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Top 10 Secrets In Games

GeekOut Top 10s

The media form so massive that it’s possible to leave thousands of details for the players to uncover… or never to uncover. Sometimes they’ll discover it decades later, or maybe players have to travel the world to uncover the truth, or devote hours monitoring every little detail. Sometimes it’s an easter egg, sometimes it’s facts about the game dispersed throughout the game or hidden behind puzzles so elaborate, it’s impossible to even begin to know how to begin!

Here we have pointed large neon signs at some of the best secrets, and some of our favourite secrets from games.


Top 10

10) Minecraft Level – Borderlands 2

Tucked away in the Caustic Caverns alongside yet more failed mining efforts from the Dahl corporation you can encounter yet more of the alien geography and local fauna that is encountered nowhere else on Pandora, a set of strange stone cubes, oddly destructible and mysteriously filled with guns and money. Wandering among these cubes are cubic beasts with green skin, usually an indicator of corrosive damage, but these explode like a Torgue teapot!

It’s not even as subtle as I’m implying, the brazen Minecraft section also includes head and skin drops that give you the pixelated, block headed look of a Minecraft character, but far more heavily armed. Just right of where the mine tracks terminate, it’s a well concealed little corner, tough for even the most thorough explorers, but these days that Easter Egg is pretty well known.

9) M’aiq the Liar – The Elder Scrolls Series

M’aiq tells many lies, or does he? M’aiq is one of the more entertaining recurring characters of The Elder Scrolls franchise. He moves very fast, to where it’s not possible to keep up with him ordinarily (there are always ways). People love to find M’aiq, as he’s always got a little story to share. I think Skyrim fans may recognise the line “Werewolves? Where? Wolves? Many wolves.” (this is paraphrased a bit).

M’aiq may be a bit more than people first thought though. The developers at Bethesda have used M’aiq to say what they (and many fans of the series) have been thinking. As an avid Elder Scrolls Online player, one of my favourite quotes from the MMO comes from M’aiq, where he says the following:

M’aiq asked an Argonian if she could breathe underwater. She asked if he could see in the dark. M’aiq had no good answer

This refers to the fact that in all other Elder Scrolls games, Argonians can breathe underwater and Khajiits get Night Vision. M’aiq knows many things, though M’aiq tells them through riddles.

8) Rattmann’s Ramblings – Portal 2

Ever masters of storytelling and cunning set design, the Portal team seeded Portal 2 with little narrative nuggets in the form of hidden chambers covered in graffiti, filled with assorted trash, and strongly implying that someone is living there, a poet, a dreamer, a scientist, a paranoid maniac who has lost his mind, who has deified Chel, and painted her in murals across every wall praising her as the saviour against the nightmarish all-seeing horror that dosed him with nerve gas and left him alone to crawl through the tunnels.

Doug Rattman also drops some seriously alarming truthbombs. He may have been wrong about the cake, but there’s an unsubtle hint that Chel’s surname is Johnson… yes, that Johnson, a theory backed up by a potato project, the one that may have taken over the science fair. Possibly the daughter of Caroline/GLaDOS, between his graffiti, his art, and the slowed down gibbers audible in some of his secluded hideaways. The contents of Lab Rat also tell how he bridged the gap between titles, have a read.

7) Piston Honda – Punch Out

Short one, but cunning. Punch Out for the NES is staggeringly well animated for the console it’s on and the simplicity of the mechanics. Look for the unique tells of each fighter that communicate, not only the punch that’s coming, but also a little of the personality of each. It makes the game feel like each fight is unique, rather than the same repetition of dodges and punches.

But Piston Honda’s most subtle tell came from a fan of his in the audience, who could apparently see something we couldn’t. There’s a tiny cluster of pixels that is set apart from the rest of the crowd because of his distinctive beard who ducks reactively when a big hit is coming. He’s the one to keep an eye on, because he’s clearly studied Piston’s fighting style more thoroughly than we have.

6) The Hidden Path – Grim Dawn

The Crate team love their secret hiding places, a reward for anyone willing to click anything or try any direction that looks vaguely path-like. Go hunting and you’ll eventually find hidden merchants, chest behind walls, torches that turn revealing hidden chambers, and The Hidden Path, an enormous questline seeded across Cairn and right on your very doorstep.

East from Burrwitch prison, there’s a path through shallow water leading to a blast point. Set your dynamite and start a journey filled with tough as nails bosses, clues to unravel, and ending in a visually stunning combat with great rewards. Along the way you learn about the Witch Gods who form the backbone of the game’s most recent DLC, and discover things about the world of Grim Dawn that make the hack-n-slash deeper than your average RPG setting.

