Samuel Roberts: Quietly awful
I can honestly say that the screengrab above was my highlight of this week. I'm very much into the idea of publishers owning it when a game gets critically panned as The Quiet Man did—and I'm extremely happy for Tyler that his quote made the cut. It couldn't have been pasted over a more suitable image, either.
I'm pretty certain I'll never play The Quiet Man—I'm perfectly content hearing how bad it is, or reading people compare it to The Room. To me it's like a new Superman 64: a game people will just make jokes about for many years, usually while groaning.
Jarred Walton: Can you do me a solid (state drive)?
After a terrible 2017 in terms of memory and SSD prices, the bottom has basically fallen out of the market. Even better: prices may continue to fall in 2019, which means opting for a large SSD isn't all that crazy any more. This is great news, because I'm tired of hard drives. I hardly ever use them anymore, and every time I end up on a PC that doesn't have all-SSD storage I get PTSD.
But you don't have to wait until 2019 to get a great deal on an SSD. 480GB drives start at around $50, and 960GB drives are about $110. And if you want a name-brand SSD like a Samsung 860 Evo, which remains one of the top SATA SSDs, it's still only $71 for a 500GB drive. Here's hoping that 1TB becomes the new norm for SSDs next year, with prices below 10 cents per GB.
Chris Livingston: DayZen and the art of automobile maintenance
This video is from early December but I only just saw it this week. Streamer and YouTuber TheRunningManZ, playing the DayZ beta prior to the 1.0 release, decides to get a broken down car working. Cars need tires, batteries, motor oil, gasoline, a considerable amount of water for the radiator, and more, so it's no small task for a solo player to find all these randomly spawning items and carry them back to the car (while still carrying everything else you need to survive, like guns, gear, and ammo). It's a pretty herculean effort by TRMZ, especially trying to hide the items he'd found so they wouldn't be plundered by others (which includes burying some of them, and accidentally getting a few more stuck in a tree). The ordeal makes for a video that's informative, tense (several other players are encountered), surprising, and fun.
TRMZ has compressed the adventure (which took many hours) into 50 minutes, which is 45 minutes longer than I'm willing to give most internet videos. But this is well-worth a watch. Bookmark it, at least, and enjoy it over the holiday, even if you're not a DayZ player yourself. You can find the rest of his video here.
James Davenport: EDMoi
The music in VR rhythm game Beat Saber is godawful. It’s bad EDM with some dad metal thrown in for good measure. But damn, is it fun. Once the headset is on and I get into a rhythm with my weightless virtual lightsabers, I start to get it. EDM is fine, as long as you don’t mind flailing around like an inflatable tube man. If you have a headset, the break is a good time to get it out of storage, and Beat Saber is the perfect game to throw at people new to the medium. Crack some glowsticks and dance along. Break your dad’s mind. Film your niece looking like a rejected Ready Player One extra. Trip on your cat. Dance to some bad EDM together.
Steven Messner: Putting the war back into Warcraft
Earlier this month World of Warcraft released its big 8.1 update for Battle for Azeroth, which added a whole bunch of new stuff and tweaked a lot of what's broken and maligned about this expansion. But of the new things it added, the Faction Assaults are far and away my favorite. Every few hours, one of Battle for Azeroth's six zones is invaded by an army of NPCs from the opposing factions and both sides are given new quests to complete in that small area. Coupled with a few very lucrative meta-quests that reward you for killing other players, this is consistently turning a small portion of Battle for Azeroth's new zones into an all-out blood-soaked battlefield.
I've played a lot this week and during that time I've participated in airborne ambushes and even charged into battle with several dozen other players all riding griffons. For decades World of Warcraft has been trying to reinvigorate open-world PvP, but this latest update has seemingly nailed it. I'm having a blast killing others and the rewards are often too good to ignore. It's good to have a reason to hate the Horde beyond contrived plot points.
Wes Fenlon: PC repair triumphs
I'm back home seeing the family for Christmas, and you know what that means: I have to fix everyone's computers, which have developed mysterious illnesses and piles of Free Credit Score desktop icons in the past year. So far, I've been triumphant. I fixed an uncle's stuttering computer, first by identifying some strangely high temperatures and installing a new CPU cooler… which turned out not to be necessary, because the stutter was the result of a particularly borked Windows update from a few weeks ago. On the bright side, his CPU now runs very cool, thanks to a $30 Hyper 212 Evo. Triumph #2: I then set my sights on his cheap, slow as hell HP laptop. I bought him an SSD as a Christmas gift, cloned the slow as hell HDD and then disassembled the laptop and swapped them out. Miraculously, it all worked perfectly, and the laptop now loads programs in seconds instead of minutes. Next stop, the parents.