Married bliss: video game weddings

My other-half and I surprised our friends and family by getting married last January. It was something we’d decided to do only two months beforehand and we kept our plan a secret for as long as possible, so it ended up being a nice New Year surprise for everyone.

We’re still playing video games together a year on and there’s nobody else I’d rather have as my player two. Anyone who has watched Pete and I on Twitch together will have seen how we tease each other, but it’s all done in fun and he still makes me laugh every day. He listens when I need to talk, keeps me grounded and buys me chocolate too – what more could you want in a husband? Hopefully there’ll be many more anniversaries to come and to celebrate our first, here are some of the best weddings in gaming.

King’s Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow: Alexander and Cassima

King's Quest, King's Quest VI, King's Quest 6, video game, wedding, Alexander, CassimaI have a feeling that the royal wedding between the beautiful princess Cassima and prince Alexander split the inhabitants of the lands of the Green Isles into two camps. There would have been those who were believers in love at first sight, thinking the couple couldn’t wait to spend the rest of their lives together; while others would say they moved far too fast. Meeting for the first time, quickly falling in love and then getting married all in the course of one four-hour game? Slow down, kids!

Super Paper Mario: Bowser and Peach

Super Paper Mario, wedding, Bowser, PeachAlthough not the most successful or even mutually-agreeable wedding, that of Peach and Bowser was the first time the King of the Koopas did something a little more imaginative than simply kidnapping the princess. Sure, he kind of forced her into it at the start of Super Paper Mario but it meant we got to see just how good he looked in his tuxedo. Fortunately for both of them, the marriage doesn’t hold together and they don’t get to the point of having kids – because I’m not sure how that would have worked out.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: you and whoever you choose

The Elder Scrolls, The Elder Scrolls V, Skyrim, weddingSkyrim proves the saying about there being ‘plenty of fish in the sea’ to be true because you can wed almost anyone in this game. Don’t expect a romantic ceremony however because it’s never anything other than slightly awkward. Marry your lizard-partner while your adopted children moan about being hungry and wanting to play hide-and-seek, and your Housecarl glares at you with all their might. Then never speak to your spouse again because they’re based in Markath and you’ve completed all the quests there. Married bliss!

The Secret of Monkey Island: LeChuck and Elaine

The Secret of Monkey Island, Special Edition, video game, wedding, pirates, Guybrush, LeChuck, Elaine, monkies, churchLeChuck is no villain: he’s simply misunderstood and all his actions were done for love. He ‘dropped dead’ when Elaine told him too; and his feelings for the governor were strong enough to bring him back from beyond the grave and take the form of a ghost, because he couldn’t bear to be parted from her even in death. It’s just unfortunate that Guybrush spoiled his one chance at happiness when he interrupted their wedding – and then went on to destroy him with root-beer.

To The Moon: Johnny and River

To The Moon, video game, dancing, sky, lighthouse, starsThe relationship between Johnny and River in To The Moon has to be one of the most bittersweet in gaming. Throughout the game, their memories of both joy and sadness are shared and almost all of them are entirely ordinary; but it’s the ‘realness’ of this partnership which makes it all so touching. The scene shortly after Johnny and River’s wedding where they dance in her beloved lighthouse under the stars is beautiful and brings a tear to my eye every single time.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End: Nathan and Elena

Uncharted, Uncharted 4, A Thief's End, video game, wedding, photographs, Nathan, Drake, ElenaAlthough the wedding may only be seen in photographs during the game, the relationship between Nate and Elena is perhaps one of the best depictions of marriage in video games. It’s obvious this adventurous pair love each other deeply but their life together isn’t without issues. They make it work in the end thanks to the power of communication – but to be honest, I’m not sure how Elena puts up with him, his murderous ways or his annoyingly-sarcastic quips. Get out of there as soon as you can, girl!

Happy first anniversary to my other-half – I’m afraid to say you’re stuck with me now. At least you’ll always have someone to play video games with and tease on Twitch.   ❤

Pieces of 8-bit: pirate video games

Argh me hearties! Tomorrow it be the most booty-full time of year: International Talk Like a Pirate Day. All you scallywags must ask Polly if she wants a cracker and joyfully yo-ho-ho with a bottle of rum – or face a meeting with Davy Jones’ Locker after walking the plank.

