Todd's Foolery

Steam Wishes Civilization a Happy 20th Birthday

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Image: Idea go /

I’ve done a couple posts on Civ since we launched the new blog, so it’s a bit serendipitous that Steam’s got a big “20th Anniversary of the Civilization Franchise” sale rolling this weekend. Honorary knowledge drop ahead: Civ 1 debuted in 1991 when MicroProse released it for DOS-based PCs. In the couple of years that followed, they also released versions for the Amiga, Atari ST, Mac, SNES, and Windows 3.1. Those were the good old days, yes?

More after the jump…

Red Rings and Other Unnatural Disasters: My Life with an Xbox 360

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My 360 ate it this week. Or it may have. It’s not entirely clear at this point. It may just be the power brick. Regardless, it seems a good time to think back on my life as an owner of this temperamental, yet still essential, little box.

I bought my original Xbox 360 a few months after the initial launch. In other words, when every single 360 was a hardware failure waiting to happen. It took mere months for it to stop reading discs and I got my first taste of Microsoft’s support program, which handled my in-warranty claim relatively quickly and with an acceptable level of professionalism. That is to say, I didn’t end any phone conversation loathing them with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns, which is the inevitable result of any call I’ve ever placed to Comcast.

More of this tawdry tale after the jump…

Writing About Talking: Jumping the Shark #56

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Image: Filomena Scalise /

This is the first week of Jumping the Shark I’ve missed in a couple of months so, of course, they chose a topic near and dear to my heart: Romance in games. I guess with the show being released on Valentine’s Day, I can forgive such insolence. It’s harder to forgive the fact that with all the Bioware talk, Baldur’s Gate II was mentioned only in passing. Seriously, Bill, that’s all you’ve got?

If you want to talk about games that handle player “romance” in a way that doesn’t make you cringe, for my money, BG2 is the poster child. (Disclaimer: Given how long it’s been since I actually played the game, I may have the whole rose-colored glasses thing going on.) More after the jump…

Writing About Talking: Jumping the Shark #55

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Image: Filomena Scalise /

One of the functions I perform amongst our merry band of sorta-renown is to “produce” the Jumping the Shark podcast, which is basically a glorified title for the guy who edits the show and makes sure the gory technical details for recording it are taken care of. There is little glamor in this, but that’s cool because I bring my own.

One of the things I want to bring to the table here at No High Scores is a regular peek behind the scenes of each show that can serve not only to note when we’ve put up our weekly exercise in genius, but occasionally dig into some aspect of what went on behind the scenes. Call it a little extra flavor for those curious as to what goes into each production.

More after the break…

Giving Up On Civilization 5

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Take a quick look at Metacritic and you’d have to assume that Civilization 5 isn’t just a pretty good game – it’s a really good game. It’s got a 90 aggregate score after all, which on the MC scale is crazy good. It’s the same score as Cataclysm. Starcraft II is the only “current” game on the list that goes any higher, with a 93. So why did both Bill and I make it our most overrated game of the year over at Gameshark?

Because, in reality, it’s just not very good. More after the jump…