Even an elf needs a place to hang his cap. Despite the dragons wheeling in the sky, the floating towers of magic and the strange and terrible goings-on beyond the walls the occupants of a fantasy world have normal lives to lead, to meet, trade, live and work. These places can take on a life of their own, and rightly so. If you’re going to be sticking around you might as well enjoy yourself, get to know the place.
Come get to know some of the best towns from fantastic settings. Be they overrun by gremlins, demons or supervillains, so long as they fit the definition of town we considered them for this week’s Top 10 Fantasy Towns.
10) Pallet Town – Pokemon
Pallet Town, one of the most recognisable names on our list, is all the way down at number 10! It’s a bit of a shocking turn of events, but it’s really hard to put Pallet Town any higher than number 10. You see, whilst it’s truly memorable and it says ‘town’ in the name, we were debating the point of what a town is for ages. Lavender Town was closer to a town, but eventually, we turned to Pallet Town – As there’s an important point to be made.
It’s hard to explain this one, but I believe there is an authority figure who acts as a type of governing body for the tiny pokey town. Professor Oak, who seems to send people on epic quests, must fund the kids to do this. As such, it’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s believable that Pallet Town was a small project set up by Oak to raise the best Pokemon trainers ever… And you know what? It bloody worked. Twice!
9) Sunnydale – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Vampire slayer fans rejoice, for we really couldn’t forget about the iconic Sunnydale. We’re keen to point out that we cannot rate this much higher than ninth place, as it’s far too realistic. But of course, thankfully, it’s a made up place in their world. If it weren’t made up, we’d not be able to put it in this list at all!
Now, Sunnydale is home to many supernatural occurrences, all thanks to the fact it’s situated on a Hellmouth – A portal between this ‘reality and the next’. Vampires, demons and more – There’s plenty of fun to be had in Sunnydale!
8) Smallville – Superman
Superman came from here. Okay, so we need to be aware that Smallville is really routed in an ounce of realism, which is why we can’t really score it any higher than it is right now. It’s so grounded, much like Sunnydale, that it’s sometimes hard to call it a Fantasy scenario. But of course, in this particular case, Superman isn’t exactly a normal occurrence. That’s how we’re arguing the fantasy element here.
Plus, furthermore, Smallville isn’t really a real place – So that counts towards it. Still, love it or hate it, it’s got a lot of backstory, a lot of character, it’s own set of businesses which lead independent little lives and boom! You’ve got yourself a series of tales which are sure to keep you thoroughly entertained.
7) Seyda Neen – Morrowind
Good, you’re finally awake.
Once you step foot off the boat you are immediately struck by the alien landscape of Morrowind, and your first introduction is the town of Seyda Neen. The second you turn to face the guard on the deck of the boat you’ll spot the enormous insectile Silt Strider, hear it purr as you make your way to the census office, and that’s only the beginning.
The people are friendly and definitely not up to something or hiding stashes of stolen goods in tree stumps. Take in the fascinating wildlife before it tries to eat you, meet the locals before robbing them blind, bring an umbrella in case of falling mages, and enjoy a long look at the beautiful isle of Vvardenfell… before it’s swallowed by the Red Mountain and coated in a fine layer of ashes.
6) Hallowe’en Town – Nightmare Before Christmas
Not many towns are ruled over by a king, but when your town is the very soul of the pagan festival of the dead and all of its little modern adjustments, then it’s only fitting that it be the seat of power for the Pumpkin King, Jack Skellington.
The populous delight in fear; chills, shocks, and frights that entertain and delight even as they terrify. Some take it too far, but for the most part they are not cruel or mean spirited… just spirited.
Ok while I’m here: there’s a Mayor for Hallowe’en Town, as well as a King. I feel inclined to ask exactly how far the jurisdictions extend, as the town appears to be the entirety of Jack’s kingdom, unless Oogie Boogie and the evil scientist fall outside the town boundaries? Are there other territories and settlements? Because it seems like Jack’s job is way too easy for him to try and take over another Kingdom’s job for a week.
5) Esgaroth/Lake-Town – The Hobbit
In the shadow of the Lonely Mountain, ever in terror of the slumbering dragon within, the small human settlement proves that humans really will live anywhere they damn well please, even in Middle Earth. It’s a trade based city state ruled by Middle Earth’s only elected leader, the Master, and it thrives on the river traffic and the open trade between dwarves, elves and men.
Lake-Town is built upon stilts that rise out of the surface of the water, but since the attack by Smaug the low tide reveals how much bigger the place used to be, stubs of the old piles still visible and submerged. Being made entirely of wood makes the place easy picking for a fire-breathing lizard, and yet Esgeroth is emblematic of the greatest trait of Men, durability.
4) Lut Gholein – Diablo
Sultan Jerhyn reigns from the palace of Lut Gholein, a city beaten back to it’s very limits until it is little more than a handful of buildings between the dock and the palace, and the smattering of citizens that remain have retreated to the safety offered by the few walls that remain and the mixed collection of guards and mercenaries.
As the hub for act two you’ll spend a lot of time among the people, you’ll grow sick of hearing Lysander’s voice, get irritated at all of the places you’re not allowed to go, and slowly but surely cleanse the desert of Radament, Duriel, and the demonic evils that have infested the sands. The more it’s people and it’s Sultan come to respect you, and the longer you spend there, the more Lut Gholein becomes like a home, something that neither the docks of Kurast or the rogue encampment quite muster.
