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 fiancÃ©e and even happier dog. Oh, did I not mention that there was a dog in the video? You should have watched it, Mike.
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.
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)
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)
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?
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!
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."
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.
Tis the season, dear Dorkly readers. Tis the season for giving, for gathering, for growing and geniality. It's a lovely time of year, and I know a great many of you are just aching to know what games you can pop into the console without upsetting the family's delicate sensibilities as they sit, stuffed at the dinner table. Well, I have good news and bad news. Bad news is you may not want to use any of those in this list. Good news is hey, it's the Internet! There's bound to be at least one poop joke ahead! So go on, get to reading!
6. Wii Sports
Oh sure, the allure is there, and it has been for a good five years now. Create a cartoon representative of yourself and send it to Nintendo's virtual sports arena to have it do battle on the golf course, in the bowling lanes, or even a boxing ring. And why not? The system is only $150, and Wii Sports, the game that launched a thousand units (classic literature reference!), is now only $20 new. Cheap system, good for the kids to mess around with and keep occupied for a few hours right?
Oh yeah, totally. But you know what you aren't going to enjoy? The crap-ton of savings that just went down the toilet because nephew Randy "hurled that Wii remote straight through your new 46" HDTV":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzJDPQMTK9k. I'm pretty sure that the amount of financial damage, not to mention the punishment most parents would exact upon a child for such copious amounts of damage, would be enough to send any parent into a frenzy and classify Wii Sports as one of the world's strongest rage fuels.
Family bonding: destroyed.
5. Rayman Origins
Speaking of the holidays, here's an end-of-year release that's actually on my personal wish list. I mean, look at it. It's byoooooooteeful. And unlike the original Rayman games, which never expounded on Rayman's uh origins, Rayman Origins actually flat-out tells us that our weird, floating-body-and-limbless Rayman was created by moonbeams being given life from the Nymphs as part of a prophecy. It's cute, cartoony and silly, even when Rayman is being a little perv and giving his mom an upskirt.
Yeah. In the announcement trailer for Origins, we see Rayman playfully giving the Nymph that has given him life so, his mom a blast of air from below to peek under her skirt. And even if that weren't quite odd enough, people know what nymphs are, right? Like, you realize that someone who craves sex to a clinically significant degree is called a nymphomaniac? And though the sexual connotations are fairly recent, even the more nature-centered nymphs of the Greeks still engaged in the act. And when they mated with Poseidon, they gave birth to this. Huh. You know, by those standards, Rayman actually looks pretty normal.
We gamers like to kick off our booties after a rough nine-to-fiver, throw our legs up on our cinderblock table, pick up our controllers, and forget about the real world for just a few hours; to escape into a world where we're epic heroes assigned with the daunting task of vanquishing pure evil.
But sometimes we open that creepy-looking Pandora's Box and a springy "nuts in a can" snake pops out instead. We're suddenly pulled out of the fantasy when we encounter a villain that splits our sides with laughter. Here's our tribute to some of the most WTF characters in gaming.
6. Disco Kid (Punch-Out!!)
For a series that introduced me to a soda-pop addicted boxer, I shouldn't have been surprised when Nintendo debuted this rather flamboyant opponent to the newest Punch Out!! game. But no amount of Rocky-esque training could prepare me for the Disco Kid. He was a perfect addition to Little Mac's off kilter rogue gallery, but about as intimidating as Carlton Banks dressed in a sailor suit holding a giant lolly.
Over-the-top, jazzy catchphrases like "Wheeee! Eh, stretch!" and "I. Am. Fa-bu-lous!" don't conjure up images of anyone close to resembling Ivan Drago. When this Chris Brown wannabe returns to claim his title, he makes a sparkly leap into the boxing ring sporting a full body spandex suit that would make Richard Simmons blush. At least King Hippo could take a punch with some dignity
the Disco Dandy just breathes out a whispy "eh!" This boxer wasn't training in the off season by furiously punching slabs of meat, he was searching Groupon for hot yoga deals.
5. Wood Man (Mega Man 2)
Wait what? Wood Man? You're kidding me, right, Doc Wy? This is only Mega Man 2 and you're already scraping the bottom of the barrel for your futuristic robots of mayhem? If you were really struggling to come up with ideas, no one would blame you for making sh*t up. Hell, I still don't know what Guts Man is, but I DO know that he's got Olympian pectorals and the ability to hurl motherboard-crushing boulders. That's enough to make me quiver in my over-sized robo-boots.
