Most Recent: Features

The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #78: The Secret of Monkey Island

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

Game publishers have been concerned with digital pirates illegally copying their games since the very beginning of the medium. Some have even gone so far as to include booby traps in their code for these would-be thieves. But when it comes to depicting actual pirates, gamemakers (along with major Hollywood players and one of the most celebrated fantasy authors of the last few decades) are content to pillage, plunder, and steal all the best ideas from each other.

It all began in 1967 when Walt Disney himself oversaw the construction of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. Over the years, the ride would go on to be recreated at Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Park in Paris. Borrowing a bit from Treasure Island, the ride’s exciting ship-to-ship battle, raid on a coastal outpost, group of prisoners trying to bribe a dog for a key, and the frothy ditty “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)” created the quintessential image of a pirate that was shared by kids the world over.

Tim Powers was not one of these kids. Already a teenager by the late 60s, Powers rose to prominence as one of the earliest authors of steampunk (and he, along with K.W. Jeter and James Blaylock, helped coin the phrase). In 1987, he published one of his most famous novels, On Stranger Tides. The novel tells the tale of John Chandagnac, an inexperienced youth who becomes the debonair pirate “Jack Shandy” and rescues the girl after he has a run-in with several undead buccaneers. (more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS3, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Xbox 360 | Tagged

Kickstart This! Pine

Those of you who were hoping for a game based around the life of Star Trek captain and Wonder Woman love interest Chris Pine are going to be sorely disappointed, and then pleasantly surprised, with Pine. This Kickstarter campaign launched just as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizons: Zero Dawn landed on shelves, reinvigorating the open world adventure genre, and leaving gamers ready to embark on another big quest. Pine limits its open world by setting it on an island, a smart design choice for an indie open world game, but more intriguingly, it asks the question, “What if man never made it to the top of the food chain?”

Let’s find out! (more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS4, Switch, Top Story, Xbox One |

It Came From 200X: Spider-Man

The tail-end of the 90s wasn’t a great time for superhero games. With the likes of Superman 64, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, and Spawn: The Eternal clogging store shelves, the average comic geek had few options for playable superheroics. That is, until Neversoft and Activision took it upon themselves to create one of the best comic book-based games of all time: Spider-Man!

Okay, so the title is lazy — but it also set the expectation that gamers could finally become Spider-Man like no previous video game could achieve. Launching in 2000 for the Sony PlayStation (with ports appearing over the next 12 months on the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, and PC), this game oozed authenticity from minute one. From the very beginning, we were living an adventure narrated by Stan Lee, hanging out with the acrobatic Black Cat, swinging by the famous Baxter Building (home of the Fantastic Four), and putting an end to a daring bank robbery.

It was, quite frankly, a revelation. Suddenly, superhero games didn’t have to be cheap cash-ins like all of those terrible movie-based atrocities. There were a few pioneers on earlier consoles, to be sure — Batman on NES and Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage for SNES/Sega Genesis come to mind — but this gem captured my imagination like no other. However, does it hold up to those sugary-sweet memories in these darker modern times? (more…)

Posted in Features, Retro, Top Story |

The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #38: Tomb Raider

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

For better or worse, Lara Croft is the most famous woman in all of gaming. But all her fame might be a fluke, because the developers behind her creation claim it was all an accident.

Formed in the late 80s, Core Design was an unlikely candidate to be creating a wide open 3D title like Tomb Raider. The developer’s biggest claim to fame at the time was Rick Dangerous, a game that could charitably be called an “homage” to Indiana Jones. Other gamers might remember Chuck Rock, a platformer created by Core that starred a dimwitted caveman. But like many British developers of the time, they didn’t think about their limitations and just went for it. This definitely applied to Toby Gard, the artist behind Lara Croft’s original look.

