There’s no question that a good science fiction film typically has to feature some highly intelligent and likable AI characters. For nearly a century now, AI on our screens has gotten more and more common, from a robot that is a good friend and sidekick, to those who chug beer and smoke cigars. All in all, artificial intelligence has gotten more commonplace in the cinema and even on our TV sceeens, so what is it that we love so much about our robotic companions? I decided to dig a little bit deeper into the sci-fi genre for a look into the history of AI in movies.
Ancient artifacts, filled with ancient powers. Legend has it that these MacGuffin’s are incredibly valuable and of course, that means they’re also very – and vaguely – powerful. We couldn’t help but look deeper into the mysteries of these artifacts – So much so, that we thought we would share our findings with all of you. As acclaimed archeologists, it’s our duty and your privilege that we share with you our Top 10 Artifacts.
The diseased, the sick, they’ve come back to show off how these deadly cells have mutated. Viral infections are no joke, neither are deadly diseases, so in this week’s Top 10 list, we’re paying homage to all of the deadliest, most mutating diseases and viruses – And a brief discussion about what they do. Well then, be prepared to put on your mask!
10) Technocyte virus – Warframe
Better known as the Infested, the Technocyte virus affects a whole group of people, made up of the Corpus and the Grineer. This virus is a parasitic organism, which corrupts and changes its host. Those who have hosted the virus for a long time are known as Infested Ancients, who are practically unrecognisable from their original form. A painful, horrible virus which changes the behaviours of its hosts.
The habits an Infested exhibit vary from different specimens, but one constant remains: They all become exceptionally aggressive. They also exhibit a form of hive mind mentality, with the larger specimen referring to themselves as “we”. Nevertheless, we couldn’t mark the Infested much higher, mostly due to how they fear the player as much as they loathe them. They’re mutated, they’ve got a new mind, but they still feel like you’re one of them – However that’s a story for another day.
9) Krippin Virus – I Am Legend
Well, they’re not zombies, nor are they vampires. They’re vulnerable to ultraviolet light, which burns their skin, they’re possessed of incredible speed, agility and strength, and they’re capable of elaborate plans and traps, but they also attack in droves while howling unintelligibly, and they are highly infectious, a disease that spreads through the air. They do stand in crowds in dark rooms while swaying, so that’s nice and creepy.
The Krippin Virus is a pretty aggressive form of measles designed to combat cancer. The infected, Darkseekers, now form the majority of the living “human” populous, only a few million people have proven immune, and not even dogs, or rats have been resistant to the monster of our own creation. We end the world with a cure, and only Will Smith stands a chance at creating a cure to that cure.
8) The Phage – Star Trek Voyager
Among the many diseases sent to challenge the various medical teams of the Star Trek franchise, one that has always stuck in my mind was the Phage, an affliction that dogged the Vidiians for millenia. It began with extreme joint pain, before slowly devouring the victim, causing the flesh to slough from their bones while still living. Attempts to cure the disease failed, as it proved stubbornly resistant to every new cure, adapting and changing.
The Vidiians resorted to terrible practices, like kidnapping members of other races for the purposes of genetic research, or the far darker methods of organ piracy, using transporter technology to abduct organs from living people for use in other bodies. The EMH is eventually able to help manage the disease better, learning skills that will help him save his creator in the not-too-distant future.
7) Simian Flu – Planet of the Apes
A disease that spelt our end, and marked their rise, and it was all of our creation. The virus was modified to help cure Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative mental illnesses, first the ALZ-112 which propelled Caesar to new heights of reason and deduction, then the ALZ-113, which created Koba, the ruthless and cunning ape who would eventually lead the aggression towards humanity.
While 112 proved effective in temporarily treating Alzheimer’s, 113 proved to be our end, an epidemic that brought us to the edge of extinction. Cities emptied, and we were reduced to nomads and clusters of survivors, while ape society flourished, and the disease we made spread and mutated with them, becoming less lethal, but instead robbing us of our reason, our language, our minds, leaving us the feral slaves of a new world, a planet… of apes…
Oh I just got that!
