What's a good 'non-casual' PC game for my dad? — Ask PC Gamer

Tyler Wilde at

Ask PC Gamer is our weekly advice column. Have a burning question about the smoke coming out of your PC? Send your problems to letters@pcgamer.com.

I'm trying to find some games my retired dad might enjoy. He's not really a gamer... all he plays right now are games on his phone, and I guess he could play casual games on PC, but I wanted to show him there's more than simple puzzle stuff (he likes Threes) without overwhelming him. He has a pretty decent desktop I got him a couple years ago. Any recommendations? — J.M.

Windows 9 will be free to Windows 8 owners, according to report

Shaun Prescott at

The rumour has circulated for a while, but it looks like Windows 9 will be made available free to owners of Windows 8. That's according to Indonesian news site Detik.com, which has published a statement by Microsoft Indonesia's Andreas Diantoro seemingly confirming the news. According to a Google translation of the article, Diantoro said Windows 8 will "update automatically" to the new edition of the operating system when it releases.

Assassin's Creed Rogue for PC very likely, according to new evidence

Shaun Prescott at

How badly do you want a new Assassin's Creed game designed especially for last-gen consoles? Well, it depends how fond of Black Flag's naval combat you were. For those of us eager to blow things up at sea again, it's looking more and more likely that Assassin's Creed Rogue will come to PC. Not only has the Brazillian Classification Board listed it for PC, but the game also appeared briefly in Ubisoft's Uplay Reward page for PC.

World of Tanks update 9.3 takes aim at "unsportsmanlike" behaviour

Tom Sykes at

The World of Tanks gets a little tankier with update 9.3, which as ever adds more vehicles to Wargaming's wargamey wargame about war. Say howdy to the (US) T37, M41 Walker Bulldog, and T49; say privet to the (Soviet) LTTB, and Т-54 Lightweight; and bid a guten tag to the (German) Spahpanzer Ru 251. Wargaming have also implemented a new feature to curb "unsportsmanlike" behaviour such as constant AFKing and cowardly desertion. They're going to come to your house and run you over in a big tank—that or institute an in-game penalty/fining system.

Mount and Blade 2 trailer details powerful editor, features maximum pan pipes

Tom Sykes at

Mount and Blade 2 was announced way back in 2012, and since then developers TaleWorlds have been quieter than a medieval village hoping to escape the attention of a meddling local lord. We've had a few screenshots and devblogs since then, but here's some lovely video of the RPG/strategy/medieval battling game, showing the environments and powerful editing tools, and abusing the instrument known as the pan pipe.

Mod of the Week: Steam, Tracks, Trouble and Riddles for Half-Life 2: Episode 2

Christopher Livingston at

There have been a lot of visions of the post-apocalypse, but if you've been waiting for one in which a sleepy-voiced robot guides you through a series train-based environmental puzzles in the year 2525, then you're in luck. Also, you're a little strange. Also, this mod is a little strange, even in name. It's called Steam, Tracks, Trouble & Riddles and it's for Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

The Best Free Games of the Week

Tom Sykes at

One girl and her dog. One astronaut and their moon garden. Another alien metropolis starring a person with outstretched hands. A lo-fi dodge-'em-up for the Nintend-faux GameBoy. This week's free games box social is for those of us not going to EGX (it's also for those that are, when they get home). Grow, explore, bark and avoid, in the best collection of free games since the last one. Enjoy!

Modern Mega Drive RPG Pier Solar HD coming to PC next week

Tom Sykes at

Did you know they still make games for the Mega Drive? (And, for that matter, the Dreamcast, and a few other popular consoles?) Not many, sure, and they tend to be mostly shmuppy in nature, but the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis did receive a purportedly massive RPG in the year 2010. It's called Pier Solar, and it looks a bit like Lunar: Silver Star Story mixed with a SNES Final Fantasy (or at least, it does to me). The devs claim it's the "biggest 16-bit RPG ever" due to its whopping 64MB cartridge, and it's finally out on PC next week. We'll be getting an 'HD' version that blends pixel art with high definition art in a clashing and kind of ugly way, but you will be able to swap back to pure pixel art at the touch of a button.

Saturday Crapshoot: Toilet Tycoon

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... we all knew it had to happen one week, didn't we? Let's dive in! Or, better yet, not...

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to own a toilet empire. To me, that was better than being a Level 90 Paladin in World of Warcraft. To be a Toilet Tycoon was to own the world. It's like they say, you want to be rich, you find yourself something no-one can live without and you find a way to put a price-tag on it. Sure, it may not be so glamorous, but from the poorest Joe to the highest up King, when they really gotta go, they'll pay damn near anything to get that load off. Unless there's a wall nearby. Then, not so much. Any other time though! Any other time, you get a person by their bladder, you grip 'em by that quivering colon in their guts, and there 'aint no limit to how hard you can squeeze.

