Massively Multiplayer: Gaming In The New Millennium

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by RySenkari, Aug 11, 2016.

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  1. thekingsguard Founder of Korsgaardianism

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia - near the USA-CSSA Border
    There are lots of fun things you could do with Lobo - he had several arcs over the 64 issue series that would be fun to adapt or pull details from.

    I love the miniseries, but Lobo ain't Lobo without the likes of Jonas Glimm, Al's Diner, Gold Star, and all the wacky wierd sci fi you can pack in. Packed alien cities, oddly deisgned aliens, every place name is either a rude pun or innuendo, and of course, buckets of blood.

    I also love the idea of roping him into something like Green Lantern Corps like Moviebob suggests - 48 hours or Escape from Precinct 13 with Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Lobo as the leads.
     
  2. RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    I was actually planning on the villain being Two-Face, but Ivy would make for an interesting addition to the mix... it'll be a while before the film's actually released (it's a direct to Blu-Ray/DVD film coming in early 2012, the voice work is done in late 2010 which makes it one of the last things Brittany Saldita worked on before her cancer diagnosis), so I've got some time to think about what the content of the film actually is. I'll probably discuss it more at some point, maybe in the form of a brief voiceover session featuring Brittany and Lyssa (who do all their voice work on the film in the same room with each other).

    As for femslash, the movie obviously inspires plenty (more) of it between Harley and Renee. There's actually an interesting separate discussion to be had about Lyssa's own sexuality as it pertains to Brittany but I think I'll save that for another time (and yes, GameTV fans shipped Brittany and Lyssa EXTENSIVELY).
     
  3. AeroTheZealousOne Actually more cynical

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Location:
    US Embassy to the KPR, Seoul, Korea
    EA getting the rights to Fallout, especially since we know what they did with microtransactions IOTL, just adds more weight to the argument that this world is sadly not a utopia.

    Not entirely fluent in Korean, but I understand some here and there. The words that gave away the fact that this game is beyond multiple paywalls? 프리미엄 부화기 (Premium Hatching).

    Eh, as I have said in the past take the good with the bad...

    Also, sorry I am a little late in that conversation.
     
  4. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

    Joined:
    May 5, 2017
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    the Premium Incubator:
    the device required to open the Pygmy egg that the Pygmy, a magical beast, laid. double-click the incubator to hatch the pygmy egg. the Premium Incubator will give you better chance to win better items.
     
    AeroTheZealousOne likes this.
  5. Threadmarks: Winter 2006 (Part 12) - The Rest Of The Games

    RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    (Here are the rest of the notable North American game releases between January 2006 and March 2006!)

    -

    Nintendo Wave:

    Bullet Witch

    A game that appeared on the Xbox 360 IOTL, Bullet Witch shows up on the Wave ITTL, and largely plays the same as its OTL counterpart. Bullet Witch is a third person shooter about a witch named Alicia who uses both magic and gunplay in battle. In that regard, it's a fairly similar game to OTL's Bayonetta, though it definitely has more shooting mechanics and thus gets compared by some people to the Blackheart games. The plot is SIGNIFICANTLY changed from OTL's game: whereas OTL's game sees Alicia battling demons in a post-apocalyptic landscape, TTL's game, influenced by Blackheart, has Alicia working as a government agent and using her magical powers to fight enemies of the state. While the game isn't nearly as acclaimed as Blackheart, it does get praise for its graphics and gameplay, and becomes a decent selling niche title when it's released early in 2006.

    Eighth Agent

    Eighth Agent is a third person shooter with a protagonist who is an elite government agent who's had specialized DNA injected into his body, he's the eighth such person to undergo this procedure, leading to him being known as the “Eighth Agent”. For the most part it's a fairly typical shooter in the genre and would be completely unnotable if not for a pair of innovations: quicktime events in the middle of firefights that blend plot and gameplay extremely seamlessly, and an advanced cover AI for the enemies where they'll not only take cover on their own, but seek to outflank the player. Due to these innovations, Eighth Agent gets strong reviews, though sales are rather mediocre. Its innovations would be adapted to much better shooters down the road.

    Future Fear: The Hunted

    The sequel to 2000's Future Fear: Escape The Arena, Future Fear: The Hunted takes the battle out of the arena for the most part and casts the player as a ruthless hunter of escapees, in contrast with the role played in the last game where the player was a freedom fighter. However, all isn't quite as it seems, and eventually, the protagonist does turn over a new leaf, thanks to meeting Adaline, the protagonist of the original game. The previous game was developed by Psygnosis, but due to Psygnosis being acquired by Microsoft, this title is instead developed by a different company, and published by Activision. With larger stages and improvements to the game's shooting and graphics, reviews are quite good, while sales are a bit better than those for the first game (considered one of the fifth generation's cult classic titles).

    Twisted Metal: Rampage

    Twisted Metal: Rampage is the second Twisted Metal game released for the Wave, and the first based on an original concept, rather than being a kind of remake like 2003's Nightmare was. In Twisted Metal: Rampage, you pick from one of six protagonists, including long-time series favorite Sweet Tooth, and your goal is to go on a violent rampage in your souped up car/truck/ice cream truck. Of course, it wouldn't be Twisted Metal without arena combat, and the game features some of the best arena combat in the series, with entire cities serving as playgrounds for the destructive racers and some of the most deadly weapons in the series to date, along with extremely destructible environments. The story mode is surprisingly long and complex, taking about five hours to beat for a new player, while the arena modes and multiplayer (both local and online) take the game's replay value to the next level. While Rampage doesn't quite reach the sales heights of previous games in the series, it's seen as the best Twisted Metal game since the Ultra Nintendo days, and both sales and reviews are very good, with the game eventually reaching a million sales (the first game in the series since Twisted Metal 3 to do so).

    Chase The Extreme

    Another Thrillseekers copycat, this is an extreme sports game that introduces other sports such as rock climbing and windsurfing. While it's largely seen as an inferior ripoff (it barely even bothers to have a story mode save for a few cutscenes, and is also WAY more dudebro-ish than the all-female Thrillseekers), some of the sports are fairly unique and somewhat fun, and the game manages a profit.

    Disgaea 2: An Upside-Down Adventure

    Disgaea 2 is a comedic take on the typical strategy-RPG type game, featuring many of the classic SRPG tropes but mixing in a lot of comedy and humor, including twists on classic RPG heroes, strange penguin-like creatures known as Prinnies, and plenty of off the wall tongue in cheek humor. In Disgaea 2, the main protagonist is a so-called legendary hero, Gogan, who accidentally parties up with a band of demons rather than the traditional group of heroes he's supposed to meet. Each of the demons Gogan teams up with is a dark take on the classic heroes, for example, there's the busty mage who ends up being a succubus, the lovable drunken rogue who, in his efforts to get his alcohol fix, ferments all the grain in the hero's kingdom, and the scrappy thief who steals only useless junk. In a similar storyline to OTL's Disgaea 2, Etna, from the previous game, joins the party at level 1 to get her levels back (it's implied that the thief stole them and then sold them for useless junk). Disgaea 2, like the original game, is more of a cult hit than a blockbuster (at least in North America), but it keeps the previous game's reputation for twisted and hilarious fun intact, with reviews exceeding those of the previous game.

    Triverse: Three Wheel Riders

    Triverse: Three Wheel Riders is a futuristic racing title in which pilots ride three-wheeled vehicles that switch from cars to motorcycles. Can somewhat be compared to Rare's VeloCity, though with a more simplistic plot and less tracks. The game features nine playable pilots, each of whom gets their own personality and storyline told through short cutscenes and intro movies. Though the game does very few things originally, it is still a really fun racer that gets a lot of praise from reviewers and also benefits from a pretty good ad campaign by its developer Activision. Sales are actually quite decent due to the good reviews and memorable characters, ensuring there will be a sequel at some point for the seventh generation consoles.

    Sega Katana:

    Invisible Empire
    (Authors' Note: The idea for Invisible Empire was given to us by the reader Goldwind2!)

    Invisible Empire is a Western-developed JRPG exclusively for the Sega Katana. Published by Apple and developed by a fairly small European software company, Invisible Empire is another attempt by Apple to capitalize on the Katana's strong JRPG lineup. The combat system is turn based, with characters able to swap “Gears” in combat, in order to move from one combat stance to another, which gives them a different variety of weapons and special attacks to use. The game takes place in a medieval-like world with some advanced technology that consists of many isolated small towns where people live a hardscrabble life and for the most part aren't allowed to travel outside their village. The protagonist, Klyde, is sent on a mission to deliver a sacred offering to a nearby temple, but what he doesn't know (and what the others who deliver these offerings don't know) is that the offering is actually high technology that is delivered to the temples only to be later picked up by agents of the elite empire who secretly control the world from their high-tech capital city (hence the name of the game). While going to the temple, Klyde and his two traveling companions are attacked by a monster and nearly killed, but the technology Klyde was carrying merges with him and his companions, enabling them to fight off the monsters. However, Klyde is discovered to have done this and is declared a heretic by the ruling authorities, forcing him to go into exile. His two companions are captured and Klyde ends up traveling alone, only to meet a girl who falls from the sky. This girl is a citizen of the elite empire, but she has amnesia and doesn't remember anything about it. Klyde and the girl set out on an adventure of discovery to take down the invisible empire and free their world. They eventually encounter several rebellious groups, including a violent faction that wants to completely purge the elite, a faction that wants to covertly replace the elite, and a faction that wants peace and equality for everyone and takes a more forgiving stance.

    Invisible Empire is well reviewed upon its release, and ends up being a surprisingly strong seller for the Katana, both during its launch week and even afterward thanks to word of mouth, becoming one of the top selling new games of January. It stands among Parasite Eve 3, The Darkest 3, and Phantasy Star VII as one of the most successful RPGs of the first quarter of 2006.

    Fatal Frame 3

    A survival horror game released for the Wave and the Katana (though in North America, it's a Katana exclusive), Fatal Frame 3 builds on the previous two games with its use of terrifying frights combined with action photography. In Fatal Frame 3, the protagonist is a young Japanese teacher who is searching for four of her missing students, only to be pursued by the ghosts of a violent ex-lover and her old roommate. The game receives controversy due to the potentially violent fates for some of the child characters, but is considered by many to be the most terrifying game in the series to date. Ultimately, it's a niche title in North America despite the strong reviews, and this will be the last Fatal Frame title exclusive to an Apple system.

    Ikaruga 2

    Thanks to the critical and commercial success of the previous Ikaruga, the game gets a sequel ITTL. While keeping to the series classic gameplay where players must swap between black and white bullets to battle different colored enemies, Ikaruga 2 features more levels, bigger bosses, and even more difficulty than the last game, making it one of the most frustrating bullet hell titles ever created. Reviews are good, but not so much in the West (while in Japan the game gets excellent reviews), ultimately it doesn't share in the success of the original game and is seen as just another good game on a dying console.

    Tak 3: Quest Of The Phoenix

    Tak 3 is an action platformer for the Apple Katana, the sequel to Fire And Ice. Tak 3 expands upon the phoenix plot from the OTL game Tak: The Great Juju Challenge, where instead of competing in a series of challenges, Tak must hunt down and rescue a great and powerful phoenix in order to give life back to his dying grandfather. Tak and his caveman friends must collect the phoenix feathers that have been dropped throughout various stages in order to stay on the phoenix's trail. It's a rather ordinary platformer title, but it does have some heavier themes than previous Tak games, and fans of the previous two titles are pleased with this one. Reviews are decent, and sales are good enough to keep the series going strong.