6) The Red Death – Edgar Allan Poe
This may be the simplest entry on the list, but considering the literary works of Edgar Allan Poe, it’s unsurprising that this one had to make the list. He had a penchant for the macabre, with a writing style celebrating the gruesome and grotesque. This was spurred on by a lifetime of sadness, confusion and likely frustration. The Red Death then was inspired by a very real disease of the time, which they used to call ‘Consumption’.
The Red Death in Masque of the Red Death, is a deadly disease which is inspired by Tuberculosis, the modern name for the previously mentioned Consumption. Once a victim has The Red Death, they will begin to bleed through their pores, before succumbing to a nasty demise. This was clearly exacerbated by the fact his wife had Tuberculosis, which made the story all the more personal.
5) Pokérus – Pokémon
Depending how you look at the other entries on the list, Pokerus is the only really beneficial virus on the list. In fact, this might be the only bug that people want to spread to their teams, as Pokerus is hugely beneficial. In fact, once your Pokemon has the virus, Nurse Joy in any Pokemon Centre will comment on the fact your Pokemon has contracted it, which is said to help stimulate their growth.
In terms of the competitive aspect of why you’d want Pokerus; it doubles EV’s, Effort Values. Whenever a Pokemon defeats another, it gets a secret value, depending on the Pokemon yours defeated. For instance, a Pikachu might beat a Rattata and it’ll get 1 EV for Speed. Some Pokemon offer higher EV values, so it’s up to you to find the best Pokemon to train yours, but it’ll be much faster if you have the Pokerus.
Gotta spread it to ‘em all!
4) Rage – 28 Days Later
What happens when a virus gives you pure, unbridled anger? You’ve contracted Rage from the 28 Days/Weeks Later franchise. The aptly named virus targets specific neurosystems, triggering uncontrollable levels of anger, to the point where you have to just act out your violent, angry frustration. It’s no surprise that people compare the infected of 28 Days Later to Zombies, however the two are quite different.
A zombie typically has absolutely no real control over their actions; an undead cadaver seeking out their next meal. Meanwhile, those infected with Rage, albeit may be zombie-like, are actually still human – It’s just their minds are completely clouded by nothing but rage. Oh and there’s blood. Lots of blood. So much blood it makes The Red Death look like less blood. Just don’t cross these angry folk!
3) Shame – Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
We didn’t think this one would rank so highly on this list, but when we realised just how absurd this entry was. The absurdity of it alone meant that we marked it a lot higher, but the popularity of all mediums of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy meant we had to include it. It’s actually quite an obscure entry on this list, all things considered – But again, we had a good laugh at the idea behind this one.
Shame is, in some places in the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’s universe, a terminal condition. Yes, people have and do die of shame. The most notable example is Ford Prefect’s father, but there’s one piece that puzzled us the most. This entry is only really included in a footnote, to which they state that it is “still a terminal disease in some parts of the universe”. Please, if you know the cure to shame, share it with us in the comments below.
We debated this one a little. Often described as a curse rather than a disease, and with highly and unapologetically magical symptoms; physical transformation and a moonlight trigger, but lycanthropy shares many things in common with an illness.
It’s transmitted via exposure via open wounds, so if you can survive an onslaught by an infected party then you’ll likely find yourself a victim to their symptoms instead. Did you know that silver has strong antibacterial property, and transmission via saliva strongly suggest that lycanthropy is a bacterial infection. Like many old “curses”, is it possible we have a case of advanced use of bacteria as a witch’s curse, like in the old haitian zombie?
I sincerely doubt it, but that’d be pretty cool. Werewolves and their ilk make the number 2 slot.
1) Virus Strains – Resident Evil
We had a tough choice with this one, too – Do we include zombies? To which our main answer was “no” as zombies are another list all together…
… So why did we include one of the most zombie filled games as one of our examples and indeed, our top example? In Resident Evil, the initial virus was known as the Progenitor Virus. This was effectively the basis for all other viruses in the franchise, which was a virus spread by flora. This virus was mostly unexplained, but it led to the research and development of the t-Virus and the g-Virus.
The t- and g-Viruses are notable for being some of the main focal points of the franchise. If we stick with the t-Virus for now, the logic also applies to the g-Virus. Effectively, the t-Virus was made to better the human race, but an altered strain meant that there was instead a zombie outbreak. Without giving you a whole load of information about why the games even happen, the various viruses in Resident Evil often start with good intention, before becoming mutated to make their victims more aggressive and even cannibalistic.
