The 8-bit era is long gone, but its playful, blocky aesthetic is here to stay. It's an attractive art style that culls the best its of nostalgia and familiarity to create slick, intriguing interfaces. And who doesn't love breezing through a colorful, simplified world that resembles something from their childhood?

Designing from the ground-up to create a game that resembles some of the best pieces of the heyday of gaming is an undertaking in itself, so it's no surprise so many titles, indie or otherwise, are adopting this approach. The result? Spirited endeavors that aren't just fun, but kickass. We've compiled five of our favorite modern pixelated fantasies for maximum enjoyment. Instead of falling into a turkey-induced coma after you gorge yourself this Thanksgiving, why not load up on these goodies instead?

Five 8-Bit Games You Need To Play Right Now

1. Hotline Miami

A disturbing mess of gore, shotgun blasts, and the seedy underbelly of the night as far as assassins go, Hotline Miami may be one of the coolest experiences you'll ever have in an 8-bit playground. The top-down shooter relies on shockingly violent action with one-hit, one-kill blasts. It's the thinker's massacre. Low-res DeLoreans, menacing animal masks that grant the wearer powers, and chill techno really complete the package. The fact that pixelated red brains and tons of liters of blood stain each crime scene only adds to this truly bizarre and brutal puzzler. Sure, it could have been created with a more modern look, but it wouldn't have been the same. Somehow, the realism would have made it easier to desensitize the player. In this case, the low-quality graphics enhance the experience. And we happen to think it's pretty rad.

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Late night YouTube trolling can result in all the lights being turned on in the house, random calls to a best friend to calm nerves, and flashlight location memorization. Of course we're talking the videos you stumble around the internet watching late at night for some reason while alone despite your crippling fear of everything even a little out of the ordinary. Everyone does it.

And everyone's doing it now, seeing as Halloween is right around the corner. But you don't have to sift through the scraps of YouTube for screamer videos or poorly shot "paranormal" footage. May we suggest a litany of awesome for your viewing orbs with a sampling of horrific web series that will send chills down your spine without insulting your intelligence or forcing you to visit the land of YouTube commenters? Shudder. Here are five spooky series to get you started.

Marble Hornets

You know you were way into the Blair Witch saga when it hit theaters way back when. The whole "found footage"/documentary trend has all but exploded since then, but nothing has been able to match the excitement the film culminated in exactly, though few have tried. Marble Hornets is an admirable project that follows in the same footsteps of the greats before it with creepy footage and bizarre goings-on, most of which should be more than enough nightmare fuel for skittish viewers.

A fictional movie was suddenly and mysteriously dropped from production due to some weird circumstances. The series of videos chronicle the raw footage a friend of the movie's creator was able to procure, and the disturbing events surrounding it. The project extends to video footage and unsettling tweets, and there's more here to get engaged if you're looking for a new ARG to get into. If creepypasta and related scares are your thing, Marble Hornets should be on your to-watch list.

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Call of Duty is never short on firepower. The explosive might of the menagerie of indomitable weapons available across the long-running series is not to be outmatched. From science fiction transplants to military mainstays, Call of Duty is host to weapons that do some serious damage. With Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 on the horizon, what better time than now to take a look back at the best weapons available?

Lock and load. You're about to rack up the kills with our arsenal of choice.

Top 10 Call Of Duty Weapons - Everything You Need To Survive The Battle

Ray Gun

First appeared in: Call of Duty: World at War

This futuristic zapper made the scene in World at War, popping up just in time to thin out the advancing zombie hordes. Capable of one-shotting the flesh-eating beasts for several rounds in a row, the ray gun is also useful for nailing zombies and turning them into Crawlers to slow them down. Not only that, it's just awesome-looking. One might think it's out of place considering the setting, but it actually fits the time period quite nicely, what with the allure of the sci-fi weaponry and pulp novels floating around at the time. Getting the ray gun at random from the mystery chest was and will always be a welcome occurrence.

