Jumping the Shark Podcast: 2013 Collection (#157-#197)


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 2013.

This year, JtS featured the vocal stylings of Todd Brakke (@ToddsFoolery), Brandon Cackowski-Schnell (@MisterBinky), William Abner (@TheAbner) and Jon Shafer (@JonShaferDesign). Show production, editing, and summaries alternate between Todd and Brandon. All shows originally posted at NoHighScores.com/category/podcast.

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Episode 157
Released: 1/6/2013
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Synopsis: The gang is all-in for our official JtS ringing in of the new year. This week Todd dons the Mark of the Ninja and talks about how great it is, but also why it’s not as innovative as a lot of folks seem to think. Bill reveals the complicated and technical process of shipping a Kickstarted boardgame. Hint: It my involve trucks and postage. And Brandon? Brandon puts on the old robes for Assassin’s Creed 3 and wonders why he spends more time fulfilling menial tasks around the homestead than he does identifying perpetrators of evil and then jabbing them with poky things.

Start your 2013 off in style, and then, when you’ve finished with that, download the show and enjoy that too!

Episode 158
Released: 1/13/2013
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Synopsis: This episode features Bill’s initial steps into the 15-play marathon that is Risk: Legacy, the only boardgame we’ve ever heard of that comes with an expiration date (sort of). Todd also talks cardboard bits this week, having introduced his family to King of Tokyo, Dungeon, and Survive: Escape From Atlantis. All three were big hits in the Brakke household and you’ll want to know all about that. Brandon carries the torch for actual video games, continuing his freewheeling ways with Need for Speed: Most Wanted and digging deeper into Revolutionary War conspiracy with Assassin’s Creed III. Finally, we wrap up with a lengthy discussion about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that sees Bill and Todd agree on virtually all the finer points, while coming to completely different conclusions.

Episode 159
Released: 1/20/2013
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Synopsis: Todd is in Rhode Island, but that doesn’t stop Bill and Brandon from talking about Brandon’s foray into The New Science, Bill’s ongoing game of Risk: Legacies and Brandon’s time with Penny Arcade: Gamers vs Evil on the iPad. Then, it’s time for some TV talk. Woohoo!

Episode 160
Released: 1/27/2017
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Synopsis: Bill is Down with the Sickness this week (literally), so we reprise the Brakke/Cackowski-Schnell Hour of Power ™. This week we run with the, now-confirmed, rumor attaching J.J. Abrams to Star Wars, discussing in exacting detail why Brandon hates Star Trek, except for the Abrams movie, and why Todd thinks Abrams is a great fit for Star Wars and a lousy one for Trek. Then Brandon gets in deep with Devil May Cry and why, even though it’s a good game, it takes the easy way out when it comes to mocking the good ole U.S.A.

Episode 161
Released: 2/3/2013
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Synopsis: The gang is all in the house for Jumping the Shark’s third birthday and we wile away our hour together by talking about Bill’s latest foray into Risk: Legacies and Brandon dude-bro’s up for a little Black Ops 2 and a side plate of Little Inferno on the iPad. Todd puts on his best book reviewer’s hat (it looks rather like one of those multicolor beanie deals with a propeller on top) and does a couple minutes on Markus Zusak’s WW2 era novel, The Book Thief (coming, eventually, to a theater near you). It’s all prelude to next week when Jon Shafer makes his triumphant return to the show to talk about his new gaming venture, Conifer Games, and it’s first game, At the Gates, which launched its Kickstarter campaign today. It’s Shafer, people, so go Kickstart the hell out of it.

Episode 162
Released: 2/10/2013
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Synopsis: Brandon is MIA this week, but in his place sits the illustrious Jon Shafer, veteran of Firaxis and Stardock and newly crowned emporer of Conifer Games. He joins Bill and Todd to talk about his newest project, Jon Shafer’s At the Gates, a turn-based 4x game that puts you in control of one of several barbarian tribes seeking to bring down the crumbling Roman Empire. Along the way Bill talks about the latest projects in the works at Conquistador and his sad fall from the wagon as he returns to the haunted halls of Dark Souls. Enjoy!

