iOS Gaming with Hero Academy and Pocket Planes

Hero Academy steam

We said it was going to be kind of dead around here, and boy, we weren’t kidding. I can’t really speak for the other dudes, but summer is kind of the time where real life takes precedent over other things, so sorry about that. When the weather turns grey and people retreat back into their homes, that’s around when gaming news picks up again.

That said, it’s not like there’s nothing to talk about, as my iOS devices have been getting a fair bit of use recently with some newly discovered games I’ve been playing: Pocket Planes and Hero Academy.

Pocket Planes is made by NimbleBit, who struck it big with their tower management sim game Tiny Tower. Those rascals are back at it, but this time you’re trying to turn a fledgling airline into a global powerhouse. You start off with small planes in one region and eventually expand your operation to be global, gathering bigger and bigger planes and opening new airports. It functions on the same “hurry up and wait” mechanic that Tiny Tower did, where you have to just let the game sit while your planes travel from point to point, but you can use Bux to speed them along their way. It lacks the same inherently addictive quality that Tiny Tower had, but hearing the little “ding” notification whenever one of your planes arrives is a Pavlov’s bell that’s hard to ignore. You have the ability to join a flight crew to earn aircraft parts and Bux, and there’s a minimal amount of jobs you need to complete for each challenge to be elegible for the reward. It’s a great way to get a little boost if you can participate and helps make Pocket Planes feel less isolated than Tiny Tower did. Continue reading iOS Gaming with Hero Academy and Pocket Planes

The Momentum of New Games

Tribes Ascend

For the last week, I’ve had the pleasure of a very rare thing in my life — lots of time to play video games. With the house to myself for several days, I’ve been able to play some CS:GO, Tribes: Ascend, Walking Dead Episodes 1 and 2, Dear Esther, Stacking and Diablo 3. These games represent just a small dent in the overall backlog, but it’s nice to have completed a few of them.

I’ve run into an interesting problem, though. I’m not quite playing the games I’m most excited about. For some reason, I’ve been choosing to stay away from them. At first, I thought it was maybe because I was not wanting to rush through those experienced, and instead savor them as much as possible. But then I realized that the bigger the game was, the harder it was for me to want to start it.

Now that I look back on it, I often dawdle instead of starting a big new game, even though I really want to play it. I think this is because big games require a lot of momentum to get through. Just like trying to push a heavy object, it takes a lot of force to get rolling, but once it does, it’s hard to stop. When I’m sucked into a huge game, it works just the same way. I need a few hours with it just to see what it’s like, and then after that, I’m completely sucked in. At that point, trying to get me to stop and do other responsible things is like trying to stop a boulder that’s rolling downhill.

Do you guys experience this kind of gaming momentum? If so, how do you deal with it? Do you find that it takes you a while to get started on new games, or do you just dive right in? Curious to hear how your guys approach it. Go!

Practical Problems: A Day in the Life of a TF2 Engineer

Once Valve officially released Source Filmmaker to the public, it was only a matter of time before some fans would do some truly great things with it — after the slew of derivative “x movie in Team Fortress 2” videos, of course. Well, it seems we finally have a worthy machinima entry, straight from the fan community.

Sort of. Although James McVinnie is a Team Fortress 2 fan, he also happens to be a cinematic designer at Bioware. Which probably explains why his new short, Practical Problems, is so well done. In addition to spending 130 hours in both Hammer and Source Filmmaker to get the job done, James also worked with his friend Zach to do some motion capture work via 2 Kinects.

So, yeah. The results are rather entertaining, and quite faithful to the spirit of Valve’s own work with Team Fortress 2.


Feel the Might of ‘General Winter’ in Company of Heroes 2

company of heroes 2

One of my favorite strategy games of all time is Relic’s Company of Heroes, a WW2-based title with crazy graphics that was tearing down buildings and deforming terrain a long time before Battlefield: Bad Company. As great as it was, CoH wasn’t super popular, so I never got my hopes up for a sequel.

