We never saw these coming! I am shocked! Appalled! Amazed even!
Not all video games are meant to just be played. Sometimes, they are meant to tell a story, and sometimes that story can have some of the craziest twists and turns you've ever seen. I compiled a list of some of the best twists in all of video games. Take a look and tell me what you think.
1. Samus was a woman the whole time! (Metroid)
I will admit, this is a little bit before my time, but man what a twist. In an industry that usually gives male characters the starring role - it must've been a jaw-dropping moment for men who realized Samus was a woman the entire time! Way before Mad Max: Fury Road tricked you into supporting amazing female action heroes, the developers of Metroid were changing the game.
This twist still remains relevant, because it was one of the first games that featured a female character in a central role - and of a difficult action game! And while I didn't get to experience this twist first hand, I will always be grateful for its existence.
2. The cake is a lie. (Portal)
The cake is a lie! And sure, this whole thing seemed fishy from the start, but when I played this as a young teen - I wasn't expecting the second half of the game. After you complete the final chamber, the evil AI, GLaDOS informs you that you have won - right before she stars you on your slow path to incineration. It was a delightful twist, that told that this game was much more than it seemed to be.
I expected to come face to face with GLaDOS, or some sort of evil scientist, when I completed the final chamber. Luckily, the game didn't disappoint and gave a super fun extra half that defied my expectations and gave this game its iconic status.
3. The world ends. (Final Fantasy VI)
This is one of three Final Fantasy games on this list. Believe it or not, there was a time when Final Fantasy told good stories. In Final Fantasy VI, you take control of the recently escaped Terra and company as they attempt to defeat the Empire and the evil clown, Kefka. After spending most of the game pursuing him, you finally catch up to him on top of a large mountain. But it's too late, Kefka ends the world right before your eyes - and that's not even the end of the game.
This twist was difficult, I played this without knowing anything about the game initially and I couldn't believe my eyes when Kefka actually won. I thought I had lost the game, or did something wrong, but no. This is just the game. And, a year later, you don't even have your whole party - you have quest around the world to find them! It was a lot, a whole lot. And it was great.
4. Tidus is a ghost? (Final Fantasy X)
This twist is still really hard for me to swallow. Apparently, back when Zanarkand and Bevelle were waging war, the people of Zanarkand all became fayth - which create aeons - and created their own Dream Zanarkand separate from the real Zanarkand of Spira. And Tidus, the main character of the game, hails from this Dream Zanarkand. So, the entire time, he is not real. In the end, when you have defeated the final boss, the Dream Zanarkand and Tidus disappear, leading to one of the most heartbreaking scenes in gaming history.
Now, this was a lot to take in and honestly I think that it's one of the most convoluted of the whole list. But, it ranks higher than the others, because it was unsuspected and unlike anything I'd ever heard before.
5. You were a sith. (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)
Amnesiac characters are always set up to have some sort of twist in the end, but I wasn't expecting this. Throughout the game, you are working with the scattered and struggling Jedi forces to take down the evil, Darth Malak - current Dark Lord of the Sith, and all around asshole. However, what you don't know, is that you were actually his Master, the evil Darth Revan.
During a battle, you were defeated and taken prisoner, and the Jedi modified your memory so that you would no longer be a threat to the Galaxy. In the end, depending on your alignment you can either succumb to your dark past and become the new Dark Lord - or you can be savior and a hero.
It's a typical twist, but it's still one that you never see coming.
6. It was all your fault. (Telltale's The Walking Dead)
I fell to the floor when this happened, because I wasn't used to my actions actually affecting the game beyond a character death or two. When I found Clem was kidnapped by this man, this stranger that we've never seen before, I was confused. Then, as he told me that it was because of me that his family perished because we stole his station wagon and his supplies.
Obviously, this isn't something that would have been prevented, but it was still a punch in my gut when I played. It really drove home the idea that this world was hard, and unlike the show, was much deeper than I'd been lead to believe. I felt for this guy, and while I didn't agree with what he did, this twist really made me think about what I'd done in this game up to this point.
7. It's the Joker! Wait. No it isn't. (Batman: Arkham City)
Honestly, I am so glad that they got rid of the giant, evil Joker thing in this game? This twist was so welcome, because I was wondering what was going on the whole time. I knew that something was going on, after all, when Talia impaled the Joker - I knew that wasn't the end. But then, when the second Joker came out and impaled her, my mouth dropped to the floor. And when the "dead" Joker turned into Clayface, my mouth dropped to the floor even more!
The twist was satisfying and earned, and it was a great change of pace from the stupid Giant Joker from the previous game.
8. The colossi were good guys. (Shadow of the Colosuss)
There's nothing more heartbreaking than the tale of Wander of the Colossi. At the beginning of the game, you as Wander are crossing through the Forbidden Lands to bring your fallen love back to life. A mysterious spirit tells you that the only way to do this is to go and kill the sixteen Colossi of this Forbidden Land. But what you don't know is that every time you kill this Colossus - you are losing yourself and eventually you are possessed and sealed away with the dark spirit who gave you your mission.
And the worst part? Your dead love comes back to life, and finds your baby-fied self. This is one of the most beautiful games ever made with one of the most powerful stories I've ever seen. It will break your heart.
9. Would you kindly... (Bioshock)
Would you kindly not get annoyed at me for sticking this choice second on this list? Bioshock was a beautiful piece of art, and it all culminates to this one scene. Throughout the game, you are tasked by the mysterious Atlas, to help him take down the tyrannical Andrew Ryan. Throughout the game, he always asks you to something, but begins with the phrase, "Would you kindly..." and it is revealed that you have been conditioned by Atlas. You were a slave the entire time and you didn't know it.
