For something that's probably scientifically impossible, works of fiction sure seem to make the living disembodied head commonplace. The following ten heads have floated to the top of our hearts.
10- The Wizard from The Wizard of Oz
While the Wizard's status as a floating head can be disputed, what with it being a camera trick carried out by a bodied fat dude behind a curtain, the Wizard's place in movie history can be disputed. By showing the disparity in fear produced by a floating head and a normal guy, future scribes learned a valuable lesson. Floating heads are scary.
Woe be the gadget-loving early adopter. Sure, you get to show off your cool new products to everyone, but is it worth spending much more to get a product when showier successors hit stores shortly afterward? The following seven products fell out of favor fast, either due to marketplace failure or a quickly-issued upgrade from its manufacturer.
7- Sony Sixaxis
Just before the release of Sony's heralded PlayStation 3, the company surprisingly announced it would be packaging a groundbreaking and distinctive controller with the system. This distinctive device turned out to be a motion sensing controller, which was hardly groundbreaking since Nintendo had already announced a similar device 8 months earlier, and which seemed somewhat desperate considering its sudden unveiling the day after Nintendo revealed its much more advanced Wii Remote. Presumably, Sony expected praise and handshakes after this groundbreaking controller was revealed, but what they got instead was a lot of negative gossip mixed with a dash of disappointment. "Why can't these "incredible" new controllers rumble like the old ones could? And why is the motion-sensing so piss-poor?" gamers initially grumbled. Eventually these grumbles became outcries and gaming enthusiasts the world over demanded a return of the rumble. Eventually Sony caved and the Sixaxis was replaced with a new controller that possessed the old fan-favorite feature which holds a special place in all of our hearts and pants: the rumble.
Grand Theft Auto IV is finally out, and gamers nationwide are shirking their responsibilities With a series this popular imitators are bound to pop up, and although some like The Getaway and Saint's Row have managed to carve their own niche (that still doesn't reach Rockstar level), most have not. To celebrate the landmark release let's take a look back at some games that have tried to co-opt the GTA formula but have come up short.
7- Payback (aka Grand Theft Game Design)
What it stole: Everything. No, really. The creator set out to make a GTA clone and pulled it off, aping almost every aspect of the early GTA games. The criminal missions and free-roaming capability that made GTA a video game juggernaut are preserved to an arguably lawsuit worthy degree.
What it added: A few more weapons and multiplayer deathmatch capabilities. Yep, that's it.
The result: Despite the claim made by the creator that "every effort has been made to ensure that Payback beats GTA in every way," it doesn't stack up. It was too little too late to make much of a splash. And maybe that's a good thing, because otherwise Rockstar may have cared enough to sue. The game is actually impressive for being created on the Gameboy Advance, but it really came out too late (2004) for people to care. Now that there's two near-console versions of GTA on the PSP, the portable sandbox crown belongs to Rockstar, too.
Nothing puts a damper on a potential gaming session like finding out a critical component is nowhere to be found. The following 8 accessories and games are the toughest to find when you need them.
8- NES Game Sleeves/ Game Boy Cases
These neat little game holders didn't really serve much of a purpose--NES games still required a lungful of air blown into them in order to start playing and stepping on a Game Boy game usually meant the end of its life, regardless of whether it was encased. What the constant misplacement of these items really meant was that your collection would be a motley assortment of sheathed and unsheathed games. And that you'd have a handful of empties at any given time, but never enough for all your games.
Live Action Role Playing, or LARPing, may look like fun, but it's basest elements--wearing renaissance fair clothing while pretending to fight dragons--are socially indefensible. While you may never be able to unsheathe your broadsword in public without scorn, a few LARPing games have actually emerged of which you need not be ashamed to call yourself a player.
5- Historical Reenactments
While it sounds kinda lame and maybe just a little bit tacky, these folks actually deserve some credit for starting the entire LARPing genre. People around the world have been recreating historic events for ages. From wars to journeys to document signings all societies gather to celebrate or commemorate past events in the hopes that some points in time will never be forgotten. Educational and occasionally mind-blowing, historical reenactments deserve a little more credit than they're given. If nothing else it gives old people something to do on weekends besides greet people at Wal-Mart.