3) Alexandria Town – Final Fantasy IX
Hey, we’re about to be starting up a let’s play of this – But that’s not the reason why we’re putting this all the way up at number three. It’s a wonderful town, full of wonderfully magical things, where a queen is truly horrible and it makes a massive impact on the game. Think about this for a moment: The queen of a relatively small town is able to take down a main settlement of a whole race, which is hidden behind a protective sandstorm. She’s also able to take out the biggest city in the game!
Okay, so of course this a plot device, as you’re supposed to not be a fan of Queen Brahne, but she really was a pawn. But to think, that such a power thirsty queen could cause so much pain and suffering, from such a small, unsuspecting town, it’s truly incredible. Hopefully you’ll join us as we play through our brand new Let’s Play series, starting from this Sunday!
2) Silent Hill
While it’s entrances may be very earth-bound, and it may even look a lot like home, Silent Hill is certainly not of this earth. It’s a hell of our own creation, forged of the worst parts of our mind, manifested by terrible rage and evil. Victims of the haunted town in Maine are always drawn in by a mystery, a stranger in trouble, a message from a loved one, a disappearance, they always discover some terrible truth, and they never leave.
The streets are shrouded in fog, the night is filled with terrors of the mind, and the end is never pleasant. Amongst the favourite residents are the shrouded nurses, grey children, and the titanic manifestations like Pyramid Head or the Butcher. Whatever the origins… the first origins of this terrible town might be, make no mistake it is always your personal hell.
1) Hyrule Town – The Legend of Zelda
If there’s any game in this list that has a town that’s actually synonymous with the whole overall franchise, then it’s this one. Hyrule Town of The Legend of Zelda is a place that appears in just about all of the games in the series to some capacity, as well as the other media, such as the manga and the cartoon series. With this said, a lot of people mostly just think of the castle.
It’s fair to say though, that Hyrule Town is hugely influential, as it’s always one of the primary locations of the games. One of the most important uses for it is as a giant shop. It’s also useful if you want to collect stones that make up a whole stone to progress finding secrets throughout the game. It’s also home to a man who makes shoes. It’s also home to —
There are many stories told here. Each and every one of them are magical, lovable and downright memorable in their own right.
Some towns are just plain old boring aren’t they? Thankfully, not the ones in our list above – Nor the two extra towns we’ve found for you to salivate over. Don’t worry: They’re not quite list-worthy, but they needed to at least be seen!
If you’ve never heard of Lazy Town, then you’ve probably not been lurking on YouTube for all that long in your life. It’s come and gone quite a few times as one of the most memeable TV series ever created. It’s a childrens show, which is so crazy, so sing-song-y and so colourful, that it made the perfect source for mashups and parodies. YouTube Poop videos were commonly using Lazy Town footage and so were other viral videos.
With the shocking development that the guy who plays central villain, Robbie Rotten, was actually hospitalised, it was no shock that it came back as one of the most memeable things again. But this time, people were memeing it for a good cause. To spread awareness of just how camp, but how fun the show actually was. Keep it up internet – Sometimes you do us all proud!
Fantasy comes in many forms… some more alarming than others. While one might not encounter elves and wizards on the streets of South Park (ok you might, but they’re just kids) you’re surprisingly likely to come across crab people, aliens, and gnomes who steal your underwear. The residents of South Park Colorado have come to accept this over time, as you would I guess, survive one Manbearpig or Mecha-Streisand attack and you survive them all.
That’s not to say that the locals are unaffected of course. The backwoods burg claims amongst its most noted citizens an immortal child, Jesus, and a man whose digestive tract is home to the spiritual leaders of small animals… I believe Paris Hilton recently moved in with them. Many have experienced odd changes, cybernetic implants, existential crises, physically manifesting imaginated constructs and the like.
It may be a small town in the northern states, but it goes through a lot.
Quickly, let’s hold a town meeting in the town hall and declare that this list is over! We’re meeting with the local Council of GeekOut South-West to decide what to do about this state of emergency that we’re in. Gather around, grab yourself a lovely cake from old Mrs. Smith, and let’s get the tea poured out. Oh, whilst you’re all here, you get to decide what is our list choice for next week?
That’s all for this week’s Top 10 – We’re done! We’re out of here but now it’s all over to you, ladies and gentlemen. What did you make of our list this week? Did we order it as per your expectations, or were we way off the mark? Did our criteria fit in quite nicely? Let us know what you thought in the comments below, or if you’d prefer to just use your personal social media accounts, engage with us on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
They come in peace – But other times they come to turn your land into pieces, or just evaporated all together. Aliens are a tricky subject to get right; Do you make them into an evil species whose sole purpose is to cause carnage and mayhem? Or perhaps you turn them into a long forgotten race who is looking for their way in the cruel, dark universe. Whatever you like to think of when you think of an alien, there’s no doubt there’s many of them in pop culture.
We were asked by the lovely team over at the Later Levels if I would like to take part in doing a monthly Q&A, to open discussion about video games amongst bloggers. If you’re interested in joining in the discussion, leave us a comment below, or reach out to Later Levels. Every month here on GeekOut South-West, we’ll be sharing what the question of the month is, as well as what our answers to this question is and our justification for the answers.
You left us with a real tough challenge this week; You chose the Top 10 Useless Protagonists. When we really dissected the name, we realised that the term useless is pretty strong to apply to anyone. Also, to consider a protagonist useless is an even harder concept, as when you consider the purpose of a protagonist, it’s simply to get the story from A to B, via means of a character that you rally behind. Therefore, it’s got to be a main character, which automatically removes candidates such as Yamcha (Sorry, at no point has he been a main character).
