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Top 10 – Video Game Films

GeekOut Top 10s

“Wow, this game’s story is so complex, it’d make a great movie!” – Ancient proverb.

Okay, so the above isn’t really an ancient proverb, but let’s be honest: You’ve heard a gamer say this at least once in your life. I know I’ve heard it a dozen times and nine times out of ten, this ends up being a bad decision. However, sometimes we get something that’s a little bit special. Video Games are interactive media, as opposed to a static media, which means the stories they tell can be varied and even of branching plots.

Whatever you think about video game movies, we’re here to discuss the Top 10 Video Game Movies. Before we get into the actual list, this means that the film must have a game as well. The film doesn’t have to be based on the game or the game doesn’t have to be based on the film, but the actual setting and world needs to be used in one capacity or the other.


Top 10

10) Ratchet and Clank

For the uninitiated, Ratchet and Clank are two very strange fellows indeed. A mechanic ‘Lombax’, a cat-like fictional race made for the purposes of the franchise, becomes friends with this adorable little robot who he names Clank. Ratchet having learned of an alien race known as the Blarg, who were going around on a ship called the deplanetiser, wanted to join a resistance group against them, but is ultimately rejected. Still keen to ensure the safety of his planet, Ratchet goes on a mission.

This was a box office flop, so even if you’re a fan of the games this could not go any higher than this. The fact of the matter is, a lot of people will barely know this film exists, but we had to make a mention to it. The film was released in 2016 and whilst critics panned it and it wasn’t profitable (indeed losing money), it was cute enough to be considered for the list. But it wasn’t just because it’s cute; The film was made of pretty well done CGI, but more importantly, it used game assets to make the film. This really was a non-playable version of the game.

9) Angry Birds Movie

Let me begin by saying that I wanted this spot to go to Max Payne! But somehow, SOMEHOW both the box office and the critics disagreed! I understand that Angry Birds is a more popular game (which is just… I mean it was done to death before the game was even released) and that Max Payne is something of a brutal game series lacking in “family friendliness” but there’s no question which was the better film.

Parents of rabid children who are allowed to get at mummy and daddy’s iPad were dragged to a puerile plot beleaguered with fart jokes and characters thinner than the premise, whose announcement was greeted by disbelief by both fans and detractors. That popularity earns it a place at #9 on our list, and is probably to blame for the Emoji movie that’s on it’s way.

8) Mortal Kombat vs Street Fighter

There can only be one true fighting game film.

Mortal Kombat is well known for having reached number one in the US box office for three weeks! We look back at this film and can barely believe it, as it’s such a cheesefest. The plot of the film basically revolves around the tournament, featuring all of your favourite characters, such as Raiden, Liu Kang and a guy who basically says he’s Johnny Cage (I don’t know what I was expecting really). It’s a tournament of goodies vs baddies; if the baddies win, Shao Khan will be able to invade and take over Earth. Marvellous!

Conversely to Mortal Kombat then, we have Street Fighter. Featuring some massive names, such as Kylie Minogue as Cammy, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile and Raúl Juliá (known for being Gomez Addams in the first two Addams Family films) as M. Bison. Cheese galore, character roles are switched up as Ryu and Ken become swindlers and BANG – You’ve got yourself a film that was a humongous flop in the box office; costing 35 million and earning them less than a million. Yeowch!

But, it’s all about the impact these films left on you – Which of these two packed the most punch?

7) Super Mario Bros.

An early example of video game films going bad, Super Mario Bros. was a film based on the hyper successful video game franchise of Mario. Featuring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi, the two brothers find a parallel universe, where King Koopa (Bowser as we better know him) is a ruthless ruler. Upon finding out about both universes, King Koopa wants to merge them to rule over them both. The Mario Bros. team up with Princess Daisy to stop King Koopa in his tracks.

Okay, so this film was a flop, being criticised on almost every front. It still managed to win some awards and in some cases, it won our hearts. It’s somewhat of a cult classic these days, which isn’t too surprising when you think about it. But, overall, this wacky film just wasn’t the best way to adapt the plumber brothers to the big screen. A crying shame too, as the cast was actually pretty good!

6) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Jerry Bruckheimer brought Dastan to the big screen, and while it was amongst the first big titles to be spat at for Hollywood whitewashing, Jake Gyllenhaal is rarely bad in anything. In effect Sands of Time may have ended up something more akin to a repaint of Pirates of the Caribbean, but it managed to give us the wall running, fast paced action one might expect of a platformer, an edge of the mythic, a Disney love story, and ostrich racing.

The plot is transparent and incoherent in equal measure, the action sequences are beautiful if a little over-padded to fill run time and give us stronger ties to the game, and yet the final result is a video game that got real blockbuster attention long before Assassin’s Creed or Warcraft. Ok, a forgettable blockbuster amongst a flood of bland blockbusters, but it got its own Lego set.

