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?
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.
I promise I’m not trying to make weekly videos a theme, but it was hard to resist the idea of showing you guys these two music-themed videos. And seeing as how one is related to Bioshock Infinite, a game that many of you are pumped about, and the other is related to Journey, which I feel has one of the best gaming soundtracks of all time, I didn’t think you all would mind.
The first video is a brief clip of two of Bioshock Infinite’s actors, Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper, singing an old spiritual song that appears in the game, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. This is a classic song, and I love the time period that it establishes Columbia in. It’s a lovely duet, and it’s pretty cool that it appears in the game.
Hola, Sushians. For Did You See This Wednesday, I bring great gaming gifts, like a spice trader who’s wandered across the internet’s vast desert on camelback.
OK actually, I just found some cool stuff I thought you guys might like to see. We’ve got two videos here. The first is an original piece by Tim Hijikema, who, if you’ll remember, made the excellent Video Game Planets piece almost a year ago.
In his new video, Video Game Locations, Tim re-creates classic video game locales, from Hyrule to Vice City. Set to excellent music, this thing is a crazy nostalgia tour. Can you name them all?
Yikes. Been a bit quiet around here at GamerSushi, what with everyone busily working on their backlogs and preparing for the fall blitz. One bright spot in a not-so-surprisingly dim summer of gaming is the release of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which just graced monitors and TVs around the world this past week. It’s the first game I’ve played in a month or so regularly, and I find myself itching to jump into it almost every night. It feels like a great mix between Source and 1.6… and just feels like Counter-Strike again, which is hard to quantify, but easy to recognize once you experience it. And this is a good thing.
Even cooler? Valve’s treatment of CS: GO with Source Filmmaker. For any of you Leet World fans, you can imagine that this kind of caused some collective jaw-dropping with that particular gang. Lots of jaw-dropping indeed.
So, who out there has CS: GO? Drop your Steam name in the comments and let’s have some fun.
And here we go, more good stuff out of Source Filmmaker. Created by my bud Zachariah Scott, After Aperture is just what it sounds like, a short piece about Chell after she escapes the infamous lab that specializes in portal science.
The description of the video on YouTube notes a few limitations encountered during its making. For one, Chell’s model doesn’t have a ton of facial animation possibilities, seeing as how the player is never meant to see her directly. So that certainly presents a challenge in terms of shot selection. Despite that, it’s definitely a nice piece, although it is just a bit of a preamble to another project that Zachariah is working on, one that I think will outclass it by far. Enjoy!
Thoughts? Got any other awesome stuff you guys have seen in SFM yet? Go!
Once Valve officially released Source Filmmaker to the public, it was only a matter of time before some fans would do some truly great things with it — after the slew of derivative “x movie in Team Fortress 2″ videos, of course. Well, it seems we finally have a worthy machinima entry, straight from the fan community.
Sort of. Although James McVinnie is a Team Fortress 2 fan, he also happens to be a cinematic designer at Bioware. Which probably explains why his new short, Practical Problems, is so well done. In addition to spending 130 hours in both Hammer and Source Filmmaker to get the job done, James also worked with his friend Zach to do some motion capture work via 2 Kinects.
So, yeah. The results are rather entertaining, and quite faithful to the spirit of Valve’s own work with Team Fortress 2.
In a day of big news all across E3, the biggest news perhaps came at the end of Ubisoft’s wacky, boob-showing, animal killing, eSports-toting conference. With a move that surprised everyone, Ubisoft unleashed an unannounced new IP titled Watch Dogs, a cyber-punk inspired open world game that looks like Assassin’s Creed meets Shadowrun meets Grand Theft Auto IV.
It really is hard to put into words what makes this (gameplay) demo so impressive, so I think you should just watch it for yourselves. Ubisoft gave no indication of a release timeframe or even a system, but the visuals make it out to be something that might even be next generation.
The most impressive part was the way everything was inter-connected, and all the tools the player has at his disposal. It’s hard to figure out if the end was a hint for multiplayer, but the possibility sure is exciting.
By now, we all know about Double Fine’s landmark Kickstarter campaign, which netted them millions of dollars from gamers seeking a classic adventure game. Even though this has spawned a number of copy cat attempts and some obnoxious reporting from other video game websites (do we seriously count Kickstarters running short of their goal as news, now?), I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting for an update from Tim Schafer about the progress of the project.
Well, here it is. If you’ll recall, part of the funding for the project was going towards a documentary of the game-making process, as filmed and created by 2 Player Productions. Funding the Kickstarter gives access to these documentary pieces, giving an in-depth look at every stage of development. But if you didn’t fund the project, fear not — Double Fine was gracious enough to release Double Fine: Adventure: Episode One for free.
