The wisdom of The LEGO Movie Videogame

If you stop by Later Levels regularly, you’ll likely have read about Ethan at some point: a boy with a fondness for ice-cream, fluffy animals and anything related to Minecraft. I can’t believe how quickly the past few years have gone by and that my stepson will reach the grand old age of ten this weekend. Double figures!

The following post was one I wrote several years ago for a different blog that no longer exists, a while after first meeting Pete and being introduced his son. I wanted to reprise it here in honour of Ethan’s milestone to wish him a very happy birthday: may his future be full of pixels, explosions and triumphs over the forces of evil.

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Originally published on 06 May 2015:

Last year I moved to a different part of Essex for a fresh start and, after a few months of living in my new town, I had the pleasure of meeting Pete in a local pub. During a long conversation over a couple of beers we discovered we’d grown up in the same area on parallel streets, share a similar sense of humour, and both eat fish and chips more frequently than is good for us.

But while we hit it off instantly, I was reluctant to tell him about my blog at first. It wasn’t because I was ashamed of it; it was more to do with the fact that I’ve mentioned it to others in the past and they tend to get this look in their eyes which means ‘women don’t play video games, let alone write about them’. I didn’t want to get into yet another discussion where I had to justify myself as a gamer, trying to convince the other person I don’t play Candy Crush and am quite happy spending a Friday night with a controller in hand.

But eventually I plucked up the courage and you know what? Pete believed me straight off and wanted to know more. Our conversation then turned to the subject of gaming and he confessed he was a bit of a gamer too, having run a Vietcong server in his twenties and sinking way too many hours into World of Warcraft. He even told me it was he who had made the winners’ trophies for Games World and, being someone who was a teenager during the nineties, I was kind of impressed.

Video games and friendship

We’ve hung out pretty regularly since meeting and video games play a part in our relationship. We worked our way through Costume Quest 2 on Halloween, took a trip to the Heart of Gaming where I kicked his butt at Street Fighter II: The World Warrior (barely); got an hour through Thief before deciding it was way too much like Dishonored; and spent Christmas playing Alien Isolation while eating our own body-weight in chocolate. Although he has no desire to write, he’s interested in my blog and went to his first expo with me earlier this year.

There are two aspects of our friendship which stand out for me, the first being that Pete doesn’t look at me any differently because of my gender when it comes to video games. I’d like to think we’ve both learnt a lot from each other: I’ve introduced him to the world of indie development and guided him through the perils of Kickstarter, and he told me about classic titles I’d never heard of before and didn’t laugh when I forgot the control system while trying to play The Witcher 2. Our discussions are those of a couple of people who enjoy gaming and accept each other for who they are, and it feels good not to see that look I mentioned above when we talk.

The other factor is Pete’s son Ethan: a gorgeous seven-year old with boundless energy, a cheeky sense of humour and countless knock-knock jokes. He carries his 2DS with him wherever he goes and can do an excellent Mario impression. He’s played The LEGO Movie Videogame so much in my presence I now know the words to the annoying theme tune off by heart. Next on his wishlist is Minecraft, he often turns up wearing a Mario hat I bought him at EGX last year, and he completely freaked out when he got a Wii U for Christmas.

It’s obvious from his description that games feature regularly when spending time with Ethan. If he and Pete come over for breakfast on a Sunday morning, he’ll tell me to sit down next to me because he needs to complete the next part of my ‘training’ on Mario Kart 8. He has watched me roam (nothing more) through the mountains and forests of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim while pretending to be a knight with a sword. And there was one lengthy announcement where he revealed he’s going to be a game developers when he grows up, with his first release being ‘Warcraft Insanity’ and featuring ancient Egypt, mummies and grenades.

The thing all gamers have in common

There have been several controversies in the gaming industry over the past few years and – while it pains me to say it – the community surrounding it has become so much more hostile. I’m not going to turn this into a post on feminism or write this feeling sorry for myself, but it can be particularly hard being a woman at times. I’m fortunate enough never to have experienced the same level of aggression as others but I’ve been ignored at expos in favour of male friends, received horrible comments via Facebook posts and tend to stay away from online gaming.

The one thing we all have in common as gamers is exactly that: gaming. We may be of different genders, from different countries, of different sexualities but all of us share a love of video games and it’s a common ground that should bring us together. We’ve all shared that experience of picking up our now-favourite title for the first time, eagerly awaiting the release of a much-anticipated sequel, and spending way too much money during a Steam sale and then bankrupting ourselves until the next one.

