They weren't always the nicest guys, but the Empire got sh*t done. Sometimes you've got to crack a few Alderaans to make a space omelet. The Empire turned a sand-hating drama queen into the galaxy's most notorious badass. And at the very least, we can all agree that the movies were way better when they were in charge. With that in mind, here's our tribute to the glorious Galactic Empire.
6. Technological Innovation
Well before Anakin picked up his first lightsaber, the galaxy was under the rule of the Old Republic. During its 25,000 year reign, there were startlingly few technological innovations. The Jedi still use the same sh*tty lightsabers, soldiers use the same sh*tty blasters, and ships travel using the same sh*tty hyperdrive systems.
Now compare that to the Empire. In less than 20 years, the Empire revolutionized space warfare with the creation of the Death Star, making all large warships functionally obsolete. They also invented the AT-AT, making all ground fortifications equally obsolete. They created the Executor, Sun Crusher, and cloaking technology. The Empire did more in a couple decades than the Republic did in several thousand.
5. Religious Freedom
During the reign of the Old Republic there was only 1 religion: the Force. Everywhere you went, you had to deal with self-important, self-righteous Jedi prattling about how the Force is everywhere and binds the galaxy together. And not only were they everywhere, they were indoctrinating children!
And then came the Clone Wars, the Empire, and the eradication of the Jedi. Suddenly, the galaxy got its first real taste of religious freedom. As Han Solo best said, "Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny." People all across the galaxy were finally free to believe that they controlled their own destiny.
Last week, we began our search for the greatest Super Nintendo game of all time by asking you to choose your favorites in a series of one on one match-ups. After receiving over 800,000 votes, WE HAVE OUR VICTORS! They're a great mix of commercial blockbusters, critical darlings, and hardcore-gamer favorites. Without further adieu, here are the 25 best SNES games as chosen by gamers.
Contrary to popular belief, a flashy sequel doesn't equal a bad sequel all the time. In a bold move, Contra III fast-forwarded the action to the distant future and improved not only the aesthetics, but the scope and storyline of the game, all while maintaining the "run and gun" appeal of the original. Though there have been plenty of knockoffs since, none have had a weapon as universally appealing as the Spread Gun. None.
Earthbound broke a lot of traditional rules established by previous SNES RPGs with its innovative, unique gameplay. To outsiders, Earthbound seemed like a cutesy kid's game. Any well-informed gamer will tell you otherwise. The characters had names like "Buzz Buzz" and "Poo," but it boasted a layered story with complicated characters and one of the most deeply unsettling final bosses in the history of gaming. While it hit the United States before the heyday of Japanese RPGs, it's held onto an incredibly dedicated cult following.
When moving through any game, your goal is usually to move up the food chain: get better guns, get better armor, get better everything. Get to the point where you're unstoppable, where you can mow through enemies like a weed whacker through a bunch of easily-whacked weeds. But this desire needs to be kept in check because when the developers include weapons that are too good, it can completely throw off the balance of the whole game. There's no need for strategy or real challenge with weapons that are that powerful and just like when Tim Allen makes a way too powerful weed whacker on Home Improvement, sometimes we need to recognize when things have gone too far. These are the 15 most overpowered weapons in videogame history.
15. Fierce Diety's Mask (The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask)
Getting all the masks in Majora's Mask is something of a pain (unless you're Bill Murray in Groundhog's Day and used to this kind of stuff, but in which case, you're also a fictional character). Unfortunately, you need them all to get the final and most ridiculously-powerful mask in the game the Fierce Deity's Mask. The FDM transforms Kid Link into, well, the Fierce Deity (who looks a lot like Adult Link but with gray hair and some bad facepaint). While it can only be used in boss fights, the mask makes the game a joke even the final boss fight against Majora's Mask becomes a quick scuffle, with Fierce Deity Link shooting his laser-sword against the helpless evil mask. It's like if they let you beat Ganon in Ocarina of Time by having Biggoron step on him.
Kinda makes you wonder how this thing nearly brought the apocalypse down on Clock Town. Also makes you wonder why they didn't evacuate Clock Town the second they noticed the moon was, like, 100 yards away.
