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?
There are two types of franchises in video games: the ones like Final Fantasy, where each game is a completely separate world with new characters and new experiences and the ones like Mass Effect where there is a continuing narrative that flows from game to game. These two aren’t the only franchises that are like this of course, but they are two of my favorite and I think they best represent the example I am trying to make. So I wanted to ask the GamerSushi Universe which type you prefer.
Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. With Final Fantasy’s template, you know every time that you are getting something radically different from the previous game. Sure, certain themes and elements will be the same, but it’s kind of exciting to get immersed (or annoyed) by a whole new world with new characters to fall in love (or hate) with. Not to mention new gameplay ideas and mechanics that seem revolutionary compared to the previous entry. Far Cry 3 is a great example of this. There is a downside to this, though: as we saw with Final Fantasy VII, sometimes the game is so popular that deviating from that story will only irritate its legion of fans. Final Fantasy VIII is all but forgotten by Square Enix these days. It was only years later that they thought to capitalize of FF VII’s success, but by then it was too late.
As goofy as it sounds, one of my favorite parts about any RPG is watching my damage number creep up as I progress through the game. Whether this number is ratcheting upward through new equipment or because I’ve hit a new level seems to matter little — what matters is that sweet, sweet damage total. I get kind of addicted to it. This is most evident in Borderlands 2 (which we’ll be streaming tonight), a game that bombards you with more numbers than a Mathletics competition, both in and out of combat.
One of my favorite TV shows of all time is AMC’s Breaking Bad, the story of how a mild-mannered chemistry teacher becomes a hard-core crystal meth dealer. In the opening few episodes, the central character is told by his junkie accomplice that you just can’t start “breaking bad”, implying that if you’re a kind person at heart, you just can’t start doing things that are incredibly out of the norm for you.
I feel this way about moral choices in video games. I’ve just started replaying the entire Mass Effect trilogy as a Renegade female Shepard and I’m finding it difficult to “break bad” as it were. I subconsciously find my conversation wheel hovering over the Paragon dialog choices before the option is even up, and when it comes time to make a Renegade decision I get a little sick in my stomach.
With the price of games on the rise, so too have a series of complaints risen around the idea that longer games generally mean better games. In particular, RPGs are expected to be bloated to colossal lengths, from the Elder Scroll series to Mass Effect and even Fallout 3. Gamers want more game for their money, more world to explore, more weapons to collect, more foes to conquer and more time to invest. But is this always a good thing?
In a rather interesting (if somewhat controversial) review of the game Dark Souls, Slate writer Michael Thomsen wonders if 100 hour games are a waste of time for gamers instead of a boon to their hobby. Even though I haven’t played the game, and always hear the opposite of his assessment of it, I do have to say that I find his prodding question to be thought-provoking. Honestly, there’s so much that people can accomplish in the amount of time it would take someone to clamber through all of Skyrim – but does that mean that it’s pointless for the person that enjoys it?
It seems that Thomsen would argue that yes, it is. In his view, it’s never necessary for a game to take 100 hours to tell its tale, and that many games have done better with far less time. When put that way, I do have to agree: some of my most favorite games have accomplished what they did in around 20 hours or so, without ever overstaying their welcome.
So, while I’m not sure I’m on board with everything this article states, I did want to kick the question to you guys: are 100 hour games just a waste of time? Go!
Let’s face it: this generation has been one of a kind. Some of the best quality games we have ever seen. And some of the worst service and disasters we have ever seen. As consoles have become more complex, there is a lot more room for errors and I don’t think any opportunities for screw-ups have been missed. But…the games, man! They are so good! But are they enough to overcome the PSN Hack, the Red Ring of Death, the terrible DLC debacles, the DRM nightmares, constant patches due to broken games on release day and the countless other crap we suddenly have to deal with now?
I mean, Uncharted, Gears of War, Bioshock, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Portal and the Arkham series, just to name a few, are all amazing new franchises that stand with some of the best all time. But is the high quality of the product enough to call this the best generation? Or is the terrible state of things for us consumers too much for these stellar games to overcome? Hit the poll and then hit the comments!
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.
These thoughts started brewing in my head after an excellent piece over on Unwinnable, titled, Bullshit Vs. The Thing You’re After. In it, the author touches on every gamer’s price and what it is that makes gamers tick. And I think I totally agree.
Sometimes you think you’ve got your fall completely planned out, with money and pre-orders organized in neat little rows and squared away just so. You tell yourself you know the games that are worth skipping, the ones that you’ll get after a price drop, and the ones that you’re getting on day one.
But then reviews change everything.
As many of you know, I’ve had my qualms about Deus Ex: Human Revolution for quite some time. In fact, I labeled it as a “Shun” in a recent feature. But today, a pile of glowing reviews dropped for the game in advance of its release tomorrow.
