Top 5 Most Ridiculous Outfits

You get a mixed bag when it comes to video games outfits. Some look absolutely amazing with some cool and intricate designs. But it seems for every good outfit there is an equal and opposite ridiculous outfit. Ranging from the bizarre to the impractical this is the top 5 most ridiculous outfits:

Number 5

Teddie (Persona 4)

I umm-ed and ah-ed about putting this one on here because it is intentionally ridiculous and it works so well with the rest of the game. For those not in the know, Persona 4 is a… complicated game. It’s a bit like a mix between a JRPG and a social simulator. You have the fighting in dungeons with weird monsters but you also have to get to know your friends better in order to acquire upgrades and bonuses. Mostly the character designs are pretty normal anime style without too many bizarre costumes (the cross-dressing “Miss” Yasogami pageant and the real pageant aside). But there’s one character who never fails to look ridiculous: Teddie the… bear?

Do you… do you really look at that and immediately think bear?

Teddie is a bear, apparently, that lives in the alternate world that’s on the other side of the television. He is fairly cowardly and is mostly concerned with stopping the disruption that’s been happening in his world. Once he befriends the player he evolves a little more, even to the point of existential crises. Also, you wouldn’t think a character that looks like this would be the most sexually aggressive, but you’d be wrong, Teddie basically hits on anything that moves. It’s impressive for someone in a hollow bear suit. Did I not mention that the suit he’s wearing is completely hollow? Slight Spoilers Ahead Well, it starts out hollow. Teddie just gets creepier when he gets flattened after a boss fight and, after doing enough sit ups, grows a human body. It really does make this a ridiculous outfit. Especially since he puts the bear suit back on every time you go into the dungeons. Spoilers End. It’s a pretty ridiculous outfit but then Teddie is a ridiculous character. If you want to learn more about Teddie, the investigation team, and you have about 100 hours or so to spare then I suggest heading over to Giantbomb.com and checking out the Endurance Run.

Flat Teddie is even worse

Number 4

Shahdee (Prince of Persia: Warrior Within)

You’ve been ordered by your Empress to take a ship of demonic sand monsters off the coast of your home in order to raid and destroy another ship that’s approaching. The weather is uncertain but pitched sea battle is. You know there is a great warrior on the ship too. Looks like it’s skimpy armour o’clock!

It’s also important to make sure that the first thing everyone sees is your arse. Perfect battle strategy.

Shahdee is one of the early bosses in Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (the second game in the Sands of Time trilogy) and she is a pretty tough character what with her two large swords that she wields with great ease. So why did she choose to wear practically nothing? Ok I suppose it allows for flexibility but shouldn’t you be more concerned about the many pointy things heading your direction? Besides if she stands about in the rain like that she’s going to catch a cold. Who is she trying to seduce anyway? Her crew are entirely sand monsters. Is it meant to be the enemy? They’re kinda busy what with the aforementioned sand monsters. Oh well, I’m sure Shahdee has her own reasons for dressing in armour that, if you melted it down, might cover a small book.

Nothing getting past that impenetrable wall of steel

Number 3 

Altair (Assassin’s Creed)

You can count pretty much all of the Assassin’s Creed protagonists in with this one. You’re part of this great league of assassins, ready to kill quickly and dispassionately. You hide in plain sight amidst the crowd before striking with your hidden blade. That’s the plan anyway, in reality you were spotted almost immediately thanks to the ridiculous white cloak and cowl as well as the weapons strapped to you while everyone else is wearing some more practical, and era friendly, outfits.

Awww yis, blending in seamlessly

I’m sure there’s some lampshaded explanation somewhere in the game where they say “The Animus just makes him seem so prominent for Desmond’s sake”. Why would it need to do this? He’s already always the centre of the camera (we’re assuming Desmond is essentially the player here) and he’s the one you can control. You’re not going to lose him yourself because you walked into a crowd. But apparently Desmond has some sort of agnosia and can’t recognise Altair (or his other ancestors) without them being bright white and covered in intricate weaponry. What’s the point in have a hidden blade when the rest of you is covered in swords, daggers, and throwing knives? Remember, kids, if you’re trying to keep a low profile then you shouldn’t also try to look cool. That just leads to guards shanking you as you try to complete your mission.