5) Assassin’s Creed

We’re under no illusions here, despite the massively award winning cast and the enormous franchise it built upon, Assassin’s Creed isn’t going to be winning any awards of its own. It suffers a lot of the same issues harboured by a lot of video game films, but did a lot of very positive things for the format. It played well to the core concept, took an original stance without destroying everything that came before, and made the sensible decision to include an original central character.

The enormous animus arm offered a more dramatic take on the link between host and memories, and gave us a very “video game moment” for the final escape from the Templar compound. The narrative may have been very rushed but it was fairly well executed, may have been a little over-reliant on people knowing the games, but overall it was a well presented and stylish spectacle that may very well have helped the video game blockbuster along just a little more.

4) Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart and friends return, two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII. With Sephiroth gone, a trio have been found kidnapping children, inflicting upon them a dreadful disease. After being summoned to a meeting, Cloud and co find out that the trio were a physical manifestation of Sephiroth’s soul, which was inflicting serious damage. The crew get back together to find and stop the trio.

Stunning; truly stunning is what I’d call this. The animation was fantastic, even if the plot itself was a little bit lacking. You also need to take into account that the film was made back in 2005, which eventually got remastered in 2009. Over the years, the animation quality got more and more impressive, seriously spurring on some top quality CGI that could make even Pixar cry. Yes it’s true; we can’t rate it higher, as really this is a pretty niche game to put in the list – Especially since the film was a Direct-to-DVD release.

3) Resident Evil vs Silent Hill

Our second versus in one article; there can only be one horror video game movie!

Resident Evil

Resident Evil has been a constant success in the box office; the first film alone more than tripled the production cost. The Umbrella Corporation, with a lab underneath Racoon City, called The Hive, are doing genetic research; creating the ultimate lifeform. When a thief tries to steal the formula, the Red Queen awakens, sealing The Hive and killing everyone who was inside. In an attempt to get an antivirus to stop the now spreading gasses which were causing the dead to walk!

Resident Evil is a bit of a weird one to place in this list, if only because it’s sometimes hard to think back about the films. In 2016, the franchise of films was finally finished with a film decisively called “The Final Chapter”. Okay, see you again in a few more years then, Resident Evil production team! I jest, but honestly, the films have gone up and down in ratings over the years, but none can deny the amazing scene in Resident Evil 2 where Alice rides through a Church window on a God damn motorbike. Holy mother of God, that scene is cool!

Silent Hill

The nightmarish world of Silent Hill lends itself beautifully to the big screen, a visually haunting spectacle that directly impacts the character who appears therein. In the case of the film it becomes a town enslaved to the malice and vengeance of a little girl burned for witchcraft, the zealous monsters within trapped forever by monsters born of her worst nightmares.

Lots of monologuing makes for a hard sold plot in between visual spectacle, and the less said about Sean Bean’s accent the better, but we were presented with the classic imagery of the game franchise, and all of the monsters who dwell in its fog ridden streets. It’s even a very watchable film, positively enjoyable, but ties to the game may have gotten a little too tenuous for some fans to tolerate.

2) DOOM

Dwayne Johnson and Karl Urban head up a team of expendable jarheads played by equally expendable actors, but between them and Rosamund Pike we get some comfortably high quality performances plunged into a very FPS style narrative complete with horrifying demon monsters. The film suffers in AvP Requiem style darkness to hide the rubbery monsters, cheese levels spare us such horrors as “wooshing” torches, but spare no cliches on dialogues, crappy jump scares and unlovable one-dimensional characters, but DOOM didn’t get this far in our list by being adequate.

DOOM has been cited as a prime example of “what not to do” when adapting a video game to film, but take a moment to really consider some of the key components and you may come to appreciate what was being attempted. A group of combatants are given a quest, to sweep a compound and secure three servers for data, important information is drip fed to them gradually, giving a slow burning horror, culminating in the film going full on First-Person for Urban’s final showdown against big-boss The Demon-Rock Johnson. In many ways the content would have made for some fantastic video game moments, but did not make for a terrific film. Not bad for 2005, but at the time we saw a glimpse of what might be…

1) Warcraft

With the Fel Orcs tearing apart their homeworld, the Warlock Gul’Dan looks to expand his people’s homes into a new world – Azeroth. The Guardian of Tirisfel, Medivh, is warned by a young mage, Khadgar, about the fel energies that were appearing. The Frostwolf Clan who came with the Fel Orcs try to liaise with the humans to warn them of the dangers coming their way – Only for them to be ambushed. With such tension between Orcs and Humans, the World of Warcraft’s story has begun in a big way.

Anyone who saw this blockbuster will be filled with hope; that video game films are finally on the horizon of becoming a massive thing. Blizzard put so much love and care into this film, that honestly, you could feel like this was a love letter to their fans. This was the sort of tip of the hat we expect from Blizzard when they’re not being complacent. This is the Blizzard we love; and this film was their thank you to their fans. Hopefully, this film made a few new fans… and I can’t wait for the next film. Want to know more? Check out our full review of Warcraft. Also, let’s not forget the fact – This is the highest grossing video game movie adaptation of all time as of the time of writing.


