Article The Dorklyst: The 13 Worst Escort Missions in Videogame History

By Andrew Bridgman / March 29, 2013
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This week saw the release of BioShock Infinite, a game that's notable for many things, but mainly for essentially being one long escort mission that isn't awful. In fact, the game tells you right away to not worry about your escort, and that she can take care of herself. After years of horrible escort missions where you have to protect incompetent bullet-magnets who would sleepwalk through the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, it's hard to express what a joy this is. As a reminder of how well BioShock Infinite pulls this off, let's take a look back at some of the not-so-good escort missions in videogame history.

13. Emma Emmerich (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty)

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So what's the only thing worse than escort missions? Ah yes: water levels. "Stop!" screamed Hideo Kojima. "Let's have a water level escort mission!" Between this and the entire Raiden/Snake switcheroo, Hideo Kojima seems to have made this game in an act of extraordinarily elaborate trolling. Since Emma is also terrified of water, you have to carry her through most of the level, then hold her hand, and get her past bugs (by either getting rid of the bugs while Emma cowers and cries, or – more fun option – knocking her out, because – c'mon – who is THAT afraid of bugs?). And if she's caught by guards, she will literally curl up and scream as loud as she can while being murdered.

Luckily, if you manage to get through the mission, you'll be rewarded with…Emma dying anyways. A great reward because you hate Emma a lot by the end, yet still a great slap in the face, given what you put up with to get her this far. In other words: WELL TROLLED, KOJIMA.

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Article The Dorklyst: 15 of the Most Sadly Unfinished Videogame Franchises

By Alex Z. Rogers / March 22, 2013
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Among the many plagues visited upon gamers over the years, the unresolved cliffhanger ending is one of the worst. Sure, in a game it's the journey that's most important, but would Mario be as popular today if he didn't finally get his cake-baking princess? With the time and hours invested in a game one might think developers would be kind enough to reward us with just a little smidgeon of closure, but too often we're stuck waiting for sequels that may never arrive. The list below includes just a few of the great unfinished game sagas that, unlike this paragraph, never had a fitting end. Actually, even this paragraph never had a

15. Too Human

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Like your dystopian robot apocalypse scenarios swimming in Norse mythology? In that case, you're probably one of the very few people who played "Too Human". Developed by Silicon Knights, a studio known for quality titles nobody played like "Eternal Darkness", the series was an action/RPG set in a world in which mankind's war against rampant machinery has left it on the brink of extinction. Survivors huddle in a futuristic metropolis and are watched over by cybernetics-enhanced ubermensch based off Viking gods who seek to end the threat posed by Loki's army – or basically the plot of the movie "Thor" (minus Natalie Portman). The first game was set to be part of a trilogy, ending with Loki uncovering what would likely be a new threat and your character leaving his comrades in a huff after learning a terrible truth about himself and his connection to – oh who cares? Apparently nobody. After ten years in development, crappy reviews and poor sales, it appears that we'll never know what happens to the people of Asgard. Want to play it once just to see what you missed? Too bad! After losing a lawsuit to Epic Games, creators of the game's engine, all extant copies of the game were recalled. So basically the game has become the equivalent of a quickly annulled Vegas wedding: we can't believe we were crazy enough to do it, and now we'll all pretend it never happened.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 9 Worst Videogame Launches of All-Time

By Andrew Bridgman / March 13, 2013
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The launch of the latest SimCity was, to put it mildly, not handled well. To put it spicily, it was a huge unimaginable mess – with people unable to download the game, play the game due to lack of available servers, features being turned off, and with a number of updates released post-launch trying to fix some of the major issues users were experiencing. This didn't go on for just the first few hours of its release though – some of this is still going on, a week after release. For a smaller game and company, this might not be such a surprise – but this is from one of the largest publishers in videogames and one of the biggest franchises in videogames. However, SimCity is not the first game to put users through this kind of launch mess. Here are 9 other games that had terrible launches.

