10 Video Games That Caused Real Life Deaths

10 Video Games That Caused Real Life Deaths

Video games can be a fun way to pass the time, especially when playing with other friends. But what happens when one's competitive spirit goes too far? What happens when the urge the play becomes anything but a game? These are 10 video games that caused real life death.

1. Halo 3
On October 20th, 2007, 16 year old Daniel Petric of Wellington, Ohio, shot his mother and father in the head with a handgun that he stole from the family safe. Daniel had been playing a lot of the sci-fi first-person shooter, Halo 3, which he had secretly purchased without his father's consent and had been playing almost non-stop up until his mother caught him. Daniel's father punished him by taking the game disc away and placing it in the safe next to his handgun. Daniel stole the key, used it to retrieve the game, and decided to also take the handgun, and told his parents to close their eyes because he had a surprise for them. His mother, Susan, died of a gun shot to the head, but Mark, his father, survived only to learn that his son tried to frame him with the murder/suicide. Daniel was caught and given 25 years to life for the crime.

2. Diablo 3
An 18 year old boy from Taiwan named Chuang, died on July 15, 2012, after he used a private room in an internet cafe to play the popular PC RPG game Diablo 3 for 40 hours straight, without eating or resting. He was an avid gamer, and upon release of the third installment of his favorite game, he couldn't get enough. After the marathon, an employee came to check on him, and found him asleep in a room. Upon waking up, he stood and walked a few steps, before collapsing to the floor from a blood clot that had formed in his leg, and then traveled to his heart, killing him where he stood. He was pronounced dead following his arrival at the hospital, all because he couldn't take a break from his favorite game.

3. World of Warcraft
Xao Ye, a 13 year old from China, was an avid player of the online massively multi-player game World of Warcraft. He played Warcraft so often that he found he couldn't bear not to play it for too long. When asked by his parents about his gaming addiction, he claimed to be hopeless, and that he could no longer control himself, or curb his need to keep playing. His addiction was taking a major toll on his life, with the vast majority of his time being spent staying in internet cafes for days, sometimes without eating. Xao finally decided that he had enough, and one day jumped off a 24 floor building to his death. He left a suicide note, disturbingly written as it if were from an actual video game character, stating that he wished to be reunited with three of his friends who played the game online in the afterlife.

4. Starcraft
Lee Seung Seop walked into an internet cafe on August 3rd, 2005 in South Korea, and started playing Starcraft, a popular real-time strategy game. His gaming session lasted 50 hours, in which time he barely ate or drank anything, and would only pause the game to go to the washroom. On August 5th, Lee's friends discovered him in the cafe and made him promise to return home, which he did, but died of heart failure shortly after they left. His death was brought on by extreme exhaustion and dehydration that his body was experiencing. Lee had cared so much about playing Starcraft, that he forgot to care about himself or anything in his life, for that matter. Previously, Lee had played the game so often, that he ruined social relationships and was even let go from his job, because he would always arrive late. Lee's story gained worldwide attention and after that, gaming addiction has become a more serious issue in South Korea ever since.

5. Xbox games
In 2008, in the city of Philadelphia, Tyrone Spellman brutally beat his 17 month old daughter, Alayiah Spellman after she accidentally pulled on the cords to his Xbox console and caused it to fall. He would spend 6-7 hours a day playing games on his Xbox, and when Alayiah caused it to fall and crash, it sent Tyrone into a violent rage. He cracked his daughters skull multiple times, and even threw her across the room. She died from the physical trauma he inflicted, while her oblivious mother slept soundly in the room next to them. Tyrone confessed to the crime the next day, but changed his mind and tried to explain that he was confessing to save his wife, and that Alayiah had just fallen off the bed and gotten all of her wounds.  He was found guilty of third degree murder and child endangerment and was sentenced to 47 years behind bars.

6. Legend of Mir 3
In March of 2005, 41 year old Qiu Chengwei won a powerful and rare sword called the Dragon Saber online in a game called Legend of Mir 3. He lent the sword to his friend, 26 year old Zhu Caoyuan, and Zhu unexpectedly sold the sword to another player for $871 in real money, all without Qiu's knowledge. He was so outraged when he found out, that he went to the police station in Shanghai, only to learn that they could not take any action against Zhu because of the lack of laws protecting the theft of property acquired in online games. When he did not receive his weapon back, or any money from the transaction, he went to Zhu's home and broke in while he slept. There, he confronted Zhu, who offered to give him the money, but Qiu was focused on revenge instead, and stabbed him to death. After two hours, he turned himself in and was later given a suspended death sentence, which could amount to him spending the rest of his life in prison.

