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    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate collects the best of the franchise. Here's what we know...

    NewsDen of Geek Staff
    Aug 9, 2018

    Since its N64 debut, the Super Smash Bros. series has been one of Nintendo's most beloved properties. What began as a simple amusement that pitted some of Nintendo's best characters against each other in a brawler fighting game has become an institution. Everyone from casual Nintendo console owners to hardcore fighting fans has fond memories of waging war across Smash Bros. many levels. 

    Now, Smash Bros. Ultimate is preparing to make its debut on the Nintendo Switch. Following the success of Super Smash Bros. Wii U - a game that grew to include one of the most incredible rosters in fighting game history - expectations are high for the next entry in the long-running franchise. If Nintendo's history with highly-anticipated Switch titles is any indication, though, then we fully expect this will be a special title that will boast a truly impressive collection of playable characters. 

    Here is everything we know about Super Smash Bros. for Switch:

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate News

    Several new characters were announced for the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate during this week's Nintendo Direct. The biggest addition of all is Simon Belmont, protagonist of the first two Castlevania games. He comes with an echo (alternate version), as well: Richter Belmont, star of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood

    Other additions include a Dark Samus echo of Samus Aran and Donkey Kong antagonist King K. Rool! Fire Emblem's Chrom will also appear as an echo of Roy. You can check out the full Nintendo Direct below:

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Release Date

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will arrive on Dec. 8, 2018. The game is coming exclusively to Nintendo Switch. 

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Trailer

    Nintendo fully unveiled Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at E3 2018. Here's the full, 25-minute announcement video:

    The game was first teased in a Nintendo Direct earlier this year. Check it out below:

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Characters

    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will feature every single character who has ever appeared in the series, including Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, Ryu from Street Fighter, and Cloud from Final Fantasy. That means that the game will boast a roster of over 60 characters!

    Here's the full list of fighters:

    • Bayonetta
    • Bowser
    • Bowser Jr.
    • Captain Falcon
    • Charizard
    • Chrom
    • Cloud
    • Corrin
    • Daisy
    • Dark Pit
    • Dark Samus
    • Diddy Kong
    • Donkey Kong
    • Dr. Mario
    • Duck Hunt
    • Falco
    • Fox
    • Ganondorf
    • Greninja
    • The Ice Climbers
    • Ike
    • Ivysaur
    • Jigglypuff
    • King Dedede
    • King K. Rool
    • Kirby
    • Link
    • Little Mac
    • Lucario
    • Lucas
    • Lucina
    • Luigi
    • Mario
    • Marth
    • Mega Man
    • Meta Knight
    • Mewtwo
    • Mii Brawler
    • Mii Gunner
    • Mii Fighter
    • Mr. Game & Watch
    • Ness
    • Captain Olimar
    • Pac-Man
    • Palutena
    • Peach
    • Pichu
    • Pikachu
    • Pit
    • Pokémon Trainer
    • R.O.B. the robot
    • Richter Belmont
    • Ridley
    • Robin
    • Rosalina
    • Roy
    • Ryu
    • Samus
    • Sheik
    • Shulk
    • Simon Belmont
    • Snake
    • Sonic
    • Splatoon Inklings
    • Squirtle
    • Toon Link
    • Villager
    • Wario
    • Wii Fit Trainer
    • Wolf
    • Yoshi
    • Young Link
    • Zelda
    • Zero Suit Samus

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    Could the legendary Def Jam series be staging a comeback? Def Jam's Twitter team may have dropped a big hint...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 9, 2018

    The Def Jamgame series might be staging a comeback. 

    Speculation surrounding a new Def Jam game began in earnest when Def Jam's Twitter account sent out a tweet that "HYPOTHETICALLY" asked fans which star they'd like to see on the cover of a modern-day Def Jam Vendetta. Not long after, the handle sent out another tweet asking which city fans would like to see such a game take place in. 

    While it's entirely possible that these tweets are nothing more than the result of a particularly bored social media team that decided that the best way to kill some time would be to tease their followers with the return of a beloved franchise, it certainly wouldn't be the first time that gamers have gotten their hopes up by using a somewhat cryptic tweet as the basis for hope. 

    Still, this strikes us as a strange question to ask out of the blue. It's not like the label's Twitter account has been asking this question yearly. There's a strong possibility that someone is working on the first Def Jam fighting/wrestling game since the release of 2007's Def Jam Icon. It certainly wouldn't be the craziest thing we've ever heard. 

    Having said that, we do feel it's our professional obligation to throw a little cold water on this rumor. First off, even if a new Def Jam game is in development, it likely won't be developed by original franchise developer AKI Corporation, which has abandoned the wrestling/fighting genre and been renamed. That means that the incredible game engine (which was borrowed from those amazing N64 wrestling games) that powered the first two Def Jam games probably won't be making a comeback. 

    As anyone who tried to play Def Jam: Icon will tell you, the Def Jam series just isn't the same when AKI isn't at the helm. 

    We'll remain optimistic regarding the chances that we get another Def Jam game, but that game will have a lot to prove even if it does eventually get released. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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  • 08/09/18--11:45: 50 Underrated DOS Games
  • The PC has been host to some classic video games, and we salute 50 underrated examples from the MS-DOS era.

    Feature David Hayward
    Aug 9, 2018

    This article first appeared at Den of Geek UK.

    I’d had a PC for a little while by the early '90s, a rather bleak looking 286 with kilobytes of memory. After saving up though, I took the plunge one day and purchased a shiny new 486 DX2-66, with many megabytes of memory and an ATI Mach 32. With that extra power unleashed, DOS gaming had me hooked once more. And it was amazing. X-WingTIE Fighter, Doom, and many more took over my life, and my money was spent back in the local computer shops.

    Join us now as we tweak our Autoexec.bat and Config.sys files and take a look at 50 underappreciated DOS games from various years. Those games that no one ever seems to mention anymore and that have fallen from memory. You won’t find Doom and the like on here, but maybe you’ll recall one or two others.

    50. Pyro 2

    I’ll start with one of the more bizarre games that was doing the rounds in the fairs or available as freeware from one or two university BBSs: Pyro II, or Pyro 2, or Pyro 22.

    It was pretty basic looking, even for an early DOS game. You were a pink square that needed to be controlled around the floorplans of various government buildings. Behind you was a fuse that had a flame following it after a few seconds of starting the level. The idea was simple: you needed to set fire to the entire floor, destroying virtually everything in the floor while you legged it down the stairs to the next level. To help you further the conflagration, there were petrol cans lying around that could be picked up and spilt to help the fire spread to the corners of the floor.

    It wasn’t one to show your mother, and I vaguely recall there being some Mary Whitehouse-like backlash from the idea that you’re setting fire to government buildings. Still, an ace game.

    49. Dope Wars

    Another DOS game that caused something of a stir from various focus groups, churches, parents against things corrupting their young and pretty much everyone on the planet with a moral consciousness. That didn’t stop a lot of us from buying the disk from computer fairs though.

    Basically the immoral storyline has you as a small-time drug dealer, in debt up to your eyeballs with a loan shark. The only way you can pay him back is to buy drugs from one location, and sell them for more in another location.

    Yeah, not very moral. Wasn’t there some kind of FBI raid at the time that seized all the master disks?

    48. Commander Keen: Goodbye Galaxy

    I bought myself a see-through Gravis Joystick, and the game that came with it was the shareware title Commander Keen: Goodbye Galaxy.

    Commander Keen: Goodbye Galaxy was the third game in the Commander Keen series, and one of the more popular. The first episode has you rescuing eight sages, who will help you stop the Shikadi from destroying the galaxy.

    It may not stand up to modern gaming in terms of the graphics, but it was an ace little addictive game that you couldn’t stop playing. It’s even available on Steam. Interestingly, the shareware title was available from the BBS of Leeds Trinity and All Saints University, just as the next one was…

    47. Dune

    “He who controls the Spice, controls the universe.” Dune for DOS was a great adventure strategy game that followed the novel quite closely.

    You played as Paul Atreides, managing mining the Spice production, the Fremen, and bringing the fight to the Harkonnen to drive them off Dune.

    It was a stunning game, with the later CD version having stills and clips from the film as well as speech. The floppy disk version though was just as captivating, but those Spice demands were tough. An excellent game, even by today’s standards.

    46. I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream

    Quite a disturbing adventure game this, as you play as one of five tortured characters trying to outwit the hateful Allied Mastercomputer, or AM as he likes to call himself.

    Can you remember the opening? It's about how much he hates humanity, how if every nanoangstrom of the 387 miles of circuitry was engraved with the word "hate," that wouldn’t equal one one-billionth of the hate AM feels towards us. So it's quite chipper.

    Anyway, AM takes the character you choose into their past and throws them into their darkest fears. With the voice of Harlan Ellison as AM (who also wrote the short story based on the game), there are some real tense and odd moments. Anyone recall playing as Gorrister and talking to Edna while she was strung up on a meat hook with slaughtered pig carcases?

    45. Little Big Adventure

    Adeline Software International’s Little Big Adventure was a 3D isometric adventure game that featured some of the best graphics of the time, and a compelling storyline.

    You played as Twinsen, one of several inhabitants of the planet Twinsun that is under the ruthless rule of Dr. FunFrock and his clones. You have to travel throughout the planet, and eventually stop the evil doc’s plans to drill into its core. You could choose from four behavior modes: Normal, Sporty, Aggressive, and Discreet, with the latter having you tip-toe around to sneaky music.

    Little Big Adventure was a fantastic game. The CD version had animated cut-scenes, speech and more music. There’s even an Android version available these days!

    44. Epic Pinball

    Epic MegaGames’ Epic Pinball was one of the first DOS games I played. The shareware version, the first couple of tables, came free on the front of a magazine.

    The Android table was incredible. I recall spending hours playing that – two player with friends – to see how much of a score we could rack up. Amazingly, the entire game was programmed in assembly, but the music, sound effects, and speed of the ball were simply incredible. If you can get it running, it's still lost none of its hours-sapping power.

    43. Gorillas.BAS

    Okay, here’s a game that I, er, think virtually everyone reading this has played: Gorillas.BAS.

    Gorillas.BAS was a part of DOS 5, and written entirely in QBasic. It’s the old artillery game, where you set the gravity of the world, and throw a banana at the other player calculating the angle and velocity. The two gorillas sit on top of a city skyline, while the bananas are hurled from the opposite player. Each banana explodes when it lands, and makes the smiley sun’s mouth go into an O-shape should one go through it. 

    Gorillas.BAS was a great game, and exposure to the code helped form the future of many a developer. Toying around with the code and making the explosions nuclear kept us busy for hours. You can find a modern version of the source code here

    42. Rise of the Triad

    Apogee had a lot to answer for back in its shareware days. Commander KeenWolfensteinDuke Nukem were all much loved DOS games. But one of its oddest releases is the one I’ll mention here: Rise of the Triad.

    Rise of the Triad was ludicrous, gory, and exceptionally fast paced. The modified Wolfenstein development engine was pushed to its limits here, and when you got several players involved, all running around and blindly wiping out everything in their path, it did get a little heavy on the old system resources.

    Apparently, there were supposed to be more enemies in the game, but technical limitations stopped a lot of them appearing. However, the CD version did have the female enemies' voices on it, as well as the artwork. Also, dual pistols! Happy memories...

    41. D/Generation

    Mindscape’s D/Generation was a fantastic 3D isometric adventure puzzler, where you had to figure out how to evade the security system on each floor of a building while rescuing the trapped employees.

    I can’t recall the exact story, but it had something to do with a bioweapons lab and you flew in on a jetpack to deliver a package to the lead scientist. I do remember how you needed to hit switches, collect keys and avoid the tubes in the floor that fired at you. And there were also bouncing balls that turned invisible when they found you.

    You could collect a laser gun as well, that bounced off the walls when fired allowing you to hit door controls and such like, and grenades, too. A great game that kept you hooked for many hours.

    40. Battle Chess

    Long before Harry Potter’s deadly game of chess in the bowels of Hogwarts, we had Battle Chess. This is by far one of my most played games in this list. It kept me hooked when the dizzying effects of Rise of the Triad had lost their shine, and I couldn’t handle another game of pinball.

    Battle Chess was, as you can assume, a 3D version of chess. But here instead of just taking the other player’s piece, you got to watch a cool little animation as the pieces got into a fight and took each other down.

    The fight animations differed depending on the piece. The knights cut off arms and legs (like in Monty Python), the Queen did a little hip shake and fried a piece with her magic, and the Rook turned into a rock monster and smashed the opposition. Great stuff.

    39. Albion

    Albion is easily one of best DOS games of the mid-90s. This sprawling role player was deep, had an amazing story line, one of the best opening sequences of any DOS game I had come across during that time, and thoroughly absorbing gameplay.

    The game starts off with the aforementioned sequence, a dream as it turns out, as the hero prepares to take a shuttle down to a planet to explore for valuable minerals prior to the entire planet being stripped of all its resources by some big mega-company.

    There’s magic, turn-based combat, and countless areas, characters, and items to interact with, and strange teleporters hidden behind the all-seeing-eye symbols on walls. Pushing through Albion is worth it though, even just for the closing sequence.

    38. Red Baron

    Enjoying the flight simulation genre with the likes of Falcon on the ST was a fantastic experience, but these modern fighters lack the intense dogfights of World War I games. This was where Red Baron stepped up to the mark.

    This was a startlingly impressive game for the time. There were loads of flight options, missions, and just about everything you could list in a flight sim menu at the start of the game. Once you’d got through it all though, and were behind the stick of an ancient flying machine, things certainly heated up.

    Amazingly, it was one of the few games that actually made you feel every bullet that tore through the canvas and balsa wood frame of your aircraft. And should you progress far enough, and depending on the side you chose at the start of the game, you’d either end up fighting with or against the Red Baron himself. A bit like fighting alongside Vader in TIE Fighter.

    37. Star Control 2: The Ur-Quan Masters

    To many of you reading this, and me included, Star Control 2 was one of the most played DOS games we had in our library.

    It was an immense arcade adventure, where you travelled throughout the galaxy in a quest to help free Earth from the evil Ur-Quan. To do this you needed to gain the trust of the other alien species scattered among the stars and add them to your growing fleet, and gain enough resources to keep your ancient alien technology starship up and running.

    Combat was handled through a blisteringly fast melee system, where you pitted your fleet of ships against the enemy, with each having its own unique mode of flight, defensive, and weapon systems.

    Who here remembers waiting around the Circini system for the portal to Quasi-Space and access to the Arilou to open? Or spending a worrying amount of time hanging around Betelgeuse in an attempt to win over the Syreen? Star Control 2 is a Den of Geek article in itself, and although now open source, it’s still one of the best DOS/PC games ever.

    36. UFO: Enemy Unknown

    Although a turn-based strategy game didn’t sound all that appealing while the likes of DOOMX-Wing, and other such notable games were available, UFO: Enemy Unknown actually turned out to be one the best DOS games of the time. Modern follow-ups have brought attention back to it, but don't let this original pass you by.

    It was an extraordinarily well crafted game with an intense, nail-biting board on which to play. Locating a UFO, bringing it down, and micro-managing the intercept crew and their weapon loadouts were just the beginning. Once you landed and stepped foot on the terrain where the UFO crashed though, that’s when things tensed up.

    The turn-based element worked exceedingly well. Rather than going in guns blazing, you had to pick your way through the area, hunting down the aliens and UFO itself while looking for cover and trying to stick together. Then when you suddenly catch movement at the edge of the screen, you scream. “There! There! It’s in there! Get it!”

    All the while, you had to keep a watchful eye on the world politics, looking for governments that may have made secret pacts with the aliens, and juggling your own resources and cash flow. It holds together today too, and is awaiting you on Steam if you have a few coins spare...

    35. Alone in the Dark

    For a lot of gamers, Alone in the Dark was the beginning of the survival horror genre. Others would argue that survival horror goes back as far as 3D Monster Maze. However, Alone in the Dark was the first of the magnificently graphical modern representations.

