Bad habits we developed in shooters

Fool us once, shame on you

Friends. Family. Spam bots. We’re not going to stand up here in front you and claim to be flawless. Just because we put on a good show doesn’t mean we’re incapable of making mistakes–of being suckered into absorbing some foul practices. And though we’ve discussed before the bad habits we developed in all video games, we thought that it was time we admitted to our more specialized flaws.

Today we go over the industry’s biggest money makers (and biggest political scapegoats) the shooter. Come one, come all, and take a glimpse into the psyche of the average mass killing simulator fan. Who knows? You might find that you’re looking into a mirror. And then you might shoot that mirror, because… well, that’s one of the things on this list.

Reloading after every shot

So let’s get this straight, brain. Sup. You told us to pick the weapon with the most ammo. Yup. You chose it specifically because it has, like, 100 bullets in a single clip. Yessir. You did this so that we wouldn’t have to reload that often. Mmhm. And then you’re going to tell us to reload the SECOND we fire a single shot? For sure. You’re the worst.

Trying to shoot out lights

Hey, remember when games first started adding dynamic lighting? That was cool. Swinging lightbulbs, cool shadow effects, flashlights and stuff. A bunch even included the ability to shoot out light bulbs to shroud an entire room in darkness. Some, like the Chronicles of Riddick game and the aptly named The Darkness, actually made it a major part of the game, and rewarded you for turning off the lights. Beyond those few games, though, lighting has sort of been ignored for the past few years. That hasn’t stopped us from trying to take down every light bulb we see, though, Edison be damned.

Ignoring tutorials

What? You’re trying to teach us–US–how to play a shooter? Listen, kid, we’ve been at this for a long time. We’ve been jumping over rocks and crouching under railings since before you were a splatter of code in your designer’s eye, we don’t need you lecturing us on how to do this or that. Now we just need to open this door, and… wait. What? What button opens doors? This button reloads, this one jumps, and… help! We’re trapped! The game’s glitched! #occupythisshooter! Worst game ever! And… oh. We need to hold down the triggers and turn? That’s… shut up.

Never, ever, ever, ever using our powerful weapons

Hoarder? What? Us? No. We just like having an inventory full of missiles, and hate wasting grenades, and don’t want to miss an opportunity to toss a Molotov cocktail at a big group of foes. Why would we use our rockets against this boss–this guy is a pushover, for Pete’s sake! We’ll just hold on to them for a little longer, until we really need them, and then we’ll totally use them. Like now! Look at that boss! He’s huge! Maybe we should… no, now isn’t the time. We’re going to keep holding on to these, actually–don’t worry. We got this.

Unloading ammo at invulnerable targets

It doesn’t matter how much ammo we waste firing at armored enemies or foes with riot shields, we’re still going to approach those encounters the same way: stupidly. Even if the enemy has a giant glowing orange weakness and a “shoot me here” sign around its neck, we’ll still fire blindly at every part of its armor, wasting hundreds of bullets and doing no damage at all. Why? We don’t know. Maybe, deep down, we hope that one of the bullets will pierce his armor. Maybe we expect a lucky shot to glitch through their hard shell and penetrate their heart. Maybe we’re just dumb. Yup. That’s it. Dumb.

Shooting every red barrel

Explosive barrels hurt us more than they hurt enemies. Not from their explosions, mind you, but from their very existence. When we see a barrel and some enemies, we immediately look for a way to use it and kill as many foes as possible. This, often, means waiting around, trying to lure enemies out of their cover so they might stupidly stumble in front of a bright, shiny barrel. If they do, we take the shot, sometimes kill half of them, and then smile at our success–despite the fact that we took more damage lining up the perfect shot than had we just killed.

Trying to shoot allies even when the game doesn't let you

Listen, game, we know you don’t want us to shoot at this guy. When we look at him you make us lower our gun, or you simply don’t let us scratch our itchy trigger finger. But that isn’t going to stop us. Nothing will. We’ll find a way to inflict damage on our friends. We’ll knock a box on their head, throw a grenade at them, or spray bullets in their direction hoping one connects. Our bloodlust will be satiated.

Always sprinting through single-player missions

Oh! We know this. This is the part of the level where we’re just supposed to run and ignore the bullets and shrapnel entombing us. We’re supposed to dodge foes and sprint, and… oh. We died. Well then.

Always sprinting through multiplayer levels

Every single time we spawn in a competitive first-person shooter we do the same thing: Start running until a lump of hot lead stops us. Then we’ll wait a few seconds to spawn, come up with a new battle plan, and then throw it to the win, and do it again exactly as before. Exactly the same. Every time. In the rare–RARE–occasion that we actually remember not to sprint everywhere, we’ll do great, but that just doesn’t happen often. We’re too busy sprinting into bullets.

Getting cocky right before a Pointstreak/Killstreak/whatever

This is a glimpse into the rare occasion that we just mentioned where we remember not to sprint around like idiots in a shooter. When we actually play smart and do well, we’ll undoubtedly score enough points to be close to unlocking some sort of awesome killstreak or pointstreak award. It’s here that we’re at our worst. Suddenly, visions of artillery strikes or bomber runs fill our heads, and we run out into the open to score that one last, beautiful kill… before getting killed. Because we’re idiots.

Underestimating enemy AI

Heh. Stupid computers. We’re just going to hide behind this box, and one-by-one the enemy guards will walk into my view. We’ll shoot them in the head, take their ammo, and repeat the process until they stop coming. Befo–WHAT THE HELL! They can flank? Not cool, video game AI, not cool.

Overestimating enemy AI

Heh. Stupid computers. We’re just going to hide behind this box, and one-by-one the enemy guards will walk into my view. We’ll shoot them in the head, take their ammo, and repeat the process until they stop coming. Befo–…wait, where are they? They forgot we were here? We killed like, 40 guys in this base and tripped every alarm, why are they just walking around? Not cool, video game AI, not cool.

Not realizing that enemies will respawn infinitely

Heh. Stupid computers. We’re just going to hide behind this box, and one-by-one the enemy guards will walk into my view. We’ll shoot them in the head, take their ammo, and repeat the process until they stop coming. Before long they’ll all be dead, and… yep, we’ll just keep killing them. Man, there sure are a lot of guards. Stack of bodies is getting pretty high. Just going to keep killing. And killing. And… oh, the end of the level is right there. Not cool, video game AI, not cool.

Shooting at our reflection in the mirror

Shooting at our reflection in the mirror is the modern-day version of the movie cliché where a drunken, down-on-his-luck detective walks into a dive bar’s crummy bathroom and punches a mirror because he just can’t deal with the person he’s become and this case is going to be the end of him. Man, it’s totally badass.

We just can't get enough

So, yes, we’re prone to making mistakes–and we plan to keep making them. We have no excuses. So get off your high horse and tell us about the habits you’ve learned from shooters so that we can all grow from our mistakes.

And if you’re looking for more, check out real-life skills we learned from video games and bad habits we learned from video games.

By Hollander Cooper

Let’s play Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney – Part 2

We’re back again with more translated Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney. Last week we started up this imported crossover and saw the Professor and Luke investigate their latest case with little sign of Phoenix Wright.

In this second video, we find the Professor and Luke at the crime scene that took place at the beginning of the game and also get to see Phoenix Wright make his first courtroom appearance. Check out Part 2 below: 

By GamesRadar Staff

Age of Wushu beta key giveaway

Age of Wushu lets players become masters of a variety of Chinese martial arts in the age of the Ming Dynasty. In the closed beta, players will be able to choose between six character story arcs, as explore the ancient, and colorful world. The action is reminiscent of Kung Fu movies like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon with all of the bells and whistles of an MMORPG. Try it out for yourself by grabbing a key from the link below.

Get your key from the Age of Wushu beta key page.

By GamesRadar Staff

Why Psychonauts is one of the greatest games ever made

Psychonauts is the Inception of video games. Like Christopher Nolan’s cinematic masterwork, this is a platformer that posits what it would be like to actually explore someone’s mind. Turns out, our innermost anxieties, deep-seated fears, and repressed memories make for some unforgettable level designs. Complement these imaginative mindscapes with quirky characters, unique-but-familiar gameplay, and genuinely funny writing, and you’ve got a mind-bendingly great platformer that’s easily one of the best games of all time.

Our young hero, Razputin–Raz, to his friends–flees a life in the circus to pursue true adventure: attending a quaint summer camp. Even before you embark on any mind-delving journeys, you’ll adore the simple act of trekking through the woodland camp grounds. Chatting with your equally weird peers, who resemble demented Muppets, is a hoot; each conversation promises witty, goofy dialogue, pertaining to things like the undesired ability to make squirrels’ heads explode with a single thought. Ford Culler, the easygoing geezer who runs the camp, is happy to chat with you any time–just wave the piece of bacon in your inventory, and his wrinkly head will inexplicably pop out of your ear to offer assistance. Yes, it’s incredibly bizarre. Get used to it, because there are far loonier scenarios ahead.

Your affable camp counselors (who double as ‘60s-era psychic secret agents) show you the extrasensory ropes, in the form of innovative gameplay mechanics. Instead of turning all your mental gifts into a means of defeating enemies (like so many contemporary games that involve mind control), Raz uses his supernatural powers to sharpen his inherent acrobatic prowess. The result is character controls that give you the mobility and handling of a star platformer like Mario while being far more fun to look at. One power, Clairvoyance, seems trivial, until you realize that it lets you see what you look like in the eyes of others. Others, in this case, means every single living being in the game. It adds an extra layer of hilarious detail to the game when you spontaneously discover that a happy dog views you as a walking fire hydrant, or that your crush sees you as her gallant Prince Charming.

