One of the sucky parts of narcolepsy is that when you hit the wall, you hit the frigg’n wall. So it was with much sadness and lamentations that I begged out of this week’s episode of Jumping the Shark so that I could sleep. (Okay, I felt bad about it for about 30 seconds. Then I went to bed.) Somehow, the rest of the crew managed to carry on. This week Bill brings you the straight dope on Hard Reset. Brandon expresses his dissatisfaction with the Deux Ex’s ending (and he’s right). Danielle gets into the realm of obscure Kinect titles with a little gem called Leedmees. After that, it’s all about the future of AAA games and whether or not an industry that thrives on the grand slam homer should start looking for an occasional double down the left field line. (Hooray for metaphors!)
Tom Chick subs in for sickly Danielle on Jumping the Shark #88. In addition to some continued Deus Ex conversation, some new games make their way onto our collective playlist, most notably, Space Marine, Dead Island, and Bloodrayne: Betrayal. After that, it’s all about game endings, when they detract from an otherwise great game, when they raise up an otherwise pedestrian game, and why a culminating boss-battle just isn’t necessary. Oh, and there’s a Yakaty Sax moment that’s not to be missed in this week’s outtakes. Enjoy!
First of all, my apologies for not getting this up by at least yesterday. A Monday post wasn’t going to happen with the Abner Con wrap-up, plus the drive back to Indy. Yesterday? That just went by quick… and I lost $7 at poker. Considering it was a $10 buy-in, that’s awful. What is up with the universe?
Anyway, we have arrived at Episode #87 of Jumping the Shark. The countdown to 100 episodes begins soon! This week it’s just Brandon, Danielle, and I as Bill had some late-breaking lost key scenario that pulled him out at the last minute. Keys, man. Nothing but trouble. So, for this hour-long show Brandon and I spend a good chunk of time talking in more detail about Deus Ex (now that we’ve made some progress), Brandon adds some praise for Quarrel, and Danielle shows some love for Crazy Machines Elements and Rock of Ages. After that, the topic du jour is skill at playing games and why we’re better at them than you. (No, not really.)
On Jumping the Shark 86 we are joined by Cedar Hill Games founder and former Bioware designer, Tobyn Manthorpe. Cedar Hill Games just published the excellent Emissary of War for the iOS and Tobyn joins us to talk about the game, what he’s learned about iOS publishing since delivering his first game, Pistols at Dawn, and what he likes about being an independent developer. A good time was had by all, and he even stuck around for the second half of the show, in which we discuss what we’ve been playing, a list that includes Madden ’12, Deus Ex, Quarrel, the 7 Wonders board game, and Fruit Ninja. Definitely stay put for Bill’s excellent analysis of Madden.
Another Monday brings another installment of Jumping the Shark. For our 85th episode we’re talking about the brewing potential for a great Gears of War banning fiasco. Are pubs and devs getting reckless with the ban hammer? If you’re in the dark with regards to this topic, check out this story on Epic’s intention to ban anyone from playing Gears 3 online that they feel were remotely involved with leaking early code or posting spoiler videos online. As a side dish, we also get into spoilers and the net’s propensity for being overly touchy about them. Along the way, Bill reveals he has Madden under his wing, but has gag orders from speaking about it, Brandon sighs heavily in Killzone 3’s general direction, and I rekindle my love of pinball after getting a taste of my buddy’s Tron Legacy pinball machine and falling into deep addiction to Pinball FX2. Danielle took the week off to take care of the big move out of her submarine and into something a bit more spacious.
Important Note: We had a bit of an upload SNAFU this week where the bulk of the file didn’t make it up to Libsyn’s server. The full show is just a few minutes shy of an hour long, so if it ends after just a few minutes you’ll want to download a fresh copy.
Do you think games are too expensive? Are they priced too low? Should reviewers factor a game’s cost into their evaluation of the game? These are the questions that drove this week’s Jumping the Shark to the brink of civil war with Brandon and Danielle arguing that determining overall value is a fair factor in evaluating a game, while Bill and I contend that the reviewer should stick to evaluating the game itself, regardless of its price. Along the way we also talked about Avadon, inFAMOUS 2, HTML 5 gaming and the fact that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is measurably hotter than any of their other parks. It’s a fun week for JtS. Be sure to step into the comment thread and weigh in!
I missed out on recording this week’s episode of Jumping the Shark because I’d much rather spend a week at Disney World with my kids than this motley crew. Who knew Bill would abandon Brandon and Danielle in their hour of need? Despite lacking these essential cogs, they did somehow managed to find the will to carry on as they put on their game designer hats and discussed all the different kinds of games they’d like to make if only some generous publisher would cut them a check. Here’s how Brandon describes it in the show notes:
Listen in awe to the explosion of unbridled creativity that comes from Brandon and Danielle pitching games to each other. Want a ghost fueled RPG, a tower defense platformer that revolves around candy, a time management game based on freelance writing or an adventure business sim that pits cop vs drug lord? Well, we got you covered. For all of them. What can I say? It was a productive night.
I haven’t listened to it yet, but this sounds like a good one, so get to it. After the break you’ll find the embedded feed and some thoughts on Disney Survival.
This week Jumping the Shark is short one Brandon (who’s off searching for the Lost Ark of the Covenant), but we pick up a Tom Chick, who braves the heat to chat with us about game remakes: When are they a good thing? When do they waste of everyone’s time? What would we like to see remade in the future? First, however, we talk up the cavalcade of games we’ve been playing over the past week. First up, a good long bit on Bastion, which all of us (sans Bill) have made a point to check out. Tom marvels at just how bad Call of Juarez: The Cartel and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 are, Danielle goes rogue(like) talking about Dungeons of Dredmor, and Bill talks a smattering of NCAA ’12, Panzer Corps, and just a little bit of his Sengoku preview build. Oh yeah, and I give Mass Effect 2 some props for the one part of the game they absolutely nailed. Tom doesn’t buy it, but then, what does he know? Join us for another week of laughter, tears, and just a hint of brash exuberance.
We’re just about a year out from last year’s disastrous release of Elemental: War of Magic, so what better time to bring in two of the principles of the spin-off game, Fallen Enchantress, to talk about its (hopefully) impending release? Yep, this week we are very excited that Stardock’s Jon Shafer (lead designer of Civ5) and Derek Paxton (designer of the amazing Fall From Heaven mods for Civ4) are able to take some time out to join us and talk about what they hope to bring to the table with Fallen Enchantress. Oh, and because any dessert needs a cherry on top, we’ve also got Troy Goodfellow back on to drop some knowledge and ensure at least a couple smart questions are asked. Some unavoidable audio issues aside, it’s a good week for Jumping the Shark!
It’s the usual crew back at work in this week’s Jumping the Shark. This week Bill brings us the word from the front in Fear 3. I tie a bow around Dungeon Siege III (review to be posted at the mothership soon) and relate some 4th of July camping exploits. (Hint: I would not survive in the wild if left to my own devices.) Brandon goes on a bug hunt with Earth Defense Force. And Danielle gets herself a shiny new Kinect in order to play UFC Trainer: The Ultimate Fitness System. She also gets funky with Dance Central and you can’t put a price on that. Speaking of Kinect and pricing things, this week’s topic is about buyer’s remorse after having purchased a new console or system; this one comes with a free side order of kids and gaming as I fret about how much time my son’s been putting into Lego Batman.