Over the last couple of years, the indie games scene has been given the spotlight in a major way. With shockingly good titles dropping on Steam, PSN and XBLA, more people have access to these off-the-beaten-path games than ever before. And with the recent influx of games like Journey, Fez, Trials Evolution, Super Meatboy and Botanicula, plus a slew of cheap downloadable mobile titles, it looks like this won’t be slowing down any time soon.
But are people giving these smaller titles too much slack, just because they’re indie? That’s the question that Game Front’s Jim Sterling poses in his new article, Are We too Generous to Indie Games. In it, he wonders if people give passes to indie games simply because they’re not made by Activision or EA — and as such, let indie games get away with a lot more grievances than most games.
This is definitely an interesting question, and one we sort of touched on in the as of yet unreleased podcast. There’s this idea going around that just because something is small and charming, it’s better — and if you don’t like an indie title, it’s because you love Call of Duty or Halo too much to appreciate a title like Fez’s nuances.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this viewpoint. While I recognize that some of the gaming community is indeed soaking up everything indie, I also think that some of these titles are totally worthy of the praise that they’re getting. I also think that yes, it is fair to cut some slack to a game that you paid only a few dollars for as opposed to one that requires a $60 entry fee. I absolutely don’t expect as much out of something that didn’t take much of an investment as I do out of something I have to spend an ample amount of money to play.
So what do you guys think? Are people too forgiving of the flaws in indie titles? Are they given too much slack? Sound off!
Freddie Wong is at it again, but this time he takes his hijinks to the wonderful world of Skyrim. Imagine if the game allowed you to pull off some sweet finishing moves, dragon headshots and dap it out with your foes. Basically, if the game allowed you to be a badass. I really shouldn’t introduce it anymore. You should just watch it.
As you guys know, I’m really not a huge fan of the viral video/effects showcase formula, but Freddie Wong is on a different plane than everybody else trying to do it. He’s clever, fun, produces tons of content and knows how to keep the gags simple and sweet without overstaying his welcome. In short, he’s awesome, and this is one of my favorite sketches of his yet.
What are your thoughts? Is Freddie Wong a Skyrim badass? Go!
Ahoy, gents and lasses of GamerSushi! I’m writing to you from the ridiculous world of fatherhood, some bizarre alternate reality where the universe felt that I was somehow fit to be entrusted with the care of a little girl’s life. It’s just a bit of an adjustment, which is why I haven’t been posting at all this week. In the meantime, Mitch and Anthony (and Jeff!) have been rocking it out with some great content. I’ve found the tiniest bit of equilibrium over the last couple of days, and hope to be producing more of that myself shortly.
But first, I wanted to draw your attention to the newest batch of reviews. In the GamerSushi update post, I promised that we’d been awaiting the debut of our new grade chart to post a few outstanding reviews, and for once I wasn’t a dirty liar. Here are the reviews we’ve posted in the last week, with more coming all the time:
So far, I’m really liking the way the updated review system has translated into actual grades. It seems a bit more balanced to me, and doesn’t give us quite as many A and S scores. Other reviews coming soon: Journey, Twisted Metal, Portal 2 (that one is super late), Final Fantasy XIII-2 and more.
What are your guys thoughts on the new review system? Have we completely lost our minds? Go!
The long-rumored Sony version of Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers was announced on GTTV last night and the PlayStation blog put up a short trailer explaining the game. Called All-Stars Battle Royale, the game will feature Sony characters (including some third-party characters as revealed last night) duking it out on a variety of themed stages. Check out the game in action below!
The game is a little too similar to Super Smash Bros for my taste, but for some people this will be right up their alley. The characters confirmed so far are Kratos, Parappa the Rapper, Sweet Tooth, Fat Princess, Colonel Radec from Killzone and Sly Cooper. More will be revealed at E3, so stay tuned for that. Personally, I’m curious to see if Solid Snake will be coming back after his appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and what the third party characters are. What do you guys think of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale?
