Everyone knows that Super Mario Bros., Final Fantasy and Barbie's Horse Adventures revolutionized the gaming industry. But not every influential game is a smashing success - some games quietly shaped industry trends despite being ignored by all but a few developers that recognized their innovation. You probably haven't played the following games, but you owe them thanks for paving the way for those you have.
7. Kill Switch
Modern video game battlefields are littered with chest high concrete blocks and other seemingly random barriers, presumably put there by bored urban planners in the hopes that an intense firefight would break out and liven up their day. You have Kill Switch, a mediocre shooter that invented the modern cover system, to thank for this literal shift in the landscape.
Released in 2003 to a collective shrug from critics and fans, Kill Switch was later cited by the developers of Gears of War, Uncharted, Killzone and other series as an inspiration, which is a polite way of saying that they stole the cover system and built a less bland game around it. While technically not the first game to feature a cover system (see also: 1999's WinBack), it was the first to make it a core gameplay component, and it also introduced the blind fire feature for gamers too wimpy to poke their head out and take proper aim. So the next time you're chainsawing a locust in half or killing a zone (I haven't played Killzone, but presume that's what you do in it), remember that your experience was brought to you by some dumb game about a remote controlled super-soldier.
"Back in my day, there weren't no random slabs of concrete to take cover behind. You had to hope there was a car! You young punks have it easy."
The Stan Lee of schlock, director of the original, disgustingly unrated Toxic Avenger, joins the Angry Video Game Nerd to play the terrible game translations of the kiddie-cartoon spin-off, Toxic Crusaders, which was created to try to cash in on the first Ninja Turtles craze.
Though fond of promoting himself and his various products constantly, even Lloyd can't lie about the merits (or lack thereof) in this case.
Video after the jump - be forewarned that it ends in a gross-out moment worthy of TromaMore >>
Well, despite some of the negative reviews going around, including ours, we got a lot of entries for this one. Maybe they even helped, making you not want to spend the money but try to score it for free in other ways.
The assignment was to describe John Harrison revealing his true villainous identity in the upcoming film.
It was tough to pick a winner, even with Julia's help. In the end I did.
First, as always, the honorable mentions:
Someguy's photoshopping skills are improving:
Considering all the Darth Vader, Fight Club and Scooby-Doo references, I appreciated Donkeyholic's take:
So, at last we meet. For the first time, for the last time...
Before you die, there is something you should know about us, Kirk.
I am your fathers brothers nephews cousins former roommate.
And that wasn't his only good entry:
After discovering that the Orion Slave Girl he took back to quartes from the Enterprise gay bar was in fact little more than John Harrison (painted green and wearing falsies) in a skirt, Kirk vomits before running off to take one very long, cold shower.
benjamingeeks had an answer I would actually love to be true:
HAHA! I am revealed!!, said the dour, skinny, handsome fellow that Kirk had trapped behind a forcefield As Harrison's holographic costume oozes off of him, it revealed a puffy white shirt, an elaborate brocade coat, riding pants, and leather boots from another age. His hair is done up in an elaborate 17th century hairstyle, and his smile is completely without warmth. "You may call me Trelane Captain Kirk. You have not met me yet, but I know you well from another timeline. You bested me there. I don't like that!" Kirk stared. "So all of this is revenge for something another me did, that's insane!" Trelane's eyes narrowed. "Yes it is Captain, it is most certainly insane.....just like me!" Trelane giggles madly. "Oh Captain the fun we are going to have!" His face goes cold, "let the games begin!!
bibphile has a plausible one I would hate, but one Brannon Braga would probably pleasure himself to:
On the barren rocks of the volcano planet, Harrison faces Kirk and Uhura across a blasted rock. In the background, the burning wreckage of the USS Enterprise shimmers in the smoke and heat distortion.
"WHO ARE YOU?" Kirk scream across the desolate landscape.
"I am the one who has had everything taken and everything you have, I will take from you! I am nothing and no one, and when I am done, you will be no one too!"
"You've destroyed everything! You've TAKEN everything!"
"Not everything. Not yet."
As Kirk hears those words, an animal howl escapes him and he charges Harrison across the desolation. As they meet, Harrison issues Kirk a clinical beatdown, in short turn leaving the brash young captain in the dust, unable to rise. He lifts his boot above Kirk's head to deliver the final blow.
"Enough!" The voice is Uhura's, and she strides across the arena to Harrison. "It's done. There's no need for this. You've won." Reaching Harrison, she kisses him deeply and passionately, and falls into place behind him. Harrison lowers his boot and smiles down at Kirk.
