One of the most noticeable patterns in the online video game community is what I like to call the 'hype-outrage paradigm'. With a little push from AAA publishers' marketing departments, we buy into a game's hype and build astronomical expectations for it, which means that should a game be anything other than perfect, the internet explodes into tribal warfare, opprobriums against publishers and general cynicism about the industry as a whole. Outrage and video games go hand-in-hand like wizards and pointy hats these days, but much less attention has been given to the games that had no right to be good, yet against all the odds became sleeper hits - defying their dodgy licenses, weird premises or crappy predecessors to become all-time classics. Sure, we talk about the those games plenty now, but we'll never put our hands up and admit that when we first heard about them, we bought into the anti-hype and thought they'd be dead on arrival, or didn't give much thought to their existence whatsoever. So, between our waves of ire and pure rage at the games that have disappointed us over the years, let's tip our hats to those that we mocked or ignored before release, only to be proven wrong in the best possible way.
10. The Chronicles Of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay
Let's be honest. Even though the Riddick movies have somehow become cult classics and gave Vin Diesel his big break, the first self-titled especially was pretty mediocre. So what inspired publisher Vivendi Games to think it was a good idea to pick up the movie license and make a video game out of it is anyone's guess. But crazy an idea though it was at the time, the resultant game (co-developed by Starbreeze Studios and Vin Diesel's own Tigon Games) was one of the best first-person shooters of all time. The game cast you as Vin Diesel (sorry, 'Riddick') attempting to escape from a grim futuristic prison, and innovated the genre in several ways. Butcher Bay offered us a semi-open structure whereby you could carry out quests for the other inmates if you so wished, with the possibility of earning information and new items to aid you. It was the first FPS to implement melee combat mechanics that were actually any good, making players rely on timing, dodges and counter-punches rather than manically sprinting around enemies trying to pot-shot them. Perhaps this game ultimately benefited from the fact that the movie franchise it was tied into wasn't particularly revered, which meant that the developers were given freedom to focus on the gameplay rather than the license to attract gamers. Whatever the case, this is a rare example of something that completely outshone its respective movie.
Gamer, Researcher of strange things.
I'm a writer-editor hybrid whose writings on video games, technology and movies can be found across the internet. I've even ventured into the realm of current affairs on occasion but, unable to face reality, have retreated into expatiating on things on screens instead.