The week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The highs

Samuel Roberts: Steam sale!

Here it is again: the chance to spend my now massively-devalued British currency on some games I do not need. It’s the Steam summer sale, which this year has a vague picnic theme, which I think basically comes in the form of a wallpaper that looks like a picnic. Fair enough. You probably already know what you want from this one. For me, it was grabbing Doom, which everyone else on PCG has been playing for months. I hear it’s fast, and has demons in it (insight for you, there).

There are plenty more treats in there. I haven’t played Call of Duty 2 in a long time, so I might pick that up too. This will distract me from an encroaching, nameless dread, as England quickly turns into 28 Days Later. 

Phil Savage: Everything is on fire but at least there's video games

I live in a country that has collectively just done this to itself. The idea of a 'High' feels very distant, as does any feeling that's not a sort of gnawing, nameless dread. Still, there's always video games, eh? I'm not normally for the idea of games as escapism, but I sure could use it today. Maybe I'll play some Euro Truck Simulator 2. On second thoughts, perhaps that's a bit on the nose.

Still, there are plenty of other options. Nice, bright, visually arresting options—full of engaging puzzles and entertaining interactions. Games will make everything feel better. Or, at least, temporarily not worse.
 

Chris Livingston: Run and gun and run

This week, in honor of its 20th birthday, Alex set up a PC Gamer Quake server! I jumped in a few times during the week and had some old school run-and-gun fun. I'm not sure when the last time I played Quake was, but I'd guess at least 15 years ago. It's amazing how fast some video games used to be. It was almost startling at first just how fast Quake is, though after a minute my long-dormant muscle memory took over and it felt completely normal again. I won my first match and got completely destroyed in every other.

I finally began playing the new Doom this week as well, and I think it's done a decent job of capturing the speed of the old id shooters. Obviously it's not quite that fast, but id still managed to capture the same basic feeling: the slick and speedy strafing, the lunging in and darting away, and the overwhelming instinct that to slow down, even for a second, is to die.

Evan Lahti: .cfg archaeology

Between Doom and Overwatch, Arma 3’s expansion next month, Devil Daggers, the Battlefield 1 reveal, the 20th anniversary of Quake and the (somewhat shaky, to be fair) revelation of Quake Champions, FPSes have had a hell of a spring. What better time for us to explore the history of WASD? Tyler (with some added research help from Wes) spoke to Thresh, the best Quake player of all time, about the origin of the PC’s iconic control scheme and why WASD might’ve won out against ESDF proponents, Gabe Newell himself being one, as we found out. 

More than anything, the story is a reminder of just how much players have and continue to influence fundamental aspects of PC gaming. Modders are perhaps the biggest modern example of this, with IceFrog helming one of the most popular games on Earth, but as another example, the popularity of streamers continues to birth a whole genre of ‘Twitch Plays’ games, something that Amazon and Twitch are putting a lot of money and effort behind.

Tom Marks: Every rivalry needs a trophy

Larian Studios, developer Divinity: Original Sin, sent me a trophy this week. I beat its CEO Swen Vincke in Divinity: Original Sin 2’s PvP back at PAX East (and two times before that, but who’s counting) and the studio responded by sending me a mug covered in swords with my name engraved on the rim. To be completely honest, I’m touched. I am a massive fan of the first Original Sin, and the friendly rivalry that has developed between me and Swen is one of the absolute highlights of my two years at PC Gamer. It’s strange to have a rivalry with the founder of a studio I love in a game they aren’t done developing, but it’s a lot of fun regardless. Here’s to round 4.

Wes Fenlon: My Dwarfen march continues

I’ve been playing a whole lot of Total War: Warhammer in my free time, and I’m now about 120 turns into my campaign as the Dwarfs. I’ve pummelled the Greenskins into submission and turned my attention north, bending the weaker Dwarf factions to my will by making them joining my confederation. That’s finally put me up against a new enemy, the Vampire Counts, and something more intimidating: Archaon the Everchosen, lord of Chaos, leading a fat stack of troops my way. For dozens of turns the game has been warning me about Chaos, but I’ve stayed far south enough to avoid them. No longer. I have to face them now, and I’ll be honest: I’m nervous. I stopped playing a couple days ago, and it’s intimidating knowing what I have to go back up against.

On the bright side, I’m tired of fighting the same Greenskin armies, so something new from Chaos will be a breath of fresh air. Even if they crush me. And I’m excited to finish this campaign, because for the next one I’m going to start modding the hell out of Total War: Warhammer.