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Mad Max Double Feature - Saturday October 20 3/2c

Before Mel Gibson told Merrill to swing away or wrote an action epic surrounding the decline of Mayan civilization, he was wrecking people's business in Mad Max. Dystopian Australia never seemed so insane -- and the cult classic trilogy was responsible for inspiring an entire bushel's worth of pop culture phenomena: Borderlands, Fallout, Fist of the North Star, and even the entire Saw franchise.

Tune in this Saturday 3/2c for the Mad Max double feature when G4 runs Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome. We've dredged up five of our very favorite Mad Max moments in all their leather-clad biker glory. Sit back, relax, and let the Ayatollah of Rock-N-Rolla serenade you with Mad Max's greatest hits.

1. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior - A Grand Entrance

The second film in the trilogy, affectionately titled simply The Road Warrior, outshone the original Mad Max. We're fans of the entire trilogy, but this gritty flick really kicked things into high gear, even from the first moments of the opening credits. There's no dialogue (also known as no wasted time in action flick language) and no allowance for pansies as Max speeds through the apocalyptic wasteland once again as the movie opens with another high-speed chase.

Mel Gibson plays the silent card; because all you really need to know here is that you're in for a wild ride as the sequel to the cult classic revs its engine. It's a simplistic yet frighteningly effective opening to a film and one that perfectly encapsulates what makes the Mad Max series worthy of your time and attention: high-octane, knock-down, drag-out car chases with a side of annihilation. From the opening moments of The Road Warrior, you're primed for a dangerously decadent ride.

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Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 Zombies Mode Screens Shamble Forth

Call of Duty: Black Ops was an interesting monster in many ways. Its bizarre campaign was a breath of fresh air at first, at least when it comes to writing, but for the most part it was your run-of-the-mill Call of Duty from the main Modern Warfare releases.

But the reason Black Ops stood out to us the most was the fact that it pit John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Richard Nixon, and Fidel Castro against a zombie onslaught in the Pentagon in "Five," the Black Ops follow-up to previous Nazi Zombie maps. It was a pretty strange design decision, to be quite honest, but we're not gonna lie: we've got an even weirder idea for the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and the zombie maps it will inevitably have: oh, yes -- an all-star '80s celebrity cast. Tubular!

Video: New Modes In Call of Duty: Balck Ops 2 Zombies

We've gathered five of our favorite pop-culture stars straight out of one of the best decades ever, and it's zombie-huntin' time. Like, we're totally gonna gag some undead dorks with a spoon.

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They say high school is the best time of your life, but no one really accounts for the other kids, zombie outbreaks, or general nastiness of those formative years.

But as dangerous as all that sounds, think about how entertaining life as a high school student in a video game must be. Plenty of juicy drama, monster hunts, and hijinks -- it's almost enough to make us want to gather up our books and go back. Almost. But for those of you who aren't keen on returning and starting back as freshmen, we're going back for you in style, exploring the best high school moments in gaming, just in time for our younger readers (and parents of said readers) to fully enjoy that back to school rush!

Lollipop Chainsaw

Lollipop Chainsaw

School: San Romero High School

Juliet Starling's titillating zombie-slaying exploits begin at the cleverly titled San Romero High School, where the entire student body has been turned into members of the living dead. Zombies lazily slide down hallways looking for fresh meat. The football team rushes at Juliet looking for a peek up her skirt, or a quick bite to eat. Even the teachers are particularly miffed, and you can't trust a teacher who wants to throw a desk at you. Is it test anxiety or some kind of peer pressure bid? Nope, everyone's just hungry for brains.

From shooting zombie basketball with freshly beheaded zombies to meeting up with old cheerleader pals, San Romero High is one bustling academy, even if there doesn't appear to be any learning going on. Seeing Juliet prancing around in her bloodstained cheerleader uniform really drives the illusion of the high school routine home too, since she's still dressed up and ready for practice. San Romero isn't featured as long as we would have liked in the campy, carnage-happy creep-fest, but it still gets us pretty nostalgic.

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With the Kill Bill Revenge Double Feature airing on Labor Day (2:30/1:30c), we decided it was about time to find some women from the video game world that could be role models for anyone who wanted to kick ass and take names like Black Mamba.

