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Jumping the Shark Podcast #205

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Brandon and I are back for Jumping the Shark #205. And there was much rejoicing. This week I go soul-reaping with the new Diablo 3 expansion. Brandon has a Second Son and he’s already Infamous, which I believe makes him so famous that he’s, like, more than famous. He’s in famous. Pretty awesome. (And points for you if you know the reference.) There’s also much talk of FTL: Advanced Edition, even more Bravely Default, and we part with a secret that will shake the very foundations of your reality. The Abner? Yeah, we made him up this whole time.

Minds, blown.

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FTL Tips and Strategies

Note: I originally published this article in September of 2012. I haven’t updated it for the Advanced Edition, but with Advanced Edition and the iOS port out today, I thought it worth a bump back up to the front page. Most of the advice herein remains accurate. I’ve only just begun to mess with the AE on iOS, but hopefully (maybe, maybe, maybe) I’ll have some new thoughts to post on it next week. Possibly. I think.  

I am, very likely, the last person on Earth who should be writing tips guides for gamers. Nonetheless, I’ve put in enough time and spectacularly destroyed enough starships (along with going 2 for 2 in victories on Easy) that I feel I can offer you, dear reader, the chance to learn from my mistakes. Without further adu, I present to you 15 tips for surviving to the final boss in FTL:

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Diablo 3 is Still The Same Old Waste of Time

Diablo 3 Reaper

In the past month the world of Diablo 3 has seen some tectonic shifts. The Auction House closed. Along with it, Blizzard implemented a massive patch, Loot 2.0, which has had enormous consequences for the (virtual) world economy. Oh yeah, and last week they released the new Reaper of Souls expansion that included a new class, a new act, and a new mode of play. If you’re a lapsed Diablo 3 player, like me, you might be inclined to jump back into the game and see what all the hub-bub is about. You’d be a fool to do so. You see, you’ve already got a fool right here at NHS willing to do that. The things I do so that you don’t have to.

After the break, no need to thank me…

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No, Facebook Hasn’t Ruined Occulus

Oculus-Rift-Press-Image

The much anticipated, much ballyhooed VR device, Oculus Rift, is now a part of the Facebook empire. I know this because as I sat down at dinner last night I felt a great disturbance, as if half the people I follow on Twitter had spontaneously combusted. It’s rather funny to me how much hugely successful companies are hated. It’s not that such hate isn’t ever deserved so much as how much it eclipses in people’s minds what initially made it popular in the first place.

Never did more people hate Microsoft than when everyone and their brother used Windows. I’m not sure Facebook could be anymore hated right now if it tried, this despite about a quadrillion people still actively using it, and by choice. I tend not to get too wrapped up in that hate and, really, you shouldn’t either, especially over the Oculus acquisition. Not because Facebook won’t do terrible terrible things to it, but because they haven’t yet. The yet is important. It’s entirely possible it goes the other way. So let’s just all breathe for a minute. 

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #204

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In episode #2014 of Jumping the Shark, trust issues abound as Brandon and I sink into the hope-free and forlorn streets of the latest from Telltale Games. The spoiler lamp is firmly lit as we talk about episode 2 of The Wolf Among Us and the second season’s second chapter of The Walking Dead. Why is The Wolf so angry? Is Clementine one of the best characters currently going? Which of these two fine games is doing the best job laying out it’s story? Why are there so many twos in this post? All this, along with the resolution to my Diablo 3 fiasco, is in store for you this week! (Again, the spoiler lamp is lit!)

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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is Manipulative and Perfect

 Brothers_HandUp

I played Brothers: A Tale of Two sons over a month ago. I sat down on a Saturday afternoon, looking for a break helping my kids cram a month’s worth of science project research into a single weekend. I had no clue what kind of experience I was in for. I thought it was just a cutesy game about two brothers, which you control simultaneously, where you spent a few hours overcoming obstacles, got a happy ending, and then forgot about the game forever.

About three hours later I sat, dumbfounded, as the credits rolled. I don’t know precisely how to frame what this game is, but I do know there is no other game of any kind or length that had me from the word go and wouldn’t release me until it was finished with me rather than I with it. Forgettable it is not.

The question becomes how to describe what makes it so unique and so special. The game, at its core, is horribly manipulative. It’s also heartfelt and full of wonder and sad and note perfect. I’ve put this post off for weeks on end because I simply do not know how to write about it. I don’t know how to do justice to what Starbreeze Studios has concocted.

After the break, I take my best shot in a deeper, rather spoilery dive…

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #203

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week on JtS, Brandon and I swap crime stories. Brandon takes to the world of Thief and comes away unimpressed with its nefarious arts. Meanwhile, upon logging into my Blizzard account, I find out why crime doesn’t pay, even though I haven’t touched it in a year or so. Along the way we spend time discussing Bravely Default and other 3DS JRPGs, reminiscing about Harold Ramis, and learning about why WiFi and Bluetooth hate each other. (Spoiler warning, Blizzard did grant me my Diablo 3 access back the day after we recorded.)

Enjoy!

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #202

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Brandon and I hopped online last week, talked about industry events, and now it’s live on Teh Internets as JtS #202. First, blame me for the audio problems during the first half of the show. Some technical issues on my end meant having to use my home WiFi rather than a wired connection and my WiFi is, at the moment, jacked. Consequently, I wasn’t coming up clear on Brandon’s line and I messed up the recording on my end, so it starts out rough. Gets better by the half-way point, though, and I’ll get it all sorted before we do the next show. Sorry!

Right, anyway, this week we talk all about digital distribution in a time where ISPs are feeling more and more freedom to throttle, engage in data caps, etc. This leads to a thorough look at the Irrational Studios closure/status quo change and how, er… irrational some of the response has been to it. Enjoy!

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Brakketology Goes Pimping for Darkest Dungeon

DarkestDungeon_Feast

There are a lot of games in the pipe that I’m excited for. Like really excited for. Like, man, you guys just don’t even know. Pillars of Eternity? Wasteland 2? The Witcher 3? Dragon Age 3? The iOS edition of FTL? I’m pretty much agog for these titles. So when I tell you that, with the possible exception of Witcher 3, there is no game I’m more looking forward to seeing than Darkest Dungeon, take me seriously. Well, maybe not seriously, but perhaps with an extra grain of salt. We don’t want to go overboard here.

The point is, it’s Kickstarter has launched and I don’t just want to see this tactical dungeon crawler meets psychological horror mash-up meet it’s goal of 75k. I want it to leave that goal so far in the rear view mirror that… well that it can’t be seen anymore, I guess. (Well, that line fell apart fast. Ah well.) So, watch the trailer below, check out the plethora of details on the Kickstarter page, and if you are so moved, help this project get made. Sure, it could end up imploding into so much vaporware, but I’ve got a Good Feeling about this one and I’m almost never wrong. Except when I am. But I’m not this time. Mark it down – this is going to be great.

After the break, a link dump…

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #201

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kicking off the road to 300 has to start somewhere, and in this case it starts with our 201st episode of Jumping the Shark. How about that?

This week Brandon dons his white cloak and hood for some sea-shanty-sing’n goodness in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. We’ve also started playing football the solitaire way with Bill Harris’ Gridiron Solitaire. You know a football game is doing its job when perfectly legit results end in my screaming at the monitor,  just like when I watch the Lions. Finally, the meat of our show is an in-depth and spoiler-ridden dissection of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. There are not enough words in the English language to tell the full story of what makes this such an amazing game, but we do our best. 

Come. Join us for another hundred episodes!

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