Apparently, Deus Ex is a contender for Game of the Year. It’s being hailed as the best action/stealth game to come out since Metal Gear Solid. It’s also being called a cool blend of Metal Gear Solid and Mass Effect. People are raving about the world, the story and the phenomenal gameplay. As such, all of the GamerSushi staff decided to purchase it today, including myself. And I can’t wait to play it tomorrow. I’m happy to have been proved wrong, but we’ll see if I agree with all the reviews.
So – who else is pumped about these great reviews? When have reviews changed your mind about a purchase before? Go!
Gamers come in all sorts of different flavors, and I’m not just talking about casual and hardcore. There are some who don’t play single player, some who only play single player, and then there are the kinds that give game designers of any type nightmares. I think I’m probably in the last category, specifically when it comes to Western RPGs. Given that games in those genres these days have branching stories, multiple conversation outcomes and more hidden bonuses than you can shake a stick it, it tends to drive OCD completionists with a lot of time on their hands (e.g. me) crazy.
That’s when I turn to the most forbidden of texts, the horrible tome know as the “FAQ”. Deep within the dark recesses of the Internet, I find my brethren, people who restart dungeons because they missed one chest after defeating whatever horrible creature inhabits that cave. These are the people who don’t play RPGs for the story or the characters or the experience, but rather to accrue every possible trinket and stat bonus the game has to offer. We can leave no stone unturned, no party companion un-romanced, and we do so by exploiting the game to its maximum. Not through exploration or discovery though, but by distilling it down to the most bare bones, no frills, maximum return type of experience. This is how I’ve come to destroy any Western RPG I’ve played.
As fans of video games, we’re certainly familiar with the bizarre claims thrown at our hobby by the ill informed. Whether it’s the fact that violent video games cause people to go on killing sprees, or the unavoidable truth that games like Bulletstorm and Mass Effect will lead to rape (something we touched on during the most recent episode of The GamerSushi Show), video games are the current scapegoat for our world’s problems.
It wasn’t always this way, though. Before Fox News accused Commander Shepard of violating aliens, people pointed their mass hysteria elsewhere. In a recent article by the good folks at GamePro, things like the bycicle, Dungeons & Dragons and even the bikini were pointed to as instrumental in the demonizing of the young folk and the cause of the world’s problems.
GamePro basically put together this article to demonstrate that we’ve always been willing to shift our blame onto the current hot trend and make that the reason our civilization is going down the crapper. As time has gone on, though, our previous trouble-makers have become social norms, or at least acceptable. Dungeons & Dragons doesn’t lead to satanic cults, and who doesn’t like a good bicycle ride? Even though comic books and music are still sometimes blamed for crazy people doing crazy things (just ask Marilyn Manson), we’ve come to understand that sometimes people are just weird, no matter what their taste in entertainment is.
What do you guys think of GamePro’s expose? Will video games come through their time in the fire? What new trend will take over as the lead cause of the impending armageddon? I’m guessing either The Jersey Shore or Justin Bieber. Hit me!
There’s nothing more immersive or impacting about a video game than a fully realized world, one that you love to be in and help shape by your actions or general goofing around. One of the reasons Red Dead Redemption enthralled me so fully was that its world was something that totally sucked me in, grabbing me in its noose and refusing to let go. Even after I finished the game, I didn’t want to leave, and kept coming back for more.
CVG recently posted a feature about 9 Game Worlds You’ll Never Want to Leave, and just looking at it makes me want to go through and pick up Assassin’s Creed 2 again, a long with a few others. Interestingly enough, they also include Mirror’s Edge, which, while very linear, still had a cool and bleached look about it. The thought of the sequel being an open world game is more than tantalizing. In addition, Rapture, Azeroth and San Andreas all make an appearance. Honestly, I would throw Mass Effect’s universe in here as well, as it’s one of my favorite gaming creations to date. Sometimes I find myself itching for more space adventuring with the Normandy.
So what do you guys think? What are your favorite gaming worlds?
It’s been some time since we’ve done the Would You Rather game here at GamerSushi, so I thought it would be best to unveil one, this time with a theme: Role Playing Games! We’ll probably do one of these for different genres in the next few weeks, and I’m particularly excited about some of the answers you guys will no doubt unleash upon us.
In Would You Rather, I simply ask a series of questions, and you follow up with your answers. Give as much or as little explanation as you want for your choices, but we all know that we like to see the reasoning behind the madness.
Don’t let your answers suck, though. Your punishment will be to sit and watch Anthony play through each Final Fantasy game. He’ll do it, too, just to be a stickler.
