The RPS Bargain Bucket: Bunny You Didn’t Guess That

In case anyone was curious as to what I was squeaking about last week, this happened. Totally snoopydance material, don’t you think? But that’s plow on, and plough deep into the fields of interactive excess. This week, we cheat a little with the whole ‘bucket’ requirement of user-submitted plushie. Isn’t this midnight-black bunny from rgk worth the exception? Come on, guys. Tell me it isn’t.

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Advertising For The Megacorps: AdvertCity Released

“This story is dedicated to all those cyberpunks who fight against injustice and corruption every day of their lives.” Every morning I stare in the mirror at those words, from Hideo Kojima’s Snatcher, tattooed across my neck. That’s my credo, man. However, if I were to sell out, I’d be invaluable to the megacorp advertising departments with my snappy copy [give over -ed.]. I might consider cyberpunk advertising tycoon game AdvertCity [official site] a ‘what if?’ scenario. I’m curious is all.

AdvertCity came out yesterday. Across meatspace and cyberspace, you get to plaster ads, build a reputation, beat the competition, influence the growth of the procedurally-generated city, and make a stack of creds. Selling out sounds cybergreat, cyberman.

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Swinging A Stick: How Landscape And Childhood Are Key To The Continued Popularity Of Fantasy Fiction

Once at primary school I tried to convince my teacher that we needed a new word – or at least that we needed one that might exist already, but that we’d somehow forgotten. This is going to be a piece partly about words, and “fantasy” was one that I was never totally happy with. It lacked, as I saw it, the generic precision of “science-fiction,” and I wanted a more specific description for that strand of fantasy storytelling and world-building that (I did not really know at the time, but would have pretended to if asked) has flowed from Tolkien’s consolidation of elves and dragons, dwarves and orcs. I wanted to be able to pin, with a single word, that mixture of magic and folklore, that particular set of imaginative boundaries with which I was so often engaged and so thoroughly obsessed. The best I could come up with was “fantamystical”, which, if you’ve been paying attention for the last twenty years, did not catch on.

Luckily it’s been a very kind twenty years for this area of fiction, to the point where we hardly need the word fantamystical at all (although I am willing to give it one last push if you guys are). A combination of, among other things, Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, and screen retellings of The Lord Of The Rings and A Song Of Ice And Fire have made my adolescent anxieties about the ambiguous categorizations of fiction redundant, leaving me with merely dozens of other anxieties, and us with Tolkien-fenced fantasy imprinted on our culture, and our games (this is being written in the gap between the arrival of Pillars Of Eternity and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, with Dragon Age: Inquisition still questing, exploring and adventuring in the background).

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MOBA Inspirations: We Meet EVE Valkyrie’s Lead Designer

So many of the Valkyrie team were at FanFest, helping out interested players and getting feedback on the playable mode

EVE Valkyrie [official site] has a modest aspiration: to best competitive multiplayer game in virtual reality. It’s a great statement in terms of grabbing headlines, but how are the development team at CCP’s Newcastle studio translating that aspiration into a working reality? I asked that exact question of lead producer Owen O’Brien at the recent EVE FanFest event. His answer: “by talking to the best competitive multiplayer players in the world and letting them help us design it.”

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Endless Legend Free On Steam This Weekend

Endless Legend [official site] is the Bestest Best Game Of 2014 says we, but it’s possible that you still haven’t found time or money to sink yourself into the clever, fantasy, 4X strategy game. Good news, then! The game is free this weekend on Steam, from now until the end of Sunday. That seems like long enough to see whether its hexagons are for you.

Alternatively, its cousin Dungeon of the Endless [official site] is also free for the same period.

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Totes A Moon – Star Wars: Battlefront Trailer And Details

I’m not one for Star Wars myself, but the trailer announcing a release date for Star Wars: Battlefront [official site] – November 17th, forcefans – still made me coo and aah at its many exciting explosions. Spacemen and their weird vehicles buzzing around exotic locales look great, yeah. It’s got all your favourites: the robocow, crossjets, hoverbikes, the notorious Crumpet Eagle, Johnny Rockets, and even that mean black Cylon with his lasersword. I am far more interested in the unreal possibilities of sci-fi face-shooting than humdrum real-world jazz.

