After the long-awaited arrival of last week’s video podcast, many of you expressed your wishes that we not wait so long before the release of the next one. Well, for the first time in my life, I’m afraid I won’t be disappointing all of you – here’s a brand new podcast, fully of shiny gaming stories, GamerSushi memes and all kinds of other wonders.
This podcast brought us the monumental task of trying to recap an entire season’s worth of games, ranging from Bastion all the way to Skyrim. We used this as an excuse to try out a new game, Lightning Round, and I think all of you are going to be happy with the results. It was a nice way to run down a staggering list of games in a way that didn’t take 87 podcasts and two years of our blabbering to cover.
In addition, we played a game of Buy or Sell with a number of industry topics. Like we do. Listen up and enjoy, friends.
This post was actually written by Eddy, posted by Nick. Just to clear up any confusion.
Wow. Uh, hi dudes. I know it hasn’t been a long time since we’ve chatted, but it’s certainly been a long time since we’ve chatted in this format – you know, the format where I’m bringing you a brand new podcast. So that’s pretty cool, right? Especially considering the fact that this isn’t a normal podcast, but a special video podcast!
Yes, this is the long-rumored video podcast from GamerSushi Weekend, AKA PAX South, where the GamerSushi dudes convened for a weekend of hanging out, video gaming, drinking and yes, podcasting. I know it’s pretty ridiculous that it’s just now coming out almost six months later, but sometimes life happens and bearded dudes have to go to California to work. And yeah, that gets in the way every now and then.
If you’re ever looking for some ammunition in the (admittedly tired) ongoing discussion about whether or not games can be counted as art, I’d suggest you load your gun with a number of bullets from Dead End Thrills. What is Dead End Thrills? Basically, it’s a site devoted almost completely to the idea of video game photography – applying real-world photography techniques to showcase the artistic nature of video games. It’s not just as simple as that, though.
Applying the principles of real world photography to the virtual worlds of games is just part of the solution. Hacking and tweaking games to remove player model, HUD and restrictions on the camera are others. The toughest, though, is rendering games from throughout the 3D era, from Deus Ex to Crysis 2, at truly uncompromising quality. There is a massive difference between running a game with top-of-the-line antialiasing and quality settings, and running it with those same settings at resolutions far in excess today’s norms, using offline resampling to achieve perfect results. Only recently, and after extensive research, have such methods become possible.
Technical stuff aside, the dude makes some pretty sweet pictures, including great desktops from Skyrim, Portal 2, Alice: The Madness Returns, Modern Warfare 2 and even an iPod/iPad collection. I highly recommend checking out his work and upgrading your desktop collection.
A little game for the comments: link your favorites. Go!
I’m a huge fan of Final Fantasy VI, it being my favorite game of all time and everything, but apparently there is something I’ve never know about it: it can be broken in the most bizarre and fun ways possible. A user on the SomethingAwful forums (via 1UP) named Elephantgun posted the below video, which not only shows him having an airship in the opening minutes of the game, but also causing the game to go completely haywire when he uses Relm’s Sketch skill against an invisible enemy. See for yourself:
Pretty crazy, right? Are there any games out there that have similar glitches that you like to use? Have you ever discovered any yourself? Hit me!
Seems that the GamerSushi staff is on something of a Metal Gear Solid kick lately, but what other video game series can inspire people to randomly bust into a musical number? (Inside joke, don’t worry.) While Anthony was adventuring through the depths of Shadow Moses, I found a video of a guy absolutely breaking Metal Gear Solid 3 and it’s pretty amusing (and maybe a little frightening).
That’s the end result of hours of hours of practice, ladies and gents. I’m impressed by this showing, and I’m always fascinated by the ways people can find to creatively bypass the “game” aspect of most titles and create something new. Do you guys have any examples of this?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but 2011 was a monumental year for video games. The last four months alone have given us some of the finest gaming experiences of the last few years. Skyrim and Batman: Arkham City are still vying for my personal Game of the Year slot, but even with these two juggernauts on my mind it’s hard to forget the games that were smaller but still managed to pack a big punch.
My biggest surprise of 2011 was Sonic Generations, the return to form for the Blue Blur that we’ve been waiting for ever since Sonic Adventure 2. There are no Werehogs (which I love to point out smugly is a misnomer, as “were” means “male human”, so “Wolfhog” would have been more appropriate), no goofy side-kick levels and no swordplay. It’s just straight up speed in classic or modern flavors and I kind of love it for that. If you’ve been hesitant about Generations, it gets my personal seal of approval. It’s not Game of the Year contender material, but it’s a solid title that earns its praise.