Plus, Resident Evil is a franchise all about viruses… We’d be mad to not include it.
Not all diseases affect people the same way, so we couldn’t help but come up with some more examples. There were a lot more deadly infections and viruses out there, but these we had to give an extra little nod to – Just because we wouldn’t want these conditions ourselves!
Flayer Virus – Warhammer 40K
What disease could possibly infect a race of metal bodies with immortal, undead souls programmed into their aeons old circuitry? Only the kind of madness that could make such future-zombies miss having skin enough to try and get some more. Such is the infectious virus that spreads among the flayers, a parting gift from a C’Tan destroyed by the Necrons, something to forever thank them for their treachery.
It’s a god-given curse turned computer virus with the infectious properties of a real virus, and it’s the only kind of illness that could make the machine-dead more terrifying. The foot and a half long blades that tip their limbs don’t quite have the same potency of a skeletal robot coated in freshly harvested flesh.
The Spon Plague – The Goon Show
I talked about the Goons recently, and if you’ve looked into them since then, or before, or during, then you’re already familiar with the terrible disease that swept through the cast at roughly knee height, an infection known only as the Spon! Why, you may have it, even now! Quickly roll up your trousers to examine your knees. Are they bare, all exposed to the elements and whatnot? Then hie thee hence to a medical practitioner at once, you’ve contracted the dreaded Spon!
Not to worry there, young Seagoon, you may indeed have the cure right at your kneetips, for a particular manner of berk is completely immune to the disease, namely that what weareth long underpants! Yes folks, say no to the wonderpill for the Spon Plague, and don longer undergarments. Save your money for that new wonderpill to protect you from the Quodge, a new epidemic whose symptoms include bare knees covered by long underpants.
Bloaty Head – Theme Hospital
When we first discussed this list, somehow this painful sounding condition completely slipped our minds. Bloaty Head is a disease where your head, unsurprisingly, bloats. It gets larger, more rotund and is all in all very balloon like. Sadly, it doesn’t mean the head is any lighter for the infected patient. Theme Hospital had a wonderful solution to dealing with the painful disease, which caused immense discomfort.
A pin would be used to pop the head of the patient, before being inflated back to a much more reasonable size. Certainly a painful method, but hey, it’s effective. With the release of Two Point Hospital, which we’ll have a review of next week, we legitimately couldn’t forget to include Bloaty Head; an iconic staple of Bullfrog’s title. They might not have bloaty heads, but get ready for Lightheadedness!
It’s safe to take your masks off now, folks; the sick and dying have now left the building. Some of the diseases and viruses we’ve seen today are enough to make you question: Where did nature go so wrong? Why did we make such sick, disgusting things to do to people? Where can I find the highest EV Sp. Att Pokemon to train my Machamp? All these questions and more will not be answered when you vote for next week’s list below.
Now that all of these deadly diseases and viral viruses are outta here, we’d best make sure to sterilise everything thoroughly! Whilst we prepare the site for next week’s list, why don’t you share your thoughts about the above? What did you think of our picks? Did we forget any diseases or viruses that you think should have made the list? Should we have included the “Virus type” Digimon for instance? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.
Oooooh, I’m in a good mood for an angry rant! Haven’t had one in a while, and this one has been preying on my mind of late.
Films – especially the big cultural phenomena – have a way of entering and shifting the social consciousness wholesale. This can be for the better, allowing film makers to affect positive social change when such change is needed, or it can create a culture all of its very own, as fans turn into gatherings turn into societies. Sometimes that change can be negative, be it a kind of misinformation, unintentionally spread by a work of fiction; or an idea so potent that it spreads despite the negative impact it can have.
This might have actual, real world consequences, but most of these are ones that just get on my nerves… (more…)
The enemies are approaching; They’re charging at great haste. Their swords are drawn and their casters are primed and ready. The archers have their arrows drawn – We’re surrounded. Send the soldiers to the front of the lines, we need to show them the best offense is a great defence – We’re going to put our shields up this week, as we check out our Top 10 Shields – We could do with the protection!
