Thursday, October 12, 2017
We compile 10 of the most popular titles for phones and tablets running Google’s mobile operating system
1. Hill Climb Racing:
Hill Climb Racing may look basic, but what it lacks in eye-popping graphics it makes up for in pure addiction. To start you get a jeep, one level, an accelerator and a brake, but you’ll quickly unlock more cars and levels. Coins – used to upgrade cars and buy new items – are collected by driving over them, reaching checkpoints and performing flips. You’ll find yourself coming back again and again to get further, an upgrade, a new car or level.
2. Temple Run 2:
Temple Run is the cr?me de la cr?me of endless runners and the second version is not only better than the original, but free. Temple Run 2 combines easy controls with a simple objective and a graphically stunning design. You’ll be jumping, dodging and sliding to beat your friends and unlock achievements and new characters. You might not escape with the precious idol, but you’ll defi nitely have fun trying.
3. Bad Piggies:
The first Angry Birds to put the evil green pigs in the spotlight is Bad Piggies, and we love it. Getting your pig (or pigs), from A to B might sound simple, but you’ve got do it by building an increasingly complex contraption out of available parts. Various objectives and the desire to win three stars will keep you coming back for more. Probably the most fun is the sandbox levels, which let you build almost anything you want from a vast inventory of parts.
4. Plants vs Zombies 2:
The original Plants vs Zombies was a smash-hit and the sequel is a must-have for any Android gamer. This exceptional tower defence game expands on the original, while taking you in new directions. A level structure takes you through themed worlds, complete with new objectives to complete. As you would expect, there are new plants with which to get to grips and, although inapp purchases make an appearance,
you can ignore them.
5. Cut the Rope:
A classic mobile game available in various editions, Cut the Rope has superb level design and makes great use of a touchscreen. Physics-based gameplay lets you interact with many di fferent objects as you try and try again to win three stars in each level. There’s loads of levels to keep you going – and keep you coming back for more. And let’s not forget how adorable is the main character Om Nom.
6. Real Racing 3:
If you find Hill Climb Racing too basic, and have a spare gig of storage on your device, check out Real Racing 3. You’ll be blown away by its highly detailed graphics. Real Racing 3 features real cars, tracks and people. Time Shifted Multiplayer lets you compete against friends, even if they’re o ine. A good selection of race types includes cup races, eliminations, endurance challenges and drag races. All this and, amazingly, it’s free to download.
7. Triple Town:
Bringing an innovative concept to puzzle games, Triple Town is a great free download and the kind of game you can pick up at any time. The idea is to build the best city you can, and this is done by combining three items to form a better one. Bushes become trees, trees become huts and so on. Some cute but pesky bears will get in the way of your progress. We’re also big fans of the gorgeous and charming graphics and animations.
8. Tetris Blitz:
This is no ordinary version of Tetris. In Blitz you get just two minutes in which to score as many points as you can. A Frenzy mode adds a fresh element to this classic game. Rather than moving around blocks, you simply tap on the screen where you want them to go. This removes some of the skill, but is in keeping with the game’s fast-paced nature. Although Tetris Blitz tries to tempt you to buy power-ups, you can get high scores without opening your wallet.
9. Candy Crush Saga:
Topping the games charts since its release, you’ve probably heard of Candy Crush Saga. It’s a variation on the classic match-three puzzler, whereby gems are swapped with sweets and other tasty treats. The ease with which you can continue your game on multiple devices is a huge plus point. Objectives must be completed before you can progress through the seemingly never-ending supply of levels. In-app purchases are avoidable, but irritating.
10. New Star Soccer:
This footie game puts you in the boots of a penniless up-and-coming footballer. You have to complete flick-based challenges, such as passing, shooting and timing interceptions. The better you get the more money you earn, allowing you to buy vehicles, clothes, property... and a whole string of girlfriends. The more you train your player the better you get. So while you start your career at Torquay United, you can flick your way to the World Cup.
10 Lovender Town syndrome
In February 1996 Pokemon Red and Green for the Nintendo Gameboy was released in japan to wide acclaim, however not everything about its release was so positive. Allegedly around the same time as the game’ s release, there was a noticeable rise in children committing suicide or falling ill. The legend states that this was caused by the music played in the game when the protagonist reaches Lavender Town. The Lavender Town theme is believed to have featured extremely high frequencies which were only detectable by younger gamers. These frequencies caused headaches, self harm and mental illness in those who played the game, ultimately leading to an estimated 200 children killing themselves. The story concludes by saying that due to the scandal the Lavender Town theme was later changed by developers Nintendo to a lower tone, and in the Western version, the music was changed completely.
