I’ve been reading Console Wars, a new book by Blake J. Harris that chronicles the rise of Sega during the 90’s. It’s a delightful book, full of endlessly fascinating details, such as how Target’s lenient return policy allowed customers to return years-old NES’s in order to get credit towards a SNES. Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with Nintendo and it led to Target pulling Nintendo products from the stores for a time. I lived through this era and reading the behind the scenes drama that went on has been very enjoyable. My nostalgia bones are all tingling right now. Continue reading The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle
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.
If there’s one way to mercilessly QA-test your new product, it’s by releasing it into the wild. Rest assured that, no matter how many man-hours your company put into testing a device, giving it to a million people will mean that any bugs, issues or glaring oversights will pop up in short order.
Since the Xbox One released on November 22, the gaming community has had plenty of time to fool around with it and figure out what it’s missing. A website called Xbox Feedback has sprung up where suggestions for future updates to Microsoft’s new console can be found.
Personally, I find the lack of some of what I would consider no-brainers (such as being able to check the battery charge on the home screen or the difficulties with party chat) pretty mind-boggling. Even though the Xbox 360 got bogged down with a UI that it was never really built to support, it still had a lot of user friendly tools and tricks. I personally appreciated the ability to set the controls to every game for inverted as a system-level option because I am a weirdo.
What do you guys think about Xbox Feedback? Any suggestions you would add to their current list? Do you think this website will actually gain any traction?
Source – Xbox Feedback
Aaaand…we’re back. After our traditional Summer break we return to the mics to bring you the latest installment of the GamerSushi Show where we talked about how much we missed eachother. Not really, it’s mostly dick jokes, video games and the Benedict Cumberbatch name-generator, which is where I got the title for this episode.
When we recorded the cast last Wednesday, I had just come back from PAX, so I give an in-depth breakdown of what I saw and played. Well, more accurately I have to be gentle lead through the discussion, but we all know I’m bad at just talking about stuff.
Seeing as how we’re back, you should definitely listen to the cast, rate the cast, and enjoy the cast. We’re back on the regular schedule, more or less, so we’ll see you next week!
0:00 – 11:44 Intro
11:45 – 20:39 Dark Souls
20:40 – 42:59 PAX Prime
43:00 – 54:18 Microsoft and the Xbox One
54:19 – 1:13:24 Nintendo’s Missteps
1:13:25 – 1:30:06 Saint’s Row IV
1:30:07 – 1:31:46 Outro
1:31:47 SEKRIT PODCAST STUFF
Giving the Internet an ego boost it did not need, Microsoft reversed their controversial polices regarding DRM and always-online as it pertains to the Xbox One, their next-gen console scheduled for release in November of this year.
Giant Bomb reported that multiple sources were suggesting that Microsoft was poised to do the mother of all walkbacks and fundamentally change their approach to used games, DRM and online requirements for the Xbox One. Shortly after that, Microsoft did in fact reveal the changes, which are highlighted below:
- The Xbox One does not need to be online at all with the exception of a one-time initialization during set-up.
- The Xbox One will not be required to check-in online every 24 hours.
- Disc based games will be played from the discs, the same as with the Xbox 360. Installing the game is no longer required.
- All downloaded games will function the same when online or offline
- No additional restrictions on trading games or lending discs
- Xbox One will be region-free.
Hello, fine GamerSushi friends. In continuing with our summer schedule, today is “Did You See This”. Naturally, with another E3 come and gone, the industry is still buzzing and writing some fantastic pieces on the things they saw last week, so that’s where we’re headed — and more specifically, to Ryse.
For those that are unaware, Ryse is one of the games that was highlighted by Microsoft at the XBox One press event. Developed by Crytek, Ryse looks like God of War had a baby with Gladiator and Dynasty Warriors, offering historical-looking action and dozens of quick-time events.
Only the quicktime events play themselves. Continue reading Ryse: When Games Play Themselves
E3 has come and the Big 3 have shown us what they have in store for us over the coming months. There has been so much news, updates, retractions, clarifications and denials that it is kind of hard to keep track of everything. Still, this has been an eventful E3, one where the details of two new consoles were revealed, where fanboys waged war and where Nintendo did whatever it is they do. Microsoft brought the games, Sony brought the Internet to its feet and Nintendo brought its beloved franchises.
