The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle

Sega Logo

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

Getting Ready for the XBox 10th Anniversary


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?

Source – VG247: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Announced

Final Fantasy XIII-2

JRPG fans unite! Hello? Is this thing on? Well, anyways, those of you who enjoyed the latest installment of Square Enix’s flagship franchise, Final Fantasy XIII (and I know there are some of you out there) can rejoice because more of Lightning and company is on the way. Square Enix has officially announced Final Fantasy XIII-2 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The game will be out in Japan before the end of the year and in the U.S. and other regions next winter.

Despite the Internet ravings, FF XIII sold pretty well and garnered mostly positive reviews. I ended up enjoying it quite a bit and though I was divorced from the story, the ending was still rather touching, so I am anxious to find out what happens next. And more of Lightning is never a bad thing.

What say you? Is this a chance to make some quick cash for Square Enix or are you actually curious to see where the story goes? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Playstation Blog

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Says Xbox Isn’t Just for Games

xbox 360 isn't a gaming machineWe’ve been grumbling and moaning around here since E3 of last year about the Xbox 360 and Microsoft’s seemingly all-in strategy with Kinect, but I think that we took solace in the fact that the 360 would remain a bastion for the hardcore in some respects even after Kinect sold 8 million copies this past holiday season. Our hopes may be in vain, however, as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently spelled out the company’s long term plan in an interview with USA Today, citing how the Xbox 360 isn’t only made for playing the video games.

“Xbox isn’t a gaming console. Xbox is a family entertainment center. It’s a place to socialize. It’s a place to watch TV. We have Hulu coming. It’s the only system where you are the controller. Your voice, your gestures, your body.”

Mr. Ballmer goes on to say that while the Xbox has the 15 year old boy demographic nailed down, they’re searching for ways to expand beyond that, into the 15 year old girl and the middle aged market. Things like Kinect will go a long way towards that end, especially after the aforementioned sales bonanza which outstripped Microsoft’s own internal estimations. Sounds like the Xbox only does everything, right?
Continue reading Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Says Xbox Isn’t Just for Games

Fable 2 is Free [Updated]

In what seems to be a glitch by Microsoft you can go right now to, and download Fable 2 for free. I know we only gave it a C, but as Jeff said to me, “free is free.”

I would suggest grabbing it quick before Microsoft fixes the bug. (I’m currently downloading it)

UPDATE: Per @XboxSupport, this is a legit download, but is only Episode 1 of the game.

EA Removes Taliban Reference From Medal Of Honor

Bowing to pressure from those wary of disrespecting U.S. soldiers killed by the Taliban, EA has announced that they are removing references to that group from the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor, due to be released in November. The Taliban will now be referred to as “Opposing Forces”, which is just generic enough to not offend anyone opposed to the change.

Executive Producer Greg Goodrich made no mention of any changes in behavior or gameplay, so it sounds as if it just a cosmetic change and no mention was made of removing references to the Taliban in the campaign, which would likely be a significant undertaking. Still, I can’t help but be disappointed that EA has caved. If video games are going to move forward as a significant art form and a medium, publishers shouldn’t back down if they truly believe in their artistic decision.

One thing I must mention is that it is just a name change. At the end of the day, people are still going to be able to kill U.S. troops in the game, so I am curious to see what the reaction from the “opposing forces” of Medal of Honor will have to say about this.

What do you think about the change? Is EA doing the right thing or should they have stood their ground? Do you think playing as the Taliban in a multiplayer game is disrespectful to fallen soldiers?

Source: Medal of Honor Blog

Fable III Achievements Encourage Friend List Love

Fable 3Fable III, the next entry in Peter Molyneux’s epic Trilogy of Great Expectations, is due out on October 26th, but if you want to start planning your playthrough with regards to achievements, 1UP has the newly released list.

The most interesting are two that expect you to marry and have a child with someone on your friends list, which should either bring you and your pals closer or end the friendships all together. Lionhead is encouraging cooperative play of a type heretofore unseen and I am all for trying new things. That being said, I am not having Eddy’s baby. Mitch’s, maybe. Eddy, no.