9. Squall is dead
Final Fantasy 8 is considered a classic in the long running Japanese franchise, however the plotline is not without rumor. At the end of the first disc, protagonist Squall squared up to the evil Sorceress Edea on a parade float. So far, so Final Fantasy. However during this battle Edea sends a shard of ice flying through the air and into Sqall’s chest, causing him to stumble and fall off the float, ending the duel. Yet when disc two starts up, Squall appears alive and unharmed. The legend goes that everything that happens in the game after this is Squall’s dying brain attempting to process information before it runs cut of oxygen. To add to this theory, the finale features a series of scenes that flash before the player’s eyes. These include blurred out details, the battle with Edea itself and, for a brief moment, an image of Squall with his face missing. The legend states that his brain is close to death and therefore forgetting his own image.
In 1998 a post on the website coinop.org stated that in 1981 a new, addictive video game was installed in a Portland, Oregon arcade called Polybius. Polybius proved popular, however players soon began complaining of nausea, headaches, and nightmares after spending time playing the game. Soon after the Polybius cabinet was visited by strange men in black who allegedly unknown and unauthorized data gathered from the players. In 2013 the website Skeptoid conducted an investigation into whether Polybius actually existed. They found that while there was no record of any game called Polybius in or around Portland in 1981… …there were two cases of gamers collapsing with headaches and stomach pains on the same day. Ten days later federal agents raided video arcades throughout the Portland area in an attempt to break up a gambling racket operated by arcade owners. To prepare for this operation, undercover agents had indeed investigated arcade machines to try and collect evidence. While Polybius may not be true, the seeds of the legend were based in reality.
7. Morrowind’s mod
Morrowind is the highly popular and critically acclaimed third instalment in the Elder Scrolls franchise, yet that hasn’t stopped people making their own mods for the game. One mod, called Juk1166z.esp, at first appeared to do nothing except corrupt the game. However when run through an MS-DOS emulator the game takes a sinister tone, Major NPCs immediately died, their corpses littering the game. The remaining characters would appear briefly and only say “Watch the sky”. The player’s health would be draining constantly and dungeons would start displaying images from your computer. The mod didn’t just affect the game, it took control of your computer. Finally a long-limbed character called the Assassin would appear, who would hunt the player and shriek in piercing tone. The game screen would slowly become darker and darker until nothing could be seen at all. According to one player who allegedly played the mod he began to dream, and then hallucinate, about the Assassin.
A company called Karvina Corp is believed to have released a game called Killswitch in 1989. The game followed the story of Porto, a human woman, and Ghast, an invisible demon, as they attempt to unravel the mystery of the mine they find themselves trapped in. There was a twist however. Once played, the game wiped itself completely, preventing the game from being played ever again. As only 5,000 copies were produced, so the legend goes, this has led to brand new cartridges being extremely valuable. In 2005 Yamamoto Ryuichi bought a copy of the game for $733,000, with the intention of broadcasting the playthrough on YouTube. Yet to date Ryuichi has only posted one two minute long video of himself crying before the character selection screen. The legend suggests that the game sends people mad. However it is most likely false, as the earliest mention of any game from that period called Killswitch… …comes from a now abandoned website called Invisible Games which deals in creepypasta about fictional games.
5. Pokemon block
Pokemon Black was released as a companion to Pokemon White in 2010. However before that there was another Pokemon Black – a far more sinister and twisted version. The legend states that an unnamed man was digging around a flea market in 2005 when he came across a version of Pokemon Red which was pure black. The game played as normal to begin with, with Professor Oak giving you the usual choice of three starter pokemon and a fourth one called Ghost. Ghost was level one and capable of only one attack: Curse. Every battle played the same. The opponent was too scared to move, allowing Ghost to cast “curse”. Once cast the screen would go black and the distorted scream of the defeated pokemon would play. This could even be cast on the trainer themselves, ultimately killing them. If you survived, Ghost would appear at the end and battle you. The screen faded to black and rebooting the Gameboy, the save file would be wiped clean.
Everyone knows Sonic the Hedgehog as the bright and colorful Sega mascot but Creepypasta author JC the Hyena had other ideas. The legend went that a man known only as Tom received in the mail a CD from his missing friend Kyle, accompanied by a note telling him to destroy it. Tom played the CD to find a heavily modded version of Sonic the Hedgehog. The blue sea was now an ocean of red blood, the sky was overcast and Sonic himself had glowing red and bleeding eyes. As he played the game further it appeared that Sonic was violently torturing and murdering the inhabitants of the game. Eventually the game began communicating with Tom, asking whether he wanted to play a game of hide and seek and addressing him by name. The more Tome played, the more it became clear that Kyle had been sucked into the game by Sonic… …another victim to be toyed with, tortured and murdered by hedgehog with the demon eyes.
