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Jumping the Shark Podcast #104

No High Scores It’s been a long tough week of vacationing for the Jumping the Shark crew, with Brandon and Danielle each taking well-earned weeks off, but Todd, Bill, and Tom Chick hold down the fort just in time to ring in the new year. This week, Bill feels the age in the bones of Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and wonders just why Ezio doesn’t seem to as well. Tom tells us why All Zombies Must Die and shares with us the single strangest reason we’ve ever heard for having given the Gears of War Season Pass a tryout. And Todd sinks deeper and deeper into the galactic politics of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Start 2012 off right, with Episode 104 of Jumping the Shark! After the break, a request for feedback and a look at what’s ahead for the show in 2012…

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With 2011 mercifully at an end we’ve been talking about what we want the show to be going forward. We’re obviously very proud of having kept this thing going for over a hundred episodes and very grateful to all of you for continuing to tune in. That said, if you’ve been listening to the show for awhile I suspect you’ll have started to notice the same trends we have – things are getting a bit stale.

More bluntly, I’ve seen the comment “circling the drain” more than once, which makes me sad. As a bunch of mostly part-timers in this business, we’re really not going to try and compete with podcasts from people working exclusively at full-time outlets, generating two tons of interviews and whatnot. We also don’t think the two-part format is working for us anymore, leading to needlessly longer shows that often feature topics selected purely for the sake of having a topic. The sense of fun is ebbing and this show doesn’t work if we’re not having fun doing it.

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So, going forward, here is the highly-tentative, and sure to evolve as we go, plan: First, we are ditching the two-part, weekly topic format in favor of a simple, hopefully one hour or less, format in which we’ll end up discussing whatever is of most interest to us that given week. That could be what we’ve been playing, could be some piece of news in the industry, or a more general gaming topic. The point and the goal is to get back to the feel of a dinner conversation at the CPK where we’re all fully invested in the discussion and keep it brief enough that we don’t feel compelled to multitask during the show, which is what happens when you’re tied to that desk for over two straight hours every single week.

Speaking of which, some of you have noticed our audio quality has dipped in recent months – there’s more noise in the background, sometimes some garbled speech, and more instances where we talk over each other. You can blame me for most of that. As I’ve discussed before, I have two editing options for the show. One is single-track Skype recordings where there are almost zero editing options and the other is multitrack, in which I can do infinitely more to make us all sound good… Or at least better.

Unfortunately, while the latter produces a much higher-quality show, it takes twice as long to do. I simply can’t spare the time to spend four to six hours editing the show every single week, which is what it takes when we have two hours of recorded audio every week. As Bill would say,”I got shit to do.” With the new, hopefully shorter format, I’m hoping I can go back to the old multitrack edit process, but how I edit will remain a week-to-week decision. Regardless, though, we are collectively going to do our best to avoid the sorts of sometimes distracting multitasking that occasionally goes on, which should also help.

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All that established, we’re also interested in what you think. In the end we’re gonna do what we’re gonna do, but we’d also love to know what you like and dislike about the show right now and if you have avenues you’d like to see us go down in the future. Now is the time and this is the place. It’s been an amazing run so far and I know we’d all like to see it continue.

Welcome to 2012! We’re expecting a great year!

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

15 thoughts to “Jumping the Shark Podcast #104”

  1. Yes it is the new JTS! Less monologue. More openly making fun of Brandon.

    I, for one, cannot wait.

    Like I told my wife: 2012: Year of the Abner. I can feel it.

  2. I feel like the topics have been “hey we need a topic” for a long, long time. I generally just listen to the first half while you talk about what you’re playing and any interesting news then move along. I’m excited for this new format. I’ve been trying it for months and let me tell you, it’s a great fit!

    I think too many podcasters think they need their own angle. You don’t. I listen because I like your take on games. I don’t care if you add Stupid Todd Tricks or Find the Misogynist or How Do Games Fit With the new FDA Food Plate.

    Just get together and chat about what you’ve been playing and what’s interesting to you. Also, more Tom Chick.

  3. This was a great show. Was this a taste of the new format?

    If so that was a winner. Seemed more relaxed and just shootin the bull, when is when jts is at its best imo.

  4. Those don’t work for radio, as they’re all kind of predicated on my being a scrawny, klutzy, pale guy.

  5. We’re gonna try and be a bit more organized in terms of prepping (we totally winged this one), but yes, this is pretty much what we’re going for.

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  6. What did you think of the show this week? As Kyle noted in the comment above, future eps should be more like what we did with episode 104.

  7. As long as you keep doing the podcast, I don’t care which format you choose. Just do what you want to do, what you have fun doing, and it will be great.

    For me, JTS is at its best when the whole crew is just talking about games and making fun of each other. And when the crew is complete (Bill, Todd, Brandon, and Danielle), which is something that was the rule when the podcast began, but sadly became the exception in the last 10 or 20 episodes. I’d really love to see more full cast shows in 2012, though I understand why it might be difficult at times.

    Also, you should bring Tom Chick every once in a while. He’s always entertaining, and I love the interactions when he’s around.

    Also, E3 shows! Those are always fun.

    There’s only one topic I’d ask you to cover in 2012, and that would be “your picks for 2012″. The ones in 2010 and 2011 are in my top 10 favorite episodes, and I’d really love to know what each of you is most excited about in gaming in 2012 so I can mock – I mean, congratulate – you by the end of the year.

  8. You know, I’ve had a Gamefly copy of AC: Revelations here for a month and I haven’t even opened the envelope. Not even to just check it out. I’m just completely uninterested in the game, even though I loved the last two and want to see where the story goes.

    It’s that I’ve spent 40+ hours for the past two years on those games, and there’s been very little that’s changed and apparently not much in the new one is really all that new. I don’t want to play a new Assassin’s Creed game every year. I want a new one to be like a new Metal Gear Solid game, where it’s an EVENT title and everybody gets excited to continue the story and see what’s new.

    Who the FUCK wants a new AC every year? What’s wrong with them?

  9. We’re definitely doing our picks for 2012 this week. That’ll be the lead-off hitter. I’m sure it’ll be loaded with more sad picks than you can shake a stick at.

  10. Hey, you can always call him “Billiam” by mistake.

    And you just lost a golden opportunity to say “It’s on, Blabner”. Though it might be explained by the fact that Mr. Abner and you meet in person. And that you’ve witnessed Bill Rage first hand. And that he’s your boss and all.

    (Bill, I mean no disrespect to you – just helping Brandon here)

  11. I definitely agree with the sentiment of having more full-crew shows. The show is usually at its best when everyone is around, possibly even with a guest. I really enjoyed this week's show, it was chilled, funny and interesting.

    To be honest, I found all the interview episodes last year to be a bit of a drag. Sure, it's cool to have a special guest from the industry on every once in a while, but last year it was like five episodes in succession. That made me yearn for the standard shows where you guys were just having a blast and shooting crap.

    If there's no sensical topic to talk about, then don't have a topic. Rather let the 'Now Playing' part breathe a bit. I am thinking of the UK PCGamer podcast right now – these guys really just shoot the crap, and they can keep it up for 1 1/2 hours without getting boring.

    Bring on the full team, the friends of the show, bring on the banter and don't stress about length. If it's an hour that is interesting to listen to, it's better than 1 1/2 where you just try to fill the time.

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