The Great Flappy Bird Flap of 2014 (A Memorial)

flappy bird

My son River (four) has this thing that he does where he will sneak into our bedroom in the morning and steal my iPhone. Usually he’ll play Lego Star Wars or one of the awesome Rayman runners I keep on it- he has good taste in games. Last week, I woke up and I heard him in his room laughing and his sister, Scarlett (two) was in there giggling as well. I had no idea what was going on. So I crept down the hall to spy on them and they were both watching the phone, River tapping it furiously. Then I heard a familiar punching sound and I knew what was up.

They were playing Flappy Bird.

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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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Now Playing: Lords of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep - a European style worker placement game made by an American company for a fantasy setting

At a pre-Christmas gathering, I ended up chatting to a friend about worker placement games, as you do. He’d enjoyed a lot of Puerto Rico and Agricola with his family but, it transpired, he’d never played Lords of Waterdeep, which I’d been playing loads of on the iPad.

So the next time I visited, I took it round, Skullport and all. We threw in both expansions and played a six-player game. It turned out to be quite a ride: I drew a lord card that got a bonus for each building owned and focused on that instead of quests. As a result I lagged way behind the leader for the whole game, was able to deflect attention away from myself when take-that opportunities came up and then got a truly massive end-game bonus that tied me for the win, only to lose the tiebreaker.

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Outlast Blows it Within 20 Minutes

outlast

Last night I knocked off an inch-think layer of dust from the PS4 to start playing Red Barrels’ Outlast, newly released for the can’t-say-no price of free for PS Plus members. As you may or may not know, I’m a huge fan of horror anything but my tastes run more to stuffy old Hammer horror films and smarty pants spook shows like Rosemary’s Baby than to gore, torture porn and graphic violence.  That means, more or less, I’m usually screwed when it comes to getting my horror show kicks through the video games medium. Continue Reading…

Cracked LCD- Another AEG Review Rodeo

aeg rodeo

I received another one of AEG’s care packages late last year (delivered to the wrong address, as usual) and I’ve finally gotten around to playing through their most recent review copy bounty. For some reason, I was shorted Cheaty Mages which sucks because I was really looking forward to it, but beggar-critics can’t be choosers.  So here are three capsule reviews of some recent AEG releases.

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Now Playing: Spec Ops – The Line

Spec Ops: The Line

Spec Ops: The Line has accrued a bizarre reputation as a third-person cover-based shooter that stands against violence. This is obviously and annoyingly oxymoronic, to have the game condemning the source of its own entertainment value. I’m not the first to say so.

But the contradictory nature of the narrative does offer a surprising level of motivation, pulling you deeper into the game to see what sort of knots the protagonists will tie themselves into next over the games’ central moral conundrum. The writing and acting are excellent, and the script does its very best to scale the impossible face of paradox. Continue Reading…

Cracked LCD- Eight Minute Empires: Legends in Review

8me

One of the things that I’ve come to value the most about modern board game design is minimalism. Mind you, I still hold a great deal of respect for the sometimes tremendously complex games upon which hobby gaming was built and I still enjoy more detailed, rules-heavy games. But when a game distills the practical essence of a process or even an entire genre down to its barest essentials, I believe what we’re looking at is a highly evolved example of progress in game design. As things get smaller, a lot of dead weight and relatively unimportant content tends to be sloughed off. When minimalist design is at its finest, we get a game like Intrige or Love Letter. Games with zero fat, focused on gameplay rather than elaboration. Continue Reading…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #200

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You do a 200th episode with some people and they just vanish, leaving you to tell the world about it. Some people. I know Todd usually does this but I think he’d been eaten by yetis in the frozen wastelands of…uh…wherever he lives. Middlesomeplace, USA?

Whatever.

Hey, we did a show! The 200th show to be exact. Bill was on! We talked a little about Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, some Gone Home, some state of gaming and of course TV Talk. Bill also talked about what he’s been doing now that he’s not playing games. He’s a busy dude.

In all seriousness, thanks so much for sticking with us throughout all of these shows. I’d like to say that we’ve gotten better as we’ve toiled in the mines of podcasting these four long years but I think we’ve just managed to put out shorter shows. Maybe year five will be our breakthrough.

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Now Playing: Mark of the Ninja

motn

I picked this up as part of a Humble Bundle that contained two games I wanted to play; FTL and Fez. I’d never even heard of Mark of the Ninja, yet it’s become the most-played title in the little selection I secured.

It’s a stealth game and I’m not generally a fan of stealth games. My experience of them is creeping through dark corridors in first or third person, waiting an apparent age for a guard to wander over to an area where I think he can’t see or hear me, followed by a cautious move forward revealing he can, in fact see me and then my untimely demise. Repeating this semi-random process ad nauseum does not a fun game make.

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