While it’s true that the majority of the video game playing masses don’t even come close to finishing games, I think it’s a point of pride among some sections of the population to finish every game we come across. Indeed, I’m kind of infamous around the GamerSushi offices for getting 100% completion in almost every game, so it shames me to say that there are some games I don’t manage to beat.
My most embarrassing failure is Limbo: that’s right, the amazing downloadable game from 2010 is on my list. I got to the tire puzzle in the industrial section of the game and got stuck there long enough to lose my flow and stop playing. Along my gaming career there have been plenty of other games but this is the most egregious.
What about you guys? Any games you didn’t finish? Go!
April is one of those in-between months when it feels like all my most anticipated games are a good six months away, and no amount of refreshing my Amazon pre-order page will make Bioshock Infinite head my way any sooner. Thankfully, a bumper crop of excellent downloadable titles were released conveniently during this early springtime lull, just when I needed them most.
FEZ, one of the stars of the bunch, is a quirky side-scrolling platformer from Polytron Corporation. At first glance it seems like it might be nothing more than another indie throwback 2D side-scroller with a clever gimmick. However, there are hidden depths to this deceptively simple game, and I think the hype is more than justified. Read on to find out more about this gorgeous little side-scroller.
Well, it’s been a rumor for many years and as of this writing it still technically is, but it has been all but confirmed that Sony is working on their own version of Super Smash Bros, but with Sony characters, naturally. The announcement has been teased and hinted at by many sources and should be confirmed tonight. Even if it isn’t a real thing, it’s still a fun thing to think about.
So that begs the question: who would you put in a Playstation All-Stars game? Obviously, Nathan Drake, Cole from Infamous, Ratchet (Captain Qwark? PLEASE???), Jak, Sweet Tooth, Sly and Kratos are the easy ones. But dig deeper than that. Who else would you want to see? Parappa? Gex? Maybe Solid Snake, since he became synonymous with Playstation? Let’s hear your dream roster!
One thing we talk about a lot here on GamerSushi is the gaming hype cycle, the constant stream of pre-release materials that we get inundated with before launch. We’ve constantly tried to avoid being buried by weekly dev diaries and all that other stuff, but what do people inside the industry think?
Penny-Arcade’s new gaming news site The PA Report sat down with developer luminary Ken Levine to talk about BioShock Infinite and the way that the game is being promoted before release.
Ken got pretty candid at some parts, pointing out that Infinite was revealed before he thought it was ready, so he had to get out ahead of all the marketing in order to insure that people got their first glimpse of the game in the right context.
There’s also a lot of talk about the drip-feeding of short videos every week and the article brings up the “Heavy Hitters” video segments which highlights a new enemy every week. Even though the hardcore gamer can get frustrated with seeing this stuff all the time, Ken Levine says that he trusts the auidence to be able to filter this for themselves.
It’s an interesting article and I suggest you give it a read. What do you guys think of this? I know we’ve talked about this a few times, but this is the first occasion I’ve seen of a guy on the inside opening up about this and letting us know how he feels. Go ahead, comment!
Hope y’all are enjoying the new site, because it’s just the start of some cool changes around here. I know we say that a lot, but when we do deliver, it’s a pretty big deal. Huge props to Nick and Jeff for whipping up the new hotness.
Recently a huge number of Free-to-Play Shooters dropped on us: Tribes: Ascend, Blacklight: Retribution and Super Monday Night Combat all went live and they all host the Free-to-Play model. This has been a trend that has been increasing pretty quickly, and FTP games are on the rise. This year at PAX East saw even more Free-to-Play games being announced, so I have a question for you guys: do you try these games out?
I’m trying to get a sense of how popular these games are because, while I’ve tried them, they never seem to stick. The Battlefield games are moderately fun but DICE’s method of microstransactions really turned me off. I get that a lot of these games have a renting system where you can rent weapons or skins for the in-game currency you use, but the Battlefield games have one of the poorer implementations of it.
