve been examined. Almost everyone talks game genre in terms of mechanics. I can’t really think of that last time HALO was classified as sci-fi and not shooter.

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