I’ve got this new sort of addiction in my life. I’m not sure if there’s medical terminology for a full-obsession with a 6 year old game from two gens ago, but hey, I’ve got it apparently. After years of hearing about the excellence of Persona 4, I decided to finally give it a try on my PS Vita in the form of Persona 4 Golden, an updated version that is an almost perfect handheld experience.
So what makes this game so great? There are a number of things, not the least of which happens to be just how damn Japanese the whole thing is. For those that aren’t aware, P4G is an RPG that centers around a high school murder mystery. So, yeah. It’s different. Continue reading Time Management with Persona 4 Golden
Crazy how time flies, huh? Katamari Damacy, that lovable game where you play as the Prince of the Cosmos, rolling all over the world in a great big ball, turns 10 years old today.
It’s interesting to think back on that time of my life, where I lived carefree in college and listened to that game’s rad soundtrack while driving all over Tallahassee. Who else has fond memories of Katamari Damacy?
It’s so fascinating to hear bits of our gaming history these days, especially with systems that I was old enough to read about and care about in the days leading up to their release. Here’s a video about the development of the Nintendo 64, including a list of really cool tidbits such as why Nintendo claimed to stick to cartridges, the system’s original name, how Goldeneye was developed and more.
I’ve got some fond memories of this fine machine. Crazy to think that it came out almost 20 years ago. What are some of your favorite N64 memories?
Listen, I like The Legend of Zelda as a series, I really do, but Skyward Sword was…well it wasn’t the worst thing ever, but let’s just say it was fairly average. If anything it really displayed that the Zelda franchise needed a bit of a shakeup.
For A Link Between Worlds, the newest entry in the series on the 3DS, Nintendo is changing things up a bit. For instance, the introduction for Between Worlds in incredibly short as opposed to the lengthy tutorial of Skyward Sword, and the game no longer relies on the typical Zelda progression of slowly unlocking a large number of items that are more or less exclusive to the dungeon they come from (something that was fairly rampant in Twilight Princess). You can now rent any item in the game at any point from the merchant who moves into your house, but you lose them if you die (you can also buy them permanently later on, although this is expensive). The dungeons can also be tackled in any order as well. Couple that with the fast travel and this is the Zelda game with the most sense of exploration and freedom since, well, A Link to the Past, which this game is a direct sequel to.
The isometric presentation works great too, and this game runs at a speedy 60 frames per second even in 3D so the action is nice and crisp. The music is also fantastic, and features an updated remix of the classic Dark World theme from A Link to the Past. While Zelda games on the Nintendo handhelds have by and large been pretty good, they usually haven’t matched the caliber of a full-fledged console Zelda. A Link Between Worlds blows this notion out of the water and gives us a pretty good look at how Nintendo is planning on making Zelda a different beast for future games.
Has anyone else played A Link Between Worlds? What do you think of it?
In a pretty astonishing move yesterday, Square Enix announced Collective, a new crowdfunding platform that allows indie developers to pitch and create games for some of their old, dormant IPs. With Collective, Square Enix is basically allowing indie developers to rouse some of their sleeping properties, with Anachronox, Fear Effect and Gex going up for grabs. Developers that create games for these will receive a majority of their profits if Square helps publish, and all of the profits if Square does not.
To me, this is an inspiring, fascinating idea, and one that makes total sense. If you’re a developer with a huge backcatalog of IPs, some of which you know for sure you don’t have the resources or interest in resurrecting, why not hand them over to the community to see what comes out of it? It’s incredibly forward thinking of Square Enix, and I’m dying to see if other companies follow suit. In particular, I can’t wait to see what folks do with Anachronox, an often-overlooked cyberpunk noir RPG that had a rich atmosphere, ripe with potential.
So my question for you all on this Friday of Asking Things is this: if you had a chance to resurrect an old, long unvisited property, what would it be? What are some old games that you’d love to see more of, and would you change anything about how they’re presented? Let’s call this an impromptu game jam. Go!
Since our hobby is something that we’ve grown up with, we gamers tend to be an over-nostalgic bunch. Sometimes all it takes to yank on our heart strings is a sound clip, a bar of music or a screenshot of an old game.
Sony taps into that nostalgia thread with their new PS4 ad, “For the Players Since 1995.” It’s about as close to pandering as you can get—but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. They really capture that feel that no doubt many of us have had over the years of growing up with consoles in our rooms, and give lots of great shout outs, too.
The PS4 releases in just a few weeks. Count me excited.
And we’re back. Over the next week or so, you’ll see us returning to our old form and regular posting schedule. So let’s get to chatting about cool video game stuff.
Many of you know of my love for the Final Fantasy series. Although it’s not quite as intense as a certain other GamerSushi contributor, I do consider the series formational as a part of my youth, and really helped me explore my love of story, characters and all things fantastic.
That’s why I was excited to see a new documentary focusing entirely on the beginning of the Final Fantasy series, and Square’s roots as a company. It’s a really interesting look at gaming as it was a few decades back, and how RPGs first entered the scene. Even if you don’t love FF, I’d definitely recommend a look at some of its founders.