First released in 2011, Minecraft has become a global sensation. It has sold over 106 million copies and cost Microsoft $2.5 billion when it was bought in 2014. Yet if a post on 4cham is to be believed, the simple block building game hides a dark and sinister secret. In 2011 a post on the popular online bulletin board mentioned a blank eyed character walking around his single player world and deforesting the map. After his post was deleted from the messageboard a few times, he received a message from a fellow user called Herobrine with one word, “Stop”. It turns out ‘Herobrine’ was the gamertag of the brother of Minecraft’s lead developer Markus Person aka ‘Notch’. When pressed on the issue, he allegedly said he did have a brother, but he had died. Since then people have built and expanded on the legend, insisting there is a character called Herobrine haunting the game.
2. Ben drowned
In 2010 anther 4chan user called Jadusable claimed to own a haunted copy of the classic N64 game Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Jadusable bought what he thought was a brand new game from an elderly gentleman, but when installed into his console he found only a saved game called ‘Ben’. When Jadusable attempted to start a new game, the NPCs continued to call his character Ben. When the saved game was deleted, the NPCs just ignored him altogether. A later post by his alleged former roommate stated that Jadusable was slowly sent mad by this game.
1. Pole luno
Pale Luma is a text based adventure game which required gamers to input commands in order to progress through the story. Yet unlike other text based games, Pale Luma appeared to crash if anything other than the correct command is entered leading many people to dismiss the game as a broken and buggy product. One player however, Michael Nevins, wasn’t going to be put off. After six hours of trial and error, Nevins reportedly go through to a congratulations screen and a set of coordinates. Being nearby Nevins allegedly set off to the park where the coordinates were to investigate. When he dug at the point indicated, he uncovered the decomposing head of Koren Pauisen an eleven year old gril who had gone missing a year and a half before. The developer of Pale Luna was never traced, and the rest of Karen’s body was never found.
Ahoy there me hearties, here be treasure!
Launched on iOS last year, Midoki’s seafaring strategy MMO has finally landed on Android shores. It plays identically and you can even continue your existing iOS game on Android by entering a special code – a nice touch for those who are juggling devices.
Plunder Pirates offers a well-balanced combination of resource building, maritime exploration and good-oldfashioned plundering of rival bases. The early focus is on building up your island base, unlocking new structures and upgrading your defences and attacking capabilities. Key to all of this action is the production of gold and grog, from mines and distilleries respectively.
The third currency in the Plunder Pirates universe is gems; these are more difficult to source, found occasionally while seafaring or earned via certain achievements. Fortunately, while IAP bundles are available to speed up things such as building, the freemium aspect never becomes overbearing. Indeed, you can play the game perfectly happily without ever needing to shell out any of your real gold.
Merrily sailing around the high seas is the other main part of the game. Your ship’s crew is recruited from the tavern; the pirates come in various types and can be trained up in order to give them special powers for when you are in battle. In addition to attacking all of the AI bases on the map, you can act like a real pirate and plunder those of other players to earn gold and grog. You only get three minutes to mount your attack, with a bonus earned for achieving 100% destruction. Naturally, this means that your own base may be targeted by others, so an essential part of the gameplay is to build some serious defences such as cannons, mines and walls.
A friendlier aspect is the guild system, enabling you to team up with other players to chat, gain bonus perks and battle rival guilds in the newly added rumbles. It adds an extra facet to a fun, compulsive experience with a decent amount of strategy. The only slight, but obviously necessary, downside is the inability to play it offline.
Piranha Games is taking MechWarrior back to its roots
A kilometre from the harbour in Vancouver, on the second floor of a small shopping centre is the last bastion of the MechWarrior franchise. For six years, Piranha Games’ president Russ Bullock has kept the series alive with MechWarrior Online. But with MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, he’s ushering in the dawning of a new era of mech warfare.
“There’s a huge contingent of fans that have been wanting a singleplayer MechWarrior 5 for years,” Bullock tells me as we walk through the Piranha Games office. “Of course we wanted to make one, but being a smaller developer we had say, ‘Okay first things first, we need to succeed with MechWarrior Online and that will allow us to make a singleplayer game.’ And it took a while – a lot longer than we thought – but we’re doing it.”
As we pass by the main hub that connects Piranha Games’ various workspaces, I spy a map of the Inner Sphere, the cluster of some 3,000 star systems that make up MechWarrior’s universe. Each one has a name and a history etched into the stone tablets of BattleTech lore. And for those who have grown up living in that universe, it’s these little details that matter. Fortunately, Russ Bullock is all about the little details.
When I first saw MechWarrior 5 announced at MechCon 2016, the trailer sent the fans roaring. But when a dropship descended from the sky they lost their damn minds. At the time, I was a little confused. Then Bullock explained how so much of MechWarrior was caged inside the imaginations of players. They freaked out because that was the first time they had seen a dropship landing in-game and not just in their imagination. Bullock is hoping to make MechWarrior 5 the catalyst that sets those two decades of MechWarrior fantasy free.
