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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The Lows

Samuel Roberts: Red Dead Blues

There aren't many games these days that get announced for other platforms with a PC release left hanging in the air like it's still just a possibility, but Red Dead Redemption 2 is sadly one of those. It got a new trailer this week, and it looks terrific. 

It'll almost certainly come to PC eventually, given that Rockstar put a lot of effort into the eventual port of GTA. But I'd love to play Red Dead's online component on day one on PC, since that's bound to be where most of my friends will end up playing it.

Joe Donnelly: Put Back to the future

Listen. What's the script with first-person games that allow you to pick up items, give them a wee once over, and then expect you toss them on the floor? To my knowledge (please feel free to correct me in the comments below), Fulbright's games are the only ones in recent years that allow you to pick something up, and return it whence it came. Both Gone Home and Tacoma employ a 'Put Back' mechanic that's simple yet so effective, and is something developer Steve Gaynor is keen to see other studios employ.  

He even told me that himself. Talk about hard-hitting news. My low this week: untidy games.

Jody Macgregor: The whooshing noise

I missed the deadline for the Interactive Fiction Competition. If you don't know it, IFComp is an annual text adventure tournament that's been running since 1995. Anyone can enter, anyone can play the entries, and anyone can join in the judging. On the bright side I'll still be able to take part in that way.

Last year I particularly enjoyed Abigail Corfman's 16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds, a game with only one puzzle but 16 solutions. Katherine Morayati's Take (relevant among these hot takes), also from last year, was a game that could potentially be completed using only one verb: take. Going back several years another favorite was Nate Cull's Nevermore, in which you play an Edgar Allan Poe protagonist alone with your books, grief, and addiction when the tap-tap-tapping comes at your chamber door. Everything Andrew Plotkin enters has been good, but I'll single out Hunter, In Darkness, which turns Hunt the Wumpus into a well-written adventure game.

The entry I was working on—a stealth game, but in Twine—will have to wait. Maybe next year.

Wes Fenlon: Atlus's DMCA bullying

Earlier this year I wrote a feature about the complex ethical situation surrounding emulators and privacy, which also touched on the complex legal situation surrounding emulation. It's especially relevant now that Persona publisher Atlas has attempted to DMCA the Patreon of PS3 emulator RPCS3. Atlas tried to spin this as a move for its fans and its self-preservation, making it about piracy. But the fact is, the only times emulators have ever been taken to court, they've won. The law around how we copyright code could always change, but as it stands now, emulators that don't contain any proprietary code are completely legal, and Atlas has no legal leg to stand on going after RPCS3. And Atlus probably knows that, which is why they went after the Patreon with a DMCA takedown instead of going through the legal system.

Yes, some people have undoubtedly played a pirated version of Persona 5 in a PC emulator; plenty of players have, likewise, legally dumped their game and legally played it in RPCS3. Thankfully, Patreon stood up to the threat and RPCS3 removed mentions of Persona 5 from its page to be safe. Good on you, Patreon. Shame on you, Atlus.

Evan Lahti: Low initiative

I keep bouncing off of Divinity: Original Sin 2, and it's bumming me out. I haven't played a Divinity game before, but I'm ostensibly the target audience for this game: I liked Tyranny, I liked Pillars of Eternity, I've played D&D for years, and I have an absurd dice collection. But right now, a sandboxy, do-anything RPG known for its endless esoteric combat possibilities is so daunting: I'm staring down the barrel of a 40-plus hour game with Forza Motorsport 7, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, Battlefront 2, Destiny 2, COD: WWII and others on the horizon and stuff like Dishonored: Death of the Outsider still in my backlog. Tough life, I know.

I'm a big believer that 'when' you play a game matters, and I feel like I'm missing out on some fun conversations with the other folks on this page and our readers by not being 20 or 30 hours into Divinity by now. I also feel a big responsibility to put in the time to finish D:OS2 so I can properly contribute to our GOTY debates, which loom closer each day. It's weird the way that games can make you feel 'FOMO' or guilt for not giving them attention—hopefully I'm not the only one.

Jarred Walton: 1.21GW!?

My high is also my low, because Intel’s new Core i9-7980XE is nuts. Besides the price, the power draw is off the charts. This is an enthusiast CPU, so it comes multiplier unlocked, and I was able to push clockspeeds from the default 3.4GHz on all 18 cores to an impressive 4.1GHz--and I didn’t even need to bump voltage much. Which is a good thing, because at 4.1GHz the system already hit nearly 600W in CPU intensive workloads. By comparison, AMD’s Threadripper 1950X only uses 420W when overclocked to 3.8GHz. It’s a bit apples to oranges, but Intel is definitely pushing the limits of the current 14nm process technology, and unfortunately its 10nm lithography looks like it may not show up until Cannonlake debuts about a year from now.

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