Welcome to the Flap Jaw Space Power Rankings (text edition), a written recap of the dynamic perversion and informal melee that unfolded on the previous episode of Flap Jaw Space: The Digital Chumps Podcast. Power Rankings is a running segment where we continually update the ten best games of 2012 every episode. If you're new, there's quite a bit of nuance and havoc that goes into these deliberations, most of which you can read about in the origin story here. The important thing to remember is that Chris had this idea approximately one (1) week before the similarly themed concept from Polygon. So, without further delay,

THE FLAP JAW SPACE POWER RANKINGS – EPISODE 52 – MAY 23RD, 2012

Going in:

1 - Journey, as played on PlayStation Network by Chris, Eric and (somewhat begrudgingly) Steve

2 - Fez, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris, Steve, and Eric

3 - Awesomenauts, as played on PlayStation Network by Chris and Eric

4 - Xenoblade Chronicles, as played on Wii by Eric

5 - Mass Effect 3, as played on Xbox 360 by Chris and Eric

6 - Trials Evolution, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris and Eric

7 - Pushmo, as played on 3DS by Steve

8 - Twisted Metal, as played on PlayStation 3 by Eric

9 - Syndicate, as played on Xbox360 by Chris and Eric

10 - Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs attack, as played on PlayStation Network by Chris and Steve

Up for Nomination:

Datura (PSN)

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II (XBLA)

Mario Tennis Open (3DS)

Mincraft (XBLA)

Diablo III (PC)

Going out:

1 - Diablo III, as played on a Personal Computer by Chris and Steve

2 - Journey, as played on PlayStation Network by Chris, Eric and (somewhat begrudgingly) Steve

3 - Awesomenauts, as played on PlayStation Network by Chris and Eric

4 - Xenoblade Chronicles, as played on Wii by Eric

5 - Mass Effect 3, as played on Xbox 360 by Chris and Eric

6 - Fez, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris, Steve, and Eric

7 - Trials Evolution, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris and Eric

8 - Pushmo, as played on 3DS by Steve

9 - Twisted Metal, as played on PlayStation 3 by Eric

10 - Syndicate, as played on Xbox360 by Chris and Eric

Recap: The King is dead. Long live the King. Despite a miserable launch Diablo III exploded out of the gate and toppled Journey's two month reign at number one. Like most of rational humanity, both Steve and Chris harbored a certain fondness for Diablo II, and whether it was rooted in their adolescent addiction to isometric loot acquisition or because, damn it, it's such a great experience; Diablo III seemed to pick up exactly where Diablo II left off. Steve is also apparently reviewing Diablo III, which explains why, among other things, the podcast we recorded five days ago is currently MIA and his legitimate surprise at learning E3 was less than two week away. Personally I don't understand any of this because, like any good drug, the means to acquire it are too expensive i.e. my PC sucks. I do, however, recognize its profound effect on the mind-brains of my co-hosts; without any regret or sense of irony both declared they'd likely be enjoying Diablo III well into next winter.

In other news, neither Datura nor Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II managed to crack the top ten. Datura was a great idea compromised by fairly poor controls while a second episode of Sonic 4 was a curious disappointment and little else.

Minecraft nearly destroyed my life. After, I don't know, twenty hours of building a glass palace in the sky I decided the process of mining and cooking sand felt a lot like work and, even though I was legitimately enjoying myself, I felt sort of rotten about the whole thing. There is an objective game there, sort of, but there was virtually no point in erecting a giant sky palace with lava pools and water columns if there wasn't anyone else there to see it. There's a riddle in there somewhere but rather than figure it out I abandoned ship.

I can't remember what Steve said about Mario Tennis Open but the tagline in his review, "less is less," should serve as a pretty good indicator of its strength, or lack thereof.

Tragedy of the week goes to Fez, which fell six spots in a power move by Chris. I didn't argue, and since Diablo III came out before Steve could apply his alien intellect to its puzzles, he didn't care to object.

In any case the Flap Jaw Space Power Rankings currently look extremely powerful. There are no more easy cuts, as every game that remains declares at least one impassioned champion. Given there aren't really a whole lot of mega huge games coming out soon, not to mention a podcast format hiatus while we kill ourselves at E3, but that doesn't mean something crazy from earlier in the year could sneak up on us. Smart money is on Steve with Kid Icarus however I plan on giving the critically maligned I am Alive a shot soon, not to mention the first retail game I'll buy for my Vita in Gravity Rush.

Who knows what will happen?!? Check back in hopefully under a month.

