The Wikipedia of Retro Games: Hardcore Gaming 101

Hardcore Gaming 101

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

My Metal Gear Solid 4 Experience: The Saga Ends

Cover mgs4

Well, that was certainly an experience.

In the last year, I have played all the numbered Metal Gear Solid games (MGS, MGS2, MGS3), ostensibly to see what the big deal was. After finishing Metal Gear Solid 4, my feelings on the game itself are largely ambivalent, but my feelings on the entire franchise are generally positive. (spoilers follow) Continue reading My Metal Gear Solid 4 Experience: The Saga Ends

Happy 15th Birthday, Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII

Today marks 15 years since the release of Final Fantasy VII, AKA, The First RPG You Ever Played. The legacy of Final Fantasy VII looms large over the entire franchises and indeed, over the entire video game industry. It brought RPGs to the forefront of the mainstream, something that hadn’t happened at that point. It compelled thousands of games to have an amnesiac for a hero and it made teenagers the world over cry tears of sadness after the death of Aeris. Sure, Tifa was hotter, but Aeris was the kind of girl you could see yourself settling down with. Maybe bring her home to Nibelheim and start a family, away from the hustle, bustle and terrorist threats of Midgar.

I personally received FF VII for Christmas in 1997 and with it, a Playstation. It was the first non-Nintendo system I had owned since the Genesis and it felt so new and exotic to my 16 year old self. I remember that Christmas break like it was yesterday: my hands practically shook as I held the controller in my hand and the opening cut-scene played. My favorite game series in glorious 3-D graphics! My mom and I fought for control of the TV for the next 2 weeks. She was intent on watching as many year-end specials about Princess Diana as possible and I was trying to save the world from Sephiroth. Clearly, one of us had our priorities out of whack.

FF VII’s legacy is still strong today, although there was something of a backlash after a few years from some of the old-school Final Fantasy fans, myself included, who were upset that our particular favorite game from the pre-FF VII days was being overshadowed by the sudden surge of new fans. For me, that has largely passed. I remembed how much I loved playing FF VII and even today, hearing the music makes me want to boot it up for one more go. Final Fantasy VII was a landmark game for millions of people and the clamor for a remake has only grown stronger. Maybe Square Enix will grant our wish, but until then, we have the memories to hold us over.

What are your thoughts about Final Fantasy VII? Join us in the Lifestream by commenting below!

I Was There (And Still Am)


I am 31. I am an old school gamer. Atari. Intellivision. Nintendo. Sega. Sony. Microsoft. Apple. I’ve been here since Day 1 and I’m still gaming.

It’s pretty amazing and quite fortunate if you think about it. I got to witness the birth of all that we now love and take for granted. I’m not special in this: anyone my age who was playing games around 1985 or so is in the same boat as myself. But they aren’t writing this, so screw them.

I’m not on the cutting edge anymore. I’m a late adopter. I don’t understand some of the things headed our way. But I had an NES. I had Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda and I played them right when they first came out. Allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane of the some of the console games that I was there to see born.

Think about this for a moment: the astonishment when Mario walked to the left and the screen kept scrolling with him, showing new areas and not just a pasted version of the previous screen with only a few subtle changes. Think about the joy and sense of discovery that came with finding the warp zones and bragging to your friends about it. Or the awe when someone showed you the infinite lives glitch. This was a special time. And I was there for it. Continue reading I Was There (And Still Am)

Final Fantasy: 25 Years of RPG Greatness

Black Mage

A couple of days ago, one of gaming’s greatest franchises hit a very special milestone — Final Fantasy turned 25 years old. It’s hard to believe that a quarter of a century ago, series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi released what he believed to be his swan song, the game that would end his career as a game developer. Much to the delight of millions of RPG fans, that turned out not to be the case.

Even though the series sometimes gets a bad rap because of its current direction and its sometimes head-scratching missteps, it’s hard to argue that Final Fantasy as a whole hasn’t changed gaming for the better. Because of this series, developers dared to bring sweeping, epic stories of magic and empires, rogues and princesses to gamers everywhere. I know that in my own life, Final Fantasy is responsible for some of the more profound moments of my adolescence, from seeing the crumbling urban setting of Midgar to the rolling plains of Ivalice.

Say what you will about where RPGs stand today, its longstanding themes of camerederie, friendship and redemption were uplifting then and still are today, in a way that most modern games fail to tap into. Those kinds of experiences rank among what I miss the most about the games I played a decade ago, and I’m still waiting for the Final Fantasy experience in today’s generation.

So here’s a salute to Final Fantasy — happy birthday, you old devil. Feel free to share some of your favorite memories and moments in the series. Go!

Update: In addition, OC Remix has released a metal tribute to Final Fantasy I, with dozens of tracks dedicated to the first game’s soundtrack. Check it out.