Number 2

Catwoman (Batman: Arkham City)

The Arkham series are pretty damn good games. It captures the feel of Batman really well while still allowing for challenging gameplay. It’s also great to see the villains and allowing some of the less well-known ones to get showcased, even if briefly.  But you know what does annoy me about the game? Catwoman. For me the best incarnation of Catwoman is the Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman from Batman Returns. I never liked it when she is portrayed as effortlessly perfect (I really hated the Catwoman in the Dark Knight Rises). So it’s a bit disappointing when they decided to play up the effortless sex-kitten style when it came to her appearance in Batman: Arkham City.

Amazing gymnastic skills, lessened only by the constant check to make sure her boobs haven’t fallen out.

There is an argument for overly sexualised female characters that goes “By what right do you proclaim that this material is offensive? I enjoy looking at it as well as enjoying the game. The sexualisation is an addition that is enjoyable and causes no harm.” This is normally shortened to “Stop spoiling my fun!” Well if you really want to sit there and look at sexy Catwoman pictures then there are websites (most of them DeviantArt) ready to cater to your needs. Games don’t need to have this unless it is somehow vitally important to the plot. She is supposed to be an unsurpassed thief but clearly no one told her that it might perhaps be easier, when she’s climbing all over the walls and ceilings, to zip her top up. Seriously, it’s essentially the most prominent feature of her otherwise rather bland look. I think that it annoyed me is why I’ve put it so high.

Some sort of glue has to have been employed

And Number 1

Dante (Dante’s Inferno)

 

O Muses! O high genius! now vouchsafe
Your aid! O mind! that all I saw hast kept
Safe in a written record, here thy worth
And eminent endowments come to proof.

This is actually from the Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, (Canto 2 Lines 7 to 10 to be exact). What sort of impression, when you read the poetry, do you get of Dante himself? Florence born Italian poet with a love of the Roman poet Virgil? Or perhaps the muscle-bound crusader with cloth stitched into him? (Seriously Dante wasn’t even born during the Third Crusade. But let’s not get into the liberties this game takes or we’d be here forever). When you want to be taken seriously as a warrior in hell you know you’ve got to look the part. Apparently Dante likes to go for the ridiculous:

You know, I think it’s just because I keep trying to picture him writing fanboy poetry about Virgil while dressed as this.

So we have ridiculous armour that isn’t going to protect your vital organ (they’re called vital for a reason), but on top of that we have a red cloth cross sewn into his chest. Oh and you can’t see it in the picture here but that spinal column he’s carrying is actually an enormous scythe. All you need to add here is some really laboured breathing to show off the pecs to full effect. It really is just trying to imagine the actual Dante dressed like this that makes it so ridiculous. I suppose if you play the game you have to play it with the mindset of “Someone heard about the Divine Comedy and decided to make up their own stuff because their ideas are waaaaaay cooler than all that Italian poetry rubbish.” The game itself could top this list, even though it’s meant to be about ridiculous outfits. I understand it’s all over the top stylistically speaking but they could have done something to stop Dante from looking quite so silly. Nothing says ‘Take me seriously! I’m so dark and brooding!’ like having your bare chest out with a piece of cloth stitched into it.

I’M GOING TO SHOVE THIS SCYTHE INTO YOUR FACE!! – Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy (Canto 6 Line 23)

Alice: Madness Returns

Remember, Alice, not all here is as it seems. I’m not even here, nor a I speaking right now. In fact, you’re saying everything you think I’m saying. And now I’m a giant hippo or something weird… wooooooo….

