One of the joys of running the much loved GeekOut Bristol Meet, is meeting people who are truly passionate about something, be it a franchise, a type of game, an anime or otherwise. Over the past thirty years, Final Fantasy has been in our homes, in video games, anime, animated films, manga and so much more. It’s a hugely influential series which has touched many of us in some way or another. As such, it’s great seeing such a strong fan community out there.
Ladies and gentlemen, geeks and nerds, we are gathered here in memoriam of those we have lost but not forgotten. This is a sad Top 10 to have to write, because the games companies we have assembled below have all contributed titles to history that have inspired and driven creative minds world-over to go into games design, or in some other way create incredible works. For reasons beyond their own control these companies have fallen by the wayside to create no more.
Join us, one and all, as we mourn the Top 10 games companies who are no longer with us. (more…)
Last week, our vote was a tie. Usually what we do in these situations, is roll a die for odds/evens and whoever calls it gets the one they choose. This time, Timlah said to Joel: “I think we can do this”. Lo and behold, we managed it. We combined the tied votes to create a brand new Top 10 that you all voted for. Perhaps the will of the people wasn’t to do this, but the votes sent us this way.
Flamboyant characters can be hard to judge: they’re often more than just a bit player in their franchise. Often they’re scary, in fact, they’re usually a little bit ominous. They stand out in a realm of “the norm”, they dress fancy, they talk differently and their minds are wired in a very unique way. They’re dangerous but fabulous, they’re ominous, they’re flamboyant… they’re in our Top 10 Flamboyantly Ominous Characters list!
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.
What Game Has The Best Soundtrack?
The next few paragraphs will be from the GeekOut South-West team – All giving their take on the above question of the month.
For me this one was a really easy pick, I mean I’ve ranted and raved about this game and it’s music for a very long time. I even wrote a guest article back in 2015 regarding this exact subject and I still mentioned this game. It’s one of those games that has a soundtrack so good, that not only do you enjoy it, but the guy who made the soundtrack (and he’s made a lot) went on record to say it’s his favourite musical score in any of the franchise.
Final Fantasy IX – Timlah
Final Fantasy IX is a game I’m playing through on YouTube at the moment, which means that I hear it’s music a lot right now. It’s melodic, it’s simple and most importantly: It’s a fantasy score like no-other. It’s clear Nobou Uematsu went to town on this one and he enjoyed it. There’s joy in the happy moments, such as “Zidane’s Theme” which plays as he’s commandeering an airship to take to Lindblum. There’s suspense in moments, such as “You’re Not Alone”, where Zidane is fighting alone, only to be joined by his friends. It’s clever, intense and passionate music.
Heroes of Might and Magic 3 – Joel
It was a hard decision to make but of all the incredible soundtracks I know and love, I have to go with my first love, Heroes of Might and Magic 3. The incredible classical score made every faction so much more unique, give each a dramatic feel and personality, brings up the pace of combat, and slides into the background effortlessly. It was the first title to make me sit up and pay attention to the level of talent being thrown into the gaming industry, and it’s set my expectations in the years to come.
That’s it for this month’s responses to this question – What did you think of our answers? Do you have any games you’d consider “The hardest game in the universe, ever”? As always, leave a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit. If you wanna see who else has been writing, check out The Mental Attic and Later Levels today.
The recent blockbuster hit, Final Fantasy XV (FFXV), has been met with equal parts ovation and skepticism. It’s a massive undertaking, it looks gorgeous and it’s got some intriguing back story. So it’s hard to imagine what I am about to say, but stay with me… The tagline lied: This isn’t a Final Fantasy for fans, old and new alike.
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…)
The eagle eyed amongst you may have spotted the results of last week’s vote. Well we’re certainly not ones to chicken out of a tough list, but we did flock together with Kevin from The Mental Attic to get the job done. He helped us to gather up a veritable aviary drawn from geek culture, and try and arrange them in to some kind of logical order. I don’t know what you do for fun on a Thursday night but this is our kind of party at GeekOut.