5) The Chris Houlihan Room – The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past

Well this is a cute one isn’t it? A fan entered a competition for a Nintendo Power magazine back in 1990 and in 1992, Nintendo made a room in his honour. Although, due to the lack of information available at the time, the Chris Houlihan Room was often seen, but very few people really understood what the purpose of the room was. Instead, they’d stumble into this room, get quite confused, take their treasures and leave.

There’s nothing inherently strange about this either; in the early days of gaming, competitions in magazines were common and the developers loved the response. So they added in the Chris Houlihan Room, a room filled with Blue Rupees. There’s then a sign on the wall at the far end, which reads as follows: “My name is Chris Houlihan. This is my top secret room. Keep it between us, okay?”

No, Chris. No. I’m sharing your room today and you can’t stop me.

4) The 24 Year Secret – Doom II

There’s a stage in Doom II that could never be “100 percented”, only 90% could ever be reached. By travelling around the map and exploring for more guns and ammo you’ll occasionally see a pop-up message that says “secret found”, and finding and unlocking them all has been impossible for twenty four years since the game’s release. And then Zero Master finds it.

Rock Paper Shotgun, Polygon, Screenrant and so many others made a huge deal out of… what is essentially a bland and tiny little moment in a fast paced and intense game, that requires an absurd amount of effort to set up. The location of the secret has – apparently – been known for a while, and understood to be impossible to attain because of the positioning of certain level elements that make it possible only to stand on top of it without ever interacting, unless you get a pain elemental to spawn a soul on your head while your stood in the exact right place, forcing you to be pushed downward through world elements and into the trigger spot!

A game approaching twenty five years old can finally be completed.

2) Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth vs Reverse Castle – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night’s

Sometimes it’s easier to just think about things from a conceptual level – and these secrets are simply ridiculous. Both of which required the players to think thoroughly outside of the box. However, which is the better secret?

Binding of Isaac Afterbirth

Cicada 3301 is one beast of a puzzle requiring astonishingly diverse technical and historical knowledge, a capacity for lateral thinking, and the tenacity to see it through. There are theories that it was used as a recruiting mechanism for some secret organisation somewhere! Said organisation may want to look to the people who unlocked this easter egg.

I daren’t even go into the obscenely long details, that required an internet scavenger hunt through link after link, decoding hidden messages, and sending people off on a real life scavenger hunt for a tiny figurine that led to a twitter account that had to be filled with tweets before the developers closed it off and released a new character for every player! It’s something of a leviathan for the serious fans to have conquered, because knowledge of the game down to the near-granular level.

Reverse Castle – Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

The Reverse Castle is one of those really cool secrets that just blew me away. When you play through Symphony of the Night, you find Richter and go ahead and kill him. That’s it, game complete – Though it’s bizarre to have a Castlevania game not feature Dracula – In fact, this is what puzzled so many fans. The game was fantastic in its own right, but why on Earth was Dracula not there?

Turns out, he was.

If you don’t kill Richter, you get a quest to go about and find some body parts for, you guessed it, Dracula. This is the true ending of the game that a lot of fans missed. Killing Richter seemed like the logical thing to do, if you look at how the game is structured. It’s a fascinating foray into how to, quite literally, turn expectations on its head. Besides, you don’t get the true ending without doing this.

1) Every Ending and Everything – Doki Doki Literature Club

Having this at number one almost feels like a cheat, but when you think about what Doki Doki Literature Club is, it deserved the top spot. A game built on secrets, portraying itself as a game that it is not… and let’s not even begin to get into how many strange real-world treasure hunts people had to go on. Let’s go through a couple of the secrets and I’ll try not to give away too much of the plot.

When you play through, the game acts like a Dating Sim. What you actually are presented with is a horror visual novel, but you don’t realise it until it’s too late. With files that rewrite themselves, with you having to delve into your Steam folders and with images that’ll definitely disturb some viewers, Doki Doki goes from a pleasant romp of a protagonist who joins a Literature club as he has to join a club at least.

Some of the secrets include hidden audio, whole distortions to how the game looks, a menu screen that keeps changing, monochromatic images… And that’s just a couple of the in-game secrets. With secret images which had to be analysed, websites being found, leading onto secret projects, this game wasn’t a game… It was a secret finding experience.

Honourable Mentions

Not every secret is so secret, once they’re out, they’re everywhere. In our honourable mentions this week we raise a couple of such “secrets” that were once hidden, and became renowned, thus eliminating the secrecy…

Warp Zones – Super Mario Bros

Duh duh duh duh-duh duh, duhh.

Now that the theme’s stuck in your head, let’s talk about the famous Warp Zones of Super Mario Bros.

Considered one of video games worst-kept secrets, the Warp Zones are a way to quickly get through Super Mario Bros. without glitching the game. You can get to a Warp Zone in a variety of ways, but the most famous one is the one at the end of the pipe level in World 1 (World 1-2 specifically). Getting to it is simple – Get on top of the blocks where your score and everything is kept – run along the top and jump down at the end to get to three pipes.

