Article The Dorklyst: The 7 Greatest Spaceships in Videogame History

By Mark Filipowich / May 8, 2012
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With NASA's space shuttle program retired, our hopes of getting full-fledged spaceships are diminishing quickly. Will we ever be able to traverse the vast expanses of the universe? Will we ever travel from one corner of the galaxy to the other in an instant? Will we ever make the Kessel Run to see if that Han Solo was lying about being able to make it in under 12 parsecs? Right now, it's not looking promising.

So until we have lightspeed-capable spaceships in real life, we'll have to live out our dreams in videogames. Here are the 7 greatest spaceships in videogame history.

7. SR-1 and SR-2 SSV Normandy (Mass Effect series)

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The Normandy is a marvel of engineering, being the only ship in the galaxy capable of stealth flight in space. The Normandy is also a symbol of galactic co-operation, having been jointly designed by once bitter enemies, the humans and turians. But more than any of that, what makes the Normandy is its personality. From the no frills SR-1 in the first game, the sleek and shiny SR-2 in the second to its final iteration in the third as half-gutted, half-upgraded masterpiece, the Normandy mirrors the progress of Shepard and company.

What makes the Normandy so special, though, is not its design, or even its narrative function, what makes the Normandy especially memorable is that, in all three games, the Normandy is Shepard's home. More than a base of operations or a weapon-system, it's home to all the colorful personalities Shepard encounters in the galaxy. It's the one constant in a galaxy quickly spiralling out of control. It isn't just a nifty vehicle or a minor setting; right from the beginning the player knows that that this is their ship and, often, it's all they have.

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Article 7 Reasons it Sucks Living in an RPG World

By Andy Grossman / March 20, 2012
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Role-playing games, be they Japanese or fun, are designed to present a captivating world for your characters to explore. Whether they be frozen fantasy landscapes, lush magic jungles, or neon space futures, good RPG worlds can make you want to leave your dreary 9-5s behind and fight an evil empire or encroaching alien menace. Unfortunately, that's the only good part about living in a role-playing world. Everything else is terrible.

7. Heroes Steal From You

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As a meager dirt farmer, you have spent years scraping to buy medicine for your sick wife. Sure, it meant living in a one-room house without a bathroom, but it's worth it for her. And who knows? Word has it the Chosen One is passing through town. Seeing him could boost your wife's spirits! In fact, here he comes now!

"Hello, Chosen One! Welcome to our village!" you say before he smashes your pots and chests, stealing all your medicine and the only three gold pieces keeping you from homelessness. He has thousands of gold pieces, and powerful medicine he'll never even use during the final battle because it's too valuable, but he takes your goods anyway.

6. Shops Don't Sell Anything You Want

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Happy Birthday! You get a gun-sword and a bag of potato seeds! What? You wanted a new watch? Too bad! Your village shop only sells pain killers, pain makers, and onions. Even though you've lived in your town your whole life, the sales folks only market their goods to strangers passing through for 15 minutes. If you've got a few hundred gold pieces, maybe you could buy some shields and use them as cereal bowls. Except there's no cereal or spoons either.

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Article 6 Terrifying Baddies You Underestimated

By Brandon Hoang / March 13, 2012
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Any programmer worth his salt wants to create a villain that strikes terror in the heart of his players. Throwing creepy looking monsters at us, followed by ghoulish foes, one after the other, is their attempt to stop Player One from reaching the end. If they succeed, we quake in our gamer boots at the sight of a real spooky baddie.

But sometimes, a weird phenomenon takes place. Programmers pull an ol' switcheroo and a tiny minion ends up being a major pain in the ass. Here is our tribute to the little guys that left us with twitchy eyeballs and a warm, piping slice of humble pie.

6. The Hammer Bros (Super Mario Bros.)

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Beating your first koopa troopa is easier than flicking a paper football. So when you finally meet up with the Hammer Brothers, it seems like it should be a cake walk. After all, you're programmed to believe that once you smash a turtle, another turtle should be just as easy. That's science.

Wrong. The Hammer Brothers are real jerks. They don't move in a predictable pattern like most baddies. They hop around like Dance Dance Revolution pros, showering a barrage of evil, evil hammers at your plumber's crack. Once I waited fourteen full minutes for a gap before I got the nerve to race under them. But just when I thought I was home free, I got hit with the HANDLE of a rogue hammer. It wasn't even the hammery part!

