Magic: The Gathering Creator Richard Garfield Says He Did Not Expect MTG's Success
IOGEAR Fokus Mouse 2 Gaming Mouse - Review
is a postgraduate student at Durham University, and a writer for several prominent websites. Based primarily out of the UK, his interests include detective fiction and PC gaming, and he is currently writing a novel about neither one.
Throughout the past decade, there have been countless underappreciated gems – which deserved far more attention than they received. Psychonauts and Okami are prime examples, revered critically but ignored commercially – largely ignored by the general public.
In fairness, 2007-2017 has produced some incredible games which actually received the attention they deserved – Bioshock, Skyrim, The Witcher 3, Grand Theft Auto V, for instance. Independent games have been more popular than ever – but, that said – the crossover between ridiculous successful and unfathomably terrible games is greater than we’d like to admit.
Franchises like Call of Duty and Assassin’s Creed continue to dominate commercially – despite a noticeably drop in quality over the years. Besides that, there’s really no excuse for the success of bland, dismal shooters like Destiny and Evolve.
Sure, there’s been worse games – the vast majority on Steam – but, those games weren’t supported by massive publishers and trusted developers. These games were…
2017 in cinema has already delivered the goods – Logan, Kong: Skull Island, Free Fire, Get Out, John Wick: Chapter 2 and The LEGO Batman Movie being the highlights.
By comparison, 2016 was responsible for a myriad of forgettable superhero movies, a handful of passable blockbusters and a humble assortment of smaller independent gems – most of which creeped past without anyone noticing.
Doctor Strange – despite its interesting premise and spectacular visuals – was surprisingly uninteresting. Suicide Squad was complete crap, and the less said about Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice the absolute better. That said, there were notable exceptions: Deadpool, Arrival, Rogue One and Moonlight – all of which impressed in various ways.
Here are 10 movies from the past year that impressed in all the right ways…
Difficulty in gaming serves an important purpose - essentially, they grant less experienced players access to the later stages of certain games, without forcing them to spend weeks or months honing their skills.
Games like Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden pride themselves on their often excruciating difficulty levels, so it's only fair that less able players are given the option of making things a little easier for themselves. After all, they paid for the games, they have a right to experience as much of them as possible.
Unfortunately, some developers feel differently, taking every opportunity possible to berate, taunt or otherwise humiliate their players for taking the easy route. In some cases, not only will a game actively punish the player, but it'll restrict content, forcing them to replay huge chunks of the story or deny them a satisfactory ending.
A saga beginning in 1977, Star Wars has become a commercial powerhouse, singlehandedly responsible for three of the most iconic movies ever made, and three of the greatest travesties ever inflicted upon the human race.
After all, Star Wars has a universal appeal, and while certain aspects of the original trilogy may appear dated, the story will endure seemingly forever, only continuing to appreciate in value with each passing year. After all, Star Wars is a timeless concept, a boundless universe comprised of infinite possibilities in which archetypal heroes and villains collide in moments of excitement, tension and catharsis, and good always prevails over evil.
That said, the saga set in a universe far, far away from perfect - the prequels being only one of numerous problems with the franchise, problems that will doubtfully ever be addressed. Here are 10 more...
Innovation should always be commended, but sometimes it’s unnecessary. In some cases, a good thing should be left well enough alone, or else you might risk tarnishing the whole thing. After all, if it isn’t broken, why fix it?
In the 90s, gaming went through an awkward transitional phase, the vast majority of franchises failing to make the transition to 3D – despite several notable exceptions, including Super Mario 64. Inevitably, these games were pushed into an early oblivion, forced to evolve with the times unnecessarily, ruining their core appeal in the process.
In recent years, there’s been a resurgence of 2D platforming, the genre once again appreciated for its efforts. Regardless, that didn’t stop every developer in the 90s butchering their most iconic franchises in a desperate attempt to stay relevant. Ultimately, they should have realised that a great 2D platformer doesn’t always make for a decent 3D experience, the latter defined by entirely separate criteria.
As a result, these two dimensional kings became three dimensional failures. So, with that being said, here are ten games that utterly failed to make the transition into 3D, despite their best efforts to the contrary…
Story is easy to talk about – it’s usually the only thing anyone wants to discuss, despite cinematography and editing being arguably more important. This often means that audiences are stumped by movies that avoid plot altogether, prioritising characters or visuals over conventional narrative plot-points. These films are essentially about nothing.
