Giving Slack to Indie Games


Over the last couple of years, the indie games scene has been given the spotlight in a major way. With shockingly good titles dropping on Steam, PSN and XBLA, more people have access to these off-the-beaten-path games than ever before. And with the recent influx of games like Journey, Fez, Trials Evolution, Super Meatboy and Botanicula, plus a slew of cheap downloadable mobile titles, it looks like this won’t be slowing down any time soon.

But are people giving these smaller titles too much slack, just because they’re indie? That’s the question that Game Front’s Jim Sterling poses in his new article, Are We too Generous to Indie Games. In it, he wonders if people give passes to indie games simply because they’re not made by Activision or EA — and as such, let indie games get away with a lot more grievances than most games.

This is definitely an interesting question, and one we sort of touched on in the as of yet unreleased podcast. There’s this idea going around that just because something is small and charming, it’s better — and if you don’t like an indie title, it’s because you love Call of Duty or Halo too much to appreciate a title like Fez’s nuances.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about this viewpoint. While I recognize that some of the gaming community is indeed soaking up everything indie, I also think that some of these titles are totally worthy of the praise that they’re getting. I also think that yes, it is fair to cut some slack to a game that you paid only a few dollars for as opposed to one that requires a $60 entry fee. I absolutely don’t expect as much out of something that didn’t take much of an investment as I do out of something I have to spend an ample amount of money to play.

So what do you guys think? Are people too forgiving of the flaws in indie titles? Are they given too much slack? Sound off!

Source – Game Front

Reveal Your Shame: Games You Never Finished

games you never finished limbo

While it’s true that the majority of the video game playing masses don’t even come close to finishing games, I think it’s a point of pride among some sections of the population to finish every game we come across. Indeed, I’m kind of infamous around the GamerSushi offices for getting 100% completion in almost every game, so it shames me to say that there are some games I don’t manage to beat.

My most embarrassing failure is Limbo: that’s right, the amazing downloadable game from 2010 is on my list. I got to the tire puzzle in the industrial section of the game and got stuck there long enough to lose my flow and stop playing. Along my gaming career there have been plenty of other games but this is the most egregious.

What about you guys? Any games you didn’t finish? Go!

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 GamerSushi Show, Ep 14: The 2010 Recap

Mass Effect 3As promised, here’s yet another edition of the GamerSushi Show, 3 weeks in a row! Seriously, you should be impressed with us, because I am. And I am not easily impressed.

Anyway, I actually didn’t make it to this podcast as I had family in town, but the other dudes are more than capable and ended up having a great discussion on the year 2010 in review. There’s a big discussion about the VGAs, the biggest disappointments of 2010, as well as its biggest surprises. Naturally, since I’m not there, it probably means it was maybe the greatest podcast ever of all time, so please listen to it and tell everyone how much better it is without me.

There probably won’t be a podcast next week because of Christmas, so don’t hold your breath. We’ll let you guys know if it’s coming or not, it just depends. In the mean time, check out this podcast and enjoy its gaming goodness.

And, as always, please go rate this cast on iTunes and subscribe with the handy links to the right. Enjoy! Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 14: The 2010 Recap

GamerSushi Top Six: Things to Be Thankful for in 2010

Ah, Thanksgiving time. The time of the year where we show our thanks by way of a gluttonous feast, with food fit for a king. Also, there’s that whole Black Friday thing, where we shove our money in our ears and buy everything that’s marked down in price. But that’s almost a different holiday altogether then, isn’t it? Greed Day, or somesuch.

However! We, the kind and wise overlords of GamerSushi, wanted to stop and take a quick look at the gaming year so far. In the spirit of the holidays, we had a hand-to-hand combat battle to determine the things that we are most thankful for in 2010, so that we could benevolently share them with all of you, our loyal fellow gamers and all around awesome dudes.

So, without further ado, here’s our top six gaming things we’re thankful for in 2010. Continue reading GamerSushi Top Six: Things to Be Thankful for in 2010

When a Game Grabs You


For movies, it’s said that there is a “10 minute rule” of sorts, which dictates that a film has just that amount of time to convince you of whether or not it’s worth your attention. Usually in that first 10 minutes, you’re kind of like “OK, I’m not sure if I’m feeling this talking dog”, or “those lovable sidekicks better solve that alien mystery”. You know, normal movie stuff. The interesting question though, is: how does the 10 minute rule apply to video games? This is the very idea that a new feature on Gamasutra discusses, titled History, Mystery and Story. It’s a cool look at how games tend to try and capitalize on this concept, and that it has to differ from story games to games in other genres.

It seems to me that while the time in minutes would have to be different, the general idea behind the 10 minute rule would be largely the same. Whereas a movie is just a 90 to 120 minute experience, games typically range anywhere from 5 to 50 hours, depending on what you’re playing. So does the 10 minute rule scale up because of the longer nature of games? Or is it about the same? When you think about the way modern games work, the first 10 minutes places you right in the middle of a boring tutorial. It’s interesting to think about the idea that maybe the majority of people lose patience and make up their mind that early on. Honestly, the only game that had me convinced within 10 minutes in recent years would have to be Limbo, which grabbed me right from the get-go and still hasn’t let go, months later.

So what is your guys’ opinion on this issue? How long does it usually take a game to grab you? Are you typically more or less patient? How long will you give a game before you throw away interest?

Source – Gamasutra

Take A Leap With This XBLA Marketplace Deal: Spend 2400 Points in October, Get 800 Free

Fresh off a successful Summer of Arcade, which included the critically and commercially acclaimed Lara Croft: Guardian of Light and Limbo, Microsoft is offering an October thank you gift for those of us who might have missed out on these or any other games on XBLA. It’s quite simple:

During the month of October, spend 2400 Microsoft Points on Arcade games and/or game add-ons and you’ll get 800 Microsoft Points added to your membership as a thank-you gift.