In an actual surprise announcement, Relic has revealed Company of Heroes 2, set on the Eastern Front. As such, they’re bringing in a lot of the factors that made that side of the war one of the most brutal conflicts in human history. The winters on the Russian front were so brutal that troops gave them the nickname “General Winter” to reflect how badly mother nature could eff up their plans. Continue reading Feel the Might of ‘General Winter’ in Company of Heroes 2

The Hyperbolic Chamber


Reviews are important. They help us ascertain what games are worth playing amid all the marketing hype and hoopla. They give us substance instead of sizzle. They protect our sacred dollars from those publishers who wish to take it from us by selling us a mediocre game. But what happens when the reviews themselves offer more sizzle than any publisher ever could? I’m not talking about a high review score. I am talking about actual words in the text of the review that sound as if they were written by the id of a PR rep. I’m not alleging any bribery or wrongdoing here. But I am going to point out the complete abdication of responsibility that occurs when a reviewer himself (or herself) gets swept up in the hype and then pays it forward to the rest of us. Using quotes from actual reviews, you will be astonished at some of the blinding praise heaped upon games that, though they may be good or even great, are not worthy of these particular accolades. Continue reading The Hyperbolic Chamber

Ron Gilbert Says Fans Don’t Always Know Best

Ron Gilbert

In an age where anybody with a keyboard feels that they have a megaphone full of gold the world is just dying to hear, the fan seems to play a different role than before. With social media, forum feedback, community manager and whatever else is available, people just want to be heard more than ever. And what’s more, they feel like their opinions should carry just as much weight as any creative director’s.

Well, Ron Gilbert, one of the creators of the PC adventure genre and one of the geniuses at Double Fine behind the upcoming The Cave, has some words for that person. In a recent interview with Gameological in which he discussed humor in games, writing and the industry, Gilbert talks about meeting fan expectations, with great insight.

The answer that anybody creating anything will give is that you should have no responsibility to them. You have to do what you want to do, and you have to do what you think is the right thing to do and what you think is the best thing to do…

Creative things, no matter what they are—books, video games, whatever—if they’re really good, they have lots of pointy little edges, and that’s what makes them interesting. It’s all these pointy little spikes and all these little things you can cut yourself and prick yourself on, that’s what makes creative work interesting. If you get into self-censorship mode, you start to pound all those pointy edges away because you’re very afraid of offending somebody or worried what somebody will think of it. And then what you’re left with is kind of blah, just not interesting. I think you just need to do what you think is the right thing to do, and hopefully people like it.

Personally, I’m really glad that Gilbert said these things. As I said before, we live in a time where everyone wants to blast their voice at everything, all the time, and I’m not sure we’re all better off for it in creative instances. From my very limited experience with this, the best thing you can do is make what you want to make, and if people like it, they’ll come along and follow you for the ride. Obviously, games are a business, so many people are afraid to trust that notion. But I think we see better creative work as a result.

What about you? What do you think? Is Gilbert off his rocker? Should fans have more say about what goes on in video games or creative endeavors in general? Go!

Source – Gameological

Dead Space 3 and the Voice of Reason

You might have noticed today that Dead Space 3 is in the news for comments coming from EA that they thought the first two games were “too scary”. The Internet at large, being the hyperbolic creature that it is, jumped to all sorts of conclusions about the direction the game is taking and the changes EA is forcing on it.

But is that actually what was said in the interview? Apparently not, as the headline associated with the article in question is quite different from EA’s comments. The original story over at MCV had the headline EA research said Dead Space 1&2 were too scary, but right down in the article, this is what the EA rep being interviewed, Laura Miele, actually said: Continue reading Dead Space 3 and the Voice of Reason

Let it Snow with the Battlefield 3: Armored Kill Trailer

Oh, Battlefield 3, what a strange relationship we have. First I liked the game, then I hated it, and now I like it again. Fanboyism is a fickle beast (just ask BioWare and Blizzard), but as long as DICE keeps making quality expansions, I’ll be happy. Just don’t ask me about Battlefield 4.

Here’s the trailer for the upcoming Armored Kill DLC, thundering your way in September. Snow maps, everybody!

I think I posted on a Halo: Reach DLC trailer that I never expect the games depicted to turn out the way the trailers advertise, but with Battlefield, I can totally see everything happening. Charging through a rocket barrage while helicopters, jets and gunships clash overhead is just a normal game in BF3. What do you guys think? Excited? Sick of my roller-coaster affair with Battlefield 3? Come at me, bro.

Polytron, Microsoft, and Why There Won’t be More FEZ Patches

The story behind FEZ’s patch is a strange one. First it gets put on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, then it gets taken down because it caused people to lose their save file. Can’t have that, so back the patch went to Polytron for more testing and re-working. Then, nothing. No word on the patch or whether it was even coming back out.

That changed today when Polytron did a post on their blog saying the the FEZ patch is back online, but it’s the same one that caused people to lose their save in the first place, no changes, no nothing. So if the patch deletes saves, what the heck happened?

Turns out that Microsoft was too big of a hurdle to get a new patch going, so the fellas at Polytron just decided to give up the ghost. Micrsoft wanted Polytron to pay upwards of ten thousand dollars to re-certify the patch, and for a small indie company that just wasn’t going to happen.