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is amazingly recognisable. It’s one of the staples of childhood literature and has been adapted many times (even into a porn parody). People will probably have seen the Disney adaptation and it’s highly likely that you will have seen the Tim Burton adaptation of 2010 (which I hate but we can go into that another time). Because of the weirdness of the story it is almost always one that people like to twist, to make dark and scary. Surprisingly few manage to do it effectively.

Enter American McGee, an American game designer with an interesting childhood and just the right experience to make a dark and twisted version of Alice in Wonderland that actually keeps the ideas of the original story. The resulting product was a game called American McGee’s Alice. It’s still a pretty excellent game, though it has dated, and well worth the high reviews it received. The story is set after the events of Through the Lookinglass and features a slightly older Alice. A fire breaks out in Alice’s home, destroying everything and killing the entire Liddell family apart from Alice who is so wracked with survivors guilt she is institutionalised. To reflect Alice’s shattered psyche, Wonderland has become twisted and the Queen of Hearts has become even more tyrannical. Thus Alice is forced to return to Wonderland in order to help restore it, and in the process herself.

Wonderland's a little bit different

The sequel to American McGee’s Alice came some 11 years afterwards and is entitled Alice: Madness Returns. Alice is now 19 years old but is still haunted by her guilt and her insanity. Now, after her stay in Rutledge Asylum, she is being treated by Doctor Angus Bumby who is trying to hypnotise Alice into forgetting her trauma. But the treatment seems to be having little effect as Alice is hurled back into Wonderland where she is informed by the Cheshire Cat that there is a new evil destroying Wonderland and Alice must, once more, defeat it. Along the way she must piece her memory together so she can try and learn what really happened on the night of the fire.

The game itself is an third-person action puzzle platformer. As Alice the players must navigate the unusual environment of Wonderland, battle the various hostile creatures within, and mostly go from one character to another as they give her cryptic messages and, generally speaking, add greater confusion to the story. There is a real theme of industrialisation, with horrific mechanical monstrosities making up large areas of the environment. Many of the enemies themselves are made of Ruin, a sort of black, polluted sludge. The combat makes use of Alice’s agility as well as four weapons, which can be used for combo attacks.

She is not messing around with that Vorpal Blade

The combat is entertaining but can get a little stale. It’s mostly a matter of learning cues so you can dodge enemy attacks and then wildly swinging at them until it’s time to dodge again. There are quite a number of enemies with different forms of attack so there is variety and the animations on both Alice and her opponents look excellent. Even the designs are interesting to look at, from the sludge and machinery of the ruin to the Eye-Pot, a giant teapot with one red eye and sharp legs for stabbing and a nozzle for firing boiling liquids (maybe tea, who knows) at you. The platforming is well done, making use of Alice’s excellent manoeuvrability. There are some frustrating moments with the platforming but not usually anything that ends up with controller-snapping frustration.

But the best things about the game are the style and the art. This is a beautiful game with absolutely amazing environments. Each section you play through looks unique and incredibly imaginative, fitting the theme of Wonderland very neatly. But even the dreary look of Ol’ London Taaan is imaginative in a very bleak way.

No seriously, she is NOT messing around with that Vorpal Blade

Besides the moments of frustrating platforming the game’s biggest flaw is probably that the combat can get a little same-y. However people will experience this to different levels and it is somewhat lowered on higher difficulties. Playing on some the hardest difficulties makes an enemy’s attack very punishing meaning that you have to keep yourself focused. But even with this the limited number of weapons, attacks, and combos mean that players with a more action-oriented mind may find themselves a little tired of the hack n’ slash methods by the end.

Also, if you do not enjoy looking out for secrets and collectibles then this may not be for you. The game is full of things to collect, teeth for upgrades, memories to piece together the story, bottles for… well, bottles mostly. The environments are fun enough to explore and interesting enough to look at but trying to find that one last hidden memory in the entire level can be very frustrating.

Beware the Eye-Pot, my girl, the legs that stab, the spout that spits.

