GamerSushi Asks: How Are You Celebrating the 4th?

independence dayI know that not everyone here is a good and proper American (Murican), so I know this post isn’t entirely applicable, but I still thought I’d put it out there anyway. After all, our Canadian friends just had Canada Day this weekend, and our friends across the pond probably celebrate distancing themselves from the U.S. 235 years ago.

As of now, my only plans today are to eat a lot of ribs. Seriously, I’m going to two separate parties in which the purpose is to eat ribs. Besides that, I plan on playing a bit of Half-Life 2, Starcraft 2 and watching some Modern Family, which I’ve just recently gotten into. Good times.

So, yeah. On this great day of fireworks (unless you’re in Texas, that is, where the drought is stopping all that), hot dogs and general lazing around, what are you guys doing? What are you playing? How do you normally celebrate on holidays like this? Go!

StarCraft 2: Sometimes You Keep Losing

Starcraft 2

After avoiding the game for some time, I finally picked up StarCraft 2 last week. Part of the reason I did my best to thwart the temptation of this popular RTS is because I know what these kinds of games do to me. They take away my life and they make me an angry person.

You see, part of the problem is that whatever genes are required to be good at micro-managing units, I just don’t have them. This makes me generally terrible at any and all RTS games. On top of that, I do happen to have the genes that make one an obsessive compulsive stat monger. So, naturally, these two things are at odds with another, and I inevitably tumble down a voracious toilet bowl flush of addiction. I suck, I obsess about build orders, I still suck – and so on.

Anyway, I’ve spent most of last night playing (and losing) to pretty much the entirety of BattleNet. So here are my questions for you lovely people. For you StarCraft 2 players, do you have any advice for a guy trying to get his Terran on? And to everyone else, what do you do when you continually lose at a game you play competitively? How do you handle it? Go!

GamerSushi Asks: LAN Gaming Favorites?

Fight Night Round 4

Hey readers, how’s your weekend going? Me, I’ve been doing a few things, including winning my first ever StarCraft 2 match! I know that’s not very impressive, but considering I haven’t finished placing yet, this is a pretty big deal for me. The guy I beat was probably even more Forever Bronze than I am, but still, I’ll take a victory when I can get one.

Besides that, I’ve been doing the Gears of War 3 beta with Eddy and having a LAN gaming marathon with my friends. I know that LAN parties typically refer to linking a bunch of PCs together, but I use it as a catch-all term for getting together with friends in the same room and playing a bunch of favorites. So far we’ve done Age of Empires 2, StarCraft 2, Halo 3 and right now we’re beating each other up in Fight Night Round 4. My poor boxer facsimile, he just can’t win a match. That may be my fault though.

Since I’m gaming with pals today, I was wondering what sort of games you play when you want to trash your friends. RTS games, FPS games, good old classic brawlers? Also, if any of you PC players want to rage on me for misusing “LAN party” by referring to consoles, go ahead. I can take it.

GamerSushi Asks: What Genres Do You Suck At?

sucking at marvel vs capcom 3

How’s your holiday weekend going, GamerSushi-ites? Me, I’ve been tucking into the Gears of War 3 beta again after doing a marathon Portal 2 session where I polished off the whole game, both single and co-op. I’m pretty sure that we’re going to do a “What Are You Playing” sometime this weekend, so we’ll table that discussion for later. Segueing from that, I am planning on checking out Mortal Kombat soon, which frightens me mostly because fighting games are one of the genres that I totally suck at.

To be totally honest, in a multiplayer standpoint, I’m really only good at first person shooters. Even though I’m loving the Gears 3 gameplay, I’ll admit that my Kill/Death ratio is pretty terrible, with one often outpacing the other (guess which one). The same thing goes for real time strategy games, where I can maybe hold my own in a campaign or a comp stomp scenario, but once I get out into the wild, everything just goes right down the tubes.

All that pales in comparison to how badly I perform at fighting games like Street Fighter, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Tekken and the like. I’ll maybe win the odd round, but more often than not I’m getting Hadoukened back to last week.

It’s rare that anyone admits that they’re bad at games, but we’re all friends here, so go ahead and let us know what genres you aren’t that great with. Fighting, racing, shooting? Drop them comment bombs, yo.

April Fools: Blizzard Splitting StarCraft 2 Sequels Into Four Games

StarCraft 2 Four Sequels

Unfortunately it is true, PC faithful; no matter how hard you pinch yourselves right now this is not a dream, and you will not wake up. Welcome to real life. It sucks.

