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Jumping the Shark Podcast #105

No High Scores

For the first time in what feels like forever the whole gang is in the hizzy for Episode #104 of Jumping the Shark. This week we officially ditch the two-part “What We’re Playing” and weekly topic format in favor of a bit more free-flowing discussion that we think will revitalize things a bit. This week it’s our semi-traditional games of 2012 kick-off as we talk about everything we’re looking forward to this year, from the newly announced X-COM title from Firaxis to Bioshock Infinite, from Quantum Conundrum to Luigi’s Mansion, from Mass Effect 3 to Darksiders 2. We’ve also got a little chatter about everyone’s new iPad addiction, Ascension. Danielle gets groovy with Dance Central 2. And, in the midst of taking Skyrim out for a pleasure cruise, Bill and Brandon can’t help but wonder just why total strangers are asking them to deliver yet another message. All this and more on this week’s rendition of Jumping the Shark!

The embedded feed and some editing notes are up after the break…

iTunes Link
Past Episodes

With strong desire to get away from editing the Skype feed, which has been the reluctant (but very necessary) choice since the end of summer, I made some time this week for a multitrack edit. Among the pains that drag out editing time when going this route are balancing the volume between individaul tracks and dealing with all the hitches and scrapes in everyone’s audio, which are much more noticeable when you’re looking at four individual tracks instead of one mixed track. Now, most of these bumps you’d never notice when listening, but my problem is I can see them. This leads to an obsessive compulsive desire to silence every bit of “noise” whether it’s notable or not and that tacks on a lot of editing time. I’ve tried to keep those OCD tendencies under control this week by leaving anything in that didn’t actually stand out to me over the headset, while also trying some corner cutting for balancing everyone’s audio together that will hopefully simplify that process a bit (a longer story). 

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I still haven’t listened to the final product, so for those of you so inclined, I’d like to hear from you whether you notice an improvement in the audio quality this week over what you’ve heard the past few months. Is anyone too quiet or too loud? Is there anything else that jumps out at you? Background that is more or less notable? No notable difference at all? The comment thread awaits your input!

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 “Jumping the Shark Podcast #105”

  1. Yep great show. You all seemed energized again and it was good to have you all back together for a change. Love the looser format.


    p class=”p1″>The new shorter format seems pretty good so far.  I’ll be interested in how it transitions into more topical subjects beyond ‘anticipated’, ‘best of’, etc.I will miss the ‘what we’re playing’ section, but that leads to an idea I’ve been meaning to send you about the site. 

    p class=”p1″>A small forum would be quite appreciated and I think could grow the site a bit.  My main thought on a section would be a general what folks are playing so that folks can share their thoughts long after release. I think the general crowd around here is pretty good and extensive moderating shouldn’t be needed. Danielle in particular seems to play a good number of games after release Mass Effect and Saints Row come to mind and the particular insights post-hype are quite interesting, at least to me.

  3. I have -not- listened to the latest episode yet, but I’d think the advantage to having a planned topic segment is that everyone has a chance to put some thought into it.  Who doesn’t have better defined thoughts and examples after 48-hours to prepare?  Perhaps it’s been a bummer casting about for something specific to discuss each week, but I can think of precious few episodes that failed to hold my interest or get me thinking.

    The What We’ve Been Playing segment always felt like the more open and free-wheeling part of the podcast, and I liked hearing how opinions evolved.  Bill’s time with Metro 2033 and Todd’s Old Republic adventures are good examples.  Revisiting those topics on consecutive weeks as they happen gives a much sharper insight about the experience than simply summing it up in retrospect like a normal review.  Hopefully that will still come across in a less structured format.

  4. Quality was great. Better than some of the recent shows, where there were notable artifacts in some people’s feeds. For my purpose – I generally listen to podcasts while driving – it couldn’t be better.

    As far as Ascension goes… Brandon is wiping the floor with me so far, but I managed to get the drop on Bill in our first game. Todd, you really should get into it. It takes maybe half an hour to get through the tutorial and a few AI matches to get the hang of it. But Multiplayer is where the fun is at. There are so many ways to build your deck and your strategy, and I’ve seen so many matches go my way until my opponent turned them around in the last move… It’s a great game, really. It works very well when playing asynchronously, but you can also play ‘live’ if it so happens.

    Oh, and Bill… ‘Stick a straw into a glass of mud’… What a low blow

  5. Relaxed is great. But don’t be afraid of topics!

    As far as sound quality, I honestly couldn’t tell a difference. I mainly listen to JTS in my car on the way to work. I use an FM transmitter to get the sound from my iPhone to my car speakers so a little pop or small artifacts don’t turn out.

  6. Okay, just finished the podcast.  I enjoyed it quite a lot so if this style is easier and more fun for everyone to do, I’m all for it.  I’d also reiterate that I learned a lot by hearing discussion about the same games from one week to the next during What We’ve Been Playing, but I wouldn’t force it out of a sense of obligation.

    The final edit sounded as good as always.  No hissing or popping or Danielle’s roommate singing a capella that I could make out, and it kept a nice, natural flow.

  7. I think we’re probably over selling the “directionless” angle a bit when we talk about how we’re doing things going forward. Behind the scenes there’s still a show rundown that we’re slowly putting together over the course of each week. The big difference is we’re not making the rundown fit a “what we’re playing + topic” format. We’re just going to put it together based on the priority for that week -what most has our attention- and what we get through we get through. If the conversation meanders into new territory, we’re not going to force it back on to the topic at hand. That sort of thing. So, really, we do still have a direction, it’s just not locked in anymore and we’re keeping it free to course-correct as we go. Some weeks we may spend more time on a particular topic or news item we’re into, some weeks we might do a potpurri of what we’re playing, some weeks we might devote entirely to a specific game.

    Hopefully that notion is reassuring. 🙂 

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