Well, who knew that when we posted those Portal 2 gameplay videos the other day, that even more of the big E3 demo was going to be hitting the Web shortly? Parts 2 through 5 (of 7 total) are now online for Portal fans to gobble up, with the next 2 parts coming out tomorrow.
Honestly, the glimpses I’ve seen of the game so far are an absolute blast, and it really looks like they’re taking things to crazy heights in terms of the puzzling and platforming. I love the leap of faith mechanic, and they’ve got some cool new stuff to show off in these videos as well.
It’s the middle of the summer, just after E3, which of course means that video game news has largely slowed to a halt again. Things will pick up after a few weeks, I’m sure, but until then, expect lots of editorials and questions about your lives as awesome gamers.
As many of you are no doubt on summer break, I wanted to talk a little about summer gaming. When I was younger, I remember several days in the summer months where I would just get up and play the NES or Sega Genesis all day long, walking to Blockbuster to rent games and then promptly dispatching them as soon as I got home. It was a glorious schedule, and one I long for again. I think my favorite summer gaming memory, though, comes from the summer of 1997, when Star Fox 64 came out. I remember walking to the GamePower, a local video game shop, trading in several video games and then running back home with a copy of the game in my hand. I then beat the game in one sitting, and my brother and I played multiplayer matches with our friends nearly all night.
Man, that just made me crazy nostalgic. What about you guys? What are some of your favorite summer gaming memories?
There’s a new Kid Icarus game coming to the Nintendo 3DS, and most of us are understandably excited. Aside from an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Pit has sadly been absent from the gaming scene since the NES. While we’re excited to just have him back in our gaming systems, Masahiro Sakurai the game’s lead designer, is using Uprising to address what he feels is “an overriding problem with a lot of game design.” The full quote goes like this:
“I’ve found that, in the established genres, the controls are always the same. For example, in shooting games, you find first-person-shooters utilize all of the buttons on the controller and always do the same thing — the stick is for moving, triggers for shooting and they’re always trapped in this very restricted framework for gameplay. And, that’s just not creative. It feels like people are taking this empty shell and just swapping out the story and art and whatnot. This time, with Kid Icarus, we wanted to address that certain problem and not only because I think the industry deserves it, but also because it’s a more satisfying experience personally.
That’s a very interesting perspective, and I can’t blame Sakurai-san for wanting to shake up the industry a bit. On the other hand, he cites first-person-shooters as an example, one that I feel isn’t that strong. Those games use a standardized control scheme because it works, and it’s what we’ve been using for a long while. Take the Orange Box, which used a different set-up for its controls, and how awkward that felt. They weren’t that different, but the buttons for reloading and melee were swapped around, and it took a few frustrating tries to get used to.
If you’re going to innovate in this industry, are controls the best way to go about it? Do you think that this idea has some merit, or is Sakurai-san barking up the wrong tree? Is the 3DS even the right platform to attempt this on?
At present, we’ve already had two sets of inductions into our very own GamerSushi Hall of Fame: one for solo campaign levels as well as multiplayer maps. When I wrote those, I was sure to note that they were by no means a final list, and that we would be adding plenty of new groups in with them. That’s why I’m here today to bring a new set of candidates, but with a bit of a twist: The Video Game Level Hall of Shame.
This wing of the Hall of Fame is devoted to those game levels which are masochistic in their design, ever demanding more skill from us, more hours and frustration and yes, even blood sacrifices in order to add their notches to our belts. The Video Game Level Hall of Shame is reserved for those notorious offenders that made us collectively throw our controllers in frustration and disdain, scorning the forges that could create such misery in video game form.
Well, in honor of the awesome news we received at E3 about Kid Icarus returning after a 20 year break, I downloaded the original NES game on Virtual Console. After receiving a few ass-whippings, which I attribute to 20 years or so of rust, I realize another reason I always loved this game: the music.
Specifically, the music of the first level, of which I am becoming way too familiar with as I try to remember how the hell to play this game. So here’s a taste, hope you enjoy. I personally can’t wait to hear a modern version of this when it releases on the 3DS!
Welcome to our semi-monthly open-forum post where we pose to you the simple question of “What Are You Playing”? It’s summer now, but the games keep on coming, so much so that I can barely keep up with them. I’ve completely skipped Final Fantasy 13, missed half of God of War 3, only just caught up on Heavy Rain, and I still feel like I’m struggling to stay current. It may have something to do with sinking about two days worth of playtime into Red Dead Redemption, but that game is awesome, so I’ll assume that you forgive me.
