Why split-screen needs to make a comeback

Split-screen gaming is so nostalgic to many people growing up with a Playstation or Nintendo 64. Sitting with the people you play with adds an entirely new element to whatever game you’re playing. Your so called friends would either help or hinder which just adds to the fun of either buddying together with someone to beat Halo on Legendary or trying to mess each other up on a game of slayer.

Communication is also much more instantaneous with no Internet hiccups or muffled voices coming from a headset. It always worked! It feels more natural both being present and reacting to the in game chaos. Things got even more special when you start daisy chaining your Xboxs’ together for up to 16 players to take part in a match where trash talking is bound to ensue sooner or later amongst all the strategy talk.

It is a great shame this feature has been ignored in this day and age of gaming. Halo made couch based multiplayer the most enjoyable aspect of gaming however when Halo 5 released it was the first title in the series to ditch spilt-screen it is also the worst selling Halo game. Coincidence? I think not!!!

Also what is the point of game companies selling additional controllers if hardly any games support split-screen? If you wanted to play split-screen now days you need 2 T.V’s, 2 games consoles. Making buying an extra controller almost redundant.  Online gaming is incredibly profitable for Microsoft and Sony with microtransactions and annual subscription fees getting out of hand. God forbid if split-screen is ever revived it’ll be behind a pay wall. Thank god for Nintendo for forever being the champions of local multiplayer fun. The Switch has 2 controllers attached to it’s console just waiting to be snapped off and played with and has many games that support this.

Probably the biggest shame about local co-op slowly disappearing is that kids these days don’t have a particular attachment to it. They just want to play Fortnite online with friends and have never considered that maybe it would be more fun playing the game with friends near them. They never get to properly reflect on the gameplay afterwards. The fondest memories can be made playing a game with a buddy or even sometimes bitterest rivalries plating against each other. Makes you wonder maybe we’ve became more of an isolated society.     

Yet there is still hope. The press start to play option for player 2 hasn’t completely faded away. It’s still embraced by the Lego games, the Call of Duty games, EA’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 (but far less prominent than the 2005 version) and Borderlands. With a bit of luck hopefully Halo Infinite will have split-screen too.

The Legacy of Satoru Iwata

It’s been nearly 3 years since the former president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata passed away and the gaming industry still mourns his loss.

His famous mantra was: “On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.” These words cemented him as an icon of the video game industry. This quote was everywhere upon the announcement of his death because it proved how a unique a president Iwata was.

His beginnings were humble his family had no interest in tech however Iwata loved playing with calculators that could make programmable math’s games from a young age. This very much inspired him to create one of the most successful games of all time with ‘Brain training’ on the DS. During the 70’s games were incredibly basic that personal computers and micro processing weren’t even a thing yet.

Iwata eventually got a part time job at Hal laboratories and in 1983 developed his first game Super Billiards for the MSX. Hal laboratories eventually merged with Nintendo. Which started Iwata’s climb of the Nintendo corporate ladder. It was tough for Iwata at the time as Hal was still an unproven company, with Iwata’s father being very disapproving of his son’s chosen profession however Iwata’s enthusiasm for coding made him an exceptional game developer as well as a multifaceted individual due to his commitment in the success of the games he was involved with by working in other departments as well as working on weekends and holidays.

Iwata also had the philosophy of creating uncomplicated and accessible games all through out his career. These first games included Balloon Fight, and the Kirby games, however the challenge was there if hardcore gamers delved into the minutiae of the game. In 1993 Iwata became president of Hal laboratories. He’d always step in however to save games from disaster including Earthbound and the Pokémon games, operating very differently from a typical company president with his hands on approach. Iwata didn’t even work for the company behind Pokémon Shigeki Morimoto, one of the original creators of the Pokémon games exclaimed “What kind of company president is this?” He stepped in yet again to make sure the launch title for the Gamecube ‘Super Smash Bros Melee’ met it’s 2001 release date. A fighting game that is so adored that tournaments for the game are still going on till this day.