As part of our summer schedule, I’m happy to bring you guys a new edition of What We’re Playing. Like I imagine many of you guys are doing, I’ve been diving headlong into an ancient backlog for the time being, partly because there’s a break of game releases (besides the Last of Us, of course) and partly because I’m preparing to auction off a few items in preparation of new console releases. Next up on my list: Final Fantasy VI.
The most interesting thing that I’ve been experiencing in Final Fantasy VI at the moment is how great the illusion of freedom actually is, for a game so old. For any of you that are unaware, a critical moment comes halfway through the story that results in the destruction of the world, rearranging/reshaping it and scattering your party members far and wide. Once you resume control, you can go after them in almost any order, or go tackle some of the game’s many sidequests, or just go face Kefka in his mighty tower. Continue reading Enjoying the Freedom in Final Fantasy VI
As someone who likes to put on his imaginary pretend writer cap from time to time, I’m always interested in the subject of writing when it comes to video games. On the whole, the practice seems so different than what I’m used to that I find it fascinating. In a recent article on Polygon, author Austin Grossman talks about what video games taught him about writing — lessons that he took to pen the bestselling supervillain novel Soon I Will Be Invincible.
Grossman has some interesting things to say about the writing process for video games, which he witnessed firsthand when working on titles like System Shock, Deus Ex and most recently, Dishonored. The biggest lessons that video game writing taught were that stories don’t have to go in a straight line, nobody necessarily wants to read your prose and that people won’t respect what you do. One of my favorite bits:
You learn to be inventive. After all, players are using everything on the screen to form an idea of what they’re doing and why. You learn to sneak story in at the margins. Leave it lying in dusty corners and layered into other parts of the world, embedded into combat mechanics and level geometry and audio cues, or leave half-cues for players to fill in. To this day, I can’t tell a story straight through — Soon I Will Be Invincible and You zoom back and forth from the past and the present.
If you’re interested at all in how video game writing works, or if you just like reading smart things by good writers in general, I’d suggest checking it out.
Nintendo’s been hit with a bit of the Legend of Zelda bug as of late, it seems — and I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all. In addition to the HD Wind Waker remake due out this fall, Nintendo has also announced Link to the Past 2, releasing for the 3DS this year.
The sequel to the much loved SNES game debuted during yesterday’s Nintendo Direct, introduced by the big Reggie himself. It takes place in the same world as Link to the Past, features some 3D dungeons and even allows link to become a wall drawing in order to solve some puzzles. While I never played Link to the Past (I didn’t own an SNES), I did watch a friend play quite a bit of it. I have no doubt that there are certain GamerSushi fans (and a few of its staff) that are freaking out about this news.
One of the many complaints I have with video game journalism is there is no follow-through. A game is announced, followed by rumors, speculation, then a hands-on preview and finally, the long-awaited review. Maybe, just maybe, there will be an interview with the developers or some type of feature written after the game has been released, but rarely does anyone delve deeply into the inner workings of the actual game.
However, there are a few who do and one of them is Jeremy Parish, sole survivor of the many layoffs and closings at 1Up. Jeremy, like many of us, keeps his own blog, Telebunny (http://telebunny.net/toastyblog/) formerly known as Gamespite. In addition to a hefty archive of great game writings, there is a section that I want to shine our spotlight on today: Anatomy of a Game. Anatomy of a game is a careful look at game mechanics and how they relate to the player as given by the designer. I will let Jeremy explain himself: Continue reading Anatomy of a Game
In the midst of some of the crazy “controversies” (and I use that term loosely) that discuss the role of sexism in gaming culture and the industry at large — including the frothing attacks that were leveled against Anita Sarkeesian for daring to study the role of women in video games (the first video is fantastic, by the way), the bumbled PR about Tomb Raider, and the “Bros Before Hos” trophy in God of War — it’s nice to get a more touching story about why all of this stuff actually matters.
Mike Mika, a former video game designer for Atari, recently took up a “father of the year” level quest to please his 3 year old daughter when he realized how sad she was that she couldn’t play as Pauline, the princess in Donkey Kong, in order to save Mario. Mike, being a knowledgeable sort of dude, set to some pretty impressive work. Continue reading Pleasing the Princess: Hacking Donkey Kong
You guys are pretty fun to play games with. Over the last month or so, we’ve tackled both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2 as an army of Sushians. Now, we want to kick things a bit old school with Goldeneye: Source.
The best thing about Goldeneye: Source is that it’s free, so that gives more people the opportunity the chance to join in on the N64-ish mayhem on the GS server. First, be sure to download the game, which will require a download of Source SDKBase2007 in order to work correctly. Don’t worry, the game will ask you to install it when you try to run it.
We’ll be playing next weekend. To sign up, simply leave a comment below about whether or not you’d be down to game with us, and what day would be best for you. We’ll do our best to accommodate. You can also hit up our GS Steam Group and keep an eye on the event, once the night/time is determined.
So, who’s in?