7. Internet cafe games
On January 8, 2015, a 32 year old man from Taiwan died in an internet cafe of heart failure caused by extreme exhaustion. The unidentified man was unemployed and had been playing online video games at the cafe for three full days, only stopping to sleep with his head on his desk. Of course, marathons are not that rare when it comes to things like charity, where people play for 42 hours straight to raise money, but playing for 72 hours with no break is incredibly dangerous. The cafe staff noticed that he was slumped over on the desk and believed that he was simply sleeping. But they soon realized that he wasn't moving and found he had died earlier that morning. Apparently the man was well-known at the cafe, and his family said that he often wouldn't come home for two or even three days, because he was there playing computer games. It would seem that video game addiction and internet cafes can become a deadly mixture.

8. Lineage 2 Battle Clan
Lineage 2 is an online massively multiplayer fantasy game, where players battle each other for valuable items and glory. The rivalry between two Russian player clans, the Platinum clan and the Coo-Clocks clan, had been taken to a boiling point when one player was killed unfairly. This led to the dispute spilling out of the world of Lineage and onto the real one. One player from each clan agreed to meet in the city of Ufa, and while there, a real-life brawl broke out and Albert, a 23 year old Platinum clan player died from his injuries while he was being taken to the hospital. The other player in the fight, a 22 year old Russian man, was charged with murder soon after the incident. Following the fight and Albert's death, the members of the Coo-Clocks Clan began to harass his family while they grieved over his loss, and even threatened his sister with harm.

9. Berzerk
On April 3, 1982, 18 year old Peter Burkowski and his friend walked into a local arcade in Calumet City, Illinois. Peter, a straight A student in high school, put a quarter into the machine for a game called Berzerk. The 1980 Atari arcade game involves controlling a character that runs around a level and shoots enemies while the player tries to avoid their shots. Within less than 30 minutes, Peter had received the top score, entering his initials into the game's leaderboard. However, moving on to the next game, Peter was about to start playing when he instantly dropped dead of a heart attack. The coroner's examination determined that Peter had scar tissue around his heart, and the excitement and stress of playing had caused his weak heart to simply stop. This of course was back in the days when games with simplistic two-dimensional characters and early graphical effects were considered to be exhilarating. Unfortunately for Peter, who seemed to have his whole life ahead of him, video games were the unlikely trigger of his early demise.

10. Grand Theft Auto
On June 7, 2003, 18 year old Devin Darnell Thompson, also known as Devin Moore, was apprehended on suspicion of having stolen a car in Fayette, Alabama, and was taken to a local police station to be processed. Devin was an avid Grand Theft Auto player, and decided one day, to act out his in-game fantasy. While at the station, he managed to steal a .45 caliber handgun from an officer, and then used it to shoot Officer Arnold Strickland and Officer James Crump, and police dispatcher, Leslie Mealer, all of whom died. Immediately after the shooting, Devin stole the keys to a police cruiser and fled the scene. He was arrested again the same day, where he confessed, saying that he shot the officers and ran to avoid going to jail. Although Devin pleaded not guilty, he was charged with the three murders, and on October 9, 2005, he was sentenced to death by lethal injection. It was later discovered that before Devin had shot the officers at the station, he was quoted as saying, life is a video game. You've got to die sometime. So, those were ten video games that caused real life deaths. Do you still think it's a game?

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Bionic Commando Rearmed
Most action platform games involve running around, attacking, and jumping. Capcom's daring Bionic Commando did away with that last bit by removing the jump button, forcing the player to rappel around the landscape with a retractable arm. Its original incarnation was an innovative, yet clumsy arcade game, but the mechanics were refined and assembled into a much better package with the NES version, which is a totally different game.