The characters and abilities are incredibly unique, but they pale in comparison to the game’s cerebral exploration. By chucking a palm-sized door onto a person’s noggin, you’ll leap into the deepest recesses of their psyche. This is where Psychonauts opens your eyes to an entirely distinct kind of character development. In the hopes of sorting out whatever personality disorders are clouding your client’s mind, you’ll explore a series of vivid stages, each one unbelievably different from the last. A PTSD-fueled battlefield, a Napoleonic board game populated by sentient pieces, and a dilapidated theater run by a bipolar actress are just a few of the imaginary vistas you’ll fight through. At some point during your trips across strange surroundings and satisfying platforming segments, it hits you: Everything in the mental realm says something about your subject’s subconscious.

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By Lucas Sullivan

The Top 7… New Year’s resolutions every gamer should follow

Should old acquaintance be forgot…

New Year’s is almost upon us, which is traditionally a time to make a bunch of optimistic promises for the following year (and then break them somewhere around January 3). Instead of going with your old stand-bys like “lose ten pounds” and “get that restraining order lifted,” why not make some gaming resolutions you might actually stick with?

We’re not saying it will be easy. Like any good resolution, some of these will take some real effort, whether mental, physical, or financial. But if you can check these off of your lists by the end of 2013 you’ll find that you’re better gamer–and isn’t that the most important thing of all?

7. Don’t get too excited for games that will be delayed (or cancelled)

We’ve all been there. We marked our calendars for the release of Duke Nukem Forever again… and again… and again. We bought Nintendo 64s awaiting Mother 3. We pre-ordered Starcraft Ghost. Sometimes, games just don’t come out when we want them to; sometimes they don’t even come out at all. It’s time to stop jumping on the hype train when very little evidence exists that an anticipated title will see the light of day in the near future.

Yes, we’re excited for the potential of The Last Guardian, and we hope that we’ll actually be playing Grand Theft Auto V before summer rolls around. But we’ve also been through this too many times to keep repeating the same mistakes. It’s fine to show a healthy interest in an announced game, but curb the overwhelming enthusiasm until you’re within range of a probably release date.

6. Avoid buying launch hardware and software

There’s something wonderful about bringing home a brand new game or console on launch day–knowing that you’re among the first to try something out is a very special feeling. Financially, however, being a day-one adopter can be a disaster, and with the successors to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 rumored to be launching in 2013, this resolution is more relevant than ever. Despite the hype, launch is typically the worst time to own any sort of hardware. The features may not all be intact, launch line-ups may be sparse, and your shiny new system may get a price drop or better model within a year.

And while software may not take the same bite out of your wallet, it’s time to stop buying every game on the day it comes out–typically, there will be sales within a few weeks, and by then a few patches will have ironed out some day-one bugs. Yes, this is going to take a lot of willpower, but you’ll still love a game just as much if you buy it a month after launch. You might love it even more if you buy it for $20 less.

5. Don’t expect a franchise to change

Though Call of Duty makes bazillions of dollars for Activision and is typically one of the best-selling pieces of entertainment in any given year, there will always be complaints that it’s too Call of Duty. This happens with every major franchise; for each positive comment or review, there’s another criticizing the game’s similarity to its predecessor.

So… what did you expect? A publisher isn’t going to change a winning (read: profitable) formula just to please a few forum-goers. If you’re sick of the basic premise or gameplay of Call of Duty, Halo, Gears of War, or any other franchise with frequent releases, stop buying those games. And don’t be upset when your complaints fall on deaf ears; believe it or not, some people buy games from the same franchise every year because they like the way the game is played, and those fans don’t care that you think Madden should really be more innovative.

4. Stop being a fanboy/fangirl

If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us will admit that at some point in our lives, we displayed some sort of irrational favoritism towards a console, publisher, or series. Not only that, but our love of that particular brand made anything else automatically suck, at least in our minds. It’s okay if you spend your childhood collecting anything Nintendo-related, even if that meant defending the Virtual Boy through game-induced headaches. Or maybe your teenage obsession with Final Fantasy made you curse any non-Squaresoft RPG. Admitting it is the first step.

And once you’ve taken that step, it’s time to move on. The difference between being a fan and being a fanboy (or girl) is that the former doesn’t have an unhealthy, irrational bias. It’s okay to not like the PlayStation 3 because you personally prefer the Xbox 360; insulting all PS3 gamers to defend your own console preference, on the other hand, is silly. And if you’re an adult doing all these things, this resolution is a must for you. Let 2013 be the year that you stop writing things like “Wiitard,” “M$.”. Otherwise, you’re just letting people know that your opinion is irrelevant and your statement should be skipped.

3. Attend a convention and cosplay, because YOLO

Gaming conventions are an incredible experience. As a gamer, you feel like an outcast because of your geeky preferences, but at PAX you’ll never feel like you don’t belong. In fact, you’ll fit in like never before. Of course, there aren’t too many major conventions a year, and most of them probably don’t take place in your area, making it difficult to attend them.

2013 is the year to make it happen. If you’ve always wanted to attend a convention, start researching! Find out what’s closest to you and arrange travel. If hotels are needed, book a room and find some friends to split it with. And find a costume, because if you’re doing this, you want to do it right. Cosplay can be a lot of fun–you’ll get to show off your geek pride while meeting like-minded fans who just want to tell you how awesome you look. And after the convention’s over, you’ll always have the perfect Halloween costume ready to go.

2. Complete a co-op game with your significant other

Cooperative games can be the ultimate relationship test. It takes timing, communication, and patience, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. Whether or not your better half is a gamer, 2013 is the year to complete a co-op game together. And that doesn’t mean getting two levels into Portal 2 before throwing a controller because he got you crushed again seriously how the hell can he call himself a gamer and fail so horribly at picking up a freaking block–we mean playing from start to finish.

If your partner isn’t a gamer, this is a great opportunity for him or her to get a better understanding of your hobby (just be prepared to return the favor). And while it might make things easier if your significant other already enjoys video games, choosing the right title to play together still requires some thought; you’re probably not going to make it to the end of Gears of War with someone who hates third-person shooters, chainsaws, and aliens. You’ll have to make time to play together and progress at a speed that works for both of you, and we’re not going to lie, it might get tough at times, but you’ll come out of the experience a stronger couple. Probably.

1. Play a genre or franchise you hate

Maybe you love shooters but hate RPGs. Or action games are your favorite but stealth titles bore you to tears. Perhaps you’re a fan of a multitude of genres, but you’ve never understood the Halo hype. Why keep playing games in your comfort zone? 2013 is the year to branch out.

You might be asking, “Why would I waste time doing something I know I’ll hate?” Because first of all, you might not hate it. Maybe you dislike that one genre because you just haven’t found a game that suits you, or your impressions of a popular series are based on a snap judgment or something you played a decade ago. Branching out is a great way to discover old titles you may have missed, which will make you a more well-rounded gamer. And even in the worst case scenario, in which you despise every second of playing something different, you’ll at least be able to make a more informed argument for why that particular thing sucks.

Happy New Year!

Have you made gaming-related resolutions in the past? Will you be making any this year (aside from our helpful suggestions)? Be sure to let us know what your favorite gaming resolutions are in the comments.

For a look back at 2012, check out the quotes that defined 2012 and the most overlooked games of the year.

By Sarah LeBoeuf

Mike Haggar’s Christmas Miracle

Happy holidays from the mayor's office

If you’re a fan of old-school arcade games, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Final Fight, Capcom’s heartwarming tale of wrestler-turned-mayor Mike Haggar and his quest to beat the crap out of hundreds of members of the Mad Gear gang in an attempt to rescue his kidnapped daughter, Jessica. But what would have happened if Haggar’s rescue attempt had taken place on Christmas Eve? We like to think it would have gone something like this…

’Twas the night before Christmas, and within Metro City
the Mad Gear gang kidnapped Jessica, cuz they thought she was pretty.
The mayor, Mike Haggar, was consumed by great worry.
“Those punks kidnapped my daughter!” he said in his fury.

For too long had the gang filled the city with dread;
Haggar vowed to bash open each gang member’s head.
Alongside Cody and Guy, he took to the street,
Where his enemies would feel his fists and his feet.

They marched through the slums, and made J’s bones shatter,
then Haggar backdropped Damnd with a wondrous splatter.
Masked Sodom was next; he attacked with a sword.
But a few drop-kicks later he found himself floored.

Then what did they spy near the city’s West Side?
At a gas station parked was a gang-member’s ride.
Using pipes they destroyed it, with the greatest of ease.
“Oh, my car,” sobbed the owner, as he dropped to his knees.

In a bar they were ambushed and thrown in a cage
But their foes quickly fell before our heroes’ rage.
And just to make sure Mad Gear knew who’s on top
Haggar beat the crap out of a vicious rogue cop.

To the industrial area the brave trio went,
Yet after pummeling Rolento they were all but spent.
Luck’ly they knew how to prevent their defeat;
They punched over a trash can and devoured the meat.

In the Bay more punks struck, but they could not prevail;
Haggar punched out the biggest—some jerk called Abigail.
Upon reaching Uptown they knew their goal was near
As they found themselves facing the whole of Mad Gear.

“It’s Simons! And Poison! And Axl and Dug!
There’s Roxy! And Two P! And some lowly thug!
Grab ’em,” said Haggar. “Slam ‘em into the wall!
Now smash away! Smash away! Smash away all!”

Like water on rock, the Mad Gear were knocked back.
They couldn’t withstand Haggar’s spinning attack.
Guy leapt off the fence and kicked them in the face
While Cody’s blows knocked all of their teeth out of place.

The battle would go on forever, it seemed,
But from a skyscraper above, poor Jessica screamed.
Haggar quickly pursued the ear-shattering shriek,
To find his daughter with Belgar, Mad Gear’s number-one freak.

Hee, hee, hee, Mister Haggar! Welcome to my show!
It’s me and your daughter–beneath the mistletoe!
I’ve been lonely,” mused Belgar, “but don’t be misled!
That will change once Jessica and I have been wed!”