Now that we’ve discussed what the protagonist element of this Top 10 is, it’s time to dissect the useless element. To be useless means you are without any use… In other words, to say a protagonist is useless is primarily a useless endeavour (at least, in most cases). With this said, useless is very similar to inept… Which is way more defined a concept. As such, we’re going for a Top 10 Useless Protagonists, but we’ll often dip into the inept. Rules for this list out of the way with, let’s get on with it!
10) Vault Hunters – Borderlands
The lowest entry to our list because, let’s face it here, Mordecai, Lillith, Roland and Brick aren’t exactly good for nothing. They help accelerate the plans of Atlas’ Commandant Steele by locating pieces of vault key, and there’s all of the sequel material in which they are pretty damn pivotal. But there’s two major points against their overall effectiveness on the story here.
1 – They show up at The Vault they’ve been hunting for just to discover Atlas already found it. The Vault opens up and the contents immediately kill the major villain who you’ve been failing to thwart all game.
2 – The whole thing was Handsome Jack’s plan! Start to finish, with Angel’s guiding hand, the Vault Hunters have been enacting the will of the biggest bad in the galaxy.
Well done folks, still feel like a hero? Good job there’s a new cast for Borderlands 2, they might actually accomplish something.
9) Guybrush Threepwood – Monkey Island
Guybrush Threepwood is well and truly a mighty pirate… Or at least, that’s what he keeps introducing himself as. See, Guybrush really is less of a mighty pirate and more of a mighty pirate fantasiser. I mean, he manages to put a ring on the finger on Elaine Marley, so he’s got something going for him, but he manages to always cause some insane blunders which means he needs to get out there and… Uh… Plunder, I guess. Guybrush really isn’t your stereotypical main character, which is why so many people loved him and still do to this day. But unlike his advasary, the ghost pirate LeChuck, he really is nothing special.
He’s a low lister on this list, as he does manage to accomplish just about whatever he sets his mind to… But Guybrush, although not truly useless, certainly falls under the category of the inept protagonist. He’s someone who basically does stuff and that’s great. It’s not really like he thinks about the grand scheme of things, or why things happen the way they do. A prime example is in LeChucks ship at the start of the game The Curse of Monkey Island. Oh sure, he manags to escape alright, but he only does so because he winds an old friend up to the point of reducing the man to tears, then blows up some skeletal pirates, breaks the cord keeping the cannon secure and boom – The cannon is fired one more time and he blows up the whole god damned ship in the process. I don’t think he really thought about his safety there, or even what the hell he was doing. Still, a success nevertheless.
8) The Kid – Little Inferno
It’s so very cold outside, so stay sat in front of your very own fireplace and burn your useless old belongings to keep warm. And so you do, as a young boy with his brand new Little Inferno Entertainment Fireplace by Tomorrow Corp you sit unmoving, immolating stuffed toys, wooden soldiers, and play with a miniature universe as the entire world about you dies.
The girl next door dies, she tells you all about it in her upbeat letters, while you sit there burning stuff. She sends you gifts, you just burn them. Your house is destroyed, and all you can do is go and ask what to do now, before being picked up by the Weather Man and whisked off to somewhere new.
Don’t get me wrong, Little Inferno is a work of art, but damn that kid! He was beyond hopeless.
7) Marty McFly – Back To The Future
Okay so get this… We’re led to believe that one of the major characters of Back to the Future is… Doc Brown?!
All jokes aside, Marty McFly really isn’t all that special, yet he’s treated with a lot of respect. Interestingly, we only thought about Marty McFly, as we almost inducted Morty from Rick & Morty… However, as that show literally explains, the stupid brain waves of Morty are used to disguise the genius brainwaves of Rick. Needless to say, that’s a pretty big power, so Rick keeps him around for this very purpose. Meanwhile, Marty likes to ride skateboards, plays the guitar and plays lots of video games.
Sure, we don’t disapprove of the youngsters lifestyle, but for crying out loud! Just because he played a lot of video games does not make him good at shooting a gun! If anything,
6) Billy – The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy#
Probably the biggest idiot on this list is our dear child friend, Billy. He’s definitely nothing special and you’d certainly not expect the Grim Reaper to literally be bound to be this kids friend for all eternity… But that’s just how it goes when the sister of dear Billy is Mandy, the evil and manipulative little girl that she is. Conversely, Billy has a heart of gold, but thankfully that’s not literal as otherwise people would try to kill him for his heart alone.
Nevermind, Billy doesn’t have any powers and it’s infuriating. He is obscenely gross though, so he has that going for him? Ah, boys can be so, so icky…
5) Charlie – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Here’s a kid who earns a factory by being less lousy than a bunch of other kids who were randomly selected by their unrelenting devotion to one of the least healthy foodstuffs in existence.
Really need I say more on the matter? It’s not like Charlie doesn’t succumb to temptation like the others, he just manages to wriggle his way out of it without the need for a song, dance, and a gang of Oompa Loompa’s with a wheelbarrow. His most defining action is giving back his gobstopper.
That’s just in the Gene Wilder version, in the more recent (worse, but not all that bad if we’re honest) version he basically just talks to Wonka until the Mad Chocolatier has enough flashbacks for his daddy issues to be resolved.
