Vidjagame Apocalypse

Welcome to our sixth annual end-of-year roundup, when we gather together a bunch of games-industry guests and count down our favorite games of the year. This year's show is one of our biggest yet, weighting in at a hefty 3.5 hours and featuring appearances from Brett Elston, US Gamer's Kat Bailey and Mike Williams, MacWorld's Leif Johnson, Experience Points' Jorge Albor, Ubisoft News' Youssef Maguid, Anthony Acosta, and Thirty Twenty Ten's Diana Goodman.

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Next week, we'll count down our picks for the top games of 2018 - but our rules exclude remakes and remasters, and it's been an amazing year for those. So with help from USGamer's Nadia Oxford, we're dedicating this week to five of 2018's most impressive remakes, all of which brought long-dead classics roaring back with current-gen polish. We then talk Below, year-in-review games-industry stats, and the expectations-vs.-reality of your holiday toy memories.

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With the holidays looming large and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tying up everyone's Switches, GameXplain/IGN alum Micah Seff helps us celebrate by talking about five iconic killer toys that come to life and try to murder people. (It makes sense in context, we swear.) We then switch gears to talk Smash, Ashen, Earth Defense Force 5, Hades, The Game Awards, your favorite obscure game-music tracks, and a whole lot of other stuff in a nearly three-hour megashow!

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Headphones are recommended for this week's show, in which VGMpire's own Brett Elston rejoins us to help pay tribute to mind-blowing music from unspectacular games. After that, we move on to Just Cause 4, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom, Epic's new game store, the swag you scored during Black Friday, and much more.

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The holiday season is officially upon us, which means that for one reason or another, a lot of you are statistically likely to get loaded over the next few weeks. If you'd rather watch a game character get sloshed on adult beverages, there are plenty of games that'll let you get your hero drunk - and with help from MacWorld's Leif Johnson, we'll look at five of the most interesting. Then it's on to talking about Darksiders III, Sony opting for PAL versions on the PlayStation Classic, Console Wars getting adapted as a series, and the times games caused friction with family or friends.

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Happy Black Friday! We understand a lot of you might be spending time with family over the long weekend - and sometimes, that time can start to feel like a pressure cooker. Why not blow off some steam by listening to us talk about five of the most absurdly dysfunctional families in gaming, with special guest Alaina Yee of PCWorld? Stick around after, because we'll jump into a lengthy chat about Black Friday deals, Fallout 76's launch, Devil May Cry Netflix news, and your favorite Stan Lee characters.

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This week saw the passing of a true legend: the comics-creating, cameo-crushing alliteration aficionado known as Stan Lee. Marvel superfan Chris Baker rejoins us to celebrate Stan's legacy with a look at his greatest videogame cameos, after which we'll get into Hitman 2, the Detective Pikachu trailer, The Game Awards nominees, and the game characters you'd elect to office.

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Have election-week nerves left you wishing you could simply rule with the absolute power of a despotic tyrant? Well, tough, but we've got Tim Turi on and we're talking about our five favorite playable kings, so that's something. We also get in some chatter about Deltarune, BlizzCon, and the games that took a while to really win you over.

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If you've played it, you know Red Dead Redemption 2 gets off to a dramatically slow start - but in that, it's hardly alone. This week, Scott Butterworth rejoins us to look at five other games that made players wait to get to the good stuff, but ended up great anyway. And once that's done, we'll dive into our initial Red Dead impressions, the PlayStation Classic lineup, and your ideal weapons for facing down undead hordes in the Old West.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 is out today, and if you're looking at this instead of playing it, it's probably safe to consider yourself our #1 fan. You're also about to hear us talk about five classic, horror-tinged games set in the wild west, with help from MacWorld editor/genuine Texan Leif Johnson. After our dual homage to Halloween and Red Dead, we'll touch on Return of the Obra Dinn, Soulcalibur VI, Fallout 76 bug warnings, and the console startup sounds of your dreams.

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Pair an unstoppable hunter with one of the most threatening power tools ever devised, and you've got a recipe for sheer terror. This week, Jorge Albor of EXP Podcast joins us to talk about hulking, chainsaw-wielding badasses who chased us through classic horror games, after which we talk Starlink: Battle for Atlas, more WWE 2K19, Red Dead Redemption 2's crunch hours, and your most beloved monster protagonists.

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As any toddler can tell you, nothing is more terrifying than a skeleton - except, of course, if they're on your side. And with MediEvil turning 20(!) this week, Josh Shoup (of wrestling-history podcast Pody Slam, among others) joins to help dedicate our first Halloween-themed episode of 2018 to skeletons who saved the day. We then touch on WWE 2K19, Call of Duty Black Ops 4, and Zelda's "easy mode" before taking a look at your favorite narrative-focused games.

