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Top 10 – Intense Boss Battles

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GeekOut Top 10s

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…)


Top 10 – Tyrants

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These vicious villains typically rule over their people through fear, oppression, cruelty and downright nastiness. They’re menacing, they’re daunting and imposing people in their own way – Sometimes through reputation, but often through physical violence or threats that even the most prestigious of world leaders wouldn’t be able to get away with. Cruelty is the name of the game in this weeks’ Top 10 Tyrants.

We took a little bit of liberty with the meaning behind a tyrant for this list. We took it to mean someone who rules over something; so it doesn’t have to be a definitive leader of a race, or over a land – They could rule over their peons in sweatshops, or over those who are their minor.

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Top 10 Axes

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GeekOut Top 10s

Everybody’s second favourite weapon, but we already did swords. If you’re looking for a top-heavy blade that can really give you an edge, nothing beats an axe for helping you get into the swing of things. Whilst this side-splitting introduction is enough to give you a splintered headache, the axe is one of those often forgotten about weapons. It’s strange too, considering how many awesome ones there are out there.

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Top 10 – Explosives

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GeekOut Top 10s

Kaboom! Rumble, tremor, yes, it’s true that a good explosion is probably one of the most fun sounds out there – but have you ever stopped to think about the aftermath of said explosions? The lives potentially lost by the blast radius; the millions of pounds of damage caused by one of the most destructive forces out there? Well, it’s true, explosions are damn cool, yet they can be damn dangerous.

In this weeks’ Top 10, we’re going to look through our favourite explosions in media – If it takes place in an anime, a book, a video game, a TV series: basically anywhere geeky. We’re keen to nuke our way through this volatile list and set the foundations shaking. We’re bringing you our Top 10 Explosions!


Top 10

10) Andy D. Kaboom – Red Vs Blue

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Caboose’s second best friend, after Church of course, was a bomb. Andy was constructed from pieces of an old protocol robot with only one mission, explode, preferably when in close proximity to the Omega AI, also known as O’Malley. It’s something of a fixation of his, almost as if his entire life revolved around that one singular moment, and yet he has so many other uses. He’s a multi-lingual translator, a broad bank of knowledge, and a highly sophisticated AI, who can also be handy in a negotiation situation as both a diplomat and an ultimatum.

Downside, Andy has an attitude problem, and it’s a big one. Aside from the need to constantly distract him from the concept of exploding, exploding, countdowns, or loud beeping noises, he’s also intentionally provocative and insulting to everyone he meets. It’s almost like he’s looking for a reason to go off. And yet he and Caboose seem to get on great, and no one mourns more keenly at Andy’s passing… or rather that time when Sarge swaps Andy for a skull and hopes no one will notice.

9) Stickybomb – Team Fortress 2: Demoman

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Team Fortress 2 is a well renowned arena-styled game, where you and a team of bizarre brothers-in-arms go against an enemy team of brothers-in-arms. The team are rather diverse, from the slick and quick Scout, to the sneaky and stealthy Spy. But amongst all team games, there has to be that one person who picks the most destructive of them all.

Whilst Tavish Finnegan DeGroot might not be such an imposing name, the name Demoman strikes fear into the hearts of anyone who might be attacking. From his famed stickybombs to his rather powerful Grenade Launcher, you can bet your butt that the attacking team will be sent flying off through his explosions. None are more feared than the dreaded stickybombs, which are capable of destroying just about anyone who steps too close to one. Better keep your eyes peeled for this drunkard Scotsman.

8) Holy Hand Grenade – Worms

The Holy Hand Grenade is a reference to Monty Python, for anyone who isn’t aware. But in Worms, the Holy Hand Grenade is truly one of the most powerful explosives in the game. Put your Dynamite away, hold back your Super Sheep and by god, why on Earth would you throw the crazy Banana Bomb? No, it’s all about blast radius and strength of the explosion, so if you need power to destroy whole chunks of land, the Holy Hand Grenade is the weapon of choice for you!