5. Heaven Smile (Killer 7)

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Try saying "Heaven Smile" without grinning. Go ahead. I'll wait. You can't. It's impossible. The words "heaven" and "smile" bring about visions of giant bouncy castles filled with cheap beer and meatlover's pizzas.

But there's nothing heavenly or smiley about these guys. First off, they are completely invisible. Your only hint that you could run smack dab into one is a maniacal giggle that would make Stephen King's Pennywise whimper. But once you switch over to first-person mode to reveal the Heaven Smiles in all their gradient glory, it may be too late: they are already running after you. And they can only be killed by aiming at certain pressure points.

And if you unload and manage to miss completely? They latch onto your trembling ass and explode on contact.

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Article The Top 15 PC Games of All Time

By Staff / March 6, 2012
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Thanks for voting in our search for the greatest PC game of all time! We've got your results here, but heads up, we only included the highest voted game from each series. No one wants to read about the same game three times. We'd have to copy/paste the previous entry and add "but with better graphics!" to the bottom. And that would be dumb. So sorry, Starcraft II, but Starcraft beat you handily. Nostalgia is a powerful thing. Not as powerful as a Battlecruiser, but still.

15. Counter-Strike

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It's easy to overlook Counter-Strike today. The landscape is bullet-riddled with team-based, high-budget war simulators. Battlefield and Modern Warfare get all the attention, but those games are for n00bs. Counter-Strike is for l337 h4×0rs. Anyone can hop into one of the yearly triple-A shooters, run off as a lone gun and score some kills. They're mindless. Not only will you die instantly if you try that in CS, you won't have fun. Counter-Strike isn't built for the shoot/die/respawn/repeat mindset. It takes skill and team work to win, like a sport. N00bs spend a lot of time watching games from the grave. If you're willing to stick with it long enough to learn what you're doing, it's very rewarding. No other multiplayer game quite captures the feeling of being the last surviving member of your team and taking out the final opponent in de_dust.

14. Mass Effect 2

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It's not easy creating a sequel to a game that received near perfect reviews across the board, but Mass Effect 2 not only lived up to its predecessor, it eclipsed it. It even allowed you to bring over the Commander Shepard you created in the first game. The Shepard that made you proud. The one that sometimes punched a deserving news reporter in the face. Or, if you messed up so badly that you'd rather pretend he never existed, it allowed you to hand craft a new Shepard with trillion dollar plastic surgery. How they can practically rebuild a man from scratch but not fix Joker's limp is still a mystery.

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Article The Dorklyst: 6 Reasons Why the Empire is Better Than the Old Republic

By Jacob Chen / February 29, 2012
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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

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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

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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.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 6 Worst Leaders in Videogame History

By Sophie Prell / February 21, 2012
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It's February. And you know what that means. No, not appreciation of one another and romantic indulgences! We have a much more important holiday to celebrate: President's Day! Because you totally knew that was coming up and most certainly did not just treat it as an excuse from work.

While the names of Lincoln, Washington and Roosevelt were no doubt cheered and praised, the names of sucky presidents were whispered in hushed tones and evil hisses. Garfield. Cleveland. That one guy who died after 32 days in office. But let us not be ashamed of these fine men. Misery loves company, so let us celebrate the bad and give them company. Let us observe the six worst leaders in videogame history.

6. Arcturus Mengsk (Starcraft)

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Arcturus Mengsk is basically what would have happened if Luke Skywalker had, at the end of Return of the Jedi, thought, "You know what? That whole Empire thing wasn't actually so bad. I mean, I could totally rule the universe and not be a dick about it." Only then he would be a dick about it, and would grow a sweet beard and develop a southern accent. Oh, and he wouldn't have Force powers anymore, or a lightsaber.

Okay, so maybe Luke Skywalker was a bad allegory. Point remains, Mengsk was a rebel fighter that led numerous attacks against the Terran Confederacy due to their oppressive regime, frequently praised by his comrades-in-arms for his single-minded determination. To pretty much everyone's surprise, Mengsk actually succeeded in tearing down the Confederacy, only to install his own dictatorial government, the Terran Dominion. The man clearly has no sense of irony either, as he embraces his new position by giving himself the title "Emperor." Now if only he could shoot lightning like that other Emperor…

5. Garrosh Hellscream (Warcraft)

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Okay okay, I'll stop with the Star Wars stuff. Let's jump back from sci-fi then and instead observe some medieval fantasy leaders, like Mr. Hellscream here. And since we're doing that, let's start with a little family history. Garrosh's father bound the orcs to demons as slaves thanks to an insatiable desire for power and a hot-blooded attitude. Okay? Eternal damnation and slavery in exchange for a bigger war peen. Clearly a family with values in the right place.

