Jumping the Shark Podcast: 2012 Collection (#104-#156)


Update 6/6/2017: Jumping the Shark is no longer hosted online. If you would like access to a specific episode, contact me on Twitter @toddsfoolery.

Herein you will find links to every Jumping the Shark video gaming podcast posted in 2012.

This year, JtS featured the vocal stylings of Todd Brakke (@ToddsFoolery), Brandon Cackowski-Schnell (@MisterBinky), Danielle Riendeau (@danielleri), William Abner (@TheAbner), Tom Chick (@Qt3), Troy Goodfellow (@TroyGoodfellow), Brian Rowe (@UndeadAreGo), Michael Barnes, Matt Thrower (@mattthr), Jon Shafer (@JonShaferDesign), Jason McMaster (@McMaster), and Dirk Knemeyer (@dknemeyer). Show production, editing, and summaries for episodes #104-#110 by Todd, #111-156 alternate between Todd and Brandon. All shows originally posted at NoHighScores.com/category/podcast.

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Episode 104
Released: 1/1/2012
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Synopsis: It’s been a long tough week of vacationing for the Jumping the Shark crew, with Brandon and Danielle each taking well-earned weeks off, but Todd, Bill, and Tom Chick hold down the fort just in time to ring in the new year. This week, Bill feels the age in the bones of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and wonders just why Ezio doesn’t seem to as well. Tom tells us why All Zombies Must Die and shares with us the single strangest reason we’ve ever heard for having given the Gears of War Season Pass a tryout. And Todd sinks deeper and deeper into the galactic politics of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Start 2012 off right, with Episode 104 of Jumping the Shark!

Extra note from Todd:: Looking to give us back a bit more of our spark, as of this week we’ve ditched the two-part, weekly topic format in favor of a simple, hopefully one hour or less, format in which we’ll end up discussing whatever is of most interest to us that given week. That could be what we’ve been playing, could be some piece of news in the industry, or a more general gaming topic. The point and the goal is to get back to the feel of a dinner conversation at the CPK where we’re all fully invested in the discussion and keep it brief enough that we don’t feel compelled to multitask during the show, which is what happens when you’re tied to that desk for over two straight hours every single week.

Speaking of which, some of you have noticed our audio quality has dipped in recent months – there’s more noise in the background, sometimes some garbled speech, and more instances where we talk over each other. You can blame me for most of that. As I’ve discussed before, I have two editing options for the show. One is single-track Skype recordings where there are almost zero editing options and the other is multi-track, in which I can do infinitely more to make us all sound good… Or at least better.

Unfortunately, although the latter produces a much higher-quality show, it takes twice as long to do. I simply can’t spare the time to spend four to six hours editing the show every single week. As Bill would say,”I got shit to do.” With the new, hopefully shorter format, I’m hoping I can go back to the old multitrack edit process, but how I edit will remain a week-to-week decision. Regardless, though, we are collectively going to do our best to avoid the sorts of sometimes distracting multitasking that occasionally goes on, which should also help.

Welcome to 2012! We’re expecting a great year!

Episode 105
Released: 1/8/2012
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Synopsis: For the first time in what feels like forever the whole gang is in the hizzy for Episode #104 as we officially ditch the two-part “What We’re Playing” and weekly topic format in favor of a bit more free-flowing discussion that we think will revitalize things a bit. This week it’s our semi-traditional games of 2012 kick-off as we talk about everything we’re looking forward to this year, from the newly announced X-COM title from Firaxis to Bioshock Infinite, from Quantum Conundrum to Luigi’s Mansion, from Mass Effect 3 to Darksiders 2. We’ve also got a little chatter about everyone’s new iPad addiction, Ascension. Danielle gets groovy with Dance Central 2. And, in the midst of taking Skyrim out for a pleasure cruise, Bill and Brandon can’t help but wonder just why total strangers are asking them to deliver yet another message.


Episode 106
Released: 1/15/2012
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Synopsis: With half of the No High Scores community on the Ascension bandwagon we spend the bulk of this episode talking about board games, the iPad, and boardgames on the iPad. Danielle goes diving for downloadable content on the 3DS. And we share some thoughts on the new $1000 Razer gaming tablet PC (“Fiona”) they showed off at CES last week. Has anyone else found themselves wondering if the game controller/handles on the side come off? Yikes.