    Elebits

    Somewhat similar to OTL's Wii game but without the motion controls, Elebits for the Katana is instead more of a puzzle platformer game, where players must hunt down and capture the little Elebit creatures that appear in a succession of stages. The use of traditional controls rather than motion controls in TTL's Elebits makes this more of a test of wits for the player, who must use one of more than a dozen different gadgets to hunt and capture the Elebits. Despite the change in playstyle, TTL's Elebits is arguably a more successful game than OTL's Elebits, being regarded as one of the Katana's more original titles of 2006. Steve Jobs would immediately commission a sequel for the iTwin.

    Samba De Amigo 3

    The popular maraca-based rhythm series returns, though Samba De Amigo 3 is more of a songlist upgrade than a fully new type of game. It does feature the series' biggest and most diverse playlist to date, but the game's lack of innovation does cause reviewers to dock it some points, and as for sales, the fading Katana makes most players overlook this one.

    Vectorman: The Heart Of A Hero

    The sequel to 2003's Vectorman reboot, The Heart Of A Hero picks up where the previous game left off, featuring Vectorman once again returning to save humanity from the deadly orbot scourge. Numerous characters from the previous game, including Ellen, return in this title, which is ultimately seen as somewhat of a rehash of the previous game. There are more levels, and the bosses are definitely bigger, and Vectorman has some nice new abilities, but those who play the first game and don't play the second generally aren't missing much. The antagonists are a gang of orbots similar to Vectorman who want to take over the new space colony that humans have built, and are raising hell in order to wipe out the humans and take the colony for themselves. Vectorman does briefly question his allegiance to humanity, but ultimately stays true to himself and his duty, and defeats the rogue orbots. Despite the lack of innovation from the previous game, The Heart Of A Hero is still a very good 2-D styled platformer, and still features some of the best graphics of any Katana game to date. While sales aren't as good as those of the first game, the game is still considered mostly a success.

    Microsoft Xbox:

    Excelsior II

    The sequel to Excelsior Luxury Circuit, Excelsior II is a racing title focusing on high luxury, souped up supercars, and exotic locales. It fixes one of the main complaints about the previous game by adding dozens of new supercars, and also features a fairly basic storyline in the game's career mode. Other than that, the game plays fairly similarly to the original. It's still an excellent racer, but the release of Forza Motorsport in 2005 does steal a bit of the thunder from this sequel that doesn't do much to improve on its predecessor. Sales are down from the previous game, while reviews average in the high 7s/low 8s.

    Operation Zero: Final Countdown

    The third and final Operation Zero game for the Xbox, Final Countdown narrows the scope of the storyline from Rogue Agents, returning to a single protagonist who must stop a satellite from being launched into space that will give its owner the capability of launching attacks against any location on the planet. Despite the long development time and narrowing of the game's scope, the game still gets criticism for frustrating stealth gameplay, bugs and glitches, and an unlikeable and generic protagonist, making this one of the year's biggest disappointments after the previous two games were quite critically and commercially successful. Following a decent first week of sales, Final Countdown is sunk by its poor reviews, and ultimately this game's failure puts the future of the series in jeopardy.

    Game Boy Supernova:

    Phaedra's Heart

    A full remake of the 1994 Enix cult classic RPG, featuring a goddess named Phaedra who goes on a journey of discovery and ultimately saves the world. This game features presentation updates galore (excellent graphics, full voice acting, and 3-D cutscenes), new gameplay mechanics, and new playable characters, but is still the classic game fans know and love, with its storyline fully intact (just expanded). One of the most acclaimed RPG remakes of the last few years, it's well received by fans of the original game, but like the original, it sees rather poor sales in North America. Still, it's an excellent portable RPG, arguably the year's best RPG on the Supernova despite being a remake.

    Sphere Soldier Light

    A 2-D platformer/shooter and the latest in the acclaimed cult classic Sphere Soldier series of games, this game is a fast-paced 2-D platforming shooter where players rapidly swap through a variety of skills and weapons to battle enemies. This title introduces voice acting to the series and features its first female protagonist in the form of a beautiful light-clad woman who wields a giant saber of light and fires energy bullets from rotating runes around her body. It's a gorgeous game with an art style that combines anime-esque graphics with 3-D, and like its predecessors, it scores a lot of critical accolades, becoming one of the best reviewed Supernova games to date. In addition, the handheld format is PERFECT for Sphere Soldier, which has always been a late title for the last generation console and almost never featured on the current console. Sales are better than any other game in the series in North America and this game becomes an early minor hit for the Supernova.

    Ballistic Limit Ghost

    Ballistic Limit Ghost is a prequel/sidequel to Ballistic Limit Cross, and is a 2-D game with 3-D graphics. It plays similarly to the original Ballistic Limit game rather than the fully 3-D sequels, and features a storyline where Ash Beckland, with the help of his otherworldly companion Sara, must hunt down and destroy a ghostly infiltration from another dimension. The game has a throwback feel to it in a way, with massive, horrific bosses and a storyline where Ash is by himself and being merely advised by Sara. It has a bit of a Metroidvania feel but features concrete levels rather than backtracking (in some ways, it's also reminiscent of Alien 3 on the SNES). As Ash explores through a massive compound which houses a series of facilities where the ghostly monsters have infiltrated, he sometimes encounters scientists, army personnel, and others who have been possessed. He at first has no way to save possessed people, but eventually Sara figures out how to help him purge the possession from its victims, and fortifies Ash's weapon with a special modification. As the game progresses, Ash and Sara's bond gets closer, and the possibility is raised that Ash may be able to cross over to Sara's dimension permanently (of course, those who have played Cross know that's not possible, and that gives the game a bit of poignancy). Eventually, Ash battles the nexus of ghostly activity, a massive being that has merged with a hostile scientist. Ash defeats the creature and stops the ghostly incursion, but this severs his connection with Sara, leaving him with a deep sadness. We know Ash will reunite with Sara in Cross, but the game ends on a somewhat melancholy note. Ballistic Limit Ghost was one of the most hyped early Supernova titles, and it receives an excellent critical reception with reviews averaging in the high 8s. Sales are a bit disappointing, somewhat lower than expected by Sony (largely attributed to fans expecting a 3-D game and not a 2-D throwback). It would be a while before we'd get another portable Ballistic Limit.

    Guild Of Glories

    Guild Of Glories is a JRPG about an adventurers' guild set to explore a brand new continent. The player customizes their own protagonist and can choose between a male or a female, then is assigned to a series of quests. There IS a main storyline, but there are way more sidequests than there are main quests, and lots of things to do besides quests, including recruiting and befriending new guild members. Featuring a large amount of side quests and monster hunts, it becomes one of the more popular new JRPG properties for the Supernova. It doesn't achieve mainstream fame, but it is popular amongst gamers who are fans of RPGs, and the game becomes a popular handheld franchise with possible console versions.

    Wario Ware: Super Micro Games!

    The sequel to the Nova's Mega Micro Game$, Wario Ware: Super Micro Games! is essentially an expanded version of the original, with tons of all new games and characters, anime cutscenes, and voice acting for most of the game's characters. It's as addictive as the last one was, and the games and cutscenes are extremely funny, making this a very popular early Supernova game that launches numerous memes. Also, for the first time since Donkey Kong 3, Mario is a villain in a video game (though he's a fairly “oblivious” villain, not intending to be cruel to Wario but still foiling him at pretty much every turn). Considered to be one of the funniest video games ever made, it scores excellent reviews and is considered a massive success.

    Game Boy Nova:

    Bomberman Quest

    A Bomberman game with a major emphasis on story, this game features a 56-level story mode where Bomberman must use his skills and abilities to progress through a series of mazes with tons of unique enemies. It does feature an arena mode as well, but the big draw of this game is the story, which turns out to be quite strong. Reviews are fairly good and those looking for a fun handheld Bomberman adventure aren't disappointed.

    iPod Play:

    Hitman

    The first portable game in the Hitman series, Hitman for iPod Play is a mashup of the first two games in the series, with some added plot revelations and cutscenes. Half remake, half re-imagining, the game features some of the most popular missions from the first two games but also consists of about 50% new material. One of the more impressive looking iPod Play games to date, it does get some criticism for being a bit of a rehash, but is a great way to play Hitman on the go and is well received amongst series fans.

    Roaming Rover

    Another sort of “remake” type of game for the iPod Play, this is a platformer port of the Macintosh game and features a robot named Rover that must make its way across a number of procedurally generated platforming stages. The original was one of the most popular Macintosh exclusives of all time, and this game, while not quite as well received as the original, is still a very hotly anticipated port and does well in both reviews and sales, proving to be one of the more popular platformers on the iPod Play.

    Endotherm

    A port of the 2005 Katana hit, Endotherm has a few bonus features but is essentially identical to the console version. One of the most highly anticipated ports to hit the iPod Play, it gets excellent sales upon its release, proving nearly as popular as the Super Mario Dimensions port for the Supernova.

    Extremis: Abandoned

    Extremis: Abandoned is a spinoff of the Extremis series of survival horror games and the first to be featured on a handheld system. Extremis: Abandoned takes place between the second and third games in the series, and features a group of survivors who are ultimately caught up in a terrifying nightmare when they encounter a group of mutated and lethal humans after raiding an abandoned factory. The protagonist's companions are all picked off one by one, ultimately leaving only the protagonist left to escape the horrors and making for an extremely bleak game. Abandoned plays almost identically to the Saturn and Katana games, with graphics every bit as good looking as those in Extremis: Ruin Stalker. There are shorter segments and distances between checkpoints to accommodate portable play, and the game itself is about two-thirds the length of a typical Extremis title. While visually impressive, the short length and somewhat repetitive nature of the game weigh down review scores somewhat, and the game averages only about a 7/10. Still, it's financially successful, selling only slightly less copies than last year's Resident Evil iPod Play game.

    Victory

    This is a port of the 2001 Victory game that was released for the Ultra Nintendo, Katana, and Xbox. It's an almost perfect port of the original, with a few (mostly cosmetic) bonus features included. For those who have never played the 2001 game, or for those who really liked the game and want to take it on the go, it's a solid port and it sells decently.