Forget princesses and cutesy romances. There's a wide world of female role models out there who behave like real-world women actually might in the situations they find themselves in – they don't cry for help while trapped at the top of an ivory tower or prance around in their skivvies while doing absolutely nothing to assist those around them. They simply get things done, no matter how high the stakes are.

In a world where the female characters are usually treated as simple counterparts for their male brethren, it's hard to find great examples that set a trend for women who accomplish great things. But after scouring the annals of gaming history we've come up with some of the best female role models of the medium – and if you've got any better ideas, as always feel free to let us know.

Half-Life 2

Alyx Vance

Game: Half-Life 2

The quintessential greatest female character you usually hear about when running down the list makes her debut in the Half-Life as an invaluable asset to Team Freeman. The daughter of Dr. Eli Vance, Alyx is both a proficient hacker and handy with a pistol as well. She's a deeply caring individual with compassion for all those around her, and if you cross her there's no stopping her from exacting some likely well-deserved revenge.

As she's traveling with Gordon, wrestling headcrabs off unfortunate souls and taking up shotguns and other armaments to gun down the opposition, it becomes obvious that even if Alyx is upset or afraid, she hides it in order to appear strong for those around her – highly relatable, because who doesn't try to hide their moments of weakness in order to appear stalwart and capable for those they care about? Loyal, multitalented, and deadly when necessary, we know Alyx always has our back, as well as believable motives and a great personality.

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Dark Souls

When video games aren't forcing us into madness and prompting premature gray hairs to sprout all over our glorious heads of hair, they're not hard enough. If you haven't sent a controller hurtling through the air straight into the middle of your flat screen TV, you aren't being challenged enough.

Okay, we're exaggerating just a bit, but it's easy to tell when you're not able to live up to your full potential, and it's human nature to keep pushing and keep seeking out greatness. It's also an understandable practice to get as much mileage out of the game you likely spent $60 or more on as is humanly possible -- thus, the concept of establishing player-initiated rules and augments to amplify the standard difficulty of any given game.

Whether this is accomplished via purposefully traipsing through an RPG without ever leveling up or treating every in-game death as a permanent one, we'll always find a way to make things tougher on ourselves. There's only a few hundred ways out there to ensure proper punishment is inflicted, as we all know the gamer community is rife with some of the most ridiculously creative souls out there, but we've chosen a few that stand out to as especially brutal concepts.

We think we'll stick to "Insane" or "Nightmare" modes instead, but for the brave souls around who need a little more substantial spike in difficulty to satisfy that savage spirit within, here are some of the best ways we make our games harder.

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The darkest corners of the sea are home to an innumerable amount of menacing underwater creatures, most of which we've never even seen before. Video games love to prey on the fear of the unknown and the potential for some extremely gnarly undersea life, and many of them incorporate some rather nightmarish monsters to scare us out of our wits.

Some are simply variations on normal sea life. In fact, you'd better hope with all your might that you see a shark instead of one of these monstrosities. In honor of the annual celebration in which we sing all the praises of said sharks, Shark Week, we've caught five underwater creatures in gaming that are way worse than sharks.

Look out next time you decide to go snorkeling.

Top 5 Video Game Terrors Of The Deep -- Creatures Who Can Take On A Shark

5. Morpheel

Game: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Morpheel awaits Link in a watery chamber that must be accessed using Zora Armor and resembles that of a monstrous eel, only with disgusting gelatinous tentacle appendages and an enormous eyeball that acts as its weak point. Several times throughout the boss battle Morpheel tries to consume Link, but that's nothing compared to what it would do to a human in real life. Link can go back to a previous save point. You, on the other hand, cannot. Making any trips to the Lakebed Temple in the near future? Bring a Clawshot along and prepare to fight for your life.

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The Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset that you can currently fund on Kickstarter, and the project involves some of the biggest names in the industry. This modern take on the centuries-old concept of full immersion via virtual reality is looking very much like it could catapult us further into the future than we've ever reached with hardware such as the Virtual Boy, or even the PlayStation Move, Kinect, or Wii.

Our first impressions of the device were favorable, and we're looking ahead to some possible additions to the Oculus library that would make great use of the emerging technology. There'd be nothing virtual about how much we'd enjoy these Oculus-ready versions of some of our favorite games.