Video games based on buccaneers have been a little hit-and-miss over the years (take that from someone who played Risen 2: Dark Waters on the Xbox 360, narrowly escaping the bugs and living to tell the tale). But there’s some treasure to be found out there; you just need to grab your shovel and dig around for it among all those shipwrecks. To get ourselves in the mood for tomorrow, let’s hit the digital high-seas and take a look at some of the better releases in honour of Talk Like a Pirate Day.

1984: Treasure Island

Gold, buried treasure and wealth beyond your wildest dreams! All you have to do is guide young Jim Hawkins through this action-adventure’s torturous maze to the treasure trove. Based on the book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, fierce pirates will slay our hero at the stroke of a cutlass and with a limited amount of weapons available to him, it’s important to choose your targets wisely. Be careful though because Long John Silver will stop at nothing you prevent you from leaving with his haul.

1987: Sid Meier’s Pirates!

This was the first game to include the name ‘Sid Meier’ in its title in an effort to attract fans of Meier’s earlier releases. In a move away from vehicle simulations, players could live out their buccaneer dreams by attacking enemy ships and seeking buried treasure – or avoid violence altogether and increase their wealth through trade. The thing I like most about it is that the original versions included disk and manual copy projections, and if users got it wrong the game would continue but at a much higher difficulty setting. Pirates against pirates!

1990: The Secret of Monkey Island

What kind of list would this be without a mention of the Monkey Island series? A bilge-sucking one, that’s for sure! The original instalment was the point-and-click that got me into playing video games as a kid and made me a lifelong fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets. Perhaps the highlight of the title was the insult swordfighting mechanic. Who’d have thought that buccaneers were so intellectual, and would use witty comebacks to defeat their opponents rather than hacking them to death with a cutlass?

2002: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

In a change of direction for the series, the tenth instalment in The Legend of Zelda series is set on a group of islands in a vast sea. The fun begins during the celebration of Link’s coming of age when pirate captain Tetra is dropped into Outset Island’s forest by a large bird. After being rescued by our green-suited hero, the pair discover that his sister Aryll has been taken and so the pair set out on a voyage of discovery. Queue an adventure full of talking boats, water spirits and castles suspended in time under the oceans.

2007: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune

What’s one of the first things that pops into your head when you think of buccaneers? Hidden treasure, that’s what. And who else is known to like a bit of lovely loot? Smarmy action-pro Nathan Drake, that’s who. Pirates the world over just can’t seem to shake off this annoying douchebag while searching for ancient relics throughout the Uncharted series. Ok, perhaps I’m being a bit harsh; but after listening to Drake’s irritating quips and seeing how funny he finds himself, I’m not surprised they react to him so strongly.

2011: LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean

A movie franchise with a likeable protagonist that’s proving to be popular with viewers? Then prepare yourself for yet another LEGO title! My stepson had this one for his 3DS when he was younger and went through a period of playing it obsessively after he’d been allowed to watch one of the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Everyone loves a bit of Captain Jack Sparrow and with your typical LEGO video game gameplay-style, it was a great title to keep an eight-year old wannabe pirate amused.

2013: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

The sixth instalment of the Assassin’s Creed series is set in the 18th century Caribbean during the Golden Age of Piracy and follows notorious Welsh pirate Edward Kenway. About 40% of the game takes place on water where players can hunt, harpoon, dive and take part in naval combat so a real pirate would approve. Speaking of which, Black Flag features a number of characters based on real life people; Edward Thatch, better known to you landlubbers as Blackbeard, even makes an appearance.

2018: Sea of Thieves

Fancy exploring the digital world via ship in search of treasure? Then team up with a group of friends to fight against other players and claim your stake in the endless sea. Embark on quests, engage in combat and collect loot to become a pirate legend. Although this title didn’t receive as positive a reception as we’d all expected it would at launch, the rumour is that its new content is actually pretty good so now might be the perfect time to return to the high seas.



However you’re going to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day tomorrow, I hope this post has given you enough inspiration to do it in a suitably grog-filled way. Shiver me timbers!

Bad blood: worst jobs in video games

Last month I was challenged by Matt from Normal Happenings to write a Daily Inkling post. The nominated subject was bad ventures: business ideas dreamt up as a child which seemed brilliant when young, but are now clearly terrible when viewed through by adult eyes.

Unfortunately I can’t recall any such brainwaves but I do remember a certain career aspiration which could have been disastrous for everyone involved. I’d wanted to be a nurse when I was about eight-years old. A noble profession yet one which I would have been so bad at. I’m an absolute wimp: I’ve passed out while watching a friend give blood; fainted during a first-aid course when the instructor told the class fractured pelvises; and didn’t get my ears pierced until my early 30s because I really don’t like needles. I think it’s safer for everybody if I stay away from hospitals and patients.

