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.
Oh boy, did I ever make a mistake with the wording behind this Top 10? I mean, let’s face the facts here, I wanted to make this Top 10 Music in Gaming, but I accidentally said Top 10 Songs in Gaming. Joel found this oh so funny, that I of all people would use an incorrect word. So instead of sneakily changing this over to Top 10 Music in Gaming, we thought we’d take the word mistake on the chin and do Top 10 Songs in Gaming.
The difference between a song and some music is that a song has words within it. Music however doesn’t have words, but is the actual arrangement of instruments to make a noise. Okay, a bit of rhythm helps, but that’s really the jist of it. So how many games are out there that actually have songs, y’know, the lyrical kinds? Joel and I set out on a voyage to see if we could make a boat befitting a god… Or maybe I just wanted Joel gone… Either way, this is our Top 10 Songs in Gaming!
10 – Sailors Song, Black & White
Oooh, we’ve got this notion that we’d quite like to sail the ocean. Ah, I seem to have been caught singing along to this little ditty once again. Damn it, I guess I’ll have to hand in my manliness badge (I had one..?) and I should just go jump on the boat for myself.
But in seriousness, this had to get in. Sooo many people found these guys annoying, but I honestly thought they were a breath of fresh air. Black & White was well known for its brilliant blend of humour in amongst an otherwise amazing god game. Before this, you only really had Populous, which I guess is fitting as Black & White is designed by the guy who made said franchise.
You heard this song in several parts… And then, surprisingly if you actually help them out and get their boat out there to sea, they reappear once again near the end of the game and oh boy, is it ever worth hearing their song one more time!?
Taking from a YouTube Comment in the above video:
9 – Charlie Mops, Bard’s Tale
Is it really a surprise that within the first few minutes of a game about a Bard is filled with bawdy songs? The first place you walk into and the merry drunks are singing a song about beer and the man who invented it, a surprisingly long song but enjoyable number sung at full volume in accordance with tradition.
It’s one of many songs in the game and indeed in the series, and though I’ve only played the one – the Android version which is awesome, amazing quality for a mobile app – it’s a song that sticks in my head like a earworm. I love it, it’s cheery and bouncy and really sets the tone for the rest of the game, a rolling parody filled with daft comedy.
8 – LocoRoco
Gather your friends, start a choir, sing your way into the secret places and fight out evil invading tentacle monsters. In LocoRoco you take the role of a planet, rolling and bouncing your last great defence around the your surface. Doesn’t matter, they’re adorable, and the songs are amazing.
The songs are in a language very similar to Simolian, a put-together mash of syllables oddly representative of any and all languages, but they’re even composed in many different genre styles; reggae, brit-rock, blues. LocoRoco is a fun little game, sure, but it’s an even better listen.
7 – Master Onion’s Rap, Parappa the Rapper
Most people at some point of owning a PlayStation likely came across the Parappa the Rapper demo. This was the song that was on that demo, which was also the first level from Parappa the Rapper. The little rapping dog has to grow up pretty quickly through the course of the game and he does everything though the medium of rap. Joel and I have a little soft spot for geeky raps, as we’ve covered before (Try our Top 10 ERBs!)
However, the unique selling point to the songs in Parappa the Rapper is the fact that you actually make an impact on the songs. You see, as you play through the game, you get involved with the raps. So in this, you have to say the words: Kick, Punch, Chop, Block, Jump, Turn and Pose. By pressing X, ⬜ , ◯ or △, you end up with Parappa saying one of the words at the right times. A very unique game that earns a soft spot with me, but it also shows that you can make songs the entire point of a game… And that’s not including things like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, where you can be the singer. Very cool for its time and definitely a classic!
6 – I Am Murloc by Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain, World of Warcraft
A lot of you reading this may be feeling a little bit cheated with this one.
