Todd's Foolery

Writing About Talking: Jumping the Shark Podcast #59

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Image: Filomena Scalise /

In Jumping the Shark 59 we dig into the Dragon Age 2 demo (weee!), Bulletstorm, the Dead Money DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, Dawn of War II: Retribution, a Dreamcast Classics collection, and a few other things. (Believe it or not, there is still no resolution to the whole red ringed 360 issue. Good times!) We also tackled the topic (alliteration!) of difficulty in games. It’s a fairly wide-ranging discussion from what’s too easy to what’s too hard, to how games should navigate something so wholly subjective to the particular player. Mostly, I’m just mocked a lot…

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Five Things I’m Looking Forward to In Dragon Age 2

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Yes, I’m blatantly stealing a hallowed Tom Chick tradition by starting a post title with “5 things.” Please. Like he invented that. (I kid because I love.) The point is, after a couple of pretty critical posts of Dragon Age 2, and with its release right around the corner, I think it’s only fair to list a few things that I’m looking forward to about playing the game. Believe it or not, for all my bellyaching, those things do exist and I am looking forward to devoting every spare minute of the next week or two to playing it. With that said, away we go…

Dragon Age: Origins vs. Dragon Age 2: The Talky Bits

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I spotted this breakdown at 360 MMGN via a forum thread at Gamers With Jobs. Basically, it approximates and breaks down the amount of talky bits found in Dragon Age: Origins versus those same elements in Dragon Age 2, along with approximate total game length. Here’s the gist:

Dragon Age: Origins
• 1,000,000 Words
• 1,000 Cinematics
• 1,000 Characters
• 56,000 Spoken Lines
• 60 Hours of Gameplay

Dragon Age II
• 400,000 Words
• 2,500 Cinematics
• 500 Characters
• 38,000 Spoken Lines
• 40 Hours of Gameplay

Report Says PC Games Kicked Digital Ass in 2010

OK, that’s not exactly what it said, but I’m running with that lead and sticking with it.

The PC Gaming Alliance, a non-profit group of PC lovin’ people, has released a statement documenting research, numbers, some quotes and other stuff which basically says that PC games had a great 2010 and don’t expect things to change anytime soon. Now, I have no idea how much of that is World of Warcraft, but regardless of the Wow Monster, digital distribution has caused PC gaming to blossom over the past few years and these guys have the quotes to prove it.

In fact I have no earthly idea how they reached these numbers and I really don’t like it when non-profits (or profits) flat out tell you that they are “dedicated to driving the worldwide growth of PC gaming” release findings that back up their own cause.

That said…I’m a PC gamer myself and hope that these folks aren’t just making stuff up. It makes sense, really, as distribution outlets like Steam, Gamersgate and Impulse continue to do well. I have always said that as long as there are PCs there will be PC games and people willing to play them. I would like to know how these numbers are divided — how much is the MMO market, for example. I guess we’ll find out more after GDC. I’d like to read that.

You can read the press release after the jump.

Getting Into Space, The Richard Garriott Way

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Back when the world –well, a couple of thousand geeks– only knew him as Lord British, Richard Garriott published Ultima 1 and this screenie above was his best approximation of going into space. (Technically, that’s from the PC re-release, but let’s not quibble.) Granted, we’re dealing with primitive tech here, but I’d imagine his view of space has probably changed some since he’s now, you know, like gone there and stuff.

This is all preamble to point out our good friend, Ben Kuchera (anyone who’s been on Jumping the Shark qualifies as a good friend in my book), has written a remarkable feature on the man who would see us all have our chance to take a rocket to the moon or, at least, into orbit.

Writing About Talking: Jumping the Shark Podcast #58

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Image: Filomena Scalise /

Jumping the Shark 58, which features The Escapist’s Senior Editor, Susan Arendt (formerly of Gameshark “fame”), devotes its topic segment to a discussion of women in gaming media and whether or not the nature of some games and publisher media events make it more difficult for women to cover. I found this an interesting topic in that the number of pitfalls and ways for it to go miserably awry are numerous. As I expected, however, what we ended up with was, I think, a particularly strong episode in which we got some excellent debate going between Danielle and Susan with the rest of us managing not to trip all over ourselves trying to strike a balance between maintaining some sort of faux sensitive male facade versus acting like dismissive sophomoric pricks. That takes mad skillz, yo.

This episode also featured a fantastic debate between Danielle and Susan over the merits of Stacking, my continuing xbox 360 red ring foibles (the power brick replacement didn’t work), Dragon Quest VI, Mario Sports Mix (or something like that), De Blob, and Bill talking about stuff…

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Dragon Age 2 Demo Impressions: Flemeth the Dominatrix

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I did something today that I haven’t done in quite awhile: Download and play a game demo. For me, that’s unheard of. My game budget is small enough that I pretty much know if I want to play a game or not and if I know I’m going to play it, I don’t want to spend the time or effort to muck around with a demo. That said, I wanted to write some about the upcoming Dragon Age 2 release, and with the demo freshly on the intertubes, I thought maybe I should break my rule and check it out. I really don’t know what to think about it. On one hand, there’s definitely some Dragon Age flavor to it that I liked. On the other, they’ve turned Flemeth into a dominatrix.

Think I’m kidding? Click through to find out…

Remembering Quest for Glory

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The gang here has been so good about posting about new stuff on the blog this week that I’ve decided I need to do something to screw it up for everyone by linking up something about a 22 year old series. Seriously, take a moment to appreciate that graphic up there. Beautiful.


So, a blog called Ham’s Quest for Glory –guess what game he likes a lot– conducted an interview last month with Corey Cole, famous in very small circles for being the co-creator of the Quest for Glory games, Sierra’s series of adventure-RPG hybrids that first released in 1989. If you’re a fan of the games from way back there’s a few interesting tidbits in there, like how they offended a Wiccan who thought the character of Baba Yaga was offensive to witches. So insensitive.

Click through for more…

Two Worlds II: Giggling About Negative Reviews

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I’ve been slow to post this week in part because I’ve been knocking out my Two Worlds 2 review, which should go live in the next couple of days, assuming Bill doesn’t see fit to reject it on the grounds that I wrote some of it hungover. Don’t judge me. If you had to let that game suck 20+ hours of your life away (I’m almost glad my console ate it) you’d turn to beer, wine, and quite possibly some crystal meth.

So, no, I didn’t much care for it. It’s not all bad, to be sure. The sum of its parts are better than the whole, but man oh man; when faced with the not so good stuff I wanted to be doing anything else in the world other than playing that game. Take the giggling, for example. About every fourth or fifth time you kill something, your protagonist giggles. It’s not a laugh. Not a manly chuckle. It’s not even a chortle. It’s a giggle that, half the time, is followed up with, “That’s rich.”

No, nameless hero guy, it’s not rich. It’s annoying and if you don’t stop I’ll write bad things about you on a blog. (Finally, a threat I can back up.) Click through for more…

Writing About Talking: Jumping the Shark Podcast #57

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Image: Filomena Scalise /

This week’s installment of Jumping the Shark features a discussion about bad games we’re ashamed to admit we love. We all have them, amiright? You, in the back. Just admit you thought 25 to Life was, “like the most amazing thing ever, man.” We won’t point or laugh (even Danielle) and you’ll feel better.

We also made time, during the what we’re playings segment, to get into DC Universe Online, Stacking, Dead Space 2, and my lovely support issues with my red ringed console. Incidentally, I’m still waiting on that replacement power brick. God I hope that addresses the issue.

Click through for the player embed, download links, and more of me rambling about technical junk…