Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Articles RSS Feed | Grand Theft Auto: Vice City RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 7 Adventure Games for Android with an Old-School Feel Tue, 20 Jun 2017 13:09:32 -0400 Matthew_tanner

For some old-school gamers, having the opportunity to play a few of the classics on a smartphone is a real treat. It's also a little ironic that the honking machine you put together in the 2000s (which cost you $5,000) is now overpowered by a little device in your pocket. But such is the way of technology, and one is best served by embracing it.

One way to embrace it is by playing awesome adventure games on your mobile device -- especially ones that hearken back to the golden gaming days of old. The following adventure games all have that familiar, old-school feel and are available now on Android. So if you're looking for nostalgia, you've come to the right place. 

1. Fallout: Shelter

The original Fallout was a classic from the 90's with a great story, stunning RPG elements, and a tactical, turn-based combat system that was a lot of fun. This new incarnation was released as a prelude to Fallout 4, but it has done so well that Bethesda continues to update it -- adding more adventure and combat elements to what started as a simple building game.

The Vault Dwellers you manage in Fallout Shelter all have stats, using the same RPG-style "SPECIAL" scores from the original game. You give them armor and weapons, train them, and then send them out to face the Wasteland. The developers have even added quests and buildings to explore. This one is well worth the free download.

2. Final Fantasy Brave Exvius

This mobile-ready installation in the long-running Final Fantasy saga really feels like the old SNES chapters of the game. The artwork and design hearken back to the beginnings of Final Fantasy. With a true sense of magic and wonder, it is a completely new addition to the franchise, and well worth a try -- even for those who have never played any FF games before.

In Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, you lead a couple of (sometimes bickering) companions on a quest to save their homeland. You'll meet friends along the way while collecting weapons, equipment, and various other resources. As always with a Final Fantasy game, story and character development are important as the game progresses.

3. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

This addition to the original, best-selling game from 2002 doesn't just have an old-school feel -- it is actually old, although way ahead of his time. But that does not mean that it isn't still fun. Of course, the story itself takes place in a replica of 1980's Miami, so the nostalgia doubles-down in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

You build a character in a crime world, following the story as you grow in power and rank. You start stealing cars... and the next thing you know, you're controlling the largest crime syndicate in Vice City. This game combines some of the earliest open world gameplay with a pretty good character-driven story. It also successfully pulls off the glamor and glitz of the 80's with its art and music.

4. Myst

The oldest gamers will remember when this came out in 1993 and wowed the world with its beautiful graphics, intriguing puzzles, and hauntingly lonely atmosphere.

You are dropped onto an abandoned island filled with strange, almost magical gadgets. All alone, you must work your way through the mystery of Myst (dubbed realMyst on mobile) by solving dozens of complex puzzles. Each one leads you to more clues as to who built the island and why.

The puzzles can be real mind-benders, and they still offer a challenge today. The graphics are simplistic by modern standards, but that does not take away from the magical aura of the game. It is also a perfect game for those who just want something on their phone to kill a little time, rather than invest in a full-blown RPG adventure.

5. Missing

This is definitely a new game, but it has the feel of some of the game-noir entries from the 90's -- especially Bladerunner. The settings in Missing are beautifully drawn and the characters are very real. It has a lot of choice-making, which is something more common in early RPGs. Before the dark times. Before the conversation wheel...

This game also has a real cause behind it, as it focuses on the horrible reality of child sex trafficking.

You start the game as a young girl abducted into human trafficking. Her experiences are based on real stories of this very dark world. The girl, Champa, is imprisoned in the Red Light District. She is propositioned and pushed around. Her goal is to make the right choices and find her way to a freedom which always seems to be elusive.

6. Her Majesty's Spiffing

This game is a true callback to some of the early adventure sagas like Space Quest. It has the humor that's missing in many modern games, yet was so popular in the early days. The Monty Python-style British humor is quite funny, and the art style is lovely and engaging. It began as a Kickstarter project, and it really took off.

In Her Majesty's Spiffing, your heroes hail from post-Brexit England. The queen has taken her royal prerogative to reclaim control of the country, and she has set up a new space agency, SPIFFING. You and your companions must launch out into the galaxy to explore planets and spread the British Empire to all of them.

Most of the activity is puzzle-based, and the screens are very well drawn. The voice performances are pretty strong, which is important for a game so based on humor and character interaction. The main problem with it is that it may just be a little too short. 

7. Devious Dungeon

Of course, you have to have a pixel-art game in this list. Devious Dungeon applies the 8-bit art form to mobile devices with great success. It truly has the look and interactive feel of a classic Nintendo adventure game. The art and sound come together in a perfect retro atmosphere.

This game is full of missions and equipment, and you grow your character through an RPG type system. Explore dungeons. Collect treasure. Defeat the bad guys. It’s a classic gaming format with a classic design.


This is just a short preview of all the awesome old-school (or old-school feeling) mobile games out there right now. What are your favorites? Will you be downloading any of these? Let me know in the comments!

We Deserve a Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Remake Mon, 14 Nov 2016 17:25:50 -0500 Jared Elliott

There's no question that the Grand Theft Auto series is monumental in more ways than one. It literally created the sandbox genre, influencing countless titles that followed in its wake, from Just Cause to The Elder Scrolls. Despite its popular and cultural eminence, however, it seems as though the series has gotten a bit drab over the years.

Liberty City and San Andreas are sprawling, beautiful representations of New York City and Los Angeles, yet these cities, both in-game and in the real world, are more-or-less similar at their foundations - skyscrapers, highways, overpasses, and plenty of people to go around.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City stands out from the crowd with its vibrant 1970's Miami motifs. Since Grand Theft Auto IIIVice City stands out from the crowd both visually and thematically. The cars, clothes, radio stations and even the HUD betray a certain charm that has sadly gone unexplored ever since Vice City hit the scene, with Rockstar Games instead favoring the more modern, less imaginative environments of the east and west coasts.

It's time for that to change, because frankly if the series is getting boring. Any sandbox game relies on the imagination of the player to be enjoyable. In other words, when the whole world is your oyster, your imagination, curiosity, and freedom are the collective impetus for exploration and, ultimately, immersion.

When I play Grand Theft Auto IV or V, I can't help but feel as though something is too typical about the experience. With a few extra dollars in my wallet and some time to kill, I can literally fly to New York or L.A. and experience them as they really are. Of course, I can't steal a helicopter and crash it into the Statue of Liberty -- but why would you want to?

Another thing that I certainly cannot do is visit another time. Traveling to 1970's Miami would be as much of a history lesson as it would be a journey. Imagine walking down the street and seeing all of the funky clothes, hearing the classic music of the day, and snorting lots of coke in the back of a shady strip club - you know, experiencing a time and a place that I can't experience in real life.

That's the beauty of games. You can experience a world that can't be experienced anywhere else. Sadly, Rockstar Games seems to have forgotten or disregarded this altogether. Sure, tasting the grit of Compton and Queens are memorable experiences in and of themselves - but there is something expressly typical about them. They are simply representations of the world as we know it today. Where's the imagination? Where's the charm?

For a series that relies so much on characters to tell its stories, it seems like a slip on Rockstar's part to establish characters which are ultimately caricatures of people I've actually met in real life. Where's the fun in that? I would much rather hear the story of an outlandish mobster or a drug kingpin who lives in the proverbial ivory tower, surrounded by neon lights and nostalgic charm. 

Grand Theft Auto has lost its color, opting for the grays, blues, and browns of densely urban environments where, after a few hours, everything looks mostly the same.