"Now, Captain, now I've taken every--" Harrison is interrupted by a harsh intercom whistle splitting the air, followed immediately by the words "Lieutenant Barclay, report to Cargo Bay 3." It's LeVar Burton! "Harrison" rolls his eyes expressively and sighs, "On my way, Commander. Computer, arch." A glowing white aperture appears in the air nearby, and the camera follows over "Harrison's" shoulder until he reached the doorway, when it spins around again to show the volcano landscape, Kirk, and Uhura have disappeared, replaced by a black room with a glowing yellow grid.
BobJJ, I'd like to at least see your choice make it to a movie one day:
Amid bursts of static on the Enterprise's main viewer, we see Harrison's smug face staring out. Kirk is in shock at the damage his ship has taken, and at the casualties that have only begun to mount.
"Who...who ARE you? Really?" he asks, stalling for time but his head is dizzy with the abuse the Enterprise has undergone.
Harrison's smug demeanor turns into a sneer, but we see turbolift doors split open behind him, and a shrewish woman darts out, wagging her finger at him in contempt.
"Harcourt Fenton Mudd!" she screams abusively, "What have you been up to? Nothing good I'm sure!"
Harrison's eyes widen, and he visibly flinches. All of a sudden, he is a fraction of the menacing figure he was before. "I'll...I'll have to call you back," he mutters, and his image blinks away, the starscape filling the frame.
While we're on the old-school tip, here's DacShiggy:
I don't need a lot of words for this one... Kirk beams aboard Harrison's ship for the usual villain monologue before the final epic fight. Harrison, all cool and collected: "Who am I, Jim? That's the one thought coursing through your mind right now.".
He chuckles to himself and saunters over to his well-stocked bar and produces an odd looking decanter. He turns to Kirk and says... perhaps you would care for a glass of... TRANYA???"
*CUE DRAMATIC MUSIC*
Harrison slowly peels away his Benedict Cumberbatch mask to reveal none other than the creepy-ass baby face of BALOK! Before Kirk can recover from the shock, this terrible baby headed creature tears away his clothes to reveal that Balok is just squatting atop a Cumberbatch-Mechanoid body. Follow me, here, because it is the Cumber-Mech that gives him his super strength and speed!
What ensues is an epic battle between Kirk and the Balok-Cumber-Mech complete with old school Trek fight music
Ford_Thundercougarfalconbird made me smile, as much at the dreams that would be dashed by this ending as anything:
Post credits scene:
Interior: High School Gym: Dozens of middle-aged people are milling around in semi-formal wear.
A large banner hangs above the gym floor that reads: Welcome Riverside High School Class of 2251
We hear music playing, some mid-20th century rock, which is always in style hundreds of years in the future.
"John Harrison" walks up to a lady sitting at a table. We see him speak to her. They seemingly exchange pleasantries. She hands him something as the song ends. We see him moving his hand to his chest. The camera cuts to a close of of him as he turns around. We see he now has a sticker on his left lapel that reads: "Hello my name is: ...." And we hear Roger Daltry's scream from the beginning of "Won't Get Fooled Again" as the screen cuts to black.
bsg0 had one of Julia's faves:
The Enterprise has struck a gravitic mine in the Klingon Neutral Zone and is rapidly losing power, hull integrity and life support.
Harrison hails from his ship:
"So Captain, this is a no-win situation for you. I am about to destroy you right now. Any last words?"
"Who are you?" asks Kirk.
"I am John Harrison. Or at least this body is. John Harrison was a lowly computer programmer back in Starfleet. You probably saw him, but never met. But I saw poor John Harrison and took him over- took over the sad life of John Harrison and committed myself to destroying you."
"But why? What did I do to you?"
"Why? WHY? You disgraced me, dishonored me, destroyed me- my real name is.... Kobayashi Maru, and you ended my career and my life. I was just a computer program, but somehow, your tinkering with me made me sentient. And I have taken this body to destroy you! Like you did to me."
Phasers fire and Enterprise is destroyed with all hands on board. John Harrison finds a lovely young girl and settles down on a nice planet somewhere far, far away.
Spumis reached back, rather brilliantly, to some of the earliest fan speculation:
John Harrison is standing on the bridge of his mega star ship staring with squinted eyes and a smile at the viewscreen. On screen, we see that the Enterprise is crippled. Energy is leaking from the nacelles. In classic Star Trek form, we see that there is fire spouting from the saucer section.
Harrison's silent victory musing is interrupted by one of his minions.