If you are a fan of Alice in Wonderland then you’ll enjoy the many interesting approaches to the characters. It’s true that many people try to darken the stories of Alice but this is one of the very few times that it’s done well. Why? Well it’s mostly due to how Alice is portrayed. She doesn’t stare in wonder and everything around her but is just generally quite annoyed at how silly it all is. Very few adaptations seem to realise that this is how Alice is supposed to act.

Anyway, as a game it works well but the repetition and collectibles may put some gamers off. But there are much worse ways to tell a story of Alice (I’m looking at you, Tim Burton).

 

Sorry this one was a bit late, friends, various stresses have been catching up with me and I completely forgot to upload yesterday. Will continue with regular article tomorrow.

 

My Top 5 Scary Characters

Muahahahaha! Welcome, dear reader, to the chamber of horrors! Well, my chamber of horrors, because this is my personal top 5 scary characters. I doubt you’ll agree with most of them because, let’s face it, what’s scary is subjective. Plus a number of these are things that used to scare me when I was younger and have just stuck in my brain. As usual I’m keeping spoilers to a minimum but it depends on your idea of a spoiler. So without further ado:

Number 5

Game: Puzzle Agent

What? A harmless little puzzle game? A harmless little funny puzzle game? What could be scary in a very simple game about an FBI agent in charge of the Puzzles division going off to investigate a crime?

Character: The Hidden People

Do not mess with these gnomes

Besides everything?! The art in this game is pretty cool but goddamn it makes for some terrifying people when they scream. But even worse than that is the little red gnomes known as the Hidden People. I think most of the terror comes from the fact that you just aren’t expecting this game to be scary. Then suddenly killer gnomes everywhere! What’s worse is that they sometimes just appear while you’re doing a puzzle. So you’re concentrating very hard on the game and suddenly these creatures appear! Not cool, Puzzle Agent, not cool.

Number 4

Game: Condemned: Criminal Origins

Maybe the only genuine horror game on this list, Condemned: Criminal Origins puts you in the role of Serial Crimes Unit officer Ethan Thomas as he investigates a series of brutal, ritualistic murders in a city that is slowly going mad. Fighting your way through armies of mad homeless and drug addicts while making your way through various abandoned locations is bad enough but one of the scariest bits of the game…

Character: Serial Killer X

Get ready for death, Agent Thomas, it will come visiting again

There is a sequence towards the end of the game where you have been making your way through an old farmhouse, locating clues and solving riddles. Near the end you are confronted and get chased by a serial killer. This sounds pretty standard but this game does this scene so well. The killer is about the same strength as your character and he’s clever, much cleverer than the other enemies you fight. He’s also a little faster meaning that once he retreats and you chase after him he’s already gone. Now it’s a game of cat and mouse as you each try to find the other and get the upper hand, waiting for him to come behind you with a rusty pipe. Oh and it’s not in some dark, dank villains lair, it’s in a house. A normal house, just like one you might live in.

Number 3

Game: Space Quest IV

The Space Quest series is amusing, oddly charming, kinda freaky, and, quite frankly, a classic. So what, in these stories about an incompetent space janitor getting himself thrust into the role of reluctant hero, could possibly be so scary?

Character: the Cyborgs

The things are bad enough to look at, and then they scream.

Quite early on in this game you get introduced to the many different ways in which Roger Wilco can die. This game is so full of ways to die that the video showing all the possible methods is more than twenty minutes long. The first death shown on that video is what happens when one of the Cyborgs finds you. The mad lip twitch, raising their hand, and then screaming at you is terrifying and it’s so early in the game that you just aren’t expecting it. It’s pretty nightmarish.

Number 2

Game: King’s Quest VII

Like Puzzle Agent this game shouldn’t be scary, it’s  high fantasy and very cartoony with talking animals and a wicked witch and royalty saving the day. Yet this game has some incredibly freaky elements, from simple giant scorpions and trolls to living nightmares, murderous children, a woman who literally cried her eyes out, and…

Character: The Bo(o)geyman

Sadly there aren’t many good pictures of him. There are some videos on youtube that show you more.