These three pipes will take you to worlds 2, 3 and 4 respectively. If you go into world 4, you can eventually find a block that unleashes some vines leading up, off the map. Climbing these vines makes it so you go to another Warp Zones. This is how speedrunners achieve ridiculously good speeds at Super Mario Bros.

Oh and I haven’t even spoken about glitching through the world 1-2 pipe and wall at the end, which takes you to 1 Warp Zones pipe, which takes you to world -1. Yeah, Super Mario Bros. is a glitchy, fun title.

Moo Moo Farm (The Secret Cow Level) – Diablo 2

In keeping with the theme of well known, memorable secrets in video games, who could forget Moo Moo Farm? I personally love this stage and it was a great way to get yourself some experience and lots of gear. It was entertaining, tricky enough to find (except the invention of the internet meant it was incredibly easy to find it all) and yeah, it was fun. But it all stems from a seemingly innocuous item; Wirt’s Leg.

By using the Horadric Cube, you could combine Wirt’s Leg with a Tome of Town Scroll Portal. On doing this, you create a hellish looking portal. Travel through and it’ll come up saying “Entering Moo Moo Farm”. You know you’re in for a tough fight when a bunch of cows wielding halberds coming swinging at you. You’d better moo-ve it, as these bovine brawlers seriously pack a punch.


Keep this one under your hat, okay? We were never here, neither were you. Leave your vote at the door, and we’ll see you back here next week. Mum’s the word, and we didn’t even tell you that, you hear me?

Were there any secrets that we couldn’t uncover. Does your favourite still remain elusive, never ever tell us what we missed in the comments, or on Facebook and Twitter. People might overhear, the truth could get out, and we will not be held responsible for that!

Hey, this is a secret! Say “I nose it” in the comments to show you found this secret. Your reward is this video.

Top 10 – Our Favourite Levels

GeekOut Top 10s

A more personal list than usual, this week, we’re celebrating the levels we love the most. The memorable moments, the challenging puzzles, the clever design, the beauty and drama. These are the moments in games that stuck with us the most. Maybe they’re not the best of all time, but we’re not historians, we’re here to share our love for the Top 10 of our favourite levels.

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Top 10 Platformers

Jump, jump for victory! Run to the right until you run out of right to run into! The platformer is a format so versatile that it has been changed and revolutionised so often that it’s no longer a genre to itself, it’s a style that has titles as wonderfully varied as gaming itself. It was there from the beginning, and is awash with incredible examples, how can we ever select only 10?

Or… 12… Because of the honourable mentions…

Anyway, we got together once more with Kevin from The Mental Attic to try and trim down the vast number of platform titles to a select few that we will inevitably have to revisit at some point. Here’s our Top 10 platformers. (more…)


Top 10 – Video Game Films

GeekOut Top 10s

“Wow, this game’s story is so complex, it’d make a great movie!” – Ancient proverb.

Okay, so the above isn’t really an ancient proverb, but let’s be honest: You’ve heard a gamer say this at least once in your life. I know I’ve heard it a dozen times and nine times out of ten, this ends up being a bad decision. However, sometimes we get something that’s a little bit special. Video Games are interactive media, as opposed to a static media, which means the stories they tell can be varied and even of branching plots.

Whatever you think about video game movies, we’re here to discuss the Top 10 Video Game Movies. Before we get into the actual list, this means that the film must have a game as well. The film doesn’t have to be based on the game or the game doesn’t have to be based on the film, but the actual setting and world needs to be used in one capacity or the other.


Top 10

10) Ratchet and Clank

For the uninitiated, Ratchet and Clank are two very strange fellows indeed. A mechanic ‘Lombax’, a cat-like fictional race made for the purposes of the franchise, becomes friends with this adorable little robot who he names Clank. Ratchet having learned of an alien race known as the Blarg, who were going around on a ship called the deplanetiser, wanted to join a resistance group against them, but is ultimately rejected. Still keen to ensure the safety of his planet, Ratchet goes on a mission.

This was a box office flop, so even if you’re a fan of the games this could not go any higher than this. The fact of the matter is, a lot of people will barely know this film exists, but we had to make a mention to it. The film was released in 2016 and whilst critics panned it and it wasn’t profitable (indeed losing money), it was cute enough to be considered for the list. But it wasn’t just because it’s cute; The film was made of pretty well done CGI, but more importantly, it used game assets to make the film. This really was a non-playable version of the game.

9) Angry Birds Movie

Let me begin by saying that I wanted this spot to go to Max Payne! But somehow, SOMEHOW both the box office and the critics disagreed! I understand that Angry Birds is a more popular game (which is just… I mean it was done to death before the game was even released) and that Max Payne is something of a brutal game series lacking in “family friendliness” but there’s no question which was the better film.

