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Writing About Talking: Jumping the Shark Podcast #63

No High Scores

This week’s Jumping the Shark features the illustrious return of Tom Chick, who joins us to talk about team-building in games, with a particular emphasis on the Pokemon series. We also dig deep into Crysis 2 and Sims Medieval and talk up the 3DS, The Arrival (Mass Effect 2 DLC), and Dragon Age 2.

iTunes Link

If you’ve listened to the show already you heard Tom tee off quite a bit on the show’s theme music this week. Generally I don’t listen to Tom about anything because the man is crazy. Literally. He hears voices and does impressionist painting using the sauce found in cans of Spaghettios. (Kidding, of course. Who doesn’t love Tom?) But it got me curious all the same, so I’d like to get your thoughts on the music we use for the show.

Our current theme music, which we paid for the right to use from the royalty-free music site, has been with us since the beginning and while we like it (as do several listeners we’ve heard from), we have heard from a couple folks who don’t. Of course, that may just be Tom spoofing fake email addresses. He’d do it. I know he would. Nonetheless, if you’ve got thoughts to share leave a comment. If there’s a lot of hate that doesn’t mean we’re going to change -you can’t please everybody and changing would cost somebody some dough- but certainly we’d think about it. Personally, I think the music fits our show; it’s a little rough around the edges, but catchy, and it’s got whimsy.

READ ALSO:  Writing About Talking: Jumping the Shark Podcast #61

Just like us, amiright?

Still, it’s not my dream music for JtS, which I envision as cross between the famous Jaws orchestration, only with the mood and silliness of a whacky sitcom. If you’re home composer and can come up with something in that vain, let’s talk. I can pay you the same way Bill pays us: With snark and peanuts.

Oh, and for the curious, here’s the baseline info on the track we currently use:

Title: Excited Dogs
Composer: Ilya Kaplan and Stan Fomin

It’s available on for $29.95.

Todd Brakke

Todd was born in Ann Arbor with a Michigan helmet in one hand and a mouse in the other. (Never you mind the logistics of this.) He grew, vertically anyway, and proceeded to spend over 16 years as a development editor for Pearson Education, publishing books, videos, and digital learning products under the Que and Sams Publishing imprints. Because that wasn't enough of a challenge, Todd has also been a 20-year part-time snob about video games, writing reviews, features, and more for multiple outlets. Follow him on Twitter @ubrakto or check it out his website at

16 thoughts to “Writing About Talking: Jumping the Shark Podcast #63”

  1. Great show this week. The first three minutes already had me in stitches. It’s always refreshing to hear the kind of friendly banter that goes on on JTS. Oh, and I bet Bill kept talking for another two minutes or so before he realized his connection had dropped…

    On the music: I’m certainly not going to put it at the top of my playlist, but I actually quite like it. It’s a bit whacky, I always whistle along in the car… Don’t change it on my account.

  2. Oh, and I bet Bill kept talking for another two minutes or so before he realized his connection had dropped…

    Totally true. 100%.

  3. Another great episode, and it’s nice to have Tom back on the show. He may seem negative to everything, but that’s like most of the crew on the show. It’s just refreshing to hear people who aren’t gushing over the latest game like it could do no wrong, and are being completely 100% honest about it.

    On a side note, it was also nice to note that I don’t recall any instances of “you know” this week. It must have just been a fluke last week.

  4. I wouldn’t call it negative – maybe just being a bit more chilled and realistic about hypes. I find that I very often agree with the crew about games I’ve played myself. Especially on DA2, Bill’s and Todd’s impressions pretty much mirrored my own, whereas on GWJCC (with all due respect for that show, they’re good people over there) I heard barely any criticism about the game.

  5. Todd,

    I agree with pretty much everything you said about DA2 except for that one NPC turning (inexplicably) at the end. Without spoiling too much, you can find letters / clues throughout the game that he’s involved in bad stuff — during the plot with Hawke’s mom and her “suitor”, for instance, there’s a pretty incriminating letter from him to said suitor.

  6. Admittedly, I didn’t read most of what went into the Codex this time around. I’m sure i read the letter related to the mom plot as I was hooked into that one pretty effectively, but I must have missed his name being connected with it.

    That said, I don’t like it when this game uses Codex entries to fill in plot holes. To me it feels to much like covering your tracks after the fact.

