From Skyrim to Rainbow Riches: The Most Influential Games that Have Dictated Modern Trends

skyrim

Game mechanics, themes, features, and characters come and go almost daily now, and yet it’s still very clear to see which creations turned into influencers of industry trends. Now a few years removed, it’s become obvious that the decade between 2009 and 2019 was one of game-changing titles, literally.

It wasn’t just in gaming, either, with the time frame now looking to be one of particularly inspiring content across entertainment. There was just something about the ten years that encouraged developers to go bold and creatives to think outside of the box. So, which titles continue to have their fingerprints on the games being released today?

2009 to 2019: An age of now-legendary games

We’ll start with the game that continues to be ported to each new platform, bar mobile, and has the world still awaiting its sequel: Skyrim. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, as it’s fully named, changed everything. Building on the groundwork of its 2006 predecessor, Oblivion, Bethesda Game Studios went big on promotion and even bigger in-game. The fantasy-themed, open-world, action RPG set the standard and forced big-name, unimaginative publishers to attempt to incorporate such elements into their releases.

However, Skyrim wasn’t so influential in its inception that it became a genre of its own, unlike FromSoftware’s Souls series. Starting with 2009’s Demon’s Souls, the style of play, and particularly the challenges posed around each corner, spawned the term “Soulslike,” which even the likes of The Legend of Zelda has built its way into since. The loosely linked series is still very active in the gamerverse, with each new release encouraging more copycat action.

Perhaps the most publically discussed in the mainstream, however, is the battle royale trend. With the idea drawn from the Koushun Takami novel Battle Royale, the last-person-standing style turned out to be incredibly fun as a game. The first most notable game to craft and implement this was H1Z1, the eternally early access Steam game with more name changes than modes hit the store in 2015. However, by the time that it left early access as a dedicated Z1 Battle Royale, Fortnite Battle Royale and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds had already muscled into the mainstream to take the novel idea public, ushering a wave of similar modes.

An entertainment industry abuzz with trend-setters

Easily the most influential media property of the 2009-2019 era, standing as the highest-grossing movie of all time for about a decade, is Avatar. James Cameron’s movie was a revelation, combining the stunning colors of Pandora with lots of action to make 3D peak at cinemas. It was niche before and heavily pushed after its late 2009 release, and even though few will back it as a good addition to the cinematic experience, with Avatar, it was all-but essential.

In the realms of online casino gaming, the early years of the decade laid the foundations of the oceans of games out there today. Easily the most influential of the hundreds of slots released is Barcrest’s Rainbow Riches. The 2009 release popularised the lucky Irish theme in online slots and the use of multiple bonus feature games. It’s even seen several crossovers into other areas of online gaming, such as with Rainbow Riches Bingo, Rainbow Riches Megaways, and Slingo Rainbow Riches.

Souls, Skyrim, and the battle royale titles continue to influence the world of gaming, and all of them are still very playable today thanks to the innovations that led to the massive popularity of each title.

Why You Should Play Risk of Rain

With the booming success of Risk of Rain 2, I felt that not enough attention was given to its predecessor, Risk of Rain, which laid down the framework that Risk of Rain 2 built upon. Instead of travelling around a 3D plane as you would in its sequel, Risk of Rain is a 2D sidescroller. Despite this distinct change, the two games function very much the same, and both are worth playing.

Continue reading “Why You Should Play Risk of Rain”

How Art Creates Character in Anime

We’ve all seen it before – the generic “anime” art style, with thin lines, wide eyes, exaggerated hair style, so on and so forth. It’s generic and used to death, but it works. This art style is what makes anime, well, anime. It is a style that has evolved throughout the years, but it’s only when anime diverges from this art style that character and emotion can be fully realized.

Continue reading “How Art Creates Character in Anime”

GHOSTS comes to Kickstarter!

Are you looking for an awesome, ghostly horror game that is also LIVE ACTION? Then head on over to Kickstarter and take a look at GHOSTS. This game looks awesome.

Here are excerpted parts from the campaign:

Hey, I’m Jed and I’m making a video game called GHOSTS.

Last Halloween, frustrated by the neverending lockdown situation in the UK, like a lot of people I turned to video games for escapism. Looking specifically for horror games to freak me out, I re-discovered the live-action video games (FMV) of the 90s. Titles like Night TrapPhantasmagoria and Double Switch (featuring the utterly superb Corey Haim), games that dared to try something a bit different and really pushed the capabilities of the game systems of their time.

It suddenly dawned on me what I had to do – I had to make a live action video game starring my friends Emma, Haley, Jemma, Radina and Caroline and make it as scary as hell. I want to make you afraid of even looking at your Nintendo Switch but feel absolutely compelled to play the game anyway to help the ladies survive.

I contacted Visible Games to see if they were into helping me make it and posited the question: What if it was LIVE?

What if it’s hard-coded into the narrative of the game that you have to play it at a certain time? What if everyone in your time zone is playing the game at exactly that moment? It would make it an unprecedented terrifying event.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Luckily Visible Games have the unique skills to pull this concept off and make this unique feature a reality.