Let’s cut to it, of all the many ways and means we’ve created to kill each other there’s not one that carries with it so much myth and legend and so many famous examples. Name a few axes for me, or more than one hammer? Oh but there are more named swords in this world than you could shake a spear at. It’s a symbol, a stick of pointy metal with a handle on one end, and so much more.
There’ll be no sitting on the fence, listed here are ten swords that we claim to be the very coolest, most legendary, most awesome, and we’re prepared to back that opinion to the hilt! Welcome to the Top 10 Swords.
10) Katanas – Kill Bill
So why do these make the list? These are just some very typical Katanas aren’t they? I mean what on Earth could make these specific Katanas so important? Oh I don’t know, perhaps because they were wielded by Uma Thurman in one of the most typical and easy to understand action films ever made? Perhaps because they were so good at conveying the entire plot of the film with the right weapon.
Think about it, it’s a film about a bride who is on a mission to exact her revenge against some assassins. She literally only wants to kill Bill. Only coming in at number 10 because yes, they are ordinary Katana’s, but this is possibly one of the most stylish action films you could ever watch – and it is thoroughly entertaining as well. If you’ve somehow not seen it, go do so now.
9) Greatknife – Silent Hill
Welcome back Pyramid Head, the most iconic monster of the Silent Hill franchise. While the game offers up Pyramid Heads equipped with spears, providence has left the beast with a far more iconic weapon, the ragged blade it drags along the ground, a sound that instills fear in the players who have grown familiar with what’s coming.
In the film the modified “Red Pyramid” uses the blade to rather terrifying effect, piercing a thick steel door like butter and waving it around like it’s nothing, despite the fact that one heavy swing smashes masonry. How Sunderland can lift it and use it in game seems mind-boggling.
8) Oblivious – Goblins
Oblivious begins life as a blade that mimics the last material it touches (under certain rules of course, no air-blades) so it turns to stone if touched against stone, wood if touched to wood, and “+2 to strength metal” if touched against a ring that grants a +2 strength bonus.
In the dungeon where it is found a Psion is attempting to bring about an end to all things, and in a semi-successful attempt opens up multiple holes in reality. If something falls in, it never existed, with only slight corrections made to adjust for paradoxes.
As it turns out if you poke a sword that clones material into pure oblivion, the sword mimics the properties of oblivion. It is no longer affected by things like gravity, force, time, space, and reason, and therefore if it is dropped, it does not exist until picked up again. Two minutes with an indestructible weapon and Minmax the Unstoppable breaks it.
7) Ragnarok – Soul Eater
So first things first, let’s establish how Soul Eater works to those of you who don’t know about it. In Soul Eater, your weapon harvests souls (no big surprise here). It eats them and boom, it makes them bigger and better. But more importantly, the students are doing this to teach the demon weapons that they possess to not cause any carnage, as well as a way to help balance world order. Are you with me? Good…
So then when Ragnarok is revealed, it’s a little bit screwy. Ragnarok is a demon weapon which is in the possession of Crona, the sort of semi-antagonist. Crona is a very interesting character who has had quite a rich background regarding his/her past and their mother, the Gorgon Medusa. With this in mind, it’s no surprise then that Cronas demon weapon, Ragnarok, is certainly heavily influenced by Medusa. Of coruse, so is Crona, so the two of them set out to become the Kishin… But enough about that – That might be going too far into the stories plot. Heavily involved from the get go, Ragnarok is no ordinary blade.
6) Finn’s Collection – Adventure Time
Mighty hero renowned throughout the land of Ooo, a world of adventure awaits, as does crazy loot. Let’s take a quick peruse through the main list here:
The Golden Sword of Battle (Scarlet) – Jake’s first major sword, sadly made four-dimensional and accidentally creates a black hole that destroys it.
Root Sword – A prize from a train filled with crazy magical items, used as a fallback when better blades break.