9. George R.R. Martin Dying Before Completing the Song of Ice and Fire Series
If I had to describe George RR Martin, I would say something like "HIV-Positive Santa Claus" or "Gandalf After Getting Kicked Off 'The Biggest Loser' For Trying To Eat His Own Beard." Neither of those things are sterling pictures of good health exactly, but they do more or less accurately describe the overweight, rapidly-aging fantasy author who still has two books left to complete his epic A Song of Ice and Fire saga. Not that he's going to die tomorrow or anything, but time is not on George's side here and that's the one thing he really needs. Maybe if he didn't take 5 years apiece to write the previous two books in the series, we could be a little more optimistic. But since the series has expanded from a trilogy to a heptalogy (seven book series), who knows how much more George could stretch it out? He even recently announced he's not going to even START writing the sixth entry The Winds of Winter until January 2012. George RR Martin is 63 years old if he takes 5 years per book, that would put him at 73 by the end of the series. I don't want to bring up statistics about the median lifespan of males, but
let's just say Winter is coming, George. The way things are looking, he may only have time to write "And then everyone died." for the last book. Hopefully from at least 6 perspectives.
8. Our Kids Seeing the Prequel Star Wars Before the Original Trilogy
Parents, generally, want the best for their children. They want them to have all of the best experiences possible while minimizing the amount of negative ones. Unfortunately, George Lucas has created a tough world for any prospective nerd parent. On the one hand, he's given us some of the greatest films of all time films that captured the imagination of nearly every child who saw them. Who wouldn't want their kids to have that same experience?
Well, there was another group of films George Lucas made these were wholly lacking in imagination, any sense of adventure, and instead of being set off by a ruthless empire trying to quash a fledgling rebellion of scrappy fighters was set off by a tariff dispute. This is not the thing that will inspire the hearts and minds of children everywhere. This is the kind of empty spectacle that will bore the sh*t out of a kid and make him or her never want to see another Star Wars again. You can't control every aspect of your kid's life they could see the prequel trilogy first. Maybe a friend (with cruel, ungodly parents) have the movies sitting out. Maybe it's on TV one day and you're not around to slap the remote out of your child's hands. And then it'll be too late Star Wars will never be that amazing, perfect trilogy. It'll be a mediocre sci-fi franchise.
If the first Star Wars film you saw was The Phantom Menace, you probably wouldn't be quite so psyched for 5 more installments, right? Plus, the prequel trilogy completely ruins one of the greatest reveals in cinematic history: that Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader! Also, he built C-3PO. Can't spoil that for the kiddies.
So you want to make video games. Who wouldn't? It must be amazing creating new e-narratives and cyber stories. Working with a team of talented artists and programmers and probably Jennifer Hale, giving fans hours of joy, what could be better?
Anything. Literally anything could be better than working in video games. Despite its self-glamorization as a cool wolf pack having fun, wolf-packing around, the video game industry is serious business. And like any serious business, the people who make that serious business work are more or less interchangeable parts in a horrible machine of sadness. Don't believe me? List time!
7. You Won't Work On A Game You Like
Every video game is made by a group of people with their own hopes, dreams, and families. A lot of them are nice folks who are super excited to be part of the industry that shaped their childhood. So when you make your hilarious YouTube video mocking the shovelware in a Best Buy, try to remember that decent, mother-born humans were forced to create that Dora the Explorer game. And since around 90 to 99.9999% of games are total crap, you'll probably also be forced to make that Dora the Explorer game. Especially at the entry level, which in the video games means "the rest of your life."
Even if you're lucky enough to land that dream job at Valve or Nintendo or Blizzard, and you get to work on a beloved franchise, you'll hate it when you're done. Try enjoying Halo after you get reprimanded for slightly coloring Master Chief's helmet off the style guide. You won't. The magic will be gone: An endless universe filled with infinite stories will be replaced by a group of bug logs reporting that Nathan Drake's eyes are missing in cut scenes.
6. You'll Be Expected To Move Far, Far Away
When Silent Hill Downpour lead designer Brian Gomez left the project this month, he said "I couldn't keep making the commute between Los Angeles and Brno for another 4-6 months." What a wuss! Just buy an audio book and suck it up, right?
Except that Brno isn't some suburb a traffic jam away from Los Angeles. It's in the Czech Republic. Because Brian Gomez is such a talented and in-demand designer, he was expected to spend the majority of his time in a country that's not the country where his wife and children live.
He's not the only one: job listings for video game companies often ask if applicants are willing to leave America. And stop getting excited, thinking it means you'll be shooting movies in the luscious hills of New Zealand. It just means you'll have to do your 18-hour programming day somewhere the one person willing to have sex with you isn't. Usually Poland.