We took the idea to Limited Run Games and I’ve never heard a faster YES in my life. Their support has been legendary and their reputation of delivering superior games is second to none. They will be releasing the game on all formats early next year.

Building the team to help make this has been so much fun and I went to the absolute best to visualise the ‘antagonist’, THE LONG LADY. Designed by SIRENHEAD creator Trevor Henderson, I’ve genuinely got the best people on the GHOSTS train!

You’re probably thinking “Jed, why don’t you just make a movie? Why a live-action video game?”. My answer is: Why Not?

So as not to reveal too many spoilers, we have to be a little careful about the information you receive this early on. What we can say is …

You play a TV producer, operating the outside broadcast van for a failing cable channel called FrighTV. Their flagship show is GHOSTS. It’s the only thing people want to watch on the channel anymore. A show that in its heyday captured millions of viewers on a major channel. Viewers were glued to their screens as the presenter with a team of eager ghost hunters explored haunted locations around the country.

Over the years, GHOSTS ratings began to drop which ultimately resulted in the show being dropped by the network and languishing on various freeview channels until it was purchased by FrighTV and re-branded for re-launch in 2022. The channel is littered with terrible adverts and trailers for movies you’ve never heard of and never want to watch.

As the cast explore the location, you not only need to worry about their safety, the noises you hear around the van and the strange neighbours, there’s also the urban legend of THE LONG LADY. Sightings of THE LONG LADY on this very street have chilled the bones of residents for decades. She appears in times of tragedy, looking through the windows of houses on the street. It’s said that if you look directly at her face, you die. Curtain salesmen do gangbusters here.

You are the outside broadcast producer, in charge of what is shown to the viewers at home who have remained loyal to the show throughout all the lean years. The show is LIVE so you have to think on your feet and react to every moment to keep things interesting.  In front of you will be all of the camera feeds streaming from cameras installed in the most haunted location in London as well as heart rate monitors for the cast. What gets sent to the LIVE feed is your choice and can affect the future of the show (and perhaps the safety of the cast). You need to keep the show entertaining and you will have various tricks to employ to help you ‘spice up’ the live show.

You also have various documents, videos and audio files, collected throughout the years from this local community that you need to decipher to help understand the grave situation. Perhaps something you discover will stop the horrifying events from unfolding.

The full terrifying real-time version of the game is only playable at 10pm in your local time zone. If you load up the game before 10pm you’ll be met with a classic test card. If you can crack the ‘test’ you will have access to an unlockable pre-watershed version where you can breathe and save your progress, but once you hit 10pm all bets are off! There are consequences for all of your choices though. Playing it safe is not always the best option.

When playing GHOSTS, if you leave your station at any point, the game notices the lack of movement and it will end your session. Desertion of duty means the cast will be killed off. You are responsible for the lives of all involved so make sure you’ve had a bathroom break, got plenty of snacks and most importantly turn off the lights!

Haley Bishop is an American actress, based in London. She stars in BIFA nominated ‘HOST’ (2020) on AMC Networks’ horror streaming service, SHUDDER. Other credits include Warner Brothers TOM AND JERRY (2021), ANGEL HAS FALLEN (2019), and DEEP STATE (2018).

She is also a writer and producer with SWR Media in both scripted and non scripted. Her most recent comedy, 1-800-D-Direct, premiered at the BFI in 2020 and is currently having a successful festival run, next playing at BAFTA qualifying Carmarthen Bay Film Festival.

Radina Drandova is a Bulgarian actress based in London. She graduated from the prestigious Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Most recently starring in BIFA nominated, international cult hit sensation, ‘HOST’ (2020). Radina also stars in the short film ‘Dawn of the Deaf’ (2016) which appeared in over 100 film festivals worldwide, including Sundance. You can also catch Radina as the lead in the award winning short ‘PITFALL’ (2017) on Amazon Prime. Radina is part of an international community of artists championing truthful storytelling of the multicultural experience. She also loves pizza, sunshine and her favorite game is Unravel.

Jemma Moore stars in BIFA nominated ‘HOST’ which is currently 100% ‘Certified Fresh’ on Rotten Tomatoes and nominated as third best reviewed British film of 2020 in the Golden Tomato Awards. ‘HOST’ is also one of EMPIRE magazine’s ‘Best Movies of 2020’ with Jemma’s character making it into EMPIRE magazine’s ‘The 100 Best Horror Movie Characters’ list. It was named one of TIME magazine’s ’17 Great Movies You may have Missed this Summer’, Variety’s ‘Best Horror Movies of 2020’ and Total Film’s ‘Best horror films of all time’. Jemma is also known for her roles in ‘DOOM: ANNIHILATION’ (2019), ‘SHAKESPEARE & HATHAWAY’ (2019) and ‘WONDER WOMAN’ (2018).

