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Brakketology Is Out of Its Element

Big Lebowski Reunion

This is from my buddy’s annual best of its breed Halloween party last weekend. Call it an unofficial and wholly fictional Big Lebowski reunion tour. On one hand, being asked to be Donny is both A) uninspiring – I mean how do you replicate Steve Buscemi’s look in that movie? Guy wears bowling shirts and Dockers. Done. And B) debilitating to one’s soul, because you know you’ll spend the entire evening being told, “Shut the fuck up, Donny.”

On the other hand, this collection is incomplete without Donny and these dear friends of mine did an unbelievable job replicating Jesus, Walter, and The Dude. Walter in particular is just an eerie likeness. Also, given A and B, there may be no one else in the world, and certainly not in my social circle, better-suited to manning the role. That may be a dubious distinction, but if you’ve got it, own it, right? Plus, as a collection this is completely awesome.

On to business. In this week’s Brakketology rock lives, Mythic’s free-to-play designers ruin beloved franchises, Enemy Within gets some hands-on time, there’s more Xbox One/PS4 comparing and contrasting, and Star Citizen is the game that refuses to take “no” for an answer.

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Brakketology Thinks Horizontally

Grimrock 2 Skill Tree

This week’s Brakketology (admit it, like a sufferer of Stockholm Syndrome, you’re starting to like the name) checks in on the Grimrock 2 team and comes out forever changed. Sorta. Also Stardock teases, the Arkham games get a much-needed Steam update, 2k wants you to give them a fiver, Sega just won’t quit Aliens, and Sid Meier learns an important lesson about why the free-to-play model is teh suxorz.

Grimrock 2 Gets It. One of my big bug-a-boos in RPGs is the degree to which the entire genre has marginalized leveling up characters. There was a time, and this is going way back, when gaining a level in an RPG was exciting. More hit points! A new skill! Maybe even an attribute bump! These are all things you still get, of course, but somewhere along the way the excitement got lost. I attribute this to the fact that designers decided leveling was so awesome for gamers that they should be hearing the little ding every 23.589 seconds. A funny thing happens, though, when you make a special occurrence a routine one — it stops being exciting. I blame Diablo for starting the trend, but regardless, once you realize there’s little in the way of rewards that mean anything it becomes a long slow exercise in diminishing returns. Hey, look, another skill I’m not going to use! Alright! I now get a 23% bonus to fire damage instead of a 22%! Woo?

Enter the recent dev diary from the Legend of Grimrock 2 team:

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #193

We’re all in the house for this week’s JtS to talk about The Wolf Among Us. Does the first installment in TellTale’s latest choice-and-consequence adventure game measure up to expectations? Will it tickle you to hear Toad from Wind in the Willows curse a lot? How about Snow White working in (I think) the mayor’s office. And, hey, there’s always your protagonist, Bigby Wolf, doing his best Wolverine impersonation. It could work, right? Also this week, Brandon gets his Pokemon pants on and discovers they fit better than ever. And we talk some more Agents of Shield, Walking Dead, and a little Sons of Anarchy.

Enjoy!

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Brakketology Embraces the Terror

sadkitten02

First up, there’s no JtS this week. Here’s your obligatory kitten. Bill and I agreed that an hour of listening to him sniffle and hack up a lung, combined with us talking about all the games we’re not playing, was probably not the way to go. On the bright side, we’re  all picking up The Wolf Among Us and will be discussing it next week.

As for this week’s Brakketology, I have found a new game to drool in anticipation over, which we all know I rarely do anymore; Steam shows us what it’s upcoming SteamBox controller can do, and it’s rather impressive; there’s a new faction hanging around in XCOM: Enemy Within; and two new game trailers, one that shows you something that should be cool, but decidedly isn’t, and something that should be passe, but looks fantastic. Also, I finally saw Gravity (in 3D) this weekend and the critics are right; it’s, like, whoa.

Who is it that loves you? It’s me and you’ll sleep better at night knowing this.

