My Favorite Gaming Element for Apex Legends

Your uncle Geekly has tried out the latest battle royal craze Apex Legends and I like it despite loathing the genre. I’m more of a solo experience video gamer. Give me a story and characters I can invest in and I’m happy; multiplayer games don’t usually do a lot for me. Battle royal games and the chaos they bring do even less for me, but I’m surprised by Apex Legends’ focus on teamwork.

Everything about Apex Legends screams that the players must work as a team. When players jump into the map, they do so as a team and that shows the emphasis on team play at each game’s beginning. I’ve heard on some message boards that Fortnite players dislike being forced to jump as a team, but Fortnite is every player for themselves. Sure, there is a squad (or team) option for the game, but it pales in comparison to the every person for themselves game mode. Apex Legends’ squad play outshines Fortnite’s most likely because players jump as a team.

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The communication system, or ping system, works like a charm. The Gears of War series may have instituted a ping system, but Apex Legends gets it right. Players don’t need to use mics if they don’t have them. Heck. Even if they do have them, they may prefer to use the ping system. If you see a shield or gun a teammate can use, ping it so the item shows up on their map. If you see an enemy on the next ridge, ping the location so it shows up on your teammates’ map and you can converge on the enemy. Players can even ping one location for their teammates and another for themselves—you go here, I’ll go here—and a team can formulate a pincer attack in near real time.

Can Apex Legends be played by oneself? Yes, but not well. I’ve had teammates drop out because of server issues—of which there have been a lot since the game’s launch—and ended up in a solo team. I’ve made it to the final three squads in several of these instances, but when the game gets tight, more firepower is needed, firepower that won’t exist if a player is by themselves. The closest I ever got to winning a game as predominately a solo squad was second place with one other combatant standing. That’s not saying that Uncle Geekly’s good at Apex Legends, in fact, I strive for mediocrity, but my point is that one can’t win the game that easily going solo.

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More than any other battle royal game—on the market today—Apex Legends focuses on a team dynamic and if I’m going to play a multiplayer game, I prefer a team atmosphere. I could carry this team mentality further and discuss Overwatch at length and how the character selection screen breeds discontent while Apex Legends has a more relaxed feel, but let’s say that the concept of team shines through most of Apex Legends and that’s where players will find the fun. If you prefer team based multi-player games, you may enjoy Apex Legends.

Do you agree that Apex Legends is a good team battle royal game? Do you have a character that you prefer to player more than another? Let us know in the comments.

3 Lists of 3 Video Game Characters

Some video game characters get all the love. Some don’t get enough. Your uncle Geekly wants to even things out a bit with this week’s three list of three. I could also use some costume ideas so don’t be surprised if you see me dressed in a primary color jump suit—or two.

Underrated Video Game Characters

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Zelda

Yes. A famous video game series shares her name, but how many people have you seen point to the guy dressed in a green elf costume and say Zelda? That’s Link. Link gets all the attention, but he’s also the more static of the two characters.

Zelda has been portrayed in so many ways. She even gets in on the action as her alter egos Sheik and Tetra every once and while. She’s been the leader of sages and even a goddess. Link rocks the same kind of outfit game after game, but gamers don’t know what they’re going to get with Zelda. She may even be a ghost.

Ness

Ness

Many gamers would consider EarthBound (1994) or Mother 2 in Japan as one of the best RPGs to come out for the SNES, but many more of them don’t remember who the main character of the game was. Ness is a 13-year-old boy with psychic powers.

Sure, there are other characters gained along the way in EarthBound, but Ness is the players first and strongest, and a lot of the game’s character comes from Ness.

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Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik

Most gamers know of Mario’s Bowzer, but Sonic’s Dr. Eggman goes unheralded. It’s a shame. He may come off as a mad scientist clone, and he is for the most part, but Eggman wants to conquer the world, so he can install his ultimate utopia, the Eggman Empire.

