In Jumping the Shark #103 the gang, sans a Bill but plus a Tom, talks our favorite games of the year. Prior to that Tom and I get knee deep into The Old Republic, Brandon and Danielle discuss their love-hate relationship with Skyward Sword, and there’s plenty more. This one was a quick and sloppy edit, what with it being Christmas weekend. Speaking of which, I hope you all had a safe and wonderful Christmas. I hope to be back on later in the week with some more thoughts on the Jedi-Sith relationships in Old Republic. First, though, I need to actually get back to playing it!
Episode #102 of Jumping the Shark is up and features a visit from the Senior Producer of the upcoming MMO RTS End of Nations, Chris Lena. I missed out, celebrating my daughter’s birthday, but the rest of the gang is on the case, digging up everything they can on the latest project from Petroglyph. After that Brandon talks about Driver and Infinity Blade and why Space Marine didn’t meet his expectations. Danielle finds Skyward Sword awkward to swing, but does fall in love with Mario 3D Land, and Bill sweeps down into Arkham City to mete out some vigilante justice.
The the post 100 era of Jumping the Shark begins this week with episode 101 in which Bill, Brandon and I do pretty much the same sorts of stuff we’ve been doing for nearly 2 years. (I originally typed “200 years” there and isn’t that troubling?) Bill epilogues Dark Souls and begins his adventures in Saints Row 3, I finally pin down my biggest grievance with Skyrim’s gameplay and why it doesn’t appeal to me the way it probably should, and Brandon ventures back to the streets of Arkham City, while also taking a look the Infamous 2 DLC: Festival of Blood. After that it’s our most disappointing gaming moments of the year, in which we talk about burying sports games, the letdown of Dragon Age 2, and Brandon’s long list of games that were naughty to him this year.
The big moment has arrived! The one you’ve been waiting for! Nearly two years in the making! Todd gets a haircut! Exclamation points!!!! Wait. No. That’s not right. Oh, yes. Here it is: Jumping the Shark Episode 100! For this extra special occasion we do… pretty much what we do every week, only this week with an extra dose of navel-gazing and with the addition of our most favoritist special guests – Troy Goodfellow and Tom Chick. Our topic this week gets personal as we talk about how our lives have changed in the nearly two years since we recorded our very first episode. Prior to that we talk what we’ve been playing. Bill wraps up his 128 hour epic run through Dark Souls. Tom talks city-builder Anno 2070 and Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. Troy gives the lowdown on his time with Crusader Kings 2, Memoir ’44 Online, and multiplayer Blood Bowl. I go nuts with Spelltower and Skyrim. Brandon sings Kumbaya with the cast of NCIS. And Danielle plays more Goldeneye and tells us why her next game-making effort is not Bowling 2.0.
On a serious note, our sincere thanks to all of you listeners who have been a part of making these 100 episodes possible. We really do appreciate that you take time out of your week, every week, to listen to us ramble on about stuff we’d otherwise just be saying to ourselves over IM. You make the effort worth the time we put into recording every single week and we hope you’ll be around for the next 100, or however many we manage to get through before Bill’s hand takes on a life of its own, stabbing me with a spork and forcing Danielle and Brandon into hiding. This one’s for all of you!
It’s a quick and dirtless episode for Jumping the Shark #99. My work week from hell (all three days of it) precluded me from joining, but that can’t stop the rest of the crew from talking about moments in gaming they’re most thankful for from the past year. On the way, Bill delivers his penultimate chapter on the road to completing Dark Souls, Danielle dives into a board game so rare Bill has never heard of it, called Name of the Rose, and Brandon demonstrates why he’s the ultimate Batman. Join us for this last step before our big episode 100 extravaganza (in which we’ll largely do the same stuff we’ve been doing all along)!
The whole crew is back together for Jumping the Shark #98. This week Bill gives us his latest installment of Dark Souls torment, I take my first wintery steps into the world of Skyrim, Brandon goes on and on about Batman’s ball-stomping abilities (don’t ask), and Danielle makes her very own HTML 5 bowling game complete with unique ball physics and actual PBA players and season play. (I may be exaggerating.) Our topic this week is games we hated that everyone else loved (and vice-versa), as inspired by Brandon’s rather surprising dislike for Uncharted 3.