Belgar’s eyes–they were empty, like two lumps of coal.
There’s no doubt he was evil, right down to his soul.
With one hand he held tightly to Jessica’s wrist;
In the other he clenched a crossbow in his fist.

Haggar had seen enough; he’d no longer stand by.
So he grabbed onto his foe and leapt into the sky.
There was slim chance that Belgar would be a survivor
as he felt the full force of Haggar’s piledriver.

Belgar’s body was broken; his mind was aloof.
He staggered, and stumbled, and slipped off the roof.
But Haggar heard him exclaim, as he fell out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all, Final Fight!”

It's a wonderful life

Happy holidays, everyone! (And if you suddenly have an itch to experience Haggar’s backdropping, piledriving adventures first-hand, you can always download Final Fight: Double Impact on PSN or XBLA, or grab the Super NES version of Final Fight on Wii’s Virtual Console.)

Want more final fighting? Check out gaming’s most satisfying uppercuts and Nintendo: Banned in the USA.

By Chris Hoffman

The most mispronounced game names EVER [ClassicRadar]

GemsReader helps you say stuff right

Happy holidays reader! To celebrate the season, we’re gifting you with 12 straight days of some of our best features from the last six years of GamesRadar excellence. Enjoy!

Way back in 2007 we cobbled together a fun little list of frequently mispronounced game names. Far more obnoxious than the simple “Mah-rio/May-rio” switch, these names are routinely butchered and for a defensible reason – they’re almost all nutty as hell.

We thought we’d expand on that original feature, as 2007 is like 70 million years ago in internet time. So here’s an update!

Faxanadu

You say: “Fax anna dew”
Should be: “Fah zanna dew”

“Xanadu” is the name of a famous (nearly infamous) 1980 movie and soundtrack, a prominent mansion in Citizen Kane and an ancient Mongolian city that was also the inspiration for Kubla Khan. If you have to google some of those references, we’re not surprised – now imagine a bunch of ‘80s children attempting to pronounce the Famicom version, portmanteau’d into Faxanadu with no regard to our still-forming intellect. Made sense in Japan, but our feeble US minds had to dub it “Fax anna dew” and move on.

Ico

You say: “Eye-co”
Should be: “E-co”

Simple mistake, this one. You’re not horribly wrong by calling it Eye-co, but if you’re going to be one of those people (and we all are from time to time), you should follow the Japanese translation. In this case, the “I” is like “kiwi,” not “identical.”

Ys

You say: “Wise, Yeez, Y.S., Yis”
Should be: “Ease”

Ys has been around for more than 20 years and people still can’t say it properly, even though the game’s cheesy narrator clearly says the name in plain English. “Y” is a confusing letter to just slap an “S” on, which is possibly why the series hasn’t become more popular – if no one knows what to call it, they can’t tell anyone to buy it.

Suikoden

You say: “Swy ko den, Sue ick o dan, Swike odin”
Should be: “Swee ko-den”

A great case of a publisher keeping the Japanese name when the obvious English option (Stars of Destiny) would have made it far easier on the many parents struggling to pronounce this massive vowel movement. Konami’s never let up, having released Suikoden: Tierkreis just last year. Say what?

Ehrgeiz

You say: “Ur-guys, Air geez”
Should be: “Air-gites”

We’ve heard this one manhandled for years, even though the announcer says the name at the title screen. Need more help? Turns out “ehrgeiz” is German for “ambition,” making this a second Square title with a German name (Einhander would be the other).

Ninja Gaiden

You say: “Ninja Gay-den”
Should be: “Ninja Guy-den”

“Gaiden” is a common term in Japanese videogames (meaning side-story or supplemental content), but most English speakers’ first exposure to the word was Ninja Gaiden, which quickly became “Gay-den” in uncouth arcades around the country. Two decades later and we think just about everyone’s figured it out.

The Magic of Scheherazade

You say: “I can’t even read that s**t.”
Should be: “Sha-hair-uh-zod”

A title so confusing they spell it out for you twice – once in a nearly undecipherable mess of Arabic pixels, and again in plain white letters. Neither is particularly easy to sort out at first pass, especially for young ‘uns trying to ask for a game they’ve only read about in Nintendo Power.

Deus Ex

You say: “Deuce Ex, Dee us ex, um, Day of sex?”
Should be: “Day-us Ex”

Finally, a name we can’t pin on the Japanese. This time it’s those conniving Latin-speaking folk who’re to blame for years of “actually, it’s pronounced hurrr hurrrrrr.” Kind of like what we’re doing right now.

Lumines

You say: “Lou-mines”
Should be: “Loo min-ess”

OK, we haven’t heard a whole lot of people call it “Lou-mines.” But if our years of retail experience have taught us anything, it’s that if one person mispronounces something, a hundred others will too. What do you suppose they’re searching for in the Lou Mines?

Atelier Iris

You say: “Ate-lear Iris”
Should be: “At-ill-yay Iris”

Japanese, Latin, now the French have some fun at our consonant-pronouncing expense. Atelier is far from an uncommon word even in English, but, as was the case with the NES, millions of gamers’ first system was a PS2, and “atelier” isn’t a word you’d expect a kid to nail the first time. From there you keep calling it the incorrect name even though you know it’s wrong. Kinda like Street Fighter’s Ryu – we know it’s closer to “Roo” or even “Ree-you,” but we’ll never, ever call him anything but “Rye-you.”

Xexyz

You say: “I’ve never heard of this game before.”
Should be: “Zex-iz”

Let’s assume you’ve heard of Xexyz. If you came across it at an early age, odds are you crinkled your nose, furrowed your brow and wondered what in Eternia/Thundera/Cybertron/The Mushroom Kingdom it was supposed to be. We’ve heard “Exes” and “Zezzez” as first tries, but thankfully the sweet ass commercial cleared it all up. Go buy a vowel!

Gaiares

You say: “Guy-uh REZ”
Should be: “Guy ARE ess”

Even though this Sega shooter’s name looks to be Gaia and Ares blended together, it’s not pronounced as such. Instead, it’s trying to be like Xexyz and the next entry and have some quirky-cool shooter name that’s 100% unique. Makes searching for them online incredibly easy though, so thanks for that.

Axelay

You say: “Axel-ay, Aches-lay”
Should be: “Axe-lay”

Yes, this one’s as simple as it seems. Just Axe and Lay put together, not some weird combination of the two. To be fair, we don’t have a 100% confirmation on any pronunciation for Axelay, but the majority has decided on that name. Far more important is how ass-kickingly awesome this game really is. Check it out on Virtual Console pronto.

Tatsunoko vs Capcom

You say: “Teh-san-ooki,” others probably
Should be: “Tat-su-no-ko,” just like it is

More Japanese, and a totally unfamiliar word on top of that. We’d wager not many reading this article have a problem saying “Tatsunoko,” but we’ve already heard reports from the retail frontlines of name mangling, our favorite being “Teh-san-ooki.” Mostly a case of Americans seeing a Japanese word and not even trying to work it out.

Heiankyo Alien

You say: “I’m 9 and can’t read that.”
Should be: “Hey-on kyo Alien”

Isn’t that the most goddamn horrific box you’ve ever seen? That hairy alien thing has arms growing out of its head… and it’s halfway buried in the ground! Only after digesting this nightmare can we even begin to tackle the name, which in our youth might as well have been written in Mars-man language. Still don’t know what’s going on in that picture…

Shenmue

You say: “Shen-moo-eh”
Should be: “Shen-moo”

“You say” may be a bit harsh in this case, as the only people who insist on calling it “moo-eh” are those who’re trying to sound overly Japanese. You’re not in on some crazy translation quirk, it really is just “moo.” Just ask this guy.

Ephemeral Fantasia

You say: “Effa Meryl”
Should be: “Effem er-ul”

Not the most common word in everyday language, ephemeral is usually handled one of two ways, which we’ve outlined above. The real fun comes when everyday shopper-person can’t process the word and ends up tripping on Fantasia as well. “Effa Meryl Fanastasia” was one of our mid-2000 favorites.

PoPoLoCrois

You say: “Poop Lacrosse,” according to an old comment on the site
Should be: “Popo Lo Croi”

PoPoLoCrois is such an initial challenge because of the distractingly unnecessary intercapping and fusion of Japanese and French terms. The Japanese name, PoPoRoKoRoisu, doesn’t help us much either. Just call it “that PSP game no one remembers.”

Disgaea

You say: “Diss gay-uh, Diss gee-uh”
Should be: “”Diss guy-uh”

It’s a bizarre word, possibly meaning “against Earth,” so you’re forgiven for getting it wrong. We asked publisher NIS America what it meant a couple of years ago, and got this response: “From the developer side, Disgaea means absolutely nothing, it just sounded cool and different. We could say that their souls were actually looking for ‘anti-earth’ so Disgaea came to their mind even though they don’t know English at all. It was the magic of Disgaea!”

Yggdra Union

You say: “Wige-dra,” or nothing at all
Should be: “Igg-dra”

We could have sworn Yggdra was something other than a princess in this game, but after nine pages of google results we have to assume that it never existed in human language until 2006, certainly not in another language that might elude our basic internet searches. [Ed.: it’s most likely a derivate of Yggdrasil, the world-tree of Viking myth, whose name translates literally from Old Norse as “Frightful Horse”.] As for the name itself, just pretend it’s an “I” instead of a “Y.”

Astyanax

You say: “Asta-nax, Astee-annex”
Should be: “Uh sty uh nacks”

This rigid, plodding side-scroller stars a hero whose name comes from Greek mythology (read more about that here) and, like so many other NES games on this list, completely stopped all 10 year olds in their tracks. We weren’t sure which of those three options was correct, but according to the Wiki’s use of the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), “uh STY uh nacks” is the proper way to say it.