Demon Blood Sword – A demon forged this sword of his own blood in order to escape a prison forged by Finn’s adoptive father. A suitable facsimile is made of blessed grape juice.
Grass Sword – A blade that not only binds itself to Finn’s arm, but also replaces it when it’s severed. Unnervingly sharp for a cursed plant.
Other Finn Sword – Caused by a time-travel-dream-paradox, one copy of Finn turns into a sword for the maybe original to carry, which doubles all of his capabilities.
Yup, I think they’re awesome enough.
5) Gunblade – Squall Leonheart
The Gunblade is a really simple design and I don’t know why people hadn’t made one before. It’s simple a large sword, which can be used typically to slash at opponents and inflict some serious damage. But the flipside to this blade, as well as the reason as to why we have it in this list in the first place, is what else it is: A freakin’ gun!
Yeah, this blade can be used like a gun as well. In fact, Squall might be the only character I at least can remember from the Final Fantasy series that allowed you to hit a bumper button for some extra damage output, as it fires a bullet into the enemies that you’re slashing up. It’s an outrageous design, but it’s so simple that I reckon someone could actually pull it off. Nice design, Square Enix!
4) Tetsusaiga – Inuyasha
Whilst there’s common debate about the actual correct spelling of this sword’s name, there’s no debating that this is a seriously kick ass sword. When wielded by the dog demon Inuyasha, this humble looking blade has the ability to kick it up a notch by turning into an absolutely massive blade! Honestly, who the heck could seriously use a thing like that, if not a demon who has a lot of pent up rage after being pinned to a tree and sealed there.
Still, all joking aside, the Tetsusaiga is Inuyashas most versatile weapon, even if it sometimes seems like it should be a hinderance. It just goes to show, that some people certainly do carry around growers, rather than showers. Hah, that was a human anatomy joke. The sword is actually a fang from Inuyasha and primary antagonist Sesshomaru’s father. Whilst Inuyasha got Tessaiga, the sword of destruction, Sesshomaru got the sword of life, the Tensaiga. So we’re here to root for the… Destructive one and not the preservative one..? Well, okay then Inuyasha, whatever you say. The Tetsusaiga is not only capable of transforming into the massive blade seen above, but it’s also good at guiding Inuyasha too, almost as if his dad is still looking out for him. Bless.
3) Zangetsu – Bleach
Ok, I won’t lie, there are plenty of better anime, and Bleach is a guilty pleasure of mine because of all of the yelling and some pretty awesome music. But Zangetsu is one hell of a sword. Every shinigami conjures a sword from their soul, a Zanpakuto, and Ichigo’s is ridiculously oversized because of his raw power and his inability to control it.
Zanpakutos have three forms, released by getting to know the spirit within the blade, and Ichigo and Zangetsu have one hell of a relationship. His first form is impossibly large and loses its guard, being a shameless representation of Ichigo’s power, and never reverts to its original form because it simply can’t be contained. The final “Bankai” form is a plain, black katana, normal sized, where everyone else has insanely large and mystical powers.
Old man Zangetsu and Ichigo cooperate so well, that they wield each other as a weapon, and the small weapon belies the impossible speed, skill and strength that Ichigo suddenly possesses. Cliche? Overly dramatic? Maybe! I don’t care, it’s awesome.
Of course, the guy who put the sword in the stone, that’s your king right there.
Alright fair enough, Excalibur must be the name most people think of when the topic of “famous swords” is raised. Best known for appointing a young Arthur as King of England when he plucked it from the stone that had held it fast for years against boorish fools who thought the job all too easy, but the name has been used so often there must be hundreds of pretenders to the throne.
A Canadian TV series, a Crusader class battleship in Babylon 5, a ridiculous top-hatted character in Soul Eater, two Marvel Teams (X-Calibur for mutants, eXcalibur for British supers) and an ichthyosaur. The name gets around a bit, it’s a myth, it’s a legend, and it pretty much ticks all the boxes and cuts those boxes to unrighteous ribbons.
