Posts Tagged ‘Characters’

Best of 2019: Top 10 Gaming Moments

Videogames are made up of tiny moments, each one hopefully engineered to keep you engaged in the overall experience of playing. But some unique slices of game design or scenario writing stand out from the smaller ones around them, sticking in our minds because they differ so wildly from our expectations, or because they encapsulate everything that’s great about a game in one neat package, or because they’re just fun to go through. Some moments are carefully set up by the developers; others completely unplanned, based on happenstance and/or the involvement of additional human players.

These are my ten favourite moments in 2019 video games.

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VR BEST OF 2019 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. To agree with me 100% is rarer than an EA game without microtransactions. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

THERE ARE SPOILERS ON THIS PAGE!

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10. Out of the Blue – Apex Legends

It wasn’t as if we didn’t have any games to play at the start of February this year. But with barely a week gone since the year kicked off with Resident Evil 2, Kingdom Hearts 3 and Wargroove – each a big deal in its own way – EA decided the time was right to drop a new, free-to-play shooter with next to zero pre-release marketing or hype. Apex Legends represented a new step for developer-of-the-year Respawn Entertainment, previously of Titanfall fame; but diving into the game with a few friends on day one revealed a tasty basket of unexplored ideas in the battle royale genre that made it clear why EA had such confidence in the risky strategy. Using respawning pods, taking ziplines and especially the near-endless slope sliding were all a heap of fun, and they even let Apex take enough of the Fortnite and PUBG audience to rule the roost for a few months.

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Best of 2019: Top 4 Game Consoles

Yeah that’s right, I can’t keep up this PS Vita charade anymore – We’re doing just four this year. That extra listed item will be added onto a list near the end of this whole shebang.

Shades of 2012 flickered throughout this past year in console gaming. As the calm before the inevitable year-long media storm awaiting us with the upcoming next-gen console battle, solid exclusives were still around but the burden of true momentum fell to consoles outside of the typical main two. While in 2012 those alternative consoles were the Vita and the, uh, Wii U, 2019 had an alternative that was more than capable of picking up the slack. And yes, I know that this year was also a fascinating year for PC gaming, but this list has always been console-focused. Sorry.

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VR BEST OF 2019 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. To agree with me 100% is rarer than an EA game without microtransactions. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

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4. Nintendo 3DS

(LAST YEAR: 4th)

It’s a bit weird – The 3DS well and truly stomped the PS Vita throughout its life, enjoying many more years of strong sales. But the PS Vita took years to properly die, kept on life support by a huge discrepancy in market interest between Japan and the west. Meanwhile here we are, a mere six months after the 3DS’ last major release, and the Nintendo handheld feels so definitively finished that the mere sight of one may give Tetsuya Nomura cold sweats. Nintendo has given their classic line that they will continue to support the 3DS, and sure, there are still firmware patches coming out. But the game front has been dead-silent since June.

So this appraisal is pretty much about 2019’s first half, when the Switch Lite was little more than an ill-defined rumour circulating the internet. Since we got Yokai Watch 3 at the end of last year in Australia, that means just four big games – two remakes and two new ones heavy on referential content. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story got a full remake with extra content and that game remains an absolute gem, so if you didn’t play it initially you were in for a treat. Likewise for the surprising appearance of Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn. Etrian Odyssey Nexus kept the flag flying for a franchise that has arguably had its golden age on the 3DS, then Atlus did that thing they love to do and released a game on a portable at the last possible moment. The date: June 4th. The game: Persona Q2, an adorable series crossover event with striking art and rewarding dungeon-crawl gameplay. And thusly did the 3DS say goodbye.

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Best of 2019: Top 10 Movie Characters

And so it is on this joyous Christmas Day that we raise our glasses to the cinematic characters that jumped off the big screen and our streaming devices in 2019; holding up parts of a story that were otherwise flagging, stealing scenes on the regular, or simply sticking with us after the credits rolled on their stories. I saw a lot of movies this year so I had a pretty great pool from which to draw.

Whether due to an acting performance, visual design, writing or a combination of all three, these are my ten favourite movie characters of 2019. As is usually the case on these lists, you tend to be more interesting to me if you’re a supporting character or a villain; but there were a few kinda-exceptions to that de facto rule this year.

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VR BEST OF 2019 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. To agree with me 100% is rarer than an EA game without microtransactions. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

THERE ARE SPOILERS ON THIS PAGE!