Thankfully things turned out ok and I ended up making a much more suitable career choice when I was older. Unfortunately for certain video games however, they weren’t so lucky. Following on from a post back in June 2017 and in honour of the Daily Inkling series (to put a gaming twist on things!), here’s an article dedicated to Matt about some of the worst jobs in gaming.

Janitor

Some who visit the attractions in RollerCoaster Tycoon just can’t handle the excitement and intensity of the rides. Their lunch ends up being thrown all over the park as a result – along with burger wrappers and popped balloons so carelessly discarded along paths – and it’s the Janitor’s responsibility to clean up all that mess. You might get a payrise if you seem unhappy, but job security isn’t great and you can be replaced at the click of a button. If only the guests had stronger stomachs and better manners.

Professional Writer

Many bloggers view their hobby as a potential route to achieving their dream of becoming a professional writer but after seeing what happens to a best-selling novelist in Alan Wake, they may sensibly opt for an alternative career path. When you realise that events from the plot in your latest book (one you don’t remember writing, may I add) are happening in real life, your wife is mysteriously missing and shadowy figures are trying to kill you, it’s definitely time to consider changing to different profession.

Treasure Hunter

Travelling to exotic locations all around the world and hunting for valuable relics in the Uncharted series may sound like the perfect job to those who crave excitement. But there’s just one thing standing in the way of you and career-happiness: pirates. They’re everywhere you go, hiding behind crates with their guns and busting into the scene in armoured tanks, and you just can’t seem to get rid of them all. A stable office job may seem boring on comparison but at least the only thing you’ll get shot at with is a stapler.

Test Subject

A lot of employees don’t think of their boss too highly. But when yours is an increasingly- malicious artificial intelligence with murderous tendencies who always promises cake and then cruelly snatches that possibility away, you know you’re going to have a bad day at the office. Sure, getting to mess around with a Portal gun all day sounds like fun; but when it comes to career satisfaction, finding a job with a manager who doesn’t want to kill you on a daily basis could be more fulfilling.

Dragon Killer

Many people are animal lovers who dream of working with creatures, perhaps at a zoo or vetinary centre. But a job where it’s your responsibility to deal with some seriously p****d-off dragons is a whole different ball-game. Forget unhappy pets and minor scratches – in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim you’re looking at being stomped to death, painfully set on fire or eaten alive by flying lizards. You’re better off re-training and accepting a junior position on an entirely different career path.

I’m not sure which is worse: taking on one of the careers above or the thought of me being a nurse. Tell us in the comments below about any bad business ideas you had as a kid, or video game characters who should have thought more wisely about their profession choice!

Let me take a (video game) selfie

Last month I came across a post written by Scott over at Insert Memory Card about the ‘exquisitely polished, jaw-droppingly pretty’ Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Although released over a year ago in May 2016, Scott says it still beats many other PlayStation 4 games in the looks department – and the glorious screenshots provided in his article show it.

Horizon Zero Dawn, video game, woman, warrior, Aloy, sky, photo mode, clouds

This got me thinking about the numerous hours I spent with Horizon Zero Dawn in 2017, not only playing the game but also messing around with its photo-mode. It’s one of the most gorgeous titles I’ve ever experienced and it’s the small things that make it so special: for example, the way Aloy’s hair ruffles when the wind catches it and how she hugs herself as she’s battered by rain. The mechanical beasts that interact with their herd while casually grazing, then limp and spark when wounded. The huge open vistas full of mountains and sunsets but smaller details such as tiny tree ants too, if you take the time to look closely enough.

Scott’s images from Uncharted 4 were stunning and I left a comment referring to Horizon, to which the lovely LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release later replied. The mention of her own numerous screenshots from the game show I wasn’t the only one who was rather taken with the photo-mode! I make a joke about starting a petition to ensure a similar feature is added to all open-world RPGs in the future and laughed when Ellen said I’d secured her signature.

It was shortly after this brief conversation that I decided to restart The Elder Scrolls Online and, despite becoming addicted all over again, it wasn’t long before I felt as though something was missing. I just couldn’t achieve the same picture quality as I could with Guerrilla’s title: the best I could do was get my High Elf to pose using an emote and then snap quickly before it ended. But this wasn’t enough and I wanted to be able to change the angle, move my character around, select expressions and soften the lighting. Maybe my idea about starting a petition wasn’t such a bad one!

