Okay, truth be told, we could probably make this Dorklyst entirely out of Midway games. But this one really deserves special mention. In it, you played as dinosaur gods. Okay? Not just dinosaurs. Not just gods. But both, fused together.
Primal Rage was one of those video games that managed to spin off into other mediums for merchandising, including action figures, comics, even a freaking novel. The media may complain today about how bad M-rated games are for kids, but at least the games today don't make toys based around characters who eat people during fights to the death. By the way, the dino gods were Armadon, Blizzard, Sauron, Diablo, Chaos, Talon, and Vertigo. Dinosaur baby naming books have got to be the greatest.
As we speak well, as you read Midway has not been completely disassembled, though it is absolutely bankrupt and will never come back. In other words: it's as good as dead. But there are many functioning organs that could still be transplanted to other studios, should they be so interested. The rights to Mortal Kombat stuck with Ed Boon, and his Netherrealm Studios reboot to the franchise is unabashedly badass. So who knows? Maybe we'll see Primal Rage rise from the fossilized remains yet.
Real-time strategy games don't get a great deal of attention these days, and when they do, it's typically focused on the behemoth of the industry: Blizzard's StarCraft, a series so addictive that South Korea has pretty much made it their national sport. But before that, there was a company called Westwood Studios that set the standard for the RTS genre with its Command & Conquer series and the game that became one of their truly seminal moments was C&C: Red Alert.
Originally intended as a prequel to the Tiberian series, Red Alert set up an alternate World War II where Einstein had taken out Hitler and the USSR became the dominant force in Europe. The Allied forces faced off with the Soviet forces in an incredibly well-balanced game that featured some great multiplayer and some of the best live action FMV cutscenes in the series' history.
Westwood Studios' doom was its purchase by EA. The mega-publisher forced games out the door without proper development and testing time, cancelled other games altogether, and led to a large number of employees quitting the studio. Eventually, with its reputation tarnished and game sales diminishing, Westwood Studios shut it doors forever.
The idea was simple: take Battlefield 1942, but with Star Wars. That was all gamers needed to hear but it turns out the game actually delivered on its promise. You played as one of the four big factions from the Star Wars trilogies and fought for control of a map (including one of the greatest maps in videogame history, Bespin Platforms) by capturing command posts or killing the opposing forces.
It was one of the few Star Wars games that could be extraordinarily fun despite you not being a Jedi. The giant battles and great gameplay made up for some small annoyances (why can't an X-Wing fly higher than 100 feet in the air?). And most of all it was an aspect of the Star Wars universe that had never been well-explored in gaming, and done with panache.
Then the reckoning came (cue Darth Vader theme) EA bought them (along with internet sweetheart Bioware). Within two years, all Pandemic employees had been laid off and all offices shuttered, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Someone, please, find an exposed exhaust port at EA headquarters.