Episode 163
Released: 2/17/2013
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Synopsis: This episode features a lengthy recrimination of Gearbox for murdering joy with their insipid release of Aliens: Colonial Marines. Bill, finally -finally- dips his toe into the cool, delightful waters of XCOM: Enemy Unknown and promptly wants to know why he can’t use a fallen squaddie’s medkit. To be fair, it’s a reasonable question. Brandon gets in bed with Sly 4, Dead Space 3, and Little Inferno. And I hop into a decrepit old starship, hoping to rebirth humanity in the recent iOS release, Shifts. All this and a little TV talk await you in this week’s thrilling episode!

Episode 164
Released: 2/24/2013
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Synopsis: Prior to Todd’s vacation departure, we get down and dirty with the PS4 sort of unveiling, more fun with XCOM and Dead Space 3 and the joy of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

Episode 165
Released: 3/10/2013
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Synopsis: The gang is all here as we get down to business by properly taking EA to task for their utter contempt for gamers and their ruination of SimCity. We even give them an award. After that, Bill gives us an update into the world of Conquistador Games and the much anticipated (by me) happenings for Abnercon. Brandon and I go on an adventure with Lara Croft and conclude that, with this new Tomb Raider, Square has delivered on exactly what they sold us (unlike EA’s SimCity). Brandon then raves and raves and raves about Fire Emblem: Awakening. Oh, and there’s some TV Time to go along with all that. Join us for the show that almost never skips a beat… except when it does.

Episode 166
Released: 3/18/2013
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Synopsis: On tap for this week, Bill delivers a Conquistador Games and Abnercon update. Todd nitpicks Tomb Raider some, wholly out of love we assure you, while Brandon plays the worthy defender. (And he’s right. It’s a great game.) Brandon breaks out his inner-pseudo sportsman and goes Ridiculous Fishing before hitting the links for a little Super Stickman Golf… 2! Finally, there’s more quality TV Time with Bill finally watching the Star Trek movie.

Episode 167
Released: 3/24/2013
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Synopsis: The Brakke and Cackowski-Schnell Hour of Pour returns this week with Bill playing the role of dutiful husband. It’s a shame that The Abner misses our special Abnercon re-cap episode, but if you want to hear all about World Cup, Spartacus, Mare Nostrum, and Tomorrow, Todd is here for you. If you don’t, well.. that’s a shame. Nyah!

Filling up our video game quota, Brandon speaks ill of God of War: Ascension, casting it aside to play more Fire Emblem and do some more fishing of the ridiculous kind. We also marvel for awhile at the reported $200M budget billed to the production and marketing of Bioshock: Infinite. Seriously? That’s Avengers money there.

Episode 168
Released: 4/7/2013
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Synopsis: Jumping the Shark meandered into the darkness last week, but we’re back today with the long awaited, ever-anticipated, supper jolly fun-time episode #168. Or something like that. Brandon was still lost in a broadbandless-vacuum of Internet poverty this week, but Bill and Todd are able to jump on Skype to talk up some Bioshock: Infinite. And we do. At great length. Whether you want us to or not.

Episode 169
Released: 4/14/2013
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Synopsis: This episode features a Cackowski-Schnell/Brakke Hour of Power, as Bill missed this week to play host to a VIP of the international sort. (Curse you, Mace!) So, Brandon brings his Bioshock A-game and we talk more about its shootery bits and overall direction. It’s all set up for next week’s show when the three of us are sure to dig down spoilery-deep into the game’s conclusion. This week, however, we veer off to talk about Microsoft PR-catastrophes and racist ghosts. It’s fun for the whole family!

Episode 170
Released: 4/21/2013
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Synopsis: Bill, Brandon and I are all in the house for the first time in weeks, and we’ve all not only played the same game, but finished it too. This leads to a wildy spoilerific discussion of every nook and cranny of Bioshock: Infinite, the ending in particular. If you don’t want to be spoiled… who are you kidding? Of course you do. Join us!

Episode 171
Released: 4/28/2013
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Synopsis: This week, Bill shocks us all with his new gaming addiction. Yes, the man who has more than once proclaimed himself completely over the MMO genre, has himself hooked on an MMO. Yeah, we don’t get it either. Meanwhile, Brandon holds the keys to the gates and if you want to enter he would kindly like for you to show him your Papers, Please. He’s also got some more time with Far Cry 3 and Etrian Odyssey IV. Todd has about 20 minutes in Knights of the Old Republic II (with Content Restoration Mod). You can ignore him this week.