Like Rick Dangerous, Lara began life as a man with no name that bore a striking resemblance to Harrison Ford. Fearing a lawsuit, Gard redrew the character as a woman and began tinkering with a number of different personalities. The artist told IGN in 2008 that the proto-Tomb Raider began life as a “sociopathic blonde” before morphing into a muscle woman, a “flat topped hip hopster,” and a “Nazi-like militant in a baseball cap.” None of these looks fit the game that Core envisioned, but Gard’s final pass at it proved to be the winner. Laura Cruz, “a tough South American woman in a long braid and hot pants,” was born. (more…)

Posted in Features, Mobile, PC, PS2, PS3, PSP, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Wii, Xbox 360 | Tagged


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The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #56: Ms. Pac-Man

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

It’s easy to forget nowadays, but Ms. Pac-Man was actually created by accident. Like Doc Brown’s invention of time travel after a tumble from the toilet, Ms. Pac-Man was created when a group of game developers from MIT attempted to release an unauthorized sequel to Pac-Man known as “Crazy Otto.”

Before turning their sights on the biggest arcade game of the day, the development team, General Computer, first used their programming skills to create an “enhancement kit” for Atari’s Missile Command. Instead of creating their own game from scratch, the enhancement kit hooked into Atari’s code and altered it to provide a new gameplay experience. Essentially, General Computer created the first expansion pack.

Even though the enhancement kit required an original Missile Command cabinet, Atari later attempted to sue General Computer for copyright infringement. But rather than become mired in a protracted court case, the arcade giant and the enterprising college students reached a settlement. Atari would hire General Computer to design original arcade games so long as they agreed not to create any additional enhancement kits without the permission of the original game publisher. The developers quickly signed on, but first they took a nearly complete version of “Crazy Otto” to Midway, the North American distributor of Pac-Man. (more…)

Posted in Features, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One | Tagged

The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time #3: Super Mario 64

Did you miss The Scientifically Proven Best Video Games of All Time’s Introduction? Catch up on how we decided to sort the games and the rest of the Top 100.

For Mario’s first foray into “The Third Dimension,” Nintendo wanted to ensure that everything was perfect. In fact, the Nintendo 64, its unique three-pronged controller, and the controller’s analog stick designed to better simulate 3D movement were all created with the needs of Super Mario 64 in mind.

Nintendo had good reason to be worried about getting all of the details just right, as most video gamers had never even seen a 3D platformer before Super Mario 64. Aside from a few experimental titles from the late 80s and early 90s, 3D movement was only found in a handful of titles on the market at the time, the most famous of which was probably EA’s Fade To Black. Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot, which included pseudo-3D movement, beat Super Mario 64 to store shelves by about five weeks, but a majority of the game took place on a 2D plane.

So Nintendo used Super Mario 64 as an opportunity to introduce players to what was, in their mind, an entirely new genre. Shigeru Miyamoto’s exacting attention to detail helped mold every part of the game. The first interaction players had with the game was the appearance of an actual cameraman (Lakitu the Cloud), and instructions on how to control the camera’s angle with the diamond-shaped set of C-Buttons on the right side of the Nintendo 64 controller. Actually, let me back up… the very first thing most players experienced after booting up Super Mario 64 was the interactive Mario face on the Title Screen. Miyamoto saw fit to even offer players a primer on polygons as the squares, rectangles, and rhombi that made up Mario’s face could be grabbed and manipulated in dozens of different ways. In a way, “It’s-a me, Mario! Hello!” was a coded message that encouraged players to jump right into this new 3D world. (more…)

Posted in DS, Features, Retro, SPBVGOAT, Top Story, Wii, Wii U | Tagged

The Games of March 2017

Well, it’s no surprise that here at Warp Zoned, we’re all talking about the same thing: Nintendo’s Switch! Nicole didn’t manage to snag a pre-order because she is some kind of newbie, but everyone else got one. Read on to see what they’ll be playing as soon as they pick up their Switch consoles! (more…)

Posted in Features, Top Story |

Warpback: What We Played in February 2017

The month of February was a cold one, but at least we had our games to keep us nice and warm! We all did a little bit of dipping into our various backlogs, trying to get some gaming done before so many other games we’re looking forward to hit the shelves. Hit the jump to see what games we were playing here at Warp Zoned in February! (more…)

Posted in Features, Top Story |