Garrosh, having all but dissolved truces with the Forsaken and the Darkspear trolls while expelling most non-orc inhabitants from Orgimmar, isn't faring much better. The guy even attacked Thrall in attempt to show dominance during the Horde's invasion of Northrend. This isn't like Obama vs. McCain or Bush vs. Gore. This is Clinton stepping away and putting Randy "Macho Man" Savage in his place. He's a-gonna git'cha! OH YEAHHH!!

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Article Valentine's Day Dorklyst: The 8 Greatest Nerdy Marriage Proposals

By Staff / February 14, 2012
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Who says geeks have to be cooped up in some basement alone? It's the 21st century. We're fully capable of being cooped up in a basement with someone else. We build long lasting relationships over shared Mountain Dew and nights painting Warhammer figurines. In honor of Valentine's Day and geeky lovers everywhere, let's pay tribute to some of love's nerdiest moments.

8. Super Mario Bros

It's a good thing she's not a fiend for points. Grabbing those "Will You Marry Me?" coins before reading them really would have put a damper on the whole proposal. If you're consuming this article the right way (and not skimming it like a jerk, Mike) then you just watched one of the Internet's first and most popular nerdy proposal videos. It set the bar for countless imitators. Hacked ROM proposals have officially become an Internet thing, and all of the subsequent happily engaged geek couples have this guy to thank. Not that he needs your gratitude. He's busy with his happy fiancée and even happier dog. Oh, did I not mention that there was a dog in the video? You should have watched it, Mike.

7. Minecraft

It's not the only Minecraft proposal out there, but it's the most impressive we've seen. This master builder went through all the trouble of carving his (fairly wordy) marriage proposal in giant-sized letters into the landscape itself, and then built a roller coaster to usher his girlfriend through the experience, one epic-sized message of love after another. As if that wasn't enough, the ride ends with giant lava hearts, a ring, explosions, and one absolutely killer timed-out sunrise. It's enough to make any girl under the age of 35 swoon, and any girl over the age of 35 ask you to explain again just what the hell a "Minecraft" is.

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Article The Dorklyst: The 7 Most Disturbing Moments in Pokemon History

By Steven Romano / February 2, 2012
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Some people have the absurd notion that Pokemon is nothing more than a series about obnoxiously cute and cuddly critters beating each other to the point of exhaustion — all in the name of friendship and perseverance. Okay, they may be kind of right in that regard, but what these naysayers don't know is that beneath Pokemon's misleading exterior there is a seedy underbelly. Here's our tribute to the most disturbing moments in Pokemon.

7) Celadon City Pervert Alert (Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow Version)

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This elderly individual decided to take full advantage of the Celadon City Police Department's preoccupation with the influx of Team Rocket grunts to indulge in his voyeuristic pastime: peering through the windows of the Celadon City Gym uninterrupted.

The sleazy geriatric — in the process of pumping his "Diglett" — unabashedly declares "Heheh! This gym is great! It's full of women!" "Women?" More like a gym full of teen girls trying to hone their trainer skills in peace; preferably without Peeping Toms fogging up the windows. Fortunately for the old coot, your character wasn't a police officer, because if he were, the old perv's wrinkly ass would've been hauled off to the nearest prison, where he would likely have a firsthand experience with a Horn Drill attack in the communal shower. It's a one-hit KO!

6) The Final Battle with Wally (Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald Version)

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Up until Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, your rivals in the game were by and large intolerable asshats that made it a point to go out of their way to either bombard you with putdowns or spring up out of nowhere for a battle you didn't expectt. Wally, on the other hand, was the complete opposite: meek, kind and — get ready for this one, folks — sickly. What he suffers from isn't elaborated upon, but it's enough to cause his family to have a deep concern for his health. And his greatest wish is to be a Pokemon trainer just like you…which causes a moral dilemma here.