RiME, video game, boy, building, tower, castle, sky, trees, path, walkway, running

As Scott picks up on in his post, a video game doesn’t need to be completely realistic in terms of looks in order to be visually-appealing. It’s obviously important for the graphics to be in-tune with the developer’s vision for their project and suit the gameplay otherwise it just isn’t going to come together in a coherent form. Indie titles have brought us so many different styles and each are special in their own unique way: compare RiME to Hellblade to Cuphead, to name just a few recent examples.

But when a game is as gorgeous as Uncharted 4 or Horizon, doesn’t it deserve a photo-mode? It’s clear to see just how much work has gone into creating the world and such a feature is a great way to allow gamers to show their appreciation for the developers’ efforts. Let us spam our Facebook pages with images of Nathan Drake as he gazes out at the sky while standing on a perfect beach. Let us post countless photographs of Aloy’s model pose atop of mountains on our Twitter feeds. Let us show the internet how beautiful each title is, and how much more interesting selfies are when they feature video game characters.

We’re the tourists in a video game’s foreign lands and, just as we’d want to take pictures of our real life adventures, we want to do it in our digital ones too. Leave a comment below if you’d like to sign my petition and let us know which titles deserve a bit of visual appreciation.

Question of the Month: October 2017 edition

The question of the month is back and will see us attempt to answer a quandary that has been puzzling the gaming community since it first mashed buttons playing Track & Field. We’re going up against our blogger-friends to find the ultimate response in less than 100 words – and we’re asking you to choose the winner by voting in our poll.

But first, let’s take a look at last month’s question and find out who won!

Results: who’s the most memorable video game NPC?

We received 34 votes in our September poll and you lovely people voted for the following…

question of the month, QOTM, votes, Resident Evil 4, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, The Curse of Monkey Island

Congratulations to Imtiaz from Power Bomb Attack and the Merchant from Resident Evil 4 for being our winners! A big thank you to all of our competitors for taking part and to you gorgeous people for voting. Now let’s see the competition start to heat up for the next question of the month

October’s question: if you needed a mercenary, which video game character would you hire?

We all need a helping hand sometimes: whether that’s someone to pick us up when we fall, give us a bit of emotional support when we’re feeling down or wash our socks when we’ve run out of clean clothes. But what if we needed somebody professional to take care of the really dirty work for us? Let’s reveal our contenders for the October 2017 trophy…

Answer 1: Travis Touchdown from the No More Heroes series

Chris from OverThinker Y says: “My choice is Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes. He’s an asshole. I mean, he is really kind of a disgusting human being who’ll do almost anything for money and / or just the fun of it. I don’t think there’s any situation in which I would actually WANT to be anywhere near the guy, but if I needed someone to beat up other people that I didn’t want anywhere near me, I can’t think of a better choice.”

Answer 2: Jodie and Aiden from Beyond: Two Souls

Kim from Later Levels says: “These characters are linked by an ethereal tether so I get two for the price of one! Jodie is a CIA operative who trained in black ops combat tactics and completed warlord assassinations without backup; Aiden has telekinesis, possession and pyrokinesis powers at his disposal, along with a forcefield and healing skills to keep his partner safe. Him being a spirit is handy too and together these two would make the ultimate mercenary: Jodie can send Aiden into any situation undetected, he can take out their targets, then they can get out quick without a trace of evidence left behind.”

Answer 3: Claptrap from the Borderlands series

Nathan posts his thoughts on his blog, Hurricane thought process, along with his monthly answers. Take a look at this post to find out why he chose Claptrap this time.

Answer 4: Samus from the Metroid series

Head over to Power Bomb Attack to visit Imtiaz, where he’s discussing why he’s chosen Samus as his answer this month.

Answer 5: The Iron Bull from Dragon Age: Inquisition

Athena from AmbiGaming says: “The Iron Bull from Dragon Age: Inquisition – and he kindly asks you note the article before ‘Iron Bull’ – is a large, menacing, deadly qunari for hire, alongside his loyal, fierce, and merry band of Chargers. Able to fell demons and other powerful baddies with one mighty swing of his two-handed double-axe, The Iron Bull shows that he’s as willing to work for a good cause as he is to work for good coin. The Iron Bull is a formidable fighter, and will always succeed in taking out whatever target you point him at! (Just have enough health potions ready!)”