Honourable Mentions

Now it’s over to the less popular opinions; the honourable mentions. These we felt deserved to be included, because they might not quite fit our criteria, or they were just absolutely dreadful. It’s worth noting however, these still basically count for the video game movie category we’ve defined, it’s just they kind of fall outside of the direct criteria.

Wreck-It-Ralph

It may not be entirely possible to summarise the whole of the arcade gaming world in a film so elegantly as Wreck-It-Ralph. Not only were there cameos from diehard classics like Cubert, Sonic, and Pac-Man, but we also got a heartwarming story from the perspective of a bad-guy about how much easier it is for other people to accept us when we accept ourselves.

While Ralph may not be based on any real in-game character like his friends were, there’s a rather obvious parallel to Donkey Kong, whose nemesis was a plumber rather than a builder, the game-style is very similar, and of course Donkey also went on to be a heroic character himself. Even without that transparent homage we’d be doing this list a disservice by omitting this one.

Pokemon Movie

Relegated to the honourable mentions section because – let’s be honest with ourselves here – the Pokemon film is more directly linked to the supporting anime series, a tie-in to a tie-in if you will. We’d still be incredibly callous to leave it out. In this standalone story we follow the origins of Mewtwo, derived from the genetics of Mew. In an unsurprising Mary Shelley twist, creation turns on creator, and a civil war of sorts ensues.

Unapologetically heartbreaking, the film sets out to give us a lesson of unity and togetherness as Mewtwo comes to realise that he has become everything he despised in his master, and that that can be genuine love between Man and Mon. If only Ultron could have seen Pikachu trying to wake up Ash, I bet his vibranium heart would have melted.

A Dishonourable Mention

Just one, despite a dearth of bad films, many of which receiving bigger praise than they deserve here, I must spontaneously bring to bear the one name that all will hold aloft as the curse wrought upon the marriage of video game and film industries, and the only director whose name I curse more highly than Zack Snyder. Mercifully retired, but a blemish that shall linger, courtesy of Bloodrayne, In the Name of the King, and Alone in the Dark. Many of his films were somehow crowdfunded, meaning people wanted to see them happen!

If you gave money to Uwe Bol, you are an accessory to Uwe Bol. Let us say no more.


That’s it, your time is up and it’s now game over! Time for us to count the scores for the potential list for next week, so click on the one you most want to see listed and we’ll be sure to throw together another high quality article… At least, we’ll push our articles through our Quality Assurance guys. What? There’s a bug in our articles? NOOO!

We’ve seen enough video game movies to last a lifetime, however we hope that with the recent rise in quality of video game movies, we start to see the medium taken even more seriously. Perhaps video games will be the next comic movies? Or perhaps not. What did you make of our list? Did the best ones get in? Did we forget any really big video game movie? Is our order right? As always, let us know what you thought in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

 


Top 10 Grass-Type Pokemon

Last week we planted the seeds of an idea in your mind, an idea that you’d like to see a brand new Pokemon based Top 10. Your decision has been logged, and we’ve gotten down and dirty trying to root out the best examples of grass type pokemon, based on style, popularity, and combat effectiveness. We aren’t going to judge for all of these points at the same time; We estimated how much we thought each of these Pokemon fit in one or more of the criteria and went from there.

Let us run down our prize turnips, our growers and climbers, our Top 10 Grass Type Pokemon.

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Top 10 Flamboyantly Ominous Characters

GeekOut Top 10s

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!

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Mobile Game Review: Magikarp Jump

Magikarp is a majestic creature; so full of love, hope and jumping ability. One day, you may evolve your Magikarp into a fearsome Gyarados, but some people just want to make a splash with their silly carp. But how well does Magikarp Jump capture the imagination of playing with a Magikarp? Can we soar to new gaming heights with this simple fish jumping game, or will this not reach the height of popularity that Pokemon Go received? Our full review is here!

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Top 10 Collectables

GeekOut Top 10s

This time, we’re gathering up every thought we could think of, to create a collection of… Well, collectables. Because of just how broad the collectables collective truly is, we decided to limit these collectables, based on two major criteria. A collectable to be considered for this list needs to either be:

  • A vast range of different things to get.
  • Something you get lots of to get something special in return.

As such, we’re not going to accept really vague collectables, or objects that are put in game with no big reward. We considered just about everything we could think of, from video games, physical mediums, literature, tv series, films – You named it, we’ve thought about it. These are the Top 10 Collectables within geekdom, but this is such a broad subject, get your typing fingers ready, as you’ll likely know of one we totally forgot!


Top 10

10) Rings – Sonic the Hedgehog

Were you expecting to see the Chaos Emeralds here? Hah, you would have been sort of right anyway. You see, rings act as a sort of life indicator for Sonic. As long as he has one ring in his possession, he doesn’t need to worry about being hit so much. He can be hit with freaking missiles and those rings will protect him. In the Casino Nights Zone, you can spend these in the slot machines. Furthermore, collect one hundred of these shiny objects and Sonic gets an extra life (as well as quickly needing another ring!)