The History of Video Games Is Surprisingly Catchy

Video games have come a long way since the days of Pong and sometimes it’s tough to appreciate just how far our beloved hobby has come since that first, simple game came into our lives. This rather brilliant video sums up the history of games from Pong all the way to current-gen classics such as Uncharted 3. The best part? It uses only the clips and sound effects from the games themselves in order to create a rather catchy song.

Take a look for yourself. The games shown are not all-inclusive and several games are shown more than once, but you can garner a decent idea of the long trek that games have made in such a short period of time:

[youtube width=”500″ height=”310″][/youtube]

Pretty snazzy, huh? The creativity (And time involved!) that videos such as this exhibit are staggering. Kudos to the people behind this. What do you think? Impressed by the journey games have taken? Anything you would have liked to see make an appearance? Comment below!

GamerSushi Asks: Ultimate Box Sets?


Box sets. Staples in the music industry for years and more recently in the movie industry, yet they are foreign to video games. This needs to change. One of the traditions of the holiday season is the release of a legendary band’s box set, usually including all their music that has already been released with the addition of goodies like live recordings and songs released solely in other countries. Now that the Harry Potter movies are done, the first thing Warner Bros did was release a giant box set of all the movies. People eat this stuff up.

Aside from the recent trend of HD collections, video games don’t receive the same treatment. This honestly is a crime. Video game companies should be more respectful of their own past, in addition to being aware of the desires of their most ardent supporters. There are a great many franchises out there that are getting long in the tooth. For some of them, their best days are likely behind them. What better way to still make money off an IP and keep it fresh in people’s minds than to do an ultimate box set, just like they do in the aforementioned mediums.

My personal choice for an ultimate box set would be the (surprise) Final Fantasy series. Imagine a collection of every single Final Fantasy game, containing every version of each game, from all the different platforms it was ever released on, complete with art books, soundtracks, developer’s commentary that played when you enter a new area, perhaps. You can leave out all the spin-offs, but if they were to do this for the core games, I would pay upwards of a few hundred dollars for that.

What say you? What franchises out there would you like to receive such a treatment? And what would you like to have included in the box set? Speak now or forever hold your peace.

GamerSushi Asks: Play it Again… for the First Time?

Final Fantasy 7 Midgar

We gamers are fools for nostalgia. There has to be some established connection between the parts of our brains that remember video games and the parts of our brains that process adolescent emotion, because it’s staggering how big of suckers we are for the games we played in our early years. There are some titles where just seeing a screenshot or hearing a few bars of music can instantly transport me back to the first time I played a game – that sense of wonder, that yearning for discovery.

Sadly, we can’t really get those first times back, short of some memory-erasing Men in Black contraption that makes everything old new again. But man, what if we could? Lately, I’ve been listening to the Final Fantasy 7 soundtrack and thinking back to the summer I first played it. How my brother and I spent hours trading the controller back and forth, playing it through the day and late into the night, and how sucked in we were by the entire saga. I know it’s cliche, but sometimes I long to experience it all over again for the first time.

I feel the same with a few other titles such as Suikoden III or Knights of the Old Republic. And even though I’ve played all these games multiple times and loved each playthrough, there’s nothing quite so magical as that inaugural one, the one that creates and cements all those wonderful memories.

What about you guys? What games do you wish you could play again for the first time? Is there anything you would do differently in your playthrough? Go!

Review: Sonic Generations


Let’s not be coy about it: the Sonic franchise has seen better days. What once stood as the speedy bastion of an entire console experience and a worthy rival to Nintendo’s Mario has limped along for many years, a hedgehog much past his prime. Over the years, Sega seems to have lost its way with the spiky blue wonder, unsure of how to transition him properly to 3D while still honoring the tried and true flavor from generations past.

With Sonic Generations, they tried their hand at something new — rather than try to reinvent both wheels, why not package both 2D and 3D Sonics together into one comprehensive experience? Continue reading Review: Sonic Generations

Final Fantasy VI: The Glitch of All Glitches

I’m a huge fan of Final Fantasy VI, it being my favorite game of all time and everything, but apparently there is something I’ve never know about it: it can be broken in the most bizarre and fun ways possible. A user on the SomethingAwful forums (via 1UP) named Elephantgun posted the below video, which not only shows him having an airship in the opening minutes of the game, but also causing the game to go completely haywire when he uses Relm’s Sketch skill against an invisible enemy. See for yourself:

[youtube width=”500″ height=”310″][/youtube]

Pretty crazy, right? Are there any games out there that have similar glitches that you like to use? Have you ever discovered any yourself? Hit me!

Source: 1UP

My Metal Gear Solid Experience

MGS Kill

I’ve never played Metal Gear Solid.