Not literally, mind, not if you're smart. Definit'ly not if you're wearing new shoes.

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter review

Christopher Livingston at

Paul Prospero's job description, Supernatural Detective, isn't just awesome, it carries a double meaning. Yes, he's an investigator of the supernatural, visiting Red Creek Valley to solve the mystery of a young boy's disappearance and several gruesome murders with supernatural overtones, but he's also got magical powers himself, able to psychically view the past as a series of ghostly images, like a spectral highlight reel. By examining clues, reconstructing crime scenes, and replaying past events, Paul can piece together the events leading up to Ethan Carter's disappearance... when he's not stopping to gawk at one of the loveliest looking games ever made.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition trailer promises the real Hong Kong action flick experience

Andy Chalk at

We liked Sleeping Dogs well enough when we reviewed it back in 2012, but it obviously could have been better. And that's what Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition promises: A more well-realized and immersive experience on the mean streets of Hong Kong. Will it be better in ways that actually matter? That I do not know, but you can shove a man's face into a running table saw, and that's not a bad place to start.

The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

PC Gamer at

Each Friday PC Gamer’s writers pick the bones out of the previous seven days. This time they’re doing it while also launching a new site. Expect more tears than usual.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor trailer recaps everything you need to know about simply walking in

Andy Chalk at

We all know that one does not simply walk into Mordor. But if that's the best plan you can come up with and you're determined to stick to it—say, as the hero of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor—then this trailer will give you a pretty good idea of what you've got to look forward to.

The Flock closed alpha is on the way, applications are now being taken

Andy Chalk at

The first-person asymmetrical online multiplayer horror game The Flock is slowly but surely moving toward becoming a real game that you can actually play. A closed alpha test is scheduled to begin at the end of October, and developer Vogelslap is looking for people who want to get in on the action.

TUG studio lays off half its workforce after funding deal falls through

Andy Chalk at

TUG came to prominence this summer in the wake of the Yogventures collapse, when Yogscast arranged to have keys to the game given to empty-handed Yogventures Kickstarter backers. But now the TUG development team is having some struggles of its own.

Green Man Gaming signups include three free games and a month of Eve

PC Gamer at

Free games! If you sign up for a Green Man Gaming account right now you'll and you'll get three of them, along with a month of free time in Eve Online and a voucher that knocks 23% off any game in the store.

Assassin's Creed Unity trailer explains gear and co-op

Tom Sykes at

I've played a lot of games where a magic pair of pantaloons affected my stats a wee bit, but it still feels a little strange to hear Assassin's Creed Unity developers talk about the game's cornucopia of stat-addled gear. They're at it again in the following video, which details how Arno's items of clothing will affect his stealth, health, and other attributes that don't rhyme with 'ealth'. The second half, meanwhile, explores Unity's co-op mode. If you have five minutes to spare, it's worth a watch.

Age of Wonders 3 to raise the dead with next expansion

Tom Sykes at

Hot on the shiny heels of their Golden Realms expansion, Triumph Studios are already planning the next bit of content for Age of Wonders III. Which, now that I think about, is an entirely sensible thing to be doing. The as-yet-untitled DLC will likely be a bit of a fan-pleaser, as it will re-add Undead to the series, a traditional component of Age of Wonders that has been missing from the third instalment until now. In AoW3, the Undead are being introduced via the new Necromancer class, which should open up all sorts of possibilities (previously, the Undead were thought of as a race.)

Heat Signature: hands-on with the stealthy deep-space smuggler sim

Samuel Roberts at

Procedurally generated Hotline Miami levels floating through space—that's a rough approximation Tom 'Gunpoint' Francis' new game, Heat Signature. I played it today, and the premise of stealthily boarding enemy spaceships to steal packages and/or kill targets is enormously exciting, and makes this something of a 2D Han Solo simulator (had Han Solo actually done any smuggling in Star Wars).

Far Cry 4 trailer re-introduces Pagan Min, along with hovercraft and quad bikes

Tom Sykes at

We already know that Far Cry 4 features a villain roughly as hatter-mad as Vaas from the previous game, but we get to see him make another of his little speeches in this brisk new trailer for Ubisoft's open-world elephant-'em-up. Also pictured: hovercraft, quad bikes, and a bit where a freefalling Ajay Ghale lobs a grenade into a plane and then the plane blows up. Such dexterous killing. Pagan Min won't like that.