Episode 107
Released: 1/22/2012
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Synopsis: With Todd off in Sweden for ParadoxCon, Tom Chick joins us to talk about his decision to review games solely for Quarter to Three. That kind of naturally led us into a discussion on the various changes recently taking place within games journalism. From there we were kind of all over the place, touching on the Amalur demo, the awful Saints Row: The Third DLC, Scary Girl, Darkness 2, Mage Knight and more.

Episode 108
Released: 1/29/2012
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Synopsis: Served up special this week, our good friend and PR flack extraordinaire Troy Goodfellow returns to the show to help Todd talk about all the goings on at Paradox Convention 2012. Hear a detailed and fact-filled accounting of The War of the Roses (if you compare my knowledge of that history to, say, my six year old’s), an update on Crusader Kings 2, why Bill is betting Todd $10,000 he won’t play Napoleon’s Campaigns 2, and why Troy thinks you should give Warlock some extra attention. After that Bill and Danielle ask if the games industry is getting too big for its britches and Brandon refreshes his love of Quarrel.

Episode 109
Released: 2/5/2012
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Synopsis: This week the gang is all-in for sanity rattling Cthulhian adventures on the iPad. Brandon deals with the trauma of trying to play Wasted Lands without crashing. Then he and Todd wade into the haunted museum of Elder Sign: Omens, while Bill explains all the Cthulhu mythology we don’t get. Bill keeps the ball rolling with some thoughts on King Arthur 2 and we segue from that into a discussion on the growing usage of online passes in video games, their affect on the used market, and whether it’s a good or bad thing. Finally, we wrap it up with some of Danielle’s thoughts on Trine 2, Ahmish bashing, and, is this the end of the line for Jumping the Shark? Nope, but it is the end of its affiliation with Gameshark.com.

Episode 110
Released: 2/12/2012
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Synopsis: With Danielle off surfing (not the web, mind you, actual surfing), Jumping the Shark #110 lets the boys run wild. There are kegs and strippers, a fire truck, and we think someone brought a donkey in the room at one point. (Kudos to you if that reference makes any kind of sense at all.) Once we get to down business, though, it’s all business. Bill tells Brandon and Todd that we’re stupid for liking Elder Sign so much. It’s a brutal evisceration that should be reserved for people that like Fran Drescher’s laugh. Fortunately for us, he had to interrupt the beating so he could send some disgruntlement in the direction of Kingdoms of Amalur. Brandon thinks The Darkness II is just ducky. And Todd put on his best concern troll mask and works through his discomfort with the Diablo 3 beta experience.

Episode 111
Released: 2/19/2012
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Synopsis: A whole lot of court intrigue awaits you as Bill dons a crown for Crusader Kings 2 and changes world history. If you were ever curious to know how King Harald of Norway could have erased England from the map, this is your show. If you never wanted to know how that might’ve happened, then you need to take some time to yourself and really think about your place in the world. Just say’n. But, hey, if it’s just not gonna happen for you with this game then Brandon’s got you covered with tons of thoughts on the new Mass Effect 3 demo. We also spend some time making fun of the ridiculous amount of DLC items in the game. Good times.

On a couple of quick house-keeping notes: As Brandon noted on the show, the ever-overworked Danielle is officially taking a hiatus from the podcast. We are all very sad. Also, since we’re no longer a Gameshark podcast, and Todd’s editing time isn’t compensated, Brandon has stepped up in a big way by volunteering to edit the show every other week. He’s a real peach, that guy. Also, when you hear references to Diablo 3 in the outtakes, take your mind back to episode #110. It’ll all make sense.