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries isn’t just a sequel to MechWarrior 4. It’s a chance to reestablish the series and give its hordes of hardcore fans something that they’ve always wanted. “A significant part of our design philosophy is asking, ‘What have players always wanted to do in a MechWarrior game?’” Bullock tells me.
That’s why Piranha Games is starting with Mercenaries first rather than a straight numbered sequel. “Traditionally, you’d make MechWarrior and then you’d make the Mercenaries offshoot,” he explains. “The first one is a linear, story-heavy campaign and then Mercenaries is more like a sandbox. But players want to live out the BattleTech lore, and the best way to do that is to own your own mercenary unit, so we’re going with Mercenaries first.”
Instead of a series of linear missions, MechWarrior 5 puts you in command of a mercenary unit and gives you the freedom to either rise to mythic status or crash and burn along the way. Around 300 planets of the Inner Sphere will be open for business, letting you travel between the Great Houses while taking increasingly demanding contracts and building reputation with each faction as you also manage your lances of warriors and supporting technicians.
It’s one part MechWarrior and one part Football Manager, Russ tells me. Every bullet you fire and every mech you lose will have a cost, and it’ll be up to you to make sure you’re bringing in enough dough to keep your mercs on the payroll and their mechs in fighting condition. As you progress in prestige, the timeline also moves forward. Great Houses rise and fall according to the lore, new technologies are invented and sold, and eventually the ominous Clans come rampaging through the Inner Sphere like Genghis Khan and his Mongol horde.
Leveraging an ambitious dynamic free market economy, stunning destructibility, and the kind of freedom and scale that hasn’t been seen since the first MechWarrior in 1989, Bullock is working to make MechWarrior 5 the ultimate realisation of BattleTech lore.
the invisible hand
When you begin a new campaign, your mercenary company is in a sorry state. With only a weak mech at your disposal, you’ll be scraping by and taking low-level missions from the periphery states of the Great Houses to keep money coming in. Little by little your business will grow, but it will be up to you to decide how. “The free market is probably one of the biggest components of MechWarrior 5,”
Bullock tells me. Mechs, pilots, technicians, weapon systems – everything you need to form a mercenary unit will have to be purchased from MechWarrior 5’s market. “The market is totally dynamic based on what year it is. In the year 3015, for example, they didn’t have any pulse lasers or Ferro-Fibrous armour as all of that technology comes in later. And it’s also going to depend where you are in the Inner Sphere. If you are in one Great House’s space, you’ll see mechs common among that house. That’s going to provide a whole level of flavour to your play experience each time you start a new campaign.”
Unlike MechWarrior Online, where players can customise their mech chassis in a variety of ways, MechWarrior 5 will stick to the lore and force players to choose between strictly defined roles.
“It’s great for a PVP game because the level of customisation is huge,” Bullock tells me. “But if we allowed that in MechWarrior 5, you essentially negate the free market. There’s no need to keep your eyes peeled for that Jenner JR7-F that has Ferro-Fibrous armour if you take your JR7-D and just put Ferro-Fibrous armour on it.”
To that end, MechWarrior 5 will feature an unprecedented number of mechs to choose from. “Most Mechwarrior games have had maybe 12 to 15 different mech chassis,” Bullock explains. “We’re looking at having upwards of 60 chassis with 300 to 400 variants. You could probably play the game multiple times within just one Great House’s space and see different combinations on the free market.”
But mechs are only as good as the warriors piloting them. Players will also need to be mindful of their mercs and technicians, who each have their own skills and specialties. Likewise, different manufacturers will make variations of weapon systems, giving players granular control over every aspect of their mechs. Profits made from mercenary contracts will be quickly eaten away by repairs, resupply, and the ever-present cost of replacing slain comrades. It’s a huge amount of freedom but also an equally large responsibility if you’re reckless on the field of battle.
Mech on Mech
During my visit, I played an early build of MechWarrior 5. None of the overarching strategy of managing a mercenary outfit was available, but my demo did make it easy to see how the various systems will complement each other. Equally as important, I also got an intimate look at the technology Piranha Games is using to generate the hundreds of battlefields players will fight on.
From the very first blast of my torso-mounted lasers, it was clear that MechWarrior 5 benefits from Piranha Games’ extensive work on MechWarrior Online. I could immediately feel the heft as my 30-odd ton mech stomped through a forest, knocking trees down left and right like some mechanical Godzilla. Everything from the rhythmic thud of PPC cannons to the highly-specific location-based damage modelling feels fantastically heavy. But this isn’t just singleplayer MechWarrior Online, either. With the Unreal 4 engine under the hood, MechWarrior 5 has plenty more horsepower to put to work.
