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Jumping the Shark Episode #194

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This week’s Jumping the Shark brings the exciting return of the musical interlude! But not in the way you think I mean. Also, I do a little night-walking in Neverwinter, as I reach back into my gaming library for a taste of Neverwinter Nights 2′s D&D 3.5 ruleset goodness. Find out what makes this still a game worth getting into despite some frustrating pieces that’ll never work quite right. Seriously, little NPC dudes, stop running headlong into traps! Brandon, meanwhile, has created a scourge of Echo soldiers in the recently released iOS game, Echo Prime. He comes away mightily impressed. Not so impressive was his journey into the streets of Gotham in Batman: Arkham Origins. Did no one at Splash Damage notice that they have Batman standing blithely around while a dude gets straight-up murdered and think to say, “Hey, this is kinda out of character?” Finally, we get to the real issue of the day, in which I explain to Brandon what made Pacific Rim a far better movie of metal monstrosities punching things than Transformers.


Production Note: We’ve brought this up in the show a couple times, but just to make sure you’ll all fully aware, we’ve officially gone to the every other week model for JtS releases. Our apologies to those of you who liked getting your weekly dose, we love you all, but with just two to three of us available (and sometimes not even that) in any given week, there are too many “real life” commitments going on to keep it going weekly. Hopefully, however, you’ll find that the extra week gives us more to play and more to talk about, resulting in better shows!

READ ALSO:  Jumping the Shark Podcast #111

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Musical interlude, “Gentle Autumn Breeze,” by Garret Dwyer.

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 Episode #194”

  1. I am trying really hard not to be “that” guy, but the irony(I think that word applies here) of your analog vs digital conversation being just as painful for me to listen to as a computer engineer as it was for you to hear that line in the movie was just too much 😛

    (Punch Cards computers are in fact digital…)

      1. Well it did keep me listening so…good job?

        For future reference, anything dealing with straight 0s and 1s is digital. In the case of punch cards, the presence or absence of a hole represented a 1 or a 0. In the case of circuits, digital just deals with the presence or absence of voltage (0V indicating a 0 and, depending on the technology involved, 3.3V or 5V or whatever, representing a 1). Analog on the other hand requires more precision, with the exact values mattering. You can think of sound waves and such. Where the signals are waves, where amplitude, period, frequency and such come into play. If anything upsets that balance, your output signal will be degraded and information lost.

        On a side rant, this is why buying things like shielded cables and the like for digital signals such as HDMI is foolish. It’s incredibly unlikely that noise is going to upset a straight 0V or 5V signal enough to be interpreted incorrectly. With analog signals however, audio cables or component cables, the shielding protects that more easily disturbed analog waveform, thus preventing information degradation. So long story short, never let that Best Buy salesperson convince you to buy a Monster HDMI cable…no matter how much gold plating it has, it won’t improve your signal over that $2 monoprice cable 😛

        I could go on, but I think I’ve overstayed my welcome as is…

        1. Rest assured, if I need an HDMI cable, it comes from Monoprice. Great deals from there.

          And no one who stays here is considered overstaying their welcome. Well, except me, but I’m like a cockroach that will survive even apocalypse. 😉

  2. Wow. This discussion about transformers 2 made me super glad I stopped at the first movie. How is it Brandon can glaze over GIANT. ROBOT. TESTICLES. but get caught up on the, agreeably stupid, “analog not digital” line?

    Btw, props to Brandon to be hardcore rocking both Pokemon and GTA5.

    1. I can glaze over the robot testicles because the fate of the Autobots’ victory over the Decepticons didn’t lie in those testicles. If they had, well that’s another story. Don’t get me wrong, the Transformers movies are filled with all number of stupid things but when they are plot related, they don’t bother me. I will readily admit to my love of Transformers blinding me to many of the problems with the movies. See also Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel and many other movies.

      Spoilers incoming.

      And I’m not saying that I didn’t like Pacific Rim, I just wish they had another reason why Gipsy Danger could be booted up in 20 minutes. I’d also like an explanation as to why the payload detonation in the bottom of the ocean didn’t cause an EMP pulse that rendered GD useless and why the lifeboats could go through the throat without any Kaiju DNA.

      1. The undersea explosion doesn’t matter because a nuclear-triggered EMP pulse is caused by interactions between the radiation, the earth’s atmosphere and the earth’s magnetic field; a detonation in a conductant like water isn’t remotely similar.

        And to be fair to the robot testicles, there’s far worse in Transformers 2. There’s also the twins, characters even more annnoying and racist than Jar-Jar Binks. And Shia LaBeouf temporarily dying and going to Autobot heaven. And the gross way Michael bay’s camera leers at every female character, and…I’d better stop before I list the majority of the movie.

        1. Thanks for the EMP explanation. Excellent stuff.

          Come on now, it’s common knowledge that all Witwickys go to Heaven. 😉

      2. Pacific Rim is definitely not a hard one to pick apart even if you leave your bullshit detector at half power. But when a slow-mo rocket punch lands on the face of giant Kaijus all is forgiven. I can understand how you would probably feel the same way for Transformers. That’s totally cool.

        On the other thought, what a strange position it would be if the fate of the Autobots hanged on those balls?

        Gonna leave you with two friendly jabs about transformers:

        PEACE! I’m out, I’m ANALOG!

        1. Will, your post got flagged as spam and I missed till just now. I’m *super* sorry about that because anyone needling Brandon deserves to be heard!

  3. Todd: Regarding NWN 2, there’s an option in the bottom left corner, to the right of the sleep button, that completely toggles the AI on and off. Very handy when you want to stop a suicidal rush through traps.

    And if you burn out on the original campaign, which is quite conceivable since it’s looong, and there’s some ridiculous artificial stretching in the first chapter after you get to Neverwinter, you should still check out Mask of the Betrayer. It’s much more imaginative, and has some really fantastic writing.

      1. I’m definitely shooting to get through to the expansions, but it’ll likely be at a… deliberate pace. 🙂 I officially reached Neverwinter on Sunday. Sounds like I’m in for a bit of a slog. A shame, that, as the pacing of getting through Fort Whatever and Highcliff had been pretty solid, I thought.

        @Soren – It took me *forever* to notice the AI on/off button!

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