Wii

You say: “Wee,” but grandmothers and aunts say “Wye, The W2”
Should be: A cooler name than “Wee,” but it’s too late for that

Not much to say here. We all get it right away, we were there the day the Revolution died and became the Wii. But millions (upon staggering millions) of Wii owners out there ask for it by the wrong name, somehow unable to pronounce the thing they simply have to own. We’d like to think that by this point “Wee” is a worldwide certainty, but there’s probably still some uninformed parent wondering why his kid wants a tax form for Christmas.

Pokemon

You say: “Poke man, Poke mans, Pookimun, Pokey men, Pockey mon”
Should say: “Po-kay-mon”

Perhaps one of the most commonly mispronounced words in the whole of human existence, we’ve heard so many tragic variations of “pocket monster” that we’ve become unable to call them by their true name. After so many years of mangling, “Poke mans” is completely acceptable even in non-ironic situations. Pokemon: Let us show you how to pronounce them.

Want more?

Got far on Sinny Moira yet? Have you been Mugging Souls, or imported Poyopoyopoyo… Poyo… that cat game? What amusing mispronunciations have you encountered lately, is the question we’re getting at.

Or check our lists of The shortest game names of all time, Game names corrected by spell check, or The bloodiest games you’ve never played.

By Gamesradar Staff

Super Smash Bros Wii U roster – Who we want in the cast

Get your smash on

Updated with even more reader suggestions! Continue to comment with characters you want added to the roster and we’ll keep updating the article with information! Oh, and we’ll eventually update it with the actual roster, too, once it’s announced, but in the meantime keep the speculation going!

One of Nintendo’s consistently highest-selling franchises of the last decade, Super Smash Bros has been used sparingly, only appearing once on each home console starting with N64. With so few releases, the years-long wait between sequels is filled with people dreaming up the rosters for the next entry in the fan-service drenched series. It’s felt so long since 2008’s Brawl that simply hearing Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata mention a new Smash Bros was the highlight of the company’s E3 press conference, even without a single screen to show the audience. Now Smash Bros development has begun in earnest for the Wii U/3DS sequel, that gets our imaginations going.

Our old gamer’s brain have been pondering just who will be added to the next game. Though the roster is pretty huge already, for the purposes of this feature let’s assume that Nintendo won’t cut any of the characters from Brawl. That just leaves one question: Who or what deserves the honor of being a playable character in the next Smash Bros? Here are our highly educated (and continually updating) guesses…

Tanooki Mario

First appeared: Super Mario Bros 3 (1990)

We love all of Mario’s transformations and we enjoy how changes like Fire Mario are incorporated into his SSB move set, but we want more. Given how popular Tanooki Mario is right now since taking center stage again in Super Mario 3D Land, we think he deserves his own alternate spot on the roster. Now that a whole new generation has been introduced to the power-up, the tail-wagging furry would make a marvelous addition./p>

How they should play: Regular Mario with a touch of Yoshi. His jumps would be floaty and slow in the same way Yoshi’s are, but with a different, more gradual descent. Swinging his tail would be his main attack, but he’d also have a very powerful drop attack from turning into a statue mid-air, not unlike one of Kirby’s best moves.

Bayonetta

First appeared: Bayonetta (2010)

Created by many of the developers behind the first Devil May Cry games, Bayonetta is a sassy witch that kills demons and angels with equal panache. She doesn’t care what side of Heaven or Hell she’s fighting, so long as she’s paid. Bayonetta’s weapons of choice include her four favorite guns–two of which are attached to her heels–as well as her enchanted hair. Her flowing locks can transform into giant fists or gnashing fangs to destroy her enemies, and the rest of the time her mane takes the form of the clothes on her body. Like we said, sassy.

Chance she’ll be in SSBWU: Up until a few months ago Bayonetta seemed firmly established as a Sega franchise, but then came the shocking announcement that Bayonetta 2 is a Wii U exclusive. Now that Nintendo seems so firmly behind our favorite witch, the odds of her showing up in Smash Bros. have increased substantially. Yes, she’d have to leave some of her more risqué moves at the door, but with the kind of arsenal she’s packing, she’d be a great addition.

Shulk

First appeared: Xenoblade (2010)>

Shulk would be the next great sword master to join the series, but he’s got more than enough skills to separate himself from guys like Link and Marth. Shulk’s unique edge comes from his sword, the powerful Monado that’s imbued with multiple magic spells and techniques learned throughout Xenoblade Chronicles. A strong fighter with an interesting background, Shulk would also make a great addition because his stage has the potential to look fantastic and have some of the best music in the game.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Shulk’s case is looking better every day. SSB needs some fresh blood, and Xenoblade is one of Nintendo’s most popular new franchises–in Japan at least. If Nintendo wants to keep that series alive, adding Shulk to Smash while fans hold out hope for a Wii U sequel is a great idea. Shulk is one of Nintendo’s best chances to bring something truly new to SSB, so we hope the devs don’t pass up this opportunity.

Starfy

First appeared: Densetsu no Starfy (2002)

One of Nintendo’s most recent additions to its mascot pantheon, Starfy is cut from the same cloth as Kirby, in that he’s a puffy cute thing, only yellow instead of pink. In the place of sucking down enemies and stealing their powers, Starfy is more at home floating around underwater like the starfish he’s styled after. He did appear in Brawl as an Assist Trophy, but now that Western audiences got a chance to play as the five-pointed hero in The Legendary Starfy, it’s time he got the star treatment (PUN!!!!).

How they should play: Since Starfy spends so much time below the waves, perhaps his movements should reflect more of his under the sea motions, feeling very light and floaty. Seeing as how most of Starfy’s moves in his own game involve spinning, we’re guessing that’ll be the source of many of his attacks. We just hope his stage includes the adorable space rabbit from his one English language game.

Zero

First appeared: Mega Man X (1993)

This list already features Mega Man, but it could use a boost of energy from his sword-wielding rival Zero. Introduced as an NPC in the first game, it wasn’t long before the amnesiac Maverick Hunter became a playable fan favorite, cutting through robots left and right with his Z-Saber. Blessed with speed, attitude, precision, and a killer instinct, Zero would rise to the top of the SSB ranks the moment he showed up.

Chance he’ll be in SSBWU: Based on the last couple years, it appears that Zero has a better chance of appearing in the next Smash Bros. than Mega Man. Zero was a playable fighter in both Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and Marvel vs. Capcom 3, plus he starred in a series of spin-offs from 2002 to 2007. Since he still seems to be a favorite of Capcom’s, perhaps the publisher will lobby hard to see him in the Wii U iteration of SSB.

Dark Pit

First appeared: Kid Icarus: Uprising (2012)

Obviously the Kid Icarus series is very close to SSB creator Masahiro Sakurai’s heart. Not only was Brawl the first time Icarus star Pit had seen the light of day since the early 90s, but Sakurai and his team at Project Sora created Pit’s most recent adventure in Kid Icarus: Uprising. And that’s where they introduced Pit’s evil twin, Dark Pit. Replacing Pit’s earnestness and helpful nature with roguish independence, Dark Pit does much to differentiate himself from his “brother.”

How they should play: Your initial assumption might be that he’ll play exactly like Pit, but we imagine he’ll be somewhat different, like how Luigi plays compared to Mario. He’ll have more cutthroat moves than Pit, and (semi-spoilers for Uprising) his powers will be a little different from Pit’s as well. Though we’re not sure which deity will back him up like Palutena does for Pit. Medusa perhaps?

Krystal

First appeared: Star Fox Adventures (2002)

Fox and Falco are already part of Smash Bros., but there are other members of the Star Fox crew we’d like to see in SSB, with Krystal at the top of the list. Krystal has proven herself to be more than capable, thanks in large part to her magical staff. She’s first introduced as the protector of a dinosaur planet Fox McCloud crashes on, and she’s also blessed with telepathic abilities. Krystal joined the Star Fox team when she and Fox became an item, though in a later game Krystal left to be a part of the rival Star Wolf Team.

Chance she’ll be in SSBWU: Krystal may have been introduced in a game that was barely a Star Fox title, but at this point Nintendo has proven to be pretty committed to the character. In fact, given her melee skills, she’s arguably the most fitting member of the Star Fox crew for a fighting game, and SSB could always use more ladies on the roster. Unless Nintendo has totally turned its back on the newer Star Fox characters, we think the odds are in her favor.

Matthew

First appeared: Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (2010)

Son of the stars of the original Golden Sun for GBA, Matthew takes after his father Isaac a lot. Wielder of the famous Sol Blade, Matthew is a master of earth magic like his papa, often calling upon the ground in his mystical battles. Like most RPG protagonists, he teamed up with his childhood friends to save the world. Including him would not only add a newer character to the mix, but also finally give Golden Sun some real recognition in the SSB series.

How they should play: Given his potent mix of sword and sorcery, we see Isaac playing like a combination of characters. Obviously he’d have sword-heavy attacks similar to Link and Marth, but based on the number of spells he knows, we could see him using area-effecting magic attacks ala Zelda or Gannon.

Maxwell

First appeared: Scribblenauts (2009)

One of the key ingredients to a successful Smash fighter is variety, like the diverse number of moves each character has using different items from their games. Since Maxwell’s main skill is the ability to create nearly anything using his magical notepad, that puts few limits on the number of things he could conjure on the battlefield for any number of attacks. And though Maxwell may look like an unassuming little boy, anyone that’s played his games knows he’s deadly with whatever weapon you put in his hand.

Chance he’ll be in SSBWU: Not too long ago, Maxwell met with Nintendo’s stable of characters for the first time in Scribblenauts Unlimited making for one of the strangest Nintendo cameos in recent memory. However, while it’s promising that Nintendo is already interested in sharing gaming space with a series that’s always been associated with Nintendo systems, that doesn’t guarantee anything. Super Smash Bros. may be an international hit, but it has always been a very Japanese franchise, so it would be surprising to see a Western-developed character get one of the precious few spots for new characters. Then again, Nintendo appears more inclusive than ever these days.

