Well hello there! I know what you’re thinking, “When will we hear some more from the awesome Geekstalkers Community?” Well, you’re in luck! As usual the month begins with the Geekstalkers giving you their thoughts, feelings, opinions and general utterings on a variety of topics! For our fourth article we’re talking about our favourite Video Games. No games were off limits so you’ll see a wide variety here and for some people it’s been very difficult to choose!
So without further ado we present our favourites!
Dan Keatis from Nerdifi – @Nerdifi_MCR
As a child who was easily socially overwhelmed, video games were more than just an entertainment medium for me. They were transformative, whisking me away to strange and exotic worlds, lovingly rendered in blocky 8 bit pixels.
Over the years, the audio and graphical veneer may have become more sophisticated but the notion of immersing myself in new and exciting worlds remained the appeal of the medium for me. While I can list a handful of titles as landmarks in my gaming career (please link to my article My Life in Videogames here; http://nerdifi.com/2016/01/my-life-in-videogames-part-2-dan/ …) there’s one that I return to every couple of years.
I first encountered a trailer (or non-playable demo) for Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars on the demo disk of a PlayStation magazine in early 1996. Immediately I was wowed by the beautifully hand drawn characters and environments and the promise of an intricate, globe-trotting adventure. Later, when I got to play the game, I found myself whisked away to a gorgeous, romanticised version of Paris akin to Jean Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie but with a dryly British sense of humour.
The point’n’ click adventures of Lucasarts had primed me for the combination of clever puzzles and quirky character interactions but the voice acting was, for me, the star of the show. Veteran actor Rolf Saxon brought a warmth and charm to the game’s protagonist George Stobbart, an American tourist who finds himself drawn into a web of intrigue following a bomb blast in Paris. He has returned to the role four times over twenty years in the game’s numerous sequels and his affable performance has been the most consistent and satisfying element of the series.
Decades later the game remains one of the most revered adventure games in the history of the genre with a devoted legion of fans all over the world. If you’re a fan of challenging puzzles, witty dialogue and wonderfully realised characters then this iconic game is one for the ages.
Ben from SuperNerdsUK Podcast – @SuperNerds_UK, @HailLeviathan
Dr Bob from South Devon Geek Squad – @SouthDevonGeeks @DrBobChristian
When it comes to the subject of my favourite video game, I have to think long and hard as I’ve been an avid gamer for many years: from the Spectrum and Sega years, right through to the latest X-box and PlayStation games. During this time, there have been a number of classic titles but the one that stood out for me was a groundbreaking title that began an entire genre of games: Horror Survival, I can still remember the first time I played this game; the very tense, jumpy and dimly lit gameplay and the way you would inevitably be caused to jump out of your skin every two minutes.
It began about twenty years ago with a group of executives from games company Capcom, who had an idea for a ‘horror survival’ genre. This game was going to be called Biohazard Japan, but as fate would have it, in America there was both a game and a heavy metal band called Biohazard. And so Resident Evil was born.
In terms of longevity, this franchise has to be the grandfather of the horror survival games. Looking back on the gameplay and graphics alone, it’s amazing that it lasted 2 weeks let alone 20 years. Selling some 71 million copies is quite a feat for a franchise. The game has gone through some changes from that original format, including a prequel in Resident Evil Zero and the game – with finally improved game play – in Resident Evil 4. Still, throughout the franchise the shock and dimly lit horror still stays true to its foundations.
Resident Evil has also spawned three animated movies and a range of action figures, as well as six action films, starring Milla Jovovich in the lead role of Alice, the last of which – Resident Evil the Final Chapter – was released in January.
Capcom’s idea has managed to stand the test of time and has become a true classic and a founder of the horror survival genre. If you haven’t tried this series of games then I suggest that you give them a chance; but be warned, it might be an idea not to play them on your own and in the dark!
My first thought when seeing the voting results for this month’s post was ‘Hell yeah!’ Then I realised ‘oh no! I need to think about my favourite video game!’
How in the hell do I pick just one game to call my favourite.
I genuinely can’t. Instead I going to provide a list of some (probably 3, no promises) of my favourites and why that is.
Halo 3 – Halo is my all-time favourite video game franchise. Weirdly Halo 3 is the first game of the series that I played. When it came out it was the first game I had on Xbox 360 and I spent hours upon hours perfecting the 1000 gamerscore in the pointless venture that is collecting achievements. I still do it today and shout ‘Cheevment!’ at my screen when one pops.
Although the story was great and a perfect end to the trilogy it was the multiplayer that kept me coming back. I must have racked up over 500 hours in some of the best online combat ever! A big part of multiplayer gaming is down to the people you play with and the friends I made playing this game helped make it was it is for me. I have enjoyed every Halo game since but 3 will always remain top of my list.
