The Grand Tour: Recreating Recreation

By Adam Smith on October 25th, 2014.

I want to play a game about tourism. It’s odd that I can fight in so many wars, across so many continents, planets and timeframes, but I can’t simply take a stroll around a city orf national park, taking photos and writing postcards as I go. I’m sure there are games about tourism but they’re probably adventure games, or hidden object games. Something will be in the way of the pleasure of being in a place simply to be in that place. From Street View to The Crew, I’m looking for my next grand tour.

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How To Make Minecraft A Survival Game

By Angus Morrison on October 24th, 2014.

There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i) write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.

“Survival mode”. Pah. Vanilla Minecraft’s survival mode is for the flimsy and infirm. Do you find yourself settling down to quiet retirement once you’ve got four walls – hell, a fence – around you? Too much time spent managing your diamond portfolio when you should be living the escapist dream? Well read on, Ray Mears; I’ve crafted a collection of Minecraft’s most savage survival mods and volunteered as guinea pig.

I’ve steered clear of total conversions like Better Than Wolves. They do things with style, and if you’re after an authentic Middle Ages farmhand simulator then you’re set, but overhauls don’t play well with other mods. What I want is flexibility – modular components which can be tweaked to reinforce my place as nature’s downtrodden underdog.

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Minecraft Survival Diary: Longing For Home Comforts

By Angus Morrison on October 24th, 2014.

There are lots of survival games, but there are also lots of games which could be survival games with the right mods installed. Over the course of Survival Week we’ll highlight a few of those games and i)write a diary of our experience playing with it ii) explain how to do it yourself.

Loading my pack with the most brutal of mods, I set out into Minecraft with pure intentions: to establish a simple steading. The farmhouse shall be made of rustic sandstone. A small flower garden would be nice. And then the fields; a solid smallholding to support me and mine with fresh, free-range produce. Perhaps I’ll organise outhouses for the peasantry. The other peasantry, I mean.

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S.EXE: Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines Part 2

By Cara Ellison on October 24th, 2014.

Really annoying when you are trying to pluck your eyebrowsThis is the second part of my Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines Diary. You can read the first part here.

All of this is huge spoilers so it’s only your OWN fault if you read any of this and then ruin your whole life because you spoilered this wonderful game and then you will never like anything again and love will seem hollow.

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A Fistful Of Gelli Bears: Neo Scavenger Diary #3

By Adam Smith on October 24th, 2014.

Neo Scavenger is one of the best turn-based RPGs I’ve ever played. Although still in Early Access, it has oodles of content and has received several hefty updates since I first played it. As part of Survival Week, I decided to document a single playthrough of the game. No quicksaves, no restarts, no chance. Here’s how I died.

The previous parts are here.

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The Gentlest Surviving Of Them All: Salt

By John Walker on October 24th, 2014.

What better aligning of the fates than RPS’s Survival Week, and a fresh arrival on Steam, to excuse playing some more of Lavaboots’ Salt? The seafaring island-explorer has seen a few updates since I last played, as well as a place on Steam’s Early Access. And most of all, fishing.

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Have You Played: Miasmata?

By Alec Meer on October 24th, 2014.

If only they’d called it ‘Guerilla Botany’ instead. So much easier to remember/spell.
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The PREVIEW we WROTE about LORDS of the FALLEN

By Rich Stanton on October 24th, 2014.

I’m not usually one to judge a book by its cover, so to speak, but the capitalisation of LORDS of the FALLEN just has me tickled. It suggests we should shout the first word but then drop to a whisper and, when listeners are lulled into a false sense of security, scream the last syllables like a BANSHEE. If you’re thinking ‘only an angry nutter would do that’ then welcome, my genteel friend, to LORDS of the FALLEN.

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Wot I Think: Pike And Shot

By Tim Stone on October 24th, 2014.

The Sixteenth Century equivalent of a Tiger tank was called a tercio. With a crew of between 1000 and 2000 souls, it moved extremely slowly, relying on its porcupine bristle of polearms for defence and its buttresses of constantly circulating arquebusiers and musketeers for attack. To have faced one of these ball-spewing, smoke-wreathed behemoths in battle would have been truly terrifying. To have had one (or three – they usually operated in trios) at your disposal as a general, would have been incredibly empowering. Why aren’t tercios as famous and fondly regarded in PC wargaming circles as the iconic Panzerkampfwagen VI? Search me. Pike and Shot proves that they can be every bit as satisfying to steward as their Sherman-savaging descendants.