However, whilst they give score, health and even extra lives, it’s when you collect ALL of the Chaos Emeralds that things get truly interesting. The power of the Chaos Emeralds send Sonic into a Super Sonic state, but at the cost of rings. Starting from 50 rings, Sonic gets faster, becomes invincible and gets to be a bright yellow colour, just like the Saiyans of DragonBall. Just like them indeed…

9) Cards – Trading Card Games

Less a collection, more an addiction. Whatever your chosen game there’s always a new set, a new pack, a new deck to build, some new mechanic to exploit. And it’s amazing how quickly the odd booster becomes a quick box every now and again, and a bedroom becomes a shrine to cardboard.

Be it Magic: the Gathering, Pokémon, Weiss and Schwartz, YuGiOh, or any of the other thousands of CCGs there’s a collection for everyone, ready and waiting to capitalise on your capital. Mercifully they’re moving into an increasingly digital format, with Mojang’s Scrolls, Blizzard’s Hearthstone, CD Projekt’s Gwent. It may surprise you how much space little slivers of cardboard can occupy, but the digital copies are no cheaper.

8) Djinn – Golden Sun Franchise

It’s weird to think of collecting spirits of the planets as a collectable, but clearly they are collectables. There’s so many of these blighters, that getting all of them is pretty impressive. Through three main series games, Isaac’s team, Felix’s team or Matthew’s team will collect Djinn, learn the power of the elements and become powerful adepts.

The Djinn do powerful as all hell attacks, but usually at the cost of your stats and class. Sometimes you have to battle one to get it to join you, other times you have to do a relatively complex puzzle. Sometimes still, you have to beat optional bosses including a Superboss that many consider to be one of the hardest in any RPG. They are there for you to collect, they make bigger and more powerful summons as the game goes on and they look awesome when you summon them.

7) Comic Books

Here’s the geeky classic. Shops in forgotten alleys filled with boxes upon boxes of back issues, diehards trawling through each and every one looking for that missing copy to complete the story, pick out some unique cover by a particular artist, or the occasional rare comic worth a small fortune to the right man, to be squirrelled away and treated with the same reverence as one might treat the original Magna Carta.

The world of comics is enormous, stories written and rewritten, major universe events, characters coming and going, and all the big companies produce limited runs and collector’s editions for special moments, with alternative cover art. The value of a rare items is incredible, magnified tremendously by an autograph, so it’s little wonder that people are so keen to hunt down anything they can find, just in case.

6) Minifigures – Lego

Though it’s an awesome toy – without question the best construction toy on the market as testified by its use in industry – you’d never really consider Lego a collectable item. There are sets that can be completed; film, television, and video game based sets; but nothing that one might obsessively gather in a feverish need to complete the collection as a whole. But the minifigures bear all the hallmarks of a classic collection.

Starting in 2010, series one of the minifigures feature such simple but fun characters as cavemen, zombies, and crash-test dummies. Series seventeen will star dwarf berserker, 80’s yuppie and man-on-the-cob. They’re certainly not running out of ideas any time soon, and even better this Lego collectible can be mixed and matched better than any other on this list.

5) Pogs

C’mon 90s boys and girls, you know it and I know it. These things drove parents mad, made collectors even more mad and people didn’t know what to do about them. Everything you loved from the 90s became a Pog! From Pokémon, through to famous bands, there was a Pog for everyone of every interest. There were whole board games which took the Pog craze and made them even bigger.

Naturally, that left Pogs as a sort of a strange collectable from the 90s. It wasn’t because the official Pog game was any good, that was just using a slammer to slam into Pogs and then playing pick up afterwards. Instead, Pogs mainly became collectable, an intrigue for many, a fascination for a few. Seriously, we miss these circular cardboard pieces with pictures on them.

4) Riddler Trophies – Arkham series

One of the most iconic depictions of the caped crusader, the Arkham series is renowned for its character work, detailed world, flowing combat style and mixture of gameplay that offers something for everyone; even the obsessive collectors. Dotted around Gotham’s darkest corners, the Riddler has left neon-lit trophies for Batman to gather, often concealed, or warded by some complex lock or trap.

Some of them include some pretty cool unlockable content, lore, character skins or models, challenge maps, a secret boss (depending on the game) but mostly they just add a new challenge, something else to work towards for that 100% completion. It’s also a lot of fun shaking down Nigma’s henchmen and spies for info, changing the dynamic of combat, saving the key-goon for last.

3) Dragon Balls

One by itself makes for a great hat bobble, apparently, but other than that, they are just rare orange orbs with stars in them. These titular collectable balls are oft-forgotten in the realm of the DragonBall fandom. They are bright, they are powerful and they always serve as a major function in the series, so they’re obviously very valuable to collect.

