Practice and Patience in Civilization V

Civilization V

There are just a handful of places in my life where I’m willing to invest actual, valuable man-hours in order to return some kind of benefit. Writing, for one, is a hobby that I’ve managed to turn into a career of some sorts, and I hope to take it even further than I have in the future, through continual practice and repetition. Parenting, for obvious reasons, is another area in which I gladly invest my time. But there are plenty of other “grown up” things that I can’t seem to give the time of day — learning to be handy, taking care of my yard, dressing better.

Videogames have always been different. Every now and then a certain game will come along that captivates me to the point where I want to plumb its depths and learn everything I can about it. Of course, this comes with mixed results (such as StarCraft II), but every now and then, the process of practicing skills and memorizing stats and build orders actually increases my enjoyment of a game.

Enter Sid Meier’s Civilization V. Continue reading Practice and Patience in Civilization V

GamerSushi Asks: Teamwork Triumphs?

Starcraft 2

Last night, in the spirit of true camaraderie, Nick, Mitch and I teamed up for some 3 v 3 matches of StarCraft 2. Big surprise, right? If you’ve been listening to the podcast, you’ll know that these outings have increased in their frequency, and I’m starting to experience something while gaming that I haven’t in a long time – defining a good team strategy.

Basically, we hit a point in the game where we had to change what we were doing, and really zero in on a particular plan. Our new builds last night really opened up some new possibilities for us, and we were able to defend our platinum rank in 3 v 3 with gusto.

Weirdly enough, the last time I remember obsessing this much over strategy has been with previous Halo games. I did the same kind of tactical research for Halo Wars, and before that, lots of practice flag runs on Halo 2. The practice/teamwork dynamic is something that I don’t experience too often in games, so it’s always interesting when it strikes again.

What’s your last big experience with teamwork triumphs in a multiplayer game? What games in recent past have forced you and a team to really work together? Go!

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

GamerSushi Poll: Favorite Halo Game

Well, we’ve finally reached (get it?) September, the month where Bungie will bid adieu to the Halo franchise with the highly anticipated, even by me, Halo: Reach. In honor of this momentous and bittersweet occasion, I thought I would ask you guys which game in the Halo series stands out to you as the best.

I never played Halo: Combat Evolved until 2007, when I finally bought a used Xbox for fifty bucks from a friend. Even years after its release, it was still a blast to play and all the whining about the Library level was way overblown. The backtracking did suck, though. Honestly, I think that one is still my favorite to this day, although I haven’t played ODST yet, but a certain Canadian speaks very highly of it. And the less said about Halo 2’s ending, or lack thereof, the better.

So what do you guys think? What game is your favorite and why? Is there a particular one that you don’t think stands up the high quality of the others? Let your opinions Flood (ha ha) over this post…now!

What's Your Favorite Halo Game?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

GamerSushi Asks: Last Gaming Obsession?

Red Dead RedemptionOh video games, how I miss thee. I’m going on about a week now with no video gaming of any kind to speak of. This is partly from just being busy with regular old life things, but also because my wife and I went to Florida over the weekend for a nice break with some old friends. While the trip was awesome, I didn’t get to play any video games, so that was just a bit bogus.

So, now that I’m going through my withdrawals and the hallucinations are starting to settle in, I’ve been reminding myself how awesome it is to “go into the light” so to speak, and play video games until it’s completely unhealthy to do so. That’s right, I’m craving a mega gaming binge. Really, while I’ve had a few binges in recent months, it’s been a long time since I’ve been truly obsessed with a game. I think the last one for me was sadly, Halo Wars. I played the game every single night for months without stopping. The funny thing is, it wasn’t even that good of a game.

So what about you guys? With Red Dead Redemption, 3D Dot Game Heroes, Alan Wake and Super Mario Galaxy 2 dropping on us this week, it seems like the time is ripe for more gaming obsessions to begin anew. What was your last or most recent one? Go!

Also, I leave you all with a gchat conversation Mitch and I had about Red Dead Redemption today. After the jump. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Last Gaming Obsession?

GamerSushi Asks: Beating the Game?

prototypeOne thing that I’ve gotten really bad at in recent years is beating a game. I used to beat nearly every game I played, no matter its quality or length, including all the crazy JRPGs that I used to power through in college. Part of the reason I don’t seem to do this anymore is that as I get busier, my free time is a lot more valuable, and I don’t want to spend it playing a game that starts to feel like a chore.

That being said, I’ve made it a point to beat a few games that have been sitting on my docket recently, such as finishing Halo Wars on co-op mode, Shadow Complex and the Secret of Monkey Island. I have to say, I was really surprised at how satisfied I felt to beat a few games in a row, and it made me realize just how few games I seem to beat these days. Just this week I gave up on Prototype after getting tired of the repetitive missions.

So it made me wonder, do you guys do this too? What’s the last game that you guys have beaten, and what games have you given up on lately? Go!

Gaming Obsessions

warcraft3I think I need an intervention. I have this problem, you see. Sometimes, I get stuck playing a game for months on end, not because it’s ridiculously fun or anything, but because I become obsessed with getting good at it. I don’t know why, but I have this fixation with certain games where I need to become better at them, even after the game isn’t nearly as fun as it once was when I started playing.

I suppose this is an obsession. Right now for me, I’ve been doing this with Halo Wars. It’s a good game, and I still have fun, but I spend more energy on trying to come up with the right build order than really enjoying what’s there. I think this happened for me with Halo 2 as well, and Warcraft 3 before that. Games like Halo 3 and Counter-Strike have never been bogged down like that, but for some reason, those other titles were.