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Brakketology Plays Catch Up

Spore

Brakketology is back this week. After a full week spent moving to a new home I only got my PC hooked up for the first time last night. Consequently, I’m way, way out of the loop, so I’m just throwing out there a few things that have caught me eye the last coulpe days. Before that, though, some things I’ve learned from the move: Moving with two kids is, to use Brandon’s words, exponentially more difficult that moving just an adult or two. Cleaning up after the prior residents left the place a federal disaster zone is a wee bit frustrating. Having Comcast television service is way worse than having just their Internet. The bill is cheaper, but holy cats is the UI bad on their boxes. We’re talking Gameshark.com levels of design awfulness. Do these people not have anyone working on this stuff? Also, when loading and unloading a Uhaul, do not, do not, do not, walking into the trailer hitch. Ow.

In items that may or may not be more relevant to you, Soren Johnson penned a cool retrospective on Spore, there’s some new Kickstarter projects worth checking out, and you Sony controller fans (both of you) will be able to use your maddening little gamepads on the PC. It’s all after the break. Woo!

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Jumping the Shark Episode #192

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week’s JtS brings a rare Cackowski-Schnell/Abner Hour of 50% Power. I still haven’t caught up from the big move so here’s the word from Brandon on what you’ll find herein:

Todd’s off moving into his palatial estate so it’s up to Bill and Brandon to talk about the finale of Breaking Bad and settle once and for all if it was the Best Show Ever.

Enjoy!

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JtS/Brakketology Taking the Week Off

 

Sad Kitten

Unfortunately, no new JtS this week, as we all had commitments that kept us from getting together to do the show. Brandon and Bill will be back with a show next week. My status will depend on the how the rest of the big move goes. Since those acursed boxes won’t pack themselves, Brakketology is also taking the week off… pray for me.

Brakketology Finds True Love

jawstextadventure

The Special Love of Human and Chordate. You may or may not have seen that Jaws: The Text Adventure has made some, er, waves this past week. It’s worth poking around a bit with your nose and then devouring whole. (You play Jaws. Hence the terrible puns.) I’ll tell you that the genius in this is not in following the path of the movie Jaws. I tried and finished at around 70% score (measured in how full you make your shark). The prize is in seeing what sorts of undocumented commands you can find. The documented commands pretty much consist of N, E, S, W (compass directions) and eat. Most everything else you have to discover for yourself. I think it’s safe to say there is no way for me to top this 0%. The command that produced this wholesome and in no way inappropriate result?  While swimming innocently up to the beach I encountered a bather and issued the command: Kiss Woman.

It’s gold, Jerry. Gold!

After the break I troll JJ Abrams for his trolling of Star Trek: The Video Game, Steam decides to further complicate life, and GTA V makes bank…

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Jumping the Shark Episode #191

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On this week’s episode of Jumping the Shark the gang is all in and we’re going card hunting. Is Card Hunter, this free-to-play old D&D-inspired card based game, as good as advertised or is it just another momentary diversion in a time where’s there’s a legion of other time-wasters out there. We’re all weighing in and we’re all on different parts of the fence over it. Who’s the guy who can’t stand the kitschy humor? Who is that doesn’t much care for the free versus pay model? And which one of us is it that can’t seem to get past the mini-dragon guys?

Also this week, Breaking Bad, 9th grade girls basketball shenanigans, and your very own home seller’s update. Don’t every accuse of us of not covering gamut.

Enjoy!

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Brakketology is Keeping it in the Family

chardhunter

This week Brakketology is celebrating the mere possibility that Steam is making its Libraries sharable with family members (and a bit beyond). As Kyle and Ana begin to clamor for more and more PC time, my need to have my Steam library accessible to more than just myself will become crucial. I’m just not quite sold on the fine print yet. Also making the rounds this week, Bioware is getting interesting again, EA is very proud of all the new IP they’re working on, even if they’re not too sure what the words “new IP” are supposed to mean, there’s a Kickstarter project that you should be looking at, and Blizzard just keeps on being Blizzard. But first…

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