Okay, so perhaps it’s a bit risky. If you lob it incorrectly, it might bounce back into an area of you and your team’s worms and then who knows what’ll happen to them? I’ll tell you one thing, having one of these landing at your worm’s body is not going to be a pleasant way to end proceedings. You might as well have skipped rope instead.

7) The Bomb – Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

I don’t think I’ve played a game that builds so much tension with so little action. A one player sits in a room with a suitcase bomb while others sit outside and try and talk you through deactivating the bomb one module at a time, and it’s that composition that makes this game great. Simon Says, complex wire sequences, symbol matching, the wickedly composed word codes and the demanding “needy modules” that require your frequent attention.

For the player in the room, it’s heart-stopping, as you watch the timer tick down, and every misstep brings you closer to the sudden darkness. The player outside is left helpless and yet burdened with responsibility, holding your life in their hands. Communication brings frustration, music, timer, and the sudden blare of the alarm clock (why the hell is that even in there?) shred the nerves like a cheesegrater… of emotions. And at the end of it all the quiet relief of success and a job well done, or blackness.

Funny thing, the bomb doesn’t really explode as such, not in the big fiery way we’re all familiar with. There’s a boom, and everything goes black. It’s all rather elegantly final and makes for a great game.

6) Gambit’s Cards – Marvel

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The card-slinging Cajun is one of the most famous X-Men of all time, making it frankly disgusting that he only ever appeared briefly in one X-Men film and it was a lousy spin-off. But that’s a rant for another day. Remmy LeBeau actually has the power to infuse any object with powerful kinetic charges causing them to explode violently with a concussive force rather than a ball of fire, and can channel that power down his staff to create collisions that can shatter bones and walls alike, but that’s not what everyone knows him for.

A thief raised in New Orleans, he turned the parlour trick into a weapon when his mutant powers manifested, making the common playing card into an icon, small enough for him to charge quickly and easy for him to throw accurately. He has a variety of other powers, many linked to his kinetic control, that make for one of the most charismatic and darkly suave characters in the entire Marvel Universe, and he is perhaps better remembered for his moral ambiguity and accent, but the guy can turn poker into russian roulette with a thought.

Where’s his movie Fox?

5) Turnabout Countdown – Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

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Bringing about the dark age of the law is quite the accomplishment, but in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, that’s kind of exactly what happened. For those who are uninitiated in the crazy world of Phoenix Wright, you play as a defense lawyer who always believes in his clients. In this particular title, you play as the famed lawyer himself, Phoenix Wright.

This case was called Turnabout Countdown, because it was all about the counting down of a time bomb. Injuring dozens of people and blowing up an iconic courtroom for the games legal system, this was a very impactful scene. One of the main protagonists, Apollo Justice, even took the brunt of the explosion. After he recovered, he needed a break from his law office, the Wright Anything Agency. During his time away, he gained wrong information which turns him on one of his friends.

Oh and the guy who placed the bomb was called Ted Tonate. He’s pictured above.

4) Spirit Bomb – DragonBall Z

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Kamehameha! Okay, so the Kamehameha wave is one of the most devastating attacks in all of DragonBall and that’s A-Okay! I mean it’s a signature move which causes some serious damage, exploding land all around… But what about the single handed most dangerous move in Goku’s arsenal? The Spirit Bomb is the name of Goku’s arguably most deadly attack and damn, does it cause a serious amount of damage?

The Spirit Bomb is the collection of energies from the spirits of the world. Effectively, he draws upon the power of all of the people, all of the creatures and all of the wildlife. Any energy that can be spared, which is then turned into one massive ball of raw energy. When it’s finally ready, Goku throws this at his opponent which sorta crushes them – before the explosion happens. This strange ability doesn’t always explode… But when it does, things are going to disappear rather quickly.