Episode 172
Released: 5/5/2013
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Synopsis: It’s a Cackowski-Schnell and Brakke Hour of Power for Jumping the Shark’s 172nd episode. Bill misses the proceedings to go lost dog hunting and we’re not even making that up. (All pups were eventually secured.) So, along with getting caught up with the latest happenings in Game of Thrones, Brandon continues his exploits with Far Cry and Todd gives Out of the Park Baseball 14 his own very special version of spring training.

Episode 173
Released: 5/12/2013
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Synopsis: This week Bill talks Conquistador happenings and their latest reach out to people ideas, including a kick-ass proposal for doing a video boardgame show. Very cool. Brandon and Todd talk Star Command and how Brandon saved Todd hours of frustration looking for diamonds in what is an entirely lump of coal experience. Then we team-up against Bill and the rest of the world to explain why Prometheus is a better movie than you think it is. We’re right. You’re wrong. That’s just something you’ll have to live with.

Episode 174
Released: 5/19/2013
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Synopsis: Bill and Brandon journey into the depths of Metro: Last Light. Todd would totally have gone in on this excursion until the reveal of the spiders. Seriously, guys? Just because you lived in development hell when making the game doesn’t mean you have to use that time to bring his nightmares to life. Le sigh. At least the follow-up Eclipse discussion and a little TV Time didn’t leave him a quivering puddle of goo and that’s something.

Episode 175
Released: 5/26/2013
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Synopsis: This week’s rendition of the Big Show features part two of Bill and Brandon’s descent into the murky underbelly of Metro: Last Light. We take a look at Microsoft’s showy reveal of the Xbox One from every possible angle and conclude that it’s still a big box of questions without much in the way of answers. What did you think? Did Microsoft do enough to convince you to be a buyer on launch day?

Episode 176
Released: 6/2/2013
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Synopsis: Bill was off sunning himself on a rock this past week (for the visual, you are most welcome), so this episode marks the triumphant return of the Brakke and Cackowski-Schnell Hour of Power ™! This week we get funky with our iPads as Brandon breaks in Warhammer: Quest and its mixed critical reception. Todd takes to the skies in his trusty Sopwith Camel and goes head-to-head with WWI-era German fighter planes in Sid Meier’s surprisingly addictive turn-based strategy game, Ace Patrol. And, we talk a whole mess of Knights of the Old Republic, as Todd ventures a bit deeper into Obsidian’s sequel (w/Content Restoration Mod) and Brandon ponders whether or not to get the stealthily released iPad port of the original game. All this and stories of flayed fingers abound this week, so enjoy!

Episode 177
Released: 6/9/2013
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Synopsis: This week in Jumping the Shark, the gang is all in the house as we talk some more Metro: Last Light, more KOTOR, more Warhammer: Quest, and more Xbox One shenanigans. It’s fun and frivolity with none of the guilt. Enjoy!

Episode 178
Released: 6/16/2013
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Synopsis: It’s the very bro-tastic Hour of Power on this week’s Jumping the Shark as Brandon and Todd take in the E3 perspective, for the first time in five years, as outsiders.  Oh the humanity! Hear us wonder where all the games wen. Wag fingers at us as we debate games ownership versus licensing. Snack along as we break bread over the sheer audacity that is the One’s 24-hour check-in times. Cry with us as we lament just how god awful Microsoft is at messaging their product. And nod knowingly as we agree that Sony played Microsoft like a drum with their note-perfect PS4 unveiling. Also, more KOTOR2 and Brandon plays some Remember Me.

Episode 179
Released: 6/23/2013
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Synopsis: For this episode, Brandon and Todd head out to see Man of Steel, just so you don’t have have to. Kidding. We both got our kicks from it and there’s a whole section at the end in which we dig into all the spoilery details. (The spoiler lamp this week is more of a spoiler bonfire where this flick is concerned.) Before that, though, Bill returns ever-so-briefly to talk about his time at the Origins board game show as well as a bunch of updates on the progress being made on Conquistador’s forthcoming video game podcast. Should be a good one. Brandon also heads down deep into the ugly world of Last of Us and guess what? Just between you and me, he doesn’t so much think it sucks. Can you believe it? Yeah, me neither. Tune in to find out more!

