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The Top 7... Most significant boxes in video games from 2011

Boxes are a vitally important part of the world of video games. We'll understand if you at first doubt this. "Boxes?", you may say. "Those big, stupid, cuboid wankers with their big stupid sides and silly old corners? What good are they in the great scheme of things?" Well consider this. Where do you get your power-ups from? What provides your cover? What helps you solve spatial puzzles? Without boxes, you'd be screwed.

But it doesn't end there. You see 2011 has been a particularly good year for boxes, providing some truly amazing, innovative, and even spiritually affecting ones which transcend even the noble purposes above. Seriously. We're talking groundbreaking boxes. Here are the best seven.

7. Modern Warfare 3

The box of divine retribution

Bad things are bad. We all know this. But you know what’s even worse than a bad thing? A bad thing that pretends to be a good thing before revealing just how blisteringly, soul-honkingly bad it really is. When your brain is cranked up into a plateau of happy expectation immediately before being dropped mercilessly into a stinking heap of “Oh now that’s not very nice”, the effect of the un-nice element is only ever exaggerated. It’s like the difference between falling off a small chair, and then falling off a small chair into a deep hole with broken glass at the bottom of it. And this precise amplification of rapidly unleashed grimitude is exactly why the Airdrop Trap is so devilishly effective.

Above: JUDGEMENT DESCENDS

Disguised as a normal Care Package, it preys upon human instincts of greed, and mankind's lazy cravings of easy gratification. A player spots what he or she thinks is a Care Package falling slowly into the battle-ground. It’s not theirs of course, but they want it all the same. So they run to it, open it, and stick their greedy, slobbering head in. And then their own filthy avarice blows up in their face, as the box quite literally does the very same. See it as a universal force for retribution. See it as a great cosmic leveler, a force of nature sent from beyond to instil cold-but-fair, impersonally-imparted, self-inflicted justice. See it as the Willy Wonka of boxes. Because that, friends, is what it is.

Above: Surprise!

But the Airdrop Trap is not a cold, mocking trickster, throwing out chaos and deceit for the mere fun of it. No, the Airdrop Trap’s lesson is harsh but fair, always offering a way out for its despicable student, always offering redemption if they show that they really, truly have heeded its moral teaching. The Airdrop Trap, you see, only goes off after it has been fully opened. And it takes two seconds less than a real Care Package to achieve this. And thus, the hasty, greedy player, all drunk on the demon liquor of self-gratification, will inevitably fail to notice this suspiciously speedy countdown. In fact they will only become more excited by how much sooner they are to receive their dirty spoils. And for this transgression, they will receive only a swift and bloody death in reward.

The slower, more humble, more attentive student however, will duly note and heed the warning of the dread box, and will modify their behaviour accordingly. They will save themselves in immediate, visceral terms, but will also attain a much longer-term, more wide-reaching salvation. The salvation of self-improvement and education.

6. The Nintendo 3DS eShop

The magical ribbon-wrapped boxes of Christmas simulation

Who cares if it's a gift to yourself? Everyone loves opening presents. Nintendo understands this. Which is why, when you've just bought a game in the eShop, your purchase gets sent to your 3DS' main menu screen in a little gift-wrapped box. D’awww, look at it!

Above: Look, it's got everything a good box should have. Sides, top, bottom. It even rotates. That's a deluxe box right there

Who cares if you already know what's going to be in the box when you open it? The excitement's in the unwrapping. You know you're entitled to the digital goodness contained within, so why not dress up the experience with a bit of added value? The sense of excitement and anticipation of buying physical boxed games is undone by digital downloads these days, so it's nice to have it given back to us, even if it is an on-screen token gesture. That said, there is a way to trick yourself into getting a genuine surprise. Download a whole slew of games, like this:

Above: I HAVE FELT YOUR PRESENTS

You could download all 20 Ambassador Programme games in one go, if you haven't already. Or you could just buy a load of old Game Boy games from the Virtual Console store. Or you could even do both at once (overkill perhaps, but Christmas is the season of benevolent excess). Once you have, there will be so many boxes on your 3DS home screen, all mixed up, that you'll have little idea which game is in which box at all. It then becomes a simulated Christmas within a Christmas (provided you're reading this feature at the time of its posting). You may scoff now, but when it's April the 10th and you can recreate the feeling of Christmas with just a few choice downloads, it'll be hard to deny the awesomeness of this box. Mark our words.

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83 comments

  • SpikroddNG - January 3, 2012 10:01 p.m.

    Snubbing Catherine? Really?
  • kiba640 - December 31, 2011 7:33 p.m.

    I was honestly expecting something from Team Fortress 2... but then my common sense kicked in saying that the only new boxes in tf2 were the naughty and nice crates.
  • inconceivable - December 29, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    I had a lot of fun reading this, but number 1 is a cube. All of the other entries can be opened and closed and contain things. Inside the companion cube is just more companion cube.
  • ZhugeLiang - December 29, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    Truf
  • wrpen99 - December 29, 2011 4:48 p.m.

    The more cube, the better.
  • Superabound - December 30, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    How would you know? How would you know whats inside a Companion Cube? What, have you ever cut one open and looked inside?? I bet you have. You monster.
  • Will.E 304 - December 28, 2011 1:57 p.m.

    I HAVE FELT YOUR PRESENTS Looks like the Editors at GR have been playing too much SW: The Old Republic
  • Dmancapri - December 28, 2011 12:32 p.m.

    Could you guys please do Top 7... Badass Old Guys?
  • Will.E 304 - December 28, 2011 2 p.m.

    Already done www.gamesradar.com/the-top-7-badass-old-folks/ enjoy!
  • Darkshine34 - December 28, 2011 10:50 a.m.

    No Metal Gear?
  • Sjoeki - December 28, 2011 4:52 p.m.

    The boxes in metal gear have allready been praised in the top 7 inanimate objects (really good read btw), and as the boxes in metal gear for this year have been remake boxes I can understand they left them out.
  • rob619 - December 29, 2011 8:37 a.m.

    Metal Gear is the king of games boxes. Hiding in a box slowly moving behind a solider and silently killing him is a thing of joy! The title refers to the year 2011 hence MGS not being considered as there was no MGS in 2011
  • Asloveszuko - December 28, 2011 5:11 a.m.

    The Willy Wonka box analogy is spot on and hilarious. Willy Wonka is more badass than a honey badger. Fact.
  • KillerTofu - December 27, 2011 5:44 p.m.

    I love GamesRadar, I really do...but this is dumb.
  • GhostNappa2k10 - December 30, 2011 7:08 a.m.

    What's dumb about listing the 7 most significant boxes in gaming on Boxing Day? If anything, this is genius!
  • MurderInTheBarn - December 27, 2011 2:39 p.m.

    how about the stackable prison boxes in Riddick? I think they should use those in REAL prisons!
  • ScrEAMaPiLLar - December 27, 2011 9:37 a.m.

    Last entry, Portal 2 civilizations not with an S but a Z. I didn't see much other errors either.
  • SDHoneymonster - December 28, 2011 7:38 a.m.

    Not technically an error - here in the UK words that Americans spell with a Z are spelt with an S, such as civilisation or realise for example. Not an exciting point I know, but one I feel I had to make!

Showing 1-20 of 83 comments

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