So what could claim the number 1 slot? Ah, who am I kidding you can see from here.
1) Vorpal Sword – Jabberwocky
A legend born of nonsense. Is there anything quite so glorious?
Oh any old knife can slay a dragon or cut down a thousand men, you can slap a name on your pigsticker and call it unique but I can guarantee your blacksmith round the corner has got a dozen he made this morning. What other blade, which tongue of steel and hatred can claim the blood of the Jabberwock?
These days if you’ve played a few fantasy RPGs this public domain property will have popped up in your inventory, often as a unique weapon or some super-sharp blade. It’s a classic of Alice’s armoury from American McGee’s franchise, and even found its way into the Disney film so Alice could take down the monster on the Frabjous day. As it’s from a nonsense fantasy ballad the designs vary wildly, but the name remains.
See also Vorpal Bunny…
What the hell Final Fantasy?
Ah yes, we do have the sharpest of wits, as well as the most versatile of blades at our arsenal. Never fear though, we do have two more blades for you to consider, two more easily recognisable swords that should we should cut through.
Lightsaber – Star Wars
Lightsabers are not exactly unheard of, now are they? They don’t quite make it into our list, because they do feel a little bit like a “Mary Sue” of the sword world. I mean they are lasers and they are also swords… Which is pretty cool, but at the same time, when they’re so damn powerful that they can go through walls, you know you’re talking some major nonsense. Still, they look awesome.
They come in a few varieties, such as a normal blue lightsaber, a normal red lightsaber, a two-ended lightsaber, some other variation of a — The point is, they all look pretty similar, although there are minor cosmetic changes here and there. Usually looking cooler for the bad guys than the good guys, there’s one more reason to give in to the dark side. Other than all the cookies they have!
Farfetch’d Leek – Pokemon
To the untrained eye, Farfetch’d may be holding onto a very common leek, the kind you would find growing in your garden. Yes, indeed, this strange little bird appears to be holding a vegetable of some kind, how painful could this really be? How could such a tiny, harmless looking bird cause so much carnage with greens, which people always say are really healthy for you?
Well of course that’s because you’re untrained. You haven’t realised that this isn’t just any old leek, it’s literally a weapon of destruction! It’s a leek, yes, but it’s a powerful leek that can be used to slice through trees in the original Pokemon games. It’s a powerful leek that can be used to not only slice through things, but to slap someone upside the head with. You wanna mess with Farfetch’d, bring it on… But bring your A-Game, as this duck is really going to come at you.
We’re done cutting down our opposition with the best blades man can buy and no, we’re not on about Gillette. It’s true that a pen is much mightier than a sword – Ah who are we trying to fool here? Anyone with a brain can see that a sword could easily slice apart any old pen, no matter how mighty it may claim to be! As always though, take your pick for our next Top 10 list.
Hilt yourself fools, we’ve had enough slashing away at the air now. It’s time to remember what really matters in life: Really big swords (or sometimes really little ones). We’re done and it’s all thanks to you that we wrote this list, but that’s it for this Top 10. As always please remember to leave your comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
I love a good side-quest, to the point where whenever I make a tabletop campaign, or work with modding tools, I add in side-quests. They’re fun and they build upon a story beautifully. Recently, I’ve been replaying through Final Fantasy IX, my favourite game in the series and remembering all of the incredible minute details it presents. Join Timlah as we discuss the importance and the joy of side-quests and what makes a game linear.
Trees! Trees by the dozen, by the hundred! You can’t see how many trees we have because there’s a forest in the way, it’s ten!
It’s ten trees, it’s a top ten of trees, and it’s alliterative. You may have already twigged there’ll be a couple more at the end in our honourable mentions, we’re not quite ready to branch from that formula yet. So let us take a leaf out of our own book and get logging our opinions, ranking our trees, being deciduous about it. I swear I had better tree puns than this around Christmas…
Oak-Kay, let’s get this kicked off.