4) Flute Cop – Axe Cop
When Axe Cop found the perfect axe at the scene of the fire he became the greatest Good Guy of this or any other world, the pinnacle of the arc of destiny that would send him into a legendary career of decapitating Bad Guys from the back of his mighty T-Rex, Wexter. In his mission he has many friends and allies: Grey Diamond, Sockarang, Liborg, Uni-Baby, and his closest partner in fighting crime, side-kick, brother, Flute Cop!
That’s a guy with a flute. At one point he was an avocado with a unicorn horn and he was vastly more impressive but that flute does, basically nothing. He’s a great sounding board, a humourous straight-guy to Axe Cop’s comedy, but in a world of evil moons and rabbits who break all the rules, a flute ain’t doing much for anyone.
3) Twoflower – Discworld
Ah, Twoflower. The little tourist hailing from the Counterweight continent, bane of Rincewind’s peace and wellbeing, living danger-magnet in a hawaiian shirt if such a place as Hawaii existed on the Disc. Our intrepid adventurer comes equipped with camera, phrasebook, general obliviousness to his surroundings and the most deadly travel accessory known to man.
The put upon Wizzard is swept into interesting times, watching in horror as danger from all corners narrowly misses Twoflower and instead has a stab at him. The eldritch terror Bel Shamharoth, the cruel dragonlords of the Wyrmberg and C.M.O.T Dibbler’s sausage inna bun, Twoflower survives more by blind luck than any design or aptitude. His antics inadvertently start a revolution back home, for which he is jailed, and once again saved by providence and is landed one of the highest ranks in his nation’s government.
Not bad for an insurance salesman on holiday.
Yes Mario is on this list and he’s all the way up at number two! It’s hard to believe that this really rather well known hero could end up on this list, but you need to understand something here… Mario, in the main games, is supposed to be a plumber. He’s never done actual plumbing in a game. No, going down pipes does not count as plumbing, would you please just stop it. No, plumbing isn’t going inside of Bowser either. How rude…
But nevertheless, Mario is super successful at being the hero, even though he’s actually genuinely useless at his supposed profession of choice. I bet he just calls himself a plumber so that way he has an easy time explaining what he does to the locals.
‘So, what do you do?’ asked Toad.
‘Uh, it’s a me, Mario theeeeee…’ Mario paused, struggling to find anything adequate to explain his employment status. Suddenly, he heard a flush, ‘… Plumber!’
Suddenly, a large beast with a spiky turtle shell on his back known only as Bowser comes out from the restroom. ‘Oi, red hat. You a plumber? Good. You’re needed in there.’
And to this day on, Mario became the sworn enemy of Bowser.
Ah, toilet humour.
1) Daphne – Scooby Doo
Daphne is one of the ‘gang’ in Scooby Doo and she’s an iconic character from the series. This isn’t the first time we’ve included a character from the Hanna-Barbera Productions classic on our Top 10 lists, so we’re glad to get another one in. Daphne is instantly recognisable with her red hair, blue top and green scarf. She’s not dumb, but she’s certainly far from any of the more useful characters on the show.
She has no qualities which makes her of any true use. You could argue that Shaggy also has a similar fate, but between the two, Daphne has even less use in that she often does just act as a damsel in distress. See, whilst Fred generally has the plan and Velma has the ideas to make it happen, we’re left with three characters: Shaggy, Scooby and Daphne. Whilst Shaggy might have his off moments, he certainly makes up for it with some uncanny bravery for a scaredy cat. He usually will act as bait for the baddies. Scooby helps, by being a dog he brings some useful skills, especially when he’s being rewarded… But Daphne’s just Daphne… God damn she is so useless in this show.
Some characters are simply and utterly rubbish at what they do… And these are two more characters that deserve to be mentioned on our Top 10 Inept Useless Protagonists list.
Detective Inspector Joseph Chandler – Whitechapel
Ok, I feel a little bad for this one. DI Chandler is a good detective and a good cop. In every season of Whitechapel he solves the crime in just enough time for things to get good and dramatic, despite his ever clashing team, crippling OCD, and the sheer terror of the horror-themed criminals that Whitechapel pitches against him.
But there’s one major problem. It seems there’s a curse upon poor Chandler, as he’s never yet managed to bring a single killer to court. The New Ripper, the Copy-Krays, the Bogeyman, the Witchhunter, the Flayer, every single one has died in bizarre circumstances just as the team have them bang-to-rights. Had the show been renewed for one more season, the one it richly deserved, we may have discovered why every criminal they uncovered died before being brought to justice.
Lan Hikari – Mega Man Battle Network
Lan Hikari really is far from useless, as he’s managed to save the world from some evil viruses and programs. If you’re uninitiated, Lan Hikari is from the Battle Network series of Mega Man, which also had it’s own anime. In the anime, Lan is viewed as a plucky, eager and energetic kid who has a great heart. In the games he’s viewed as much too… And his partner in digital virus busting is the titular Mega Man. Pretty impressive that he can control Mega so easily…
Except at the start of every game in this franchise, he manages to forget everything he’s done. He goes so far, that he forgets even how to bust viruses at the start of every single one of the games in the franchise and has to be re-taught how to do it! It’s a little insane – and whilst I respect the fact gamers need to be taught how to play the game (especially when there’s new features, or if you’re new to the game), the fact it so bluntly tells you “THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT!” is a little over the top.
We’re now absolutely fed up of these characters getting so much glory, when they effectively add nothing to the story. It’s time for us to put this list to rest and tell these characters to get back to what they do best, which isn’t much really, but at least we’re being honest about these things here. While we wait for these useless ones to get out of here, help us decide what Top 10 we cover next week. We never said we weren’t useless at making up our minds..!