Other than that, there’s been a couple of co-op DLC releases, a licensed game that’s actually pretty good, and Steam is having a ridiculous sale right now (you can find all of the delicious savings through this link if you don’t follow us on Twitter). I think I’m going to pick up Torchlight since it’s so cheap. I’ve heard good things about it, but has anyone played it?
Also, before we jump in to your posts, I should mention that next week will be bereft of the GamerSushi podcast since Nick and Eddy are “ascending the slopes of Mount Doom” with Web Zeroes, as they put it. We’ll pick up where we left off with our normal format in a couple of weeks though. Hopefully you can wait a while before our dulcet tones, and my nasally voice, caress your ear canals once again. OK, enough blabbing on my part, get cracking!
If you’re at all familiar with anime, then you’ve no doubt heard of Studio Ghibli, the group behind such memorable and classic titles like Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. These movies are known not only for their stories, but for their memorable artistic style and the quality of the animation. They’ve produced some truly remarkable films, some of which rank among my favorites of all time.
That’s why I’m excited that Studio Ghibli and Level 5 (Dragon Quest VIII) are teaming up to create Ni No Kuni, a PS3 and DS title that’s slated for release next year in Japan. The new trailer for the game is out, and in my opinion, its absolutely stunning to look at. I love the animated look of the whole thing, and how smooth and vibrant everything appears. I for real can’t wait to play this game.
When I was a kid, I remember lugging around a case of 20 or so NES games with me to my day care during the summer. The place that my brother and were imprisoned at had one bonus about it: a row of NES systems to keep the kids occupied, herded like sheep and left to stare bleating in front of small television screens.
Oddly enough there’s only thing to me that’s strange about this scenario. And no, it’s not the fact that I can’t even remember anything else about this period of my life except beating Mega Man 3 in front of onlookers, or the fact that the day care had all these NES units in the first place. The weirdest part of the whole thing for me? As a little kid, how did I afford to buy that many NES games for myself?
If there’s one drawback to this otherwise beloved hobby of ours, it’s that video games don’t grow on trees or drop out of the sky for our enjoyment. These little boxes of contained and bridled joy are ass expensive, especially when you add them up over time. Continue reading The Economics of Gaming
Against my better judgment I traded in my old, perfectly functional 360 and picked up the new hotness. I did this for a few reasons, mostly having to do with the new “S” model’s higher storage capacity and built in Wi-Fi. The prospect of having a game console that didn’t sound like a jet taking off also appealed to me. Using GameStop’s trade in deals, I only ended up paying about $100 for the whole thing, so all in all not a bad exchange.
Like we’ve seen in the various press shots of the new 360, the glossy black finish does look very nice and it bears more than a little resemblance to an Alienware computer with both its colors and its hard, angular lines. One thing I have against the new outer design is that the pressure sensitive buttons to turn on the system and open the disk tray are very, very touchy. I barely brushed the power button with my finger and the whole console turned off while it was loading a game, so that might be an issue playing Rock Band at rowdy parties. It’s also pretty astounding how much smaller the new console is compared to the old one. Without the massive hard drive jutting out the side, the new 360 takes up a very small space on my floor and looks positively puny next to my old PS3 “fat”. Microsoft’s new console features a lot more fans than the last one, the most noticeable being the giant port on top of the box, taking up almost half of the surface. Continue reading Thoughts on the New X-Box 360
As cool as the reveal of Portal 2 was at the Sony E3 press conference, I’ve been looking forward to seeing something more than the brief teaser trailer we got. From the sounds of things, the story is going to be a much bigger deal this time around, and there are going to be lots of new gameplay elements as well.
That’s why I’m excited that these two new Portal 2 gameplay videos have hit the Web, with Valve showcasing what the next game has to offer for all of the franchise’s many adoring fans. In the first video, we get to see a bit about the set up of the game, which apparently takes place many years after the first. The second video highlights some of the new gameplay additions we’ll be seeing. Personally, I think these awesome. I’m assuming you will agree.