    Based on the feverish mind of H. P. Lovecraft, Alone in the Dark's polygon characters soon became the template for the genre, trapping you as either Edward Carnby or Emily Hartwood in the haunted mansion of Derceto.

    In a tale of grisly murders, curses, lunacy, devil worshipping, evil power, and a host of other supernatural shenanigans, you had a wealth of puzzles that needed sorting out before you could escape. Death lurked around every corner, and one false step would mean you having to repeat your steps.

    A fabulous, atmospheric, and often scary game, with hints of old E.A.P. and plenty of content from the Necronomicon. Splendid stuff, this.

    34. Wing Commander

    DOS was no stranger to 3D space combat simulators, and while there were some incredible titles to be had, not many gamers seem to recall the original Wing Commander too much these days.

    Like some cheesy 80s sci-fi film, the intro credits roll to heroic music, space dogfights, and passing asteroids. Then it’s to the bar on-board the TCS Tiger’s Claw for a spot of chitchat with the crew, including Paladin’s magnificent mustachios.

    With girly pin-ups in the barracks, blue hair, scenes of the crew running to their ships, and such names as Blue Devil Squadron and the Killer Bees, Wing Commander was a hit from the word go. It was a breakthrough game, utilizing the current PC hardware to the max. Playing now, it’s amazing how difficult the game actually is.

    33. Hard Drivin’

    Hard Drivin’ was one of the titles I really wanted to mention for the 50 Underrated Atari ST Games list, but in all honesty, it was the DOS version I ended up playing after tackling it at the arcades.

    Fair enough, despite the advanced power of a PC Hard Drivin’ didn’t quite have the same look and feel on the desktop as it did in the arcades. Still, it was quite an achievement in 3D graphics and technology for the time.

    A few questions: did anyone ever obey the speed limits? Did anyone ever make that first right-hand bend to the stunt track without going off-road? And can you remember what happened when you hit a cow?

    32. Hugo’s House of Horrors

    This is a strange little shareware game I recall picking up at a trade fair once in the early 90s. In terms of graphics, animation, music and… well… just about everything else, it was pretty dire-looking. However, there was something about it that kept me playing.

    The fact that I refused to be beaten by it was one element, and that I paid nearly a fiver for it was the other. It must have taken me days to realize that picking up the pumpkin and smashing it revealed the key, and working out which button for the green skinned, purple underpants, color-blind Igor to press was a test of patience at its best.

    An odd, but also rather good Sierra-like adventure at the same time.

    31. Magic Carpet

    Bullfrog Productions brought us Populous and Syndicate, both of which were immensely popular. However, Magic Carpet seems to have been largely forgotten these days, which is a shame as it was one of the best 3D landscape games around.

    The game was spread over 50 levels, each individually named with the player whizzing around the world on a magic carpet, as the title suggests. You collected Manna, which allowed you to cast spells in defense or attack against enemy wizards. All you needed to do was store enough Manna in your castle to restore an equilibrium to the world. Easier said than done, though.

    Interestingly, some versions came with the old 3D red/blue glasses in the box for the game’s Stereogram mode, and it was also compatible with the VR headsets available at the time.

    30. Redneck Rampage

    One of the oddest games I collected over the years has to be Redneck Rampage. This first person shooter wasn’t the most politically correct of games to ever grace the PC, nor was it all that good to be honest, but it was fun in a strange kind of way.

    You play as Leonard and Cletus, two deep south brothers whose prize pig has been stolen (pignapped? Feel free to use your own prime minister joke here) by invading aliens. Using a modified Duke Nukem 3D engine, you have to shoot everything that moves to get the swine back.

    Featuring an immense amount of bad language and redneck stereotyping, there was something oddly appealing about throwing a stick of dynamite at a shotgun wielding Billy Ray while drunk on "cheap-ass" whiskey across all fifteen levels.

    Any game that finishes with “You’ve withstood the awesome force of Assface, impressive,” needs a mention.

    29. Comanche

    NovaLogic, of Delta Force fame (which was an amazing game), first toyed around with its Voxel Space engine technology in Comanche, or Comanche: Maximum Overkill as it was also known.

    For those who can’t recall Comanche, it was a helicopter combat simulator, and a very good one, too. You could zip through valleys, over seas and mountains, and drop down on the enemy to deliver death and destruction from an ultra-modern attack chopper.

    It looks quite dated now, but if you put a set of headphones on and say "Roger that" a lot, it feels quite realistic.

    28. Realms of Chaos

    Realms of Chaos was one of the last Apogee titles to make it to the desktop, but it was one that’s certainly worth playing again.

    The shareware version only had the first of three episodes available, and as far as I was aware, it was pretty difficult to get hold of from the game shops in the UK (I purchased it via a 3D Realms BBS).

    On the face of it, Realms was a pretty bland looking 2D scroller, but it was hugely entertaining, and it allowed you to swap between the Conan-like character to a Wonder Woman-like character with the Space Bar for different combat abilities. The best part was the ability to save at any point in the game for a restart after dinner.

    27. Silent Service 2

    This is one I picked up as part of a compilation MicroProse pack from a charity shop in the mid to late 90s. Having played a few older submarine combat sims in the past, on various platforms, the extra power a decent PC offered was something I was looking forward to, and Silent Service 2 didn’t disappoint.

    After much choosing of your sub and the area of war you were planning on taking to the might of the Japanese Navy, Silent Service 2 was a long drawn out game of tactics and choosing your future operations based on intel from CINCPAC. Finally though, if you were lucky, you’d get to face off against the Battleship Yamato. Not many lived to survive that bit, though.

    26. Master of Orion

    Master of Orion, the game that invented the 4X strategy term. An immense turn-based game that basically took over your life once you started to play it. I’d probably be lynched if I didn’t mention it in a list of DOS games.

    Despite its popularity though, it’s barely mentioned today. In my opinion, it’s the sort of game everyone should have played at least once in their lives. It's hard to compare too much to the moment where discovering Orion and the Guardian results in a complete loss of all your ships. Where colonization, military, research, planning, and combat all come together in such a way as to feel like your brain is melting out of your ears.

    According to myth, the copy protection scheme used was so good (or bad) that the original game couldn’t even load up at times. Anyone have this issue?

    25. Scorched Earth

    Where Gorillas.BAS was quite a simple approach to the old artillery genre, Scorched Earth took everything one step further. "The mother of all games," as it called itself.

    You still had to wipe out the other player’s tank by judging the power, angle, and so on against the wind speed and direction, but with Scorched Earth, you earned money for a win which you could spend on more elaborate weaponry.

    Linux users have enjoyed a 3D version of Scorched Earth for years, but it was back in the good old BBS shareware days that version 1.2 appeared and we could fiddle around with the physics, economics, landscapes and weapons. Sadly, I never got to play version 1.0, which the purist would argue is the better version (or 1.0b), but hey it was still an ace game. Did you know that you could edit the messages that appeared on the screen? I’ve only just found that out.

    24. Star Trek: 25th Anniversary

    Quite possibly the best Star Trek game ever developed is the 25th Anniversary edition from Interplay. The floppy disk version, which came on about eight thousand disks, took an age to install. The CD version had voices from the original actors, better sound effects, and music too.

    The two parts to the game, one where you were on the away mission and the other on-board the Enterprise, were marvellously designed. The point and click adventure mode on the away mission took the majority of the gameplay, from what I recall, and trying to get a red shirt crushed by rocks or eaten soon became the main focus.

    Taking control of the Enterprise was immense fun during combat. I can only imagine the conversation on the Klingon bridge at watching me trying to bring the Enterprise about and continually missing. “Doch ghe''or “YItungHa', qaH QaQ 'Iv?” or something.

    23. Simon the Sorcerer

    Classic point and click adventure gaming in a very LucasArts vein. Everything was in Simon the Sorceror that should be in a graphical adventure. Humor, clever puzzles, great animation, an excellent script, and the odd poke at books such as Lord of the RingsNarniaJack and the Beanstalk, and so on.

    Simon’s dog Chippy finds a chest in the loft in which there’s the Ye Olde Spell Booke. After tossing it to one side, a portal opens and in goes Chippy followed by Simon, where he finds himself on a quest to rescue Calypso, the grand high wizard, from the evil sorcerer Sordid.

    A great adventure game that’s often overlooked these days, with the CD version having the voice cast of Chris Barrie. And finally, was I the only one who wanted a bed like Calypso’s, tucked away in a window recess?

    22. Space Quest II: Vohaul’s Revenge

    One more adventure before I move on, and one of the most enjoyable I played on my early PC: Space Quest II: Vohaul’s Revenge.

    I remember the box had a comic inside detailing the time between Space Quest 1 and this episode. Sadly, I never got around to playing Space Quest 1, though.

    The humor in Space Quest II was one of the main draws of the game. Elements such as “We hope you’re not looking for anyone to blame because you died” messages in the About Space Quest 2 menu, and the writing on the bathroom wall on Vohaul’s asteroid that mentions the developers and other games. There’s even a reference to Leisure Suit Larry when Roger Wilko is rendered unconscious.

    21. U.S. Navy Fighters

    Combat simulators were extremely popular for the PC in the DOS era, but U.S. Navy Fighters was one of my personal favorites.

    U.S. Navy Fighters looked amazing. In fact, the DX2-66 I had couldn’t cope with the highest level of graphics. Even my mate’s DX4-100 struggled sometime later. The missions were well conceived, and you could even create your own missions.

    A pretty amazing combat sim this. I’ll even go out on a limb and say it was better than Falcon 3.0. Mind you, your wingman had the nasty habit of flying off and taking out a target that was three hundred miles away for some odd reason.

    20. SimAnt

    SimAnt was an interesting game I picked up at one of those travelling computer fairs – one that was held in Bolton. I recall there being a huge manual with it, a veritable encyclopedia of ants as well as the instructions on how to play the game.

    There were several modes of play, where you had to raise your colony of ants, hunt for food, and defend and attack other colored ants as well other insects, which could also be used for food. It was oddly absorbing being an ant.

    According to legend, Will Wright developed the concept for The Sims while coding SimAnt. And doesn’t the House View remind you of Plants vs. Zombies?

    19. Alien Breed

    This top-down, Gauntlet-like game was immensely enjoyable back in the day. Developed by Team 17, of Superfrog (we're coming to that) and Worms fame, the game was obviously heavily influenced by the Alien films.

    You played as a space marine-type dude, heavily armed and up against a seemingly unlimited number of aliens. All you needed to do was find the exit to the next level and progress deeper into the station, all the while picking up credits to buy better weapons and health packs to heal yourself with.

    The levels were huge and maze like, making them a dream come true for the gaming cartographer. And the two player option was great.

    18. Archipelagos

    Archipelagos is by far one of most intriguing and absorbing puzzles games ever created. It’s a little like a cross between The Sentinel and Populous, in that you have to manipulate the 3D landscape in order to build land bridges across the 10,000 different islands.

    When you’ve made it to another island, you’ll need to destroy the 2001: A Space Odyssey obelisk radiation generators on each one. Each generator is fed power through several sub-generators, so you’ll need to wipe them out before having about a minute to finish off the actual generator.

    It’s one of those games that takes ages to complete, if you ever do, but is thoroughly enjoyable the entire time.

    17. Superfrog

    Superfrog is one of the most enjoyable sidescrolling 2D platformers for DOS, an absolute treat. You take on the role of a frog, who was once a prince that has been turned into said Anura by a wicked witch – who has also kidnapped your girlfriend.

    Naturally, you’ll need to rescue her and get back to being a human again, and you do this by racing through five different worlds, collecting coins and other things. Think of Superfrog as an early Sonic the Hedgehog clone and you won’t go wrong.

    Sadly, there’s no detailed intro with the PC version, as there is with the Amiga version. But still, a cracking little game.

    16. The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall

    We’re all familiar with the current Elder Scrolls games these days—Oblivion, and of course, Skyrim. However, way back in 1996 Bethesda released the second of The Elder Scrolls series, Daggerfall.

    Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall was an immense game, so big it actually had a map size of 62,394 square miles (apparently the biggest map in any game – unless you want to count Minecraft), complete with 15,000 cities, towns, and hamlets for you to wander aimlessly around, and hundreds of individuals you can occasionally poke your sword at.

    Daggerfall doesn’t get quite as much appreciation these days as it deserves. Obviously, Skyrim and Oblivion still take up the lion's share of the internet, but despite its age, Daggerfall still has a lot to offer.

    15. Lighthouse: The Dark Being

    This is my wife’s favorite Sierra On-Line game ever. A 1996 largely forgotten adventure where you have to find various clues to find the whereabouts of Dr. Jeremiah Krick and his infant daughter, Amanda, in an alien and parallel world to ours.

    The game was on CD, so featured lots of excellent Myst-like graphics, cut scenes, and tons of sound effects, voices, and so on. I can still recall being downstairs in our house at the time and listening to a baby crying upstairs for hours at a time while my wife played the game.

    The puzzles were generally good – aside from the safe combination that had everyone stumped – and required more thought than your average point and click adventure.

    14. Starflight

    Once called “the best science fiction game available on computer," Starflight is considered the genesis of the open-space exploration, role-playing genre, and the direct spiritual descendant of Star Control 2.

    You gather minerals to sell in order to gain enough credits for upgrading your ship. You can explore the galaxy, meet other species, get into fights with them, hire and train crew members, and stop your homeworld from being destroyed by solar flares.

    It was an immensely deep game, with a wicked anti-copy system where you had to enter a code to warp to another star system. If you entered the wrong code, after a certain length of time, the Space Police came looking for you and destroyed your ship for using an illegal copy of the game. Thankfully, I bought mine from a jumble sale.

    A game of intense details and micro-management, an absolute credit to the early PC.

    13. Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf

    Desert Strike was a game I immensely enjoyed on the Sega Mega Drive, so finding a boxed copy of the DOS version in a charity shop some years ago was a heck of a score – especially since a lot of the copies of it were pulled from the shelves on account of references to the Gulf War.

    It’s such a great little game, flying over the dunes and wind-swept reaches of the enemy territory, looking for SAM sites, ammo and fuel dumps, and power stations to take out with your Hellfire missiles and other weapons of equal destruction.

    A game that’s sadly not mentioned much now, but a classic to those who played it first time around. Interestingly, the German release had to have the blood effects removed before it was allowed to be sold.

    12. Syndicate

    We’re quite used to violent games today. Barely anyone bats an eyelid at a character dropping from a building and sinking a hidden knife into someone’s neck. However, back in 1993, Syndicate caused a few raised eyebrows and a sharp intake of breath from the various focus groups on video game violence.

    This dark look at the future has you trying to take over the world with the help of a team of androids. You’re set kill orders, rescuing allies, assassinations, and persuasive tactics to help grow your influence, power, and cash reserves. You could be as ultra-violent or as passive and sneaky as you like, as long as the end goal of world domination was achieved.

    A lot of us here cut our teeth on Syndicate, so there’s a lot of love for this now mostly ignored title. The sequel was even more intense, too...

    11. The Incredible Machine

    I had plenty of first person shooters, combat sims, space trading games galore, and platformers to pick from in my diskette boxes of goodies. But the one game that kept me coming back for more, time and time again, was The Incredible Machine.

    This amazing little puzzle game grabbed you and refused to let go until it was late at night and you finally realized that you had work to go to in the morning. It was seriously addictive.

    According to internet legend, which I can’t honestly remember if it’s true or not, if you played the game on Valentines or Christmas Day, you’d get either a heart-shaped balloon or Christmas Tree to use.

    10. Raptor: Call of the Shadows

    A great vertically scrolling shooter from Apogee, one that seriously threatened what little remained of a social life you once had, or - again - any chance of getting up in the morning.

    Raptor was fairly basic in its gameplay. You headed ever onward, collecting power-ups and cash and obliterating everything that streamed down from above. After each level you could use the collected cash to buy even more destructive weapons or the ability to last a little longer. Either way, it was a fab little game – even the shareware version of one level.