This twist killed me, because the entire time you think you're the good guy. And on some level you are, because Andrew Ryan is an evil son of a bitch, but so is the man you're working for. You were a conditioned dog, sent to kill a man, and you never even knew.
It was brilliant.
10. . Aerith's Death (Final Fantasy VII)
This still kills me. FFVII is one of the first games where I really felt the sting of a character loss. Not just any character, either, the main love interest and the emotional crux of the game up to this point. The second I heard the dramatic music play, I know something terrible was about to happen. When Sephiroth descending from the sky and pierced Aerith, my mouth dropped open.
I felt a visceral anger, and a deep sadness. I had grown so attached to Aerith's character, and while her death seen was done beautifully, the shock stayed with me for the rest of the night. This was one of the most intense twists I've ever experienced, and the tearful monologue that Cloud gives afterwards only made me feel more worse.
It's truly one of the best twists I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing.
The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.
Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."
This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.
Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality
Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.
But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?
Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?
When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.
After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.
Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.
Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.
Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.
For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.
In a world where remakes are getting made left and right, you really need to stand out - Secret of Mana didn’t
The Secret of Mana remake should have been an amazing video game.
After all, it's one of the most beloved JRPGs of its time - it's battle system still holds up as unique and different after all these decades - and it's a fun game that takes you through a fantastical story! It's the quintessential RPG experience, and a remake had such potential.
So what happened? Secret of Mana just tanked. When I played through over this past weekend - i was treated to a broken, garishly designed game that lacked the same kind of fantastic feel that the original captured. While the story still kept me enthralled enough to keep moving forward, the game itself became ever more frustrating and confused.
Still, I can't deny that I played it for hours and at times had at least a little bit of fun. That's something, right? Is it? No, seriously, I'm asking.
Secret of Mana is a remake of the SNES action RPG of the same name, released in 1993. It takes place in a fantasy world that contains a magical essence called Mana - and you control three unnamed heroes as they fight against an evil empire, trying to harness Mana and take over the world.
The remake features new, 3D graphics, a slightly modernized battle system, and a design that almost feels too saccharine for its own good.
The good in this game lies with what wasn't changed - the story. The story is simple, and features many typical tropes that have become iconic in JRPGS. You quest as three unnamed (or player-named) heroes across this unnamed world to retrieve and seal the powers of the Mana Seeds - because if the evil Empire gets them, they will recreate the evil Mana Fortress. Thus, mana will come back to the world and the evil Empire - lead by an evil, undead wizard named Thanatos - will control it all.
It's not groundbreaking. Even for the time, this plot was definitely one gamers had seen before, but that didn't matter! The story is engaging, because it's a typical hero's journey. You are able to gain fun magic powers and fight crazy large beasts and win! It's both an escape and even a form of wish fulfillment for some - and that's why we still continue to love these games.
Sure, a complicated, powerful story is great, but there is something to be said about the power of simplicity.
There are some other fun additions - the small conversations that party members have at the Inns are nice. It adds a level of character to these typical trope-y characters that we're given. Sure, it doesn't add a lot, but it adds enough.
Was this enough to make the game good, though?
No. It wasn't. At all. The game is broken, guys. Like bad. I'll start with the awkward AI and sprite movements. I was on my way to the Dwarf Village, and my party members were constantly getting stuck at turns. Often, I'd find myself asking, "Where the hell did the Sprite go?" It's not the worst thing, but when you're a relatively low level and traveling somewhere new, things get really hairy when your party is about three of four movements away fighting a wall for dominance.
You guys remember how in old games, whenever your sprites were preparing to talk to someone, they would come together and disappear within the protagonists body and then line up. Now, I want you to picture that, but a couple of seconds slower and instead of disappearing, everyone becomes this weird amalgamation of all three characters before making a line. It looked atrocious and made me regret actually getting information from anyone in the game. It's almost as annoying as the battle system.
Listen, the original game was definitely not the perfect system by any stretch of the imagination. But the point of a remake is to fix the game's problems and make them better. That's now what Secret of Mana did - instead, it made the game look pretty(?) and didn't bother to change anything else. This makes battles an absolute slog to get through.
The action bar mechanic is fine, and it definitely works in this action-RPG setting, but it also suffers from feeling a little too dated. Combine that with the delayed reaction from enemies in the game (by about two seconds) when they got hit, and the awkward move from 2D battles to 3D and you've got a mess. Not unplayable, but definitely annoying.
And finally, we have the awkward design elements. I don't know why they decided to go for this sweet and cute chibi-esque design - but it definitely made the game feel less fun and vibrant and more grating and childish. I know that this game is meant for a younger audience, but young kids don't need cheaply designed chibi characters.
I could go on and on, but unfortunately, I don't have a whole month write this article.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Don't waste your time on the remake. It's not worth the $40 that they charge, and that's an incredible disappointment. The game is mired by all of the choices it didn't make. Instead of giving us a remake the changes with the times, we are stick with a 3D-ed, almost carbon copy of the original game with all of the problems and issues that came with plus even more.
A remake is not a carbon copy and needs to change with the times. This game didn't do that - and that's incredibly disappointing.
Here's hoping they'll let someone else try it again further down the road.
Shann Smith is a lover of video games and has played games since he could hold a controller. He is a freelance writer, playwright, screenwriter, and also writes the Video Gay-Mer column on Popdust! If you have any games you'd like him to unpack, hit him up!
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