I also tried out the Free-to-Play MMO Firefall (thanks to a Beta invite from Drell Assassin), which I’m also enjoying, but it hasn’t really clicked with me yet. Once the game comes out of Beta and gets released I’m sure that the influx of new players and maybe some friends will convince me to stick with it.
So what about you guys? Have you tried any of these games? What do you recommend? What do you think of the current trend of the Free-to-Play game? Is this what PC gaming will look like in the future?
So I’m posting this from the hospital, where my wife and I await the impending arrival of our daughter. Kind of crazy.
Fortunately, as this whole waiting process can stretch on for a day or so, I’ve had a bit of Uncharted to help pass the time tonight. And I don’t mean playing Uncharted in video game form — I mean watching it in movie form.
You see, Reddit user morphinapg did something that I’m surprised nobody has done up until now — he edited all three Uncharted games into feature-length films, with each one clocking in at about 2-3 hours. He did this by taking the games’ cut scenes and stringing them together with the minimal amount of gameplay necessary so as not to create plot holes. The result is a pretty entertaining trilogy.
Prey 2, the “sequel” to the 2006 sci-fi FPS (has it really been that long?) has been in hiding for a while, having not come up for air ever since the Bounty trailer dropped almost a year ago at E3. There were rumors floating around a couple of weeks ago that the title went gently into that good night, but a statement from Bethesda confirmed that the game is alive and well, and will be released next year.
That’s not all though, as the remarks from Bethesda lean a little heavy on blaming the developers flat out for the delay. These types of PR statements are usually pretty flowery and try to make the problem seem like it’s not a big deal, but Bethesda gets a little brutal. I may be reading into it a little bit, but you can judge for yourselves:
“Development of Prey 2 has not been cancelled but the game will not be released in 2012 as planned. The delay is due to the fact that game development has not progressed satisfactorily this past year, and the game does not currently meet our quality standards. Prey 2 has shown great promise and we regret disappointing our fans. We have made a substantial investment in game development to deliver the experience fans want. We are determined only to release the AAA game that fans rightfully expect, and are unwilling to compromise our quality standards to meet a release schedule.”
The part about game development not progressing satisfactorily is what makes the message sound a little hostile to me. Again, I may be off in my assumption, but it sounds like Bethesda isn’t too happy with Human Head Studios. What do you guys think of Prey 2’s delay? Does this delayed release date bode ill for the game? What do you think of Bethesda’s comments? Pray tell, dear reader.
Strange how these trailers come in waves; first we had the Dishonored trailer and now God of War: Ascension (which was leaked early, to no big surprise) is making its landfall. Ascension apparently tells the story of Kratos before he became the Ghost of Sparta.
I’m not the biggest fan of God of War, but I know that it’s on the most widely-praised character action games of the last couple of generations so any news about a new title is a big deal. Are you guys excited about God of War: Ascension? How do you feel about it being a prequel?
For some reason, an invisible price barrier lives somewhere inside of the part of my brain that processes money. This magical barrier keeps me from springing on downloadable titles, even when it makes a lot of sense to do so. Whereas Physical Goods Eddy is just fine paying upwards of $40-$60 for AAA titles, Digital Goods Eddy hesitates at the prospect of a $15 title like Journey. Or Trials Evolution, which is the game that I spent about fifteen seconds debating last night.
Trials Evolution, the follow-up to the hit Trials HD, released on XBLA last night to the squeals of ghost-beating track timers the world over. If you’re unaware of the mania that this game has inspired or what makes it so fun (as I was up until the last couple of weeks) — Trials Evolution is 2.5D platformer/physics racing game, wherein players control a motorcycle through ridiculously impossible tracks. The addictive part of the game isn’t just the sensation of negotiating through these Sonic-esque levels at the fastest speeds possible, but also from the way the game uses your friends’ times to taunt you. Glowing white dots that represent your friends race alongside of you, daring you to beat them even as you crash repeatedly.
