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  1. Well, gamers, it“s that time of the year again! That“s right, love is in the air and all the single ladies guys are lonelier than ever (*cries in corner*). But let“s not get into too much detail about real life, as we hear too much about that already. No, I“d rather take a look at video game romances instead, wouldn“t you? Whether a game has a tear-jerking love story, a simple story with a lot of history, or a romance so vague you won“t even know where to start, love is clearly evident within the video game world. So on this lovely day of love, let“s take a moment and look at what this guy (points at self with smug expression) thinks are the top 10 video game romances. #10: Master Chief x Cortana - Halo Series - Love comes in many different forms, with some being more illegal than others. And perhaps one of the stranger relationships on this list (though technically not illegal in real life at the moment) is that of Halo hero Master Chief and his trusty holographic partner and AI love interest Cortana. Through thick and thin, these two vastly different creatures are there for each other, willing to risk one“s own life (artificial or otherwise) for the sake of the other. This sort of forbidden romance is made even more emotional later in Halo 4, which makes this love story all the more touching. #9: Leon S. Kennedy x Ada Wong - Resident Evil Series - Here“s a love story involving two people who don“t really get along too well for the most part. Resident Evil“s Leon S. Kennedy and Ada Wong have gone through the series in an estranged relationship full of arguments, trickery, and the occasional weapon being pulled on each other. Neither would hurt the other, of course, and they will oftentimes go well out of their way to help the other. And even though the people they work for aren“t exactly in alliance, Ada is willing to take the long way if it means helping Leon and foiling his enemies. Not exactly the most convenient romantic relationship, but hey, it ain“t easy to be simple when you“ve got zombies and j“avo to worry about. #8: Sora x Kairi - Kingdom Hearts Series - One thing you will often see in Disney movies is a love story, usually involving a princess of some sort. You know what also tends to have love stories? The Final Fantasy series. So it“s only natural that Kingdom Hearts, the result of combining the two chemicals, would feature a deep and touching bit of romance. Enter Sora and Kairi, the main love birds of the series. Also, enter Riku as well, since this childhood friend adds himself to the equation to equal a conflicting love triangle. But while Riku“s off being swallowed by darkness and whatnot, Sora and Kairi have a pretty deep connection going on that makes you feel emotions you weren“t sure a game featuring both Goofy and Cloud Strife were capable of forcing out of you. #7: Nathan Drake x Elena Fisher - Uncharted Series - Nathan Drake is a super-cool, treasure-loving kind of guy. So when he meets the beautiful TV journalist Elena Fisher, of course the only thing on his mind would be the adventure and its resulting reward. But when things start to get rough during the first Uncharted game, a flame of love begins to form between the two. Come the second Uncharted game, and an old “friend†starts turning their relationship sour. Ultimately, though, their bond is too strong for silly love triangles, and by the end of Among Thieves, you can truly see just how perfect they are for each other. #6: Wander x Mono - Shadow of the Colossus - Shadow of the Colossus is a love story of few words, but resonates deeply in our hearts. This colossal story (man, I“m so clever) begins with a young man named Wander, placing the deceased body of a young woman named Mono onto an altar after she was sacrificed for supposedly being cursed. Luckily for Wander, there appears to be a way to resurrect his lost love – defeat a total of 16 colossal beasts. Regardless of how suspicious the voice who told him that is, Wander sets off to hunt down these colossi, willing to go through Hell and back to save Mono. But when all is said and done, the end reward will have to come at a price… #5: James x Mary - Silent Hill 2 - Simply put, Silent Hill is not a town you want to visit. But for James Sunderland, it“s a necessity. Even though his wife Mary had died years ago, James follows a letter she supposedly wrote for him and journeys to the evil town in search of her. And no matter how many nightmares he walks through, James never gives up his search for a wife he“s sure should be dead. Love makes you do crazy things sometimes, and when James remembers a horrible truth he had blocked out of his memory, he must confront the past and his undying love for his wife. It“s these elements that make Silent Hill 2“s story one of the most horrifyingly touching ones around. #4: Tidus x Yuna - Final Fantasy X - It“s certainly no secret that the Final Fantasy series likes love stories. With games like Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX touching gamers“ hearts all these years, the series is a good way to get your romantic fix. But if I had to choose the most romantic couple of the series, I“d have to go with Tidus and Yuna from Final Fantasy X. Yeah, there are a few annoyances here and there, but throughout the story“s course the two really develop and fall in love in a fairly natural way, growing as friends first before moving onto some bases. And by the end of the game, through certain twists in the story, it“s hard for me to not