Episode 112
Released: 2/26/2012
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Synopsis: This week features the illustrious return of Troy “I’ve Got the Black Lung, Pop” Goodfellow as he joins us to talk a little (well, a lot) more Crusader Kings 2. Learn the tragic fate of the good Scottish king, Malcolm III, and why you shouldn’t get carried away trying to do too much in this kind of game. Brandon takes us into the choppy waters of the Playstation Vita launch and why he thinks it’s a quality piece of hardware with a high ceiling that’s also mired in some of the usual Sony sloppiness. Finally, Todd plays a little Portal 2 co-op and decides that, as a multiplayer character, GladOS makes a really good single-player villain.

Episode 113
Released: 3/4/2012
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Synopsis: This all about the calm before the storm. As we gather in anticipation over a release calendar chock full of March gaming goodness, we pause to contemplate the implications of Assassin’s Creed 3 steeping itself in revolutionary Americana. Just what exactly will our new protagonist be taking those ginormous leaps of faith from? And what impact pray tell will this setting change have on the the gameplay? Will it revitalize a series that’s fast becoming stale? Then Brandon and Todd hit the links with a little Fairway Solitaire on the iPad. Gopher season is officially open and we aim to pull out our trusty 9-iron and clonk that troublesome rodent right on the nogg’n. Brandon shows us some SSX love and wonders to what extent a game’s difficulty should be reflected in the criticism for said game. Finally, Bill unwraps Binary Domain and finds it a delightful surprise. It’s our pre-Mass Effect 3 show, so enjoy the quiet contemplation while you can. Next week Shepherd starts curb-stomping Reapers.

Episode 114
Released: 3/11/2012
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Synopsis: March Madness strikes early this week. We don’t talk hoops much, but Brandon and Todd go about eight rounds over whether or not it’s appropriate for Mass Effect to tie its multiplayer component into the single player end game results. It’s a vicious battle of wills that sees at least one of us forever changed! Also in this episode, Brandon goes looking for a free pass out of SSX’s deadly descents. Bill reflects on his Binary Domain experience and finds its culmination lacking. He also spends some time with MLB: The Show and wonders, not for the first time, if his days of playing these games for review need to be behind them. Finally, it’s not all about Mass Effect 3 multiplayer as Todd talks about his early steps into the main game.

Episode 115
Released: 3/18/2012
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Synopsis: This week we talk up some more Mass Effect 3, more about the game, some clarification of how War Assets and Galactic Readiness actually work, but beyond that, this week’s JTS is a potpourri of topics. We’ve got thoughts on Diablo 3 and whether or not Din’s Curse changed the bar for what it needs to offer. We’ve got opinions on the need for a new edition of the original Baldur’s Gate Games. We’ve got words for Obsidian’s one-point Metacritic miss on their bonus. And we’ve got more impressions on Rayman: Origins (Vita) than you can shake a stick at. Plus, Bill makes his first ever venture into the depths of Resident Evil, with RE4 on the Xbox.

Episode 116
Released: 3/25/2012
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Synopsis: Featured this week, Brandon sends Angry Birds into deep space, while Bill takes a swing at the new Kinect-enabled Tiger Woods game and continues his throw-back adventure into Resident Evil 4. Oh, and it’s possible that we might talk just a little bit about a Mass Effect 3 ending that fails to satisfy and why it’s really not that honking big of a deal.

Episode 117
Released: 4/1/2012
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Synopsis: This week, we talk about some of the rumors surrounding the possible announcement of the Playstation 4. In particular, the prospect of Sony clamping down on players’ ability to play used games on their console. Is it starting to get out of hand? Bill then reveals the shame of having sustained a Kinect injury while playing Tiger Woods. It was only a matter of time.

Episode 118
Released: 4/8/2012
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Synopsis: With Bill and Brandon off traveling the world (sort of), their seats on this week’s Jumping the Shark are ably filled by fellow No High Scores comrades, Brian Rowe and Matt Thrower, who join Todd this week to talk about the challenge developers face in giving gamers the information they need to overcome challenges without letting it get too easy or frustratingly difficult. After that, the discussion turns towards the topic of locking games to specific user accounts and what makes Steam different from the prospect of retail games being locked to a console or user for next-gen consoles.

Episode 119
Released: 4/15/2012
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Synopsis: No Todd this week but Michael Barnes joins us to talk about Lords of Waterdeep, the iPad as a board game device, and the joy of Dark Souls. More importantly, The Straw takes the hosting reins, ushering in a new era of podcast history. He also talks a lot about The Witcher 2 on the 360.