This past Monday, the demo for Crackdown 2, the forthcoming open-world super-hero cop game, dropped on X-Box LIVE, and most of the GamerSushi crew have been getting skills for kills. One new thing that the trial introduced is the notion of “Demo Achievements”, a system where you can unlock specific goals before the full retail version comes out and they will be applied to your Gamerscore. While this is 360 centric, I do think it brings up a neat idea that Sony can probably start emulating in their demos.
While Achievements and Trophies are not popular amongst all gamers, accumulating points is something that most of us enjoy and the prospect of getting a bit more out of demos isn’t bad either. Of course, offering these Achievements may color the perception of the game, or produce a subconscious need to buy the game to get your points.
While I’m all for the prospect of unlocking Achievements in demos, I’d like to know how you guys feel. Is this a good idea, or will it hurt the nature of demos? Do you even care? Also, what are your Crackdown 2 impressions, if you’ve been playing it.
Ever since we’ve been able to use the internet to connect our consoles to each other, cooperative play is becoming more and more popular. I’m all for this, as I enjoy taking on waves of baddies with my friends just as much as I like shooting them in the face in a competitive match. There’s just something about co-op play that is altogether different and more satisfying than a straight-up Deathmatch game, but maybe that’s just because I’m a team player.
Both Red Dead Redemption and Battlefield Bad Company 2, two excellent games in their own rights, are getting co-op add-on packs today. Since both these games should be a blast to play with friends, I thought I would find out what your favorite co-op gameplay memories are. Do you have a specific recollection of you and a buddy (or several) holding out against AI antagonists, or maybe a particularly epic campaign playthrough to the wee hours of the morning? Let us know!
Everyone is crapping all over Microsoft’s E3 press conference and though we mentioned some of this in our podcast, I thought it would help if we devoted a post to some of the concerns that gamers have about Microsoft’s foray into motion-controls.
Personally, I am amazed by the technology and the potential of Kinect. The voice recognition is very impressive and I think it can be utilized in better ways than simply telling your Xbox to pause a movie. Imagine navigation the Dashboard with it: “Xbox Marketplace” and bam! You’re browsing games or looking at your friends list. You can walk around the room and command your Xbox to start playing a disk without using a controller. I think that would be more useful than the admittedly cooler looking Minority Report-style interface. Sure that looks bad-ass, but using a controller is just faster and I am all about streamlining things. I’m not going to wave my arms around just because I want to look like something I saw in a movie. If I wanted to look like Tony Stark, I would shave my goatee like his and build and Iron Man Suit. Continue reading Dis-Kinect
Now before you shout, “YES!” and grab your trenchcoat and sunglasses, allow me to explain.
A streaker, in this definition, is someone who plays a game consistently for a long time, but if another game is played, the first one loses all appeal. For example, after beating Final Fantasy XIII, I continued to play, doing side missions and hunting down monsters. But, once I played Alpha Protocol and beat it, all desire to play Final Fantasy XIII is gone for right now. I’m sure it will come back again sometime, but I’ve noticed that I sometimes have to maintain a streak of playing a game every day and if I stop, I find that I don’t want to play as much as I used to.
Do you guys ever experience anything like this? Are you streakers?
In honor of the “meh-ish” Prince of Persia movie currently exiting theaters right now, I thought I would do what I could to salvage this once proud franchise by looking back at the premier game in the series and the song that blew me away upon first listen.
This song plays during the end credits and as I sat there listening to it, I was really moved. The lyrics and music fit in very well with the story and setting of the game and I listen to this on my iPod on a regular basis. I hope you enjoy it as well, especially this fan-made music video version.
Of all the games in the PlayStation 3’s library, Heavy Rain is the first one that comes to mind when I think of the potential of the PlayStation Move. The game is largely based on have the player make gestures using the controller’s sticks or Sixaxis, so using the wand to manipulate the on-screen action isn’t too far-fetched. As intriguing as Heavy Rain would be with motion control, the urging from Sony to have developers Quantic Dream upgrade the game to be compatible with the their new device has delayed the long-promised downloadable content (DLC) chapter indefinitely.
The first chapter in the Heavy Rain Chronicles (as the DLC is collectively known) has already been released, but the long-promised second chapter now faces an uncertain future. Word from Quantic Dream’s co-CEO Guillame de Fondaumière is that the DLC might not even be completed after the Move integration is finished by the studio, and the company may just move on to its next, unannounced project.