Unfortunately though, some gamers don’t see it that way and instead choose to target other players for their differences. Abuse written on forums and dished out during online games is now seen as the norm, with ‘gay’ and ‘gamer gurl’ being common insults. While certain members of the community are ostracised, we limit both ourselves and the community as a whole; we deter new talent from working within the industry, we lose unique ideas that could lead to amazing experiences, and we perpetuate the view of gamers as being caustic and hostile.

GEEK, expo, convention, video games, Mario, costume, Ethan, cosplay

Both Peter and Ethan don’t see me as a ‘girl’: they see me as a gamer who happens to be female, one they’re happy to spend time with talking about and playing video games. It doesn’t matter to Ethan that I’m of the opposite sex, or so much older than he is, or that I suck at most of his 2DS titles and regularly forget control schemes. He just wants to stick on a game and sit on the sofa together so he can train us and become the ‘Uber-Master’ of everything he plays. He may only be seven-years old, but sometimes he’s wise beyond his years.

Hope for the future of gaming

I have to admit this makes me hopeful for the future of gaming. When I was growing up, video games were seen as a bit of a ‘niche’ hobby and not something everybody did; but there are many children out there who are now familiar with and accept them as a part of everyday life. The majority will experience gaming at least once if not be a fan themselves, and because of this they’re more likely to be accepting of other players despite their differences.

When you see Ethan’s expression after discovering a new shortcut within Mario Kart (usually followed by a ‘whoa!’ or ‘easy now!’) and consider the fact he wants to share this with you whoever you are, it’s hard not to smile and wonder what the gaming world will be like when he’s my age. There’s every reason to hope the hostility and discrimination so apparent within the community at present will eventually die out; I just hope I’m still around to witness it.

As a woman who blogs about gaming, I’m tired of continuously having to justify myself as a gamer. The sooner the community can accept the fact that every member is equal and has a worthwhile opinion, the sooner we can get back to doing what we love and playing more video games. Perhaps we should all try to be a bit more like Ethan, and maybe the theme tune to The LEGO Movie Videogame holds more wisdom than it first seems…

Everything is awesome; everything is cool when you’re part of a team.

Kitacon 2017: cosplay update

Earlier this year I wrote about Kitacon. Tim from GeekOut South-West first introduced me to it back in March 2014 when he was in Birmingham for the event and I was in town for a different show. After a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity with his friends, he snuck me into the Hilton Metropole so I could see what it was all about.

This year it’s taking place in its new home at the University of Warwickshire from 18 to 20 August 2017. It’s thanks to Tim and his lovely partner Jake that my other-half and I have tickets: 1,400 standard passes sold out in just over eight minutes so we’re extremely grateful to them for being ready to click the order button.

I’ve got a steep learning curve in front of me during the lead-up to the convention. Members of the Kitacon Official Social Group on Facebook have been discussing their cosplay plans over the past few months and most seem to have ideas for not one, but several awesome costumes. I, on the other hand, have absolutely no clue when it comes to dress-making or cosplay creation and so there’s a chance I could be a little out of my depth.

Stranger Things, television programme, Eleven, girl

That’s not going to stop me from trying though, although house renovations and recent family illness have meant I’ve made hardly any progress lately. But I’ve now at least narrowed down the ideas I came up with previously to two. I’ve chosen to make a start with Eleven from Stranger Things (pictured opposite) for a couple of reasons: the outfit itself is pretty ‘normal’ in comparison to others so it’s not too ambitious for a cosplay first-timer, plus the character herself is simply badass.

Tim recently set up a Trello board for us so we can keep track of progress on our costumes. This collaboration tool organises your projects into boards so you can easily see what’s being worked on and by whom, giving a lovely visual representation of all you’ve achieved so far. If you’ve never heard about it before, head over to the GeekOut South-West site on Wednesday for a handy guide that explains how to get started.

Our Cosplay Progress Board is open to everyone if you’d like to see how we’re getting on. As mentioned above, my creativity skills aren’t that great so I’m going to have to source a lot of the items needed for the Eleven outfit rather than make them. Fortunately I’ve managed to find a great dress by VioletHouseClothing on the Etsy website and will be placing an order next week; I’m still struggling to track down the right socks though so if anyone has any recommendations, please let me know.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, cartoon, female, reporter, journalist, microphone, April O'Neil

My second costume is going to be April O’Neil (pictured opposite) from the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and I’ve already found a yellow jumpsuit on eBay which might do the trick, although the quality could be a little hit-and-miss. I’ve therefore dug out an outfit I wore to a fancy-dress party a few years ago so I’ve got Velma from Scooby Doo ready as back-up in case needed. I just need to buy a good wig.