Previous Power Rankings: Episode 50 | Episode 51

Welcome to the Flap Jaw Space Power Rankings (text edition), a written recap of the dynamic perversion and informal melee that unfolded on the previous episode of Flap Jaw Space: The Digital Chumps Podcast. Power Rankings is a running segment where we continually update the ten best games of 2012 every episode. If you're new, there's quite a bit of nuance and havoc that goes into these deliberations, most of which you can read about in the origin story here. The important thing to remember is that Chris had this idea approximately one (1) week before the similarly themed concept from Polygon. So, without further delay,

THE FLAP JAW SPACE POWER RANKINGS - EPISODE 51 - MAY 8TH, 2012

Going in:

1 - Journey, as played on PlayStation Network by Chris, Eric and (somewhat begrudgingly) Steve

2 - Fez, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris and Eric

3 - Xenoblade Chronicles, as played on Wii by Eric

4 - Mass Effect 3, as played on Xbox 360 by Chris and Eric

5 - Twisted Metal, as played on PlayStation 3 by Eric

6 - Syndicate, as played on Xbox360 by Chris and Eric

7 - Trials Evolution, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris

8 - Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs attack, as played on PlayStation Vita by Chris and Steve

9 - NFL Blitz, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris

10 - Ghost Trick, as played on an iPhone 4S by Chris

Up for Nomination: The Darkness II - Super Monday Night Combat - Awesomenauts - Pushmo

Going out:

1 - Journey, as played on PlayStation Network by Chris, Eric and (somewhat begrudgingly) Steve

2 - Fez, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris and Eric

3 - Awesomenauts, as played on PlayStation Network by Chris and Eric

4 - Xenoblade Chronicles, as played on Wii by Eric

5 - Mass Effect 3, as played on Xbox 360 by Chris and Eric

6 - Trials Evolution, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris and Eric

7 - Pushmo, as played on 3DS by Steve

8 - Twisted Metal, as played on PlayStation 3 by Eric

9 - Syndicate, as played on Xbox360 by Chris and Eric

10 - Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs attack, as played on PlayStation  Vita by Chris and Steve

Recap: With only 28 cubes under his belt, Steve busted out of the gate by suggesting we move Fez ahead of Journey. Neither Chris nor I were prepared to make this move. In fact, upon the revelation of Fez' monster mind second layer, we both entered with the intention of moving Fez down a few places. Out of nowhere Steve then compared Fez' music to an unconscious fondness for living in our respective mother's wombs, which, despite being a time that none of us remembered, we all conceptually agreed with. Born out of this resolve was an affirmation that Fez was good enough for second place - for now.

Awesomenauts was undoubtedly the greatest surprise. From a game that we were only vaguely aware of a few weeks ago to what's currently the third best game of the year was quite a journey. Chris and former Flap Jaw Space special guest Chris Smith played enough to achieve the unrecognized rank of master, while my ultimate appreciation was held back by an unrefined skill set. In any case it was a lot of fun and held true to Chris' line of, "it's like Capcom made a Mega Man MOBA" which has now sold the game to five different people. Steve claimed he would be buying Awesomenauts before the next podcast, Chris and crew seem to be cruising past infatuation and into long term commitment, or at least that's what they're saying until Diablo 3 comes out and everyone goes Leonard Shelby on everything else from 2012.

In Steve's second left field instance of the evening arrived Pushmo. If you’re paying attention you would notice that Pushmo actually came out on December 8th, 2011. After a bit of discussion we decided the Flap Jaw Space Power Rankings would run from December 2011 to December 2012, which sort of makes sense considering everyone usually ignores games released in December. In any case I had no idea what the hell Steve was talking about when he was describing this game, but after a brief demonstration he killed off any chance I had at finishing Resident Evil Revelations and motivated me to pick it up immediately. The staggering amount of content, apparent challenge, ridiculous price, and fondness for portable puzzle games makes Pushmo sound like a no-brainer that requires a brain. If nothing else, like Steve said, it proves there's still a space out there for original puzzle games. 

Chris also brought Super Monday Night Combat to the table, however its strength was weakened when he discovered it was merely a MOBA conduit for Awesomenauts. It was thereby resolved to the nebulous, "It's pretty cool, but I don't know" category occupied by hits like Tribes Ascend and Quell.

I brought and immediately rejected The Darkness II on the grounds of it being a largely miserable experience. I liked the art style and the idea of using the darkness as an extension of Jackie's melee set, however that's pretty much what it boiled down to; a whip and a gravity gun. The narrative, which split time between an mental hospital and the 'real world' and tasked the player with figuring out which actually happing, was sort of cool, but not enough to trump the monotony of soulless shooting and a repeating hell of bad guys.