I’m English so to me it’s always Bogeyman but the Boogeyman of King’s Quest VII is unlike any other. The level of the game with him is full of sadists and undead creatures but he is the worst. If you linger to long on one screen he’ll crawl up out of the ground, leap on top of you, and eat you. With his long, thin limbs, rotting flesh, and sharp teeth he’s scary enough but it’s worse to know that he’s always there, just waiting for you to be a little slow on a screen. There is a theme to warn of his coming that just ends up creating a Pavlovian response after a while and just causes panic.

And Number 1

Game: Thief: Deadly Shadows

The Thief series is probably the best example of a stealth game done right. Very few games have been able to implement stealth even half as well as these games, meaning that they have a pretty well deserved reputation. You play as Garrett, master thief, who is mostly just looking to rob enough people to keep himself in luxury for the rest of his life. Yet he seems unable to go even a few weeks without getting involved with zombies, trickster gods, cultists, and even robots. But there is one challenge that is probably the most memorable part of the third game.

Character: The Shalebridge Cradle

The Cradle remembers you now….

But wait, that doesn’t sound (or look) like a character. Well yes, you’d be right there. The Cradle isn’t like a character like the others in this list but it is a character in a very real sense. There is a malevolent presence there that manifests itself in a whole load of different ways. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Cradle was originally an orphanage and then became an insane asylum, while still functioning as an orphanage. This is an abandoned orphanage/asylum, how is that not the best horror combo ever?

The house manifests itself through Puppets, the remains of the nine insane patients which are wrapped in linen bandages and wear cages on their hands and heads. There are schools of thought which sat they aren’t undead like zombies but are just plain dead. Except the Cradle is controlling them. Oh and they’re almost impossible to kill. If they detect you they will scream and run at you and beat you. So you’re practically always on the lookout for them, holding your breath in case they can somehow hear you in game. But the Puppets aren’t all the Cradle had to throw at you. Beyond spirits of the dead, and the silhouetted Cradle Staff, you have to contend with viewing the awful history of the place and it’s methods of treatment. Quite literally re-living them. But the worst thing *slight spoiler alert* once you have completed the level, once you’ve done all your objectives, you can’t leave. The Cradle won’t let you, it remembers you now and it’s not going to let you go. This is the main reason I can give for calling the Cradle a character in it’s own right. *Spoilers end*

You do not want it near you. Ever.

So there we have my top 5 scary characters. Hope you enjoyed them and next week I promise we won’t be looking at another adventure game.

So see you soon, and don’t have nightmares.

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The Book of Unwritten Tales

Quick, I shall gather the other panserbjørne so we can take the Alethiometer to Mount Doom so we can destroy the Death Star and save Narnia. Enough references yet?

Hot on the heels of my Top 5 Adventure Games here we have The Book of Unwritten Tales, a game by German developer King Art. It is set in a fantasy world with a very typical armies of good versus the armies of evil story going on. But The Book of Unwritten Tales very clearly knows about the fantasy genre, the game is full of tongue-in-cheek moments and references to other works of fantasy and science fiction.

The game starts with the capture of the gremlin McGuffin who has just discovered the location of an artefact that could end the war. To his rescue comes Ivo, a wood elf princess who really needs more suitable clothing for adventuring.  McGuffin also visits Wilbur Weathervane, a naive young gnome who dreams of being a mage and an adventurer, and charges him with possession of a magic ring (sounding familiar) which he must deliver to the arch-mage.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness… make fourth-wall breaking jokes

It’s a point-and-click adventure game, what more is there to say about the mechanics? It has the nice feature of hotspot highlighting which can be a controversial thing but is always handy. The interface is well realised with hotspots disappearing once they are determined to be of no use. You might think that makes this a very easy game but the puzzles are just challenging enough to still keep it interesting. You can also play as multiple characters at various points of the game, adding an extra dimension to puzzles when you need to think about who can do what (think Gobliiins).

