We’re going to be hit hard with Xbox One news in the coming weeks so today I wanted to offer a momentary respite from that with something that fascinates us all: EVE Online.
EVE Online is the most interesting, intimidating, exciting and possibly most mundane game that most of us have never played. Many of us will never play it, but the awe-inspiring stories that are generated from the MMO are the stuff of legends. The tales of epic battles, years-long subterfuge and stunning betrayals have left us all stunned at one time or another. It’s kind of amazing that such amazing things are happening practically under our noses. The density of the game prevents many from playing it, but those who do find themselves part of a unique community. And the hallmark event of that community is Fanfest.
Patrick Klepek and Drew Stanton of Giant Bomb traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland for Fanfest. Iceland has a population 319,000. To give that some meaning, my hometown of Tampa, FL has 349,000 people, so an entire country with less people than that honestly boggles my mind. But it is from this tiny nation that CCP, the creators of EVE, hail. EVE has about 500,000 active users and 1,400 of those users made the trip to Fanfest as well. Kind of staggering to think of more people play the game than live in the country that gave birth to it.
We gripe quite a bit about the homogenization of games on GamerSushi. One of the most disappointing things about this past generation has been the way publishers and developers have shifted to providing game experiences that feel all too similar. We’ve been through the laundry list of complaints before: RPG mechanics married with Call of Duty style shooting, games that lead you down cut-scene filled tunnels, etc.
However, in the last year or two, we’ve finally had a bit of a break from the attack of the video game clones. With creative titles like XCOM, Monaco, Papers Please, Journey, Walking Dead, Hotline Miami and more, it seems like we’re slipping out of that mid-generation funk of tired, boring military games. And as time goes on, I feel like I keep seeing more reasons to be excited about upcoming games, as people are finally turning the corner. Don’t get me wrong, the shooter will always be popular — but we’re finally seeing more of the variety that the generation started with.
So, with that in mind, let’s have ourselves another edition of Pixel Count. This week, we’re talking about the game types we miss most, and that we hope to see more of in the near future. Start casting your votes and tell us why in the comments. Go!
I’ve got a confession to make: I don’t love Blood Dragon.
After being so excited about Far Cry 3′s far-out DLC with a cheesy sci-fi bent, it turns out I’m just not that into it. The atmosphere of the game, full of reds, purples and neon colors, actually makes it kind of hard to pull of Far Cry 3′s refined, excellent gameplay. You can’t see enemies very well, you’re so superpowered that stealth barely matters, and with all the colors you rarely have any idea of where enemy fire is coming from.
But more than anything it just makes me want more of the real game. I’m not sad that I purchased it — I think DLC like this should be made more often — it’s just not really floating my cyber-boat. I find that I’m having to force myself to play the game, even after bumping it down to Easy to make it pass more quickly.
With gaming, I tend to muscle through most of the time and finish titles, even if I’m not 100 percent feeling them. But sometimes, I run into a Blood Dragon, where I legitimately do not even want to play it anymore, but feel like I should. So my question for you guys is this: when do you decide to cut the cord on a game? And what’s the last game you decided to stop playing? Go!
After a little break from the Drunk Cast, we’re back with a normal-ass normal episode of the podcast. Nick joins us once again and we bring back Anthony’s famous GAME TIME clip for the second time in recent memory.
In a little change from casts past, we talk about something other than the video game industry. We dip into a conversation leading off of Blood Dragon about TV shows, and it’s a pretty good talk, all things considered. We’re very well-rounded nerds.
So yeah, listen up, rate up and enjoy…up. Catch you next time!
0:00 – 5:06 Intro
5:07 – 18:34 EA and Star Wars
18:35 – 23:33 Microsoft Ditches Points
23:34 – 46:16 Blood Dragon (NOPE j/k we talk about TV)
46:17 – 53:44 Fire Emblem: Awakening
53:45 – 1:00:59 Star Command and Kickstarter
1:01:00 – 1:02:06 GAME TIME (Percentages)
1:02:07 – 1:05:03 Chance we’ll see a price at the Next Xbox reveal
1:05:04 – 1:07:11 Chance that half the presser is dedicated to Kinect
1:07:12 – 1:09:36 Chance we’ll see some new cool thing involving Kinect
1:09:37 – 1:12:25 Chance we’ll see a Halo teaser/trailer
1:12:26 – 1:16:34 Chance there’s a good launch title
1:16:35 – 1:21:07 Chance the Wii U will have a system seller by this Fall
1:21:08 – 1:23:27 Outro
A couple of years back, we built the perfect shooter. The results were a lot of fun — in the comments, we put together all of our favorite features to describe the ideal shooting scenario, taking cues from things like Counter-Strike, Goldeneye and more. This time around, I thought we’d tackle a new genre.
I’ve long been intrigued by the MMO genre, but no game can ever put together enough of the right pieces to get me to take that leap into another realm. I’m not a big fan of grinding, paid subscriptions or disconnected point-and-click combat. I’d also love a story that morphs over time, in a way that makes me feel like my actions matter beyond just a stat or a new level number next to my name. I want big worlds, big universes, high stakes and easy accessibility. But maybe I’m just being nitpicky.