A mere fourteen years after the first film we finally get the sequel we’ve all been craving, Karl Urban’s Dredd!
No? Never mind, I suppose that was only six years ago, it just feels like longer.
Anyway, we’ve been anticipating the return of the Incredibles since a teaser trailer was dropped in November, one of Pixar’s most beloved properties that has been praised for it’s family-oriented approach to superheroism, how family dynamics can be altered and reflected by the addition of superpowers, and for the villain’s profound philosophical standpoint. In other words, Disney found a way to make Fantastic 4 without ever making Fantastic 4, and effortlessly outdid every effort by 20th Century Fox.
TL;DR version, as good as the first. Not better, not worse, exactly as good, equally enjoyable, respectably different. Let’s take a look at why. (more…)
It’s been something of a glaring weak spot in the MCU series to date, this weird and not entirely coherent nugget of poor decisions that gave the series a stumbling start into it’s long culture-dominating run. There wasn’t great uproar at the kit-bashed villain Ivan Vanko, who combined Crimson Dynamo with Whiplash to create… well whiplash with a different alter-ego, but there was definitely something lost in the rushed heap of Avengers seeds and hastily put-together plot that made for a pretty disappointing experience when held up against the rest of the series.
We can bearly believe it’s been over four years since the release of our first Top 10 article, Top 10 Bears. Last week was our official fourth year anniversary of writing these articles and with an eBook on the way, we intend to make this year even better in the slow approach of our fifth year. So if you will let us paws for a second whilst we maul over our choices from four years ago, we’re going to, for the first time ever, do a complete redo of our original Top 10 Bears article.
Grand buildings – Buildings which genuinely take your breath away with either the sheer immensity of it, or just at how lavishly it is decorated. We’ll be checking both into the same list here, where the more epic the setting feels, the better it’ll do on our list. So, let’s get right to it in this week’s Top 10 list.
And hey, before you go, please do go and check out the vote at the end of the article. Today marks the four year anniversary of our Top 10’s. Thank you to everyone who has been with us every step of the way.
10) End Of The Line Club – Tron
Though we don’t see much of the outside of the club, the End of Line is pretty grandiose both inside and out. Vibrant against the dark of the Grid, the lights are turned up high, the drinks flow constantly, and Daft Punk play every night! All of this is overseen by the equally spectacular Castor (Michael Sheen), whose glowing cane and ever joyous demeanour make a party atmosphere by themselves.
Positioned at the top of the tallest tower that overlooks the city, the party floor has the greatest view a program could ask for. A shuttle-car brings guests from the floor to the top, meaning that security should be a flawlessly managed thing. Sadly, Clu’s security forces are better prepared for renegade club owners, and the End of Line club is now… ended.
9) The Tower of Isengard – Lord of the Rings
They’re taking the Hobbits to Isengard, they said. But what they didn’t count on is the fact that one of these powerful wizard-folk were going to turn on them. But I digress, Isengard is a bit of a dump when you really look at it on the outside. It’s just a bloody great big iron fortress, of which the name implies. It became the home of the almost hermit-like Saruman, a wise and powerful wizard. Who, y’know, betrays them all.
Anyway, ignoring the betrayal, the reason we chose the Tower of Isengard is the sheer immensity of it. Unlike the rest of the area, it’s just this massive spire which sits dead centre in the fortress. Don’t get me wrong, it plays an important part and is one hell of an image, but what doesn’t sit right with me is the lack of being able to see the insides. The film makes a great case for it; the book paints an impressive image… But we just don’t know what’s going on inside.
That summit however is rather incredible.
8) Cair Paravel – Narnia
The Kings and Queens of Narnia rule from within Cair Paravel, a massive, incredible castle in the realm of Narnia. Through them wardrobes you go, as you step into Narnia, where the castle houses the four thrones. Indeed, this castle is central to the story of Narnia in many ways, even if we’re not necessarily going to see everything about it, which is why we can’t rank this one much higher than this spot.