Episode 180
Released: 7/1/2013
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Synopsis: This week’s show delves into the treacherous realm of home renovations and sales as Todd recounts housing nightmares to Brandon. It’s a learning experience you won’t want to miss. We also talk more in depth on the XCOM iPad port and Brandon completes Last of Us, concluding that the game is really rather okay by him, so we should all join hands and sing its praises, or at least be a little nicer to it. And don’t miss the outtakes this week when Brandon calls out Tom. It’s all here in this week’s JtS!

Episode 181
Released: 7/14/2013
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Synopsis: After a completely un-earned week off, the whole gang is back together. Is it too early to say the countdown to episode #200 begins here? It’s probably too early. So, instead of counting down we get our cheap on as Brandon takes a free spin through the streets of Albion in Fable 3. Todd finally completes his not so heroic journey in Knights of the Old Republic 2, and Bill returns with a huge surprise – he’s… been playing… exactly… nothing! It’s a full-on shock and awe campaign that really could be missed, but you don’t want to miss it because it’s us and we’re awesome and because there’s a solid ten minutes of outtakes this week.

Episode 182
Released: 7/21/2013
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Synopsis: This week the gang is all in to talk games, game sales, and the first track off our soon to be double-mega-platinum hit album. First, Bill is back in a gaming mood with new adventures in Crusader Kings II to share. Oh those wacky vikings. We’re also in deep in Steam Summer Sale territory and it claims Todd as its victim. First up some new adventures in Civilization 5’s Brave New World expansion, along with some iPad time left over to Rebuild from zombie apocalypse. Brandon has spent the week ruling from the throne of Fable 3 and decided that it’s really not all that spiffy being the king. There’s also a serenade that you won’t want to miss and Brandon and Bill get in some TV time.

Episode 183
Released: 7/28/2013
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Synopsis: It’s an Hour of Power kind of week. Brandon runs with the shadows for a bit (i.e – he bought Shadowrun Returns; come on, people!) and decides that he’d love it if he could just save the game in new and exciting places instead of just where Harebrained thinks he should. Todd concurs and then breaks out his inner jock, putting himself into NBA 2k13’s MyCareer, and deciding that it’s really quite stupid. Notice, he doesn’t look away or turn it off. There’s also some Just Cause 2 love from Brandon and Todd tells you why Newsroom’s second episode of its second season was amazingly good — even for people that didn’t like the first season, or Studio 60, or most other Sorkiny kinds of shows. Go ahead and call him wrong. He doesn’t mind breaking out the Ban Hammer.

Episode 184
Released: 8/4/2013
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Synopsis: This episode brings us back-to-back weeks of the patented and trademarked Cackowski-Schnell and Brakke Hour of Power. This week Brandon discovers why he’s been playing Just Cause 2 all wrong and begins what will surely be a torrid love affair with Ni No Kuni who, herself, evidently has much wrath for a white witch of some kind. We dunno. Sounds kinda racist. (Was that too much? It felt like too much.) Meanwhile, Todd is still ball’n in the land of NBA 2k13, but does take a time out to ruin the lives of some incredibly brave, and not very bright, Kerbals as they try to get their fledgling space program off the ground. In the words of the all-powerful know-it-all, Yogurt, the kids’ll love this one.

Episode 185
Released: 8/11/2013
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Synopsis: The gang’s all here. Fifteen more and maybe, just maybe, we can all retire from this life of verbal debauchery. In the meantime, Bill is back and he’s taken his dear sweet daughter Walking with the Dead. The words you’re looking for here are “innocence lost.” Brandon presses on with Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and feels nothing but love for the wee lass. And Todd, after getting lost in the world of the Marvel Unlimited comic subscription app, gets back into Civilization 5: Brave New World. His conclusion? These newfangled cultural victories are harder to pull of than he first realized. That or he’s getting dumber… which may not be entirely possible.