That’s it for this week, from Daphne to Twoflower, we’ve covered some pretty useless and inept characters indeed. But what did you make of our list this time? Did our reasoning of including ‘inept’ characters resonate with you, or do you think that made this list too easy? What about the order of our list? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
Spittin’ red hot fire, Pokemon are able to do some pretty amazing things. From being able to surf and fly, to flamethrowing better than any bunsen burner, this is going to be a list of our favourite Fire Type Pokemon. We decided to lay some ground rules for this list first, because it can’t just be a list of those that make us go “N’aww.”
- There must be a good Pokedex entry: It can’t just say how it eats bug type Pokemon.
- We must agree that the Pokemon has a good aesthetic about them.
- They must have some basic semblance of usefulness in combat.
Boss battles are a staple of video games, usually combining all of the skills you have learned up until this point with some extra challenge on top. They’re built in such a way to test that the player has understood the core mechanics of the game: But if you haven’t, then you’re not going to succeed (At least, not easily). These are our Top 10 Intense Boss Battles, where the rules are very simple:
- The battle must make you feel like you’re experiencing a challenge.
- The battle does not have to be a final boss.
We will not be focusing purely on action games: But RPGs can make an appearance. Heck, even puzzle games sometimes have an intense battle. Here we go… (more…)
This year has been quite a crazy one, full of lots of interesting decisions and a political vitriol abound. It’s been a year where we’ve seen legends disappear in the blink of an eye, as well as the year we’ve seen VR become more mainstream than ever. Honestly, just watch Ronnie O’Sullivan here. It’s excellent!
Ahem, laughing at people who can’t get the concept of Virtual Reality in their heads is fun, but we’ve got a strong year ahead of us in 2017. Whilst we could be fearful for what’s to come, we could also be happy to see that we’ve got a lot of great and interesting releases and general stuff to look forward to. This is our Top 10 list of Things To Look Forward To in 2017. A year that’s basically 2016, but one more.
10) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
“Yeah, one time the police were like “Dude, who killed you?” Brother never even ratted me out. He’s cool now, we’re good.” – Joel Smith 2016
Other than having a bit of a giggle at the title, about how dead men (apparently) tell no tales, this should be an excellent addition to what has been a truly spectacular series of films. I mean, all of these films were great fun. They might not have been very intelligent films, but they really didn’t need it. Disney did good with the first bunch of these, so I’m sure bringing people back for the latest instalment will be great fun as well.
Now, this ends up at only number 10 because, well, I don’t think anyone necessarily needed another Pirates of the Caribbean in their lives. We’re all gonna be thoroughly entertained once more with the antics of Jack Sparrow, but honestly, we didn’t need this. Not like some of the items in our list this week.
9) Rick and Morty Season 3
The creator of Community and a prolific actor of weird voices came together to inject a cartoon straight into the “cult classic” sensibilities with a mash-up of improvisation, parody, and messed up comedy. Rick and Morty slapped us hard with two seasons that whipped up a drooling fanbase demanding plush Meeseeks and spawning lunatic (but oddly convincing) theories and crying out for a third season…
What do you mean “A year and a half”?
Ok, so to tide us over this year we’ve had a series of claymation shorts and a fully animated Rick and Morty version of the State of Georgia vs Denver Felton Allen transcript which you should not read here because you will never hear anything else that so elegantly combines bad language and stupidity. Season 3 will be released 2017.
8) Gaming Reboots
Okay, so unlike basically everything else in the list, this is an incredibly niche audience we’re talking to here. If you were a gamer on the Sega MegaDrive, there’s no doubt you would at least be aware of the hugely popular title: ToeJam & Earl. It’s a game where you play as two funky aliens who go about their business by crashing into Earth, realising they need to fix their ship and get back to their planet. Groovy. They’re coming back for a release in 2017 as well! Looking forward to this one.
But that’s not all. There’s also the wildly popular PlayStation franchise Crash Bandicoot on the verge of a reboot too. In fact, I mentioned a bunch of the games coming around in 2017 in yesterday’s article. I’m excited to see them make a return, so here we go – Let’s get our game on this year!
7) South Park: The Fractured But Whole
It took a few tries for South Park to produce a decent computer game, but when they finally nailed the formula with the fantasy inspired “Stick of Truth” they really knocked it out of the proverbial park, and I for one am sincerely looking forward to seeing their super-heroic spin. Drawing from the adventures of Mysterion and the Coon to parody the recent cinematic slugfest, Superman vs Batman vs Civil War vs all of our wallets.
I haven’t finished Stick of Truth yet to be entirely honest, but I’ve played more than enough to know that I need to play The Fractured But Whole, and sincerely hoping that there’ll be a third addition to the series because I think it has a lot of possibility. And the way things are going in the TV series there’s a lot of material to play around with.
6) Spiderman Homecoming
You know this makes sense – It’s about bloody time we get a reboot of Spiderman. It’s about time we get one that mimics the comics better too. No more odd dancing Peter Parker like during Spider Man 3 in 2007, no, no, much better. We’re about to get the Spiderman that showed up during the Captain America: Civil War film that happened during the early half of the year. You know, the younger Spiderman who basically acted like spidey should?
The joy of Spiderman Homecoming is that we’ve had a taste of what to expect from our new Spidey and it’s excellent. The actor, Tom Holland, was an absolute joy to watch during Civil War and couple this with the now cinematic cannon that we’re used to with Tony Stark, this is going to be amusing, but yet at the same time a downright excellent cinematic experience. Watch out for this one – It might be one of the year’s best.