“But Timlah,” I hear you start, “That’s an actual band who made a song because of a game, not made a song for a game. It was just a song that made these guys famous!” You’re absolutely 100% correct too. This was a song that was made because these rockers were serious fans of World of Warcraft, to the point that they made an entire song about being a Murloc. I mean that’s pretty damn cool unto itself, but there’s another part of this story…
See, Blizzard saw this… and they also saw the popularity of L70ETC. Blizzard let them be a live performer at Blizzcon, but to top this off, they even included in-game performers of L70ETC and the song, I Am Murloc was added into the World of Warcraft. This is proof that if you’re just that geeky enough and you have that really fun little idea, uploading a video can get you into the thing you’re most interested in.
5 – A Pirate I Was Meant To Be, The Curse of Monkey Island
The fact it takes Guybrush Threepword the word Orange to progress the game after this shanty begins is absolutely superb and comedy genius. But of course, fans of the fantastic adventure game series, Monkey Island, would hold this song dear to them in their own little way. I must have only been about 10 years old when I first heard this song… and I still sing along to it to this day.
It’s catchy and it shows the predicament our hero is in. He’s gotten himself a crew of would-be adventurers (or pirates as he’s referring to them). They are so ecstatic about being officially called pirates, they can’t help but to just break down in song and dance… And the expressions on Guybrush’s face are a sure fire sign that he’s not really digging the fact his crew are so carefree about their singing.
Guybrush, how could you spoil this amazing moment in gaming? You’re as repulsive as a monkey in a negligee!
4 – Melodies of Life, Final Fantasy IX
The Final Fantasy franchise is full of songs which are worth listening to. Of course, everyone remembers One Winged Angel, but when you look at the actual words it’s kind of… Lame. I’m sorry, but when the lyrics of the song are literally saying about how Sephiroth is full of rage, you kind of just want to say “nope!” In Latin it sounds great though. So what about Final Fantasy 8’s Eyes On Me? It’s a beautiful song after all… But now we’ve gone from rage to “I love you!” It’s touching, it’s almost as good as…
Melodies of Life. A song that really discusses the whole game that you’re about to play before you even get to play it. Not only that, it’s a recurring song (like Eyes On Me) and guess what? Nobuo Uematsu, the composer for the Final Fantasy series, has said that this is his favourite track from the Final Fantasy IX soundtrack, which is full of some fantastic music. If you’ve not heard the soundtrack, I urge you to look it up, as it’s just fantastic. It’s composed beautifully and it’s downright sweet to listen to.
Yes, you literally can understand the whole game through this one song… But had I also mentioned that it was used in a lot of other media? Performed live all over and this even appeared in a Coca Cola advert which was also advertising Final Fantasy IX, it’s been around! Move over One Winged Angel, this is the truest Final Fantasy song. Pah, full of rage.
3 – Dovahkiin, Skyrim
For the first time, the Elder Scrolls theme has lyrics, along with an epic tempo, blasting orchestral score, and OH it’s all written in draconic script! It’s become known as the Skyrim theme, but the same tune (at different tempos, keys, but the same melody) is used in Morrowind and Oblivion. It’s Skyrim that we all remember!
Interesting fact: A choir of thirty people recorded the song Dovhakiin three times to sound like a much bigger ensemble, they had to work to a common pronunciation and emphasis of an entirely invented language, although one that obeys common linguistic rules. The anthem of the Dragonborn is one of the modern masterpieces, not just in games, but in pop-culture of the decade. But not number one?
2 – Katamari Damacy
The song for rolling up large chunks of planet to redecorate the sky. It’s fast paced, uplifting and oddly heart-warming. I’ve never really picked up the ability to memorize japanese lyrics like many anime and gaming fans have, but you can’t help but join in the chorus. It’s got a real party feel that just can’t be beaten, you just have to “roll with it”! Hah! Sneaky pun near the end of the list.
1 – Want You Gone, Portal 2
We debated this. One or other of the Portal songs was going to make the list, they’re beautiful, so why Want You Gone over Still Alive, or even the Aria of the Turrets?
Portal 2 may not have quite so many distinctive and memorable memes to its’ name, but its’ cultural impact was so much more explosive. Seizing upon the fame of its’ predecessor, its’ imagery, its’ music, its’ characters spread further and faster than that of any other game. It was endemic, and in a way Want You Gone was the perfect finale to it all.