In 2000 Iwata became an official employee at Nintendo and then became president of the company 4 years after, the first not to be a part of a family line to hold the title. His bold new vision ushered into the creation of the DS and the Wii which launched Nintendo out of it’s mini slump playing second fiddle to the Playstation at the time. Iwata decided to push new innovations in new ways to play games instead of creating photorealistic graphics and stunning visuals. Some may criticise this decision due to the console lacking any HD function but Nintendo were branching out their audience to appeal to mums by really thinking how they could get them to pick up a controller. Plus Iwata believed the industry was too exclusive and focusing too much on graphical fidelity rather than the games themselves. This proved to be a resounding success with the Wii selling over 100 million units.

During his final years Nintendo suffered though some hardships. The Wii U wasn’t the commercial success the company was hoping for and Iwata took a noble gesture by having his salary cut to avoid layoffs. He also partnered with mobile companies to allow Nintendo games on mobile this was something Iwata was reluctant about yet paid off massively after his death through the success of Pokémon Go in 2016. A game he was working on even on his hospital bed.

Iwata’s illness was heartbreaking to witness his hard work ethic meant he’d refuse not to take time off and was visibly ill during press conferences. He even updated his mii avatar to show his weightloss. His condition was a shock to all even Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo’s competitors sent their condolences. This just shows the impact Iwata had on the gaming industry he paved Nintendo through a new era of success with innovation at the forefront. He made gaming completely accessible and sky rocketed it into the mainstream all the while just creating the games he thought were just fun to play.

Why Old Games are Still Worth Playing Today

It’s not just nostalgia that keeps us coming back to those classic games but it’s also a history lesson.  Many retro games have a significant relevancy despite the lack of graphical fidelity. Final Fantasy 7 for example has awful in game graphics where characters just resemble a blob of pixels in certain parts however the story was truly ahead of it’s time, focusing on environmental sustainability and the greed for finite energy resources. That’s not to mention the character development you yourself control. These aspects of the game prove that games over 15 years old can still resonate with people.

Cloud

Prominent game mechanics is something else that some gamers may not no originated a long time ago. Some people think Gears of War is the first cover based shooter but it really was a game called Kill Switch which pre dates Gears by 2 years. It inspired the lead developer of Gears to hire the lead developer of Kill Switch. The Uncharted series was also heavily inspired by Kill Switch but no one has heard of this pioneering game.

Kill switch

They’re many other influential games that set the standard some are of course way more lauded than Kill Switch such as Halo, ditching the unrealistic feature in first person shooters of carrying every weapon you can find in this Mary Poppins like inventory and refining it to just 2 weapons and 2 grenades

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It’s interesting to see what has been carried over or what has been omitted over the years. Old games back in the day were far more cryptic. For example, Morrowind provided you actual in game directions you had to remember and follow while the games successor Skyrim provides you with a marker. Modern games in general provide you with many tools to keep the player on track. Some think this just discourages exploration others think it eliminates aimlessly wondering around.  Whether you like these old school facets or not it’s still fascinating to see what really made gamers tick at the time. Some say the datedness of games make it unique others think it’s jarring and off putting but regardless you get to see what was an industry standard at the time and what was achieved with primitive technology by todays standards but was revolutionary and cutting edge back then.

Morrowind

Some games are in a league of their own such as Metroid Prime it’s really quite baffling how the formula of these games haven’t been replicated. It resembles a first person shooter but is defined as being a first person adventure because there is more exploration than shooting involved.

Metroid

Overall it’s really great to see older games get officially released on the Playstation store or on the insanely popular NES and SNES mini. Hopefully this opens the eyes of longstanding game publishers to re-release games in their long forgotten library. Games preservation is incredibly important due to gaming evolving so quickly. The industry takes massive leaps and bounds every ten years so it’s important that younger generations see what gaming was like in the weird and wacky 90’s and the more sleek and cool 00’s

The 10 most weird and wonderful indie games of E3 2018

Many indie games were sprinkled in amongst many of the conferences at E3 this year. There were lots of indie games that were uncovered this year showing a rise in popularity of the simple yet unique gameplay experience that only indie games provide. A word of caution however this list starts of normal enough but descends into absolute bafflement.