In a post on the StarCraft 2 Forums, Lead Designer Dustin Browder has dropped the word that the upcoming StarCraft 2 sequels, Heart of the Swarm (Zerg) and Legacy of the Void (Protoss) will be split into two additional games each to best “convey the epic sci-fi story at the heart of StarCraft”. The full quote reads thusly:

“It was a really hard decision by the team leads for StarCraft 2, but ultimately we felt that the current format for the games wouldn’t convey the epic sci-fi story at the heart of StarCraft. Additionally, the lengthening of the release schedule gives us more time to iterate and improve on multiplayer formula, as well as find a way to get all five games to function properly in Battle.Net.”

That’s a real shame, if you don’t mind the editorializing. Mr. Browder says that the first part of what was originally Heart of the Swarm is still on track for its original release, so at least we can take comfort in that. The comments for that post are unfortunately disabled, but if you look around the forums you should find a few threads to voice your displeasure.

What do you think, GamerSushians? Is this another knock against the game that’s already had its share of WTF moments? Are you done with StarCraft, or Blizzard in general?

Source – StarCraft 2 Forums

GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2010

Another year of gaming has gone by, which means it’s time for us to reflect on the games that really made 2010 stand out all its own as one to be remembered. This trip around the sun has produced some clunkers, disappointments, triumphs, wins, fails, works of art and everything in between. We saw quality releases from January through December, and a few surprises that threw us for a major loop in the best way possible.

To create this list, the GamerSushi staff (myself, Nick, Anthony, Mitch and Jeff) all made our own individual top 10 lists. From there, Nick used the powerful science of magicmatics to conjure up a final list, based on some mumbo jumbo he did with a point system. What you see is something like an average of all of our lists together, and one that we’re all happy with, minus a few honorable mentions of course.

So, without further ramblings from myself, I present the Top 10 games of 2010!

Best of 2010

Continue reading GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2010

The 2010 Sushis: A Year Honored and Belittled

If everyone else gets to make “Best of the Year” lists, then by golly, so do we. Only, instead of the trite awards that every other site dishes out, we try to be a bit more creative with our end of year awards, bestowing unique honors that bring both shame and glory. That’s right: it’s time again for the annual Sushi Awards.

For those with a keen memory (or that know how to use our search bar), you’ll recall that we did this for 2009 and 2008 as well, so feel free to go over those to remember how awesome those years were, prior to this one.

As with those previous entries, keep in mind that the Sushi awards represent our goofy and snarky take on the year in gaming, for better or worse, chosen by the GS dudes. A proper “best of” top 10 list is coming next week. But for now, enjoy these custom awards and tell us what you think!


Continue reading The 2010 Sushis: A Year Honored and Belittled

A Wish List for Motion Controlled Gaming

DBZ Kame Hame Ha

As much as we dog pile on motion control gaming, I think all of us here at GamerSushi recognize that when utilized correctly, it has tremendous upside. Who didn’t get excited at the prospect of awesome sword play in a Legend of Zelda game way back when, before we realized that these hopes were totally misplaced? I think I like the idea of what motion control gaming could be, but I recognize that many developers are too lazy or have deadlines much too tight to really give it a thoughtful implementation that makes sense and enhances gameplay.

That being said, whenever people talk about the potential of big name titles getting some motion controls, I can’t help but let my mind wander to a magical place without all of that reality that normally bogs down tacked-on control schemes. I suppose RipTen feels the same way, as they put together a couple of lists of ten games that would be awesome with motion controls, including one for Kinect and one for Move. I would totally agree with their assessment on games like Fight Night Round 4, Starcraft 2, From Dust and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow for the different machines. But really, what I’d like is to be able to do Dragonball Z motions with my arms. Someone needs to get on that.

Joking aside, as much as those would be nice, I still think they would miss the mark somewhat. Continue reading A Wish List for Motion Controlled Gaming

StarCraft 2 UMS: Star Battle

As most of us know around here know, one of the biggest advantages of PC games is customization and modding, and StarCraft 2 is no exception. Right now the number one UMS (Use Map Settings) custom game on the EU Server is an awesome space battle map called Star Battle. It’s almost like DotA meets Star Trek. Basically, you farm small fighters to gain income to upgrade the weapons/armor/shields/engines on your giant war ship so you can destroy the other players’ giant war ships. A note for our North American users: while the custom map is now live on the US Server, not many people know about it, so nobody is playing yet.

Here is a more in depth explanation by TotalBiscuit. The video is a little long, but you get the basic idea pretty quick.