However, don’t let the placing on this list fool you. Cair Paravel is an incredible castle, home to many a people. Depending on where abouts you are, it’s just a castle or it’s a castle surrounded by a whole city. Naturally, a city isn’t a building, so throughout we’ve focused on the castle… Which is truly a shame, as hey, spoilers, that castle ain’t staying up forever. All in all, it represents power and position, which is always a surefire way for something to be brought down!
7) The Combine Citadel Tower – Half Life 2
The ominous scar that marrs the skyline of City 17, and for thousands of miles around, the Citadel is an icon of oppression. Literally scraping the sky, the tower reaches up high enough to define the clouds around its apex, and at its base it trails cables, a constant vampiric feed of information used to monitor, control, and subdue.
The monolith is so vast it requires a train to efficiently travel through. The space is filled by an enormous military force, a portal to alien destinations, and the leviathan “Advisors” that have come to enslave humanity. It’s hard to put a human face on a force that grim, and Wallace Breen is not the face any of us would have chosen.
6) The Dark Tower – Stephen King
If I were to tell you that The Dark Tower is basically about a gunslinger who’s taking over a tower, by, y’know, shooting stuff to get to said tower… It all sounds rather daft. But, that’s actually kind of what The Dark Tower is in a nutshell – And the imagery the book sets is amazing. Standing before the massive tower, one lone gunslinger is out for vengeance, from a disturbed childhood. It’s riveting reading and viewing.
Whether or not you’re a fan of Stephen King novels, you cannot deny the immensity of the tower. It’s arguably one of the taller constructs on our list. It’s hard to place what the tower is exactly, except for a nightmarish place which must be entered to be destroyed. Technically, it’s effectively a hub for many worlds… But we’ll let you read or watch it for yourself. We follow our protagonist through his perilous journey into the tower. However, you’d be better off not following Roland into the Dark Tower, as you’d be better off knowing it’s dark secrets.
5) Hyrule Castle – Legend of Zelda
Arguably the most classic example of a video game building on this list, Hyrule Castle has seen many iterations throughout the ages. It doesn’t matter what version you’ve seen, it’s always one of the grandest dungeons in any Legend of Zelda title. As of the time of writing, Hyrule Castle has been in 11 Legend of Zelda titles, which definitely makes it one of the most prolific entries on this list.
Hyrule Castle will always hold a place in gamers hearts; With a multitude of enemies having taken it over, the princess having been kidnapped and much more, Hyrule Castle has a checkered past. Here’s hoping one day Hyrule Castle will be a much more stable and secure place for a king and queen to rule from, but whilst we’ve got Legend of Zelda titles, you can bet that some serious adventuring is going to take place within the walls.
Tidy stone, royal carpets, throne rooms – This castle’s got the lot. It’s even got a dungeon underneath it, to keep the villains locked up.
4) The Disney Castle
Ahh, the iconic edifice that opens every Disney film, the many turreted, completely impractical castle over a river. I’m not saying it’s completely indefensible, but it’s not difficult to get passed that outer wall, and the compound beyond appears to be chaotic, without safe points of retreat and consolidation. Now, the original Neuschwanstein Castle, that’s got some holding power, check out that long runway, leaving invaders open to bombardment and forcing them to bottleneck for easy rep- y’know what, never mind.
The Disney Castle is iconic, a centrepiece to the visual spectacular that is every Disneyland, and the very image we have come to know from the House of Mouse. Despite the Mickey Mouse logo, we perhaps know the castle better now as a culture, since it rose to visual dominance in the days of Sleeping Beauty.
3) Tyrell Corporation – Bladerunner
From a vision of wonder, the the very epitome of domination. The great squat pyramid of Tyrell – producers of the Replicant androids – aglow with lights, but no less dark for the near-divine image it portrays. To refer to the compound as a pyramid is no mistake, creators of “life” after a fashion, Tyrell have created for themselves the image of a kind of god-king, and their temple dominates the horizon.
The floating obelisk-like outer buildings create an almost ethereal power about the thing, as though it defies physics. The interior is as temple-like as the outside, bedecked in fabric hangings, modelled to capture the image of the pope’s bedroom, or the inside of a grand cathedral. Make no mistake, this is dystopia concentrated, all hail the corporation, Tyrell is god to the people.