9. World of Warcraft

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The game that truly launched MMOs into widespread popularity, and possibly the most profitable game of all-time (also the most life-sucking – it's been played a grand total of 5.93 million years, cumulatively), World of Warcraft started off in a state of total disarray. As the first huge MMO of its kind, Blizzard had no idea what it was walking into, and the servers were instantly overloaded on launch day, with queues reaching the thousands. And even if you did manage to get into the game, everything was slow and glitchy. If this had happened today, it would be a nightmare – SimCity at least has most of their ducks in order a week later – but WoW's woes lasted for over a month, mostly due to outdated servers that were in dire need of upgrading. Thankfully, Blizzard learned their lesson and never had a rocky launch ever agai- OH WAIT

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Article The Dorklyst: The 10 Greatest Devils in Videogame History

By Alex Schmidt / March 8, 2013
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Satan, El Diablo, EA…he goes by many names, but throughout he is the Devil – an entity of pure evil, usually ruling over Hell, and always causing trouble for the noble heroes of the world. In videogames, it's no different – well, except you can usually defeat him and end evil's reign forever. Here are ten games that took the highway to Hell with devil characters worth button-mashing right back to the underworld, listed in ascending order of soul-rending terror.

10. Devils (Toejam and Earl)
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Devils are low-level grunts in the Toejam and Earl universe, so look elsewhere for the moral fright offered by great horror movies and standard Catholic school educations. These red-horned cartoon demons are mixed in with the many Earthlings you need to avoid in the floating-in-space Earth islands you're stranded on. If you were expecting mind-scorching nightmare creatures, please keep in mind you're trying to reassemble your spaceship and return to Planet Funkotron, as a pair of alien rappers who make DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince look like they've seen some shit. It's one of the sillier takes on Satan in gaming, but harshes your vibe just enough to make a fun game trickier (especially when you're caught in a hypnotic hula dance). Still, something tells us this isn't exactly the devil Ozzy Osbourne was singing about.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 20 Most Evil Corporations in Videogame History

By Alex Z. Rogers / March 1, 2013
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According to the vast majority of videogames (also: movies, TV, comics, etc.) out there, corporations are mostly huge assholes – constantly trying to wipe out humanity, develop crazy technology, and generally doing all kinds of malevolent acts in the name of the bottom line. They're more than willing to actively murder their customer base, use their employees as glorified guinea pigs, and relentlessly pursue insane goals that must have been really tough to pitch in a board meeting (how many PowerPoints devoted to the pros and cons of a zombie apocalypse have there been?). Below is a list of some of the biggest, meanest job providers to face a miserable third quarter thanks to one plucky hero.

20. Union Aerospace Corporation (Doom)

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One of the earliest game corporate villains, the UAC is guilty of conducting research on things they should have known were best left alone. In an attempt to create convenient travel options, the company accidentally unleashed a portal to Hell that turned all of the Martian research station's security personnel into demon zombies. DOOM III, a re-imagining of the original story (with flashlights), adds to the company's shame by making it clear early on that many employees' contracts forcibly induced them to participate in dangerous tests involving portal technology – which sounds like another well-known, but less evil company I know (slightly less evil). The company's corrupt security apparatus systematically wiped out scientists and workers who tried to escape or warn the world about the experiments. And when all Hell (literally) broke loose, the corporate suit sent to clean up the mess makes it clear recovering the expensive technology and erasing evidence of malfeasance trumps the lives of any survivors. Strangely, this is one of the few games where your character not only works for the company, but is also a member of the security force. Although it was your first day, so you didn't get much of a chance to check anything off your immoral to-do list before demons started invading.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 8 Most Irresponsible Drinkers in Videogame History

By Andrew Bridgman / February 8, 2013
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There are a lot of things you should never do drunk – drive, text, walk, pretty much anything except "fall asleep and hope you wake up with a low-level headache." The list gets even longer when you're a videogame character, who should probably be saving the world or preparing for battle instead of trying to re-enact the SHOTS video. But that never stopped some virtual characters from takin' a few swigs too many at some inappropriate times. These are the 8 most irresponsible drinkers in videogame history.