[youtube width=”500″ height=”331″][/youtube]

Husky and KurtHugo Parody “Baby” With “Banelings”

As a group of people with brain functions higher than that of your average chimpanzee, I think we can all agree that Justin Bieber is a blight upon the Earth equal to Jersey Shore or some other MTV reality show garbage. Adding insult to injury is the fact that he hails from my fair country of Canada, making yet another terrible music sensation we have to apologize for (Nickleback, Cher, Avril Levine and a few more being the others). On the other hand, such musical abortions are ripe for parody. Enter Husky of StarCraft 2 fame and KurtHugo who have cooked up a little ditty about the worst unit for the Zerg, the detestable Banelings. It features a sweet car, hot babes, and yes, plenty of StarCraft jargon. Take a look!

Halo Wars Says “GG”, Shuts Down Forum and Stat Tracking

Halo WarsHalo Wars, the Real Time Strategy spin-off of the popular shooter series, is getting a little downgrade to better integrate itself into Microsoft’s future plans for the franchise. In a recent post on the Halo Wars forum, moderator Cocopjojo announced that, after Title Update 5, the game will lose its forums and the online stat tracking on the dedicated site so it can be merged with the Halo Waypoint site.

While Halo Wars wasn’t exactly the most celebrated of the Halo games, it was still relatively well received and had a dedicated fan base to back it up. Most of the forum goers are naturally butt-hurt about the proceedings, and the very first comment after Cocopjojo pretty much sums up the sense of entitlement the Internet bestows upon people in one short snippet.

While this may not seem like a big deal since most of us probably don’t play Halo Wars anymore, online stats tracking has been a huge deal for Halo ever since Halo 2. For a series to get rid of one of the most successful community tools in the history of gaming, even if it’s a spin-off, is a pretty big blow. While Halo Wars will continue getting support for things like patches, it will be a bit more neutered going forward.

Any opinion on Microsoft dumping Halo Wars’ community on their collective butts? Even if Halo Wars gets rolled into Waypoint, it is a little bit of a slap in the face for the fans. Since Halo Wars lost its stat tracking, will future Halo games under the Microsoft umbrella even feature this?

Source – Halo Wars Forum

Dota 2 and Other PC Modder Victories

Defense of the Ancients 2

One of the advantages that PC gaming still maintains over consoles is its modding community. I’ve stated on numerous occasions that until 360 and PS3 games allow the same kind of tools and access as you’ll find in the PC world, the question of “have consoles surpassed PCs” is a discussion that can’t yet happen. If you’re not too keen on the exciting world of PC modding, you might have missed out on a few pieces of big news that happened this week.

  • Dota 2 (an adaptation of the name Defense of the Ancients 2, probably to avoid legal issues) was announced by Valve for PC and Mac in 2011. For the uninitiated in PC gaming lore, Defense of the Ancients was a Warcraft III mod that pitted teams of heroes against one another as they rushed enemy turrets, with AI controlled units battling it out between them. Valve hired project lead IceFrog to come aboard and develop a Source version.
  • A Duke Nukem 3D fan remake of the game in the Unreal engine titled Duke Nukem: Next-Gen received legal approval by Gearbox and Take Two to continue in production.
  • Derek “Krael” Paxton, creator of the Fall From Heaven Civilization IV mod, was hired by Stardock to fix their maligned and catastrophic release build of their new RTS Elemental.

What do you guys think of all of these pieces of news? Have you played either DotA or Fall from Heaven? What other PC mods would you like to see full releases for?

Source – GameInformer, Shacknews, and for the sake of repetition, Shacknews

Ranking the Most Important Online Gaming Experiences of 2010

Valve Mac

The funny thing about online gaming is that it’s an experience that seems to get overhauled every few years. While still in its infancy compared to the longer history of gaming in general, online gaming is going to continue to change in marvelous and unexpected ways. I can actually still remember my first online game, which was in the older than old school Rainbow Six on the PC. After that, it was Quake 2.

As 2010 will soon be drawing to a close, Mashable is taking a look at the year in review for their upcoming popular Mashable Awards. One of their categories this year is “best online game”, so in preparation they’ve released this featured list of 5 Experiences that Redefined Online Gaming in 2010.

I have to say, it’s definitely an interesting read, and I can’t really argue with it. For one, they include Portal’s free release on Steam when it came to Mac systems (and let’s be honest, Valve finds a way to get Steam on a list like this every year). On top of that, they point towards both Minecraft and even Starcraft II’s removal of LAN play except over as key moments in online gaming this year as well.

So what do you guys think of this list? What were some of this year’s biggest online developments? And on top of that, what were your favorite online experiences?