A startling admission, I know. Especially coming from someone who is a fan of Sony consoles in general and Japanese games in particular. But I missed the boat on Metal Gear Solid for the PS1, having only played Metal Gear Solid 2 when it was a Greatest Hit on the PS2 and then wondering, “This is what all the fuss was about? Gamers have terrible taste!” Seriously. I looked down on MGS fans after that.

All I had ever heard about was how amazing the story of Metal Gear Solid is, how it is just like watching a movie. All the hype before the release of MGS 2 focused on the story, rather than gameplay, something I had not previously seen before. So I played it, liked it, but didn’t see all the fuss. Then MGS 3 came out and finally MGS 4. I skipped those as well, but something was nagging at the back of my mind. Despite my experience with MGS 2, I still felt like there was something I was missing out on. With the release of Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, I saw my opening and I struck. I would download and play the original MGS on the PSN and then play all the rest on the HD Collection.

So that’s what I did. I recently finished the MGS and had a blast with it. Even so many years after its release, the game still holds up well and its design and story had me pondering video games and the state of the medium to a degree that I haven’t in quite some time. So here are my thoughts on Metal Gear Solid. Continue reading My Metal Gear Solid Experience

GamerSushi Asks: Changing Remakes?

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

If there’s anything we can say about 2011 – in addition to the fact that it’s been one of the best years for gaming that we can remember – it’s that it has been the year of the HD remake. In the fall season alone, we’ve seen Halo CE: Anniversary, Ico/Shadow of the Colossus and Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection all release to rave reviews from fanboys that have longed to see their old favorites restored with loving detail. Naturally, this opens up the conversation to other classics, and there are none more sought after than the dreaded Final Fantasy VII remake.

In a recent interview with Official XBox Magazine, Final Fantasy XIII-2 producer Yoshinori Kitase gave some of his thoughts about how he’d tackle a remake of one of the most famed entries in the beloved series:

“If I may speak as a game creator, if we were to produce a remake of VII, for example, I would be really tempted to delete things and add new elements, new systems or whatever because if we were to make exactly the same thing now, it’d be like a repeat… But if we did that, the fans might be disappointed or ‘this is not what I was expecting’ so in that sense maybe some might say that it’s better to let memory be memory.”

I have to say that I understand the impulse to want to approach the remake creatively. I mean, where would the appeal be to just slap a new coat of paint on something if you’re part of the team involved? But on the other hand, a part of me would also want the game that I loved exactly as it was. It would be interesting if developers could find a way to include both things in the final product, although I understand it’s not entirely feasible.

So what do you guys think? What kind of remakes do you prefer? Fresh new takes on old favorites, or a new coat of paint on the classics? What would you change in HD remakes of your favorite games? Go!

Source – OXM

Happy 10th Birthday, GameCube

GamecubeAs a devout player of video games and a fan of Nintendo’s flagship franchises I feel it is my duty to remind our dear readers of something they may have forgotten ever existed: the GameCube. Now the reason I say that you may have forgotten it is because it never really left. It’s still there, collecting dust like it did before, only now in the form of a Wii. The GameCube is a SHAPESHIFTER!

Seriously though, this month marks the 10th anniversary of the GameCube in North America (my favorite of all the Americas) and I thought we should pause and reflect on the system that confirmed Nintendo had lost its freaking mind. We weren’t sure if the Nintendo 64 was an anomaly or the way of the future for the Big N, but when we caught our first glimpse of the GameCube and its WTF controller, well I think we all called our local mental hospital and asked if it was possible to check in an entire corporation. (Same thing happened this year with Netflix. And the answer is no, you can’t. And I thought corporations were people, too!)

But the GameCube did have its moments of greatness. Pikmin, for instance. Resident Evil 4, Metroid Prime and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker rank amongst my favorite games of all time to this very day. Even if Super Mario Sunshine wasn’t up to the usual standard of amazing associated with the plucky plumber, it was still a damn good game. And who can forget about Eternal Darkness and the mind games that it played with you?

So what are your fondest memories of the GameCube? What games stood out for you?

Raging Past Cheap Bosses

Sephiroth Kingdom Hearts 2

One game that’s recently received a lot of flack about poorly designed boss battles is Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While I commend the dudes at Eidos for trying to give the game that old school flavor, I think most people would prefer to have no boss fights at all over lame bosses.

As bad as a repetitive or boring enemy is, he is at his most heinous when he is cheap, or virtually unbeatable. I think we’ve all seen our fair share of these. In case you haven’t, or you need your memory refreshed, Dorkly has put together a list of the 7 cheapest boss fights in all of gaming.

I can’t say I’ve actually dealt with all of these antagonists first hand, but I know that Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts was one ridiculous mofo, dishing out death with a flash of his blade and that iconic silver hair. Also, I remember Death Egg being a total bastard in Sonic 2.

Were any of these familiar to you guys? Were there any cheap bosses that you think should have been on the list? What are some of the best boss encounters you can remember in recent years?

