Todd's Foolery

Todd’s E3 Day One Wrap-up

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So day one is in the books. We’ve recorded a podcast (Brandon’s uploading it as I type) and I’m ready to fall over, but first, here’s a very brief summary of my day one.

I led off the day with Focus Home. I was excited to see the Game of Thrones game. Imagine my disappointment when we were told we could see the trailer on the nearby TV screen while we waited for a slot to open up to get a demo on the next Sherlock Holmes game. I missed out on Colonial Marines for this, for the love of Pete. Sherlock looked interesting, though. This puzzle/adventure game, has a much bigger budget than previous PC-only releases thanks in part to the fact that it’s also being developed for the consoles. The big deal about this game, called The Testament of Sherlock Holmes (or something that effect) is that Holmes supposedly bites the dust about half way into the game, leaving it up to Watson to carry the torch. Spoiler, spoiler, I know, but Frogware’s CEO himself was adamant they wanted that info out there, so there you go. On to EA…

Mass Effect 3 E3 Trailer – Save us, Shepherd!

So here’s the new Mass Effect 3 trailer and it’s every bit your prototypical E3 trailer – Sh** blows up. Done. It’s also quite pretty. We (Bill and I) get the EA booth tour in a few hours and I’m looking forward to seeing more than, well, this. Also, and keep in mind I love me some Mass Effect, at some level is the degree to which, “Only Shepherd can save us,” getting beyond ridiculous? I mean he’s a guy who pretty much just runs around and shoots stuff with a few fancy speeches thrown in for good measure. You’d think his ability to impact galaxy-altering events would be marginally replaceable. But no. It’s gotta be Shepherd or we should just pack it all in and go home. Ah well. As long as the dialog is snappy and the ‘splosions are big, I’m sure I’ll be happy.

The Witcher 2 – Spoiled

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This is something I intended to do for Dragon Age 2 and never got around to, so I’m giving it a go with Witcher 2: A dedicated post in which I talk detailed spoilers for a particular game. I left all spoiler content after the break, so there’s no chance of you wandering in unaware. In future iterations I’ll probably just look at particular key points from a game, but I think the nature of The Witcher 2 demands something a bit different.

As anyone familiar with the game already knows, it’s highly variable, so the plan here is just to talk about what I got out of my experience from beginning to end, relate what little I know of alternate paths, and let you all talk about how what you saw was different from what I experienced. This is gonna be loooong, but hopefully, for at least a few of you it should be fun… knock on wood. That said, if you’ve finished the game once and another playthrough is in your future and you don’t want to know about the paths not taken, this is not safe ground either.

So, with all that established, let’s spoil some shit…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #72

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Image: Filomena Scalise /

As you read this, if you’re loyal and come here daily (if not, who needs ya, punk!), I’m either flying over your head en route to E3 in LA (wave at every plane you see, just in case; even you east coasters) or I’m already there… Or the plane crashed and the country world is in mourning. (If I say it, it won’t happen.) With E3 in our every waking thought, prep for the show is our topic in Jumping the Shark 72. Before that, though, Brandon brings us an epic rant on D&D Daggerdale, a game that he’d of given a Q if he could. Danielle triumphantly returns to sing the praises of Mortal Kombat. With the embargo mercifully listed, Bill gets into Red Faction: Armageddon, and I talk about the wonderful world of PC gaming on my new Sandy Bridge-based PC.

Enjoy your E3 week everyone!

PS – Put it in the official record. I’m the one guy who has total faith in the new X-COM project.

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(Embedded feed included after the break.)

Windows 8 and the Future of Windows Gaming

This is your Windows 8 user interface (UI). Not just tablet UI, the Windows 8 UI. It’s fascinating and terrifying. First, yes, this is very much derived from the Windows Phone 7 interface. I’ve played around with that some in conjunction with a book I’m developing at my day job and although it’s not immediately a looker, there’s an elegance to it I’ve grown to appreciate. As a way to work and navigate in a touch-based interface, I like it way more than I do iOS. This is the next step, but I’m way skeptical as to how well it’ll work with mouse and keyboard and with the existing ecosystem (a point I get to after the break).