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Telltale Games may be gone, but it lives on through its legacy of redefining how games told stories, and through our memories of those stories themselves. This week, special guest and former Telltale employee Scott Butterworth joins us to celebrate the studio. And what better way to do so than by counting down our top 5 favorite moments from Telltale’s library? From Batman to The Wolf Among Us, and everything in between, we recall the moments that showed why nobody could -- er -- tell a tale, quite like Telltale. And we'll just go ahead and say it now: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT on many of the best moments from these games, so consider yourself warned!

Then it’s on to perhaps our biggest New Releases segment of the year, as we give our impressions of all of the amazing games we’ve been playing lately, including Assassin's Creed Odyssey, Mega Man 11, Forza Horizon 4, Fist of the North Star, Life Is Strange 2, and more!

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Not everyone can swing a lightsaber and use the Force, and this week, the legendary Chris Baker joins us to talk about five Star Wars games whose heroes got by with little more than blasters and sheer grit. Then it's on to chat about Valkyria Chronicles 4, Telltale's surprise shutdown, and your favorite celebrity performances in games.

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This month saw the passing of Burt Reynolds, a man who was no stranger to popping up in video games - and in his honor, we decided to spend this week's Top 5 looking at other celebrities who briefly played digital versions of themselves. Then we move on to talk about Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Nintendo's online service, and your favorite re-creations of real-world cities.

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Spider-Man's still on our minds this week, and its beautiful re-creation of Manhattan made us nostalgic about other open-world games that re-created New York City's central island. Comics expert Chris Clow, of Comics on Consoles, joins as we talk about five of our favorites, and then we'll talk even more about Spider-Man, Dragon Quest XI, and your ideal superhero personas.

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Spider-Man is out on PS4 at last, so this week we're joined by USgamer's Mike Williams, here to talk about his 4.5/5 review. We keep the theme going with a Top 5 about superhero games that weren't based on comics, talk about The Messenger and Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise, and finish with the games that helped you get through your school years.

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To mark the end of August and any lingering summer vacations, this week's show takes a look at five games set largely in schools (just in case you thought games were any escape). What's more, we're expanding our scope this week to talk about new releases and news, including Donut County and Gamescom impressions, and then we'll <i>finally</i> look at your ideal in-game tropical getaways and favorite starter weapons.

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Tons of games load you down with an arsenal's worth of guns and gadgets, but sometimes, it's the one essential tool or weapon you get right from the start that turns out to be the most fun and effective thing in the game. This week, John Brandon of Square Roots Podcast drops by to chat about five of our favorite starter items, each of which would have been enough to carry us through their games if it came down to it.

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Summer isn’t over quite yet, so the VGA boys are packing up their board shorts and Hawaiian shirts and taking a vacation to some of our favorite digital destinations -- of the tropical variety, that is. This week, Mikel, Matt, and Chris are joined by returning guest Tim Turi to talk about our favorite vidjagames that take place on and around tropical islands.

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Meeting a shark in a game isn't all that uncommon - but when they're full-on bosses, you're probably in for something terrifying. This week, animal expert and LaserTime community superstar Cody "CajunCrippler" Laveau joins us to talk about five of the biggest, baddest shark bosses ever to swim the digital oceans, after which we'll take a look at your favorite in-game currencies and cheat codes.

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When some new innovation helps turn a game into a big hit, it tends to spread across the industry like wildfire. Sometimes, these trends stick around to form part of the familiar patchwork of modern vidjagames. We're not talking about THOSE trends, however; this week, Trav "TurboBison" Foster joins Matt and Mikel for a chat about design ideas that were once widely mimicked, but now functionally dead.

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This week's show is short by our standards, but don't worry - every entry in our Top 5 is a treasure. Specifically, each one is a boss themed around treasure, and Trav "TurboBison" Foster joins Mikel, Matt, and Chris to talk about these bizarre demons that flaunt their wealth like we're not about to just take it from them. And don't worry - we'll talk about the side characters you'd want to star in their own games before the hour's up.

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In the past weeks, we've seen a few once-minor characters getting their own star turns, from Captain Toad to Far Cry 5's Nick Rye. Of course, side characters getting their own games is nothing new, and with help from Heidi Kemps, we'll look at five shining examples of sidekicks, villains, and supporting castmembers who got their own games.

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This week, Dan Amrich returns to the show to talk us through something dear to his arcade historian's heart: a deep dive into pinball games based on popular video games (some of which actually play something like their digital counterparts), after which we'll take a look at your favorite Mario games ever.

