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Top 10 Fireplaces

Ah, the weather outside is frightful and these fires are so delightful. There’s simply no place to go, so let’s make another Top 10 list for all of you wonderful people. Yes, we’re back once more and this week, it’s our Winter themed list on fireplaces. You chose this list, not us, so we’ve had to seriously think about what constituted a good fireplace from a bad fireplace. Be it the tiling and brickwork, or the fire itself, whatever the reason, it had to keep us warm.

Our idea was that we didn’t have to specifically limit to very specific fireplaces, as otherwise, this might get old real fast… Instead, we’ve thought long and hard and devised a list. We’ve checked it twice, now let’s see which of these fireplaces are naughty and nice. Put up your feet, keep comfy and warm, as we go through our Top 10 Fireplaces.


Top 10

10) Ebenezer Scrooge’s Fireplace – A Christmas Carol

Ebenezer

We are all familiar with the classic tale of A Christmas Carol. This is the story of the greedy, selfish Ebenezer Scrooge and how he was keeping all of his wealth to himself. Unsharing, uncaring, even not minding if little orphans would die out on the streets. He really was the epitome of what is not the spirit of Christmas. But then he was visited by three ghosts, the ghost of Christmas past, present and future, who showed him the error of his ways. With this in mind, what does any of this have to do with fireplaces?

Ebenezer Scrooge is oft-depicted as sitting down in front of his fireplace. Now, we didn’t add this fireplace in because it happened to be there: There is something genuinely interesting about this one. There are tiles around the fireplace, all of which are depictions of the Christian Bible in some way, shape or form. For instance, one of the tiles depicts Cain and Abel, whom are figures in the story of the human race’s first murder as according to the Bible. Now, whilst this isn’t typically geek, this detail is only included in the original workings, typical of the style of Dickens. It’s a part of the, under-story of A Christmas Carol, a part that really tells a story of who Scrooge is.

9) Furnace – Home Alone

Credit: KQED

Source: KQED

Home Alone is a cult classic, a film many of you will likely go back and watch at some point this Christmas season. Whether it’s for Macaulay Culkin as a child, or just for the antics of the Sticky Bandits, Home Alone features all you could want from a Christmas movie with plenty of antics. Some of the most imaginative traps for a child, to two of the most ridiculously inefficient thieves in the history of inefficient thieves (this even compares to exaggerated characters from cartoons!)

Whilst there is a normal fireplace in this film, we thought we’d step slightly outside of the boundaries here and go for the creepy furnace that’s in the basement. It starts to open and close its hatch wildly, seemingly laughing, mocking Kevin for now being home alone. It’s an uncannily silly scene, featuring Kevin who doesn’t seem to worry too much about the thieves in the film being terrified of a furnace. Well, I mean, I guess the heat got to him.

8) Killer Fireplaces – The Sims

Home building is not normally a fun thing to do, but in The Sims, it gets the right blend of humour in there with the home building/designing. However, sometimes tragedy can strike your Sims. The Sims features characters that you can design entirely yourself, whole families, or just a character living by themselves. You’d better be careful, if you leave your children in the house alone whilst your Sims go off to do things for themselves, then bad things can happen.

If you’re squeamish then I’d recommend not watching the above video, which sees two children in a house in The Sims. The house had a fireplace which was left on when other people were out of the house. Something then set on fire and the children go up to it. It’s hard to watch, if you think about it in a real person sense… Although the immersion is broken when you see the other characters just hanging back later in the video… But it serves as a stark, sharp reminder: never play with fire, or you’re going to get burned.

7) Croft Mansion – Tomb Raider

Amidst a wealth of forgotten crypts and temples, placing herself in the way of great peril in the pursuit of even greater treasures, no challenge in all of her history, has ever presented such a lethal threat to Lara Croft’s life, than the fireplace in her mansion. This one turned into a rather Sims-ish challenge for Tomb Raider players, jump into the fire and make a dash for the en-suite before you burn to death in your own house.

I suppose in many ways it’s her own fault for keeping a walk-in hearth in the master bedroom at exactly the right distance from the bath tub for her health to diminish completely. Poor architecture, and radically against every health and safety law that concerns fire, but it can drastically extend the play-time of the game depending on how determined you are to do the not quite impossible.

6) Furnaces – Minecraft

3DFurnace-2

Burn everything to advance. This is usually the third thing you’ll build after a craft table and a pickaxe just to make things a little quicker and mine stone, then a whole world of non-wooden possibilities opens up before you. Metals, cooked food, stone, glass, and bricks give you a wide variety of options for decoration, tools, travel, and not starving to death.

Not bad for a quick ~snigger~ cobbled together smelting oven (see, ’cause it’s made of cobbles?) that you’ll ultimately end up producing in large quantities in order to produce plenty of metal and stuff quickly. And then maybe a few more because you left your first batch a twenty minute walk through winding tunnels near the surface so maybe make some new ones so you can use what your mining quickly. Oh but now you may as well leave those behind, so it’s just as easy to throw together another.

5) Rest Points – The Witcher

guards_around_a_campfire

Witchers can pretty much do without sleep unless it’s important to the narrative, but meditation can do the same job. It gives you time to reflect on what you’ve learned, allows the body to heal, and get some potions brewed if needs be, but no matter what you use that time to accomplish, you’d better be sat in front of a fire the whole time, staring blankly into it. Maybe Geralt just can’t relax if he’s a bit too chilly, or maybe the dancing lights help jog his memory, who can say for sure?

To be fair though, it’s a rather cool little mechanic choice. Save points and resting areas have always been awkward to shoe-horn into place in games, a world full of discarded bed rolls or fountains that “just so happen” to resurrect you and you alone if you die. Sitting in front of a campfire or a fireplace makes many of the awkwardly floating markers look even more ridiculous than they already did.