That's why it's time for a Vice City remake. Bring back the vibrant environments and the soul of Grand Theft Auto along with it! I want desperately to be surprised by Liberty City and San Andreas, but the experience is so true-to-life that it reaches the point of banality sooner rather than later. A crazy person here, a unicycle there, Ford and Honda ripoffs abound -- it's essentially a walk through my own neighborhood. And trust me, that gets old quickly.

Which game in the Grand Theft Auto series would you most like to see remade? Let us know in the comments!

ex-Rockstar boss issues $150m lawsuit against parent company Take-Two Interactive Tue, 12 Apr 2016 10:53:14 -0400 Scott Simpson

In a statement issued today, Leslie Benzies, the former boss of Rockstar North who was lead producer for the company's highly successful Grand Theft Auto franchise, from GTA 3 through to GTA V, has issued a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive, who owns Rockstar, to the tune of $150,000,000.

The statement reads:

"...while on sabbatical, Mr. Benzies discovered numerous deceptions on the part of Take-Two, Rockstar, Rockstar North Ltd, Sam Houser and Dan Houser, who sought to force him out of the company and terminate his portion of royalty payments based upon arbitrary actions by the company's Royalty Allocation Committee, a committee that may or may not have actually ever met. As the lawsuit describes, based upon agreements in place, as one of three named Rockstar Principals, Mr. Benzies is owed in excess of $150,000,000 million in unpaid royalties."

The lawsuit alleges that when Benzies tried to return to work from his sabbatical, he found his key to the building had been deactivated. After eventually being let in by security, he was then asked to leave the premises by the Rockstar North office manager. He also claims that the sabbatical wasn't even his idea, but that he was encouraged to do so by the defendants.

This is at odds with Take-Two's CEO Strauss Zelnick's version of events where he stated back in February, "He's decided not to return to Rockstar Games." This is something Benzies denies.

The conflicting allegations don't end there, however, with Rockstar and Take-Two filing a document stating Benzies left the company, "...without good reason."

It looks like this one's going to get messy.

Grand Theft Auto SanAndreas and other PS2 games are coming to PS4 Fri, 04 Dec 2015 15:37:17 -0500 Daniel Williams_2179

Shuhei Yoshida, President of Sony's Worldwide Studios, has announced 8 PlayStation 2 titles coming to PlayStation 4. The games announced are: 

  • Dark Cloud
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  • Grand Theft Auto: SanAndreas
  • Rogue Galaxy
  • The Mark of Kri
  • Twisted Metal: Black
  • War of the Monsters

All these games will be released tomorrow, and all come with trophy support. These titles will also be available to play during tomorrow's PlayStation Experience event, in addition PaRappa the Rapper 2 and The King of Fighters 2000.

Earlier this November, Sony announced that they were working on bringing PS2 emulation to the PS4. Three PS2 games have already been ported to the PS4 -- Star Wars: Bounty Hunter, Star Wars: Jedi Star Fighter, and Star Wars: Racer Revenge. These titles are available to anyone who has bought either the Star Wars Battlefront or the Disney Infinity 3.0 PS4 bundle, and will be available on the PlayStation store for a later date.

What other PS2 games would you like to see on PS4? Let us know in the comments!

Top 10 Best PS2 Games Wed, 30 Sep 2015 12:56:46 -0400 Curtis Dillon


That's all folks! (Insert pig laugh.) We've counted down the 10 very best PS2 games. As was the case with the PS1 list, the diversity and quality of games on display here was incredible. I mean, you know the top 10 must be truly amazing when games like Shadow of the Colussus, God of War, Metal Gear Solid 3, Prince of Persia and many more, don't even make the cut.


The PS2 is the most successful console of all time, and the primary reason why is the games. Some of the very best games of all time have come from this generation, not to mention some memorable character mascots and the inception of online multiplayer. This was the generation when 3D gaming found its footing and gaming really became accepted in the mainstream.


So where next? Well, next we go smaller. The next step in the PlayStation timeline is the little system that could, the PlayStation Portable. Yes, we will be counting down the Top 10 PSP Games and reliving the glory days of arguably, the greatest handheld system of all time. (I'm more of a Vita guy, but the sales suggest otherwise). So remember to check back for the PSP list. We guarantee Tony Hawk won't hog the spotlight!


Until then, stay tuned to GameSkinny!

1. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

And showing the incredible impact and legacy of the series, it's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 that makes the number 1 spot on the list. This marks the 2nd time that the Tony Hawk series has topped the list, with THPS 2 hitting the number 1 spot for PS1 games. Gamespot even gave THPS 3 a perfect 10, making it only one of eleven games ever.


As is usually the case with sequels, Pro Skater 3 went bigger and, as is not always the case, better. It added new tricks, levels, modes - including online and the all-important revert. The open-ended levels were brought to life with NPC,s, cars and all sorts of things, all of which you could combo off of. The revert move allowed for significantly longer combos that didn't have to end at certain moments, thus fundamentally changing how the game was played.


The first two Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games were amazing. This may be kinda hard to understand nowadays, considering the downward trend the series went on, and especially with Pro Skater 5 releasing this week to less than favorable reviews. However, the series started on a very different note and that special trend continued well into the PS2 generation.


They weren't just for skate fans, they were for fans of fun gameplay and challenges.


Honorable Mentions:

  • God of War I & II
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  • Jak & Daxter: The Precursor Legacy
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  • Madden NFL 2002 & 2004
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  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence
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  • Virtua Fighter 4
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  • TimeSplitters 2
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  • Burnout 3: Takedown
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  • SSX
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  • Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal
  • \n
  • Okami
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  • WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain
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  • Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
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  • Guitar Hero
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  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
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  • Sly 2: Band of Thieves
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  • Shadow of the Colossus
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2. Grand Theft Auto III

This just had to be here, didn't it? Yes - the game that really did define open-world video games is more than worth its place on any list of classics. I've reiterated how ground-breaking GTA III was a few times in this list, but to really drive it home I will show you a few review quotes.


The most innovative, outlandish, brilliant video game I've ever seen.


-Official US PlayStation Magazine


While the violent nature of the game will surely turn some people off and kids simply shouldn't be allowed anywhere near it, GTA III is, quite simply, an incredible experience that shouldn't be missed by anyone mature enough to handle it.




A luscious, sprawling epic of a game and one of the most complete experiences I have ever encountered. If this is what I've waited a year to see on my PS2, then I would have waited ten. Magnificent.




Those three quotations from renowned outlets should help you realize just how innovative this game was. When GTA III came out we had been in the realm of 3D gaming for a good while, but developers were still trying to figure out the formula for hitting the nail on the head consistently. So when Grand Theft Auto III released and featured the first truly open 3D world, equipped with dozens of car types, sprawling map, intelligent NPCs and a story that you play at your own leisure, it felt like we suddenly leapt into the future.


Another thing worth remembering is what came before. GTA and GTA 2 were decent games but they were top-down action games in which you stole cars and shot people. Certainly the DNA can be traced back, but I don't think many expected the series to evolve the way it did.


Grand Theft Auto III was a surprising masterpiece that firmly cemented Rockstar as the most exciting, innovative developer in the world - a title they hold to this day.

3. Resident Evil 4

I'm a big fan of almost every game on this list, though it's far from the Top 10 I would devise myself. But I have a real penchant for this particular title. Resident Evil 4 made me a fan of horror games. I'd watch my brother play the original on the PS1 when I was a toddler, and dabbled with some scary things thereafter but it wasn't until I seen a friend playing Resident Evil 4 that I was truly hooked. After watching him play a very early level, I had to buy it for myself. Shortly thereafter I pressed start on my own GameCube version, with a different friend by my side, and started a journey I would never forget.