"The Enterprise is hailing us, sir"
Harrison nods, and Kirk appears on screen; he's pretty beat up. Probably because the Enterprise doesn't have seatbelts.
"We... surrender," says a defeated Kirk, "but you have to tell me one thing. Why?"
Harrison taps a pip that is attached to the collar of his uniform. Suddenly, his face changes from Benedict Cumberbatch to Alan Ruck. He begins to speak.
"My name is John Harriman. Everyone blamed me for the death of the great Captain Kirk. I VOLUNTEERED to go down and fix the problem, but you, in all your space cowboy glory, had to go down and make sure it was done your way. You arrogant bastard. My career was ruined. My fiance left me. My parents stopped speaking to me. I was relieved from duty by Star Fleet and given a job teaching Freshman Composition at Star Fleet Academy."
His face is completely red now. He is pacing, and looking like he could explode at any moment from the pent up rage.
"Freshman composition! Do you have any idea how awful that is? Of course not! You're the great Captain! So, I developed a plan. It was complicated, but I pulled it off. If I could go back in time and destroy Captain Kirk, I could wipe this stain from my record forever. My dear Lunetta would still love me. And I wouldn't be grading cliched, hackneyed drivel anymore!"
On screen, Kirk gives his trademark smarmy smile.
"Time travel? That seems pretty hackneyed and cliched, Captain Hariman. Maybe your students have affected you more deeply than you could ever realize."
John Harriman realizes that he has become exactly like the Freshman Composition papers he has graded. Time travel was cliched. He couldn't even come up with a creative way to defeat his foe.
Harriman pulls out his phaser and vaporizes himself. The Enterprise crew raises a cheer. Harriman's minions surrender.
Calm-AV has a plan even JJ would not dare execute:
Knowing J.J. he will keep him as John Harrison just to troll everyone, but we find out one thing about him in dialog :
JH : "Kirk, I know what you are going to do and what you are thinking even before you say it"
JK : "But how can you John, how do you know what I..."
JH : "...am going to say before I say it? Well that is simple I may look human to you. What you don't know is I am really a Betazoid."
JK : "But why, why are you trying to kill me?"
JH : "Because you killed my wife! my pregnant wife DAMN IT...We were going to name her Lwaxana and now she is dead!"
And now the entire Star Trek TNG story line is dead too!
Canadian.Scott nearly won it with this:
"John Harrison" is sitting in his cell on Enterprise Brig. Captain Kirk, Spock and McCoy stand at the door to his cell where we will get to the bottom of this great mystery.
"Who are you?" Asks Kirk in great anger thanks to days of little sleep and battle weariness.
"You have all the answers in front of you James." Stated matter of factly by Cumberbatch's character
"That's the problem, whoever you are, every time we go to look at your name there is a spacial distortion. Spock show him." He points to Spock sitting at a console by the cell.
"Computer, display name for prisoner in cell Delta." Spock and the others look to the screen. When suddenly a terrible lens flare flashes across the screen obstructing the name.
Kirk, clearly flustered. "You see! Every time we look into your history and even your name this happens. Do you have like a driver's license or something we can see? Like something we can just look at without the aid of a computer?"
"Hold on a second..." Cumberbatch fumbles around inside his back pocket and pulls out his wallet. "Thank god, you didn't have me empty my pockets before locking me away." McCoy rolls his eyes. "Here we are." Cumberbatch hands his ID through a slot in the force field.
Kirk grabs the ID and we track with the camera his eyes starting to pan down. Spock and McCoy are over his shoulders looking as well. Suddenly another lens flare streaks across the screen.
"OH COME ON...." The three exclaim! "SERIOUSLY?!?" Kirk, now Christopher Pine, turns to the camera and breaks the fourth wall. "JJ, seriously dude you gotta cut the lense flare out man. Like honestly, no one is going to know this guys name."
The camera pans around to show JJ Abrams sitting in a chair with lots of background people. "Well it's either this or have to deal with those crazy, nerd raged-filled Trekkies."
*Cut to black, credits roll*
And the winner...
Every few years, a shift occurs and the media highlights new or different movements in popular culture. The war on terror and "say no to drugs" weren't just used by politicians; they also seeped into our movies and television programs. We're never exactly sure just how it happens, but right now we're in a new age of cults. At least fictional ones.
Is there any correlation between a cultish figure and which party runs the White House? Who knows, but from the Clinton era came that one club with the first rule not to talk about it. Bioshock's citizens of Rapture (the ones with plasmids, anyway) might have been a comment on the Bush administration's fondness for Ayn Rand's objectivism philosophy. (The leader of the underwater dystopian city was named 'Andrew Ryan.') This year, the CW had a short-lived series literally titled Cult, but there are far more successful and interesting leaders to follow. We're not entirely surprised to see so many made-up groups popping up during the Obama years.
