GamerSushi at PAX Prime 2013

Yes you read that right, GamerSushi will have a small, one-man presence at PAX Prime down in the Emerald City this year. It’s rather a last minute thing, but I do have to give a shout-out to a couple people for making this happen; they know who they are (no Anthony, it’s not you).

I’m going to be on the show floor and attending panels and definitely trying to get my maple syrup-covered mitts on some next gen hardware. Both the PS4 and Xbox One (so hard not to just type Xbone) will be on the show floor showing off a plethora of games. I’m most interested in InFamous: Second Son and Dead Rising 3, but I’d be happy to get my hands on whatever.

Is anyone else going to PAX this year? If you are, what are you hoping to see? If you see me on the floor, come say hi! I’ll try not to be super socially awkward (no promises). Follow GamerSushi on Twitter for updates when I can spare them.

Phil Fish Cancels Fez 2 After Twitter Argument

fez 2 cancelled

Indie game maker, head of Polytron and creator of the charming platformer Fez Phil Fish is known around the Internets as kind of a hot head, and there’s no better way to get juicy quotes out of these kinds of folks than poking them with a proverbial stick.

Unfortunately for gamers, this latest attempt at provoking Phil Fish backfired, leading to the abrupt cancellation of Fez 2. Marcus Beer, also known as “Annoyed Gamer”, during a section of Game Trailer’s Invisible Walls went on a rant about Phil Fish and fellow indie game developer Johnathan Blow, calling them several rude things and basically trashing their reputation as independent developers. This resulted in Beer and Fish having a nasty back and forth on Twitter with the end result of Fish announcing the sudden cancellation of Fez 2 and his departure from the games industry. Continue reading Phil Fish Cancels Fez 2 After Twitter Argument

Sony E3 2013 Press Conference Highlights

PS4 E3

Now that Microsoft has sounded off this morning, it’s time for Sony to jump in with their own version of what the next generation of video gaming should look like. As these things tend to go, the conference had its share of highs, lows, hyperbole, hype and exciting moments. But most of all, some shots fired at Microsoft.

Many people said that this year was Sony’s to lose. So how did they do? Continue reading Sony E3 2013 Press Conference Highlights

Nintendo Asserts Ownership Over YouTube “Let’s Play” Videos

nintendo you tube ad revenue

With all the buzz about the Xbox One over the past week it’s possible that this bit of news slipped under your radar. Nintendo, having recently become a YouTube Partner as of February, has flexed their legal muscles and claimed control over its copyrighted content on the popular video sharing network and that includes “Let’s Plays”, a type of gameplay commentary/walkthrough that a lot of YouTube channels use.

What this means is that Nintendo is using YouTube’s copyright algorithms to analyze videos and if there’s a certain percentage of Nintendo content in those then Nintendo monetizes them and receives that ad money. This cuts the video makers out of the ad revenue loop and any Let’s Plays will forward the money to Nintendo instead of the person(s) who made the video.

This has led to a bit of backlash from the YouTube Let’s Play community, with a lot of well-known personalities claiming that they won’t be playing Nintendo games on their channel anymore. A lot of smaller game developers have come out saying that Let’s Play videos are great forms of grass-roots advertisement, and a few companies have gone out of their way to give YouTube channels special permission to make money by playing their games and making videos of that.

What do you guys think? Is Nintendo right to claim the ad money from these videos? Are people correct in the backlash? Go!

Source – PA Report

GamerSushi Asks: Gaming Experiences You’re Thankful For?

The above Ode to Garry’s Mod is a hilarious, silly and kind of moving tribute to one of the goofiest games in existence. Just watching it made me think of all the hours I’ve spent in the Source engine’s multiple iterations, from Garry’s Mod to Left4Dead and Counter-Strike. Without Garry’s Mod, we dudes at Smooth Few Films would have been unable to produce some of The Leet World’s stupider effects. It’s hard not to be grateful for that engine, and all the time I’ve spent exploring it for glitches, physics and lighting experiments.

So it got me thinking: what gaming experiences are you guys thankful for? From multiplayer to singleplayer, what experiences do you feel went beyond a hobby to something that actually played a big part in your life? Beyond Garry’s Mod, I’d have to say Mass Effect inspired my imagination more than almost any game in the last few years, and Halo gifted me with a way to stay in touch with all of my long distance friends.

What about you guys? What gaming experiences are you thankful for?

