Saturday Crapshoot: Detective Barbie

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Richard Cobbett at

Every week, Richard Cobbett rolls the dice to bring you an obscure slice of gaming history, from lost gems to weapons grade atrocities. This week, justice is coming, Barbie style. So, presumably in several shades of pink, with lots of accessories... to murder. Kidnapping, anyway.

Life in plastic. They say it's fantastic, but what would they know? Even in a world of glitter and glamour, the dark soul of humanity is always with us, waiting to strike. That's where I come in. When life in the Dreamhouse turns into a nightmare, they call me. I look up in my office and see a dame whose face says trouble and spells out many things, and I know I'm just looking at my full-length mirror. The name's Barbie. And this doll's only yours for 200 dollars a day. Plus expenses, naturally.

Men of War: Assault Squad 2 available through Steam Early Access

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Last month, DigitalMindSoft made Men of War: Assault Squad 2 available to those who pre-purchased the game. Now you can get into the beta with Steam Early Access. The game usually costs $35, but it’s currently being offered for $28, a 20 percent discount.


Invisible, Inc. alpha update detailed in new video

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Patrick Carlson at

Invisible, Inc. has a new alpha update along with a sharp video outlining some of the latest changes to the turn-based, espionage game. It's the ninth update for developer Klei Entertainment's alpha, with the new build giving players greater infiltration options but also tougher guards to try and deal with.

Surreal psychodrama Ether One lands next week

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Ian Birnbaum at

Ether One has been teasing us for quite some time, but next week the Oculus Rift–capable exploration game is finally free to mess with our minds. To celebrate, we’ve got a spanking-new release trailer to check out the weird world of the memory repair technician, also known as a Restorer.

Latest Humble Weekly Sale is all rhythm games

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Ian Birnbaum at

This week’s new Humble Weekly Sale features a bundle devoted to rhythm games. The funkiest of gamers—by which I mean, anyone who can actually bob their head in time and carry a tune—will appreciate the sick beats on sale in the form of Symphone, Sequence, and Bit Trip Runner. I’ve now used up all of the music-related slang I know, so we can all move on.


Battle Chess: Game of Kings out on Steam Early Access

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Battle Chess: Game of Kings, a remake for the 1988 classic, is out now on Steam Early Access. You can buy into what developer Olde Sküül is calling a “late alpha” now for $10, or wait for the full version to go live and pay $20.


New Wolfenstein: The New Order trailer uses Nazis on a train to show off game's writing

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Emanuel Maiberg at

There are two important things I’ve learned about Wolfenstein: The New Order from watching this latest trailer. The first is that B.J. Blazkowicz wouldn’t be a very good barista. The second, arguably more important lesson, is that Bethesda and developer MachineGames are proud enough of the writing, tone, and presentation of the game to dedicate a trailer to those attributes, instead of shooting mechanics.


Doom: The Mercenaries mod drags Resident Evil to hell

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Phil Savage at

Capcom took the original PC port of Resident Evil 4 and turned it into the much improved Ultimate HD Edition. Now, a modder has taken the Mercenaries mode from the same game and turned it into a kind of Un-Ultimate SD Edition. Doom: The Mercenaries is a Doom (and ZDoom) mod that marries Resi 4's arcade arena mode with the early-'90s demonic shooter.


The week's highs and lows in PC Gaming

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PC Gamer at

Every week, the PC Gamer team pick their most and least favourite happenings from the last seven days. Here you'll find the week's soaring highs and stagnant lows, picked from the news, the games we've played, the culture at large. The only thing that's guaranteed is there'll be no neutral opinions.


Assassin's Creed: Unity announced, trailer offers sneak peak at French Revolution setting

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Phil Savage at

Ubisoft has announced Assassin's Creed: Unity, the next major game in the series. Unity, which we'll now have to constantly confuse with the Unity engine, is set in Paris during the French Revolution. It's a comfortable period (and architectural style) for a roof-running murder-'em-up series that's no stranger to revolutions. And if this brief teaser is representative of the final game, we'll be leaping across the prettiest virtual representation of a historical setting filled with powerful artefacts and suave murderers yet.


Titanfall to support 4K displays, TXAA and SLI, Nvidia announce (and then unannounce)

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Phil Savage at

Well, this is strange. Nvidia published a blog post this week, detailing some of the upcoming technological improvements they're hoping to help Respawn bring to Titanfall. It included sexy graphical jargon, like TXAA, 4K and HBAO+, and also some less enticing, more expected terms like SLI-support. They then deleted that post. What that means for these supposedly incoming improvements is unclear, but - as of writing - you can access the ghost of the post through Google's webcache.