So for this feature, we’re going to dig into a variety of options, and discuss what we would love to see in the perfect MMO. Below are the categories and options I came up with. If you don’t like the options, feel free to add your own!
For a game I haven’t even played yet, I’m a bit obsessed with Monaco. My backlog is preventing me from springing into a new game just yet, but soon I hope to be plunging the depths of Monaco’s heist-based, co-op driven goodness. With friends, of course.
One of the more fascinating things I’ve read about the game recently has to do with its community design. The creator of the game, Andy Schatz, faced an interesting challenge — how do you promote good behavior from your online community? While most online games do excel with a bit of proper teamwork, co-op based multiplayer always has a bit of a risk. Once players stop working together, the game breaks down. That’s why most games offer a bit of a chance for players to become a lone wolf, running and gunning as they see fit, with no care of what their team is doing. So how did Schatz address this issue in a way that few have accomplished before?
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?
Usually we don’t give a lot of attention to Steam Greenlight titles around here, but this one is worth talking about. Papers, Please, a “Dystopian Document Thriller” has been accepted via the Greenlight process and will become a real game in the next while. For those unfimiliar with the game, you play a border guard in the fictional nation of Arstotzka in the early 1980s.
Arstotzka has just finished a war with its neighboring country Kolechia and has recently reopened its borders and it’s up to you to keep up with an increasingly complex series of security checks as hundreds of people try to cross the border. The mechanics of the game are fairly simple: a person hands you documents and you need to check them against certain things to make sure everything is on the up-and-up. You need to be conscious of the issuing date, whether or not the picture matches, if the issuing city actually exists in the issuing country, that kind of thing.
There are things that will trip you up, like a girl who warns you that the man behind her in line is plotting on selling her into slavery, but his papers are in order, so do you let him in or turn him away? You get two notices before the Ministry of Admission starts docking your pay, and you need all the money to keep your extended family warm, fed and healthy.
If you want to try out the Papers, Please Beta, you can check it out on the creator’s website by clicking the highlighted words. I highly recommend it. Have any Sushians played this game?
We’re finally here with Episode 69 of the GamerSushi Show, the third installment of the Drunk Cast! It’s a full crew this time as Nick makes a triumphant return with some whiskey and beer.
After we establish the nation of Askarnia in podcast canon, we talk about Nintendo skipping E3, Microsoft’s next gen troubs, Tomb Raider, Call of Duty: Ghosts, GTA 5, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and many more things besides!
So yeah, it’s a pretty great cast. Listen, rate and enjoy the cast!
0:00 – 7:57 Intro
7:58 – 25:17 Nintendo skipping E3
25:18 – 40:30 Microsoft is behind for the next-gen
40:31 – 46:42 Tomb Raider
46:43 – 57:06 Call of Duty: Ghosts and GTA V
57:07 – 1:10:54 Watch Dogs and some other stuff
1:10:55 – 1:23:45 Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
1:23:46 – 1:27:49 SimCity
1:27:50 – 1:37:41 Outro
Can you guys believe that it’s already May? That means it’s time for another bout of Power Rankings. At about half way through the year, I do have to say I’m surprised with the games on this month’s list, and what a surprise 2013 is shaping up to be in terms of variety and the titles available to us. Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite are still kicking strong, but Blood Dragon is a surprise contender out of the blue. And that’s not even mentioning the two 3DS games that are making waves.
So here’s this month’s list of the hottest 10 games that the GamerSushi staff is playing at the moment. I’m actually really looking forward to the shake-ups that are bound to occur for June’s list, when games like Last of Us and Monaco show up in our backlogs.
What do you guys think of this list? What are you playing right now? Go!
It’s the last day of April and with it comes Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, which is the likely winner of this month’s poll. Before that, let’s look at last’s month poll real fast to see who won: Injustice! The DC Comic fighting game won the hearts and minds of our readers in a somewhat anemic month. Did anyone play Injustice? I tried the demo and found it to be about what I expected, which is a lot like the last Mortal Kombat. Not like that is a bad thing, but I already got my fill of that a few years back.
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.
It’s crazy to think that Relic’s World War 2 RTS sequel Company of Heroes 2 was supposed to be out already; indeed, it was to be released day and date with StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. Thankfully for gamers (and not so much for employees) THQ went under so Relic was not forced to meet their earlier deadline and their new masters at SEGA pushed the release date back until late June. This is good, because while the game is a ton of fun, it isn’t ready yet.
You can get into the beta by liking the Company of Heroes 2 Facebook page, or by pre-ordering the game, and I think a little “Like” on Facebook is a small price to pay. Unlike the original game, which took place on the Western Front, CoH2 features clashes between the Red Army and the German Army on the fields and villages of Russia. Company of Heroes 2 now throws the seasons into the mix, playing on the infamous contributions of “General Winter” to the war.