1. Unravel 2

The sequel to the popular puzzle platform can be played right now. The two doesn’t just present the game as a sequel to the first but as a co-op adventure with the 2 playable Yarney’s connected to each other by a piece of frayed string allowing you to swing across photorealistic levels and pull objects to solve puzzles. This proves to be a major obstacle in puzzle solving adding the same kind of brain teasers as Portal 2’s co-op mode allowing one player to progress while finding a way for your friend to join you allowing you his ability to progress further.

2. Sable

Another E3 means more opportunities for developers to really wow gamers with visually striking games. Sable provides a sandy open world reminiscent to the much popular indie game Journey. Although the visuals in Sable are strikingly different being more akin to a watercolour painting both games entice a strong sense of beauty and the most underrated game mechanic ever. Sand surfing. You’ll even be able to meet other players online aynonmously just like Journey. Well they do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

3. Ori and the Will of the Wisps

When Ori and the Blind Forest came out a few years back it completely blew everyone away with not only its striking visuals but with its genre blending gameplay and heartfelt story too. This new instalment will deliver the same poignant experience tenfold, showing the beauty yet haunting side of nature. Traditionally this game would only would’ve been briefly shown at Xbox’s press conference but this year it is front and centre, holding it in high regards. It’s nice to see Xbox develop a new exclusive game for it’s catalogue that isn’t just a faceless space marine and a walking slab of marine muscle.

4.Tunic

Xbox really value their indie games it would seem. Tunic is heavily inspired by the old Legend of Zelda games except this time you play as a fluffy little fox.The combat system looks surprisingly deep as you explore ruins and traverse your way around this colourful landscape. This is all truly impressive considering that Tunic is all made by one developer, Andrew Shouldice.

5. Outer Wilds

Trapped in an endless time loop that resets every twenty minutes (and no we’re not talking about the games time in development) Outer Wilds is an open world mystery game much similar to Firewatch but this time in space. You must explore a “handcrafted” solar system full of tornados and planets with dangerous terrain. The games floaty gravity physics looks spot on.

6. Night Call

An intense and moody murder misery noir set in the not so romantic side of gay Paris, Night Call has you play as an undercover taxi driver that must squeeze enough info from his passengers about a series of interconnected murders before they can be dropped off at their destination.

7. Sea of Solitude

From EA’s Originals branch of the company, Sea of Solitude presents a creepy tale of what happens when you get too lonely by the seaside. It’s not exactly a day at the beach when you’re getting chased by monsters that resemble your charcoal black features you’ve suddenly obtained. This is a story about emotional battles within oneself much like Celeste but far less cutesy.

8. Planet Alpha

Planet Alpha is Sables competition in the striking visuals department. This side scrolling platformer has perilous leaps and relentless enemies in an intriguing sci-fi landscape. Indie games are always a treat to look at and they’re always described as being beautiful but this one is also visually stunning.

9. My Friend Pedro

To break up my gushing in how beautiful these indie games are here is one that is grey, grimy yet weird and kooky. My Friend Pedro is a stylistic sidescrolling shoot em up with added ballet like agility in the traversal and environmental based takedowns. I guess it is majestic and brutal in how the game relishes in how unapologetically violent it is. Think Rambo if he was a winter olympic figure skater. It’s bloody, brutal and full of bananas for some reason.

10. Kids

Another weird indie game for you. Kids is an experimental interactive animation that is strangely relaxing and incredibly hypnotic. The objective of this incredibly weird game is to move with or against crowds of people around the screen until they have all gone. Err I think? This game is pretty baffling. What we know is Doublefine want to replicate the psychology of group mentality. You don’t get as an indie and off the wall as this.

 

10 Gaming Pet Peeves

Even some of the best games have niggles that can annoy the most devoted players. They’re not necessarily game breaking they just sort of sour your enjoyment a little. Though sometimes, a game might have a moment that is so unfair that’ll turn you off your fun play session and put your controller down.

1. Invisible Walls

Bethesda are deemed legendary to many gamers but they’re guilty of this nuisance plague of lazy game design. Invisible walls are less annoying in linear games however open world games that encourage exploration should never impede your progress.