3) The Atom Bomb – Fallout 3

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The number 3 slot is occupied by the only explosive ever to spawn a religion and a political party. It’s also amongst the best known decisions to make in a game, the ultimate Big Red Button: Would you kill a city full of survivors, lose the trust of the people, and cut off your supply of sidequests for a stack of caps, an achievement, and the most luxurious apartment in existence… and a bigass explosion?

The bomb at the centre of Megaton is pivotal in Fallout 3, a huge plot point and a question I am always asked despite never getting far enough in the game to answer “Did you blow up Megaton?” A religious order believes truly that the war of 2077 was a time of rebirth, bringing all people together in “The Glow” of Atom, and that the unexploded bomb is a holy symbol. And on voting day 2015 in Shrewsbury, my pencil hovered curiously over The Children of the Atom on the ballot paper. Whoever you are, I didn’t vote for you, but I love you.

We have a tie for #1! Choose your winner!

1) Voltorb/Electrode

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Oh this is a difficult one. Let’s start with the older entry, the Pokemon the really encapsulates the term “Self Destruct”.

If you’re a veteran of the series you’ll have fond memories of burning through Repels to keep the incessant zubats at bay, the fingers crossed behind the Gameboy trying to capture an abra before it teleports, and the suicidal efforts of wading through the powerplant amidst these volatile little balls of electrical energy. They appear to have either gathered to feed, or they’re born there. They’re rumoured to have spawned in a bizarre energy surge in a pokeball factory, which would explain the uncanny resemblance. Or they originate in Indonesia. Or Greenland. Or Poland.

The Route 10 Power Plant is the only place one could find the legendary bird and posterboy for team Instinct, Zapdos, but the unwary are best advised to stock up on potions and be wary of items. That’s not an icon my friend, that’s a bomb with a smile on it’s face. If you’re lucky they won’t self-detonate immediately, opting instead to zap, shock and roll out some pain, giving you chance to catch one for yourself.

VS

1) Creeper

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Yes, the Creeper is making it into this vote at an explosive joint number one, but there’s some very clear reasons why. Whilst Voltorb is more nostalgic, the Creeper became an internet phenom. From the early days of Minecraft, where people would turn around and see a Creeper and literally scream, to the current days where Creepers are still an annoyingly terrifying prospect to encounter, these creatures know how to make quite the impact.

Whether it’s because they’re bright green and look absolutely devoid of life, or if it’s just because you know they’re going to damage your beautiful house and garden, these creatures will come towards the player and explode. It’s enough to make you shiver, thinking about all of the work you’re going to have to redo. It’s probably why they made bricks in the game, so you could literally damage control these explosions. But do NOT let them get hit by lightning, whatever you do. You do not want to meet a supercharged Creeper.


Honourable Mentions

Some explosions are memorable, but others not so much. But these would-be forgotten explosions do need to at least be mentioned, as they left a crater in our minds and hearts… Because no matter what you say, explosions are still damn cool!

Michael Bay

WARNING: Explicit content

When he’s not too busy blowing up the box office, Michael Bay is busy blowing everything else up. Okay, he’s not an explosion in and of himself, but basically everything he produces is a massive explosion and we’re not upset about that. Even in the above Epic Rap Battles of History song, Michael Bay is blowing minds (and ratings) out of the water.

Whilst there’s no single explosion we can point at, I’m sure if you watch any Michael Bay film, you will feel that sense of “I’m waiting for the explosions now…” He’s a great director, who could be even better if he’d reign it in a little bit. But ultimately, I’m happy to wager that you’re content with watching some pretty explosions happening on screen!

Nathan Explosion – Metalocalypse

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Sadly disqualified for not actually exploding, Nathan Explosion is the frontman and lead singer for the globally worshipped death-metal band Dethklok. Explosion lends his rumbling growls to the band’s thunderous instrumentals, and has incredible stage presence despite only ever standing still, shoulders hunched and staring angrily into the middle distance. Despite not actually being a bomb or anything like it, Dethklok is notoriously followed by massive destruction in which fans are accidentally killed in their hundreds, and the (literally) die-hard audience returns more maimed and disfigured every gig.