So it kinda goes without saying that I really like Resident Evil 4. It's a tremendous game and quite possibly the paramount horror experience. Of course, scarier games exist, and as time passes and graphics etc. improve, Resident Evil 4 will fall further down that ladder. That being said, it's still the defining Resident Evil game and an exemplar of survival horror.


You play as Leon Kennedy, an American agent who is sent to a mysterious village in Eastern Europe in search of the President's daughter Ashley Graham. Right away you realize that something bad has happened to every resident, and they desperately want to kill you. The crazed villagers are part of a cult, Los Illuminados, that controls them with a virus and answers to overarching series villain Albert Wesker.


The story is pretty cool and the atmosphere was second to none when it released. The good news is, if Capcom continues its current trend of remastering EVERYTHING, then this game will get the PS4/Xbox One treament in just a few years!

4. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Metal Gear Solid was, for many, the defining game of the PS1 era. It virtually invented the stealth genre as we know it and redefined storytelling in video games. So the follow-up to that game was going to have to be something very special, and it was. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was an incredible game that took the storytelling and gameplay to a whole other level.


Oddly enough MGS 2 is a fairly divisive game with fans of the series. Despite the very cool, unique setting (Big Shell), quirky cast of characters, incredible cutscenes and improved mechanics, fans found it hard to overlook the simple fact that you don't play as Solid Snake. In a bold move, Kojima decided to go with brand-new character Raiden (Jack) as the protagonist, someone decidedly less cool than Snake. This was, in fact, the inspiration for the rapidly changed Raiden we meet in MGS 4: Guns of the Patriots.


Regardless of the love/hate relationship with Raiden, it's undeniable just how good the actual game is. The original game certainly established the series as being "cool". but Sons of Liberty just oozed suave and confidence. From the weirdly sexual Vamp and Fortune to the debonair Pliskin and Raiden, Kojima knew what he was doing and was clearly given free reign over the project. This is where Metal Gear as we know it began.

5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

But that was Vice City. As it always seems to do, a few years after its Vice masterpiece, Rockstar took its beloved series to the streets of Los Santos (California) and again redefined open-world gaming. GTA: San Andreas was unprecedented in size and production value, and even included Samuel L. Jackson as Officer Tenpenny.


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was the original sandbox. It was the first time you felt like you could truly do anything - drive from the concrete jungle to the backwoods, train like a beast in the gym, play pool, get your pilot license, burgle a house, spray paint walls, get tattooed, jet pack onto a building then parachute off, eat until you puke, fight gang wars, low-ride, purchase property, derail a train, and simply change your hair. And that isn't even everything. Simply put, San Andreas was well ahead of its time.


This isn't just one of the very best PS2 games, it's one of the best games of all time and a testament to world-building, storytelling, characterization, and how to make a game fun.

6. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Following up the most ground-breaking, controversial and realistic video game ever made (at that time) was never going to be an easy feat. But, as we now expect of it, Rockstar Games took one look at the bar of expectation and decided to break it in half.


2002 was a pretty amazing year for gaming: Kingdom Hearts, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, Spider-Man, Super Mario Sunshine, Metroid Prime, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Sly Cooper and the Thievous Racoonus and Ratchet and Clank, to name just a few. So it's telling just how good GTA: Vice City was that it received so many game of the year awards.


Everything from the story to the music was perfect in this stylized version of 1980's Miami, Florida. While GTA III was the birth of the series and the open-world game as we know it, it was Vice City where Rockstar found its footing and added a ton of color, humor and absurdity to the series. Flying around the neon streets on a red motorcycle, listening to I Ran (So Far Away), with an SMG in hand, that's Vice City.

7. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

Carrying on the trend of high-quality racing simulation set by its predecessors, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec continued to perfect the formula, adding more depth and honing the graphics. Something worth noting, however, is that this came out just a year after Gran Turismo 2 and was, for all intents and purposes, a port of the PS1 game. That being said, it was a very, very good port.


Coming out just 4 years after the original Gran Turismo, the third installment in the series showed an incredible advancement and acted as a phenomenal show-floor piece for the PS2. This version of the game added 2 new tracks, new cars and a great soundtrack.


GT3 offers the finest racing, the best cars and the highest-quality automotive audio-visual feast available on any gaming system anywhere, and as far as I'm concerned, it's an absolutely essential purchase for anyone who loves cars and racing. --IGN

8. Madden 2003

Madden 2003 was easily the best NFL game of its time and the first to feature series regulars John Madden and Al Michaels. The 2003 installment in the series was a very deep game with a franchise mode that would take months to complete, a fun online mode, and the first ever EA Trax and Mini Camp.


It may look pretty jagged and robotic by today's standards, but in 2003 this version of Madden was the best and most authentic to date. The gameplay was refined and the commentary was a huge upgrade, making the overall package more realistic than ever before. It says a lot that Madden 2003 is, to this day, the highest rated Madden game ever!

9. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4

It's hardly surprising the #1 most critically acclaimed PS1 game series also makes it into the PS2 list. Carrying on the pure skateboarding tradition of its predecessors, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 continued to perfect the mechanics and level design set forth by the previous installments.


Pro Skater 4 was the last game in the series to bear that branding (ignoring the upcoming PS5) and be a skating simulator. The games that followed were very divisive and more GTA-inspired. Pro Skater 4, however, had excellent mechanics, impressive graphics, the always-awesome level design, and introduced multi-player into the series.

10. Devil May Cry

While God of War has become synonymous with big, hack 'n' slash action, it was Devil May Cry that first brought it to the PS2 and made it a very popular genre in the west. Capcom had been making sequel after sequel when Devil May Cry appeared out of nowhere and took everyone by surprise. A much appreciated surprise.


Playing as private investigator Dante, you enter the Demon world to avenge the death of his mother and brother. Funnily enough, Devil May Cry started out as another sequel - a Resident Evil game to be exact. This, amazingly, was the embryonic version of Resident Evil 4, a game that may show up later in this list.


Devil May Cry was a very stylish Gothic horror game that infused hack 'n' slash sword-fighting with dual gun-wielding. A great game that spawned several sequels and a reboot.


Welcome back to the best PlayStation games countdown! This is the second week in the countdown and so we've moved on to the biggest selling console of all time, the PlayStation 2.


Last time around we covered the great console that was the PS1. A system that was born from a scorned Sony and completely wiped the floor with its competition. When the next generation rolled around, Nintendo and Sega both attempted to emulate PlayStation's success by producing more powerful consoles that were capable of running bigger, more mature games.


We all know what happened the Dreamcast, despite the fact that it was a very good console that was well ahead of its time. The GameCube was a similarly brilliant console but didn't sell all that well either, managing just 21 million units. The PS2, on the other hand, took over the world and brought gaming to the forefront of entertainment.


It sold a whopping 155 million units, putting it well above the PS1, which is still the 2nd best-selling home console ever. The PS2 has also sold more than the Nintendo DS, which is sitting just behind with 154 million units.


But you aren't here to read about numbers. No, you're here to see some games! And it's the games that made the PS2 so successful....well, that and a DVD player when they were pretty new. But the games were fantastic nonetheless. So let's hop in and find out which ones made the top 10!

5 Problems In Gaming That Have Been Around For A While Wed, 19 Aug 2015 06:41:10 -0400 Stan Rezaee

According to many old school gamers, we are living in a dark age of gaming thanks to all the filthy casual gamers and lazy developers. It’s no longer about making good games but to quickly release a new title then milk it dry before moving on to the next cash cow.

Most of us old school gamers need to realize that we are not living in a dark age because many of these problems in gaming have been around for a long time. From sleazy freemium games to constant re-releases, gamers have seen them back in the days when the N64 and PlayStation were king.