    9. Pipe Mania

    Pipe Mania was a cunning puzzle game my brother used to play endlessly. It has you placing down sections of a pipe, that appear Tetris-like on one section of the screen, to a set grid in the main game area. But you’ve only got a limited amount of time before a green liquid (sewerage?) starts to flow down the pipe.

    If you manage to organize your pipe laying well enough, then the ooze will flow through the sections and you’ll score enough to proceed to the next level. If not, then it’s game over and start again.

    A clever little game, and one that was fiendishly addictive. Published by LucasArts in the US, the UK version was by Empire Interactive. It also appeared in the second Microsoft Windows Entertainment Pack.

    8. Alien Carnage (Halloween Harry)

    Alien Carnage was Apogee’s first 2D platformer, where you played as the hard as nails Harry tasked with ridding the world of the attacking aliens, who were turning people into zombies and freeing captive humans. The jetpack wearing, and initially flame-thrower wielding Harry could collect coins from downed aliens, and use the coins at certain stations to buy different weapons from missiles to mini Nukes and an Omega Bomb.

    The shareware version was simply called Halloween Harry when it was released, and later named Alien Carnage for all four episodes. Since 2007, it’s been freeware, so find a copy and get playing.

    7. The Chaos Engine

    The Bitmap Brothers certainly knew how to make a cracking game, and Chaos Engine was one such example. With their usual flair for top-down mayhem, The Bitmap Brothers gave us this wonderful steampunk themed game, filled with tons of enemies, two-player action, loads of power-ups, and great sound effects with a cool sound track playing continuously in the background.

    Seriously, one of the best DOS games of the mid-90s, although originally banned in Germany due to excessive violence, it still looks and plays pretty well today. It's Ikari Warriors evolved!

    6. Descent

    Ask most people for a few memorable DOS games from their past, and you’ll more than likely have answers such as DoomQuakeX-Wing, and so on, which is fair enough. But the canny DOS gamer would, among those titles, name Descent.

    This seasickness-inducing true 3D game was an absolute marvel to behold. Flying through the various mines looking for the exit and the reactor to destroy, while trying to work out whether you were the right-way up or still upside down, was one of the most visually impressive gaming experiences of 1995. Even when you entered a cheat code and had the computer voice call you a cheater.

    5. Epic

    Ocean Software and Digital Image Design have a number of great games under their collective belts. One memorable DOS game is Epic, an immense space shooter with a fantastic story and beautifully rendered graphics.

    While Epic wasn’t quite up to the same graphical standard as, say, X-Wing, it was a fun game to play. The missions involved you taking out mines, enemy space craft, and dropping down to a planet’s surface to destroy a communications array or something. It had plenty: fast space combat, a Battlestar Galactica-like storyline, and quite splendid visuals.

    4. MDK

    MDK was a thoroughly strange game I picked up on sale from a local computer game shop in Leeds towards the end of 1998.

    This third-person run and gun, with hints of puzzles, has you as Kurt Hectic in a bio-armor suit taking on waves of enemies on board giant, city-sized Minecrawlers heading towards various locations on Earth. Obviously, you need to stop these Mincecrawlers and save the planet. To help, you have an array of weapons, from a chaingun on your arm to The World’s Smallest Nuclear Bomb – and for some reason or another, a genetically altered dog called Max.

    Odd it may be, but it looked and played brilliantly on my newly purchased Pentium 133 MMX PC. Apparently, there was supposed to be a film made of the game some time ago. Naturally, this didn’t take place.

    3. Stormlord

    Hewson Consultants Ltd. came up with some of the finest computer games ever conceived. The likes of FirelordUridiumNebulusRanarama – all for various platforms – were played countless times by us in our youth.

    This “immensely playable game” (as quoted by Crash for the Spectrum version in 1989) not only looked fantastic – complete with scantily-clad fairies – but also played extremely well. In fact, it’s aged very well indeed.

    Playing as the bearded Stormlord, you’ve got to travel across the scrolling platform levels and free fairies trapped in glass spheres by a wicked witch. Once you’ve released these nude nymphs, it’s off to the next level, but doing so involves you using various objects to allow you get to otherwise inaccessible areas of the level. It’s all rather clever and a great game to play. Incidentally, the Sega Mega Drive version had to be cleaned up before it was allowed on sale – cleaned up as in the fairies had to put some clothes on.

    2. Jill of the Jungle

    The pretty bland looking first episode of a trilogy of games, Jill of the Jungle, was surprisingly good. Okay so it was a basic platformer, and it was awful to control, but this shareware competitor to Commander Keen and the like worked quite well.

    You play as Jill, an Amazonian warrior who has to get from one end of the jungle to the other. Or something like that, I can’t really remember to be honest. Needless to say, it’s more of a navigational puzzle, action platformer than an all-out combat platformer, as you try and figure out how to get through the maze of blocks, vines, trees, and everything else.

    A decent enough, harmless game this, with the strange addition of having every key on the keyboard mapped to a sound effect in the game.

    1. Tyrian

    In my humble opinion, Tyrian is the best top-down scrolling shooter ever – an opinion I’m prepared for some backlash for.

    Tyrian has you as ace pilot Trent Hawkins, seeking revenge against MicroSol, who killed your best mate Buce Quesilliac over the discovery of an ultra-rare mineral called Gravitium.

    It's a packed game, with tons of enemies, loads of extreme power-ups, quick reflexes and nimble fingers, and a cracking soundtrack with equally great sound effects.

    You could also link up a couple of PCs with a Null Modem cable or network and get some two player action against the onslaught of MicroSol henchmen. An amazing game that’s barely mentioned these days, but certainly needs to be revisited.

    The games that didn't make the list, but are still underrated and utterly awesome:

    Jazz Jackrabbit – A fantastic platformer, one that really put the PC out there as a proper games platform capable of knocking the consoles off their perches.

    Day of the Tentacle – Credited as the father of the cartoon adventure, Day of the Tentacle is a great adventure title with superb writing and gameplay.

    Aces Over Europe – An immense combat simulator with a huge 200-page instruction manual to weigh the box down.

    Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Text adventures don’t get much better than this.

    Hexen – ID Software’s sequel to Heretic, built on an enhanced version of the Doom engine, was pretty impressive.

    Rogue – Everyone mentions Rogue-like games these days, but this is where it all started. From simple ASCII dungeon crawlers come great things.

    Eye of the Beholder – A great RPG dungeon crawler series of games, based and built on the D&D games.


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    Germany will assign ratings to games that use Nazi imagery in a critical way.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 9, 2018

    Reports indicate that Germany is lifting its blanket ban on the use of swastikas and Nazi imagery in video games. 

    The Times of Israel and other international outlets are reporting that the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK, the regulatory entertaining rating organization in Germany) will begin reviewing games on a case by case basis to determine if they use such imagery in a mature way. Elisabeth Secker, the USK managing director, stated that "games that critically look at current affairs can for the first time be given a USK age rating."

    While the board did not clarify what constitutes a critical look at the subject, there's a very real possibility that they are not currently ready to define what they are looking for. Instead, what constitutes acceptable usage in this instance will likely be determined over the coming years as examples are presented in front of the board. 

    So far as that goes, we can't help but wonder how recent games would have fared under the scrutiny of this new policy. Does a game like Call of Duty: WWIIthat uses the swastika in its campaign (but not its single-player mode) constitute fair usage? What about a title like Wolfenstein IIthat is intentionally campy in its violence and its portrayal of the Nazis but also tells a genuinely human and surprisingly deep story?

    So far as precedent goes, it might be best to look at how Germany has approached the use of nazi imagery in film. For years, many films were protected from the banned imagery because films were considered to be art. Games were not afforded that same distinction. Even in films, though the use of these was largely limited to historical context and necessary artistic licenses. Excessive and insensitive uses of the image were still looked down upon. 

    In any case, this is certainly a major moment for German entertainment and video games in Germany. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Red Dead Redemption 2 brings the Wild West back to consoles. Here is the latest trailer!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Aug 9, 2018

    Red Dead Redemption 2 is the story of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van Der Linde gang as they rob, fight, and steal their way across the vast and rugged heart of America in order to survive.

    The studio said of the game in a press release that Red Dead Redemption 2 is "an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland. The game's vast and atmospheric world will also provide the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience."

    Here's everything else we know:

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Trailer

    The new trailer has arrived!

    This next Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer reveals a few new details about the story. Check it out below:

    You can check out the first two trailers below:

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Release Date

    Red Dead Redemption 2 will be released on October 26, 2018. The game is coming to XBO and PS4.

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Preview

    The first demo of Red Dead Redemption 2's gameplay has been revealed. Click here to learn all about it!

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Story

    Here's the official synopsis of the game:

    America, 1899.

    The end of the wild west era has begun as lawmen hunt down the last remaining outlaw gangs. Those who will not surrender or succumb are killed.

    After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. With federal agents and the best bounty hunters in the nation massing on their heels, the gang must rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal divisions threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang who raised him.

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Editions

    Rockstar has revealed the special editions of Red Dead Redemption 2 that will be available on release day, and they include some exclusive content.

    Those that pre-order Red Dead Redemption 2 will unlock the War Horse and the Outlaw Survival Kit. If you digitally pre-order the game, you'll unlock bonus cash for the game's story mode and a treasure map that will reveal some of the hidden items in the game. 

    If you choose to splurge on the Special Edition, you will be able to access a special bank robbery mission, an additional gang hideout, a black thoroughbred horse, gameplay bonuses via wearable items, a cash bonus, a gunslinger outfit, and access to additional weapons. The Ultimate Edition comes with all of that plus more outfits, a survivor camp theme for the game's online mode, more weapons, and an online rank bonus. 

    If you're really feeling like dropping some coin, you can spend $99.99 on the Collector's Box and get a ton of physical goodies that include the box itself, cards, a catalog of in-game weapons, and six pins. There is also a reference to content that will be available first to PlayStation 4 owners, but Rockstar has not yet shared any details regarding that exclusive content. 

    However, you can find the full details of what you get with every edition of Red Dead Redemption 2 - and where to pre-order them - via this website.  

    Red Dead Redemption 2 Screenshots

    Rockstar has released new screenshots from the game. Check them out below:

    Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Version

    The good news is that publisher Take-Two thinks very highly of the PC market. The bad news is that they don't sound like they're preparing to port Red Dead Redemption 2 to PC when it releases next year. 

    During a recent investor's call, Take-Two president Karl Slatoff stated that "The great news is that the PC market is vibrant for us. It’s a great market for us. It’s a big market. It’s a core market in consumers that are highly engaged. It’s a predominantly digital market, which also removes friction in terms of ongoing engagement with a consumer. So, for us, the PC market as a company is very important and very exciting and something we focus on."

    That's the great news. The bad news is that Take-Two was directly asked about the possibility of Red Dead Redemption 2 coming to PC and CEO Strauss Zelnick responded by stating: "Any updates about any of our titles will come from our labels."

    That being the case, it's possible that Rockstar could decide to put the work in for a PC port, but it's doubtful that it will release alongside the game's console versions.


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    Popular messaging service Discord will offer premium - and free - games to its users.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 9, 2018

    Discord will soon offer yet another place to buy video games online.

    The online voice and text messaging service announced their plans to offer two types of ways for Discord users to acquire new games. The first is an online store that works about the way that you'd expect an online video game store to work. That is to say that it will allow anyone to purchase games at retail prices. According to a press release from Discord, the platform is not trying to offer up a Steam sized catalog of games. Instead, they will focus on a smaller selection of games that are based on certain recommendations.

    For instance, it seems that some of the first games that the service will offer include such titles as Dead Cells and Into the Breach. Discord has promised that the store's offerings will expand over time based on the preferences of its users, but there's no mention of whether or not certain major PC titles will be offered at any point in the near future. 

    However, that's not the only way that you can get games from Discord. The platform will also be offering a selection of games to its Discord Nitro subscribers at no additional cost. That means that for the Discord Nitro subscription fee of $4.99 a month (there is also a $49.99 a year option) you will be able to access games from some of Discord's partners. 

    At the moment, said partners include THQ Nordic and Deep Silver. That means that titles like Saints Row: The Third, Super Meat Boy, and Metro Last Light: Redux will be instantly accessible to anyone who is subscribed to the service's premium plan. Again, it sounds like Discord plans to expand this selection over time. However, the timeline for new game additions as well as which games might be added to the service hasn't been revealed at this time. 

    Discord is already incredibly popular amongst gamers, so it's feasible they could be able to make a dent in this crowded marketplace. They certainly seem intent on becoming the defacto destination for their gaming users. We'll know for sure when the Discord store beta launches soon. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    One of the world's largest retro ROM websites is feeling the pressure from Nintendo and the video game industry.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 9, 2018

    The operators of EmuParadise, one of the largest emulator/ROM websites in the world, have announced that the site will no longer directly offer downloadable video game ROMs. 

    "It's not worth it for us to risk potentially disastrous consequences,"reads a post on the EmuParadise website. "I cannot in good conscience risk the futures of our team members who have contributed to the site through the years. We run EmuParadise for the love of retro games and for you to be able to revisit those good times. Unfortunately, it's not possible right now to do so in a way that makes everyone happy and keeps us out of trouble."

    The post goes on to explain that while the site's operators will "continue to be passionate retro gamers and will keep doing cool stuff around retro games," you will no longer be able to download games from the website. The writer of the blog post admits that where the website goes from here is partially up to the users, but they do have "several plans" regarding what happens next. 

    The timing of this decision is hardly random. Recently, Nintendo filed a massive lawsuit against emulator sites LoveROMS.com and LoveRETRO.co that could result in up to $100 million in damages due to copyright violation claims. Clearly, EmuParadise doesn't want to be on Nintendo's (or anyone else's) legal radar. 

    However, the story isn't quite so simple as some illegal operators changing their ways. As the blog post also points out, the loss of such websites calls into question whether or not enough is being done to preserve certain aspects of video game history. With Nintendo apparently no longer offering ways for people to simply download individual copies of some of their own retro titles through legal and official means, some gamers are worried about whether or not they will be able to access these titles in the near future. 

    "Through the years I've worked tirelessly with the rest of the EmuParadise team to ensure that everyone could get their fix of retro gaming," reads the blog post. "We've received thousands of emails from people telling us how happy they've been to rediscover and even share their childhood with the next generations in their families. We've had emails from soldiers at war saying that the only way they got through their days was to be lost in the retro games that they played from when they were children. We've got emails from brothers who have lost their siblings to cancer and were able to find solace in playing the games they once did as children. There are countless stories like these."

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    One of gaming's most anticipated titles, Half-Life 2: Episode 3, never arrived. Why? We take a look at the mystery behind Half-Life 3...

    Feature Aaron Birch
    Aug 9, 2018

    1998 was a much simpler time in the world of gaming, especially that of the FPS. Back then, gamers were more than happy with wave after wave of foes that were obliged to throw themselves in front of their sights, and the idea of a worthwhile narrative wasn't considered all that essential. Games like Unreal, Quake II, and Turok were among the most popular FPS titles around, and action was very much the focus. Until the arrival of a landmark title from Sierra, a title that would change the face of the FPS forever.

    November 19 saw the release of Half-Life, the first game from new developer, Valve. Half-Life was, on the face of it, a simple FPS, but once players actually got hold of it, they found a game unlike any they'd played before.

    For one, it had an actual story, one that wasn't consigned to the manual or a couple of load screens. Instead, the story of Half-Life actually unfolded in front of the player, with character interactions, set pieces, and dramatic changes in tone. Let's not forget that long train ride into work, either. Although slow, this was packed with so much flavor and lore-content, by the time you stepped off the train to be greeted by Barney the security guard, you had the perfect idea of what type of research facility Black Mesa was. This was no ordinary job, to say the least.

    Half-Life had its shortcomings, such as the fairly poor Xen levels, yet  it quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed games ever made. It's one of the most influential games ever developed. Oh, and it sold well, too. Very well.