Heavy Rain, for all the problems with its narrative progression, presented a really unique way of playing games and the context sensitive controls made for some really in-depth, intense moments. While I’m disappointed that Sony’s urging has, in part, caused the DLC to be delayed, I’m interested to see what Quantic Dream are cooking up for their next project. What about you guys? A little bummed out? How do you feel about Sony pretty much shutting down Heavy Rain’s DLC? For those of you who are interested, here’s a little trailer showing how the Move support should work.
Well, E3 2010 has come and gone, and boy is there a lot to talk about. And talk we did. In this special E3 edition of the GamerSushi podcast, we tackle all three of the big console press conferences, the surprises (or lack thereof), motion control and even the ghosts of E3 past. This is probably our most fluid and lengthy podcast yet, and we easily could have gone on for another hour about all this stuff.
Hopefully you don’t hate it.
As you’ll hear me say in the beginning of the podcast, E3 is one of my most anticipated times of the year, so it’s hard for me to contain my enthusiasm for much of this session. Anyway, we hope you guys like it, and feel free to share your thoughts on our E3 themed discussions. Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 4: E3 Phone Home
One of the big topics of E3 and around the gaming industry in general right now is bringing 3D to the gaming experience. It seems like everywhere you turn, there’s news of another game getting 3D support, or more demonstrations like Crysis 2 or Killzone 3 that are putting a big emphasis on adding that mystery dimension to the way you play.
Personally, while I don’t care if game companies start going after this, I don’t want to see a future where gamers are forced to have 3D TV’s in order to play what they want to play. Imagine having to buy several pairs of 3D glasses for everyone that wants to play multiplayer on your couch or watch a movie. In fact, EA boss John Riccitello says that 3D games could cost more than current gen games.
However, it doesn’t really matter what I think. What matters is the big honchos. So what do they think? Well, even though Nintendo mocks 3D glasses with their new 3DS promotions, they haven’t ruled out making the next Nintendo console 3D compatible. At Sony’s press conference, they pushed it as the next big thing. And Microsoft? They’re not sure it’s the future.
So, now that you know where all of them stand, it’s time to hear from you guys. Do you want 3D gaming? Go!
As you’ll hear in our podcast that releases tonight/tomorrow, we have some pretty harsh words for the XBox Kinect. I was never too amped about the thing to begin with, but Monday’s press conference raised some concerns about the technology and the kinds of games that are going to be associated with it.
While I’ve been telling myself that I don’t want to judge it too harshly before it’s even available for regular mortals like you and I to try out for ourselves, it’s hard to watch things like Kinectimals and remain optimistic about the whole thing. People that have tried it out at E3 so far seem to be mostly positive, however, IGN posted a well thought article titled 5 Concerns about Kinect, which totally hit on some things that I had been thinking about since the press conference bomb.
As I said, they raise some good points, and the most disconcerting one is the assertion that some Kinect developers are saying that you can’t play Kinect while sitting on a couch. This has always been one of the big barriers for me and motion control. I’m not a lazy guy by any means, but when I sit down to play games, I like having a controller and hanging out on my couch. It seems that Kinect has problems recognizing a skeletal frame when it is sitting down. In fact, the IGN article actually said this earlier, but was later edited. According to VG247, a Microsoft rep says that this experience differs depending on the game. Once again, it’s far too early to tell this, but it’s definitely food for thought as the launch window rapidly approaches.
So what do you guys think? Fair or foul if you can only play Kinect while standing?
Update: IGN released a kind of retraction later, though the quote here is slightly different from the one given to VG247. Regardless, Kinect still didn’t work well with folks sitting down at E3, and signs point to this perhaps being a future issue with certain games, so this topic stands.
XCOM is one of the classics of the the PC gaming scene, an old-school strategy title where you waged war against alien invaders as the director of a Men In Black type organization. In the re-imagining of the series (done by Bioshock developers 2k Games), you still undertake the role of the leader, but instead of issuing orders from behind a desk, you step out into the field to meet the aliens mano a mano. A trailer dropped for the game during E3, and dang if it doesn’t look intense.
Set during the 1950s, this game bares more than a passing resemblance to another period-piece title from 2K that I mentioned above. While similarities aren’t exactly a bad thing, especially given the fact that this is probably the best team to turn XCOM into an FPS, it still remains to be seen whether this will help or hinder the game come release time. What do you guys think about XCOM? Eager to blast some symbiote-looking aliens, or upset about the change in genre?