2) Stark Tower – Marvel
More accurately, Avengers Tower now, Stark Tower suffered some auspiciously cosmetic damage during the Chitauri invasion of New York, losing the S, T, R and K, somehow keeping hold of the stylised “A”. The landing pad sets it apart from every other tower in the Manhattan skyline, veering out from the side of the upper floors to really underline the fact that there are no helicopters putting down there, just a suit.
The lounge that overlooks the landing pad is spacious enough to host a party, a well stocked bar overlooks a seating and party space large enough to swing a god. Just below is a fully automated repair and maintenance facility for the Iron Man Suits and the Iron Legion, along with a variety of workshops and labs further and further down, including spaces specifically made to accommodate the other Avengers. The tower is impressive inside and out, and while it would serve no purpose, I still feel that New York itself would be improved for the addition of a fake one.
Not like Disney couldn’t do it for the giggles…
1) Hogwarts – Harry Potter
If you didn’t think Hogwarts was getting our first place spot, you’d have been sorely mistaken. Hogwarts is indeed our first pick – Although this wasn’t the only building in the Harry Potter universe that we considered. Indeed, we considered Ollivander’s Wand Shop, for the immensity of his collection of wands. We considered Gringotts, as the wealth of gold and the fact there’s a massive roller coaster to get to your vault. We considered Hog’s Head Inn, but that wasn’t that grand.
Indeed, Hogwarts was a fitting first place on this list. Without it, we’d have not seen so many exciting stories. We’ve gone to dark places that most wizards wouldn’t dream of seeing. We’ve been to all sorts of different wonderfully terrifying places within the walls of the school. The fact this massive, magical school is surrounded by forests filled with wildlife, vast luscious grounds, a Quidditch pitch and more is just the beginning.
Once you penetrate the fortress itself, there are staircases that move around. Grand, incredible paintings which are literally alive. A huge dining hall, where all announcements are made… Trust us, there was no better pick than the immensity of Hogwarts.
Indeed, being grand is an important matter… Although the term grand is indeed incredibly subjective. Are we on about pure size? What about randomisation?! Indeed, we’ve got two more plausible entries which we couldn’t quite fit on our list, but we certainly had to give them a bit of a nod!
Knightmare Castle – Knightmare
This was a fun pick to put in here – The Knightmare Castle doesn’t really have much of a name, other than the TV shows namesake, but honestly there have been so many great stories told in here. If you’ve never seen Knightmare, watch an episode of it above. This was a much beloved show which runs live events now-a-days and that’s about it. A pity, as honestly so many kids would love to see Knightmare on TV.
Dreaming aside, the castle was incredible. Sometimes it had people playing NPCs whose whole purpose was to kill the heroic kids; other times it had NPCs willing to get the kids out of harm’s way. Sometimes, people would get poisoned – And every time, the protagonist would be blinded by the magnificence of the castle; so much so, they would always say…
“… Where am I?!”
Unseen University – Discworld
Ankh Morpork’s campus for practitioners of the arcane is a wondrous place of learning. From the glass dome of the High Energy Magic Building and its strange atmosphere of thaumatological radiation, to the soaring, crooked Tower of Art, UU is a wonder of the mystic art of architecture and containing large amount of wizard.
Rivalled across the disc only by Buggerup Uni in Fourecks with its many-heighted tower, the university is a defining feature of the AM skyline on those days when it can be seen through the dust, smog, and general effluence of the Ankh. You could buy it in paper-craft at one point, pretty sure I missed my chance though.
So, we’ve got something to admit to all of you. Today marks the four year anniversary of our first Top 10 article, Top 10 Bears. It’s old, it’s outdated and so, so many of our classics are. But, we loved every one of them so much. To celebrate, we’re picking up three of our classic Top 10’s for a redo as we think there are many new entries we could consider – So, go ahead, select one for us to do a redeux on. Will they be better, or will they be basically the same as before?
That’s it for another Top 10 list – But as ever, we’re not quite finished yet. We’re going to pass the conversation onto you now. What did you make of our list today? Did we get the right buildings, or did we forget about any truly grand buildings? Did we get the order right? Could anything have toppled Hogwarts? Leave your comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, on behalf of Timlah and Joel: Thanks again to everyone who has been with us every step of the way.