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The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle

28 May 2014 | Posted by | 4 Comments

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.

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Skyward Sword Comes Crashing Down

29 Jul 2013 | Posted by | 4 Comments

Link Skyward Sword

I couldn’t finish The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. In fact, I could barely start it. I played for 3 hours, entered the first dungeon and then paused the game while I consulted a walkthrough just to see what was in store for me. The thought of enduring all that I read made me recoil in horror. So I traded it in, which is a historic moment for me. The first console Zelda that I didn’t finish. A dark day for Anthony and a dark day for Nintendo.

You see, Zelda was always my second favorite video game franchise after Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy was the barometer for which console I would buy, but Zelda was the mark for WHEN I would buy my inevitable Nintendo console. I got a Nintendo 64 so I could play Ocarina of Time. I got the N64 Expansion Pak solely for the purpose of playing Majora’s Mask. I bought a GameCube one month before Wind Waker was released and I jumped for joy when Twilight Princess was released on GameCube AND the Wii because that meant I didn’t have to buy a Wii yet.

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Nintendo Asserts Ownership Over YouTube “Let’s Play” Videos

23 May 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

nintendo you tube ad revenue

With all the buzz about the Xbox One over the past week it’s possible that this bit of news slipped under your radar. Nintendo, having recently become a YouTube Partner as of February, has flexed their legal muscles and claimed control over its copyrighted content on the popular video sharing network and that includes “Let’s Plays”, a type of gameplay commentary/walkthrough that a lot of YouTube channels use.

What this means is that Nintendo is using YouTube’s copyright algorithms to analyze videos and if there’s a certain percentage of Nintendo content in those then Nintendo monetizes them and receives that ad money. This cuts the video makers out of the ad revenue loop and any Let’s Plays will forward the money to Nintendo instead of the person(s) who made the video.

This has led to a bit of backlash from the YouTube Let’s Play community, with a lot of well-known personalities claiming that they won’t be playing Nintendo games on their channel anymore. A lot of smaller game developers have come out saying that Let’s Play videos are great forms of grass-roots advertisement, and a few companies have gone out of their way to give YouTube channels special permission to make money by playing their games and making videos of that.

What do you guys think? Is Nintendo right to claim the ad money from these videos? Are people correct in the backlash? Go!

Source – PA Report

Skyward Sword and the Middle of the Road

21 Jan 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

legend of zelda skyward sword

So for this week’s “What We’re Playing” Monday, I’m taking us back to the Before Times, the Long-Long Ago, to November 2011 and the world of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Because the release schedule between December and now is a bit dry, I decided to go back and actually try and beat the latest entry in Nintendo’s fantasy series. While reviews for Skyward Sword were pretty phenomenal across the board back in the day, I’m finding the game to be a rather middling experience.

That’s not to say that Skyward Sword is bad, per se, and it’s certainly a small step up from its predecessor, Twilight Princess. While the motion controls do work well on occasion, most of the enemies are a little too stalwart in their defenses with very little room to get a strike in, leaving you waiting for an opening that you won’t hit if the controls decide to go wonky on you. The boss monster design is pretty comical, especially the man-boobed tentacle monster, which is a shame because Zelda bosses have typically been memorable and intimidating. The secondary bad guy, Ghirahim, seems to indulge in certain design tendencies that Zelda has previously managed to avoid. Perhaps one of the most annoying small things the game does is to do the introduction of crafting items every time you pick them up when you load a save.

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The Last Disappointment

9 Sep 2012 | Posted by | One Comment

The Last Story Cover

There will be no review of The Last Story.

No, it’s not because I am too lazy to write it. It’s because I played 10 hours and couldn’t take another minute. It wasn’t a terrible game, exactly. It just wasn’t fun. I wasn’t having a good time and one of my promises to myself going forward is not to feel obligated to play something if I am not enjoying it. The second I turned off the game and drove to GameStop, I felt better. Justified. Like a new person. That’s how I knew I made the right decision.

I’m sure you are asking what was so wrong with The Last Story? What could be so bad coming from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy? Well, let’s start with the story: it’s pretty bland. You play as Zael, one of a group of mercenaries who dream of becoming knights and gaining a higher station in life. Zael is a standard RPG hero: compassionate and boring. His comrades are far more interesting, even if they all fall into easy to categorize descriptions: the drunken woman who parties too much, the womanizer, the emo mage…I didn’t hate any of them and the British accents made what they said pleasant to hear. The problem is, it was all so mundane that the second the screen went black indicating a cut-scene was starting, I was checking my phone to see if anyone made a Hero Academy move. Not a good sign.