    The following years would see several expansions, developed mainly by Gearbox Studios, with Opposing Forces in 1999, then Blue Shift, and Decay in 2001. Half-Life 2 then followed in 2004, to even greater acclaim. That said, it's admittedly sudden ending left fans wanting. But then Valve embarked on a series of episodic adventures. Three were expected, to this date two have arrived. We'll pick the story up in 2006... 

    2006

    Half-Life 2: Episode One arrived, and expanded on the story, delving deeper into supporting characters Alyx and Eli Vance, as well as the sinister G-Man, and Combine, the alien race that had taken over the Earth. Gameplay was also expanded, with even more of the top notch action Valve had delivered before, and the genius addition of the Gravity Gun, and all sorts of new physics features that made the most of it. 

    In an interview with Eurogamer in June 2006, Valve's Gabe Newell not only talked about Episode Two and Three, but also labeled Episodes One to Three as Half-Life 3.

    "Probably a better name for it would have been Half Life 3: Episode One, but these three are what we're doing as our way of taking the next step forward, but Half-Life 2 was the name we used,” he said, followed by, “Half-Life 3 [a.k.a. Episodes One to Three] is about the relationship with the G-Man and what happens when he loses control of you, when you're not available to him as a tool and how he responds to that, and what are the consequences of that."

    Earlier in the interview, Gabe also revealed that there was a lot more content planned aside from the three episodes.

    "There are three that are in this arc. There are three that are worked out, and those are the ones that we've been talking about so far."

    This would suggest that after the third episode, there could be another three, followed by additional Half-Life content. Quite what this would entail isn't clear, but as we still haven't had Episode Three, we may never know.

    2007

    In early 2007 Valve marketing director, Doug Lombardi confirmed to Eurogamer that Episode Three was already in development, which seemed like a solid promise of the game's arrival later in the year. However, the project lead, David Speyrer, while talking to Rock Paper Shotgun commented on the lack of an Episode Three trailer at the end of Episode Two.

    "We’re going to try and do something pretty ambitious for that project. We don’t want to over commit. If you look at the Episode Two trailer that we shipped with Episode One, there’s some pretty radical difference between what you see there and see in finished game. That’s really an artefact of making a trailer for a product that’s still in heavy production. You just don’t know where you’re going to end up."

    This seemed fairly innocuous at first, simply a team not wanting to promise the world and not deliver, but with the benefit of hindsight, you have to wonder, was the project already in trouble, and facing possible cancellation for some reason? Maybe not, but it's a possible hint of what was to come, or not, as the case may be.

    October 10 saw the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two. This was another high-quality addition to the Half-Life 2 experience, and delivered even better and varied action, and expanded on the plot. In contrast to the mainly urban warfare of the previous game, Episode Two focuses on more open and rural areas, telling the story of Gordon and Alyx's journey to White Forest and the struggle to stop the Combine's new super portal.

    Finally, we had the ending, and one of the most infamous cliffhangers in gaming, simply because we've never seen what happens next. We were all set to play the final episode at Christmas of the same year, but would we?

    No, we wouldn't.Christmas of 2007 came and went, with Episode Three nowhere to be seen. There was no announcement or a delay, the game simply didn't show up.

    Why?

    2008

    The mystery of Episode Three's absence was at the forefront of fan's minds. This was the biggest FPS ever, and one of the biggest games of all time, where on Earth was the next installment? Gabe Newell had talked about it in recent interviews, including on with GTTV, in which he boasted about the new features in the game. Fans dug into all sorts of areas to try and find out more, given the surprising silence from Valve.

    Within the Source Engine SDK (Software Development Kit), a user found references to 'Episode3,' but these were debunked by a Valve staff member as being simply leftover assets. Some thought this was a blatant attempt to divert attention, however.

    Valve threw fuel on the fire by announcing that Episode Three would miss 2008's E3. This was followed a month later by some of the first concept art, which placated a few, but could also be seen as a simple stalling tactic. Doug Lombari promised more information on the game by the end of the year, but guess what? It never arrived, and he blamed other Valve projects, including Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2 for the lack of any updates on Episode Three.

    2009

    Not a great deal happened in 2009 with regard to Episode Three. Valve wasn't idle, though, and to the surprise, and some overwhelming venom from fans, instead of delivering Episode Three, the announcement of Left 4 Dead 2 was met with outrage, with some fans threatening to boycott Valve, and urging others not to buy the game. Petitions were penned, and there was much anger thrown around.

    Left 4 Dead 2 went ahead anyway, and it was very good.

    2010

    Gabe Newell gave a few interviews in 2010, talking about his intent to make Half-Life more terrifying, but as for a release date for Episode Three, there was nothing. Popular magazine, Game Informer rumored that the game wouldn’t arrive in 2010, which was obviously correct, and with it still MIA, more Episode Three assets were found, this time in the Alien Swarm SDK.

    A petition called “Call for Communication” hit its goal of attaining 1,000 signatures. This was sent to Valve, but the petition garnered no response. Comically, Peter Molyneux even wheeled his son onto the camera to ask Valve for answers. It didn't work.

    2011

    Again, 2011 saw the usual flurry of rumors and conjecture, with theories of Episode Three's absence being attributed to extra work on other projects, including Portal 2. This rumor was strengthened somewhat as more Episode Three content was found within Portal 2's SDK. There were also rumors and almost-official confirmations that Valve was done with traditional single-player games, with even Gabe Newell saying Portal 2's campaign may be the last. Fans shook with fear.

    Newell clarified this with some less fear-inducing comments during an interview with a student. In the interview he explained his wish to simply make games more social, enhancing the single-player experience with added social features. He never intended to ditch solo play. Half-Life fans could breathe again.

    "It's not about giving up on single-player at all. It's saying we actually think there are a bunch of features and capabilities that we need to add into our single-player games to recognize the socially connected gamer."

    Sadly, the good news didn't continue, as Valve once again failed to show any games, importantly, Episode Three, at E3. Newell also took a different approach to the never-ending stream of questions about Episode Three, and simply refused to talk about it, at all.

    Eventually, yet another code leak was found, this time in the Dota 2 beta client. It was quickly debunked by Valve employee Chet Faliszek, who said any mention of Episode Three or HL3 was simply coincidence.

    Towards the end of the year, the rumors and outright craziness began to flow freely from the Internet. Half-Life 3 T-Shirts were seen out in the wild (they were fake, of course). Some thought a lot of the coverage was an elaborate ARG (Alternate Reality Game).

    Once again, Faliszek jumped in to debunk these reports as nothing but trolling. His post on the Valve Forums was precise, and to the point.

    "You are being trolled.

    "There is no ARG.

    "Wheatley's speech was set in Portal 2 fiction - that is all.

    "There has been no directive from Gabe to leak anything. That is all false.

    "I just want to say this so there is no confusion. This is the community trolling the community nothing more. While it is nice to see people excited about anything HL, I hate seeing people be trolled like this."

    2012

    Following a rather ballsy movement by fans to send a whole load of crowbars to Valve's office, Valve still refused to talk about Episode Three, or Half-Life 3, as it had become more popularly known. This is despite more petitions, which had spread to Steam. In fact, Steam was used in another attempt to force Valve's hand. On January 31, thousands upon thousands of Steam users all played Half-Life 2 during the day. This forced the game back to the 11th most popular title on Steam. Valve still didn't comment.

    Gabe Newell partly broke Valve's silence during an interview with Develop. Newell talked about a game called Ricochet 2, which was clearly code for Half-Life 3. He basically said that Valve wanted to avoid talking about things too far in advance, and discussed the difficulty of revealing information on a project that's constantly changing.

    "We end up changing our minds as we're going through and developing stuff, so as we're thinking through the giant story arc which is Ricochet 2, you might get to a point where you're saying something is surprising us in a positive way and something is surprising us in a negative way, and, you know, we'd like to be super-transparent about the future of Ricochet 2," he said.

    "The problem is, we think that the twists and turns that we're going through would probably drive people more crazy than just being silent about it, until we can be very crisp about what's happening next."

    With the 'Half-Life 3: Confirmed' meme gaining steam, and more trolls and jokes flooding online, no fresh news on consequence surfaced, and another E3 came and went with no sign of Episode Three. Even worse, Half-Life 3 was advertised as being present at Gamescom. It wasn't, and Valve revealed this was simply a mistake, and a false listing.

    The year wound up with Newell continuing to refuse to talk about Episode Three, and a rumor did the rounds that Half-Life 3 had evolved into an open-world game. Valve remained stoic and silent.

    2013

    Amidst the usual assortment of rumor, 2013 was interesting as a leak disclosed quite a bit of information on the internal goings on at Valve. The leak appeared to divulge information from a mailing list, and from the company's internal bug tracking software, JIRA.

    The leak mentioned Left 4 Dead 3, the Source 2 engine, and Half-Life 3, with a mail group of 42 employees. What was key here was the size of the teams involved. Left 4 Dead 3 had multiple mail groups set up for it, whereas Half-Life 3 had only one. This seemed to point to Left 4 Dead having a much larger focus, with Half-Life 3 only having a small presence.

    Later in the year, in October, the JIRA system was delved into once more. This time it was found found that more user groups had been added to Half-Life 3, along with a new group called Half-Life 3 Core. This included former Valve employees, designer Adam Foster and Kelly Bailey. This discovery lead to much speculation that work on Half-Life 3 was picking up, and Valve was putting more effort into the project behind the scenes.

    2014

    Not much occurred of any real note during 2014. In May, however, hopes were fueled when former Valve staff member, Minh Le, who co-created Counter-Strike mentioned seeing a game that appeared to be part of the Half-Life universe. He mentioned this during an interview with goRGNtv. He said it wouldn’t surprise him if they were working on it.

    2015

    This brings us to 2015, which began with another code leak, this time from Dota 2's Workshop Tools. Within an important dll file (model_editor.dll), users found a command with some apparently telling parameters. This read 'physics_testbed.exe -game hl3 -open.' Fans obviously took this as an obvious pointer to Half-Life 3, although there was no way to tell how relevant this code was.

    This leak was followed by another much later. Several files were found within the Source 2 version of Hammer, the engine's level editor. One of these files was hl3.txt. This contained information relating to porting Half-Life 2 code to Source 2, along with quest systems and AI changes. There was even mention of VR mechanics and the use of a similar AI director, as used by Left 4 Dead. Various in-game entities are also mentioned, with many relating to the supposed quest system, and other features that are labeled as "HL3 only."

    Surprise! Nothing came of it...

    2016 - Now

    That brings us up to date, and even now, Valve still hasn't committed to anything related to Episode Three or Half-Life 3, almost a decade after Episode Two ended. In early 2017, a report from Game Informer suggested that Valve had no plans to develop a new Half-Life game, despite the fact that several teams have tried to get a new project jumpstarted. That said, Newell revealed earlier this year that Valve was back to making games, although no other projects beyond its new CCG, Artifact, were announced.

    Is Valve purposely waiting ten years before we see anything related to the game? Is the game being worked on? Does Half-Life 3 exist? With so much rumor and conspiracy-laden theory, it can be very hard to separate fact from fiction, and there's only going to be one way to know for sure, and that's if and when Valve comes out of its silence. Half-Life 3 confirmed in 2018? Maybe. Maybe not.

    What I can say, however, is that Half-Life 3 is coming. How can it not? Valve is one of the most business-savvy games companies out there. Steam has become a massive success, spearheading the digital-distribution market, and other releases, like Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress have become classics. Both Gabe Newell and Valve's higher-ups know all too well that Half-Life 3 will probably break the internet and all sales records, and unless all concerned have had lobotomies, Half-Life 3 is on the cards, it's just a matter of when.

    With Steam and other products doing so well, Valve is in no hurry, and with such a loved license, the team will want to make sure it's nigh-on perfect, and that takes time. A lot of time, sure, but time nonetheless.

    Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!


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    We have seen the pop culture glory that is Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One. Repeatedly. So we're ready to dissect every geeky gem in it!

    News David CrowMike Cecchini
    Aug 9, 2018

    This article contains more Ready Player One spoilers than a Nintendo Player’s Guide walkthrough.

    Ready Player One is now out on Blu-ray, and fans are basking in all of its easter egg glory. While Steven Spielberg was able to infuse a creative spark into the film that allowed it to stand on more than only pure nostalgia, there is no denying that the immediate hook of Ernest Cline’s novel and the subsequent Spielberg blockbuster is its cornucopia of movie references, video game easter eggs, and pop culture homages to all things ‘80s (and in the film’s case, ‘90s too). The film might be set in 2045, but it’s good to know that the future is just as obsessed with Gen-X and Millennial culture as we are today!

    In that vein, we here at Den of Geek will attempt the fool’s errand of compiling every single nod, shoutout, and joyful wink to nerd culture that has been stuffed into the very seams of this unapologetically geeky movie (*NOTE: Movie and not the book). Granted it will be almost impossible to get them all in the first pass, so if you notice that we missed anything, let us know in the comments section below, or yell at me on Twitter, and we’ll course correct.

    Read the Den of Geek SDCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine Here!

     Without further ado, onto the reference guide! Also, just a head’s up, given the sprawling nature of the film, we are compiling the easter eggs by mediums, characters, and other arbitrary separations that will lead to some overlap, but will hopefully make this easier for you to digest (especially if you’re looking for something in particular). Now get out your chocolate bunnies, because we’re about to have an easter egg hunt!

    Ready Player One Movie References

    - In the opening montage of what you can do in the OASIS, the first actual homage appears to be Batman climbing Mount Everest. But not just any Batman… it’s Michael Keaton’s Batman from the Tim Burton classic of 1989! (For more superhero movie references after this point, please scroll down to the superhero movie reference's subsection. Your eyes will thank us later.)

    - During the opening montage, among the avatars filling up the OASIS portal terminals Z traverses is the original RoboCop from 1987.

    - Also during this sequence, commenter David Thiel spotted the Cyclops from Ray Harryhausen's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958).

    - When we meet Aech on Planet Doom, he* is seen blasting Freedy Krueger into space buck coins. To be specific the Freddy Krueger first played by Robert Englund in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

    *(We shall henceforth refer to Aech in the OASIS as “he,” and in the real world as “she,” as the character seems to want to be approached in both realities.)

    - Also seen getting gutted on Planet Doom is a cameoing avatar as Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies.

    - When James Halliday and Ogden Morrow are introduced via flashback in a press conference, the film’s soundtrack plays Tears for Fear’s “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” which was memorably used in the TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999), which for Apple cultists and computer lore junkies is the preferred biopic on Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Bill Gates. This is unlikely to be a coincidence as a newspaper clipping in Wade’s van asks if Halliday is “Bigger Than Jobs?”

    - More appropriately for the era this movie evokes, it was used prominently in 1985's Real Genius starring Val Kilmer.

    - Not only is Halliday’s virtual vision of his funeral in a Star Trek themed church, but his coffin is actually the exact same one (complete with torpedo markings) that Spock is jettisoned into oblivion in from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Although personally, we were sad the film did not recreate the novel’s version of this scene, in which Halliday presides over his own funeral (both as corpse and parishioner) from a digital recreation of the set of Heathers (1988). A young Winona Ryder and Christian Slater were also in attendance.

    - Halliday’s OASIS alter-ego Anorak looks vaguely wizard-y, like Merlin or Gandalf. However, the way the film animates his flowing black robes in the film seems intentionally evocative of how Don Bluth drew such robes on Nicodemus in The Secret of NIMH (1982). It should be noted Bluth and Spielberg later partnered for An American Tail (1986) and The Land Before Time (1988).

    - Parzival’s vehicle of choice is obviously Marty McFly’s DeLorean from Back to the Future, albeit it has been retrofitted to include the red-light grill scanner from Knight Rider (1982). In the book, it also has the Ghostbusters (1984) symbol spray-painted on the door, but alas Sony must not have wanted to contribute. This is also the sole BTTF reference in this section (just so you know we aren't crazy!). For the rest, please scroll down to the Back to the Future subsection.

    - Also spotted during this section is a jack-knifing truck, which eagle eyed Twitter user @Azrael2073 recognized as the one Kurt Russell drove in Big Trouble in Little China (1986). 