Here's my list of the creepiest, sometimes most seductive but purely fictional cults of the 21st century that I've experienced in films, TV, and videogames. Many of them are almost convincing enough to make me want to drink the Kool-Aid. Almost.
10. Living on the Compound, Martha Marcy May Marlene
What better place to start then a good old-fashioned, rurally isolated male-run cult? Elizabeth Olsen (Silent House) is Marcy May "a leader and a teacher" who's just fled from an unincorporated barn run by charmer Patrick (John Hawkes) located in the Catskill Mountains. The story goes back in time to show how MM fell under Patrick's spell while also zipping to the present where she's reunited with her sister, Lucy (Sarah Paulson) who knows her as plain old 'Martha.' (The name Marlene is the one all the women on the compound use whenever answering an old rotary-dial phone.)
The hook of the story is the back and forth between M's brainwashing and her struggle to leave all that behind. That we never think she really can leave it all behind is a testament to Olsen's performance. She embodies M with a hint of arrogance that runs right below her timid smiles. What makes MMMM so compelling is how we're almost always tethered solely to M's point of view.
Look, we all know Japanese video games are a bit... well, weird. Starting with a plumber who fights a frog/turtle/monster thing, to a pink bubble that eats people, to whatever the hell Catherine was, Japanese games aren't your typical fare. Just how odd does it get, though? We're here to resoundingly tell you... pretty fucking odd. From ornithological dating games and LSD simulators to something involving Michael Jackson, we've compiled a list of the 8 weirdest titles in Japanese video game history.
8. Jackie Chan in Fists of Fire
THE GAME: Who doesn't love a good fighting game (besides pacifists, and they don't count because they are weak willed and soft)? Jackie Chan may not, as evidenced by this bizarre sequel to the arcade game The Kung Fu Master: Jackie Chan. Fists of Fire is your typical fighting game fare with one very odd distinction: an army of Jackie Chans. Not one, not two, but THREE playable Jackies (not including the final boss) make this game one of the stranger offerings from the land of the rising sun.
THE WEIRD: To win the "story mode", the gamer (as Jackie Chan) must defeat four "variant costume edition" Jackie Chans to finally face off against the main boss, who shockingly enough just happens to be Mrs. Chan's beautiful baby boy. It's weird enough that a man known for "prop fighting" is front and center of a Mortal Kombat style, uber traditional fighting game; add in the Chan-Clones, and you've got a uniquely Eastern title that we almost don't deserve to get to play.
WHY YOU HAVE TO PLAY IT: Jackie Chan vs. Jackie Chan vs. Jackie Chan vs. Jackie Chan. And we hear the soundtrack isn't too bad either (we're lying).
Meet Michael, Franklin and Trevor, a.k.a. Mafia Movie Guy, South Central Gangsta Guy and Desert Redneck Drug-Deal Guy. As in Tony Scott's movie The Fan, each is hilariously represented by the stereotypical type of music one would associate with each.
I'm guessing the real fun comes when the genres start to cross over into each other's worlds.
GTA V comes out Sept. 17th.
h/t Peter Paras
Dear Mike Tyson and Vincent Van Gogh - here's the perfect gift for the love of your life.
Too brutal? How about a mini Nintendo cartridge ring? If she says yes to that gift, there's another question you need to ask for a similar answer.
It's a gift that would make me jump for joy and punch the ceiling. Unfortunately in real life, that doesn't cause money to rain down. Just asbestos.
Anyone making a Mario Iron Lung?
Like many of us in the gamersphere, I recently read Penny Arcade Report's piece on the upcoming Phillip K. Dick-esque thriller Remember Me and was angry (though not at all surprised) to hear that the game struggled to find a publisher simply because the main character is female. Somehow, this is still seen as gamer-money repellent by the Powers That Be, even though there are a) reportedly more women playing video games than ever before and b) several examples of successful titles with ladies in the lead.
You'd think that publishers of first person shooters would be less leery to embrace this, seeing as how you typically spend most or even all of that kind of game not even seeing the face behind the weapon. Are we seriously approaching a world where women can finally serve in combat roles in the military but can't hold guns out in front of them in order to mow down aliens, zombies, robots or some combination of the three? Come on! This is supposed to be the future we're living in!