So what about you guys? Has a game’s fun ever been obscured by a want to be better at it? Or have you been obsessed with a game in general?

GamerSushi Asks: What Are You Playing?

peggleIt’s been awhile since I’ve checked in with what you guys have been up to, videogame-wise, so I thought I’d take a little poll. Now that the Spring games have come and gone, and we enter that familiar “release drought” that plagues gamers each year, I’m curious what games are currently being tackled by your calloused fingers.

For me, I’ve been playing lots of Halo Wars, Peggle, and even a little Final Fantasy VI on my Nintendo DS. I’m hoping to move towards finally finishing Valkyria Chronicles later this week, as well as some Resistance 2. Right now, I just don’t have as much time as I want, and I end up playing Halo Wars instead of moving onto some other games that I seem to have wasted money on. Also, Peggle is stupid addicting and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t played it. Hopefully, I can get my act together soon.

What about you guys? What are you playing?

GamerSushi Asks: Competitive Gaming?

tournamentSo tonight I played and lost in a Halo Wars tournament hosted by the good dudes over at Rooster Teeth. It was a 32 man 1 v 1 tournament that lasted a total of 4 hours before it was all said and done. Well, really, for me, it only lasted about 30 minutes, as I went out in the first round.

To be honest though, I don’t feel too bad, seeing as how the guy and I fought it out like crazy and actually had a pretty close game… and then he went all the way to the finals. It stinks knowing that I might have made it that far, but what can you do? Anywho, it made me think about other tournament situations I’ve played in, which haven’t been many. I’ve participated in a couple of Halo tournaments, but they were so poorly put together that anybody could have made it out of there.

What about you guys? What games have you played competitively?

GamerSushi Asks: The Plateau?

plateauAs you all know, I tend to move from multiplayer game to multiplayer game, stopping and camping out on one of them at a time for a few months. Right now, the game of multiplayer choice has been Halo Wars, and so far I’ve been really into the versus modes.

However, my 2 v 2 teammate and I have recently moved into a new skill tier of players, and we’re finding that our tactics aren’t working as well as we used to. Try as we might to adapt and test new strategies, we’re only winning about half of our matches, and just getting crushed by some players. I wonder if we’ve kind of topped off in terms of how good we are, which really isn’t all that great, all things considered.

So what was the last game that you guys have played where you felt this kind of noticeable plateau in your skill level? What did you do? Did you fight through it, or just accept it and move on? Go!

GamerSushi Asks: Cheap Gaming?

ncaaAs you all know, I’ve been tearing up quite a bit of Halo Wars recently. The online multiplayer is so fun, and my friend and I have been testing out all kinds of strats in 2 v 2 arranged matchmaking. Our current one involves warthog rushing in the first couple of minutes of the game, and so far it’s working well.

However, while I feel the game is terribly well balanced, there are a few borderline-annoying things about it in terms of overpowered units, etc. The Covenant army gets a hero, depending on which race they choose. While the hero is a cool addition, when they are leveled up, they are virtually unstoppable and act as a one-man army.

Like I said, this doesn’t keep the game from being enjoyable, but it got me thinking about other cheap tactics or cheap factors in video games. You know what I mean- things that always own you or unfairly seem to just whoop you to the point of irritation. For me, I think one of the biggest ones was NCAA 2005 Football. Occasionally, the CPU seemed to decree with the football gods that no matter what you did in a particular game, you were going to lose, period. It was a really stupid system, and one that resulted in many a thrown controller.

What about you guys? Ever come across cheap tactics or cheap games that frustrated you?

GamerSushi Asks: Purchasing Busts?

ff8I randomly decided to get Halo Wars this weekend. Well, not completely randomly. You see, I’m selling my Wii to some poor sucker on this website, and knowing that I’m about to get some extra gaming cash has really gotten me itching for a new game, especially considering all the new titles coming out.

I don’t know if you guys ever get that same itch, but for me it’s killer. It came down to Halo Wars or Killzone 2, and Halo Wars won out, though I’m pretty sure Killzone 2 will end up in my collection in a week or so. The point is, I’m really enjoying the purchase so far. The single player campaign is interesting, albeit simplistic, and multiplayer is just a blast. I imagine 3 v 3 with some friends is stupid fun.

Anywho, it made me start wondering about the most disappointing (or even the worst) game I had ever actually purchased, because this was far from that. I think for me it was probably Final Fantasy VIII, which just let me down in so many ways. What about you guys?

GamerSushi Asks: Spring Releases?

sf4The prolific times of the year for video games show up around February/March, August, and October/November. As we come up to the first big season of the gaming year, there are quite a few notable titles looming on the horizon. Halo Wars, Killzone 2, Resident Evil 5, and Street Fighter IV seem to round out the list.

Right now, I’m actually really looking forward to both Halo Wars and Killzone 2, which couldn’t represent more of a polar opposite in terms of fanboy and genre appeal. While I’m not sold on Resident Evil 5, I’m still anxious to actually play the game proper, and Street Fighter IV is just nowhere on my radar, even though it looks fun. I guess I’m just not that into fighters anymore.

Which of these titles are you guys looking forward to? Which could you care less about? Go!

Halo Wars: Field Trip to Harvest Trailer

A new trailer has surfaced for Halo Wars, finally giving us a glimpse into what specifically the story is going to be about, besides Halos and/or Wars. For those of you who don’t know, Harvest was the point where the Covenant first attacked humanity, and it seems that they must return their for some mysterious purpose before the events of Halo proper.

So, is anyone else but me excited about this game? I mean, I’m not jumping out of my chair for it, but I’m still keen to see more about the mythology of the franchise.