Brutal.

Nathan’s metal-growls are pretty much just his voice, as he talks in the exact same rumbling monotone except with less rhythm or volume. He and fellow band members, Skwisgaar Skwigelf (lead guitar, taller than a tree), Toki Wartooth (rhythm guitar, not a bumblebee), William Murderface (bassist, Murderface) and Pickles the Drummer (drummer, doodily doo ding dong doodily doodily doo) live lives of excess thanks to the incredible riches that death-metal have afforded them, and pursue the most metal lifestyle they can possibly muster in a way that certainly doesn’t parody anything.


We’re out of natural disasters and there’s no more dynamite. This article has gone up in a puff of smoke, so don’t let us cloud your judgement any more, as we’re now passing on to you, the GeekOut South-West audience. Let us know what you think next week’s Top 10 should be, amongst these three dynamic choices.

Just like the best of explosions, these articles have to come to an end at some point – and you’ve been patiently waiting for the smoke to clear and the rubble to settle. But don’t be alarmed, we’ll be back next week with another Top 10 – But in the meantime, let us know what you thought of this weeks list. Did the right explosion make it to number 1? Do you think we forgot any in particular? Did we order the rest of our list well? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


Top 10 – Killer Fish

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GeekOut Top 10s

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the internet…

They do say that worse things happen at sea, but frankly any large body of water can hold a variety of toothy, poisonous, bloodthirsty or otherwise deadly aquatic horrors. And water… deadly, deadly water.

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Tip of The Hats, TF2 Charity Event

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Video games and charity; two things that have gone together hand-in-hand over the past few years, and for good reason. The gaming community has, time and time again, proven to be one of the most effective, most ambitious and most generous when it comes to fund-raising and this is perfectly exemplified by Tip of the Hats, an annual 48-hour stream event run by the Team Fortress 2 community, bringing the best names and personalities of both the casual and competitive scenes together under one banner and one cause: to raise as much money as possible for One Step Camp. If you’ve heard of it, you understand the hype. If you haven’t, dear reader, you’re in luck; this year’s event is coming up very soon indeed, on the weekend of the 19th-20th of September.

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Top 10 Death Noises in Games

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For the most sobering quote you’ll ever hear: Death happens. I’m sorry to tell you, but whether you’re playing through Half-Life, or even a jolly old game such as Super Mario brothers, death happens. One thing about death is that it does take you by surprise. Your character may let out a little yelp from pain, or perhaps he or she’ll get some form of fanfare in his or her honour? Honestly though, we’re not going to lie… We were a bit weirded out that you, the GeekOut universe, wanted to pick… the agonising… Screaming… Death sounds of the world of games.  But, you chose it and we’re going to deliver it! This is our Top 10 Death Noises in Games!

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Cosplayer Highlight – Rezzed

Look how far science has brought us..! A damn good suit, too.

EGX Rezzed has now come and gone, which was three days of pure fun, games and discussion. I thrived in the atmosphere in all honesty and I can’t wait to see the works of the indie developers, as well as the big name developers such as Team 17 and Blizzard, get their latest games out there.

As per usual, I didn’t just go to an event. I lived the event. I made sure to be in costume, but sadly Mega Man couldn’t make it due to him being slain by a Robot Master. Sorry about that, folks, but I will keep working to build my Mega Man costume anyway. With more time on my hands, I can make it the costume it needs to be, but not the costume it wants right now! Er… That’s a weird quote to use there.

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Cosplayer Highlight – Addaltmode’s Rox

Credit: Colin Head, taken at Xmas Devcon

Welcome to the fourth episode in this new series of Cosplayer Highlight, where we have a sit down and a discussion with cosplayers around the world.

Today, we reached out to the blogging community itself. I found this awesome blog called Addaltmode, which featured a Cosplayer who took on a Cosplay project that would transform her life forever. Well perhaps it wouldn’t transform her life so immediately, but at least it was a transformer, so the transform part sticks, right?