Hearkening back to the days of Pitfall and Super Mario Bros., videogames have made us all jumping fiends. Even now, with 3D games making the leaps even trickier, there's nothing like clearing a chasm with a running start and a strong jump. These 7 games, however, couldn't get the simple action right and frustrated gamers to no end.
7- Prince of Persia (1989)
Once you get use to the lack of traction and incidental wall-humping, you'll need to find a sword to defeat the guards. Along the way, you may find hidden rooms with power-ups, triggers, and traps. There's also the possibility of falling to your death (the best kind results in a bed of retractable spikes). Dying through trial and error is not an issue as long as you can rescue the princess within an hour of real-time. So, with wall-jumping, death-by-spikes, brutal enemies, and an hour time limit, you can be rest assured of some frustrating falls.
You've considered quitting many times, yet you haven't done it yet. No, this is not about your nicotine addiction (Lung Cancer hits you for 5,000 damage!). For some inexplicable reason, you are one of the millions who are still playing World of Warcraft. Here are five reasons why you should quit playing WoW.
5 - Monthly Subscription Fee
While it may only cost about 50 cents to play per day, that number adds up to about 75 dollars after six months, and you've probably already wasted 600 dollars over the last four pathetic years of your life running through the same game mechanics over and over again--yet the tedium of the game is still somehow slightly more appealing than getting a real job and generating the much needed income to fund your sedentary lifestyle. At least you can proudly brag about being exalted with every faction, right?
We all hate our jobs. Even those of us with cushy gigs like, say, writing dumb lists on the Internet, have reasons to complain about our J-O-Bs. Thankfully, video games are here to save the day-they take the mundane jobs that you and I are forced to do day in and day out and turn them into something awesome. If our jobs were anything like these, we'd probably work for free! Well, actually, no, we still wouldn't.
7- Food Service Industry
We pity people who work in the food service industry. They work long grueling hours and often wait on whiny, demanding bastards who think that just because they're paying for a meal, it entitles them to act like they're royalty. And then there are the hardworking parents who struggle night in and night out to provide a home-cooked meal for their lousy kids who won't just sit quietly and eat their damn vegetables.
It's too bad that working in the real food service industry isn't as awesome as it is in video games. Games like BurgerTime and Cooking Mama make preparing meals and serving it to others seem like fun. Standing in front of a hot griddle while you flip patties sucks; making giant hamburgers by stepping on the ingredients while avoiding contact with mutant food products, on the other hand, does not. And consider this: if you're a real chef and you mess up an order, you get an angry customer or a jerk of a lead chef yelling at you. But mess up an order in a video game and all you get is a cute cartoon cook offering you some light-hearted encouragement. If only Gordon Ramsay were so understanding.
Unfortunately, video game companies aren't always able to identify what movies viewers would want to insert themselves into. While super hero and action movies lend themselves nicely to the gaming world, let's not forget the movies that really didn't need games, but for one reason or another got them anyway. The blessing of movie based video games that gave us Spider-Man 2 can also be the curse that gave us Austin Powers Pinball.
Finally, a game that allows me to play as Richard Dreyfuss! I've been waiting for this ever since they canceled the Mr. Holland's Opus game for Sega Saturn. Wait, I don't get to play as Rich at all? Unfortunately, in Jaws: Unleashed you take control of the finned nightmare that stalks the film's protagonists. With open ended game play (not very exciting when you realize most of it is empty water), this game is basically Ecco the Dolphin with teeth. Not surprisingly, the game actually was developed by the Ecco people, essentially making it exactly that. Just because Jaws is considered the first summer blockbuster doesn't mean it had to get a game like every other one. I'm still holding out for a Deep Blue Sea spin off myself.
Gaming has moved from your parent's basement to the limelight. Here's the eight reasons why gaming may just supplant all other forms of media in the near future.
8- Legitimacy of Competition
The fact that the term, "cyberathlete" exists is a clear indication that gaming competition is becoming a serious business. From small Guitar Hero tournaments at local bars to massive Halo competitions with millions worth in prizes; gaming competitions are not only gaining momentum as accepted activities, they're attracting crowds and even syndication. A tournament company called Major League Gaming has a contract to broadcast gaming competitions on the USA Network. The market is large enough for a good enough gamer to earn a living and Starcraft is practically Korea's national sport. Sooner or later those who pwn will be cutting in line at clubs.
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