They contain the mighty Shenron, a dragon of immense power. Shenron can grant nearly any wish the summoner wants, but there are certain limitations, such as if the wish relates to another person, they must want the wishes to occur too. He cannot do things for those who are unwilling.

2) Pop Vinyl – Funko

Though it may not be to everyone’s tastes, the oddly distorted and slightly chibi-fied renditions of pop/geek-culture characters are unquestionably loved by enough people that any comic-book shop you wander into has been partially absorbed by shelf upon shelf of Funko’s immense collection of figurines.

Is it because there’s something for every fandom in their catalogue? Could it be the incredibly esoteric figures that delve deeply into the obscure corners of comic-book, movie, and anime fandom with lesser known characters and costumes? Could it be that they’re cheap and easy gifts and featured heavily in lootcrate and its’ imitators? It’s probably all of those rhetorical questions and more!

1) Pokemon

Not even the most up to date list!

“Gotta catch ‘em all”

Thinking back across the years, very few collections stay in one big pile. You have comic books, but they’re all different collections. You have trading card games, but time goes on and sure, older cards in mint condition are worth quite a bit, but nothing is quite as priceless as catching them all, no matter what Gen you’re in. Whether it’s Kanto, Johto or even Alola.

So why not grab your gameboy, gather your decks, both virtual and physical, get your mangas, Pokémon have to be caught in different ways, for different media formats. After all you won’t catch them all on the handheld titles by trying to buy them. Unless you buy a cartridge with them all already pre-loaded, but where’s the fun in that? It’s the ultimate franchise of catching them all, 90s-present.


Honourable Mentions

Some collectables are just there, as if you really don’t think much about it. One day, you’re roaming through the lush hillsides, then you have to get yourself home. As a dragon falls from the skies, you happen to see that as it lands, something really important to pick up is right there. You rush up to the dragon and you can’t help yourself. You look around, feeling dirty, but you’ve gotta get it. You reach towards the dragons skull and you pick up…

Books – The Elder Scrolls

The Elder Scrolls franchise has many, many pages of books for everyone to read through. From the informative books to introduce you to the lore of a town, to spell books, to books about Lusty Argonian Maids, The Elder Scrolls games know how to really add flavour to their worlds, but many people don’t even bother with these books unless they get something in return for having them.

If you’re looking for a collection to try in Skyrim, why not start a book collection? Go on out to the wilds, find as many books to take to your quaint Breezehome, put them in your shelves and watch angrily as they all lamely fall over. Even worse, when you let Lydia anywhere near your books. Worse still, when you FUS RO DA!

Video Games

Look on your Steam account by going to your library. Or if you’re a console gamer, check out the number of downloads, discs and cartridges you have. It’s quite the number I bet, as you are never quite settled on just one game. No, you want one of many games, but even with your extensive collection, you still have no idea what game to play. It is the curse of being a video gamer.

My Steam collection has over 200 games, which back in the 90s would have been a hugely laughable idea. Why would you have so many games, you silly individual; and yet the idea wasn’t that farfetched even then. So I implore you to explore your collection of titles, pick out something different and give it a go! You’re gonna enjoy it… and then you can get another game to replace it.


We’ve gone far and wide to bring you the most collectable collections a geek could have. Sure, we could have gone a step further and figured out the most collectable of all the Trading Card Games (but technically, that’d go to Pokemon). We could have figured out the most collectable of all plush toys (but technically, that’d go to the Pokemon Center). Hmm, I’m seeing a pattern – Our most collectable anything within all of geekdom is of course Pokemon, but now it’s up to you. We want to collect all of your clicks on our poll to help us decide what our votes are for next weeks’ Top 10 list.

When all is said and done, we like to wrap up everything that we’ve got in lots of bubble wrap and keep it all safely tucked away, ready to be brought out to show during dinner conversations. Just casually show off the fact you have so many of these collectables in your life, be proud of the oddities and trinkets you pick up. Whatever your collectable of choice is, geekdom is absolutely chock-a-block full of them… So let us know: What’s your personal favourite collectable item, be it physical, digital, fictional or real. As always, let us know how we did in our Top 10 this week and tell us: Do you agree Pokemon deserved the top slot? Comments go below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


Pokemon Trading Card Game Online

In the 90’s, the Pokemon Trading Card Game (TCG) took the world by storm. Little boys and girls from around the globe were collecting these pocket monsters and, instead of being in a big chunky GameBoy, they were actually in the kids pockets in the form of trading cards. From Pikachu up to Mewtwo – Then in the 00’s we went into Gen II. Later, it went into Gen III, then IV, V – And so on and so forth. The point is, it got bloody expensive. But what if you want to get into the hobby, but don’t want to pay a premium? The Pokemon Company have the solution for you.

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Top 10 Fire Type Pokemon

GeekOut Top 10s

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.

That’s it: It seems like a straightforward enough list, but will it be so easy for us to get through? Read on to find out in this week’s Top 10 Fire Type Pokemon* (more…)


Palette Swapping – Elemental Cues

Let me pick up from where I started last march by saying that a palette swapped creature in a game needn’t simply be a conservation of resources, and can be representative of something notably different or important, something made distinct by a change of colour.

