In this article we move through the third installment of our discussion regarding the best video game soundtracks of the last 40 years. Here, we take a look at video game music in the first decade of the 2000s, where soundtracks have moved away from utilizing the actual console hardware and instead into recorded music that adds a refinement previously not seen. Much of the video game music from this decade is indistinguishable from pieces recorded for other purposes, such as radio, film and animated movies, and many of the composers discussed worked on projects entirely outside the video game industry. Although perhaps not as delightfully retro as the soundtracks from the 80s and 90s, the 21st century brought with it a number of fantastic video game soundtracks that continue to impress listeners today.
Composed and produced by Martin O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori, the original Halo soundtrack is a shining example of the incredible diversity video game music of the 2000s had to offer. Throughout the game, O’Donnell and Salvatori provide players with a wide-variety of styles and sounds including strings, percussion, wind instruments, and chants. These eclectic sounds were produced utilizing samplers and synthesizers, but also with full orchestras and live vocals. The composers themselves even contributed, serving as two of the chanting monks featured in the iconic opening theme for the game. The soundtrack for Halo fits extraordinarily well with the gameplay, presenting the listener with a sense of mystery, awe and discomfort that perfectly parallels Master Chief’s exploration of a foreign and hostile land; the chants and drums communicate something ancient and foreboding, the shrill strings something new and exciting, and the lingering single notes bridge these emotions with a recognition of how distant you are from home. The music, however, does not require the gameplay itself for listening, a hallmark of great video game soundtracks from this era.
- Written by Vincent A. | Last Updated on 07 November 2018
As a game of both chance and incredible skill, poker is one of the oldest and most enduring games of strategy in the modern era. The iconic card game is, at its core, a complex interaction of multiple players, psychology, math and luck, and the massive variation from session to session makes no two iterations alike. Poker is exciting and intense, and, although the game can technically be played at almost any table, the ambiance of cup holders, felt, and bet lines can create the immersive experience all gamers seek. Expensive dedicated poker tables, however, can be impractical for most people, despite their impressive appearance, and can take up an exorbitant amount of space. Instead, a disguised poker table can provide the authentic card room feel while functioning as a real table during normal hours. Additionally, these tables can be found at a fraction of the price of a full poker table, making them great options for casual and hardcore players alike.
Decorative and ornate, the Hillsdale poker table will easily pass for a traditional dining room table when covered. Boasting a real oak finish and a pedestal base, this imported piece communicates class and sophistication in even a formal setting. This table also provides all the desirable features of a poker table when transformed. The Hillsdale Nassau has a felt top, cup holders, and built-in space for poker chips to avoid clutter and toppled stacks. Despite its compact size, the table also manages to seat eight, and is perfect for well-attended poker nights. Priced under $1000, this table is an excellent example of how you can achieve practicality and indulgence without excessive spending.
- Written by Robin G. | Last Updated on 05 November 2018
There’s something undeniably alluring about building a stronghold in a video game that protects you from the outside world. The sense of safety these structures provide is a relief from the intense horrors of the rest of the game, which is amplified by more threatening dangers in contrast. Hence, game worlds that include extreme isolation, hordes of enemies, or bleak dystopic visions of the existing world make for great base building games. This article discusses the best games for those who desire a virtual safe haven and how to make the most out of the opportunity these games offer.
Although Fallout 4 was not intended primarily as a base building game, the functionality the game provided allowed for excellent outpost construction. Players are able to build bases on pre-determined locations using materials they find throughout the wasteland, which has multiple benefits for base building within a game. This allows the player to make use of otherwise bulk shop fodder, for example, and keeps exploring and looting enjoyable because it directly results in more building material. It also forces the player to build overtime, helping to avoid burnout. For defense, exterior walls and automated turrets could be built to keep roving packs of mutants at bay, and a myriad of interior objects can be constructed to create a unique living space in an otherwise uninhabitable world. One quick note: building was originally designed to be limited on each outpost, but the limit on objects can be easily defeated by dropping, and then picking up, objects in the outpost to trick the game into registering less objects than are actually present.
- Written by Vincent A | Last Updated on 02 November 2018
The latest installment in the Mario Party franchise has recently arrived for the Nintendo Switch, and the game definitely doesn’t disappoint. Fans of the previous games will love how the primary elements were maintained, while new players will enjoy the added features and game modes. Although the game is not entirely without its flaws, it is definitely worth grabbing for your collection, especially if you already have a Switch. Here are three reasons why the newest Mario Party is worth buying.
Excellent Use of Motion Control
In the past, motion controls have been difficult to use and even harder to enjoy. In many games for systems such as the Wii there was a noticeable delay in the movements you made with the controller and the actions of the characters on screen, and the feature functioned more as a gimmick than as a legitimate improvement in gameplay. This disconnect between input and display broke immersion, and made the gameplay feel random and chaotic. The new Super Mario Party improves drastically on older iterations of motion controls, providing instantaneous and precise feedback unparalleled in previous games. This enables a whole class of mini-games that would otherwise be clunky and unplayable. One mini-game, for example, involves flipping a cube of steak and cooking each side to progress. With the new motion control technology the cube moves effortlessly around the pan, and the pan itself responds not only to side to side movements, but also to the force applied to the controller. The result is that you feel completely in control of the frying pan on the screen, capable of flipping the cube to the side you need. Practice is still required, of course, and hilarity will ensue as you hurl your cube of steak out of the pan the few dozen times you try, but the precision of the motion control is such that you feel you’re actually making improvement in the skill of the game that makes for an incredible level of replay value.
- Written by Eddy D. | Last Updated on 28 October 2018