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Jumping the Shark Podcast Roundup #226-#228

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Time for another podcast round-up!

Episode #228:
This week Todd galavants across the galaxy in a Mass Effect 1 replay. That is, when he’s not unclogging his city’s streets in Cities: Skylines. Holly and Brandon discuss the unrelenting violence of Hotline Miami 2.

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Episode #227:
While Holly recuperates from moving, Brandon and Todd keep the torch alive with much discussion of GDC happenings – new Valve hardware, VR headsets, Rock Band 4, and Tim Schafer’s sock. Brandon goes pup-hunting in The Order: 1886 and Todd breaks out his best endzone dances for Frozen Cortex.

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Episode #226:
This week Todd takes on the economic realities of managing a Martian colony in Offworld Trading Company, Brandon relives the same three days over and over to glorious effect in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and Holly jumps on zombie faces in Dying Light.

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Thanks for listening! (You can contact Brandon at Brandon at NoHighScores.com/@misterbinky, Todd at Todd at NoHighScores.com/@ubrakto and Holly at @winnersusedrugs.)

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #225

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The gang isn’t messing around this week. We’ve got Holly’s delightful adventures in The Room and her distaste for Betrayer. Bradon’s straight up Gat Out of Hell, the latest entry in Saints Row. Todd’s hiding in a ball in a dimly lit corner of the Darkest Dungeon. Plus, the glorious return of Birthday Uke and a bigtime spoiler section at the very end for Dragon Age: Inquistion.

Thanks for listening! (You can contact Brandon at Brandon@NoHighScores.com/@misterbinky, Todd at Todd@NoHighScores.com/@ubrakto and Holly at @winnersusedrugs.)

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Why Dragon Age: Inquisition Fails

Dragon Age Inquisition Dragon Fight

Dragon Age: Inquisition is not a game that feels like a failure. It’s got a world’s worth of stunning environments to explore. Its characters are universally layered with compelling and cliché-defying personal story arcs. The combat can get tedious, sure, but it’s a soundly designed system with some bonkers dragon fights. And certainly it has sold. Yet the game still fails and it does so for the very same reason Mass Effect 3 failed — it doesn’t stick the landing.

Lest I give the impression that I’m picking nits over nonsensical cut scenes and weird star children, my problem with Mass 3′s ending was largely quite different from everybody else’s. I’m not talking about denouement. I’m talking about climax and how it relates to the rest of the game. Star child was incomprehensible, sure, but he’s not what made Mass 3′s climax bad. Likewise, the lackluster final confrontation with Corypheus isn’t what tanks Inquisition either.

The key to a memorable and satisfying ending isn’t the implication of what happens after the camera fades to black or even whatever tedious boss battle kicks it into gear. It’s the question of whether or not it fulfills the promise set up by the rest of the game. Like Mass Effect 3, Inquisition is a game that beats you over the head, telling you over and over that it’s about team and coalition building. You face a threat that requires uniting disparate factions and disparate people to face a common foe. You dare not face it alone or you’ll be too weak. So you spend a good 100+ hours working your way through the world and sending lackeys on assignments in the name of building a better, stronger Inquisition.

Cool. Cool cool. Shouldn’t it follow, however, that when you reach the final stage of events that the strength of your Inquisition should, oh I don’t know, matter? At least a little?

Let’s dive deeper (minor spoilers ahead)…

Continue Reading…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #224

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This week Holly brings us through her 100+ hour Far Cry 4 journey, Todd and Brandon continue to dissect Dragon Age: Inquisition, including why Todd thinks it ultimately failed. Brandon talks cheating in Gems of War of all places. Plus, football, football, football! And somebody, we don’t want to say who, has a girl scout cookie mishap.

Thanks for listening! (You can contact Brandon at Brandon@NoHighScores.com/@misterbinky, Todd at Todd@NoHighScores.com/@ubrakto and Holly at @winnersusedrugs.)

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Jumping the Shark Podcast Roundup: #220-223

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I’ve been negligent in re-posting JtS episodes here. (You’re all subscribers anyway, right? Right?!?!) It’s been nutty. So, with all due apologies, here’s a giant wrap-up post for the last four episodes of the show, with the most recent, 223, embedded at the end.

Episode 220:
This week Brandon goes full on hate for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and starts on the high scenes of the Northern Atlantic in Assassin’s Creed: Rogue, Todd takes Dragon Age 2 for another spin and Holly looks into the Vanishing of Ethan Carter.

Direct Download #220

Episode 221:
The gang took full advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to put in some serious lap time on some new and old games. Brandon rides the elephants in FarCry 4 and proclaims himself the Elephant King. Todd gets his Inquisition on in the the latest Dragon Age opus. And Holly hate plays a whole lot of Dead Rising 3 for PC. Along the way there’s also Turkey baking mastery, Shadow of Mordor wrap-up, and much indy dabbling.