These are five common problems in gaming today that have been around for a long time.

5. Series Never Changes

Gamers hear this a lot about franchises like Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, every game in series is the same with little changes. Despite a few tweaks, it’s going to be the same game with the same gameplay, same story, same events and same predictable plot twist that any gamer could see coming. By the fourth title, you know exactly which character is going to be killed-off and it's not even going to bother you. Call of Duty is the obvious target while Ubisoft has faced similar criticism, but at least they put more of an effort than Scott Cawthon and his Five Nights at Freddy's series.

It’s easy to say developers have become lazy or publishers have become greedy and are trying to milk a series, yet gamers forget that this has been going on for a long time. This has been going on with hit franchises since the 90’s, yet a lot of those games are now seen as classics.    

Today considered a classic, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and San Andreas were sometimes criticized for having the same gameplay as Grand Theft Auto III  with only minor changes. Even today, some gamers felt that Grand Theft Auto V was no different than its predecessors. Resident Evil 2 is often hailed as the best game in the series and one of the most iconic PlayStation games, but its gameplay was exactly like its predecessor. Also one should ask what is difference between Doom and Doom II in regards to their gameplay.

Developers are going to operate on a “don’t fix it if it isn’t broken” mentality when having to release a new title within two years after the release of the original. To make up for the lack of changes in the gameplay, they will be more focused on expanding the story and character development.

4. HD Remakes

The Next-Gen consoles is the next stage of the gaming industry and yet almost the majority of games being released are just HD remakes. Most of the hit titles released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are just HD versions of games from the last console. Grand Theft Auto V, The Last Of Us, and the Halo series have all been re-released on the Next-Gen consoles while there is very little original titles that takes advantage of the new hardware.

Looking back, this is not a new phenomenon as past console featured a variety of updated versions of titles from the last console generation. Some of the early games for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 were just ports of successful PC titles like Far Cry and Unreal Tournament. Going even futher one could also recall some of the early games for the Nintendo 64 were ports of hit PC games. Titles like Doom 64, Duke Nukem 64, Asteroids, Command & Conquer were available alongside many original launch titles.

Gamers seem to forget that it takes time for developers to switch over to the hardware of the new console. Publishers also would like to see which console is going to be the dominant one so they know who their main audience is going to be. Hence, the early games of a new console are going to be ports from the previous console generation or the PC.

3. Freemium Games

Freemium has grown to become a cancer of the gaming world as developers make s*** games then try to milk stupid casual gamers just to advance to the next level. It's because of parasites like Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga that is ruining the gaming industry as developers are trying to focus more on half-ass mobile games.  

However the concept of paying to play has been around for a very long time, only it was once known as the arcade. Gamers had to pay $.25 - $2 to play a game that would last depending on a person's own skill set (but it didn’t last that long). Sure the games in the arcade were a better quality compared to the freemium games today, but paying $1 to play Time Crisis 2 is still a rip-off.

When the consoles began to dominate the gaming market, arcades became obsolete and would soon fade away. In its absence, the freemium market emerged to take its place thanks to rise of smartphones. Now gamers could enjoy that arcade feeling once again only by paying to play very dumb games that offer no real satisfaction.

2. Too Many Re-Releases

Resident Evil 4 was the game that changed the concept of horror survival, yet Capcom has re-released it so many times that it has become annoying among gamers. This has grown to become an annoying trend among gamers who are craving something new and original. Yet when a publisher is constantly re-releasing the same game, it's obvious they have gone bankrupt regarding creativity.  

Yet gamers seem to forget that publishers are always re-releasing their games. Want proof, guess how many times the original Resident Evil was released for the PS1? Answer: three times! There was the original release, a Director's Cut and the Dual Shock Edition. Meanwhile the original Doom has been re-released on almost every handheld device ever since the release of the Gameboy Advance.  

Rockstar Games is also guilty of this as they have re-released Grand Theft Auto III, ViceCity and San Andreas on multiple systems. Originally released for the PS2 followed by a PC version while Xbox gamers had to wait a few extra years. All three would be later re-released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 as part of an anniversary edition followed by a mobile phone port. Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 were re-released as Substance for the PS2 followed by an HD remastering for all major consoles and part of the Legacy collection for the PS3.

So why do publishers re-release their games? Part of it is they feel the new hardware could improve a classic title while also wanting to introduce their games to a new generation. Resident Evil 4 on a Next-Gen console means nothing to someone who played it for the PS2 or GameCube but Capcom is hoping that it will introduce the series to a new audience.

1. Online Trash Talk

Besides lag, the one thing we all hate about multiplayer games is the trash talk and the lack of sportsmanship within the community. Call of Duty fans have the unfortunate luck of being seen as the lowest common denominator of the multiplayer world. They are often labeled as being pre-teen brats who are constantly using homophobic and racist slurs while lacking any sense of sportsmanship. Sometimes an old school gamer wonders why can’t they be more like those who play Counter-Strike or ArmA, a gaming communities that has a good concept of sportsmanship while no tolerance for trash talk

However we all need to remember that at one point, we were all 13 while thinking it was cool to use homophobic and racist slurs. Back in the day it was no different, we were all calling each other “f****-noobs” followed by “suck my ****” during a game of Counter-Strike (or some other multiplayer game). Every single one of us has a story about seeing trash talk or doing the trash talk, so get-off your high horse.

The only reason Call of Duty gamers are slapped with this label is because of the games demographic while those of us who play Counter-Strike got old and matured. The minute a new popular shooter series comes along, it will be the older Call of Duty fans that will be bickering about the trash talk and immaturity of a gaming community.

Hence, branding a fan base as juvenile is almost the video game equivalent of bickering about how the next generation is stupid and will doom us all. 

Was there any gamer problems you agreed with ot felt were missed, share your thoughts in the comments.

Nine Celebrity Video Game Voice Actors You Missed Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:30:01 -0400 Elijah Beahm


While gaming struggled many years for recognition and acceptance, every day we see more proof of how mainstream it has become. As games become more commonplace, so do celebrity appearances in games. Got a favorite celebrity appearance in a video game? Let us know in the comments below!


Phil Collins -- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories


While technically Phil Collins only says a few brief lines, there is an entire mission built around his in-game concert in this PSP/PlayStation 2 spin-off of Vice City. You have to stop some bombers with your bare fists, all while keeping Collins and a movie director safe. Your reward after preventing the heinous attack? An entire song performed by Phil Collins, in-game. As mission rewards go, this is a pretty rock solid one.


Sean Bean -- Kholat


Sean Bean must be very tired of dying, which is probably why he agreed to narrate the indie horror title Kholat. Not only does he get to be the voice players hear at every turn, but he gets to live by virtue of not being present. This is equally fitting, seeing as Bean's only other video game role was as the bastard son of the reigning emperor in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The lack of assassination attempts likely is very refreshing.


Ray Liotta -- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City


You might be able to take the gangster out of the real world, but he'll still be looking for trouble. Ray Liotta's profilic movie career is full of action and mobster films, so it seems only fitting that his two appearances in video games are as gangsters. He not only appeared back in 2012 as one of the cast in Mob of the Dead for Call of Duty: Black Ops II, but is the star of his own Grand Theft Auto game.


Taking place in the middle entry of the PlayStation 2 GTA trilogy, Liotta plays Tommy Vecetti, a loyal gunman with an ax to grind. While many of the same ideas present in Grand Theft Auto III were present in Vice City, one of the biggest shifts was the greater focus on story. By bringing Liotta in, the series began a trend of voiced protagonists with real motivations. Vice City heralded a turning point for the franchise that would later lead to the further complex stories in GTA IV and GTA V.


