Apparently there is a Civ V mod where you can play as Arstotzka, the fictional country from Papers, Please.
Merry Christmas to all you fine GamerSushi folk. We’ve said it before, but we’re grateful and thankful to have an awesome community like this one. You guys are smart, funny and have some mighty fine taste (your gravitation toward our ramblings not withstanding).
Even though it’s just Christmas Eve and not Christmas, I’m sure many of you have already started the experience of unwrapping all of your gaming loot this year, including the illustrious and addictive Steam sale. I’ve already picked up Fire Emblem and Zero’s Escape for the 3DS, along with Stanley Parable, Arkham Origins, XCOM: Enemy Within and Papers, Please! from Steam. Still looking at Gone Home and State of Decay, along with The Testament of Sherlock Holmes. I’m unsure about those last few, so if anyone’s played them, let me know what you think.
What about you guys? What games or gaming items have you gotten so far this year? What do you think you’ll pick up? Go!
You have to admire Valve, they really think out of the box. Between XP, trading cards, everything going on with Dota 2 (thanks Volvo for Diretide), they’re turning Steam into not only the premier digital game delivery service on the Internet, but also some sort of weird crowdsourced laboratory.
Take this recent move as a prime example. Steam users will now be able to leave reviews on games they have launched via Steam (purchase not required) without having to recommend it, which was the previous method of doing user reviews (indeed, any previous recommendations will be upgraded to reviews).
The user reviews will exist alongside the Metacritic scores on Steam. I think this is a really cool move for Steam, and I’m eager to copy/paste some GS reviews in there to see what happens (kidding!). What do you guys think about this? Have you written any reviews yet?
Source – Steam
Oh Gabe Newell, I doff my proverbial cap to you. Not content to just have the largest digital distribution network for PC games, Valve is expanding the Steam Universe with an OS, machines and…something else.
Valve kicked off the announcements this week by showing off SteamOS, the Linux-based operating system that will guide your magical journey through living-room centered PC gaming wonderfulness. It sounds like you can dual-boot the SteamOS on an existing PC or stream games from your current gaming PC to a Steam Machine running SteamOS and play your games that way.
In the last few years, some of the most striking, emotional experiences I’ve had in games have come from stripped down, simple titles. Titles like Journey or Bastion, which give the player one simple goal, and execute the carrying out of that goal in a skillful, artful manner.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a new title from Starbreeze Studios which does just that. The best way to describe Brothers is that it’s a single player co-op game, one in which you control two brothers simultaneously, with each analog stick on a controller, along with its triggers. While it sounds simple enough, trying to solve puzzles with two characters at the same time can be a decent enough challenge of your dexterity and brainpower.
But the more striking thing is how much the game conveys with no dialogue whatsoever, just gameplay. Continue reading Emotional Simplicity in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
One on the unquestioned traditions for gamers is preordering. No one asks if you preordered something but where you preordered it. What bonuses did you get, etc… Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy and even Steam will routinely shower gamers with gifts in order to secure those advance sales. Some of the bonuses, like early access to a shotgun, are dumb extras that aren’t worth the effort. Others, like a free copy of a related game, are enough to make you question your own intelligence if you DON’T preorder the game.
But after the disappointment of Assassin’s Creed 3 and the still-ongoing disaster that is SimCity, my question to you is this: why do you preorder? What drives you to spend money before you can use the item that you bought? Is it the aforementioned bonuses? Is it simply a habit now, ingrained in our buying rituals so much that we don’t even question why we are forking over money before we can confirm the game is actually worth it? Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Preorder?
Before we start I wanted to note that all of the pictures in this article are linked to higher resolution versions.
As some of you may know, a few weeks ago I set out on a journey. My journey wasn’t very different from that of Frodo and Samwise when they set out from the Shire to take The One Ring to Mordor, and cast it into the fires of Mount Doom. But, instead of Sam I had Jeff, and instead of throwing a ring into some lava, I was researching, pricing out and building new gaming PCs. This marks the first new PC I’ve built for myself since 2007 when I put together what we lovingly refer to as the “Leet World PC.” The itch to build a new machine began when Steam released Big Picture Mode, and I started to really love the idea of having a 10-foot experience for my PC games.
The goals I had for this build:
- Try to stay close to a $600 price point.
- Find a smaller, good looking-case and quiet components since it will be in the living room.
- Have playable frame rates in most games at 1080p with everything maxed.
