Do you feel like "Extra Credits" is full of it?
You're full of it
22% (297)
22% (297)
From time to time
31.4% (425)
31.4% (425)
Yes
13.3% (180)
13.3% (180)
No
32.8% (444)
32.8% (444)
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Poll: Does anyone else feel like "Extra Credits" is full of shit?

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You might remember Extra Credits from this site before they moved on over to Penny Arcade. I used to watch their videos and then stopped, watching their latest one, I remembered why. To me they're just really pretentious, they talk a good game but don't seem to get results.

They'll talk all artsy about games like Loneliness but skimp on the examples and implementations. It just bugs me that if they think they know so much better then why don't they make a flash game themselves? (they were able to raise enough money for surgery or whatever)
Or talk about how they would develop their own game. It's not even a forum of discussion since you can only leave comments and emails, which they might reply to singularly.

They'll spend the episode talking about "X game does Y, and what Y could do for the industry". But never HOW, they talk in hypotheticals, how "that" mechanic would "pervade" the game without any examples or sources to back that up.

They bring up the Rat Man rooms in Portal and "that scene" Bioshock, but those examples (to me) are lacking and forbearing on the overall topic. Specific examples in a game can't be sources for good "metaphor mechanics" if the example is singular and not overbearing throughout the whole game. Otherwise I could say that the X scene in Y game was just as effective.

They also don't seem to offer any criticism either, rather than just glossing over That Game Company, they should pick apart their games and discuss what doesn't work just as much what does. WHAT concepts were presented and HOW they were explored in Flower, Flow, and Journey? Were these concepts successfully executed? Why not? How could they've been?
And I really hate to say it, but that's kinda why I like Yahtzee, he'll go into the details (like in his Silent Hill 2 review) and really explain why what works and how, and what doesn't and why. After the end of every Extra Credits episode I have the same "....so what do you expect to DO about it?" feeling.

Discussing Loneliness, I don't think it's some kind of Rorschach test that uses "mechanics as metaphor". The game has a d-pad, that's it, that's not mechanics, that's 4 buttons less of a controller. Loneliness I think did a terrible job of exploring what loneliness really is. Anyone who's ever suffered the depressing power of loneliness knows that you could've joined any of those groups and you would still have felt alone. They make all these assumptions about the player, I didn't have any fleeting thoughts of acceptance or rejection while playing. This might reflect poorly on me but I NEVER personified the dots, because they're dots. Not people. I just thought "wow, shit's ghey". I have an imagination, but you kinda have to provide a little context.

Nope.

I consistently agree with what they have to say.

There's no denying that they can lay on the pretentiousness a bit thick though. Also, some people find them to be condescending.

I like that they are bit more optimistic and try to be informative. Sure, the whole gaming is the future can get a bit old, but it's better than everyone complaining.

As far as I know they are setting up a publisher (with the extra money, and might plan to do more Kickstarters to fund projects) but it's a bit a long process and they do have to make sure their projects are capable of success.

So, it's nice to see some action and not just talk.

Whenever I watch an episode of Extra Credits, I feel like some guy was just talking at me for ten minutes without really saying anything.

I've learned more about game mechanics and design in three episodes of Sequelitis than I have in eighty one episodes of Extra Credits.

Hallow'sEve:
"wow, shit's ghey".

That kinda ruined the whole story for me.

But no, I don't think they are full of shit. I think sometimes they have limited information, but that's hardly "full of shit." They do a good job explaining problems in the industry, and mechanics that can help enrich games. They do explain how that mechanic can enrich games, and how to implement it in various possibilities.

The only issues I take with it, is the very short time they limit themselves to, which cause them to paraphrase a lot and James' "GAMES ARE AMAZING AND SHOULD BE USED TO BETTER HUMANITY ALL THE TIME EVERY TIME" mentality in some episodes.

They can be guilty of both pretentiousness and naivete, but I still mostly like them. While I might not always agree with them, they at least bring good discussion.

I've always liked them. I like going deeper into any subject and delving so deep into the different facets that make up games is really cool and right up my ally. With the different topics they cover I'm always engaged. It's always fun to toss in a game and play but having a show that goes into it deeper only adds to my experience as a gamer. Plus they gave out this link: http://www.openculture.com/freeonlinecourses which has provided me with hours and fascinating online courses for free.