For example, revisiting The Fallen from Diablo: (more…)


Snow In Video Games

With a few noteworthy exceptions, most games tend to have a fairly homogeneous progression, usually going from lush green grasslands and becoming progressively more wild, desert, jungle, and usually ending with freezing cold, winter perhaps, snowy tundra, or soaring mountain range. Some examples:

Diablo 2 progresses from the temperate plains around the rogue encampment, straight into the desert of Lut Gholein, forests of Kurast, and finally hell itself. The expansion then takes the hero to the barbarous wastes of Harrogath, a land filled with massive, destructive beasts and hellspawn.

Borderlands is almost exclusively deserts and salt flats, being the more common terrain on Pandora. The finale however takes our Vault Hunter to a snow-capped mountain in the Eridium Highlands.

Bastions journey leads the Kid from the ruins of his old town through the drifting chunks of Jawson’s Bog, forests and jungles, ending in the ice blocks of Urzendra Gate, Zulten’s Hollow and the Tazal Terminals, dripping with icicles.

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Castle Crashers, Titan Quest, the masterpiece edition of Myst, Grim Fandango when you think about it, Skyrim’s fairly snowy all over but the difference from Helgen to the Throat is a marked difference, Pokemon Gold/Silver ends on Mt. Silver, and I’m sure if you think on it you’ve already conjured a few examples yourself. Why do so many game designers take their story along this path?

There’s a literary device known as Pathetic Fallacy, you may be familiar with it. The sun shines on happy days, it rains when everything’s sad, it’s tragic, but some people still do it, and if it’s done well enough you’d never even notice it was happening. The same thing can also apply to the seasons, they follow a fairly natural progression with all the metaphors to go with them, spring is a time of rebirth and new beginnings; summer is filled with life, growth and joy; autumn is a period of decay, when everything is undone and falls into decline; finally winter is the season of darkness, and death.

The progression of a game follows a like-for-like path, and often the terrain and weather reflect it. A game usually begins with the birth of a hero, the call to action that takes the normal person into a story. The action builds, intrigue rises, suspense and activity grows, driving the hero to develop and achieve things he/she never thought themselves capable of. Finally the real conflict is ahead, seemingly insurmountable, friends fall behind, the world crumbles, the hero is faced with an impossible decision or heartbreaking revelation. They overcome at last to stand before the end, victory or defeat, life or death, pivoting on a single moment.

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A less heroic analogy, a decline in weather follows the decline of Prince Arthas in Warcraft 3, from the young hero of springtime, and the madness he pursues takes him into winters death, which then follows him everywhere he goes.

Keep your eyes peeled for this particular quirk of media, and how weather can influence emotions as part of narrative, and particularly look at how it can change your perspective on an area. It may not be the very last segments of the game, occasionally they are the very beginning (Metal Gear Solid, Borderlands 2, Rise of the Tomb Raider), but they’re frequently pivotal, memorable, tough, or some mixture of all three. If you’ve ever felt daunted at the sight of snow then you’ve already fallen victim to pathetic fallacy.


Top 10 – Ice Attacks/Moves

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Oh the weather outside is frightful and the fire is sooo delightful, when there’s simply no place to go… Oh, who put this massive ice wall outside of my house?

Yes, that’s right, we’re looking at the Top 10 Ice Moves & Attacks this week, a very specific kind of attack. The only rules we have for this is that it has to be the actual ability that is ice. It needn’t be aggressive, but the user needs to have been able to manipulate ice to some capacity. Therefore, we won’t be allowing a weapon that’s made of ice, unless it requires them to maintain its iciness.

FREEZE! You need to cool off… Er, no more puns. Let’s get on with this list.


Top 10

10) Smash (Ice Climbers) – Super Smash Bros. Brawl

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Notoriously cute, the Ice Climbers are a duo of eskimos who have teeny tiny little hammers in their hands. Named Popo (in blue) and Nana (in pink), they come from a game released back in the mid 80s simply called Ice Climber. Normally, you’d play as Popo, with Nana being controlled by the CPU – and in Smash Bros, this is no different. You control Popo, with Nana mimicking Popo’s actions.

They make this list, but only just, as their ultimate ability in Smash Bros. is to summon a huge mountain of ice. When their opponents touch it, they can freeze up completely, becoming immobilised and being moved around by physics alone. Their ability however is all they really have going for them as they are by far one of, if not the hardest character to learn in the game. Nevermind little Eskimos, you’re still amongst the cutest characters in game.

Uh, forgive me, Pikachu and Jigglypuff…

9) Wall of Frost – Magic: the Gathering

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Pretty much a must have card for any blue or blue mixture deck. If you need to buy yourself some time to drop some cruel trick on your opponent, want to give them pause for thought when deciding whether or not to attack, or want them to be left wide open while you slip past their big guns, there is no reason not to want a wall of frost in between you and them. Crazy low cost, high toughness, and freezes any creature that touches it.