Both songs were written by Jonathan Coulton, famous comedy musician whose entire personal works are in the public domain (at least they were last I heard) and performed by GLADoS actor, opera singer, and generally lovely woman, Ellen McLain. If there’s one reason to hope that Portal gets a third instalment, it’s that these two may never compose together again.
The above songs are in game, for sure, but hey, these ones are also in game… So they count still, right? Maybe, but these certainly aren’t on the same level as the above. Never the less, we thought we’d give a nod to these, as they kind of deserve it…
Guitar Hero / Rock Band
Literally you’re picking up plastic guitars, or picking up drum sticks, hey even the microphone or a keyboard… And this is the whole game. Unlike Parappa the Rapper where you are given freedom to be creative with your songs, even hitting the notorious COOL Modes, Guitar hero and Rock Band are requiring you to be as accurate as possible. The giants of the rhythm game genre…
Oh what’s that? Great Aunt Mable is over? Great, she can be our vocalist. Mum, get on the bass guitar, dad get on the drums and everyone stand aside for me, the greatest guitar hero player ever. *Clunk, clink clunk!* Oops, I missed a few, now that song sounds dreadful…
Covers by characters, various games
Just because someone’s a character in a game doesn’t make them any less human, they like to butcher songs in the radio just like the rest of us. Cruising around Saints Row with the radio blasting, who could resist the urge to pick up the tune and do worse things to it than you ever could pedestrians.
And of course, let’s not forget this cheery little ditty. Let’s never… ever… forget.
That’s all we’ve got for this weeks Top 10. Hopefully you found our lyrical content to be just the right blend of funny, epic and awesome… Or you just really liked listening to them sailors singing about their boat. Joel and I sure as hell know we do! But it’s now time for you to join in once again and let us know what you think our next Top 10 really should be. My personal opinion is that every single one of you should click Top 10 Music in Gaming right now, so we can actually settle this one and for all. Go ahead, click it. I mean you could press the others, but where’s the fun in that? Please vote for Top 10 Music in Gaming…
As always, what did you think of our list? Did you enjoy the songs we’ve included here, or do you think we fell just a little bit flat? If you think we were off key, then please let us know where you would have placed our entrants, or if you think we should change our tune entirely, what songs would you suggest for the Top 10 Songs in Gaming? Please leave your comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter!
You tied the vote, so we carried the swing of the decision! So I guess you can blame us for the fact that you’re stood on the kitchen table, taping your trouser legs closed to make sure these ratty devils don’t get up there and bite somewhere essential.
Welcome you poor nervous fools to our Top 10 rodents in the world of games. We have adopted our standard method of arguing until our fingers hurt (because we talk on Steam) about whether or not a rabbit is a rodent (turns out it’s not, damn you overly specific zoologists!) and whether Pikachu or Rattata deserves their place here or not. Guess you’re going to have to scroll for that one. (more…)
They’re sticky, they’re gooey and they’re just about everywhere. Slimes are a staple monster in nearly all fantasy games. They make their presence known to the media in all sorts of manners, from your classic blobs to your not so classic Flubber. Sentient beings that are all slimy and goop-like… Yuck! But let’s not lie to ourselves here… We know they’re coming and we respect that they’re useful to get our levels up!
Run yourself a bath as we’re about to get really sticky, as well look through Timlah’s very own Top 10 Slimes in Gaming!
Since games have begun, people have craved to play games within games. Mini-games, secret Easter egg games, you name it – we’ve wanted to play the games within our video games, like some ridiculous game inception. This is part of the joy of games, that you are able to not just enjoy the game you’re in, but any tip of the hat to other games along the way. Today, Joel and Timlah have been looking into the best games within games – and you may be surprised to hear this isn’t video game exclusive.
Join us as we have a look our Top 10 games within games!