Amnesia: The Most Frightening Game That You're Not Playing

Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Quick, what was that noise? Turn around, quick! Oh, no. Looks like you only managed to startle it. Or is there anything there at all? Is your sanity slipping again or is there really something coming to get you?

Amnesia is one of those perfect, rare moments in gaming where the darkness and absence of threats is just as powerful as the monsters who hide within. An Oculus augmentation would be a most welcome incarnation for the cult horror classic, especially considering the way the player must interact with the environment by physically pulling open and pushing closed doors, as seen in the previous Penumbra games. This mode of play lends an even more chilling element to the already sinister atmosphere, and being transported in-game with the power of virtual reality would be a welcome experience for thrillseekers. Pushing through the Prussian Brennenberg Castle to the Inner Sanctum could be a doubly taxing affair with the aid of the Oculus.

Failing the main campaign's ability to coerce players into feeling as though they're actually hallucinating as they make their way through the game, additional support for the DLC Justine would give players the chance to come face to face with the three ill-fated suitors -- and trust us, only the bravest of souls will want to take on that challenge. As far as the most immersive of horror-based worlds go, Amnesia's got our vote for being Oculus-ready.

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What You Need To Know About Rise Of The Triad -- Return To The H.U.N.T.

The '90s were a fantastic time for those of us who wished only to paint the in-game walls with the blood of our enemies. Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, and a host of others made the scene amidst quite a bit of public outcry surrounding the forever-raging video games and violence debate.

The entire decade was an especially influential time when it comes to the growth of the fragfest as we know it today, and Rise of the Triad, the 1995 project brought to us via Tom Hall (previously of id Software) took things even further and spawned an instantly memorable mash-up of keys, ankhs, and ludicrous gibs.

News: Rise of the Triad Remake Announced at QuakeCon 2012

The H.U.N.T. (High-risk United Nations Task-force) is suiting up again later this year thanks to news straight out of QuakeCon 2012 with a Rise of the Triad remake, and we've got a fond look back on this forgotten gem and what sticks out in our minds nearly twenty years after its original release.

For both players old and new (and the fanatics like me) out there, prepare for your minds to be blown.

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To create something beautiful, sometimes you have to destroy -- or at least go in a new direction. That's been a tried and true strategy for most forms of media, especially video games, over the years. When the same format begins to grow stale, it's time for a change.

And in Hollywood, even when the original is still fresh, it's time for a change too. Regardless of the need, however, sometimes a reboot can completely revitalize an IP that's been barking up the tree for so many years. We've found a few shining examples that give us hopes for the remakes of the future, exemplary titles that have been reconfigured into something bigger and better than we ever could have expected.

Here are five spectacular reboots that stand out from the crowd in more ways than one. Oh, to be a current-gen gamer! You young whippersnappers really are getting it all.

Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

It's easy to forget the extremely well received Street Fighter IV as a reboot, but it actually is one. The enormous leap between art styles and the massive overhaul the reputable fighter received was enough to rocket propel it into the favorites list of many a fighting enthusiast. Brand new characters like Crimson Viper, Rufus, and the indomitable Seth rounded out the already robust line-up offered already.

It seamlessly combined new and old school sensibilities to create an accessible, pro-level fighter for players of all skill levels, and of course paved the way for Capcom to further revitalize the game in future iterations. It's definitely a testament to how improving on a classic franchise can completely revamp it in ways that open it up even further to a brand new generation of fans, and Street Fighter IV is still going strong.

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Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Preview

The Olympics: spectacular for spectators, but so-so for gamers. It seems much more like the prestige event lends itself better to the real world than our hallowed digital grounds – at least if you take a step back and evaluate our options when it comes to both licensed adaptation and third-party one-offs.

Throughout the history of gaming, there have been numerous attempts at digitizing the historic sporting event that attracts so many viewers. Many have been failed cash-ins or poor imitations with no business having been released. On the flip side, some of the best sports-oriented games weren't related to real-world Olympic events, but a collection of sporting activities collected in one place, such as the quintessential '80s classic Track & Field. These lend themselves well to the Olympic spirit, and the changes made throughout the years to the games released in the genre reflect that of some completely different trends.

