This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The lows

Chris Livingston: Banned Theft Auto

If it had happened differently, it might have been a high: Take-Two Interactive launched a (long-overdue) takedown of online cheat tools for GTA Online. But their carpet-bombing campaign included OpenIV, a modding tool that's been around for a decade and gave rise to tons of brilliant singleplayer mods and machinma.

It appears the course of action is being reversed, thanks to a massive outcry. Rockstar is now talking with OpenIV's developer, which is great. It's just that this friendly chat should have been the first step in all of this, not the last. I'm not saying there's never a time to get the lawyers sharpening their legal blades, but it should come after all other options have been exhausted. As Elvis said, and I changed slightly: A little more conversation, a little less action. 

Andy Kelly: A loveless marriage

Friends, I have been cursed. The dreaded gaming malaise has struck me, where nothing is holding my interest. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been playing games for 5-10 minutes, getting bored, and quitting. I’m scrolling up and down my Steam library hoping something will grab my attention, but nothing does. This is something that happens to a lot of gamers. You fall out of love with your hobby, sometimes for a week, or maybe a month. For me it’s about once a year, and I’m waiting patiently for a game to excite me out of this listless fugue.

E3 hasn’t helped. That’s usually enough to drag me back, to tease out my latent enthusiasm for videogames. But it was a pretty predictable, uninspiring show. Plenty of good-looking games, but nothing really mind-bending or unexpected. I’m sure I’ll have a great time sliding down pyramids in Assassin’s Creed Origins or breaking out of prison in A Way Out, but I think I need something really bold and innovative to, as Take That once sang, relight my fire. Now how about that for an out of date reference. God I’m old. Time is relentless.

Samuel Roberts: I'm the real Monster

I think it's great when something in games is an acquired taste. A lot of the best things in life are. Lord knows I'd never tell you that the thing you like is rubbish—unless it's a review of a game that you liked which I hated, in which case, I guess I am—but sometimes a game's not going to grab me in the way it might grab you. Monster Hunter: World is a game I do not get. I saw a similar demo to this at E3, and to me it was just 25 garbled minutes of a man chasing a dinosaur, with occasional cameos from other dinosaurs. 

I didn't like it. Steven loved it. Hey, we're all different, and I haven't played it yet. I thought it looked incoherent and not particularly fun. But it was just a first impression, and I'm only slightly familiar with the series through its PSP iterations, and it definitely looked pretty, as most Capcom games do. 

Jarred Walton: There’s a fly in my firmware

I love testing all the latest and greatest computer hardware, don’t get me wrong, but every time a major new platform launches, it’s a couple of weeks of chaos, with regular BIOS updates and unexpected performance results. Skylake-X and the X299 platform are no exception, and while stability has been good so far, with only one or two crashes when I attempted to overclock too aggressively, I can’t help but feel another month or so of tuning firmware would have been useful.

Intel probably feels the same way, which is why the 12-18-core Core i9 models are not yet available. The 12-core i9-7920X will ship in August, but the 14-18 core modes aren’t slated for public release until October. Hopefully by then, all of the firmware hiccups will be solved, but I’m not holding my breath.

Tom Marks: A Sombre affair

I was pretty sad to see this video from Introversion Software heads Mark Morris and Chris Delay discussing the poor sales of Scanner Sombre. I quite enjoyed it when I reviewed it back in April, even if it didn't live up to the potential of what it maybe could have been. But to hear it's only sold around 6,000 copies since launch is pretty surprising, especially after Prison Architect sold over two million. Clearly it was a niche game, but it's still such a bummer for how unique it is. It's hard enough for an unknown indie developer to find any sort of success nowadays, so to see one as established as Introversion still produce a flop is a haunting statement about the state of the industry.

Tyler Wilde: LED dilemma 

I'm finally building a new PC, due in large part to help from our features editor Wes Fenlon. Thanks Wes! But there's something Wes won't approve of, which I must confess: I love goddamn LEDs. As a teenager I wanted anything that lit up: Casio digital watches, boomboxes, laser pointers. I used to buy individual LEDs from Radio Shack—before it was common for them to come in every other PC fan—and jam them into whatever I could. I think I just had a big bundle taped to the inside of my case for a while, running on a 9 volt battery. I also thought it was fantastic that car dashboards lit up, especially if the dials were coated in radium. I love shit with lights. But am I too old to have my PC double as a desk lamp? Should I go for something understated? Will Wes mock me when I show him the multi-color abomination I'm going to make? Yes and yes and shut up Wes I'm gonna do it anyway.