    The Destroyer Bride

    The Destroyer Bride is an action-RPG developed by Koei exclusively for the iPod Play. The game is a fast-paced hack and slash title with RPG-style character advancement and game progression, and though the protagonist does get fighting companions at times, this is largely a single-character RPG (similar to OTL's Crisis Core). The protagonist of the game is a woman named Shirumi who is pledged to be wed to the prince of a great kingdom. Though it is an arranged marriage, Shirumi and the prince are truly in love with one another, and they are looking forward to their wedding day. However, on the day of their wedding, a powerful shogun named Kambato has the prince abducted because of an ancient debt still owed by his kingdom. What Kambato does not know is that Shirumi is also a powerful warrior, capable of cutting down legions of fighters, and will stop at nothing to win back her prince. The game receives many comparisons to Kill Bill, though it has many more fantastical elements including magic and ancient beasts, and isn't QUITE so brutal (it's a Teen-rated game). Also, unlike The Bride, Shirumi wears her wedding dress the entire game (it can be accessorized with a variety of trinkets and flowers). Pretty much everything, from items, to equipment, to Shirumi herself, can gain experience and level up in a myriad of ways, with the player gaining something out of pretty much every significant battle. There's loot and money galore to collect, and the combat is extremely fun, with the player capable of delivering very spectacular and visually appealing strikes with just a few button presses. Though Shirumi is capable of quite a bit, the game does feature many tough bosses that test the player's mettle. Level grinding is never required, though sometimes players do find themselves overleveled because combat is fun and there's a glut of sidequests that can be completed. The game features a soundtrack full of Japanese-styled music with some modern beats here and there. It's fairly light on voice acting save for a few small quips, and the cast is comprised pretty much of complete unknowns. Though accompanied by little hype prior to its release, the game would achieve some of the best reviews of any RPG in 2006, with many reviewers giving it a 9 or higher. Though most of the hype and sales would go to Phantasy Star VII, The Destroyer Bride manages to carve out a niche, and excellent word of mouth leads to stronger sales later on.

    Virtua Racing

    The first Virtua Racing game to make an appearance on the iPod Play, this is a modernized version of the classic Saturn games, with updated tracks and cars and a brand new modern styled soundtrack. The gameplay is very arcade-like, with arcade styled voices and sound effects as well. There's also the option for online play, with online leaderboards for time trial mode also making an appearance. This game received a lot of hype prior to its release, but reviews were a bit disappointing: in a market full of Gran Turismo type racing games, an arcade-styled racer featuring less than a dozen cars and a small number of tracks seemed a bit simplistic. The gameplay does get a lot of praise, and it's definitely not a bad game, but sales and reviews are a bit underwhelming. With Steve Jobs considering a Virtua Racing game for the iTwin, the performance of this title changes his mind somewhat, and instead he decides to bring back another classic Sega series for 2008...

    Multiplatform:

    Blackheart: Double Agent

    Blackheart: Double Agent is a spinoff title in Ubisoft's Blackheart series created for the Supernova and iPod Play. It features the same mix of sexy stealth/action gameplay as previous series titles, with more of a smaller level approach than the more open levels of Blackheart 4. Despite the tightness of the missions, it's still a fairly expansive game, with 17 missions in all and no skimping on the production values, featuring the same voice actors as the mainline series and some of the best graphics yet on the handhelds. It takes place between Blackheart 3 and Blackheart 4 and features Sadira Blackheart going to extreme measures to root out a mole in her agency, including abducting fellow agents on their own missions and interrogating them. Ultimately, Sadira discovers that an outside entity has been leaking false intel to her and her organization, and chooses to get revenge in the only way she knows how: brutally and painfully. Messiah, who was absent from Blackheart 3, is also absent in this game, though there are one or two allusions to her character here and there if you know where to look, and it's also implied that she rescues someone that Sadira left for dead in one of the missions. All in all, this is a fun Blackheart spinoff that's fairly faithful to the main series, and though it gets the worst reviews of any game in the series to date, that's a bit like being the dumbest student at MIT: it still averages an 84 on Metacritic. Sales are strong on both handhelds, with the iPod Play version selling slightly more than the Supernova version.

    DC Super Clash 2

    The sequel to 2003's DC Super Clash, DC Super Clash 2 is released for all three main consoles in 2006 (it's also considered for an Xbox 2 version, but ultimately that's scrapped in favor of simply debuting DC Super Clash 3 on the next gen consoles instead). While it plays in a similar fashion to the previous game, it bumps up the graphics, adds considerably more voice acting and storyline cutscenes, and includes 30 fighters, rather than the 22 of the previous game. A few (Cyborg, Wildfire, Killer Frost) are dropped, but numerous fighters are added, many of whom appear in Suicide Squad, which releases the month after this game. Those include Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and Bane, while other fighters such as Huntress would also make their debut. DC Super Clash 2 would see great reviews and good sales, which would continue to be strong into February and the release of Suicide Squad. The Wave version of the game in particular would do quite well, while the Xbox and Katana versions would do marginally good numbers.

    Triad: Hwang's Contract

    The sequel to Triad, Hwang's Contract keeps the series' gameplay and authentic characterizations intact, while introducing a new protagonist: Cho Hwang, a young Chinese-American who seeks to make a better life for himself, and is forced into organized crime in order to do it. He is given a contract to execute an old gangster, and from there, is launched into a story of underworld intrigue and brutal crime. The game introduces mid-mission checkpoints and cuts down on the number of driving missions to reduce player frustration (there are still more driving missions than most other sandbox crime games though). Hwang's Contract takes on a more serious storyline from the Grand Theft Auto games, and while the game's choice of a more conventional male protagonist rather than the bold female protagonist of the previous title is criticized by some, it does thrust the game more into the mainstream conversation, and ultimately sales are far stronger than the original cult classic. Hwang's Contract would go on to sell a million copies between the Xbox, Katana, and Wave, ensuring the continued production of the series.

    Wintry Mix

    A winter-themed extreme sports game, Wintry Mix is another Thrillseekers clone that features a very peppy female protagonist. The game features cartoonish animation and is a bit more forgiving than most extreme sports titles. It's sort of the Snowboard Kids to Thrillseekers' 1080 Snowboarding, and doesn't take itself very seriously. Sales are mediocre, making it more of a one-shot curiosity than most, and the game is only really notable for its protagonist, who becomes a bit of an internet meme with lots of cute fanart.

    Liberty 2: Sons Of The Rebellion

    The sequel to 2004's shooter title Liberty, Liberty 2 continues where the previous game left off, following a ragtag band of heavily armed rebels as they seek to liberate numerous Midwestern cities from the Red Army. The game plays similarly to the previous title, with an open-ended mission structure and the option to liberate cities in many different orders. Here, your choice of which city to liberate first affects your choice of battle companions, altering the game's storyline significantly depending on what order the missions are played in. Liberty 2, like its predecessor, is praised for its open-ended mission structure and the tightness of its shooting mechanics, along with its production values and voice acting. The gameplay is seen as a bit of a rehash, but the diversity of missions and the graphical improvements diminish those complaints somewhat. Ultimately, Liberty 2 achieves solid reviews (in the 8/10 range), and sales about on par with the previous game, making it a moderately successful shooter.

    Load: Five Not Alive

    The fifth main title in Activision's Load series of FPS games, it features revamped gameplay and a brand new protagonist in an attempt to freshen things up and breathe new life into the title. There's an overhauled, more realistic shooting system, improved graphics (especially on the Xbox 2 version of the game, which is released in 2007), and improvements to the multiplayer as well, all an effort by Activision to push Load back into the conversation as their pre-eminent FPS series. The new protagonist, Russ Armour, is a mercenary who is commissioned by the International War Crimes Committee to hunt down and terminate with extreme prejudice five dangerous war criminals, each of whom is more cunning and deadly than the last. Armour must travel to five different locales, from a bustling European resort city to the jungles of Central America, in order to hunt down these criminals, most of whom has their own private army. The game has a slightly more serious tone than the previous Load games, but Russ is still every bit the badass wisecracker that Kilroy Hearns was, leading to some complaints that he's Kilroy in all but name. Ultimately, Load: Five Not Alive is seen as a solid FPS, with reviews on par with or slightly better than Hollowpoint. Thanks to a heavy ad campaign from Activision, sales bounce back a bit too: Five Not Alive is one of the most successful titles of February, especially on the Xbox, where it actually does somewhat well despite the release of Cyberwar 2 in the same month. It also gets ported to the iPod Play and the Supernova, though sales are somewhat weak on the handhelds despite the game being a good looking, solid port. The strong reviews and sales keep Activision confident in the series, which it plans to showcase alongside Call of Duty as a premiere FPS franchise.

    Tomb Raider: Last Of The Pharaohs

    Tomb Raider: Last Of The Pharaohs is a follow-up game to 2003's Tomb Raider: Absolution. It continues the story of Lara Croft, though this title is somewhat of a stand-alone game, with Lara journeying to Egypt after hearing rumors of a lost pharaoh whose name was erased from the records. She ends up battling a terrorist warlord in the hunt for the lost tomb and its riches. It's a very action packed title, with less puzzle solving and more combat than previous Tomb Raider games, with many players criticizing it as being “too movielike”. It features only little graphical improvements over Absolution, making it a somewhat mid-tier game in terms of sixth generation graphics. While some longtime fans accuse Eidos of making a “throwaway” Tomb Raider title as a cash grab, others love the more action heavy feel, and that the game's villain, which gets some controversy due to leaning heavily on current events, might just be the best in the series to date. Despite being a slightly polarizing game, with reviews hovering in the mid 7s, Last Of The Pharaohs gets solid sales and is seen as a strong sendoff to Lara Croft for the sixth generation.

    Speedfreak

    A racing title that takes place on various illicit tracks, Speedfreak is an M-rated racing game. It makes heavy use of sexy women in its gameplay (with numerous playable female characters, most of whom are designed to be as physically attractive as possible) and advertising but isn't nearly as titillating as the Exhilaration franchise. The campaign mode is where the game really earns its M-rating: characters swear at each other vigorously, while numerous violent acts are committed inbetween races. Despite the somewhat shocking content, the campaign mode actually features some decent storytelling and compelling characters, and is considered a highlight of the game. Speedfreak is ultimately seen as a decent game with a surprisingly good campaign mode, and achieves decent sales on the Wave and Xbox. It also makes it to Xbox 2 as a launch title, where it performs somewhat below expectations.

    Turok: The Bone Soldiers

    The sequel to Turok: Extinction, The Bone Soldiers is an adventure/FPS title made by Acclaim and released for the Wave, Katana, and Xbox, with an Xbox 2 port released in 2007. It features both Tal'Set and Danielle as dual protagonists, and rather than being able to play as both of them for every mission, the game swaps between them, with Tal'Set mostly following his own quest and Danielle following hers. The currency and equipment/item purchasing system from Extinction returns for this game, with both shared equipment and character-specific equipment available for purchase. As for the plot, the game follows Tal'Set and Danielle's quest to stop yet another incursion from a parallel dimension, this time an incursion of savage soldiers clad in bone. Said to be dinosaur hunters from an alternate universe, the Bone Soldiers fight with brutal violence and seek to destroy all humans to placate their god, said to be an all-powerful being known as The First Soldier. The First Soldier turns out to be a hunter in his own right, a former Turok who went rogue upon discovering an ancient amulet that warped and twisted his mind. He traveled into the past and raised up a cult, training them to conquer and kill. The Bone Soldiers, for the most part, continues the gameplay of previous Turok titles, but introduces melee fighting into the mix, with both hand-to-hand combat and melee weapons. Tal'Set fights with a more brutal, up-close style, while Danielle fights in a more acrobatic and limber fashion. This game includes more humanoid enemies than any previous Turok game: though there are still plenty of dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures, most of the enemies you'll fight, especially on Tal'Set's missions, are humans, servants of the First Soldier. The final battle is fought by both Tal'Set and Danielle, with the player alternating between them for different phases of the fight: the fight is against the First Soldier, riding an enormous carnivorous dinosaur, and the two heroes must work together to dismount the First Soldier before he can be damaged, with the fight ultimately requiring that both the First Soldier and his enormous pet be killed.