shed at least one manly tear. #3: Johnny x River - To the Moon - In the future, science has created a machine that lets you have memories implanted into your brain, allowing you to remember a life you always wished you had and die with a smile on your face. For an elderly man named Johnny, this opportunity seems right up his alley. Always wishing he“d been able to go to the Moon, doctors strap him into the machine and begin the process. However, as they delve deeper and deeper into his memory banks, a very heart-wrenching tale involving the man“s late wife River is displayed, showing events in their life before reaching the moment when they met. It“s a very touching love story, and by the end of it all, you will probably need something to dry your tear-drenched face. #2: Mario x Princess Peach - Super Mario Series - The story of a hero saving a damsel in distress is one we've heard time and time again. But that doesn“t matter, as gaming“s most famous couple has taught us all, probably unintentionally, to never give up for the one you love. No matter how many times Princess Peach gets herself kidnapped, and no matter how many “other castles†she ends up being whisked away to, Mario is always willing to travel through dangerous worlds, even going into friggin“ space, just to bring his love home safely. And even though he doesn“t get the kind of reward he probably wants (a cake and a peck on the nose ain“t gonna cut it, princess), he still continues to save her from her inevitable kidnappings after several decades. Now THAT“s commitment! #1: Link x Zelda - The Legend of Zelda Series - The Legend of Zelda series tells a series of tales shrouded in romantic ambiguity. While Link is almost always on a quest to save the lovely Princess Zelda, romance never really sparked between the two. And what makes this romance even more vague is the fact that our hero is also trying to, like, save the world or something, with love never truly blooming before the stories end. But over decades of Zelda games spanning many, MANY lifetimes, Link hooking up with the princess just seemed like it was supposed to happen. Of course, with the release of Skyward Sword, a relationship between the two was finally brought to the forefront, as childhood friends Link and Zelda (who“s not a princess this time around, by the way) obviously have the hots for each other, and Link“s sole intention when starting his quest is to save his girl. How sweet. Do you agree with the picks on this lovely list? What romances would you have added?
  2. Jordan Haygood

    Wander x Mono

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Team Ico

  3. From the beginning of development all the way to the day the game is ready to print, things are being changed around. Whether it is something small like the position of a plant, or something large like a complete character redesign. Things are just always being replaced for better and for worse. Usually you'll never get to see or hear about these changes since they never make it into the finished product, but some changes are just so huge they deserve to be front and center every once in a while. These are some of the biggest changes in recent history regarding some of the most popular games on the market, and you just won't believe some of the things going on behind closed doors. The Original Gordon Freeman Looked Like A Dwarf When anyone so much as mentions the Half-Life series, the first thing that pops into a person's head is the iconic look of Gordon Freeman. People have become so used to seeing Gordon Freeman's face that any other face sporting a goatee and glasses is automatically considered a Gordon Freeman lookalike, as evidenced by every single Breaking Bad ad ever released. Things would have been a lot different if all of Black Mesa's scientists looked like him. But back when the original Half-Life was still being sorted out, Gordon Freeman looked much much different. So much so that if Valve had decided to go with their original design for our scientist-turned-hero, I doubt we'd have ever gotten Half-Life 2 or any other expansions, let alone a potential Half-Life 3. And the reason is simple. Gordon Freeman was a freaking dwarf. I don't mean "dwarf" as in a little person either; I mean "dwarf" as in he looked more likely to storm an orc fort before ever being put in front of some serious science experiment. In fact, he looked so wildly different from the Gordon Freeman we know and love that his original nickname was "Ivan the space biker." Team Fortress 2 Was Once A Real War Game Continuing the trend of Valve's tendency to just change everything is the wildly popular title, Team Fortress 2. As I'm sure you're all aware, Team Fortress 2 makes use of an extremely cartoony game world reminiscent of any number of Pixar films that have been released in the last decade. While the game itself was extremely fun on its own, there's no denying it would be a totally different experience if the game had a more realistic appearance. So wait, are these engineers? ONE TO A TEAM, PEOPLE! And that image above ladies and gentlemen, is what Team Fortress 2 first looked like when it was in development a hundred years ago. You would be hard pressed to tell the differences between the original Team Fortress 2 and a game like Counter-Strike based off of that image above. Sure, it probably would have been just as great as the Team Fortress 2 we have now, but think about all of the things we would have missed out on. For one, the "Meet The..." videos would have never taken off. A blank soldier