Article The Dorklyst: The 10 Greatest Hero & Villain Team-Ups In Videogame History

By Alexander Z. Rogers / July 10, 2013
The Dorklyst: The 10 Greatest Hero Villain TeamUps In Videogame History

Many classic videogames still boil down to a very basic formula: Good Guys + Bad Guys +/- a few princess = Conflict. In some games the actual reasons for the conflict (princess-related or otherwise) don't actually matter much – the most important relationship and interactions in the game are between our player and his or her antithesis. That's probably why, no matter how long the feud seems to drag on or how implausible it is that the villain survived his last defeat, game designers keep bringing back the devils we know – it just wouldn't feel like the same series without them. Now what happens when these naturally opposing forces find themselves on the same side in a fight against an even greater foe? Here are the 10 greatest hero and villain team-ups in videogame history…

(WARNING: Some spoilers about villains and heroes teaming up to follow)



10. Master Chief & The Arbiter (Halo 2 & 3)

The Dorklyst: The 10 Greatest Hero Villain TeamUps In Videogame History

Unlike many of the foes on this list, Master Chief never actually entered into combat directly with the Elite (or Sangheili, as they like to be called these days) that would become known as "The Arbiter". That's probably a good thing, as otherwise the prophets would have had to find another Arbiter. Other than a different pair of hands and the ability to cloak without a power-up, the Arbiter didn't play much differently from his former nemesis (both were also very good at killing Covenant and at getting human marines slaughtered just by their presence in combat). However, in the storyline, it would be the Elite Fleet (sounds way better than Sangheili fleet to me) that would prove the decisive factor in ending the war with a human victory. Just think how different it could have gone had the Prophet of Truth just decided to put off the Civil War until after humanity had been wiped out. Actually, Master Chief probably would still have just killed everybody, but he would have been able to kill a lot of Elites too, and they're a lot more fun to fight than Brutes. That's probably why he started doing that again in Halo 4.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 8 Worst Videogame Raps in Marketing History

By Andrew Bridgman / April 26, 2013

Since the beginning of videogames, one thing has been clear: marketing executives have no idea what the appropriate time would be to use rap in commercials and advertisements. Or how rap should sound. Or what it should be about. But "having no idea what we're doing" has never stopped an executive, so terrible/awkward raps became one of the cornerstones of the videogame ad industry. These are the 8 worst raps in videogame marketing history.

8. Supersonic Controller

The Supersonic Controller had a lot of hurdles this commercial tried (and failed) to leap: selling a wireless controller when the technology wasn't good enough to make that work, selling a controller shaped like a triangle (great shape for pizza, terrible shape for a controller), and convincing you it would work for the Nintendo – even though it was a third-party non-Nintendo-approved hunk of plastic that would embarrass MadCatz.

And what better way to stumble through this all than with a family-friendly rap (thus defeating the main appeal of rap in the 80's)? The problem is (besides being awful) that the rap can't even muster up the self-confidence to sell itself. They actually include the line "It will do." It's essentially saying that it gets the job done, but "Meh, It Works, Sorta" isn't exactly the ringing endorsement they thought it was.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 10 Weirdest Evolutions in Pokémon

By Andrew Bridgman / April 19, 2013
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The entire concept of having animals evolve into insanely-powerful beast monsters by beating the crap out of others in battle (or by being exposed to stones, being traded, etc.) is pretty ridiculous in and of itself. But it's not too difficult suspending your disbelief when the end result is a fire-breathing dragon who remains loyal to you (despite the fact you're forcing it to fight a bird who shoots lightning). But there are some specific evolutions that are extremely weird, even in the already-weird field of Pokemon evolutions. These are the 10 weirdest evolutions in Pokemon.

10. Cubone into Marowak

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Cubone's life kinda sucks – he's so upset at the death of his mother (remember, this is an entire species of Pokemon, meaning they all are bereaved over the deaths of each of their individual mothers), that he literally wears her skull, which may not be the most emotionally-healthy coping tactic. Then again, in some deeply, deeply messed up way, his mother is still protecting poor little Cubone – since her skull now acts as his helmet. It's definitely indicative of some kind of creepy Norman Bates/Mother relationship, but it's mostly harmless.

Where it gets weird is when Cubone evolves into Marowak. Essentially, Marowak's just a bigger Cubone, which isn't all that weird. What is weird is that Marowak is defined by having gotten over the death of its mother (remember: AS A SPECIES, Marowaks have ALL gotten over the deaths of their individual mothers), but still wears a skull on its head. But it's specifically NOT its mother's! Meaning…Marowak found some random dead Pokemon's bigger skull and is wearing that now? Something tells me Marowak hasn't quite reached the closure it claims to have.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 10 Merriest Santa Claus Cameos in Videogame History

By Andrew Bridgman / December 14, 2012
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"You better not pout, you better not cry, you better watch out, I'm tellin' you why: Santa Claus is comin' to town." – Old Klingon Proverb

The original morality motivator – way before Bioware got their grubby fingers all over it – was Santa Claus. If you were good, you were rewarded. If you were bad, you weren't (well, at least in theory. Reality: if your parents have money, you get good stuff. If not, you are consumed by a guilt complex that assumes a bearded man in the North Pole has judged you unworthy of gifts). So – it makes sense he would pop up every now and then in videogames. And here are the 10 merriest cameos by Ol' Saint Nick in videogame history.