Parents of rabid children who are allowed to get at mummy and daddy’s iPad were dragged to a puerile plot beleaguered with fart jokes and characters thinner than the premise, whose announcement was greeted by disbelief by both fans and detractors. That popularity earns it a place at #9 on our list, and is probably to blame for the Emoji movie that’s on it’s way.

8) Mortal Kombat vs Street Fighter

There can only be one true fighting game film.

Mortal Kombat is well known for having reached number one in the US box office for three weeks! We look back at this film and can barely believe it, as it’s such a cheesefest. The plot of the film basically revolves around the tournament, featuring all of your favourite characters, such as Raiden, Liu Kang and a guy who basically says he’s Johnny Cage (I don’t know what I was expecting really). It’s a tournament of goodies vs baddies; if the baddies win, Shao Khan will be able to invade and take over Earth. Marvellous!

Conversely to Mortal Kombat then, we have Street Fighter. Featuring some massive names, such as Kylie Minogue as Cammy, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Guile and Raúl Juliá (known for being Gomez Addams in the first two Addams Family films) as M. Bison. Cheese galore, character roles are switched up as Ryu and Ken become swindlers and BANG – You’ve got yourself a film that was a humongous flop in the box office; costing 35 million and earning them less than a million. Yeowch!

But, it’s all about the impact these films left on you – Which of these two packed the most punch?

7) Super Mario Bros.

An early example of video game films going bad, Super Mario Bros. was a film based on the hyper successful video game franchise of Mario. Featuring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi, the two brothers find a parallel universe, where King Koopa (Bowser as we better know him) is a ruthless ruler. Upon finding out about both universes, King Koopa wants to merge them to rule over them both. The Mario Bros. team up with Princess Daisy to stop King Koopa in his tracks.

Okay, so this film was a flop, being criticised on almost every front. It still managed to win some awards and in some cases, it won our hearts. It’s somewhat of a cult classic these days, which isn’t too surprising when you think about it. But, overall, this wacky film just wasn’t the best way to adapt the plumber brothers to the big screen. A crying shame too, as the cast was actually pretty good!

6) Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Jerry Bruckheimer brought Dastan to the big screen, and while it was amongst the first big titles to be spat at for Hollywood whitewashing, Jake Gyllenhaal is rarely bad in anything. In effect Sands of Time may have ended up something more akin to a repaint of Pirates of the Caribbean, but it managed to give us the wall running, fast paced action one might expect of a platformer, an edge of the mythic, a Disney love story, and ostrich racing.

The plot is transparent and incoherent in equal measure, the action sequences are beautiful if a little over-padded to fill run time and give us stronger ties to the game, and yet the final result is a video game that got real blockbuster attention long before Assassin’s Creed or Warcraft. Ok, a forgettable blockbuster amongst a flood of bland blockbusters, but it got its own Lego set.

5) Assassin’s Creed

We’re under no illusions here, despite the massively award winning cast and the enormous franchise it built upon, Assassin’s Creed isn’t going to be winning any awards of its own. It suffers a lot of the same issues harboured by a lot of video game films, but did a lot of very positive things for the format. It played well to the core concept, took an original stance without destroying everything that came before, and made the sensible decision to include an original central character.

The enormous animus arm offered a more dramatic take on the link between host and memories, and gave us a very “video game moment” for the final escape from the Templar compound. The narrative may have been very rushed but it was fairly well executed, may have been a little over-reliant on people knowing the games, but overall it was a well presented and stylish spectacle that may very well have helped the video game blockbuster along just a little more.

4) Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart and friends return, two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII. With Sephiroth gone, a trio have been found kidnapping children, inflicting upon them a dreadful disease. After being summoned to a meeting, Cloud and co find out that the trio were a physical manifestation of Sephiroth’s soul, which was inflicting serious damage. The crew get back together to find and stop the trio.

Stunning; truly stunning is what I’d call this. The animation was fantastic, even if the plot itself was a little bit lacking. You also need to take into account that the film was made back in 2005, which eventually got remastered in 2009. Over the years, the animation quality got more and more impressive, seriously spurring on some top quality CGI that could make even Pixar cry. Yes it’s true; we can’t rate it higher, as really this is a pretty niche game to put in the list – Especially since the film was a Direct-to-DVD release.

3) Resident Evil vs Silent Hill

Our second versus in one article; there can only be one horror video game movie!

Resident Evil

Resident Evil has been a constant success in the box office; the first film alone more than tripled the production cost. The Umbrella Corporation, with a lab underneath Racoon City, called The Hive, are doing genetic research; creating the ultimate lifeform. When a thief tries to steal the formula, the Red Queen awakens, sealing The Hive and killing everyone who was inside. In an attempt to get an antivirus to stop the now spreading gasses which were causing the dead to walk!