I doubt I’ll ever become a cosplay master but hopefully these costumes go well enough so I feel as though I fit in while at Kitacon. Three months and counting: I’ll take some photographs as soon as an outfit is complete for a further update. Wish me luck!

Guilty pleasure: The Typing of the Dead: Overkill

Wikipedia defines a guilty pleasure as ‘something, such as a film, a television program or a piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard, or is seen as unusual or weird.’

That statement doesn’t mention video games but all gamers have one: the title you love to bits but are too scared to admit in public. Maybe it’s that annual EA Sports release you’ve denounced as a blatant marketing ploy but then go home to play and win the World Cup. Or perhaps that new release you’ve joined in with the bashing of on an online forum before quietly collecting every hidden item throughout the remainder of the evening.

The House of the Dead: Overkill is a first-person rail-shooter developed by Headstrong Games and originally published by SEGA in 2009. The story takes place in 1991 when Special Agent G is sent to Louisiana to investigate a series of disappearances and hunt down crime lord Papa Cesar. Just when you think it can’t get any more clichéd, along comes partner Detective Isaac Washington who’s out to seek revenge for the murder of his father – and don’t forget about the infestation of mutants.

What if you kept the B-movie plot and zombies, but replaced the guns with a keyboard and bullets with random (and often crude) words? It sounds pretty bizarre but what you’ll end up with is Modern Dream’s 2013 release The Typing of the Dead: Overkill, and my very own gaming guilty pleasure.

Opinions of the game are somewhat mixed and it currently has a user score of 7.7. Some people praise it for its sense of innovation and comical wisecracks, but others criticise it for its juvenile humour, excessive use of the F-word and lack of gameplay. For example, take a look at some of the negative comments on the Metacritic page:

  • “There is no setting to alleviate the constant barrage of F-bombery. There are single sentences with three or four curses. It’s really just a lack of imagination.” – ebinary
  • “Having made it through the first two levels, I’ve already been exposed to tasteless cripple jokes, completely unnecessary levels of swearing, and a vomit-inducing fight against two zombified strippers. I’m no stranger to adult content in games, but I was quickly overwhelmed by the exploitative tone of this game.” – titlebreaker
  • Animations are poor, environments bland and uninspired and its just a whole bunch of horror clichés being thrown together. Meh.” – DFCZE

  • I really shouldn’t like The Typing of the Dead: Overkill as much as I do. It features Varla Guns and Candi Stryper as two of its protagonists, described as ‘the hottest stripper on the Bayou City club scene’ and portrayed as the ‘dumb blonde’ stereotype respectively. Bosses such as mutant strippers Coco and Sindy bring the tone down even further – and I haven’t even mentioned the gratuitous boob shots yet.

    Considering all of this, I should be shouting ‘Sexism!’ from the roottops. But I love it because it’s just so damn camp. The B-movie grindhouse style and vintage soundtrack encourage players not to take the title too seriously and I can’t seem to stop myself from laughing at the parade of scantily-clad mutants and F-bombs. I know that’s possibly a little hypocritical of me considering my thoughts on females in gaming – and yes, I can laugh at some pretty immature stuff – but I just can’t help but get sucked into this game.

    The Typing of the Dead, Overkill, video game, boss, cow, Meat Katie, cleaver, food preparation

    I mean, come on. You’re fighting a boss called Meat Katie, a grotesquely-mutated butcher woman with a cow skull and udder attached to her body who uses a giant meat cleaver in battle. You’re confronted with phrases such as ‘udderly delightful’, ‘sirloin surprise’ and ‘food preparation’ until she’s forced backwards into a meat grinder and dies with a moo. How can you not laugh at that?

    Nintendo Power apparently once called The House of the Dead: Overkill ‘one of the Wii’s greatest guilty pleasures’, so The Typing of the Dead: Overkill is worthy of being mine. There may be a stream coming soon…

    The magic of the video game manual

    As explained in my last editorial, family events have meant I haven’t recently been able to read as many blog posts as I normally would. But occassionally I’ve been able to scan through my WordPress reader, and a post on the PlayingWithThoughts entitled The Lost Art of Video Game Manuals site caught my eye and got me reminiscing.

