When Todd asked me to edit this week’s podcast on account of him being in Sweden, I told him I was going to ditch the usual music and replace it with one of the many excellent songs that makes up Pearl Jam’s fantastic catalog. He was, in a word, uncomfortable with this. I’m not sure if he thought that Eddie would sue us or if Jeff Ament would kick down his door and punch his kids in the face, but whatever the case, I didn’t want to push it. Instead I went with the usual music rather than bring the show in on the heels of a truly spectacular Mike McCready guitar solo. I mean, I personally can’t think of a better way to end the show than with Yellow Ledbetter, but it’s best not make one’s producer uncomfortable.
I can, however, post whatever the heck I want for this podcast post, hence the above video. Backspacer is filled with a number of touching songs and Just Breathe is one of them. I was going to go with The Fixer because it’s an absolutely awesome song, but I’m feeling mellow today, hence this one.
Oh right, the podcast…
Tom Chick joined us this week to talk about his decision to review games solely for Quarter to Three. That kind of naturally led us into a discusson on the various changes recently taking place within games journalism, which I was concerned would be a little too inside baseball-y but I think we managed to handle it well enough. From there we were kind of all over the place, touching on the Amalur demo, the shitty Saints Row: The Third DLC, Scary Girl, Darkness 2, Mage Knight and probably other things that I can’t remember right now. I, personally, am still struggling with trying to keep the bouncing between topics sounding natural and I know I’m not doing as well as I could be, but it’s still fairly new for all of us. As with most things, I blame Todd. At any rate, here’s the show:
With half of the No High Scores community on the Ascension bandwagon we spend the bulk of Jumping the Shark #106 talking about board games, the iPad, and boardgames on the iPad. Danielle goes diving for downloadable content on the 3DS. And we share some thoughts on the new $1000 Razer gaming tablet PC (“Fiona”) that they showed off at CES last week. Has anyone else found themselves wondering if the game controller/handles on the side come off? Yikes.
As a sidenote, tomorrow I’m off to Sweden to see Paradox Interactive’s 2012 lineup. I’ll be gone all week so episode #107 is entirely in Brandon’s capable and caring hands. Then I’m off for a day job trip to Boston the week after, but I should be back in time to record #108. I also hope to still get a post or two up this week, but no promises.
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…
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).
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
In Jumping the Shark #103 the gang, sans a Bill but plus a Tom, talks our favorite games of the year. Prior to that Tom and I get knee deep into The Old Republic, Brandon and Danielle discuss their love-hate relationship with Skyward Sword, and there’s plenty more. This one was a quick and sloppy edit, what with it being Christmas weekend. Speaking of which, I hope you all had a safe and wonderful Christmas. I hope to be back on later in the week with some more thoughts on the Jedi-Sith relationships in Old Republic. First, though, I need to actually get back to playing it!