Resident Evil is a bit of a weird one to place in this list, if only because it’s sometimes hard to think back about the films. In 2016, the franchise of films was finally finished with a film decisively called “The Final Chapter”. Okay, see you again in a few more years then, Resident Evil production team! I jest, but honestly, the films have gone up and down in ratings over the years, but none can deny the amazing scene in Resident Evil 2 where Alice rides through a Church window on a God damn motorbike. Holy mother of God, that scene is cool!

Silent Hill

The nightmarish world of Silent Hill lends itself beautifully to the big screen, a visually haunting spectacle that directly impacts the character who appears therein. In the case of the film it becomes a town enslaved to the malice and vengeance of a little girl burned for witchcraft, the zealous monsters within trapped forever by monsters born of her worst nightmares.

Lots of monologuing makes for a hard sold plot in between visual spectacle, and the less said about Sean Bean’s accent the better, but we were presented with the classic imagery of the game franchise, and all of the monsters who dwell in its fog ridden streets. It’s even a very watchable film, positively enjoyable, but ties to the game may have gotten a little too tenuous for some fans to tolerate.

2) DOOM

Dwayne Johnson and Karl Urban head up a team of expendable jarheads played by equally expendable actors, but between them and Rosamund Pike we get some comfortably high quality performances plunged into a very FPS style narrative complete with horrifying demon monsters. The film suffers in AvP Requiem style darkness to hide the rubbery monsters, cheese levels spare us such horrors as “wooshing” torches, but spare no cliches on dialogues, crappy jump scares and unlovable one-dimensional characters, but DOOM didn’t get this far in our list by being adequate.

DOOM has been cited as a prime example of “what not to do” when adapting a video game to film, but take a moment to really consider some of the key components and you may come to appreciate what was being attempted. A group of combatants are given a quest, to sweep a compound and secure three servers for data, important information is drip fed to them gradually, giving a slow burning horror, culminating in the film going full on First-Person for Urban’s final showdown against big-boss The Demon-Rock Johnson. In many ways the content would have made for some fantastic video game moments, but did not make for a terrific film. Not bad for 2005, but at the time we saw a glimpse of what might be…

1) Warcraft

With the Fel Orcs tearing apart their homeworld, the Warlock Gul’Dan looks to expand his people’s homes into a new world – Azeroth. The Guardian of Tirisfel, Medivh, is warned by a young mage, Khadgar, about the fel energies that were appearing. The Frostwolf Clan who came with the Fel Orcs try to liaise with the humans to warn them of the dangers coming their way – Only for them to be ambushed. With such tension between Orcs and Humans, the World of Warcraft’s story has begun in a big way.

Anyone who saw this blockbuster will be filled with hope; that video game films are finally on the horizon of becoming a massive thing. Blizzard put so much love and care into this film, that honestly, you could feel like this was a love letter to their fans. This was the sort of tip of the hat we expect from Blizzard when they’re not being complacent. This is the Blizzard we love; and this film was their thank you to their fans. Hopefully, this film made a few new fans… and I can’t wait for the next film. Want to know more? Check out our full review of Warcraft. Also, let’s not forget the fact – This is the highest grossing video game movie adaptation of all time as of the time of writing.


Honourable Mentions

Now it’s over to the less popular opinions; the honourable mentions. These we felt deserved to be included, because they might not quite fit our criteria, or they were just absolutely dreadful. It’s worth noting however, these still basically count for the video game movie category we’ve defined, it’s just they kind of fall outside of the direct criteria.

Wreck-It-Ralph

It may not be entirely possible to summarise the whole of the arcade gaming world in a film so elegantly as Wreck-It-Ralph. Not only were there cameos from diehard classics like Cubert, Sonic, and Pac-Man, but we also got a heartwarming story from the perspective of a bad-guy about how much easier it is for other people to accept us when we accept ourselves.

While Ralph may not be based on any real in-game character like his friends were, there’s a rather obvious parallel to Donkey Kong, whose nemesis was a plumber rather than a builder, the game-style is very similar, and of course Donkey also went on to be a heroic character himself. Even without that transparent homage we’d be doing this list a disservice by omitting this one.

Pokemon Movie

Relegated to the honourable mentions section because – let’s be honest with ourselves here – the Pokemon film is more directly linked to the supporting anime series, a tie-in to a tie-in if you will. We’d still be incredibly callous to leave it out. In this standalone story we follow the origins of Mewtwo, derived from the genetics of Mew. In an unsurprising Mary Shelley twist, creation turns on creator, and a civil war of sorts ensues.