The inability to jump initially proves puzzling for overcoming the most simple obstacles. It takes a bit of time to unlearn the techniques of other 2D platformers and instead think indirectly, but soon the snap-swing-go mechanics of the arm become second nature, and then almost every other game feels worse for not having it. It requires some split second reflexes, but flinging yourself from point to point – like a futuristic Tarzan, feet never hitting the ground – is some of the most fun you can have in a platformer. One of the greatest levels is a straight shot upwards, using all of the skills you've learned at this point to scale a massive tower.

The stages are not always entirely linear, but rather sprawl in all directions quite often, giving you appropriate room to explore the landscape with your swinging abilities. The map screen between stages, as well as the rather large arsenal of weapons and equipment, present a sense of scale rarely seen in 8-bit action titles. Each zone has at least one communication room, where you can hack into the enemy's network and listen in on their conversations, giving some insight into the workings of an evil empire. All of this is encased around a pulpy story involving a bunch of neo-Nazis attempting to resurrect Hitler, a daring concept for a game marketed towards children, and so lazily bowdlerized in the American release that it becomes even more strangely hilarious.

A fully 3D reboot came from Capcom in 2009, featuring some beautiful swinging mechanics but trapping them in an otherwise overwrought, depressing game. More impressive was Bionic Commando Rearmed, a remake of the original NES game that was intended to be a marketing tool for the reboot, but ended up overshadowing it. Unlike most Western-made games, the redone graphics keeps the bright colors of the original while still giving a modern sheen. The remake offers innumerable improvements, including new weapons, revamped bosses, substantially improved enemy AI, extra levels, co-op play, and rearranged music. Rearmed not only tunes up the minor issues of the original game, but turned this side project into one of the best games of the 360/PS3 era.

Even though Rearmed is a beautiful remake, the original NES game has aged astonishingly well, and is still definitely worth playing. Its direct sequel, Rearmed 2, adds an unnecessary jump button and changes up the swinging mechanics and level structures just enough to make it feel like a lesser game. For a different series, we cast our vote for Ninja Five-O, a GBA game developed by Hudson, and shoved out the door by Konami with little fanfare. Who knows why it was so poorly treated, as it's a brilliant ninja action game, combining the acrobatic rappelling of Bionic Commando with the terrorist slicing of Shinobi. It’s easily one of the best action games on the portable platform.

Bubble Bobble
When it was released in 1986, Bubble Bobble was hardly at the edge of technology. Platform games with single-screen levels had been introduced with Donkey Kong five years earlier, and were already on their way out. Yet Bubble Bobble was so brilliant, it powered a small renaissance for the genre, and was  followed by many clones and sequels. It’s a prime example of how you can turn a simple and straightforward concept into a mega hit and instant classic with cute, recognizable characters (some taken over from Taito's earlier game Chack'n Pop), and countless small, but clever modifications on a limited rule set.

As two adorable little dragons called Bub and Bob, the players – and it should always be two players, as not only they can support each other, but are required to get the better endings – need to clear 100 stages by breathing bubbles to catch monsters, and then touching them before they burst in order to turn them into different foods. The trick is that the bubbles are not only their weapons, but also serve as makeshift platforms from which the dragons can bounce off of. Every stage has its own set of invisible air currents that take them all over the place. Usually they go in a general upwards direction, but there are also environments that press them down, or drive them towards a specific target.

It's even possible to use bubbles to jump so high that the dragons appear back at the bottom of the screen, a tactic that’s sometimes necessary to get below areas blocked by platforms. Also, in certain stages, special bubbles hover in from the screen edges, which contain lightning, fire, and water. Popping these unleashes the elemental forces, each of which can take out monsters directly in a different way. There are only a handful of different enemies, and the core gameplay remains the same across all 100 stages, but the sheer amount of variation almost makes every other round feel like a new experience. Added to this is an insane amount of extras, many of which seem random, but are actually based on specific parameters, like how many times Bub jumped or how many bubbles Bob has popped.
The game is so full of secrets, even entering certain names on the high score table does surprising things. At certain points you can find cryptic hints to an alternate mode called "Super Bubble Bobble", which shuffles around enemies and is the only way to obtain the true ending, which not only lifts the curse that turned Bub and Bob into dragons, but also frees their girlfriends and brings back their parents.