Despite his weak condition, and protests from his family, Wally manages to make it to Victory Road for one final challenge against your — at this point — crazy strong character, who he's been idolizing since the outset. Basically, your battle against Wally is a small child making a wish to the Make A Wish Foundation to play a one-on-one basketball game with his favorite star player. But imagine that this player doesn't hold back. Instead, he totally brings his A-game, including smack talk, underhanded maneuvers and post-game showboating. That's your final battle with Wally…and it leaves you feeling like the worst trainer in the history of the game series. So, how does victory taste?

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Article The Dorklyst: 7 of the Most Blatant Rip-Offs in Videogame History

By Sophie Prell / January 19, 2012

Hi everybody! Sophie Prell won't be joining us today. Instead, allow me to introduce myself in her stead. I am Sofia Bell, video game journalist, humor writer, and just plain good-lookin' gal on the Internet. My lawyer has advised me to state that, for the record, I have never heard of Sophie Prell, and any similarities between my own writing and hers are purely coincidental. That disclaimer firmly — and totally legally! — out of the way, I thought I'd bring with my introduction a present. Dear Dorkly, I give you seven of the most blatant video game rip-offs of all time!

Ironyyyyyy…

7. Fighter's History

Let's face it, there isn't a single fighting game in all of history that makes a whole lot of sense, and likewise none that are too original. Fighter A punches Fighter B, both are competing to be top dog in the world's greatest martial arts tournament, which is secretly run by an evil dictator/corporation/demon/all of the above. Have I just described the plot to your favorite fighting game? Have I just described the plot to all of them?

Well not Fighter's History! Fighter's History was different, by god! At least, it was legally ruled to be so when Capcom sued developer Data East over copyright infringement. Why the suit? Oh, no reason. It totally looks like its own game. But hey, you know what Street Fighter never had? A weirdly androgynous Chun-Li. Mmm, just think about what might come from that spinning bird kick.

6. Great Giana Sisters

Let it never be said that early video game developers didn't believe in the concept of gender equality. Or maybe just a cheap buck. Take a look at this screenshot. Or this one. Even the recent port and upgrade for the DS version barely changes what is clearly a rip off of Super Mario Bros. tripping balls on acid. Goombas now have horns, lobster-ants crawl through lava, and Lovecraftian eyeball-tentacle monsters lie in wait around every corner.

And what in the goddamn is up with that cover? I understand that early games had notoriously bad presentation with their art, but this looks like the artist didn't know if they were going for a Heavy Metal homage or if they wanted to purposefully confuse every young male gamer's erection into painful submission. Is this game for children? I don't know! What's that dragon doing in the background? No idea! My entire reaction to this game can be summarized as a succinct and elegant, "What is this, I don't even."

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Article The Dorklyst: The 6 Most Menacing Laughs in Videogames

By Mark Filipowich / January 5, 2012

Like a curly mustache, a good evil laugh can immediately identify a villain. Whether it's the slow, menacing guffaw of a mastermind who's plan is just falling into place or the high cackling of a madman coveting a dark power, an evil laugh can send chills down the spines of even the most stalwart heroes. A menacing laugh carries with it the promise of ruin, despair, and usually at least three more hours of gameplay. Here's our tribute to the best evil laughs in videogames.

6. Bowser (Mario Series)

One of gaming's greatest villains boasts one of the most notorious evil laughs in the medium. The precedent is set in Mario 64 where every miss-timed jump is greeted with the Koopa King's alto bellow as the silhouette of his face devours the screen. Bowser's laugh has all that a menacing laugh needs; it's deep, powerful, and it celebrates the loss of a heroic plumber's green mushroom. Bowser's laugh serves one purpose: to mock Mario for his many inevitable failures. For every thwomp filled hallway that gets the better of you, you can count on an upright firebreathing turtle rubbing it in your face.

5. Gangplank (League of Legends)

Picture this: you and your team cluster in the jungles of the battlefield, a pair of hapless enemies push your defenses, unaware of your ambush. As you pounce into the lane, your allies cut off their path of retreat and you rip into them mercilessly with united precision. Then a harsh laugh rings through your speakers, a red circle with a great X spreads over your whole team and a shower of cannon fire slows your team to a panicked crawl, chipping your health away. Now your easy prey: your enemies regroup and slaughter you, leaving poorly spelled hate speech in red text at the bottom left corner of your screen. Gangplank's ultimate attack is immediately recognizable to even the pedestrian LoL player: a deep laugh that unleashes a huge area of effect attack anywhere on the map. It's the stuff that inspires comebacks, breaks retreats, disrupts ambushes, and fills forums with two letters: O and P.

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