    - As if you needed to be told, that is the queen Tyrannosaurus Rex from Spielberg’s very own Jurassic Park tearing up the track.

    - King Kong is also doing massive damage to the track, but while we appreciate this Spielbergian addition to one of his heroes, Merian C. Cooper (the half-crazed adventurer who produced the 1933 masterpiece), the Kong design walks on his knuckles and most resembles Peter Jackson’s Kong from the 2005 remake. Spielberg teamed with Jackson for 2011’s The Adventures of Tintin.

    - Also on the race track is a neon, digitized silver cup, which is a replica of the silvercup used at the end of the original Highlander film from 1986. This was brought to our attention by commenter Chris Procter. Also fun fact, in the book, Art3mis' favorite film is Highlander.

    - Also during the race, we glean that the OASIS’ New York movie theater is screening Jack Slater III, which is the action movie franchise-within-an-action-movie found inside Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Action Hero (1993). Think of it like a misunderstood The Purple Rose of Cairo for teen boys and meatheads alike.

    - When we are introduced to Aech’s workshop, we are given a geeky overload of references. And the movie stuff, alone, includes the Iron Giant (obviously); the U.S.S. Sulaco drop ship from James Cameron's Aliens; the Eagle 5 space RV from Spaceballs (1987); an ED-209 from RoboCop; the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986); the Extravehicular Activity Pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); and the Valley Forge from Silent Running (1972).*

    - Thanks to @Ritaseer for spotting this one.

    - The XI suit commercials haunting Wade Watts in the Stacks feels like a subtler echo of the oppressive commercialization of Coke and Eastern marketing in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982).

    - As Twitter user @@Aaaaarrrrrgggh helpfully reminded us, Wade living in a trailer park is likely inspired by the main character of The Last Starfighter also living in a trailer park at the beginning of that 1984 classic. This is unlikely to be a coincidence considering that Ernest Cline is a huge fan of the film, which served as a more direct inspiration to the premise of his second book, Armada.

    - Not really a reference, but Ralph Ineson is his very own easter egg for anyone who saw 2016’s masterful The Witch. Seriously, Hollywood hire this man more, and if you’ve seen The Witch, see it again!

    - In Halliday’s digital recreation of a memory about himself and Og, he leaves a massive hint about going “backward as fast as you can, really put the pedal to the medal like Bill and Ted.” This is obviously a most gnarly reference to the timey-wimey Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989).

    - Upon discovering the Copper Key, Anorak/Halliday refers to Z as “padawan.” This is a nod to how Jedi refer to apprentices in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. See George, at least Steven isn’t ignoring them!

    - Shoto's car, which he totals on his way to getting the Copper Key, is Burt Reynolds' sweet ride from Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Thanks again to @Number_6 for spotting this one for us!

    - The Holy Hand Grenade is first seeded for its amazing third act return when Z and Aech go shopping. This is obviously the weapon of choice for the most pious (and rabbit-infested) of knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).

    - The first avatar to fawn over “rock star” Parzival is someone dressed as Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice circa 1988. Check out the video game section to discover some of the others.

    - Art3mis* became the geek crush of everyone (of every gender) when she terrifies Z by having a chestburster from Alien (1979) destroy her Goro suit. She also must be a fan of that franchise, given her weapon of choice that is revealed later…

    *(From this point on we’ll mostly refer to “Art3mis” as “Artemis,” because that number is ridiculous. And to be fair, Arty agrees in the Ready Player One novel.)

    - The love of Halliday and Og’s lives, Karen Underwood, goes by Kira when she meets Halliday. This is her homage to a character in The Dark Crystal (1982).

    - Z refers to Kira as Halliday’s “rosebud.” This is a reference a little outside the wheelhouse of Ernest Cline’s bowling alley arcade novel, but right in keeping with Spielberg who is calling back to Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941).

    - When Nolan Sorrento first approaches I-R0k, he steps out of a crashed martian ship from the classic War of the Worlds circa 1953. Thanks be to commenter Jon Sleeper for being eagle-eyed, there.

    - I-R0k's box in which he keeps the orb is the same box that Mogwai came to suburbia in during Gremlins (1984).

    - Aech also has a poster from the original Mel Gibson-starring Mad Max (1979) in his garage as Z gets ready for his big date.

    - Aech also has a sign that says “Cocktail & Dreams” in neon, just like the one in the horrible Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail (1988).

    - Parzival's outfit of choice is that of Peter Weller's title character from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, a totally bonkers 1984 film that also starred Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow, and Christopher Lloyd. If you haven't seen it, do so. Depending on who you ask, it's part of a shared universe with John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China.

    *Also a fun fact our contributor Delia Harrington pointed out is that Ernest Cline's first spec script (before he went on to write Fanboys) was an intended sequel to Buckaroo Banzai. It was read by Harry Knowles who helped champion Cline as a writer. (Knowles also is credited as someone who helped read early drafts of teh novel Ready Player One in the book.)

    - During Z and Arty’s sweet (and visually stunning) dance, Wade goes the full movie geek and selects the song “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night Fever (1977). And he completes the beautiful lameness of it with the rainbow disco dance floor that John Travolta once huffed across.

    - Once IOI crashes the party, Arty reveals her weapon of choice that she uses throughout the film, an M41A Pulse Rifle that Sigourney Weaver made so badass in James Cameron’s Aliens (1986).

    - Nolan Sorrento’s first pot-sweetener to bring Wade Watts to IOI is the promise he’d get to fly Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon.

    - Nolan next pledges to turn all the schools on Ludus (the OASIS’ educational planet that plays a major role in the book) into replicas of the high schools from John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club (1985) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. However, Z tries to slip Nolan up by naming the high school from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and the college in Animal House (1978).

    - When looking at the films James Halliday might’ve put on to “seduce” Kira, wrong choices include The Fly (1986) and Say Anything (1989). So presumably these were VHS tapes in the ‘90s given the differing years?

    - The right choice is of course, amazingly, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). See Ready Player One and The Shining subsection below for a complete deconstruction of this sequence in the film.

    - Also among the movie posters of other films Halliday watched that week is Firestarter (1984), which starred Spielberg darling Drew Barrymore. It also must've meant Halliday was on a Stephen King kick that week. Thanks to @thegeekflux for spotting this one!

    - The Overlook Theater inside the OASIS also has a Return of the Jedi (1983) poster, so it’s not all Kubrickian down there…

    - The magic spell cast on the orb controlled by Sorrento and I-R0k is actually the exact same spell Merlin used to transform Uther into the visage of his enemy in John Boorman's Excalibur (1981). It was called "Charm of Making" in that movie, and it allowed Uther to take his foe's wife and in the process father the child who would become King Arthur. Given that Z's name is a giant love letter to that film (chech out the Parzival section for more), that makes this extra cool. Also, thanks to commenters Wil Dalphin and Tom Stephens for bringing this to our attention.

    - During the final third of the film, we discover the fate of the OASIS depends on your dexterity with an Atari 2600. If you pick the wrong game, into the ice you go, which feels like it could be a nod to the “banishment” seen in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), as Spielberg is a vocal admirer of Christopher Nolan and those Batman movies. In that vein…

    - While IOI fools are taking repeated chilly splashes, Parzival and Daito hold Nolan hostage in a simulation-within-a-simulation. And Daito’s all-black suit and silencer-adorned gun seems intentionally reminiscent of the dream-within-a-dream iconography of Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010).

    - Similarly, when Wade leaves Sorrento’s faux-office, he rips off his face to reveal he’s really Parzival in a visual intentionally evocative of Mission: Impossible (1996) and its many sequels.

    - Faux-Daito also seems to give a clue he is not really, well real, given a glowing amber sheen in his eyes, which seems like a sly nod to the telltale sign of replicants in the original Blade Runner.

    - Upon the entire OASIS turning on Sorrento, the scene-stealing I-R0k quotes It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) at the exact wrong time to someone who is clearly a Mr. Potter type: “No man is a failure who has friends.”

    - When Z leads his avatars into actual battle, he goes the full John Cusack and holds a boombox above his head, although with a much more metal song than the sweetly annoying "In Your Eyes" that Cusack plays to win his ex back at the end of Say Anything. (The movie that Halliday maybe also should have put on for Kira, instead of The Shining.)

    - During the third act uber-video game battle the entire movie is stolen by “IT’S FUCKING CHUCKY!” And if you need me to explain that evil, ginger-haired bastard doll is from Child’s Play (1988), like what are you even doing here?

    - Movie shoutouts during that battle include the return of Arty’s pulse rifle; Aech going the full Iron Giant (who has a much bigger role in the movie than the book); the Caterpillar P-5000 Work Loader from Aliens; some ED-209s; and the movie designs from the recent Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Alas 1990’s TMNT live-action designs would have been way cooler and more fitting). We’ve also heard Spielberg lament a Gremlin got into a frame courtesy of ILM, so we imagine they’re in here somewhere. Check out the Games and Misc. section for more cameos.

    - Someone also at the end here is rocking a Glaive from Krull (1983), a five-sided star that also acts like a boomarang upon occasion.

    - Nolan Sorrento pulls the ultimate dick move and turns into Mechagodzilla from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974). Even cooler, it features Akira Ifukube’s “Godzilla March” theme from Godzilla (1954).

    - Daito answers by going Gundam in return (see Misc. for more), but his arrival is heralded by the amazing cameo of Mal Reynolds’ Serenity, a Firefly-class vessel from Joss Whedon’s all-too brief Firefly (2002) TV series and later 2005 film, Serenity.

    - When Iron Giant goes down, he dies like a champ, a la Arnie’s T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991).

    - Monty Python’s Holy Hand Grenade does its God-given duty!

    - Halliday’s contractual fake-out with Parzival feels, unintentionally or not, like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Spielberg’s third Indy adventure where you had to choose wisely between real grails and fake ones.

    - The treasure and faux-egg atop its pedestal in this fakeout room is also reminiscent of the treasure trove in the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin (1992), complete with a ruby-shaped egg that beckons the monkey Abu to his almost-doom. But as Disney didn’t seem to play ball with WB on this, it is vague.

    - Among baby Halliday’s decorations are statues of Godzilla and Robby the Robot, the latter being from the influential Forbidden Planet (1956), which is a film that had a profound effect on Spielberg.

    - Speaking of Spielberg, he slyly allowed his production team to put a Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) poster on young Halliday's wall.

    - Robby the Robot shows up again as a life-sized statue in Wade and Samantha's flat at the end of the movie.

    - I believe young Halliday’s computer is an IMSAI 8080, which is the computer Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy use to almost start a thermonuclear war in the underrated WarGames (1983), a movie which played a much larger role in the book.

    Ready Player One and The Shining References

    Yes, this gets its own subsection. And if you want more detail about the importance of The Shining and Kubrick to Spielberg (as well as why King hates the movie), you can click over here to read it for yourself.

    -Before they even enter the Overlook Hotel, our dear High Five is made to dread the horrors to come thanks to Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind’s unforgettably eerie score.

    - Spielberg meticulously recreates the set of the Overlook Hotel’s grand lobby, complete with a typewriter that repeats verbatim, “All Work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” However, it takes on the shape of a key, a Jade Key to be specific, as opposed to the odd shapes in the film.

    - Aech is lured to his seeming doom by a bouncing ball, which belongs to the Grady twins, ghostly girls that beckon foolish children to come play with them.

    - This also leads Aech to almost be enveloped in the river of blood that pours from the elevator, as Shelly Duvall also discovered the hard way in The Shining’s climax.

    - The portrait that Aech tears of the Overlook Hotel with Halliday and Kira at the center is the ghostly photo that is the final shot of The Shining, which despite its inexplicable then-modern setting of 1980, it still features Jack Nicholson’s protagonist partying with the dead in 1921 (where Halliday and Kira are standing).

    - Room 237 features a ghost that attacked young Danny Torrance, and like with Aech, it also seduces his father as a comely young woman before turning into a haggard old woman (although she does not try to kill him with an axe). Also credit for the film noting that Aech likes women, as most mass-marketed blockbusters shy away from LGBTQ characters.

    - Aech is attacked by an axe to the door, but before he gets a “Here’s Johnny” (or Jack Nicholson), he is then dropped inside the snowy maze that Jack Torrance dies chasing Danny in. He escapes through the freezer that is also where Danny and Wendy tie up a deranged Jack earlier in the film.

    - When Aech comes out of the freezer, you can also see Danny’s iconic tricycle in the background.

    Ready Player One and Back to the Future References

    As previously mentioned, there is so much love for this Robert Zemeckis film, which was executive produced by Steven Spielberg, that we felt it worthy of its own subsection.

    - Again Parzival's vehicle of choice is the DeLorean from Back to the Future with a KITT upgrade. It also comes complete with a non-functioning flux capacitor.

    - As Parzival and Aech are discussing Halliday, I believe I spotted an avatar dressed as futuristic Doc Brown from the final scene of Back to the Future (1985).

    - Before Wade Watts first enters the OASIS onscreen, we witness some questionable product placement of a drone delivering Pizza Hut to a Stacks neighbor. As shameless as this is, we also suspect it could be a sly nod to similar sci-fi commercialism in Back to the Future Part II (1989), in which Marty McFly’s family in the far-flung future of 2015 dines on small packets of grow-able Pizza Hut pies.

    - Before Artemis signs out of Aech's garage during her first meeting with Z, she calls our hero “McFly” in reference to his sweet, timey-wimey ride. It's an adorable sign of affection and deserved condescension all at once.

    - In the same shopping scene, the “Zemeckis Cube” captures Parzival’s eye, which is a nod to Spielberg’s buddy, Robert Zemeckis, the director of Back to the Future (Spielberg produced it). Combined with the Rubik’s Cube this artifact has an awesome feature Doc Brown would approve of.

    - When Parzival uses the Zemeckis Cube to reverse OASIS time by 60 seconds, composer Alan Silvestri is able to break out some of his timeless Back to the Future theme.

    - When Z puts down the pen, Halliday takes him to his past in a recreation of his childhood bedroom, which is given a musical stinger by Silvestri, who uses his synthesizer echo from Back to the Future.

    - When Samantha interupts her near-kiss with Wade to shout, "Oh shit!," as well as when F-Nara punches Nolan in the face, Silvesteri uses the same musical stinger to denote a moment of shock or bewilderment that he uses in all the Back to the Future films.

    - As Parzival is getting ready for his date with Artemis, he’s chilling in Aech’s digital den, which comes with an awesome poster of “Re-elect Mayor ‘Goldie’ Wilson” from Back to the Future. Hell yeah, we smiled at this one!

    Ready Player One Video Game References

    Still with us? Good. Because we’re just getting to the meat and potatoes of a movie about a giant interactive video game world…

    - The first branded IP we see in the film, beyond Pizza Hut, we believe is an entire OASIS world dedicated to recreating Minecraft the game that has taken Generation Z by storm.

    - Among the characters on Planet Doom seen during Aech's introduction is someone in a skin of James Raynor, a character from the Starcraft games. Thank you to @JoelStrout for pointing this out to us.

    - On the racetrack for the first key, the Street Fighter character Ryu makes the first of several cameos.

    - When Artemis quizzes Z about what Halliday’s favorite shooter was, he is quick to name-check GoldenEye, the 1997 Nintendo 64 video game that is the staple of many a Millennial’s childhood. Also special points to both avatars for knowing his favorite multiplayer character was Oddjob while playing in “Slaps Only” mode (no weapons).

    - Parzival also reveals that Halliday’s favorite racing game was Turbo, a 1981 arcade entry by Sega.

    - Also in Aech's garage, via @thegeekflux, is the cocktail cabinet version of Pac-Man.

    - Rick (douchey boyfriend of the aunt played by Ralph Ineson) has modeled his avatar after Jim Raynor from StarCraft (1998), as per Twitter user @FeanorToro.

    - In the first digital flashback to Halliday and Og, Halliday is wearing his patented Space Invaders t-shirt, a nod to the legendary 1978 arcade game.