Episode 120
Released: 4/22/2012
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Synopsis: This week’s Jumping the Shark has a giant plateful of Witcher 2 discussion. What makes it and its world unique? How does the combat translate to the console? Why do these games continue to stuff trivial loot in every barrel and bookshelf? After that, Brandon and Bill talk Prey 2 and what all the rumors of cancellation and delay might mean for the game. Missing Todd again this week? Send all your complaints to Comcast. They deserve them.

Episode 121
Released: 4/29/2012
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Synopsis: The gang is all back (plus one Brian Rowe) for Jumping the Shark #121 or, as Bill refers to it, #129, #212, and #46. Yes, it’s his attention to detail that makes him such an exciting host; that and his killer segues. This week Brian talks about how he shrugs off stress by playing games that make him angry, games like Trials Evolution. Bill goes walking with the dead in TellTale’s latest series of episodic adventures. Todd descends into the legend that is Grimlock or Grinkjaw, or whatever it is we’re all calling it this week. As for Brandon, we think he sat there with a mirror in his hand so he could admire is fine mane of hair. Oh, and we return to the used games discussion as we ponder whether or not it’s coincidence that the heads of studios like Crytek have been coming out so regularly of late to decry the used games business.

Episode 122
Released: 5/6/2012
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Synopsis: Welcome to another episode of Masterpiece Theater with your host, The Straw, and his master discussion of quintessential master thespian Julian Sands. If you’re looking to Todd or Brandon to explain that one to you, you’d best look elsewhere. We’re along for the ride. Suffice it to say it has something to do with tomorrow’s release of Warlock: Master of the Arcane. Along the way we manage to squeeze in an actual gaming topic or three, including discussion on the difficulty curve in Witcher 2, Nightfall on the iOS, the impending asynchronous multiplayer patch coming to Neuroshima Hex, Prototype 2, and a little Arkham City just for good flavor.

Episode 123
Released: 5/11/2012
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Synopsis: This week Stardock Software’s own Jon Shafer joins us to reveal his super secret development project. Just kidding. He does join us, but instead we talk about our collective experiences with Warlock: Master of the Arcane, Unity of Command, and a host of other game design-related topics. There may be some discussion of Jon’s team’s success in Bill’s Out of the Park Baseball league, but you didn’t hear that from us. In other news, Brandon finished his first run-through of The Witcher 2 and embarked on a second playthrough in the game’s Dark mode. He’s also coming up on a major milestone in this life, and no, it’s not that he turned 40.

Episode 124
Released: 5/20/2012
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Synopsis: This week the gang gathers round a fire to talk with Dirk Knemeyer of Conquistador Games about his first professionally published board game, Road to Enlightenment. As has been mentioned several times, Bill and Dirk are good friends and Bill’s been involved in the playtesting of this one for some time now, giving it his big honking seal of approval. After that, it’s all Diablo 3 and our preliminary thoughts on the new systems in play – what works, what doesn’t (like the servers), etc. Joins us once again for the show that never ends – well, at least not for an hour or so.

Episode 125
Released: 5/25/2012
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Synopsis: To celebrate reaching the illustrious height of 125 episodes of Jumping the Shark, the regular gang bands together to do… pretty much the same thing we always do. Brandon recounts his epic journey to 100,000 cheevos and how Assassin’s Creed: Revelations helped close the deal. We all lament the tragic end to .38 Studios and wonder just how the big brains of the operation thought a business plan that requires selling 3 million units of a new IP was a grand idea. Bill gives us his take on the Game of Thrones RPG, which he surprisingly finds not entirely without merit. And then it’s a potpourri of topics, ranging from Todd’s thoughts on Diablo 3’s difficulty curve, to Brandon’s take on Max Payne 3, to Bill’s excuses for why he failed to beat Brandon at a multiplayer game of Neuroshima Hex on the iPad. It’s all right here so check it out!