Alright, on the important stuff…
|CPU||Intel Core i3-3220 3.3GHz||$119.99|
|Motherboard||ASRock B75M-ITX Mini ITX||$89.99|
|Memory||G.Skill Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600||$40.98|
|Storage||Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5″ 7200RPM||$59.99|
|Video Card||HIS IceQ Turbo Radeon HD 7850 2GB||$189.99|
|Case||BitFenix Prodigy Mini ITX Tower||$79.99|
|Power Supply||Antec NEO ECO 620C||$49.99|
Some of you might say, “Nick, you could’ve spent less money than that, and get basically the same performance if you had done ‘X’ thing.” And, you wouldn’t be wrong in that statement, but what you are forgetting is that I don’t care what you have to say. Yes, it’s true that if I would’ve gone with a different case (ATX/Mini ATX) I wouldn’t have been locked into paying more for a Mini ITX board, but the smooth lines and sexy curves of the BitFenix case were too much to pass up. Another limiting factor with Mini ITX was the lack of AMD motherboards available, so I chose to go Intel.
Since the Prodigy case has two USB 3.0 ports on the side, I wanted to find a board that had USB 3.0 headers, and the ASRock B75M-ITX fit the bill. Not only that, but it has two more USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA port on the back, so you can connect all the things. After deciding on the board, I needed a CPU. Since this was meant to be just a gaming machine, I felt that I could skimp here, and didn’t go for the PC-builder’s darling, the Intel i5. Instead, I opted for the i5’s little brother, the i3-3220, and it’s a great little dual-core hyper-threaded chip that won’t bottleneck the GPU, which is the most important part. I originally was going to only get 4GB of RAM since most games can’t address more than that, but it was almost the same price to go for 8GB, so I thought I’d future-proof the box a little bit.
The crown jewel of this build is the GPU. Yes, it’s not the best graphics card ever, but for under $200, you can’t do much better. ATI’s Radeon HD 7850 is already a pretty fast card, but HIS has over-clocked their IceQ Turbo to 1.0GHz. I also opted for 2GB of Video RAM, up from the standard 1GB, to help with anti-aliasing and texture detail at higher resolutions. Another nice thing about the HIS Ice Turbo is that it’s quiet… Really quiet. When I fired the machine up for the first time, I didn’t realize that it was on for a second. To go along with this beefy GPU, I picked up a 620 watt Antec PSU. Antec is one of the best names in power supplies, and this little guy delivers. It has more than enough connectors for HDD/GPU/fans, and is almost silent while running.
And now back to the good part…
If you are looking to build something similar, but maybe want to go a cheaper route, here are some options. First, you could build basically the same computer but with a cheaper case and motherboard. Also, if you are going to be running your games at 720p, something like a Radeon HD 7770 or NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 650 would suit your needs fine. One interesting solution, if you like the case or the ITX form factor, is to go AMD. Yes, earlier I said there was a lack of AMD boards for Mini ITX, but the one or two that there are, are FM2 socket. The FM2 socket is for AMD’s Trinity, formerly Vision, APUs which are a combo CPU/GPU on the same chip. I know what you are saying, “But Nick, integrated graphics suck,” and you used to be correct. The Trinity APU is the first solution that is actually a viable integrated graphics solution for gaming. I’ve seen playable frame rates from games like Sleeping Dogs at 720p using an AMD A10-5800K. This would obviously save you a lot, because you won’t have to buy a separate GPU, and if you want, in the future you can Crossfire it with a matching ATI GPU for more performance.
After the blood, sweat and tears I ended up with a pretty sweet little machine. She is quieter than the XBox 360 it sits next to, prettier than the PS3 on the other side, and more powerful than either. I loaded up a couple Steam games, and they look gorgeous at 1080p on the 50″ plasma. But, as happy as I am with the little black box, the dream of being able to just fire up your PC and start playing is not quite there yet. Consoles are still hands down more user-friendly. I had issues with Big Picture not auto loading, stability in games and not being able to dismiss alerts without a keyboard and mouse. Overall, I’m incredibly happy with the purchase, and wouldn’t change a thing, but this whole experience has really showed that unfortunately, Big Picture is not ready for prime time quite yet.
1. These are the prices I paid at the time. The cost of parts can fluctuate wildly, so your mileage may vary.↵
2. The BitFenix name and logo inspired the names of the PCs: Jean-Grey (White) and Dark-Phoenix (Black).↵
3. ATI Radeon HD 7850s are factory clocked to 860MHz.↵
4. I have cut myself at some point during every build I’ve ever done, and this was no exception.↵
It’s Pixel Count Tuesday, Sushians. Let’s cast us some ballots.
