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The 25 greatest video game trailers of all time

The 25 greatest video game trailers of all time (photo)

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As video games increasingly matched movies in their use of sweeping cinematics, it was only a matter of time until the gaming industry began taking its marketing cues from Hollywood as well. It’s been no surprise then that video game trailers have increasingly become a key promotional medium beyond the standard commercial.

And like its film cousins, while the video game trailer might be a mere advertising tool to sell more copies, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a form of art. In just a few minutes a well-crafted game trailer should draw you in, make you care about the characters you’re watching and, yes, make you want to buy the game. So with that in mind, here are 25 of our favorite game trailers through the years.

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25. “Fallout 3” (2008)

Considering the franchise was in hibernation for years, Bethesda reintroduced the world to “Fallout” in a brilliant way. This cold, slow-building trailer is reminiscent of the opening cinematics from the first two games, complete with dated music and an eerie revelation of absolute destruction. It also gave us our first look at one of the most popular factions in the “Fallout” universe: The Brotherhood of Steel. The militaristic organization would play a huge role in the events of “Fallout 3,” and this brief glimpse at their recognizable power armor made us tingle with anticipation.

24. “Killzone 2” (2009)

This is a bit of a sticky trailer to include, as it has since become clear that most of what was shown was smoke and mirrors, even though it was billed as running in-engine on the PS3. But, in terms of showing the promise of what Sony’s new hardware could do, this “Killzone 2” trailer left minds racing. Were we looking at the future of video games? As it happened, not quite yet, though “Killzone 3” did manage to match and beat what was shown in this trailer with some truly incredible visuals.

23. “Super Smash Bros. Brawl” (2008)

Nintendo was never known for its fighting games, but the “Smash Bros.” series changed that on the N64. The franchise’s popularity only grew with its arrival on the GameCube and, with the Wii riding high at the time, the prospect of another sequel left fans desperate for any information they could get their hands on. Nintendo offered plenty in its first trailer for “Super Smash Bros. Brawl,” revealing a handful of new characters, including one of the most shocking cameos in video game history: Solid Snake.

22. “Mass Effect 2” (2010)

Martin Sheen. Seriously if there was ever a better narrator for a video game trailer, it’d have to be the voice of god, because no one on Earth can beat Martin Sheen. Adding to the awesome is a cinematic introduction to the squad of “Mass Effect 2,” giving the game a “Dirty Dozen”-like vibe. The “Mass Effect” trilogy may be ending in early 2012, but it’s hard to imagine them being able to best this highlight of a trailer.

21. “LittleBigPlanet” (2008)

It may not be all that visually impressive, but there’s no doubt that the world’s first look at “LittleBigPlanet” reeked of charm. Backed by the Go! Team’s “Get It Together,” the trailer perfectly captures the magic of running around with your friends, taking on massive skateboards and tennis balls in a world made almost entirely out of felt. Perhaps more surprising about this trailer is that it doesn’t even hint at the amazing level-creation tools within “LittleBigPlanet.” And yet, even without those, it still managed to catch everyone’s attention.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…


A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.