I thought their pre-Escapist youtube stuff was good, the first few episodes on the Escapist were good, but then everything past the third or fourth episode was just annoying. They're way to pushy with the "games as art" malarky, to the point that it really feels like they're against games that exist only to be enjoyed as games, something to be played, not digested as art. Now yes, they keep stepping aside to say "now I don't think all games need to be like this..." but when it's 30 seconds out of a 10 minute video that is otherwise talking about how all games need to be like that, it's hard to see it as anything but lip service.

They lay it on thick from time to time, for the most part they got the right approach but they are not without fault.
Especially in the recent episodes I noticed they took on an industry apologist role and they frequently just ignore the negative side of things.

Hallow'sEve:
they talk a good game but don't seem to get results.

What results? What exactly would you need before considering what the show does a success?

It just bugs me that if they think they know so much better then why don't they make a flash game themselves? (they were able to raise enough money for surgery or whatever)

You realize that James is an actual game designer, right? Not only that, he is paid to lecture at a school of game design. Argue all you want about his statements, but it's pretty hard to argue that he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

Or talk about how they would develop their own game. It's not even a forum of discussion since you can only leave comments and emails, which they might reply to singularly.

They have been on live casts in the past, but it's not exactly a something that the format allows. The show isn't meant to be a dialogue any more than a text book is. What it is supposed to do is spark discussion, which it most certainly has. Aside from that, just because they don't have the ability to reply to every email doesn't mean that they never read them.

They'll spend the episode talking about "X game does Y, and what Y could do for the industry". But never HOW, they talk in hypotheticals, how "that" mechanic would "pervade" the game without any examples or sources to back that up. They bring up the Rat Man rooms in Portal and "that scene" Bioshock, but those examples (to me) are lacking and forbearing on the overall topic. Specific examples in a game can't be sources for good "metaphor mechanics" if the example is singular and not overbearing throughout the whole game. Otherwise I could say that the X scene in Y game was just as effective.

I can't see eye to eye with you here. I know that there are times when they simply brush over a game here or there, but they have gone into high amounts of detail about the specifics of a game on numerous occasions. The reason they don't do it every episode is because they expect most of their audience to be at least familiar with the games brought up, and it would take too damn long. You must also keep in mind that video games are subjective by their very nature, but I have yet to see them make a egregious internal contradiction, which means that they are using rational observation. I suppose if you want to bring up a specific example where they blatantly contradict themselves, be my guest, but until then, you're argument comes across as far more vague than their's.

They also don't seem to offer any criticism either, rather than just glossing over That Game Company, they should pick apart their games and discuss what doesn't work just as much what does. WHAT concepts were presented and HOW they were explored in Flower, Flow, and Journey? Were these concepts successfully executed? Why not? How could they've been?

Considering the fact that they dedicated two whole episodes to Journey and have numerously brought up specific examples of the mechanics in the other games, it might be a little redundant at this point.

And I really hate to say it, but that's kinda why I like Yahtzee, he'll go into the details (like in his Silent Hill 2 review) and really explain why what works and how, and what doesn't and why. After the end of every Extra Credits episode I have the same "....so what do you expect to DO about it?" feeling.

I'm guessing you haven't seen many of their episodes for a long time. Still, they aren't about reviewing or even critiquing single games. They're about touching on concepts that people might not be aware of or might have been misinformed about.

Discussing Loneliness, I don't think it's some kind of Rorschach test that uses "mechanics as metaphor". The game has a d-pad, that's it, that's not mechanics, that's 4 buttons less of a controller.

While I do have complaints about the loneliness example, it is a defined set of player agencies within a system. How would you define mechanics exactly?

Loneliness I think did a terrible job of exploring what loneliness really is. Anyone who's ever suffered the depressing power of loneliness knows that you could've joined any of those groups and you would still have felt alone.

And how exactly would you have simulated this or systematized it? Sure, it doesn't cover absolutely every facet of the concept of loneliness, but if you think it should, you've missed the point.

They make all these assumptions about the player, I didn't have any fleeting thoughts of acceptance or rejection while playing. This might reflect poorly on me but I NEVER personified the dots, because they're dots. Not people.

Then I guess this has absolutely no significance to you. After all, it's just a bunch of dot's isn't it?

I just thought "wow, shit's ghey". I have an imagination, but you kinda have to provide a little context.