Episode 186
Released: 8/18/2013
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Synopsis: With Bill off at GenCon, the Hour of Power returns this week (like it’s ever gone away) as Brandon and Todd get down and get funky with their bad ass selves. Todd talks in detail about my new job. It’s drab. It’s dull. And it involves saying, “Papers, Please” over and over and over again. Yet it’s oddly addictive and rewarding. Weird. Brandon is in his Sony Vita happy place with some more Ni No Kuni and a potpourri of other titles. Then there’s some discussion about the continuation of the Microsoft 180 and how Todd –surprise, surprise– called it from the very beginning. It’s his annual chance to be right about something and he won’t let it go by unnoticed, dammit!

Episode 187
Released: 8/25/2013
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Synopsis: The terrible trio is back this week. Bill and his once sweet and innocent daughter spend 400 Days walking with the dead and comes out of the experience forever changed. (No, seriously, he’s getting her into Left 4 Dead now too. This is a Pandora’s Box that can never be closed.) Meanwhile in Brandon’s world, The Saints have come marching in, for the fourth time no less. They just won’t stop marching. Find out just why Brandon thinks Saints Row IV is every bit worth it’s $60 price tag. And Todd? After 39 years on this planet, he’s finally embraced the one true faith. Sure, he created it in Civilization 5, but the Church of Pi is not to be denied and it has spread to the farthest reaches of his digital world. Plus, there are food and happiness bonuses and how can you argue with that? This much, plus some Breaking Bad, and even more this week on Jumping the Shark!

Episode 188
Released: 9/1/2013
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Synopsis: Brandon is spending the week visiting with Tom over at the Quarter to Three gaming podcast (go check it out!), but Bill and Todd are still here to bring you your weekly dose of JtS goodness. This week we clasp hands together and bravely venture into a spooky old house in Gone Home. Is this really the unexpectedly brilliant adventure game hit of the summer or is it an overrated game with a novel premise? Only your crazy uncle the pharmacist knows for sure and he’s not talking. So join us for two in-depth discussion of the game; up first the spoiler free iteration and then we light the Spoiler Lamp and talk about every shady nook and cranny. After that we’re on to the new Robinson Crusoe board game and why Bill thinks it’s really rather brilliant if he does say so himself.

Spoiler Lamp Warning: Gone Home 15:00 – 32:10

Episode 189
Released: 9/8/2013
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Synopsis: Brandon is back, Bill shows heart and courage by recording on just three hours sleep, and Todd is in because he didn’t have anything else to do. This week Brandon walks the dungeons of Diablo III, only he’s doing it with a gamepad in his hand. It’s a mad, mad world. He also picks up the phone and dials Hotline Miami. He promptly kills everyone and hangs up. Bill and Todd take a journey into “meh” with the new Vic Davis game, Occult Chronicles. And there is much talk of Breaking Bad.

Episode 190
Released: 9/15/2013
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Synopsis: It’s another Bill and Todd show this week on Jumping the Shark. This week we turn our attention back to Paradox’s game of strategic intrigue and outright blundering, Crusader Kings 2. Find out why Bill has a firm grasp on his little corner of Scotland and Todd… well, his turn ruling in Ireland has had its issues. We also talk Creative Assembly and the fiasco that has been their release of Total War: Rome 2. And Bill has yet another new gig. Find out what makes this one different from all the rest and will surely launch him on the road to stardom!

Episode 191
Released: 9/22/2013
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Synopsis: On this week’s episode of Jumping the Shark the gang is all in and we’re going card hunting. Is Card Hunter, a free-to-play old D&D-inspired card based game, as good as advertised or is it just another momentary diversion in a time where’s there’s a legion of other time-wasters out there? We’re all weighing in and we’re all on different parts of the fence over it. Who’s the guy who can’t stand the kitschy humor? Who is it that doesn’t much care for the free versus pay model? And which one of can’t seem to get past the mini-dragon guys?

Also this week, Breaking Bad, 9th grade girls basketball shenanigans, and your very own home seller’s update. Don’t ever accuse of us of not covering the gamut.