While we don’t see a whole lot of the game in development at this point, it’s certainly a well made introduction to the entire series, giving a run down on Tim Schafer’s background in the adventure genre, as well as the reactions at the studio upon seeing the success of the Kickstarter campaign.
What do you guys think of Episode One? Who else backed the Double Fine Adventure? Go!
Freddie Wong is at it again, but this time he takes his hijinks to the wonderful world of Skyrim. Imagine if the game allowed you to pull off some sweet finishing moves, dragon headshots and dap it out with your foes. Basically, if the game allowed you to be a badass. I really shouldn’t introduce it anymore. You should just watch it.
As you guys know, I’m really not a huge fan of the viral video/effects showcase formula, but Freddie Wong is on a different plane than everybody else trying to do it. He’s clever, fun, produces tons of content and knows how to keep the gags simple and sweet without overstaying his welcome. In short, he’s awesome, and this is one of my favorite sketches of his yet.
What are your thoughts? Is Freddie Wong a Skyrim badass? Go!
So I’m posting this from the hospital, where my wife and I await the impending arrival of our daughter. Kind of crazy.
Fortunately, as this whole waiting process can stretch on for a day or so, I’ve had a bit of Uncharted to help pass the time tonight. And I don’t mean playing Uncharted in video game form — I mean watching it in movie form.
You see, Reddit user morphinapg did something that I’m surprised nobody has done up until now — he edited all three Uncharted games into feature-length films, with each one clocking in at about 2-3 hours. He did this by taking the games’ cut scenes and stringing them together with the minimal amount of gameplay necessary so as not to create plot holes. The result is a pretty entertaining trilogy.
This is just one of those things that tugs on the heartstrings. Caine is a 9 year old boy who loves arcades so much that he decided to build one himself in his father’s used auto parts store – out of cardboard boxes. Not only does Caine maintain and operate the “machines” himself, he actually devised a series of passes, tickets, rewards/prizes and even a security system to confirm that customers are legit.
Caine’s problem? He can’t get any visitors. So a bunch of people decide to give him one of the greatest days of his life in the way of a flash mob. The results are pretty heartwarming.
Needless to say, the whole thing is absurdly adorable and harkens back to those days when we were kids, and our imaginations ran wild. It’s also pretty cool that, in a world where the arcade is fading away, there are still kids that are as addicted to them as I used to be back in the day. I spent far too many (or not enough, depending on your point of view) summer days and dollars at the pizza buffet behind my house, slamming my palms on driving games, the Simpsons arcade game and whatever shooters I could find.
What did you guys think of this? Favorite arcade memories? Go!
At this point, Star Wars: Battlefront 3 is the Highlander of video games. Or the Dracula, if you think the franchise is a soul-sucking waste of pixelated space. Rumored to have been canceled in 2008, the specter of Battlefront 3 continues to haunt the Internet, with concept art and dark tales springing up from the most random of places.
Personally, I was a rabid fan of Battlefront 2, so every time one of these stories surfaces, I feel a mix of both pain and excitement. Excitement at the idea that maybe the game isn’t dead, just in hiding like Yoda, waiting to be released by some secretive developer. I feel pain because I know the world isn’t always that perfect and likes to crush my dreams.
So, it’s with a mix of those feelings that I post some supposedly uncovered footage of Battlefront 3 alpha gameplay, shot off-screen from an early PC build in 2008. Man, this brings back memories of some epic space battles, and heroic moments that involved mowing opponents down with a lightsaber.
The coolest part of the footage was leaving a base on the surface of a planet and flying all the way to a spaceship in orbit. Seriously, if anyone out there is a part of making this game a reality I will kiss you on the mouth. Any other Sushi-ans as big of a fan of this franchise as I was?
One of the things I love about video games is when you manage to find a “game within the game”, to speak. This has become more and more of a thing in the past generation due to open-world sandbox games, and there’s a certain kind of joy there that’s hard to match. As a kid, I remember playing Mario 64 during the summer when I was bored, just playing the flying missions repeatedly to see how low I could swoop to the ground without touching it and losing the flight. Somehow, we always find new ways to entertain ourselves.
That’s exactly what the guys at Achievement Hunter have done in their newest video, Things to Do in Skyrim, which features them creating trick shots that involve throwing cabbage into buckets. It’s very reminiscent of this Michael Jordan/Larry Bird Super Bowl ad for McDonald’s – and that’s a good thing. Anyway, you should watch it, the reaction shots at the end are priceless.
When’s the last time you guys got sucked into doing this kind of thing in a video game? Did anyone else die laughing when they freaked out?
Although it’s already starting to become cliche just how many people are using Kickstarter to fund any damn thing in the world (why do people need $30,000 to produce a podcast – seriously), every now and then a project will rise above all the noise and show us something very cool.