    Turok: The Bone Soldier is both a critical and commercial success, with strong sales on all platforms on which it's released. Reviews are about the same as they were for Turok: Extinction, with the gameplay considered a bit worse but the story considered significantly better, and the game becomes one of the biggest hits of the first quarter of 2006.

    -

    Top Selling New Console Games In North America (in terms of sales over the first four weeks of release):

    January 2006:

    1. Return To Three Mile Island (Apple Katana)
    2. DC Super Clash 2 (Nintendo Wave)
    3. Falling Reign (Microsoft Xbox)
    4. Invisible Empire (Apple Katana)
    5. Triad: Hwang's Contract (Nintendo Wave)

    February 2006:

    1. Cyberwar 2 (Microsoft Xbox)
    2. Endotherm (iPod Play)
    3. Load: Five Not Alive (Microsoft Xbox)
    4. Ultima X (Microsoft Xbox)
    5. Tomb Raider: Last Of The Pharaohs (Nintendo Wave)

    March 2006:

    1. Star Wars: Insurgence (Nintendo Wave)
    2. Turok: The Bone Soldiers (Nintendo Wave)
    3. Star Wars: Insurgence (Microsoft Xbox)
    4. Turok: The Bone Soldiers (Microsoft Xbox)
    5. Parasite Eve 3 (Nintendo Wave)
     
  6. Trexador96 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2015
    EA bought Fallout, I don't know man... hopefully it works out.
    Valve started the loot crate crap with Dota 2 and TF2.
     
  7. AeroTheZealousOne Actually more cynical

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Location:
    US Embassy to the KPR, Seoul, Korea
    I also neglected to remind us all that as of December 4th (a night ago as of this post), it will have been 25 years since the SNES-CD was released in North America ITTL, amd a few days after Jimmy Fallon gives a monologue he (sadly) doesn't give IOTL*. Lo and behold this excerpt:

    *OTOH, the interview with Keegan-Michael Key that we had that night IOTL (that I never watched, so I have no idea if it's good or not, but hey, it's Keegan-Michael Key!) I can safely gamble millions of dollars as a result of 25+ years of butterflies just doesn't happen.

    Speaking of, how is Keegan-Michael Key doing ITTL, come to think of it?
     
  8. RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    I imagine he'd be working on MadTV, same as he was at this time IOTL. Not sure if Jordan Peele would be there too or not.
     
  9. Threadmarks: Spring 2006 (Part 1) - Thrillseekers: The Second Wave

    RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Thrillseekers: Spring Break

    Thrillseekers: Spring Break is a spinoff title in the Thrillseekers series. It's a sidestory/prequel game, and it's the first multiplatform game in the series as well, releasing not only for the Wave but also for the Katana, Xbox, Supernova, and iPod Play. It takes place during the spring break a few months before the events of Thrillseekers, and features a narrative framing device of Alex telling Stacy about what she did on spring break when she went back to San Francisco for the week to visit Elissa, Marina, Kirsten, and Vivian. The game features similar gameplay to the original Thrillseekers, with skateboarding, surfing, wingsuiting, BMX biking, and snowboarding all included as playable sports, but eschews a "storyline" mode in favor of more straight-up extreme sports gameplay. The game does include animated cutscenes, but only about 30 minutes' worth, showing the girls joking around on spring break or showing Alex and Stacy hanging out at the skatepark in Eureka, with Alex giving Stacy skateboarding lessons. In terms of gameplay, Spring Break adds dozens of new tricks in each sport, and also features a substantial improvement to the last game's affinity/encouragement system, in which your character can perform certain tricks easier after being encouraged by a friend. In Spring Break, each character has their own favorite tricks, and if you do a combo utilizing that trick you'll gain an immediate affinity boost from that character, allowing combos and chains into more difficult tricks. It's possible to build up some truly insane combos this way while performing some physics-defying stunts that were impossible in the original Thrillseekers. The game's freeplay mode is very similar to the original Thrillseekers' freeplay mode, and it's even possible to have Stacy participate in sports like wingsuiting and surfing, even though she didn't learn those sports until later in the actual storyline. Like the original Thrillseekers, Spring Break includes multiplayer and online play, and an expanded collection of costumes and and equipment from the original game. It does feature less playable characters in freeplay mode (12, as opposed to the original game's 21). The voice cast of the original game, including Avril Lavigne herself, all return to reprise their roles in Spring Break, though Spring Break has much less voice acting than the original game, being more gameplay heavy than storyline heavy. It also features a slightly smaller soundtrack (32 songs total), but does have mostly new songs (such as "I'm Just A Girl" by No Doubt and "Break You" by Marion Raven), along with a couple of remixes of songs from the previous game (in particular, the Paul Oakenfold remix of "If You're Gonna Jump" by Natasha Bedingfield, which plays over the game's opening cutscene). The graphics in this game are actually slightly downgraded from the original game, which is largely to accommodate the ports to other systems. In fact, Neversoft does state that the entire reason for the existence of Spring Break is to push a version of Thrillseekers to consoles that didn't get the original version and that the best way to do that was to eliminate the storyline segments, which necessitated detailed animations that only the Wave was capable of. Reviews are still largely positive, it's still a really fun extreme sports game even without most of the storyline stuff, with what little storyline material there is still allowing the characters to shine through. The game sells well even on the Nintendo Wave, but it performs best on the Xbox, with the handheld versions also selling nicely.

    -

    From the moment when Avril Lavigne first signed on to help Activision create an extreme sports game, Thrillseekers was destined for success, but the positive reaction to the game surprised even the series' optimistic creators, and a multimedia franchise was born. Activision had always planned to sign off on an animated series based on the property, but once the first sales figures came in, they couldn't greenlight it fast enough, and it immediately went into production. Amy Wolfram, who had previously written for the Wonder Woman animated series, was signed on as showrunner, and the series would be animated by the same company who animated the 2003 Teen Titans cartoon IOTL. The show would be picked up by Cartoon Network's Toonami, and would air on Saturday nights for the duration of its run. Thrillseekers would concentrate on the six main characters: Alex, Stacy, Vivian, Marina, Elissa, and Kirsten, but would also introduce numerous other characters to the show, both from previously written material (such as the book series, which was already in print), and created originally for the show, many of whom would cultivate their own devoted fanbases and would graduate to future games, books, and comics. It would focus heavily on extreme sports, but would also include a lot of slice-of-life moments from the girls' college experience, and would also include action and adventure taking place outside of the girls' athletic activity. The show would have a Y10 rating, allowing it to feature more serious and edgy material, including some fairly dramatic and violent scenes, and would also allow for a few incidents of mild swearing (notably two uses of "dammit" over the course of the series, once by Vivian and another by Alex, a few uses of "hell", and plenty of uses of "sucks" and "crap" littered throughout). Among the most prominent characters portrayed in the series are:

    Laura: A girl introduced in a season 1 episode featuring Alex participating in an extreme sports beauty pageant, Laura would start out as Alex's rival but would become a close friend to her, though not quite as close as the other girls. Laura has a tough exterior, and frequently pulls a lot of stuff with Alex that Stacy would frown at. Laura is voiced by Paget Brewster.

    Marceline: The oldest of Vivian's younger siblings, Marceline is a 14-year-old girl who idolizes her big sister and desperately wants to be like her, to the point of trying out really dangerous extreme stunts. Fortunately, Marceline is a quick learner, but she sometimes bites off more than she can chew. Marceline is voiced by Gina Rodriguez, though eventually after Gina Rodriguez becomes more of a star, other actresses would come in to play the role.

    Stephen: Introduced as Elissa's love interest, Stephen is a somewhat shy, timid boy who sees Elissa as someone who's too good for him, but is encouraged by his friends to ask her out, and she accepts. Of all the love interests that the main six girls have during this phase of the franchise (2004-2009), Stephen is the most prominent and permanent, staying on as Elissa's boyfriend through at least Thrillseekers 2 and beyond. He's voiced by Justin Shenkarow.

    Carly: Introduced during season two as the member of a rival group of extreme sports enthusiasts, Carly is sort of Stacy's Laura: a rival girl who shares a lot in common with her counterpart. She's actually one of the main "antagonists" of season two, but she's more friendly toward Stacy than any of the other rivals are toward the other girls (in a way, their relationship parallels Kimber and Stormer's relationship in Jem And The Holograms). Intelligent but also a bit arrogant (unlike Stacy who's more humble), the two still find they have a lot in common. Carly's relationship with Stacy is badly strained during the season two finale in which Carly's group kidnaps Kirsten, but it's Carly who keeps anything seriously bad from happening to her and ultimately Carly is the reason that Stacy is able to convince the other girls not to press charges against them for kidnapping. Ultimately, the girls' friendship is repaired during season three and Carly and some of the other rivals continue to pop up occasionally throughout the series. Carly is voiced by Mandy Moore in the animated series, but doesn't always reprise the role in other things.

    Mr. Steele: Mr. Steele is a busybody city councilman determined to stamp out skateboarding in San Francisco, and looks to use the power of his office to ruin the girls' favorite extreme sports hangouts, ultimately attempting to get them framed for a crime to get rid of them for good. He's the main "antagonist" of season one, and is voiced by Peter MacNicol.

    One of the big hurdles of producing the Thrillseekers animated series was voice acting. While Brittany Saldita (Vivian), Lacey Chabert (Stacy), Francesca Marie Smith (Elissa), and Jennifer Tung (Marina) all eagerly reprised their roles, Avril Lavigne, the face of the series itself and the voice of Alex, was unfortunately not able to voice Alex in the animated series. It was not by choice: Avril desperately wanted to reprise her role for the series, but the time of the series' production (2005-2008) was the zenith of Avril's skating career, and she was just too busy to perform all the recording sessions necessary for the character. The series would've had to have been delayed to 2007 to accommodate Avril's schedule, but it wasn't possible to do that. Instead, Alex would be voiced by young actress Johanna Braddy, who was selected both for her acting ability and for her ability to voice match Avril almost perfectly. Though fan reaction was initially furious toward the recasting of Avril, Braddy's performance received accolades all around, and there are in fact fans of the series who consider her to be the superior Alex voice, simply because, being a professional actress, she brought more emotion and skill to the role. It's a debate that rages within the fandom to this day, though it's a fairly moot debate because Avril would voice Alex for every major Thrillseekers project going forward, including all sequel games and all subsequent animated material as well. As for Erica Luttrell, the voice of Kirsten, Luttrell's residence in Toronto at the time of production precluded her participation in the animated series, and instead, Kimberly Brooks took over as the voice of Kirsten. Her performance, like that of Braddy's, was well received, and Luttrell re-assumed her role as Kirsten for subsequent games and supplemental material.

    The series premiered in the fall of 2006 to strong ratings and critical reception, becoming one of the most popular shows on the Toonami block and leading to season 2 being greenlit almost immediately. Ratings declined for season 2, but were still strong enough for the show to get a third season. By the time the third season rolled around, the show's creators and writers knew it would probably be the last. They wrote every season finale like a possible series finale, though the open-ended nature of the franchise made it easy for them to leave things open, as they knew that questions unable to be answered in the show could be answered later on in future games or other material such as books and comics. However, the season 3 finale, which turned out to be the series' finale, segued almost perfectly into Thrillseekers 2, which was released just a few short months after the animated series' last episode aired. The animated series is considered, for the most part, canon to the events of the games, and is considered by fans of the franchise to be some of the best written material in the franchise's history.

