Written by Matt Thrower
Fifteen years ago I thought myself the god of Unreal Tournament: an untouchable colossus of speed and firepower tearing through every difficulty level with consummate ease. So naturally, as soon as I got broadband I tried out for a high ranking clan. They wiped the floor with me, blowing my avatar asunder with the same insouciance I had playing against the bots and laughing as they fell before me.
It was the beginning of a long and illustrious career of being Very Bad Indeed at online games. Yet here I remain, regularly clocking hours on Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty, and DayZ and regularly left propping up the leaderboards.
I’m hardly alone. Public servers commonly have their fair share of deadbeats alongside the clan members and twitch kiddies who rule the maps. The gaming demographic increasingly includes middle-aged people with kids and mortgages who want to kick back in the evening and have some fun, but don’t have the free time to practice. And, predictably, the more experienced players slaughter them, time and time again. Why do we keep coming back for more pain?
Written by Matt Thrower
Before we knew what to name them, we called them “Doom clones.” id Software’s seminal work sparked a phenomenon when it began to circulate as shareware 20 years ago, and since then shooters have propagated through mods, experimentation, LAN parties, co-op, eSports, and big-budget masterpieces. Guns and enemies are their bread and butter, but we don’t think of our favorite shooters as outlets for simulated violence. We celebrate the way they test our minds and mouse reflexes, the personal stories they generate, the captivating worlds they’ve founded, and the social spaces they provide for lighthearted bonding or hardcore competition.
Last week we put the Flak Cannon at the top of our list of the Best Guns Ever. I've taken a moment to expand on why a sci-fi shotgun from 1999 still stands as our favorite firearm.
Whenever a new first-person shooter releases, we pick up our conversation around PC Gamer HQ about what video game guns we love most. How did Far Cry 3’s bow compare to Crysis 3’s? Which game has the best Magnum-style revolver in a game? We’re continually interested in the design of the ballistic and energy weapons we bring into shooters—the mechanics they’re imbued with and the particle effects and animations that express their personalities.
As celebration of the inventive designs and as a representation of our collective tastes, we’ve assembled a list of the best video game guns. See the criteria list below to get a sense of how we judged; if your favorite rifle or SMG isn’t here, lobby for it in the comments. We’ll update this list over time as we encounter guns we like in new FPSes, or as we revisit old games that spark new opinions.
Sure, Evan's adoration of Counter-Strike's cs_office is an excellent examination, but I noticed a distinct lack of giant Earth backdrops and soothing ambient techno. No longer: in this week's video, I'm here to explain why Unreal Tournament's beloved Facing Worlds map boasts a legacy of balance and beauty as one of the greatest multiplayer maps.
Who is this new, rather unsubtle assassin in the reveal images for Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag? Evan, T.J., and Omri discuss. SimCity and the Arma 3 alpha are both out next Tuesday, and we're actually allowed to talk about at least one of them. Plus, some of the best listener questions we've had in a long time. Keep 'em coming!
Guns are a constant character in modern games, but we don't typically take the time to deconstruct their personalities. How a gun animates, its behavior, and what we hear in our headphones has a lot to do with how much we enjoy a shooter. In service of highlighting some of the best examples of good design, Evan, Logan, and T.J. sat in front of a camera to talk about which game guns they like the most.
Face Off pits two gladiators against each other as they tackle gaming's most perplexing conundrums. This New Year's Eve edition is a chronological throw-down: which decade gave PC gaming the most? Podcast Producer Erik Belsaas says it was the '90s—the origin of modern PC gaming. Executive Editor Evan Lahti insists it was the '00s, with its speedy internet, better PCs, and shinier graphics engines.
Epic Games frontman Cliff Bleszinski conducted a crowdsourced interview with Reddit over the weekend in the popular "Ask Me Anything" subreddit. A number of noteworthy responses cropped up regarding Bleszinski's thoughts on revisiting older IPs, modding's explosive popularity, and (though very definitely not announcing this) an open-world reboot of Unreal, among other answers. Check out a few choice quotes inside.
Courtesy of the kind folks at Multiplay, PC Gamer maintains servers for various games. They're magical wonderlands where all your dreams can come true, especially if you dream of being ridden down a corridor with a crazed, giggling monkey-man on your head, or fighting developers inside their own games. Here's the current run-down of what we're playing and how you can join in.