According to the blog post, Polytron’s relationship with Microsoft is a one-way street with the money traveling in the wrong direction. Polytron apparently had to pay Microsoft to get FEZ out on XBLA, so they’re dropping their support for the title. Had the game been released on Steam, they said, patches would flow like a mighty river, but no such luck there.

Polytron is confident that for 99% of the FEZ players out there, this will make their experience better. For the 1%, well, they’re truly sorry and they wish things were different. What do you guys think? Does Microsoft really have Polytron over a barrel? Is it ridiculous for Polytron to pay Microsoft for publishing and re-certification? Why don’t they just release FEZ on Steam already? Go!

Source – Polytron

GamerSushi Asks: Your Summer Backlog?

Tropico 4

Hello, GamerSushi gents and ladies. You might not remember me, since I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks, but my name is Eddy. How do you do?

Me, I’ve been a bit busy recently, which has left me with very little time to both write for the Sushi and play some games, but hopefully all of that is changing very soon. Part of the issue is that this is a slow time for gaming news, because frankly it’s just a slow time for games. Thankfully we all have our backlogs and a ridiculous Steam Summer Sale to keep us busy.

Before the Fall arrives (which I’m considering to be the release date of Borderlands 2), what games do you think you’ll be tackling in the meantime? As for me, my plan of attack revolves around Walking Dead, Tropico 4, Civ 5, Day Z and more Diablo 3. I also finally plan on putting Skyrim to rest after many months of sitting on the expansive main quest. And who knows, maybe I’ll rent Spec Ops: The Line after all the great things I’ve heard.

So what are you guys playing? Let us know your Summer backlog. Go!

Today’s WTF: EA Leaks Battlefield 4 Beta on Origin

Battlefield 4 beta leak

Everyone on here knows that I love Battlefield just as much probably more than the next guy, but it’s not a game the benefits from having a successor so soon, considering that the latest version was released under a year ago. Add in the fact that Battlefield 3 Premium meant that customers bought the game twice, advertising the fact that there will be a Battlefield 4 Beta included with a Medal of Honor: Warfighter pre-order is a bit much.

I tried to grab a screenshot of this myself, but EA’s crack team of monkies running Origin seemed to have nipped this in the bud. The Internet is always quicker than you think, though, as Reddit user krov grabbed this screenshot of the Battlefield 4 Beta being advertised on Origin. Add this to the fact that IGN has their own screengrab and it’s looking like EA accidentally spilled the beans on Battlefield 4.

It’s fairly obvious that EA is positioning Medal of Honor and Battlefield to trade off on a yearly basis, but seeing one of my favorite franchises essentially working the digital street corner is disheartening. I try not to fall pray to the whole “gaming is ruined” thing, but it’s looking pretty ugly out there. What do you guys think about this? Is it actually legit? Should EA at least wait until Medal of Honor: Warfighter actually comes out before pimping the next Battlefield?

Source – Reddit, IGN

Borderlands 2 Will Judge How Badass You Actually Are

borderlands 2 badass ranks, customizable skins, golden chests

Guys, we are getting actual news™ out of San Deigo Comic Con, and I am so excited. I thought that we were going to be dead in the water until September, but I’m glad to have been proven wrong.

If any of you played the original Borderlands, then you may remember the challenges the game presented you with as little notifications that popped up and then quickly went away. It was a small distraction, but most of us probably never paid attention to them beacause they weren’t that well integrated. Borderlands 2 looks to change that with Badass Ranks, which will incentivize players to complete challenges by giving them new ways to beef up their stats.

For every Badass Rank you’ll get tokens, and those tokens can be used to improve your character in various ways. The best part is, improvements gained from the ranks carry over your account, meaning that if you give one character +10% to health regeneration or something, every subsequent character you create will have that ability. It’s a great way to promote replaying the game without feeling like you’re starting from square one every time. Of course, purists can turn off both Badass ranks and the buffs if they so desire. Badass Ranks sound like an awesome addition, but that’s not all. Continue reading Borderlands 2 Will Judge How Badass You Actually Are

Assassin’s Creed 3 Brings Co-op Fun with Wolfpack

Assassin's Creed 3 Wolfpack co-op

In what’s sure to be a howling good time, Assassin’s Creed 3 will let players team up in teams of two to four assassinos in an effort to take down multiple targets in a “sequence-based” co-op mode called Wolfpack.

Revealed today at San Diego Comic Con (via GameSpot), Wolfpack adds a Horde-ish mode to Assassin’s Creed 3. Players have a limited amount of time to take out assigned NPCs, and when a kill is successfully made, more time is added. Kill enough baddies and you advance to the next sequence.