So now that we have a clearer picture of what Microsoft and Sony are going to do with their next gen systems, it only makes sense to take a poll of our loyal readers and find out where your current desires lie. A lot can change between now and release but it seems reasonable to assume that some of you have made up your minds. So tell us in the poll below which system you plan on doing your gaming in the near future. Please leave the reasons for your vote in the comments!
E3 2013 is right around the corner (seriously, it’s on Monday!) so it’s time to bust out those E3 predictions! Gaming yearly extravaganza always seems to sneak up on us, even when we know exactly when it’s coming.
This year is going to be especially interesting considering that both Microsoft and Sony’s next generation consoles have been announced. With Microsoft’s recent info-dump about the Xbox One’s stance on used-game and its once-a-day mandatory Internet check in, I wonder whether they’ll concentrate mainly on games or try to do further damage control.
So! What do you think is going to happen at E3? What are you looking for out of the press conferences? Of the big two, since Nintendo is skipping E3 this year, who do you think will come out on top? Will EA announce SimCity 2? Go!
It might come as no surprise that the majority of this week’s cast is dedicated to the Xbox One reveal. We talk about our thoughts on the device, everything from the announcement itself to whether or not people actually need a console that can do all this stuff when they already have three or four more gadgets that can do the same thing.
After we wax philosophical about the Xbox One, we make a couple E3 predictions and those are always fun. In case you missed it during the cast proper, this will be our last cast for a couple of weeks until E3, which is when we’ll do our “Season Finale” E3 wrap-up.
You know what to do. Listen, rate, all that good stuff. See you after E3!
0:00 – 8:20 Intro
8:21 – 46:21 Xbox One
46:22 – 1:05:55 E3 Predictions
1:05:56 – 1:06:59 Outro
Now that both Microsoft and Sony’s next generation consoles have been revealed, there’s been much hemming and hawing here at GamerSushi over what would make us buy one of the new devices. Sure, there are neat features between each one, like the Xbox One’s three operating systems so you can “alt+tab” your console now, or the PlayStation 4’s streaming services, but there’s nothing that’s really made one console stand out over the other.
That said, there might be something announced at E3 that would completely change my mind about one of the new consoles that would make it a “must have” for me. I’m not talking about games, because I already have a PC (although InFamous might sway me), and let’s face it, both of these consoles will have games at some point. No, I’m talking about something that makes you stand up and say “that is so awesome, I can’t believe nobody’s built that in yet”.
So, my question to you guys is: what’s the magic feature that would make you shell out your hard earned cash for either the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4? This can be something that Microsoft and Sony have already said “no” to, like backwards compatibility, or things like that.
When Halo: Reach launched, the future of the Halo games became rather uncertain. Sure, we knew that Microsoft had formed 343 Industries to shepherd the series now that Bungie was moving on from the games that made them famous, but there were still doubts as to whether 343i had the chops to take over. Their first video game effort didn’t come until 2011 with the re-release of Halo: Combat Evolved. While it was a nice update to this classic game, it was still just standing on the shoulders of giants.
Leading up to Halo 4 you could kind of sense the uncertainty surrounding it. An unproven studio with Microsoft’s most valuable franchise making a game that promised to uphold everything Halo stood for? 343i was in a tricky position, because if they played it too close to Bungie’s territory they’d be looked down on and if their Halo was wildly different, the backlash would have been immense. They needed to strike a balance between making a Halo game while at the same time moving it in an entirely new direction. Now that the game is finally out, have they become the Reclaimers to Bungie’s Forerunners? Continue reading Review: Halo 4
While Halo 4 is a still a few days out, the review embargo for the game lifted in the wee hours of the morning. I remarked on Twitter the other day that removing the embargo for the game so far in advance of its release meant that Microsoft and 343 Industries must have been plenty confident in their product.
Turns out that they have every right to be, because Halo 4 is cleaning house when it comes to reviews. The reviews I’ve read for the game so far have been glowing, and have maxed out my hype meter. I’ve tried to restrain myself, but the critics haven’t been able to and it’s kind of infectious. Here’s a sampling of some of the scores:
So yeah, Halo 4 has apparently ousted Bungie is the minds of the reviewers. While Bungie’s legacy will always remain, I’m happy to see that 343 Industries has managed to carve out their own territory within this well-worn franchise.
The only negative aspect of Halo 4 that I’ve heard about is that some parts of the story might be a bit too complex for people who haven’t read Greg Bear’s Forerunner Trilogy and the plot relies a little too heavily on hidden terminals for backstory. I haven’t read those books myself, but I always enjoy item hunting and as long as the combat is tight, I’ll forgive them this one misstep.