Source – Mashable

Starcraft II Project Vector Mod Goes from RTS to Dead Space

Wow. This is one of those videos that’s so impressive there’s not really a whole lot to say about it. Project Vector is a Starcraft II Mod that was created with the goal of achieving a playable third person survival-horror game out of the popular RTS. And it looks like they’re actually making some progress, if the new Project Vector demo is of any indication. It’s pretty much Dead Space in Starcraft II’s engine, which is something I never saw happening.

According to its creators over on the SC2Mapster forums, the game is currently playable, but they are still working on some additional revisions. Since they know the entire project will take some time to finish, they’re considering releasing it in small chunks so the community can get their hands on it.

This is all kinds of awesome. And I’ll go out on a limb here: until consoles can start to do this kind of thing with this level of quality, no one can call PC gaming definitively dead. Boom.

Source – SC2Mapster

Activision Wants to Sell Gaming Cut Scenes as Movies

Starcraft 2Get your popcorn ready. Bobby Kotick’s got a bright idea for you.

Ever since gaming content distribution has moved online in a significant way, I’ve wondered privately why video game studios haven’t taken full advantage of this by capitalizing on their audiences with video content. Since it’s ridiculously hard these days to get a video game movie produced, why don’t video game studios take this development into their own hands?

With great looking game assets and competent studio directors, there’s no reason someone like Konami, Bungie or Naughty Dog couldn’t take their popular franchises and create an in-game graphics movie out of the cut scenes, extending their stories or telling side stories. At a proper price point, this would be cheaper than producing a movie, and much cheaper than going to a movie for consumers. I imagine a 90 minute Uncharted movie would sell millions online, but I could be naive about this.

Well, we appear to be inching in a slightly different direction, if Activision CEO Bobby Kotick’s latest comments are to be taken at face value. You see, Kotick thinks that if Blizzard took the cut scenes from the already released Starcraft II and put them all together at once, gamers would pay up to $20 or $30 for them. Say what, Bobby Kotick? Check the jump for the quote. Continue reading Activision Wants to Sell Gaming Cut Scenes as Movies

Mitch’s Mods: Star Wars Requiem For Sins of a Solar Empire

Star Wars: Requiem
I don’t know how many of you played Empire at War, the most recent of the Star Wars brands’ long line of mediocre Real Time Strategy titles, but I sank a fair few hours into that game. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it was nothing worth writing home about, either. While the ground combat was severely lacking (you couldn’t build base structures where you wanted them), the space battles were great fun. Taking control of either the Rebellion, the Empire or Tyber Zann’s Consortium, you could duke it out with anything from X-Wings to Super Star Destroyers. As fun as it was, it was fairly limited in scope, and the Galactic Conquest mode made the space battles more of a stepping stone than a main attraction. I’ve longed for the day that I can control the Empire on a mission to take over the galaxy, and it may have finally arrived with this fan made mod for Sins of a Solar Empire.

Sins is a game that focuses on managing a huge empire, so the large scale of its maps (which can range from one solar system to several) is a perfect fit for the Star Wars aesthetics. The mod is fairly easy to install, too, since all of Gas Powered Games’ titles are DRM free and open to modding. As soon as you boot the program up, you’re instantly treated to Duel of the Fates, the song that plays when Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Gin are dueling Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. The whole mod is fantastic, and all of the Star Wars ships look exactly like you would imagine them to. Even ships that are only present in the expanded universe, such as Lancer assault frigates, are represented in game. The models for the ships are really well detailed, and the sound effects are very true to the movies; they even replaced the phase jump sound effect with the noise of a ship jumping to hyperspace. The mod does rip quite a few sound files from Empire at War, so they loose a few points for that. Over all, this is a really high quality mod, and it got me excited enough to install Sins on my machine again. If you’ve got the game and are inclined towards Star Wars, pick up this mod. Heck, even if you’re just interested in high quality homebrew expansions, grab it as well. Hit the jump for a video of a space battle in progress: Continue reading Mitch’s Mods: Star Wars Requiem For Sins of a Solar Empire

Review: StarCraft 2

StarCraft 2I’m not going to mince words on this one, because if you’ve been even remotely interested in PC gaming since the late 1990s then you’ve probably played StarCraft. Blizzard may have fed their other RTS series to the MMO meat-grinder, but, at least for now, StarCraft remains as the gold standard of old-school strategy games. On the other hand, it is 2010, and the strategy genre has seen some impressive leaps in the area of both gameplay and story-telling mostly thanks to Relic and their excellent Dawn of War and Company of Heroes series. Can the StarCraft formula still hold up, even all these years later?
Continue reading Review: StarCraft 2

StarCraft II Victim of Pirate Rush: Downloaded Illegally Over 260,000 Times

starcraft_2_logoAs you may have heard, a little known franchise called StarCraft returned from obscurity this past week, shocking everyone in the world by selling 721,000 copies in its first week according to the NPD numbers. Surely this unexpected bonanza will lift Activision-Blizzard from the depths of poverty in which they had lain for so long.