His costume isn't even a full grown tree (those can be terrifying); it's a stump. He shoots leaves. Leaves. Get it together, Doc. You can't hope to take over Monsteropolis with robots like Wood Man. Hold up, are those blueprints for
a "Plant Man"? I give up.
Star Wars' greatest advantage is its universe. You don't need Luke to love Jedi. And you certainly don't need C-3PO to love droids. Star Wars is a living, constantly changing franchise set over the course of tens of thousands of years.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise that some of the greatest stories in the Star Wars franchise aren't actually the main movies. Sure, the first two and a half films are some of the best in movie history. But given the reigns, a few lucky writers, cartoonists, and game designers have managed to capture the best aspects of the series without any of the trade negotiations.
7. The Novelizations of The Movies
Hear me out. While most sci-fi novelizations take scripts and dumb them down for kids, the Star Wars novelizations actually expand on the events of the movies. They honestly read like George Lucas told not-crazy people what he wanted the stories to be and then said not-crazy people went, "Okay, time to make this not crazy."
I especially recommend giving the prequel novelizations a try. They fix the greatest mistakes in science-fiction history. C3PO isn't an idiot in the prequel novels. Anakin's character fluctuations are explained and smoothed out. Jar Jar isn't racist anymore, although that's just because you can read him in a voice that doesn't make you feel bad about your country's history.
Almost everything that made the prequels terrible makes more sense and is delivered cleaner in the novelizations.
6. Tales From Mos Eisley Cantina
It's easy to forget that, in a franchise where space wizards and sexy star pilots battle for the fate of the galaxy, there are still people who just get drunk in bars.
Tales From Mos Eisley Cantina takes the wretched hive of scum and villainy and makes it as sad as a real bar. The band doesn't want to be playing there. Greedo is just a putz who was tricked into getting shot by Han (YES!). And remember that bartender who hates droids so much? Well, he discovers he likes droids for a super creepy reason (spoiler alert: don't drink anything in that bar).
Best of all, you find out the genre of music the Mos Eisley band is playing is called "Jizz." Really. And that musicians who specialize in Jizz are called "Jizz-wailers." Which is just the best anything ever.
So you want to make video games. Who wouldn't? It must be amazing creating new e-narratives and cyber stories. Working with a team of talented artists and programmers and probably Jennifer Hale, giving fans hours of joy, what could be better?
Anything. Literally anything could be better than working in video games. Despite its self-glamorization as a cool wolf pack having fun, wolf-packing around, the video game industry is serious business. And like any serious business, the people who make that serious business work are more or less interchangeable parts in a horrible machine of sadness. Don't believe me? List time!
7. You Won't Work On A Game You Like
Every video game is made by a group of people with their own hopes, dreams, and families. A lot of them are nice folks who are super excited to be part of the industry that shaped their childhood. So when you make your hilarious YouTube video mocking the shovelware in a Best Buy, try to remember that decent, mother-born humans were forced to create that Dora the Explorer game. And since around 90 to 99.9999% of games are total crap, you'll probably also be forced to make that Dora the Explorer game. Especially at the entry level, which in the video games means "the rest of your life."
Even if you're lucky enough to land that dream job at Valve or Nintendo or Blizzard, and you get to work on a beloved franchise, you'll hate it when you're done. Try enjoying Halo after you get reprimanded for slightly coloring Master Chief's helmet off the style guide. You won't. The magic will be gone: An endless universe filled with infinite stories will be replaced by a group of bug logs reporting that Nathan Drake's eyes are missing in cut scenes.
6. You'll Be Expected To Move Far, Far Away
When Silent Hill Downpour lead designer Brian Gomez left the project this month, he said "I couldn't keep making the commute between Los Angeles and Brno for another 4-6 months." What a wuss! Just buy an audio book and suck it up, right?
Except that Brno isn't some suburb a traffic jam away from Los Angeles. It's in the Czech Republic. Because Brian Gomez is such a talented and in-demand designer, he was expected to spend the majority of his time in a country that's not the country where his wife and children live.