    Brief summaries for the series' 60 episodes are listed here:

    San Andreas Sisters (Season 1, Episode 1) (September 23, 2006)
    The girls head to a secret park where there are plenty of awesome extreme stunts to do, but when their fun is broken up by a small earthquake, Kirsten makes a troubling discovery: are the girls having so much fun that it's setting off the San Andreas Fault?

    Class Act (Season 1, Episode 2) (September 30, 2006)
    Stacy and Alex find a killer new skating spot, but Stacy gets into it so much that she starts to blow off her classes! Can Alex be the mature one for once and convince Stacy that school really is cool?

    Cloudy Skies (Season 1, Episode 3) (October 7, 2006)
    Elissa witnesses a young girl being disciplined by her father and goes off on him, leading to a confrontation that brings up memories of her troubled past.

    Everywhere Signs (Season 1, Episode 4) (October 14, 2006)
    As part of a new beautification initiative, a city councilman has designated much of the Thrillseekers' favorite skating hangouts off limits! Can they convince him to chance his mind?

    Ghosts Of Halloweens Past (Season 1, Episode 5) (October 28, 2006)
    When the girls find out that Stacy stopped trick-or-treating at a young age due to bullying, they all resolve to give her one last Halloween night she'll never forget. While the girls all have fun reliving their Halloween glory days, Stacy comes across a young girl being bullied like she was, and decides to give her the amazing Halloween she never had.

    Lifted (Season 1, Episode 6) (November 4, 2006)
    Marina is accused of shoplifting from her favorite boutique, after having never committed a crime in her life. Alex goes to bat for her, but when the real truth comes out, a friendship could be tested forever.

    Waste Not, Want Not (Season 1, Episode 7) (November 11, 2006)
    When a new startup company making eco skateboards out of recycled materials is announced, the Thrillseekers want in on the ground floor! But after they sign up to help sponsor the skateboards, they discover that not everything about this new company is on the level.

    People Who Need Skateboards (Season 1, Episode 8) (November 18, 2006)
    Alex loses her prized skateboard, and the girls go on an epic mission to try and find it, learning a lot about Alex's past in the process.

    Miss Extreme (Season 1, Episode 9) (December 2, 2006)
    The girls push Alex into entering a beauty pageant for skater girls. Alex hates the idea at first, but after getting a rude reception from a rival contestant, becomes fiercely determined to win.

    Brain Freeze (Season 1, Episode 10) (December 9, 2006)
    While on an “extreme study session” together in the Sierra Nevadas, Stacy, Marina, and Kirsten are stranded together and need to figure out a way back to civilization before they freeze to death.

    The BMX Babysitter (Season 1, Episode 11) (January 6, 2007)
    Stuck babysitting her younger siblings and unable to go to a big race, Vivian finds a creative way to blow off her obligations, but it might be more trouble than it's worth.

    The Wyrmwood Initiative (Season 1, Episode 12) (January 27, 2007)
    While adventuring in a remote area, the Thrillseekers stumble across a strange campsite filled with people who believe they can live forever. Stacy is skeptical, but one by one her friends are suckered in, and it's up to her to save them all!

    Taken For Granite (Season 1, Episode 13) (February 3, 2007)
    The girls participate in an extreme rock climbing challenge, but the steepness of the cliffs may not be the biggest hazard they face...

    Heart Stopper (Season 1, Episode 14) (February 10, 2007)
    When Marina gets a crush on Stacy's handsome lab partner, it ends up rekindling the girls' old animosities, forcing Alex to play referee.

    The Right Notes (Season 1, Episode 15) (February 24, 2007)
    The Thrillseekers form a band and enter a competition. When they turn out to be the surprise hits of the show, they find out that one of their rival bands might do anything to win.

    Scavengers (Season 1, Episode 16) (March 3, 2007)
    Alex steals Vivian's bike, but it's really part of a playful scavenger hunt. At first it's fun, but after an accident causes Vivian to get hurt, Alex has to confront what happens when her usual antics stop being quite so fun.

    At The Finish Line (Season 1, Episode 17) (March 10, 2007)
    Elissa and Kirsten find trouble when the pilot of the plane they commissioned to take them on a skydiving adventure turns out to have a checkered past.

    The Marina District (Season 1, Episode 18) (March 17, 2007)
    It's Marina-mania in San Francisco after the Thrillseekers' surfing champion becomes the spokesmodel for a line of designer surfboards. Marina's ego gets way out of control, and her friends have to try and bring her down a peg without hurting her feelings.

    Sing To Me Of Roasted Marshmallows (Season 1, Episode 19) (March 24, 2007)
    During a camping trip in which the girls reminisce about their good times together, Stacy feels isolated due to not knowing the girls for nearly as long, and when she takes a walk in the woods, she runs into trouble.

    You Can't Fight City Hall (Season 1, Episode 20) (March 31, 2007)
    The Thrillseekers' least favorite city councilman is back, looking to frame the girls for a crime that could derail their adventures forever.

    Rolling Thunder (Part 1) (Season 2, Episode 1) (August 11, 2007)
    The Thrillseekers take part in the exciting sport of roller derby, meeting new friends and new enemies along the way. Stacy might be new to the sport, but she shocks all of her friends when she reveals herself to be the best roller skater of all of them.

    Rolling Thunder (Part 2) (Season 2, Episode 2) (August 11, 2007)
    It's the San Francisco Bay Roller Derby Championships, and the girls have made the final rounds. Will they come out on top, or get slammed on their faces?

    This Old House (Season 2, Episode 3) (August 18, 2007)
    Alex and Laura explore an old ruined mansion, thinking it'd be the perfect place for a skating session. Instead, they run into the house's old owner, and decide to help an old woman realize her last dream.

    Last Resort (Season 2, Episode 4) (August 25, 2007)
    The Thrillseekers go exploring around the old Salton Sea, hoping the deserted landscape will let them have an extreme adventure in peace. Instead, they run into a rival group of extreme sports lovers who had the same idea as them, and challenge them to a battle for turf.

    Better Than You (Season 2, Episode 5) (September 1, 2007)
    Kirsten finally stands up to her sister Marie, only to learn that Marie has some amazing tricks up her sleeve. Can a discouraged Kirsten find the confidence to prove herself to her sister?

    Boy Trouble (Season 2, Episode 6) (September 8, 2007)
    Elissa's boyfriend Stephen thinks he isn't brave enough for her, so he enlists Alex to help give him a pep talk and gets way more than he bargained for: a trip to Alex's extreme sports boot camp, a real school of hard knocks!

    North By Northwest (Season 2, Episode 7) (October 27, 2007)
    The girls head up to Vancouver, Canada, to check out the killer waves and the Canadian wilderness. What they don't count on is an encounter with a furious creature lurking in the woods...

    Prank Wars: Attack Of The Bros (Season 2, Episode 8) (January 19, 2008)
    The girls find themselves in the midst of a prank war after a group of naughty frat bros start messing with them. Alex wants to go all out, but the others try a more diplomatic approach... will the girls be able to outprank the guys?

    Cabin Of Memories (Season 2, Episode 9) (January 26, 2008)
    Vivian takes the girls up to a cabin where she and her grandparents spent a lot of time together. They spend the weekend fixing it up, but don't always see eye to eye along the way...

    The Buddy System (Season 2, Episode 10) (February 2, 2008)
    The girls and their new rivals are paired up together in a competition, and tempers will surely be flaring! The Thrillseekers each have a rival, but Elissa forms a surprising bond.

    Cleanup On Aisle Three (Season 2, Episode 11) (February 9, 2008)
    Alex's skateboarding business begins to dry up, and she gets a job at a local supermarket so she can keep making her rent payments to Stacy. Alex doesn't take very well to the job but is afraid to tell Stacy what's troubling her.

    Runaways (Season 2, Episode 12) (February 16, 2008)
    Marina and Elissa want to get away from it all, so they take a long trip out onto the ocean, leaving their friends worried, especially Stacy, who had an argument with both of them beforehand and is worried she drove them away.

    Winds Of Change (Season 2, Episode 13) (February 23, 2008)
    The Thrillseekers win a windsurfing competition, and now their schedule is packed. Is victory really sweet, or will it take the fun out of what they love to do?

    Catch Me If You Can (Season 2, Episode 14) (March 1, 2008)
    Alex gives skating lessons to a young and brilliant computer student who takes a liking to her, and Alex seems to like him back, but she has trouble expressing her feelings in any way except extreme sports.

    Cram (Season 2, Episode 15) (March 8, 2008)
    Stacy is going into overdrive to prepare for a big exam, but when she tries to blow off steam after a series of all-nighters, it puts her life at major risk.

    Joyride (Season 2, Episode 16) (April 26, 2008)
    Alex rents a sports car to experience the thrill of high speed racing, but after she wrecks it trying a dangerous stunt, her friends have to bail her out of serious trouble.

    Friend Or Foe (Season 2, Episode 17) (May 3, 2008)
    Alex and Marina have one of their most vicious arguments yet, and refuse to speak to each other until a dangerous situation forces them to work together.

    Street Smarts (Season 2, Episode 18) (May 10, 2008)
    Stacy and Carly find themselves stranded in San Francisco after both their groups of friends leave them behind. The two might be “rivals”, but now they'll need to put their heads together to find their way home.

    Race To The Finish (Part 1) (Season 2, Episode 19) (May 17, 2008)
    The Thrillseekers enter an extreme sports competition, but the rivals they've been dualing it out enter the race too, with a big contract at stake! Both teams desperately want to win, but will things go too far?

    Race To The Finish (Part 2) (Season 2, Episode 20) (May 17, 2008)
    Things heat up when Kirsten is kidnapped by the rival team and her friends have to pull out all the stops to save her. Can they win the race AND save their friend?

    Once In A Lifetime (Season 3, Episode 1) (October 11, 2008)
    Stacy is shocked to get the biggest opportunity of her life when she wins the chance to study at Oxford, but it would require her to leave her best friends behind...

    Dolphin Days (Season 3, Episode 2) (October 18, 2008)
    Marceline makes a new friend: an injured dolphin washed up in the bay. While Vivian helps her nurse the dolphin back to health, Marina investigates how the dolphin got there in the first place.

    Strictly Experimental (Season 3, Episode 3) (November 1, 2008)
    Stacy meets one of her scientific idols, a brilliant chemist who asks her to be his research assistant. Stacy is thrilled, but her friends think something's not right...

    Nightmare At Battle Canyon (Part 1) (Season 3, Episode 4) (November 8, 2008)
    The Thrillseekers and some of their friends head to central California's Battle Canyon to participate in an extreme sports competition, but when the biggest flood in a century strikes, they find themselves in more danger than they've ever been before...

    Nightmare At Battle Canyon (Part 2) (Season 3, Episode 5) (November 15, 2008)
    The girls' skills help them become expert rescuers, but when some of them start to get overwhelmed by the stress, they'll have to band together to survive.