Telltales Tales of the Borderlands – Without a doubt the best story driven single player I have ever played. Telltale never fail to deliver a masterpiece and this is definitely that.
I have actually previously written a post about this game – shameless plug – here so I will not say too much. Just know that the characters, story, humour art style and pretty much everything are spot on. It is about as close to a perfect game you’ll ever play.
Portal 2 – If you haven’t played Portal 2 then please do yourself a service and do it. Then once you beat the amazing single player get a friend and play the equally great multiplayer co-op mode. Portal 2 takes place in an underground testing facility ‘Aperture Science’. You play as ‘Chell’ and have to work your way through the facility by completing increasingly tougher ‘tests’. The elements to these tests include, buttons that open doors, gel that makes you run fast and jump high and of course the famous Portal Gun. Shoot the blue portal against one wall then the orange portal against the other and step through.
I believe that this genius mechanic genuinely defined the ‘puzzle platform’ genre. The story does not disappoint either giving you amazing antagonists like GLaDOS and brilliant voice acting from the likes of Stephen Merchant. When I played this game I got so frustrated with some of the puzzles only to kick myself and laugh at my own stupidity when I finally realised what I was doing wrong. It is amazing! If you have no interest in playing this then please just do one thing and watch the end credits song, you will love it.
Honourable mentions go to – Bioshock Infinite, Banjo Kazooie, Minecraft, Arma 2 DayZ Mod and many, many more!
Markus – @TheMarckoguy
I have been a fan of video games for almost my entire life. I remember playing games like Lego Racers or Super Mario Bros when I was around 4 – 5. And I’ve continued playing video games ever since those days. Everything from platformers to first person shooters to RPG’s and even a few horror games. And while there are plenty of games that I absolutely adore, there is one game… or to be a little more honest, one franchise that grabbed my heart more than any other… Kingdom Hearts.
So to anyone that doesn’t know what the hell this franchise is, it is… uhm, well… incredibly convoluted and difficult to explain in it’s entirety. But the basic story of it all is about an teenager named Sora (voiced by Academy award nominee Haley Joel Osment) who travels to various worlds based on beloved Disney movies to defeat a bunch of colorful demons called the heartless with the help of his trusty sidekicks… Donald Duck and Goofy. Sora is also wielding a magic sword called a Keyblade, which is basically a giant key that he can use to slay the heartless aaaaaand I’ve lost ya.
I know what you’re thinking, and I agree: This sounds really stupid and cheesy, and it is. But that is also kind of what gives Kingdom Hearts it’s charm. The game (and the entire franchise) is a silly blend of Disney and Final Fantasy that at first sounds really stupid and awful, but when you play it you realize that it’s actually quite good. I mean, it’s still silly and stupid, but when you play the game you understand the appeal a bit more. Also, the characters are quite fun.
The gameplay of Kingdom Hearts is one of the things that makes the series as good as it is. It is basically an action RPG. Which means that instead of fighting your enemies in turns like in a game of chess, you get to actively hit them with your oversized key. Of course you can also use magic and various other special attacks to dispatch of your foes, but the keyblade is what takes center stage.
There are tons of different enemies that you’ll encounter in each games. Most enemies are of course themed after which Disney world you’re visiting. If you’re in the Tarzan world you will fight ape-shaped heartless. In the Aladdin world you’ll fight heartless that have turbans and scimitars. And so on and so forth. You also get to interact with characters from each world too, both in the form of allies and enemies. Seeing this anime boy you’re playing as fighting alongside your favorite Disney characters is quite fun.
The music for all the games was composed by Yoko Shimomura and I love it. As you visit various worlds you’ll get to hear renditions of songs from the various Disney movies. For example, in the Nightmare Before Christmas world you’ll hear an instrumental cover of This is Halloween as you run around. But where the music of the series truly shines is in the original pieces composed for the non-Disney bits.
There are some truly badass and even emotional tracks in there that are stuck in my head even if it’s been a while since I’ve played the games. And while we’re on the theme of thigns you hear in the games, holy shit, there are a bunch of pretty well known actors doing voices in these games. Sometimes it’s an actor from a Disney movie returning to do the voice of their movie character, but there are also some fairly famous people doing the voices of other characters. Here’s a short list of some people in these games:
Hayden Panettiere, Billy Zane, David Boreanaz, Mandy Moore, Jesse McCartney, and Christopher Lee… and there are a whole bunch more.
