Jumping the Shark Podcasts #197 and #198

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Believe it or not, we’ve been recording podcasts. Not that you’d of read about them here, of course. That’s on me. I checked-out over the holidays. It was rather nice, true, but it’d also be cool if you folks who don’t use services like iTunes knew it when we’ve actually, you know, done stuff. So here’s the official JTS catch-up post, covering our two year-ending shows.

Episode #197 (not embedded; just follow the link instead)

It’s our last episode of the year, so Brandon and Todd do it right with Ye Olde Traditional Game of the Year Shenanigans. Hear all about our picks for best and most disappointing titles for the year in gaming that was 2013. On the list in one capacity or another, Gone Home, Fuse, NFS: Most Wanted, God of War: Ascension, Papers Please, Mark of the Ninja, Tomb Raider, Bioshock, Beyond Two Souls, FTL, Fire Emblem: Awakening, GTA V, and XCOM: Enemy Within. You’ll have to tune in, though, to find out what we slotted where.

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Episode #198 (embedded below)

Brandon and Todd are here (even if Brandon’s voice isn’t) to talk about their most anticipated games of 2014 as well as Todd’s problems with the Xbox One and NBA2K14 and Brandon’s problems with The Walking Dead Season 2. Yay! Hope and complaints!

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Cracked LCD- Barnes’ Best 2013: The Triple Crown

 

barnesbest

I’m doing my Barnes’ Best Game of the Year commendation a little differently this year. I’ve been rolling over my short list time and time again over the past couple of weeks and trying to come up with a GOTY nominee that I can feel completely comfortable with selecting over other candidates. This year, there was a higher-than-usual number of not just really good but great games release, despite the influx of mediocre Kickstarter titles.  Games that I think are going to be around for years to come. Games that I thought “there’s nothing coming out this year that is going to beat this” when I played them.  In all, I think it’s been a great year for high quality, impactful, and innovative designs.

So this year, it’s a Triple Crown. Continue Reading…

Cracked LCD- Too Much Ogre

ogre plus sj

Last week I took delivery on a copy of the Ogre Designer’s Edition, the 28 pound monstrosity that Steve Jackson crowdfunded through Kickstarter to the tune of almost a million bucks. No, don’t be silly. Of course I didn’t back it. I bought a copy through a retailer for a cool $65. I’ll take a savings of $35 over a couple of extra counter sheets, not to mention retaining my anti-Kickstarter party line regardless of the fact that this was one of the better justified and better run campaigns that I’ve seen. Ogre is one of the all-time great games, one of the seminal titles in the hobby spectrum, and after being out of print for years I should be thrilled to pieces to have this massive, supposedly “ultimate” edition of the game.

But I’m not. Continue Reading…

Brakketology Sees Betas and Alphas; Exclaims, “Oh My!”

Pillars of Eternity

It’s holiday time here in at NHS, which makes the site pretty much indistinguishable from any other time of year, except that behind the scenes I’m spending money on other people. I do not enjoy this. I like my money. I’d like to have more of it. And then spend it on myself. Alas, that Xbox One my dad is getting the kiddos won’t play itself and that means some games for the kids and a second controller and maybe something for myself along the way. It all works out in the end.

Anyway.

This week’s round-up is decidedly half-assed. Below the fold you’ll find links and videos for Pillars of Eternity, Wasteland 2, and Elite: Dangerous; three games that all look incredibly good. I don’t remember the last time I was well and truly excited for the next year of games. It’s been a long time, but I am wildly excited for 2014. Steam boxes. Dragon Age: Inquisition. Banner Saga. FTL for iPad. About a half-dozen other projects I’m forgetting about. Oooh. Witcher 3, too! I’m definitely into getting my Witcher on. I like this feeling.

In the meantime, I would imagine the site is going to go very quiet for a couple of weeks. I don’t know what, if anything, Matt and Michael have planned, but I’m taking at least the next week off and possibly the next two. Brandon was out for the year a couple weeks ago, claiming nothing new was coming. I call him a shirker. We will have a podcast up next Monday. In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy holiday season and hope you all get a little new gaming goodness under the Christmas tree!

Hugs!