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The recent release of Runner3 reminded us of a strange truth: Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario, has had a long and successful career outside of voicing Nintendo's favorite plumber. And with help from Alaina Yee, we'll touch on some of his more memorable, non-Nintendo roles, and then take a look at your favorite games of the year (so far)!

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It's the end of June, which means it's time to sit down and take a hard look at the games that came out over the past six months, and pick our five favorites from the madding crowd. Jorge Albor of rival podcast Experience Points joins us to chat about the games that stole our hearts, plus we'll look at your favorite announcements from E3! (Oh, and uhhh Mikel's back, I guess?)

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Since nobody else is doing them, and we know how starved you all must be for E3 2018 content, it’s a good thing we’re here with our annual Best of E3 show. We’re doing things a little differently this year. Matty Allen, Chris Antista, TL “TurboBison” Foster, and first-time guest Marcus “Annoyed Gamer” Beer have chosen their top 5 games of the show, but we’ve also gathered votes from YOU the fans at the Official Laser Time Facebook Community. We threw all of the results together, mixed them up a bit, sprinkled in some hot takes, and are here to present the official list of the Vidjagame Apocalypse Top 5 Games of E3 2018. Enjoy!

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By the time you listen this episode, E3 2018 will have come and gone, and we’ll all know a heck of a lot more about this year’s upcoming game releases. That includes one of the biggest games of the year: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate! One of this week’s most exciting reveals about the game was that it will feature every fighter ever included in Nintendo’s brawler series, which fits perfectly with the theme of this week’s show. Trav “TurboBison” Foster joins Matty Allen and Chris Antista to discuss five of the most obscure playable characters to ever appear in a Smash Bros. game.

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E3 2018 is upon us, and even though the show technically doesn’t start until next week, the hype train has already left the station with a payload full of leaks and new game announcements. But not every game announced at E3 sees the light of day. On this week’s show, Matty Allen, Chris Antista, and special guest Dylan Tierney discuss five of the biggest games announced at E3 that were eventually cancelled.

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What do the new God of War and the YouTube Red series Cobra Kai have in common, other than the fact that they both feature leads with anger management issues? They’re both new entries in franchises we thought we’d moved on from, yet turned out way better than we could’ve hoped -- or even asked for, for that matter. The comeback success of these two dormant franchises got us thinking about some other gaming franchises that came back seemingly from out of nowhere to re-establish themselves as heavy hitters. On this week’s show, Alaina Yee joins Matty Allen and Chris to look at the top 5 comebacks in vidjagames.

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Things get technical in this week’s episode of Vidjagame Apocalypse as Chris and Matty Allen are joined by USGamer.net Editor in Chief Kat Bailey to discuss the top 5 androids in videogames. Inspired by the release of David Cage and Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human, we explore the Uncanny Valley, ponder what it means to be human, and try to figure out why dudes in games seem so thirsty for any robot that displays even a hint of anything feminine.

 

Question of the Week:

What is your favorite pop culture android?

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Surprise! We just couldn’t stay away, and while Mikel continues to enjoy his (well-deserved) sabbatical, Chris, Matty Allen, and special guest Trav “TurboBison” Foster are here with a bonus edition of Vidjagame Apocalypse. Prior to his break, Mikel suggested a topic tied to the Nintendo Labo that we couldn’t resist covering: the Weirdest Nintendo Peripherals of All Time! So stop fiddling around with that Labo piano and strap on your incredibly uncomfortable wearable gaming devices, grab your trusty light gun, and join us as we look back at the top 5 times Nintendo let its freak flag fly!

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This is it, folks - VGA is going on hiatus, and we've cooked up a hell of an episode to tide you over until we come back. In addition to Chris and Mikel, we've assembled Brett Elston, Dan Amrich, Anne Lewis, and Tyler Wilde to tackle a forbidden subject from our distant pasts, one we swore we'd never do: a list of the greatest barrels ever. What dark forces will be unleashed by assembling such a strong panel for such an inane discussion? Find out, and then stick around as we look at your favorite VGA episodes and maybe pack in a surprise or two.

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God of War is out this week, taking jaded Greek hipster Kratos on a spree of cultural appropriation through Scandinavia (or something like that). To celebrate the series' by-all-accounts amazing rebirth, Matthew Allen and Alaina Yee help us dedicate this week's show to five other games that draw heavy inspiration from Norse mythology, complete with one-eyed gods, Valkyries, and battles at the end of everything.

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Who doesn't like to hear a villain sing about themselves and their evil plans? It's a time-honored tradition, dating back to some really old thing or other, but it's a more recent phenomenon in video games. So this week, special guests Alaina Yee and Matthew Allen join to help us count down five - count 'em, five! - of our favorite singing bad guys.