Episode 126
Released: 1/6/2012
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Synopsis: It’s the Pre-E3 show! Also, Bill is high on painkillers, so woohoo! First we get into Bill’s unfortunate end as E-i-C of GameShark.com, then we talk about what we’re most looking forward to at E3 (hint, it’s hugs). Finally, Brandon talks about Harley Quinn’s revenge and Dragon’s Dogma.

Episode 127
Released: 6/6/2012
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Synopsis: It’s E3 Day 2, so that must mean it’s time for Jumping the Shark E3 Podcast Day 1. (Surprise!) Hear some Dishonored love, some Elder Scrolls Online hate, Arkham City Wii U surprises, and quite a bit more as Bill, Brandon, and Todd sum up our first day on the show floor.

Episode 128
Released: 6/7/2012
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Synopsis: After another exciting day at E3, in which we sat through dinner praying to all that is holy (and unholy for that matter) that the Kings didn’t hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup while we’re still within city limits, we ventured back to the hotel to record -you guessed it- our E3 Day 2 Podcast! Woo! With extra special guests, Jon Shafer and Troy Goodfellow, in tow we talk about the goings on at EA Sports, Metro Last Light, Sherlock Holmes, Splinter Cell, Star Wars 1313, and a bunch more. Oh, and you can hear all about how Bill and Tod got rick-rolled, quite literally, during our Assassin’s Creed 3 demo. It happened!

Episode 129
Released: 6/10/2012
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Synopsis: From the ashes of a ruined E3 episode, this episode arises! Sit down with Brandon and listen as he answers a gaggle of reader mail questions. Thrill to his cooking stories! Gasp at his thoughts on the usefulness of E3! Marvel at the amazing, true origins of Todd Brakke!

Episode 130
Released: 6/17/2012
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Synopsis: After the tragic loss of the original Jumping the Shark #129 and the subsequent (and awesome) Cackowski-Schnell One-Man Jam that replaced it, the gang gets back on track this week by reminiscing about the week that was at E3. We talk games. We talk fashion. We talk fine dining. And we talk who would win in a battle royale between dinosaurs and plankton. (At least two of these things are true.)

Episode 131
Released: 6/22/2012
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Synopsis: Tom Chick joins us while Todd is in Vegas. We talk about Lollipop Chainsaw, LEGO Batman 2, Sins of a Solar Age: Rebellion, Gravity Rush, Red Hulk, why Bill wants to punch people for playing Eclipse and whether or not Robin is a doofus.

Episode 132
Released: 7/1/2012
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Synopsis: This week we talk a bit more about Todd’s trip to the Pinball Museum and his dicey encounters with the revised AI in the Civilization 5 expansion Gods and Kings. Bill tries out a little Trine 2-themed occupational therapy. And Brandon cleans up the streets of Gotham in Lego Batman 2 before taking a trip down the third part of Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness.

Episode 133
Released: 7/9/2012
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Synopsis: This week Brandon and Bill celebrate the coming of Summoner Wars on the iOS. There’s also some Amazing Spider-Man discussion and a Bill tangent about not liking fun murderers. And really, who does? Leading off this week, though, Brandon and Todd wax poetic about the revised Mass Effect 3 ending, leading Todd to say something that, in a righteous universe, ought to never ever happen – “Brandon, you’re right.”

Episode 134
Released: 7/15/2012
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Synopsis: This week Tom Chick joins Todd for a two-man show. Tom drops some knowledge on the recent horror-themed MMO Secret World. Todd talks characterization in Mass Effect 3 and his lack of faith in the prospects for Ultima Forever. Finally, Tom brings some love for his shiny new iPad 3.

Episode 135
Released: 7/22/2012
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Synopsis: This week Todd talks Abnercon festivities and why Irish Breakfast tea is a real game changer; also Innovation, Chaos in the Old World, 7 Wonders (and why Mrs. The Straw cheats), and the nifty economic game that masquerades as a wargame, Imperial. You’ll also hear about Brandon’s crazy vacation shenanigans (yay, hyperbole!), more steamy Summoner Wars action, and how Stephen King changed the course of two young and impressionable lives. True story.