Disney Gives EA the Rights to Make Star Wars Games

ea star wars

After Disney shut down LucasArts, we were all left wondering why would pick up the Star Wars torch and bring new games to the market. Turns out we didn’t have to wait long because earlier this week, Disney announced that Electronic Arts has acquired the exclusive license to make core Star Wars games. Disney will retain the rights to make social and casual games for Star Wars.

EA wasted no time in announcing that DICE, BioWare and Visceral will start making Star Wars titles, presumably due to coincide with the new movies starting 2015. Here’s what EA Labels President Frank Gibeau had to say about this deal:

“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe. Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”

So there you go guys, it looks like we’ll be getting Star Wars titles that aren’t just movie tie-ins, but three unique products that have their own story-line and characters. What do you guys think about this? Anyone want to take my bet that Visceral will end up with Star Wars 1313? Go!

Source – StarWars.com

GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Preorder?

Preorder

One on the unquestioned traditions for gamers is preordering. No one asks if you preordered something but where you preordered it. What bonuses did you get, etc… Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy and even Steam will routinely shower gamers with gifts in order to secure those advance sales. Some of the bonuses, like early access to a shotgun, are dumb extras that aren’t worth the effort. Others, like a free copy of a related game, are enough to make you question your own intelligence if you DON’T preorder the game.

But after the disappointment of Assassin’s Creed 3 and the still-ongoing disaster that is SimCity, my question to you is this: why do you preorder? What drives you to spend money before you can use the item that you bought? Is it the aforementioned bonuses? Is it simply a habit now, ingrained in our buying rituals so much that we don’t even question why we are forking over money before we can confirm the game is actually worth it? Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Preorder?

Get Your Popcorn Ready: E3 2013 News Round-Up

E3 2013

Is it already close to that time of year again? The time when all the gaming news outlets start revving their engines in preparation for E3? Seems like it.

The big show is still a few months away, but we’re already getting little bits of information about what to expect from some of the big three console developers. While we’ve already gotten Sony’s rundown of the PlayStation 4, we can expect a few more details in terms of launch date and price, along with a few more morsels of actual gameplay.

But what about the other two? As for Microsoft, some of the recent rumors have proven to be true — the next XBox reveal is set for May 21, which means that E3 will be all about Microsoft showing off a “full line-up of blockbuster gaming experiences”. So yeah, lots of Kinect stuff, probably.

As for Nintendo’s big E3 news? Well, there won’t be any. That’s right, Nintendo is ducking out of its E3 press conference, opting instead for their smaller Nintendo Direct presentations. One wonders if the really awful Wii U sales, as well as Nintendo’s inability to properly convey what the Wii U experience actually is at the last couple of E3 shows are to blame for this.

So that’s the round-up from this week. What are you guys expecting from these guys at E3? Which one are you most excited to learn more about? Sound off!

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 68: Fill in the Cast

gamersushi show episode 68

As we inch ever closer to Episode 69, the Return of the Drunk Cast, I bring you this, Episode 68, which has a bit of a different format than previous shows. First, Eddy and I start off with an extended intro where we talk my genetic inability to lie on account of my nationality, and how Eddy knows a guy who has done a lot of cool voice acting.

Then, when Jeff joins the cast we kick into a talk about Heroes on Xbox LIVE, SimCity descending even further into a well of idiocy, and then we bring back Fill in the Blank. You can see the topics below, and as you can image we had some good discussions.

You know the deal, listen, rate and come back next week (hopefully) for the Drunk Cast!

0:00 – 14:44 Intro
14:25 – 21:24 Microsoft is bringing back Heroes on Xbox LIVE
21:25 – 24:29 SimCity adds Colgate-sponsored DLC
24:30 – 25:19 GAME TIME (Fill in the Blank)
25:20 – 40:17 Valve refunding Bioshock Infinite after a customer complained about it based on religious reasons is _____
40:18 – 48:42 Ubisoft Montreal CEO thinks gamers are ready for always online. He’s ___
48:43 – 55:20 Video game prequels underperforming is ______
55:21 – 58:41 Link to the Past 2 and trading in the Xbox 360
58:42 – 1:00:34 Outro

Would You Rather: 2013 Edition

Welcome, Sushians, to the first Would You Rather of 2013! Actually, this is the first Would You Rather since Spring of 2012, which is a little insane to think about. How were you guys getting your fix of Sophie’s Choice style questions about video games without us? How?!