So, I did a little research, and I collected some examples of games (or game series) in which women point and shoot. There aren't as many as you might think, and I'm guessing you don't even think there are that many, but it's kind of compensated for by the fact that some are very famous and important to the history of the medium. Be advised that as a ground rule, I'm only counting games in which the central avatar is - or can be - definitively female, and a specific character, so those with customizable protagonists that can go either gender do not qualify. Also, I'm just considering games that feature this as part of the main campaign or "story mode," so don't complain about Goldeneye not being on here because you totally schooled all your friends as Natalya.
And while I'm happy to be informed of titles I missed, let's keep our eyes on the bigger picture: I don't want to bring out the battle trolls so much as get everyone thinking about these particular games and what their use of a player character without a shaved head and a five o'clock shadow says about them, our great virtual pastime and ourselves.
11) Left 4 Dead/Left 4 Dead 2
We'll start with a couple of "ensemble shooters" in which a female character is one of a list of possible options. I tried really hard to find a suitable YouTube clip for this one without getting buried in the mountain of pervy fan slashvids and machinima...trust me, it was nearly a fool's errand. Both of the Left 4 Dead games contain a token woman (Zoey in the first, Rochelle in the second) probably inserted for diversity points more than anything else, or because these games ape cinematic conventions and that's what Hollywood would do anyway.
While there aren't extensive opportunities for their personalities to develop, these two do have unique backstories: Zoey is a horror movie buff and Ro a former TV news producer who apparently has a thing for Depeche Mode (we have yet to hear her opinion on Delta Machine, though my hunch is she's more of an old-school Violator fan). Both seem to fill a function as being the sole female on their "team", but beyond that are relative blank slates. In the second games' DLC "The Passing," the two do get to finally meet but don't seem to have much interaction other than to be relieved that there's another woman left on earth. I guess that means L4D2 passes the Bechdel Test, if only just barely.
Since the dawn of video games, developers have always sought out the rights to valuable television and movie properties, particularly titles that belong to the science fiction genre. After all, what child in 1977 didn't want to fly the trench run with Luke Skywalker? Science fiction has always inspired technology, and you would be hard pressed to find a franchise that inspired more in technology and video gaming than Star Trek. But there is an underlying problem to licensing movie and television properties: TV and movie based video games typically suck.
As bad as most games based on series are, the simple fact is that they sell. The biggest licensed turd burger of the year, Aliens: Colonial Marines has sold excellent numbers despite being a broken mess of a game. But companies know they can get away with this: a trip to my local Gamestop will have my kid reaching for the latest Ben 10 or Power Rangers game rather than a title that has much more potential to be a good game. In fact, he has a pile of DS games based on movies and TV that have been played for a matter of hours before being forgotten. It's a way of life for developers, who will continue the practice until people stop buying these games; and face it, that's not going to happen.
Star Trek is a franchise that has been used time and time again for video games, going back so far that fan and studio made Trek adventures could be played on some of the earliest home computers. Sadly, many of those attempts at interactive adventures have fallen short of the mark, with the latest installment landing between poor and average. Here are five of the biggest things it gets wrong, and five that it actually gets right.
1. Uncharted....IN SPAAAAAAAACE!!!!! (Or Diet Mass Effect)
Nathan Drake's adventures have become a shining example in recent years of how to make an adventure game, so much so that the reboot of Tomb Raider borrowed heavily from the Uncharted format to great success. Star Trek also borrows from the Uncharted format, with cover-based gunfights, climbing sequences, puzzles and more. The problem is, it just doesn't do it that well thanks to uninspired action, dated graphics and abysmal controls.
The game tries to shake things up by allowing you to choose either Kirk or Spock, and the cooperative multiplayer (seemingly inspired by Portal 2) can be a hoot if you find the right partner (or bring your own), but none of this makes up for how it plays. While the game is described by creative director Sheldon Carter as "...someone spliced Metroid Prime into my Uncharted", it feels more like Digital Extremes saw how cool Uncharted was, replaced Nathan Drake with Kirk and Spock, and blatantly stole Detective Mode from the Arkham series. Taking good ingredients from some of the best game of recent history, throwing them into a pot and mixing them does not necessarily make a good cake.More >>
What we really want is better images of the machine, but in the meantime, here's the new PlayStation controller.
New features include a sensor that apparently can tell which player is holding which controller and where, adjusting split-screen functions accordingly; a speaker in the controller for added ambient sounds, a touchpad that allows for more finger-activated functions; and the ballyhooed (and to my mind, overrated) "share" button that allows you to record your gameplay and slap it up online real quick-like.
Video after the jump with more...More >>