I'm pretty sure that the creation and projection of context is one of the things that most heavily defines what it is to have an imagination. I suppose I don't know you and can't say that you have none, but consider this. If absolutely the only thing someone said about something was "it's gehy" and "I'm smart, but I didn't understand it." What would you think? I'm not about to say that if you didn't get it, that you're somehow stupid or unimaginative, but you haven't done anything to impress me with your wit or insightfulness.

So you're saying that you don't like theory or abstraction then? Only practical application? That's fine.

Yes, they sometimes paint in broad strokes, but some of us prefer that sort of "big picture" thinking.

Behind every great scientific breakthrough, there's a theorist with a vivid imagination. Einstein's work wasn't particularly practical, but he got famous for his ability to conceptualize things in ways no one ever had before. Other scientists had to take his ideas and figure out the practical applications themselves.

Extra Credits never claims to have all the right answers. They just say "here's something to think about. Do with it what you will."

While I do have complaints about the loneliness example, it is a defined set of player agencies within a system. How would you define mechanics exactly?

Mechanics is the "a + b = c" of a game, it's not the controls. Or, as wikipedia says "Game mechanics are constructs of rules intended to produce an enjoyable game or gameplay"

And how exactly would you have simulated this or systematized it? Sure, it doesn't cover absolutely every facet of the concept of loneliness, but if you think it should, you've missed the point.

I think it should cover the essence of loneliness, since that's what the game was trying to present, in that regard I think they failed. As for what I'd do, I have no idea, there's a reason I try to watch these shows (but my inability doesn't make their points any more valid).

Then I guess this has absolutely no significance to you. After all, it's just a bunch of dot's isn't it?

No, not really. I think pop art is pointless and stupid.

I'm pretty sure that the creation and projection of context is one of the things that most heavily defines what it is to have an imagination. I suppose I don't know you and can't say that you have none, but consider this. If absolutely the only thing someone said about something was "it's gehy" and "I'm smart, but I didn't understand it." What would you think? I'm not about to say that if you didn't get it, that you're somehow stupid or unimaginative, but you haven't done anything to impress me with your wit or insightfulness.

I'm saying that the game was a poor example to use for their debate and that "I didn't get it" even discredits their argument more when they start heaping loads of gooey metaphors and shit on it. I felt more alone in the wastes of Fallout than I did in Loneliness because I knew there were other people/factions out there, but the time I'd spend wandering the wastes fighting for survival was much more isolating.
However in Loneliness there was no such projection of context, nor was there any asked of you. You can understand immediately from the title and gameplay how it's "lonely" so it's not needed. And if it's not needed then I'm not going to do it. I thought "wow, shit's ghey" because it didn't actually impart what loneliness is, and instead was trying to be an artsy game (stained glass windows are magnificent in chapels, but can also be made by children, horrible analogy but that's all i got at 3am)

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BeeGeenie:
-snip-

Nah dont get me wrong, I like talking about theory and abstraction just as much as the next guy, but this-

Extra Credits never claims to have all the right answers. They just say "here's something to think about. Do with it what you will."

is my problem. Because if they're not claiming to know the answers, then they're claiming to know the direction where the answers lie. And dancing around the problem/issue/idea/topic is not conductive to me when the show in general should be doing something about the problem/issue/idea/topic rather than just throwing darts at a board.
Broad strokes are helpful, but you need little strokes to fill details, otherwise there's no depth and you'll just fall through the gaps (so to speak)

not in the slightest. i may not agree with everything they say but they raise some interesting points. its one of the 3 videos i always make sure i watch each week

Well they kind of are making games. Kind of. They used the extra money that was donated to them when Allison had arm surgery to set up a fund for indie games. They're about to start funding a project now, and I think their intention is to find like-minded people to make games and share their ideas with.

I also found Loneliness to be kind of crap, but the mechanics as metaphor thing is a great topic and I think it's really important to game design. If we really want to make games that are meaningful in a way that only games can do, then that's how to do it. Loneliness was too simple to really show that off very well though.

But I think that the vast majority of what they say is really great stuff and worth listening to, and just because they're not making games themselves doesn't mean they're not saying anything important. The fact that they're out saying this stuff inspires other people. And they do know what they're talking about. James, who writes the episodes, teaches game design as his 9-5 job. He knows what he's talking about.