Episode 136
Released: 7/29/2012
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Synopsis: Special guest Jason McCmaster joins the full crew this week as we use our respective gaming lulls to engage in a spoiler-laden breakdown of Rocky III The Dark Knight Rises. For those looking to avoid spoilers, those are restricted from the 10:30 to around 36:15. After that we get into some discussion of some of the games we’ve been plonking around with of late, including LA Noire, Neuroshima Hex, and some Conquistador Games updates from Bill.

Some extra side note on this one. We did have a few call quality issues with Bill’s voice frequently going robot on us. Todd cut around the worst of it, but there are a few spots where it remains.

Episode 137
Released: 8/5/2012
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Synopsis: Brandon and Todd continue at the reigns this week. Todd proves that even a generally sober guy can drive like a maniac when behind the wheel of Driver: San Francisco. Brandon, meanwhile, has grievances to share with Risen 2. And we continue our addiction in Summoner Wars. Finally, we talk about the uPlay hacking fiasco and why Ubisoft’s insistence on having it install alongside their PC titles is emblematic of a self-defeating industry, that’s utter determination to control how we play, threatens to instead drive gamers out of the hobby.

Episode 138
Released: 8/12/2012
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Synopsis: This week’s episode makes itself the unofficial sequel to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles as Bill recounts his epic journey from New Hampshire to Lancaster for the World Board Gaming championships and the largely successful launch of Road to Enlightenment. We don’t want to spoil anything, but his life was in mortal danger more than once. Brandon picks it up with everything he’s able to talk about in Darksiders 2. (Hint: Not a lot. Stupid embargo.) And Todd is dismayed by yet another unexpected software install, courtesy of Wings of Prey.

Episode 139
Released: 8/19/2012
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Synopsis: This week the gag is finally off Brandon and he’s free to regale us with stories from Darksiders II. He might just like it. It’s hard to tell. The gang also talks the Summer of Slow Gaming and how much the status quo will change as a spate of late summer/early fall releases finally make their way to the gaming public. Finally, Bill and Brandon have a rap about Breaking Bad during which Todd entertained himself by slowly banging his head against the desk until it suddenly got dark.

Episode 140
Released: 8/26/2012
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Synopsis: The first cracks in the dam that will soon flood a barren gaming landscape have made their way into Jumping the Shark #140. (Don’t think too hard about this metaphor.) Bill has his annual Madden on and confirms what we suspected from E3: There’s more to this edition than some shiny new chrome on the surface. Brandon continues his effort to save the world through Death, in Darksiders II. He’s also gone Colour Blind, playing a new physics puzzler. Finally, Bill and Todd wax GenCon 2012 and an evening of boardgaming that includes the longest Innovation game we’ve ever played and Todd’s revelation that all boardgames should be played with someone at the table who actually had a hand in its design.

Episode 141
Released: 9/2/2012
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Synopsis: Joining us this week is the one and only Jason McMaster, he of Cap’n Patch Kickstarter fame. Now, Todd would tell you that nobody in their right mind would back a game who’s main character is a spider, but even he has to admit the little bugger is oh so cute. Heck, he’s got a pipe and a spatula. What more could you ask for? Jason and Todd then talk up some Guild Wars 2 action. For those of you looking to see Bill get his PC Dark Souls on and, shocker, doesn’t hate it. Finally, Brandon is witness to the Fall of Cybertron in the latest Transformers game from High Moon Studios. Find out why the guy with an Autobot tattoo isn’t as blown over by the game as he’d hoped. All that and a little Bastion on the iPad talk is coming your way in this week’s JTS!

Episode 142
Released: 9/9/2012
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Synopsis: This week Bill loads up Dark Souls and laments the shoddy state of Games for Windows Live while trying to kill some horrific spider queen type beastie. Brandon plays some Darksiders II while talking about the difficulty of the end-game and reminding us all of the depths of his achievement-whoring ways. (There’s also some talk of Inquisitor lodged in there.) In between Todd talks about his time spent captaining FTL: Faster Than Light and why this $10 starship simulator, straight out of the early 90s, is one of the most enjoyable experiences of his year.

