The Top Ten Iconic Video Game Weapons

By James Hawkins in Lists!
Thursday, March 4, 2010 at 9:38 am

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The Coat of Arms

Video game weapons are a huge part of why we love gaming so much. We can harness intense firepower, manipulate mind-blowing physics, and smash heads in a way not legally possible in the real world. And for many games, the weapons are as noteworthy as the characters that wield them. So, here at Joystick Division, we want nothing more than to offer you a complete list of what we think are the biggest, best, and baddest weapons in video game history. Please, do enjoy it.

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He's about to mega-bust all over you.

10. Mega Buster Arm Cannon Mega Man Series
Dirty Harry had his Smith & Wesson .44 magnum. James Bond had his sleek Walther PPK. Mega Man has his Mega Buster. Early in the series, Mega Man carried around a weaker, less capable version called the Mega Blaster, which could fire a trio of rounds at the enemy. In Mega Man 4, however, old Doctor Light put an end to that, giving the Mega Blaster the first in a series of major upgrades. Now imbued with the ability to charge up a blast for more damage, Mega Man's signature firearm went from a standard cannon to a powerful tool of destruction. And more power is always a good thing.
Iconic Status: The Mega Buster is the definition of trusty sidearm. It appears in 42 (damn!) games, is upgraded and modified numerous times throughout the series, and even has a sweet cameo in the horror-comedy title Dead Rising.

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The Scalpel of FPS Weapons

9. Railgun Quake 2
Games nowadays have weapons specialized for every kind of player. You have the shotgun, which has incredibly short range with a hell of a lot of firepower. You have the assault rifle, for tactical rushes and reliability in any given situation. The sniper rifle is the ultimate skill-player weapon, used to drop opponents from hundreds of yards away. Well you can thank the Quake series for this feature. The folks at Id Software came up with the Railgun (among others) for Quake 2 to give competitive multiplayer gaming a new dimension. With insane firepower, deadly long-range accuracy, and a slow, methodical rate of fire, the Railgun was the perfect weapon for folks ready to post up and take out unsuspecting victims. The fluid, cerulean drips that emit from the barrel have, for over a decade, instilled fear in the hearts of those unfortunate enough to be caught in the sights.
Iconic Status: Since the inception of this gun, the folks that want more out a shooter have gotten their wish. The sniper rifle is a weapon that is featured in nearly every FPS released today, and the Railgun certainly gave the whole genre a push in that direction. A badass beast, for sure.

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Take that, you who are better than me!

8. Blue Spiked Shell Mario Kart Series
Finally, a weapon for the underdog. Most great video game weapons favor the talented, the skilled, the champions. But not in Mario Kart. If you find yourself at the end of the procession, just slide through a pile of item boxes and there is a good likelihood you will end up with one of these bad boys. What it does, for those of you not familiar with the Mario Kart series, is scoot ahead of all the other racers and hone in on first place kart. It will hit the player in first place, rest assured, and cause them to halt and fly up into the air. Both hailed and hated for its 'cheapness,' this victor-seeking missile has frustrated countless talented players for many, many years. And, believe me, it will be around for a while, pissing off serious gamers to the delight of those that can't seem to pull ahead.
Iconic Status: Yeah, the Blue Spiked Shell has been around. Since Mario Kart: Double Dash, it has seen a big change, though. Before, it would travel in the middle of the road, taking out anyone who was unlucky enough to get in its way. But the cheapness level has reached fever-pitch with the last couple games, as it will only disrupt the play of one person: the first place racer.

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Sprayaholics Anonymous.

7. RC-P90 GoldenEye
This is arguably the best gun in arguably the best shooter of all time. Of course it rests its head in the Top Ten. The RC-P90 paved the way for high speed, high power submachine guns in shooters. Sure, it wasn't perfect. If you didn't aim, it would get unruly. You burned through ammo like nothing else. You couldn't cap a fool from a catwalk across the map. But head-to-head, you also could not equip yourself with a more effective gun. In the heat of the moment, a quick burst would send even the most enthusiastic Russian soldier to the ground in a heap of guts and burnt flesh. And if you were able to unlock them, the dual RC-P90s were just ludicrous.
Iconic Status: Ever since GoldenEye, the P90 has become a staple of the realistic shooter. They usually don't have the unbridled firepower of the RC-P90, but it is hard to argue that this weapon of mass obliteration didn't help start a trend. It has solidified itself in the canon of great, iconic weapons.

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Like strapping a Weed Wacker to an M-16

6. Lancer Gears of War Series 
When Gears of War came out in 2006, it changed the way gamers saw action games. The graphics, the characters, and the gameplay all wowed fans of the genre. But nothing could quite match the awe that the Lancer inspired. For years, developers had been incorporating melee attacks in first- and third-person shooters, but this was a whole new level. You could literally slice the baddies in half with a fricking chainsaw. A chainsaw! It was part of your gun! Not only was it effective in combat scenarios, it was shown through the goriest and most gruesome cinematics in recent memory. The gun itself is a standard assault rifle, so it doesn't offer much in the way of innovation -- but from a player standpoint, that chainsaw is totally rad. And incredibly satisfying, I must say.
Iconic Status: Gore, gore, gore. The filleting of Grubs has now become an art. You will see this gun in every Gears of War game from here on out. You should probably expect some imitators, as the Lancer has the kind of brutal, over the top mass appeal that is rarely seen in video games anymore.

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