What may or may not shock you, depending on your depth of reality, is that StarCraft II is also the most pirated game of the year. Probably. I mean, no one has bothered to check the figures on APB, but I doubt they come close.

According to TorrentFreak, the rampant pirates of the Internet have illegally downloaded StarCraft II 260,000 times, with 50,000 people sharing the game at one time on BitTorrent. Now, you may call me naive, but I tend to think that this isn’t the same few people downloading and redownloading the game over and over. No, call me cynical, but I think these are all unique users.

Now, despite my earlier sarcasm, we all know that StarCraft II is one of the most anticipated games of all time. So, keeping that in mind…wouldn’t you just save up some money and buy it? I mean, you know it’s coming out, it’s not like they kept it a secret or anything.

How does this make you feel? I know, I know, most of these people will buy it once they verify that the OVERWHELMINGLY positive reviews are not giant balls of deceit, but I still can’t help but feel angry on behalf of the people who worked for years on this game, only to have some dude with a broadband connection decide he (or she; I’m not sexist) doesn’t have to pay money for it.

We actually talked about this very subject in the new podcast you must listen to right this second, regarding the game Machinarium, which was also a victim of massive piracy.

What do you guys think? Did you buy StarCraft II? Does it make you angry that some people choose not to play by the rules?

Source: TorrentFreak

StarCraft 2 Impressions: It’s Not Just WarCraft in Space!

StarCraft 2So, StarCraft 2 is finally out as of last week. You’ve been playing it, I’ve been playing it, and Eddy wishes he’s been playing it. Now that we’ve had a good amount of time to digest Blizzard’s long-in-the-making sci-fi RTS follow up, I thought I’d start a little topic where we could discuss our thoughts on the single and multiplayer portions and maybe start a little group so you can wail on me as often as you like.

Starting with the single player, I have to say that the game is very, very solid in its design. Blizzard has been tweaking and polishing the balance on all of their games for a long time, and it really shows in the tightness of the units and how they counter-act against each other. While you do get access to a wider variety of troops in the single player game, they’ve all been assigned a specific role much like their multiplayer counter-parts. There are no “god-units” here, just one that might happen to do better in a given mission. While so far the designs of the missions themselves haven’t really stood out, I’ve been able to do fairly well and I haven’t become frustrated with impossible goals or cheap AI tactics.

Between missions, you can explore Jim Raynor’s battlecruiser The Hyperion. Along the way, you’ll stock the ship with various characters who will aid you in your quest or provide you with missions and upgrades. Exploring your ship is a cross between Mass Effect and an old-school point and click adventure game in that you can talk to or click on anyone and anything, but it’s all done without ever taking direct control of Jim. I liked this part of the game a lot as it added a lot of personality to characters we’re used to seeing from a top-down view. The ability to augment units with Protoss and Zerg tech is also a welcome addition because of how it changes the dynamic of the units. Again, it won’t make any one unit over-powered but the upgrades do give you a nice edge. Like I’ve mentioned before I’m finding the mission design a little samey, but it is improving the farther I get into the game. Once the story starts rolling, you get hooked pretty easily.

Now, I’m going to let you guys go to town on multiplayer, because StarCraft has always had a steep learning curve. I’m not exactly terrible at the game, but a competent player could wipe the floor with me easily. I’ve been doing a few comp stomps with a buddy, and those have been great fun in addition to letting me practice my build orders and hotkey commands. So what do you guys think of StarCraft 2?

Poll: Impatience and Upgrading

Starcraft II. It’s out. It’s been clamored for since last decade. And now everybody and their mom seems to be playing it. Well, everybody that is, except me. You see, I’ve found myself in a bit of a pickle over Starcraft II’s epic release.

Here’s the rundown: it’s been almost 5 years since I upgraded my PC. I think I did it the year I got married, which was all the way back in 2005, before the days of Leet World. In fact, TLW was part of the reason that I upgraded in the first place, in order to get ready for that kind of work. As such, my PC can just barely play SCII, much to my sadness.

So, I’m left with a bit of a choice. I was hoping to upgrade sometime in the next 5-6 months, which will make my PC able to easily tackle this grand RTS. However, I still want to play it, and play it now, because I feel like I’m missing out on all the fun. The problem is, on my crappy system, I’m not sure how much fun it will actually be.

What would you guys do if you were in my shoes? I thought I’d put it to a vote. Go!

What would you do?

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