Intel talks up new processor releases and celebrates an anniversary

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Dave James at

After having tried to make me care about all-in-one PCs at GDC (sorry guys, I just can’t), Intel have announced a bunch of new processor toys that are on their way either this year or next. From Haswell, to Broadwell, to Haswell-E, we’re looking at a raft of new chips for our machines.

First up we’ll be seeing a bunch of new Haswell parts, code-named Devil’s Canyon. They’ll be slightly higher-clocked versions of the parts we’ve already got - so expect maybe an extra 100MHz on top of the K-series chips.


Bulletstorm disappears from Steam, Games for Windows Live a likely suspect

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Omri Petitte at

Games for Windows Live is dying, and few tears will be shed for its demise. But concern remains for what will happen to the GFWL titles that haven't shed it like a pustulent pimple by the July 1st death-day. Epic and People Can Fly's score-'em-up Bulletstorm is seemingly the latest victim in the service's final thrashings, as it's been removed from Steam (although is still available on Origin) without word on a possible return.

Palmer Luckey on DK2 and the future of Oculus Rift

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Samuel Roberts at

It was a big GDC for Oculus VR, announcing the Dev Kit 2 for pre-order at a very reasonable $350. Shortly before the announcement, we caught up with creator Palmer Luckey about the consumer version of the Oculus Rift, what DK2 represents in terms of technical capabilities and how the hardware suits different types of games beyond first-person experiences.


CCP: Virtual reality is "where things are going," could change "the human condition overall"

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Tyler Wilde at

CCP's "audacious vision," CMO David Reid tells me, is to "create virtual worlds more meaningful than real life." The greatest expression of that vision is EVE Online, CCP's infamous space MMO and a game I already consider to be a sort of virtual reality. During our chat today at GDC, I nodded my head as Reid talked about the real emotions players experience in EVE. But CCP isn't at the conference to show off EVE Online—it's demonstrating the latest build of EVE Valkyrie, a VR space combat game that will launch with the Oculus Rift headset. It's clear, however, that CCP's ultimate goal is to combine Valkyrie's use of VR technology with the EVE Online sandbox.


Elder Scrolls Online beta update limits UI addons

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Omri Petitte at

Modding Elder Scrolls games is a PC gaming tradition, and ZeniMax's Elder Scrolls Online will allow adventuring wizards and warriors to travel Tamriel with combat and questing UI addons when it launches on April 4. However, the latest beta update has locked down tracking of incoming damage and ability sources, a change that has many in the ESO community upset at the reduced effectiveness of addons.


Cart Life exits Steam, goes open source

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Omri Petitte at

Want to play a game about the tumultuous life of a street shop vendor? Well, you can't right now, as the website hosting it is currently drowning under heavy bandwidth load. But when it returns, you'll find Cart Life, the indie small business simulation from Richard Hofmeier, available free of charge and completely open source for tinkerers to slot in custom characters and stall types.


Move over Goat Simulator, Bear Simulator is here

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Bears. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them, because they are as deadly as they are majestic. Bear Simulator, as its title implies, will let you be them, finally. Unlike Coffee Stains Studios’ absurd Goat Simulator, this seems like a more involved simulation of life as part of the ferocious, beautiful Ursiade family.


Microsoft reveals DirectX 12, a "thinner" graphics API with 50% better CPU utilization

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Today at GDC, Microsoft revealed the newest version of its graphics API, DirectX12. As we’ve been expecting, it’s a “thinner,” lower level API, with less abstraction between software and hardware. That means more involved development, but access to much better performance. Microsoft said that it allows for console-level efficiency on PC, a point they stressed with a ported tech demo of Forza Motorsport 5 running on PC. Forza was running on an Nvidia Titan Black, however, which is a much more powerful GPU than the Xbox One's.


EverQuest Next Landmark enters closed beta on March 26, SOE talks player collaboration

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Samuel Roberts at

EverQuest Next Landmark will leave alpha and enter a closed beta on 26 March, SOE told us at GDC this week. Anyone who has purchased one of the founder's packs, now including the $20 Settler option, will be able to play the game as it reaches this stage—SOE promised it would be happening before the end of March, and here that day is.