    Sky City Hearts (Season 3, Episode 6) (November 22, 2008)
    Elissa and her boyfriend Stephen become rivals in a thrilling aerial acrobatics competition. Stephen pushes himself to his limits to beat Elissa, who finds herself terrified for his safety.

    Midnight Madness (Season 3, Episode 7) (December 6, 2008)
    Stacy and Alex find themselves unable to sleep and decide to wander the campus at night, looking for extreme thrills and seeing things they've never seen before.

    Sunshine State (Season 3, Episode 8) (December 13, 2008)
    The Thrillseekers head down to Florida for a thrilling vacation, but wind up in the middle of another action-packed mystery.

    No Laughing Matter (Season 3, Episode 9) (January 10, 2009)
    Attempting some gallows humor while commiserating with a friend who's suffered a bad snowboarding injury, Kirsten says something she immediately regrets, and must risk it all to save her friendship and her friend.

    Divebomber (Season 3, Episode 10) (January 17, 2009)
    Alex and Marina team up to corral a gross prankster, and decide to beat them at their own game in extreme fashion.

    Stacy's School For Seekers (Season 3, Episode 11) (January 24, 2009)
    Stuck babysitting Vivian's siblings during a visit to San Francisco, Stacy winds up teaching them about extreme sports, but as it turns out, they may end up teaching her a lot more.

    The Denali Adventure (Part 1) (Season 3, Episode 12) (March 7, 2009)
    The Thrillseekers embark on the adventure of a lifetime: a journey to the summit of North America's tallest mountain.

    The Denali Adventure (Part 2) (Season 3, Episode 13) (March 7, 2009)
    Disaster strikes when an avalanche separates the team. Kirsten takes charge of Vivian and Stacy, while Alex and Marina clash as Elissa tries to keep the peace. Will the friends reunite, or will they perish on the mountain?

    The Denali Adventure (Part 3) (Season 3, Episode 14) (March 7, 2009)
    The Thrillseekers push for the summit. Can they conquer the mountain or will the mountain break them?

    Sponsors Are The Pits (Season 3, Episode 15) (March 14, 2009)
    To keep a key sponsor, the Thrillseekers have to participate in and win an unfamiliar competition, and their fiercest rivals are a group of old enemies...

    Where Nobody Knows Your Name (Season 3, Episode 16) (March 21, 2009)
    Marina finds herself in a strange and terrifying situation when her familiar friends no longer recognize her. Can she get to the bottom of this frightening mystery?

    Keeping Up Is Hard To Do (Season 3, Episode 17) (March 28, 2009)
    Stacy struggles in a crucial competition preliminary, and Alex has to take her friend back to basics to help her keep up with the group.

    Moms And Things (Season 3, Episode 18) (April 4, 2009)
    Alex is having a rough go of things with her estranged mom, who wants to get to know the rest of Alex's friends and their moms. Alex struggles with jealousy when she realizes how close all of her friends and their mothers are.

    Undeclared (Season 3, Episode 19) (April 11, 2009)
    Alex struggles to find a college major that really suits her, and her friends all have their own ideas about what course her future should take...

    Operation: Extreme (Season 3, Episode 20) (April 18, 2009)
    The Thrillseekers are in their toughest competition yet, and many old friends and rivals make their return as they skate, surf, ride, and dive for all the marbles, with the prize being worldwide recognition...

    -


    The success of the Thrillseekers media franchise wasn't just limited to the United States. The series was popular all over the world, but being America's neighbor to the north, Canada definitely had the biggest fanbase for Thrillseekers outside the country of its birth. Canadians loved the game, and they were also thrilled about the animated series, which aired on Teletoon almost simultaneously with its Cartoon Network airing. One of the companies that noticed the trend was Fresh TV, creator of the popular animated sitcom 6teen. The company was looking to follow up 6teen's success with another animated hit, and they were in the process of creating a spoof of reality television when they instead decided to put that idea on the backburner in favor of fast-tracking a surfing-based cartoon called Stoked. Its premise was basically "6teen at a surf resort", chronicling the lives of six teenagers who decided to spend their summer working at a resort on Canada's western coast, where they planned to enjoy the killer waves on their days off. The series was heavily influenced by Thrillseekers, and Fresh TV briefly considered having all six main characters be female before deciding to stick to the 6teen format of "three guys, three girls". Despite this, the series would focus heavily on the three female characters: Fin (voiced by Katie Crown), a surf champion and prankster who was modeled after Alex, Morgan (voiced by Stephanie Broschart), a dorky new girl who Fin takes under her wing and teaches to surf, clearly modeled after Stacy, and Heather (voiced by Rachel Wilson), a rich queen bee type character who serves as a rival to Fin and who bullies Morgan relentlessly. Heather is based off of Marina, but Thrillseekers fans claim that she's "Marina with absolutely no redeeming qualities, basically what would've happened had Marina had doubled down on being a bitch to Stacy rather than having a heart-to-heart with her and apologizing halfway through the game". It's later revealed by one of the show's writers that Heather was initially written as the villain of Fresh TV's reality spoof before being re-modeled for Stoked.

    Teletoon, looking to push a Canadian cartoon over an American one, gives Stoked heavily favorable treatment once it begins airing in 2007. The network delays airing Thrillseekers' second season in the hopes of promoting Stoked, which simply leads to Canadian Thrillseekers fans pirating the show once it airs in the States. It doesn't help that Stoked is seen as inferior to both Thrillseekers and 6teen. It's a critical and ratings failure, canceled after one season, and would ultimately lead to the bankruptcy of Fresh TV and its later acquisition by Nelvana. As for Fresh TV's reality show spoof, some of its ideas would be adapted into a later Nelvana cartoon, but ultimately it remains one of the more intriguing "what ifs" in the history of Canadian animation.

    -excerpted from "Canadian Animation Of The 2000s", an article on Tubehound.com, posted on October 29, 2012

    -

    In addition to the Thrillseekers video games and animated series, the franchise also spawned several fictional book series based on the main characters. A total of 33 fictional books were released between 2004 and 2010, divided into three different series, each with a different aim.

    Series One: The initial series of Thrillseekers books, these were released in 2004 and 2005, and are a series of six hardcover books, each based around a different character. These books serve as introductions to each character, re-telling the events of the original game from that character's point of view while also giving some background story on that character and then giving a small segment telling readers what that character is doing following the events of the game. These books were somewhat popular with readers, but were underprinted, making them (especially "Alex's Story" and "Stacy's Story") fairly rare until reprints were done later on.


    #1: Alex's Story
    What's up? I'm Alex Levesque, and I love skateboarding! The only thing I love more than skateboarding is hanging out with my awesome friends. But things haven't always been awesome for me. This is the story of how I met my friends, including my newest friend Stacy, and how we all had the best summer ever!


    #2: Stacy's Story
    I'm Stacy Summers, and I've always been really shy... I've been picked on a lot, and it wasn't easy for me to meet people. But then I met Alex, and she changed my world forever. This is how I went from being the most unpopular girl in school to being a total thrillseeker!


    #3: Vivian's Story
    Living in a big family can be tough, even for a tough girl like me. I'm Vivian Martinez, and I'm the oldest of five siblings... but when life gets me totally stressed, I can always relax by crushing big hills on my awesome bike! With my friends and family to support me, I can take on any challenge, even the most thrilling summer of my life!


    #4: Kirsten's Story
    My name is Kirsten, and I love spending time with my friends, even more than I love riding my snowboard down a steep mountain! When my friend Alex introduced me to the new girl Stacy, I knew it might be tough for her to fit in, but I also knew I could get her to smile if I showed her just how fun extreme sports could be!


    #5: Marina's Story
    Okay, so I'm not the easiest girl to get to know. My name's Marina Hirano, and before I met Alex, I was harsh with pretty much everybody....and let's face it, I was harsh even after I met her. But the person I was toughest on was me. When the new girl Stacy showed up, I didn't want anything to do with her! This is the story of how I learned to truly accept others...and myself.


    #6: Elissa's Story

    I'm Elissa Settergren, and nothing scares me. Even jumping out of a plane without a parachute! I try to have a positive outlook about everything... but it's been pretty hard, since I've had kind of a rough life. Honestly, without my friends I don't know what I'd do. This is the story of how I met the people who saved my life...literally!

    Series Two: Series Two consisted of a series of hardcover novellas released between 2006 and 2009. The release of these books ran parallel to the airing of the animated series, and these are considered the closest in tone and content to the series itself. Penned by several different authors, they're written for slightly more grown-up readers, closer in some cases to young adult novels than elementary school novels, with a recommended age range between 10-14. While these books were slightly overprinted, they still sold enough to be considered successful, and some of them are among the most popular supplementary material in the franchise.


    #1: Stacy's New Trick
    Alex taught Stacy pretty much everything she knows about skateboarding. So when Stacy shows up one day with a new trick that even Alex can't pull off, it shocks pretty much everyone...but no one more than Alex, who is desperate to learn Stacy's new trick. Will the new trick drive a wedge between two inseparable friends?


    #2: The Big Wave
    When a huge storm causes the biggest waves in decades, the girls know they have to try and ride them...especially Alex and Marina, who are determined to push themselves to the limit. But as the storm gets more and more dangerous, will the girls' quest to ride the ultimate wave end up being a thrill that kills?


    #3: Urban Renewal
    The girls volunteer to fix up an abandoned construction site and decide to turn it into an extreme sports park! But there's opposition all along the way, including a stubborn city official and a gang who insists that the site is their turf. Can the girls convince everyone to get along and make their thrilling dream a reality?


    #4: Surfing The Mojave
    The girls go on a trip to Nevada, where they discover an awesome new sport: desert surfing! Even better, they befriend a kindly old woman who lets them explore her property. But trouble's afoot when they stumble on a scheme to rob their new friend of everything she's got... will they be able to stop the thieves' plans in time?


    #5: Big Sister Vivian
    Vivian is always trying to spend as much time as she can with her younger siblings, even while she's studying for law school! When her 14-year-old sister Marceline wants to learn how to ride a bike like Vivian, it's the perfect opportunity for bonding... but Marceline starts to bite off way more than she can chew, and Vivian struggles between being the “cool” big sis and keeping her little sister safe.


    #6: The Sky's The Limit
    Elissa takes to new heights when she introduces the girls to the world of high altitude skydiving... one of the most dangerous sports in the world. When Elissa's risktaking gets out of control, the girls are deeply worried about her safety, and it's up to Stacy and her unique new science experiment to save the day...


    #7: Alex Goes Hollywood
    Alex's awesome skateboarding tricks earn her a spot in a national commercial, and suddenly everyone in Hollywood wants to talk to her! Alex does her best to stay grounded, but the increasing demands on her time begin to pull her further and further from her friends...


    #8: A Not So Nice Trip
    Alex has pulled off death defying skateboard stunts without a single broken bone... but a careless walk down a small flight of stairs has left her with a broken arm, and now the girls have to take turns taking care of her, leaving nerves frayed and Alex feeling guilty. Can they make the most of Alex's bad luck?


    #9: Marina Meets Her Match
    Marina has a new surfing rival: a beautiful and talented surfer girl named Hiroko. Despite the fierce competition between them, the two becomes friends, but Hiroko is harboring a secret that could put both girls in danger. Can Marina save her new friend?