Birdo

First appeared: Super Mario Bros 2/Doki Doki Panic (1988)

Since her first appearance as an egg spitting mid boss, Birdo has stuck in the minds of players everywhere. Though somewhat ignored directly after Mario 2, over the last decade or so, Birdo started popping up in Mario spin-offs until eventually she became a regular in most Mario sports and party games. Often used as the feminine counterpart to Yoshi, Birdo’s got a big enough fan base that she deserves to be playable in SSB instead of restricted to the cameo roles she’s had to put up with. If nothing else, she’d be a welcome female addition to a rather male-oriented roster.

How they should play: Since Birdo has been symbolically intertwined with Yoshi for years, why not use the green dino as a starting place for controls? She should have the flutter jump or a variation on it, though her egg attacks would obviously be a straight shot instead of Yoshi’s arc. Initially we thought you should be able to stand on her eggs if you time the jump right, but that seems like it might break the whole “throw your opponent off the stage” concept to the battles.

Andy, Sami, and Max

First appeared: Advance Wars (2001)

In real life the thought of young adults fighting wars is a tragedy, but in the World of Nintendo it makes for some of the best and most approachable strategy games to date. There are tons of COs to choose from in Advance Wars’ history, but none have stuck with us more than the core trio in the first English-language release for the GBA. Andy, Sami and Max all had their qualities and together made an unbeatable team, so why can’t that be the same in Smash Bros? Also, since the Smash Bros is going portable in the next iteration, it’d be nice to recognize such a well-known handheld series.

How they should play: There’s a precedent for a set of interchangeable characters acting as one in SSB, with each having their own qualities that could be useful at any given moment. The gruff Max would be your offensive heavy, Sami’s fast troop movement abilities would translate to high agility, and Andy would be the all-around character who could occasionally pull off a special move that would heal the team. And all of them could call in infantry for help every now and then, with their bigger moves calling bombers and tanks.

Professor Layton

First appeared: Professor Layton and the Curious Village (2009)>

Professor Hershel Layton is one of the most well-known characters introduced in the last five years, having starred in multiple hit puzzle games. Layton is famous for using his ample intelligence and good manners to solve ancient mysteries all over the world, often finding the logical explanation for some supernatural occurrence. And while Layton strives to be a gentleman at all times, if he’s forced to defend himself, he’s more than skilled at that too.

Chance he’ll be in SSBWU: Layton seems like a shoe-in given the brand’s closeness to Nintendo systems, SSB’s Japanese development, and the fact that the next SSB will be on 3DS and needs guest characters famous on handhelds. Additionally, Layton just appeared in his first crossover game, Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney, a good sign developer Level-5 might share the character again in the future. The biggest strike against Hershel appearing is that his next game for 3DS is rumored to be his last, so if Level-5 is set on retiring him, it’s possible the publisher won’t want Layton appearing in SSB so soon afterwards.

King Hippo

First appeared: Punch-Out!! (1987)

The hefty, seemingly invincible boxer from Hippo Island might be the most famous Nintendo character to never get his due. Certainly the most memorable opponent in NES classic Punch-Out!!, Hippo also gained fame as a recurring villain on 80s Saturday morning cartoon Captain N. After that, he almost disappeared completely until his return in 2009’s Punch-Out!! for Wii. Now a new generation knows how awesome this chunky boxer is, they’re ready for him to be playable in the next Smash Bros.

How they should play: King Hippo’s flurry of jabs, hooks, straights and uppercuts will work fine for normal attacks, but what about the moves demanding more visual flourish? We trust Sakurai and the rest of the team to properly embellish some of his more famous attacks from the games. However, if you choose Hippo for a one-on-one match, be sure to defend your stomach.

Vaati

First appeared: The Legend of Zelda: Four Sword Adventures (2004)

Zelda takes up a fair share of the roster already, but it’s mainly variations on the tried-and-true trio of Link, Zelda, and Ganon. Those guys are great, but we’d love to see the developers reach a little deeper into Zelda’s history. Though there are tons of great bad guys Link’s faced over the years, we think Four Swords/Minish Cap’s Vaati is of the most distinct and deserving of a slot on the roster. A malevolent sorcerer out for god-like power, he turned Zelda into stone and his former teacher Ezlo into a hat. That’s pretty evil.

How they should play: Early in Minish, Vaati proves himself to be pretty good at sword fighting, so the devs could use the similarly small in stature Toon Link as a starting point for controls. However, his abilities as a sorcerer adds some flexibility to possible ranged and defensive moves, while his more powerful attacks could include transforming people into stone or, more interestingly, a hat. Finally, if you’re wondering what his Final Smash would be, he does change into a snazzy, giant monster at the end of Minish Cap…

Midna and Wolf Link

First appeared: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006)

If you’re looking for a new form to give Link in the fourth Smash Bros, look no further than 2006’s Twilight Princess. Every time Link entered the Twilight Realm, he was transformed into a wolf, controlling very differently than he did in human form with more ferocious attacks. His constant companion, whether he liked it or not, was Midna, an imp that wields powerful magic and holds a dark secret.

How they should play: Despite being two separate characters, this duo would be better off playing more like a single character and less like the Ice Climbers. The combination of the wolf’s practical attacks (mostly involving biting jugulars) would mix with Midna’s mysterious powers that could be used for ranged and defense. Obviously Midna’s transformative abilities could come in handy too, especially with regards to a Final Smash.

Mii with Wii Balance Board

First appeared: Wii’s hardware and Wii Fit (2006)

People may complain that Nintendo hasn’t created a new franchise in years, but they aren’t looking in the right places. Wii Fit and Wii Sports were some of the best-selling franchises in gaming history whether you like it or not. Nintendo shouldn’t and almost certainly wouldn’t pretend like these games aren’t part of its history when making the roster for the next Smash Bros games. But how would they be used?

How they should play: The Mii is so non-descript, yet it’s done so many things that could be used in a potential move set: boxing, baseball, sword-fighting. Its third jump could even use the hang glider from Pilotwings Resort. Plus, if you’re looking for a charge move, how about it whips out the Balance Board and does some brief exercises that boost its attack? Following that theme, wouldn’t a Mii playing a painfully boring tune from Wii Music be the perfect stun attack?

Tom Nook

First appeared: Animal Crossing (2001)

Super Smash Bros has always been light on your options to play as a bad guy, and few in the Nintendo pantheon are more evil than Tom Nook. Don’t let his furriness fool you; this raccoon controls your life in Animal Crossing with an iron fist. You’re constantly pushing yourself to escape the grip of your many debts to Nook, and even when you finally do, he has a monopoly over your town’s businesses, so you still have to give him your money. Truly one of Nintendo’s most evil characters.

How they should play: Probably working similar to Mr Game & Watch, Nook’s moves would be based around his random uses of items from AC. A shovel here, an apple tree there, and his best power would be burying his enemies in crushing debt. He’d be a wonderful fighter in the “joke” character tradition of SSB.

Paper Mario

First appeared: Paper Mario (2001)

Introduced in the long-awaited sequel to Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario got his start as a cute variation on the Mushroom Kingdom’s classic look. Over the subsequent games, his two dimensional nature got played up more and more, until the adorable, flat Italian took on the physical properties of paper along with the look. Through multiple adventures, the turn-based, silent hero took part in some of Nintendo’s funniest and deepest adventures.

How they should play: Not only should he keep most of his paper transformations, including an airplane and getting so flat he can roll under cracks in the wall, but Paper Mario needs to maintain his silent mystique. One of the worst things to happen to Mario since the N64 is that he never shuts up, and that includes the Mario in Smash Bros. To be able to play as Mario without having to hear, “whoohoo! Yahoo! Whoopee!” every ten seconds would be a miracle.

Zoroark

First appeared: Pokemon Black/White (2010)

Pokemon has had a long and close relationship with the Smash Bros franchise, with multiple playable pocket monsters on top of the dozens that explode out of Pokeballs and a big chunk of stages based on the series too. With Gen IV’s Lucario playable in Brawl, Gen V deserves a shot, and why not the first monster revealed for Black/White, Zoroark? The mysterious, shape-changing Pokemon is often found hiding in plain sight and isn’t the easiest to catch, but is a great addition to SSB and your Poke squad.

How they should play: Maybe it isn’t as famous as Reshiram or Zekrom, or as cute Victini, but Zoroark has more gameplay potential than the almost any other new Pokemon. Not only do his lanky proportions and bipedal movement fit well with Smash Bros style (like Mewtwo and Lucario before him), but Z’s special ability to transform into different Pokemon, including Legendaries, opens up even more Poke-cameo potential than the random Pokeballs. Imagine doing a combo that ended with transforming into Entei or Kyogre and blasting away at your opponent.

Poke Trainer with 5th Gen Pokemon

First appeared: Pokemon Black & White (2011)

The Pokemon series is more than just a monster-collecting RPG, it’s a way of life. And as fun as it is to play as you favorite Pokemon (be they Pikachu or Jigglypuff) it can be even more fun to play as the lead trainer from the main games. The Poke Trainer made a great addition to Brawl, so why not update him with the newest generation of Pokemon?

How they should play: As our image suggests, we assume the devs will stick with using the three BW starter Pokemon, as Oshawott, Snivy and Emboar would fit with Brawl’s trio. Of course they wouldn’t be exactly the same, as the BW trio has more diverse capabilities. Then again, maybe they’ll surprise us and use a combination of four or more. We’d love to see new Mon like Beartic and Emolga appear.