has no real personality to work with. You would have been left identifying characters based off of what weapon they carried instead of how they acted and what they looked like. It would have been kind of boring. And don't even get me started on how awful things would have been without Saxton Hale. Halo: The Ever Changing Game Remember Halo Wars? No? Well that's alright, because nobody remembers Halo Wars. But there was a point in time when the game was actually just known as Halo, and the fate of the entire franchise and even the Xbox itself rested on a few key design choices going on behind the scenes at Bungie. At one time, Halo was a real-time strategy game. And it was pretty basic. To be fair, this was back in 1996-1997 when they really started to put things together, so of course things aren't going to look great by today's standards. But even compared to the finished product, the RTS version of Halo just looked horrible. The developers must have realized this as well because, of course, it was changed. Pictured: Not the savior of the Xbox Changed into a third person game, that is. You now controlled a single spartan on his or her journey through what was essentially an empty map with a few buildings here and there to show off how far they had come with applying textures to things and making their models look a bit nicer. But there was still a problem with the camera. The camera really had no boundaries. In the demo footage shown you could just move the camera right through the walls and stare off into infinity. That was less than great, obviously, so they started working on a first person shooter. Shortly after, they began work on the Xbox version and the rest is history. Until of course, an ancient evil awakens. The Shadow Of The Colossus Multiplayer Mode Do you know what would have made Shadow of the Colossus an even better game? Two things. First of all, more colossi. As many as you could possibly fit on the disc. Secondly, some form of multiplayer mode to take down the really big colossi as a team. Sadly, both of these things were originally going to be included in the game, but ended up being cut. We'll start with the multiplayer concept first. A while before Shadow of the Colossus came to be, Team Ico was passing around a disc titled Nico ("Ni" being "two," and "Ico" being the first game; how adorable, its a play on words!) The gameplay shown in the video looked very similar to the finished product we have today, with the key difference being there were a whole bunch of people climbing the colossus all at once. My heart screams out for this. It is a call that will never be answered. Admit it. Despite the desolate landscape and the overwhelming feeling of loneliness present in Shadow of the Colossus, you would have loved some crazy form of multiplayer. I have no idea how it would have worked, but the Nico disk is proof enough that they were working on it. If you would like to get your hands on a Nico disk then I say good luck to you, sir. They're stupid expensive and there's no actual gameplay to be found. Just videos. Now on to the extra colossi. I'll keep this real short since there isn't much to explain. Another piece of Shadow of the Colossus memorabilia floating around is the game's coveted artbook. Just like the Nico disk before it, this thing can get extremely expensive. But within its pages you'll find image after image of scrapped colossi that just didn't work out. The reason these dozen or so colossi were cut is simple. They were either too difficult or they already had enough with sixteen. Still, just looking at them makes you wish for more. I Hate You, Spore Spore was everything I wanted in a game, only corrupt and wrong. The creature creator was good, sure. But past that there was nothing. There was no God game where you watch the planet evolve to see which race comes out on top; you simply stood around and waited until your creature decided to build a house. And after that, you just stood around and waited for your creature to destroy every one else's house. Then you got your spaceship and had to deal with things like random attacks all the time. It was the opposite of what I wanted, and it hurt. Not just because I hated the game, but because I knew there was a better version sitting on a computer somewhere. You could have been something special, Spore. But you just had to betray me. Back roughly one hundred years ago, Will Wright was showing off the creature creator for the first time. While it wasn't the most realistic looking monster creator ever, it looked even better than the finished product. The creatures had a more natural look to them compared to the final build of the game, and it was revealed you could edit whole planets down to the plants that you saw. Not only this, but you could cross breed animals and plants to see what new creations formed and just sit back and watch how the planet dealt with them. Of course, barely any of this made it to the final game for multiple reasons, none of them being good. It had to do with making the game more accessible to younger folk and making things easier. And that is why I hate Spore. ------------------------------ Before we end this whole shindig, yes I know "alphas" isn't the right word to put into the title. It should be more along the lines of "Five Video Games And What They Looked Like In Their Earliest Stages". But that title isn't nearly as clean and to the point. And the word alpha is pretty close to the same meaning either way so just deal with it. Other than that, thanks for reading!