So in conclusion: Kingdom Hearts is a game series with a really convoluted story/timeline that I enjoy following, good characters, awesome gameplay, great music, and some pretty awesome cast members. So yeah… I absolutely love this series, more than any other game franchise. Kingdom Hearts is my favorite game franchise.
Seb Reeves – @TheRealMrSeb
“Video games, I’ve played a few, but then again too few to mention…”
I was first introduced to the media of the video game in the late 1970’s. I was about 5 years old and an older cousin I was visiting had an ‘Artari – Home entertainment system’, better known perhaps as the ‘Artari 2600’. I had hours of fun on basic but somehow challenging games such as ‘Pong’ or ‘Asteroids’. As I grew the games industry matured with me and in the early 1980’s I found my first gaming addiction ‘Pacman’.
Unlike my cousin we could not afford a home gaming system, but down the road there was a local pub with a ‘family’ room and they had an arcade machine. At 10p a turn, my older brother and I would shed our pocket money into the slots of this machine; and see who could scoff their way around the screen hoovering up dots and munching up cherries to rack up the highest score, whilst avoiding the ghost who did their best to rob you of your three lives.
The 1990’s signaled a change in the gaming genre as the ‘Super Nintendo (SNES)’ and ‘Sega Mega-drive’ arrived in our homes. We went with ‘SEGA’ and soon had ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ zooming around the screen collecting rings and disrupting the nefarious schemes of Dr Robotnik. I remember the sheer joy of plugging the cartridge into the top of the machine, flipping the on switch and the singsong logo of ‘SEGA’ would summon you to an evening of gaming. The other memorable talking logo of my 90’s gaming experience came from my favorite game at the time of ‘John Madden’s Football’ by ‘EA games’.
I remember waiting the short time for the game to boot when the following line would come ‘EA Sports, it’s in the game’, I never got tired of that. I was really into my contact sport at this time, loved Rugby, Aussie rules, Gaelic football, you could always guarantee Channel 4 would have one or other of these playing. My favourite sport was American Football, I watched every match I could, played for my local Amateur team ‘Plymouth Admirals’, and the opportunity to get a load of computer graphics to butt heads at my command was too much to pass.
I left home in 1994, and at the time I don’t think I knew it would be almost a decade before I would have such easy access to a games console again. It was Christmas 2002 and my older brother bought me an XBOX. I was hooked by this time I was really into my RPG’s, from table top to live action and any computer version I could get involved in. I have tried a few, some bad due to shocking graphics and poor story line to others that can clearly be described as ground breaking. This brings me to my final favourite, Fable II.
From start to finish this game had me hooked, it wasn’t just another fantasy based roll play game, your actions effected so much later on in the game, from how people reacted to you to what story line you could follow. I lost count of how many times I played it and the different paths I followed.
I cannot choose a best or favorite game from these three: ‘Pacman’, ‘John Maddens Football’, and ‘Fable II’ they are very different games from each other and all very exciting, if I was not allowed to play another video games than these I’d have absolutely no problem with that.
Lou from Jack and the Geekstalk – @JackGeekstalk @Lola_Flump
I thought I was really going to struggle to contribute to this month’s article, as I wasn’t sure that I’m enough of a gamer to have a favourite. In reality I nearly didn’t contribute because I was struggling to choose a favourite game from so many possibilities! In the end it came down to one of the Lego games or Pokemon, and Lego won. Even then I struggled over which one I love most, the obvious choice (surprise surprise) was the Harry Potter series – who wouldn’t love the chance to run around Hogwarts as Lego character?!
Then as I sat down to write my bit, I actually started writing about the Lego Star Wars games. They were the first I played and I have great memories of (pre-child) playing through the levels [once on story mode, once in free play] with my other half for hours, looking up walkthroughs to make sure we got all of the canisters and gold bricks. True Jedi resulted in resounding high fives.
I want to be able to write about how fluid the story playing is, how clever the levels are requiring mini-puzzle solving to forge your route through to the next stage, how the music and cutscenes add to the overall environment. In truth though, I love the game because it’s fun. When I sit down to play a video game, it’s a form of escapism and purely for enjoyment purposes. I’m not sitting analysing all the details of graphics, etc, because all I want to do is enjoy myself. I notice when a game is bad – when there are noticeable bugs, or the controls are frustratingly awkward.
I can’t tell you that this is a game I play again and again, because although I’ve probably played through it 2 or 3 times, I haven’t played it now for a few years. Instead I’ve moved onto the other games in the series. I’ve just started Jurassic World and that is bloody awesome. But Star Wars had to be my favourite because of the sentiment it holds and the fact that it started my love of a series which has brought me so much childish fun.
Chris from We Have a Hulk Podcast – @wehaveahulkpod @chris_hulkpod