The characters are pretty fantastic with some excellent voice acting. Wilbur is almost certainly the best but the others can definitely hold their own. Having characters that are a lot of fun to play is a god-send in adventure games. It just makes the whole thing much more enjoyable. The plot isn’t deeply involved but has enough twists and turns to keep you interested. It’s a very standard good vs evil story with unlikely heroes that you’ll find anywhere. It’s really the game’s humour that is it’s draw. Beyond simple references to other works the game includes self-aware jokes about how no one dies in adventure games, characters playing role playing games in a ‘fantasy’ world full of tax forms and insurance salesmen, and where the undead are forming an anti-defamation league in order to integrate into society.

Oh elves, even at high altitudes on the back of a dragon it’s important to dress skimpy

Problems with the game? There aren’t that many but there are a few that are a little nagging. Mostly it’s a problem with some of the puzzles. The game frequently builds up some complicated object hunt puzzles that end very quickly when a character simply gives you what you were after. For someone who plays a lot of adventure games this is a little jarring. At first it seems like a joke about some of the ridiculously complicated puzzles in adventure games but very quickly starts feeling a like a cop-out. Especially when the characters start talking about how they always have to go through a series of unlikely tasks in order to get an item off someone (are self-aware characters in adventure games a thing now?). It’s hard not to feel that the character’s complaints are unjustified when they’ve just been given so many things.

This does actually become a bit of a plot point in the late game that is quite fun but for the most part it feels like there were ideas that just got cut. You could argue that it cuts out padding from a game (and this is one that I would say is about medium length) but it would have been nice to have something there. The other problem with this game is the ending. Usually in adventure games you end on one last puzzle that you complete before actually finishing everything. The last puzzle in this game amounts to walking up some stairs. Then it just sort of ends, quite abruptly. It’s a bit unsatisfying and makes all the effort you put in feel like it isn’t worthwhile.

Just call me King of Puzzle Breaking

If you’re a fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series then you’re probably going to get a lot out of this game as it has a very similar sort of humour. The fourth-wall breaking is quite fun, particularly to adventure game veterans, and the characters are absolutely brilliant. Most of the puzzles aren’t that tricky but there are enough challenges to keep it entertaining. If you like your high-fantasy to have deep plot then you might find it a bit dissatisfying but you could do a whole lot worse. Had I finished this game last week it may well have gone on my Top 5 Adventure games, so just consider this an honourary number 6.

Time to Regulate this Stuff!

Hello to everyone out there that stumbles across this place.

 

I’m (finally) going to start regulating this blog so rather than roughly one piece a week you shall now be expecting two. The schedule will go as follows:

Tuesday: Game Review

Thursday: Article

So look forward to regular pieces now rather than slightly random updates… yes I know this is now Wednesday but I was unfortunately ill yesterday and wasn’t able to complete my review. So expect that later today and another article tomorrow. As of next week they will be regularly sorted into Tuesday and Thursday pieces.

Cheerio, guys and girls, and see you soon.

From your friendly neighbourhood Polar Bear

Top 5 Adventure Games

So I’ve focused a lot on adventure games so far, unsurprising considering it’s quite possibly my favourite video game genre. So, what with me thinking it’s about time I did some articles other than reviews and publicising my novel, I’ve decided to generate a list of top 5 adventure games as voted for by me.

Number 5

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars

Revolution Software was pretty well established in the 90s what with the success of their previous games Lure of the Temptress and Beneath a Steel Sky. But probably one of their most famous works, in adventure games circles, is the creation of the Broken Sword series. Specifically here I am talking about the first game which is by far the best. It is set in Paris and centres around an American tourist by the name of George Stobbart who witnesses the bombing of a cafe. Together with the assistance of journalist Nico Collard, George is drawn into a world of intrigue, conspiracy, murder, and enough Templars to make Dan Brown blush.