One thing MechWarrior fans will love is that damage modelling has been taken to a whole new level over MechWarrior Online. Each component now has multiple stages of disrepair, making brawls even more visceral as armour peels back after barrages to reveal the delicate mechanical skeletons underneath.
“Mechs aren’t just these paper tigers,” Bullock says. “You don’t just one-shot things. It’s all about a battle of attrition, of using the hills, rocks, and trees for cover and making sure that when you get your chance to shoot, you make it count. You manage your heat, your ammo, and your positioning and you win that battle.”
Enemy mechs won’t be the only thing melting under your alpha-strikes either. MechWarrior 5’s battles will feature combined arms of infantry, artillery, and both land and air vehicles. During my demo, flyers swarmed above me, whittling away my armour while I focused down the more dangerous mechs. Meanwhile stationary turrets tracked me as I trudged through a copse of trees, their shots quickly obliterating my cover with each salvo. When you consider that your own lance of mechs will accompany you into battle, I’m excited to see how MechWarrior 5’s missions will turn into frenetic firefights as both sides whittle away the other.
Any veteran MechWarrior player knows that it isn’t just about how well you’re able to shoot, but also how you use the terrain to your advantage. And with 300 planets, each needing their own battlefield that feels distinct, Bullock says finding a way to generate fun but unique terrain was easily one of Piranha Games’ biggest challenges. “We needed to create a level generator system that wouldn’t be overly complex,” Bullock explains, adding that since MW5’s announcement the team has dedicated much of its time to solving this one complex riddle.
What they devised is an elegant system that takes ingredients, like different military bases, and places them together with various groupings of terrain. It’s like playing an instrument: you have several notes to work with, but how you arrange them can create vastly different songs. After my demo, Piranha Games’ senior game designer David Forsey give me an opportunity to peek behind the curtain at the development back end of MechWarrior 5 to toy around with making different kinds of maps.
Similar to creating a new map in Civilization, MechWarrior 5’s map tool lets you dictate the density of foliage, terrain patterns, weather, time of day and more. Now, all of these might not sound like they matter, but in the brutally strategic world of MechWarrior, they absolutely do. Wind storms on a Mars-like planet might blind you, forcing you to rely purely on thermal vision to see enemy mechs through the tempest. Likewise, dense forests can now cover the battlefield since Piranha Games doesn’t have to account for all the challenges of syncing up 24 different players over the internet like in MechWarrior Online.
Another big feature that Bullock can’t wait for players to experience is the destructible environment. “Of course, plenty of games have had destructible environments,” he says. “But this is the first time it’ll be in a MechWarrior game, and that’s going to be awesome.” Players can stomp full speed into buildings and tear them down with all the force of a 35-ton walking tank. During my demo, it was so satisfying to cleave through walls and airplane hangars like they were butter.
“We really wanted players to walk anywhere they want,” Bullock elaborates, adding that destructible environments will also present new strategic options. “You can imagine plenty of scenarios where an enemy mech is hiding behind a building and you just take it down to get rid of their cover.”
back to the beginning
With such an emphasis on freedom, MechWarrior 5 is harkening back to the first MechWarrior, before the series became entrenched in the linear stories of Great Houses and their political games. But 15 years is a long time, and MechWarrior 5 will undoubtedly be many players’ first robot rodeo. “It’s important for us to try and be as mindful as we can about a new generation of PC gamers,” Bullock says. “But we understand who our community is and who we’re making the game for.”
Bullock says his hope is that by digging deeper into the series roots than ever before, newcomers will begin to understand why so many care so deeply for this universe – why the names of those 300 planets of the Inner Sphere matter. “This isn’t going to be some watered-down MechAssault made partially for consoles,” Bullock says. “It’s going to be the same kind of action simulator that people have been wanting for 15 years.”
That’s not just because Bullock thinks it’s what MechWarrior fans want, but because it’s what they deserve. “We’re dedicated to the core MechWarrior fanbase. They’re the ones that supported us with MechWarrior Online and now we’re making a game for them.”
American technology company TrackingPoint has developed a rifle with the ability to automatically aim at a target. In numerous games, from Mario Kart to World of Tanks, weapons lock onto particular targets, making it much harder to miss. TrackingPoint’s XS1 rifle includes a real-life tracking button that marks a target and follows it as it moves, ready to automatically fire at the optimum moment. It even accounts for wind speed and elevation to make it as accurate as possible. The rifle currently costs approximately $17,000.