JRPGs vs. WRPGs seems to be a hot topic as of late, thanks to comments from a Bioware employee that Final Fantasy XIII is not an RPG. This is the stuff fanboys crave, which, in political terms, is called “red meat”. It stirs up a nice frenzy and everyone pontificates on what an RPG is exactly, but nothing ever gets accomplished. Just like Congress.
Well, I’m here to take a small look at the differences between the way Bioware and Square Enix approach their respective video game franchises. These two, I think it is safe to say, are the biggest RPG powerhouses on either side of the Pacific, so it turns out the little controversial comments mentioned above were a perfect jumping off point for me.
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 no great secret that I am a massive nerd for anything related to Mass Effect. As far as video game franchises go, it’s one of my favorite, and ranks among some of the most well thought and planned universes that has ever existed in gaming. Yes, that is quite a lofty claim but I will knife fight a person about it. Truly.
Anyway, if you don’t want any spoilers for the Mass Effect games, I’d say to stay away from this new video. However, there aren’t really any plot spoilers per se, just spoilers about some of the game’s awesome writing and unique brand of humor, all edited together to showcase the best lines of the two Mass Effect games. Pure hilarity.
Dragon Age: Origins is the newest RPG epic from Bioware, creators of other notable titles such as Knights of the Old Republic, Jade Empire and Mass Effect. Their newest game takes things a little more old school, returning the quest programmers back to the days of yore, where dungeons waited to be crawled and dragons were there for the slaying. The studio has repeatedly said that Dragon Age: Origins was always a spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate, and they weren’t kidding. But is it any good?
Yes. Yes it is. Very good, in fact. This may spoil the rest of the review for you, but Dragon Age: Origins is simply one of the better RPG experiences in this generation.
I think that we can all agree that piracy sucks. The worst aspect of this type of digital high seas shenanigans is that companies are forced to punish legitimate customers to make sure that their games are harder to pirate. Most recently, EA tried to regulate piracy by forcing all copies of their games to include SecuROM, possibly the most draconian form of copy-protection currently available (with the notable exception of the Sony BMG CD copyright scandal).
The most infamous of the SecuROM stories was that of EA’s Spore, Will Wright’s procedurally-generated creature creator simulator from last year. The digital lock-down on Spore enforced a three-install limit upon the game, much to the lament of the internet savvy. As a result of this heavy-handed maneuver, Spore ended up being the most pirated game of 2008 with over 1.7 million downloads.
So, what did the games industry take away from this horrendous back-fire?
Howdy all. Been a long and relaxing weekend, hence the lack of posts. I’m kind of a weird creature in that the less I have on my plate, the less I tend to do. The busier I am, the more time I make for posting on GamerSushi, working out, etc. It’s odd.
Anywho, after playing Battlefield 1943, 1 Vs 100, Mass Effect and last but not least, the Secret of Monkey Island, this weekend has been monumental for me in terms of gaming. Lots of great flavors. Mass Effect and Monkey Island got me thinking about save systems, though. In those games you can save the game whenever and wherever you want. While this is great in lots of ways (it’s nice to just be able to save and turn off a game without having to wait to find a save point), in some ways you can get screwed if you’ve saved yourself into a corner.
So what do you guys think? Is there any particular game where you’ve really enjoyed the save system? Have you been screwed over by a save point in a game before? Go!
Growing up, gaming was all the same thing to me. Things were either platformers, brawlers/shoot-em-ups, or fighters. That’s all that gaming fell into, and I was happy with it for a time. But then something magical happened. I played a Japanese RPG, and my world changed. I didn’t know that gaming could tell a story. I had no idea up until that point that I could care about a game’s characters or miss them when I had read the last bit of text. It was truly an eye-opening experience.
Since then, I have played a lot of JRPG’s. Probably too many, to be honest. In college, I remember I would rent anything that looked remotely like a JRPG, and played it until my eyes bled. I loved the concepts, the stories, and I really liked being able to level some guys up and fight through hordes of baddies. It was all extremely appealing to me. However, somewhere along the line, things have taken a drastic turn southward in JRPG-land.
A while back, I asked what video games you fell in love with in terms of story. Not surprisingly, most of your responses centered on games in the more recent era. This is an obvious trend because in the old days, games did not need a story to exist. But now, we need motivation, cut-scenes, back-story and lots and lots of twists. Too many, some would say. Like me. I think that people’s love for game stories depends on when they started playing.
See, when I was younger, stories in games were very basic. Some games didn’t even try to have one! Endings were short, usually text based. Hell, people were stunned by Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past’s FIVE minute ending. Minds were blown, heads exploded, etc…Since I have been playing games since about 1986 or so, I have a different perspective than someone who started in 1996. I play the game for the GAMEPLAY. If a game has a great story, awesome, but it’s only a bonus. If a game has poor gameplay, I don’t care how good the story might be, I am not playing it.