A lot of other mad scientist types have had a similar motivation of wanting to rule the world because they’re the best person for the job—Doctor Doom comes to mind—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good motivation. What’s Bowzer trying to do most of the time besides kidnapping a princess?

Overrated Video Game Characters

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Master Chief

First off, Master Chief isn’t a Master Chief in the navy. That’s an enlisted rank (a very high enlisted rank), not an officer’s.

Second, you can take Master Chief out of Halo and no one would miss him. He may as well be Jeff Johnson or John Jeffson. My apologies to any Jeff Johnsons or John Jeffsons who may be reading this.

Halo’s multiplayer mode is what most gamers play this game for. They aren’t looking for story, and Master Chief isn’t much of a character.

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Gordon Freeman

The whole point of Half-Life 2’s protagonist is that he’s a blank slate, but if he’s a blank slate, only defined by the suit he wears, he isn’t much of a character. He’s kind of like Master Chief in that sense. Cool suit. Great abilities. What’s your name again?

Iron Man detractors claim that Tony Stark wouldn’t be anything without his suit, but he’d still be rich, a genius, and have plenty of personality. Gordon Freeman is none of those things.

Kratos

Kratos

2018’s God of War notwithstanding, Kratos was a bloody He-Man for the modern era. Gamers knew he’d lost his family—which was explained more in the most recent God of War—and that’s most of what they knew about him. Kratos was an excuse for a muscle-bound, over-sexed man to tear apart some Greek gods.

He received the post-hero treatment in 2018’s God of War and while it was a refreshing take on the character, it could’ve carried more weight if there was more to the character prior to that offering.

Video Game Sidekicks

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Garrus

Yeah, this turian may take offense with being called a sidekick, but he deserves to be on this list. He’s the only squad member available to Shepard in each Mass Effect game, he survives a rocket to the face, and he and Shepard have a special bond.

Get your head out of the gutter. Hmm. They could have a “special bond” if you play the game a certain way, come to think of it. Anyway, one of the most satisfying moments in the Mass Effect series is watching the two pal around and watching their relationship grow.

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Luigi

He’s always number two to Mario’s top banana, but Luigi doesn’t complain, not even when Nintendo named him Luigi Mario. I guess that would make his brother Mario Mario. Man, that’s a terrible name.

Give him a vacuum to suck up ghosts and he can be a main character. A gamer may want to play as him in Super Mario Bros. 2, and I never minded letting my younger brother take the controller during the original Super Mario Bros., not telling him where any of the shortcuts or secrets were, and then use them after he lost a man. Ah, memories.

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Sparx

I had to put Sparx from Spryo the Dragon on here because so many of my family members love that game, and Sparx doesn’t get much love. I also don’t like it when games force a player to run over every little gem or coin or ring. All you’ve gotta do is get close to a gem, and Sparx picks it up for you.

Sparx also represents one of the cleverest ways to denote health in a video game. He changes color, gets dim, as you take damage and disappears when Spyro has one hit point left.

Yep. I’m sure I missed the boat on a lot of these characters. Please direct your complaints to our intern Jeff Johnson—or is it John Jeffson—or let me know which video game characters you’d choose by leaving a comment.

3 Lists of 3 Mini Games in Video Games

There are some mini games—small games within larger one—that are more fun to play than the original video game in which they’re found. Mini games are so pervasive in video games that there are some video games that are nothing but compilations of mini games. Uncle Geekly’s looking at you, Mario Party and Wario Ware.

But which mini games are the best in the business? Which ones are ones someone could play for hours on end without finishing the main questline? Your uncle Geekly will give you his answer with this week’s 3 list of 3.

Great Mini Games

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Project Gotham Racing 2 (Geometry Wars)

Geometry Wars had its humble beginnings in the popular racing game Project Gotham Racing 2 as a hidden joke. The designers threw in this minimalist retro puzzle game, and it became so popular that it received a standalone release, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved.

This twin-stick space shooter had such addictive gameplay and stunning visuals that gamers didn’t care about the game’s uncompromising difficulty. Slap me around and call me novice.