Fallout

2. Microtransactions

Gaming is increasingly becoming a more expensive hobby. You buy the game at the store for the price of £50 to £60 and the publishers have the cheek of not allowing you to have all the available content the game provides. Sometimes it’s just harmless cosmetic items, other times its day one story DLC or loot boxes that lets face it, its pretty much gambling.

3. Overpowered enemies

Challenging bad guys can be a good thing who wants to breeze through enemies like they’re nothing at all? But when you lose to enemies over and over and over again, you start to become a bit pissy. To add salt to the wound enemies that recover their health when you’re about to land that coup de gras are infuriating especially when you grind for hours to face them. Oh we’ll get to that later. Worse still is when you fight an enemy that kills you when they only have a tiny slither of health left. And wait I’m not finished, WORSE STILL is when enemies can kill you in one hit such as in Pokemon and Persona. There is no way you can see the move coming.

4. Backtracking

If done well backtracking can provide a fresh perspective of a previously played level allowing to discover new places and fight new enemies. The Metroid series done this perfectly, however developers sometimes use this as an excuse to be lazy by extending a games playtime with pointless plodding around places you’ve already been too.

Metroid

5. Lack of Variety

Games that are unrelenting in what they are and refuse to deviate from anything else other than, for example to take  cover and shoot fall into this category. You can have too much of a good thing and do need to slow down a bit and do something a little more mundane. This is why I don’t  mind the walking and talking segments in games like Gears of War and The Last of Us. The same relates to Pokemon Go everyone lost their mind capturing Pokemon in the ‘real world’ but Pokemon Go lacked very little variety so everyone stopped playing eventually.

6. Game Delays

They’re increasingly common these days due to the intricate nature of game design but game delays can’t help but give you a tinge of annoyance. Most recently Crackdown 3 and Red Dead Redemption 2 are the 2 big games that have been delayed. This is probably the most understandable entry on this list. It’s important for a game to release the best it possibly can be. When a release date is announced for a game it’s important to take it with a pinch of salt.

7. Lack of Splitscreen

The steady decline of split screen gaming over the years is lamentable. It’s the best feature a game could provide. Gone are the days where you can meet up with your friends and play video games instead you have to pay a subscription fee and play online and deal with lag and entry number 8 on this list. There is so much more connection between two friends playing split screen than playing online. The Halo series provided the most memorable split screen gaming experience imaginable but completely disbanded it in Halo 5. Kids in their teens today will never experience the enjoyment of gaming with your buddies sitting around you.

Halo

8. Kids shouting down the mic

No one likes annoying, homophobic, sexist, vulgar 12 year olds shouting down the mic at you. The disconnet games provide allows them to say these things without any real consequences. Luckily you can report them and mute them and let them carry on their sad, pathetic hate spewing childhoods without you as their audience.

9. Grinding

A common trope in RPG’s that can be avoided only if you want to increase the difficulty of a game tenfold. Grinding involves purposefully seeking random encounters just so your character can level up and get those sweet, sweet experience points.  Grinding really detriments the story when it slows down your progression to that menacing final boss for fighting weak pathetic enemies.

10. Game Breaking Bugs

Yes, sometimes they can look really funny until they break your game and you have to start all over again.

The Norwich Gaming Festival 2018

Situated at The Forum in Norwich City centre, the Norwich Gaming Festival is a unique event allowing game developers to showcase their passion projects to the public. This is Breakthrough Gaming’s second time attending the festival with the event soaring in popularity since the last visit in 2015. Check out some of the indie games I’ve uncovered along with the chats I had with the developers of these games.

 

The Legacy of Ted Dabney

As co-founder of Atari, Ted Dabney was one of gaming’s founding fathers. Starting out as a humble electrical engineer, he then began working on the hardware which soon became the worlds first commercially viable videogame – Pong selling over 150,000 units. It was the foundation of the video game industry that snowballed into the multi billion-dollar juggernaut it is today. Dabney passed away May, 2018 but his legacy will live on.