While you’re reeling over the awesomeness of finally getting a new Would You Rather, you should peruse some of these questions and write your own answers. These questions are inspired by some of the issues we’ve seen in games recently, from Sim City’s DRM to Tomb Raider’s updates and Gears of War Judgment’s lack of a horde mode. Feel free to make your answers as lengthy as you want. You’ll get extra points if you insult one of the other GS writers, too.

Continue reading Would You Rather: 2013 Edition

Pleasing the Princess: Hacking Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong

I love this story.

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

Steam Box Build: The Twin Birds

Twin Birds

Before we start I wanted to note that all of the pictures in this article are linked to higher resolution versions.

Let’s Begin

As some of you may know, a few weeks ago I set out on a journey. My journey wasn’t very different from that of Frodo and Samwise when they set out from the Shire to take The One Ring to Mordor, and cast it into the fires of Mount Doom. But, instead of Sam I had Jeff, and instead of throwing a ring into some lava, I was researching, pricing out and building new gaming PCs. This marks the first new PC I’ve built for myself since 2007 when I put together what we lovingly refer to as the “Leet World PC.” The itch to build a new machine began when Steam released Big Picture Mode, and I started to really love the idea of having a 10-foot experience for my PC games.

The goals I had for this build:

  1. Try to stay close to a $600 price point.
  2. Find a smaller, good looking-case and quiet components since it will be in the living room.
  3. Have playable frame rates in most games at 1080p with everything maxed.

Alright, on the important stuff…

Specs

PART DESCRIPTION PRICE
CPU Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz $119.99
Motherboard ASRock B75M-ITX Mini ITX $89.99
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 $40.98
Storage Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5″ 7200RPM $59.99
Video Card HIS IceQ Turbo Radeon HD 7850 2GB $189.99
Case BitFenix Prodigy Mini ITX Tower $79.99
Power Supply Antec NEO ECO 620C $49.99
TOTAL $630.92[1]

 

Choices

parts

Some of you might say, “Nick, you could’ve spent less money than that, and get basically the same performance if you had done ‘X’ thing.” And, you wouldn’t be wrong in that statement, but what you are forgetting is that I don’t care what you have to say. Yes, it’s true that if I would’ve gone with a different case (ATX/Mini ATX) I wouldn’t have been locked into paying more for a Mini ITX board, but the smooth lines and sexy curves of the BitFenix[2] case were too much to pass up. Another limiting factor with Mini ITX was the lack of AMD motherboards available, so I chose to go Intel.

mobo

Since the Prodigy case has two USB 3.0 ports on the side, I wanted to find a board that had USB 3.0 headers, and the ASRock B75M-ITX fit the bill. Not only that, but it has two more USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA port on the back, so you can connect all the things. After deciding on the board, I needed a CPU. Since this was meant to be just a gaming machine, I felt that I could skimp here, and didn’t go for the PC-builder’s darling, the Intel i5. Instead, I opted for the i5’s little brother, the i3-3220, and it’s a great little dual-core hyper-threaded chip that won’t bottleneck the GPU, which is the most important part. I originally was going to only get 4GB of RAM since most games can’t address more than that, but it was almost the same price to go for 8GB, so I thought I’d future-proof the box a little bit.

gpu

The crown jewel of this build is the GPU. Yes, it’s not the best graphics card ever, but for under $200, you can’t do much better. ATI’s Radeon HD 7850 is already a pretty fast card, but HIS has over-clocked their IceQ Turbo to 1.0GHz[3]. I also opted for 2GB of Video RAM, up from the standard 1GB, to help with anti-aliasing and texture detail at higher resolutions. Another nice thing about the HIS Ice Turbo is that it’s quiet… Really quiet. When I fired the machine up for the first time, I didn’t realize that it was on for a second. To go along with this beefy GPU, I picked up a 620 watt Antec PSU. Antec is one of the best names in power supplies, and this little guy delivers. It has more than enough connectors for HDD/GPU/fans, and is almost silent while running.

And now back to the good part…

Pictures

prep
As any gamer knows, first, we gather our materials.
tools
A good builder needs their tools.
build
By the middle of the build I had taken over our entire dining room table.
power
Those boards don’t work on water! Unless you’ve got power!
removed
I had to remove both the secondary Hard Drive Cage and the DVD Drive Bay…
beast
…to fit this beast.
ass
Dat ass.
done
Aaaaaand we’re done!
black
Only to have to do it all again, in black.