Continue Reading…

Cracked LCD- Level 7 [Omega Protocol] in Review

omega 

Level  7 [Omega Protocol], a new dungeon crawler from Privateer Press, is proof positive that a game doesn’t have to necessarily innovate or reinvent its genre to be a best-in-class example of it. But that’s not to say that this title do any innovating or reinventing of its own.  There are a couple of really quite brilliant ideas that help to modernize a title that at its root really isn’t all that much different from some of the top names in the dungeon crawl/”Dudes in a Hall” genre.

Continue Reading…

Brakketology Plays Waterdeep, Muses About Theme

Lords of Waterdeep Cover

I’ve bee playing a bit of Playdek’s Lords of Waterdeep on iOS ($7). This wholly competent boardgame adaptation should be right up my alley. It’s D&D-themed, which I like. It’s a worker-placement game, which tends to be the sort of thing I appreciate and excel at. And yet it’s ultimately rather hollow. Not bad, mind you, the core game mechanics are very good and faithfully translated. Playdek, from whom I received a free code to download this game (full-disclosure and all), could not have done a better job of translating this for iOS. The problem is that the D&D aspects of it don’t add anything to the game. At all. And yet, as an iOS port of a game that doesn’t have many Apps Store counterparts, I can’t help but recommend it for fans of worker-placement games. It’s good enough to be worth your time.

More on Waterdeep, as well as thoughts on the PAR closure and some new Elder Scrolls Online trailers, after the break…

Continue Reading…

Jumping the Shark Podcast Episode #196

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Alright, so we may have missed a couple of weeks this time. That’s no reason not to be excited about a fresh 15 minutes of Brandon and I debating the merits of the movie Pitch Perfect and its inherently awesome, in no way pandering, use of Don’t Your Forget About Me. Also, don’t forget about us either, because we, like, also spend an hour talking about games and stuff too.

First up, I tie a bow around my XCOM: Enemy Within experience. This just in: It’s Good. Then it’s off the city of Waterdeep so I can talk to the lords therein about why, despite a very polished iOS port, the D&D theme means almost nothing to actual game experience and how Firefly: The Board Game does theme and licensing so much better. Then it’s a short metro train ride down to PS4-ville where Brandon spends some time amongst the falling shadows of Killzone, the build it up and break it apart world of Knack, and the pretty colors of Contrast, all while taking along his trusty Resogun. (If puns were ever a good thing –they’re really not– that would’ve been the most fantabulous sentence anyone has ever written. Ever. But it’s not, so instead you are all entitled to say mean things about me on Twitter. It’s okay. I deserve it.)

Enjoy!

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Cracked LCD- Firefly: The Board Game in Review

FireflyBoardGame

If you’re looking at licensing a cult TV show to a board games manufacturer, I’ve got a hot tip for you. Gale Force Nine and the crack team of Aaron Dill, John Kovaleski, and Sean Sweigart should be at the top of your meeting schedule. This company (previously known primarily as a maker of miniatures gaming supplies) and these designers are two for two with last year’s Cracked LCD Game of the Year shortlister Spartacus: A Game of Blood and Treachery and this year’s outstanding board game based on the almost fanatically revered (and short-lived) Firefly TV series. Continue Reading…

Brakketology Plays The Walking Dead and Enemy Within

XCOM The Final Team

I had a plan. It included skipping Brakketology last week. It’s a holiday and there wasn’t much happening that I was interested in writing about. I mean sure, I did land an Xbox One on launch day, but that’s all considerably less exciting when it’s a gift for the kids that will go unopened until December 25th. (I am trusting you with this secret. Mum is the word.) I’m rather proud of myself, actually, for not so much as opening the box, which I was sorely tempted to do. Not part of the plan was our esteemed Mr. Abner landing the flu Sunday night, forcing us to cancel the podcast. We’re definitely sorry not to have an episode go up yesterday, but Brandon and I will get something recorded this week and up for next Monday.

And so it goes.

In the meantime things are happening…

Continue Reading…

Calendar Man – End of 2013 Edition

ChittyChitty

Black Friday is over, Cyber Monday is almost done, Regret Tuesday and Overextended Wednesday loom before us and with that, I’m calling this year in releases.

Wait! Gran Turismo 6 comes out this week. Ok, now I’m calling the year. Enjoy the rest of 2013 people, see you in January.

Continue Reading…

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