    #10: Home On The Range
    The girls decide to get away from it all, heading out to a dude ranch where they can relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Even in these rusty environs, there are plenty of opportunities to chase thrills... and the girls soon find themselves in the middle of another exciting adventure!


    #11: A Cold Wind
    The girls head up to the mountains for some winter sports action, and Kirsten wants to snowboard down one of the biggest mountains in the country! But not everyone on the mountain is there for good, clean fun, and Kirsten soon stumbles on some dangerous troublemakers who might be putting everyone's lives at risk.


    #12: Showdown
    Alex, Marina, and Vivian enter an extreme sports triathlon, where they'll have to skate, surf, and bike their way into the hearts of some of the toughest judges around. The competition is fierce, and emotions are bound to spill over...will the girls' friendship survive?


    #13: Band Of Bullies
    The girls volunteer for a Young Role Models program, and end up confronting a group of bullies who are viciously picking on a young girl. The girls must confront their own pasts, particularly Stacy, who has her own experiences with being cruelly bullied.


    #14: Escape To Sunlight Cove
    Marina takes Stacy up to Sunlight Cove, her favorite snorkeling spot where she's gone with each of the other girls before. The water is perfect and the cove is beautiful, but there's danger lurking near, and after they run into a dangerous criminal operation, the two friends will have to depend on each other to survive.


    #15: Friends Forever
    While Alex and Marina train for a surfing competition, Stacy, Vivian, Elissa, and Kirsten enjoy a relaxing getaway together. After a storm strands the four friends, getting back may prove to be an impossible goal...without the power of friendship!


    #16: United We Fall
    Elissa volunteers to host a skydiving party for her college, and her friends are there to help out! Everything's going wonderfully until one of the students lands in the middle of a huge forest with no help in sight...it's up to Elissa and the girls to save the day.


    #17: A Pirate's Life
    The girls fix up an old shipwreck, and start playing pirates out on the open seas. It's all fun and games at first, until Alex starts taking things a bit too seriously and ends up getting the girls into serious trouble! Now they'll have to set sail and set things right in this swashbuckling adventure!

    Series Three: Series three consists of ten softcover books released between 2008 and 2010. Intended for younger readers than the previous book series, these are somewhat lower quality and focus a lot more on adventure and fantastic occurrences than extreme sports and realism, and unlike the Series Two books, their canonicity is heavily disputed. They too were overprinted, and didn't sell as well as the Series Two books, and can frequently be found clogging up rummage sales and Goodwill shelves for 25 cents.


    #1: Zapped
    Alex finds a nifty experimental remote that can take control over just about anything mechanical! She thinks about giving it up until she realizes that it can help her win skateboarding competitions...now her friends have to convince her that cheaters don't prosper!


    #2: Alex's Big Party
    Alex tries to get more popular by throwing a huge party for some of the coolest people at Stacy's college. It works out great at first....maybe a little too great after Alex begins neglecting her friends!


    #3: Stacy Gets Dangerous
    Stacy's admiration of Alex might be going too far after Stacy takes on a rebel lifestyle to make herself more like her best friend. Is she throwing away everything she's worked so hard for?


    #4: Kirsten And The Yeti
    A routine snowboarding session turns super weird after Kirsten stumbles upon evidence of the legendary Yeti! Is the monster for real, and if it is, will anyone believe her?


    #5: Washed Up
    Marina's always been an amazing surfer, but after she loses her edge, will she ever be a champion again?


    #6: Leaping Into Adventure!
    Join the six awesome Thrillseekers as they experience the backwoods biking adventure of a lifetime! Thrills, chills, and lots of spills await in this exciting story!


    #7: Reunion
    Stacy's not digging her boring family reunion. Alex's arrival gives her a chance to make an escape, and Stacy takes it... but ends up inadvertently taking some of her little cousins along for the ride. Can Alex and Stacy get the kids back safely before Stacy gets in huge trouble?


    #8: Shark Attack!
    The girls head to the beach to enjoy some surfing and jet skiing, but a huge shark immediately ruins the fun. Will they send the shark out to sea or be forced to stay beached for the rest of the weekend?


    #9: Watch Out!
    It's a fun filled weekend when a local resort challenges extreme thrillseekers to break all their course records! The girls immediately set about to break them all, but their fun might be cut short by the arrival of some untimely guests...


    #10: Blastoff
    The girls get to experience a shuttle launch when one of Stacy's professors is offered a chance to go up into space, but an unexpected problem crops up, threatening to scuttle the launch...can the Thrillseekers get to the bottom of things?

    Overall, the Thrillseekers books have turned out to be one of the most popular and profitable aspects of the franchise, and as of 2017, Thrillseekers is currently on its fifth book series. The books have ranged in quality from outstanding to trash, but one thing remains the same: as long as it remains a popular media franchise, you can count on seeing Thrillseekers books on sale at your local stores for many years to come.



    -

    Activision clearly has a massive hit on its hands in the form of its extreme sports franchise Thrillseekers, which stars six teenage girls who participate in all manner of extreme sports. The series began as a game released for the Nintendo Wave in the summer of 2004. The game sold millions and spawned a number of multimedia spinoffs, including junior novels, a comic book series (published by Dark Horse), toys, and coming in the fall of 2006, a brand new animated series. The game was largely hyped before its release by the presence of Avril Lavigne, the world's #1 female extreme sports superstar, who served as both the voice and likeness of the series' main character, Alex Levesque. However, once Thrillseekers was released, its mix of addictively fun sports action and its likeable characters and emotional storyline made fans of even the most skeptical critics and gamers, who showered the original game with numerous year-end awards and accolades.

    The toy line has been a surprising success of its own. Marketed toward girls, it features both Barbie-like dolls and hard plastic action figures with their own extreme sports props. Even the dolls are different from your typical Barbie: they can be posed on a variety of action props, including toy skateboards and BMX bikes, and their clothing differs from the normal high fashion in favor of more practical clothing and gear (though it is possible to put Alex in an evening gown, as much as she might hate it). The toy line also includes custom skate park building tools that can be paired with chips planted in some of the dolls that cause them to react to certain obstacles and locales: Alex will compliment a dingy warehouse setting, while Marina might scoff at it and ask to skate somewhere a bit classier. The Thrillseekers line of toys is being produced by Sega, which can be confusing to some longtime gamers: Sega was at one time a video game company, and was the initial producer of the Katana, which the original Thrillseekers doesn't appear on. It can lead some to believe that the game was made by Sega and not Activision, though both company's logos appear prominently on all Thrillseekers toy packaging. Sega is a growing titan in the toy business, and last year finished slightly ahead of Mattel in overall revenue, bolstered heavily by the success of the Thrillseekers toys.

    Of course, the center of the Thrillseekers franchise is its games, of which three have been released thus far: the 2004 original, the 2005 Game Boy Nova title Thrillseekers: Alex's Ride, and the newest game released just last week, Thrillseekers: Spring Break, which brings the game to the other major consoles (including, yes, the Katana) for the very first time. Spring Break won't be the last game in the series: three more games have already been announced, including Thrillseekers: Winter Challenge, which focuses on winter-based sports and will be the first game in the series to see release for a next generation console (it's planned as a launch title for the upcoming Xbox 2, along with a Wave release). A Thrillseekers platformer is coming to the Game Boy Supernova this summer, while a game based on aquatic sports is scheduled for release next year. As for a proper sequel to the 2004 game, developer Neversoft has said that they'd "like to wait until all the next generation consoles are released before doing an actual sequel", which means that fans may have to make do with spinoffs for the time being. However, any decision on Thrillseekers 2 is ultimately up to Activision, and the company has already promised a "major Thrillseekers announcement" at next month's E3. Whether that's the announcement of Thrillseekers 2 or something entirely different still isn't known, but what is for certain is that Thrillseekers fans have a lot to look forward to on both the video game front and the merch front over the next several years.

    -from an article on Games Over Matter, posted on April 25, 2006

    -

    (Authors' Note: Just for fun, here is a list of the 15 possible pairings between the main six Thrillseekers girls, in order of how many fanfics have been published about that pairing on fanfiction.net as of December 2017 ITTL. These aren't the only popular pairings, there are obviously dozens more pairings that have had fanfics written about them, though only seven other pairings in the series have had more than 100 stories written about them. These also include ALL fanfics that include the pairing, not just fics officially listed under the actual character shipping category system.)

    Alex/Stacy- 3,971 stories
    Alex/Marina- 1,705 stories
    Stacy/Marina- 1,133 stories
    Stacy/Elissa- 620 stories
    Alex/Elissa- 551 stories
    Stacy/Kirsten- 501 stories
    Alex/Vivian- 480 stories
    Stacy/Vivian- 464 stories
    Marina/Vivian- 407 stories
    Alex/Kirsten- 386 stories
    Vivian/Kirsten- 250 stories
    Marina/Elissa- 218 stories
    Elissa/Kirsten- 217 stories
    Vivian/Elissa- 184 stories
    Marina/Kirsten- 136 stories
     
  10. Clorox23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2011
    Rest in fucking pieces, Total Drama Island.
     
    Damian0358 likes this.
  11. eldandythedoubter Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2015
    Well I liked the first season of the show.

    Back on topic, is thrillseekers success going to make Activision much more lucrative to buy in the future? And if so, who's going to bus for them if a sale happens, aside from universal?
     
  12. Grayhoof85 Currently reanimating her vivid dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2017
    Location:
    Cloudsdale, Equestrian Kingdom
    Well, I could see this becoming ITTL's counterpart to MLP. Wonderful update, Ry!
     
  13. Unwatered Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2017
    Wow, Ry, you're really... descriptive! Seriously, I love these in-depth posts. Thrillseekers would probably have been a cornerstone of my childhood.

    And Sega finishing ahead of Mattel by just 2005? How ironic for Tom Kalinske! Say, what's he up to?
     
  14. BP Booker Proffesional Liberal Partisan and Amateour Shill

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2016
    Location:
    San Diego, California and TJ
    So you said that the Thrillsekeers games started a trend of girls getting into sports, which I was thinking it was kinda like OTL Bring It On brought new respect for cheerleading and possibly getting more girls into that dicipline. And its ironic that the sports in thrilseekers might actually be safer than cheerleading!
     
  15. Pyro Love the platypus, obey the platypus.

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2006
    Location:
    Neither here nor there
    What's the lineup of DC Super Clash 2? Makes wonder if (a theoretical) DC Super Clash 3 would include Lobo and any Legion characters...
     
    tornadobusdriver likes this.
  16. RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    I think Activision will end up with a similar level of success as OTL, at least at the current rate. The success of Thrillseekers might divert resources from other franchises such as Guitar Hero and Call Of Duty, so what ultimately could end up happening is that while Thrillseekers becomes huge, those two franchises are slightly less so. We'll see though!

    The two franchises DO have some similarities, but Thrillseekers is much more of a mainstream success than My Little Pony. There's no subculture of "bronies" that pops up for Thrillseekers, and it certainly won't get its own board on 4chan. Thrillseekers is intended as a "four quadrant" fandom, meaning you've got men, women, boys, and girls all into the series in relatively equal proportions, whereas with My Little Pony it's mostly the "intended" fanbase of young girls and then the brony cult following.