Answer 6: Tychus Findlay from StarCraft

Say hello to TriformTrinity, and find out why he’s chosen Tychus Findlay as his answer to October’s question of the month.

Answer 7: Cloud Strife from the Final Fantasy series

Want to know why Ian has chosen Cloud Strife as his answer this time around? Go say hello to him over at Adventure Rules and read his argument for this character.

Answer 8: Niko Bellic from Grand Theft Auto IV

The lovely LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release has chosen Niko Bellic this month, and you can read her reasons why here.

Answer 9: Nadine Ross from the Uncharted series

Spoils of Lore says: “Introduced as a woman both feared and respected by unflappable veteran thief Victor Sullivan, Nadine Ross more than lives up to her reputation. She inherited the mercenary cadre Shoreline; and, while some might question her management skills, Nadine’s focus is consistently dedicated to her employer’s objectives and the company’s payoff. Capable of taking out both Drake brothers barefoot and in formal wear, she easily commands the respect of her soldiers. Little deters Nadine in a mission; but, she is very aware of when to cut her losses and knows better than to pursue more than her share.”

Answer 10: Ezio from the Assassin’s Creed series

NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog says: “I would go with Ezio. Yeah, I know. From Assassin’s Creed. Even while I haven’t played the game a lot myself, I think he would be perfect for the job. The whole game is about mercenaries you know. I can’t make a more convincing argument.”

Answer 11: Dante from the Devil May Cry series

Kevin from The Mental Attic says: “Dante from Devil May Cry. First reason, he’s already for hire, with a booming business and associates, so I can count on his professionalism. Second, he’s incredibly powerful and unless the plot states that he’s going to get hurt, he’s pretty much invulnerable, usually surviving some form of impalement. Third, he’s got a fantastic sense of humour and a cracking sense of style, both of which I dig very much. Also, he turns the souls of our enemies into weapons.”

Answer 12: Jesse McCree from Overwatch

Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog says: “McCree is already a Bounty Hunter so he is a more than qualified pick! His weapon of choice is The Peacekeeper, a revolver that makes sure that he hits his target every time! Dead-Shot, his special ability, will also make sure that he never misses so you can be sure that your target will be taken out. His agility and quick speed will also make him a hard opponent to defeat. Don’t think he’s up for the job, look at some of his occupations: Bounty Hunter; Vigilante; Gang Member; and Blackwatch Agent. His precision shooting skill, combat roll and flashbang moves in the game sits McCree high on top of my list for the mercenary that I would hire!”

So who’s got it right, and who’s got it so wrong that they deserve to be hunted down by Duke Nukem for the rest of eternity? Place your votes in the poll opposite or give your own suggestion in the comments below, and we’ll reveal the most popular answer on Friday, 03 November 2017 along with the next question.

Got a question you’d like to see us struggle over next month? Or would you like to join in and add your own answer into our polls on a regular basis? Leave us a message or get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!



Step right up: a video game theme-park

Have you ever played a video game you’d love to experience in real-life? Nintendo fans will have something to look forward to after the company announced at the end of 2016 that themed-areas will be coming to the Universal theme parks in Japan, Orlando and Hollywood over the next several years. But what about the rest of us?

There are so many games that would make an excellent theme-park or at least an attraction within one. The lovely Luna from the GamersUnitedGG Blog posed this question to her nominees for the Mystery Blogger Award recently and this post is dedicated to her: here’s what I’d do if I was going to build a pleasure ground dedicated to the world of video games.

The planning stages

Theme Park, video game, snake, slide, visitors, planning

This one may be obvious but what else would you use to plan the layout for a new theme-park? Bullfrog’s construction and management simulation enabled players to design and create their own attractions with the goal of making money and expanding across the world. I’d use Theme Park to give a visual representation alongside my business case for a profitable amusement park, which I’d take to the bank and convince them to give me a huge loan so I could start the building work. Simple.

Sonic Boom rollercoaster

Sonic the Hedgehog, video game, Green Hill Zone, palm tree, rings, blue hedgehog

A rollercoaster would be the perfect way to recreate Sonic the Hedgehog’s speed: imagine hurtling round the track to the music from the Green Hill Zone in a train of blue cars. Cliff-drops and vertical loops through palm trees would have your stomach flipping over and screams being let out involuntarily. You know how Sonic looks when he loses his rings after taking damage? That’s exactly the look I want to see on visitors’ faces when they get off the ride – before promptly throwing up.

