Jumping the Shark Podcast #183

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s an Hour of Power kind of week on JtS #183. Brandon runs with the shadows for a bit (i.e – he bought Shadowrun Returns; come on, people!) and decides that he’d love it if he could just save the game in new and exciting places instead of just where Harebrained thinks he should. I concur. I break out my inner jock, putting myself into NBA 2k13′s MyCareer, and deciding that it’s really quite stupid and yet I can’t look away, or turn it off. There’s also some Just Cause 2 love from Brandon and I tell you why Newsroom’s second episode of its second season was amazingly good — even for people that didn’t like the first season, or Studio 60, or most other Sorkiny kinds of shows. Go ahead and call me wrong. I don’t mind breaking out the Ban Hammer.

Enjoy!

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Calendar Man – Week of 7/29

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Not a bad week if you’re into indie PC games, or remakes of 90′s first person shooters. If you’re into big name console releases, well, better luck next week, or maybe the week after that, possibly later.

If piloting a Mars rover is on your bucket list, perhaps Take On Mars can do the trick. Those of you looking to relive 90′s era RPG experiences can grab Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny. If reliving 90′s era FPS experiences is more your thing, Rise of the Triad has got you covered. If you like castles and, uh, balls, give CastleStorm a try. It’s available on Steam AS WE SPEAK. Finally, if infinite platforming is your thing, check out Cloudberry Kingdom.  I can’t handle one or two platforming levels much less an infinite number of them. That is way above my pay grade. What? I’m not getting paid for this? Son-of-a…

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Pandemic Review

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Pandemic was the co-operative game that launched a thousand flabby imitators. The genre became fashionable and designers and publishers started churning out identikit games to satisfy the kind of uncritical, rabid demand that only glaze-eyed, obsessed nerds can muster. Most were awful, and the few co-op games that really satisfied did so by breaking the mold and doing something different. And in the morass, Pandemic went out of print and kind of sank out of sight.

But now its back in a spanking new edition. New art furnishes the board and cards, and the wooden disease cubes have been replaced by transparent plastic in suitably lurid colours. The gameplay, aside from a couple of new role cards, has hardly changed. And we’re here to see if we can remember just  why playing Pandemic made the co-operative model so appealing in the first place.

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Cracked LCD- Boss Monster in Review

bosss monster 

Designed by brothers Johnny and Chris O’Neal , Boss Monster is by far the best tabletop homage to NES-era video gaming to date and somehow it also manages to actually hit the target in solidifying that whole “wouldn’t Dungeon Keeper make a great tabletop game” idea everyone has had at some point while reminiscing about Bullfrog’s classic bad guy sim. Trending with the best of recent games, it’s a no-bullshit design that gets right down to what matters the most and doesn’t throw up a bunch of rules and processes to get in the way of its killer theming and fun game play. The 8-bit pixel artwork is absolutely killer, and it is by far the best looking tabletop game I’ve seen this year. The standard edition is designed like the classic NES boxes, the limited Kickstarter edition is done up in homage to the gold Legend of Zelda box that every kid coveted back in the ’80s. Continue Reading…

Free to Die – Time with Ravenmark: Mercenaries

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When it comes to turn based strategy games, I pretty much suck at them. There’s nothing new to report there. I’ve been sucking at strategy games ever since I first sidled up to a keyboard. Sure, I managed to get through all of Fire Emblem: Awakening but I played that on casual and turned permadeath off. Had I played that game on the default settings I’d still be at the first mission.

Despite my ineptitude at strategy games I gave Ravenmark: Mercenaries a spin. It’s free to play so all it cost me was some bandwidth and storage space and my thinking was that maybe it would be lenient enough for a strategy lightweight like me to master.

Yeah, not so. This game is a Strategy game with a capital S and while the monetization schemes may irk some, if you’re into turn based strategy, you really should check it out.

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #182

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In episode #182 of Jumping the Shark the gang is all in to talk games, game sales, and the first track off our soon to be double-mega-platinum hit album. First, Bill is back in a gaming mood with new adventures in Crusader Kings II to share. Oh those wacky vikings. They’re nutty, I tell you! We’re also in deep in Steam Summer Sale territory and it claims me as its victim. First up some new adventures in Civilization 5′s Brave New World along with some time left over for me to use my iPad to Rebuild from zombie apocalypse. Brandon has spent the week ruling from the throne of Fable 3 and decided that it’s really not all that spiffy being the king. There’s also a serenade that you won’t want to miss and Brandon and Bill get in some TV time.

Enjoy!

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Calendar Man – Week of 7/22

shadowrun returns shot 1

Not a lot going on this week in the releases department. Shadowrun Returns makes its debut, and with it, the hopes and dreams of Kickstarter fans everywhere. There’s also a new NASCAR game as well as games for the new Smurfs movie. Mars War Logs hits the 360, the PS3 gets a new Hot Shots game and Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark releases for the PS3 and the Vita.

Having finished the high voltage wiring for my basement, I now turn to low voltage wiring. Good times. When I do get time to game it will be all Just Cause 2, all the time. The vehicle controls are a little dodgy but you have a grappling hook and that makes up for a lot.

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The Quiet Year Review

Quiet Year cover

The world is full of things that should not work, but somehow do: pineapple on Pizza, or mixing opera and hip-hop, or making jokes about death. Some examples are personal, others largely universal. And to that last list we can now add a game called The Quiet Year.

The Quiet Year calls itself a map-making game, but it isn’t really, even though you do make a map as you play it. A lot of people seem to refer to it as a role-playing game but it isn’t that either, since it actively discourages you from the minutiae of its character’s lives. It’s one of a small but growing group of storytelling games, where a simple structure is used to explore the player’s imaginations.

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In Space No One Can Hear You “Like”

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This probably makes me sound old, but I don’t get Facebook. The entire notion of using a publicly available software platform to reconnect with people I have made no effort to contact in the past two decades doesn’t make much sense to me. Sure, I’m on it, who isn’t, but I don’t use it to do more than occasionally chat with old fraternity brothers and other folks here and there. Let me put it this way, my sister is on Facebook and I had no idea up until I got an email reminding me about her birthday.

After playing Redshirt, the upcoming social sim in space from one woman developer shop The Tiniest Shark, I understand Facebook. I have seen the face of evil and I “Liked” it.

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Cracked LCD- Class of ’12 Expansions- Spartacus and Mage Wars

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It’s time again to take a look at some expansions for my 2012 Game of the Year picks- Spartacus and Mage Wars were deserving shortlisters and I’m happy to see both of these great titles supported with new content. Let’s cut to the chase and get to the crude locker room humour, shall we? Continue Reading…