Yarn Kirby

First appeared: Kirby’s Epic Yarn (2010)

Everyone is familiar with Kirby’s love of eat his enemies and steal their powers, but in 2010 Nintendo got experimental with the Pink One’s look and abilities with the rather unique Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Our hero became a yarn outline of himself and the old school 2D platforming stages were built around the theme of quilts, threads, and other fabric creations. Even though Kirby’s returned to form in his later releases, this look has stuck with us and the game is one of the high points of the Wii’s library.

How they should play: Kirby’s yarn form diverged so much from his classic look that even if the movement would be similar, his move set would be wholly different. Kirby would lasso enemies with string, he’d glide through the air instead of floating while holding his breath, and he could transform into things for combat purposes, including a car, dolphin or tank. That’s way more nuance than most character variations in Smash offer.

Rayman

First appeared: Rayman (1995)

The armless French creation is enjoying a renewed relevance these days. Following years of being upstaged by Rabbids, Rayman and his lovably goofy friends returned in the gorgeously 2D platformer Rayman Origins. Based on Rayman’s history with the Wii and 3DS, plus Ubisoft’s dedication to the Wii U, if any guest character would appear in the next Smash Bros, it’d be Rayman.

How they should play: The Origins update to Rayman works almost perfectly for Smash. He’s got tons of different melee attacks, transformative powers, and can hover with his propeller head. As for his design, we’d hope for a mash-up between his colorful 2D self in Origins and his 3D looks from Rayman 2 and 3.

Kazuya Mishima

First appeared: Tekken (1994)

Since way back when Soul Calibur II came out with the earth-shattering appearance of Link, Namco has been needing to return the favor by lending one of its characters to a Nintendo fighter, but at first it was tough to decide who. You might think Pac-Man, but traditionally he doesn’t really have any arms or legs, and we’d rather Nintendo ignore the middling Pac-Man Worlds of a few years ago. No, Namco should instead go with its premier fighting game, one that that’s already appearing in another crossover, and was one of the few franchises to appear in the Wii U reveal trailer. We’re obviously referring to Tekken, and Namco’s got to go with the series’ anti-hero Kazuya.

How they should play: Obviously his move set will be simplified a little from the Tekken games, but all of his marquee attacks should be there. Perhaps the platforming aspects of the combat might seem odd at first, but we’d get used to it. Plus he could have a Zelda/Sheik-type transformation into his Devil form. Perhaps his style would be a little too rough for the good-natured thrashing of Smash Bros, but it’d certainly make him standout from the crowd.

Dragon Quest Hero and Slime

First appeared: Dragon Quest (1986)

Fans may want one of the many memorable characters from Final Fantasy to appear in Smash Bros, but it’s much more likely that its sister series would cross over. In the last few years, Nintendo has become very close with the Dragon Quest side of Square-Enix, publishing a few DQ games in the US and UK, lending Mario characters to the Wii game Fortune Street, and eventually the two companies will publish Dragon Quest X together. It only makes sense to add a DQ character to Smash Bros, even if most of the series’ heroes are pretty non-descript. It doesn’t matter how bland he is; as long as a Slime accompanies him, he’ll have all the charm he needs.

How they should play: It depends on which hero they use, but we think it would most likely be the hero from the first DQ or whoever the hero in DQX ends up being. Most likely they’ll play similar to Marth or Link, with tons of sword and shield attacks, with move variations reliant on the character using famous DQ spells like Bang or Buff. Meanwhile, the Slime could make random appearances with some joke moves that play up the comic sensibilities of the series.

Mega Man

First appeared: Mega Man (1987)

To be honest we were a little dumbstruck that ol’ Mega didn’t appear in Brawl as one of the first ever third party fighters. He’s one of the most well-known characters in gaming, his history is very closely tied to Nintendo’s, and his stages would be incredible. Additionally, Smash creator Sakurai is a big videogame music buff, and videogame music doesn’t get much better than the Mega Man 2 soundtrack. It’s time to right this wrong now!

How they should play: Another reason Mega Man is a no-brainer is the fact that at his core he works perfectly with Smash controls. He’s a standard-bearer of classic platforming, his light projectiles from his Mega Buster fit with ranged attacks from characters like Fox and Samus, he has literally dozens of boss power-ups to repurpose in special moves, and his collection of support characters, especially Roll and Rush, would make great cameo attackers. It makes too much sense not to happen!

Nobunaga Oda

First appeared: Nobunaga’s Ambition (1983)

A famous Japanese Shogun from the 1500s and a leader during a time of intense struggle in the country, Nobunaga is most famous to gamers thanks to his appearances in Koei series Samurai Warriors and Nobunaga’s Ambition. A strong fighter, Nobunaga’s plays a pivotal role whenever he appears in games and given Koei’s friendliness with Nintendo of late, his appearance in SSB seems likely. He’s already teamed up with Zekrom in Pokémon + Nobunaga’s Ambition, so appearing in the next Smash is hardly a stretch.

How they should play: Another strong, evil-ish character, Nobunaga would make a good teammate for Gannon or Bowser. He’d have heavy sword attacks, plus he could call in support from troops, plus he could reuse famous combos from the Samurai Warriors games. We’re not sure how he’d pull off a triple jump, but we trust Sakurai could figure it out.

Raiden

First appeared: Metal Gear Solid 2 (2001)

For years he was one of the most hated characters in gaming history, but once Raiden was reborn as a cybernetic ninja badass all was forgiven. Soon to star in Revengeance, Raiden isn’t just nimble on his feet, he also has a sword that can seemingly cut anything. Since Snake appeared in Brawl, now that Raiden is about to star in his own game, it’s only fitting he replace Snake in the next Smash Bros.

How they should play: He’d use his quick reflexes and ninja skills to acrobatically outclass most of his competitors. He could bust out some of the insane moves he used in the reveal trailer for Revengeance, running on ceilings and slashing foes with his technologically superior swordplay. We’d love to see what kind of insane combo Raiden would pull off for his Final Smash.

Travis Touchdown

First appeared: No More Heroes (2008)

One of the few M-rated standouts on the Wii, No More Heroes was an oddball, violent game with a devoted cult audience. That sounds like a perfect fit for SSB, and since Snake already broke the M-rated barrier in Brawl, Travis’ sexy/bloody adventures shouldn’t ban him from the game, though they would have to be toned down some. And since he hasn’t had a new game in years, the otaku/pro wrestling fan/world’s greatest assassin and his beam sword could use the kind of notoriety this cameo would provide.

How they should play: The multiple, upgradable versions of the beam sword (don’t call it a lightsaber) could appear in multiple melee attacks. And we’d love to see more involved attacks using the multiple wrestling moves and vehicles Travis uses in NMH. Plus, any tribute to Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly would be greatly appreciated.

Knuckles

First appeared: Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994)

Following Sonic’s long awaited appearance in Brawl, it’s only a matter of time before his shitty friends got into the mix, it’s just inescapable. So we had to pick the least shitty for inclusion, and that came down to Tails or Knuckles. And even though Tails is cuter and is Sonic’s classic sidekick, Knuckles is a much better fit for a fighting game, so he gets our blessing for SSB insertion.

How they should play: Knuckles’ knuckles give him an edge in the punch-and-kick side of Smash, certainly in a more straightforward way than Sonic’s speedy qualities. Plus his gliding ability would work great as a third jump for players trying to get back to the platform. His attitude even fits, as it’s in Knuckles nature to be a scrapper, starting a fight with friend or foe. Our one condition for Knuckles being playable is that he’s the last Sonic character to appear in Smash Bros ever. No Big the Cat or Cream the Rabbit allowed.

Who do you want to see?

We’ve read your comments below and decided to give our feature an update based on your suggestions!

The next slides you’ll see are bios on the characters you readers say you want. For each there’s a quick primer on the character, followed by what we think the chances are that they’ll appear in the next Smash Bros game. Keep commenting with more suggestions and we might just update again!

Phoenix Wright (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (2005)

Phoenix Wright is rarer than a dozen elf boys and giant lizards: he’s a defense lawyer that wants to help. An attorney that continually gets assigned the most impossible cases and the flimsiest defenses, he’s used to proving innocence with a smattering of evidence, contradictions, and one lawyer’s badge. Backed up by a supporting cast of ghosts and clairvoyants, Phoenix saves the innocent and punishes the guilty in his humorous series of adventure games.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Even though his games have recently been ported to iOS, Phoenix has a long history of appearing on Nintendo systems. Despite that closeness, if Capcom is allowed only one guest character, we bet it’d be Mega Man or even Ryu before Wright. Then again, many didn’t think Phoenix would be in Marvel vs Capcom either, so who knows?

Banjo and Kazooie (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Banjo-Kazooie (1998)

After Nintendo basically invented the 3D platformer with Super Mario 64, there were dozens of clones and titles inspired by it, but few got as close to SM64’s greatness as Banjo-Kazooie. The unlikely team of a doofus bear and the bird that lives in his backpack battled witches, helped their animal friends and collected thousands of doodads in their day. Though the series has been quiet for a few years, they still have a devoted following.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Nintendo no longer owns any part of these characters, and despite appearing in on the Game Boy Advance, Banjo was absent from the DS remake of Diddy Kong Racing, making odds of a Nintendo published return slim. Then again, it seems like Microsoft has basically zero plans for the characters these days, so why not share them with Nintendo? BK already appeared in Sega All-Star Racing for 360, why not a cameo in the next Smash? Wouldn’t it be grand to drive your friends crazy with Banjo’s no doubt annoying taunts?

Bomberman (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Bomberman (1987)

Mascot of the now defunct Hudson, Bomberman’s a strange mix of cuteness with explosive death, which is why many love him. His adorable, modest design is fitting with his NES background, and the simple multiplayer joy of blowing people up in Bomberman games could translate to fun in Smash Bros. Wouldn’t it be fitting if he appeared alongside his 8-bit mascot brothers?

