Article The Dorklyst: The 10 Best Multiplayer Maps In Videogame History

By Brandon Hoang / August 16, 2012
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Multiplayer games have the unique ability of both creating and destroying friendships. Staying up til 3:00am beating a Left 4 Dead campaign on Expert will make you seriously consider adding that stranger who swooped in to replace the useless Bot after your 45th attempt to your last will & testament. And yet, sometimes they could cause a serious rift in your friendship with your BFF deeper than that of Protoss and Zergs. And much of the time, it's all about the map. We now present the 10 best multiplayer maps in videogame history.

10. Nuketown – Call of Duty: Black Ops

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First time you spawn in Nuketown, you know that something is up. Something really, really bizarre. You ain't in Kansas anymore. Well, you might be if Kansas was ever picked to have U.S. suburban nuclear testing grounds.

The map itself bursts at the seams with easter eggs. The population sign in town changes with how many people are in game. If you shoot off all the heads of the mannequins spread throughout their tiny houses (yep, one of them happens to be an exact replica of the Brady household), The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" erupts from government loudspeakers. If you take a break from navigating your explosive RC car through perfectly-manicured lawns, you can spot the infamous "double rainbow" in the skyline.

This may be less of multiplayer map than it is a three ring circus. Not to spoil anything, but if you snipe the same guy three times in a row, you'll get called some pretty nasty slurs.

Article The Dorklyst: The 20 Worst Commercials In Videogame History

By Andrew Bridgman / August 10, 2012
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Videogame advertising should be almost impossibly simple: all anyone needs to hear is that it's a videogame, it's fun to play, and…that's it. "Videogames are fun, you should buy this one because look how fun it is!" Nothing more is necessary. But maybe it's because of the utter simplicity needed that marketing for videogames gets so weird – to set your videogame apart, maybe the ad should be a surreal journey into a bizarre, trippy, nonsensical world?

The answer to that question is "no, really you shouldn't do that, that's just confusing", but don't tell the gaming industry that, because they're pretty committed to it. Here are the worst videogame commercials of all-time.

20. Sega CD

You know when you're watching TV and a guy comes on and starts berating you about something and you have an IQ of 35 so you're incapable of speaking other than grunts and…well, relatability is probably not the goal here. The goal is to show how the weird, bad graphics of the Sega CD will cause a wind tunnel in your home and briefly turn you into a skeleton and finally turn you into the Joker. "Sega CD" is a pretty disappointing answer to how he got those scars.

Filed Under   sony   Sega   nintendo   the dorklyst   commercials   microsoft

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 Scared You Away From Drugs

By Dan Abromowitz / July 27, 2012
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I was a couple years too young to have gone through the D.A.R.E. program that so much of my generation fondly remembers in the form of ironic t-shirts. Somehow, though, I learned to respect my body and keep myself on the straight and narrow, and like all of the best parts of myself, I chalk my drug-free lifestyle up to spending my formative years playing hours and hours of video games. While drug education relied on horror stories, video games maximized the coercive power of fear by letting us live the nightmare of a drug-filled lifestyle firsthand. Here's a rundown of the reasons to stay off drugs, as taught by gaming.

7. They'll Make You Explode

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In Grand Theft Auto III, the Colombian cartels have introduced a new drug called SPANK to the streets of Liberty City, and it's a doozy. Something like cocaine on PCP, SPANK is highly addictive and causes paranoia and insanity, which is fine, if that's what you're into. SPANK starts getting problematic, though, in the mission "Kingdom Come," where you're attacked by "SPANKed-up madmen" with explosive vests and a passion for blastin'. The only thing more terrifying than combustible junkies are combustible junkies who won't shut up, and the SPANKed-up madmen have that pegged: they laugh like jackals and repeatedly yell "COME TO PAPA!", among the grossest interjections in the henchman's catalogue. I consider myself an adventurous guy, but if I'm starting my night with something I think is safe, healthy, mom-and-pop cocaine and ending it screaming my way across a parking lot with a C-4 shirt on, I might just pass this time.

Filed Under   drugs   bioshock   gta   fallout   pokemon   the dorklyst

Article The Dorklyst: The 8 Best Videogames Made By Closed Studios

By Sophie Prell / July 20, 2012
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Studios can close for all kinds of reasons – talent has moved away, bankruptcy, breaking off into smaller entities, EA – but when that happens, their deaths are often not noticed nor remembered by the gamers who played their products. Some properties are bought by larger distributors, and many more are simply forgotten forever. We wish to remember some fallen studios and their finest games. These are 8 of the best videogames made by closed studios.

8. Velvet Assassin (Replay Studios)

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Created by Replay Studios, Velvet Assassin tells the story of Violette Summer, a British spy during World War II. Though not as free-form as other titles in the stealth genre, Velvet Assassin nonetheless proved to be an extremely satisfying Nazi-killing simulator (note: very few Nazi-killing simulators are not satisfying, although as of late zombies seem to have replaced Nazis as the go-to default enemy you can gleefully kill with a clear conscience).

The weird thing about Velvet Assassin is that the game takes place mostly in the head of Violette as she lies comatose in a hospital bed, having been seriously wounded during one of her missions, giving way to one of the game's core gimmicks: Morphine Mode. Morphine Mode slows down time (okay, makes sense), shows Violette in her hospital gown (less sense there, but I get it), and rains down rose petals while allowing to execute gruesome one-hit kills. No wonder it's such a popular anesthetic.