  4. When it comes to games and movies, I enjoy finding the different features and details that were hidden in each respective form of entertainment. Whether it is something that needs to be glitched into the game, or if I have to go through the same scene a million times. It doesn't really matter to me. I just love finding all there is to find in a game. But sometimes, these sorts of secrets are hidden right under our noses. Things we should have noticed, but our minds just refused to grasp. These sorts of things are even more fun to figure out because you just feel so stupid for not noticing them before. Today, we're going to be discussing five of them. They aren't the most amazing finds, but that doesn't make them any less cool. -------------------------- Fighting Fire With Water In Metal Gear Solid 3 When it comes to the Metal Gear Solid series, you're practically stumbling through secrets just by playing the game normally. Odds are pretty high that you'll go through the entire series without even noticing them. Just go to Youtube and type in something along the lines of "secret codecs" you'll be sitting at your computer listening to conversations for the next few hours just on that one search. Why exactly did the Fury choose to fight Snake in a building covered in exposed water pipes? And on top of those secrets, there are also secret ways to fight each game's boss characters. We all know that when fighting Psycho Mantis you're suppose to switch controller ports, but did you know that you could also shoot his mask off of a statue to confuse his telekinesis? There are plenty of secrets like that peppered in, but the one I never found was in the fight against The Fury. When I fought him, I just tucked myself into a corner and took pot shots at him as he flew through the flames. I couldn't go anywhere because literally everything around me was on fire. I did beat him with a stamina kill after a while, but it took forever. Now a few years have passed and I've figured it out. You can shoot the pipes on the walls to put out the flames. There was nothing even hinting at that, but it should have been so obvious! So next time you fight The Fury and you're tucked into a corner fighting for your life, just remember to shoot the freaking water pipes! -------------------------- Promotional Art Holds So Many Secrets Seriously, take a look at the image posted below of Duke Nukem. Really look at it. The image is staring you right in the face and odds are you're still missing out on some of the details. No matter how long you look at the image, you just can't see the cowboy hat falling off of Duke's head until someone mentions it to you. Duke ain't got time for hats. He's too busy ruining his reputation! Whoa, where did that come from? That image of Duke has been around for years and years and you've probably seen it a fair number of times thanks to the Duke Nukem Forever craze that had been sweeping the internet for more than a decade, so why are you just now seeing the cowboy hat? I don't understand it, but Duke isn't alone when it comes to stuff like this. Just look at the cover art for Doom. There is so much happening in the image that you can't even tell exactly what you're looking at while you're looking at it. Just to cover a few points, Doomguy is only holding one gun even though it looks like he's holding two at first glance, there's a second Doomguy running up to save him from the horde of cyber demons, and also you're probably neither of them. RIP AND TEAR RIP AND TEAR! Take a look at the bottom left corner of the image. You see that demon looking at you with that stupid smirk on his face? Well look to the right of him. You should see a gun sticking out of the bottom of the image. The argument is that the gun you're seeing is supposed to represent you the player, but it could also be the gun of a monster off frame. So you're either in a demon moshpit about to rip and tear, or you can finally say John was the zombies. -------------------------- Dormin Is Nimrod And Other Obvious Connections In the game Shadow of the Colossus, you play a character who has just made a deal with a disembodied voice that goes by the name Dormin to bring back some dead girl. The deal is that if you manage to defeat all sixteen colossi spread across the forbidden land, then Dormin will bring the girl back to life. Did I mention Dormin resides in a ruined tower that reaches into the Heavens? Did I also mention that Dormin backwards is Nimrod? Now, I'm not going to pretend I know a whole bunch about different stories from the Bible, but I know enough to put two and two together. Nimrod was a powerful warrior who may or may not have had a hand in the construction of the Tower of Babel. If this isn't supposed to be the Tower of Babel then I'll really be surprised. The Tower of Babel of course was a tower that reached up into the Heavens. Do you see where I'm going with this? In the game, the Forbidden Tower that holds Dormin is the absolute tallest structure in the game. Just to stand a chance at climbing it you have to beat the game four times. That should give you a pretty good idea about how tall it is. Why there aren't any other obvious ties between the story of Shadow of the Colossus and the stories of the Tower of Babel and Nimrod, it should be obvious to anyone the connection that was being made. But despite all of this, I just never saw it. Someone else had to explain it to me and I felt like an idiot for not noticing something in a game I played so many times. -------------------------- The best secret is always the one hidden right under your nose. Can you think of some other obvious secrets that were sitting in plain sight all these years? Things that seemingly nobody noticed? Why not mention them in the comments below? As always, thanks for reading.