Another game that caught me off guard this year was Magicka, the isometric magic-casting game that took the PC world by storm. This game took co-op and turned it on its head by making your friends not only your greatest allies but your biggest threat as well. Four out of the five GS crew members played a night of Magicka and it was a howling good time, even if it did turn me into a raging asshole.
Rayman Origins also gets a nod from me as a sleeper hit, but what about you guys? What were your big 2011 games that no one’s talking about?
One of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes comics has to do with the idea that every man has a price. Calvin says that his price is two bucks cold cash up front, to which Hobbes muses aloud that he’s not sure what’s worse: that everyone has his price, or that the price is sometimes so low. What’s funny is that the more I think about it, the more this is actually true in gaming, too. Everyone’s got a price in terms of what they want from a game. And while the Bill Watterson comic touched on this in a more sinister way with morality, I think it’s what actually helps us enjoy games overall.
These thoughts started brewing in my head after an excellent piece over on Unwinnable, titled, Bullshit Vs. The Thing You’re After. In it, the author touches on every gamer’s price and what it is that makes gamers tick. And I think I totally agree.
I’m hardcore. At least, I consider myself to be. As such, I usually play games the first time through on at least normal, never dropping to easy mode unless I am just interested in the story, which is a rare occasion at best. But with games that I’ve played before, such as the newly released Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition, I wanted to challenge myself and play it on Heroic. So that’s what Eddy and I did.
Until some technical SNAFUs got in the way. We were playing co-op, breezing through the game and right at the very end of the level “Assault on the Control Room” when we were suddenly disconnected from Xbox Live. Thanks to the games archaic checkpoint system, we lost our progress and would have been forced to replay the whole level again, if it wasn’t for the fact that we rage quit for a week.
Finally, this weekend, we got back on the Halo horse and started kicking ass again. Until it happened again…in The Library. Rather than race to trade the game in, which was my first instinct, Eddy suggested we drop it to normal and just beat it quickly. And so we did. And what an enjoyable experience that was. We were so tired of the game that we just wanted to race right through it and be done with it.
Has this happened to anyone else? You suddenly lose all concern for your hardcore cred and just want to BEAT THE FREAKING THING and move on with your life? Sound off!
I’ve got plenty of gaming-related secrets. A few of them I’ve shared before, but some are so embarrassing that I dare not ever let them see the light of day. These include times that I spent hours going about a task the wrong way in an RPG, re-rolling characters and bumping certain games down to easier difficulties because there were no achievements associated with finishing it on Normal. Yup.
And while I won’t speak directly about some of those things, the guys over at Wiki Game Guides have put together a rather humorous (and sadly familiar) collection of the 10 Most Humbling Experiences that a gamer can go through. This list might make you laugh and cry all at once, because it includes getting “perfected” in a fighting game, being asked to switch to Bass in Rock Band and running into the first Goomba in Mario 1-1. Each of those may have happened to me at some point. In a past life. I don’t like to talk about it.
So what about you guys? How many of these things have you experienced? What are some of your biggest gaming shames?
For every gameplay mechanic that sets a standard in the industry, there are always a few that manage to slip out of vogue no matter how interesting they are. Back in the days when gaming was just getting started, developers felt like they could take a few more risks with their designs and some really cool stuff came out of that era. There are some neat ideas being presented today, but the fresh stuff is few and far between.
IGN’s newest appendage 1up put out an article on four gameplay mechanics that should have caught on and it’s an interesting look at some big ideas that have faded away into obscurity. While Demon’s Souls (and Dark Souls) are new, things like Rainbow Six’s mission planner or Blade Runner’s randomized story elements are kind of relics now, lost to the ages.
I remember trying to figure out Rainbow Six’s planner back in the day and I recall it being beyond the scope of my young mind. My missions frequently boiled down to giving everyone a shotgun and hoping for the best, but I bet if I went back and tried that game today I would find a layer of strategy that is so painfully absent from modern shooters.
The social single-player elements of Demon’s Souls is one of the most intriguing aspects of that game to me and I would be really pleased if that caught on in other games, especially sandbox titles. How awesome would it be if you were playing Grand Theft Auto V and saw some graffiti on the ground left by another player, pointing you towards a secret area with a special vehicle? This is a masterful way of bringing players together inside their own separate worlds and I’d like other developers to take a stab at it.
Do you guys have any gameplay mechanics that you used to love that have fallen by the wayside? I seem to recall squad commands being quite the big ticket item last generation but I don’t see that too much these days. Personally, I’d love to be able to give my AI teammates commands because they can’t seem to think for themselves that well. Sound off!
If there’s anything we can say about 2011 – in addition to the fact that it’s been one of the best years for gaming that we can remember – it’s that it has been the year of the HD remake. In the fall season alone, we’ve seen Halo CE: Anniversary, Ico/Shadow of the Colossus and Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection all release to rave reviews from fanboys that have longed to see their old favorites restored with loving detail. Naturally, this opens up the conversation to other classics, and there are none more sought after than the dreaded Final Fantasy VII remake.