Seriously though, come see how gorgeous a virtual Endor the Battlefield folks DICE have made:

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GTA 5 Modding Has Taken Its First Steps Towards Reality

Quick someone mod Trevor into being a good character.

Despite no official tools to support it, Grand Theft Auto 4 had one of the best modding scenes around, adding new cars and improved textures, rocket punches and gravity guns, letting you play as a police officer or Superman, and much more. GTAV is similarly devoid of official modding support, but it seems likely that people will again prove undeterred. First up: mod tool OpenIV has been updated to support Grand Theft Auto V.

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Crypt Of The Necrodancer Hits The Floor On April 23rd

Crypt of the Necrodancer [official site] has been shuffling through Early Access for some time, even though it impressed Alec with its very first flick of the hips. Now the rhythm-based roguelike has a full launch date and it’s April 23rd, which is next week. There’s a new trailer below to prove it.

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Ray Of Light: Sunset Gets A Release Date

Empty chairs and empty tables

Peering through telescopes is one of those little in-game activities I enjoy a disproportionate amount; peeking through the viewfinder and switching to a porthole framing previously distant objects and people. The telescope peeking in Sunset [official site] was infused with meaning when I played a preview build and I hope there’s more to come when the game releases in full on 21 May.

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Wot I Belatedly Think: Surface Pro 3

bigger on the outside

Older readers may recall not a lot, what with being old and all. Only slightly older readers may recall my talking about replacing my laptop with a Surface Pro 2 around 18 months ago. Microsoft’s tablet/laptop hybrid has served me reasonably well for work and play, but the one aspect of it I increasingly struggled with was the size.
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Grand Theft Auto 5 PC Review

Michael and Trevor. I like Michael, I loathe Trevor.

In the audio commentary for the movie Bad Day at Black Rock, director John Sturges quoted Alfred Hitchcock, who had told him a rule for making movies called “Meanwhile, back at the ranch.” He explains, “You want to have two things going. You reach the peak of one, you go to the other. You pick the other up just where you want it. When it loses interest, drop it. Meanwhile, back at the ranch.”

After its opening act, Grand Theft Auto V [official site] lets you switch at any moment between its three criminal characters: retired thief Michael, young hopeful Franklin, and the psychotic Trevor. You’ll perform some missions as one and, as you grow weary or their plot begins to lose interest, you can switch to either of the others. When you arrive, their story is already in motion, and you’ll find them at home, having a fight in a car park, or perhaps drunk among some farm animals. Meanwhile, back at the ranch.

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The Flare Path: On Bloody Point

You are, are you not, Brother Against Brother: The Drawing of the Sword, the new turn-based American Civil War wargame from Western Civilization Software and Matrix Games? You’re priced at, let me see… £36 and, unlike many recent Slitherine Group releases you are not available on Steam? Good, now that’s established, I’ll explain my terms. As I’m sure you are aware, I’m a Very Busy Chap. My time, like platinum, good flapjack recipes, and airworthy de Havilland Mosquitos, is extremely precious. I am prepared to give you an audience, but that audience must end tonight at beddy-byes time. In other words, you have approximately ten hours to knock my socks off, and that ten hours starts… now.

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Stick It To The Convenant: Halo Spartan Strike Out Now

The Micro Chief

Ask me to name a game in which I particularly like the guns, and I’ll look panicky for a moment, presuming you want me to confidently say the M-something upgraded with the thingamy-ma-death something from Call of Duty something, then intone something about recoil. I presume you will kill me with an actual gun if I fail to do this, what with your clearly caring an awful lot about guns. If my ers and ums don’t result in my sudden death, I’ll regain my composure after a few seconds and say ‘Halo, I guess. Like, everything has a purpose, and everything works particularly well in tandem with a different weapon type, and it all feels like a real strategy and a real choice, even though it’s all made up.’

This is why I’ve played every Halo game even when their self-fellating space magic nonsense-plots made me want to scream (hello, 2 and 3). This is why is why I thought ‘ooh, that’ll do’ when I saw twin-stick spin-off Spartan Strike was out today.
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