Microsoft just announced their virtual assistant software for Windows Phones, and the connection to Halo isn’t just her name:
Cortana is named after a virtual character in Halo, Microsoft’s science-fiction video game series, that uses her encyclopedic knowledge about the universe to help the game’s protagonist, Master Chief. The actress, Jen Taylor, who does the voice for the character, also provided recordings for the phone assistant’s voice.
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?
One of the most exciting things about the Halo series are the varied enemies. Each enemy is unique in appearance and behavior, from the cannon fodder of the Grunts to the charging ferocity of the Brutes. It’s a trademark of the franchise and something other games just can’t quite nail. When 343 Studios took over the reins, some fans were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to live up to the strong legacy set by Bungie.
Well, this gallery of Promethean enemy classes, brought you by All Games Beta, shows those concerns just might be unfounded. The different classes and behaviors, not to mention weapons that are showcased in the gallery, lead me to believe that 343 is on point with Halo 4. The Knight alone sounds scary enough, but the Knight Commander seems like an uber-powerful version that might make me wet my pants the first time we meet. Hopefully, Master Chief can snag some of those bad-ass weapons and do some damage himself.
What say you? Do the Prometheans look like they carry on the Halo tradition or do they look generic to you? Hit the comments!
When I was a kid, I remember sitting in the living room with a bowl of Frosted Flakes, watching cartoons with an eager hunger every Saturday morning. In addition to the classics such as the Super Mario Bros cartoon or Captain N, I was fascinated with the show Reboot, which takes place entirely in a virtual world. Since then, I think I’ve always had a desire for even more fiction that revolves around gaming, which is surprisingly seldom encountered even two decades later.
However, today I stumbled across a short story that a friend of mine wrote over at Prolific Novelista, so I figured I would share. Player is the tale of one man’s quest to beat an anonymous gamer online, and the way our competitive edge kicks in whenever we deal with strangers in multiplayer settings. It’s a piece that I think all of us can identify with. I know that one of the most shocking things for me when I first entered the realm of online gaming was realizing that I was just a mediocre fish in a sea of badasses with itchy trigger fingers. The desire to beat an opponent at a game you pride yourself in is a strong one, and we’ve all encountered it at one time or another.
So yeah, I think you guys should read it. Definitely entertaining and familiar. I would also suggest you guys check out Ready Player One, a novel I keep hearing about that takes place inside of a video game. Thoughts, gents and ladies? Go!
One of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes comics has to do with the idea that every man has a price. Calvin says that his price is two bucks cold cash up front, to which Hobbes muses aloud that he’s not sure what’s worse: that everyone has his price, or that the price is sometimes so low. What’s funny is that the more I think about it, the more this is actually true in gaming, too. Everyone’s got a price in terms of what they want from a game. And while the Bill Watterson comic touched on this in a more sinister way with morality, I think it’s what actually helps us enjoy games overall.
I’m hardcore. At least, I consider myself to be. As such, I usually play games the first time through on at least normal, never dropping to easy mode unless I am just interested in the story, which is a rare occasion at best. But with games that I’ve played before, such as the newly released Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition, I wanted to challenge myself and play it on Heroic. So that’s what Eddy and I did.
Until some technical SNAFUs got in the way. We were playing co-op, breezing through the game and right at the very end of the level “Assault on the Control Room” when we were suddenly disconnected from Xbox Live. Thanks to the games archaic checkpoint system, we lost our progress and would have been forced to replay the whole level again, if it wasn’t for the fact that we rage quit for a week.
Finally, this weekend, we got back on the Halo horse and started kicking ass again. Until it happened again…in The Library. Rather than race to trade the game in, which was my first instinct, Eddy suggested we drop it to normal and just beat it quickly. And so we did. And what an enjoyable experience that was. We were so tired of the game that we just wanted to race right through it and be done with it.
Has this happened to anyone else? You suddenly lose all concern for your hardcore cred and just want to BEAT THE FREAKING THING and move on with your life? Sound off!
The release of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary yesterday also saw the passing of the franchises’ tenth year in existence. Yes that’s right, good old Halo is 10 years old, if you can believe it. It seems only yesterday that I was waiting for Reach to fall or finishing the fight, but there you have it. Halo has been such a fixture in my gaming life that I can’t really let this occasion pass by unnoticed.
I played Halo: Combat Evolved more than any other game, even Knights of the Old Republic 2, which absorbed a large part of my life. I played through the campaign on solo and co-op on every difficulty except for Easy, and I had dozens of LAN parties with friends, trying to to see who could out-pistol each other. It’s kind of amusing to me that the most iconic weapon in Halo’s history is reportedly a tweak that was put in by accident by a developer that more than doubled the pistol’s damage right before ship.
Halo 2 had almost as much of an impact on me; it was the first game I lined up at midnight for, and it also showed me that multiplayer could be done well on consoles. While I was still very much a PC player then, the fact that I could have a great experience on my TV was kind of revolutionary. Halo 2’s campaign was also pretty decent, story blunders and the fact that I would have to wait four more years to get a Halo game set entirely on Earth. Continue reading 10 Years of Halo
Bungie’s twentieth anniversary may have come and gone (and with it their stewardship of the Halo series) but they have one last present to give to their fans. Pulling footage and interviews from their long history of crafting awesome stuff, Bungie’s newest ViDoc deatils the company’s past in depth, including some frank revelations concerning Halo 2 and its notorious ending.