How they should play: Like Banjo, Bomberman has been dormant the last couple years. Perhaps you can blame that on Konami purchasing Hudson and so far having little need for the cute powder keg, so he could use the kind of boost a Smash Bros cameo would provide. If Konami isn’t into the character right now, who would it harm to lend him to Nintendo, especially given Nintendo’s history with Bomberman crossovers? (See Wario Blast)

Earthworm Jim (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Earthworm Jim (1994)

Once a simple worm crawling out of the ground, after he enters a super powerful suit from a distant galaxy he becomes Earthworm Jim, a hero for all time. With his trusty gun and rocket, Jim battles space crows, Queen Slug-For-A-Butt and interrupting cows to save Princess-What’s-Her-Name. His combination of shooting and melee via whipping people with his head makes Jim ideal from a gameplay perspective.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Though Earthworm Jim went missing for a number of years, in 2010 he made a comeback of sorts. A sexy HD version of his first game appeared on 360 and PS3, seemingly marking the return of the annelid, though we haven’t seen much of him since. Though we bet whoever currently owns the rights to Jim would love to see him in the next Smash Bros, we wonder if Nintendo would think he’s worthy of being on the roster.

Sora (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Kingdom Hearts (2002)

The type of upbeat, friendly, “believe in yourself” kind of kid that appears in Disney films or JRPGs, Sora is already the star of his own crossover series bringing together the unlikely worlds of Final Fantasy and Disney. In Kingdom Hearts, Sora uses his Keyblade to explore many different worlds based on classic Disney cartoons, all while battling the Heartless alongside Donald and Goofy. Soon he’ll be playable alongside his friendly rival Riku in the 3DS game Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (yes, that’s really the name).

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Though it started as a Sony exclusive, KH spin-offs have appeared on Sony and Nintendo handhelds for years, with the Kingdom Hearts 3D being the most recent addition. Given their similarly devoted fan bases, it would be fitting to add Sora to Smash Bros, but that situation probably hinges on one important factor: What system is the eventual Kingdom Hearts III on? If Square Enix makes it a PS3-exclusive, then we doubt Sora will be in Smash. But if KHIII appears on Wii U, then it seems more likely than ever.

Viewtiful Joe (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Viewtiful Joe (2003)

When he was first introduced, it seemed like Viewtiful Joe was going to be Capcom’s big star for the new millennium. An ironic hero for our times, Joe was obsessed with classic monster movies and Japanese superhero shows like Ultra 7, which made his transformation into a colorful superhero fitting. Joe jumps into the movie screen and battles his enemies with cinematic powers, like the ability to slow down, speed up, or zoom in on a film. Based on how he plays (and the fact he starred in a Smash Bros rip-off of his own) Joe would fit in the roster viewtifully.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Nintendo and Capcom seem to be on good terms at present, so we could imagine them sharing Joe, but not before a few other characters. Joe did appear in the last couple of VS fighters Capcom put out, but he was hardly the lead in those. Unless Nintendo makes a ton of room in the roster for several Capcom characters before him, we bet we won’t see Joe.

Groose (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011)

One of the funnier new characters from Skyward Sword, Groose has his own little cult of support. Link’s rival at the start of Skyward Sword, Groose comes off alternately pompous and bullying towards Link, probably because of Groose’s unrequited feelings for Zelda. Eventually Groose comes to respect Link and sees that Link really is the hero people say he is, and Groose ultimately helps Link on his quest.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Based on the diverse collection of stages created for each new Smash Bros, we bet there will be a Skyward Sword stage. And it’s very likely Groose will make at least a cameo in that stage, perhaps even firing the Groosenator at the fighters. But unless Sakurai is the world’s biggest Groose fan, the odds of him being playable are pretty low.

Geno (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Super Mario RPG (1996)

A noble warrior from beyond the stars, Geno was one of the new friends Mario made in the classic Super Mario RPG. A strong fighter that knows celestial secrets, he has a defiant attitude, but often is guiding his teammates to take down the evil Smithy. And he does all this while occupying the Pinocchio-like body of a child’s toy.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Sadly pretty low. There’s a reason Geno has appeared in virtually zero games since Super Mario RPG. The characters created for that game all belong to Square and there’s no doubt a lot of legal red tape keeping him from being in more games. Geno made a very simple cameo in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, which probably hinged on many corporate favors, so who knows how complicated it would be to add him to Smash Bros?

Jack (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Madworld (2007)

Trapped in a deadly reality show, Jack is a killer for hire that really seems to enjoy his job. With his trusty wrist-mounted chainsaw, he’s hacked to pieces armies of men and appears to take real pleasure in finding new, creative ways to murder. Jack probably describes himself best in his own words: “I don’t help people, I kill them.”

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Jack’s making the leap from black and white to color in the upcoming Anarchy Reigns, so he’s far from forgotten by his creators. Still, even though he was the star of one of the Wii’s most creative games, we have a hard time imagining him in Smash Bros. Solid Snake proved M-rated characters could appear in the game, but Snake’s never gone anywhere near the murderous excesses Jack does. Unless the next Smash Bros takes an extreme turn, Jack probably won’t be invited to the party.

Son Goku (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Dragon Ball (1984)

Born Kakarot on the planet Vegeta, Goku made his home on earth and was dedicated to one thing: becoming the greatest fighter of all time. Starting his life as a stronger young man with a tail and a love for fighting, he eventually became a character that could move faster than light and destroy planets with a thought. His natural abilities as a fighter, his famous Kamehameha Wave, and the ability to transform into a giant space gorilla would all make many wish Goku would join the roster.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Though he’s not technically a video game character, Goku has appeared in games dating back to the NES, so it’s not a total stretch. Seeing as how Super Smash Bros is a very Japanese series, it isn’t impossible to imagine one of the most famous characters in the history of manga/anime appearing in the game. It all comes down to Namco’s willingness to share the rights to the character and if Sakurai enjoys DBZ.

Mickey Mouse (Readers' Choice)

First appeared: Steamboat Willy (1928)

Do we seriously need to describe Mickey Mouse to you? You know, that cartoon Walt Disney made? Most recognizable character of all time? Mickey came back into gaming with Epic Mickey, so if he made his way to the Wii U we’d expect that he would bring his paintbrush with him.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Honestly, though it’s not too low, we can’t help but think that the laws of awesome would prevent it. Being able to have Mario fight Mickey might cause the universe to implode, so maybe it’s best if this doesn’t happen.

Pokey (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Earthbound (1995)

Pokey, also known as Porkey, also known as that jerk from Earthbound and Mother 3, has had many different forms throughout the Earthbound series, though we imagine it’s his final form that would make the best SSBWU character.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Not as startlingly low as you might expect. Lucas, Mother 3’s protagonist, already made his way into Smash Bros before despite his game never getting a US release, and if Nintendo has any intent on ever resurrecting the series it would likely start by adding new characters to Smash. Though some others in Mother 3 might be more deserving, Pokey be good, too, since his status as “villain” would help fill out the roster’s quote of evil characters.

Slippy Toad (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Star Fox (1993)

Slippy’s high-pitched naggings are essentially synonymous with the Star Fox series . The amphibian is the inventor of the group, tasked with putting together new machinery as well as constantly screaming about enemies being on his tail. And yes, Slippy is a guy.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Low. Smash Bros. already has three Star Fox characters, and if they were to add another we expect it would be another villain or Crystal before they’d slip Slippy onto the roster. Plus, no one really likes Slippy all that much.

Rosalina (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Super Mario Galaxy (2007)

What? A Mario female that isn’t Peach or Daisy? That’s right! Rosalina was the prominent female protagonist in the Mario Galaxy series, and before you start rambling about the Smash Bros. not needing a Peach clone we should note her abilities. Namely, the fact that she’s essentially a star god, with incredible magic powers. If anything she’d be more of a Zelda clone, but we have a feeling they could be more original with her, especially considering her Mario Galaxy roots. Maybe she could reverse gravity or something! Not that… you know… that would be too overpowered.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: The Mario Galaxy series sold extremely well on the Wii, so we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Rosalina join the cast. In fact, if Nintendo wants to continue making Mario Galaxy games it might be the best way to remind gamers that there’s another princess in another castle.

Quote (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Cave Story (2004)

Quote’s the lovable shooting lad from the indie megahit Cave Story, who captured our hearts without uttering a word. He’d no doubt be packing his trusty Polar Star peashooter, which he could upgrade by smacking triangular Energy pellets out of his opponents. He’d be like a more adorable, paler version of Toon Link, if Toon Link had a gun and a super missile launcher.

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Smash Bros. is in need of an indie character, and Cave Story’s gotten a lot of love with its Wii/DSiWare and 3DS ports. It’s tough to picture Nintendo giving the spotlight to an off-brand protagonist…then again, they did include Sonic in Brawl. Stranger things have been known to happen.

Baby Mario and Baby Luigi (Readers’ Choice)

First appeared: Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island (1995)

A commenter pointed out that Baby Luigi and Baby Mario could work together, like some sort of super annoying Ice Climbers, and you know what? That sounds awesome. The baby versions of the plumbing duo have been around for nearly 20 years now and have appeared in a dozen or so games, and it’s about time the kids make their way into the fight. Gotta earn their keep somehow, right?

Chances they’ll be in SSBWU: Medium. If the next roster really is a big one Nintendo will need to dig deep, and we’d like to think that the babies aren’t that far down the list of easy targets. Plus, they’d add some nice size variety, which makes for more interesting-looking battles.

Namco update!

