Somehow, I feel like I’ve stepped into a time warp. I’m not really sure how or when it happened, but gaming has taken me back about 12 years or so. I look a little bit older, I know only a couple of more things, I’m about to be a father, but the mouse and the keyboard still feel the same: every satisfying click fires another round, sends another SCV, marks another target or claims another piece of loot.
And there’s something terribly right about the whole thing.
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!
One of the best parts of gaming is finding new ways to make an old favorite fresh and new again. While it’s always easy to play the game that the developers packed into the box, it can sometimes be a rewarding challenge to make new types of games out of an existing framework.
The Halo series are full of some great examples, with things like Zombies, Grifball and many others besides, but this phenomenon is by no means limited to Halo (although the wealth of tools built into the game by Bungie do make it easy to invent your own ways of playing). For example, during a gaming session today, my friends and I cooked up a StarCraft 2-themed drinking game by adding in a bunch of handicaps (like only attacking someone who attacked you first, or not being able to upgrade your units) and game-long missions (using the dance command in everyones base or making someone rage quit). We then dolled out drinks based on whether or not you stuck to your handicaps and if you completed your mission or not. While StarCraft 2 is still a blast for us to play normally, we spent most of the afternoon and a good part of the night playing this game and having a great time.
Over the course of our games, we started talking about how making up your own game within a game is a very old tradition for gamers and can lead to either hours lost trying to make up new things or playing a game you haven’t thought about in months. I know this is kind of a random topic, but have any of you done something similar? Any custom-made gametypes that you want to share?
Look at that, two weeks in a row. My, we are on something of a streak. In fact, you might even say that we are streaking. Just throwing that out there.
In this edition of the podcast, Jeff and Anthony acted like divas and stormed off the set, leaving myself, Nick and Mitch to discuss things all by our lonesome. We basically used this time to talk about all the things we can’t normally talk about with those two bozos around, which really means we spend a good chunk of time talking about StarCraft 2. It gets… fairly in depth at a couple of points, so hopefully you like that kind of thing. I know I do.
We also took the three-man opportunity to play a game we’ve never been able to play before on the podcast – a real-time edition of GameCop Versus LameCop, with each of us swapping roles as we see fit. I think the results are particularly entertaining, and hopefully you do, too. You will either love it or turn the podcast off and throw it from your window.
Hey readers, how’s your weekend going? Me, I’ve been doing a few things, including winning my first ever StarCraft 2 match! I know that’s not very impressive, but considering I haven’t finished placing yet, this is a pretty big deal for me. The guy I beat was probably even more Forever Bronze than I am, but still, I’ll take a victory when I can get one.
Besides that, I’ve been doing the Gears of War 3 beta with Eddy and having a LAN gaming marathon with my friends. I know that LAN parties typically refer to linking a bunch of PCs together, but I use it as a catch-all term for getting together with friends in the same room and playing a bunch of favorites. So far we’ve done Age of Empires 2, StarCraft 2, Halo 3 and right now we’re beating each other up in Fight Night Round 4. My poor boxer facsimile, he just can’t win a match. That may be my fault though.
Since I’m gaming with pals today, I was wondering what sort of games you play when you want to trash your friends. RTS games, FPS games, good old classic brawlers? Also, if any of you PC players want to rage on me for misusing “LAN party” by referring to consoles, go ahead. I can take it.
Unfortunately it is true, PC faithful; no matter how hard you pinch yourselves right now this is not a dream, and you will not wake up. Welcome to real life. It sucks.
In a post on the StarCraft 2 Forums, Lead Designer Dustin Browder has dropped the word that the upcoming StarCraft 2 sequels, Heart of the Swarm (Zerg) and Legacy of the Void (Protoss) will be split into two additional games each to best “convey the epic sci-fi story at the heart of StarCraft”. The full quote reads thusly:
“It was a really hard decision by the team leads for StarCraft 2, but ultimately we felt that the current format for the games wouldn’t convey the epic sci-fi story at the heart of StarCraft. Additionally, the lengthening of the release schedule gives us more time to iterate and improve on multiplayer formula, as well as find a way to get all five games to function properly in Battle.Net.”
That’s a real shame, if you don’t mind the editorializing. Mr. Browder says that the first part of what was originally Heart of the Swarm is still on track for its original release, so at least we can take comfort in that. The comments for that post are unfortunately disabled, but if you look around the forums you should find a few threads to voice your displeasure.
What do you think, GamerSushians? Is this another knock against the game that’s already had its share of WTF moments? Are you done with StarCraft, or Blizzard in general?
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!
If everyone else gets to make “Best of the Year” lists, then by golly, so do we. Only, instead of the trite awards that every other site dishes out, we try to be a bit more creative with our end of year awards, bestowing unique honors that bring both shame and glory. That’s right: it’s time again for the annual Sushi Awards.
For those with a keen memory (or that know how to use our search bar), you’ll recall that we did this for 2009 and 2008 as well, so feel free to go over those to remember how awesome those years were, prior to this one.