Only one MtG card in the game is more useful and/or iconic, the indestructible (and flying) Fog Bank, but that barely needs a whif of damage before it’s dispersed. The Wall of Ice is not only one hell of a nuisance for your enemies, they’re also tough to shift. So sit back, relax behind your freezing fortress, and counter every attempt to pull it down with all that mana you’ve left untapped.

8) Hyoten Hyakkaso/Frozen Heavens Hundred Flower Funeral – Bleach

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As captain of the 10th brigade, Toshiro Hitsugaya is in possession of one of the most devastatingly powerful Zanpakuto in all of Soul Society. In the sword’s final released form – Daiguren Hyorinmaru/Grand Crimson Lotus Ice Ring – the sword forms a kind of armour formed of ice, in the shape of a dragon, sculpted around him. This in itself would be awesome enough, but it’s still technically an item, not a power. Hyoten Hyakkaso is a power only available to Daiguren Hyorinmaru.

A hole opens in the sky, and it begins to snow. Everywhere the flakes touch their sprouts a flower with petals of razor sharp ice crystals. The snowflakes settle on any surface they contact, such as his enemy’s weapon and body, finally encasing them fully in a tomb of ice. This is not his only power to encase his enemy in ice, but it is the most inescapable, insidious, and devastating power he weilds…

Almost.

7) Ice Block – Warcraft

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Probably the most iconic Mage move bar for the mighty powerful Pyroblast, Ice Block is a highly defensive move, allowing the Mage chance to get some much needed survivability. This is a move mostly used in Player vs Player combat in World of Warcraft, Ice Block is best used when you can get some backup from other players on your team, so you can then release yourself back into the middle of a group fight.

However, Ice Block has been in more than just World of Warcraft; it’s been around in Warcraft lore for a very long time. It’s by far the most important survivability move a Mage can have. Still, it was later ‘replaced’ due to talents, but it’s still in game, so don’t worry fans of Vanilla!

6) Mei’s Ice Wall – Overwatch

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Let me be honest; I didn’t see this coming myself. However, when we were considering the ice moves and attacks, this was actually a much improved version of Wall of Frost from Magic: the Gathering, simply because it’s portable! It’s a great big wall in the way of the opponent’s, blocking Mei and her teammates from incoming pain. It must be great to hide behind a wall of frost.

Mei dresses in warm clothing, but she’s not an Eskimo. Nope, she’s Chinese in nationality, but it seems she learned how to be cold as ice (HAH) in the process. Her Ice Wall has 5 pillars, each with its own 500 health. To be fair; that’s a lot of health for a basic wall that can be put up anywhere. Lasting for 4.5 seconds, this is a very strategic support ability which can change the pace of a game.

5) Blizzard – Pokemon

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Oh we had a lot to choose from here.

Actually it came down to two of the best ice-moves from Gen 1, but while Aurora Beam is beautiful, clever, and has rather nice lingering effects, Blizzard is so much more iconic, and frankly it was the first move to spring to mind when we even considered the list. Incredible power, high accuracy (because you can’t outrun the storm!!!) and a chance to freeze your opponent where they stand, it’s about as icy as you can get.

In Red/Blue versions, blizzard is surprisingly only available to two pokemon, Jynx and Arcticuno. It has only been out-weighed by a couple of ice-moves from Gen 5, and has long been the crown jewel of an ice-type’s moveset, and is a great TM to add to your high-powered team members.

4) Mr. Freeze’s Freeze Gun – Batman

We all probably remember the Arnold Schwarzenegger rendition of Mr. Freeze, as it is highly memorable unto itself, but let’s not take away from the character here. Mr. Freeze is one of Batman’s most famous enemies, as noted by the fact he makes up part of the Rogue’s Gallery. Often depicted as having fallen victim to an industrial accident whilst trying to save his wife’s life, he’s a tragic character who is prone to saying things like “Chilled to perfection.”

One-liners and Arnold’s performance aside, Mr. Freeze has one of the most powerful ice-manipulation weapons I think I’ve just about ever seen. He just misses out on our top 3, to which we have some real crazy abilities, however this gun is elegant in its simplicity. Able to freeze an opponent completely, the ice gun is one weapon you do not want to get on the wrong side of.

Sheesh, talk about giving your enemy the cold shoulder!

3) Heat Death – “Iceman” Bobby Drake

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X-Men founding member Bobby Drake’s ability to turn water vapours into solid blocks of ice is fairly well documented, and his distinctive power to change his entire form into ice. By and large he does this by slowing the vibrations of water molecules to reduce them to freezing temperature. It’s a rather useful skill, to be sure, but lesser known fact is that Bobby is reducing the vibration of molecules to a complete stop.

The universe strives to reach equilibrium, ending all energy and motion and reaching a state of absolute zero, a terrible expanse of darkness, nothingness. Now, Iceman’s ability can accelerate the process in its own little way, but at his peak of power he can actually bring about the total heat death of the universe, classifying him as an Omega Level mutant. A mutant capable of bringing about the end.