Elijah Wood -- The Legend of Spyro


One does not simply become the lead actor in two epic fantasy franchises, but Elijah Wood pulled it off anyway. Not only did Wood get to play the iconic Frodo Baggins from Lord of the Rings, but was also brought on board for Krome's reboot trilogy of the Spyro series.


While the games themselves had a middling reception (leading to Activision rebooting Spyro into Skylanders), the story and voice acting were highly praised. Not to be deterred, Wood has taken on other gaming related projects, including playing one of the lead antagonists in Season 10 of Roosterteeth's Red vs. Blue.


Chloe Grace Mortez -- Dishonored


Most people remember first seeing Mortez break onto the scene as Hitgirl in Kickass. She packed a surprising amount of punch for such a young actress, but she actually has done far more subdued roles. Take for instance her role in Dishonored, as the heir to the throne, Lady Emily Kaldwin.


Mortez not only had to portray the character, but handle two completely separate voice overs due to the branching narrative. As a result, she played Emily as both a malevolent ruler to be, and as a peaceful idealist. Not an easy job for anyone, but Mortez brings something genuine to Emily that many young characters in video games lack. While Emily's looking all grown up in Dishonored 2, it's not confirmed if Mortez will continue voicing her or not.


Tony Jay -- Legacy of Kain


Tony Jay remains one of the few actors who can say he acted in one of the original hand-drawn Disney films and in several iconic video games. From The Hunchback of Notredame to Fallout, he's voiced dozens of characters for gamers and moviegoers alike.


What remains one of his most iconic roles is the Elder God in Crystal Dynamic's Legacy of Kain series. His baritone voice carried great weight in every role, but he made Elder God truly titanic, mocking series protagonist Raziel's struggle. While he sadly passed away in 2006, his voice lives on for generations of fans through his prolific work.


Christopher Walken -- True Crimes: LA


While old school adventure game fans remember Christopher Walken's iconic appearance in Ripper, most gamers don't realize he's also the voice of George, a character from Activision's True Crime series. Walken not only voices the character, but narrates both the game's intro and outro sequence. What makes his inclusion particularly odd though is how subdued he is by comparison to his usually flamboyant performances.


Ashley Burch -- Aliens: Colonial Marines


Yes, right after Ashley Burch of Hey Ash Watchya Playin'? got her big break in voice acting as Tiny Tina for Borderlands 2, she voiced a very (let's call it "unique") Gearbox production. In Aliens: Colonial Marines, Burch plays the red headed, by the book pilot Lt. Reid. Reid often comes into argument with the lower ranking members of the cast, including ordering them to leave a marine behind at one point for the sake of the mission.


What's most impressive is that it's actually hard to identify that it's Burch in the role until you read the credits. While more recent projects such as Life is Strange have highlighted Burch's range, this was one of the few times most gamers heard her do a far more serious voiceover. Sadly, neither Burch nor anyone else of the star-studded cast (including Lance Henriksen and Michael Biehn) could save the game's dismal story.


Kristen Bell -- Assassin's Creed


It has been many years since the tragic twist ending of Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, but that doesn't mean fans have forgotten about former series mainstay Lucy Stillman. What those same fans might have realized is that Lucy was played by none other than Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars fame. Bell played Lucy through each entry in the series, going from a side role to being one of the lead protagonists.


Assassin's Creed is not Bell's only dip into video game voice acting. She also reprises her role as Cora from Astro Boy vs. The Junkyard Pirates in Astro Boy: The Video Game and as Anna from Frozen in Disney Infinity.


Voice acting in video games is one of those professions that has its own stars, like Dee Bradly Baker (pictured above), Troy Baker, Tara Strong, and Nolan North. However, that doesn't take away the excitement when a movie, web, or TV actor takes their step out onto the digital stage. Sometimes though, they slip by us. Here are nine celebrity voice overs you probably didn't realize were in games.

GTA Vice City Stunts Wed, 21 Jan 2015 11:51:46 -0500 Left Foot

Wasteland Heroes is a stunt crew that's been playing GTA VC for ten years perfecting their stunting skills. Unfortunately this is their last video for Vice City. Hopefully they'll start stunting GTA V soon!

Grand Theft Auto Made Me Do It: Stop Blaming Mature Games and Start Reading Rating Labels! Thu, 15 Aug 2013 11:09:20 -0400 PencilPusha

Remember when Grand Theft Auto: Vice City came out?

I do.

It was all over the news at one point. The media was criticizing the game because of kids and teens committing crimes, like stealing money or cars or even hurting another person, and then saying "I did it because it looked like fun when I was playing Grand Theft Auto!" or the investigators would find out that the kid owned the game or played it in general. And this was all because Vice City had the same things in it: you played as Tommy Vercetti, able to smash and kill any or every thing in your path (fun, right?). So immediately parents, along with the media, would blame the game: "Well my son/daughter couldn't have possibly done this crime on his/her own accord! It must've been the terrible, horrible influences from this game!"

My question to the parents would be: if you didn't approve of this game, then why are you allowing your kids to play it? Did you even know that your child was playing it?

Parents, here are a couple of things you need to understand about Mature games:

1) In September 2006, there was a Senator named Sam Brownback who created the Truth in Video Game Rating Act, which required the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) to play every game in its entirety (doesn't that make you jealous, fellow gamers?!) before its release in order to more accurately rate the game for its appropriate and intended audiences (view an article on it here:

*Note: I'm sure there were similar laws well before this because age-ratings have been on video games since I could remember (we're talking early '90s), but I'm only digging back to 2006 for now!

And then later in May 2008, another act - that started out as an ordinary bill - called the Video Game Rating Enforcement Act stated that "all video games must have an age-related rating label" on them (which they have for years), and that if they're "rated M for Mature, meaning adults only or 17 and up only", that they "cannot be purchased from an establishment". So chances are if your kid or kids got their hands on a Mature game and aren't of a mature age, they probably had help getting it without your consent because we all know that places like GameStop and their employees don't want to be fined up to $5,000 or worse just because your kid begged for a Mature game. If you want to read the original bill for this, check it out here:

2) The ESRB has made it so easy for anyone to understand what's contained in each video game. Why would you blame the game? By law, the folks at the ESRB are required to show an age-related rating of each and every video game that can be found in-store or online. So how can some parents claim they didn't know their kids were playing a Mature game? Because they probably weren't paying attention! Now I'm not saying you should breathe down your kids' necks every second of every day, but if you care that much about what they're playing on the game consoles that you probably bought for them for their birthday or last Christmas, then go find out! Look at the game case! There'll be a nice little rating letter on the bottom of the front and back of the case waiting for you - yes, you! - to inspect. Parents, feel free to check out the ESRB site, which is proudly advertised on each and every video game's rating label:

3) I understand that it's easy to buy Mature games online from, say, or wherever. I know that some online stores require you to have an account with them, but the problem is that it's easy for anyone to make an account and fake their birth year. In that case, you need to not give your child a gift card if you don't want them going online to use it and potentially end up buying a Mature game. Be aware of what your kids are up to because kids are slick!

And if you want this sort of thing changed, get some other parents together and call your local Congressman! Tell them how important it is! Make a bill and submit it if it's that important to you! You have a choice and a voice! Realistically, it might be easier to just go straight to your kids to solve the problem...but don't let me limit your capabilities!

4) If your child commits a crime and blames it on a Mature video game he/she played, chances are he/she is trying to cover up that he/she probably wanted to do it well before he/she started playing that game. It's called an excuse. And if that game genuinely inspired your child to commit a crime out of sheer enjoyment, chances are that your child wasn't old enough - or mature enough - to be playing it in the first place! And if he/she was old enough, then... that's another story.