What was the first Olympic game and how have they changed over the years? While you're getting primed to watch the games on TV, take in the rich history of the Olympics, video game style.

The History Of The Olympic Video Games -- Bringing The Games Home

Track & Field (1983)

Credited as one of the first of its kind is Track & Field. While not an officially licensed Olympic release, Track & Field released to eager arcade-goers with a bang. Players used two “run” buttons that many events required to be hit back and forth, quickly alternating to allow the athlete to make progress, as well as an action button to perform a final action, such as the long jump. It quickly became a favorite both in arcades and in homes when it made the transition to home consoles in 1988.

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With one of the best superhero movie series coming to an end with The Dark Knight Rises, we thought now would be the perfect time to look back at some of the worst Batman iterations to ever hit the digital world.

We haven't always been able to reference Batman: Arkham Asylum or Arkham City as the epitome of a superhero games -- or the best Batman game, for that matter. While Batman games have never really fallen to the level of Superman 64, his colorful entertainment history over the years has produced some real stinkers. For those of you fellow die-hard Dark Knight fans about ready to nerd out over The Dark Knight Rises, we've got the most awful Batman video games -- to appreciate what you have now, you have to see the trash we had to wade through to get here.

Here are the top five bad Batman games we’ve counted down for you. Be careful when recommending these to fellow fans. It might get pretty ugly.

Top 5 Worst Batman Games

5. Game: Batman Forever

System: SNES/Genesis/Game Boy/Game Gear/PC

It wasn't a masterpiece of a movie by any means, but watching Jim Carrey gallivanting around as The Riddler is preferable in any capacity to playing this Super Nintendo adaptation. The side-scrolling beat-'em-up wouldn't have turned out to be such a tragedy had it not employed awkward control schemes (why should anyone need to hold down two different buttons to jump down from platforms?) and bland core mechanics.

The co-op system allows players to take up the mantle of either Batman or Robin, and that's one aspect it did well, but considering how difficult it was to employ gadgets or pull off different moves. The focus shifted from what Batman Forever tried to offer to everything it screwed up, which was a lot across the spectrum: Genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy, and PC. Perhaps this side-scroller should be locked up forever. See what we did there?

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The Amazing Spider-Man

With The Amazing Spider-Man swinging into theaters, we thought we should take the time to find out what it takes to make a great Spider-Man game.

Spidey's been through the wringer throughout his stint as a video game hero in addition to his day job as a Marvel forerunner. He's graced us with performances both good and bad. This seems to be the case with many of Peter Parker's newer jaunts -- a strong premise and promising gameplay assets that fizzle out to little more than decent licensed adventures. They're still better than any of Superman's games, but then again, what isn't?

There's got to be a way to ensure future games are improvements on those of the past. And we think we've got the answers: collect what makes Spidey games great -- what works, and whatever made stepping into the webslinger's shoes memorable. We can't say we're developers or anything, but we're thinking these aspects combined should make a powerhouse superhero game.


Keep It Open

A stealthy Spidey isn't impressive. Peter Parker is best known as the crafty, witty webslinger with a quick-fire joke for any occasion. We're just not accustomed to a brooding Parker slinking around in the shadows. It's not that exciting, for one thing, and games like Batman: Arkham Asylum seem to have fit that niche beautifully already. So why not give players the real freedom they crave: free reign across the board in any fictional city we find Spidey fighting crime? Games like Grand Theft Auto and Prototype are exemplary for this, allowing players to go wherever they please and offering plenty of options for side quests and additional content to supplement the story unfolding with each completed objective.

This has been done quite exceptionally in previous Spider-Man releases and with success. Once this element is removed, Spidey's exploits become considerably less "epic" -- the feeling you get when whizzing through the air with the lightness of a feather, dangling by a thick cord of web is gone. It not only meshes well with mission-based gameplay, but it makes a generally linear game feel much less like a slog. We know it works, and we'd like to see more of it in the future, rather than confining Spider-Man and his foes to simple flicks of the wrist to ensnare a foe and close-quarters combat.

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