Episode 143
Released: 9/14/2012
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Synopsis: In our official pre-Borderlands 2. show, Brandon and Bill wax poetic about playing the game and Brandon scolds Bill about not having a build already planned ahead. Then they blame Todd for us not playing online more. Funny how that seems to happen. We also set aside some time to talk about the Wii U release strategy, which includes charging extra for a game, and a steeper than expected price point ($300). Finally, we talk some more FTL, Inquisitor, and Dark Souls.

Episode 144
Released: 9/23/2012
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Synopsis: Tom Chick joins us this week and punks Todd over Guild Wars 2 in the process. By all mean, enjoy yourselves… Oh yeah, and before that Tom and Brandon talk in considerable depth about Borderlands 2 and before all is said and done Tom lets us know what separate Torchlight 2 from Diablo 3.

Episode 145
Released: 9/30/2012
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Synopsis: This week Todd and Brandon discuss their thoughts on the PC demo for Firaxis’s upcoming take on X-COM. What can we take away from it? Where does it look good? Where are the yellow flags? We all know Todd is in on this one, but is Brandon prepared to take the leap into unknown waters? The less than surprising answer is within. After that Brandon digs deeper into Borderlands 2 and Todd spends some more time with Guild Wars 2 and the iPad version of Bastion. Enjoy!

Episode 146
Released: 10/7/2012
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Synopsis: This week we launch into a lengthy discussion of blessed freedom from the tyranny of gatekeeper PR practices involving free games. Brandon takes us on a journey through the Testament of Sherlock Holmes and then he and Bill compare notes on Borderlands 2. Finally we set the stage for this week’s big releases in X-COM and Dishonored. The countdown to 150 episodes begins here!

Episode 147
Released: 10/14/2012
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Synopsis: In this episode, Bill starts his journey into the world of Dishonored and is excited by what he sees. Todd talks about the little moments that make XCOM: Enemy Unknown such a wonderful re-imagining of the original and the elements that make it a fair compromise of old and new. And Brandon looks reluctantly at his old Pokemon hat, but decides to put it on anyway when he comes to terms with the fact that even though Pokemon White 2 makes him jump through a lot of the same hoops, he just can’t not love little animals that fight each other. (That’s sorta what happens in these games, right?)

Episode 148
Released: 10/21/2012
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Synopsis: It’s the Brandon and Todd show once more and we spend it talking about the things of largest concern to gamers everywhere: The Tigers in the World Series and Todd’s nightmares of demonic possession. Also, Brandon goes back to Borderlands 2 and it’s initial go-round of DLC: Captain Scarlett’s Pirate Booty. Todd get in deeper with XCOM, including an ill-fated experiment with the game’s Classic difficulty. We also talk a bit about game modding and DLC in general. (Todd was wrong, by the way, that the modding scene hasn’t broken out yet for XCOM. There’s already some interesting options out in the field. You can find and read all about them at XCOM Nexus.)

Episode 149
Released: 10/28/2012
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Synopsis: This episode features Bill’s thoughts on Dishonored, Brandon’s dive into The Walking Dead Episode #4, and Todd’s “final” thoughts on XCOM. (We’re sure it’ll come up again.) Bill also gives us an update into his activities with Conquistador Games, so boardgame fans shouldn’t miss that. Tomorrow, the project they have in the hopper, sounds promising!

Episode 150
Released: 11/4/2012
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Synopsis: We mark our 150th episode by getting together and recording our thoughts on random stuff tangentially related to gaming. Why break with precedent? To that end, Bill breaks out his most favoritist cardboard playthings and talks in depth about what makes Mice and Mystics such good old fashioned family fun. Todd plays around with Windows 8 and comes to the startling revelation that it’s all much ado about nothing. Brandon takes a walk on the Darkside with the new Darksiders II DLC: Abyssal Forge. Also, more television commentary than you can shake a stick at. Thanks as always to all of you for devoting approximately 225 hours of your life listening to us prattle on about electronic toys art!