Before Pong there was Computer Space. It was one of the first games that Dabney engineered and the first arcade game ever made but the game flopped due to it’s inaccessibility and complex nature at the time. Dabney used discrete circuitry work for Computer Space without the use of any kind of processor he also used TV parts rather than expensive computer parts for the game’s physical fuction. This did however gain attention from engineers and techies which led the fledging company of Syzygy Engineering to be renamed to Atari one of the most recognisable and influential companies of all of gaming.

While everyone was gawping at 3 dots moving on the screen on the Magnavox Odyssey. The 2 CEO’s of Atari, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney remained unsatisfied they wanted something more refined. The Odyssey didn’t have sound, the game didn’t keep score and the ball didn’t move realistically when it was hit. Bushnell and Dabney  wanted to create a much more fun and satisfying experience.  They abandoned an idea for a driving game because it was considered too ambitious at the time, so they decided to create a game that would rival the Magnavox Odyssey in Pong which was initially thought up before the consoles release.

Pong cabinets were distributed in Andy Capp’s Tavern, California in 1972 . Bushnell and Dabney knew the owner and managed to persuade them that this machine would guzzle quarters. People flocked to this strange looking machine they played it so much that the Pong machine broke becasuse it was overflowing with quarters. People at the time found the game extremely difficult to play but hard to master. In 1974 the technology was condensed for home use for consoles. Pongs overwhelming success led to Atari being sued by Ralph Bauer creator of the Magnavox Odyssey the CEO’s agreed to the one-million-dollar law suit which turned out costing them less than defending Pong.

Pong

Controversy soon deepened however due to Bushnell’s extroverted nature taking over the company making Dabney feel overlooked and underappreciated. In Bushnell’s eyes he was the only CEO leaving Dabney out of patents and important meetings which led to Dabney feeling jaded and quitting the company although according to Bushnell he was fired.

Upon hearing his former partner’s death Bushnell reacted by tweeting “Ted was my partner, co-founder, fellow dreamer and friend. I’ll always cherish the time we spent together. RIP” Dabney assisted in creating this revolutionary piece of technology. Before he died he became a grocery store owner and deli operator with his wife. It’s amazing how this unassuming old man working at this grocery store assisted in creating the video game industry.

10 N64 games that need to be on the N64 mini

The N64 ushered into a significant new era of gaming in the 90’s. The third dimension, the analogue stick and rumble all these things that are taken for granted today were introduced at the N64’s launch.It must have been truly mind blowing back then, letting players roam these expansive all be it blocky game worlds. Splitscreen gaming with your friends was also new to the seen with 4 controller ports allowing for fun yet frustrating Saturday Mario kart sessions at your friends house. The N64 redefined video games perhaps more then any other console this is why the N64 mini must come out to teach kids what gaming was like back in the 90’s as well as letting us 20/30 somethings bask in nostalgia.

1. Super Mario 64

mario 64

The game that was synonymous with the console Super Mario 64 was colourful platforming fun. Quite possibly the best platformer of all time. It’s become the standard in which all other games in the genre are compared towards. Nintendo really hit the ground running in creating this flawless platformer.

2. Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time

ocarina of time

Super Mario 64 really paved the way towards true greatness for Ocarina of Time which turns 20 years old this year. It was the first game to really create an immersive lived in 3D world. It has aged remarkably well gameplay wise with many games replicating this winning formula of exploration, combat and puzzles.

3. Mario Kart 64

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Quite possibly the best Mario Kart just from the memorable courses. Rainbow Road is like marmite for some however this one is less challenging and more lengthy with races lasting on average for 7 minutes. The fun of this game is really amped up with 3 of your friends throwing shells and banana peels at each other. This was also the first Mario Kart to introduce that pesky Blue Shell.

4. Super Smash Bros

super smash bros

Playing it side by side with any of it’s successors N64 Smash is very primitive however this game grew so much from this initial kernel of an idea into something never anticipated. Its humble beginnings can be traced back here you still have to smash players out of an arena and it’s still good old multiplayer fun but this game is more an intriguing history lesson. The games that have came out since have really built upon this game exponentially.