Episode 192
Released: 10/7/2013
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Synopsis: Todd’s off moving into his palatial estate so it’s up to Bill and Brandon to talk about the finale of Breaking Bad and settle once and for all if it was the Best Show Ever.

Episode 193
Released: 10/20/2013
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Synopsis: We’re all in the house for this week’s JtS to talk about The Wolf Among Us. Does the first installment in TellTale’s latest choice-and-consequence adventure game measure up to expectations? Will it tickle you to hear Toad from Wind in the Willows curse a lot? How about Snow White working in the mayor’s office? And, hey, there’s always your protagonist, Bigby Wolf, doing his best Wolverine impersonation. It could work, right? Also this week, Brandon gets his Pokemon pants on and discovers they fit better than ever. And we talk some more Agents of Shield, Walking Dead, and a little Sons of Anarchy.

Episode 194
Released: 11/3/2013
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Synopsis: This week’s Jumping the Shark brings the exciting return of the musical interlude! But not in the way you think we mean. Also, Todd does a little night-walking in Neverwinter, with Neverwinter Nights 2’s D&D 3.5 ruleset goodness. Find out what makes this still a game worth getting into despite some frustrating pieces that’ll never work quite right. Seriously, little NPC dudes, stop running headlong into traps!

Brandon, meanwhile, has created a scourge of Echo soldiers in the recently released iOS game, Echo Prime. He comes away mightily impressed. Not so impressive was his journey into the streets of Gotham in Batman: Arkham Origins. Did no one at Splash Damage notice that they have Batman standing blithely around while a dude gets straight-up murdered and think to say, “Hey, this is kinda out of character?” Finally, we get to the real issue of the day, in which Todd explains to Brandon what made Pacific Rim a far better movie of metal monstrosities punching things than Transformers.

Production Note: With this episode, we’ve officially gone to the every other week model for JtS releases. Our apologies to those of you who liked getting your weekly dose, we love you all, but with just two to three of us available (and sometimes not even that) in any given week, there are too many real life commitments going on to keep it going weekly. Hopefully, however, you’ll find that the extra week gives us more to play and more to talk about, resulting in better shows!

Episode 195
Released: 11/17/2013
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Synopsis: This week brings a smorgasbord of topical goodness as Brandon cracks the seals on his new Playstation 4 and uses it to play more Vita. Bill joins us to talk basketball foibles and a little TV. And Todd drops more XCOM: Enemy Within truth bombs than you can shake a stick at. Along the way Brandon and Todd also get into the excellent new movie, About Time, and talk about what makes Thor: The Dark World a worthy entry into the Marvel movie canon.

Episode 196
Released: 12/8/2013
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Synopsis: This week Brandon and Todd spend 15 minutes debating the merits of the movie Pitch Perfect and its inherently awesome, in no way pandering, use of Don’t Your Forget About Me. Also, don’t forget about us either, because we, like, also spend an hour talking about games and stuff too.

First up, Todd ties a bow around his XCOM: Enemy Within experience. This just in: It’s Good. Then it’s off the city of Waterdeep so he can talk to the lords therein about why, despite a very polished iOS port, the D&D theme means almost nothing to actual game experience and how Firefly: The Board Game does theme and licensing so much better.

Later, it’s a short metro train ride down to PS4-ville where Brandon spends some time amongst the falling shadows of Killzone, the build it up and break it apart world of Knack, and the pretty colors of Contrast, all while taking along his trusty Resogun. (If puns were ever a good thing –they’re really not– that would’ve been the most fantabulous sentence anyone has ever written. Ever. But it’s not, so instead you are all entitled to say mean things about Todd on Twitter. It’s okay. He deserves it.)

Episode 197
Released: 12/22/2013
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Synopsis: It’s our last episode of the year, so Brandon and Todd do it right with Ye Olde Traditional Game of the Year Shenanigans. Hear all about our picks for best and most disappointing titles for the year in gaming that was 2013. On the list in one capacity or another, Gone Home, Fuse, NFS: Most Wanted, God of War: Ascension, Papers Please, Mark of the Ninja, Tomb Raider, Bioshock, Beyond Two Souls, FTL, Fire Emblem: Awakening, GTA V, and XCOM: Enemy Within. You’ll have to tune in, though, to find out what we slotted where.


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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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