The introduction of compact discs (CD’s) in the mid 1990s as the data storage device of choice for games (excluding Nintendo) had quite a few notable side effects. In addition to larger game worlds, more complex graphics and better sound quality, the increased space available to developers allowed for the inclusion of something quite new – an opening cinematic video that played before the title screen popped up. These videos were often pre-rendered and served no purpose other than to get gamers pumped for the experience ahead of them. It became quite a popular feature, and nowadays many games offer opening cinematics with extraordinary production values. In this list, I aim to offer my opinion of what are some of the finest opening videos in gaming history.
For the purposes of this list, I wanted to limit any choices to purely video footage, or at least bare minimum interaction before you start the game – I will admit I am quite a fan of ‘interactive openings’ combining cinematics and gameplay (the openings to Mass Effect 2, Bioshock and Uncharted 2 in particular are excellent examples), but for me personally an opening cinematic should have no interaction from the player; they should have to do nothing except enjoy watching it. Continue reading Top Ten…Opening Cinematics In Gaming→
As I mentioned in my recent review, Borderlands 2 is stuffed to the gills with references to….well, everything. They range from small homage’s (guns named after characters from Fallout 3, player skins paying tribute to Breaking Bad & Metal Gear Solid etc.) to much more obvious shows of appreciation. In this list I want to point out the ten best references I found whilst looting my way across the weird and wonderful planet of Pandora.
We are coming to the end of August, which means that the autumnal and winter seasons will soon hit us. While this is bad news for anyone currently in the middle of a holiday or fans of sunny weather, it means that we are slowly but surely moving towards the most exciting time of the year for gaming. The end of year schedule for games being released last year was nothing short of ridiculous, and while this year isn’t quite as filled to the gills with AAA titles, there are a few big hitting games that you will be enjoying soon enough. Last year. I wrote an article proclaiming the 20 games that I was most looking forward to, and in a very lazy show of journalism I am going to repeat the process…only this time I’ve narrowed my selection down to just 10 games after realising that I barely played many of the games I mentioned in the last list. So without further ado, here are the games that I am most looking forward to in the next few months. Continue reading Dazcooke’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Games For Winter 2012→
Yesterday, Evolution 2012 kicked off in all its glory at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. For those of you who may be unaware, Evolution is an annual tournament bringing together the greatest players of fighting games in the world, who contest over a variety of titles for big cash prizes. In amongst footage of some scarily good Street Fighter 4 players, there was a demonstration of Sony’s upcoming Playstation All Stars Battle Royale, which is now set for release on October 26th 2012. The headline news from this demonstration was the announcement of two new characters for the roster – Heihachi (from the Tekken series) and Toro (Sony’s mascot cat which is most popular in Japan). This brings the total announced roster thus far to 10 characters; and while there is still time for further announcements, some people found last nights reveals to be a bit underwhelming. This begs the question then – who is left to make the cut?
To answer this question, I have once again asked for the help of a guest writer. Therefore taking the reins for a record breaking second time is Mr Stephen Jackman, a fellow part time games jorunalist and all round fan of all things Sony and fighting. Enjoy!
Playstation All Stars Battle Royale Remaining Roster Speculation
With leaks of characters and reveals popping up here, there and everywhere, it’s hard not to speculate about the cast of characters that are going to appear in a big crossover fighter such as Playstation All Stars Battle Royale. Maybe we are leading ourselves to disappointment or forgetting some memorable names leading to genuine surprise and excitement. Regardless, the process of putting together lists with friends has been fun, and my own views on the matter can be seen below. The way I have structured my character choices puts them into a ‘one or the other’ scenario; I see it possible in some situations that some if not all the characters are included but I think at least one will make it in to represent that field. There are ten fields that I believe will be filled by one of each at least (a cheeky way of avoiding narrowing it down to a top ten list). It is a sort of top ten list but clearly not. Continue reading Playstation All Stars Battle Royale – Who Should Be On The Roster?→
Every now and again, when a game is being developed those involved in the process like to have a bit of fun, and add items and references that one may not necessarily encounter in a standard playthrough. These hidden things have come to be known as Easter Eggs in games, and often times our pervading memories of a game are the strange things that you can encounter that the developers subtly added to the mix – whether they be humorous, informative or a dig at other developers, its always a rewarding process to find such things. There have been a multitude of Easter Eggs popping up in games over the years, and what better time to celebrate the best of them than Easter – the festival of eating chocolate eggs. Below is my personal top ten favourite Easter Eggs that I have encountered in a game. Continue reading Top Ten…Easter Eggs In Gaming→
Yes, you just read that right. Guinness World Records, an institution that has been going since seemingly the start of time, has decided to award the title of ‘Best Game Ending Ever’ to Activision’s 2010 smash hit. The process by which this decision was reached? Ask 13,000 people in a poll.