The game is great fun, and the magical barrier in my head that keeps me from picking up digital titles was shattered more quickly than it normally is. It’s funny that even though I try to enter these things cautiously, there are certain factors that can make me foot the bill with almost no hesitation. For Trials, it was the almost limitless content (the game comes with a pro level editor, for instance, meaning that players will create their own ridiculous tracks), the replay factor that comes with competing against your friends’ times, and the number of unlockable races that come packed inside.
So what about you guys? What is it about games that convinces you to foot the bill? What games have recently made you ignore price completely and throw your wallets at the screen? Go!
Conan O’Brien is a pretty funny dude, if you like hilarious people. I suppose that’s why he gets to run his own late night show, and used to be a producer on The Simpsons. Being a famous comedian tends to land you big gigs like that. And apparently, a voice acting job on Halo 4.
I won’t waste too much time intro-ing this video, because Conan does that well enough himself. But let me just preface this clip with this: imagine Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter riffing in an audio booth as two grunts (don’t call them dockworkers) in the Halo 4 universe, and you’ll get a decent idea of the humor level here. I couldn’t help but laugh at Conan’s reception to his character, in particular.
So yeah, check it out.
In terms of new information about Halo 4, we did get the piece of news that Halo 4 releases on November 6, 2012, along with this spiffy Red Vs Blue announcement video. Care to discuss?
Welcome to a sort of new GamerSushi! And as the title says: don’t worry, your eyes are just fine. Things are, in fact, slightly different than they were before. This update is a bit more subtle than the last one, but it brings with it some section changes that we’re rather excited about.
Yes, the reviews section has been up for quite some time, but we’ve changed the way we assess games, yet again. You’ll notice that many of our grades have been shifted to reflect our new Grade Chart. The new chart makes a much better attempt at using the entire grading scale, one that’s more suitable to the games that people actually play. We noticed our reviews kept skewing higher and higher, and we wanted to remedy it.
Beyond that, the most notable addition would be the “A/S Nomination” designation, wherein games are up for an “S” grade that will be decided on later in the year. If they don’t get the “S”, they still keep the nomination, so to speak. Kind of like how a movie is forever known as an Academy Award nominee.
Waiting for this update has been the primary reason we haven’t put up any new reviews in a few months. Over the next couple of weeks, you’ll see a slew of regular reviews that incorporate this new scale.
The Rankings page, while still in its early stage, will see lots of shifts over the course of the year. The basic idea is the same concept of a Sports power ranking, where every few weeks we re-rate the top 10 games of the year so you can see what’s in the running for the best of 2012. What’s nice is that over time, sometimes games fade away or haunt you, and this list will capture that. I think it’ll be a nice addition to the site, and will make for some good discussion.
There are some other subtle cosmetic things that Nick did, but that about sums it up for the big shifts. Praise the Beard for his good work. If you like it, that is. And I’m sure you will.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard about Dishonored, Bethesda’s steam-punk stealth title, but the debut trailer just dropped so we’re getting our first glimpse at the game’s direction and style. There’ plenty of mystery in this trailer, along with rooftop running, sneaky kills and cyborg skull masks. Check it out:
Pretty cool for a pre-rendered trailer, and it also gives us an idea of what the game will be about. The art style is very reminiscent of the Combine from Half-Life 2, which isn’t surprising, considering that one of the lead artists from that game is now working on this (if I remember correctly). What do you guys think of the trailer? Is your interest piqued? Do you want to see some actual gameplay?
If I know anything about our Sushi-ans, it’s two things: you guys love Valve, and many of you are interested in landing a job in the video game industry. And though jobs in the video game industry are sometimes defined by long hours, menial tasks and not always working on that dream game, it does seem that Valve marches to the beat of a different drummer on multiple fronts.