As with those previous entries, keep in mind that the Sushi awards represent our goofy and snarky take on the year in gaming, for better or worse, chosen by the GS dudes. A proper “best of” top 10 list is coming next week. But for now, enjoy these custom awards and tell us what you think!
As most of us know around here know, one of the biggest advantages of PC games is customization and modding, and StarCraft 2 is no exception. Right now the number one UMS (Use Map Settings) custom game on the EU Battle.net Server is an awesome space battle map called Star Battle. It’s almost like DotA meets Star Trek. Basically, you farm small fighters to gain income to upgrade the weapons/armor/shields/engines on your giant war ship so you can destroy the other players’ giant war ships. A note for our North American users: while the custom map is now live on the US Server, not many people know about it, so nobody is playing yet.
Here is a more in depth explanation by TotalBiscuit. The video is a little long, but you get the basic idea pretty quick.
As a group of people with brain functions higher than that of your average chimpanzee, I think we can all agree that Justin Bieber is a blight upon the Earth equal to Jersey Shore or some other MTV reality show garbage. Adding insult to injury is the fact that he hails from my fair country of Canada, making yet another terrible music sensation we have to apologize for (Nickleback, Cher, Avril Levine and a few more being the others). On the other hand, such musical abortions are ripe for parody. Enter Husky of StarCraft 2 fame and KurtHugo who have cooked up a little ditty about the worst unit for the Zerg, the detestable Banelings. It features a sweet car, hot babes, and yes, plenty of StarCraft jargon. Take a look!
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.
I’m not going to mince words on this one, because if you’ve been even remotely interested in PC gaming since the late 1990s then you’ve probably played StarCraft. Blizzard may have fed their other RTS series to the MMO meat-grinder, but, at least for now, StarCraft remains as the gold standard of old-school strategy games. On the other hand, it is 2010, and the strategy genre has seen some impressive leaps in the area of both gameplay and story-telling mostly thanks to Relic and their excellent Dawn of War and Company of Heroes series. Can the StarCraft formula still hold up, even all these years later?
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.
So, StarCraft 2 is finally out as of last week. You’ve been playing it, I’ve been playing it, and Eddy wishes he’s been playing it. Now that we’ve had a good amount of time to digest Blizzard’s long-in-the-making sci-fi RTS follow up, I thought I’d start a little topic where we could discuss our thoughts on the single and multiplayer portions and maybe start a little Battle.net group so you can wail on me as often as you like.
Starting with the single player, I have to say that the game is very, very solid in its design. Blizzard has been tweaking and polishing the balance on all of their games for a long time, and it really shows in the tightness of the units and how they counter-act against each other. While you do get access to a wider variety of troops in the single player game, they’ve all been assigned a specific role much like their multiplayer counter-parts. There are no “god-units” here, just one that might happen to do better in a given mission. While so far the designs of the missions themselves haven’t really stood out, I’ve been able to do fairly well and I haven’t become frustrated with impossible goals or cheap AI tactics.
Between missions, you can explore Jim Raynor’s battlecruiser The Hyperion. Along the way, you’ll stock the ship with various characters who will aid you in your quest or provide you with missions and upgrades. Exploring your ship is a cross between Mass Effect and an old-school point and click adventure game in that you can talk to or click on anyone and anything, but it’s all done without ever taking direct control of Jim. I liked this part of the game a lot as it added a lot of personality to characters we’re used to seeing from a top-down view. The ability to augment units with Protoss and Zerg tech is also a welcome addition because of how it changes the dynamic of the units. Again, it won’t make any one unit over-powered but the upgrades do give you a nice edge. Like I’ve mentioned before I’m finding the mission design a little samey, but it is improving the farther I get into the game. Once the story starts rolling, you get hooked pretty easily.
Now, I’m going to let you guys go to town on multiplayer, because StarCraft has always had a steep learning curve. I’m not exactly terrible at the game, but a competent player could wipe the floor with me easily. I’ve been doing a few comp stomps with a buddy, and those have been great fun in addition to letting me practice my build orders and hotkey commands. So what do you guys think of StarCraft 2?
Starcraft II. It’s out. It’s been clamored for since last decade. And now everybody and their mom seems to be playing it. Well, everybody that is, except me. You see, I’ve found myself in a bit of a pickle over Starcraft II’s epic release.
Here’s the rundown: it’s been almost 5 years since I upgraded my PC. I think I did it the year I got married, which was all the way back in 2005, before the days of Leet World. In fact, TLW was part of the reason that I upgraded in the first place, in order to get ready for that kind of work. As such, my PC can just barely play SCII, much to my sadness.
So, I’m left with a bit of a choice. I was hoping to upgrade sometime in the next 5-6 months, which will make my PC able to easily tackle this grand RTS. However, I still want to play it, and play it now, because I feel like I’m missing out on all the fun. The problem is, on my crappy system, I’m not sure how much fun it will actually be.