Every generation represents a new set of hurdles for the medium (or art, if you’re feeling fancy) of video gaming. In the current generation — and yes, I do include PC games in this — I think the most obvious hurdles we’ve cleared have to do with graphics, the ease of connectivity and huge, immersive universes. Within the last few years, it’s easier to play with friends than ever before, or even talk to them across games. I can share games with them on Steam or track their progress through PSN or XBL. Games like Skyrim, Borderlands 2 and Arkham City have given us amazing, huge worlds that we can interact with, and feel like we’re a part of. The Uncharted series and Red Dead Redemption have given us high-caliber storytelling and some memorable vocal performances.
But do I think all of these things are perfect? Not by any stretch. The medium still has plenty of growing up to do in terms of what it can achieve, in any number of arenas. Today’s Pixel Count poll is a big one, representing what I think are the biggest hurdles that gaming still has in front of it.
So, if we’re entering the next generation soon, which of these do you think is the most important issue, from a player’s perspective? Vote and tell us what you think in the comments!
Well, this is quite a whale of a rumor. It seems that Kotaku recently heard some supposed details of the next generation XBox (we refuse to call it the 720) from an inside source. While these things tend to happen quite a bit and only have a small chance of actually being true, this rumor goes beyond traditional hardware specs.
On top of a rumored Blu-ray disc drive in the next XBox, DVR capabilities and the launch of Kinect 2, Microsoft is supposedly including some sort of anti-used game component into its next system. Yes, you read that correctly. According to this source, there will be some kind of system in place to keep the next XBox from playing used games.
If this is true, it would make a pretty big splash on nearly every side of the gaming industry. Continue reading Rumor: Anti-Used Game Component in Next XBox
Valve, you wily devils. Not only do you make critically acclaimed video games, you also happened to pioneer iTunes for video games on the PC. Over the holidays, you wow-ed everyone with some ridiculous giveaways, absurd gaming deals and hit the whole Steam community with a shot of adrenaline that gave college kids the world over something to do during the Winter break.
But it doesn’t stop there. Valve recently reported its 2011 end-of-year statistics, and they’re staggering. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the highlights:
- Steam offers over 1800 games to 40 million account holders
- Year-over-year sales have doubled from 2010 to 2011, marking 100 percent growth for the 7th straight year
- 14.5 million copies of Steam registered in 2011, a 67 percent increase over 2010
- Steam doubled the amount of content it served in 2011 – over 780 Petabytes
Firstly, I didn’t even know a Petabyte was a thing. It just sounds made up. Literally, my brain can not fathom the numbers that go into that, even though I looked it up. This might just be because I’m a stupid person, though. The other shocking statistic is the fact that Steam’s sales have doubled each year for the last 7 years. I knew that they had a corner on the market, but it’s nuts to me that keeps soaring upward. And when you think about it, there’s really no other place for those sales numbers to go, considering that more content keeps coming out and there are so few legitimate competitors.
So what do you guys think of these Steam statistics? Come sing Steam’s praises if you wish.
Leave it to Valve to organize a holiday sale that puts Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, Koala Tuesdays and ever other kind of wacky sale days to shame. I’m not sure if someone pumped some kind of happy gas all throughout the Valve offices, or if Gabe Newell finally cracked under all the Half-Life 3 pressure, but nonetheless, things are looking good for the rest of us.
So what’s on sale? The better question is: what isn’t on sale? Here is a glimpse of just a few of the daily deals going on:
- Fable series: 75% off
- Entire 2K games pack: 86% off. This comes out to $75 for everything 2K has on Steam, including Borderlands, Civ V plus expansions, DNF, the Mafia series, NBA 2K series and MLB 2k series
- Entire Id games pack: 83% off. That’s 24 items for $45
- Portal 2: 75% off
- Just Cause 2: 75% off
And that’s just for starters. On top of that, for every challenge you complete between now and the New Year, you will receive either a gift (to be used however you want) or a lump of coal. Don’t worry, though, lumps of coal can be horded like Pokemon and used for gifts as well. Better yet? You can trade all of these things with friends on Steam. Best yet? If you save all of your lumps of coal, each one earns you one entry into the big sweepstakes at the beginning of 2012 – where the grand prize is every game on Steam.
So, yeah. I don’t even know what to do with all of this information. Valve seriously just threw a wrench in all my Christmas gaming plans. I’ve always wanted to play games like Just Cause 2, and taking a stab at them for just $5 isn’t a bad entry point.