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
BioShock Infinite was announced a long time ago in gamer terms: 2010 was the first time we heard about the world of Columbia in any official sense (Irrational had been referring to the game as Project: Icarus before that). Even though we’ve known about it for three years, we can assume it’s been in development for much longer than that. Naturally, any game with a long gestation cycle will undergo a lot of changes, and BioShock Infinite is no exception. The folks over at Outside Xbox have a short video detailing the ways that Infinite has progressed ever since we first laid eyes on it, and I thought I’d share it with you for this week’s “Did You See This” Wednesday.
Even though we at GamerSushi are extremely happy with the end product, it’s crazy to think what could have been. BioShock Infinite isn’t wildly different in its final form, but Elizabeth’s powers were more broad in scope and the combat arenas were much more open and dynamic than they were in the final game. What do you guys think? Happy with how Infinite turned out? What features from 2010 would you like to have seen stay in the game?
With Blood Dragon coming out soon for FarCry 3, I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about DLC. It’s hard to imagine several things about the scenario that resulted in one of the year’s top sellers creating an 80s-themed sci-fi story: 1) that someone would have this idea and feel strongly enough about it to 2) pitch it to suits who would then 3) agree to make the damn thing.
Taking beloved mechanics and applying them to a wild shift in setting is fascinating, and it made me start thinking about the types of DLC we have available to us. From simple add-ons like weapons and maps to full-blown sequel-bridging epilogues, DLC has really come a long way in the last few years. While there are some bad apples, it seems that developers for the most part are starting to be more creative about what they offer, and when.
So that being said, let me hit you up with a poll. Vote and tell us about your favorite DLCs in the comments!
Coming off Bioshock Infinite, I was anxious to start Tomb Raider, a game I have had my eye on since the first E3 reveal way back when. But once I started, there was one big problem: I just couldn’t get into it. There were a number of reasons for this: I was tired, I was trying to get in a little more WWE ’13 before trading it in and I had a pretty busy week with lots of “real life” obstacles getting in the way. I liked what I played, but being only able to play in 20-30 minute sessions a night wasn’t allowing me to get invested in Lara Croft and her tribulations in the Dragon’s Triangle. Even during cut-scenes, I found myself checking Twitter instead of paying attention.
But, as I knew it would, the game finally grabbed me this past weekend, when I was able to play for a few hours in one sitting. Little things like upgrading your weapons, exploring the areas and the really fun use of the bow managed to reel me in and after one gorgeous and harrowing sequence where Lara must climb an insanely tall radio tower, I am now riveted. The mystery of the island and how Lara overcomes these dangerous situations have got me playing through the story at a fairly decent clip now. The voice acting is great, with perhaps the exception of Whitman, who’s characterization just feels out of place with the rest of the cast and the gameplay is tight.
We’re hosting another community night next weekend, and we want as many of you as possible to join us, because fragging fellow Sushians makes for a good evening. Over the last couple of game nights, we’ve jumped headfirst into Team Fortress 2 and Goldeneye Source — and this time we’ll be going back to our roots in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
So yeah. Tell us in the comments which night this weekend would be good for you guys (although Saturday always seems to be the best night for everyone), and we’ll make this thing happen. And if you haven’t, join up at our GS Steam Group so you can get updates as we near the time/date.
Update: This is happening tonight, April 20, at 10pm CST! Let’s have some fun, dudes. We’ll post the server IP closer to game time.
Welcome, welcome, one and all, to the 67 episode of The GamerSushi Show. On this three man cast, we finally delve into spoiler-talk about BioShock Infinite, so be warned if you’ve yet to complete the game.
Not that Eddy doesn’t try and spoil it a couple times in advance of the actual discussion, but I, your fastidious editor, made sure that his attempts at trolling were for naught. Sorry in advance to you headphone users, though. In addition to BioShock, we talk about Disney closing LucasArts, EA winning the Worst Company in America award for the second time in a row (they’ll annualize anything, won’t they?) and the out-of-control rumor mill surrounding the next Xbox.
Listen, rate, and we’ll catch you on the flip side! Of the coin. Get it? BioShock reference.
0:00 – 3:47 Intro
3:48 – 10:55 Disney closes LucasArts
10:56 – 17:24 Ea is the Worst Company in America (Again)
17:25 – 33:50 Next Xbox is a Cable Box and Always On
33:51 – 1:20:00 BioShock Infinite Spoilercast
1:21:41 – 1:23:50 Outro
When I tend to think back on my favorite games, I tend to reminisce on particular moments rather than the experience as a whole. Sure, the experience as a whole is worth replaying as well, but usually there is one bit that I have focused on above all others, one instant where everything came together and burned itself into my brain forever.
Recently, Bioshock Infinite has held several of those moments for me. I won’t venture into spoiler territory here, but I will say that besides the ending, a moment that stood out to me was in the basement of a broken down bar, where Booker DeWiit picks up a guitar and plays Let the Circle Be Unbroken while Elizabeth sings. It’s one of those things that catapulted straight to the lead of my favorite gaming memories, and I remember being breathless in the moment itself.
There are plenty of others to choose from. Climbing that ladder in MGS3. Talking to your party members for the final time in Mass Effect 3. The ride into Mexico in Red Dead Redemption. I’m sure we’ve asked this question before, but it’s always a good time to stop and update. What are some of your recent favorite video game moments?