9. CHARACTER CONTROL
One of the most definitive aspects of any video game is the ability to control the characters, determine where they go, and what decisions they make. Scientists at North Carolina State University’s iBionicS Lab have created technology that means remote-controlling real, living creatures may be possible. They have inserted wires into the brains of several cockroaches, which can be precisely steered using a computer. This technology can be adapted so the creatures could be used as first responders, reaching difficult locations during a disaster and identifying the locations of survivors.
8. PROGRAMMABLE GRENADES
The common hand grenade generally detonates on impact, but video game Gears of War offers players the option to control a grenade and explode it earlier. This game influenced the real-life creation of the XM25, a rocket launcher with programmable grenades. These grenades can be pre-set to explode at a specific point. They can even detonate mid-air, spraying shrapnel down on a target. The XM25 is already being used by a number of US Special Forces, and the army is considering wider usage. Sources: Army.mil, Ground Report, US News, Now Gamer.
7. VEHICLE ARMOR
Heavily-armored tanks are much more resilient than other vehicles. However, technology inspired by the Battlefield series has the potential to make them indestructible. In the game Battlefield 3, it is extremely difficult to destroy a tank, as they can survive multiple hits from a rocket launcher. In order to recreate this in reality, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing a vehicle armor system, know as the Iron Curtain. Using sensors around the tank to identify incoming threats, the Iron Curtain system creates an electric field around the tank, which is able to detonate the explosives before they can come into contact with the vehicle.
Exoskeletons are powered armor suits that offer an in-game character increased strength, protection, and endurance. They are a popular feature in games like Fallout. Fallout characters can wear exoskeletons that give them almost complete protection against ballistic weapons. Amazingly, recent scientific advancements mean that real-life exo-suits could be right around the corner. Exo-suits could have multiple useful functions, such as helping soldiers carry heavy loads, or allowing rescue workers to access dangerous environments. Technology companies Lockheed Martin and Sarcos have both developed working prototypes of powered exoskeletons for military purposes, but none have yet been deployed in the field.
5. HEAD-UP DISPLAY
In the majority of video games, such as Metroid Prime, the screen displays various nuggets of useful information, including a character’s health, score, or a map of the arena. This is not dissimilar to the technology of Google Glass, a headset that allows wearers to view text and images while going about their daily lives. The $1,500 device is internet-enabled, voice-activated, and can take photos. Researchers at South Korea’s Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have also developed a smart contact lens with similar capabilities.
4. EXTRA LIVES
From classic arcade games like Pinball to PlayStation favorites like Crash Bandicoot, extra lives have been a staple of video gaming since it began. Remarkably, the technology is being developed to make extra lives a reality for humans. Russian billionaire Dmitry Itskov has plans to build an android body by the year 2045, which could be installed with an individual’s personality and memories. This could mean that a person could get a second chance to live after death. Itskov claims that the necessary technologies for this project already exist and is confident that his life extension initiative will work.
3. INVISIBILITY CLOAK
In Crysis, gamers can utilize ‘Cloak’ mode, which renders the game’s character, Nomad, invisible. Scientists at the University of Central Florida are now on the verge of creating a real-life equivalent of this invisibility cloak. The real-life invisibility cloak is covered with nano antennas. These stop light bouncing off it and bend the light around whatever the cloak is covering, preventing eyes from seeing it. At the moment, the cloak only works on minuscule objects. However, experiments are underway to extend its use, potentially making a cloak big enough to hide a human.
From the power pellets in Pac-Man to the Super Mushroom in Super Mario Bros., nearly all video games include power-ups that give characters extra abilities. The closest the real world can get to such items is with drugs. The drug Modafinil, originally developed as a treatment for narcolepsy, is a strong potential candidate. It can help an individual stay awake for 40 hours, while retaining mental capacities. It is currently being studied by the US Air Force to help fighter pilots who regularly need to stay alert for long stretches of time.
Emergency medical care in the video game universe is much more instant than in real life. In Star Wars: The Old Republic, an injured character can be treated with even a basic medpac, which will immediately heal their non-fatal wounds. And we may be surprisingly close to real-world medpacs. American inventor and biomedical engineer Joe Landolina invented Vetigel, a gel that can be used to instantly stop bleeding when squirted onto a wound. It works by rapidly binding cells together and encouraging the body’s natural clotting ability.
It has been one of the biggest hype-trains in recent history; when Fallout 4 was announced just before E3 2015, people went nuts. And publishers Bethesda played on that, allowing their own promotion engine to be fuelled by the enthusiasm of fans the world over. So when Fallout 4 finally arrived, it is little wonder that a number of people were disappointed by what they got.
Even after all this time, when people should be well aware of how hype often gets out of hand, and when they should know that no game is perfect, they still managed to make themselves believe that Fallout 4 would, somehow, be a game that offered no problems. But by its very nature, Fallout 4 was almost guaranteed to be imperfect; any game as ambitious as this one is bound to have issues to some degree, and Fallout 4 is no different.