Direct Download #221

Episode 222:
The last JTS of 2014 has Holly walking the Forest, Todd asking for Papers, Please and Brandon navigating the snowy peaks of Far Cry 4. How exciting!

Direct Download #222

Episode 223:
The first JTS of 2015 features a lot of looking back at 2014. Find out how Brandon, Todd, and Holly marked the passage of time with their most memorable gaming experiences of the year. Plus, much ballyhoo about Fry Scores, Holly’s much-awaited cookbook, which is a real live product now. The phrase “food porn” was invented for association with this stunning piece of work!

Direct Download #223

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #219

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This episode brings me, Brandon, and special guest Patrick Lindsey together to talk about every facet and angle of Civilization: Beyond Earth. When is a solid, competent game a disappointment? You’ll hear why here. This week we’ve also got Sherlock Holmes, Galaxy Trucker, Borderlands, PlaystationTV, first impressions of Dragon Age’s Keep and a bottle of ale that I won’t shut up about. It’s all here!

Enjoy!

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #218

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The latest in JtS trendiness is online for your listening enjoyment. In this episode, I talk a bunch of Alien: Isolation and why I can only play it in very short bursts, while Brandon and Holly get their Borderlands prequel mojo on. There were many, many words, names, places, and events with which I am unfamiliar, but I’m 73% sure they weren’t just making it up as they went. Well, more like 65%. I mean sure it sounded authentic, but you can never be completely certain when these two are involved. It could be code. And as a bonus for this episode, we get an epic Mr. Binky rant on how Destiny is the most flawed game he can’t stop playing.

Enjoy!

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Social Justice Warriors and The Grand Conspiracy

Tweet_SlowClap

 

The Gamasutra/Intel debacle cannot possibly be summed up better than in the pictured tweet. I’ve blacked out anything identifying because I’m specifically leaving individuals out of this post. This is not about any one person. If you need a broader primer, this article at The Verge is a good place to start. For actual, non-fantastical ethical concerns in games journalism, this is a pretty good start(Edit: And this, because GG is not about ethics.)

So, how’ve you been?

Let’s talk about social justice warriors and their grand conspiracy to… well, I’m not sure what. But it must be bad for so many people to get all riled up. All I can say for sure is that I’m with you! (I’m not.) These people, these SJWs, must be stopped! (Nope.) We must not have social justice in gaming. (Because why?) Because justice is bad. Inclusion is bad. Diversity is bad. It’s a grand media conspiracy to destroy gaming because gaming must never change. It must never be criticized. It must never evolve. It must never engage in self-examination. It must never grow or broaden, it must only double-down on what it’s been for the last ten years or so, because that is the only history that matters. More guns. More explosions. Bigger tits. These things must not become an endangered species just because a bunch of chicks who are barely gamers to begin with, and the dudes who want to score with them, think games can be more inclusive.

If you support the ideals that you believe the Gamer Gate movement represents then that paragraph is going to sound belittling and misrepresentative. And that’s okay. It was meant to be. I know, being a large-ish (maybe?) group of people, you’re not actually all of one mind about this, and what GG represents from one person to the next isn’t identical. I believe there are good people (probably) who support GG and what it represents to them; people who are genuinely fair-minded (probably); are not racist or misogynistic (probably); people who are not inherently hostile and believe with every fiber of their being that they are on the right side of the issue (probably). I believe these people exist because they have to. No movement of this relative scope can legitimately hinge on making sure vocal women can’t sleep soundly at night. I have more faith in people than that. For the life of me, though, if you’re one of these “reasonable” Gaters, I can’t begin to figure out what “issue” you think you’re on the right side of.

Seriously. I have questions…

Continue Reading…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #216 and #217

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As is my usual form, I didn’t get the post up for #216 so today I bring you links from both that and episode #217. Woo! Exciting!

In episode #216, Bill joins us to talk about The Walking Dead Season 2… right up until the time when his Internet connection decided to give up the ghost. Oh well, I guess a little Abner is better than none at all. Get it? Little Abner? (That’s Brandon’s joke, by the way. Don’t blame me.)

Episode #217 brings back Holly Green to talk a giant heaping plateful of Wasteland 2. Is this the game we were hoping for? How hard is it to get into? Where are the rough edges and trouble spots? It’s all here. After that, there’s The Long Dark, The Shadow of Mordor, and Skyrim: Dragonborn.

Enjoy!

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #215

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On JtS #15, Holly Green is back and she’s here to spin yarns of all things PAX. It’s a smorgasbord of quick hits on the latest iterations of Saints Row, Magicka, Costume Quest, and Dance Central. Find out what she thinks of the new Wander MMO and Not a Hero and why she owns so many versions of Deadly Premonition. And if that’s not enough, listen just to hear me brag about how awesome Venice is as a money-making enterprise in Civilization 5 only to find out I was wildly overestimating my success. Good times. To wrap up, Brandon has Shadowrun: Dragonfall DLC and Star Realms truth bombs to drop.

Enjoy!

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