Update: This is happening tonight, 3/16, at 10PM CST! Be sure to download the game and join us then!
Update 2: We’re about to start! IP is: 18.104.22.168:27015
Welcome to the monthly Power Rankings, gents. If you’ll recall, we’ve changed the Power Ranking format in 2013 to reflect our current “What’s Hot” list, regardless of the year the game was released. These are the games we keep coming back to collectively, salivating as we play… OK, that last part might have been an exaggeration, although I hear Mitch does get very excited about necromorphs.
Speaking of necromorphs, 2013 is already rolling with a handful of new games that have made their appearance on this month’s Power Rankings, including Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3. Next month’s list will be even wackier in terms of shake-ups, if Anthony’s recent Pixel Count is any indication. We’ve also been dipping our toes into some older ponds, including the zany urban warfare depicted in Saint’s Row 3, as well as the magepunky slums of Midgar in Final Fantasy 7.
Hola, Sushians. For Did You See This Wednesday, I bring great gaming gifts, like a spice trader who’s wandered across the internet’s vast desert on camelback.
OK actually, I just found some cool stuff I thought you guys might like to see. We’ve got two videos here. The first is an original piece by Tim Hijikema, who, if you’ll remember, made the excellent Video Game Planets piece almost a year ago.
In his new video, Video Game Locations, Tim re-creates classic video game locales, from Hyrule to Vice City. Set to excellent music, this thing is a crazy nostalgia tour. Can you name them all?
Over the weekend, I finally jumped into the world of Ni No Kuni, Level 5 and Studio Ghibli’s collaborative take on JRPGs. As has been reported from pretty much the whole world, the game is charming as all hell, from the story down to the monster design. With a great big world to explore and tons of sidequests, the experience is certainly reminiscent of the RPGs I used to play during my summers off of school.
But one of the more surprising reasons for my nostalgia happens to be the game’s cut scenes. Back in the day, one of my favorite parts of a new game was getting to a CG cut scene. These fully animated sequences served as a bit of a reward after a particularly harrowing part of the game, and always kept me on the edge of my seat. The fact that they looked so much better than the game made it all the more rewarding. Continue reading Ni No Kuni and the Lost Art of Cut Scenes
For today’s GamerSushi Asks Friday, we’re going to take a look at the long, hard farewell. I feel like there’s a “that’s what she said” in there somewhere.
After finishing Far Cry 3 recently, something happened to me that I’ve really only experienced a few times in gaming. After the main game was completed, the pirates were vanquished from the island, outposts liberated, animals hunted and huge portions of secret items located, I realized there was nothing left for me to do in the game. Because of said pirate vanquishment, I couldn’t even run around and kill a few bad guys. I was done with the game, almost completely.
And when it came time to sign off, I found myself coming up with excuses to hop around the world a little longer. I was kind of sad to say goodbye. This has happened before, and will hopefully happen again. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Saying Goodbye?
Perhaps Nelson’s most famous essay about game design is known as the Craft of Adventure, in which he meticulously outlines what he titles the Players’ Bill of Rights. These rules are a set of standards that game creators must honor when dealing with players. And oddly enough, it’s still just as meaningful almost 3 decades later. Continue reading A Look at the Players’ Bill of Rights
Man, Nintendo sure does have a bullseye right on our nostalgia bone, doesn’t it? In a totally unsurprising move, Nintendo revealed this morning (via Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma) that an HD version of Wind Waker will be releasing this fall.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Reborn is meant to tide maniacal Zelda fans over while the real Wii U game is in development, but this doesn’t just look like a straight port. Based on some of the game’s gorgeous screenshots, I think it’s safe to say that Nintendo is updating this classic game in an even more beautiful way, in addition to all these new-fangled definitions.
While it’s easy to sour on HD remakes as nothing more than the often-brandished money grab, I still stand by the position that playing a timeless game in a more future proof fashion is a good thing for video games. It’s a way to preserve some of the medium’s history, and really, I can’t think of a more excellent game for Nintendo to have done it with. Wind Waker had such a lovely style to it, I can’t wait to see it on current hardware. Once I get a Wii U, that is.
So what do you guys think? Are you yay or nay on a Wind Waker HD? And seriously, check out the Wii U Facebook page for more awesome screenshots.
Welcome to Did You See This Wednesday! As part of the GamerSushi Schedule, it is my duty to bring you cool stuff that you might have missed while you were looking at pictures of Grumpy Cat. And if you have any new ones, send them to me.
Today, we aren’t bringing you an article, we are showcasing an entire website, one that I have spent way too many hours on: Hardcore Gaming 101. HG101, as we like to call it, is a site devoted to educating people about retro games and also maybe getting them interested in something they might not even know about. The site is exhaustively well-researched, with tons of screenshots, artwork and information. I have described it as “The Wikipedia of Retro Games” and I think that is an accurate description. On top of that, it’s pretty hilarious to read as well. Just take a look at this description of why Edward from Final Fantasy IV would never work in a modern FF game: Continue reading The Wikipedia of Retro Games: Hardcore Gaming 101