My point is don't blame the game. The law has stepped in and made it harder for your kids to buy Mature games in the store. Unfortunately, they can buy them online or get someone of age to buy it for them, but if you stay on your P's and Q's about what your child has access to as far as 1) video games, 2) adults with questionable/different beliefs/parenting styles than yours, and 3) and gift cards, then you need not worry. If they fuss about you not letting them play the video game they want to play because they're not old enough to play it, well too bad! You're the parent which means you (and your spouse/partner) are the boss of your household! Put your foot down! Be the boss!

Now I understand that sometimes kids will go over their friends' houses and play games that they don't have at their own houses. Then as a parent, you could make friends with that kid's parents and find out what kinds of video games they're playing together. If it's something you disapprove of, explain it to the friend's parents and hopefully they'll understand and respect your request of discretion while your child is at their house. Otherwise, you might not want to let your kid go over to that friend's house anymore, if it's that important to you.

So how important is Mature video game discretion to you when it comes to your child?

I, myself, have no problem with playing M-Rated games in front of my son now because he's too little to understand what's going on (or at least that's what I believe). Maybe when he gets a little older, I'll restrict some games he watches me or my husband play or games he plays by himself. Maybe he'll only get to play Call of Duty with Daddy and Super Mario with me, who knows? For some parents, that's bound to cause some conflict if one of you disagrees, so work it out between the both of you! Remember you're a team and you're looking out for your child!

But the number one key to making sure your kids understand Mature games, and their content versus real life, is explaining to them the difference between fantasy and reality.

"Son/Daughter, this is a Mature game. When you play it, you'll see violent images, hear profane language, and be able to commit heinous crimes. But remember: it's not real! It's just a game! And games are supposed to be fun! So if it bothers you, let me know and we'll take it back and get another game." You know, something like that. Chances are, it won't bother your child, but hey... Anything can happen.

And that example is exactly why some kids under 17 shouldn't play Mature games. They think that the game is cool, which is all fine and dandy, but that doesn't mean you should go out and do what you do on the video game in real life.

Bottom line, parents? It's up to you. Monitor what your kids are playing. It's your job to guide your kids in the right direction. Don't blame the video game when your kid decides to act out something he/she saw in the game because then the question becomes: where were you when your child was playing the game?

I would hope you were paying attention and not busy blaming game companies like Rockstar Games for your kids' behavior. Mature video games are fun and exciting, but they're called Mature video games for a reason!

Rockstar Games' GTAO: Gameplay Video and Previews Revealed! Thu, 15 Aug 2013 10:28:21 -0400 PencilPusha

This morning, shared their first round of gameplay video (which was virtually non-viewable for a while since everyone and their mother decided to get on the site at the same time) and previews of their newest GTA project, Grand Theft Auto Online (GTAO). The title itself is enough to shock and amaze any Grand Theft Auto fan! It's refreshing to know that while we're all waiting for Grand Theft Auto 5 to come out, there's something else even more astounding in the works! Oh Rockstar Games, you spoil us...

So according to, 

"[16 gamers can share] gameplay features, geography and mechanics with Grand Theft Auto V, but will continue to expand and evolve after its launch with new content created by Rockstar Games and the Grand Theft Auto community."

How cool is that?! went on to say that gamers will still have...

"fundamental concepts such as freedom, ambient activity and mission-based gameplay and makes them available to multiple players in an incredibly detailed and responsive online world."


So it sounds like a regular Grand Theft Auto game, but you can do everything you could do in the traditional games online with up to 16 other people! Wow. And "all with the personality and refined mechanics of Grand Theft Auto V", as worded it. So I guess it should be referred to as GTAVO? Nah, too many letters... also added that...

"players can invest in their character through customizing their appearance, improving their stats, owning customized vehicles, purchasing personal property, and taking part in missions, jobs and activities to earn reputation and cash to open up new opportunities to rise through the criminal ranks. The world of Grand Theft Auto Online will constantly grow and change as new content is added, creating the first ever persistent and dynamic Grand Theft Auto game world."

How cool is that?!

The best part? "Access to Grand Theft Auto Online is free with every retail copy of Grand Theft Auto V and launches on October 1st", according to October can't get here fast enough!

So how will this differ from the past GTA games we've all enjoyed up 'til now? Well it seems as though GTAO will be an extension of the GTAV entity and then some. There's more detail in every aspect of the game, you can create and destroy this time around,  there will be more people involved (like how Call of Duty operates), and it will still be a great addition to the same old GTA series we've known and loved for years.

I'm still unsure if we can make our own characters - if I read Rockstar Games' GTAO Q&A page correctly, I think we only get to play as Trevor, Michael or Franklin. And that's okay because that's the way GTA has always been!

If you want to check out more about GTAO, log on to

*Special note: Keep in mind that all the past GTA games, and most of Rockstar Games' stuff in general, have been rated M for Mature (like we adults pay attention to that), so if you parents out there have young children who are old enough to understand things like profanity and adult content and you'd rather not have them play or watch you play something like this, take charge! 'Cause let's face it - if a kid wants it, they'll find a way to get their hands on it via older friends, neighbors or "more understanding/lenient relatives". Remember parents, you're the boss. And kids, do what your parents say because they know best! Stop getting Rockstar Games into trouble!

The Skinny on GTAO: Sneak Peek Coming August 15 Mon, 12 Aug 2013 11:30:06 -0400 PencilPusha

If you're a fan of the controversial yet entertaining Grand Theft Auto game series, then you're just as excited as I am about GTAO (Grand Theft Auto Online)! According to, there will be an unveiling of "gameplay video and previews" under their Newswire section this Thursday, August 15. Comments below the article were bouncing all over the place concerning what time the revelation would take place and what kinds of features the game would have. Naturally, most GTA fans wonder what GTAO has in store for us!

Are we going to be able to make our own characters (like female characters) or choose from some already-made characters that Rockstar Games has so generously provided for us? Will the game run on real-time or a fast, game-generated time? Is there going to be an active "night-life" like there was in Vice City? Can our characters get fat or fit like in San Andreas? Be sure to check out the "world première" of Rockstar Games' new GTAO online gameplay this Thursday!

Top 20 Themes in Gaming Sun, 21 Jul 2013 14:24:43 -0400 Jeni Harrison


Special Mention:
Saints Row 2 – South Street – Call in the Debts


We both love this song, not only is it independent rock, but we love the lead singer, as he is DAN_HERE!!!’s  cousin, (and kicked his ass once) and South Street have some amazing singles. Sadly no longer together as a band, we miss their gigs at local bars and pubs. 


World of Warcraft: Elwynn Forest Theme


I (JeniHarrison) remember taking my first steps into addiction pit known as World of Warcraft 7 years ago. I was a Human Priest, starting fresh-faced in Northshire Abbey. Once I'd done the first few quests and murdered enough bandits and wolves to satiate my unrelenting blood-thirst, I finally stopped to listen.

I heard leaves rustling in the trees. I heard the banter of the guards, bored on duty. I heard the bells of the Cathedral of Light ringing in the distance of the great Stormwind City. But, over all of that, I heard the music. And it was beautiful. I've played WoW for about six years now, and still, no music in any game has ever matched Elwynn Forest for me. I just love it that much. 




The twinkly of those notes gives me an instant smile, and I have employed it in many aspects of my life. Filling the freezer with too many groceries, trying to pack a suitcase with too many clothes or even just trying to fit one more thing in my handbag (JeniHarrison).