    - Halliday also tells Og in this scene that one thing that is perfect is Asteroids, a 1981 arcade game.

    - There is a poster of arcade game Galaga (1979) in Halliday and Og’s breakroom.

    - Among the “accessories” at the OASIS shop that Z and Aech peruse is a Street Fighter store where Ryu turns up again.

    - There is also a Halo add-on that lets you become Master Chief from the classic 2001 video game.

    - After the “Beetlejuice” avatar spots Parzival in his rock star moment, Jill Valentine in her ridiculous tube top outfit from 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (perfect for fighting virus-carrying zombies) shows up to also gawk.

    - As Arty and Z are meeting at the archives, the original video game Lara Croft of Tomb Raider glory walks by, as per Paulo Bastos.

    - Luckily, Z is saved by Arty, albeit in that exact moment she appears to be Goro, the four-armed warrior from Mortal Kombat (1992). And Goro seems to be having a case of indigestion.

    - Among Z's costume changes before his big date with Artemis, there is a sbutle nod to Donkey Kong as the punk outfit he tries on has a "DK" logo on the back.

    - When Nolan is trying to seduce Wade, among other things he claims he likes to play Robotron, a multidirectional-shooter for Atari 2600 from 1982.

    - Among the Atari 2600 games name-dropped by IOI as incompatible with Halliday’s final challenge are Centipede, Pitfall, and “all three” Swordquests. Other key ones include Berzerk, notable for its innovative maze design and the home of gaming's most notorious sentient smiley face, Evil Otto, and Defender, which had one of the coolest spaceship designs in early gaming.

    - In real-life, Daito’s OASIS rig comes with a Mortal Kombat pin.

    - Among the cameoing avatars in the final battle, we also spotted iconic game characters like Big Daddy from BioShock (2007), Chun-Li from Street Fighter II (1991), characters from the new popular next-gen first-person shooter, Overwatch (2016), and a squadron of Halo ass-kickers.

    - Also commenter Niko Sama picked up Chocobo from Final Fantasy II (1991) and StarCraft marines from StarCraft (1998).

    - At one point it looks like not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the Battletoads are leading a charge. Battletoads sure may seem like a TMNT ripoff, but they were mainly known as the protagonists of an extraordinarily difficult 1991 NES game. We wrote more about them here.

    - Also among all this craziness, Twitter user @therealmcKay22 noticed that Artemis uses a lancer from Gears of War (2006).

    - Similarly, @HikariDesTIny spotted Battleborn from 2K games in this battle royale.

    - Similarly, @misterredpants spotted that Parzival used the rail gun from Quake (1996) in this scene. 

    - During Parzival and Nolan Sorrento’s epic throwdown, Z totally drops a “hadouken” on him. Ryu would be proud.

    - Before Sorrento blasts I-R0k’s ten years of upgrades to hell, he calls using the cataclyst “a camper move.” Which in gamer terminology is akin to saying, “bad sport,” since it refers to newbies who play online shooters and just camp out in a hard-to-reach spot near respawning ammo or weapons.

    - During the final chase, Aech jokes she is “practicing my Mario Kart” when IOI scum begin trying to run her van off the road. This is a reference, to well, the true greatest racer franchise of all-time, no?

    - As the movie highlights to a sentimental degree, the first video game easter egg was in Adventure (1979), an Atari 2600 entry designed by Warren Robinett, who included a literal egg far away from the game’s central quest. If you discovered it though, you’d be greeted by Warren Robinett’s actual name, (which the Atari publisher refused to credit in the game at the time).

    - Young James Halliday appears to be playing a Colecovision system in his room. Anyone know what game he's playing, though? Well according to commenter Paul Imboden, we now know it is a game called Gorf (1981).

    - Inside Halliday's bedroom is also an old school poster for the original Pac-Man game.

    - Halliday’s final words to Wade of “thank you for playing my game” are a valued tradition among game-makers. It was most popularized by Super Mario 64 (1996) when Mario himself says, “Thank you a-so much for playing my game” at the end of the closing credits. Too bad Halliday didn’t offer Z some cake!

    - In the final scene with a rich and happy Wade and Samantha, you can see a Revenge from Mars (1999) pinball game behind them. Why they would include Revenge from Mars and not its infinitely superior 1995 predecessor, Attack From Mars, will have to remain a mystery.

    Ready Player One Superhero and Comic Book References

    - As aforementioned the first avatar we see as a pre-existing IP is Batman… Michael Keaton’s Batman from 1989 to be specific.

    - That is also Adam West’s classic Lincoln Futura (1955) as the Batmobile convertible during the film’s opening race. He drove it in the late 1960s camp classic TV series and 1966's Batman: The Movie.

    - Twitter user @Number_6 has pointed out that Artemis' bike has the logo for The Greatest American Hero, a short-lived superhero television series, which ran on ABC from 1981 to 1983.

    - When Artemis and Parzival are testing each other on geeky Halliday trivia knowledge, Z drops that the late Halliday’s favorite quote was from Superman: The Movie (1978). And to be fair, it is an amazing nugget of comic wisdom, compliments of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor: “Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story; others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.”

    - Wade Watts reveals his father gave him an alliterative name to mimic superheroes like Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Bruce Banner (the Hulk). Fun fact: actor Tye Sheridan also plays Scott Summers, aka the mutant superhero Cyclops, in the current X-Men movies.

    - When Arty gives Z Clark Kent glasses, they’re not just any generic Superman reference, but one specifically taken from Christopher Reeve’s frames in Superman: The Movie. As are the questionable plaid, ‘70s suit clothes options she offers for him to peruse, and that particular slicked down hairstyle.

    - At the Distracted Globe dance party, a couple’s avatars are cloyingly modeled after the Joker and Harley Quinn.

    - In the real world, 11-year-old Shoto is sporting a varsity jacket that looks a lot like the ones found in Smallville in Superman III (1983).

    - Somewhere in the Stacks, there is a tagger who is a big fan of Teen Titans since one of the urban artworks is of the DC character Raven.

    - During Parzial's call to action, we totally see the back profiles of avatars dressed as Catwoman and a capeless Batman. However, @dickson_edwards suggests the capeless Batman is in fact the Arkham Knight from the PS4/Xbox One video game, Batman: Arkham Knight. We aren't sure, but it seems very plausible.

    - During the epic final act throwdown, Spawn is definitely present for the fireworks.

    - Someone came ready for the war by dressing as Batgirl too, albeit we only see her briefly before the flash of the cataclyst incinerates everyone in sight.

    -The IOI researcher offices include back issues of DC Comics Presents.

    Ready Player One Misc. References

    - The film defiantly begins to the sounds of Van Halen's “Jump” before the cold open even fades onto an image.

    - At the beginning of the film, near the time we see RoboCop, another avatar runs by dressed as Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes.

    - Also in this sequence is an avatar dressed as Hello Kitty! (Thanks to commenter Erin Grady Brown for pointing this one out!)

    - Aech is introduced getting points by being a badass on Planet Doom, which is a reference to a dead rock in the Drule Empire on the Voltron cartoon series (1984-1985).

    - It feels like much of James Halliday is also somewhat based on Dana Carvey's Garth from iconic early '90s SNL sketch and unlikely blockbuster, Wayne's World. You know, by way of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (with a sprinkling of Willy Wonka).

    - Halliday is often seen wearing a Simon pin. Simon was a Milton Bradley electronic memory game, a multi-colored, lights-and-sounds "Simon says" that was a surprising amount of fun, and as much an icon of the 1980s as the Rubik's Cube.

    - The blue Bigfoot truck that Aech drives is the original monster truck, and one that was replicated on countless pieces of 1980s merchandise at the height of that bizarre craze.

    - Among the race cars is again the Mach Five from the Japanese anime Speed Racer (1966-1968).

    - Parzival’s DeLorean has KITT’s red-eyed grill scanner from the David Hasselhoff cheese-classic, Knight Rider(1982-1986).

    - Commenters Erin Grady Brown also caught Stephen King's Christine in this scene. Also Erin and Twitter user @Number_6 caught the van from The A-Team is also in this scene. 

    - And of course Artemis' bike is the one from Akira (1988), a reference we should have remembered but forgot about until commenter Liam Crewe helpfully reminded us.

    - In the lead-up to the race Joan Jett's “I Hate Myself for Loving You” rocks on.

    - While listing a few of James Halliday's favorite things, Z reveals his favorite snack food is Hot Pockets, and his favorite restaurant is Chuck E. Cheese. Which considering he was a grown man is... interesting.

    - Also here is a bonus about Chuck E. Cheese, compliments of @HBEaker. The restaurant franchise was founded by Nolan Bushnell in 1977 after he co-founded Atari in 1972.

    - When Z and Arty are testing each other on geeky Halliday knowledge, Parzival says Halliday's favorite song was the Buggles' “Video Killed the Radio Star” (there's no accounting for taste, eh?) and his favorite music video was aha's “Take On Me.” And in the latter's case, he has a point...

    - Aech’s garage includes laser guns and spaceships from Battlestar: Galactica (1978-1979). There is more of that in Aech’s own subsection.

    - It appears that all of the Doritos bags in the movie use the vintage 1980s logo and bag design.

    - Also a really nice touch is the casting of Hannah John-Kamen as F'Nale in the film. Introduced early as the IOI executive in charge of the "loyalty centers," F'Nale's job is to round up poor souls and welcome them into glorified slavery as corporations' new take on indentured servitude, which honestly doesn't feel that far off from our world. While that is grim, John-Kamen's casting feels like a subtle nod to Black Mirror, in which she appeared in the second episode ever in "Fifteen Million Merits." That is the episode where a future dystopia keeps people trapped as glorified slaves in little glass and plastic cubes while they watch reality television. Sound familiar?

    - I-R0k attempts to “compliment” Nolan Sorrento by saying “you never lick;” he just bites down to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Like that commercial. You know THAT commercial…

    - As Aech taunts Z for daydreaming about Arty, the Temptation's “Just My Imagination” softly plays in the background. 

    - I-R0k is introduced doing a “Poor Yorick” routine with a Steam Punk Pirate’s skull, which is a slightly more high-brow reference to Act V of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

    - Speaking of Hamlet, the nightclub that Arty invites Z to is called “the Distracted Globe,” a subtler nod to the first act of the Bard’s masterwork. This is the term the eponymous Danish prince uses to sneer at his court and surroundings, implying they are distracted with crass entertainment while matters of importance, like justice for his father’s murdered ghost, go ignored.

    - While getting ready to party at the Distracted Globe, Parzival tries on a series of costumes that he and Aech rightly reject, like Michael Jackson’s red “Thriller” outfit, Prince's "Purple Rain" get-up*, a generic-looking punk Mohawk, and a white Duran Duran get-up that someone else will have to precisely identify.

    * Thanks to commenter Janne Nyyssonen for pointing out this one!

    - As Z enters the Distracted Globe New Order's “Blue Monday” adds some disaffected style. Later, when we meet Arty in the real world, she's wearing a Joy Division shirt. Joy Division is the band that eventually morphed into New Order.

    - At the Distracted Globe, all the robotic bartenders are wearing the ridiculous hats from Devo's awful "Whip It" music video.

    - Nolan’s deal with the Devil offer includes the claim he enjoys drinking Tab. Just right there, Z should’ve known Nolan wasn’t on the level, because Tab is disgusting.

    - When Aech has his/her fancy tickled by a ghostly girl, she asks “am I being punked?” This reference the awful Ashton Kutcher/MTV series, Punk’d (2003-2007).

    - Among IOI’s research materials is a copy of the book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1978).

    - Nolan Sorrento’s private rig includes the complete Nancy Drew mystery book series. Don’t judge.

    - Inside Sorrento and I-R0k's orb of power is a D-20 dice. Dungeons & Dragons fans know what's up with that, including our dear commenter Tom Stephens who brought it to our attention.

    - During Parzival's big speech across the OASIS, his drone-camera is what appears to be a literally magical Magic 8-Ball. You know those silly toys that "could tell the future" and kids used to love before smartphones?

    - Z's final call to arms is Twisted Sister's “We're Not Gonna Take It.” Hell yeah!

    - During the final battle, commenter Erin Grady Brown helpfully spotted He-Man! Now the struggle on Planet Doom can truly be legendary!

    - To battle Mechagodzilla, Daito assumes the mobile suited body of an RX-78-2 Gundam from the iconic Japanese anime Mobile Suit Gundam (1979). However, I personally would have recommended he’d selected Heero Yuy’s Wing Zero from Gundam Wing (1996) if he wanted to truly wreck Mechagodzilla.

    - When Artemis puts down Nolan Sorrento (for a minute) and Mechagodzilla (for the count), she does so with a Madball. These were briefly popular grossout toys for young boys in the mid-'80s, which like all fads of that decade spawned a video game and shortly lived Saturday morning cartoon series. I believe the Madball used was "Dust Brain," but please correct me if I'm wrong.

    - Both Aech in real-life and a poster in Halliday’s digital childhood bedroom includes Rush’s 2112 album cover. 2112 side one is a bizarre, futuristic/dystopian sci-fi rock epic. You can see why these characters are fans.

    - Clearly visible in young James' room is a vintage Dungeons & Dragons poster. That, along with the Rush 2112 poster, were standard issue for edgy '80s nerds.

    - Also visible on the back wall of Halliday's bedroom is the album cover of Devo's Freedom of Choice. Thanks be to Peter J. Daley Jr. for bringing that to our attention!

    - We hear of "the gold mines of Gygax." Gary Gygax was the inventor of Dungeons & Dragons.

    - At one point, Ghost Halliday also briefly holds a toy (don't ask us the year or model) of the Robot from Lost in Space (1965-1968). He was kind of like Robby's knockoff, but much more cuddily, cousin. (Thanks to commenter Eric Sharpe for reminding us of this!)

    - There's a killer Masters of the Universe tin lunchbox in Wade's hideout, too.

    - Also Twitter user @Yeedi_Dinsuar makes an interesting point that Halliday's egg is a nod to the golden seed (or egg) in the anime Sword Art Online. While I'm not sure myself, judge for yourself by looking at the egg here.

    - Also during the very end, commenter Erin Grady Brown spotted the Star Trek weapon Bat'leth near the aforementioned Robby the Robot in Wade and Samantha's nerd nirvana home.

    - While we're on the subject of toys, Aech keeps lots of them in his lair. There are models of the original Battlestar Galactica, the Nostromo from Alien, Cygnus (from Disney’s The Black Hole) and they mention (but we do not see) the Harkonnen Drop Ship a toy that was advertised by LJN as part of their bizarre Dune line, but which never actually came out.

    Art3mis References

    We also thought it might be worthy deconstructing each character and what they bring to the table, in case the above references can seem dizzying or daunting.

    - Again, “Art3mis” should be called “Artemis” because, at least per the book where Samantha only conceded putting the numeral “3” in her avatar's name, because “Artemis” was already taken when she created her avatar.

    - Artemis as a name is in reference to Greek mythology where Artemis is Goddess of the Hunt. Further, fans of Wonder Woman might like to know that Artemis was conflated with “Diana” as one goddess in Roman mythology.

    - Arty’s weapon of choice throughout the film is an M41A Pulse Rifle from James Cameron’s Aliens (1986).

    - In the real world, Samantha’s visor has a Batman sticker on it.

    - There's some graffiti in Samantha's HQ that looks like a nod to seminal 1980s graffiti artist, Keith Haring.

    Parzival References

    - A perfectly good place is to start with Parzival himself. As we’ll detail more later, his name is obviously a play on Percival, the member of King Arthur’s round tabled knights who, according to some versions of the myth, is the one who found the Holy Grail. However, this version is most popularized in nerd culture by John Boorman’s 1981, heavy metal cult classic, Excalibur. Which for the record has a design for its titular sword that looks identical to the blade embroidered into the back of Z’s clothes in the OASIS.

    -His empty gun holster also looks suspiciously like what Han Solo wore in the original Star Wars trilogy.

    - Z’s entire aesthetic is typical mid-‘80s, heavy metal fan.