On a personal note, this could very well be my only post this week. Between a bunch of work in my inbox that I didn’t expect and holiday travel, there’s not much time for writing. So, if this is where we part for a few days I wish you all a very happy and safe Thanksgiving. Go Lions!
It’s just Brandon, Danielle, and me for Jumping the Shark 97, as The Hand was unavoidably detained by a sudden case of mono. (Not really.) This week I talk about my travails with Demon’s Souls, Danielle continues her sojourn into Kirby’s Return to Dreamland, and Brandon doesn’t really talk about much, unless, of course, you count a heaping mass of details about Saint’s Row 3. Yep, Binky is on the case and he’s loving it every minute of it, so don’t miss that!
For our topic this week we discuss gamer stereotypes, specifically how gamers stereotype each other, a subject that came up while I was watching Twitter reaction to Call of Duty release day. This is pretty much as close as this cast gets to talking Call of Duty.
So, here’s one tangent that occurred to me about this topic while I was editing that I wish we had thought to address directly: Dividing harmless stereotypes from destructive ones. You’ll find in the show that I think the whole Call of Duty DudeBro stereotype is largely both harmless and funny, mostly because it’s just so ridiculous. An audience the size of CoD’s can’t possibly be represented by a single group and even if it were, there’s too much humor in the DudeBro stereotype to not have some fun with it. At some point you have to be willing to laugh at yourself, for crying out loud.
This, however, lead into an unfortunate statement on my part in which I inferred that these things don’t matter because “it’s just games;” a premise that is ridiculous on its face and not really what I meant. After all, Danielle just held court last week with a fairly serious discussion of women in games and the stereotypes that come from that. This is a topic worthy of serious discussion as there is genuine harm that comes from some of the attitudes engendered towards women in this business, even if it is “just games.”
The question really becomes: In terms of gamer stereotyping, where is the line between what’s harmful and should be discussed and what should be dismissed as harmless and largely in good fun. When you figure out the answer to that question, be sure to let us know. I’m going to head over to NeoGaf now and make fun of nerds in thick, taped glasses who think Skyrim is good. (Actually, it probably is. I’ve hardly had any time with it as yet.)
In Jumping the Shark episode 96, Tom Chick joins Bill, Danielle, and Brandon to talk about bias in game reviews. Do you expect your reviewers to judge games without brining in any pre-formed opinions or ideas whatsoever? I really hope not, because that’s stupid, but if you do, you’ll find plenty here to yell at the gang over. I, sadly, missed this week’s show to have a couple drinks with an old college friend who was in town for the night. Don’t get me wrong, I love you people like family, but sometimes one has to have priorities. Anyway, prior to digging into the topic, Tom talks about his experiences with Battlefield 3, Bill continues his obsession with Dark Souls (to the tune of like 30 minutes of discussion), Brandon spends some quality time with Uncharted 3 and House of the Dead: Overkill – Extended Cut, and Danielle talks a bit about Kirby’s Return to Dreamland and drops some love on the HTML5 love-in that is the New Games Convention. Enjoy the show as the countdown to 100 episodes continues!
Note: We had some troubles with the iTunes link this morning, but it looks like it’s working now.
A bad hand may have sidelined The Straw here at No High Scores, but Bill can still strap on a headset, returning from the wonders of Kelly’s Island in time to join us for Jumping the Shark #95 and regale us with stories from the land of Dark Souls. After that, I discuss the frustration of Gaming Lull ’11, Danielle pushes the limit with Michael Phelps, and Brandon brings to a close his time with both Arkham City and Professor Layton and the Last Spector. Our topic du jour is about reviews and dissenting opinions. Why do people fly off the handle when their favorite game gets something less than a perfect score; as was the case with Eurogamer’s well-written and generally favorable review of Uncharted 3.
Bill was off damaging his spine at Kelly’s Island this week, but Jumping the Shark presses on with our 94th episode. This week Danielle talks about her voyage out west where she learned to ride horses and tame the wild frontier. Brandon sinks into the depths of Arkham City and emerges a kinder, gentler soul with feelings of goodwill toward all mankind (or not). And me? I reiterate my admiration for the basketball IQ of NBA 2k12 while showing utter disgust at its poor trade AI in the My Player and Association modes. After that we talk emergent gameplay with Danielle’s main squeeze, the illustrious Teresa Tuan.