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10. Jack – Mary Poppins Returns

Step right up and see the majesty that is Lin Manuel Miranda in full flight, snacking on scenery like only a man with musical theatre in his blood can. Taking on the surrogate role of the working-class sage / super Poppins fanboy made famous by the great Dick Van Dyke’s chimney sweep Bert, Miranda’s clear glee at being on the screen in such a huge Disney production helps sell Jack the lamplighter’s contagious energy like nothing else. When you choose to make a sequel that by design repeats the musical beats and character archetypes of its iconic predecessor, direct comparisons were always going to be made; but the Hamilton man holds his own in Van Dyke’s shadow. At the very least, his cockney accent is better.

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Best of 2015: Top 10 Gaming Moments

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It follows that an insanely good year for games means an insanely good year for gaming moments, and that was definitely true for 2015. From incredible story beats that stuck in the heads of many, to smaller touches that blew away expectations, to personal milestones unique to each player, this year bred positive videogame talking points at a wonderfully consistent rate. Here are the ten that stuck out the most for me.

Most of these are not story-related, but there are spoilers here for certain games.

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VR BEST OF 2015 DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s weird. Cool, but definitely weird. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

SPOILERS DEFINITELY FOLLOW.
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10. What Makes You S.P.E.C.I.A.L? – Fallout 4

I didn’t get very far in Fallout 4, for a swathe of complicated reasons that can easily be summarised in the phrase “It wasn’t for me.” But that doesn’t change the fact that the game handles its weirdly lengthy install in a classy, fitting and very entertaining way. Armed with a grainy filter straight out of a 1950s movie theatre and some superbly drawn black and white animation, the game introduces you to each of the seven sections of your in-game skill tree via a series of whimsical – and brutal – vignettes that are great fun to watch. Depending on the speed of your hard drive and the platform on which you play, you may find that the length of these consecutive clips matches up almost exactly with your install time, which is a nice bonus.

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Best of 2015: Top 10 Movie Characters

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I entered this year’s run of countdowns resigned to the somewhat depressing knowledge that my schedule would prevent me from watching any Boxing Day films, but at the very least that allows for one positive: I no longer have anything stopping me from spreading out my movie-themed countdowns throughout the ten day period, rather than bunching them up towards the post-December 26th half. So I’m going to cling to that positive, and show you my favourite movie characters from 2015.

This isn’t a lengthy or particularly competitive list – Out of what I watched this year I could only come up with one honorable mention – but I do think it’s a strong list nonetheless. Hollywood put some pretty magnetic characters onto the big screen in 2015, and it’s good to see that for once, it wasn’t just the villains that got all the good moments and lines. There are more “good guys” and morally ambiguous folk on my character list this year than any previous edition, so take that how you will.

Also, give that I’m talking about what makes characters memorable, mild spoilers will come up.

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VR BEST OF 2015 DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s weird. Cool, but definitely weird. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

SPOILERS FOLLOW.
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10. M – Spectre

Ralph Fiennes is one of those actors who tends to improve the quality of most movies he’s in, which made him a fine choice to replace Dame Judi Dench in a role that she had well and truly made her own for almost two decades. Fiennes’ M is just as visibly affected by outside pressures in Spectre as Dench’s ever was, but his penchant for keeping up appearances is more prominent, making his seething rage at both his political situation and the cocky young upstart at its head tremendous fun to watch. He bares his troubles through gritted teeth and then, when he finally gets to take action, the catharsis is palpable.

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Best of 2014: Top 10 Movie Characters

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Let’s get stuck into talking about some movies, then.

2014 was an unbelievably good year for movies, particularly blockbusters, and the characters they brought along with them to the big screens of the world were pretty universally fun to watch. Whether they were adapted from source material in another medium, based on real life people or entirely new creations, there were plenty to celebrate in 2014. There are some films that even made it really difficult for me to pick just one character for this list (and one instance where I just had to pick two). Without further ado, here is my 2014 list of my personal favourite movie characters.

Some mild plot spoilers will follow.