10. Secret of Mana

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Remember when Square games used to be fun? Not just technically-accomplished and engaging, but weird and fun and goofy? This attitude could probably best be exemplified by their output on the Super Nintendo – most notably the Secret of Mana. Halfway through the game you fight Frost Gigas – who, it turns out, is actually Santa Claus, who transformed into the evil being because children no longer believed in him (also he tried to grow a magic, big Christmas tree). So believe in Santa, kids, otherwise we'll have to deal with a frozen demon monstrosity who's really into Arbor Day.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 12 Greatest Videogames Based On Movies

By Alex Schmidt / November 16, 2012
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The immutable Laws Of Corporate Synergy (they're like the Three Laws Of Motion, but for money) require tentpole movies to have videogame adaptations. That's how we know Star Wars Episode VII will have no less than 8 games based on it (hopefully at least one about podracing). It's why Skyfall is already the jumping-off point for a through-the-franchise Bond game. And considering they're already doing The Great Gatsby in 3D, they might as well print some more money with The Sims: West Egg.

Now even though movie cash-in video games start life as an extra revenue source for a ruthless corporation, they're also the biggest project of any game developer's year. A lot of them turn out to be labors of love worth playing again and again, long after the film fades into obscurity as Saturday afternoon programming on TNT. Here are the 12 greatest videogames based on movies.

12. Ghostbusters: The Video Game

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A lot of videogame-to-movie adaptations are only good ideas because the cinematic source material is ridiculously great. Best example: this 2009 "shooter" (sort of) where you get to be a Ghostbuster in what's essentially the franchise's third movie. Sure, after some mediocre NES entries when the original movies came out, the idea of a good Ghostbusters game seems as crazy as cats and dogs living together – mass hysteria, right? Plus, the endless ghost-trapping is only sort of fun, there's no way to translate Bill Murray's brilliance into stilted cutscenes, but did you read that part before? You get to be a Ghostbuster. That's worth a rental just for the wander-the-Ghostbusters-firehouse experience you get in between missions. There's even a surprisingly hot NPC version of Janine Melnitz. Do your best Spengler and holla at her.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 9 Weirdest Celebrity Appearances In Videogame History

By Andrew Bridgman / October 5, 2012

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Some videogames just need a little something extra to bring them from good to great – celebrities! It worked on Entourage (which brought it from "ugh" to "Hey, Michael Phelps!"), why wouldn't it work in videogames? Sure, real life celebrities appearing as virtual versions of themselves in weird, not at all appropriate scenarios is really distracting and usually actively hurts the game, but everyone knows star power is what gamers really want, along with expensive DLC and escort missions (we'll check on these facts later). These are the 9 weirdest celebrity appearances in videogame history.

9. Justin Bieber (NBA 2K13)

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The fact that's there's a "celebrity" team in NBA 2K13 isn't all that odd – there were presidents and celebs playing basketball as far back in NBA Jam. But, really, the lineup includes Pauly D from the Jersey Shore, Kevin from The Office, Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm, and – most egregiously – Justin Bieber. Really, Justin Bieber's inclusion alone isn't enough to set him apart or make him notable in any way – but in the game the 5'7" tall tween singer has shot up to 6'4" and has stats that would make fantasy basketball fans weak at the knees. Maybe he does have some real basketball skills, but when a guy can't make it through a lip synch without vomiting, that doesn't seem too likely.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 8 Best & Worst Gimmicks In Videogame History

By Andrew Bridgman / August 3, 2012
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Gimmicks have always been a mainstay of the gaming industry – what better way to separate your game from the rest of the pack than by adding some weird, unique, maybe pointless feature? Sometimes the gimmick adds another layer of depth and makes your game more memorable – other times its annoying, stupid, or just plain bad. These are 8 of the best and worst gimmicks in videogame history.

Best – Sanity Meter (Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem)

Eternal Darkness was doomed from the start – playing as multiple characters (most of whom died grisly deaths no matter what you did), a surreal Lovecraftian plot (ending with ancient gods battling in outerspace while you fought a resurrected Roman centurion), and one of the most mind-bending gimmicks ever introduced into mainstream gaming: the sanity meter.

What it was (for those of you who didn't play, which based on the sales number is pretty much all of you) was your character would gradually go crazy every time they were seen by something…well, crazy. As the meter slipped, weird effects would start taking place – it appeared like there was a fly on your screen, the volume on your TV would lower, your save files would delete themselves. The game didn't see fit to only make the character feel like they were going crazy – they made you feel crazy too. The result was scarier and more immersive than almost any game ever, but most people ignored the game. Remember, developers: purposely trying to screw with gamers' grasp on reality – not the ticket to success.