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Nintendo Thinks Gamers are Insatiable

25 Jun 2012 | Posted by | 4 Comments

nintendo thinks gamers are insatiable

Gamers, why you gotta be so mad, bros? At least that’s what Nintendo seems to be wondering if this interview with Reggie Fils-Aime over at Kotaku seems to be any indication.

With E3 (and Nintendo’s baffling parade of press conferences) behind us, most of the negative fan reaction has been forgotten about, but the bad feelings towards Nintendo’s showing still lingers. We’ve known for a long time that we’re a hard bunch to please, but this little quote from Reggie kind of puts it in a publisher perspective:

One of the things that, on one hand, I love and, on the other hand, that troubles me tremendously about not only our fanbase but about the gaming community at large is that, whenever you share information, the perspective is, ‘Thank you, but I want more.’ ‘Thank you, but give me more.’ I mean, it is insatiable.

And so for years this community has been asking, ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ We give them Pikmin. And then they say, ‘What else?’

For years, this community have said, ‘Damnit Reggie, when you launch, you better launch with a Mario game.’ So we launch with a Mario game, and they say, ‘So what’s more?’ I have heard people say, ‘You know, you’ve got these fantastic franchises, beyond what you’re doing in Smash Bros., isn’t there a way to leverage all these franchises?’ So we create Nintendo Land and they say, ‘Ho-hum, give me more.’ So it’s an interesting challenge.

While I think that Reggie is right on the money with a couple of his comments, you can’t deny that Nintendo rightly deserves some stick for a lack-luster E3 press conference and following it up with some big WTF announcements like a new, bigger 3DS. What do you guys think? Are Reggie’s comments justified? Are we really that hard to please or is that the vocal minority talking for us again?

Source – Kotaku, Polygon

Review: Xenoblade Chronicles

17 Jun 2012 | Posted by | Comments Off

Xenoblade Bionis vs. Mechonis

Hardcore games on the Wii have been few and far between lately. Despite Nintendo’s proclamations that their next system will focus on hardcore games before casual, it still took a massive online campaign to get the Big N to release Monolith’s epic JRPG, Xenoblade Chronicles, in the United States. Now that they have, was it worth the wait?

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The GamerSushi Power Rankings: June 2012

9 Jun 2012 | Posted by | 7 Comments

Diablo 3 banner

Welcome to the June Power Rankings page update. If you’re new to this feature, it’s our running list of the top 10 games of 2012, pitted against each other in brutal fashion. Think Wizard Chess, only not as cool. Really, that’s not a fair comparison, since nothing is cooler than Wizard Chess, but the point still stands — these games are fighting for their lives.

Just like the last update, we see some more moving and shaking as new contenders arrive, and old games fade away.

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The GamerSushi Power Rankings Update, Week 2

7 May 2012 | Posted by | 7 Comments

Trials Evolution

One of the newest features of GamerSushi would be the Power Rankings page, wherein we pit the games of 2012 against each other every few weeks or so, in order to see who is leading the chase for that coveted top 10 spot. We’re pretty excited about updating this regularly, and we think it’ll be fun for you guys to get involved. Heck, your comments might even sway our rankings for the next go around.

Anyway, we’ve just given the page its first update, and there is already some moving and shaking going on.

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The GamerSushi Show, Ep 46: H8 cast

16 Apr 2012 | Posted by | 4 Comments

What’s this? Two GamerSushi Shows in a row? We must be getting back on track or something. This podcast might mark Eddy’s last appearance on the show for a few weeks so I hope you enjoy basking in his video game knowledge and hatred of my silent treatment.

Yes, on this episode of the GamerSushi Show I was overcome with a fit of shyness and basically stopped talking and participating around the time when we start chatting about Max Payne on the iOS. When it came time to do the game Eddy was getting understandably frustrated with my lack of vocals and you can hear that creeping in at a few points, hence the title of this cast.

So yeah, listen, rate, be merry. Hopefully we can keep up this pace so you guys won’t have to wait too long for the next episode.

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2012 April Fools’ Roundup

1 Apr 2012 | Posted by | 4 Comments

april fools gaming 2012April Fools’ is an interesting time for any entertainment industry because you’re never quite sure if what you’re seeing is an obvious farce or something that could come true. Generally we’ve gotten pretty good at sussing these things out, but sometimes there’s a really good prank out there that trips us up.

This year saw some pretty good gags from Blizzard (like Blizzard Kidzz and Supply Depot 2, which takes a stab at Mass Effect 3′s ending) to Mojang and Notch’s very overt dig at Mass Effect, Mars Effect. The Old Republic team also had a pretty good one detailing the addition to play as your ship’s Protocol Droid. There were also a lot of great video April Fools’ gags, which I’ve put in after the jump.