Yeah, I really do.

They generally seem like assholes really.

I used to watch them when they were on The Escapist, but I have no kept up with them since then. While I don't think they're 'full of shit', I don't really agree with a great deal of their 'big picture ideas' either. I find that their ideas leave a lot to be desired in practical implementation, ok guys that's a good idea and all, but how are you going to make it work? Although I did find some of them interesting enough to still watch, so thats a bonus for them I guess.

Also they really seem to push the industry as an 'art' form and the issue of pretentiousness does creep into it a bit. Especially since I am still more in the 'games are entertainment' camp myself and probably don't see games in the same way they do. Especially since games are their livelihoods essentially, whereas for me its just a hobby, so I can understand their fight for validation, I just don't care about it.

I wouldn't say they're full of shit, I just don't really agree with what they say. They overthink a lot of things and are very condescending for people who haven't got any idea how to put their ideas into practice.

Never liked them. Only managed to watch one of their clips that I literally had to physically force myself to sit through to see what the fuss was about.

They bring up nothing a few of us don't already think about except they lay it on with an irritating chipmunk voice over.

That voice really grates on me.

Even through my absolute disdain for them I can't say they are full of shit. Some people like them and even though I can't stand to watch another second of them i'm sure that once in a blue moon they may bring up at least one interesting point.

They cover a lot of topics I just don't give a flying fuck about, but they also cover a lot of topics that explain the why behind emotional engagement of the player in a lot of games (usually games that have me scratching my head at how the fuck they could appeal to anyone ever).

James may be pretentious at times, and his taste certainly differs from mine... but he understands bits of human nature that I don't even have any fucking sympathy for. Academically, what they cover is often pretty interesting to me.

I wouldn't call them full of shit. More like... Thirty percent filled with shit, as an estimate.

I prefer Virgillio Armarndio's Art Hole for all of my pretentious, "GARMES R RT!" wankery needs.

The show just didn't really have much range beyond talking about the "whimsical, flower power majesty of games".

It never got pissed off at something, or took a real direct stand. It was always willy-nillying with the issues it covered, and it got very tiring to sit through utimately.

I always took it with a grain of salt, but kinda resented the fact the end of every episode they would appeal to games players far and wide to rise up and cast off the shackles of society and embrace your fellow man/fem/trans in a gigantic show of the unity engine (or something) I used to close my eyes at that part because I was half expecting the wank to shoot out my monitor and hit my face.

I also remember the bearded super hero (James?) was meant to be this hotshot games developer who would roll into games studios fix EVERYTHING and spend the rest of the time handing out sunglasses before peeling out of the parking lot while the staff re-enact the last scene from the movie Shane.

I caught an episode on the Penny Arcade where a greasy faced being mumbles and sobs on the camera about how video games nearly ruined his life and gave his cat diabetes or something. All of a sudden my mental picture of this guy as a guru of games was kinda ruined and I find it hard to stomach watching them lecture me on psychology when they don't seem to have a handle on it themselves. (I don't think your problems had anything to do with games) It felt calculated and exploitive, like the guy was trying to get some sympathy sex at the next convention.

To sum it up, when Jim from Jimquisition shouts at me about games I feel like he's taking the piss a bit and doesn't take himself too seriously. With EC it's like breakfast on a tuesday with my parents and I am hung over.

uhh... they ALL actually work on games. It's their day-job.

Somewhere between them saying Fallout:NV has a bad amnesia plot (it didn't have one) and telling us the need for creativity yet at the same time saying that we must adhere to "The Hero's Journey" lest we be cast in the fire, I stopped taking them seriously.
Yes the later backpedaled on those statements (like so many others), but that doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.

Zhukov:
Nope.

I consistently agree with what they have to say.

There's no denying that they can lay on the pretentiousness a bit thick though. Also, some people find them to be condescending.

Pretty much this.

They are optimist in an industry/community run by pessimist.

Lono Shrugged:
I always took it with a grain of salt, but kinda resented the fact the end of every episode they would appeal to games players far and wide to rise up and cast off the shackles of society and embrace your fellow man/fem/trans in a gigantic show of the unity engine (or something) I used to close my eyes at that part because I was half expecting the wank to shoot out my monitor and hit my face.