He's not the only one: job listings for video game companies often ask if applicants are willing to leave America. And stop getting excited, thinking it means you'll be shooting movies in the luscious hills of New Zealand. It just means you'll have to do your 18-hour programming day somewhere the one person willing to have sex with you isn't. Usually Poland.
In elementary school, when we heard the pitter patter of raindrops hit the window panes, we knew exactly what we were in for: indoor recess. When we heard that recess bell, it was a mad dash, not unlike the running of the bulls, to secure a prime piece of real estate in front of an open computer. Those kids who missed out on an empty chair were forced to "silent reading" or paper football. We plugged away at the keyboards with our sticky peanut butter and jelly fingers playing extraordinary educational games aimed at feeding our brains with knowledge. We were being taught without even knowing it and dammit, we liked it.
Hey, Jack Thompson, why don't you swap your Haterade with a carton of cafeteria style chocolate milk and peep this here list. You might learn a thing or two.
6. The Oregon Trail
You knew this was coming. The obvious answer that everyone can see 2,000 miles away is a game that has gone down in meme folklore: The Oregon Trail. And for good reason. It taught us so many things that the classroom couldn't, e.g. you can't go anywhere with a broken yoke. And that the yolk of an egg is much different than the yoke of a wagon. I learned that the word "grueling" doesn't mean eating the sub-par food in orphanages. And that your standard covered wagon back isn't capable of hauling over 100,000 pounds of buffalo meat.
We learned that you never take the Big Blue Riv WRONG! You always choose to ford the river. That's the best part of the game! Well, besides naming one of your wagon members after that jackass in class who stole your Garbage Pail Kid collection and getting satisfaction by killing him off with dysentery. Take that, Ryan Wolfe!
5. Pepper's Adventures in Time
Back in the early 90s, Sierra was churning out edutainment titles faster than you can say "3-2-1 Contact". Pepper's Adventures in Time was one of the best. Not only could you learn a thing or two about American history, but the character designs were hilarious and the dialogue was pretty damn witty for a game aimed at a younger audience.
Much like Dr. Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap, Pepper got sucked into a time machine and had to right the wrongs of colonial America. Except in this point-and-click, our founding fathers are now hippies and it's up to you to swap their hookah pipe for a Constitutional writing quill. What other game sets the record straight that Benjamin Franklin wasn't actually a flower child? And while he did invent the Franklin Stove, he did not invent the hot tub.
Although, it's not too far of a stretch to imagine some beatniks re-purposing lines from Poor Richard's almanac into their "art". Maybe Sierra was onto something
Happy Halloween, Dorksters! I hope your holiday weekend went well. I spent mine watching the Hellraiser series, both versions of The Thing, and shotgunning the entire Alien quadrilogy, relishing in every gory, dripping moment. I thought I'd share some of my delightfully dark taste with you in the spirit of the season. So bust out the popcorn and the barf bags, because below are six of the most haunting, goriest death scenes in video games. Abandon all hope, ye who enter this Dorklyst.
6. Golf Club, Meet Face (Bioshock)
Originally, this list was going to be comprised entirely of player deaths, and all the bad sh*t that happens when we fail to press the jump button at exactly the right time or just barely miss dodging that axe murderer's swing. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there were some fantastically gory deaths of NPCs, some of them were the most memorable of the whole lot. Such is the tale of Andrew Ryan's death in Bioshock.
In movies, we often see characters knocked out with a single headbutt or smack with a blunt object. Bioshock gets a little closer to what would actually happen if you were to strike the soft, squishy scalp of a human with the hard metal of, oh say, a golf club. The slurred screams of Ryan echo hauntingly throughout Rapture as his face twists, and the squit! sound of blood from his temples seals the deal. A man chooses. A slave obeys.
5. Chainsaw Piledriver (Manhunt)
Manhunt is a game with a bare bones plot to thread together gory murder after gory murder. There are so many to choose from, too. Maybe the brutal hack, hack, hack, hack, decapitation of the machete kill? The wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle of the wire beheading? All fine and good, but I'm gonna go with the one that makes my stomach drop thinking about it: chainsaw piledriver.
With the Manhunt chainsaw, you can invert the blade like you're about to stick a post in the ground, and shove it straight down into someone's sweet, succulent gray matter. The chainsaw cracks open the victim's head like a ripe melon, and ventures down into the chest cavity for a good moment or two, churning up their insides like a blender. Mmm, who's hungry?