Old Man Logan as we’re calling this one, is one of those films that when you say it out loud, doesn’t sound like an appealing title. Knowing that Logan is all about the titular character Logan, AKA Wolverine, you realise that having an “Old Man Logan” theme is a lot more intriguing to begin with. Sitting neatly halfway down our list, Logan we feel could be one of the best films of 2017.
If you’ve not watched all of the other Logan films, you likely will not need to – However you certainly will get more out of it if you catch up with the rest of the series. This is going to be the last film in the Logan arc, so it’s worth checking out, even if it’s to see the end of a pretty long era of films.
4) Dark Tower Series
Stephen King usually brings gold to the screen, big or small. With the sheer volume of material he’s produced across his prolific writing career under his own name and a collection of pseudonyms, there’s plenty to pick and choose from, dozens of highlights, a few minor flops but overall some amazing stories to make real. This year we’ll not only see a remake of the eponymous clown horror IT, but 2017s big summer blockbuster looks set to be the start of his fantasy/western epic, the Dark Tower.
Idris Elba will be stepping into the shoes of gunslinger of a knightly order, Roland Deschain on a quest to rebuild his world, and he alone would be enough to drag me to the cinema. I’m no huge fan of Stephen King, but he’s got some indisputable works of art in his catalogue, and I believe the Dark Tower is amongst them. Perhaps once the films are well under way I’ll pick up the books; don’t want to ruin anything by being the guy saying “They missed that bit” like I did for all of the Discworld films.
3) Star Wars Episode VIII
Star Wars episode VIII (or 8 for those who hate Roman Numerals). This is a huge one for cinema, as we’ll get back that scrolling wall of text that we’re oh so used to at this point. We’ll be getting back the major characters in more than just cameo appearances and we’ll continue Ray’s story. Perhaps most tragically this might be the last time we see Carrie Fisher, (as Princess Leia,) make an appearance on screen, due to her sudden departure earlier this week. Our thoughts go out to the family of those affected most by this.
You know that this one deserved a top three slot, although we relegated it from the mass importance it should have had on this list, down to ‘only’ third place. I know, third place isn’t exactly a bad spot to be in, but it’s still only third place compared to how we would have rated 2015’s The Force Awakens. But that’s simply because we knew this was coming… As there’s going to be a Star Wars film every year for the next few more years as well. It’s nice, we should still be hyped for it… But we kind of expect it now.
2) Baby Groot – Guardians of the Galaxy 2
Ok, while we love the look of all of Guardians of the Galaxy’s greatly anticipated sequel, and once again Drax the Destroyer looks like he may have some real show-stealing moments, there will be one thing and one thing only that puts geeky butts into cinema seats. It is Groot.
Now I may have my little rant about how the saplings of Groot’s species actually have softer, more supple cell structures that form their larynges and can therefor talk comparatively normally, until they mature and are reduced to limited vocal ranges that can be differentiated by little subtleties only. But he’s SO CUTE with his little button and angry adorable killing spree! Plus you have to respect exactly how much can be conveyed three little words and tone of voice.
But seriously does anyone have any tape?
1) Nintendo Switch
The number one slot on our list today is the Nintendo Switch, a games console that, let’s be frankly honest, could end up being the next Wii… Or the next Wii U. Whilst the Wii U certainly was a damn good console in it’s own right, it really didn’t meet the same praise as the Wii and quite understandably so. It was effectively just the Wii with a weird tablet controller to connect to it as well. It’s strange it wasn’t released as a backwards compatible tablet peripheral, which granted you’d need to slot into your Wii controller via the jack, same as the Nunchucks, but nevermind that…
The Switch has turned a lot of heads – I bet you’ve heard of it, but if you haven’t, the interesting concept behind this console is the fact that the controller can effectively be a console in it’s own right: a handheld one. So you can take your gaming from your living room, then get told by your ol’ gran that she needs TV for her TV time and you can take your gaming from the TV down to your hand… You don’t lose out, she doesn’t lose out. With rumours circulating that Pokemon might make the Switch as well, this could be a massive boon for Nintendo and this could even be another major success. Watch this space is all I can say here.
Have we got you excited for 2017 yet? Good, because we’re excited for two relatively selfish reasons as well. We love to do things here on GeekOut South-West, as I’m sure you’re well aware… However, it’s time to reveal what we personally are really, really excited to be doing next year:
Revamped GeekOut Website
It’s frustrating that this hasn’t happened sooner, as I’ve been working my butt off on this. As I was developing the new website this month, I stumbled into a problem, where the hosts seemingly dropped off all links that weren’t brand new to the site. This meant that I had to do a lot of backtracking and trying to fix anything. Having not heard from the hosts for a while, I assumed the worst – That I’d have to port everything over… But fortunately, I’m a good developer me – I kept backups.
After restoring everything, the website came back to normal and I was able to continue development. I was amazed – But hey, it’s all back and it’s all going ahead smoothly again. It’s late – Very late for my initial plan of having it released by the end of November, but I suspect it’s going to not be too much longer. The wait really will have been worth it. Forums; A ‘Geek Events Calendar’ which can be edited; Unlockable profile badges; Our usual wit and much more.
Around half past six on Tuesday we’ll be glued to our computer screens awaiting our chance to return to the Warwick Arts Centre, desperate to get our names down in that ever narrowing window, despite the promise of more spaces than ever we will still be desperately clinging to keyboards and hope.