Check out the full list here! Are there any appeal to you? Would you enter matrimonial bliss with an Xbox Live Friend?

Source – 1UP

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Coming To Kinect

One of the most legendary games of all time was Steel Battalion for the Xbox, mainly due to it’s incredibly complex controller, pictured here. 40 buttons and 2 control sticks were needed to play this game and few did, though likely because of the $200.00 price tag. Well, as we have seen, one of the main themes of this new generation of consoles has been streamlining and Capcom just set the bar as the newly announced Steel Battalion will have no buttons.

That’s right, as revealed at the Tokyo Game Show and reported by’s Frank Cifaldi, the sequel to the giant mech game will be a Kinect exclusive. How such a thing is even possible is beyond me, but color me intrigued. Other than Child of Eden, this is the first “hardcore” game revealed for Kinect, so perhaps they aren’t leaving their core demographic behind with their shiny new peripheral.

Did anyone out there play Steel Battalion? Would you be interested in buying a Kinect for this? Or will it just be another rail-shooter? Your keyboard has more than 40 buttons…use them now!

Source: 1UP

GamerSushi Poll: Favorite Halo Game

Well, we’ve finally reached (get it?) September, the month where Bungie will bid adieu to the Halo franchise with the highly anticipated, even by me, Halo: Reach. In honor of this momentous and bittersweet occasion, I thought I would ask you guys which game in the Halo series stands out to you as the best.

I never played Halo: Combat Evolved until 2007, when I finally bought a used Xbox for fifty bucks from a friend. Even years after its release, it was still a blast to play and all the whining about the Library level was way overblown. The backtracking did suck, though. Honestly, I think that one is still my favorite to this day, although I haven’t played ODST yet, but a certain Canadian speaks very highly of it. And the less said about Halo 2’s ending, or lack thereof, the better.

So what do you guys think? What game is your favorite and why? Is there a particular one that you don’t think stands up the high quality of the others? Let your opinions Flood (ha ha) over this post…now!

What's Your Favorite Halo Game?

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New Alan Wake Trailer Finally Excites Me

While I’ve posted about Alan Wake before, I’ve never quite caught on to the fever that the gaming media at large seems to throw behind the XBox 360 exclusive. It always looked interesting, I guess, but it’s hard to judge a game by the same cutscene clips and trailers that we’ve seen for several years in a row. Granted, that’s how I felt about Final Fantasy XIII, but now I’m in love with that game, so…

Anyway, this new Alan Wake: Building the Thriller trailer shows off some cool gameplay for the title that I hadn’t seen before, and finally has me itching to play it. It looks like a crazy mix between Heavy Rain, Silent Hill and Resident Evil 5, and I love the idea of darkness and light in combat. To me, one of the coolest shots is the character at the end wrapped in Christmas lights to ward off enemies. It just seems like a cool idea from a writing standpoint. Anyway, if you can bear the cheesy narration, I’d suggest giving this one a watch.


Review: BioShock 2

As the cover for BioShock 2 tells you, it is the “sequel to [the] Game of the Year”. Cheeky, that, but in many ways that bit of advertising copy defines this sequel, for better or for worse. BioShock 2 has big shoes to fill, and a lot of people were either full of anticipation that the second go-round would be as inventive and atmospheric as the first, or instantly dismissive of something that could never live up to the original.

The original game has a reputation of excellence from most quarters. It’s actually the first game I played this generation, when I picked up my 360 back in 2008. I had heard so much about BioShock that I just had to check it out. Also, I’ve always been a fan of “horror” games, which BioShock is to a certain degree. It isn’t a full-bore jump-and-scream gorefest, but it does have an evocative setting and deliberate pacing that fills you with tension and certainly creeped me out.

So when a sequel was announced, I was instantly excited. I loved the setting of the original game, and no amount of multiplayer or skeptical friends were going to keep me from picking up the sequel on release day. Here I am a week later to tell you how it all stands up.