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How Green Is My Uncanny Valley

By Philippa Warr on October 24th, 2014.

I'm willing to admit this might be a niche issue to have

I have The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter installed on my PC and ready to go. But there’s something that’s been playing on my mind regarding that game before I’ve even booted it up. It’s been nagging at me ever since I watched a video from Andy Kelly’s Other Places series – the one which focuses on Ethan Carter’s Red Creek Valley – and it finally crystallised a problem I’ve been experiencing for years without being able to put it into words.

Just after a shot of a dam there’s a lingering shot of a churchyard. In the foreground a handless statue of Jesus marks the grave of a woman named Thusnelda. In the background the autumn trees sway in the breeze and the weed-infested grass – well, I want to say that it sways but it’s a sway which comes via a clump-by-clump waggle. That grass is why I’m proposing there exists a foliage version of the uncanny valley.

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Every Death You Take: Perma-Permadeath in DayZ

By Christopher Livingston on October 23rd, 2014.

This town is, frankly, big enough for the two of us It's DayZ. It's huge.

Games with permadeath — wherein you start over completely when you die — provide certain stakes to a gaming session. Rather than reloading your last save after you die, you lose all your gear, you lose all your progress, and you essentially lose all the time you’ve spent playing up to that point. For a while now (a couple years, to be honest) I’ve been thinking about a way to up those stakes, to go a step beyond perma-death: perma-permadeath, where dying means you don’t just lose your stuff, you lose the game itself. Forever. Survival Week on RPS seems like an apt time to finally give it a try.

So, today I’ll play DayZ, and if I die, I won’t simply start over. I’ll stop playing DayZ, and I won’t play it again. For the rest of my life. For real.

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Week in Tech: The PC Is Dead, Long Live The PC

By Jeremy Laird on October 23rd, 2014.

My desk drawer, yesterday

You know the one about the New Scientist editor and his philosophy for the magazine, right? Science is interesting and if you don’t agree you can bugger off? It comes second hand via the shy, retiring figure that is Richard Dawkins and, for all I know, it’s probably apocryphal. But it’s at least in broadly the same ballpark as my feelings about the computer industry. It’s just had such a huge impact on the way we live. And none so much as the PC, even if the image of the poor old thing being devoured alive by a swarm of vicious mobile devices gets repeated so often, nobody really bothers to check if it’s true. And yes, we’ve been here before, kinda.

But in recent weeks it’s all become more baffling than ever. Try this for size: Record revenues for good old Intel, AMD laying off staff while another bit of what used to be AMD is paid $1.5 billion to take away what’s left of IBM’s chip production facility – deep breath – tablet sales tanking, PC sales taking up the slack, an Apple iPad chip with more transistors than an eight-core Intel PC processor, graphics chip vendors stuck on 28nm while Apple pinches all the 20nm production capacity…I’m not sure what to make of all, especially in terms of, ya know, simply playing games on PCs. But one thing is for sure, it’s interesting. And if you don’t agree… Read the rest of this entry »

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The Lost Cartographer: Surviving The Long Dark

By Duncan Geere on October 23rd, 2014.

It’s grim up north. The northern parts of Canada portrayed in early-access survival adventure The Long Dark, that is. We sent Duncan Geere to explore its icy landscapes for Survival Week, and he came back with a tale of a single day in the life of a lost cartographer, trying to map the wilderness as it slowly kills him.

The first sensation is one of bone-chilling cold. I open my eyes, and I’m blinded by bright light from all directions. What is this place? Am I dead? If I’d known that heaven would have been this chilly, I’d have brought a thicker jumper. But no, after a few seconds the whiteness fades into shapes. Shapes of trees and mountains. Slowly, the memories come back.

I was on a plane – a plane flying into the far north of Canada to study an odd geomagnetic anomaly that had appeared close to the magnetic pole. My skills were needed to map the affected area – I’ve been a cartographer for fifteen years. But while in flight, the anomaly grew larger and the plane’s navigation systems failed. In vain, the pilot hunted for a safe landing site, but when the fuel ran low we were forced out of the door with a few basic survival supplies and a parachute. Now I’m somewhere in the Canadian wildernerness in the worst possible state for a cartographer to be. Lost.

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