Obligatory benchmark

bench

Alternates

If you are looking to build something similar, but maybe want to go a cheaper route, here are some options. First, you could build basically the same computer but with a cheaper case and motherboard. Also, if you are going to be running your games at 720p, something like a Radeon HD 7770 or NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 650 would suit your needs fine. One interesting solution, if you like the case or the ITX form factor, is to go AMD. Yes, earlier I said there was a lack of AMD boards for Mini ITX, but the one or two that there are, are FM2 socket. The FM2 socket is for AMD’s Trinity, formerly Vision, APUs which are a combo CPU/GPU on the same chip. I know what you are saying, “But Nick, integrated graphics suck,” and you used to be correct. The Trinity APU is the first solution that is actually a viable integrated graphics solution for gaming. I’ve seen playable frame rates from games like Sleeping Dogs at 720p using an AMD A10-5800K. This would obviously save you a lot, because you won’t have to buy a separate GPU, and if you want, in the future you can Crossfire it with a matching ATI GPU for more performance.

To Wrap it Up

After the blood[4], sweat and tears I ended up with a pretty sweet little machine. She is quieter than the XBox 360 it sits next to, prettier than the PS3 on the other side, and more powerful than either. I loaded up a couple Steam games, and they look gorgeous at 1080p on the 50″ plasma. But, as happy as I am with the little black box, the dream of being able to just fire up your PC and start playing is not quite there yet. Consoles are still hands down more user-friendly. I had issues with Big Picture not auto loading, stability in games and not being able to dismiss alerts without a keyboard and mouse. Overall, I’m incredibly happy with the purchase, and wouldn’t change a thing, but this whole experience has really showed that unfortunately, Big Picture is not ready for prime time quite yet.


 

1. These are the prices I paid at the time. The cost of parts can fluctuate wildly, so your mileage may vary.
2. The BitFenix name and logo inspired the names of the PCs: Jean-Grey (White) and Dark-Phoenix (Black).
3. ATI Radeon HD 7850s are factory clocked to 860MHz.
4. I have cut myself at some point during every build I’ve ever done, and this was no exception.

Dead Island Riptide’s Zombie Bait Bust Flop

dead-island-riptide-zombie-bait-edition-statue

Welcome to “Stop the Presses” Thursday here on GamerSushi where we collect the biggest news stories of this week so you can give us your thoughts on them. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Just when you think the game industry couldn’t dig themselves any further into a misogynistic hole, out comes Deep Silver with their Zombie Bait Edition of Dead Island Riptide, boasting a bust of a zombified woman in a bikini. When I say bust, I mean bust: this is just a woman’s torso with no head or arms, and a Union flag-emblazoned bikini barely covering her breasts.

Special editions of games are no strangers to large, tacky statues, but I can’t think of anyone with half of a social life who would want to proudly display a severed torso in their living room. The bust is 31cm high, which means that this is one prominent piece of tawdry memorabilia. According to Deep Silver’s press release, the statue is meant to call to mind a grotesque version of a classic Roman torso sculpture. Continue reading Dead Island Riptide’s Zombie Bait Bust Flop

Dragon Age Writer on Forums as Toxic Environments

dragon age 2 writer fandom toxic environments

If there’s one place I tend to avoid when I’m browsing the Net, it’s the community forums for any type of video game company. While they all have their share of trolls and ne’er-do-wells, the BioWare Social Network has become pretty infamous over the past little while thanks to that studio’s downfall in the public eyes.

I’m not really interested in rehashing Mass Effect 3’s ending, or Dragon Age 2, or Star Wars: The Old Republic unless it’s in a polite, civilized way, but rather the whole attitude of forum goers at large. One of Dragon Age’s lead writers, David Gaider, posted a short thought on his blog about dealing with fanboys and the toxic environments on forums and how he sifts through the vast amount of negativity it can generate.

It’s good to know that developers don’t take everything said on the forums at face value. One of my favorite things in the article is how Mr. Gaider points out the differences between online and real-life interaction and much more polite and reasoned people are face to face. It’s something that we already know for the most part, but it just goes to show that polite reasoning, even about a mechanic or part of a game you dislike, always goes a lot further than just spewing vitriol.

What did you guys think of David Gaider’s post? Are forums becoming little more than a dumping ground for haters? Is there even any use for them anymore?

Source – The Bittersweetest Thing