8. Commander Shepard (Mass Effect 2)

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While he's supposedly in a race against time to recruit a team to save the universe from the Reaper menace, Commander Shepard can sidle up to a bar and ask for a few drinks. And if he keeps asking for drinks, eventually the turian bartender will offer to make a special krogan drink for him, since Shepard's pretty sure he can handle it (having already come back from the dead once this game, odds are they can resurrect his liver once more, right?). It's a drink that's so strong that it's practically radioactive (which usually doesn't matter for krogans, given the whole "our entire race is dying out anyway" thing). If Shepard takes the drink, he instantly passes out and wakes up on a bathroom floor. Ignoring the nasty questions of how exactly he ended up there, it feels like maybe Shepard should get back to trying to stop those deep space-dwelling civilization-eaters instead of knocking back space-margaritas and passing out in front of urinals.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 10 Greatest Videogames Based On TV Shows

By Alex Schmidt / February 1, 2013
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When it comes to turning videogame ideas into TV shows, or turning TV ideas into videogames, that weird alchemy only works going in one direction. Television shows adapted from videogames are mostly goofy crap. But these ten television shows got adapted into videogames that are worth playing again and again. They prove that more TV should live on in playable pixelated form (even if it's only in our imaginations).

10. Animaniacs

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There's a lot of ways you could go with an Animaniacs videogame adaptation, and I'm still holding out for a Goodfeathers shoot-em-up. With so many options, Konami ended up making two different games based on the show, and got it right the first time with their earlier 1994 version for Sega Genesis. You get to bound through a movie studio lot with Blazing Saddles-like glee, alternating between Yakko (special attack: a paddleball), Wakko (special attack: a mallet), and Dot (special attack: blowing kisses), with a battle at the end against Pinky and the Brain. All in all, this game's as fun as a Wheel of Morality segment with Sonic-esque playability.

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Article The Dorklyst: 10 of the Greatest Canceled Projects in Videogame History

By Andrew Bridgman / January 11, 2013
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Making a videogame is a huge undertaking – imagine trying to make a sandwich, except there's a team of 100 people working on the sandwich. There are writers, directors, programmers, designers, and executives, all with their own opinions and agendas on the sandwich (Should it have ham? What kind of bread should it use? Wait, what shape should the sandwich be?!), trying to merge their ideas into a singular, delicious… – okay, the sandwich metaphor isn't working (sorry, I haven't had anything to eat today). What it boils down to is that sometimes potentially great games get canceled because of the complexities involved bringing them from conception to a finished product. Here are 10 of the greatest canceled projects in videogame history.

10. Mario 128

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After the release of Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64, fans were ready for whatever was next for the plucky plumber. After all – all previous Nintendo consoles had had multiple Mario games (not including Virtual Boy, because it would have been very difficult to develop a Mario game for the three weeks that was on the market). All was quiet for a long time – until Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo's resident Gabe Newell, showed off something called Super Mario 128.

Super Mario 128 (which is 2× 64, to show you the level of title creativity Nintendo was comfortable with) was alternately described as a full-on sequel to Mario 64, a tech demo, and "a real cool lookin' thing" (by me). The demos Nintendo showed off showed Mario splitting into 128 versions of himself across a rotating sphere. Would the game deal with the moral gray area of cloning? Was it an allegory for overpopulation? Or was Nintendo getting super literal with the whole idea of Mario having multiple lives?

Sadly, we never found out. Regardless of its original intention, Super Mario 128 ended up being relegated as a tech demo – the tech was eventually featured in to Pikmin and Super Mario Galaxy, and the next actual Mario game we got was Super Mario Sunshine. Which was wholly satisfactory for about five minutes, at which point everyone wanted to know more about that 128 clone thing again.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 12 Greatest Launch Games Of All-Time

By Dan Abromowitz / January 4, 2013
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The launch of a console is terrifying. A beloved company could find itself dashed against the cold shoals of consumer culture, or exalted into everlasting greatness and high stock prices. You could end up sinking your hard-earned ~$300-400 into a big dusty brick to be boxed up with your broken VCR, or investing in a permanent fixture in dorms and apartments to come. But there, guiding you to safety like harbor buoys through a thick mist, there are the games launching alongside the console, and every now and then there comes a launch game so powerful, so potent, so perfect, it single-handedly justifies that day one impulse buy or that midnight launch line. Here're the 12 best console launch titles ever put out.

12. SSX (PS2)

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Bright, bumping, and bold, SSX was a gauzy dream of a racing game, trading in the white-knuckled adrenaline of your Gran Turismo or your Mario Kart for a Zen-like downhill flow state, aided by dynamically shifting electronic music. The brilliance of SSX was that, at a certain point, the whole "racing" thing just falls away in your mind, and you become engulfed in floating through impossible topographies, borne on an infinite crystalline carpet, feeling the pulse of the world wash over you like a sonic ocean. I guess what I'm getting at is that SSX is basically just MDMA.

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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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