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Ready Player One is in theaters this week, and whatever you think of it, the core idea of being rewarded with actual riches for doing something in a game is a powerful one. So powerful, in fact, that it's been done several times in real life. So with help from Matthew Allen and Nathan Ortega, let's spend this short-form episode diving into five games that were sold on the promise of fantastic rewards for in-game skills.

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Big news this week - VGA is going on hiatus at the end of April. But we've got plenty of shows still to go, starting with this week's, in which Heidi Kemps and Matthew Allen help us look at five Japanese games that never made it out of Japan, despite their series being popular over here. Then it's on to Sea of Thieves, Attack on Titan 2, Assassin's Creed Rogue Remastered, PUBG mobile, and the games that caused controversy in your own lives.

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Last week saw a return to the bad old days of video games as a whipping boy in the national debate over violent crime, and that brought some weird old memories rushing back - so many, in fact, that we decided to drag special guests Nick Suttner and Matthew Allen into an unexpectedly heavy discussion of five of the most controversial, moral panic-inducing games of the past 30 years. We also take the time to chat about Burnout Paradise Remastered, last week's Nintendo Direct, and the games you discovered thanks to monthly freebies from PlayStation Plus and others.

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Plenty of games let you play as multiple heroes, but how many have you switching back and forth between heroes that seriously have it in for each other, pushing you to work against yourself as your perspective shifts? A whole bunch, as it turns out, so this week we'll look at five of our favorites, with help from Matthew Allen. Then it's on to idle chatter about Far Cry Arcade, the return of Fear Effect and Drake of the 99 Dragons, and your favorite chill-out games.

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This week's big release is Moss, a VR game about a tiny mouse on a quest - so with help from Macworld editor Leif Johnson, let's take a look at five classic games in which you're a tiny creature trying to survive in a regular-sized world. Then we chat about hidden messages in Metal Gear Survive, get a little crestfallen for Chrono Trigger, and look at your favorite videogame dogs.

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The Lunar New Year has declared this the Year of the Dog, so let's celebrate with a Top 5 about our favorite dog protagonists (dogtagonists?) with Matthew Allen! We then slip through a wormhole and wind up in a Metal Gear Survive discussion, consider the looming possibility of a Sonic the Hedgehog film, and talk about the songs and other media that will always be tied to certain games in your memory.

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VGA's five-year anniversary was last week, so Henry Gilbert joins us for a belated Top 5 about some of the greatest fifth entries in game franchises ever. We also chat about Dynasty Warriors 9 and Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Kingdom Hearts 3, and your same-sex waifus and husbandos.

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VGA passes its five-year anniversary with a cough-filled, Shadow of the Colossus-themed episode, in which Matthew Allen joins us to talk about five games that took clear inspiration from Sony's classic (and now re-released) giant-killer. We then move on to talking about Toad's disgusting head, PUBG's anti-cheating measures, and the games you wish you could erase from your memory and re-experience.

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Happy Groundhog Day, everybody! This week, Nathan Ortega and Aziz Twaijri join us to talk about heroes stuck in recurring time loops, struggling to change events in a bid to escape their fates. We also shift our format around slightly to talk about new releases at the top of the show, then go on for too long about rumors of Microsoft buyouts before looking at your favorite fighting-game moves ever.

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Of course we're gonna yell about Labo, but we've also played Dragonball Fighters Z, SOS, the new OK KO game, and special guest Bob Mackey has played over sixty hours of Monster Hunter Worlds!

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Street Fighter V Arcade Edition is out this week, so our old pal Brett "Brelston" Elston returns to help us talk about it and five fighting games that had some really bizarre side modes built in. We then move on to Sims doing laundry, Gravity Rush 2's online features getting a stay of execution, and the licensed games you'd like to see make a comeback.

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With Awesome Games Done Quick tearing through mesmerizing speedruns for charity this week, Matthew Allen and Bob Mackey join us to take a look at five games that you can play and beat (or "beat") in 15 minutes or less - all without any cheating, glitching, or practicing to develop any special skills whatsoever. Then we briefly look at a few meaty Switch ports, get surprised by PSN's top 2017 downloads, and find out which games you played over the holidays.

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We're back and ready to take on a new year, as community member and industry veteran Matthew Allen joins us to look ahead and count down five of the games we're looking forward to the most in 2018. Then it's on to talk about the first registered N-Gage speedrun, Microsoft discontinuing the Kinect adapter, and your own most-awaited games due (hopefully) in the next 12 months.

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