Saturday Crapshoot: Muppets Inside

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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, it's time to start the music, it's time to light the lights. It's time to meet the Muppets, in this Muppet game tonight... or from about 18 years ago. One of the two.

What's great about Muppets Inside is that it all goes wrong. Immediately. It starts up with a CD-ROM version of the classic theme - "It's time to boot the disc up. It's time to turn stuff on..." and then it crashes. Loudly. Full on speaker-crashing, back-to-desktop crashing. Well, poo. What a waste of money that was!

Except. "Well, that worked out great, didn't it?" mutters Kermit, as Fozzie Bear pushes open the desktop itself to apologise. "Oh no, not the bear!" shout Statler and Waldorf. "I thought computers were meant to make things better, not worse!" Because what could be more appropriate for a Muppets game than the whole thing to be based on technical difficulties, and a trip backstage to your computer system to put things right so that they can put on a show? The answer: Nothing. Nothing at all.

DayZ developer acquires new studio to work on standalone version

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Patrick Carlson at

It looks like the DayZ Standalone will be getting a few new helping hands. Creator Dean "Rocket" Hall has announced the purchase of Slovakian game developer Cauldron by Bohemia Interactive, with 25 of that studio's staff set to work on the zombie survival sim, according to a report at Eurogamer.


Planetside 2 message notifications disabled after players receive in-game pop-up ads

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Ian Birnbaum at

Image via Reddit user chipay.

Planetside 2’s latest update riled up members of the player community when it appeared that pop-up ads had been introduced to the game. In reality, a pop-up message notification was sending out offers for SOE’s premium membership, and a server error was causing the offers to be sent out several times every hour. Now, SOE has disabled the message notifications and membership offers completely while it sorts out the problem.

Shadowrun Online infiltrates Steam Early Access March 31

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Patrick Carlson at

Shadowrun Online is set to appear on Steam Early Access Monday with a prototype build of the upcoming cyberpunk strategy game. The result of a successful $500,000 Kickstarter from Cliffhanger Productions, the early access version of the MMO will preview the game's campaign and give players a taste of combat and PvP, according to a recent announcement from the studio.


New sandbox craft-'em-up TUG comes to Steam Early Access

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Tim Clark at

It would be lazy and reductive of me to describe Nerd Kingdom’s TUG as a Minecraft-a-like. But this is the internet, where attention spans are measured in picoseconds and hummingbird flaps, and the fact is the game is quite a bit like Minecraft. However, it’s also different in a number of of important ways, as you can find out for yourself, because it’s just gone live on Steam Early Access, where the price of entry is $9.99.


Zombie Monsters Robots announced: free-to-play shooter from former Epic China team

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Emanuel Maiberg at

En Masse Entertainment announced that it will release Zombies Monsters Robots (ZMR), a free-to-play third-person shooter in which you kill the things listed in its title. It’s developed by Yingpei Games, the Chinese studio formerly known as Epic Games China. The game is actually already out in China under the name Mercenary Ops 2, which has more than 30 million registered players.


Titanfall updates matchmaking to address player skill imbalances

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Patrick Carlson at

Titanfall is rolling out some matchmaking changes to try pit more and different kinds of players together, according to an update from developer Respawn Entertainment. The hybrid infantry/mech shooter has added a new beta game mode to test out a solution to what it calls "a problem of a lack of variety" in how the game is assembling opposing teams.


The Week's Highs And Lows In PC Gaming

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Tim Clark at

Each week the PC Gamer team clambers onto a really big couch and recounts the best and worst moments of the past seven days. On this page you get the good stuff. On the next page, the not so good stuff. Guess which one the Oculus buyout is in…

Oculus VR hires Valve VR expert Michael Abrash as chief scientist

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Wes Fenlon at

Three days after Oculus announced that it was being purchased by Facebook for $2 billion, the VR company has hired programmer Michael Abrash, who has worked at Valve since 2011. Abrash has been working on Valve's virtual reality technology for the last couple years, and regularly posts deep technical discussions of VR on his blog. Abrash is joining Oculus as Chief Scientist, and in his introductory post on Oculus' website, he cites the Facebook acquisition--and Facebook's deep pockets--as "the final piece of the puzzle" necessary for VR to achieve greatness.


Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies standalone expansion due in June

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Tom Senior at

Company of Heroes 2 is returning to the setting of Company of Heroes 1 with The Western Front Armies, a standalone expansion that's coming out in June for $20. It includes two armies: the US forces and the German Oberkommando and eight new multiplayer maps set in the green, unfrozen lands of the Western Front. There are no single player missions or Theater of war Scenarios mentioned, so it looks like an expansion designed to feed the multiplayer scene, which has been quietly warring away since launch last year.


Flockers is a new Lemmings-style game from Worms studio, Team 17

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Tom Senior at

Team 17's press release describes this as "a twisted blend of Lemmings’ inspired gameplay and Tim Burton style macabre", which suggests a) we'll be guiding queues of suicidal sheep around giant mincing death-traps and b) Helena Bonham Carter will be in it somewhere. It's the first non-Worms game from Team 17 since their top-down shootery Alien Breed games, which had the misfortune of being released alongside Valve's free and superior Alien Swarm. Can nostalgia and a touch of dark humour bring them more luck?


Who is the Arkham Knight? 6 mad theories about the villain's identity

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PC Gamer at

In the newly-revealed Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady unveiled a mysterious brand-new villain who’s actually called the Arkham Knight. But who is this enigmatic robo-Batman with a hint of blue in his armour? Dark Knight aficionados Chris Thursten and Samuel Roberts highlight the most likely candidates from their disgustingly rich knowledge of DC lore.


Galactic Civilizations 3 alpha costs $100, how much is too much for early access?

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Tom Senior at

Editor's note: We've received additional comment from Stardock regarding early access pricing for GalCiv3. Read its statement below our original story.

I like galactic conquest, devastating AI and overbearing tech trees, so I'm very excited about Galactic Civilizations 3. Not excited enough to pay the £76 / $100 asking price for the Founder's Elite version, however, which has been placed on Steam and the GalCiv site with some pretty major caveats from the developers. They warn that "major systems are unfinished and content is severely limited" and, remarkably, say "please be aware that the game isn't actually, well, fun yet."

Beyond Maxwell: Nvidia announce their next next-gen Pascal GPU

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Dave James at

Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference keynote was full of announcements this week. In addition to revealing the $3000 Titan Z, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang updated Nvidia's graphics architecture roadmap with a first look at the Pascal GPU.


Dead Space is free on Origin until May

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Omri Petitte at

EA doesn't want your money anymore. Well, it does, but mostly for its newer and shinier selections. Starting today, the publisher will choose one older game from its library and offer it On the House, a new Origin category for games available free of charge. First up: Visceral's disturb-tastic Dead Space.


Elder Scrolls Online end-game content options explained in new developer post

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Ian Birnbaum at

After teasing most of us (and horrifying some of us) for what seems like ages, Elder Scrolls Online will finally launch in just eight short days on April 4. If I’m any judge, barely 48 hours after that, someone, somewhere, will hit the level 50 experience cap and lord it over the rest of us. For the dedicated, a new blog post at the ESO website details the many ways we’ll be able to explore Tamriel after our journey through the levels is complete.


Enemy Front gameplay trailer focuses on sneaking, sniping

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Emanuel Maiberg at

There was a time when we were overwhelmed with World War II first-person shooters. Now it feels like we’re overwhelmed with modern military shooters, and I’m about ready to head back to WWII’s familiar battlefields with new graphics and new ideas. Namco Bandai’s and CI Games’ Enemy Front seems like will offer just that kind of ride.


Watch Dogs gameplay trailer calls Chicago a "hyper-connected playground"

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Omri Petitte at

Hey, who watches the watch dogs anyway? Ubisoft is hoping the answer is you, and is offering a new trailer as temptation. Having re-emerged from extended development, Watch Dogs' biggest hook remains its fully explorable modern city – Chicago – which comes complete with the horseless carriages not found in its stablemate Assassin's Creed series, and a vast electronic surveillance system just begging for a morally ambiguous vigilante to muck about with.


FTL: Advanced Edition out April 3

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Emanuel Maiberg at

Subset Games has announced on Twitter that FTL: Advanced Edition will release on April 3. The new edition of the game will release on iPad for $10 on the same day, but will be offered as a free upgrade to those who already own the original game on PC. As you should.


Arma 3 brings out the guerrillas in new community guide

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Patrick Carlson at

Our companion to most things Arma 3 over the last year, Andrew "Dslyecxi" Gluck, is back with another patented community guide. This time, we're treated to tactics in the military sim that favor the off-beat, underdog approach of guerrilla warfare.