    Back in the beginning of the nineties, there was a stall at a local market which stocked video games. My dad would sometimes take my brother and I there on a Saturday morning so we could spend our pocket-money and it was heaven for us as kids: a place full of a colourful boxes each containing a ticket to a new world. I came away with some well-known classics such as Simon the Sorcerer along with some really random stuff – including Bonecruncher for our Commodore 64, the theme tune for which sounded a bit like Blue Monday by New Order.

    The magic of manuals

    The box we chose never remained intact by the time we got home. We’d eagerly tear it open whilst sitting in the back of the car just so we could get at the manual. The fun of buying a game wasn’t limited only to playing it; it also consisted of reading through the accompanying manual and learning about the gameplay, right down to the last letter. During those short journeys we discovered what happened on Simon’s twelfth birthday, how to turn bones into soap, and that the good guys always triumph over the forces of evil.

    Video games, bozes, shelf, row, adventures

    It was a way of experiencing a title without having to be in front of our computer and the guide was often the first tie we formed to any video game we’d set our hearts on playing. Opening those pages revealed epic stories and grand adventures, descriptions of protagonists and their enemies, detailed instructions and notes from the developers themselves. And rather than the plastic cases we’re all familiar with today, games came in cardboard boxes that were piled high next to your CRT monitor like a badge of honour. Forget Steam achievements – it was all about how tall that stack was back then.

    Every manual was different in terms of length, contents and appearance, but something they all had in common was the blank notes section at the back. Initially I’d use these to record secret combinations uncovered in the title but eventually my scribbles would overflow onto scraps of paper when it became necessary to draw maps or make connections between clues. While one side of the CRT was taken up by a pile of video game boxes, on the other was a stack of guides with pieces of folded paper inserted.

    Extensions of the digital world

    The main reason for the existence of the manual was to teach you how to play. I’m not entirely sure if games really were more difficult back then but one thing was for certain: you often wouldn’t get very far without the instruction guide. Of course, there were always those who’d completely ignore the book inside the box and instead jump straight into playing (just like my brother), but they’d soon find themselves digging out the pages to discover what those glowing red objects were, how you opened your inventory or why you couldn’t save at certain points.

    The books also served as an extension of the digital world. Technological limitations meant it wasn’t possible for games to include lengthy action-packed cutscenes, and many players would have been put off by having to sit through walls of text that explained backstory and character descriptions. Instead, that information was provided in a manual with beautiful artwork as an accompaniment, often drawing you into the title’s world and its history before you even pressed the start button.

    The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, Dial-A-Pirate, wheel, copyright

    Plenty of guides contained secrets or creative forms of copyright protection. For example, The Secret of Monkey Island originally came with a ‘Dial-A-Pirate’ wheel that you’d use to create a face and enter the corresponding date when shown a picture of the buccaneer and the location they were hanged onscreen. Of course, this would cause problems when the wheel went missing; the rise of internet forums has overcome these challenges now but there’s something special about uncovering those secrets for yourself.

    Gaming was considered ‘niche’ when I was a kid and something only a select few dabbled in. Digital downloads were just a glimmer on the horizon and if you wanted a new release, you had to visit a shop to buy it in person. The material that came with your purchase was something tangible you could hold, something that projected a sense of ‘value for money’ and helped convince the buyer to part with their cash.

    The death of the video game manual

    There are a few explanations for the death of the video game manual and not all of them are negative. In-game tutorials mean we don’t have to go through a primer before jumping into the title: a good one will show you how to master the controls and overcome the gameplay mechanics, without presenting you with a text wall or relying on a lengthy physical document as backup.

    Alongside this, technological advancements mean we have cinema-quality cutscenes so there’s much less need to recount a backstory in paper-based form. Just take a look at some of the opening sequences for today’s games: while the artwork contained within old manuals was beautiful in its own way, it just doesn’t compare to modern cutscenes for some players.

    Hands, video game, controller, gamepad

    Additionally, the majority of titles are now downloaded digitally rather than bought physically. This means losing out on the manual and any other feelies that came with video games in the past, but think of what we’ve gained: we’re now able to get hold of almost any release, anywhere and at any time without having to make our way to the stores and hope they have it in stock. I can buy the game I want in an instant, and I don’t have to wait for that weekend trip to the local market as I did when I was young.