NFL Blitz and Ghost Trick fell off by the simple math associated with process of elimination. While we lost two downloadable titles the obvious trend remains; we're playing (and loving) a lot more sub-$15 games.

And thus ends the Flap Jaw Space Power Rankings for Episode 51. Check back on May 22nd when Chris and Steve talk endlessly about Diablo 3 and Eric finally engages the 2010 PC game of the year 2011, but on a console in 2012. Or something.  

In the interest of condensation, we're going to post new episodes here in blog format. That way, you can access all of Eric's written recaps and other musing related to the podcast. The RSS feed will stay exactly the same, so you and the other millions (and millions) of Flap Jaw Space listeners do not have to update your aggregators and such. As always, thanks for listening to our idiotic blathering.

Despite the fact that we promise a free copy of The Witcher 2 (PC) at the beginning the podcast this week, we forget by the end. (I promise we'll do it next week.) Aside from that, we're talking updated Power Rankings this week, with special respect to Steve's perspective on Fez. Also making appearances this week are the awesome Awesomenauts, Pushmo, The Darkness II, Super Monday Night Combat, and a little mop up duty from 2011's backlog. Don't forget your $200 sunglasses this week, because we're shining the light of our untrained and unrefined idiotic opinions once again.

Find the latest episode on the RSS feed or go to iTunes.

Or, play the episode here: [Play Episode 51]

Please direct feedback, questions, and hate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow us on Twitter.

I've always (unjustly) assumed that the communities surrounding popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games such as League of Legends are about as receptive to outsiders as groups frequented by characters portrayed by Edward Norton and Edward Furlong. Defending lanes of ever-progressing AI drones, smashing turrets, and new-player griefing seemed to be the common threads. But why the hell are they called MOBAs anyway? Isn’t everything that is both online and competitive considered a multiplayer online battle arena?

Degrees of specificity in game genre nomenclature notwithstanding, developer Ronimo Games has hybridized the console-unfamiliar concept of the MOBA with the 90s-style 2D action game that resembles Metal Slug with a Saturday-morning cartoon motif. Think of it as team-based, multiplayer Mega Man. In fact, Capcom would be well-served to take notice, rather than murdering the Blue Bomber and all of eighty of his robot buddies.

MOBA-style games are apparently about pulling your weight for the good of your team (lest you be called something racially insensitive). Awesomenauts is more than smart about fostering teamwork – and Ronimo didn't concede to plop it out into the digital distribution ether, either. Instead, our late-twentyish, early thirtyish collective man-child brains have been treated with something familiar to teach us something foreign. The lone wolf seeking the best kill-to-death ratio at the expense of his teammates is destined to hate this game.

It is obvious that Awesomenauts respects balance (though it doesn’t quite always achieve it without incident), but it also simultaneously allows customizable loadouts that give the player freedom to add his own personal touch (or stroke his propensity to min/max everything he comes in contact with). They probably do all these things in League of Legends, but League of Legends isn’t a goddamn fake cartoon.

Outside of fighting games, competitive multiplayer games that exist on two-dimensional planes have been largely irrelevant (or non-existent). As with anything competitive, there's a certain grammar required to completely understand underlying principles.

So thank you, Awesomenauts, for teaching me how to play as part of a superhero squad and not piss off my internet friends.

 

Flap Jaw Space: The DigitalChumps Podcast finally hit Episode 50 last week (well, it was really our 57th recording, but 50 official episodes). Up until Episode 48, the bulk of Flap Jaw Space followed a fairly standard podcast model of three hosts (and an occasional bonus character) discussing all of the games we had played since the previous podcast. Flap Jaw Space also used to feature special segments like "Steve Plays a Game He Should Have Already Played," "Retroactive ShitStorm," "How Much Do You Realize," and "Burn this Mother Fu**er Down," but eventually all of that eroded into a catch-all of profanity, countless stories that were tangentially (if that) related to gaming, and a verbal deluge of ideas and/or critical theories that almost made sense.  We still plan on doing all of that, but to add some focus and relevance to the 2012 gaming landscape Chris Stone developed a better organized and perpetually interesting vector for discourse dubbed the Flap Jaw Space Power Rankings (formerly The G.O.T.Y. Ladder).