2) Ice Form – Skyrim

Before I start this one, please do watch the above video. No, no, seriously – I’ll wait right here. You go on now. Okay, has your laugh-tank been depleted? Great, let’s continue.

Ice Form is a rather powerful shout in the smash hit, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. You assume the role of the Dragonborn, a powerful entity who is able to speak in the language of dragons. Your role is to go and kill the dragons that have returned, take their souls and use their souls as a fuel to power your Shouts. Of course, there’s a bit more story to it, but that’s the jist of what being Dragonborn is about.

Ice Form is one of these shouts. You shout at your enemy until their frozen, however this is where the move stops being a cool move. It crystalises into something that breaks the game in the funniest of ways. Well, breaks enemies and yourself in the weirdest way anyway. If Ice Form is shouted on you or an opponent, the body hits the ground in a bizarre way… And the game can’t physics any more.

It forgets how gravity works and it thinks that you’re going to go on a jet-speed flying trip around the universe. Because, y’know, Bethesda Quality? (We do love you, Bethesda. No harm meant~) Oh and if you want one more video, check out the above.

1) Sub Zero’s Ice Clone – Mortal Kombat

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Whether Sub Zero is the more popular MK character than Scorpion, that’s another article in itself. However, let us discuss one of his more potent and versatile moves, a statue of himself made of solid ice. If your opponent so much as touches the clone they become flash-frozen, leaving them wide open for a follow up attack, but so what? They can just move around it, right? Well Sub Zero can actually throw the frosty figuring straight at his enemies, making it far harder to simply side-step without getting frozen. If Sub Zero has a clone out and suffers a deadly injury? No worries, you were beating up the clone this whole time and I was over here staying really still.

While some may feel the ice puddle is more memorable, or the tombstone teleport looked cooler, I say that leaving a perfect copy of your body that’s cold enough to freeze a human being fully on mere contact is too cool to pass up and you can just throw it at them. It’s a power shared by both incarnations, Bi-Han (now Noob Saibot) and Kuai Liang, and is way more awesome than making the ground a bit slippy, and for that matter, any other ice-powers you care to mention.


Honourable Mentions

Have you had the time to cool off, or are you feeling a little cold from all of these puns? Well, Icy that you need to have some time out, so here’s some honourable mentions for this list. These are our picks for honourable; not getting to the main list due to their lack of oomph.

Ice Crown – Adventure Time

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More of an object than a move or power, but if we’re discussing icy powers then it’s absolutely worth a nod. At the cost of your memories and sanity, the bearer of the crown of ice created by the first of the Ice Elementals – Urgence Evergreen – gains immortality, and complete access Evergreen’s magical powers. Bolts of ice are the most basic skill, but the icecrown’s powers seem quite limitless, including freezing the entire world for 400 years without the need for a living bearer.

Shaping and creating ice into whatever shape is useful to the host is a given, shields and weapons with which the host actually possesses greater ability than with normal weapons, a skill called “Fridjitzu”, weather shaping (although only one type of weather), facial hair based flight, and dominion over the ice-based life that seems to occupy the snowier regions of Ooo. All in all there’s no one power the crown possesses that’s of particular remark, but it is remarkable in itself in how it parasitically dominates its wearer.

Ice Man’s Ice Slasher- Megaman

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One of the original Robot Masters, Ice Man is one of those bosses that you can’t help but remember from the original Megaman title. However, he wasn’t a final boss or anything; he was just one of the Robot Masters. He was pretty good too – Design wise and ability wise as well. Designed by Dr. Light, he was created for good, until Dr. Wily got ahold of him and the other Robot Masters and reprogrammed him with the intent to take over the world, Pinky.

However, Ice Man’s main ability is Ice Slasher, which when used by Iceman takes the form of a large sword made of ice, which is spat from the mouth. On touch, this can freeze anyone. When you defeat him, you acquire this ability, but for Megaman it turns into an arrow head for… reasons? Perhaps more bafflingly is the fact that Ice Man’s Ice Slasher is the most effective move against Fire Man. No, that’s not just some physically fit guy in flame retardant clothing, stop it.


Ah, we’re finally sat by the fire now, able to heat back up after this rather frosty reception you’ve given us. I mean, just because we’ve been making ice puns throughout the whole of this list doesn’t mean you should be so cold! Nevertheless, we’re here to do a damn good job of these Top 10’s and so we hope you’ll now pick our next Top 10 which will be ready next Saturday. You might notice a theme with the lists this month!

That’s it for this week, hopefully you’re going to stick around through this festive season and let us know what you thought about the above Top 10 list. Do you agree with Sub Zero being our number one choice on this list? For the record, between Joel and Timlah, the choice of Sub Zero was 100% undenied. We could not justify anything else that made our list getting the number one slot, but the Ice Form shout getting number two only made it there through game-breaking comedy. Was that the right move? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.