Episode 151
Released: 1/11/2012
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Synopsis: This week’s show features talk of Elemental: Fallen Enchantress, thought on the Wii U and its rather interesting press embargo restrictions, and a whole lot of dish on Skylanders Giants. We also get a long overdue update on Commissioner Bill’s youth basketball foibles. You flat out could not pay me enough to do that job.

Episode 152
Released: 1/18/2012
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Synopsis: This episode brings you our very special and heart-warming Thanksgiving Day extravaganza, in which we reference The Day the Turkey Died about sixty seconds from the end. We’re all heart at JtS. This week, while Bill was off traipsing around the floors of BGG Con, hawking his wares to the masses, Brandon and Todd got together to discuss their thoughts on the opening hours of Dishonored. Todd concludes that his time with Fallen Enchantress is best put off for another day, and Brandon laments the fall of Cortana in Halo 4 (along with the rest of the game).

The show is taking the holiday week off this year so that we can enjoy time with family and friends, eating of the fowl and the potato, drinking of the wine, etc. etc. but we’ll be back with a new show to be posted on December 2nd. From our No High Scores family to yours, we wish you a fun and safe Thanksgiving! (You non-USA people can go about your business as usual.)

Episode 153
Released: 12/2/2012
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Synopsis: Having emerged from our respective turkey comas, the mad trio are all back together this week. Bill gives us the lowdown on The New Science’s success at BGG Con, the latest developments in Tomorrow, and a few other cardboard bits and pieces that have been on his carving plate, including Spartacus, and the first deck-building game in a long while to grab his attention, Legendary. Todd spends a few hours with Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition (PC version) and finds that, yep, it’s pretty much Baldur’s Gate, only it runs better on modern hardware.  Things really have changed, and, it turns out, some of those changes were for the better. Finally, Brandon wraps up his time with Dishonored and finds a few more shiny spots behind the blemishes of Halo 4.

Episode 154
Released: 12/9/2012
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Synopsis: The gang is all here for #154. Don’t look now, but it could be a trend. This week Mr. Abner brings you more details on Tomorrow, including the launch of its already successful Kickstarter campaign. The group takes a stroll with The Walking Dead, what with Mr. Binky having completed the final chapter of TellTale’s incredible episodic adventure. Brandon also spends some time with the new Borderlands 2 DLC, Torgue’s Badass Crater of Badassitude. Seriously, that’s the title. Todd puts his time with Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition on hold in order to wait for the iOS version (unbeknownst to him, it arrived the very next night), but in the meantime he’s very excited about his new Windows Phone 8 and forthcoming Pathfinder campaign. Finally, our apologies for the quality of Bill’s audio this week. His mic has been spotty for awhile, we know, but a quick plug and unplug has always done the trick… until this week that is. Be sure to send him some hate mail for it as encouragement to pick up a new headset for this week’s show! (No, really, you should absolutely do that. Be as vulgar as you want to be. He likes that!)

Episode 155
Released: 12/16/2012
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Synopsis: This episode brings back the Brakke and Cackowski-Schnell Hour of Power, while Bill coughs and wheezes his way back to health from whatever demon germ took hold of him. This week we devote ourselves to discussing some early impressions of the iOS implementation of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition (hint: largely positive). Brandon takes a nap with some Sleeping Dogs and also transfers his Skylanders addiction to still another platform (iOS). And I offer some insights from my first Pathfinder play-session in over a year and why I very much dig the Monk character class, even if I ended up knocked unconscious in the first battles out of the gate.

Episode 156
Released: 12/25/2012
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Synopsis: This episode brings you a technology-repressed cameo from Bill, who promptly lost his Internet service 20 minutes in, followed by a special Brakke/Cackowski-Schnell half-hour of power. Our topic for this one was a look back at 2012, our most notable moments, favorite games, trends, etc.

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Todd Brakke

Todd was born in Ann Arbor, with a Michigan helmet in one hand and a mouse in the other. (Never you mind the logistics of this.) He grew, vertically anyway, and is a 20-year publishing veteran as an editor of books on consumer tech and professional development for educators. Because that wasn't enough of a challenge, Todd was a 20-year part-time snob about video games, writing reviews, features, and more for multiple outlets from 1997-2015. Follow him on Twitter @toddsfoolery.

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