Jumping the Shark Podcast #123

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week on Jumping the Shark Stardock Software’s own Jon Shafer joins us to reveal his super secret development project. Just kidding. He does join us, but instead we talk about our collective experiences with Warlock: Master of the Arcane, Unity of Command, and a host of other game design-related topics. There may be some discussion of Jon’s team’s success in Bill’s Out of the Park baseball league, but you didn’t hear that from me. In other news, Brandon finished his first run through of The Witcher 2 and embarked on a second playthrough in the game’s Dark mode. He’s also coming up on a major milestone in this life, and no, it’s not that he turned 40. All this and more in this week’s Jumping the Shark!

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Calendar Man – Week of 5/14

It doesn’t take a lot of digging to draw comparisons between this week’s two biggest releases, Diablo 3 and Max Payne 3. Both are the third in an insanely popular franchise. Both have had close to a decade between the last release and now (twelve years for Diablo 3, nine for Max Payne 3) and both have online shenanigans tacked on to them for one reason or another. Diablo 3 required an internet connection to be played and will allow users to sell in-game items for actual money, with Blizzard getting some of the cut and Max Payne 3 has multiplayer which will allow for crews that can be carried into GTA V, a game that hasn’t had any significant details released about it other than a name and it’s connection to MP3′s multiplayer. I’m sure both will move a bunch of units, but if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on Diablo 3, despite being more interested in Max Payne 3.

Oh, the Game of Thrones RPG also comes out as well as all of the Battleship movie tie-in games. Yeah, they’ll sell well.

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GameStop Puts the Kai-Bosch on PSP Sales

Any chance I get to use that image, I’m taking it.

According to a report on Kotaku, Gamestop will stop selling PSP games in their smallest chain stores.

“The consolidation is occurring to maximize the merchandising space in the smallest 25% of stores,” a GameStop representative told Kotaku. “It will also provide a greater assortment in those stores that will continue to carry the category.”

There’s no mention of which stores are doing this besides the somewhat vague 25% number so you way want to give your local store a call. Well, if you buy PSP games at Gamestop which apparently not many of you do…

Tomb Raider Delayed to 2013

Another delay for a high profile game as Crystal Dynamics’ Darrell Gallagher announced via a forum post that the new Tomb Raider re-boot has been pushed to early 2013.

“Our priority now is to make sure we fully deliver the very highest quality game. In order to do this, we have decided to move the game’s release date by a few months, from Fall 2012 to the first quarter of 2013.

We’re doing things that are completely new to Tomb Raider in this game and the additional development time will allow us to put the finishing touches into the game and polish it to a level that you deserve. We believe this is the right choice and I guarantee it will be worth the wait. The game is looking amazing and we can’t wait to show it to everyone at E3 in a few weeks.”

We’ll get a look at Tomb Raider …in fact on the final day of E3. Brandon is booked to see this and I may tag along.

Double Fine Adventure Documentary Ep. 1

Behold, the first episode of the series documenting the creation of Double Fine Productions’ future adventure game. The good news: you get a fun look behind the scenes of Tim Schafer’s studio. The bad news: the first taste is free, and future episodes will be for paid contributors. The doubly bad news: it’ll make you feel desperately poor.

Amazon Game Round Up

A few readers have emailed me asking why we don’t post weekly sales. Well, see, we do. Brandon’s Calender Man column posted every Monday usually contains weekly deals.

But I realize not everyone wants new stuff and they’d like to know about older games that can be found on the cheap and since we are part of the Amazon referral program…sounds like a win-win to me.

The deals here aren’t all necessarily “sales” (some are) but just some heavily discounted games that we tend to think are still worth the money. Funny how fast the prices drop on videogames.

I want to start off with a PC game on Steam — Tropico 4 is free until Sunday and after that will be slashed 66% to a $13.59 price tag.

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Harley Quinn DLC and the Not So Clever Tagline

Here’s the not particularly revealing trailer for the Batman: Arkham City DLC, Harley Quinn’s Revenge (due 5/29; $9.99 or 800 MS Points). In it we see Harley being simultaneously provocative and menacing (it’s kinda her thing in these games) followed by the tagline, “Payback’s A Bitch.” If you think the wording is a coincidence after the whole “bitch” dust-up when the game was released, you’re absolutely out of your mind. You stay classy, WB Interactive.

Don’t Shoot the Food – Shawarma Assemble!

If you’ve seen The Avengers, you know that shawarma plays a role, albeit a small one, in Marvel’s magnum opus to citywide destruction and dudes in weird suits. Shawarma also happens to be one of the most awesome foods ever invented. Back when I lived in Virginia, I used to go to Lebanese Taverna because they rocked the chicken shawarma like nobody’s business.

Aside from being in The Avengers, shawarma could conceivably play a role in my current game, Assassins Creed: Revelations. AC:R takes place in Constantinople, a city that is smack dab in the geographical area that shawarma and other levantine foods originated from. Granted, the shawarma sandwich we eat today is pretty far removed from what would have been made circa 1511 but the idea of meat being cooked on a spit, horizontally back then as opposed to the modern, vertical method, is one that you can imagine being around as Ezio walked the streets of Constantinople. Nothing hits the spot after executing some Byzantines like a tasty shawarma sandwich.

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Various News Musings

Technically, as a blogger, you aren’t supposed to do this. The idea is to post a lot of quick hitter stories and build up your post count and content rate.

But I feel like hell today so I figured I’d shoot off a rapid fire article with some news industry blurbs in one catch-all post! Convenient, eh?

Truth is, some of this stuff doesn’t need its own story so let’s do some conglomerating.

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Zen Pinball iOS Review

As a past addict of Pinball FX 2 on XBLA, I’ve got a soft spot for a solid pinball experience. Despite having had a constantly malfunctioning, but nevertheless awesome, classic racing-themed pinball machine in my basement when growing up, I’ve never been much of a pinball savant. Lack of skill, however, has never stopped my love of knocking that little metal ball around. In a couple of weeks a buddy of mine, who restores old coin up games, is hosting a party to christen his new “barcade” and as much as I’m looking forward to spending time around he and his wife and several of our friends, I have to admit I’m really jonesing for another go at his limited edition Tron Legacy pinball machine.

It’s an incredible piece of work, that thing. It’s also a reminder, however, of how frustrating the viewing angle is when I play Pinball FX2 on the Xbox. Tables are meant to be oriented exactly the opposite of our television widescreens, so it’s always a chore to find a view that I can live with when playing Pinball FX. It never occurred to me it might be different playing such a game on the iPad, where you can rotate the screen in your hand. So last week, upon learning there’s a Zen Pinball iOS app, I rushed to the App Store to give it a go. I wasn’t holding my breath for a great pinball experience, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Zen Pinball delivers the goods.

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