And why not? Between Kita and Amecon we have two incredible teams to bring us some of the biggest, loveliest, geekyest events in the country. Your average comic convention these days is a big marketplace that you have to pay to enter, and gaming conventions are halls filled with demos you can queue to watch people play. At Kita and Ame we are one leviathan family, getting drunk and nerdy until the small hours, launching ourselves out of bed, through breakfast and away to do it all again.
If we don’t get in, 2017 will officially be a bigger let down than Duke Nukem Forever.
That’s it, we’re finished now until 2017. We’re done writing, but hey, if you’re out and about today and you’re in Bristol, why not come and celebrate it with us? We’re going to be in the Old Market Tavern from 6pm until 1am, celebrating the new year in, with competitions and games and amazing people. Come along – but wait, why not help us with 2017 in a different way? Give us your vote for next week’s Top 10, the first in a new and important year for us all!
To everyone who has stuck with us through thick and thin, through better and worse, in sickness and in health – We do… Solemnly declare that we’ll be up to no good next year as we’re going to be better than ever. In the meantime, what did you think of this list? Have we got you looking forward to some great media next year? What did you think of the Nintendo Switch being our number one choice? As always, comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.
Fifteen days to go until the jolly man in red descends down our chimneys once again, in the world’s greatest game of Thief. But don’t you worry, he’s not going to rob you – Only put some things down your stockings. Oo-err. But never you mind what this phantom of kindness is doing late at night, creeping around – He means well!
However, if you can’t rely on Santa’s most recent sat nav system, then you needn’t worry! We’ve devised a Top 10 worthy to stuff your stockings, so strap yourselves in – We’re going to sleigh you with these Top 10 Geeky Stocking Fillers. Before we rush into this one and unwrap all these awesome gifts, the base rule for this was: It should fit in a pretty standard sized stocking, rather than a sack. It should also be relatively inexpensive (The maximum price of an item is £15).
10) Tabletop Minis
Quick and easy, something nice for the tabletop gamer in your life, or just someone who likes to build and paint creatively. The beauty of a new mini is that you can’t go too far wrong, at least if you’ve got the right genre. A good looking mini isn’t just a pretty ornament, but can often serve multiple uses; today’s cleric is tomorrow’s captain of the guard, what’s a power-armoured soldier now could easily be a cargo android in another game. Alternatively there’s no reason not to canibalize a gifted mini for spare parts, your new pirate could sacrifice an arm to give your ranger a musket.
There’s a surprising amount of high-quality, cheap miniatures, and even miniature scenery out there that’d make a great gift for gamers of all stripes, or someone with a penchant for crafting and painting might find a new challenge in a model they’ve never seen before. And if your recipient has a particular fandom, by-and-large you’ll find a miniature out there for them too.
Not Borderlands though, I tried.
9) Dice Games
I’m sure you’ve probably at least heard of the game Zombie Dice if you’re on this website? If not, then don’t worry – It’s a teeny tiny little game that features some specifically labelled dice. You roll them, check the action, keep score and keep going until someone is a winner. There’s also Cthulhu Dice, which is exactly the same, but with more insanity involved. Simple, easy, small – Perfect stocking filler.
But what if that special geek doesn’t actually want a dice game? Well, you can very rarely go wrong with a special set of dice. Websites are popping up all over the place, offering custom dice sets, so why not check them out?
8) Cardboard VR Headset
Right, so get this. In the year 2014, VR was definitely becoming a reality. I mean, it was all brand new and all a bit fledgeling, but it was certainly on our horizon. Jump forward a year or two and BANG! We’re hit by wave upon wave of Google Cardboard-wannabe’s – but this is a great thing to the average consumer.
If the geek in your life loves a little bit of cheeky tech, then why not consider buying a VR headset for their phones? They come either pre-built or flatpacked, depending on the package you pick up. They have cheap little lenses inside of them and bang – You can see in a VR world. How exciting is that? It’s all rather new, plus they have to have a relatively good phone, but hey – They can get involved with VR right now for dirt cheap.
7) Giant Microbes
Did you always want to give someone the plague, but you were never sure how to get hold of it? Want to post anthrax to a friend without getting arrested? Want to smack people in the face with yeast but couldn’t get a solid handful? The good news is you can get these and many more microbes, cells, viruses and parasites in plushy and adorable form.
This season you can give the gift of gangrene, cholera, or blood. There are also… less tasteful options for the people in your life with a sick sense of humour, basically anyone with whom you’ve played a game of Cards Against Humanity. That said, many of these little gifts have a far friendlier side, right now if you give your friends the Zika virus, some of the proceeds from the sale will also go towards supporting relief for those currently suffering in the recent outbreak.
6) Booster Packs
We’ve a tendency to collect, is that fair to say? We like stuff, and the stuff we like, we want more of. Boosters of collectible card games, Lego minifigures, Minecraft mystery boxes, Marvel dice, all of these little randomly selected additions to our ever growing collection take just a sliver more space away and yet add so much value.
Plus boosters are often cheap and easy to grab a fistfull of and shove them in with some of your well thought out and carefully selected presents. Didn’t get the card you wanted? Don’t blame me, blame the booster.
A specific example of high-quality geeky t-shirts at an amazingly good value. These guys are regulars to the convention scene and yes, I’ve got quite a few of their t-shirts. They’re comfortable, they’re light and they look amazing. The designs are really well thought out and I often get comments on the ones that I wear.