Are any of you guys buying stuff on Steam? Who else thinks this is madness? Go!
Source – Steam
File this under “This is why we can’t have nice things”. Apparently, the Alternate Reality Game that Eddy posted about earlier, along with DLC already available on the day of the game’s launch and rumors of the game being a console port has prompted some raging Metacritic users to emancipate Portal 2 from any true Metacritic User Rating by lowering it’s score. Currently, the game sits at a 6.9, which is far lower than expected from such a hotly anticipated game.
So what exactly is the cause? As 1UP is reporting, the disappointment that the aforementioned ARG was a ploy to get people to buy/play Steam games, along with the alleged short length of the game (I guess they aren’t counting the co-op in this) and the -WAIT FOR IT- “obvious console port clues” was just too much for these monsters to bear. A cursory scan of the comments reveals much hatred for Valve, the likes of which not seen since the days of Left 4 Dead 2.
Just for fun, here’s a quick sampling of some of the comments:
Continue reading Alleged Console Port Causes Portal 2 Backlash
Everyone’s favorite digital distribution platform Steam announced today that the beautiful action/puzzle game Trine is only $5 until Thursday at 4pm PDT. If you haven’t checked out this little indie gem, now is the perfect time to do so. It’s SteamPlay enabled so Mac users aren’t left out in the cold.
Steam. Everybody loves it. What better way to get your games online for your PC than with Valve’s awesome distribution method? Naturally, if a competitor is doing something excellently, Microsoft is going to try and capitalize with its own service: enter Games for Windows.
At the London Games Festival, Gearbox recently called for Valve and Microsoft to fix the incompatibility issues that plague users who purchase their games via the rival distributors. According to Gearbox’s marketing honcho Steve Gibson, the two are “building silos”, which will inevitably “hurt the PC industry.”
With their big release of Duke Nukem Forever in 2011 sure to be a sales grabber, it’s no wonder that Gearbox is concerned about this kind of issue. Honestly, I’m wondering why anybody would purchase a game via Games for Windows when an option like Steam even exists.
Check out the rest of his quote after the jump! Continue reading Gearbox: Steam and Microsoft are ‘Hurting’ PC Gaming
The other night, I gathered in a line of the nerdiest of nerds, standing in mostly single file all with the same goal: Halo: Reach. I know, we’re trying to cut back on Reach posts, and you’ll see some more impressions/reviews in the coming week (I’ve already beat Campaign), but the line got me thinking about something else entirely.
As all of the nerds (I say this with mostly affection) began clamoring for whatever merchandise was being thrown out as prizes, I wondered how they all came to arrive there, and how the hype is different for a release in this digital download age. After all, you won’t see quite as many people lining up to play an exclusively PC game, since they can just order it with the click of a mouse. In the future, when Call of Duty 11X is being released for download on consoles, the hype machine will take a different appearance than we know it right now. Even talking to all of my friends, there are a variety of different methods that people used to obtain Halo: Reach. Online, pre-order, walk-in, etc.
So, I thought I’d ask: how would you say you purchase the majority of your games, and through what service? Go!
A new development over the last few years for the gaming industry has been the advent of digital distribution on a large scale basis, beyond just downloadable bonuses. Through platforms such as Steam, XBox Live and PSN, games are being delivered to us entirely differently than they were even just a short decade ago. So what is the next decade going to bring?
Back in 2006, former Sony exec Phil Harrison was quoted as saying that he would be surprised if the PS4, the next iteration of the Sony black box, would have a physical disc drive at all. That comment caused some interesting conversations in its wake, but current Sony exec Kaz Hirai has recently weighed in on the matter as well. In an interview with MCV, Hirai had this to say:
“We do business in parts of the world where network infrastructure isn’t as robust as one would hope… There’s always going to be requirement for a business of our size and scope to have a physical medium. To think everything will be downloaded in two years, three years or even ten years from now is taking it a little bit to the extreme.”
I know that there are differing opinions on this issue out there. On the one hand, the idea of an all digital future at some nebulous point down the technology timeline is an exciting prospect, with instant access to all forms of entertainment. On the other hand, there is a part of me that likes physical copies of everything I own. To prove that I, you know, do in fact own it. There’s also the risk of things like the recent debacle with the PSP Go, where adopters of hardware without physical disc drives run the possibility of getting screwed.