Continue reading Review: BioShock 2

GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2009

Well, we’re a bit late on this, but that’s because we were waiting to make sure we had all sampled enough of these games to confidently vote on what we felt were the best 10 games of 2009. This kind of list needs next to no introduction, but suffice it to say that 2009 was one incredible year for our hobby. What once seemed barren and unimpressive became, honestly, one of the best years I can remember, and probably was the best year for the whole generation to date in a lot of ways. We saw new IPs, old ones re-vamped, and got some of the same awesomeness from franchises we already loved.

For the list, we put this together by having the GS staff (myself, Nick, Jeff, Anthony and Mitch) vote on our top 10 games, and then associated a point system with each to determine which games came out on top. So, without further ado, scroll down for the GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2009!


GamerSushi Top 10
Continue reading GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2009

Impressions: Mass Effect 2

We don’t always write impressions of games that we’re currently playing, but I figured since 15 people on my friends list last night were playing Mass Effect 2, I’d start a little thread about it.

As you all know, I’m a pretty big Bioware fan. I don’t know what it is, but something about their games just grab me in a way other games don’t. With most games, I have to take a break every couple of hours or so. With Mass Effect 2, I played it for 7 hours straight without a break once I got home from work…

So I guess that means I like the game. A lot. I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface, story wise. Perhaps that’s because I spent over an hour scanning planets for raw materials and looking for sidequests, maybe. I hesitate to gush over the game too much, because admittedly, for the first hour or two I was terribly confused. Gone were many of the RPG elements I loved from the first game. But with them, the awful item management system, confusing menus and cumbersome weapon/armor load-outs. The game is an extremely simplified version of the first, and my worry when I loaded it up and got into the action was that it was much too simple.
Continue reading Impressions: Mass Effect 2

Splinter Cell Conviction Co-Op and Deniable Ops Gameplay

Wow. You all know of my mega-boners that I get for Splinter Cell. Specifically, co-operative play in the Splinter Cell franchise is something that I will go off on a rant about, because of how much I loved the mode in Chaos Theory. Well, they’re bringing the mode back in Splinter Cell: Conviction, and I couldn’t be happier.

Up until now, all we’d gotten to see was a slick trailer for the mode. Now, though, we’re getting to see honest-to-goodness footage of the co-operative mode, in addition to Deniable Ops, which is more of an adversarial multiplayer in some ways. The coolest mode from Deniable Ops seems to be the “Spy vs Spy” gametype, where two players showdown in the midst of hostile enemy AI guards. The thought of that makes me a tad crazy, in the best way possible. Anyway, check out the new video and leave your thoughts.

Splinter Cell: Conviction is out on February 23rd, 2010. Anybody else jumping on this?

Battlefield 1943 is Good Old Fashioned Fun

bf1943As many of you know, Battlefield 1943 released yesterday over PSN and XBox Live. While the game launched with some issues (namely, server capacities), those issues are being dealt with and the game is slowly but surely becoming playable again.

After some difficulty joining a server, I finally was able to land inside, and I have to say, I had a blast. It really is good to be playing Battlefield again, especially in the WWII setting, with bombers, aircraft carriers, boats and jeeps all at your disposal. The game works with squads and squad spawns, which was such brilliant addition to the series with BF 2. So, if you’ve got either a PS3 or XBox 360, this game is a ton of fun and a definite steal at only $15 for the whole deal.

So, who’s gotten to play this game yet? What did you think?

GamerSushi Asks: Making Changes

staroceanI’m playing Star Ocean: The Last Hope right now, and it’s the first JRPG that I’ve played in a good long while. After playing some games like Fallout 3 and Mass Effect, it really feels childish and completely ridiculous in comparison, and really got me thinking a bit about the choices that designers sometimes make in games.

The reason for this is that while I’m overall enjoying the game, there are some things about it that really irritate me, and lead me to ask “why would they do that”. For instance, the game starts with a 30 minute battle tutorial followed by both a 20 minute cut scene and a 2 hour dungeon. How does that even make sense in terms of not boring the person playing it to tears? In addition, there are some minor character and script issues that bug me, such as the annoying item creation character and adding a six year old to the party that ends all her sentences in “kay?”.