Enough tomfoolery from me, it’s time to introduce you to this weeks awesome Cosplayer Highlight guest!
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Top 10 Worthless NPCs

GeekOut Top 10s

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Have you ever sat through a game and you just happened to come across what you feel is the most worthless NPC of all time? I mean it’s not to say they have no purpose, nor are they useless, but they’re just absolutely worthless.

I mean do you even know his or her name? Is it a damn dog? What’s the point of it!? Just to cause us endless frustration, or just to be there? This week in our Top 10, we’re joined by Phil from 1001-Up as we run through our Top 10 Worthless NPCs in gaming.


Top 10

10. Mankrik’s Wife – World of Warcraft

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You are sent on a quest to go and find Mankrik’s wife. This is a simple quest and of course you’re emotionally invested in this quest because this is someone’s loved one. Horde or Alliance, it doesn’t matter: Love is love. This quest is exclusively for Horde who adventure around The Barrens area, also infamous for Barrens chat… But that’s a story for another day.

No, instead you’re sent to find someone’s loved one and… Oh. She’s already dead. What was her name? Oh yeah, Mankrik’s Wife.

Great.

9.  – Milla Vodello and Sasha Nein – Psychonauts


Spoiler Warning
This pair of elite-Psychonauts are highly trained field operatives with highly disciplined minds that are capable of constructing elaborate and carefully controlled training grounds for powerful young minds to be educated in. And even though the same can be said of the game’s antagonist, Morceau Oleander, you’d think his villainy would have come to light when put under a little scrutiny. KIDS WERE BEING LOBOTOMISED! NOBODY THOUGHT “Hey, there are a lot of very powerful psychics here, let’s check them out quickly, just in case.”

Milla and Sasha have a small degree of input early in the game before vanishing off on a distraction while Oleander’s dastardly scheme unfolds, only to be thwarted by the protagonist, Raz. Great game, but really guys? So many kids nearly died because you were just a little too caught up in “That thing over there….”

8. Pedestrians – Grand Theft Auto

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If you forced me to come up with a reason why Grand Theft Auto pedestrians were worth anything it would be to gain wanted stars. They do have their entertainment value with their crazy catchphrases and peculiar habits but other than that they only serve to ruin your success on a job by orbiting your vehicle on a suicide mission. In more recent versions of the Grand Theft Auto series they now have the ability to call the police if they spot the player getting up to no good which simply wastes everybody’s time by having to run them over.

7. Treavor Pendleton – Dishonored

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What to say on the subject of Treavor Pendleton? Well let’s start with the fact that he’s so damn memorable I had to google him to remember exactly who he was. The entirety of his story input was to ask Corvo (the main character) to kill his brothers, and then to stand around getting drunk. Just constantly swilling whiskey and wandering around moping.

Correction, he does do something else. He functions as a sounding board for other NPCs to talk to about things you need to hear (or overhear). Without him there they’d have very few choices, and Trev just loves to talk. He loves to talk to you… even when you’re clearly trying to get past him.

6. Old Man – Pokemon Red/Blue

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Now we are just wrong to include this old man, we hear you say. He teaches you about catching Pokemon as well as helping you unlock the secret glitches of the game. How could anyone possibly call him worthless?!

Because he spends ages at the beginning of the game begging to have coffee, before he will let you pass (with no rhyme or reason!) He then not only lets you pass after a certain point in the game, he teaches you how to catch Pokemon. Meanwhile, you’re sat there with a full party of 6 Pokemon in your bag. Um, Old Man, are you feeling okay? Well let me go and fly to Cinnabar Island now to get away from you… Oh gosh what have you done to my game!?

5. Black Mesa Scientists – Half Life

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The overwhelming majority of population in the Black Mesa facility were scientists and until the fatal day of the resonance cascade arrived. Until this point they were extremely worthwhile NPCs carrying out their daily research activities for the greater good. Once hell literally broke loose their worth plummeted to zero, just like their health levels, as they became headcrab fodder.