Now that the review scores are out in the wild, how is your excitement for Halo 4 faring? Reaching a fevered pitch? Has it perhaps chipped away at your armored resolve not to get the game?
Klei Studio’s (the folks behind Shank) new 2D stealth platformer Mark of the Ninja was released on September 7 and when I bought it yesterday it took me at least five minutes and six addition screens (I counted) to get from my ad-infested Xbox dashboard to a page where I could actually buy the dang game. Given that Mark of the Ninja is being lauded critically and is an Xbox LIVE exclusive for the time being, you’d think that Microsoft would be promoting that game on at least the front of the games tab.
But alas, there is not a single mention of Mark of the Ninja until you go to the game’s specific page and buy it. That’s a damn shame, considering that it’s pretty incredible. If you have no idea what this game is, here’s a quick gameplay video for Mark of the Ninja (we really need some more video content around here, don’t we?) which should give you the gist of what it’s all about.
I played it for a couple of hours last night and I’m already in love with it. The game’s visual style is really eye-catching while being informative at the same time: if your character is black, he’s hidden, and if he’s in color, he’s not. This also applies to the various guards you’ll be slicing, letting you know if the body of your latest victim is in plain sight or not. Stealth is also a lot of fun, this being the first game to really do it right for me since Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. You have so many options to be a badass ninja, from hanging from the ceiling to traveling through vents to pausing time in midair to throw your noise maker to distract a guard before you land behind him and shove your sword through his neck.
If you’re hesitant about the 15 dollar price tag, at least download the demo and try it out; chances are you’ll be hooked. Personally, I think everyone should buy this game, if only to shove Microsoft’s poor marketing back in their face. Has anyone played Mark of the Ninja? What do you think of it? Any thoughts on the hoops I had to jump through to find the game?
Hey, it’s been a while guys, but I’ve been busy with…stuff. Let’s not look to closely at my flimsy excuse, and rather take a gander at the new Halo 4 ViDoc from 343 Industries, which is, in a word, hot. Halo 4 is looking pretty good, and this new trailer does an adequate job of building the hype.
After 343’s attempts at cracking Halo into other mediums, I was a little concerned that they would have the chops to pull off a sequel to Bungie’s blockbuster series, but my fears are being slowly put to rest. I’ll reserve my final judgement for when I actually play the damn thing, but for now consider me on board. What do you guys think of Halo 4? Is this a must have?
The story behind FEZ’s patch is a strange one. First it gets put on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, then it gets taken down because it caused people to lose their save file. Can’t have that, so back the patch went to Polytron for more testing and re-working. Then, nothing. No word on the patch or whether it was even coming back out.
That changed today when Polytron did a post on their blog saying the the FEZ patch is back online, but it’s the same one that caused people to lose their save in the first place, no changes, no nothing. So if the patch deletes saves, what the heck happened?
Turns out that Microsoft was too big of a hurdle to get a new patch going, so the fellas at Polytron just decided to give up the ghost. Micrsoft wanted Polytron to pay upwards of ten thousand dollars to re-certify the patch, and for a small indie company that just wasn’t going to happen.
According to the blog post, Polytron’s relationship with Microsoft is a one-way street with the money traveling in the wrong direction. Polytron apparently had to pay Microsoft to get FEZ out on XBLA, so they’re dropping their support for the title. Had the game been released on Steam, they said, patches would flow like a mighty river, but no such luck there.
Polytron is confident that for 99% of the FEZ players out there, this will make their experience better. For the 1%, well, they’re truly sorry and they wish things were different. What do you guys think? Does Microsoft really have Polytron over a barrel? Is it ridiculous for Polytron to pay Microsoft for publishing and re-certification? Why don’t they just release FEZ on Steam already? Go!
Source – Polytron
It’s E3 time! Microsoft had the task of kicking things off for us this year so we start with the Big M. Below are my instant reactions as I watched the press conference unfold:
- Halo 4 will kick off the show. After ending the show with it last year, MS obviously doesn’t want to make us wait any longer than necessary. But what will end the show? My money’s on a sequel to Blinx.
- Live action trailer for Halo 4. Pretty bad-ass. Pretty cheesy. A ship designed to discover new worlds. Looks like something went wrong. Oh, they are crashing on the Chief’s planet. Interesting.