    Just for fun, a comparison of the Thrillseekers girls to the Mane Six. It's not exact (Stacy has elements of both Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy, Marina's not quite as haughty as Rarity, Kirsten is WAY more subdued than Pinkie Pie), but these are the closest comparisons between the main casts:

    Stacy = Twilight Sparkle
    Alex = Rainbow Dash
    Vivian = Applejack
    Marina = Rarity
    Kirsten = Pinkie Pie
    Elissa = Fluttershy

    Thanks! When I was first working on Player Two Start, I realized the necessity for original game franchises but saw making them as a bit of a chore, but I've really fallen in love with a few of the ones I've come up with (Thrillseekers, Squad Four, The Darkest, Blackheart, etc.). I hope I'm not going TOO in-depth with some of these, the main focus should be on the industry, but sometimes I just can't help myself XD

    As for Tom Kalinske, he was retired for a year or two before helping to launch a web-based company that designs interactive consumer electronics, not necessarily games but things like kiosks for stores, entertainment panels for cars, etc. It's not a very big company but will be bought out by a big company toward the end of the decade. We probably won't cover it much if at all during the timeline, it's more of a background business thing, but it's a venture he ends up making a lot of money on.

    That's certainly true, skateboarding and surfing are considerably safer than cheerleading. Actually, I just thought up an idea for an animated series scene...

    Stephen: *with Elissa inside of an airplane, making nervous small talk with her* So what did you do in high school?

    Elissa: Um, honestly, not very much... I tried out track for a year or two but wasn't very good. I've only ever been good at stuff like this!

    Stephen: I thought maybe you'd have been on the cheerleading squad!

    Elissa: *she laughs* Seriously? And break my neck? *jumps out of the plane in her wingsuit*

    We'll get back to you later, I'll try to produce a list for you sometime later today!
     
  17. Roger Redux The Revisionist

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2015
    Location:
    The Mother of all ASBs (a.k.a. "The Real World")
    No such thing man, no. such. thing.
    Especially not when it comes to those four franchises!

    XDXDXDXD
     
    ANARCHY_4_ALL likes this.
  18. Threadmarks: Spring 2006 (Part 2) - A Pair Of Sci-Fi FPS Hits

    RySenkari Lisa Simpson 2020

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2010
    Techno Angel: Finality

    Techno Angel: Finality is the third game in the Techno Angel series and the last to be released on the original Xbox. Like the title implies, it concludes most of the storylines of the original trilogy of games, featuring protagonist Adriana as she and her allies fight in a civil war against the powerful military conglomerate attempting to subjugate North America and the world. Adriana battles her foes with the help of a powerful personal exoskeleton called the Omniscient, which augments her physical capabilities and imbues her with an incredible amount of combat information. Like previous games in the series, Finality is a first-person shooter, and features a complex heads-up display that gives the player a constant stream of data to assist them in battle and exploration. The game returns to the defined, concrete mission structure of the original game, with all storyline missions played in order. However, most of these missions now feature open-world gameplay. Adriana's enemy has built dozens of exoskeletons similar to the Omniscient, and these are piloted by enemy soldiers, known as Exosoldiers, that must be hunted down and defeated. Most missions consist of finding and destroying this heavily armed soldier in single combat (though sometimes the soldier is flanked by allies). Sometimes, that soldier can be hunted down quickly, other times, Adriana must complete certain objectives to get that soldier to appear. The HUD enters a different mode when Adriana encounters one of these Exosoldiers, giving detailed information on their health, the status of their exoskeleton, their weaponry, etc., and these soldiers must usually be weakened one body part or machine segment at a time in battle. Many have abilities surpassing those of Adriana and her Omniscient, forcing the player to use their wits in order to win. Finality features a total of 16 missions, with some missions quite long and divided into multiple segments, and some missions able to be completed in less than a minute if one knows where the enemy Exosoldier is (this makes Finality an extremely popular game for speedrunners later on). Finality features some of the best graphics ever seen in an Xbox game, with beautiful open landscapes, spectacular battle animations, and detailed characters. Its soundtrack is a stirring mix of orchestral music and electronica, with a different battle theme for each Exosoldier that Adriana fights. Jennie Kwan returns once again to reprise her role as Adriana, while a number of other skilled actors and actresses can be heard playing certain important Exosoldiers.

    Techno Angel: Finality begins with Adriana in the midst of a mission to hunt down and defeat a dangerous Exosoldier. This mission is more difficult than a typical "tutorial", with the game assuming somewhat that you've played the previous two. Once Adriana finishes off the Exosoldier, we can see that she's an emotional wreck, her mind thrown into chaos by the turmoil of the civil war (one of the major character arcs of this game is Adriana going from her distraught emotional state at the start of the game to a more comfortable heroine who accepts her actions and herself as a person toward the end). Her best friends, including her boyfriend Samuel and her close confidant, the besieged United States President Kara Zehler, try to help her, but she mostly rejects their help, determined to win this war on her own. As the game progresses, we meet numerous characters on both sides of the war, including the enemy side, where we learn about many of the Exosoldiers. While a few are the typical bloodthirsty evil villain types, several of them are just doing what they truly believe is right, including Gennifer, a courageous but conflicted Exosoldier who has become the leader of the military and believes that her actions are necessary to restore America's place as protector of the world. She is sickened with herself for the actions she's taken and we learn that Gennifer and Adriana are very similar to one another, with a few key differences that come out as the two encounter one another time and time again. As the game progresses, Gennifer leads the military in a swift and efficient assault against the federal government's forces led by Adriana, and soon have most of the loyalists surrounded. Gennifer easily defeats Adriana and personally takes Zehler into custody, where she is to be executed for crimes against humanity. The war appears to be over, with the military setting up a junta, but upon witnessing the brutality of their victory, Adriana, whose Omniscient has been badly damaged, refuses to give up. She leads the remnants of the loyalist forces in a series of raids, taking out numerous Exosoldiers in the process. Her confidence is slowly rebuilt, while Gennifer grows more and more disillusioned with her own cause, but still fights for the military, and executes Zehler as a horrified and enraged Adriana watches on a television broadcast. Consumed with rage, Adriana carves a path through Gennifer's forces and leads a successful uprising. However, it's later revealed that rather than firing a killshot, Gennifer fired a weak projectile that merely wounded Zehler, and has kept her alive in a secret bunker since the "execution". Rather than executing her, she wants to know why Zehler's people, particularly Adriana, continue to fight. Once Gennifer finally learns the reason, it seems to break her. She releases Zehler into the wilderness, then executes the leader of the junta and his entire inner circle, taking over as dictator herself. While she still believes in and fights for her cause, she refuses to allow anyone to compromise her own moral beliefs, and sets about to rule the country as a "dictatorship of purity", in which only the physically and morally strong are allowed to live. She's an honorable zealot, but a zealot nonetheless, and still has to be taken down. Adriana finds Zehler and while relieved that Zehler is alive, is dismayed to learn that Gennifer has gone completely unhinged. She says one last goodbye to Samuel and then goes to confront Gennifer for the final mission. The two engage in an emotional final battle at the center of the Pentagon, and this time, Adriana is triumphant. Gennifer, teary-eyed but smiling, begs Adriana to finish her off, and Adriana, despite her intense sadness at having to do so, finishes Gennifer with one final shot to the head. The civil war is over, and Adriana has finally come to accept herself as a soldier. Zehler reassumes the presidency, and the country begins to heal. Adriana returns to Samuel, and the ending seems to imply that Adriana won't ever pilot the Omniscient again...but the last part of the ending shows her entering the exoskeleton once more at the behest of Zehler to take on a peacekeeping mission in a foreign land.

    Techno Angel: Finality is released on May 2, 2006. Like the games before it, it receives excellent reviews from critics, who praise the intense Exosoldier duels and the strength of the storytelling. It's hyped as the "conclusion" to the Techno Angel saga, though most fans know Microsoft will almost certainly revisit the franchise again. Release week sales are quite strong, and the game would go on to be one of the top selling Xbox games of the year, just like its predecessors. It's a near certainty that Techno Angel will be a presence on the Xbox 2 after the release of three outstanding titles for the original Xbox.

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    Alien vs. Predator

    A first person shooter, Alien vs. Predator is a remake/reimagining of the 1994 SNES-CD game, which itself was essentially the OTL Atari Jaguar game. Like the original title, Alien vs. Predator has three different modes of play, allowing the player to choose between controlling an Alien, a Predator, or a Colonial Marine named Lance Lewis. While the gameplay and plot are similar to the original, both have been significantly expanded to take advantage of the power of the Xbox console. The Alien mode features the Alien battling both Predators and Colonial Marines in order to rescue the trapped Alien Queen, with the player "saving" their progress by infecting marines that then hatch into a new Alien upon the original Alien's death. The Alien has a massive variety of attacks available, including the launching of acid blood, the use of a powerful tongue attack, or the ability to rip foes apart with its bare hands. In Predator mode, the objective is to hunt down and capture the skull of the Alien Queen. Like in the original game, Predators can cloak themselves, but lose honor points by killing enemies while cloaked. They gain honor points by killing enemies while visible, which can be used to gain weapons or to enhance the Predator's abilities. In Marine mode, Lance Lewis must escape an infested base while also rescuing his trapped comrades. His ultimate goal is to battle and defeat the Predator leader in single combat, while avoiding being killed by both the Aliens and Predators. This game also features an expanded ending, which is available after winning in all three original modes. The expanded ending, which itself is the length of any of the three original scenarios, has segments where the player must play as all three protagonists, though the ultimate ending sees the player as Lance Lewis, battling against an enormous Xenomorph creature alongside a group of Predators. At the end of this final battle, the player ultimately must defeat the Xenomorph and then escape in such a way that the Predators are trapped, enabling Lance and his fellow Colonial Marines to escape the base while not allowing the Xenomorphs or Predators to do so. The ending implies that one of each species survived and are pursuing the Marines to their exit craft. In addition to the single player campaign, Alien vs. Predator also features both local and online multiplayer, where the Xenomorph, the Predator, and a multitude of space marines are playable, allowing entire teams of each to battle each other online in intense three-way deathmatches, though it is possible to pit one against the other as well, or even single-species deathmatches or mixed battles. The game features full voice acting and graphics that surpass those of Alien: Parallax, and also ties in a bit with the 2004 Alien vs. Predator movie (which appeared ITTL and was moderately successful), though it keeps those references to a minimum.

    Alien vs. Predator is released exclusively for the Xbox on June 13, 2006, to nearly universal critical acclaim, with fans and critics proclaiming it "the game that Parallax should have been". It gets an even better critical reception than both the original SNES-CD game and the recently released Techno Angel: Finality, with many critics proclaiming it one of the best video game remakes of all time. Sales exceed those of Alien: Parallax by a significant margin and while it becomes one of June's biggest releases, its sales don't quite match those of Techno Angel: Finality. However, it is considered a resounding success by almost any standard, and leads to the production of more Alien and Predator games.
     
  19. Grayhoof85 Currently reanimating her vivid dreams

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    This is beautiful.
     
  20. ANARCHY_4_ALL Evolution and The Revolution

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
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    South Carolina
    So, I missed posting about Battlefield when you updated it a long time ago. I'm glad you didn't have EA purchase DICE and Ubisoft is cool but I still would have preferred Sony. Anyway will the next BF still be X-Box exclusive or will we see a multi-platform release?
     
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