Now, there are a few things that are at fault here. First off, the notion of setting a world record (let that phrase roll around in your mind as to its significance) by qualitative means, as pointed out by a sharp member of the Gaming Society I help run, is inherently stupid. Records are set by measures of time, distance, speed etc. – not someone’s personal opinion. More importantly, the conclusion they came to is wrong – are you seriously kidding me? Black Ops, with its relatively predictable conclusion, the best ending ever? Nonsense. And then I got to thinking…what would be my Top 10 Best Game Endings of all time? I smell a list incoming… Continue reading Top Ten…Best Game Endings→
Welcome to Part One of a new initiative on my blog – the introduction of guest writers! This initiative will be part of a small series looking back at some of the most pivotal games on all time, focusing on the efforts on Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft and PC gaming – if it proves to be popular, I may well extend the project to take in other great names such as Sega and Atari. The basic idea for this project came about because I wanted to take a look back of ten years of Microsoft in the games industry, and then thought that it would be a worthwhile effort to include the other major players in the industry. What you will be getting is a series of top ten lists looking at the games which have defined the companies and their consoles – not necessarily the best selling games, but those which the writers feel have had the biggest influence over time.
And so to the writers themselves – I will be looking back at 10 years of Microsoft, and I have enlisted some of my good friends to write the lists for Sony and Nintendo – they will be revealed in due course. You know, to make it more exciting when you read them.
And so without further ado, here is Part One:
Top 10…Most Important Games On Microsoft Consoles
When the 15th November 2011 marched by a month or so ago, it marked ten years since Microsoft decided to chance their hand at the games industry. Taking the fight to Sony’s PlayStation 2, Nintendo’s Gamecube and Sega’s Dreamcast with its powerful Xbox console (the first to have an in built hard drive), they enjoyed a great deal of success and with the introduction of Xbox Live in 2002, they created an early monopoly on online console gaming that remains strong to this day. The Xbox, despite being crushed by the PS2’s enormous sales figures, nevertheless came out of the sixth generation as ‘the best of the rest’ with 24 million sales, and Microsoft blinked first in the seventh generation of consoles by introducing the Xbox 360 in 2005. With the 360, Microsoft have continued to battle Sony and Nintendo on a level playing field, and the console remains strong to this day, shifting 57 million units – needless to say, Microsoft’s decision to take the plunge in the console wars has been a very lucrative effort. Continue reading Top 10…Most Important Games On Microsoft Consoles→
I am a pretty big fan of music; I mean who isn’t? Over the years however, my music tastes have changed; whereas I was once happy to listen to random pop songs on local radio, I slowly became swayed by a peculiar mix of rock, indie and BBC Radio 2, before starting to appreciate gaming music in full. I think that the musical element of some games often get unfairly ignored in favour of graphics and gameplay, and that is why I stress in my reviews whether the audio in a game is any good or not. I have had the great fortune over the years to listen to some superb tracks of music from a wide range of games, and in this list I intend to reveal my favourite game soundtracks, why I love them and a few recommendations for tracks to listen to.