10) Tabletop Games – Tabletop Simulator
We figured this might be cheating a bit, but I wanted to give a nod to this fantastic game regardless. Tabletop Simulator gives you a virtual tabletop in which to play your board games, RPGs, card games and more. One of the coolest things about Tabletop Simulator is the fact it’s added in real physics, which means whenever you place a piece in a board game we’re all familiar with, you can’t just click a spot (well, unless the game was made with that in mind). You need to “physically” pick up the piece, then put it down properly. That is fun unto itself.
Impressively, most of this is user created content, which means that fans are the ones who get to decide how to play their games within this video game. Or you could just be like me: When you start losing in a game, simply flip the table at your opponents. Fun times, fun times indeed. Also, lots of lost friends… Please don’t block me.
9) Mini-games – WarioWare
Also somewhat cheating, we’re now picking a game that is actually entirely about playing mini-games. Fans of the WarioWare series will be familiar with what I mean but if you’ve never picked one up before, these are games that ask you to beat mini-games that characters from Warios world challenge you to. WarioWare is the ultimate in producing a game that revolves purely around the mini-games.
Most of the mini-games last no longer than a few seconds, with only the “Boss Stages” taking longer. Even then, the Boss Stages are so short in comparison to an actual boss stage, that you still feel like it’s just a mini-game in a much bigger game… of Mini-Games. Plus the nature of the Wario character helps to spur you on, wanting to beat Wario and his greedy ways at his own games. Damn you Wario, you might be perfect as a villain and as a mini-games guy.
8) Dice Poker – The Witcher
Looking for a quick in-game buck and then feel the rush of disappointment when you remember you’re not playing a freemium game? The Witcher has the perfect solution! Dice games of chance for gold.
In a game filled with very real characters, and darker facets of life, like racism, drug abuse, and worse, it’s nice to take a well earned gambling break.
I’m entirely sure that some of the players have rigged dice. How the hells do you roll a perfect straight bar one dice, and then roll exactly what they need on that one dice in a single roll?
For more information on the risks of playing dice with dwarves in seedy farms in farming taverns, go to Gambleaware.org
7) Waterloo-O – Psychonauts
Every mental asylum has a Napoleon, and this one has a particular mental block keeping him from getting on with his life. His great x10 grandfather – the actual Napoleon Bonaparte – has beaten him endlessly in a game of strategy that is naturally taking place entirely inside his own head.
Now, the game of Waterloo-O itself is not fully playable in Psychonauts, most of the part you play is persuading the pieces to believe in Fred Bonaparte in the hopes that he’ll finally believe in himself, but it has some elements strongly reminiscent of many great board games: resource management, construction, and warfare. It’s a fun little pastiche of strategy games woven into a narrative.
6) Galaga – Tekken 1
Tekken is a fighting series that I hold very dear to my heart. I remember when I played the original Tekken on my PlayStation 1 and found out about Gon, the most adorable little dinosaur fighter ever. Smash mouth, brutal action in this series, a game that prides itself on the players intuition and sense of defensive timing, rather than all out aggression.
In the original Tekken, there was a lovely little homage to Galaga. A fun space shooter, this wonderful game was also a game I spent many an hour on as a child, so seeing it in my favourite fighter was that much more satisfying. Even better, if you beat the Galaga game properly, you unlocked one of the coolest characters in the Tekken 1 roster: Devil Kazuya. If you played Tekken 1 and didn’t know about this little feature, I want you to go dust off your PS1 and play this. Right now.
5) Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax – Saints Row the Third
Saints Row the Third is a game that prides itself on being wacky, crazy and very different to its competitors. So when I heard about this mini-game within Saints Row the Third, I thought “Yeah, this makes sense!” Professor Genki’s Super Ethical Reality Climax (PGSERC) see’s the Protagonist of Saints Row the Third play in a game-show styled shooting gallery.
What’s made even better is when you play through PGSERC, you are basically playing Saints Row – You’re just shooting guys! But you’re getting scored and having a game show host announce how well you’re doing. What’s more, there’s several levels of this insane shooting gallery! I have a really bad sneaking suspicion that if this was a real life game show, it would be pulled off the air pretty quickly. Thanks Professor Genki and your stupidly adorable cat head.
4) Blitzball – Final Fantasy X
Blitzball is basically a flying version of football.