Caroline Ward is most recently known for her performance in BIFA Nominated, ‘HOST’. ‘HOST’ is available on all major on-demand platforms, had an international cinema release in December 2020 and was released on Blu-Ray in February 2021. ‘HOST’ has been named in EMPIRE Magazine’s ‘The Best Movies Of 2020’, TotalFilm’s ‘The 30 Best Horror Movies Of All Time’, Variety’s ‘Best Horror Movies of 2020’ and Certified 100% Fresh on Rotten tomatoes.

Caroline is also co-founder of It Girls Productions, a production company focusing on female-led narratives, representation and inclusivity. 2021 will see short films ‘Stalling It’ (It Girls Productions) and ‘Third on the Left’ (Blotched Ink Productions), both written and directed by Caroline, on the festival circuit.

Emma Louise Webb is an Actress of screen and stage, Musician, Commercial Model and Writer from South East London. She trained at Identity School of Acting.

Emma appeared in the TV show The Crown before moving onto features with MULTIPLEX (2020) and the horror sensation HOST (2020). Emma is featured in numerous commercials for the likes of McDonalds, Samsung and many more. Her new girl group will be launching some time in 2021.

*******

An Introduction to Kaizo Mario and its Community

Kaizo Mario is a unique type of Mario game. Instead of having the player play through progressively harder challenges at a manageable pace, Kaizo Mario is designed to get your hopes up then have them come crashing down, and many people enjoy these challenges.

Continue reading “An Introduction to Kaizo Mario and its Community”

Four Useful Tips for Enter the Gungeon

Enter the Gungeon is an immensely difficult game that forces you to start from the start again when you die. The game tests you both on you skill to dodge bullets and your ability to solve problems at a larger scale to tip things to your favor. Here are some tips to make the game a little more manageable.

Continue reading “Four Useful Tips for Enter the Gungeon”

Exciting news for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure fans!

The long awaited Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure event had some great news for all fans. What first appeared to be just another event without an announcement for the long-awaited anime for the sixth instalment of the series surprised all viewers in the last few minutes. After the great success of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind anime, the release of the sequel was more of a question of when rather than if. The announcement came 616 days after Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind concluded.

Continue reading “Exciting news for Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure fans!”

Three Ways WoW: Classic Differs from the Original Game

As WoW: Classic reaches its end, there is a lot to reflect on in this largely experimental game. Despite being effectively a copy of a fifteen-year old game, WoW: Classic and the original are hardly the same game. It is due to considerable developments in communications and better recording of information that WoW: Classic turned out so different from the original. Here are some of the ways that the two are different despite almost identical code.

Continue reading “Three Ways WoW: Classic Differs from the Original Game”

Vernal Edge features an epic protagonist

Vernal Edge is a Stylish Action Game with Metroidvania elements where you fly out into the sky to find new places to explore and monsters to beat up.  You juggle enemies, explore mysterious islands on your airship, and fight ruthless bosses, all with a combat system inspired by deep technical actions games like Devil May Cry. These were the words used to describe the promising indie title when it came to Kickstarter last year. It is certainly a promising looking title, and one of my most anticipated games yet to be released.

Continue reading “Vernal Edge features an epic protagonist”

A Glimpse at the Nintendo Switch Pro

Once a rumor, now an all but confirmed guarantee, the Nintendo Switch Pro boasts beefier hardware and smoother gameplay than its predecessor. This system aims to better handle the system requirements that many modern day games demand and provide smooth and fluid gameplay for its customers. While the Nintendo Switch was a hallmark of what handheld systems could achieve, many games lagged and crashed too often. Games exported from PC to the Nintendo Switch, such as Diablo 3 and Witcher 3, suffer the most.

Continue reading “A Glimpse at the Nintendo Switch Pro”

Six reasons why Six is NOT the Lady in Little Nightmares

Little Nightmares is an amazing indie horror franchise. Ever since the release of Little Nightmares 1 in 2017, an amazing fandom has grown on the internet, devoted to sharing memes, tips, art, and trying to figure out what exactly is going on in the horrifying world of the games. The release of Little Nightmares 2 has kicked these theories into high gear, as fans puzzle over the non-linear storyline and the shocking twists. Before you read any further, I must warn that the following article contains major spoilers for both Little Nightmares games, the app game Very Little Nightmares, and the DLC.

Continue reading “Six reasons why Six is NOT the Lady in Little Nightmares”

Nintendo’s Masterpieces: Donkey Kong Country

The Donkey Kong Country trilogy developed by Rare for the Super Nintendo is one of the shining jewels of the pre-2000s era of gaming. From the titular Donkey Kong Country, along with Donkey Kong Country: Diddy’s Kong Quest and (the most forgettable) Donkey Kong Country: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble, the game achieved what many platformers that Nintendo developed failed to do – create a meaningful game that both encourages skilful play while not being too punishing. Donkey Kong Country is commonly related to the Super Mario series, but the difference is staggering. While Super Mario games are similar to one another and function the same, the Donkey Kong Country series is constantly innovating to create fresh experiences for the player.

Continue reading “Nintendo’s Masterpieces: Donkey Kong Country”