Like I said, overall I’m having fun, but there are some simple things that keep this game from being great. What’s the last game that you’ve played that you felt that way about? Solid mechanics, but if it wasn’t for one or two things, you would have loved it? Go!

Review: Sacred 2

sacred2Several years ago, I played two great titles in a unique genre back-to-back. Over the course of a couple of months, I enjoyed these two gems in a co-op setting with friends back before co-op was the new kool-aid. These two discs were known as Baldur’s Gate 2: Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath. They were hack-n-slash games. And they were brilliant.

Since that time, there haven’t been many hack-n-slash games that graced us with their hacking presence. Sure, there was Marvel Ultimate Alliance, but true RPG dorks really wanted a full on fantasy experience complete with leveling, grinding, slashing and most of all, loot. I feel that we may have finally found that game in Sacred 2.
Continue reading Review: Sacred 2

Crackdown 2 Has 4 Player Co-Op And Awesomeness

crackdown2Crackdown is still one of my favorite games of this generation so far. The game played like an open world platformer, with sandbox elements and super powers to boot. I loved orb hunting, whooping up on gang members, and making my car do ridiculous jumps. The city really is your playground.

Luckily for dudes like me, Crackdown 2 is coming to the 360 next year. And not only that, but apparently it’s getting 4 player co-op! The co-op experience was a blast with just 2 players in the first game, so I really can’t imagine how fun it is going to be with that many super powered agents destroying the city together. I seriously can not wait for this game.

Who else is excited about this news? What other games would you like to see get this kind of upgrade?

Source- VG247

Microsoft E3 Presser Highlights

x360The Microsoft E3 press event has officially taken place. With it come a bevy of announcements, trailers, videos and more.

Here are the highlights:

  • Modern Warfare 2 gameplay looks awesome.
  • Splinter Cell Conviction coming Fall 2009. Sounds like they’ve added some new gameplay elements, mainly for the story.
  • Final Fantasy XIII coming in Spring 2010, much earlier than projected.
  • Left 4 Dead 2 Coming November 17th! Seems a little early, but I can dig it. New weapons, including chainsaws.
  • Forza 3 is coming in October.
  • Crackdown 2 trailer shown! This rules, it was one of my favorite games of this generation so far.
  • Halo 3 ODST video looks sweet. They also highlighted a story-telling element: most of the game will be a mystery pieced together through flashbacks. Coming September 22nd.
  • Bungie also shows a trailer for a new Halo game, Halo: Reach. Guess they lied when they said they were done with Halo, but I’m cool with it since Reach is such an awesome story. The book is incredible. Fall 2010.
  • is coming to XBL gold users at no additional cost. Listening to music is neat, but I’d rather not do it on my TV. Still though, not bad for a service I’m already paying for.
  • Facebook and Twitter are coming to the XBox 360? Double no thanks. The world is over as we know it.
  • Kojima sneaks onto stage to announce that the Metal Gear Solid franchise is coming to the 360. Kind of cool, but it’s a Raiden game. Which is not so cool. If you’re bringing MGS to the 360, bring the actual game, not some dumb Raiden extension. Guess sloppy seconds is better than nothing, though.
  • Motion control coming to the 360. The final wtf? It’s not a controller. It’s a camera that translates your actual movements to the game. Sounds mega-lame. “Project Natal”. Lionhead even showed off a new game for it called Milo.

By the way, the links are to videos. So, which of these excites you most? Which is the stupidest? Go!

Mass Effect 2 Teaser Includes Shephard

Mass Effect 2 is maybe the game I’m looking forward to the most this generation. I loved the first one, and I have no reason to believe that the sequel won’t be even better. In a brand new teaser for the Bioware space RPG, we are finally shown glimpses of Shephard, who may or may not be something more than human. I’m really liking the look of this, it seems like it’s improved graphically, and the shooting segments look beefed up. Thoughts?