    - There is a Thundercats symbol on Z’s belt buckle, while his gun holster/belt combo are reminiscent of Han Solo.

    - Parzival's final visor at the end has a sticker for The Greatest American Hero TV show. But we're not sure if this is really Z's style or Aech, since it is her van... (Thanks to Twitter user @Number_6 for finding this!)

    Aech References

    - In the real world, she’s Helen, but she prefers to be just a “he” and Aech while logged into the OASIS.

    - In the real-world, Aech has a lot of different vintage pins on her jacket. We could not catch them all, but among the ones we spotted were a classic Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) pin and a vintage '70s Wonder Woman badge of honor. Also thanks to commenter Peter J. Daley Jr., we also now know that one more of the pins for the band Dead Kennedys.

    - Aech totally also has a Batman poster in the back of her truck.

    - Also thanks to commenter Erin Grady Brown, we also know the graffiti on the back of Aech's truck is actually from the Dungeons & Dragons module, "Tomb of Horrors," which was a pivotal plot point in the book.

    - And now, all in one place, everything we spotted in Aech’s garage and den:

    The Iron Giant; laser blaster from the original Battlestar: Galactica; the U.S.S. Sulaco drop ship from Aliens*; the Eagle 5 space RV from Spaceballs; the Colonial Viper spaceship from Battlestar: Galactica; an ED-209 from RoboCop; the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; the Extravehicular Activity Pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey; the Valley Forge from Silent Running; an exo-skeleton robot from the animated series Exosquad; a Thunderfighter from the TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century; and a Swordfish II spaceship from the anime Cowboy Beebop (1998-1999); the Cocktails & Dreams sign from Cocktail; a Mad Max poster; and an awesome “Re-Elect Mayor ‘Goldie’ Wilson” poster from Back to the Future.

    - Also some more we missed, but commenter Erin Grady Brown picked up: Pee-wee Herman's bike from Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985); the TARDIS from Doctor Who; a stuffed Kermit the Frog; and a political poster for Wil Wheaton.

    *Thank you to commenter Raul Martinez-Orozco for pointing this out.

    Numb from your sugar overload yet? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Let us know what we missed or chew me out on Twitter here.


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    Nintendo Switch's online service will introduce voice chat, online multiplayer, and a slew of free NES games. It arrives in September!

    NewsRyan Lambie
    Aug 10, 2018

    Online multiplayer hasn't always been the best aspect of Nintendo's consoles, but with the Switch, there have been signs that things might change for the better. And, about 18 months on from its original release, the Nintendo Switch's online service is finally due to launch in "the second half of September."

    Like the equivalent services on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the Switch's online service has a cost attached: $3.99 for one month, $7.99 for three months, or $19.99 for a year.

    The more intriguing option is what Nintendo calls its Twelve Month Family Membership, which, for $34.99, allows up to eight Nintendo accounts to use the subscription service - even on different consoles. We'll be interested to hear what the restrictions are on this; do users have to prove they're all members of the same family, or could a bunch of friends - and maybe Big Steve who lives down the road - all club together and basically get a year's subscription for less than $5? At present, Nintendo's wording ("all members of the group will have access to Nintendo Switch Online") implies that we will.

    So anyway, what do we get for our monthly investment? First, a bunch of games, some more scintillating than others. At launch, you'll get access to the NES hits Balloon Fight, Dr. Mario, Super Mario Bros 3, Donkey Kong, Ice Climber, The Legend Of Zelda, Mario Bros, Soccer, Super Mario Bros, and TennisIt's the usual roster of suspects, really, though the addition of things like voice chat and online multiplayer are nice to have, and Nintendo says it'll be adding more games to the selection after launch - we're hoping for a few, more unusual titles for the NES and other retro systems. 

    The more important features, though, are the cloud saves, which means we'll be able to save our games online for access anywhere. Further details are currently thin on the ground, though Nintendo says it'll be explaining more ahead of Switch Online's launch in September. We'll keep you posted as we hear more.


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    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is getting a new multiplayer heist mode. Here are the details...

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Aug 10, 2018

    Activision has confirmed that the next Call of Duty game will be Black Ops 4. The publisher has promised to reveal more information about the game on May 17 during a live stream event. What we do know is that veteran CoD studio Treyarch is developing the game.

    Some reports suggest that Treyarch is even working on a Switch version of Black Ops 4. Whether or not that version of the game will launch alongside the other versions of Black Ops 4 has not been confirmed at this time. There are also reports that Black Ops 4 might be available via Battle.net. 

    It makes sense that the next Call of Duty title would be Black Ops 4 considering the previous release schedule of recent Call of Duty games. Recently, Black Ops games have arrived on a three-year release schedule and it has been three years since the last Black Ops title. Furthermore, the Black Ops games have historically sold quite well in comparison to even the "main" games in the Call of Duty franchise.

    What is somewhat surprising is the rumored notion that Black Ops 4's setting may be impacted by the negative reception to recent Call of Duty titles. Historically, the Black Ops games have kind of marched to their own beat. As such, it's admittedly odd to consider that the next installment in the franchise may adopt a more crowd-pleasing setting and tone. Of course, we have no doubt that some of the trademark weirdness of Black Ops series will live on regardless of the era this game happens to take place in. 

    Here's what else we know about the game:

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 News

    Treyarch has announced that Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is getting a new Heist mode, which pits two teams against each other to recover a bag full of cash and extract it. Players have limited lives and start the match with pistols, although more powerful weapons and supplies are scattered around the map. All that stuff is in limited supply too though, adding a bit of a survival aspect to the proceedings.

    You can check out all the details in the video below:

    Heist will be available during this weekend's beta on PS4, XBO, and PC if you're interested in trying it out. 

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Release Date

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will arrive on Oct. 12, 2018. It's coming to PS4, XBO, and PC.

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Beta

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is on the way, but before the full game arrives in October, Treyarch is going to host a few beta sessions to test out the PvP multiplayer as well as the new battle royale mode, Blackout. Here are the dates:

    If you pre-order the PS4 version of the game, you'll be able to jump into the PvP multiplayer beta on Aug. 3 at 1 pm ET. This is a timed PS4 exclusive beta. Xbox One and PC owners can play the beta on Aug. 10 at 1 pm ET. Six maps will be playable in Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint, Search & Destroy, and Control modes.

    The Blackout beta will take place sometime in September. This beta will be available to those who pre-ordered the PS4 version of the game first. 

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Trailer

    The first multiplayer trailer has arrived and it showcases all the explosive online combat action you should expect in this new installment. Check it out below:

    You can watch the very first teaser trailer below:

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Battle Royale

    The first footage of Blackout, Black Ops 4's battle royale mode, is here:

    While that trailer features footage from all of Black Ops 4's multiplayer modes, it's the Blackout footage that is rightfully capturing everyone's attention. We don't get to see much of the new mode, but we see enough to determine that Blackout will seemingly emphasize vehicle-based combat. Eagle-eyed viewers have also spotted a flash of what appears to be a zombie. That seems to indicate that zombies may be an optional or standard PvE element in this upcoming battle royale mode. 

    We also now know that the Blackout beta will begin sometime in December. You can read much more about this new mode here.

    Read the Den of Geek SDCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies

    The latest trailer for Black Ops 4 Zombie Mode conveys what would happen if zombies invaded the Titanic. Yes, we're quite serious. 

    Black Ops 4's zombie mode is shaping up to be the series' largest and most impressive take on the concept yet. From time travel to custom match options, you can read about all of the mode's features here


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    Bethesda has announced Quake Champions is now free-to-play! Here are the details...

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Aug 10, 2018

    Quake Champions is the latest installment in the classic FPS series. This title appears to be a follow-up to the infamous Quake III: Arena as it attempts to revive the arena shooter genre that classic game helped to popularize. Bethesda is promising a pure Arena-style shooter experience with a special emphasis on interesting characters and creating an equal playing field for all levels of fraggers. 

    From the trailers released thus far, it is clear that this new Quake is focused on providing the same brand of lightning-fueled rapid chaos that made Arena one of the most popular games of its generation. While Bethesda's presentation suggests that the team will be taking cues from the open, character-driven style of Overwatch, gameplay footage showcases an arena battleground that is unmistakably worthy of the Quake name. 

    Here's everything else we know:

    Quake Champions Release Date

    Quake Champions doesn't have a release date for its full release as of yet, but you can play the Early Access version on PC for free. At QuakeCon 2018, Bethesda announced that the game was going free-to-play:

     

    You can download the game on Steam or on the Bethesda Launcher now!

    Quake Champions Trailer

    Bethesda debuted a new trailer for Quake Champions at E3 2018. Check it out below:

    Strogg, the main bad guy from Quake II and IV, is making his way to Quake Champions in an upcoming April update. Accompanying him will be his sentient drone, Peeker. You can check out the story intro for this dynamic duo by checking out the video below:

    Bethesda revealed at E3 2017 that Wolfenstein protagonist B.J. Blazkowicz will join the Quake Champions' roster. You can check out all the footage from the E3 presentation - including previews of some of the game's new maps - via this trailer:

    Just in case you weren't convinced that Quake Champions will provide the same essential Quake multiplayer experience you know and love, Bethesda has released what they call a raw gameplay trailer which simply shows player footage from a match in progress. The speed is intoxicating.

    Here's the first gameplay trailer:

    Bethesda uploaded a video to their YouTube page in which Studio Director Tim Willits breaks down the design process of Quake Champions and explains how the game is both a classic Quake shooter and an attempt to modernize some of the title's trademark elements by incorporating some recent advancements in the genre. Of particular note are the heroes and skills he reveals that give us a better idea of how Quake Champions' characters will differ from one another. 

    Take a look: 

    Check out the game's first trailer below:

    Quake Champions Details

    Quake Champions will be a free-to-play game. 

    Well...kind of.

    "At its core, it’s a free-to-play game,” says Willits, "with the option to buy the Champion Pack and just get in and play with all the Champions. There are a number of Quake players that just want to play their Quake, right? And they are familiar with the business model of our previous games, and they are totally fine. ‘I want to buy the game. I want to start playing. I want to have access to all the Champions.’"

    What that means is that players who purchase the game will gain access to all of Quake Champions' characters while those free-to-play players will be able to use in-game currency to gain access to new Champions for a limited period of time. It's not clear how long you will be able to access purchased Champions via the latter method, but Willits did say that he doesn't want to use the word "rent" in regards to the nature of the transaction.

    Players on both sides will have the chance to use in-game currency on other unlockables such as rune challenges and skins. Additionally, free-to-play and paid players will compete in the same brackets on the same maps using the same weapons. At this time, it appears the only potentially meaningful gameplay concept that requires currency are the characters themselves. 


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    Rage 2 looks insane! Here's a new trailer straight out of QuakeCon...

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 10, 2018

    Nobody was quite sure what to make of the reports that a sequel to Rage was in the works. While Rage was a fairly well-received shooter, it didn't set the world on fire or establish much of a fanbase for the franchise. 

    Nevertheless, Rage 2 is now official, and we're honestly incredibly intrigued by what we've seen of it. Developed by id Software and Mad Max developer Avalanche Studios, the next Rage game looks to combine open-world wasteland exploration with the trademark quality action that we've come to expect from id Software games. On top of that is a bizarre vision of the end of the world that includes a large number of themed gangs doing battle over what precious resources remain. 

    In other words, it sounds like we're going to be getting the unofficial Mad Max game adaptation that we've been dreaming of for years. 

    Here's everything that we know about Rage 2

    Rage 2 News

    The Rage 2QuakeCon trailer is here! Check it out below:

    Rage 2 Release Date

    There's no release date available for Rage 2, but it seems that the plan is for the game to launch sometime in 2019. Bethesda has promised to reveal more about the title during E3 2018. 

    Rage 2 Trailer

    E3 2018 brought us our first look at Rage 2's gameplay. This exciting upcoming game looks to combine the shooting of Doom and the open-world brilliance of Mad Max. Take a look:

    Here are the first two trailers:

    Rage 2 Details

    Id Software boss Tim Willits informed GameStar that Rage 2 will not feature loot boxes or live service elements. 

    Actually, Willits joked about the game's novel approach to revenue by stating that players will be able to buy the game and just play it. Bethesda later confirmed to USGamer that the game will not feature loot boxes or live service elements, but there's no word on whether or not the game will feature any post-release DLC content (whether it be free or premium). 


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    Doom Eternal continues one of the best FPS franchises ever. Check out the first gameplay trailer here!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Aug 10, 2018

    At E3 2018, Bethesda revealed Doom Eternal. Based on what was revealed at the show, it sounds like this is going to be a new Doom game rather than a remaster or a remake. The Doom team talked about how they listened to what fans asked for and added more demons, a more powerful Doom guy, and a vision of what Hell on Earth looks like to this game. 

    To be fair, that doesn't mean that this is guaranteed to be a brand-new Doom game - it's not called Doom II after all - and there is a possibility that this could retread some familiar ground. At the very least, though, we feel that this has to be some kind of expansion or some piece of previously unseen content related to Doom.

    Here's everything we know about the game thus far:

    Doom Eternal Trailer

    Bethesda revealed the first look at Doom Eternal's INSANE gameplay at QuakeCon 2018. Check out the trailer below:

    And here's the announcement trailer:

    Doom Eternal Gameplay Details

    The first gameplay footage of Doom Eternal reveals that it is very much a follow-up to 2016's Doom. 

    While many of the game's features remain the same as they were in that modern classic, there are a few things featured in Eternal which should help keep the overall experience feeling fresh. The biggest of said features is the ability to invade other player's games and have your game invaded by other players. The details of this system haven't been fully revealed at this time, but the team did reveal you will be able to assemble a party of demons to try and take down a player controlling the Doom Guy (a.k.a. the slayer). You are also able to disable this feature if you wish to do so. 

    It also seems that the Doom Guy will be much agiler this time around. Along with the ability to hop between certain surfaces in order to scale walls, our hero also has access to a chain that functions as a grappling hook as well as some kind of booster that lets him dodge attacks and reach new vertical heights. It's not clear at this time whether or not you'll have access to these abilities from the start or whether you will have to unlock them as the game progresses. 

    The gameplay footage also showed the Doom Guy picking up an extra life, which is something that the team did not expand on during the presentation but is worth keeping an eye on. 

    Doom Eternal Release Date

    No release date has been set for Doom Eternal. The game is expected to arrive for XBO, PS4, and PC. 


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    A fan has found files related to VR deep within the Nintendo Switch's code.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 10, 2018

    A fan thinks they might have found some files on the Nintendo Switch related to possible VR functionality. 

    Twitter user Random tweeted out footage of what happened when he reverse engineered his Nintendo Switch and started poking around some of the files. What he found was a screen that read "Test VR mode." When he tried to dive into that a bit further, he encountered a screen that said (via user translation) "Please move the console away from your face and click the close button"

    It's certainly not uncommon for a console to contain scraps of all kinds of developer information that most users will never actually see. In this instance, though, there's really no room for ambiguity. Something on that screen and in those files was clearly related to some kind of VR functionality for the Nintendo Switch. What, exactly, the functionality of that mode is from a developer's perspective is a much more confusing question. 

    As for the "Please move console away" screen...that one is even more confusing. Out best guess would be that this screen was, at some point, used as part of the testing process for how a possible Switch VR device might function from a user perspective. It seems that the idea is that VR will either somehow function natively within the Switch or will otherwise require the use of a device in conjunction with the Switch (at least in the console's handheld mode). 

    Of course, the text could just be some mostly meaningless digital scraps left over from the development process. Again, it's hard to say for sure when you're dealing with matters related to developer tools. At the very least, we know that Nintendo has talked about exploring VR. 

    If you're interested in doing a little reverse engineering of your own, you can use the source code that Random posted here. Just be sure to not mess around with this unless you're confident in what you're doing. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    A new video shows how you can run some classic floppy disk games on Android devices.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 10, 2018

    If you happen to have a few old floppy disk games sitting around that you'd like to take for one more spin. There might be a new way to do so that doesn't involve digging up an old PC. 