The Ishimura’s Dread ghost train

Dead Space, video game, monster, alien, necromorph, Isaac, astronaut, space suit

Imagine a trip through the USG Ishimura, the necromorph-infested space vessel from Dead Space. Live actors would take on the role of these mutated antagonists so the experience is slightly different each time and the fear-factor is amplified. Isaac Clark would make an appearance to ‘save’ the visitors just in time at the end of the ride – and also provide an excellent opportunity for autographs, signed t-shirts and photographs upon exiting. For which of course you’ll be charged an over-inflated price.

Welcome to Rapture log flume

BioShock, video game, Rapture, 1959, sign, New Year, rubble

Step onto my log flume for a tour through the wondrous underwater city of Rapture. See the amazing sights of BioShock’s setting: Neptune’s Bounty, Arcadia, Big Daddies and Little Sisters. The ride would grow gradually darker as it progresses and scuttling will be heard in the shadows as robotic Splicers draw closer… before you’re thrown over the edge in pitch-black and plunged into a pool of freezing cold water. You may have to spend the rest of day wearing soggy clothes, but it’ll be worth it.

Bowser’s Bash bumper-cars

Mario Kart, Mario Kart 8, video game, racing, cars, race track, Bowser, Mario

The bumper-cars are one of the most-loved attractions at any amusement park so how about combining them with one of the most-loved racing games, Mario Kart? But let’s give our visitors a proper race-track rather than a square plot to drive around. Optional plastic cagoules would be handed out before the start of the ride to protect your clothing from squid ink; however, it should be noted that the park management cannot be held responsible for any injuries resulting from wayward shells and stray banana skins. Thank you.

Aperture Science educational area

Portal, video game, GLaDOS, robot, eye

Most of the theme-parks here in the UK have an area where school-trip kids are taken for some ‘learning’ – usually as a way to stop the teachers from feeling so bad about their class going somewhere fun as part of their education. Que the Aperture Science room, where tutor GLaDOS teaches the little darlings about physics through the wonders of high-tech virtual reality. She may have them crying by the end of the lesson but at least they’ll be rewarded with cake on the way out. Or is that a lie?

The Uncharted: Live show

Uncharted, Uncharted 4, A Thief's End, video game, Nathan Drake, explosion, jump

What do you get if you combine a cheesy Nathan Drake lookalike, appearances from Sully and Elena, pyrotechnics, vehicle crashes and plenty of climbing action? The Uncharted: Live show! Audience participation would be highly encouraged with selected volunteers taking on the role of pirate hostages, so our hero can rescue their butts and save the day. And of course there’s the additional perk of another autograph and photo opportunity – just watch your mum around Drake and make sure she keeps her hands to herself.

Mother’s Heart Zero Zoo safari

Horizon Zero Dawn, video game, robots, beasts, animals, dinosaurs

A lot of theme-parks have a zoo or safari-type attraction but in this day of eco-awareness and conservation, perhaps using real animals isn’t the best way to go. That’s where Horizon Zero Dawn comes in: mechanical beasts are the future! No need to feed them or clean-up their mess, just turn them on and watch them go. Of course, the park staff will need to be watchful for unexpected murderous stampedes; but at least visitors can take home their very own blaze canister as a souvenir.

The Big Whoop restaurant

The Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island, video game, Scumm Bar, pub, inn, pirates, Guybrush

A sure-fire way to rake in money at theme-parks is to have a restaurant complete with mascots, and Monkey Island fits the bill perfectly. Imagine Guybrush or Elaine showing you to your table in a place decked out like the Scumm Bar, undead pirates serving up ‘meat with condiment’ and cheese squigglies, and a three-headed monkey showing up halfway through your meal? With root beer for the kids and grog for the adults, there’s something on the menu for everyone – plus complimentary breath mints.

Tingle’s Treasures gift shop

The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, video game, shop, Hyrule Market

Following on from the restaurant above, no pleasure ground can do without a gift shop – how else are you meant to claw those last few pennies from exhausted parents trying to drag their screaming offspring out of your theme-park at the end of the day? With the music from The Legend of Zelda’s Hyrule Market shops playing on repeat without a pause, visitors will be all too eager to hand over their remaining cash for some overpriced toot so they can get out of there and away from the annoying assistants who keep telling them to ‘listen’.

I feel a Kickstarter campaign coming on… anyone want to be my first backer?

(A big thank you to Tim, Kevin and Nathan who helped me out with the names of some of the attractions!)