There, I said it. That’s all that needs to be said. Well okay, there’s a lot more to it than that. Blitzball is a game that requires skill, timing and patience. The Blitzball itself is a spherical ball that has some studded spots coming out of it. As such, it’s not quite the same as kicking a football, but similar. The Blitzball itself is a strong bit of equipment, able to withstand kicks but if it makes impact with you, wow! That hurts!
There is a small period of time where this is in the main story arc, which allows you to unlock Wakka. Once you’ve done the main story tournament of Blitzball, you can then access the game whenever you go to a save point… And it’s a lot of fun!
3) Chicken Kicking – Fable
At the end of the pier in Oakvale, gather honest and noble men to play a game of skill, strength, dexterity, and mental instability! Test yourself and earn the title that you couldn’t be bothered to spend money to get rid of, plus it’s kind of funny hearing people whisper behind you “Chicken Chaser they call ‘im.”
Of all the in-game gambling options in the vast array of RPGs, this poultry-punting pastime is only for the morally questionable, and certainly not for vegetarians. Feathers will fly (because who can resist that joke?).
2) Geometry Wars – Project Gotham Racing
What the dickens is this? Am I trying to deceive you by suggesting that a very well known game in Geometry Wars was actually featured in a racing game?
Well yes, actually. It was made as a sort of Easter egg mini-game inside of Project Gotham’s garage. You were able to play a full demo of the Geometry Wars game and guess what? It was so popular, that it became its own stand alone Xbox Live Arcade game.
The reason this is so far up the list is simple:
- It was a mini-game that was turned into a full fledged game because of how popular it was.
- It only became the most downloaded Xbox Live Arcade game of all time!
- It was made by the devs just to test how to use the Xbox controller.
- The designer of the game’s surname is Cakebread. That’s a point unto itself.
1) Magic: the Gathering – Magic: the Gathering
Unhinged was a parody of introspection, self reference, and in the cards Enter The Dungeon, it becomes a parody of recursion. Both cards force the players to play another game of magic, the winner of which gains benefits within the game currently being played. You’re playing a game of Magic in a game of Magic, a game within a game. What a damn nuisance!
You have to set aside whatever is going on in the game at the time, and play with whatever is left in your deck! It’s a cruel and demented soul that plays that card to force the other player to lose half their life, but why would you do it just to search for two cards? Mean! Weird!
We’ve seen the best of the best in games within games, but sometimes a shout out, or a nod to a game within a game is just as good. These two honourable mentions are an adorable tip of the hat for games within a game.
Nintendo consoles – Pokemon
I can no longer tell whether the Nintendo consoles in the bedrooms of every protagonist in every pokemon edition since Red/Blue is just a consistent piece of not-so-subtle advertising, or whether it has no just become a running joke.
I often find myself wondering if anyone in the pokemon universe plays pokemon. We all know they’ll have Legend of Zelda on tap, but for the kids whose parents hate them enough to force them to stay home and attend school while the other kids are living on the road and combating wild and deadly creatures and criminal organizations, do they get to play the tame home edition?
Pong – Game Dev Tycoon
In Game Dev Tycoon, you play through the game in hopes to be the next big gaming company.
I’ve recently been playing this game through once again and the very first game I made was “Pong”. Okay, it wasn’t the real Pong, but I chose a sport simulation game called “Pong”. As you make the game, there’s a Pong poster that comes to life and starts to play itself when the game is near completion.
This is only in the first level, but throughout the game there are these subtle little nods to games; including Theme Hospital. Because it’s not really a game within a game, but a nod to a game within a game, I thought it still deserved a mention!
For this weeks vote on the next Top 10, 3 of our previously mentioned Top 10’s for you all!
What did you think of our list? Do you think we’ve forgotten any that really deserved at least a mention? Do you agree with our ordering, or has our love for Magic: the Gathering gone a little too far this time? As always, comments below, over on Facebook or Twitter and let us know what you felt! Please remember to cast your votes for your next choice of Top 10! Also, if you have suggestions for future Top 10‘s, let us know!