Since Wolfpack is a co-op mode, you’re not going to be worried about being too stealthy, as only your contracts care about nearby people being stabbed. While you can run around willy nilly, Wolfpack will reward you for completing certain challenges, such as remaining unseen or using poison darts, so there will be some incentive to do a little planning.

I’ve been waiting for a co-op mode for a long time in Assassin’s Creed, and I think Wolfpack will provide players with a lot of fun when the game arrives this fall. What do you guys think? Does Wolfpack look like fun, or is it just a quick add-on? Will you be giving it a shot?

Source – GameSpot

Epic Games’ Fortnite is an Unreal Engine 4, PC Exclusive Title


Epic Games, the studio that brought you Gears of War, a title who’s mechanics and engine influenced an entire generation of console games, is doing something a little different for their next release, Fortnite.

Revealed today during a San Diego Comic Con panel (thanks Polygon), Fornite will be running the Unreal Engine 4 (something Epic has said will not work with the current generation) and will be exclusive to the PC (although Cliff Bleszinski has tweeted that the PC is the “lead platform” for Fortnite, opening the game up for a possible installment on the next generation of consoles and other devices).

For people who need a refresher, Fornite is a co-op sandbox survival game where players band together to build a fortress that can withstand the onslaught of the undead. Your buildings and weapons are all upgradable, and the developers promise that there will be a lot of loot scattered around the game worlds.

So, what do you guys think of this turn of events? Are you excited for Fornite? What do you think of Epic moving on to Unreal Engine 4 development before this console generation is over? Is this the first real sign that the next gen is coming really soon? Go!

Source – Polygon, Cliff Bleszinski

GamerSushi Asks: Your “Sleeper Hit” of 2012

Quantum Conundrum

We’re finally past the halfway mark in 2012 and we’ve seen a lot of big name titles come and go. Some are still hanging around, but even with all these games to take up our time, there are a few that pass under our radar.

There’s been couple games this year that I’ve had my eye on that haven’t exactly gotten a lot of attention here at GamerSushi. As this isn’t our job (unfortunately) we tend to focus on the huge games that everyone is playing, and that means games like Spec Ops: The Line, Spelunky and Quantum Conundrum get passed by. We’d like to cover every game, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

So what I’m essentially asking is: Is there a game that you’ve been loving the hell out of that you haven’t seen on GamerSushi? Given what I said above it’s only natural that the really big titles take up the front page, but what game is driving you crazy that we haven’t taken a look at?

OUYA, a $99 Console That’s Making Waves


Personally, I’m loathe the give attention to Kickstarter campaigns, which is why, aside from the Double Fine and Banner Saga posts, you haven’t seen any mention of that website on here. The gaming journalism industry at large has latched on to Kickstarter as an easy source of news, so I quickly became jaded towards it.

That said, I can’t seem to ignore OUYA, a new open-source console that’s powered by Android that is currently sitting at $3,686,126 of its $950,000 goal. Suffice to say, people are excited about OUYA, and the developers themselves give a pretty nice description on the Kickstarter page. Games on the OUYA have to be free to play to start out, but it mentions that games are free to adopt the microtransaction model made popular by Team Fortress 2 and League of Legends. The OUYA also comes with an app to stream stuff from Twitch.TV right out of the box.

What exactly is inside the OUYA, though? Here are the specs:

  • Tegra3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB of internal flash storage
  • HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • USB 2.0 (one)
  • Wireless controller with standard controls (two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button), a touchpad
  • Android 4.0

The OUYA is totally open to hacking and the page even encourages it. All this for $99 dollars, folks.

Personally I don’t see what they big deal is about this whole thing, but it’s been blowing up pretty big so I thought you guys would like the opportunity to talk about it. So, the OUYA. Do you think it will actually deliver?

Update: Ben Kuchera over at The Penny-Arcade Report has a great article up about the OUYA and the many red flags that it raises. All of this stuff seems fairly obvious to me as things you would look for when buying a console (example: does it actually exist?), but people seem so hyped about the posibilites that this is getting passed over.

Source – OUYA Kickstarter

Console Cycle’s Length A Mistake Says Square Enix

This current generation of video game consoles has brought a great many new innovations to the industry. The most surprising has to be the length of the current gen. Now, as a consumer, I am happy with this. There are so many games I want to play that the thought of a new console still makes me nervous. However, even I am starting to wonder about the when the next generation of consoles will land on store shelves.

