GamerSushi Asks: Halloween Costumes?

Bioshock 2 Halloween costume

Trick-or-treat, GamerSushi dudes and ladies. Since it’s officially Halloween, and I’m answering the door for screaming hooligans that want candy, I thought I’d stop in to ask you guys about the day of scares and pumpkins.

Myself, I just played NBA2K11 all day, and it’s seriously one of the best sports games of this generation. It’s definitely some of the most fun I’ve had playing a basketball game, and yes, that includes the boom-shaka-laka NBA Jam days of old. In terms of Halloween festivities, last night I helped carve a pumpkin (and by that I mean I watched someone do it), and later tonight I plan on watching the junk out of Walking Dead. However, Friday was the Halloween highlight of the weekend, seeing as how I won a costume contest at work by dressing like Bob the consultant from Office Space. I’m not always a huge costume guy, but that one was a fun one that got a lot of laughs. I only wish I could grow a mustache like that.

What about you guys? Did any of you have any awesome Halloween costumes this year? See any awesome video game related ones? What did you guys do for Halloween? Go!

Gaming Pop Quiz, Halloween Edition

Well gents, today is Halloween, which means that we’re back with a brand new edition of Gaming Pop Quiz, this time all about the genre of horror games and all of the frights therein.

If I’m being honest, I haven’t always the biggest fan of horror games, but I can remember some truly terrifying moments in games that I’ve loved. Whether it was the Berserker battle in Gears of War or hearing that Tank music cue in Left 4 Dead, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of a truly scary event that smacks you in the face while you play. And sometimes, the scariest games of all have nothing jumping out at you and announcing how frightening it is, but rather are dark and moody and full of something sinister, such as Myst or Limbo.

Anyway, I’m setting all of this up to give you a few awesome questions, naturally. As always with our getting-to-know-you type games, feel free to answer with as much or as little as you like. Answer to the best of your ability. Go! Continue reading Gaming Pop Quiz, Halloween Edition

Donkey Kong Returns Trailer is Old School Fun

If there’s anyone on the planet who knows how to handle Nintendo properties right, it’s Retro Studios, makers of the critically and commercially successful Metroid Prime series. While I originally thought it was overkill to put the team that handled Metroid’s transition to the previous generation on something as simple as Donkey Kong, I’ve been hearing things that indicate that Retro approached Nintendo with the outline to revive this classic platformer. A new trailer just went up for the game, and it looks like a gloriously fun time. Have a watch:

Sort of in the vein of New Super Mario Bros. Wii but with the addition of the big ape we all know and love. It also looks fairly ridiculous, and it has the added benefit of being co-op enabled. So, what do you guys think of the trailer for Donkey Kong Country Returns? Got room in your holiday season for the resurgence of the Kong? The game comes out November 21.

Garry Newman Talks GMod and the Future of PC Modding

Garrys Mod

In the discussion about mods and sandbox games, Garry’s Mod stands as one of my favorite PC sandbox tools of all time, and a standard bearer for how a mod can become a force all its own in the gaming world. It proved a valuable asset for creating our old Leet World show, and was the primary reason that we felt we could make the series to begin with.

I’m thinking of all of this because Kotaku posted an interview with Garry Newman, the creator of Garry’s Mod, and it’s quite the read. It’s got some really fascinating thoughts, not only about the success of the mod itself (Garry has made quite a bit of money, considering it’s sold over 770,000 units and he gets a cut of each sale), but also about the nature of modding and where it’s going in the future. A brief snippet:

“What’s the difference between someone modding an engine and someone licensing an engine? There’s no difference at all, it’s just what you call it. A mod isn’t just a mod anymore, it’s a game.”

He even talks a little about his interview with Valve. Seriously, this piece is totally worth the read if you’re at all interested in the subject, especially considering where PC modding have come in the last year with its rousing success stories.

So, how many of you guys have played Garry’s Mod? What are some of your other favorites and where do you see PC modding going in the future?

Source – Kotaku

PS3 Narrows The Xbox 360’s Lead To 3 Million

After Eddy’s initial foray at starting a console war earlier this week, this bit of news has come to light that might really get some panties in a twist, although why this would bother anybody escapes me. Turns out that the PS3 has, according to VGChartz, pulled to within 3 million or so consoles worldwide of the Xbox 360. Of course, the Wii is so far ahead of them both that Nintendo likely wouldn’t even click on this article if they came across it on the Internet.

What’s interesting about this is that the PS3 still lags in the United States and Canada by a wide margin, but is much more popular in Japan and especially Europe. Another aspect worth mentioning is the 360’s year head start, which has basically been nullified, although I have a feeling that Kinect will widen the gap once again for Microsoft.

After the expensive price tag and tons of bad press, it appears the PS3 has the Eye of the Tiger and is not going down without a fight. Is this surprising to you? Have you taken the plunge? Do you think the PS3 will ever surpass the 360? Flame on!