    In the video above, YouTube channel LGR takes a look at what it takes to get an Android phone to recognize a USB floppy disk drive. It turns out that the process is much simpler than you'd probably think it would be. Basically, you're going to need a USB floppy disk drive (it seems that most will work), a USB mobile connector used to connect a USB plug to your phone, and a floppy disk compatible with your drive.

    When you've assembled all of the pieces of Exodia, you should be able to hook your phone up to the drive. From there, it's just a matter of playing with the phone's settings that it recognizes what you're trying to do (which, to be fair, you're making your smartphone a much dumber device). You'll have to play around with a few settings, but you should be able to get your phone to boot information from the floppy disk. If said information is a game, you're even able to control it with the on-screen keyboard. 

    If you're feeling like a more authentic experience, you can always follow the directions included in the latter part of this video and hook up an old-school keyboard to your phone. Just be aware that doing so might constitute taking things a bit too far. 

    Actually, this entire experiment is more of a technological curiosity than it is a practical way to experience some classic floppy disk games. While it works surprisingly well, we're going to go ahead and guess that most people aren't actually interested in lugging around a portable floppy disk drive just to play some retro games. There are much easier ways to play retro games on Android if that's what you happen to be into. 

    Then again, who are we to say how much you really want to play Commander Keen?

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Everything we know about Telltale's The Walking Dead season 4, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News Matthew ByrdJohn Saavedra
    Aug 10, 2018

    "Clementine, now a fierce and capable survivor, has reached the final chapter in her journey. After years on the road facing threats both living and dead, a secluded school might finally be her chance for a home. But protecting it will mean sacrifice. Clem must build a life and become a leader while still watching over AJ, an orphaned boy and the closest thing to family she has left. In this gripping, emotional final season, you will define your relationships, fight the undead, and determine how Clementine's story ends."

    So reads the official description for Telltale's The Walking Dead: The Final Season. Yes, this really is the end for the series that put Telltale on the map and once won just about every game of the year award. What began as the story of a man trying to find a home in the zombie apocalypse has become the tale of a young girl whose growth was shaped by a harsh world. Soon, we'll finally know how her adventure ends. 

    Here's everything else we know about Telltale's The Walking Dead: The Final Season

    Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 4 News

    This official trailer for The Walking Dead: The Final Season teases some of the tearful moments that you can anticipate in Clementine's final adventure. 

    Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 4 Release Date

    Telltale's The Walking Dead: The Final Season is set to release on August 14th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. A Nintendo Switch version is expected to release sometime later this year. 

    Players who pre-order The Walking Dead: The Final Season will receive download access to each of the season's four episodes as they become available. Players who pre-order on PS4 and Xbox One will also receive immediate access to The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series Collection, which gathers all 19 existing episodes of the award-winning series into a single package. 

    Read the Den of Geek SDCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Telltale's The Walking Dead Season 4 Trailer

    SDCC 2018 brings us a new teaser for The Walking Dead: The Final Season. Check it out:

    A story trailer the final season of The Walking Dead has arrived. Check it out below:

    You can check out the first trailer below:

    Players who pre-order The Walking Dead: The Final Season will receive download access to each of the season's four episodes as they become available. Players who pre-order on PS4 and Xbox One will also receive immediate access to The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series Collection, which gathers all 19 existing episodes of the award-winning series into a single package.  


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    The next Elder Scrolls Online expansion forces us to face an army of werewolves.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Aug 10, 2018

    At QuakeCon 2018, Bethesda showcased the latest expansion for The Elder Scrolls Online. Here's the official trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online: Wolfhunter

    The premise of Wolfhunter is fairly fascinating. It seems that the Daedric Prince Hircine (who some fans may remember as the main enemy in The Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon) has once again decided to raise a little hell with the help of the Lycanthropy disease he created. Yes, it seems that the world of The Elder Scrolls Online will soon be invaded by werewolves. 

    As you might expect, you will be tasked, in part with hunting down these werewolves, stopping the spread of the disease, and (we imagine) eventually taking on Prince Hircine himself. From what we can tell, it seems that this expansion is intentionally trying to invoke a kind of horror atmosphere. We've seen werewolves in Elder Scrollsgames of the past (again, Bloodmoon was basically the werewolf expansion) but the footage of Wolfhunter is one of the first times that we've seen the werewolves used in such an overtly terrifying way. 

    Those looking forward to joining the wolf hunt will be able to get their hands on this expansion when it releases on August 13th for PC and August 28th for consoles. 

    The other, arguably more intriguing, piece of ESO news that Quakecon 2018 brought us was the announcement of the next ESO expansion, Murkmire. This expansion will finally explore the fascinating world of the Argonians. Game director Matt Firor indicated that one of the major themes of the expansion will be explaining why the Argonians are so very weird. 

    In other words, there's quite a bit to look forward too in the world of ESO. In fact, it's starting to sound like the perfect way to curb those cravings for some Elder Scrollsaction ahead of the release of The Elder Scrolls VI sometime in the distant future. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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    Space Invaders is one of the most popular arcade games of all time. Here's how it became a gaming phenomenon!

    FeatureJason M. Gallagher
    Aug 12, 2018

    This year marks the 40th anniversary of Space Invaders. Designed by Taito employee Tomohiro Nishikado in Japan, Space Invadershit arcades in 1978 and was licensed by Midway for the United States. By 1982, Taito had sold over 400,000 cabinets and grossed over $3.8 billion in revenue (more than $13 billion today), making it the highest grossing video game of all time. 

    As if that weren't enough, this fast-paced alien shooter is arguably responsible for the first video game arcade boom and has remained one of the most influential titles of all time. In honor of Space Invaders' 40th birthday, Den of Geek is taking a look at this monumental game's creation and development.

    Here's how Space Invaders created an arcade explosion that transformed the video game industry from a novelty hobby into a worldwide phenomenon:

    Special Thanks to George Lucas

    When Tomohiro Nishikado, fresh from the release of his combat flight simulator Interceptor, set out to make a new game, his design featured tanks and planes shooting at attacking soldiers instead of spaceships and aliens. But his early prototype just didn't feel right. Many of the vehicles were deemed too hard to maneuver, for instance. Another problem was that Taito had decided to ban the shooting of human targets as the company felt that would send a problematic message. Nishikado knew he needed to go back to the drawing board and so he gradually arrived at the idea of changing the game to aliens and spaceships.

    Given that the year was 1977, it's pretty easy to see where the inspiration for Space Invaders came from. Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind both hit theaters while Nishikado was working on his alien game and it soon became clear that there was a large audience hungry for anything related to science fiction and outer space. In an interview with The Guardian, Nishikado said that Star Wars isn't directly responsible for the space theme, but added that the George Lucas film did help him solve that problem about shooting humans.

    “It wasn’t Star Wars that led to the outer space theme,” he told The Guardian. “Initially, I started with tanks, then tried warships and warplanes – but the movement and animation didn’t match the game. After much trial and error, by far the best match were soldiers, but shooting people was frowned upon. It was at this time, while I was stuck for an alternative, I chanced upon Star Wars and realized I could use aliens because no one would complain about shooting them. For the actual design of the aliens, I took inspiration from HG Wells’ octopus-like Martian design.”

    Space Invaders' gameplay was heavily influenced by Breakout, but Nishikado added his own twist. Instead of shooting a ball at static objects, Nishikado's game would fire projectiles at moving objects. It was a change that would require special hardware to be developed as the existing tech of the day couldn't handle the descending aliens. Nishikado originally called the game "Space Monsters" before the executives at Taito intervened and went with "Invaders" instead.

    The game released only in Japan at first and was not an immediate success. But after a few months in arcades, the advanced graphics and new kind of gameplay became a sensation and Japanese gamers were soon waiting in line for hours for a chance to play. The reason they had to wait so long is that Taito was caught unprepared and couldn't make the machines fast enough to keep up with demand. The game's massive success caught the attention of Midway, which secured a license to release the game in the United States. And with that, the worldwide revolution had begun.

    From the Arcade to Your Living Room

    Space Invaders soon established domination over every arcade it was installed in. So in-demand was the title that many arcades opened featuring nothing but this one cabinet. It's not surprising then that, by the middle of 1981, Space Invaders had crossed $1 billion dollars in revenue worldwide from its arcade machines, all of it earned one quarter at a time.

    Along the way to its great success in the arcade, the game would also prove to be exactly the shot in the arm that the home console market needed to come back from the brink of death in 1977 (yes, an earlier sales downturn before the infamous 1983 crash that became the kiss of death for many console manufacturers). Home console makers were struggling badly prior to Space Invaders' release due to a glut of Pong clones that left gamers feeling bored and uninspired. Manufacturers were slashing prices and selling their boxes at a loss or leaving the market entirely. The fresh take on gameplay offered by Space Invaders was a godsend for the industry and for Atari, in particular, one of the only major console makers that managed to keep its lights on through the crash.

    1980 would see Atari land the first home console license for Space Invaders, the first time an arcade game was licensed for a console. Sales of the Atari 2600 quadrupled after the game's release, and over two million Space Invaderscartridges were sold in its first year. Needless to say, the game was a system seller.

    Space Invaders had a "revolutionary impact,"Taito told the BBC in 2013. "It helped lay the foundation for modern video games." That impact led to a video game boom that would soon inspire some of the best-known developers in the business today.

    A Lasting Legacy

    Besides introducing a new type of gameplay, Space Invaders was also highly influential in a number of other ways. For Space Invaders, Nishikado decided to link the player's score or points with their in-game progression and shepherded the idea of permanently saving high scores to the arcade cabinet for display. All of a sudden, video games were no longer just a fun waste of time. They were a competition.

    Sure, you could play Pong and plenty of other titles against a second player, but Space Invaderslet you compete against every gamer on the high score list, even long after they had left the arcade. Other game developers took quick note of the eager fans lined up around the block for a chance at entering their initials and achieve gaming glory.

    In short, it's not too much of a stretch to say that every high score list or speed run record you see today can trace its roots all the way back to Space Invaders. Gamers didn't want to just play a game, they wanted to be better at it than the guy next to them.

    Nishikado's game also influenced some of the industry's greatest creators. Gaming industry titans like Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear), Shigeru Miyamoto (The Legend of Zelda), and John Carmack (Doom) have all credited Space Invaders with getting them interested in making their own games.

    "About a year or two after I joined Nintendo, Space Invaderscame out and became a huge hit," Miyamoto told Glixel in 2016. "And so Nintendo decided to go into the video game business, and that's how I got my start, designing graphics."

    For Kojima's part, Space Invaders was the foundation for what would become Metal Gear, the first installment in his stealth action series.

    He told IGN in 2001 (just months before the release of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty), "In any game you have an enemy coming at yourself that you have to shoot, if you go back to Space Invaders they shoot at you when they come at you, so how are you going to protect yourself? You're going to shoot and that is a typical video game. In my game I didn't want to do that, I wanted to make a game where you could avoid the enemy. That is when Konami told me to come up with a war game so I decided to take these two elements and make Metal Gear."

    Space Invaders' influence has extended beyond gaming innovations, too. It's not uncommon to see the Space Invaders alien icon in works of art. For example, French urban artist Invader (he took his pseudonym from the game to hide his true identity) began using the icon for his mosaics in the 1990s and has gone on to create other pieces inspired by the pixelated sprites of the arcade scene of the '70s and '80s. He has tagged 65 cities in 33 countries with his mosaics and refers to his pieces as "Invasions," which is indicative of just how deeply the game has invaded our cultural zeitgeist. 

    Forty years strong, will the spirit of Space Invaders live on forever? That depends on whether future generations of gamers will continue to embrace the title for decades to come. If you've never played Space Invadersbut are interested in seeing what all the fuss is about, Taito recently released an updated version of the game, Space Invaders Extreme, on Steam for $19.99. Or you could just visit your local arcade for a fix. It's bound to have a cabinet front and center. 


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    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the biggest WoW expansion yet. Here's what we know...

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Aug 13, 2018

    The next World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth, takes the game back to its roots a bit by focusing on the battle between the Horde and the Alliance. Each side will be able to explore three new zones. The Horde will have access to the islands of Zandalar while the Alliance will be able to traverse the island of Kul Tiras. These new areas will reportedly contain "allied races" which players will be able to recruit and eventually play as. 

    Perhaps the most exciting addition this expansion brings to the table is the inclusion of a new islands system that adds an almost rogue-like element to the game. Basically, players will be able to build parties of three and explore these island areas. The catch here is that these areas change slightly every time that you visit them. You'll also be able to access new areas called Waterfronts that support 20 player fights over locations that are reportedly of strategic importance to both the Horde and the Alliance. 

    Battle for Azeroth also includes a new legendary neck piece called the Heart of Azeroth. This neck piece will allow players to unlock new abilities that are directly tied to their armor. This system sounds very similar to the one that Blizzard implemented in Legion that allowed players to build upon existing weapons via in-game artifacts. Finally, Battle for Azeroth will raise the current level cap to 120 and will include a feature that allows players to buy a boost up to level 110 should they wish to do so. We can't wait to see who hits the new cap first. 

    Here's everything else we know about the expansion:

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Preview

    We recently had the chance to play Battle for Azeroth's Island Expedition mode. Find out what we think of the expansion here!

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Release Date

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth arrives on Aug. 14. 

    Anyone who pre-orders Battle for Azeroth will be able to access the Allied Races, a tweaked version of existing races within World of Warcraft. Following a bit of a grind with these new variants, you'll be able to properly start a new character at level 20. 

    Pre-ordering Battle for Azeroth ($50) will also allow you to access a level 110 boost so you can enjoy all of Legion's late game content. Those that opt for the Deluxe Edition ($70) of the expansion will also be able to access some free goodies in other Blizzard games like Overwatch

    The full list of pre-order incentives can be found here

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Trailer

    Check the new trailer for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth below!

    Here is the debut cinematic trailer for Battle for Azeroth:

    While that trailer lives up to Blizzard's legacy of creating cinematics worthy of the big screen, it, unfortunately, doesn't tell us much about the game itself. Fortunately, Blizzard has released another preview for the expansion that elaborates on its features a bit more:

    World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth PvP

    The World of Warcraft team hopes to emphasize the game's player vs. player elements once more by changing the way that PvP works. 

    Game director Ion Hazzikostas told Kotaku that the team plans on turning every one of the game's servers into PvP servers. However, everyone will need to opt-in to PvP combat if they wish to participate in battle. The catch is that players will only be able to turn PvP on or off inside of major cities. Out in the wild, you'll live with the decision you've made. 

    “Doing this gives us a foundation upon which to build,” said Hazzikostas. “I think in the past when we talked about ideas for PVP content in the world, we often ran into the question of ‘Well, what does this mean for people on PVE servers?’ Are there just millions of people who don’t get to experience this content at all, even if they want to?”

    Hazzikostas also admitted that the WoW team has fallen behind somewhat in terms of expanding the game's PvP battles. While he admits you can't make those battles perfectly balanced, he states that the team is hoping to implement some kind of level-scaling system that might help battles feel a little fairer. 

    Hazzikostas previously noted that Battle for Azeroth will incorporate elements of the Warcraft RTS games. Specifically, the expansion's Waterfront battles will play out like a WoW take on the classic strategy titles. 

    “In searching for inspiration for how that might unfold, classic RTS roots felt like the perfect place to turn,” said Hazzikostas. He later explained that your first job will be to get your team's base fully-functional which will require you to gather resources such as "lumber or gold" to upgrade town halls. You'll also need to clear supply lines of foes in order to allow "peons to do their thing."

    The next phase of battle requires teams of players to decide how existing resources will be spent on the battles ahead. This includes the building of certain weapons and other combat resources. Finally, you will actually do battles against other teams with the resources you have accumulated. 

    We're curious if the resource gathering elements will grow tedious over time and how deep the base building is, but this certainly sounds like a significant addition to the game that wonderfully touches upon Warcraft's oft-forgotten RTS roots. 


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