I also remember the bearded super hero (James?) was meant to be this hotshot games developer who would roll into games studios fix EVERYTHING and spend the rest of the time handing out sunglasses before peeling out of the parking lot while the staff re-enact the last scene from the movie Shane.

I caught an episode on the Penny Arcade where a greasy faced being mumbles and sobs on the camera about how video games nearly ruined his life and gave his cat diabetes or something. All of a sudden my mental picture of this guy as a guru of games was kinda ruined and I find it hard to stomach watching them lecture me on psychology when they don't seem to have a handle on it themselves. (I don't think your problems had anything to do with games) It felt calculated and exploitive, like the guy was trying to get some sympathy sex at the next convention.

To sum it up, when Jim from Jimquisition shouts at me about games I feel like he's taking the piss a bit and doesn't take himself too seriously. With EC it's like breakfast on a tuesday with my parents and I am hung over.

Well looky here, a wild example appeared.

They got some good things to say, but they're wankier than a dorm of teenage boys with a Play-Boy in every room. I often times agree with what they're saying, but the pretentiousness of how they say it get's on my nerves more often than not.

willofbob:
uhh... they ALL actually work on games. It's their day-job.

Exactly. Well, one is a games journalist, another worked at some known names and is still working at one. I also don't get why they should give all those examples and pick games apart. Their episodes aren't about what games are good or bad. They're not a review show. And they do often give examples of what games did something right or wrong, they just don't go into huge detail about it.

I find it funny though that a bunch of random people on the net that DON'T work in the games industry, are criticizing people that DO work in it and make a show about game mechanics and how to do things better. Sure they can be a bit too optimistic and dreamy, and their own opinion about what games should be often shows even if they try to keep it out. But that's no reason to bash them like this.

Konatacalypse:

Well looky here, a wild example appeared.

A wild example of?

Kind of, yeah. I only watched a few episodes because the show seemed so popular, but I only thought it was pretentious preaching.

I liked their earlier videos but now they just feel massively pretentious and condescending I don't know how I went from liking their earlier videos to hating them with a passion.

Then again on the flip side I went from hating Jim sterling to loving him (even if I don't agree with him on everything)

I don't always agree with what they say, but that's just the nature of it when you explore and discuss a topic.

It's important to understand that everything they say is their opinion and their perspective.

As for walking the talk, James is a consultant who has worked at many development houses.

Why don't he start his own company you ask? Well, the burden of running a full development house is not for everyone. Not everyone is Gabe Newell.

Developing games is a lot of hard work, there tons of things to worry about in game development. Having a good idea about what needs to be done and pulling it off are 2 completely different things when it comes to large scale projects like games - yes, even indie games are relatively large scale now; thatgamecompany almost imploded making Journey,

http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/08/14/how-thatgamecompany-struggled-to-save-journey

they were very fortunate they had a very understanding publisher, Sony - surprise, surprise.

I usually agree with what they have to say, but every now and then they'll say something flat out wrong. They make mistakes like anyone else but at least they are interesting (usually).

DustyDrB:
They can be guilty of both pretentiousness and naivete, but I still mostly like them. While I might not always agree with them, they at least bring good discussion.

^^^

This actually.
Even you know that some of the things you hear for a specific subject is wrong and you believe otherwise, they at leats justify why they believe so.
They don't just say something without having a solid reason for their part. I like them for that.

Think what would happened if Extra Credits WAS ALWAYS RIGHT but never justify their reason.
It would be very boring, don't you agree?

Another example is the reviews of specific reviewer like Spoony One. Most of the times he is full of craps, but at least have a reason why he believe that.
He is not like "OMG! THIS GAME IS A BETRAYL AND THE DEVELOPERS MUST FEEL BAD!!!"

[of course latetly Spoony act like an assh*le without having a reason why and he speak like a retard without thinking, but this is another story for another time....]

I think you may be watching the show with a different set of expectations to what they actually provide. But each to their mothers cats, or something.

As for the mechanics of Loneliness, it does have them. You control a dot, if you move that dot towards other dots the other dots fade away. They were just using Loneliness as a simple hands-on example to present their point of view that wouldn't cost the viewer anything other than five minutes.

I do kinda think that they have been rushing things a bit though, if they didn't need to release a new episode every week it might give them more time to better convey what they're trying to say. But eh, I'm probably still going to watch the show.

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