Source: VGChartz

From Dust is Like Minecraft on Steroids

If you haven’t heard of Ubisoft’s From Dust, which drops sometime next year on PC, PSN and XBLA, it’s a sandbox god-style simulation game that lets you shape the world as you see fit. Create mountains and forests, form new rivers and protect the inhabitants of the island, and do it all with the aid of truly gorgeous visuals.

While this is a bit old, yesterday I caught this From Dust tech demo and found myself thoroughly blown away. It looks like the drunken lovechild of Minecraft and Sim City, and I mean that in the absolute best way it can possibly be taken. Just watching this video brings back memories of letting natural disasters destroy my complaining taxpayers. Does that mean I’m evil?

Review: Fallout: New Vegas

fallout new vegas review

Fallout 3 was probably the best game of 2008, its massive, interactive world allowing players to explore the ruins of an alternate reality Washington DC destroyed by nuclear war. I personally must have spent at least 100 hours roaming the Capital Wasteland, and I’m pretty sure that I still haven’t done everything in the game. The DLC added a lot more to do, but eventually the font of encounters was going to run dry. As good as Fallout 3 was, gamers wanted more.

Bethesda tapped the infamous sequel team Obsidian (known for Knight of the Old Republic 2 and Alpha Protocol) to deliver on a follow up. Their answer is Fallout: New Vegas, which hearkens back to the original games by way of having several members of Fallout 2’s team on staff at Obsidian. Making the trip back to the American West, New Vegas puts players in the boots of the Courier, shot and left for dead in the Mojave by Chandler Bing (Matthew Perry, for those of us who never watched Friends). Was putting Obsidian in charge of the sequel a good gamble considering their previous offerings?
Continue reading Review: Fallout: New Vegas

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood Trailer Welcomes You to Rome

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (or AC:ODST if you aren’t sick of that joke) just went gold, and to celebrate Ubisoft has dropped a new trailer on us showing a bit more of Rome and the various characters. Also included is some footage of the city being renovated and Ezio’s hired hands kicking ass. If you’re so inclined, we’ve embedded the trailer below for your viewing pleasure.

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is the second last big title dropping for me this year, and that’s especially welcome considering how much my wallet is hurting. 2010 has been quite the year, and I’m probably going to be in serious debt for a while. We’ve posted a few trailers on Brotherhood before, but as always we’d like to read your opinions if you feel like giving them. Now that we’re almost out of the holiday blitz, are you revising your spending plans?

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood drops November 16 on the Xbox 360 and PS3 with a PC release following next year.

Valve Adds Boss Monster to Team Fortress 2 for Halloween

Team Fortress 2 Halloween
For a three year old game, Team Fortress 2 manages to still have a few tricks up its sleeves mostly thanks to Valve’s penchant for thinking outside of the box. While the additions to TF2 started small with upgraded weapons, Valve slowly built the game up into a more than full-featured title featuring custom clothing, an in-game economy and now a boss encounter.

Yes, you read that right. Valve’s team-based frag fest comes one step closer to MMO territory with the addition of a neutral boss monster named the Horseless Headless Horsemann. When I say “neutral” I don’t mean in the conscientious objector kind of way, but rather that he hates both Red and Blu equally and can only be defeated by the combined might of both teams.

The Halloween update also features a two new community made maps (they’re free, don’t worry) and the return of last year’s spooky themed achievements. Players can now also gift wrap spare items for others, and I can only imagine the disappointed look on Timmy’s face when the bright wrapping reveals the unpleasant surprise of Jarate.

Yet again Valve uses Team Fortress 2 as an experimental platform, and I’d say they’re on track for success once more. I’ll definitely be hopping online this weekend to check out how the Horsemann works in game (and pick up some cheevos and hats) so what about you guys? Anyone lapsed on TF2 but have come back because of the constant love and care lavished on it by Valve? Do you wish that other developers would try something like this in their games?

Source – Team Fortress 2 Blog

Defending Your Favorite System

Playstation 2

This is me putting on my flame suit and stepping out into the sweltering heat of the system wars, folks. While I have many systems that I’ve played the heck out of and cherished, I’ve maintained that the Playstation 2 is one of the greatest systems we’ve had to date, if not the greatest, simply due to its long resume of excellent games during its tenure on the gaming throne.

Apparently GamesRadar agrees with me in a recent article where they detail Six Reasons the PS2 Is the Best System of All Time. They actually give some compelling thoughts, including the fact that the PS2 was both casual and hardcore simultaneously, and that it had real backwards compatibility. Oddly enough, they actually fail to leave one of the most important things off the list: first party games.

Now, I know we’ve talked about what our favorite systems are plenty of times, but this gave me an idea to start the same discussion with a new twist: tell us your favorite systems and give your top six reasons why. Continue reading Defending Your Favorite System

User Interfaces: Which Games do Them Right?

