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On Boredom and Looking Ahead to 2013

This is the time of year when everybody and their brother coughs up a games they are looking forward to list. (Well,  it was when I wrote the initial draft of this post.) We didn’t have much of that here, but certainly it’s come up on Jumping the Shark. The thing is, for me and video games, there’s not much I’m looking ahead to. I mean I’m sure there will be stuff I play and stuff that, as the year proceeds, I’ll get excited about playing, but I’m as bored to tears these days with the Video Game Preview Circus as I am with the rest of the industry. It’s been a recurring theme this past year that there’s plenty enough going on in the present that precludes me from having any desire to spend time getting amped up about gaming projects that I may or may not see in the next 6 to 12 months.

“Dear, Gaming Industry,” as the cliché goes, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Except, well, it’s you…

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #156

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I’ve been negligent in posting this as I’ve been out of town more often than not since it went live back on December 24th, but if you missed it, Jumping the Shark #156 brings you a technology-repressed cameo from Bill, who promptly lost his Internet service 20 minutes in, followed by a special Brakke/Cackowski-Schnell half-hour of power. Our topic for this one was a look back at 2012, our most notable moments, favorite games, trends, etc. There’s no new show this week as we all took the time to be with family and whatnot, but we’ll be back on the podcasting wagon in time to post our next episode next Sunday night.

We hope you all had a great holiday season and here’s to 2013 hopefully not sucking!

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #155

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Jumping the Shark #155 brings back the Brakke and Cackowski-Schnell Hour of Power, while Bill coughs and wheezes his way back to health from whatever demon germ took hold of him. This week we devote ourselves to discussing some early impressions of the iOS implementation of Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition (hint: largely positive). Brandon takes a nap with some Sleeping Dogs and also transfers his Skylanders addiction to still another platform (iOS). And I offer some insights from my first Pathfinder play-session in over a year and why I very much dig the Monk character class, even if I ended up knocked unconscious in one of the first battles out of the gate.

All this and more in this week’s Jumping the Shark!

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #154

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The gang is all here for Jumping the Shark #154, which makes two episodes in a row with a full house. Don’t look now, but it could be a trend. This week Mr. Abner brings you more details on Tomorrow, including the launch of its already successful Kickstarter campaign. The group takes a stroll with The Walking Dead, what with Mr. Binky having completed the final chapter of TellTale’s incredible episodic adventure. Brandon also spends some time with the new Borderlands 2 DLC, Torgue’s Badass Crater of Badassitude. Seriously, that’s the title. I decide to put my time with Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition on hold in order to wait for the iOS version (unbeknownst to me, it would arrive the very next night), but in the meantime I’m very excited about my new Windows Phone 8 and forthcoming Pathfinder campaign (it’s a D&D like pen-and-paper RPG). Finally, our apologies for the quality of Bill’s audio this week. His mic has been spotty for awhile, we know, but a quick plug and unplug has always done the trick… until this week that is.  Be sure to send him some hate mail for it as encouragement to pick up a new headset for this week’s show! (No, really, you should absolutely do that. Be as vulgar as you want to be. He likes that!)

After the break, an Honest Trailer for Dark Knight Rises, just because it’s awesome…

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #153

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Having emerged from our respective turkey comas, the mad trio are all back together for Jumping the Shark #153. Bill gives us the lowdown on The New Science’s success at BGG Con, the latest developments in Tomorrow, and a few other cardboard bits and pieces that have been on his carving plate, including Spartacus, and the first deck-building game in a long while to grab his attention, Legendary. I spend a few hours with Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition (PC version) and find that, yep, it’s pretty much Baldur’s Gate, only it runs better on modern hardware. I’m also reminded just what it was like to play a so-called hardcore RPG in the 90s era of game design. Things really have changed and, it turns out, some of those changes were for the better. Finally, Brandon wraps up his time with Dishonored and finds a few more shiny spots behind the blemishes of Halo 4.

