The Great Pokemon Extinction Event

Pokemon Black/White 2 comes out on Sunday and while I will most likely pick it up, I fear that it will confirm something that I’ve known for quite some time now, namely that I don’t really give a crap about handheld gaming any more.

It’s a difficult realization to come to. Handheld gaming has been a big part of my life for years now, but over the past 18 months or so, things have shifted and I find myself less and less enthused about the hobby’s diminutive offerings. Pokemon Black/White 2 may end up being the last handheld game I ever buy.

Cue the hyperbole machine!

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Walking Dead Episode Four Trailer

The Walking Dead has quickly become one of my favorite adventure games and now it’s heading to Savannah, one of my favorite cities. I have no idea what will happen when our intrepid group arrives in Georgia’s First City, but I can assure you, I will get them all killed trying to get some hog hammers from The Distillery. The last time that I was in Savannah, I would only go in the city’s many cemeteries during the day, and even then, the tolling of nearby bells creeped me the hell out. I don’t see this game doing my irrational fears any good.

 

Jumping the Shark Podcast #145

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jumping the Shark #145 begins on a ponderous note as we come up with scenarios to explain why Bill is, once again, absent. Brandon was closest with, “Desperately wants to be here, but is trapped under something heavy.” And what a time to miss, as we discuss our thoughts on the PC demo for Firaxis’s upcoming take on X-COM. What we can take away from it? Where does it look good? Where are the yellow flags? Etc. We all know I’m in on this one, but is Brandon prepared to take the leap into unknown waters? The less than surprising answer is within. After that Brandon digs deeper into Borderlands 2 and I spend some more time with Guild Wars 2 and the iPad version of Bastion. Enjoy!

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Calendar Man – Week of 10/1

This week’s marks a respite from new games for me as I haven’t played a Resident Evil game since the one that was on the GameCube. You know, the one with the President’s daughter and the blonde guy. I never finished it. I’m assuming the girl made it. Maybe not. As much as people like these games, I just can’t get into them. I’m not into inventory shortages as a means of amping up tension. All I see are hours of lost progress.

In other news, NBA 2K13 and War of the Roses are released this week, as well as a bunch of games getting releases on new platforms. Fun times all around.

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Bribes, Guards and White Women – Another Day in Sleeping Dogs

At some point, I started playing Sleeping Dogs. I’m not sure how it happened, but there it is, next to the 360. Sleeping Dogs. I can only assume that there was a lull between finishing Darksiders II and starting Borderlands 2 and the idea of not playing a game was too much for my addict brain to handle. It knocked my conscious mind out, rented Sleeping Docs and here we are.

I’m not proud of it, but at this point in my gaming career, I can’t say that pride has much to do with anything. It’s not the act of playing Sleeping Dogs that fills me with shame, but the fact that the idea of going five days without anything to play drove me to pick it up.

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Last Night on Earth Review

Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game from Flying Frog

I don’t believe there’s a meme in all of geekdom that’s been used and abused quite as much as the good old zombie. It’s been in films, books, comics and videogames that span the chasm between sublime art to complete trash. And speaking of trash, you’ll find a hundred of them in Zombies!!! which is perhaps the worst hobby board game ever committed to card and plastic. But game-playing zombie fans need not despair, because there are many better zombie games to try. One of them is Last Night on Earth, and the question is: how much better?

Well for starters, compare the box of Last Night on Earth with that of “generic zombie game #346”. Notice anything different? GZG #346 will certainly have some low-grade pop art on the front. Last Night on Earth, by contrast, features photo-based art of actors and actresses in costumes and special effects makeup. It’s a striking and realistic look (realistic enough to terrify my children) which is carried on throughout the card art. There’s also plenty of well-sculpted plastic miniatures of heroes and zombies inside the box and a pleasingly gloomy modular board. The photo art isn’t to everyone’s tastes: some people think it looks tacky. Personally, I love it and with the other high quality components I felt compelled to list this as one of the five best looking games ever made.

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X-Wing Miniatures Game in Review

The highest praise that I can give to Fantasy Flight Games’ new X-Wing miniatures game is that it makes Star Wars awesome again. It sloughs off decades of garbage with the Star Wars brand slapped on it. This is a game where Jar-Jar Binks never existed and the Clone Wars are just a cryptic reference. X-Wing, as the title suggests, gets back specifically to the really awesome faux-World War II fighter jockey stuff that I particularly loved when I was a kid. It is the spaceship dogfight game that I have wanted my whole life, writ in a modern, masterfully streamlined set of rules that all but step politely out of the way of the fun and cinematic action.

It is not a Wings of War ripoff. It uses some of the great design from that game along with ideas from the old Crimson Skies game, an obscure Euro called Techno Witches, and other games in its genre as a jump-off point to arrive at one of the least fussy, least messy tabletop miniatures games that I’ve ever played. The commitment level is low, requiring no paint, no assembly, and only a couple of ships to get going. Anyone can jump right in and pilot a flight of TIEs, barrel-rolling and blasting through asteroid fields and trying to get an angle on an enemy Y-Wing.

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More Tales from Dunwall

I was lax in posting these yesterday as the thought of hearing more of that awful, awful narration made me want to punch myself. I managed to muddle through it though, for you, so I hope you’re happy!

The first video is a charming story about a boy and his rat friend. The second is about the creator of the mask you’ll wear as you slice and dice your way through Dishonored. Neither make me envy the employees of the Dunwall Tourism and Travel Board.

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Why I Think Borderlands 2 Sucks (But I Like It Anyway!)

 

Borderlands 2 is a terrible game design. It’s boring, tedious, repetitive, and it never actually rewards the player. It’s obviously a successful design because people continue to play and enjoy it. But can you really, honestly say that it’s a great video game? Continue Reading…

Quick Take on the X-COM: Enemy Unknown Demo

To dismiss with this point first, I know Firaxis calls the game XCOM and not X-COM. Screw that noise. We all know better. As for the demo, there’s not a whole lot that can be said about it. It’s very, very brief, taking you through two largely scripted missions and then depositing you at the menu. This isn’t a demo so much as it is a guided tour, so there’s a lot we don’t know (at least those of us, like me, not on the golden ticket list for preview code), including just how much freedom of play the actual game will offer. This was extremely restrictive, but it hints at a world of promise. Here’s what I can tell you based on the 50 or so minutes it took to go from beginning to end on the PC…

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