Bubble Bobble was followed by many sequels and spin-offs, but none managed to catch lightning in the same way. Rainbow Islands and Parasol Stars completely changed the  formula and, while good, weren’t quite as addictive, and don’t hone the cooperative aspect. Bubble Symphony and Bubble Memories returned to the original template, but felt a bit stale for it, with noisy backgrounds and many chaotic elements. The indie game Ibb and Obb is a straight puzzle platformer with scrolling levels, but much of the physics-based teamwork  has the same spirit as Bubble Bobble. Its main gimmick, a screen divide into an up and down world with a gravity switch in the middle, is even reminiscent of the Bubble Bobble precursor, Chack’n Pop.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
When it was released in 1994 for the SNES, Donkey Kong Country wowed gaming audiences with its impressive CG graphics and fantastic soundtrack. Still, there was some resentment against it – it was simpler than Nintendo's own Super Mario Bros. games, and was criticized as a case of style over substance. Fast forward 20 years to 2014, and the tides have drastically turned. Nintendo’s prolific New Super Mario Bros. series is fun, but safe and uninspired; meanwhile, the Donkey Kong Country series, out of the hands of original developers Rare and placed in the care of Retro Studios, has created better crafted games.

Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii was very, very good, yet it suffered in a few areas – the forced waggle controls were lame, the music was forgettable, and the levels lacked creativity. Every issue was fixed in its Wii U sequel, Tropical Freeze. The core of every great platformer lies in its stage design, and Tropical Freeze excels on every level. They're filled with fantastic setpieces – the designers love collapsing environments – along with creative themes, particularly the beer gardenthemed mountains, or the level where you’re stalked by a giant octopus the entire time. The difficulty is demanding, but better balanced than its predecessor, with fewer infuriating rocket barrel stages. Each area is colorful, and created in lavishing detail. You can play to just reach the end of a level, but only further replays to collect the bonus KONG letters and hidden puzzle pieces reveal the amount of care put into every stage.

David Wise, legendary composer of the first two SNES games (and the GBA version of the third) returns to provide one of the best video game soundtracks of all time. In spite of the improved instrumentation, many tracks maintain the feel of the SNES games, in some cases even using similar samples, creating music that's fresh and nostalgic. While often a subject of debate, the controls just feel right. Donkey Kong is much weightier than Mario, Rayman, or even his own previous SNES incarnations, yet he’s still precise enough to accommodate the platforming challenges you need to overcome to survive. His companions – Diddy, Dixie, and Cranky – come with different jump modifications, allowing for a great degree of mid-air control. It's possibly the only 2D platformer that controls well with an analog stick. Despite not being designed by Nintendo proper, as with the Metroid Prime games, Retro Studios has once again proven themselves as true masters of game design with Tropical Freeze.

The SNES Donkey Kong Country games are kind of shallow, but still fun. DKC2's soundtrack remains one of the best, and in spite of the dated CG graphics, they exude a cool atmosphere. As far as modern 2D platformers go, Ubisoft's Rayman Origins features gorgeous illustrated visuals using the UbiArt framework, which excels at animating high res 2D images. It’s a fast and fun game, with levels built around its wall jumping techniques. Its sequel, Rayman Legends, contains most of its predecessor's stages and tons of content, though the Murfy levels, where you need to indirectly guide a character around obstacles, diminish the game somewhat. The musical stages, which are designed to match the rhythm of assorted popular music tracks, are fantastic, though.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions
The Geometry Wars series had an inauspicious start as a minigame buried within Project Gotham Racing 2 for the Xbox. An homage to classic twin-stick shooters like Robotron 2084, and perfectly adapted for a dual analog controller, you controlled a little weaponized claw as you blew up lots of other geometric shapes, created in the vector style of games like Tempest. It was fleshed out considerably and released separately at the launch of the Xbox 360, where, even as a cheapie download title, it was the best game on the platform for months, inspiring legions of new twin-stick shooter clones.

There are about a half dozen enemy types, each with unique attacks and movement patterns – pink shapes break into smaller ones when destroyed, green ones dance tauntingly around your shots, and vortexes will suck up the playing field and explode unless you kill them quickly. They're simple to predict, but the game is always tossing them at you in different combinations, getting more and more overwhelming, and only stopping for a breather when you get killed. The playing field is larger than Robotron, though, making it less claustrophobic. It also has a slightly gentler difficulty curve, ensuring at least a few minutes of play for the average gamer before it becomes too manic. The visuals are minimalist, but the neon colored, high resolution characters, paired with the danceable techno music, grace it with a slick, modern appeal.