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #152

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Jumping the Shark #152 brings you our very special and heart-warming Thanksgiving Day extravaganza, in which we reference The Day the Turkey Died about sixty seconds from the end. We’re all heart at JTS. This week, while Bill was off traipsing around the floors of BGG Con, hawking his wares to the masses, Brandon and I got together to discuss our thoughts on the opening hours of Dishonored (which we’ve both begun playing), I conclude that my time with Fallen Enchantress is best put off for another day, and Brandon laments the fall of Cortana in Halo 4 (along with the rest of the game). I’ve also got some thoughts on Cloud Atlas thrown in there for good measure and you don’t want to miss that.

The show is taking the holiday week off this year so that we can enjoy time with family and friends, eating of the fowl and the potato, drinking of the wine, etc. etc. but we’ll be back with a new show to be posted on December 2nd. From our No High Scores family to yours, we wish you a fun and safe Thanksgiving! (You non-USA people can go about your business as usual.)

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Jumping the Shark #151

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So, it’s like Wednesday and stuff, eh? Not sure when that happened, but despite the lack of a timely post here, Jumping the Shark #151 did, in fact, post on schedule. This week’s show features talk of Elemental: Fallen Enchantress, thought on the Wii U and its rather interesting press embargo restrictions, and a whole lot of dish on Skylanders Giants. We also get a long overdue update on Commissioner Bill’s youth basketball foibles. You flat out could not pay me enough to do that job.

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Jumping the Shark #150

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Another week, another milestone for your friendly neighborhood podcasting crew as Jumping the Shark reaches its 150th episode! We mark the occasion by getting together and recording our thoughts on random stuff tangentially related to gaming. Why break with precedent? To that end, Bill breaks out his most favoritist cardboard playthings and talks in depth about what makes Mice and Mystics such good old fashioned family fun, I play around with Windows 8 and come to the startling revelation that it’s all much ado about nothing, and Brandon takes a walk on the Darkside with the new Darksiders II DLC: Abyssal Forge. Also, more television commentary than you can shake a stick at. Thanks as always to all of you for devoting approximately 225 hours of your life listening to us prattle on about electronic toys  art!

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #149

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I am a terrible person, this cannot be denied. And it’s because I’m terrible that I flat out forgot to post yesterday about our 149th episode. I blame Windows 8 and the fact that what free time I had was devoted to installing it (along with the prep work that required). I’m hoping, in the days ahead, to write up some thoughts about Microsoft’s latest, but in the meantime you’ll have the full gang back together for JTS149, which features Bill’s thoughts on Dishonored, Brandon’s dive into The Walking Dead Episode #4, and my “final” thoughts on XCOM. (I’m sure it’ll come up again.) Bill also gives us an update into his activities with Conquistador Games, so boardgame fans shouldn’t miss that. Tomorrow, the project they have in the hopper, sounds promising!

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XCOM SchnellShot

XCOM: Enemy Unknown in Review

I finished XCOM: Enemy Unknown Tuesday night, so that means it’s time for a proper review. (I officially give up on the hyphen. From now on we’ll just pretend it’s there.) Before I get into that, however, a few words about the two recently announced pieces of DLC: Slingshot and Elite Soldier Pack. This is the 2k I know and loath. First, the Elite Soldier Pack is basically armor colors and a few more heads (three helmeted ones and a new hairdo). It’s content (particularly the armor tinting) that should have been part of the main game by default. Asking people to pay $5 for this is shameful. It’s the same nickel and dime for the least amount possible that we got from a lot of the Civ 5 DLC. The Slingshot DLC adds a new playable “hero” to the squad and some scripted missions. It’s not fair to judge sight unseen, but I am not enamored with the idea. I think it fundamentally misunderstands what makes this game good. It’s arguable that the weakest parts of XCOM are the parts where it’s scripted, which is thankfully uncommon, so trying to make people excited about three new council missions that have their own story arc isn’t the world’s greatest sell. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong about that.

On with the review…

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