5. Star Fox 64

starfox

Another game that controls flawlessly by todays standards. Modern day flying games should always reference Star Fox’s gameplay. It’s arcadey style gameplay is what makes it fun to come back too. Barrel rolling is insanely satisfying and the pew pew noises of the lasers will be permanently burned into your brain until the day you die.

6. F-Zero X

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The kickass soundtrack, the insane speeds this is Nintendo really trying to make a game for cool 90’s kids. It was also tough aimed towards teenagers more so than Nintendos usual games. F-zero is very much Mario Kart with a rocket up its arse.

7. Paper Mario

paper mario

This game needs to be on the N64 mini just because of how rare the original copy is going for around £100 on eBay. Paper Mario came out late in the N64’s lifespan and was a unique and vibrant RPG that was more story focused than other Mario games it also poked fun at the usual save the princess tropes that is in practically every Mario game.

8. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

majoras mask

Considered the black sheep of the Zelda franchise, Majora’s Mask is the darkest most twisted Zelda game with a focus on a more tragic event in which you have to stop the moon from crashing into the land of Termina Its less grand and epic than Ocarina of time with more horror elements. Putting on masks that fused to your face still creeps me out to this day.

9. Mario Party 3

mario part 3

A blast to play with your friends very much like a board game you’d had to collect 20 coins to then swap them for a star.  It requires both a degree of luck and skill.  The zany mini games were a highlight one involves you having to swim away from a giant fish  as well as the unique interactive boards

10. Donkey Kong 64

DK

Very much like Super Mario 64 but with a longer play time with heaps of collectables. It was one of the few N64 games that was bundled with an expansion pack that really gave the N64 that extra muscle. It’s amazing now this game has the potential to appear on a console now only half of its size. Donkey Kong 64 is most fondly remembered for the DK rap at the start of the game which informs the players about the unique traits each playable Kong had.

Games that you won’t believe came out 10 years ago

2008 was a phenomenal year in gaming. The 360/Ps3/Wii era was in full swing and gaming innovation was at its peak here. Online gaming became prominent bringing together your squad every evening after school and most importantly when you bought the game you owned all of it. Nothing was locked behind a pay wall. Let’s take a look at the notable games of 2008.

1. Super Smash Bros Brawl

Nintendo’s frantic fighter was a game you could sink hours into especially with friends. The longer you played the more characters you could fight as. Including Sonic the Hedgehog which blew everyone’s minds seeing Nintendos rival mascot in a game crammed full of Nintendo characters.  Plus the amount of game modes provided the Brawl with a lot of staying power. Although the online Brawls were laggy as hell it was the next logical innovation in the series that truly expanded on this simple yet unique fighting game formula.

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 2. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

The supposed final entry in the Metal Gear series is overflowing with Hideo Kojima’s crazy style. Very much a game for the devoted Metal Gear fan who can appreciate the throwbacks to replaying on Shadow Moses Island this time as an older more weary Solid Snake. Although MGS4 alienates newcomers to the series they can appreciate the cutscenes which still look stunning to this very day and the option to avoid the stealthy option and go in guns blazing.

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3. Mario Kart Wii

Selling over 36.83 million copies Mario Kart Wii became the most popular Mario Kart game. It’s easy to understand why due to it being the first Mario Kart game to use motion controls. Every copy came with a plastic wheel but with a variety of controller options was also implemented making it easier for friends and family to play together. Other additions included the trick system which gave you a slight speed boost and also bikes which everyone picked.

Mario Kart

 

4. Grand Theft Auto 4

Although the controls are a little clunky by todays standards GTA4 will provide many gamers fond memories of exploring Liberty City as the eastern immigrant Nikko Bellic. Despite it’s setbacks in GTA4’s dated design and graphics the games biting satire of American culture remains on point. And who can forget cruising around rather dangerously with that stellar soundtrack pumping out.

GTa4

5. Fallout 3

With it’s interesting setting of a post-apocalyptic Washington D.C and engaging story Fallout 3 was the first game in the series that garnered a lot of attention mostly due to the thrilling yet frightening gameplay of taking on Super Mutants and Ghouls. The main draw of the game though is its freedom in tackling the games missions thorough a variety of different sides and perspectives.

