Witness Mr. Henry Sim, a sour little man in a self-imposed exile from the world. He shirks the warmth of others, living a lonely existence of reality television, microwave dinners, and bitter resentment of the people who smile and laugh around him. But in just a moment, Mr. Sim will enter a world without happiness or laughter. He’ll have a world all to himself, without anyone, in the Cube of Despair.
Astro makes some of my favorite gaming headsets. They’re comfortable for long play sessions, their boom microphones sound clear when I’m calling out new objectives, and they sound pretty damn good—balanced enough for serious music listening but dynamic enough to catch every bullet snap in a Battlefield 4 match. So I was excited to try the company’s newest model, the Astro A38 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headset. Astro bills it as an all-in-one gaming headset that can be used on your desktop PC, a gaming laptop, or even your smartphone. After two weeks of use, I think it’s a great set of cans, but I’m not sure it belongs at your gaming rig.
The rumors are true: Microsoft is buying Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. And as we discovered this morning, Mojang founder Markus "Notch" Persson is leaving the company. As you can imagine, the PC Gamer team has some strong feelings about the acquisition, and the impact of Minecraft.
Hey, even swamplands can be pretty. Kind of. Here's the latest trailer for Skywind, the Skyrim total conversion that aims to port Morrowind—in its entirety—into Bethesda's newer game. This time, we're being shown the Bitter Coast—home of swamps, smugglers and slaughterfish.
Our regular mod wrangler Chris Livingston is indisposed this week—likely pruning back his INIs, and exorcising rogue RARs. Normal service will resume next week. Before that, I'd like to step in to highlight Pilgrimage, an Arma 3 scenario that, judging from the response to Andy's showcase of the game's best solo missions, is a clear community favourite.
As I approach my *cough* 20s, I'm drawn more to games that allow me to explore a small, interesting space, without the stress of having to collect 100 stray doodads or deal with 'emergent' generated quests along the way. Indie games are very good for this, and this week sees a strange new Strangethink scene being procedurally generated upon the world, along with a game about mushrooms, a game about drowning (sorta), a game about pressing buttons, and one of them games where you read things off of the screen. Enjoy!
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, the most boring window washing game ever made. At least, unless you're a crazy person with a knack for stumbling into alien trouble...
Over the years, storytelling has improved beyond all recognition, from simple words like "It is dark. You may be eaten by a grue." to epic tales of love and heroism capable of putting Hollywood to shame. But it wasn't an easy road, and the games that took us down it often... uh... let's just say, stumbled. Meet Future Wars, a sci-fi epic where heroism is just another way of saying 'a sociopath saved the day'.
We meet one of the men behind the bots plaguing Hearthstone. He tells us about using it in Arena, beating famous streamers, unlimited gold, and why he's not worried about Blizzard's "scare tactics".
This is the first time I can remember that PC gaming was mentioned at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) without me having to remind an exec that we existed. Unprompted, Intel's Kirk Skaugen took to the stage in the main keynote proclaiming “desktop is alive and well. It's innovating, whether it's small form factors, all-in-ones, portable all-in-ones or extreme gaming.”
"There are 711 million PC gamers in the world today, that's one in ten people on the planet,” he enthused.
The next few months are set to be dominated by RPGs—both big, and big but with a smaller, crowdfunded budget. But whatever the future holds, the genre has already had one great success this year. Divinity: Original Sin was uncompromising in its old-school design, and in being so, provided exactly what many PC RPG fans were looking for. In a new blog post, Swen Vincke, the founder of developer Larian Studios, writes about the game's success, and hints at what will come next.
Twice a month, Pixel Boost guides you through the hacks, tricks, and mods you'll need to run a classic PC game on Windows 7/8. Each guide comes with a free side of hi-res screenshots from the LPC celebrating the graphics of PC gaming's past. This week: inside the twisted mind of Clive Barker.
If you consult horror master Clive Barker on a video game story, it turns out you get something very, very Lovecraft—but with first-person shooting and spellcasting. Clive Barker's Undying hit the PC in 2001 with a weird mix of occult psychological horror (reminiscent of the GameCube's Eternal Darkness, released the next year) and first-person combat. Barker cited Lovecraft and Poe as inspirations for the game, and that macabre fantasy atmosphere is apparent within the first five minutes of the game. Like Resident Evil, Undying begins in a mansion, but it mixes in spellcasting and an involved occult story. It still feels fresh nearly 15 years later, and you can run it on modern Windows at a high resolution thanks to GOG.
The rumor that Microsoft may acquire Minecraft creator Mojang (now upgraded to a maybe), is an uncomfortable possibility. If the deal materializes, it would put a game whose spirit and mechanics are rooted in openness and tinkering in the hands of a closed, proprietary platform holder. It will put the best-selling individual PC game ever in the hands of PC gaming’s most obstructive opponent—a company responsible for timed exclusives, the closure of studios like Ensemble, and the mutant DRM known as Games For Windows Live (which continues to be purged).
This week we're joined by Hyped, one of the best Hearthstone players in the world, to showcase his Mage Giants deck. The games are all incredibly tense. Like crushing your opponents with a stunning comeback? This could be the deck for you…
Three Lane Highway is Chris' column about Dota 2.
You're always learning, whether or not it feels like it. I've had games of Dota where I've felt like I've learned nothing at all, where my mistakes have been obvious to me (and probably to everybody else involved) and my victories have been conducted against enemies too busy screaming at each other or eating paint to make it mean anything. There is always, however, a way to learn.
There's a blithe naivety to the way that life is presented in The Sims that is either comforting or a little disturbing depending on your mood. The series is softly apolitical in the way that a Barbie house is apolitical, and by that I mean that it isn't apolitical at all. The Sims is loaded with assumptions about the way that people function and about the way that success in life is gauged, but it feels churlish to point them out because it's all just a bit of fun, isn't it. The Sims is set in a world where buying things is always awesome and everybody is twenty-five until they're sixty. Regardless of environmental aesthetic, the series has always been functionally and fundamentally Californian.
Welcome to Show Us Your Rig, where we feature the PC gaming industry's best and brightest as they show us the systems they use to work and play.
Markus “Notch” Persson, creator of Minecraft, has a powerful rig with a deceptive appearance. Hidden behind its ancient keyboard and healthy layer of dust, Persson’s computer houses some serious punch. Notch was kind enough to spend some time telling us about his set-up, what he’s been playing lately, and the keyboard that has withstood the test of time.
Choice. That’s one thing a PC gamer is never short of, thanks to cheap games, seasonal sales, and pay-what-you-want bundles. Over the years my Steam library has grown into a vast, overwhelming thing, bursting with games I’ve never, or barely, played.
Playing a competitive online game means being subjected to a certain amount of unsolicited criticism. I think you receive a bit more of it in CS:GO, though, because your dead teammates form a kind of peanut gallery who can talk to you from beyond the grave. Being the last one alive as four other players hover over your digital shoulder is a quintessential CS experience.
I’ve been that digital shoulder hundreds of times, struggling to clutch while a person I’ve never met tells me which gun I should grab to retake Nuke’s A bombsite, or chastises me for using a grenade in a one-on-one situation. It’s annoying, but I’m actually grateful for a lot of the harsh feedback that’s been handed to me in these moments because it’s shaken me out of some bad habits.
We’ve already shown you what Metro 2033 Redux looks like when put side-by-side with the original, but the game looks so darn pretty that we wanted show it off in wonderful fullscreen. So we fed it to that benevolent giant we call the Large Pixel Collider and ran it on max settings at 2560x1440 resolution. You can also check out our review of Metro 2033 Redux here.