In a recent interview with Official XBox Magazine, Final Fantasy XIII-2 producer Yoshinori Kitase gave some of his thoughts about how he’d tackle a remake of one of the most famed entries in the beloved series:
“If I may speak as a game creator, if we were to produce a remake of VII, for example, I would be really tempted to delete things and add new elements, new systems or whatever because if we were to make exactly the same thing now, it’d be like a repeat… But if we did that, the fans might be disappointed or ‘this is not what I was expecting’ so in that sense maybe some might say that it’s better to let memory be memory.”
I have to say that I understand the impulse to want to approach the remake creatively. I mean, where would the appeal be to just slap a new coat of paint on something if you’re part of the team involved? But on the other hand, a part of me would also want the game that I loved exactly as it was. It would be interesting if developers could find a way to include both things in the final product, although I understand it’s not entirely feasible.
So what do you guys think? What kind of remakes do you prefer? Fresh new takes on old favorites, or a new coat of paint on the classics? What would you change in HD remakes of your favorite games? Go!
Few things compare to the joys I’ve gotten from the Super Smash Bros. franchise. Whether it was after school on the Nintendo 64, skipping class in college with the GameCube or taking a break on the Wii, the Nintendo branded brawler is the perfect mix of insanity and trashtalk-inducing competition. If I were one of the other big console companies, I guess I’d be eying something similar for my own franchises.
And according to rumors, that’s just what Sony is doing. For a while now, there have been whispers that one SuperBot Entertainment has been hard at work crafting the PlayStation’s own take on the Smash Bros. style of mayhem. Until the last couple of weeks, these rumors didn’t have much substance to them. However, SuperBot employee Chris Molina’s twitter account recently outed not only the game’s existence, but also a few details like the inclusion of characters Kratos, Sweet Tooth and Parappa.
So what do you guys think of this idea? Would you play a Sony version of Super Smash Bros.? What characters would you like to see? What about a Microsoft version? Go!
I’ve often been a pretty vocal opponent to the idea of fan films. Sure, they’re flashy and a nice little pipe dream for the communities of the games they represent, but in the end they’re typically low on content. Most of them follow the same formula, and are entirely predictable.
Such is the case with this new entry, Half-Life: Origins. Why am I posting it, then? Because as miserly as I can be about fan videos on the Internet, I can’t help but admire this stylish recreation of one of the most iconic video game intros ever made. So, yeah. Enjoy.
Wow. I think out of all the days that could have decked us in the Fall, it was today that I was most worried about. As Mitch has lovingly dubbed it, Doomsday Tuesday happened today, and with it came a veritable salvo of gaming entertainment. Or horrors, if you’re concerned about what this means for your wallet.
While I’m no doubt going to leave somebody out, the big games that dropped today include Saint’s Row: The Third, Halo: CE Anniversary and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. So, yeah. Lots of stuff to play, I guess.
Rather than doing a slew of posts roll call-ing for each of these gems, I thought I’d put it all together in one post and just ask you straight up: which of these are you getting today? Are you getting any of them at all? As for me, I received Halo: CE Anniversary in the mail, and hope to add Saint’s Row: The Third and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations over time. But for now, Skyrim rules all.
So what about you dudes? Time to weight in on the roll call. Go!
This is happening right now, and you should take advantage of it: Amazon is offering “The Greatest Video Game Music” on sale for only $2.99. This is a compilation of popular video game songs recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and I will say that it is kind of rad.
If you’re hesitant to part with your money, here’s a list of tracks:
1. Advent Rising: Muse
2. Legend of Zelda: Suite
3. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2: Theme
4. Angry Birds: Main Theme
5. Final Fantasy VIII: Liberi Fatali
6. Super Mario Bros: Theme
7. Uncharted – Drake’s Fortune: Nate’s Theme
8. Grand Theft Auto IV: Soviet Connection
9. World of Warcraft: Seasons of War
10. Metal Gear Solid: Sons of Liberty Theme
11. Tetris Theme (Korobeiniki)
12. Battlefield 2: Theme
13. Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
14. Call of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare: Main Menu Theme
15. Mass Effect: Suicide Mission
16. Splinter Cell: Conviction
17. Final Fantasy: Main Theme
18. Bioshock: The Ocean on his Shoulders
19. Halo 3: One Final Effort
20. Fallout 3: Theme
21. Super Mario Galaxy: Gusty Garden Galaxy
22. Bonus Track: Dead Space: Welcome Aboard The U.S.G. Ishimura
So yeah. I’ve already jumped on top of this offer. Anybody else joining?