Fallout

6. Little Big Planet

Bursting with creativity and a cuddly mascot for Sony Little Big Planet is a game that just gives you the tools and encourages its players to let their imaginations run wild and come together as a community. Who can forget those terrifying Shark survival levels. As a player it was always interesting to see what type of games the community of amateur game designers had in store.

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7. Fable 2

A quintessentially British game threw and threw, Fable 2 provides a unique take on fantasy games with it’s star studded voice cast of British actors including Stephen Fry and Zoe Wanamaker. Fable really let you decide who you want your character to be by letting you express yourself to NPCs. In some ways Fable was very much like The Sims meets Elder Scrolls.

Fable

8. Gears of War 2

The sequel to the game that made 3rd person shooters popular provided more weapons and executions to really let yourself mutilate your enemies. The story was a lot more emotional too focusing on Dom’s need to find his wife. Although saying Gears of War blended together a more dramatic story with a sci-fi b-movie plot. Who can forget that mission when you have to kill a massive worm from the inside it’s belly.

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9. Far cry 2

It’s now a very popular franchise however Far Cry 2 had very humble beginnings and was the first game to really provide an open world FPS. This game is unforgiving and brutal. If you get shot by a bullet you’d have to remove it yourself. If you pick up an enemies gun you’d have to check for rust otherwise it would jam if you try to reload. You’d also have to find drugs to help you with your malaria otherwise you’d feel disorientated. No game before or since has provided this sense of challenge or vulnerability.

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10. Call of Duty: World at War

Despite everyone craving another modern day shooter that Call of Duty gave us a year prior in Modern Warfare, World at War was still a thrilling experience. The game provided a gritty unforgiving portrait of war, you could see limbs fly off after using the shotgun and the passion of witnessing the Russian forces during the fall of Berlin. This was also the first Call of Duty game to introduce Nazi zombies which originally started out as just a fun aracady game mode which you could only play after completing the game. Now Nazi zombies is the main selling point for Call of Duty.

 

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Why the Overwatch charity DLC is so significant

Between May 8th and May 21st  Blizzard have created some of the most noblest DLC out there for the popular team based shooter, Overwatch. The content includes a new pink skin for Mercy, the majestic team healer where the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. So not only will you be healing your fellow teammates you’ll be providing support to the most common cause of cancer out there. In a way, you’ll be healing someone in real life too.

With it’s highly stylised visuals and upbeat characters Overwatch is the perfect game to champion positive change. The voice actor behind Mercy, Lucie Pohl really defines how impactful this cause is by posting on twitter; “Powerful, beautiful and so necessary! Thank u 4 giving a platform to this very real issue affecting so many people all over the world! I’m so honored & humbled to be a part of this”

Normally DLC comes across as money-grubbing, sometimes significant features and even player progression of a game are locked behind paywalls. Blizzard however, are the exception to this, they believe that the passion and dedication of gaming community can be an incredibly powerful way of highlighting issues such as these and not just a cash cow that can be milked for profit.  Providing this DLC is both fun and thought provoking, it’s such a creative way to fundraise and raise awareness to serious issues. With more people playing video games and using streaming services online it only makes sense to utilise the market for fundraising. How amazing would it be to see a video game version of something akin to  Children in Need or Comic Relief where gamers donate money towards a limited time charity event. In return you could get some story DLC maybe relating to the issue at hand or something similar to what Overwatch has done with character skins by only changing the aesthetics of the game.

This isn’t the only example of video games and charity fundraising coming together. In 2015 EA teamed up with the Red Cross to provide in game items for Sim City that can be purchased to support disasters relating to the Red Cross both in game and out of game. More recently EA have received very negative press due to it’s DLC practice. Maybe DLC with a charitable incentive could redeem them?

The parallel between our fun yet seemingly trivial virtual lives and the urgent hard hitting problems we face in our real-life can be something that can provide real significant change. It makes you think if gamers are so devoted into overcoming their virtual goals then surely they’ll have the upmost determination to beat these very much real world problems. As Mercy says, “Helping those in need is its own reward”.