But it’s as if they are aware that Christmas is a thing. They do a whole section dedicated to £10 t-shirts. From sizes Small to XX-Large, there are plenty of different designs which are of a high quality. So, why not get that geek in your life a super cool t-shirt from some guys who are also absolutely super cool.
4) Love Letter
How very sweet. Or… actually no, not very. If anything this is a cutthroat and underhanded little game in which all players are seeking to win the favour of the princess, and using their sway in court to pass a token of their affection to someone as close to her as possible.
It’s actually one of the most simple games I have ever played, consists of no more than sixteen cards and a fistful of tokens all contained in an elegant drawstring bag, and you never have more than two cards at a time. It takes moments to learn, but time to master, as you start counting every card in play, guessing what each play could mean.
This is a very specific present, but hold on there. This speaker is teeny tiny, at something daft like 6cm tall by 6cm wide. Yeah no, that’s the size, it’s teeny tiny and it’s been on offer for £8 for quite some time. It’s typically only £15 normally and I’d gladly pay the full price, but I got 2 for the price of 1 and £1 extra. Well worth it.
This is the speaker that’s inside of our brand new GOCade (more info on that to come by on Mondays article). This is also a teeny tiny speaker that was vastly superior to our little TVs sound quality… And it’s loud as hell. It’s amazing, for such a tiny little device and so we figured, if you’re looking for a gift for an audiophile, this is that gift. What’s more, it won’t break your bank, but it might break your windows!
For every fandom there is merchandise, most of them made by Funko of course, but there’s always your Fallout bobblheads, special edition statuettes, or a comicbook shop’s glass cabinet filled with superbly made sculptures that most certainly should not appear in someone’s stocking – too big and too pricey. A well made, high quality figure needn’t be big or pricey, but they’re a lovely way to celebrate your fandom, or perhaps show your understanding for that of your friends and family.
Of course it’s always hard to find space for these things, and a tough decision to be made as to whether or not to keep the box – always worth debating your resale value – but no reason to let such considerations hold you back from getting some for other people. You never know when you might stumble across that unique find, or the one thing they’ve wanted but would never buy for themselves.
1) Nerf Gun Jolt & Darts
If you’ve never had the power of the air-propelled pistols in your hand, you’ve been missing out. I received my first Nerf Gun during the 2014 Super Secret Santa and you know what? I’ve kept it ever since – So if The British Bumpkins ever read this, huge thank you to both. I remember who gives me gifts – Especially when they own up to it!
So Nerf Guns are really simple little things. You put a spongy little foam dart into the a slot, then you aim the Nerf Gun at your friend and POP! You pull the trigger and your friend explodes backwards in a firey inferno, screaming “OH GOD WHY THE NERFS?!” Thankfully, this is just a dramatisation of what happens when I get hit by a Nerf Dart. The truth is, they don’t hurt what so ever and they’re great fun. I often have fired them off of walls, letting them come bouncing back to my hands and doing it all over again.
We’re getting somewhere near the bottom, almost time to start interacting with the relatives, overeating, and silently dreading returning to work. All the good stuff is gone, but there’s still a couple of packages down here before you reach the satsuma that’ll end up back in the fruit bowl before dinner.
Posters – GeekOut Posters
Ah yes, the poster is a very simple concept that everyone can buy into. I mean, it might be that the special geek in your life is really into Minecraft. There are posters dedicated to Minecraft. What about Game of Thrones? Don’t you worry: There are definitely posters for the hit show! Heck, posters are a perfect and relatively inexpensive item to put down somebodies stocking. You can even buy specific poster tubes, which again are relatively inexpensive and can be picked up at your local post office. Lovely.
Wait a minute, what’s this?! Your favourite website that produces Top 10s every single week without fail also sell posters?! Let us know in the comments if you need one for Christmas! We’ll do a Christmas deal! That’s right, 3 posters for £1.50 + PnP! That’s just 50p per poster! PnP will be £3.50! Just £5 for three posters, ho, ho, ho that’s a merry deal for you! (No serious, leave us a comment and we’ll sort you out.)
This is a bit of an odd one. Personally I’ve no dislike of vouchers, it’s not exactly high-effort but it shows a lot more consideration than cold cash. Both are a kindly gesture for sure, but at least a voucher shows better knowledge of the recipient, and who doesn’t like some control over what they get for Christmas; wishlists exist for a reason. But here’s why we dumped vouchers into the honourable section.
Would you really expect to see a voucher in a stocking? Envelope, sure. Cards, or even the bit of card it card it was hung upon in the first place, but surely a stocking is no place for it. A voucher is flat, easily folded, spindled and mutilated beyond use, and a stocking is usually filled indiscriminately with assorted stuff. By all means get your friends and family a voucher (perhaps Steam, League of Legends, or the local bookshop, keep it geeky folks) but if you’re going to load it into their stocking then you’re weird, and frankly wrong.
We’re all out of wrapping paper for all of these amazing gifts, so why don’t you get on down to your local shops to pick some of these up? I mean, after all, we’ve given you enough ideas to start buying gifts for that geek in your life, so why don’t you just get on with it?! Honestly, we couldn’t tell you anything else to buy – But you can tell us what we should do a Top 10 of next week by voting in the votes below! We’re fast approaching the end of the year..!
Now of course, we didn’t accommodate those boys and girls who were naughty – They don’t deserve geeky goodness, but perhaps a pop with a Nerf Gun will put them in check. What do you think of our list of geeky goodies in a stocking? What will you be putting in a Christmas stocking soon? As always, leave a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.