Source – Dorkly

Super Mario Remix Will Drop Your Jaw

In what is looking like hyperbole week here at GamerSushi (See Mitch’s post about the canceled Avengers game), I am taking a similar stance with this video of Mario tunes all mashed together with some of the most nostalgia inducing visuals you will ever see: this video is a work of pure genius and the creator should be carried on the shoulders of geeks for all time.

If you don’t believe me, just watch. And do me a favor: leave a note in the comments exactly how far into the video it took your jaw to drop or the goosebumps to form on your pale, nerdy flesh.

[youtube width=”500″ height=”310″][/youtube]

Am I right? Doesn’t this just make you want to play all the Mario games back to back? Nintendo should hire this guy and find him a position just doing tributes for their various franchises.

What say you?

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 34: To Be Fair

A new challenger arrives: Episode 34 of the podcast, in which we repeat the phrase, “To Be Fair” quite a bit, even though we are usually anything but fair in these raucous casts which we pod. Also, sorry for Anthony’s robot voice. These things happen over the tubes.

As per usual, we bounce around along various topics, including but not quite limited to Team Bondi, Valve, GameFly’s PC rentals and a throwback to Metroid Prime. After that, we launch into a game of Fill in the Blank, where we vocabitate about next gen consoles, The Old Republic’s expected sales numbers and Bethesda claiming the word Scrolls.

We recorded this guy the day before Counter-Strike: GO was announced, so sadly there’s none of that on there. But next week! Oh, next week there will be counters struck, you guys.

So, listen to it. Give it mad ratings. <3. Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 34: To Be Fair

Multiplayer Map Hall of Fame, Part Two

Last year, we did a feature highlighting some of our favorite multiplayer maps of all time, in which we singled out Halo’s Blood Gulch, Mario 64’s Block Fort and Left 4 Dead’s No Mercy, among others. All of you answered with some great suggestions, and I promised I would return with another edition (and beyond) honoring some of those mentioned.

So, here we are. Remember, these aren’t intended to be definitive lists, but rather, a way for us to reminisce on some great games and some great maps that we enjoyed in our time with them. If you have more suggestions for awesome maps that deserve to be in the Multiplayer Hall of Fame, by all means, post them in the comments and we can continue to induct new members. Continue reading Multiplayer Map Hall of Fame, Part Two

A Series of Letters About Deus Ex

Deus Ex

A couple of months ago, Anthony and I decided to exchange letters about playing Half-Life 2 for the first time. While I’ve been a bum and neglected to play through our last assigned level (but no worries, I’m resuming this weekend), others have been more active.

Our original inspiration for the feature happened to be a series of Final Fantasy 7 Letters exchanged between (my favorite games writer) Kirk Hamilton and cohort Leigh Alexander. They’ve decided to see if lightning can strike twice, and have tackled the task of writing out their experiences as they play through the original Deus Ex.

As someone that’s never played this celebrated game, it was definitely cool to read the experiences of two gamers, one who has played it and one who hasn’t, to get some perspective on just what it was about this game that was so special. In truth, the feature (coupled with many Sushi-ans devotion to it) makes me a bit curious to try it out.

Anyway, since so many of you love Deus Ex, I certainly thought you’d be interested in this series. Thoughts on the letters? And what was it about the original Deus Ex that has such a strong hold on you guys?

Source – Kotaku

Getting Ready for the XBox 10th Anniversary


Come November, Xbots everywhere will be celebrating the original console’s 10th anniversary. The Xbox was the console that nobody thought would work, as Microsoft was stomping into territory completely dominated by Nintendo and Sony, and to some extent, Sega. Who would have thought that 10 years from now, they’d be neck-and-neck with the big dogs of the video game world?

To prepare for this event, VG247 has actually done a pretty cool retrospective on the system’s origins, titled The XBox Story. It’s a four-part series that looks at the conceptualization, greenlighting, marketing and launch. They really did their homework, and the whole thing is fascinating. Really interesting in particular is the way they first devised it as an answer for PC gaming.

I confess that I was one of those people that doubted the XBox’s staying power when it first came out. I was eventually swayed by Knights of the Old Republic, and later Halo. While this generation still doesn’t give me much of a favorite at the moment in terms of consoles, I’m overall impressed with the 360 and the job Microsoft has done. We’ll see what it does in the future.

So what do you guys think of the 10th anniversary of the XBox? What are some of your favorite games on either console? What do you think of the retrospectives?

Source – VG247: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

The Half-Life 2 Files, Part 2: The Road to Ravenholm

HL2 DogNote: This series is a correspondence between fellow writer Anthony Taylor and myself about one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time, Half-Life 2. In the first HL2 file, we talked about our history with Half-Life and the opening of Half-Life 2.

This week, we cover the levels Root Kanal through Ravenholm. Continue reading The Half-Life 2 Files, Part 2: The Road to Ravenholm