Dead Rising 2 UI
The user interface is incredibly important to a person’s gaming experience, yet it often seems that this particular facet of design is either over looked or included as a last-minute thought. Even games with amazing visuals elsewhere have generic menus and head’s up displays, marring their otherwise perfect visages.

As a group, I think that gamers have gotten used to average looking UIs and we usually block them out. However, there are some that stand head and shoulders above the rest. Fable 3 is one of those, the few and the proud. This is a game that eschews the idea of traditional menus entirely and replaces the pause screen with your Sanctuary, essentially a magical bat-cave. There’s no long, arduous trek, or even loading, just a simple press of the “start” button brings you back to your John Cleese-staffed retreat. To me, this is a masterful solution to the multitude of clothing, weapon, spell, and quest menus that cluttered up previous games of the series and similar titles in the genre. I spent a good ten to fifteen minutes looking around seeing what it offered, and I’m anticipating the options that will come along to pimp it out as the game progresses.
Continue reading User Interfaces: Which Games do Them Right?

Dragon Age II: Rise to Power Trailer Shows the Game’s New Art Style in Motion

As we know, Dragon Age II is being “upgraded” with a new art style, one that takes the game in a slightly different direction. If I’m being honest, and I am the most truthful person that ever lived on this planet anywhere (not the truth), then I would admit that I have not been too keen some of the screenshots I’ve seen up to date.

While some of the initial concept art Bioware showed off was certainly gorgeous, some of the first screenshots just looked bland and lifeless to me. I haven’t necessarily been worried about the game, but that did temper my enthusiasm to some degree.

However, a new all in-engine Dragon Age II trailer is out, and boy does it assuage some of my concerns. The game actually looks much better to me in motion than the first game, which was great but just a bit dated. I know some will disagree with me, though. Give it a watch and share your thoughts and excitement level for the sequel. Come on, you know you want to.

GamerSushi Top Six: Gaming’s Greatest Inventions

As we move along from one generation to the next, it is becoming more rare to see brand new gameplay inventions in the wild. Some of this is simply logical: as games progress, new gameplay is more likely adapted from an old system or refined over time with small tweaks rather than birthed anew.

However, on the flip side, one could make the argument that developers have just gotten lazier over time. Part of this is because of deadlines and sticking with what’s easy, and part of this is put on them by their bosses, who steal their princesses (Bowser style), and force them to put out whatever clone happens to be selling.

Issues like this are never completely cut and dry, but one thing that we can say for certain is that when you experience great gameplay inventions, it crushes your face like a Mike Tyson uppercut, announcing that it has arrived in a way that you can’t miss. Either because it truly defines a title or is simply copied by everyone else, good gameplay is a bit infectious, and tends to have some staying power. Because it’s, well, good.

So, in thinking about great gameplay, I thought I’d come up with a list of gaming’s greatest inventions. Continue reading GamerSushi Top Six: Gaming’s Greatest Inventions

GamerSushi Asks: Ignoring Reviews

It’s human nature that sometimes we become so stubborn about certain things that nothing can change our opinions. Video games seem to be one of the most divisive topics when it comes to people’s stances on them, second only to movies. Some people are so sure of their perception of a title that, even when the reviews come out one way or another, they turn a blind eye to them.

The most recent example I can think of is The Force Unleashed 2, which comes out today. The game is universally being panned for having repetitive gameplay, a meandering, pointless story and a short length. Should I have shifted my pre-order money onto something else? Possibly, but I’m so sure that I’ll enjoy TFU 2 that I marched resolutely into GameStop and picked that game up with pride. Sure, the clerk may have looked at me like I was crazy, his arched eyebrow saying “have you read the Internet this morning?” but I am willing to look past the reviews and try it for myself, consensus be damned.

That little rant brings us to you guys, and whether this little phenomenon has ever happened to you. Have you ever been so enraptured by a game that, for whatever reason, you choose to clamp down on the part of your brain that regulates common sense and proper spending and just buy that sucker?
Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Ignoring Reviews

Champions Online Jumps on the Free-to-Play Train

champions online free to playThe MMORPG world is quite the cut-throat business and if you want to survive against World of Warcraft then you have to be prepared to make some changes to your subscription model before your game sinks. The current solution to the “WoW Question” is the Free-to-Play option, where the developer makes their game available to everyone, free of charge, and recoups their costs through microtransactions and other options.

Champions Online, which I played and wrote impressions on way back when I first started at GamerSushi, is the newest adherent to this business plan, making the jump to Free-to-Play in the coming weeks. While people will still be able to subscribe for $14.99 a month (called a Gold subscriber), there will also be a new tier available called a Silver membership. While Gold members will retain all the bells and whistles that came with the package before, Silver members are getting the short end of the stick as benefits their thrifty ways.
Continue reading Champions Online Jumps on the Free-to-Play Train

No HD Remakes in Microsoft’s Future?