The main bit of brilliance is the way Geometry Wars forces you to be aggressive. Destroyed enemies drop little green things that add to your score multiplier, which keeps increasing until you run out of lives. You can't just run away and shoot, but need to grab these before they disappear, often moving back into the direct path of danger, creating a persistent risk/reward mechanic. The original release was fantastic, but the  series came into its own with the sequel, which offers several different modes of play. Beyond the classic "blow stuff up until you run out of lives", there are variations like Deadline, which gives you unlimited lives and three minutes to score as highly as possible. We've picked the third iteration as the highlight, as it contains slightly nicer graphics, along with an enhanced single-player mode that borrows elements from the spin-off, Geometry Wars Galaxies, as well as other similar best videogames, such as Super Stardust HD, including circular playing fields and boss battles. These provide variety and longevity, but the best experiences remain in the standard score attacks modes, which are just as playable in the second game.

The most lauded progenitor of twin-stick shooters (thought Taito's Space Dungeon is generally considered the first), Robotron 2084 is practically the genre's Robert Johnson. Its DNA can still be found floating around in modern games like Geometry Wars and Hotline Miami, and with good reason. “Moving with one stick/shoot-andaiming with the other” is one of the purest, most intuitive gameplay control schemes ever developed, and has essentially stayed the same for 30+ years. Here, you save humans and destroy robots before a 2001-esque screen-filling transition sequence throws you rapidly into the next zone. Add to that some of the most classic sound effects that arcades had to offer, and gamers were treated to a glimpse of twitch-based gaming's future.

At first, Sunsoft's Gimmick! looks a lot like a Kirby game. The hero, Yumetarou, a wide-eyed green blob with stumpy legs, attacks by throwing glowing stars. The enemies are all toys that have come to life, and most of the levels are colorful. This is deceiving though, because Gimmick! is hard. Very hard. It's also one of the most incredibly well put together action game of the era, though.

Like Sunsoft's earlier Batman: Return of the Joker, Gimmick! was designed to compete with the early generation of Genesis and SNES titles. In the end, it ends up surpassing most of them. There are only seven not-entirely-long stages, but each screen has an incredible amount of care put into it, often with superfluous but charming details. Somewhere in the second stage, there is a motionless enemy which, if you pick up the second controller, you can briefly command. If you manage to beat this stage quickly enough, you can find the level boss taking a snooze, allowing you to push him off a ledge and immediately win the level. There's a prevailing sense that some of the enemies aren't really "bad guys" per say, they just want to play with you, like the cat creatures in the third stage that bounce around then retreat after a few steps. Some enemies appear just once or twice throughout the entire game, making their sole appearances special.

It's also one of the very few 8-bit action games with an actual physics engine. Sloped surfaces can give you enough inertia to make incredible jumps, but can also be used to change the angle of your bouncing star weapon, which you can then jump on top of and ride. Mastering this is essential to finding each hidden treasure, one per stage, which lets you unlock the final level and the true ending. You also need to beat the game without continuing – another crazy, challenging task. Like most great games, though, the difficulty comes not from poor design, but from intimately learning the details of each screen. However, given the charming world the developers have crafted, it's well worth the effort. The game looks and sounds great, too. Sunsoft ranked up next to Konami as having some of the strongest sound programming on the NES (see: Journey to Silius, both NES Batman games), but Gimmick! uses an add-on sound chip which bolsters the synthesis, creating one of the best soundtracks of the system. Sadly, as a late Famicom release, Gimmick! was mostly ignored. It was set for release in America but canceled, and only trickled out in small quantities in Scandinavia (sans the extra sound chip), creating an aftermarket price that restricts ownership to hardcore collectors.

Gimmick! looks and sounds a lot like Ufouria: The Sage, another colorful 8-bit Sunsoft game released around the same time. It stars four goofy, weird little beings, each with their own specific power, as they run and jump around a non-linear universe. It’s filled with bizarre quirks, like platforms with faces that drool, allowing you to climb up, or birds that poop 16 ton weights. It, too, was scheduled for American release but was canceled, though an English European version does exist. It's not nearly as difficult or well-crafted as Gimmick!, but Ufouria is still charming. In Japan, this game was called Hebereke, and started a whole franchise of games starring the same characters, though stuck in different genres (puzzle, racing, and so forth).