There’s also a bit about Bungie’s relationship with their passionate community and a few celebrity interviews besides (yes, Anthony, Nathan Fillion is in there). This beast clocks in at just about an hour, so get comfy and prepare to relive your memories of Halo, Myth, Marathon and Oni.
Now that Halo is out of Bungie’s control and they’re onto bigger and better things, do you think that their new project will garner as much acclaim as Halo? What could their new project be? There are some tantalizing hints at the end…
It had to happen at some point, folks. As somber as it is, Bungie is finally saying their official goodbye to the Halo series as of August 2nd, they’ll be handing control of Halo: Reach’s matchmaking, etc. over to 343 as they send their legendary franchise off to sea. Or the stars, as it were.
Here’s a bit from their farewell post:
Halo is yours now. In many ways, it always has been. Its new caretakers will strive, just as we did, to be worthy stewards but you have the package. Hold these characters and stories and worlds to the same unflinching standards you did while we were at the helm, but allow them all to blossom and change and grow in the ways that they must.
As such, Bungie says they’ll be running dark after August 2nd, as they continue work on their newest endeavor, a brand new universe that they’re building for publisher Activision. Their final words? “See you starside.”
So how do you guys feel about Halo passing hands? I know some of you don’t care very much about it, and I know we also have some fanboys, myself included. Love it or loathe it, it’s hard to deny such a monumental series and its power, and I’ll be curious to see what happens to it in the future. Thoughts, friends?
On the day the newest entry in the Halo series, Halo: Reach, was released, two sounds were heard: the sound of my mind being blown and the sound of oinking high above your heads, as pigs were surely flying. What caused the pork chops to take flight? I, Anthony, someone who was always “meh” towards the Halo franchise and quite frankly, bewildered by the insane amount of love and devotion gamers bestowed upon the series, had reached gaming nerdvana by way of Reach. Satan shivering in Hell? Check.
My experience with Halo began back in my college days at Florida State, where drunken Halo was a common pasttime at a friend of mine’s apartment. However, owning only a PS2 and a GameCube, I couldn’t play Halo worth a darn and no one was about to give me a second to do something as simple as figure out the reload button, so my early contact with Spartans and Master Chief was filled with cursing and frustration. When that happens, I usually just say, “Meh, that game sucks.”
But I kept hearing about it over and over and as Halo 2 was released, I felt like a lone wolf left behind by the pack as they all raced to stores at midnight to buy the sequel and play it all night. Then, when Halo 3 was released and Microsoft suddenly channeled the immortal merchandising and marketing soul of George Lucas, my feelings went from surprise to complete annoyance. How dare this franchise get so huge without my approval? And seriously, Gaming Fuel? Who authorized this? Clearly, some moron didn’t get the memo.
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!
This is kind of an awesome little story. Ed Fries, former VP of Microsoft Game Publishing division, designed an Atari 2600 version of Halo. The game made its debut at the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas this past week, where cartridges were sold for $20.00 a pop. Apparently, Microsoft is okay with this and has decided not to send the Brutes (AKA: Legal Department) after Mr. Fries.
I know what you’re thinking: but, Anthony, I didn’t go to the Classic Gaming Expo and I don’t have an Atari 2600. In fact, some of you are probably wondering what that even is. Well, fret not, because Code Mystics was nice enough to host a flash version of the game that you can play for free! It reminds me of E.T. without the suckiness. Hearing the Halo title screen theme in those old-school bleeps and bloops is more than surreal.
So hit this link to start blasting away at the Covenant in a way you never thought possible:
We gamers can tend to be a finicky bunch. We are armed with intelligence, a bit of free time, and a huge passion over a hobby/lifestyle that we feel terribly protective of. Naturally this is going to lead to a few scraps here and there, things that gamers don’t always see eye to eye on, whether that is with other gamers or the industry at large.
But how many of the battles we fight are really worth arguing about because they are legitimate issues, and which ones do we actually need to drop? Last week, Koku Gamer posted a slightly tongue-in-cheek yet interesting article bemoaning 5 things gamers need to get over. In my mind, it’s actually spot on, and I’m saying that as somebody who has griped about one or two of the things present.
Ever since we’ve been able to use the internet to connect our consoles to each other, cooperative play is becoming more and more popular. I’m all for this, as I enjoy taking on waves of baddies with my friends just as much as I like shooting them in the face in a competitive match. There’s just something about co-op play that is altogether different and more satisfying than a straight-up Deathmatch game, but maybe that’s just because I’m a team player.
Both Red Dead Redemption and Battlefield Bad Company 2, two excellent games in their own rights, are getting co-op add-on packs today. Since both these games should be a blast to play with friends, I thought I would find out what your favorite co-op gameplay memories are. Do you have a specific recollection of you and a buddy (or several) holding out against AI antagonists, or maybe a particularly epic campaign playthrough to the wee hours of the morning? Let us know!