Sure, there may have been one or two that helped open doors but even if they were dead Gordon would only need to drag their corpses over to the eye scanner to continue serving their purpose.

4. Error – The Legend of Zelda II

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He is Error.

Thanks, Error. Just thanks. Nothing else to add? I mean is your name symbolic of who you are? An error within the game? Error!? Want to add something to the mix?!

Yes, he’s in arguably one of the most frustrating video games of all time and he just has to tell you that he is Error. What a worthless NPC.

3. Dog – Duck Hunt

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Do I even have to say anything? Look at that stupid grin! How many of you tried to shoot the dog? I know it’s a terrible thing to do and you shouldn’t want to shoot a dog, but dammit that thing is so smug! He contributes nothing to the game except to bounce around snatching up your ducks! And laughing when you fail.

If the dog serves any purpose, it is to be hated and to make Duck Hunt famous because people are talking… about… the dog…

DAMMIT

2.Adoring Fan – Oblivion

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This fan is so useless that he serves two major functions: Follow. Wait. That’s basically it. True to an adoring fan though, he offers useless quibble in the form of offering back-rubs, boot polishing and more.

Add to this the Adoring Fans horrible sense of hair fashion and that he doesn’t even give your character said back rubs or boot polishes… Adoring Fan, you are worthless. Time to hit you off the highest cliff in Oblivion.

… Stop running back up the hill when I hit you off.

1. Butler – Tomb Raider

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Also known as Winston Smith, Lara’s butler is painfully remembered by Tomb Raider fans as not only being utterly worthless in-game but also a complete pain in the backside as he stalked our favourite Tomb Raider around the house. Most players will remember the feeling of dread as he slowly hunts Lara while groaning about his backache and his rattling tea tray, some zombie games could learn a lot of from the Croft Manor level in Tomb Raider II.

If you ever mention Lara’s butler to a Tomb Raider fan they will immediately tell you stories about how they locked him in the freezer not for fun but just to get rid of him – if that’s not the definition of the most worthless NPC ever then I don’t know what is.


Honourable mentions

These next two deserved to be noticed for their worthless endeavours. They don’t quite make the cut for our Top 10, but let’s be honest: It doesn’t make it any better that they have been recognised as worthless in some way, shape or form!

Trader – Killing Floor

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You would think that having a trader in the game wouldn’t ever really make a Top 10 most Worthless NPCs list… but think about this from the point of view of a frustrated zombie killer such as Kevo the Chav.

This trader makes snarky remarks about people not being Frank Bruno if they can’t carry something. She laughs at players pitiful attempts to buy zombie killing devices from her if they’re too poor. She doesn’t stay in one location. She has a plethora of weapons and just keeps herself locked away so no zombies can get to her. She could literally just give all of the guys and girls a weapon to stop the zeds and still have enough weapons to sell afterwards.

Announcers – Every game that has announcers

Seriously, Unreal Tournament is super memorable because of its high-paced action and it’s awesomely voice-acted announcers. However, this doesn’t make them worth a damn penny. They’re just there. But at least they make themselves known with their constantly expressive voices. M-M-M-M-MONSTER KILL.

Oh but what about the Administrator in Team Fortress 2? Effectively worthless. She gives you sass and snark like there’s no tomorrow.

Don’t even get me started with you three, JBL, Michael Cole and Jerry “the King” Lawler!

But the games are made better with your presence, announcers. You’re worthless, but you’re our favourite kind of worthless: the worthless that adds feeling. Keep it worthless, voices!


That’s all for our Top 10 today. If you have any suggestions for a future Top 10, then do let us know as we are all ears. Also, if you want to get involved, just let us know! We’d love to have more guests such as Phil today.

What did you think of our decision of our Top 10 Worthless NPCs in gaming? We figured these ones were pretty worthless, but I bet you all know one that deserves at least a mention. Did we get our order around the right direction? Let us know in the comments below!