This is easily the hardest Top 10 that I have produced because of the difficulty of deciding what games should make the cut. In order to make the process a bit simpler, I decided that only one game in any given franchise would be allowed a place in the Top Ten, and with one exception which will become obvious, all soundtracks had to be original compositions or arrangements for that game. After several hours of listening to tracks, I have finally completed my list. Continue reading Top Ten…Game Soundtracks→
Along with the rise of online gaming, one of the most notable changes to the gaming world in the 7th generation has been the introduction of achievements & trophies; little notifications that you have done something special within a game. My opinion on the system is split if nothing else; it’s nice to have some sort of tracker to identify your progress with games rather than having to tell everyone, but it has inspired a culture where a minority of gamers have become obsessed with getting a higher gamerscore/trophy collection than everyone else, and a unfortunate situation where some games that wouldn’t have been touched with a barge pole in the last generation (mainly crappy film tie-ins) are bought and played because they offer easy achievements. In any case it appears that the system is here to stay, and in the five years or so that achievements have been around, there have been a few truly worthy of testing a gamers skill with a specific title. It is my intention in this list to show off the hardest ones currently available to obtain, from my personal view of course. I have tried as best as I can to avoid including multiplayer achievements, because they can be easily boosted (the act of asking others online to play along with the specific intention of getting the achievement, for example losing matches on purpose) and therefore do not provide a suitable degree of challenge. Continue reading Top 10…Hardest Achievements On The Xbox 360→
A few days ago, Activision made the following statement in its financial results sheet for the first quarter of 2011:
“During the first quarter, Call of Duty: Black Ops became the best-selling game of all time in dollars across the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the PC in the U.S. and Europe and was also the #1 game in the U.S. and Europe for the quarter.”
I am always a bit cautious when dealing with statements like this, because to claim that something is the ‘best selling thing of all time’ always sparks a debate. The important thing to note here is the use of the phrase ‘IN DOLLARS’. That would make Black Ops the highest grossing game of all time (replacing the previous Call Of Duty game, Modern Warfare 2, whose sequel is set to be announced soon), which is different from units shifted. If we look at the issue from that perspective, we would find that Wii titles such as Wii Play and Wii Sports Resorts, as well as downloadable titles such as the phenomenally successful Angry Birds, crush the opposition.
There was one response to the article in question however that made me consider another way as to how to determine the best selling game of all time: by working out how many people owned a game in relation to a specific console. The way to work this out is simple: take the sales of the game in question, divide it by the total number of consoles sold that the game could play on, and then multiply the result by 100 to get a percentage. By using some up to date figures and doing some maths, I have been able to work out the top ten selling games of all time via this method. The results are as follows:
Super Mario 64 – Nintendo 64 (35.3% of people who owned this console had this game)
Halo 2 – Microsoft Xbox (33.3%)
Super Smash Brothers Melee – Nintendo Gamecube (32.6%)
Mario Kart Double Dash – Nintendo Gamecube (32.2%)
Wii Sports Resort – Nintendo Wii (32.1%)
Wii Play – Nintendo Wii (31.8%)
Mario Kart Wii – Nintendo Wii (31.3%)
Super Mario Brothers 3 – Nintendo Entertainment System (29.1%)
Wii Fit – Nintendo Wii (26.2%)
Sonic Adventure – Sega Dreamcast (23.6%)
Breaking down these results highlights some very interesting trends.
Titles exclusive to a console are often the highest sellers
First party games are dominant on the list; out of the ten, seven of them were developed by Nintendo, and HAL Laboratory and Team Sonic are internal divisions at Nintendo and Sega respectively. This ties in with the first point, as first party games are usually exclusive.
The power of Nintendo in getting game sales. To have eight titles in this list shows if nothing else that they know what will sell, highlighted especially by the two versions of Mario Kart, two Mario platformers and three games utilising the Wii controls
The surprising lack of first person shooters. Given their rise in popularity over time, you might have expected more. Call Of Duty does not make this list on the basis that it is a multiplatform game, which splits its sales and therefore reduces the percentage per console (although MW2 would have made a respectable 13% on the Xbox 360). Halo 2 is the surprise of the list in this respect by being so high up, it backs up my idea that the original Xbox essentially was Halo.
The complete absence of Sony from the list is another surprise. Ironically, their success with the PS1 and PS2 (which were easily the highest selling consoles of their generation) means that any one game title had to sell by the shedload to make it to the list. The best selling game on a Sony platform, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, only ever made it 11.6% of PS2 consoles.
And finally, that Super Mario 64 can take home another accolade. It is often seen as the greatest game of them all; perhaps its success here only just reinforces that opinion
I certainly found this an engaging subject to investigate, and I must say that I am intrigued by some of the results. What do you all make of this?
And just as a bonus, here is my complete set of results to show that I didn’t just make these facts and figures up.