Another potentially big news item, although one I’m very skeptical of, is the rumor that Xbox 360 games will be playable in Windows 8. That notion is at once stunning and still believable, especially considering the amount of rumbling I’m reading about Xbox becoming a broader brand, intended to encompass all of Microsoft’s digital media efforts. Right now, however, the best source I’ve seen for this info is, so like, measure your expectations and stuff. This could be nothing but noise and I’ll not dig into it further until someone has a credible source.

Back to the “not a rumor” stuff about Win8…

Full Playstation Network Service to Return This Week

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The US Playstation blog posted a press release announcing that full Playstation Network service will be restored by week’s end in the US, Europe and Asia (excluding Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea). Items making their (hopefully) triumphant return include the Playstation Store, in-game commerce, and voucher/code redemptions.

On a related note, over the weekend I received my official invite into Debix’s AllClear ID Plus identity theft protection program. Registration was a simple matter of submitting my email address and receiving an email back with a code I could then use to register for a free AllClear ID Plus account. Those of you who are PS3 owners have hopefully received your invitations as well. This is well worth taking the time to do and of far more value to you than a couple of free games.

Jumping the Shark Podcast #71

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Image: Filomena Scalise /

For the Memorial Day edition of Jumping the Shark, your trusty team is ready to unveil… a fairly typical episode, although we were sans Danielle this week thanks to some work function. Like meeting Glen Greenwald is more important than chatting it up with us. Sheesh! This week we spend a good chunk of time talking more in depth about Witcher 2 (shocking!), Brandon expresses his disappointment with D&D Daggerdale, and Bill tells us everything he can about Red Faction: Armageddon that’s not embargoed. The verbal gymnastics of that maneuver are impressive to say the least. Along the way argue about the effect the exploding mobile gaming market has had on 3DS development and, for our main topic segment, we dish up a course of transmedia hatred… well, Bill’s angry about it anyway. Enjoy, and a happy Memorial Day to you all!

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Past Episodes
Embedded feed included after the break…

Witcher 2 Wrap-up and Hardware Specs

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What a week it’s been:

Tuesday – Finish Witcher 2. (Anyone have one week in the NHS pool?) Order new PC parts for replay. (Timing not a coincidence.)
Wednesday – Write Witcher 2 review for the mothership. (A-, btw.)
Thursday – Receive new PC parts. Do podcast. Install new PC parts. Lose ability to boot system. (I’ve been building my own systems since my 486 and there’s always something.)
Friday – OS reinstall (on new SSD drive! Woot!). Start Witcher 2 over, now using tweaked Ultra detail settings. Faint.

So, yeah, that’s why there’s been no initial Witcher 2 wrap-up post. I’m on the job today, though, so let’s discuss…

BioWare Talks Dragon Age II Criticisms

I always enjoy talking to (or in this case reading) a developer after a game has been released to get a feel for what they truly thought of a project. A post release interview can sometimes, and I’d argue usually will, reveal far more than when you do an interview with a developer on a press tour.

When the hype is over, what’s left? Most of the time — a little honesty.

In this case we aren’t talking interview but rather a forum post by BioWare’s Mike Laidlaw. It’s a very interesting read. Here’s a snip:

I am absolutely aware of the concerns voiced here. Issues like level re-use, the implementation of wave combat, concerns about the narrative and significance of choice and so on have all been not only noted, but examined, inspected and even aided me (and many, many others on the team) in formulating future plans. Further, I’m not only aware of the concerns, but I agree that there are aspects of DA II that not only can but must be improved in future installments. And that is precisely our intent.

Read the whole thing here.

Thanks KyleS!

Sony Makes Good on US Identity Theft Protection Promise

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As part of their mea culpa for the PSN attacks, Sony promised that PSN users would get a complimentary year of identity theft protection via the AllClear ID Plus system. Those of you that were worried about the safety of your identity can worry no longer as you can now sign up for the service, provided you can remember the email address associated with your PSN or Qriocity ID. Truthfully, this is the thing I’ve been waiting for the most out of this whole debacle. Sony can keep their games. I’d rather have a little piece of mind.