People the world over started identifying things that they didn’t like: graphics that were a bit poorer than ere expected, bugs that occasionally lead to hooking up on geometry or seeing odd things like models in strange places, that kind of thing. But it would serve one well, when approaching a game like Fallout 4, that (in the first instance) some truly great games have also had bugs and, most importantly, highlighting individual elements that may leave something to be desired in only truly relevant if these elements ruin the entire experience.
And, quite honestly, in the case of Fallout 4, they do not. You can bitch all you like about the little things that annoy you, but when the game is considered macroscopically (as it should be) there are very few things that might hamper the overall experience, and certainly none that will ruin it. The game begins with the player’s chosen character (created with a robust set of character editing tools) being rushed to Vault 111 in the face of total atomic annihilation. We’re not going into detail here, because spoilers suck… suffice to say that when the character awakens, you find yourself in a very different world, a long time after the bombs fell. After a few short “mandatory” missions that get you into the swing of things, Fallout 4 sort of stands back and says “It’s a great, big world out there… have fun with it”. And so the player begins a massive journey of discovery, in which the central plot plays only a small part. Fallout 4 isn’t about getting from A to B in a narrative; it is about living in a post-apocalyptic world.
To this end, Fallout 4 gives the player every tool it can muster in making the experience as engrossing and complete as possible. From the basic stuff, like character modification through skills and visual elements, and gear modification and improvement, right through to the establishment of settlements, Fallout 4 offers the player an absolute ton of things to do. I found myself spending long sessions tweaking my guns and armour, or fasttravelling between my settlements to make sure that they were properly defended and offered the growing number of residents what they required. I would spend hours constructing buildings in the game’s settlement editor, or hunting through random piles of scrap to find the elusive materials I needed for a particular weapon part. And then I would spend other long sessions exploring the Commonwealth (once called the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the vast setting for this game) and completing missions. Between crafting, tweaking and combat, Fallout 4 has consumed many hours for me, and I still have a ton that I want to get to.
It’s the kind of game that you can spend a good long time playing, with short sessions great for tweaking and crafting, and longer sessions ideal for finding new places, trading and, of course, shooting stuff. And, thanks to the fully open nature of the world, you’ll be spending some of that time running away from enemies you cannot handle just yet, licking your wounds and levelling up before going back to exact a bit of revenge.
While Fallout 4 does give you every tool you need to survive in this world, it doesn’t hold your hand. It doesn’t guide you in any particular direction (the quests feel more like suggestions that compulsions) and it simply lets you get on with doing your thing within the game world.
And that world is massive. While fast-travelling is an option, this place has been created to be explored on foot, either solo or with a trusty companion (although the dog, for example, becomes more of an annoyance before long, so companions are only suggested for the most patient of players). It is a world that is full of surprises and oddity that you’ll never find if you bounce between fast-travel points, and this convenient method of traversing the map is only suggested for completing tedious tasks, like hauling junk back to your base of operations. There are amazing uncharted places and experiences here, and missing out on them would be a crime. Besides, walking is good for you.
None of it ever really seems overwhelming, either. Junk is automatically stripped down to needed parts by settlement workshops, for example. Traders are relatively plentiful (although you won’t find them fast travelling) and can even be set up in your settlements. The skill tree is simple yet expansive, but the lack of level cap means that you’ll more than likely never have to worry about getting to any particular ability at the expense of others. Combat can be daunting at times, but the game gets you feeling like a bad-ass pretty quickly, complete with customisable power armour and a massive arsenal of weapons that you can trim to suit your play style. It feels like the developers made a world for you to live in, on your own terms, rather than giving you a controlled experience. In truth, the only thing that is really overwhelming in Fallout 4 is the sheer scope of what you can do with it… and that’s a good kind of intimidation.
So, yes, the graphics may not be the best we’ve ever seen. The world may have bugs that aren’t mutated mosquitoes, flies and roaches. The companion AI does leave a lot to be desired. But the truth is that these things can be avoided or, at worst, ignored. And when everything is put together, all of these issues, whether in isolation or combined, do very little to hamper an excellent gaming experience. You may find yourself getting annoyed, even to a high degree, at times, but you will keep coming back. Like with Skyrim, Bethesda have managed to create an experience that is so wonderfully immersive with Fallout 4 that you’ll constantly keep coming back to it, bugs and all. It’s single-player only, which may make some people wonder about the longevity of the game, but with the amount that it offers to do, you’ll probably still be playing it long after you’ve set aside the latest cut-and-paste multiplayer FPS title. It’s not a massive step forward for the franchise, but it doesn’t need to be.