Unapologetically heartbreaking, the film sets out to give us a lesson of unity and togetherness as Mewtwo comes to realise that he has become everything he despised in his master, and that that can be genuine love between Man and Mon. If only Ultron could have seen Pikachu trying to wake up Ash, I bet his vibranium heart would have melted.

A Dishonourable Mention

Just one, despite a dearth of bad films, many of which receiving bigger praise than they deserve here, I must spontaneously bring to bear the one name that all will hold aloft as the curse wrought upon the marriage of video game and film industries, and the only director whose name I curse more highly than Zack Snyder. Mercifully retired, but a blemish that shall linger, courtesy of Bloodrayne, In the Name of the King, and Alone in the Dark. Many of his films were somehow crowdfunded, meaning people wanted to see them happen!

If you gave money to Uwe Bol, you are an accessory to Uwe Bol. Let us say no more.


That’s it, your time is up and it’s now game over! Time for us to count the scores for the potential list for next week, so click on the one you most want to see listed and we’ll be sure to throw together another high quality article… At least, we’ll push our articles through our Quality Assurance guys. What? There’s a bug in our articles? NOOO!

We’ve seen enough video game movies to last a lifetime, however we hope that with the recent rise in quality of video game movies, we start to see the medium taken even more seriously. Perhaps video games will be the next comic movies? Or perhaps not. What did you make of our list? Did the best ones get in? Did we forget any really big video game movie? Is our order right? As always, let us know what you thought in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

 


Top 10 – Intense Boss Battles

GeekOut Top 10s

Boss battles are a staple of video games, usually combining all of the skills you have learned up until this point with some extra challenge on top. They’re built in such a way to test that the player has understood the core mechanics of the game: But if you haven’t, then you’re not going to succeed (At least, not easily). These are our Top 10 Intense Boss Battles, where the rules are very simple:

  • The battle must make you feel like you’re experiencing a challenge.
  • The battle does not have to be a final boss.

We will not be focusing purely on action games: But RPGs can make an appearance. Heck, even puzzle games sometimes have an intense battle. Here we go… (more…)


GeekOut South-West Meetup This Friday, 11/09

Hello internet, we’re back once again. It’s been nearly a month since we last spoke about our GeekOut meetups and as always, the Bristol geeks are going to get together in a pub to shout and scream their fandoms to the world. We’ll be back in the Old Market Tavern from 5pm until closing time. For those who have never seen our GeekOut Meetups, then buckle up as I talk us through the planned activities for this weeks’ Meetup.

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Top 10 Fungi

Whether you’re looking for a bite to eat, or looking for something far more adventurous than that, fungi are pretty cool. I mean they look pretty funky, they are called fungi and they’re somewhat… mushy? Well, okay then. You chose it, we grew it. But what mushrooms and fungi made it into our list? Were these mushrooms good for growth, or were they just too trippy to be forgotten?

Ah, I know, we’re getting too punny up here. Hey, don’t leave now I’m honestly a fun guy! Okay, on with the list :)

**WARNING** We do not advocate hallucinogenics… But in the contexts of mushrooms, it’s too funny to miss out on those puns. We’re so not sorry for this one. You’ve been forewarned!

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Top 10

10 – The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet

mushroom-planet

Science Fiction, don’t you just love how one minute it can be very serious and telling you to prepare the proton lasers to blast apart the frigate… Then the next minute, it could be telling you the wonderfully imaginative story of two children who learn about an adventure to travel to the Mushroom Planet in a spaceship they build themselves. Of course, they couldn’t go alone, they had to take a mascot if they wanted to go into space. So two children and a hen go into space and travel to the Mushroom Planet.

Needless to say when they get there, they see a planet which is covered with mushrooms… Tree sized mushrooms, small mushroom bushes, you name it – Mushrooms everywhere. Nothing psychedelic about this experience so far. Instead, the boys meet the Martians of the Mushroom Planet, who aren’t doing so well. So, since this is a lovely child’s story, the two boys end up finding out all of the woes of these Martians and end up saving the Mushroom Planet. How… Lovely. I wonder if they brought any mushrooms home with them, y’know, for “sampling”?

9 – Glowing Mushrooms, The Elder Scrolls

800px-SR-flora-Glowing_Mushroom

Other than the fact that these Glowing Mushrooms are really good for your Alchemy skill and the fact they’re relatively common and easy to find, there’s no true reason to pick these over the other mushrooms in The Elder Scrolls. All things considered, they’re relatively simple for mushrooms, but hey, they’re certainly quite striking and memorable. I mean they show up nicely in Skyrim, so it only serves its purpose as the mushroom that most people remember from the series.