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Super Monkey Ball (Monkey Target)

Rolling monkeys inside giant, transparent spheres is no easy task. I never got into Super Monkey Ball’s main game, but I’m up for a multiplayer game Monkey Target any time. Your monkey rolls down a huge ramp, and once they’ve built up enough momentum, those large balls open up to form wings. Then, players glide their monkeys gently through bananas and power-ups to land on targets found in the middle of the sea.

Gliding is relaxing, Monkey Target’s controls are far better than Super Monkey Ball’s, and the mini game is joy. I could play—and have played—this mini game all day.

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Animal Crossing (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Who needs a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Classic when you can collect in-game NES cartridges in Animal Crossing?

Sure, this one’s a little bit of a cheat because they’re classic NES games coded within a Wii game, but I got excited whenever I found an NES cartridge in Animal Crossing. I picked up Donkey Kong Jr. Math. Woo hoo!

 

Final Fantasy Mini Games

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Final Fantasy X (Blitzball)

I was going to make this list by incorporating Final Fantasy mini games within the larger list of great mini games, but I came up with 2 out 3 games coming from Final Fantasy, so FF’s getting its own list. I’m not even sorry.

The first one in this list is the one I didn’t include at first because the premise is the strangest of the three: Blitzball. Final Fantasy X’s Blitzball is underwater soccer meets basketball. It makes no sense. It’s also awesome.

I don’t know how many hours I wasted playing Blitzball instead of finishing Final Fantasy X’s main story line. I didn’t care that Sin was going to destroy Spira. I want to sign the best Blitzball goalie Nimrook to a long-term contract. I’m also going to transition from Wedge, who’s a great shooter early game, to a combination of Nedus (very fast and a great prospect for shooting) and Nav Guado (great counter-attacking forward). I’ll assemble a team that no one can beat. Mwah-ha-ha!

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Final Fantasy (Chocobo Racing)

Final Fantasy VII introduced chocobo racing, and it was a blast. The breeding system didn’t make a lot of sense, but the actual act of racing your chocobo (those are ostrich-type creatures for those who don’t play much Final Fantasy) played well. You had to know when to sprint your chocobo and when not to. I’m king of the chocobos.

The mini game was so popular that Final Fantasy brought the sport back for several iterations. Final Fantasy XIII-2 had a complex system where players could develop their chocobo’s statistics. You had to strike the right balance to achieve victory. Final Fantasy XV allows players to ride chocobos in the open world, which felt great, especially when Prompto makes up words for the song that plays every time a chocobo graces the screen.

“I like to ride my chocobo all day.” Me, too, Prompto. Me, too.

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Final Fantasy VIII (Triple Triad)

I find that most gamers fall into one of two mini card game camps: Triple Triad or Gwent. While I admit Gwent is a great game, it got its own release separate from The Witcher after all, I’m in the Final Fantasy VIII’s Triple Triad camp. I’m an older gamer. Deal with it.

I never used Quezacotl’s Card Mod Ability on any rare card. Keep your 100 Megalixirs; I want my Bahamut card. The same goes for three Diamond Armors. That Seifer card is too awesome.

I even cast the card capture spell so many times I lost count. I didn’t even care if I won a battle, I just wanted my cards. Sure, it’s a little like Pokemon, but I had to collect them all.

 

Fun skill checks that may as well be mini games

This one may need a little clarification. There are games within games, but there are also skill checks that can happen (like sneaking or fishing) that can occur within a game that’s really another mini game within a larger game. Here are three good examples of skill check mini games.

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Bioshock (Pipe Hacking)

A lot of games feature some lame computer hacking mini game—I’m looking at you Fallout 3’s word searches and Mass Effect 2’s matching blurry lines of code that you couldn’t pay me to play—but Bioshock took the classic game Pipe Dream and added a steampunk twist. One had to find and match pipes to make water flow where you wanted it to before the water escaped the system.

