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For whatever reason, you don’t see a lot of video game characters taking time out from shooting dogs or whatever to watch TV. We’re guessing it has something to do with that thing we just said sounding insanely boring, but even so, games that let us watch the characters watching TV have become gradually more common. Here are our favorites...
Game music has been a passion of ours roughly since, oh, 1985, but in the past 10 years, it’s come to mean something more. Don’t get us wrong, we still love the beepatronic music of the 8- and 16-bit periods (and the wave of chiptune artists it inspired), but the past decade has also seen licensed music become a surprisingly important part of gaming. Sometimes, this just means a selection of familiar hits to accompany our music games, but every so often, a game will use licensed tracks to careful, brilliant effect – and in the process, will expose legions of gamers to music they might never have heard otherwise.
What follows are the games and franchises that have been the most influential in bringing strange and terrifying new musical styles to gamers’ ears – and in the interest of making this our most self-indulgent Top 7 since that other one, we’ve asked a handful of our editors to explain what made each one important to them personally...
Whether they’ve advanced menacingly toward our camera lenses, hidden their faces when we look at them or just sort of hovered aimlessly, ghosts have been a semi-constant threat in videogames almost since the medium was invented. One of the great things about games, however, is that they’re a way to explore unusual viewpoints – and every once in a while, they give us a chance to see through the eyes of these undead phantoms, and find out what it’s like to flit insubstantially through an earthly plane that’s perpetually, almost comically afraid of us.
Only a handful of games have actually offered a chance to see things from the proverbial Other Side, but these are our favorites...
It may not be Halloween just yet, but you can at least start prepping yourself early. To help get you in the mood, we’ve brought together some of our favorite Halloween-themed content from across the gaming spectrum in one video. Only a few games over the years have actually taken place on the last day of October (although) some MMOs like to live it up with awesome Halloween celebrations, but plenty of gamers have picked up the slack by creating their own custom content with mods for some of their favorite games. We’ve pulled together some of the best of both, sotake a look and re-live some old favorites (or discover some new ones)!
It's funny how the games business works. Big successes become popular franchises, we keep buying 'em because they keep getting better, and developers keep churning 'em out. Later, we'll complain about Call of Duty being the same stupid thing, buy it, verify our complaint, and keep the cycle strong. What about the stuff that doesn't review well, though, or doesn't sell, or doesn't quite live up to the hype? Those games are usually left for dead, and an original IP hoping to make its big break becomes a one-shot failure.
Aren't these the games we should see sequels to? Disappointing games are the ones that need the most improving, and are the games that'd benefit the most from a second chance. Remember, Assassin's Creed eventually became Assassin's Creed II. We'd love to see some of this generation's biggest bummers – even if they had a lot going for them – take off bigger than they have...
Once a videogame hero has more than one or two adventures under his or her belt, it simply isn’t enough to just have an archenemy anymore. To keep things interesting, they need a foil, a rival, or some other angry opposite number obsessed with matching wits with them. Sometimes, those characters stick around long enough to make themselves an indelible part of the series, even going so far as to make friends with the protagonist – although more often than not, their friendships tend to be shaky at best, and even those involved might never fully admit to them. Relationships like that tend to make for gaming’s most enduring and interesting rivalries, and what follows are some of the most notable...
Historically inaccurate games, big ass news from the 2011 Tokyo Game Show, and Gears of War 3 thoroughly reviewified...
History and videogames have been intertwined since at least the early ‘80s, but at best it’s been a shaky relationship. Until fairly recently, concepts like “realism” and “accuracy” weren’t often a consideration, and they tended to be thrown out the window if a cool explosion or giant monster was judged more beneficial to gameplay. As technology has progressed, however, more of these games have been trying hard to be true to their historical roots – and, predictably, a lot of them don’t do so well...
If there were a list of Rules for Videogames, the #1 rule would have to be, “Always make cutscenes skippable.” But the number two rule may very well be, “Don't play games based on movies.” It's a truth that's been self-evident rarely without exception ever since ET stunk up the Atari 2600.
But Rule #2's been in for some revision lately, as GoldenEye-shaped aberrations and Butcher Bay-escaping anomalies defy the “movie games are crap” truism. Maybe the way to make a non-terrible adaptation is to hold off until you're sure you have a classic property on your hands. Given movie games’ review history, the simple act of getting them to a stage where people say they’re “well-executed” or “worth the price” is a pretty big step...
Composers in games are always the bloody bridesmaids. While Kojima, Clifford Bleszinski the Third and Shigeru Miyamoto lap up all the credits, complimentary hookers and free mini muffin baskets, the men and women behind their games' epic music go unnoticed.
Steven Spielberg famously said that composer John Williams' score in Jaws was responsible for 50% of the movie's success. And when you consider the iconic tunes from Super Mario Bros. or Shadow of the Colossus' sweeping score, it's hard to underestimate the impact a well composed soundtrack can have on a title. That's why we're giving some of gaming's finest composers the long overdue recognition they deserve.