We now bring you an important update! Namco is helping to develop the next Smash Bros!!! What does this mean? Well, we hope it doesn’t hurt the development (and Smash Bros super boss Sakurai is still involved), but what’s most important here is that it almost guarantees at least one Namco character starring in the game. But who? Well other than the two we already listed (Kazuya and Goku) we think these fighters have a chance…

Pac-Man

First appeared: Pac-Man (1980)

We start with the most obvious one, Namco’s happy, yellow, circular mascot Pac-Man. One of the most well-known characters in the world, Pac is synonomous with gaming to an entire generation. Though known for his arcade classic, he’s also starred in dozens of other games for Namco, including the Pac-Man World platformers, kart racers and party games. We’d say he’s earned a spot on the roster.

How they should play: He won’t need to drive any goofy mech like he did in Street Fighter X Tekken, that’s for sure. His size and stature make him a perfect fit for Smash Bros, plus a Final Smash that involves eating a Power Pellet and transforming every other fighter into a purple ghost is too awesome not to happen. DO IT!

Klonoa

First appeared: Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (1997)

But why stop at Pac-Man, Namco’s original mascot? Why not include their attempted furry mascot of the 90s, Klonoa? Though his design might cause a knee jerk reaction to dismiss him as a Sonic clone, give him a chance. This dream traveler’s 2D throwback adventures are great tributes to a simpler time. Play the Wii remake of his first game and see if you don’t agree.

How they should play: Since the core gameplay of Smash is platforming meets fighting games, Klonoa would transfer perfectly. In fact, his core gameplay involves throwing items at other characters, and his Air Bullets would make a great projectile. Unless he’s deemed too obscure, we expect to see him in the game.

Lloyd Irving

First appeared: Tales of Symphonia (2004)

For conspiracy theorists out there, it’s not hard to understand why Nintendo wanted to work with Namco: To feed on the popularity of the Tales series. In Japan the Tales of games are million sellers, so it makes sense Nintendo would make it clear to Japanese fans that the Tales devs were working on the next Smash. So if that team gets to add anyone to the roster, how about the star of Tales of Symphonia, the Tales series most famous to Nintendo fans?

How they should play: As you can see from the above image, Lloyd is no stranger to fighting game crossovers, having already appeared in the Wii-exclusive Soulcalibur Legends. Since he’s from an RPG and carries a sword, it’s easy to imagine him playing like Link or Ike, but we hope Namco is a little more imaginative.

Reiko Nagase

First appeared: Ridge Racer (1993)

Ridge Racer is still one of Namco’s go to franchises, so you have to think it’ll make an appearance in Smash Bros. And if it isn’t a Ridge Racer themed level, then it’d have to be an appearance by the only person that stars in the series. Race Queen Reiko Nagase. Otherwise they’ll just have a car like Fighting Vipers (which isn’t a bad idea).

How they should play: We don’t know, maybe she gestures for cars to fly at people? Look we admit it, this was a poor choice. We just wanted to include Reiko’s smiling face. Is that so wrong?!?

Mr Driller

First appeared: Mr Driller (1999)

Some might prefer to include Dig Dug star Taizo Hori, but that’s ancient history to us. We’d rather include his literal and symbolic child Mr Driller. The adorable and dedicated drill operator is the star of one of our favorite puzzle titles, with a spin on the falling block concept that flexed our brains and pressured us to move as fast as we could.

How they should play: His telltale drill would make for a cute/brutal attack close up, and his jumping down attack could only be drilling down. Projectiles could just be him throwing the blocks from his game. The only place where our imagination is stuck is trying to figure out how he’ll jump…

Nightmare

First appeared: Soulcalibur (1998)

Soulcalibur is arguably Namco’s most popular fighting franchise, making it clear that some member of the weapons-loving franchise will get their Smash on. Seeing as how the extreme sexualization of every woman in series probably exempts them from being in an E10 game like Smash, we’ll go with the most famous male character, the curse knight and holder of the Soul Edge, Nightmare.

How they should play: Pretty similar to how he works in SC. He’ll have a deliberate pace, heavy attacks, and works best when he keeps players at a distance.

Mobile Suit Gundam

First appeared: Mobile Suit Gundam (1979)

We’ve focused much on the Namco side of things, but what about the Bandai half of the equation? Of all the Bandai properties, Gundam is about as big as it gets, a franchise that has been consistently popular in Japan for over 30 years. As for which series would be represented, despite the US popularity of the Wing characters, we bet the dev will stick to basics and use the original MS that was piloted by Amuro Ray in the 1979 TV show/films (or maybe an SD version of the same).

How they should play: We envision a heavy fighter with floaty jumps, a Gundam that has many weapons at its disposal. Beam swords, laser cannons, multiple attachments and enhancements should be open to the player since SSB can pull from Gundam’s decades of history. And there should be some extra complexity to the character, the type that could only be mastered by a Newtype.

Naruto

First appeared: Shonen Jump magazine (1997)

Namco is also pretty famous for the number of games it has created based on hit anime franchises. Not only are there the countless Dragon Ball games, but there’s also the Naruto titles. The Harry Potter meets ninjutsu franchise is one of the biggest properties in the world, easily worthy to be in the next Smash Bros.

How they should play: Naruto would be one of the more nimble fighters in the game, light on his feet but strong enough to do some real damage. Naruto pulling out moves like his Sexy Technique, Shadow Clone, Rasengan and other abilities he’s learned in the series would be a great move set. And we think it’s obvious to fans what his Final Smash transformation would be.

Warning New Challenger Approaching!

Of course, this is just the beginning. There will likely be characters we never would have suspected in the roster, as well as a few favorites (though we’re not going to hold our breath for some of them). Is there anyone else you’d want to see added to Smash’s roster?

And if you’re looking for more fighting rosters, check out our list of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale characters and the full Dead or Alive 5 roster.

By Henry Gilbert

Violent game legislation misses the mark yet again

Yesterday, I posted about a bill which seeks to legally enforce ESRB ratings. The first questions several of our commenters posed were, more or less, “What? This again?”

You can check out the story to learn more about H.R. 287, but suffice it to say the bill would add legal teeth in the form of a maximum $5,000 fine to the voluntary agreement between video game retailers and the Entertainment Software Association–the agreement which makes sure all of the games retailers sell have a familiar little black-and-white label on the front, and that kids can’t buy those games if the label reads “M” or “AO.”

The Video Games Ratings Enforcement Act sounds kind of similar, as our commenters pointed out, to the California law which banned the sale of violent games to minors. That law was never actually enforced, moving from court to court until it was struck down by the Supreme Court–the big one–in its 7-2 ruling on Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association in 2011. So what makes Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) think, if his bill were to become law, it wouldn’t suffer a similar fate?

Matheson had the good sense to use an established ratings system (which 68 percent of parents feel allows them to make an informed purchasing decision) as the bill’s acid test. Instead of complicated labels which a “reasonable person” might find apply to a game’s acts of violence (Is it “patently offensive?” Is it “depraved?”), the VGREA defers to the judgment of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

Did the ESRB rate the game “M for Mature” or “AO for Adults Only?” Then it can’t be sold to persons under the respective ages of 17 or 18.

Matheson wants this act to go arm in arm with the games industry, while Brown v. EMA wanted to hold the industry at arm’s length. But the ESA provided us with a statement which politely declines the invitation.

“The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) shares Representatives Matheson’s goal of ensuring parents maintain control over the entertainment enjoyed by their children. That is why we work with retailers and stakeholders to raise awareness about the proven Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) system, the parental controls available on every video game console, and the importance of parents monitoring what games their children play.

“However, this type of legislation was already ruled unconstitutional and is a flawed
approach. Empowering parents, not enacting unconstitutional legislation, is the best
way to control the games children play.”

Is it fair to lump the VGREA together with the California law, when they employ substantially different means? From the decision Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the Brown v. EMA decision, it would seem so.

Scalia said the effects violent video games have on children’s feelings of aggression were “both small and indistinguishable from effects produced by other media” in the studies presented by California. The same effects were found “when children watch cartoons starring Bugs Bunny or the Road Runner, or when they play video games like Sonic the Hedgehog that are rated ‘E,’ or even when they ‘view a picture of a gun.’”

“Of course, California has (wisely) declined to restrict Saturday morning cartoons, the sale of games rated for young children, or the distribution of pictures of guns. The consequence is that its regulation is wildly underinclusive when judged against its asserted justification, which in our view is alone enough to defeat it. Underinclusiveness raises serious doubts about whether the government is in fact pursuing the interest it invokes, rather than disfavoring a particular speaker or viewpoint.”

The VGREA is similarly underinclusive. Scalia went on to say the California law was also overinclusive, because “[n]ot all of the children who are forbidden to purchase violent video games on their own have parents who care whether they purchase violent video games,” and therefore was not narrowly tailored enough to assist parents. The VGREA is similarly overinclusive.

To be fair, 87 percent of the time those children are still unable to buy mature-rated games from retailers who voluntarily adhere to ESRB recommendations, according to a 2011 FTC survey. It found that video game retailers are easily the most effective at enforcing rating age requirements compared to music and movie stores and theaters.

I think the games industry should take more responsibility for its content, and consider how its deservedly shoddy public image contributes to this sort of recurring legislation.

But neither of those problems, nor any others, will be solved by H.R. 287.

By Connor Sheridan

How fast can you die in… Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Hitman Absolution proved last time round that you don’t have to wade through 20 minutes of hand-holding before you can find a game over screen. Which is good really, as we were starting to worry. So now it’s time for one of the biggest games of the year to step up to the fore (and fall on the floor) to see whether its record can be toppled. That’s right, it’s time to find out… How fast can you die in Call of Duty: Black Ops II?

Be sure to check out our new league table at the end of the video to see who’s winning. We’ll be adding plenty of games to that over the coming months.

Oh, and just to be clear on the rules, we’re timing this from the moment the button is pressed that starts the game proper. So that’s after all the faffing about with storage device screens and difficulty selection (we’re sticking with ‘Normal’ for that). We are counting loading screens after that (but skipping where possible) and we’re using a retail Xbox 360 Slim 4GB model, so the games are not installed.

By Justin Towell

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