On the heels of Double Fine’s Adventure game, The Banner Saga, by Stoic, promises us a Strategy RPG title, made by industry veterans, which happens to feature a mature story and some truly breathtaking art. Seriously, just the visuals alone were enough to sell me on the project, before even reading any of the impressive facts about it. I’ll let you watch the trailer.
The game is scheduled for release in June 2012, and just $10 nets you Chapter 1 of the game. I have to say, the whole thing really has impressed me, and I’ll probably be throwing some support their way – plus, it’s based in Texas, which is awesome.
What are your guys’ thoughts on The Banner Saga? How do you feel about the new fad of putting everything on Kickstarter? Go!
Have we reached the Uncanny Valley yet, gentlemen? The place where robots or animation start to get creepy, because of the way they mimic life but happen to be just off? Who knows, but some of the results on the way there are interesting to watch.
Quantic Dream, creators of Heavy Rain, just debuted a new tech demo at GDC this week known as Project KARA, the story of a robot/AI that accidentally becomes self aware during production. Unlike their last project, KARA was created by use of full performance motion capture, rather than separate body/facial animation capture. The quality of the performance is rather impressive (even if the writing always isn’t) in this piece – and what’s more impressive is that all of this is being handled in real time through the PS3.
Cage has noted that this isn’t tied to a specific project at all, but rather a demonstration of where they’d like to go with their next project. What do you guys think of this short? Uncanny Valley territory? Impressive? Lame? Go!
Apparently this is the week where all of our wildest gaming dreams come true. OK, that might be stretching it a bit, but at least a few of our gaming wishes seem to be coming to light. Between Battlefield 3 rumors, Double Fine’s Kickstarter Adventure and Notch talking Psychonauts 2, we’ve got kind of a lot of things worth salivating over. But that’s not all!
You see, DICE 2012 is underway right now, featuring a number of sessions from well known people in the field of interactive entertainment, including none other than Skyrim boss Todd Howard himself. Last night, Todd Howard gave Skyrim fans the world over a bit of a tease, something to get their heads spinning as we look forward to future DLC.
The Skyrim Game Jam is a week-long project where developers at Bethesda were challenged to come up with and implement one feature that they’d love to see in the enormous open-world RPG. While Howard cautioned that some of these things are just tests and might not ever see an actual release, the possibilities are enough to keep people excited about where the game could possibly go. Howard showed a reel which boasted all the things that the developers came up with in just one week’s time, ranging from mounted dragons (!) to seasonally changing foliage. Go ahead, see for yourself.
Although this power gets abused quite a bit, it’s still pretty cool that we live in a time where developers can retroactively incorporate fresh new additions to gameplay that might need some polishing. So my question to you guys is this: which of these features would you actually want to see in the final game? Also, if you could add a reel of features like this to any other game, what would you do? Go!
I love when you see something so simple yet so brilliant that it kind of blows your mind. Tim Schafer has been in the spotlight quite a bit this week, what with his Psychonauts 2 shenanigans with Notch and all. But this actually goes a step further:
Tim Schafer is letting you (meaning us) finance Double Fine’s next game, a classic point-and-click adventure. Normally, a game like this would have little chance of being put into production by a publisher, so he’s taking the game straight to fans on Kickstarter. Rather than blather on about it, I’ll let Tim tell you about it himself.
And there you have it. For $400,000, Double Fine will make an old school adventure game, and the fans get to be a part of the process. Meanwhile, all of it will be documented by 2 Player Productions, the dudes behind the Minecraft/Mojang documentary.
It’s hard for me to express just how excited I am about this. While I don’t think it’ll necessarily change gaming as we know it, it certainly opens the door to start developers down that path. They would answer to fans and cut out the middle man completely. At the same time, what we’re seeing of the game isn’t being dictated by marketing, but rather an in-depth documentary crew. It’s just a little bit rad.
So what do you guys think of this? I’ve already donated some money. The numbers are already past 100k in the first day of the campaign, so I don’t think they’ll have any problems hitting it. Do any of you think you’ll join?
Edit: At the time I published this, the Kickstarter was at 122k, up from 90k when I started writing/donating.
I’ve often been a pretty vocal opponent to the idea of fan films. Sure, they’re flashy and a nice little pipe dream for the communities of the games they represent, but in the end they’re typically low on content. Most of them follow the same formula, and are entirely predictable.
Such is the case with this new entry, Half-Life: Origins. Why am I posting it, then? Because as miserly as I can be about fan videos on the Internet, I can’t help but admire this stylish recreation of one of the most iconic video game intros ever made. So, yeah. Enjoy.