- Gameplay! Looks like Halo. The planet is a vibrant green, lots of foliage. Looks cool. Grunts. Covenant. An Elite just disintergrated. Weird. New enemies are attacking. Some new robot thing that reminds me of General Grievous popped out. Cortana says it is Forerunner design.
- Some cool ass new weapon is tearing these things up. Daddy like.
- Infrared visor! Nice! Metroid Prime meets Halo.
- Clips of lots of stuff, like Warthogs, Cortana going batshit and a tagline: An Ancient Evil Awakens.
Come November, Xbots everywhere will be celebrating the original console’s 10th anniversary. The Xbox was the console that nobody thought would work, as Microsoft was stomping into territory completely dominated by Nintendo and Sony, and to some extent, Sega. Who would have thought that 10 years from now, they’d be neck-and-neck with the big dogs of the video game world?
To prepare for this event, VG247 has actually done a pretty cool retrospective on the system’s origins, titled The XBox Story. It’s a four-part series that looks at the conceptualization, greenlighting, marketing and launch. They really did their homework, and the whole thing is fascinating. Really interesting in particular is the way they first devised it as an answer for PC gaming.
I confess that I was one of those people that doubted the XBox’s staying power when it first came out. I was eventually swayed by Knights of the Old Republic, and later Halo. While this generation still doesn’t give me much of a favorite at the moment in terms of consoles, I’m overall impressed with the 360 and the job Microsoft has done. We’ll see what it does in the future.
So what do you guys think of the 10th anniversary of the XBox? What are some of your favorite games on either console? What do you think of the retrospectives?
Another April Fool’s has come and gone, and it is now safe to use the Internet for “tru facts”, as it were. As such, I present to you the first official post-April Fool’s story, a little tale about two-man indie developer Team Meat and their battles with Microsoft in bringing Super Meat Boy to Xbox LIVE Arcade.
In a recent issue of Game Developer Magazine (transcribed by Kotaku), one half of Team Meat, Edmund McMillen, waxes about the trials and tribulations faced by himself and his partner Tommy Refenes.
Aside from a few complaints that have really nothing to do with Microsoft (such as financial hardship brought on by emergency surgery), the duo experienced some difficulties getting the game ready for the Game Feast promotion on XBLA. They describe being in a forced crunch necessitated by the short release window brought on by the promotion which was clashing with their desire to add more features to the game. Fixing bugs at the same time as adding new things to the game meant that hours of hard work were rendered invalid by having more errors crop up on top of the ones they already fixed.
Continue reading Team Meat Bemoans Super Meat Boy’s Xbox LIVE Release
Here at GamerSushi, we try to stay above the fray and out of the trenches of the massive fanboy flame wars currently raging all across the vast plains of cyberspace. That’s not to say that we don’t have our own preferences about systems and games and such, but I think we all truly wish success for all of the platforms. Except for the Kinect. And no amount of fervor can help the PSP. But I digress…
Sadly, we are the vast minority, our cries for equality and fairness bludgeoned by the maces of Microsoft fanboys, severed by the Sony swordsmen and bullied by the noogies of Nintendo nuts. Oh, and punctured by the PC polearms. Whew. Had to stretch that one out a bit. Anyhoo, I know we all have that one segment of the gamer population that just grates our nerves, so I thought I would take a poll and find out who is the biggest offender.
Please elaborate in the comments, but try to be respectful. We’re all friends here and just because someone likes something more than you do doesn’t make them evil. Just misguided!
Get your fanboy hats on, folks, because it looks like the rumored HD remake of Halo: Combat Evolved that I posted about back in November is the real deal. Joystiq, citing an unamed source, has learned that the game that kick-started Bungie’s rise to power and revolutionized First Person Shooters on the console is getting remade in High Definition with new art assets.
We’re not just talking about a tuned up re-release, no sir. This game is using an entirely new engine (Joystiq claims that the engine behind Reach is not powering this remake, contrary to popular belief), and is being made by Saber Interactive. The game will support 1080p and 3D as well, if that’s your thing. Multiplayer is still being worked out, but the game is confirmed to have online co-op (the original shipped with split-screen two player co-op).
Furthermore, this remake is apparently one of two Halo games under the 343 Industries banner, so expect more news from the Halo front. For a release date, we’re looking at November 15, 2011, ten years after the original launch of Halo: Combat Evolved.
On an unofficial note, that makes me feel really old, because that will mean I was 14 when the original Halo came out. Are you guys excited about a Halo: Combat Evolved HD remake? Nervous? Nauseous? Go!