Some people might say the fungi that grows on the side of trees are more memorable, but hey, these Glowing Mushrooms look cool and they make a lot of really useful potions for you to use. Some of their uses include Fortify Health and Resist Shock! Pretty useful potions compared to some of them. Plus, these Mushrooms will see you through caves quite safely and happily. They’re useful as they help to light your way but only just. They’re only bright enough to be seen, but not bright enough to guide you around.

8 – Violet Fungus, Dungeons & Dragons

32-violet_fungus

The Violet Fungus in Dungeons & Dragons are the type of enemies that really helps to get players into the habit of “Oh, let’s remember to keep our eyes peeled. There could be Fungi near us, ready to eat us!” These fungal monstrosities are completely neutral, because they seemingly have one purpose in their miserable lives – Flail their tentacle ridden arms around like it’s nobodies business. They’re particularly annoying enemies that can do some good damage to an unsuspecting player.

There’s not too much to say about them. They’re usually purple hence their name, but they sometimes take on duller colours. They sometimes work with other enemies, if it’s beneficial to the Fungus, but in truth, it’s not like the Fungus really even thinks about it. It just likes to whip things with its tentacles.

7 – Fungi and Mushrooms, The Sims 3 Supernatural Expansion

MTS_sims_reality-1076019-2

Credit: ModTheSims

Exactly what you might think these Mushrooms are – They are possible to grow and require a good gardening skill to be able to look after them. They can be used in alchemy which exists in The Sims 3, because you know, real life. The fact they were included in the Supernatural expansion I think is just for the use of alchemy and nothing else… A shame, as it’d be nice to see what other properties they could have given these shrooms in the game.

Of course that isn’t to say that the modding community hasn’t had a crack at it. The modding community weirdly though have decided to stick away from the dangerous side of Mushrooms and have made it so they’re easier to look after and grow. Pity. I was looking forward to watching my Sims freak out! Know of any weird Sims mods? Let us know in the comments below!

6 – The Mushroom Men

mushroom-men

There’s a relatively unknown game called The Mushroom Men which is for Nintendo consoles (DS and Wii). In this game, there are literal Mushroom Men who are around 3 foot tall and these pipsqueaks are in a war one another. To survive, the Mushroom Men had created tribes to be a part of, whilst humans basically just never noticed because a harmless green dust never needs to be investigated.

A typical little fantasy, but it’s such an unknown game it deserved a nod. It was a unique take on fungal people. You would play as Pax from the Bolete tribe and as you roam around the world, you collected different items to string together and create unique weapons. Considering this was around 2008, that’s quite innovative for its time. The game was met with very mixed reviews, but hey – It holds a place in my spore-ridden heart.

5 – Fungal Giant, World of Warcraft

Fungal Giant

Huge but slow, the Fungal Giants of Zangarmarsh are an imposing figure in the World of Warcraft. They are sentient fungi who actually are really good for farming if you want to get your Herbalism levels up too. Yes, once you kill them, you can gather herbs off of them, because who wouldn’t want to put sweaty Fungal Giant fungi in their potions? Still, these guys have a seriously fun back plot, revolving entirely around Zangarmarsh, but they have been found elsewhere. If you play the game, I would seriously recommend exploring Zangarmarsh fully as it’s so pretty! It was easily my favourite Outland zone.

These Giants are usually relatively tame creatures, but sometimes they will be driven crazy enough to invoke their wrath on those who would do damage to the spores of Zangarmarsh. Being a host of three hearts, these giants are durable and all around very unique looking. One more interesting thing about the Fungal Giants I read, was that their faces seem to resemble that of the metal band Mushroomhead. Feel free to look into that as you will.

4 – Mooshroom, Minecraft

150px-Mooshroom

Yes, the fungal bovine creatures get to make an appearance here on a Top 10 list, as they’re pretty unique and an all around fun creature to see in the game. The Mooshroom is literally a combination of “Moo” and “Shroom”, making it a mushroom cow. When you look at it, you can see the shrooms growing off of it and amusingly you can shear the Mushrooms off of a Mooshroom.

Mooshrooms are a great resource to farm if you’re looking to make giant mushrooms for buildings or just for decoration. They’re also useful for complimenting the brown mushrooms if you ever felt like farming those separately to red mushrooms. Then you can have as much Mushroom soup as you could handle. Colourful and they live in the Mushroom biomes, the Mooshrooms are certainly some of the strangest encounters in the wonderfully imaginative realms of Minecraft.

3 – Of Man and Manta

We’re going back into the realms of sci-fi folks and the lovely childrens story from earlier isn’t the only sci-fi book that covered fungi. No, there’s Of Man and Manta, a fantastic series of books written by Piers Anthony from the late 60s into the mid 70s. It’s a trilogy that’s well worth picking up and having a flick through. It has some really unique character devices in, from the inclusion of characters with strict dietary requirements

Omnivore, one of the three books, is focused primarily on the fungi on the planet Nacre Of these fungi, there are intelligent Mantas. I guess if there were truly sentient fungi, this would be the book to read! I’m going to look to the skies tonight to see if I can be like the three main characters and be able to see Nacre. If I can, I’m going to go and make me a couple of million for discovering it. Or I’m going to go to bed and wonder what is wrong with my vision when I am seeing things that just aren’t there.

