Todd's Foolery

Jumping the Shark Podcast #79


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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

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NHL ’12 Dev Blog Updates: Sim Engine and Be a GM Mode


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The NHL ’12 developer blog had a couple of updates over the weekend. The first is from Games Modes Software Engineer Brian Krause about the rewriting of NHL’s sim engine. The second, authored by Games Modes Producer Gurn Sumal, is about improvements made to the game’s Be a GM mode. Sim engines are such a pivotal component to the long term viability of any sports game (if you play season or franchise modes) that it’s good to see NHL’s getting some love this time around. I’m not remotely qualified to judge what goes into a good sim engine, but I’m impressed with the details Krause provides…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #78


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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week on Jumping the Shark the whole gang is back in action as we wax patriotic about American game design versus that of the rest of the world. In the what we’re playing part of the show Danielle talks Ocarina of Time 3DS and Trenched, Brandon picks over Hunted and talks about his experiences with the iPad version of the indy RPG Avadon: The Black Fortress, and I talk about Ticket to Ride for the iPad and a little more Dungeon Siege III. Enjoy and we hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July!

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #77


No High Scores
Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

EDIT: If your download ends at the 1:03 (hour:minutes) mark, we had another errant upload this week. It’s now fixed and can be re-downloaded. The full podcast is about 1:12.

It’s a big week for Jumping the Shark as a perfect storm of shiftless layabouting on the parts of Bill, Danielle, and Brandon -who seem to think their vacations and road trips should trump podcasting- leave me in charge of the show for a week. I do my best to persevere and not lose the entire audience in the span of 60 minutes. Helping to further that goal we have two returning guests this week: senior editor for The Escapist, Susan Arendt, and No High Scores’ very own Michael Barnes. This week’s topic is all about the mainstreaming of video games, how games going from a niche hobby to what Al Gore referred to as “the new normal” at Games for Change this week has changed the nature of gaming itself. On the way Michael backhands Shadows of the Damned and gives us his take on L.A. Noire, Susan and I talk about our love/hate relationship with Dungeon Siege 3, and I talk about my new addiction to Carcassonne on the iPad.

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(Thoughts on hosting the show and the embedded feed are included after the break.)

The Core Gamer


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I spotted this article at Eurogamer this morning that reports that the NPD has defined “Core Gamers” as those people who game for an average of 18 hours a week. And here I thought that if you’re going to subdivide gamers into groups, a notion which doesn’t bother me in the least, that surely a guy who’s been gaming for over 30 years and has a dedicated gaming website of at least marginal popularity would fit the Core category. Apparently my measly 7-12 hours a week disqualifies me…

Dungeon Siege 3 Impressions


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So I promised to have Dungeon Siege 3 impressions posted yesterday. Those plans change when you’re offered to join your buddy for $2 pints. Me saying “no” to Bell’s Two-Hearted IPA is just not gonna happen. Last night, though, I did put a walloping two hours into Dungeon Siege 3. It is very decidedly average, so far. It’s not bad. It’s not particularly great. It’s very, very playable. It’s the kind of game you buy and enjoy for a bit, not really regretting the purchase, but barely remembering it a year later. I could change that tune, given how little I’ve played so far, but I feel like I’ve got the game’s number already and am not expecting much in the way of surprises. Here’s some stuff that stuck out to me during my first sit-down…

Dear Retailers, U r Dum


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Hey, that’s not me talking, that’s 1C publisher Darryl Still. Why should you care? Believe it or not, 1C (publisher of King’s Bounty and Men of War) is second in size only to Ubisoft among European-owned publishers. (I know! I had no idea either!) Also, Still has been around the block a time or two. In addition to working at EA and Nvidia, he helped launch the Lynx and Jaguar, two systems that I’m sure, in another hundred years, history will look back on kindly. (I kid because I love.) In truth, he doesn’t so much call US/UK retailers dumb as he talks about how great Steam has been for PC publishers (given the fact that the brick and mortar retailers are dumb). From his interview with CVG:

The PC has been at the forefront of most technology shifts in the market. I was very aware of this at Nvidia. Most breakthroughs in console technology have their roots in the PC market. Most leaps in games development come to the PC first and then work their way into the SDK’s of the console manufacturers. But for the longest time we’ve been told by retail, in the UK and US especially, that PC games is a dying market.

It has been getting less and less shelf space and less and less focus in store, but in all that time we, as a PC publisher have seen absolutely no drop off in demand. In fact the dichotomy between us being told by retail there is no demand for our product and us being asked by customers – by e-mail, phone etc. – where they can find our games is quite shocking.

Ribbing aside, he’s on the right side of this one. Go read the whole thing.

Obsidian Talks Dungeon Siege 3 and Insect Control


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I have my copy of the PC version of Dungeon Siege 3. Actually, I’ve had it since last Thursday, but Steam said I’m not allowed to play it until today. Thanks so much, technology! So, when I escape work this evening (and after a quick beer with friends), I’m heading home to finally get hands-on with the game. I do so with some trepidation, however, after reading this Eurogamer interview with lead designer Nathaniel Chapman, who notes the PC controls of the game are going to get some improvement in a patch…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #76


No High Scores
Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With E3 freshly behind us, we used this week’s Jumping the Shark to talk about E3 the show. What we liked about this year’s show. What we think is changing about it, for better or worse. Why you know more about what’s going on there if you just stay home. Etc. In the what we’re playing segment, Bill dispenses with Hunted, Brandon finds Greent Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters to be surprisingly enjoyable, Danielle digs out Costume Quest and Saints Row 2 from her back catalog, and I lament that my “early” copy of Dungeon Siege 3 refuses to install (due to a Steam activation issue)…

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(More E3 thoughts, and the embedded feed included after the break.)