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VR BEST OF 2014 DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s spooky. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.
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10. TARS – Interstellar

There was a lot about Interstellar that surprised unsuspecting viewers, from its mind-screw of a plotline to its odd twisting tone to its completely un-telegraphed big name acting cameos. And yet perhaps its biggest sucker punch was the appearance and popularity of the ensemble dark horse TARS, a space-faring robot companion with a literal “humour setting”, which allows for a rare and refreshing source of comic relief throughout an otherwise very sombre film. It isn’t just the sarcastic zingers that make him so memorable, though. His visual design is unusually far from the standard Hollywood robot archetype, consisting of four magnetic rectangular prisms that work together to grant the bot a deceptive range of mobility and functionality. Very cool.
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Best of 2013: Top 10 Movie Characters

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Here we are at the midpoint of my Best Of 2013 lists with my first movie-themed countdown. This year I decided to delay starting the movie-specific lists to allow for the last traditional release date of the year for new movies, Boxing Day, to pass by. Hopefully this will avoid a repeat of last year’s situation where I had to ignore Wreck It Ralph and Les Miserables. That said, let’s count down some memorable characters.

The characters on this list need not be appearing for the first time in a film; fresh interpretations of other material, recurring players in a series and even depictions of real-life people are all fair game. 2013 gave us examples of all these types, and while each character on this list stimulated a different set of emotions from audiences, all managed to be memorable in some way. Many of them are villains, but there are some good guys thrown in there too. Some were actually more memorable than the movies they came from, while others helped their movies to reach great heights. In any case, these are the scene stealers I enjoyed watching the most in 2013. Some spoilers will probably follow.

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VR BEST OF 2013 DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s scary. Respectful disagreement is welcome.
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10. Niki Lauda – Rush

Though Niki Lauda is, of course, an actual person, the version of him put to screen in Rush by Daniel Bruhl (of Inglorious Basterds fame) is at once frustrating and admirable. Though his real-life Formula One rivalry with Liam Hemsworth’s James Hunt is exaggerated in the film to the point where Lauda is portrayed as obsessive over beating Hunt (at one moment even lamenting that “happiness is the enemy” if he wants to be successful in his pursuit), Bruhl sells enough of Lauda’s vulnerable and/or appreciative moments to make him the highlight of the film. Though much of the marketing for the film sells Rush as a movie about Hunt’s champion 1976 season, it really belongs to Lauda (and Bruhl).

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Loads and LOADS of Characters

The final post of Vagrant Rant’s guest week comes from a tall man who will play just about any game you put in front of him. As long as it fulfils this criteria…

—Written by DeathOnStilts—

—Edited/formatted by Vagrantesque—

It’s no secret that the characters of a game either make or break it. Having lots of them makes a game better. Having LOADS of them makes a game glorious. The variety of personalities and play styles they bring enriches the life of the gamer and fills them with an incomprehensible joy. Well, that joy can be explained:

All gamers, in their heart of hearts, longs for games to have loads and loads of characters.

The discovery of a game that DOES have loads and loads of characters fills all gamers (without exception – don’t lie to yourself) with the happiness that comes from fulfilling the soul’s desire.

LoL

Jubilatory.

The characters pictured above are just 60 of 112 “champions” in the ever-growing, ever-popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena known as League of Legends. The game’s developers at Riot Games bring out a new character or “champion” every month (or so they say), each with vastly different play styles. Due to the glorious plethora of characters, no two matches are the same. In addition to this is the likelihood that you probably have a champion that not many people have. This obviously makes you “sah indie” and “alternative”. If you’re actually good with a champion nobody uses due to them “sucking”, then you get to rub that in their face and insult them by simply being a presence on the battlefield.

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Best of 2012: Top 10 Movie Characters

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The movies of 2012 brought with them an avalanche of memorable characters, whose exploits stuck in our minds for a range of reasons. Some made us laugh, some made us cringe, some made us quiver and some just made us want to stand up and applaud. For my second Vagrant Rant Best of 2012 list, I present my top ten favourite movie characters of the year.

The characters on this list need not be brand new creations; fresh interpretations of other material, recurring players in a series and even depictions of real-life people were all fair game when I was putting it together. Regardless of what other people may have been saying about them, I have not included any characters from movies I did not see in 2012. So, sadly, those amazing Boxing Day Australian releases (The Hobbit, Wreck-It Ralph, Les Miserables) are out of the picture.

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VR BEST OF 2012 DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s scary. You have been warned, fanboys.
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10. Sid – The Descendants

The Descendants, released at the very beginning of 2012 here in Australia, is a truly heartfelt triumph on many levels, but its many facets would not come together quite so effectively without the comic relief provided by the female lead’s dimwitted boyfriend, Sid. Nick Krause’s performance lends the role just the right combination of idiocy and believability, with a hint of something poignant thrown in. This ensures that, despite the film’s many character interaction highlights, you just aren’t likely to forget his exchange with those two seniors. Not at all.

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