4) Fireplace – Myst

Don’t touch the green book!

54-1157_Green_Book_and_the_Two_Pages

Once you’ve gathered enough pages to complete the books for either imprisoned brother they’ll go tell you to sit in the fire! No really, the fireplace in the library is the last puzzle of the game, a panel in which you have to enter a specific code taken from one of the many books on the shelf. Once done, the fire rotates to reveal the last two pages, one red to release the greedy tyrant Sirrus, or blue for the lunatic Achenar. But don’t touch the green book, if you do, you’ll be trapped in there forever, just like them.

Of course, if you’re no fool, and distrust them both, you can sit in the fire and talk to their father. From there the decision may well be clear, clearer by far than some of the other endings in the Myst series. Bit of a good job it’s never lit, otherwise the whole game would be in serious trouble.

3) Floo Network – Harry Potter

floopowder

We need a high-energy conduit that’s in every household that can be manipulated in order move people from one place to another with very little effort. The Matrix took the telephone, Tron already got to the internet, so what about the fireplace? Magic is already volatile, terrifying, and very slightly medieval, so there’s absolutely no reason not to turn the crackling home fire into a vortex of engulfing green flame that whisk you away to your intended destination maybe… so long as you talk clearly.

What happens if you have an accent?

Get your fireplace hooked up to the floo network for a kind of fast-travel system you can really get behind. Not only is it a really convenient home-teleporter, it’s also a useful telephone, all you have to do is shove your face into the still-smouldering ashes.

2) Calcifier – Howls Moving Castle

Cal_vs_Sophie

This one is a technicality as Calcifier isn’t actually the fireplace itself. This is a fire demon, who basically resides in the fireplace (well that’s why this one counts, see). He’s actually an incredibly powerful fire demon at that, however he can only now exist within the heath that the wizard Howl keeps him confined in (at least not without the wizards help). He keeps the castle heated and powered up, meaning that without Calcifier, I doubt Howl would be living in the castle!

With tiny flamy arms, a tear drop shaped fire in the heath, this is one character whose intentions aren’t always in the best interests of Howl and his castle. He’s a proper mischievous little fire demon who is only fulfilling part of his contract. He doesn’t go out of his way to help Howl, but he’s not working against him either. He’s an interesting fellow.

1) Little Inferno

Little Inferno

Welcome to Tomorrow Corporation, which is the name of the company in game as well as the designers of the game. Little Inferno is the epitome of a game featuring a fireplace, because the entire game is spent around said fireplace. Burning items has never been so much fun, especially when items such as the always fun Corn on Cob are available to be throw into the heat. Guess what that does? It makes popcorn… Of course..?

The concept is really simple: The outside world is basically snowed in. It’s so cold, people are advised to stay indoors and just keep themselves warm. Fortunately, Tomorrow Corporation introduced the Little Inferno fireplace, where you can buy items from a catalogue for the sole premise of burning them. As you play through, more secrets about the world are unlocked and you find out more things about combining items, seeing what sort of burning and carnage can be caused in the process. The game is fascinating from a stylistic point of view, but honestly, I don’t know a single person who likes the little girl next door, “Sugar Lumps”. She’s annoying. It gets dark when she tries to—- I won’t spoil the game. Have a look at it for yourself this Christmas.


Honourable Mention

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and here on GeekOut, we’re keen to make sure that all the nice boys and girls get to have more fireplaces for the price of ten. We went for some simpler fireplaces for our honourable mentions, but hey: they needed the nod!

Santa’s Doorstep

2015-12-11-224742_1920x1080_scrot

Santa’s Doorstep is of course the fireplace, where the jolly fat man comes down the chimney, sometimes getting stuck along the way. Yes, Santa’s Doorstep needed a mention as heck, it’s in the spirit of Christmas. Whilst this isn’t any one specific fireplace, this is actually all fireplaces in the world. This is from your fireplace and mine, to the one up the street and more. But there’s more reason for the mention to such a simple choice…

For instance, if you’re coming down a chimney, surely you’ll get covered in soot? How does Santa manage to get to the bottom of our chimneys without getting soot on his boots, then all over our floors? How does he manage to get his big sack of presents, (steady on,) down the chimney, then out? I mean the film Santa’s Slay seems to cover this problem for us… As he just bashes his way through the fireplace. However he never cleans up after himself in that film. Hmm… Perhaps Santa’s not quite as neat as I thought he was.

SANTA NOOOO!!

SANTA NOOOO!!

Story Tellers Fireplace

download

Slippers on his feet, a pipe in his mouth, he takes a seat in a high-backed leather chair next to the crackling fire and opens a leather-bound book. Gather round everyone to hear another tale told in the most traditional way ever.

Ok seriously, this is a YouTube Channel it’s such a lovely cliche. It’s become the iconic vision of a far older tradition of telling stories around the fire, and while I freely admit I don’t know the origin of this image (been trying to research it, can’t seem to find an answer) but I know that the Simpsons have done it, Family did it, pretty sure South Park did too. It’s everywhere, and it’s kind of adorable.


I hope we’ve captivated your imaginations and warmed you right up today with our tales of fireplaces. Be it in video games, a nice book or in film, fireplaces can be great for life, warmth, death and even making things.

If you’re all rested up thanks to our list, then please remember to vote for next weeks’ Top 10 in which we will be all Christmas-y. Yes, the theme for next week is Christmas (This weeks’ theme was winter, if you hadn’t pieced together the charred remains of last weeks’ poll! As always though, if you like what you saw or even if you didn’t, let us know in the comments below. Fire up your keyboard and let us know your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter too.

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