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The GamerSushi Show, Episode 42: My Videogame Girlfriend

28 Feb 2012 | Posted by | 5 Comments

Welcome back to the GamerSushi Show, ladies and gents. Due to some scheduling and life stuff, we’ve gotten a tad behind on releases, so this episode was recorded a few weeks back – on Anthony’s birthday, no less. Because of that, Mr. Taylor skipped out to go celebrate getting a year closer to death, while the rest of us drank things and talked about video games.

The main topics we discussed were the Mass Effect 3 demo, fixing the Zelda franchise and great endings. Beyond that, we play a game of Buy/Sell about topics like Team Ninja, Apple gaming and more – all of which result in my inevitable and recurring victory, as always.

Listen up! Rate! Be merry!

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Does The Legend of Zelda Need to be Fixed?

15 Feb 2012 | Posted by | 7 Comments

legend of zelda

If there’s any game series crying out for a fresh interpretation, it’s the Legend of Zelda. While this belief is a little incendiary, many people feel that the series hit its zenith with Ocarina of Time and has been in steady decline every since. That’s not to say that the games are bad, necessarily, but they are formulaic and in need of a shot in the arm.

During my travels on the dusty roads of the World Wide Web, I stumbled across an essay entitled “Saving Zelda” by one Tevis Thompson. In his piece he runs down what he sees as the problems with the current version of Zelda and where the series went wrong. His comments on how the game world is just a series of locks (and how the items you collect can be equated to a jangling keyring) struck a particular cord with me, and this is by no means the only point he makes. He examines everything from the games’ visual styles to the design of the over-world to the re-treading of the same story over and over.

His article is a bit lengthy, but it’s well worth the read, especially if Skyward Sword left you wanting. The comments about how modern Zelda games do not respect the player is in step with how I felt about Skyward Sword, and the analogy of game designers being helicopter parents was almost too perfect.

I really urge everybody to take a break from their day and read this; you may not agree with every point but it’s a great argument against the staleness of modern Zeldas. What did you guys think of the article? Did the author make some good points? Where do you agree and disagree?

SourceTevis Thompson

Miyamoto: Searching for Nintendo’s Next Big Hit

4 Feb 2012 | Posted by | 3 Comments

Miyamoto

Nintendo has been in a bit of a bind lately, compared to the massive successes they’ve seen in the last few years. Wii sales are dropping off, the Wii U hasn’t generated the buzz that they wanted (they’re even considering a re-brand of the whole system), the 3DS was a certifiable flop in its early months and they are sustaining significant losses with each new quarter. There are a number of theories circulating about how Nintendo can right their massive misguided ship, but Nintendo has its own: Shigeru Miyamoto.

Several months back, there was a bit of miscommunication that made the Internet rounds about the famed developer retiring. However, it turned out that Miyamoto was actually going to be taking a step back from overseeing development teams to train younger staff. His other job? Idea-ating Nintendo’s next big hit. Here’s what he had to say on the matter in a recent Q and A session:

“I am acting with the understanding that one big hit title can change multiple phases of a situation in the entertainment business, and I feel that finding such one big hit is my basic job.”

It’s interesting to think that Nintendo is putting so much stock in finding that one big idea. It smacks of the way Hollywood thinks in a lot of ways, where studios will sink all their energy into finding that one box office smash year in and year out. The problem is, lightning doesn’t always strike like that, especially in a time where Nintendo might be finding themselves at a disadvantage when relating to core gamers.

We talked about this very topic for the upcoming podcast release, but I wanted to hear your thoughts on it, too. What do you think it means for Nintendo to use Miyamoto in such a way? Will it make a difference? Do you think the man that built Mario, Zelda, Nintendogs and Pikmin has one final swan song left within him? Go!

Source – SiliconEra

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 37: Don’t Call it a Come Back

17 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 4 Comments

After the long-awaited arrival of last week’s video podcast, many of you expressed your wishes that we not wait so long before the release of the next one. Well, for the first time in my life, I’m afraid I won’t be disappointing all of you – here’s a brand new podcast, fully of shiny gaming stories, GamerSushi memes and all kinds of other wonders.

This podcast brought us the monumental task of trying to recap an entire season’s worth of games, ranging from Bastion all the way to Skyrim. We used this as an excuse to try out a new game, Lightning Round, and I think all of you are going to be happy with the results. It was a nice way to run down a staggering list of games in a way that didn’t take 87 podcasts and two years of our blabbering to cover.

In addition, we played a game of Buy or Sell with a number of industry topics. Like we do. Listen up and enjoy, friends.