    This is obviously great news for the environment as having a physical instruction booklet in every box must have cost a lot of trees – particularly when you consider that some of them were as big as encyclopaedias. Not only did they contain almost a books’ worth of backstory but translating this into several languages needed a lot of printing. The money previously put aside for packaging can now instead be spent on development, resulting in even better experiences going forward.

    Paper perceptions

    While I’m excited for the future of gaming, I’m also nostalgic for its yesteryear as manuals completed the video-game-package for me. They introduced me to the digital world I was about to lose myself in after school for the next couple of months, and were a vital component of the purchase I’d saved up for. The words contained within them were an integral part of the experience.

    I don’t think I’m alone in saying that though. Take a look at the reward tiers for recent video game campaigns on Kickstarter and many feature physical copies of the release for higher backers; and if a project doesn’t have one, it’s usually requested by somebody in the comments. There’s something about having a real box in front of you that’s special, almost as if you’re holding a part of a pixelated universe in your hands.

    Myst, video game, box, CD case, physical copy

    I still have some of the games I bought from that local market stall including Myst, and it was a joy to discover the guide still intact along with my original gameplay notes from all those years ago whilst packing for our house-move last year. But it’s not quite the same. I miss those Saturday trips with my dad and brother, eagerly reading the guide on the way home in the back of the car. I miss those shiny covers, the smell of the paper and the way the pages held secrets right under your nose.

    Those old video game manuals were once a source of both information and wonder, and they’ll always remain that way.

    Aloy: because she’s worth it

    Video games often require the player to go with logic which at first seems a little… well, flimsy. For example, Lara Croft may be the first person to enter an ancient tomb in years but will find a machine gun upgrade lying in the rubble. Go figure.

    That however pale in comparison when you compare it to a more recent one. A fact so completely beyond belief that if you think about it for too long, there’s a very real danger the fabric of the entire universe will disintegrate around us and video games will be a thing of the past. What am I talking about?

    Aloy’s hair in Horizon Zero Dawn.

    This girl can rappel down the world’s tallest mountain and slide into a patch of tall grass as soon as she hits the dirt. She can go head-to-head with Thunderjaws, Rockbreakers and Deathbringers without even breaking a sweat or a fingernail. She can take all that Mother’s Heart throws as her and her gorgeous, thick hair still looks as though she just stepped out of a L’Oreal advert – and she knows she’s worth it. With a few grey hairs starting to show, a desperate need for straighteners on a daily basis and an aversion to even the slightest damp day, mine makes me look as if I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards in comparison.

    I should hate her, really despise that makeup- that-looks-like-no-makeup thing she has going on and her ability to come out of any scenario with an immaculate appearance. But I just can’t; her attitude and independence make her one of the most likeable characters I’ve ever had the opportunity to step into the shoes of. Her physical beauty isn’t something she nurtures and she pulls up anyone who doubts her skill due to her age or gender. She tells men that her ‘eyes are up here’, questions the right of the matriarchs to take power simply because they’ve had children, and pulls apart any traditions that don’t make sense. She’s simply awesome.

    Aloy’s red tresses were the work of Johan Lithvall, character artist at Starbreeze Studios. He said on the ArtStation website:

    It was a fun challenge to learn the intricacy of game hair development and work with my colleagues in code, rigging and shading to realize our 100k triangles in-game hair for Aloy to be fully dynamic, driven by 50 splines at 3-5 ms whilst maintaining a stable 30fps on a PS4 system.

    Take a look at the images on the site – I love the way the protagonist is perfect-but-not-perfect, with flyaway hairs escaping from her braids and the style not entirely symmetrical.

    Khinjarsi recently published a post on Upon Completion entitled All the Small Things which notes that it’s the smaller details in video games which ‘make us laugh, make us cry or bring us that little bit closer to our characters’. There are a number of such elements in Horizon Zero Dawn that elevate it to being one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever experienced. Aloy’s hair ruffles when the wind catches it, and she hunches over and hugs herself when she’s battered by the rain. The mechanical beasts limp and spark when they’re wounded, and the way interact with their herd is almost magical. And have you seen the tree ants? You need to see the tree ants.

    In a recent patch, developer Guerrilla Games included an update for the title’s photo mode and I’ve been making the most of the new filters, poses and facial expressions. Soak up Aloy’s model-like beauty below – because she’s worth it.