In a new blog entry by Michael Abrash, currently working in the R&D department at Valve, we’re given a pretty candid look at just how different things operate at the house that built Half Life. On top of having an incredibly unique long term view of how they see the company moving forward, it sounds like Valve has mostly abandoned the corporate structure. To me, this was one of the coolest excerpts:
Hierarchical management doesn’t help with that, because it bottlenecks innovation through the people at the top of the hierarchy, and there’s no reason to expect that those people would be particularly creative about coming up with new products that are dramatically different from existing ones – quite the opposite, in fact. So Valve was designed as a company that would attract the sort of people capable of taking the initial creative step, leave them free to do creative work, and make them want to stay. Consequently, Valve has no formal management or hierarchy at all.
Now, I can tell you that, deep down, you don’t really believe that last sentence. I certainly didn’t when I first heard it. How could a 300-person company not have any formal management? My observation is that it takes new hires about six months before they fully accept that no one is going to tell them what to do, that no manager is going to give them a review, that there is no such thing as a promotion or a job title or even a fixed role (although there are generous raises and bonuses based on value to the company, as assessed by peers). That it is their responsibility, and theirs alone, to allocate the most valuable resource in the company – their time – by figuring out what it is that they can do that is most valuable for the company, and then to go do it.
I could sit here and comment on that, but I think it speaks for itself. It says a lot about the quality of Valve’s products, why Steam is so innovative, and why their games have such a degree of polish. I highly suggest you go read the rest of the post yourself. Not only does Michael talk about what he’s currently working on at Valve (wearable computers – yes, seriously), he also ends the post with a call for people that want to work at Valve.
Out of curiosity, who are the folks at GamerSushi shooting for something in the industry? What are your thoughts on Abash’s post about Valve? Go!
Gaming is filled with a variety of characters, some which have graduated to something a little bit more than just pixels on a screen. These collections of 1s and 0s, be they human, alien, or something in between, have gained such notoriety that they’ve become icons of our hobby.
GamesRadar took a humorous look at the top seven video games characters that have stolen our hearts, and I have to say it’s a pretty good list. I might be extremely biased towards the number one choice, but most of the picks on this list are right on the money. Sure, it’s lighthearted and a bit goofy, but we’ve had some really good characters come out of gaming in the last few years. Whether it’s the writing, the voice acting, or the situations we’re put in with these characters, something about them has made them just click with us.
What do you guys think about the list? Who would you move up or down or replace outright? What characters got ashamedly passed over?
What’s this? Two GamerSushi Shows in a row? We must be getting back on track or something. This podcast might mark Eddy’s last appearance on the show for a few weeks so I hope you enjoy basking in his video game knowledge and hatred of my silent treatment.
Yes, on this episode of the GamerSushi Show I was overcome with a fit of shyness and basically stopped talking and participating around the time when we start chatting about Max Payne on the iOS. When it came time to do the game Eddy was getting understandably frustrated with my lack of vocals and you can hear that creeping in at a few points, hence the title of this cast.
When ranking the great surprises of this past generation, I would have to stick both Saint’s Row 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV somewhere near the top, for completely opposite reasons. GTA IV was heralded as the savior of all fun things ever, but turned out to be a game that I found soulless and dull. On the other hand, Saint’s Row 2 was dismissed as nothing more than a Grand Theft Auto clone — yet it found a way to make its sandbox a true chaotic playground in nearly every sense, offering up scores of hilarious rabbit holes, lots of customization and a decent story to boot.
Enter Saint’s Row: The Third, Volition’s follow-up to the mayhem manager and one of my most anticipated games for 2011. This entry into the bombastic franchise promised even larger scales of destruction, more violence, greater levels of absurdity (there’s a dildo bat, for goodness’ sake) and an all around hilarious time. But does it deliver the goods? One thing’s for certain, Steelport and the Saints will never be the same. Continue reading Review: Saint’s Row: The Third