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This week's highs and lows in PC gaming

The lows

Tyler Wilde: Minimum effect

I know not to firmly judge any game—either positively or negatively—by early gameplay footage, but I can’t help but be a little disappointed at the Mass Effect: Andromeda reveal. The first real gameplay footage we’ve seen was released to promote Sony’s new 4K-capable PS4—woo—and it’s a pretty mundane scene. “Power readings are off the chart” is the kind of hokey sci-fi line I’d have hoped BioWare would avoid, and that we seem once again to be investigating the remains of an ancient alien civilization is a bore. But maybe, as it was last time, that’s just the wrapping for Mass Effect’s good stuff—the way different species and cultures and the characters born out of them interact—and I’m being too harsh. It sounds like the proper reveal is coming November 7th, and I hope no one talks about power levels exceeding their chart technology or says, gravely, while gripping a guard rail, “hold on.”

Chris Livingston: NF Hell

Hey, it’s football season! American football, I mean. Whenever a new season begins I always find myself thinking two things. First, should I really even be watching this brutal bloodsport anymore, knowing what we now know about the horrific toll on players’ long-term health is? And second: I wish Madden was on PC.

Or do I? Would I really buy Madden on PC year after year? Probably not, but I’d buy it at least once or twice when I feel the urge to play a full season, which I inevitably give up halfway through because I never quite figure out how to run a good defense plus playing a full game against the Browns or Panthers just seems too boring to sit through. Still, it would be nice to have the option. Get it? Option. That’s a football word.

Joe Donnelly: Non-tendo

As part of Ludum Dare 36’s ‘Ancient Technology’ theme, a group of devs named ASMB created No Mario’s Sky—a tongue-in-cheek parody that mixed Super Mario Bros-like platforming with procedurally generated space travel à la No Man’s Sky. Following the 72-hour jam, ASMB then posted its free game on Itch, however Nintendo’s lawyers quickly responded with a DMCA notice demanding they take it down.

In response to that, ASMB launched the very similar DMCA’s Sky—also free and on Itch—and all was well with the world again. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning copyright infringement, however would a fan-made game that was being distributed for free have caused a massive upset as far as Nintendo is concerned? It thinks so. Perhaps it’s the case that allowing this particular one to slide would’ve set a compromising president regarding future would-be copycats? Who knows. DMCA’s Sky is however good fun, and can be found this-a-way if you’d like to give it a bash.

Chris Thursten: God damn it, BioWare

While writing about the Mass Effect: Andromeda trailer earlier in this article I realised that the game’s reveal trailer, released a full year before Ryder’s name was revealed, featured Johnny Cash’s ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’. That’s a pun with 12 months of set-up. I’d be happy for them, but I can’t stop imagining the smug face of the person who had that idea. If you’re reading this, whoever you are: god damn it you magnificent asshole.

Evan Lahti: Team wipe

I’ve never played Hearthstone, but I was concerned to read Tim’s report this week about the sudden closure of its most successful esports team, Na'Vi. I admit that card games face unique challenges among competitive games, but the turnover of competitive teams across all games is starting to seem detrimentally high. We’re years into the modern ‘golden age’ of esports, but the rate at which esports teams close or dump their rosters is definitely hindering my own ability to follow the games that I’m most passionate about, let alone others.

In August, three-fifths of CS:GO legends Fnatic split off to form Godsent. Right after the biggest International ever, which a Chinese team won, every Chinese Dota 2 team dropped their rosters, apparently as a way of renegotiating with players. EG’s whole roster is gone after The International, too. More than ever I feel like there’s a need for the kind of stability for a cross-game, international federation to govern players and leagues, the kind that Chris explored earlier this year.

Samuel Roberts: Bad person

I picked ‘wallet’. See you in hell! 

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