It’s a fun mini game that gets a little old after the hundredth hack, but it’s a great throwback in an equally great game.

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The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Fishing)

Gamers can fish as a mini game or skill check in numerous titles. Legend of Zelda even has several titles in its series where fishing is possible, but Ocarina of Time proves to be the best of the best.

The big payout is a piece of heart, but I liked it when I caught a fish so big that the guy who runs the plays deemed it “illegal.” Screw him. I threw his hat into the pond.

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Skyrim and other Bethesda titles (Lockpicking)

Skyrim started the old hair grip and screwdriver method of opening locks. Bethesda has perfected this rumble controller feedback, dexterous challenge. I know that I’d never be a great lockpicker in real life, but for a few hours, I can pretend with Skyrim, Wolfenstein: The New Order, and Fallout 3.

There are too many mini games to list here. Let us know what your favorites are in the comments and if you don’t agree with any of the games on this list, you can challenge me to lockpicking duel in Skyrim. First one to 100 wins.

Crazy Things Video Game Developers Charged Money For

Video gamers have to put up with a lot from developers. Increased costs for additional content and hidden fees have become the norm. While developers can—and will—defend practices like extra downloadable maps, loot boxes, and microtransactions in addition to a game’s original $60 asking price, there have been things video game developers have charged players that make no sense.

Fortunately, your uncle Geekly is good at nonsense, so here are some crazy things video game developers have charged their customers and hoped their customers wouldn’t notice. Buckle up; this’ll be a bumpy ride.

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Mortal Kombat (Easy Fatalities)

Mortal Kombat is known for one thing: gore. The gore doesn’t get more gruesome than when it comes in the form of fatalities.

Usually, players input a series of buttons to execute a fatality after their opponent is weak enough. We’re talking about your opponent swaying back and forth on wobbly knees, but Mortal Kombat X sold the aptly named “Easy Fatalities” as downloadable content. Developer NetherRealm Studios insisted that it was to help players experience every part of the game, but it’s just a cash grab.

Fighting games center around pressing the right combination of buttons. If someone is playing Mortal Kombat X and doesn’t remember a button combination, they shouldn’t be given the opportunity to pull off a fatality. You’d still win the game; you just wouldn’t have the extra animation. Learn the controls.

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Metal Gear Survive (Extra Save File)

What? Someone had the grapes to charge players for an extra save space of a game they bought? Yes. Yes, they did. Screw you, Konami.

This scrapes the top of a very ugly iceberg for Konami. They’ve produced some terrible add-on content before and charged folks full price for unfinished games that were nothing but extended demos—we’re looking at you Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes—but the worst thing Konami has charged players for is the privilege of occupying more space on their hard drives.

We’re not talking about one of the better Metal Gears either. Metal Gear Survive must be the worst thing with Metal Gear in its title. Ugh!

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Asura’s Wrath (The True Ending)

Unlike a lot of other games on this list Asura’s Wrath is very good—I recommend it as it’s a sort of interactive anime that blends mythology and sci-fi—but it’s on this list because of an unsavory practice that many other games have duplicated: teasing a better and different ending. The game does more than suggest that there will be a sequel—we’re still waiting—and instead of doing that, Capcom added new downloadable content entitled “The True Ending.”

While it didn’t cost that much, this true ending proved the first in the line of game developers screwing over their customers with unnecessary content. I don’t care about a slightly different ending. Where’s “the true sequel?”

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Final Fantasy: All the Bravest (Buy Randomized Characters)

Remember how I said that Metal Gear Survive was the worst thing with Metal Gear in its title? Final Fantasy: All the Bravest may be the worst thing with Final Fantasy in its title. Square Enix marketed this game as a mobile game for Final Fantasy fans, but it’s nothing like a typical Final Fantasy game and the developer pumped the game with so many microtransactions that it’s made as much, or more money than, a typical Final Fantasy release, even though it’s free to play.