All of these less than monumental life events receive the treatment of me singing the Tetris theme, much to the amusement and annoyance of anyone in the general area.


Dead Island


Aw, man. Once you've seen the amazing trailer for Dead Island, you simply can't forget it. It's moving, beautiful and incredibly unnerving all at the same time. It follows a little girl (looks no older than nine) as she dies in reverse. Crumpled on the ground, she begins to lift up, moving through a window high up in a hotel where her parents are getting torn apart by zombies. Never, in all my years of gaming has a trailer made me feel so much (DAN_HERE!!!).

Unfortunately the game turned out to be a bit of a buggy mess, but at least we've always got the trailer and this unbelievable score to go along with it.


Super Mario Bros


This was basically the soundtrack of my youth (DAN_HERE!!!). I don't think a day has gone by since I picked up my first NES controller that I haven't heard this theme in my head or on TV or hell, just coming out of the NES I have in my back room (I like to plug it in and play the old school way every now and again).

Absolutely no top game themes list should be without this classic.

I could have posted the original theme here, but to be honest, I prefer this version from the GameCube’s fantastic Super Mario Sunshine. Also, I am a total sucker for acappela music. 


Sonic The Hedgehog (Green Hill Zone)

Ah so many childhood memories. The first console I ever played on was my uncles Sega Mega Drive (Genesis to you Americans), and the amazing first Sonic the Hedgehog game (JeniHarrison). I was never able to get more than a few levels in, and almost always ended up playing Green Hill Zone every 20 minutes or so when I'd have to start all over again.

Mix it in with the noise you get for the power up and the elation you feel when freeing all the baby critters it is firmly lodged in my head as one of my fondest young memories. 


Medal of Honor: Frontline


And when I get to Heaven,


To Saint Peter I will tell,


One more soldier reporting sir,


I've served my time in Hell”


A very moving verse to the start of an amazing WWII shooter; while nothing could ever match the feeling of actually taking part in a war, this game did it's best to make you feel as if you where a soldier during one of the worst conflicts in human history.

Though it's quite tame in comparison to some of today's WWII shooters (World at War springs to mind), back in the day it was truly ground breaking, and has a theme to match. With a couple of instruments and a choir singer, this theme really does give you a sense of loneliness in the face of danger. It's almost haunting.
Still, a beautiful piece that DAN_HERE!!! still finds himself humming to this day.


Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (The Great Sea music)


Once you find a sail for The King of Red Lions, your adventure is truly under way, and personally, we can't think of a better theme to give you a sense of adventure and exploration in a world that you've never seen before.

It really does a good job of setting the tone for the rest of the game and makes you truly feel that it's just you (and your talking boat) versus the world! It's the kind of tune that makes you feel that you can go anywhere you want, and once you get a hold of the fabled Wind Waker that the game is named for, you basically can. Albeit you have to have complete the story in a certain order. 


Portal (Still Alive)


Right, straight off the bat we have to admit that personally we’re not fans of the Portal series... I'll just wait patiently while the collective internet is finished murdering us and desecrating our corpses... All done?

Good, maybe we can move on now. While we can see why people do like it, it's just not personally for us, the humour is a little too dry and obvious and the whole cake thing just seems a bit too out-there. BUT, saying that, it does have one of the best ending songs ever heard in it, so I guess that kind of makes up for it. Here it is now, enjoy it. Sorry......


The Secret of Monkey Island


Another childhood favourite of mine (DAN_HERE!!!), this here is the re-mastered version released in 2009. Though it still retains everything that made the original theme an absolute classic, with its chirpy, happy and generally upbeat sound to it; it really sets you in the right mood for the game, which is a quite light-hearted piece of computer game history that is clearly not going to take itself too seriously.

The Secret of Monkey Island is one of my favourite games of all time (you can read an interview about it here) and with good reason. It’s fun and still takes a degree of skill (if you can't play through it with your eyes closed like DAN_HERE!!! can, anyway) and has a great musical score.

What more could you want?


Final Fantasy 8 (attack on Dollet)


This theme to me is perfect for a do-or-die situation, which is sort of what Squall and co. are placed in during the epic raid that is the Attack on Dollet. To add more pressure to the poor guys, it needs to be successful for them to pass the SeeD exam that they've been training for nearly their whole lives!

I hope for their sake that you know what you're doing because you're going to need your wits about you to make it to the top of the tower, then outrun the robotic nightmare-crab that chases you all the way back!

And for God sake make SURE you save that poor dog!


GTA: Vice City (Opening Credits)


Ha! I should be about five years too young to remember this (DAN_HERE!!!), but I can.

I can remember ducking out of last lesson at school to rush to my mates and play it before his parents got home from work.

I remember hearing it and thinking I'd never heard something so eighties in all my life (I was only young at the time, a wee laddie of 15). The pink on blue writing, the cut-out camera angles, the Hawaiian shirt.... All it really needed was shoulder pads and it would be complete.

Awesome theme to go with an awesome game: I love it.


I Made a Game with Zombies in It


How often does the title of a game sum it up so perfectly? Basically some guy made a game where you shoot zombies (and amorphous blobs and faces to be fair) and that's it.

You compete for high scores. It's pretty cool and very reminiscent of the old Robotron games in the arcades. Well, as straight forward as the title is, the song is even more upfront, basically thanking you for buying it, detailing the plot (Some guy made a game where you shoot zombies) and explaining how much it cost.

It's catchy and about zombies - Doesn't get much better than that in my opinion.


Metal Gear Solid

OK, so this game is basically about breaking and entering (albeit to stop nuclear war, but still...) and I loved it.

Taking up the role of Solid Snake once again, you really needed to feel you where the best. And this theme did a damn good job of convincing you that you where one man. One man, but you weren't alone. You had a lifetime of training.

This theme is awesome. There's nothing else I can really say about it, it just gives you that feeling that you can do it. You're out-gunned, out-numbered and pretty much doomed…

But, dammit, you're Snake. And Snake would do it.....


Halo - Combat Evolved


Picture it: The year is 2552, humanity is under attack from a seemingly unbeatable collective of alien species known as The Covenant. They've already wiped out the second planet humanity has colonised, annihilating millions of human lives in the process. You're one of the only survivors of a space ship crash on an uncharted ring-planet and possibly humanities last hope for survival. What do you need to accomplish your mission? (aside from a two trillion dollar exoskeletal suit and a life time of military training, not to mention bio-augmented upgrades delivered directly to your central nervous system via a series of incredibly painful injections when you where a child?)

That's right, a theme as badass as this one! Get military and finish the fight!


Soviet Strike


Ah, the STRIKE games... Who could forget them? I still remember my dad buying Soviet Strike in the shops and us racing home to play it... My cousins had Jungle and Urban Strike on the Mega Drive (Genesis for the American market) so we couldn't wait to see how this one panned out.

I still remember saving Nick Arnold from the Soviet firing squad by flying in armed with Sidewinders and Hellfires... Good times man, good times...

But the best thing was popping the disc in a CD player and hearing this blast out at you. It's just perfect for the game. It's military, adrenaline pumping, awesomeness. Give it a listen and thank me later.


Street Fighter 2 Turbo


Have you ever heard a piece of music more likely to get you psyched up for a fight in a playground?

Sure it's short, but it's not about length or anything like that, it's about what it was to be able to listen to the music and know, really know,what you where about to get into.

You were going to be the World Warrior and nothing was going to get in your way, Not M. Bison, or Sagat, or Balrog or not even Tommy Spinson in the grade above you was going to stop you. And if he was foolhardy enough to try, all you needed was this tune, a handful of mud and rocks and the ability to shout “SONIC BOOM” while throwing it at his face.

