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

5. Child of Eden

The 'Is It Art?' box

Are boxes in video games art? Normally we would answer in the negative to that question. But the boxes in Child of Eden are an exception that transcends the rule. They are more than boxes. They are geometrically pleasing shapes inside a huge computer mainframe of the future in which the player must shoot a load of stuff like giant space whales and rescue Princess Lumi before she gets a virus and someone has to call help desk and get a bloke out to install the latest Norton Anti-Virus software but that might kill Princess Lumi so isn't actually a great idea.

Above: Norton Anti-Virus (left) might kill Princess Lumi (right). Norton Anti-Virus also comes in a box

Other boxes in video games just don't look as good as the boxes in Child of Eden. They shimmer and glisten and glow with the illuminative qualities of the impossibly clever data with which we presume they are made seeing as though they're inside a hard drive as opposed to, say, on the side of a dock waiting to be loaded on to a ship or stacked up in a warehouse waiting to be used as cover in a gun fight. The following image compares some really boring packing boxes in a warehouse from Mafia II with really pretty data boxes in a hard drive from Child of Eden:

Above: The boxes in the bottom picture are clearly much more like art

Another factor of Child of Eden's boxes that make them more like art is that when you shoot them they make music sounds.

4. Super Mario 3D Land

The box of profitable bodily functions

Of all the games considered for inclusion in this feature, none provided a greater bounty of boxes than Super Mario 3D Land. We're spoilt for choice with this game. Just think about the plethora of boxy goodness. There's the traditional regular coin box, the propeller-hat box... Even the special power-up packing StreetPass gift boxes if you want to go beyond the traditional in-level cuboids. But the real winner has to be this little fella, if only for its brilliance-to-rarity ratio.

Above: There are worse ways of getting your head stuck in a box. Like, say, being Gwyneth Paltrow in Se7en

You go to headbutt - sorry, fist-smash - the box as usual… Only something goes wrong. Mario ends up smashing through the bottom of the box and getting his head stuck inside. Wa wa waaa… But wait, it isn't coming off! Mario's forced to run around the rest of the level with a box on his head, kind of like Solid Snake but without any of the dignity. You can still pick up a Tanooki tail when enboxed too, making it look doubly ridiculous.

Above: Wearing a one-piece animal costume and head stuck in a box? Suggest not losing a life right now, for your reputation's sake. It'll raise some embarrassing questions in the papers when they find your corpse

To make matters even worse, Mario seems to suffer a bout of hiccups while inside, resulting in a shiny gold coin gained for every involuntary diaphragmatic convulsion. The coins seem to come faster based on movement too, meaning that if you fall off a really high ledge you can actually manage to rack up some 20 coins before Mario exclaims 'waaaaah' and loses a life. We appreciate this is almost certainly counter-productive given that you'd need to score over 100 to make a lives-profit (not to mention the risk of the afore-stated posthumous embarrassment), but you've got to take the rough with the smooth.

3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

The conceptual box of self-improvement (which is also a real box)

Oh such a box is the Deus Ex box. Not since Hellraiser's Lament Configuration exhalted and damned its souls to the pleasures and pains of greater universal experience has a single box been so intrinsically bound to the process of existential human transfiguration. For you see, the Deus Ex box is no single, physical construct. Oh no, the material box is merely the key, the comprehensible human interface which corporeal man can grasp, and by which - if he has the brave will to grow, and the fearlessness to leave behind the comforts by which he is limited - he may win knowledge of the wider, unseen box which binds him. And through that knowledge, travel beyond and without it.

For the Deux Ex box, you see, is both the literal box and the very medium of transcendence by which one might think outside of the box.

Above: My God, it’s full of boxes…

Truly, Deus Ex is a game of openness and options. Opportunity can be crafted by many means. Physical and mental cybernetic augmentation is the seed which allows such versatility to grow, but surely the box is the vessel which holds the richest soil, and from which the greatest of flowers can bloom. Electrified water blocks your path? You could upgrade your skin with electricity-blocking EMP shielding, but what would truly be achieved by that? Such a solution would come from the superficial surface layer, not the depths of one’s own ingenuity. While said skin would provide a strong threshold against the outer electrical threat, it would also imprison one’s own inner spark. No, better indeed to harness the power of the box. See your problem through the wider, clearer lens of the multitudinous solutions the box can provide.


Above: This man is a veritable prophet

See the ways that the box can help you rise above your earthy limitations, both literally and figuratively. Stack, move, restack and shuffle your sturdy geometric friends, making them the new feet with which you walk on water. Similarly, there is no need to hide oneself away with technologically imparted invisibility when preying eyes look on. With careful thought, manipulation of the box will blind your predators to your presence, and also instil within you a greater understanding of the physical world around you and a more finely honed instinct for understanding your place within it. And with the box, there is no need to weather the infernal heat of the world’s chaotic lower circles. With the box you can ascend to true peace, easily reaching the calm above, where you might pass with quiet serenity. You know, by jumping on it and running along ledges. And stuff.

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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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