The worst of these microtransactions comes from buying characters ($0.99 apiece). It’s bad enough that players can’t unlock characters, but All the Bravest adds another level of shade by making these characters random when players buy them. That means that you can purchase the same character you already have. And let’s face it, Final Fantasy has been around so long that there are as many bad characters as good ones. Who wants fifty Snows and no Tifas or Clouds?

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Street Fighter X Tekken (Fighters Already on the Disc)

Street Fighter X Tekken is another case of a game pioneering some bad industry practices. Many games allow the player to unlock additional characters through downloadable content. If a gamer’s lucky, the absence of these characters won’t matter. In others the character in question could fill plot holes—ahem, Mass Effect 3–but Street Fighter X Tekken makes this list because Capcom didn’t do a good enough job of hiding this extra content.

Several additional characters existed at the game’s launch, but players had to purchase a code to download them onto their copy. This reeks of greed. Since these characters were fully developed at the game’s launch, it felt like Capcom gave players a partial game. Again, many developers have copied this practice or have taken it to new heights of low—Star Wars Battlefront 2—but Street Fighter X Tekken started a dirty precedent.

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Tales of Vesperia (Character Experience)

JRPG fans are used to a few things: androgynous protagonists with big hair, scantily clad females with large assets, and grinding—the process of fighting previously conquered areas for experience and levels for your characters. Tales of Vesperia takes the idea of grinding and flips it on its head.

For about $5 players can buy experience points. Okay, that’s bad enough. But that’s only for five levels or so. For another $10 players can purchase more experience that’ll afford them more levels. Great. It might seem silly to put this gaffe on the list. NBA2K and other sports games have charged players for in-game experience points, but players can ignore this offering. Heck, JRPG fans shouldn’t fall victim to this avarice because they’re used to playing long hours to raise levels. The issue is that Namco doles out too little experience in Tales of Vesperia.

The only way to level up any of your characters in a meaningful way is to pay for it. Foul!

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The Saboteur (Nipples)

To understand why nipples in a video game would be something someone would pay for, one must understand the video game rating system. A protagonist can blow people’s brains out of their eye sockets. A game can even zoom in on said brains oozing out of an eye hole in slow motion and the worst a game will get is a Mature rating. But no one can show nipples.

That’s fair. Children see brains flying out of orifices all the time; they don’t ever see nipples. Filth! Filthy little boob hats.

To avoid a higher rating (Adults Only), Electronic Arts omitted every nipple in The Saboteur and allowed players to pay for DLC that returned the omitted nipples to their breasts.

Why? Not that I’m a prude, but why would anyone pay to have digital nipples placed on virtual breasts? And why would Electronic Arts omit nipples to avoid a higher game rating? No one looks at those ratings. Put the nipples on the breasts.

Full disclosure: I just wanted to say nipple and breast several times and drop a boob hat reference in this write up. Mission accomplished.

Maybe you like microtransactions for random characters or you like paying for characters who are already in a game. Maybe there are other examples of DLC and microtransactions that you don’t like. Feel free to share them with us in the comments.

Stay geeky.

My Favorite Game Mechanism: Super Mario Bros.

I’ve talked about this before years ago, but one of my favorite game designs is the first Super Mario Bros., specifically the game’s first stage World 1-1. It’s an example of flawless game design that has inspired many game designers since. It’s a wonderful use of intuitive game design.

Mario begins on the screen’s far left. The player could try and move farther left, but the game won’t allow the player to do so. It’s showing the player that Mario must go right. Sure, the buttons are limited, but Mario can only move and jump, and the controls are easy to understand without ever reading the game’s manual. Soon, Mario encounters a Goomba (a mushroom-shaped enemy). Since Mario can only jump and the player gets caught in a corridor where they must interact with the Goomba, they find that Goombas can be defeated by jumping on them. This informs the player of Mario’s skillset and his enemies’ weakness.

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A question mark box flashes ahead, begging to be pressed. When pressed, a mushroom emerges. New players won’t know if the mushroom’s good or bad, but the game’s design makes it almost impossible to miss it. The mushroom turns out to be a powerup.

