Todd's Foolery

Beta Test Ultima IV for the iPad


No High Scores

I make no bones about the fact that I consider Ultima IV one of the finest games of its time. But while I’m glad EA is making it available for free (via the recently launched UltimaForever.com), the chances of me burning off precious desktop PC gaming hours playing it are pretty slim. An iPad version, though? Now we’re talking. And that’s just what the xu4 project team is seeking beta testers for. If you’re interested (no jailbreaking required), check out the details at Ultima Aiera. (They’ve also got a separate page with more screenshots and a rather difficult to see video.) All in all, this looks promising!

Witcher 2 to Get Easier


No High Scores

According to yesterday’s story at Eurogamer, CD Projekt’s Senior Producer on Witcher 2, Tomasz Gop, has said they’re looking at easing up on the difficulty curve for the 360 version of the game (with some of those tweaks also being made available on PC). I’m good with that. On Normal the game is certainly playable, but it can be a real bear, even punitive at times, especially where some of the boss battles are concerned. A few weeks ago, on Jumping the Shark, I even noted that I’d like to see a difficulty mode put in between Normal and Easy because Easy is simple to the point of mindlessness. So what did Gop have to say?

“Definitely we are thinking about the easy mode. It should be easy.”

Guys, I applaud the thought, but if you made Easy mode any less difficult my cat could play the game and she’s been dead for three years.

The Rumor Mill


No High Scores

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I was a big fan of the show Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It was pretty much just me and a half dozen other Aaron Sorkin acolytes who are universally in love with what it says about our under-appreciated intelligence that we’re the only ones who really “get” the man’s writing. One scene I particularly liked from the show is when the character of Jordan McDeer gives an interview with Time magazine. She gets an inane question about her personal life, justified with the always popular, “talk in the industry,” and proceeds to take the man down a peg when she says, “I think you’re reporting on what you and the guy in the cubicle next to you were talking about at lunch. And that makes you a hairdresser and a cockfight promoter.” (See time code 7:37 of this clip.)

That line occurs to me a lot when I read about “rumors” or “talk” in the gaming press. Now, before I pull out my high and mighty pedestal, in which I pretend I’m somehow above the influence of mundane rumors, let’s be clear: I’m not saying rumors have no place in our discourse. They’re fun forum fodder. They can generate valuable discussion on more mainstream sites. They have their place. At the same time, I think a lot of big gaming news sites attach the word “rumor” to their stories anytime someone wants to justify writing about something that is completely unsubstantiated or only has the very loosest possible sourcing. This went on today with the “news” that Mass Effect 3 may in fact have a multiplayer component…

EA Taking Dragon Age II Criticism to Heart?


First off, Eurogamer is bringing it. Lots of good stuff over there today.

Like this little number with EA’s Frank Gibeau regarding the reaction to Dragon Age II from a good chunk of the fanbase. Going so far as to admit “we lost some fans” with the release of the DA sequel.

“We’re very proud of the game. We tried to innovate and do some different things with the combat system and some of the way we told story. For some fans it worked well. In fact, we brought a lot of new fans into the Dragon Age franchise. But to be honest, we lost some fans as well. They were not pleased with some of the innovations and things we’d done. We understand that and we’re listening.”

It’s a good read and I like that the company is listening to feedback. Then multiplayer is mentioned and I start to get worried.

Go Back to High School with NCAA Football ’12


For the past few editions NCAA Football has included a mode known as Road to Glory, in which you create your own player and take him through a college football career. I’ve always wanted to like the idea behind this mode, but have never been able to get into it. I haven’t touched it in a couple years, but I remember it as being too easy to get the starting nod at a school, with far too few decisions to make once you get there and those you did make being rather silly and superfluous. This year EA Tiburon has evidently overhauled the mode and have just released this teaser video, narrated by one Kirk Herbstreit (boo!). Here’s the highlights…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #75


No High Scores
Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For this lovely Monday morning (well, it’s lovely here in Indy), we bring you our Day 3 wrap-up episode of Jumping the Shark, which features the usual cast, plus return appearances from Tom Chick, Jason McMaster, and Brian Rowe. Hear all about Square’s big lineup, Driver: San Francisco, Saints Row 3, Metro Last Light, and some of the games of IndyCade, which including our first exposure to gaming with a kiss-driven controller. No, for reals. I wrote all about it in my day-3 wrap-up.

Direct Download
iTunes Link
RSS Feed
Past Episodes
(Embedded feed included after the break.)

Jumping the Shark Podcast #74


No High Scores
Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our Day Two E3 episode of Jumping the Shark is on the tubes. Last night’s recording featured your usual JTS cast, plus return appearances from Tom Chick and Jason McMaster as well as Gameshark Senior Editor Brian Rowe and one of our newer freelancers, Justin Amirkhani. Among those games featured are the surprising Prey 2, the latest Hitman opus, Sonic Generations, and The Darkness 2.

Direct Download
iTunes Link
RSS Feed
Past Episodes
(Embedded feed included after the break.)

Jumping the Shark Podcast #73


No High Scores
Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our Day One E3 episode of Jumping the Shark is now live. If you downloaded it last night or early this morning (hey, it’s 6am here) and your file only ran for 15 minutes… uh, well we don’t know what was up with that, but it’s fixed now. Sorry! Let’s just blame it on Mitchy D and be done with it, although I should point out Brandon was up at the wee hours shouting obscenities and cursing the maker while taking care of that one. He’s a trooper, that guy.

Anyway, episode one features your regular cast, the aforementioned Mitchell Dyer, as well as Tom Chick and Jason McMaster. Remember, we just record this gathered around a single mic, stick the music on it and throw it up there. We like it raw when we’re kicking it in the City of Angels. Enjoy!

Direct Download
iTunes Link
RSS Feed
Past Episodes
(Embedded feed included after the break.)