So what do you guys think? Are you looking forward to an all digital future? Or do you prefer to keep a physical copy of what you own? I think this question is already answered in many ways for PC users who download via Steam, but go ahead and jump in anyway. Would you do this for all of your entertainment, based on your experience with Steam? Go!
Today, Valve is releasing something special that many PC gamers are sure to freak out over. I have to admit, I am not one of the rabid denizens of the Unreal 2004 community that played the junk out of the now famous mod known as Alien Swarm, but I’ve heard all about it from friends of mine who swear that it is one of the most fun multiplayer co-op games that they have ever experienced.
If you don’t know of the history behind it, Alien Swarm was a top-down mod for UT 2004 that allowed 4 players to battle it out, Diablo style, against legions of aliens with totally awesome weapons. Valve then hired the team behind its inception to help them build Left 4 Dead. Apparently the team has had some free time on its hands these days, and have produced a good and proper Source engine version of their beloved classic, which releases today on Steam.
The best part? It’s absolutely free. I’m going to be playing this tonight for sure. Who’s with me?
Did any of you guys play the original? Go!
We’re all used to the buddy list, that mysterious thing full of avatars and names that populates the user interface of our gaming machine of choice. From the Wii to Steam to XBL and PSN, we’ve gone through the process of adding names to that list, connecting with other users in the vastness of cyberspace in order to play our silly video games. Many of these systems refer to these connections as friends, but is that always the case?
A recent Kotaku post titled Are Your Online Friends Really Your Friends got my brain fired up on this subject, and I think it’s a cool question for discussion. I’m not sure how many of you have developed friendships with online buddies before, but I have done this quite a few times over the years. In fact, I have friends from a forum I used to go to 10 years ago that I still actively communicate with through Facebook and IM, and I have even met a handful of them.
There are many people that I know who would not view these as actual friendships, but I don’t think being face-to-face with somebody is a requirement for getting to know them in a way that you can call them a legit friend. It goes both ways, too. I think you can just as easily really know somebody you’ve never seen just as easily as you can not know somebody you see everyday.
In an age where more of our interactions with people are happening online, I think it’s going to become more and more common for people’s online friends to increase. I just view it as people that you would be friends with it if you lived close to each other, you just do it over a distance. I know that XBL is how I kept up with many of my friends from college, so how is it any different if you’ve never officially met the person?
Anyway, what are your thoughts on this topic? Can online friends be real friends? Go!
While Steam, Valve Software’s online store, has typically been a haven for Digital Right Management – or DRM – free titles, recent events have forced the company to take a different stand on their policies.
While similar moves by UbiSoft have been largely decried by gamers world-wide, Valve Software sees the merit in maintaining a tighter hold over their products. This update, set to be released with the service’s next patch, will introduce Valve-Net, the program that will regulate users and ensure that only registered members with legitimate copies will have access to the network.
Valve-Net works just like UbiSoft’s service where an internet connection must be constantly maintained in order to play your games. While the move is sure to make the developer unpopular, Valve’s head of Steam Community Management, Ryan Hayworth, assures fans that this change is for the best.
“We just want to make sure that only paying customers our games. We’re not a fan of piracy, and Gabe [Newell, CEO of Valve Software] agrees that only the most stringent of protection methods will ensure the success of PC gaming. We currently have no plans for a refund for anyone who is unhappy with Valve-Net, and we thank our faithful player-base for their patience.”
What do you guys think about this sudden reversal from Valve? Will this change your perception of the company? Will you continue to use Steam? Will we ever see Episode Three?! Let us know!
If you haven’t been paying attention, or if you’ve somehow wandered away from the Internet this week, you may have missed the fact that Valve is going bat poop loco with some new viral marketing regarding Portal. They’ve updated the puzzle FPS classic with some mysterious radio codes as well as a new achievement in the last week, and have sent their fans into a rabid frenzy: here is an active Steam thread where they are decoding some new images.
As if that wasn’t all enough, Valve has let loose with some not so subtle teases about its Steam platform seeing a potential future release on the Mac OS. They’ve put together images from several different Mac ad campaigns and incorporated Half Life 2 and Source characters in them. Say what you will about them, these guys are damn clever.
And on top of all that, people have discovered that Portal has been sneakily updated this week with a new ending… Yes, you read that right. If you don’t feel like playing the game to see, check out this video of it below.
So what do you guys think this is leading up to? It seems that Valve is really laying it on thick about a Portal 2 announcement, but there seems to be some Episode 3 imagery in the coded messages as well. Could we be getting both of these bundled in one awesome box? I certainly hope so. Theorize away!