Did I mention terrifying clowns as well?

The game has a great sense of danger as it draws you in, being one of the number of adventure games where you can actually die, but it keeps this light-hearted tone as well such as being chased by mad kebab salesmen, the rivalry between George and a museum curator, and just George’s funny and often sarcastic musings on the situation. There are other games in the series but it’s a downward slope in my opinion, though the fourth game does improve on the third. The first has amazing characterisation and a pretty fun art style coupled with interesting puzzles and a gripping storyline. The Director’s Cut has also been released with some extra content and a fifth game is on the way.

That’s why his briefcase is so big, it’s full of secrets!

Number 4

The Blackwell Series

Ok so this is a little cheaty one since this is technically four games but it’s impossible not to lump them together. There is a bit of an overarching narrative and to be honest I couldn’t imagine playing one and not playing the others. I’ve already done quite an extensive article on this one so I’ll keep my point brief. The Blackwell games are not only fun in terms of puzzles but there is a real sense of growth with the characters. They change and develop as the story goes along and it’s really hard not to immediately move on to the next game when one finishes.

Moti the dog is also a reason this is awesome

It’s really great to go back to these games, especially with the commentary by Dave Gilbert, and it’s interesting to watch them develop. If I had to pick which game was my favourite out of them then I would probably just say “All of them” and change the subject. But if forced I think I would have to say the third one, Blackwell Convergence, this is where the overarching plot really starts and also where a lot of the gameplay mechanics really start coming together. Some of the set pieces are fantastic, who doesn’t love a metaphysical diner floating in space? This is not to sell the other games short as they are tons of fun and I couldn’t imagine someone liking adventure games and not liking these.

See ya soon for the next game, dollface

Number 3

Discworld

Oh my do I ever love Terry Pratchett and his Discworld series. The books are brilliant and the characters are classic. But what got me started with Discworld wasn’t any of the books but a point and click adventure game developed in 1995. When it was first released it was criticised for its difficult game mechanics but I never found it to be a problem. Maybe this is just me looking back with nostalgia but I don’t care, this was important stuff. I’m not going to fully explain the Discworld because that would take at least a whole article but to give a breif summary: The Discworld is flat and round and carried through space on the back of four giant elephants which stand on the shell of an enormous turtle. It’s a fantasy world but it’s a light-hearted one with very tongue in cheek comedy. In the game you play as Rincewind, a rather unexceptional wizard who gets roped in to deal with the issue of a dragon that has appeared and is terrorising the city of Ankh-Morpork.

Ridcully would do it himself but he’s got a lot of fishing, hunting, and shouting to do.

The game itself is a spin on the plots of a few of the books so it’s not as though it’s really spoiled for anyone that’s read them. But what’s really great about this game is the casting and the voice acting. With British veterans such as Tony Robinson, Rob Brydon, and Jon Pertwee making up various members of the cast it’s very entertaining. The casting of Eric Idle as Rincewind, the cowardly wizard with more skill in running away than in magic, is absolutely perfect. I couldn’t imagine another Rincewind. There are two sequels, Discworld II being a direct one and a standalone game entitled Discworld Noir, they are also excellent games but to my mind the first game is the best.

Though it can be an ache to get an old game running on a new PC

Number 2

The Chzo Mythos

Another bit of a cheaty one since this is a collection of games rather than one individual one. People frequenting gaming sites may already be familiar with the work of Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw and his Zero Punctuation videos on The Escapist. But Yahtzee has also done a bit of game development in his time and between 2003 and 2007 released four games that came under the heading of the Chzo Mythos. These are, in chronological order, Five Days a Stranger, Seven Days a Skeptic, Trilby’s Notes, and Six Days a Sacrifice. There are a few different protagonists but the most prevalent is Trilby, a gentleman thief of great notoriety, whilst attempting to rob a supposedly abandoned house he become trapped inside with a malevolent spirit. To say much more would spoil it and, considering they’re free on Yahtzee’s website, the full plot is far too complicated to summarise here.