There’s even a moment where a seemingly random jump would result in finding a hidden 1UP mushroom (or extra life mushroom) and since it looks like the previous powerup mushroom, players are informed to grab it. A field study showed that most people who had never played Super Mario Bros. before found the 1UP mushroom. That’s because of its placement in the world; the first 1UP mushroom’s placement is just before a hole in the floor that players must jump over. It takes a little intuition to learn this game.

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Speaking of jumping over something, the first occurrence of a piranha plant, a polka-dot Venus flytrap enemy, is also strategically placed. With its mouth and fangs pointed up, players are informed to avoid them, but if a plant like that can go up a pipe, Mario can go down a pipe and that’s exactly what Mario can do there. It’s an excellent way of revealing a game’s secrets.

The rest of the level continues in a similar fashion, non-verbally teaching the game. When gamers say that they want intuitive game design or controls, they want something like Super Mario Bros. World 1-1. It’s still one of the best game designs.

Don’t believe me? When Hirokazu Yasuhara designed 1991’s Sonic the Hedgehog, he stated that he tried to recreate Super Mario Bros. World 1-1 with every level. That’s high praise from Nintendo’s greatest competitor at the time. What are your favorite elements of classic or modern video games? If you disagree with my choice in World 1-1, feel free to jump on my Goomba head. That might hurt. Instead, leave me an angry comment.

 

Games I Hope Are Under the Tree

A certain holiday is right around the corner, and JK Geekly plans to take a break, but before we do your uncle Geekly will give into greed and list some of the games he hopes are under the tree. United States day of avarice, here I come.

I kept the term “games” vague because I’ll have some video and tabletop games on this list. No. I’m not changing beyond all recognition. Uncle Geekly may have a love of tabletop games, but there are plenty of video games coming out this year that can’t be ignored.

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Batman: Gotham City Chronicles (Monolith Board Games)

Yeah, I’m all in with Batman: Gotham City Chronicles. I’m also at the mercy of when the game will be available in retail stores (Conan also made it into gaming stores), so this may be a pipe dream. There’s a reason Gotham City Chronicles surpassed its Kickstarter goal in less than a day. It’s excellent.

I’m not sure if I need to clarify more than that. Okay. The asymmetric villains (one) versus heroes (many) gameplay creates some great moments. Those moments happen to be classic Batman tales from the comics, not TV or movies. And there are miniatures. Lots and lots of high-quality miniatures of classic comic book characters.

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Spider-Man (Sony)

I’m hoping the PS4’s Spider-Man does for the wallcrawler what Rocksteady’s Arkham series did for Batman. The web head hasn’t had a good video game in some time, and I wouldn’t mind taking on Green Goblin, Scorpion, or whoever the game has to throw at me. Plenty of reviews have been written about the game, but I’m trying to avoid them as much as possible. It’s gotten great reviews; that’s good enough for me.

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The 7th Continent (Serious Poulp)

The 7th Continent is another Kickstarter board game, but unlike Batman: Gotham City Chronicles, this one most likely won’t see mass retail appeal. Players are stranded on an island and must find ways to survive. The features exploration and has great storytelling moments. It’s an event game. It’s also one that makes you talk about it well after game night.

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Mega Man 11 (Capcom)

I don’t care if it receives good, great, indifferent, or poor reviews. I’ll probably look for Mega Man 11. It’s the first numbered entry for the Blue Bomber in over a decade, and it’s long overdue. Bring on Block Man, Fuse Man, Blast Man, Torch Man, and Impact Man.

Dinosaur Island

Dinosaur Island (Pandasaurus)

This one may be the most likely tabletop game to find its way under the tree, and I’m happy if does. Dinosaur Island is the board game version of Jurassic Park. The game mechanisms, of which there are numerous, blend together to make a great gaming experience. There are very few games that pack a lot of strategy in a small time frame (like Dinosaur Island), and Jonathan Gilmour is one of my favorite new game designers.