    Horizon Zero Dawn photo gallery

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    Arm yourself: video game weapons

    Every gamer has their preferred weapon of choice. There are those who like to stand back and pick off their enemies with a bow; thos who prefer to get stuck into the action and go head-to-head with a sword; and others who’d rather have the protection of a giant gun. Then there are the people who’d choose Saints Row’s Dildo Bat over anything else.

    The gorgeous Shelby from Falcon Game Reviews very kindly nominated Later Levels for the Mystery Blogger award last month, and one of the questions put to his nominees stood out for me: what is your favourite video game weapon (realistic or ridiculous)? This post is dedicated to him and features some of the tools I’ve enjoyed wielding, in no particular order.

    Root beer from The Secret of Monkey Island

    The Secret of Monkey Island, video game, ghost, pirates, LeChuck, Guybrush Threepwood, root beer, grog machine, Stan's Previously Owned Vessels, boatyard

    I know some of you are thinking this is a predictable choice given that Monkey Island has featured in several of my posts recently, but come on: root beer as a weapon is awesome! It’s known among voodoo practitioners to be a powerful tool against ghosts – but perhaps the real reason LeChuck exploded into a firework display when sprayed with the stuff is because it tastes simply awful. Who knows?

    Tearblast arrows from Horizon Zero Dawn

    Horizon Zero Dawn, video game, Aloy, female, warrior, bow, arrows, machine, beast, Grazer, flames

    I’ve been playing a lot of Horizon Zero Dawn lately and my favourite weapon from the game has to be the tearblast arrows. Grazers are hardly a formidable nemesis, but let me document how a typical battle goes:

    – Me: “Oh look, a herd of Grazers.”
    – Aloy: *lines up a tearblast arrow and aims for a blaze canister*
    – Tearblast arrow: “Bwaaaaaahp!”
    – Grazer: “What the hell was that?”
    – Tearblast arrow: “BOOM!”
    – Aloy: *runs*
    – Me: *giggles*

    Keyboard from The Typing of the Dead: Overkill

    The Typing of the Dead, Overkill, video game, boss, cow, Meat Katie, cleaver, food preparation

    My gaming guilty pleasure has got to be The Typing of the Dead: Overkill by Modern Dream. There’s something surreal and perversely satisfying about frantically typing phrases such as ‘udderly delightful’ and ‘sirloin surprise’ in order to fire your gun at a mutated cow with a cleaver called Meat Katie. If only the same weapon would work against my boss when I’m in the office and he won’t leave me alone.

    Your child in Dad Quest

    Dad Quest, video game, pigeons, squawk, scientist, Dad, Son

    If you’re a fan of platformers and retro graphics but haven’t yet checked out Dad Quest by Sundae Month, head over to Steam Early Access right now. This game features one of the most unique yet obvious weapons: your own child! Level up to equip them with devastating attacks such as piercing throw and shank, and those pesky pigeons and purple hedgehogs won’t be able to stand in your way.

    Calculator from The Longest Journey

    The Longest Journey, video game, Roper Klacks, alchemist, wizard, calculator, blue light

    When April O’Ryan finds herself up against the evil alchemist Roper Klacks in his floating castle, she uses the only weapon able to stop him: that’s right, a calculator. A device of logic in a magical realm holds more power than any of us can imagine and Klacks is sucked into the screen after playing with the buttons. If that’s punishment for using it to spell rude words using numbers, then school children everywhere had better watch out.

    Wrench from BioShock

    BioShock, video games, hands, wrench, weapon, tattoo

    The wrench the only melee weapon in BioShock and has the highest damage per second of any weapon in the game. That’s not the only reason it’s awesome though: I love the fact it’s completely fitting for its environment. Maybe this symbol of the working class was left behind by a fleeing worker who was disillusioned with Andrew Ryan’s oppressive rule, before the Rapture erupted with civil conflict and the place descended into a state of anarchy.

    Trico from The Last Guardian

    The Last Guardian, video game, boy, Trico, griffin, knights

    The fluffiest – and definitely largest – weapon on my list, Trico is a giant griffin-like creature who joins you on your journey through The Last Guardian. He may behave like a domesticated animal and therefore not always do as he’s told, but he defends you every step of the way: every time the armoured knights come to drag you through their misted doors, he’s there to stomp and crush them to pieces. I’d really like a Trico… although I’m not sure where I’d keep him or if I could afford the food bill.

    A big thank you to Shelby for the Mystery Blogger nomination – receiving an award from a site like Falcon Game Reviews is extremely humbling! What’s your favourite weapon from a video game?