Summarise in ten words or less

The games have a real sense of atmosphere and high stakes that does a fantastic job of drawing you into its universe. It is very clear that Yahtzee’s skill in design, development, and art increases dramatically as the games progress but it’s still fun to go back to the first game with its slightly clunky mechanics and art style, just so you can see how everything that happens later is linked. It’s a real homage to a complex, psychological horror in the style of Silent Hill with enough freaky, scary, and WTF moments to keep you entertained. Again if you were to force an answer out of me I would probably say that my favourite game is Trilby’s Notes. The great lore that’s in the game, the flashbacks throughout history, and the genuinely unsettling feeling you get while playing just makes it get under your skin. Pretty good for a game with no voice acting.

Oh Trilby, how innocent you were when you were just trying to stop a machete-wielding-welder-ghost-thing

And Number 1

The Walking Dead

This game is pretty much the reason I started this blog. It was going to be my first piece but I realised that I had nothing bad to say about it, nothing at all. There aren’t as many complex object puzzles as there are in some of the other games in this list, it’s not even a point and click like the others. But The Walking Dead is one of those games that makes you seriously consider games as art. For those that don’t know The Walking Dead is an adventure game by Telltale Games where the player takes control of Lee Everett, a former University professor on his way to prison just as the great zombie outbreak occurs. After his introduction to the living dead Lee comes across a young girl called Clementine and together the two try to survive in an increasingly hostile world.

And that’s no easy feat

The game is famous for the fact that choices the player makes impact the story quite significantly in later chapters, even down to which characters live or die. It makes every decision tense as you try to work out what’s the best thing to do. But what makes the game so great is the relationship between Lee and Clementine. I’m not a big fan of children, I don’t really know how to talk to them, and I’m not a fan of video game children since they tend to be crowbarred in to try and drum up sympathy with how pathetic they are. You know what makes Clementine different? She’s a person, an actual child and not a plot device. She’s competent and, over the course of the game, you end up thinking like Lee. Forget everyone else’s problems, just do what’s best for her. You start judging your own actions by how Clementine will react.

All this builds and builds as the game goes on and it gets more intense. The game is great and showing the problems created by this post-society zombie infested world. Believe me there’s things a lot worse than the Walkers out there. It builds to an emotion wrought ending that made me have to sit down for about five minutes in order to digest it. No other game has affected my like that and all I can say is that I’m sorry the game had to end.

Keep that hair short, sweetpea

So there you have my top 5 adventure games but before we go, a quick honourary mention.

Honourary Mention

Primordia

I couldn’t bring myself to put this on the list because, annoyingly, I haven’t been able to complete it yet. The copy I have  been playing is not actually my own and the person it belonged to moved away to France before I could complete it.

Another WadjetEye game, Primordia is set in the distant future when humans have died out and only machines remain. These robots worship humans like a religion in their wasteland. One such robot, Horatio Nullbuilt Version 5, is living a hermits life when he is attacked by another robot and has his power core stolen. Horatio gives chase with Crispin, his only companion, and together they make their way to Metropol, the city of glass and light, where many robots live together. But things are not right in the city and it’s up to Horatio to find out why.

The game, so far, has been amazing. The puzzles are challenging, the universe unique, the art is astounding, and the voice acting (with Logan Cunningham of Bastion fame as Horatio) is incredible. I only wished I could have completed it.

Damn this game is gorgeous

Ryan Davis

I wanted to break from my usual format here. I have been a subscriber to GiantBomb.com for about a year now and have been watching videos for a good deal longer. It is one of the best places to get information and entertaining videos about games.

On July 8th they announced that Ryan Davis, one of the lead members of the site, passed away. He has been one of the main hosts on many of the videos and has always been entertaining to watch. It is such a shock and a tragedy to hear of his passing and I give what condolences I can to his family and friends.

Duder, you will be missed.

Ryan Davis 1979 – 2013