Joust is a game where knights ride on top of gigantic birds and kill each other in gladiatorial combat. Everybody is equipped with a lance, which sticks out a few pixels from their head. The goal is to collide with other jousters, ensuring that your lance is above theirs, which will then kill them. Bouncing on their heads, of course, will work just as well. It's a different formula from many arcade games from the era like Pac-Man, which typically put the player in weakened state. In Joust, most everyone is on the same playing level.

That’s the theory theory, anyway. The key to Joust is learning how to keep your bird under control. There is only a single button – "flap" – which will propel your bird every so slightly into the air. With a few more presses, you take your steed higher into the sky, allowing you to stay airborne. In addition to fighting against gravity, you're also dealing with inertia. Build up enough speed and you'll find yourself careening across the arena, wrapping around the screen as you disappear off one side and reappear on the other. It’s a surefire way to make yourself dizzy until you skid to a stop.

Though this looks fun, it's also incredibly dangerous. Your enemies have one major advantage over you, and that's the fact that they have extremely solid control over their birds. The most nerve-wracking moments are those brief, split seconds where your brain tries to determine if you’re traveling at the right velocity and angle to hit someone above their lance. Do you let your fate fall into the hands of physics? Do you press the "flap" button one more time, potentially giving you the upper hand, but also maybe propelling you over and missing your target? Or worse, bumping your head on a platform, sending you downward and getting killed. Situations like this happen all the time in Joust, and they’re largely why it's so enthralling.

There are other minor elements, too. Destroyed enemies drops eggs, which you're supposed to collect for points. Left unchecked, they'll hatch into humans, which then call a new bird on the field to take its place, providing another task for you to juggle. Later stages introduce pterodactyls, which are invincible except for an incredibly tiny weak point that was only left into the game due to programmer error, and can only be exploited by truly expert players. There are also fire trolls, who grab any birds that fly too close to the lava and drag them to their death, providing they can't escape. Most amusingly, they don't distinguish between human and CPU controlled characters, and watching a hapless foe get crushed by one of its own is always good for a laugh.

There's really no doubt about it – Nintendo's Balloon Fight is a huge rip-off of Joust. It plays almost identically, except you control a kid flying with balloons, fighting against assorted enemies. Other than the stage designs, the only other major difference is that since you have two balloons, you can take two hits. It is, at least, a very good clone, and much better than the NES port of Joust. The major advancement comes with the Balloon Trip mode, which recasts the game as an auto-scrolling platformer, as you weave between obstacles and dodge enemies. This spawned its own separate game, known as Balloon Kid for the Game Boy, and Hello Kitty World for the Famicom, which is the same game but starring the cutesy Sanrio mascot.

Klonoa The Door to Phantomile
While first and foremost respected as an arcadecentric developer, Namco has made several fascinating games for consoles. Their most impressive non-coin-op game may be Klonoa, a slightly late attempt to get in on the Sonic-esque mascot platformer craze. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a gorgeous adventure, putting 95% of all Sonic ripoffs to shame. For starters, it barely even feels like a Sonic game, with an art direction all its own. Playing in a 2.5D perspective, the graphics still hold up remarkably well today – something that can't be said for a lot of PS1 games. With creative character designs and vibrantly colored landscapes, it's certainly more than just jagged polygons everywhere. Everything about the aesthetics, from its cute fodder enemies to the whimsical sound design, gives off an adorable charm (though things do turn remarkably more dark later on).

The main gameplay gimmick here is the "Wind Bullet", a short-range projectile that balloons an enemy a la Dig Dug, and allows Klonoa to either throw the opponent or bounce off of them for a double-jump. Enemies can be tossed into the background or foreground, and are often required to retrieve items or hit switches for puzzles. It's easy to figure out what to do for the most part, and save for the last few stages (and the insane bonus level unlocked for freeing all the prisoners), Klonoa is not a particularly challenging game. Its lack of difficulty is the only real complaint brought against it, and that's not even so bad if you're looking for a highly artistic game that the whole family can enjoy. That is, until the heart-rending ending. Klonoa is creative and cute until it wants you to cry.