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The GamerSushi Show, Ep 36: PAX South

10 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 9 Comments

This post was actually written by Eddy, posted by Nick. Just to clear up any confusion.

Wow. Uh, hi dudes. I know it hasn’t been a long time since we’ve chatted, but it’s certainly been a long time since we’ve chatted in this format – you know, the format where I’m bringing you a brand new podcast. So that’s pretty cool, right? Especially considering the fact that this isn’t a normal podcast, but a special video podcast!

Yes, this is the long-rumored video podcast from GamerSushi Weekend, AKA PAX South, where the GamerSushi dudes convened for a weekend of hanging out, video gaming, drinking and yes, podcasting. I know it’s pretty ridiculous that it’s just now coming out almost six months later, but sometimes life happens and bearded dudes have to go to California to work. And yeah, that gets in the way every now and then.

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Skyward Sword and the Problem with Pacing

10 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 5 Comments

skyward sword pacing

Having worked my way through most of 2011′s big ticket titles over the Winter break, I’ve finally made my way to Skyward Sword and have been playing it for a few hours. While I do appreciate the art style and the Wii Motion Plus controls work better than I thought they would, the game has some serious pacing issues, specifically in the first few hours.

Skyward Sword starts much like any other Zelda game with the protagonist (Link traditionally, but “Butts” in my game) awakening from a deep slumber filled with dreams of a distant threat. From there you have to do the whole rigmarole of learning how to Z-target, autojump and all those other Zelda actions that are so familiar to us from the past thirteen years of this formula. I get that all these concepts might be new for people who didn’t grow up with the Ocarina style of Zelda games, but for us veterans this kind of stuff can be boring.

The same thing happened to me at the start of Modern Warfare 2 where the game teaches you how to use the basic controls and even runs you through a near carbon copy of the freighter mock-up from Call of Duty 4. Given just how many people bought CoD 4, I would have assumed that people know how to use the controls, but I guess some developers feel the need to be safe rather than sorry.

Getting people used to the way a game functions is essential, but Zelda handles it so, so slowly that it verges on tedious. Once you get past those segments and finally get your Loftwing everything opens up, but getting there is a chore. Additionally, whoever thought that giving Link a stamina bar was a good idea should be fired.

I do enjoy Skyward Sword, don’t get me wrong, but I really would have appreciated a “Yes, I’ve played Zelda” option somewhere along the way so I could just get into the game. This might just be me, but I think they way the tutorial was done was pretty shoddy. What do you guys think? Did Skyward Sword drag a little bit in the beginning? What other games have done this for you?

GamerSushi Votes 2011: Game of the Year

7 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 17 Comments

portal 2

We’re at the end of the road for the inaugural edition of GamerSushi Votes and I think it’s gone rather well. We’ve talked the highs and the lows, but now it’s time to put all of our chips on the table and declare once and for all what our favorite game of 2011 is.

There’s no cheating here by saying 2011 didn’t have a Game of the Year, no sir. Each individual vote shall be inscribed upon the great Tablet of GamerSushi with chisel and hammer by Anthony, borne up the Mountain of Souls by Eddy, passed through the Cauldron of the Blaze by myself, given to Jeff and his eagle mount to soar high into the clouds to the Sky Palace of the Beard for Nick’s final approval. Yeah. It’s that important.

Now that you know what fate rests upon your mortal souls, vote! What was your Game of the Year for 2011?

GamerSushi Votes 2011: Game of the Year

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Poll: Best or Worst Generation of Games?

6 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 3 Comments

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!

Is this the best or worst generation of video games?

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VGAs 2011: All the Winners!

12 Dec 2011 | Posted by | 6 Comments

Miyamoto

Ah, the VGAs. The time of year when game enthusiasts far and wide go through the tumultuous turns and dives of the hype train. Bandied about by double speak and cryptic front man Geoff Keighley, we willingly jump into that nexus of marketing, full of fake celebrities, very few awards and some lame jokes – and all for what? For glimpses of what we can expect out of the next year from our favorite past time.

For all of the complaints that people throw against the VGAs, I do have to say that I enjoy the outcome – actually having something to look forward to for the following year. Last year, we got excited about Skyrim, Mass Effect 3, Uncharted 3 and then some. I’m not saying they’re perfect. But they do what they’re designed to do – hype games.

Anyway, soapbox aside, one of the other purposes of the VGAs is to do just that – hand out video game awards. This year, a number of great games and studios took home the awards. They even honored Miyamoto as the first inductee into the Video Game Hall of Fame. I thought I’d paste all the goings-down here so you could voice your quibbles and rants. Full list of winners after the jump!

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