Article The Dorklyst: 7 Ways Videogames Make Us Smarter

By Andy Grossman / June 27, 2012
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At best, fun-loving critics would say that video games are a complete waste of time. At worst, they teach children to murder each other while sexting corpses using gun swords. Or something along those lines.

Opponents of games love to point to stories of people killing each other over a disconnected PlayStation or stolen virtual goods as an example of how Nintendo tapes are leading to the next apocalypse. And while video games have undoubtedly led some idiots to be idiots (for more information, see "the history of every art form, ever"), they've also made us all more intelligent. Really. Here are 7 ways videogames are making us smarter.

7. Rated 'M' For 'Magnanimous Use Of Words'

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Fatality. Civilization. Flawless. Random. Ultimate. Corsair. Evolution. Ocarina.

These are all words that you probably knew in elementary school because of video games. And while you would've learned them eventually through the wonders of education, you would also probably would've never used them in every day life the way you do now. Games such as Diablo 3 even turn random enemies into SAT flash cards of words that mean "evil."

Think about the flip side of the complaint about kids on XBOX Live: children are thoughtlessly talking about squad tactics and economic victories because games have made those terms easy to understand and fun. They can be annoying, but they're not dumber for having played video games. And that's pretty tubular (thanks, Ninja Turtles games).

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Article The Dorklyst: The 5 Weirdest Changes George Lucas Ever Made To The Original Star Wars Trilogy (Not Including "Han Shot First")

By Andrew Bridgman / June 22, 2012
The 5 Weirdest Changes George Lucas Ever Made To The Star Wars Films Not Including Han Shot First - Image 1

There's no point getting mad about changes George Lucas makes to the original Star Wars films anymore. They're amorphous blobs more than films at this point, and have been since Lucas started seriously tinkering with them back in 1997. And that's okay! The original versions of the films still exist, so you can always cling to that, but the new ones are actually pretty fascinating, if for no other reason than Lucas makes some very strange, subtle changes. We all know (and mostly agree) how weird it was to reverse the Han/Greedo scene (the infamous "Han Shot First!" battle cry of internet nerds for the past 15 years), but there were a lot of changes made, some of which have some seriously questionable logic behind them, and these are some of the most baffling.

5. Adding More Dewbacks To The Droid Search on Tattooine

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Why is the Empire using multiple giant lizards for transportation on this desert planet? If they were sand people, okay, I'd get it. Sand people aren't the most technologically advanced folk in this universe, and they use whatever is available to them.

But the Empire is not only technologically advanced, they are the MOST technologically advanced organization in the galaxy. They have a laser that blows up planets. They can have their giant Star Destroyers travel at light speed with no issue. But when they're looking for droids on a desert planet, they choose to travel by giant iguana? You have to feed and care for these giant, unwieldy animals that are difficult to control. Even a poor farmboy has a landspeeder. Why wouldn't they use one too? Odds are they have ones that are way better than Luke's, and would probably have tools to help find droids that would not be susceptible to bearded old guys waving their hands. If one or two Stormtroopers were using dewbacks it would be okay (maybe their landspeeder broke down or they were being punished for another terrible day at the shooting range), but the idea of this many Stormtroopers riding fat, slow iguanas is a little weird.

Article The Dorklyst: The 7 Most Ridiculous Resurrections in Comic Book History

By Dan Abromowitz / June 15, 2012
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Life. Death. For all things, there is a season. Now you bask and frolic in the light of the sun, but in time, you, too, will be commended to the earth. Unless you're in a comic book, in which case, you'll probably just take a quick dirtnap and get back on your feet in no time, so long as yours is a commercially viable series (and sometimes even if it's not). For superheroes, returns to the world of the living range from triumphant to shockingly dumb to outright ridiculous. Here are the 7 most ridiculous resurrections in comic book history.

7. Aunt May

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In the Hitchcock film Psycho, mild-mannered Norman Bates lives alone in an old motel with his elderly mother, who commits horrible murders. By the end of the film, it's been revealed that Norman's mother has been dead for a decade, and the 'Mother' committing the murders is actually an aspect of his fractured psyche; he dresses like her, carries on conversations with her, and stole and preserved her corpse so she would never truly die. This is not unlike Peter Parker's relationship with his Aunt May, who has been very nearly murdered so many times it's a miracle she never built up an immunity. Most recently, she was shot in a failed hit by the Kingpin. Seeing his aunt dying again, Peter literally made a deal with the devil: In exchange for the life of an old, old woman in perpetual danger, Peter agreed to retroactively give up his marriage and entire romantic history with his bombshell supermodel wife. Time was turned back, allowing Peter to spend many more blissful years with his aunt's embalmed corpse. Of course, this is only slightly more ridiculous than the last time Aunt May died, at which point she turned out to have been a surgically-altered actress all along, because that's a thing that happens.

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