2 – Toad

Toad_3D_Land Mario

Toad doesn’t even need to be introduced to the majority of gamers and even a good selection of non-gamers, but I feel it’d be an injustice to not introduce this little Mushroom man anyway. Unlike all of our previous entrants to the Top 10, Toad does have serious story behind him. He’s also been in a lot of games, from Super Mario Bros, to Paper Mario and even to Mario Kart. Toad has been around the block and is certainly one of the most lovable characters in the whole Mario franchise.

There are times that you went to rescue Princess Peach, only for Toad to be there to tell you that our Princess is in another castle (Seriously, why are you in that castle Toad? Surely Bowser can’t be that into Mushroom men). Then how about in games like Super Mario 64, where Toad serves to tell you some useful information? What about the times you literally will see paintings of Toad around in different places. The only problem with Toad is we don’t actually know the extent of how many games he’s been in… For one, it’s uncertain if “Toad” was in the original Super Mario Bros.

1 – Fungus, Final Fantasy: Unlimited

Fungus FFUnlimited

A weird choice here, but hear me out. This is from an anime called Final Fantasy: Unlimited and this is a man whose name is literally “Fungus”. He is supposedly unable to die, as even if he is chopped up into teeny tiny pieces, he’ll reform. Amusingly, whenever this happens, he reforms a lot smaller than his original stature, so he has to wait for a while before he turns back to his full size.

He serves a major development in the plot. He appears humanoid, but he is actually a sentient fungus that seemingly serves the bad guys. He’s seen frequently at the start of the series, but as time goes on, you begin to realise that his aspirations throughout the series are slightly more noble… To a point. He wants to rebuild his destroyed fungus world, which sounds great until you realise that he was a powerful general of said fungi… And then he just turns into a power creep. Someone, go eat this man before it’s too late.


 

Honourable Mention

The fungi listed above were pretty damn good, but let’s now check all of the undergrowth of this shroom patch. Now put your hands together for some that deserves a nod, but aren’t quite good enough to be the star attraction of this delectable list.

Mushroom Cottage

Okay, this isn’t anything in particular, but it’s such a niche of fantasy and especially that of fairies that I thought it was a nice inclusion to the list. They’re nothing special, they’re relatively unremarkable, but the very idea that something has hallowed out a mushroom to live inside of is really quite cool. It does imply there are teeny, tiny people, lurking in the underbushes… They could even be outside, right now, with their tiny little aerial signal televisions and their chimney pipes blowing smoke out of their Mushroom…

Be right back folks, I’m going fairy hunting.

Mushrooms, Don’t Starve

Red_MushroomDont Starve

You know you’re doing something right when picking up a Mushroom and eating it is truly risky business. In Don’t Starve, a game where you have to survive out in the wilderness all by yourself, (or with some other players if you play Don’t Starve Together, I guess,) you get the chance to see a variety of different kinds of mushrooms and depending on when you pick it up, the condition the mushroom was in etc, they can have different effects.

Of course, the whole point of games like Don’t Starve are to make you use your noggin a little bit and not pick up all of the dangerous mushrooms. Sadly, this isn’t the most dangerous thing you can uncover in the game, but at least they make you think twice before picking them up! There’s a whole wikia page dedicated to Mushrooms in the game.


 

I hope you’ve had your fill of mushrooms and fungi now. But of course, now it’s over to you – What did you think of the list? Let us know in the comments below and let us know if there were any mushrooms we forgot about! Don’t forget to let us know your feelings over on Facebook and Twitter and vote for next weeks Top 10!


Top 10 Geeky Soundtracks

GeekOut Top 10s

We love a good bit of geek culture, so one of the options in last weeks’ Top 10 was for Geeky Soundtracks… But that’s a little bit of an ambiguous term, so let’s quickly encapsulate that for you:

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Top 10 Death Noises in Games

For the most sobering quote you’ll ever hear: Death happens. I’m sorry to tell you, but whether you’re playing through Half-Life, or even a jolly old game such as Super Mario brothers, death happens. One thing about death is that it does take you by surprise. Your character may let out a little yelp from pain, or perhaps he or she’ll get some form of fanfare in his or her honour? Honestly though, we’re not going to lie… We were a bit weirded out that you, the GeekOut universe, wanted to pick… the agonising… Screaming… Death sounds of the world of games.  But, you chose it and we’re going to deliver it! This is our Top 10 Death Noises in Games!

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