Now for those of you without an abacus, 2400 Microsoft Points is $30 and 800 Points is $10. So spend $30, get $10 back. Not too shabby a deal and I am already off to the races by buying Breath of Death VII. Okay, it’s not exactly a rousing start since it only cost $1, but I have the whole month to do it. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

However, if you, like me, are baffled as to what to purchase, check out this handy list of The 23 Best XBLA Games from the nice folks at GamePro. There were quite a few gems on there that I wasn’t aware of, so it might come in handy in helping you decide what to buy.

Is anyone else going to partake in this offer? Any games you love that you recommend I pick up?


Source: GamePro

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 8: Nostalgia and the S

Mass Effect 2 LiaraIt’s been some time, gentlemen and ladies, but we’re back with another episode of the GamerSushi show. Chalk the delay for this one up to a few things. Namely, the update to GamerSushi 2.0, which sidelined Jeff and Nick on the weekends. Also, Halo: Reach which totally ruined my week, and I’m the dude that edits it. So sue me.

In this episode, we talk about a number of things, including PAX 2010, where Mitch gives us a rundown of all the things he saw and experienced. We also chat about a number of issues including cut scenes in games, Mass Effect 2 and Lair of the Shadow Broker, writing in video games and Alan Wake, and how small games companies are killing it with downloads. At the end, we break into one of my favorite podcast discussions we’ve had, piggybacked off of the conversation about S games.

As always, we had one or two issues during the recording, and this issue resulted in Mitch being dropped from the discussion part of the way through. You’ll hear the glitch associated with that a handful of times. Just blame him for using a free headset he won at PAX.

As always, please go rate this cast on iTunes and subscribe with the handy links to the right. Enjoy!
Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 8: Nostalgia and the S

Game Length: Does Size Matter?

Red Dead Redemption Bonnie

For some reason, game length has become an issue that people have really started talking about only in the last few years. I’m sure there are a variety of factors for this, so it’s not necessarily an easy thing to dissect. Maybe people have only really started noticing how long games are because they’ve gotten more expensive? Or perhaps people are only more aware of it in this hyper-informational age where we build hype and wait through long development cycles, so we expect more hands-on playtime? Really, it’s hard to be sure.

There was an interesting article about the very topic of game length the other day on GamesRadar, discussing the issue of how long is too long when it comes to video games. The point that the author makes, and one that I think totally hits the nail on the head, is that it all comes down to pacing. If a game is paced well, its shortness or length doesn’t feel as such because the pacing and the experience itself was satisfying.

For instance, Red Dead Redemption, while a fantastic game, has a few pace issues around Mexico (and some would say towards the end of the game). By contrast, Limbo or Portal are only about 3-4 hours long, but don’t feel short because of how well the creators balanced the progression. One of my only complaints about Arkham Asylum is that it’s too short, but I think it might be that the game’s final act wraps up almost too quickly, with pacing that is erratic at best, which didn’t quite hit on all the right cylinders as it winded down.

Anyway, I think it’s an interesting topic, and one that I’m curious to hear your thoughts on. Is there a such thing as a perfect game length, or does it differ from game to game? Can games be too long? What games do you feel have pacing issues? Go!

Source – GamesRadar

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 7: Rage Quitting the Cast

Rage QuitAnd we’re back!

We’ve been on break with the GamerSushi podcast for several weeks now because I was on vacation in the land of Florida, drinking orange juice and sunshine and visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As soon as we got a chance this week, we all sat down and recorded a new edition of the show.

In this episode, we talk about a number of things including Limbo, pirating video games and the idea of rage quitting. It clocks in at right around an hour and forty minutes, and I think it’s a good time. Unfortunately, something went wrong with our connection, so the last twenty minutes or so has some audio glitches, but it’s nothing that breaks the podcast. We actually recorded this a few days ago, but since I’ve been lazy it’s not going up until now.

As always, please go rate this cast on iTunes and subscribe with the handy links to the right. Enjoy!
Continue reading The GamerSushi Show, Ep 7: Rage Quitting the Cast

GamerSushi Asks: Photorealistic Graphics?

LimboOver the weekend, I’ve been dabbling a bit in a couple of newly release titles. One is, obviously, StarCraft 2, but the other is Limbo, newly up for purchase as part of X-Box LIVE’s Summer of Arcade. I didn’t really follow the story of Limbo that closely, but I knew it was a side-scrolling platformer with a unique look. I tried the demo and immediately bought the full game, mostly because of how much the art style appeal to me. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Limbo, check out the trailer. Among other cliched terms, I’d call it hauntingly beautiful and very atmospheric. In addition to looking as gorgeous as a game that dark can it also features some slick puzzles and grotesque punishments for failure (seriously, you get messed up).

The game’s visual presentation got me thinking, though. The farther into the future we get with game consoles, the closer to life everyone seems to want their graphics. While some big-budget titles stretch the limit of what is acceptable by our real-life standards (Gears of War’s improbably bulky protagonists come to mind), video games are getting closer and closer to emulating what we perceive through our own two eyes. Games like Limbo, Braid and many similar titles show us that we don’t have to constrain everything to an Earth-bound package. Perhaps one of the barriers to the “games as art” argument is that this visual medium doesn’t add anything that movies have already done in this respect. That’s probably why Braid got tossed around a lot when this issue got brought up the first time; it looks like a painting come to life, much like Limbo. So I ask you guys this: do you want more games to stretch the graphical barrier and start using different ways to interpret what we see? Or do you think that sort of experimentation is confined to downloadable titles? Fire away!