What would you guys do if you were in my shoes? I thought I’d put it to a vote. Go!
Blizzard sure loves to slip little jokes into their games, and StarCraft 2 is no exception. I’m making my way through the campaign at the moment and I’ve already spotted a few, such as the Night Elf dancing in the cantina and the Metroid cameo. One of Blizzard’s other successful games, World of Warcraft (you may have heard of it) features a fun little command called /dance where you can make your in-game avatar do a few slick moves depending on your species. Looks like the company’s sci-fi RTS isn’t immune either. The marines are jacked up and good to go, and some user captured them doing their routine:
Pretty hilarious, and very in keeping with Blizzard’s sense of humor. Like I mentioned, I’m making my way through the single-player game and I’m finding it solid so far, even if the mission designs are a little vanilla. How about you guys? What’s your StarCraft experience like so far?
Today is the day we’ve been waiting for since what feels like forever; the day that Blizzard deigns to grace us with the most hotly anticipated Real-Time-Strategy game in recent memory, StarCraft 2. Well, to be accurate, the first part of the StarCraft 2 trilogy, the Terran-centric Wings of Liberty campaign. I won’t split hairs though, because this is a monumental occasion for gamers of all types. More than any other game I know, StarCraft has a fervent legion of followers; even self-professed “non-gamer” friends of mine have been looking forward to this. Now that the game is finally out, how many of you are playing, and how many of you are waiting patiently for your copy to download? In celebration, check out the beautiful Ghosts of the Past trailer:
So, what’s your first stop: campaign or multiplayer?
It’s really hard to believe that we’re now on podcast number 6, but we’re back this week with a brand new edition The GamerSushi Show, ready for your ears and scrutiny. You’ll notice a couple of things that are different in this episode, namely the awesome new theme song that Jace Ford wrote for us, which to me is absolutely perfect. Anyone that speaks against it will face the back of my hand. Also, Anthony was sick so he couldn’t make this week, and his absence was definitely felt, but he’ll be back for the next one.
In this episode, we cover a variety of topics as always, which may or may not include the death of 1 vs 100, remakes of old games and Alien Swarm. Apparently when we recorded this, the phrases “fresh coat of paint” and “free” became our favorite words ever, because we say them no less than a million times each during the course of it. Seriously, if you are of drinking age, you should play a drinking game that revolves around each time we say either of those things. You will get plastered.
Anonymity on the internet is an important tool, even if it allows every single user on YouTube to type out the stupidest crap known to man without fear of repercussion. While we all get upset from time to time at the vitriol spouted from the internet, it’s mostly harmless and said by those who don’t really know better. However, most of us are rational people who can shrug off a random troll’s abuse. As with all segments of the population, there are those who can’t be responsible with information and use the internet as a vessel to play out their sadistic tendencies.
This is why protecting your identity is vital, because we live in an age of information where everything from your favorite band to your bank account can be accessed by someone with the inclination and the right know-how. Since we’re all pretty guarded against identity theft and stalking, Blizzard’s latest move has caused quite a furor on their forums. Just to bring you up to speed, the renown MMO/RTS developer has stated that, come StarCraft 2, forum posts will require users to submit their real name via the “RealID” system. Naturally, Blizzard’s users crawled out of the woodwork to protest this change, and some of the points they make are valid. Several female users expressed their concern for cyber stalking, and a lot of people voiced their opinion on the stigma associated with playing World of Warcraft and what would happen if their employers found out.
To placate the masses, Blizzard employee Bashiok decided to tell people his real name and within minutes all his personal information spilled onto the internet like tauntaun guts. While this act is mostly out of ire, it shows just what people are capable of with such little information. What do you guys think of this move by Blizzard? I’m sure it was put forward with the best of intentions but it seems to have backfired. Should you force users to give up their real names if they’re already paying you for your services?
Update: Looks like this idea got scrapped. Chalk up a win for for the forum goers. I guess Blizz should get some kudos for actually listening to fan feedback. Now, if we could only get LAN support.
The other day Mitch made a post asking for topics of discussion about a super secret feature that he totally couldn’t tell you about. Well, that topic was actually regarding something we’ve been talking about doing for about six months amongst ourselves, and we finally put it together this week: a GamerSushi podcast.
The GamerSushi Show will hopefully be a recurring feature that takes place every 2-3 weeks, depending on our schedules. In the future, we want to talk about gaming stories, topics that you guys submit and reflect on cool discussions that have happened here on the site. We’re pretty excited about this, to say the least. We’re all in love with the cool community we’ve got growing here, so this is one of the many new steps we’re in the process of taking to help enhance and grow it in good ways.
Anyway, take the time and listen to us all ramble, nerd-style, about the video games we love and the things that interest us about them. It’s a fairly long first take at a podcast, clocking in at about 52 minutes or so, but I think it turned out alright for our first go at it. These things are tricky business, especially since we are all in different places and recording it via Skype, and I’m excited about how it’ll get better over time.