Replay Studios didn't last too long as a company, only making three games during their stint as an independent videogame developer, none of which sold well. The end result was insolvency. What's interesting though is the place where Replay Studios came from. Because that place is Germany. Which is where Nazis came from. And in Velvet Assassin you kill Nazis. Maybe gamers weren't looking for a dark, sobering take on the game studio's nation's history? Maybe they should have just used zombies.

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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).

Filed Under   the dorklyst   dorklyst

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
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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 6 Cruelest Hoaxes & Urban Legends in Videogame History

By Andrew Bridgman / May 30, 2012
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In the days before the internet, urban legends and straight-up hoaxes spread like wildfire, thanks to an overeager willingness to believe anything and nothing to keep the rumors in check. There was no one to deny the existence of wild claims like bringing dead characters back to life, with the exception of a few gaming magazines (such as EGM, which – as you'll see – often perpetuated the hoaxes themselves). And when they turned out to be untrue lies, the harsh reality of our crushed dreams stung. But you know what stung more? TRYING TO BEAT MORTAL KOMBAT 100 TIMES IN A ROW WITHOUT SUFFERING ANY DAMAGE IN ORDER TO UNLOCK THE SONYA BLADE NUDE CODE. Ahem. These are the 7 cruelest hoaxes and urban legends in videogame history.

6. Luigi is in Mario 64

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Mario and Luigi go together like spaghetti and meatballs, like donuts and coffee, like mushrooms and fire flowers – so it wasn't unreasonable to assume Luigi would be a playable character in Mario's first foray into the 3rd dimension. Sure, Nintendo had specifically said it was a single-player affair, but that didn't mean whoever was playing couldn't choose between Mario and Luigi, right? Why would Nintendo leave its 2nd most recognizable plumber out of the game entirely, when even Yoshi makes an appearance?

That was the attitude the internet seized upon at the release of Super Mario 64 (note it wasn't "Super Mario Brothers 64"). Luigi had to be there somewhere. Why would Mario leave his taller, weirder brother behind? The first "clue" the internet found was "L IS REAL 2041" (or something like that) illegibly scrawled on a statue: somehow, this meant Luigi was real and in the game (other theories included promotion for Paper Mario). Coming in with the assist were numerous texture hacks, photoshopped screenshots, and tales of playing as the green plumber flooding the internet.

Shockingly, he was not in the game. But then Nintendo released the Super Mario 64 remake for the DS and he was included – along with Yoshi and Wario. It'd be nice if every rumor was eventually validated with a handheld remake.

Filed Under   the dorklyst   dorklyst   urban legends

Article The Dorklyst: The 5 Biggest Mistakes Ever Made By Nintendo

By Andrew Bridgman / May 24, 2012
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Nintendo is an incredible company – they essentially invented the modern videogame market, are responsible for the most recognizable figures in gaming, and have always pushed innovation when they could simply rest on their laurels. However, they've also made several huge mistakes, and it's sort've a miracle they're still a company, let alone a successful one. Here are the five biggest mistakes Nintendo ever made.

5. Virtual Boy

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The year was 1995 – the Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems (SNES) was already 5 years old, and the Nintendo 64 wouldn't be released for another year. Gamers wanted something new – something they hadn't experienced before: they wanted to jam their faces into a piece of plastic held up by a thin legs and play games with ugly graphics in nothing but red and black colors. Or, at least, that's what Nintendo thought was the case.

It's hard to tell what Nintendo's intention was with the Virtual Boy at all – it couldn't have been to replace the Game Boy, because it wasn't easily portable at all, and required a hard, flat surface for use. It definitely wasn't their idea of a "next gen" console, since it was developed concurrently with the Nintendo 64 (which was released a year later). It was the ugly red-headed (literally) stepchild. And, at some point, Nintendo realized that too. They rushed it to release so they could move all development resources to the upcoming Nintendo 64. The result? Nintendo's first major failure.

How bad did it do? It was only out for a year, and only 22 games were released (and less than 15 were released in North America). After that, it was gone for good. Papa told me he took it to a farm upstate, the same one he took our dog to when he got too old and sick. I bet Rex is jamming his face in it right now.

Fun Fact: The game largely thought to be the worst one for the Virtual Boy was Water World. And when you consider Virtual Boy is Nintendo's worst system – that may make Water World for Virtual Boy the worst game in history. Good news, ET for Atari.

Article The Dorklyst: 7 Videogame Worlds You Seriously Don't Want To Live In

By Andy Grossman / May 18, 2012
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Videogames are at their best when they transport us to another world. Whether it be the chance to save an alien planet or to live in a parallel universe where we have something resembling athletic ability, videogames let us see what it would be like to live in other places and times. Unfortunately, sometimes those lives are really, really terrible. Here are the 7 videogames worlds you seriously don't want to live in.

7) Sim City (Sim City)

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Whoo boy. You sure picked a great place to live! We've got a baseball stadium. It's all the way across town. And a park. It's only a few feet square, but it's there! A hospital across the river. It's not powered right now, but we're working on it. A police station. Okay, maybe there aren't any roads going to it, but how are you supposed to keep everything connected when tornadoes come through every few years?

Okay, you look worried. So I'll be straight with you: our mayor is only 11 years old. And I know, I know - that seems a little young for someone to be responsible for the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. And you're right: he's going to throw a few tornados at you to keep you on your toes. And sometimes he'll set taxes super high just to see what happens. But here's the good news: you're living right next to a nuclear power plant because people wanted more residential zones and Mayor Kid was in a bad mood because of Mom stuff.

Oh, hey, also, your wife is cheating on you. Mayor Kid is also her god and told her to. Sorry.

Filed Under   the dorklyst