You may or may not remember a feature we did some time ago titled the Video Game Level Hall of Fame, where we showcased and discussed some of our favorite single player missions or levels from video games. That got such a huge response, and I have no idea why I never followed up with it. Maybe because I am often too busy snacking on Fail crackers, or something. Who knows?
Anyway, I thought I’d remedy the situation by bringing a Hall of Fame feature back in full force, this time branching over into solo’s sister, multiplayer. Today, we’re taking a look at some of gaming’s best multiplayer maps of all time. Now, as before, this isn’t an end-all list, and it is not in any particular order. There will be several iterations of this feature, all highlighting different entries. Continue reading Multiplayer Map Hall of Fame
Nothing quite brings out the inner jerk in me like a good rousing game of Halo matchmaking. For the last week, I’ve been enjoying Bungie’s new multiplayer offering in the form of the Halo: Reach Beta. Kicking it up with jetpacks, armor lock, Slayer and the like awakens old habits in me at times, it seems, even though much of the gameplay is new or different. Tonight, while playing, I found myself getting irritated at trash talkers. Soon enough, I was engaging in the famed tea bag maneuver at my opponents’ expense and it was glorious.
The funny thing is, sometimes this translates into other areas of gaming as well. GamesRadar has an awesome article up about 18 Ways to be a Bastard in Games, where they recount how you can be a total jerk in a number of different titles. They cover everything from killing hospital patients in GTA IV to choosing a character to die in Mass Effect simply because you get to have sex with the other. The most shocking thing about the list? I have done 11 out of the 18 things they mentioned, and most of the ones I haven’t done are because I haven’t played the game listed.
So what about you guys? What are your favorite ways to be a jerk in games? How many things on the list have you done? Go!
It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. My eyes are heavy like somebody has tied weights to them. I can feel them starting to droop, but I don’t care. Who cares if I have work in the morning? What does it matter if I’m running on empty with only the blinding light of my TV casting dark shadows about the living room? I’m just trying to get to the next boss. Trying to reach the next level. Trying to grab that upgrade. Wanting to get another headshot.
Whatever the reason for doing this to ourselves, we’ve all done it at one point or another. And while it may not always be the lure of a soft pillow to sleep on, we’ve all blown off plenty of things to do just a little bit more in a game we love or loathe. Sometimes it’s a girlfriend, a spouse, a job, a duty, or a social activity. They’re all just different suits that represent the same thing: distractions.
And the thing that is really odd to me, is that I don’t really do this with my other hobbies. There are plenty of other things that I love to do, besides playing videogames. I write, play guitar, watch movies, read books, hang out with friends. But none of those things make me think about them when I’m gone to the level that a Final Fantasy does. Or a Call of Duty. Or anything in Bioware’s library. So what makes videogaming so different than everything else? Continue reading The Addictive Nature of Gaming
Given how much I’ve been absorbed into Battlefield: Bad Company 2 lately, I’ve had some time to do some thinking. Namely, I’m reminiscing on all the great multiplayer shooters of days gone by, thinking fondly back to the amount of time I’ve invested into each one. There were highs, lows and rage quits galore, sure, but a truly great multiplayer shooter is a dime a dozen. They’re not always easy to come by.
So, it got me thinking: what was my favorite multiplayer shooter of all time? What one game or franchise, when stacked up against all the others, provided what I felt to be the long-last memories that only a special game can bring. That’s why I decided to create this nifty poll.
Eventually, Counter-Strike won the match for me. As fun as everything else is, I just can’t get away from all the time I sank into CS for all those years. Even now, I find myself tempted to play it, even after all the time I spent using it to make Leet World. So, you should vote and tell us what your favorite multiplayer shooter of all time is. Go!
It’s a real shame that May 3rd is so far away, because watching this multiplayer trailer for Halo: Reach makes me pine for some Halo-flavored action. Actually, that’s not the best way to phrase it because Reach takes what the previous Halos did then mashes it up with Red Faction: Guerrilla (jetpacks) and Call of Duty (loadouts). The prior Halos were good times in multiplayer, but this trailer makes it look like Bungie took their game, as one aging rockstar said, “to eleven.” Have a peek:
Is that some hot stuff or what? Anyone else starting to feel the return of the dreaded but oh-so-sweet Halo hype? This is almost enough for me to forgive the franchise for Legends. What do you guys think about the trailer?
Most of you have probably figured this little factoid out already, but I am GamerSushi’s resident Halo fan-boy. I seriously loves me some Halo, so naturally you would figure that a series of animated shorts would be right up my alley.
Well, as anyone who becomes engrossed with a franchises’ fictional history can tell you, if you outsource a project to a collection of companies and they do not get it exactly right you will have a large amount of butt-hurt nerds on your hands. That sounds weird, but I digress. If you haven’t caught any of the Halo animes on Waypoint, now’s your chance to see what you haven’t been missing.
The full DVD/Blu-Ray (irony lol) release is in early Feburary, but I think I’ll pass. What about you guys?