Your uncle Geekly could’ve added a few dozen more games, both board and video. If you disagree with a pick or two of mine, direct your anger at Jim. He likes hate mail that isn’t his hate mail. Or you could leave a comment.

My Favorite Innovative Video Games

I’m going a little off pattern with this latest favorite game mechanism in choosing several game innovations. This writeup skirts the boundaries of a list and the semi-weekly “My Favorite” series. I’m also kicking it old school with this video games as these are the first time a game style or game feature was used, so these won’t be so much modern innovative video games—I could see that as another writeup in the future—as much as it’ll be video games that shaped how they’re designed and played.

I could go on, but let’s talk about some games.

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The Legend of Zelda

The Legend of Zelda is an easy one to include, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t shaped modern video gaming in many ways. It’s one of the first open-world role-playing games. Without the original Legend of Zelda there would be no Bethesda as we know it. Sorry, no Fallout or Elder Scrolls. I played Morrowind a lot like I played The Legend of Zelda. I skipped the first dungeon and found one of the more difficult ones in the world and got my butt kicked. Who says I learned anything since I was a kid?

This game also created the first save file. Before The Legend of Zelda, players had to remember or write down codes to continue a game. When I first loaded the original Zelda, I wondered what a save file was. How far we’ve come.

Grand Theft Auto 3

Grand Theft Auto III

Speaking of open world gaming, no game captured the idea of “sandbox” gameplay than GTA3. Players could go anywhere and do anything. Unfortunately for your uncle Geekly, all I wanted to do was drive around town and listen to the radio. What do you mean the DJ’s name is Michael Hunt, but you can call him Mike?

Oh. That’s naughty. And players could be as naughty as they wanted to be with this title. Freedom, beautiful freedom. Now if only players could take the role of a woman like they could in the first Grand Theft Auto.

Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 didn’t try a lot of new things in terms of a platform game. All it did was become the first game to effectively immerse gamers in a 3D world. Players could make Mario jump, flip, and run in 3-dimensional space. If they didn’t like the camera view, they could move the camera for a better angle. You know, the things gamers take for granted today.

LittleBigPlanet

LittleBigPlanet

This title took the easy way out: let users create content. Okay, with a user-friendly creation tool, LittleBigPlanet ushered in the era of “user-created content” in video games. There have been other games that have put design in players’ hands for the PC, but LittleBigPlanet made it as easy as I can remember and brought this idea to consoles. Power to the people.

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Super Tecmo Bowl

No. I’m not talking about the first Tecmo Bowl where players cheated by using the Raiders and Bo Jackson. I’m talking about the follow-up game Super Tecmo Bowl where the game kept track of players’ statistics for the first time—something sports gamers like—and it simulated a full season of games—another something sports gamers like. If only Super Tecmo Bowl used real names for every player.

This game gets bonus points for modders who update the classic with modern NFL rosters. J. J. Watt is in our featured image at the start of this post, and Stefon Diggs is in the one above. Those are actual screen grabs from a Super Tecmo Bowl with updated rosters. What?

Metal Gear Solid

Metal Gear Solid

Sure, I could focus on Metal Gear Solid’s stealth gameplay, which was revolutionary at the time, but I’m going to concentrate on MGS’s storytelling. The game played out like a series of short films that included some topical themes and did a lot with developing characters, even if the dialogue was wanting at times. Metal Gear Solid showed that video games could thrive as a storytelling medium.

Doom1993

Doom

Doom’s biggest contribution must be its immersion. There were first-person games before Doom, but this game was the one that immersed gamers in its world. It’s the first game that made the environments their own characters, but it didn’t stop there. Doom introduced the world to multiplayer gaming via the internet. It also popularized a “shareware model” or a “try before you buy” system that game companies still used today.

That’s my first list of innovative video games. I’m sure there are plenty more that I could make another fifty to hundred lists. If you have a problem with any of the games on this list or take issue with an omission or five, come at me with a thumb war. Or you could leave a comment.