The Man From Earth is a good example; there’s no corporate espionage or action sequences – it’s essentially just a series of conversations between various characters. It’s about nothing in particular – which, despite what you may think – is actually pretty enthralling. These films have something to say, something important that has nothing to do with a larger narrative.
Martin Scorsese, for instance – on multiple occasions – has expressed a lack of interest in plot as opposed to visual storytelling, which involves conveying emotions and characterisations through reoccurring images and symbols. Taxi Driver is pretty much a character study with no plot to speak of. Here are 10 more just like it…
For whatever reason, representation in video games has become a remarkably contentious subject in recent years, regarded with cynicism and apprehension – mainly thanks to the efforts of certain conservative minded individuals who view inclusivity and diversity as some kind of transgender conspiracy intent on riding the world of heterosexual protagonists.
Regardless, LGBTQ representation in gaming isn’t a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, throughout the 90s, homosexual and transgender characters were featured frequently in popular media, including video games. Moonmist is a great example – the first game to ever include a homosexual character, though their sexuality was only ever implied.
Dracula Unleashed – released seven years later in 1993 – was the first to include a gay character in a speaking role, and The Orion Conspiracy was actually the first game ever to use the word homosexual in any context whatsoever, which is pretty remarkably given the industry’s continued reluctance to indulge in similar representations nowadays in 2017.
There are so many positive examples of pioneering representations in video games, and some equally counterproductive ones as well. Resident Evil Code: Veronica for instance, included a transgender character, Alfred Ashford – who is revealed as a “cross-dressing freak” and sexual pervert towards the game’s conclusion. Blazing Dragons – the classic point-and-click adventure game – is another example, repeatedly using homosexuality as a comedic device.
Those examples aside, here are ten pioneering representations of LGBTQ characters in video games…
Maybe you’ve toyed around with Dragonball Z or Pokémon in your youth, but you’ve never really gotten into anime – for whatever reason. That’s perfectly understandable; after all, anime is a medium, not a genre – its scope and variety can be downright daunting.
Death Note and Hamtaro couldn’t be more dissimilar; neither could Gurran Lagann and Attack on Titan, or Fullmental Alchemist and Mobile Suit Gundam.
Honestly, finding a place to start can be intimidating. It’s a complex world of Japanese storytelling, usually combined with Western influences – equal parts weird and wonderful, yet completely rewarding despite its initial inaccessibility. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a good example – discouraging newcomers with its incomprehensible premise and otherworldy characters, but eventually opening up and winning them over regardless.
Anime isn’t for everyone, admittedly; however – if you’ve always been hesitant to dive in – the following shows are likely to persuade you…
Pokémon is a sensation, a commercial juggernaut spanning multiple generations of consoles, ensuring the success of Nintendo’s handheld platforms – including the 3DS. Pokémon Go alone has generated almost a billion in worldwide revenue, and Pokémon Sun & Moon have been tremendously successful since their release in back in November.
That said, the franchise has experienced its fair share of ups and downs, including charging subscriptions fees for access to online storage. Despite this, the series continues to be beloved by millions (and for good reason); it’s a charming series, but nothing is beyond reproach, least of all Pokémon, which hasn’t developed in any meaningful way in over two decades.
Pokémon Go – despite its popularity – wasn’t exactly a critical success. In fact, the game received some surprisingly low scores from major outlets, apparently failing to impress a good many people. Moreover, the series refuses to learn from its mistakes; mistakes, such as…
Tim Schafer has had an exceptional career, responsible for the majority of LucasArts’ greatest, non-Star Wars related success stories – including Grim Fandango and Secret of Monkey Island. Since the foundation of Double Fine Productions in 2000, Schafer’s portfolio has only continued to appreciate in value, pioneering the action/adventure and point-and-click genres with numerous impeccable releases, including the truly unparalleled, Psychonauts.
Though sales were initially disparaging, Psychonauts slowly developed a cult following in the decade since its release – a planned sequel currently in development. Since then, the company has maintained a respectable output – and, while their greatest successes may be behind them – they continue to prosper under Schafer’s management, moving from their humble beginnings in a clog shop in Los Angeles to their offices in San Francisco, California.
As such, I invite you to join me as we travel backwards trough Schafer’s entire collective works – from his original point-and-click classics to his later action/adventure master classes – ranking his ten greatest achievements from worst to best…