    “Hey, you know this really doesn’t make sense.”
    “Stick a couple pieces of parchment in Acts II and III that will explain it.”

    Spoiler text. Highlight to see:

    In terms of first-hand encounters Orsino is consistently a voice of reason. He sends you to find mages who fled the circle and specifically tells you if they’ve turned to Blood Magic to do what was necessary. Even when Meredith invokes anulment he stays firm but collected. He will not back down, but will not turn from his convictions. Only when you get to the end and Bioware decides it’s time for a big-honking boss battle does he make with the Blood Magic. And then the first thing he does is turn on you, an ally. Huh?

    End spoiler.

  7. I agree on the codex stuff — when I’m in the thick of it, I certainly don’t want to go in there and read it right at the moment; when I read it later, it usually has no real connection with what happened. I think the letter I referenced was a pop-up one. He didn’t sign it as Jim, just as J.

    Because I’m an optimist, I like to think that he was just good at pretending to be good. I imagine that him attacking you first was essentially them hammering home the point that when mages get corrupted it turns them into monsters that attack anyone without regard. However, that could just be me filling in the holes because I was trying really hard to like it.

  8. I found that this NPCs action made more/less sense depending on my choices in the game. On my second time through, knowing what would happen, I paid more attention to details (like the note during that quest) and saw the groundwork being laid. However…

    Is there an html markup to get the font color spoiler working? Doesn’t work for me…Will try to be as vague as possible.

    Mild Spoiler follows:

    If you side with the mages, the NPC in question’s fate makes almost no sense. It feels very slapped it. If you side with the templars it makes a little more sense because the npc has everyone against them now, including hawke. And we all know what happens to people going up against hawke. What I found most interesting about the whole thing was that knowing ahead of time that the NPC has been involved in some bad things that affected my character personally made me not want to side with the templars OR the mages and pretty steamed at everyone. Sadly there was no ‘tell everyone to jump off a bridge’ option.

    End Spoilers.

  9. I would pay money for the “jump off a bridge” option.

    You can “hide” spoiler text by using the font color tag. It works like this, only replace my parantheses with greater than > and less than < symbols.

    (font color=white)spoiler text(/font)

  10. seriously, if we can have a sarcastic dialogue option it seems like an outrage to not be able to tell everyone off and refuse to play ball. oh well.

    weird, that was the html i was using and it wasn’t working for me. i think i had it on the wrong input format. drat. thanks.

  11. … is approximately $29.95 more than I think it’s worth. Jumping The Shark is one of my favourite podcasts, but I have seriously considered not listening to it because of that music.

  12. I hope for the sake of his sanity that Tom never finds out about Ditto.

    Great show, as always, everyone. I’m glad that Brandon finally got a chance to talk about Pokemon a bit. I’ve enjoyed his comments on Christien’s game diaries at Qt3 quite a bit, so I’ve been looking forward to this. I’m always impressed that JtS manages to have a thoughtful, nuanced discussion on games.

    I’m also glad that you brought up the tank/healer/damage paradigm that’s increasingly ubiquitous in western RPGs. It actually put a dent in my enjoyment of Dragon Age Origins — the party mechanics felt far too similar to those in World of Warcraft. I especially hate taunt/aggro mechanics, which replace what should be interesting tactical decisions with a bunch of cooldown timers. Maybe it’s a necessary simplification in an MMO, but as someone who’s done with WoW, I don’t find them at all engaging in a single-player game.

    As far as the music, I honestly don’t hate the theme song, but you have to admit — it’s a really, really weird piece of music. It combines whistling with dog barking. More than anything, it gets stuck in my head and makes me want to hear a version of Deadly Premonition’s Life is Beautiful with dog-barking accompaniment. It’s funny to hear Tom rag on it, but I think you all should keep it if you like it.

  13. Glad you like the show and sorry you hate the music, but to hate it enough to quit a show you like? Wow.

  14. It’s a really divisive matter it seems.
    I started listening to JTS just cause it meant I could hear that funny tune every week… there really isn’t another reason

  15. Oh man, Ditto: the universal breeder pokemon, ironically hunted to near extinction for its ability hump, and be humped by, every other pokemon in the world. Have you ever seen a Ditto after spending some time in the daycare with an adult male Onyx?

    Also, if it comes down to a vote, put me firmly in the “Keep The Theme Song!” column.

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