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Jumping the Shark Podcast #110

No High Scores

With Danielle off surfing (not the web, mind you, actual surfing), Jumping the Shark #110 lets us boys run wild. There are kegs and strippers, a fire truck, and I think someone brought a donkey in the room at one point. (Kudos to you if that reference makes any kind of sense at all.) Once we get to down business, though, it’s all business. Bill tells Brandon and I that we’re stupid for liking Elder Sign so much. It’s a brutal evisceration that should be reserved for people that like Fran Drescher’s laugh. Fortunately for us, he had to interrupt the beating so he could send some disgruntlement in the direction of Kingdoms of Amalur. Brandon thinks The Darkness II is just ducky. And I put on my best Concern Troll mask and work through my discomfort with the Diablo 3 beta experience. All that and so much more awaits you this week on JTS!

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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

8 thoughts to “Jumping the Shark Podcast #110”

  1. Any podcast which starts with a little Bill rage is a good episode. “Lovecraft games must tell a story” is one of those great truisms that people making games and movies based on his books need beat into their heads. The only game I think was done really well is “Dark Corners of The Earth.”

    p class=”p2″>Good to hear about Amalur and Diablo 3 so that I won’t get too wrapped up in the whole must-play-now! thing, of course I still haven’t picked up Skyrim. I did just finish off Saint’s Row 3 last night and all good games from now on will be compared to that fine example of fun.

    p class=”p2″>For Danielle just FYI there is plenty of surfing not far from Boston from what I’ve heard. I’ve also heard the waves are mostly knee slappers, but can get chest high on better days. I’m a west coaster so everything I’m typing is hear-say, YMMV.

  2. So you should be able experiment and do things that you are not supposed to do and a system that allows for extensive experimentation is bad?

    Being locked in to choices discourages experimentation and encourages min-maxing. Encouraging replay by letting you break your character is a shitty mechanic. Diablo 2 felt different to play with different classes and I think that was more important to its legs than having to restart when your barbarians dps was too low on account of choices you made 30 levels ago. If you didn’t min max you were not killing Baal at the end of hell.

  3. I quit playing it after a couple days, as the only parts of the game that’ll actually be interesting to me aren’t even available. Last I read the only thing that’ll distinguish your barbarian from another is the choice of runes you apply to your skills and that isn’t available until later levels.

    While I do still have some confidence in Blizzard, the beta was pretty much a complete turn-off to me; if I were buying strictly based on the beta I wouldn’t be buying.

    As for Amalur and Skyrim, if only I could combine them. I do like the story in Amalur a bit better than Bill does, though it doesn’t sound like he’s gotten very far into it yet. Skyrim there are parts of the world I really want to quest in to find out the lore and stories around, but I am so bored with the combat that I am no longer playing. Amalur is generic, but at least the combat (on hard) keeps me entertained. Keep in mind though, hard isn’t exactly hard, I’m not a very good gamer at anything other than TBS games and I can make it through hard fights no problem even though I skip some quests as I roleplay my character. If you insist on doing all the quests I can’t imagine there’d be any challenge at all.

  4. Loved hearing Bill giving a shoutout to the p-n-p RPG CHILL on this week’s episode.  I really think that game had one of the best game systems for resolving conflicts I’ve ever seen.  Amazingly, stupidly, elegantly simple, it made it easy and quick to check for things as far-ranging as finding the right research in a library or newspaper morgue…or trying to shoot that evil minion of a vampire who was attacking you.  All skill-based, and all based not so much on whether you succeed, but how well you succeed.  Were I to design a computer role playing game, I’d steal the CHILL system lock, stock, and barrel, as it could be applied to any sort of RPG setting.

    Oh, and the first CHILL adventure module against Dracula  managed to rise above all the cliches one might expect and was actually fantastically written and quite engaging for players and referees alike.  Shame it’s become a footnote in RPG history now.

  5. Oh man, now I’m curious about Brandon’t Buffy-themed Icewind Dale party!  Some of them are thematically obvious, like casting Willow and Amy as mages, Oz as a shape shifting druid, and Sid the Dummy as a halfling rogue.  Others totally escape me.  Was Giles in there as some sort of morally-lapsed paladin, or was he nixed in favor of an invincibly awesome dual-wielding ranger named Jonathan?

  6. Best comment ever. 


    Giles had better of been there Brandon. I would have to go Wizard with him, though. He was always consulting his books. 

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