Basically, every episode is now the Game of the Year episode. Some might say that Game of the Year podcasts are only special because they happen once a year, and that doing that every two weeks would ruin its charm. To them I say look at other inconceivable triumphs of the human spirit, like Chrono Trigger, when Captain Crunch went Oops! All Berries*, or the formation of the 1992 Olympic Basketball Dream Team.** What I'm trying to say is relax, we have a plan in place.

Every 2012 game that we have played is eligible for the flux of ten games known as Flap Jaw Space Power Rankings. For its first iteration the sheer lack of potential candidates resulted in certifiable crap like Amy as well anything Steve Schardein liked defaulting into the ranking order. Over time, as the quality of titles has increased, so has the potential for chaos and melee in the verbal sparring space. With new and (sometimes!) better games coming out every week, the idea is for the Flap Jaw Space Power Rankings to foster arguments concerning which games definitely belong and which games certainly  or kind of maybe don't in an effort to derive the ten best games of the year. It's all completely subjective and mostly just for fun, but it's also a neat way to internalize the impact left by some of our favorite games, and whether or not it stands up against titles released months down the road.

In any case from Episode 50 on the Flap Jaw Space Power Rankings will have a companion story posted for every episode at DigitalChumps. Basically its intent is to function as a recap of two hours worth of discussion in case you zoned out while we were trying to explain the difference between Tommy Tallarico and Timecube.com

So, without further delay:

THE FLAP JAW SPACE POWER RANKINGS 

Going in to Episode 50:

1 - Journey, as played on PlayStation Network by Chris and Eric

2 - Twisted Metal, as played on PlayStation 3 by Eric

3 - Mass Effect 3, as played on Xbox 360 by Eric

4 - Syndicate, as played on Xbox360 by Chris and Eric

5 - Gothom City Impostors, as played on PlayStation Network by Eric

6 - NFL Blitz, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris

7 - Ghost Trick, as played on an iPhone 4S by Chris and generally accepted by Eric

8 - Super Stardust Delta, as played on PlayStation Vita by Eric

9 - Ziggurat as played on an iPhone 4S by Chris and Eric

10 - Quell, as played on an HTC EVO by Steve

Up for Nomination: World Gone Sour, Fez, FIFA Soccer (Vita), Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, Trials Evolution, Tribes Ascend, Xenoblade Chronicles, Escape Plan, The Pinball Arcade

Going out of Episode 50:

1 - Journey, as played on PlayStation Network by Chris, Eric and (somewhat begrudgingly) Steve

2 - Fez, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris and Eric

3 - Xenoblade Chronicles, as played on Wii by Eric

4 – Mass Effect 3, as played on Xbox 360 by Chris and Eric

5 – Twisted Metal, as played on PlayStation 3 by Eric

6 - Syndicate, as played on Xbox 360 by Chris and Eric

7 – Trials Evolution, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris

8 – Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, as played on PlayStation Vita by Chris and Steve

9 - NFL Blitz, as played on Xbox Live Arcade by Chris

10 – Ghost Trick, as played on an iPhone 4s by Chris and generally accepted by Eric

Recap: The greatest disruption took place when Chris, in an unprecedented power move, wiped Gothom City Impostors off the list and replaced it with Trials Evolution. Typically new entries are ranked where appropriate and the last in line falls off the list, though no rule indicates this as the only course of action. We had been looking to remove Gothom City Impostors for a while and Eric, who seemed puzzled that it was there, chose not to stand and fight for its existence in the Power Rankings.

Ziggurat was also instantly deleted from the list when it was revealed, via listener email from Graeme, that it was created by Action Button Dot Net’s Tim Rogers. Eric finds Roger’s writing style to be infuriating and thus wiped Ziggurat out of principle.

With both Chris and Steve getting a Vita since Episode 49, it was a bit surprising to see Super Stardust Delta fall off, though it was essentially replaced with Mutant Blobs Attack, another and apparently better Vita game.

Xenoblade Chronicles’ inclusion of the list was a topic of hot debate. It's sole nominee, Eric, had it as his Game of the Year in 2011 (via an imported copy), but wound up reviewing it and squeezing out an additional 70 hours in 2012, which Chris decided qualified it for inclusion in our 2012 list. Also, it's awesome.

Fez coming in and placing as high as it did should surprise no one, though in the time since this podcast Eric and Chris have cooled on it a bit, while Steve just started playing.

Quell? Does anyone miss Quell?

* The core reasoning here is obvious, but also note that Oops! All Berries stealthy solved the fundamental and quite universal issue with Captain Crunch; it didn't rip your mouth to shreds

** This was a positive experience for everyone on the planet except Isiah Thomas and (possibly) Christian Laettner. 

S5 Box

Login Form

Other Stuff