Ah, modern gaming. How often you’re lambasted these days for your simplistic ways.
This is always a tricky subject for me. We generally try to keep the discourse around here less cynical, but sometimes we do talk about the things we miss about gaming. Let’s face it: games have changed, and there’s no point beating around the bush about it.
I guess that means there’s no bush-beating in this video. It asks the question: what if Quake was made today? And agree or disagree with its conclusions, it’s hard to deny that it makes at least a few points, and hilariously at that.
While I genuinely think that in some ways, games are better than ever, I’ll admit that the things in this video are pretty spot on. I don’t know if I buy into all the negativity that I hear from the gaming community about this issue, but it’s still worth noting.
So what do you guys think about the ideas this video raises? Do you like/dislike the direction of modern games? Is it a more complicated issue than the video lays out? Go!
Or I suppose it’ll be the day after Halloween by the time you read this, but that’s no reason to be any less festive, is it? Every year, we try to give some kind of feature towards the day of ghouls and goblins, and 2011 is no different. While in the past we may have covered a list of scariest games or done a Halloween Pop Quiz, this year I wanted to skew in a bit of a different direction.
Confession time, gents and ladies. Playing Batman: Arkham City makes me feel like a kid again, and I don’t really care who knows it. As of right now, it’s my game of the year. I’ll tell you why in a moment.
But first, there’s something you may have already guessed about me, but I thought I should confess that as well: sometimes I can be a bit of a cynic. I always try to look at the brighter side of things, but in this day and age, the overwhelming cynical voice of the Internet can be a bit of a bog that all of us get stuck in. Especially when it comes to gaming.
Oh, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. You look like a fairly interesting take on the Zelda universe, complete with a sky diving Link, imaginative monsters and some of that fancy Nintendo art design that has made your series famous. But you seem to have some confusion regarding your control scheme.
I guess it’s kind of rude of me to keep having this conversation with a video game while ignoring my fellow Sushi-ans, so I’ll clue you in. As you guys all know, Skyward Sword is a game slated for release on the Nintendo Wii, and as such, requires playing the game with a Wii-mote. Unfortunately for southpaws, though, there is no left-handed control scheme, despite earlier reports that it would end up in the game.
Now, I’m not going to bash Nintendo for this, even though it seems like a drastic oversight. Plenty of game companies don’t allow for control schemes that work for everyone. In fact, it’s often a big deal now when video games come packaged with options for handicapped players, like what Modern Warfare 3 is doing.
I guess my big question is why more developers aren’t allowing for these kinds of options in games? One of the biggest advantages to PC gaming in my mind is that you can customize your keyboard to play the game however you want to play it, and it doesn’t make any difference to anybody. I get that there needs to be some kind of standardized way to play, but would it hurt games to have a more customizable experience in that regard?
What do you guys think of this? Fair/foul on Nintendo? Should more games allow for changing the controls as you see fit? Go!
I won’t presume to speak for the gamer population at large, but one of my recent concerns about the trajectory of the video game industry would have to do with the lack of innovation. I try to keep my griping about “shooter fatigue” to a minimum around these parts, simply because at the end of the day, I still like playing shooters, even if I would like something to come along from time to time to mix up the monotony.
But what exactly is the cause behind the predominant trend of shooter saturation over the last few years? Have gamers changed? Have developers changed? Is the idea of a shooter the most immersive form of game design? Hardly, says Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karch. He believes that out of control budgets for AAA titles are what’s causing the innovation funk. Here’s what the studio head behind Halo: Anniversary had to say on the matter in a recent interview:
Publishers will spend so much money to make a game. It becomes so bloated that you can’t innovate, because if you’re spending $15 million on something, you want to make sure that it’s a safe bet so you can’t take those risks.
Ultimately you end up with the fourth or fifth sequel of a game, which really is a tried and true formula without much innovation… I think there are so many things fundamentally wrong with the way the games industry is run that need to change.
I really think the solution is coming up with ways to give people smaller, more varied experiences for less money. A perfect example is LA Noire. Here’s a game that people like to play for the first couple of hours, then it got repetitive and by the second or third hour they were done with it. So why not give them a two or three hour experience for 10 pounds instead of giving them a £50 game? Why not give them a smaller, bite size experience?
While the studio’s track record doesn’t necessarily help them (Halo: Anniversary isn’t exactly breaking the mold anymore than their previous title Battle Los Angeles), it’s nice to note that some game studio heads are thinking this way. As much as I’m excited about the many sequels that are coming out this year, I can’t help but think that I’d love to see something new.
What do you guys think about the idea of game budgets getting out of hand? Do you think something needs to shift in the gaming industry? Go!