You should probably watch out for teachers before you do that though.... seriously.


Tunnel B1


My dad bought this game with the PS1 back on launch day (or near enough) and ironically, I remember it being quite a forgettable vehicle based FPS. I think I played about two or three levels in before never wanting to play it again, but the one thing I absolutely loved about it was the opening cinematic.

The scene itself was cool and set you up for what you thought would be quite a good gaming experience, but if you watch it I implore you not to fall into the trap. The music for the scene however, was awesome. It was very action oriented and written by the great Chris Huelsbeck (of Turrican fame) so you know it's worth a listen.




Resident Evil (Typewriter Room)


If the Tomb Raider piece mentioned feelings of fear, then this Resident Evil music is the complete polar opposite. Opening a door in that game and hearing this calm, soothing music meant you knew that you where safe, if just for a moment, from the unrelenting horror monsters that you faced in the Spencer Mansion.

It should be noted however, that typing your name and what time it is into a typewriter will absolutely not bring you back from the dead if you enter a mansion full of unrelenting horror monsters and get killed in real life. You have been warned.


Tomb Raider (T-Rex attack theme)


The first time I heard this I knew. I just simply knew something big was coming. However I had no idea just how big it would be until, seconds later, Lara's limp, lifeless corpse was hanging by its legs in the mouth of a massive T-Rex that had just proceeded to completely ruin my day. Thankfully, when I restarted the level (and finished screaming in abject terror) I managed to keep my wits about me long enough to defeat it.

Every time I go back to that game though, the hairs still stand up on the back of my neck when I hear that piece.


Lemmings (Can-Can Music)



Catchy music and surprisingly challenging gameplay abound in this awesome oldschool puzzler from DMA Design (better known now as Rockstar North) released back in the '91.

There were lots of cool tunes to pick from for Lemmings (and lots that I still nonchalantly whistle to myself) but for me it just had to be The Can-Can. The music differed for each port and I have fond memories of my cousin having it for the old Amiga 500 and definitely think it's the best version of them all, so that's the one I'm including here.


Top Themes in Gaming




Victor Hugo said “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent”. Music has the power to enrich our lives, and bring to life any game. Both me and my fiancé hum game music more than what is in the charts, so we (DAN_HERE!!! and myself) have compiled our top 20 themes in gaming, this list is not exhaustive and could have easily run to 100. 

Rockstar: Jumping the Open World Shark Tue, 09 Jul 2013 12:26:06 -0400 Max Jay

In 2002, at 14-years-old, I went to my local GameStop to get the Xbox port of the then-legendary Grand Theft Auto III.

I went to that specific GameStop because they knew my face, they knew my name and I knew they wouldn’t care that I wasn’t 17. I purchased the game, spending several weeks of my meager allowance (without telling my mother of course, who would have had a some sort of motherly equivalent to a heart attack) set it up and fell in love with the world of Liberty City for the first time.

**I loved you like my brother when he wasn't beating the crud out of me.**

GTAIII was a revelation in the gaming world. It was like realizing for the first time that you can watch T.V. when your parents aren’t home and they would NEVER find out. There had been other open-world games, but none with the charisma, humor and draw waiting around every corner of Liberty City. Every nook and cranny was packed with interesting things to do and see. On top of that the unique humor of the game spoke to me at that age, and quite possibly influenced my brand of humor now. The tongue-in-cheek Lazlo radio show perhaps most of all embodies that air of stylization that permeated every facet the game. Unfortunately since then, Rockstar has lost the magic.

Vice City and San Andreas were pretty similar to III, but San Andreas began to change the formula. The characters were more realistic and the story was more serious, which in many cases is a good thing, but in this case I could never sit through San Andreas without shutting it off and popping in III. It’s like watching a cruddy sequel to a great movie; all you want to do is cut the sequel short and watch the original so you can enjoy the best version of that world. GTA had lost its way and the tunnel would only become darker for me over time.

**Will you hurt me like all the others?**

This revelation came to me while watching the new gameplay trailer for GTAV. It looks amazing. While watching I felt the familiar spinning in my stomach when I find myself getting excited to lose myself in a new game. Yet then, like a comically massive anvil on my cartoon head, I remembered I had the same feeling when waiting for GTAIV, which ultimately left me disappointed and bored. For the record, I know GTAIV is one of the most critically acclaimed games of the generation, and I respect that; people love that game as if it was their grandmother dipped in gold. It was praised for amping up the realism of the series and making the main character, Niko, a somewhat relatable and sympathetic criminal-out-of-necessity. However with this they made the city bigger yet included the same amount of content (relative to the older games).

**Yeah you were pretty - but also kind of empty.**

GTAIV Disappointments

The new Liberty City was a ghost town. There were some buildings to go into and distractions to be had, but the vast majority of the city was a visual façade that amounted to a mere representation of what a city is. Yet Rockstar often hyped the size of the game in relation to the previous installments without really delivering a truly comprehensive gaming experience. Adversely, take a look at Arkham City in relation to Arkham Asylum. City was way bigger (and considerably smaller than GTAIV), but there was something to see and do around every corner. GTAIV failed to do this.

In addition to the somewhat lackluster world, GTAIV changed the driving to a more accurate representation of how actual cars handle. You couldn’t whip around corners or drive on the sidewalk easily like some maniac. You had to, from time to time (gulp) slow-down! Insanity, I know; take a minute to collect yourself. I remember sitting in my room thinking: If I wanted to break around a corner I’d play a racing game, or better yet, I’d hop in my car and piss off the cops. It upset me that Rockstar forsook that silly packed world in exchange for a Taxi Driver aura of seedy side streets and slightly more realistic hookers.

**A hilarious and accurate representation of my day-to-day life.**

Enter Saints Row

Saints Row came out in 2006 to lukewarm reception. I’ve played it--it was OK. Saints Row was clearly a GTA rip-off; like those Hollywood mockbusters in the vein of Transmorphers and Atlantic Rim. Saints used many the same tropes and gameplay mechanics but with a twinge of levity.

When Saints 2 released, it was beginning to become clear that the developers wanted to separate themselves from the GTA copycat aura in exchange for the ridiculous. This insanity grew with time and will definitely top out with the super powered Saints V. One of the things that attracted me to Saints 2, which I loved, was that humor; it was very similar to the snarky silliness of GTAIII that I so sorely missed.

On top of that the series topped off their ridiculousness with hours of side missions that were both challenging and stupid in the best possible ways. I was never bored, and it was never so challenging that it bored me, something that GTA sometimes managed to do.

**Here's to hoping there's actually something to do in all that space.**

The Future

The gameplay footage recently released for Grand Theft Auto V looks amazing by any standards. It’s clean, pretty and thorough looking. It awakens the excited child in me that loved Natalie Portman in Star Wars: Episode II and Totino’s Pizza Rolls for every meal (not sure what I was thinking with that Star Wars bit - that movie was terrible). But what if I get hurt again? Can I even trust Rockstar anymore?

The trailer used one series of buzzwords that makes me feel like I have something to look forward to in GTAV: “The world is not only huge; it’s packed with a vast array of things to see and do.” Packed with things to do, huh? Sounds like GTA may be taking a huge step forward, while taking a necessary step back. Here’s to hoping that Rockstar’s new riff on the open world style will reinvigorate the franchise for me, and many others that miss the older style of the long treasured franchise.

What do you think? Will the new GTA capture that je ne sais quoi or will it be more of the same? Also, have you liked the direction GTA has gone in over the years, or are you hankering for the old school goofiness of the earlier games? Sound off in the comments down below and maybe we can go get some digital prostitutes in the near future together, as true friends often do!