For the last few years, I’ve been a major proponent of gaming in high definition, which is truly the best and shiniest of all definitions. I’m sure the rest of the definitions line up to pay tribute to it or something. You know, for being so high and awesome.

Because of that love of all things HD, I’m happy to see the new HD re-releases that Sony has been pulling out of its bag of tricks for the PS3. To me, last generation was perhaps the best generation of gaming we’ve had yet, so anything that helps bring those greats over to my HDTV will be welcomed by my brown burly arms. But what does Microsoft think of this new HD re-release trend?

Here’s what Microsoft Games Studio VP Phil Spencer has to say:

We obviously have a lot of new things going on, so the thought of re-doing a bunch of things is probably difficult to just weave into the overall portfolio. If you can provide real value to the customer, there could be possibilities for that, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.

I guess that means I should stop holding my breath for HD re-makes of Halo, KOTOR 1 and 2, Jade Empire and Panzer Dragoon Orta then, yes? Do you guys think he’s talking crazy talk? Any other Xbox games you’d like to see in HD?

Source – IGN

Poll: Fable III, Force Unleashed II and Rock Band 3

Funny how quickly the big releases sneak up on us, huh? Here I am enjoying Halo: Reach and Minecraft and suddenly several games are out that I want to sink some time into. Not sure how it happened really, but there you go.

If you’re unaware, today marks the release of three of fall’s most anticipated titles. Together, Fable III, Force Unleashed II and Rock Band 3 form a triumvirate of gaming, a three headed Cerberus to close out the month of October with a bang. Personally, I’m itching to play Force Unleashed II the most out of these, with Rock Band 3 as a close second because of that sweet keyboard.

I thought I’d let you guys vote on these three games yourselves. What say you?

Which of these three games do you want to play most?

View Results

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GamerSushi Asks: Most Violent Video Games?


Halloween is almost here, which means candy, costumes and violent movies. And violent movies always lead to violent and over-the-top video games, which seems like an appropriate subject for us to examine this week. Most games are violent, it’s just the nature of the medium. Games require conflict and unlike books and movies, it’s difficult to make a character’s internal conflict fun and playable. Thus, violence.

GamesRadar has a delightful list of the Bloodiest Fighting Games of All-Time, but I thought I would open the floor for all genres. Some violence in games is so cartoonish that I can’t help but laugh at it. Personally, Fallout 3’s bloody explosions during VATS never gets old for me and neither does the chainsaw animation of Gears of War 2. Perhaps the most violent was Mutant League Football, where you could literally kill the other team and win by forfeit.

So what games struck you as the most violent? Has violence gotten worse as graphics have improved? What was the first game that shocked you? Go!

Source: GamesRadar

What We Learn From First Person Shooters


I have a love/hate relationship with first person shooters. As much as I complain about “shooter fatigue” and how I’m tired of playing the latest Halo: Code of Duty clone, it’s undeniable that the FPS genre accounts for some of my favorite games as well as my most adrenaline-packed and enjoyable gaming moments.

One of my favorite multiplayer experiences ever happens to be Counter-Strike (1.6 and Source both get lumped together in my brain, I played them both equally), so naturally, any article about it is going to grab my attention. It’s good, then, that the folks at Joystick Division came up with a funny collection of Five Things We Learned from Counter-Strike. I found that some of these were definitely true for me, such as discovering that there are hundreds and thousands of people out there that are infinitely more skilled than you are, and that people will blame the best person in the server of cheating as soon as it’s acceptable to do so. On more than one occasion, I saw my brother get banned from servers for being too good, as it were.

Anyway, I thought I’d post this and open up the discussion a bit. What other nutty things have we learned from FPS games, including Counter-Strike, that you think ought to be added to this kind of list? Go!

Source – Joystick Division

Noble Map Pack Trailer Shows the Stuff You Wish Would Happen in Halo: Reach

I don’t know about you guys, but every time I see a multiplayer trailer for any game I get a little sad, mostly because I know I can never do anything as awesome as what’s depicted. Hit a man-cannon and Spartan Laser a tank? It’s more likely that I’ll get assassinated. Armor lock an oncoming Banshee so it explodes? I’ll probably miss the button by one second and get splattered. All of these feats and more occur in the new trailer for the upcoming DLC for Halo: Reach, the Noble Map Pack.

Now that we’ve seen the maps in action, has anyone had their opinions revised? Apparently you can go outside the field on Anchor 9 and into space, so consider me sold. I’m desperately trying to get the last Achievement for Halo: Reach (Make it Rain) before the DLC comes out and ruins my 100% completion. Everyone here in the same boat, or am I alone in my shame? The Noble Map Pack hits November 30, 2010.