This is it, the list you thought we’d never dare to do. Today we’re concluding our series of the best video games per generation to bring you our picks for the top ten video games of all time. If you’ve been following our video games per generation series, you’ll know that fifty games were selected as some of the best.
But only ten can make this list. In order for a game to qualify for best of all time, it needs to have made at least rank four or higher in its respective generation list to get on here. So if your favorite didn’t make it onto this list, that’s why. Personal bias has no room here, get ready for the mother of all video game lists as we show off the industry’s finest accomplishments.
10. Goldeneye 007 (1997)
Just scraping into the opening slot is the movie tie-in game that brought FPS multiplayer to the living room. Yet despite only having one analog stick and no online play it still holds out better than a lot of shooters that have come out since. With a strong single player campaign that’ll keep you coming back as you try to unlock the prestigious 007 mode, and a multiplayer section which was amazingly added as an afterthought, Goldeneye is that one cartridge that you’ll never give away.
9. Resident Evil 4 (2005)
OK, so it’s actually the sixth game in the main series, but the beauty about this game is that you don’t need to have played the previous entries to know what’s going on. In fact, not knowing what’s going on is pretty much par for the course for a Japanese game. Resident Evil 4 was a thrilling yet terrifying experience, from dealing with the psychotic infected villagers to the creepy Regenerators. Fans like to hate on this game because of the sequels that followed, but for what it is by itself, there’s no denying how masterful it was put together.
8. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011)
If there was one word we’d use to describe Skyrim, it would be “massive”. This game goes out of its way to make sure everything is vast, from its open world, to its diverse skill tree, loads of quests, and plenty of customization options for your character. Plus, there are dragons. Big ones. Be careful not to get lost in this game, cause it's really easy to go wandering and end up in a cave full of giant spiders or mummified Draugers.
7. Mass Effect 2 (2010)
The sci-fi epic that became the apex of what western RPGs should accomplish, The Mass Effect series drew inspiration from all the right places, with enough lore to rival Star Wars and Trek. The second game used a concept first seen in Seven Samurai, where as Commander Shepard you travel various parts of the galaxy to recruit an team of memorable characters to save the galaxy in one of the greatest final missions ever created. Shepard’s story may be over, but we’ll never forget the incredible journey.
6. Portal 2 (2011)
First of all: “Cake” … now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can say that no other game of the last generation brought more creative innovation than the Portal series. Portal 2 has everything a great sequel should be by giving us the well written humorous dialogue of Wheatly and GLaDOS, while also giving us well-crafted puzzle rooms to take on solo, or share the thinking challenge with a friend. It’s also a game that we can safely predict will age very well.
5. Chrono Trigger (1995)
Square are indeed the JRPG kings with their Final Fantasy series, but their best work came with this time-traveling epic. A master class of storytelling, the game is still as emotionally hard-hitting as ever, and just like Mass Effect, it too contains an iconic cast of memorable party members. Not to mention the game also comes with thirteen endings, each of them as vastly different from one another. Some say Chrono Trigger is one of the best RPGs of all time, and we're inclined to agree.
4. Super Mario World (1991)
Mario had a lot of games in contention for best of all time, with Super Mario Brothers 3 and Galaxy 2 also eligible. But as the apex of 2D Platforming, Super Mario World knows no equal. The 16-bit sprites still look amazing today, and with the inclusion of multiple routes, secrets galore to discover, and ninety-six different exits to find, there’s plenty more to come back to once you’ve defeated Bowser and saved the Princess.
3. Half Life 2 (2004)
There are few games in history that still feel brand new a decade after they’ve been released. Yet Half Life 2’s revolutionary emphasis on physics based combat and puzzles still puts it leaps and bounds across most FPSs today. Valve’s second game on this list really shows how the company has become true pioneers for gaming, while still giving us amazing experiences, and yes we can see the irony of putting this series at number three.
2. Tetris (1984)
The game that’s over thirty years old yet is as addicting and challenging to play today as it was when it came out. There have been many variations throughout the years, but its core gameplay remains the same as this Russian classic is still played by hundreds of thousands today. In fact it’s now the best selling video game of all time, thanks to being so accessible that it can be played on almost any device with a screen and a few microchips. Tetris games is a true timeless classic.
1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998)
Before we get to the most iconic spot of all, let's have a look at some honorable mentions. We know this game is at the top of almost every other all time list out there - feel free to search for yourself. And believe me, we tried hard to find a successor, but when comparing precise gameplay, revolutionary mechanics, well paced storylines, replay ability, fantastic level design, combat variety, and capturing the scope of an epic adventure, no game has even come close to matching what Ocarina of Time has achieved. Whether you have your old N64 cartridge, digital version on the Virtual Console, or you're taking it on the go with the 3DS remaster, this Nintendo masterpiece is our pick for the greatest game of all time.
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