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Jumping the Shark Podcast #97

No High Scores

It’s just Brandon, Danielle, and me for Jumping the Shark 97, as The Hand was unavoidably detained by a sudden case of mono. (Not really.) This week I talk about my travails with Demon’s Souls, Danielle continues her sojourn into Kirby’s Return to Dreamland, and Brandon doesn’t really talk about much, unless, of course, you count a heaping mass of details about Saint’s Row 3. Yep, Binky is on the case and he’s loving it every minute of it, so don’t miss that!

For our topic this week we discuss gamer stereotypes, specifically how gamers stereotype each other, a subject that came up while I was watching Twitter reaction to Call of Duty release day. This is pretty much as close as this cast gets to talking Call of Duty.

So, here’s one tangent that occurred to me about this topic while I was editing that I wish we had thought to address directly: Dividing harmless stereotypes from destructive ones. You’ll find in the show that I think the whole Call of Duty DudeBro stereotype is largely both harmless and funny, mostly because it’s just so ridiculous. An audience the size of CoD’s can’t possibly be represented by a single group and even if it were, there’s too much humor in the DudeBro stereotype to not have some fun with it. At some point you have to be willing to laugh at yourself, for crying out loud.

This, however, lead into an unfortunate statement on my part in which I inferred that these things don’t matter because “it’s just games;” a premise that is ridiculous on its face and not really what I meant. After all, Danielle just held court last week with a fairly serious discussion of women in games and the stereotypes that come from that. This is a topic worthy of serious discussion as there is genuine harm that comes from some of the attitudes engendered towards women in this business, even if it is “just games.”

READ ALSO:  Braid: It’s Art, but is it a Game?

The question really becomes: In terms of gamer stereotyping, where is the line between what’s harmful and should be discussed and what should be dismissed as harmless and largely in good fun. When you figure out the answer to that question, be sure to let us know. I’m going to head over to NeoGaf now and make fun of nerds in thick, taped glasses who think Skyrim is good. (Actually, it probably is. I’ve hardly had any time with it as yet.)

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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

6 thoughts to “Jumping the Shark Podcast #97”

  1. Since Bill won’t listen and hear your discussion, I’m here to tell you that Dark Souls is easier. Well, it’s more forgiving.

    And no farming for healing herbs, which is WONDERFUL.

  2. I really enjoyed the discussion on stereotyping. Good stuff. It’s interesting how these perceptions get started. I remember going to the book stores as a teenager to buy my sandman graphic novels and looking down in disdain on the kids reading manga. Now I have a bookshelf full of it. In my case it was a stereotype I took from my peers without thinking.

    I was also raised in a ‘no pink’ environment (meaning that my mother disapproved of ‘girly-girl’ products like barbie or my little pony) so the gaming I picked up was mostly through my older brother and it was stuff like Thief, Daggerfall and Starcraft. I’m pretty sure it’s made me a bit disdainful of games aimed specifically at girls/women. I think it’s because I perceive such games as being easy which would be an industry interpretation that women aren’t good at gaming. This is probably not true (or not completely), but it’s a subconscious stereotype I never thought through until now.

    I will add that I have been fortunate enough to almost never run into the ‘girls don’t game’ stereotypes aimed at myself. Most of my gamer friends are male and none of them has ever even batted an eye at either my gaming or game choices. I consider myself very lucky in this respect.

    Also, Todd, keep fighting the good fight in Demon’s Souls…at least it has less spiders than skyrim.

  3. Todd,

    the one comment you said during your discussion about demons souls that i thought was interesting was “i understand it, then it gets to a point i get frustrated and quit, then come back to it.” (heavily paraphrased)

    don’t you feel like games these days are a little too easy/hand holding? a lot of games these days have checkpoints/save areas that make the whole concept of progression almost pointless, to where the “gunfight” you had prior to the savepoint becomes a faint memory by the time you get to the boss. i suppose it can come back to the idea of game difficulty and what you “want” out of a game, but these days it does seem that games are so on rails that even if you mess up, the developer will be kind enough to prevent you from disaster, which can make the whole game experience feel really pointless.

    also on the topic of “playing, then not having anything to show for it”. i think that might just be your gamer/RPG tendencies so a discussion on opinions might not be the most constructive, but i think it’s worth talking about the fact that a lot of games are like this. Bullet hell shooters, the old super mario brothers, even tetris, they all have that same concept of endless play within them w/o having a nice ding to them. The worth/accomplishment that comes from playing those games seems to come from within rather than something on your character.

    Finally, not sure how far you got within demons souls. but it would be worth the suggestion to go back and start a new character some time as well. you’ll be suprised at how easy the game is the second time around when you know what to expect.

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