After a great-yet-overlooked PS2 sequel and a handful of spin-offs, Klonoa stayed quiet for several years. before a remake of the first game was unexpectedly announced for the Wii. In honor of Klonoa's 10th anniversary, Namco surprisingly remembered their PlayStation-era mascot and gave the original an updated re-release, with enhanced graphics, slightly smoother controls, and unlockable costumes. It also features "reverse mode", which adds flipped versions of levels, and portals leading to challenge stages within them, These add some appreciated difficulty to keep down the "too easy" complaints. It may not be brimming with bells and whistles, but simply reviving Klonoa for a new generation is great enough. Sadly, neither the original nor the remake sold too well, and there haven’t been any plans for the series since. Regardless, it’s still a highlight of the 2D platformer pantheon.

While 3D gaming was on the rise, most early disc-based releases still stuck to conventional 2D appearances and playtypes, just with more horsepower. Rayman could have been made for 16-bit systems, but instead heralded the arrival of 32-bit gaming with some truly impressive art and animation. Featuring large and detailed levels that nearly rival Sonic's stages, Rayman also contained several elaborate boss fights that required you to do far more than just punch them repeatedly. It’s also a vicious game, where the obnoxious losing noise will purchase a condo in your nightmares. Still, if you can barrel through its high difficulty, you'll get to see the start of a great franchise (that went awry with some iffy 3D games before claiming redemption).

Namco is one of the great golden age arcade developers, largely known for Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Galaxian. However, their secret best title is Mappy, a cute cat and mouse platformer with vague influences from some of their more popular titles. The goal, as the titular policemouse, is to collect a series of items strewn about the level while avoiding a miniature army of thieving cats. The stage is divided into several floors, and the only methods of traversal are trampolines strewn about.

As with many classic games of the era, Mappy cannot directly attack his opponents, but there are a few tricks he can use against them – particularly, the many doors spread around. Only Mappy can open and close doors, so he can use them strategically to divert enemies or knock them off their feet, if they're close enough. Additionally, Mappy is invincible while bouncing on trampolines. Just on these terms, Mappy is a fun game, but there are numerous layers to the scoring strategy.

For example, all of the collectible items are placed in pairs. If you collect them both one after another, you get a stackable score multiplier. The items are worth different point values, so do a little math and you'll realize that there's a specific order to grab everything for maximum score. They're placed differently in each level, though, and the movement of the cats is erratic enough that your plans may be mucked up, forcing you to compromise for lower scores. Even your best laid-out plans are in flux. There are also a few flashing doors. When opened, they send a beam across the floor, which sweeps off everything in its path. Like Pac-Man, it's in your best interest to get enough cats together (especially the leader cat, Goro, who acts with a different AI pattern than the rest of the cats) for the most points. Goro will also occasionally hide behind items for a few seconds – if you catch him while hidden you'll score extra points, but if you're too slow, he'll pop out and kill you, guaranteed.

There's a substantial amount of depth here – both in grabbing items and luring enemies – and that's not counting the near-perfect motions you need in order to complete the bonus stages. It's the best kind of arcade game – the better you understand the scoring strategies, the worse you may end up performing, because it's just so tempting to maximize your play, which at the same time places you in the most danger. It's also ridiculously charming. This is one of the first arcade titles to have a soundtrack playing during the game, plus Mappy's "death" animation is so goofy that it's almost not-too-irritating when one of the cats actually catches you.
The only other arcade Mappy game, Hopping Mappy, has little to do with the original and is best left forgotten. Mappy Land, the NES sequel, expands the concept into a longer form, but it doesn't really work. The final game, Mappy Kids, is a generic 8-bit platformer. Instead, we’re highlighting Flicky, one of the other best, early arcade platformers. Flicky was the result of Sega’s management instructing Yoji Ishii to come up with a Mappy-killer, but the result stands very well on its own. The namesake bird has to gather all her chicks and bring them to the exit. Saving them all in one big line increases the score, but also the risk of having cats scare them away again. The jumping is floaty, and the narrow, scrolling stages wrap around, making for a uniquely crowded feel.

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