One person is not pleased with the lifespan of the PS3 and the Xbox 360: Julien Merceron, the worldwide technology director of Square Enix, stated that:

We have Sony and Microsoft talking about this generation lasting seven, eight, nine or even 10 years and it’s the biggest mistake they’ve ever made.

He goes on to say a few more things, such as advocating for shorter console cycles and lower costs of development, the latter of which being a good thing for all, in my opinion. Merceron’s reasoning for this is that developers are always attracted to the new hotness and since there were no new consoles to develop games for, they went to web broswers and iOS. And he claims that they will not come back to consoles.

But let’s examine his initial claim that devs went elsewhere because there was nothing new to develop for. First, as a fan of Square Enix, I have to say that this is utter drivel. If new consoles had come out, say, a year ago, iOS and web browsers were already strong at that point. So that doesn’t hold. If he means they should have released them before iOS games came out, that would have been in 2007. So that would have given the 360 a 2 year lifespan and the PS3 a 1 year lifespan. That doesn’t make any sense.

On top of that, there’s the fact that even if the consoles had been released in 2009 or so, before the rise of Farmville, the devs would still have gone to web browsers and iOS, to at least try them. That’s his whole point. So it doesn’t really matter when the consoles come out because according to him, the devs go towards the new technology. And since iOS is pretty damn good, I don’t think they would have said, “Oh, this is great and all, but we should make Angry Birds for the PS4 instead.” It doesn’t compute.

And for a final shot at the company that gives me more agita than any other, if the console cycle is so long, how come I have only 2 Final Fantasy titles on my shelf, one of which was a direct sequel reusing the assets from the previous game? Answer me that, Tech Boy.

Am I being too harsh on Mr. Merceron? Or is he making excuses and suffering from delusions? Hit the comments!

Source: IGN

Twenty-Five Years of Metal Gear

metal gear solid 25 years

What’s this twenty-five year anniversary post doing here? Yes, this past Saturday, July 7, one of the longest-running franchises in gaming, Metal Gear Solid, turned the big two-five, celebrating a quarter-century of extended monologues and exclamation marks.

Debuting way back in 1987, Hideo Kojima’s tale of a cloned super-spy spans multiple console generations and has a legacy that has left an impact on a generation of gamers world-wide. Every Metal Gear game redefines the series and adds new gameplay conventions that make for some of the most unique gaming experiences available.

My first brush with Metal Gear Solid came back when the Snake Eater rerelease Subsistence dropped, allowing me to use a 3D camera, a la Splinter Cell. While this isn’t the way MGS had been played traditionally, it gave me a way to try out the series and that game quickly found a solid place in my top-ten games of all time.

While the MGS games can sometimes border on goofy and outright ridiculous, I still love them all the same and wouldn’t change a thing. What about you guys? How has Metal Gear affected you gaming history? What was your favorite title or moment from the series?

Get a Peek at Halo 4’s Forge Mode

I was originally going to title this post “Halo Fourge Mode” but I realized that nobody would search for that term, ever. Bungie left some big shoes to fill, what with their Halo titles raising the bar for extra features in a console game. The Theater and Forge mode of Halo 3 and Reach spawned hours of awesome creations, so 343 and Certain Affinity (the developers of Halo 4’s take on Forge) have their work cut out for them.

Convention goers at RTX 2012 (which our very own Eddy Rivas attended and had a panel in) got to look at Forge mode and the new toys that are being packed in. There’s a 15-minute plus demo floating around, and while it is off-screen, it’s still a good look at what we’ll be getting our hands on come November.

While I never had the patience to mess around too much in Forge, some of the maps and gametypes that have come out of it are simply stunning. With all the new tools in the box, I can’t wait to see what people come up with. What do you guys think about Halo 4’s Forge Mode? Can 343 and Certain Affinity step up to the plate?

Final Fantasy VII Coming to PC

final fantasy 7 pc

Gamers rejoice, Square’s much lauded Final Fantasy VII is getting an HD remake for the modern age! Unfortunately it isn’t being redone in FF13 style graphics, but I say take what we can get.

Coming soon to PCs everywhere, the remastered Final Fantasy VII will take the classic RPG into the modern age, adding such gaming staples as achievements, cloud saving and the ability to buy items, gil and HP/MP without waiting to earn them.

That last bit is a little strange, but in this day and age not everyone has the time to endlessly grind these things out, so the ability to buy items and HP will certainly be appreciated by some. The game will be available exclusively from the Square Enix online store when it launches soon ™ .

Are you guys excited to be getting an FF7 remaster? Are you going to pick it up? What do you think of the new features being added, and what kind of achievements do you think will be in there (I hope they added our “Once You Go Black” cheevo)? Go!

Source – Final Fantasy VII PC