Editorial: Why Steam Needs To Give New Releases A Chance

By John Walker on July 21st, 2014.

Valve can’t win. And Valve always wins. That’s a fair starting point for any discussion about Steam.

From their vastly dominant position, with a concerning grip over the online PC marketplace, they’re both the bane and the boon of PC developers. If Valve makes a decision, you can guarantee that there will be more voices screaming dissent than those declaring joy (alongside those trying to work out how it’s a covert announcement of Half-Life 3). So you can see why they might start to form a habit of making changes, then stuffing wadding in their own mouths, refusing to talk about it. However, I think it’s time for the company to start taking notice of a mistake I think they’re consistently making with their Store page: hiding new games.

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DevLog Watch: Super III, Prune, Book Of Dwarf, More

By Graham Smith on July 21st, 2014.

ffs i wish every game wasn't an fps about violent dudebros gawwwwwd

Last week I was in Switzerland on holiday, which meant I wrote a devlog watch but every update was about the mountains I hiked, the cowbells I heard, and the fresh baked bread I ate from my sunbaked patio. It was glorious. Can videogames compete?

Probably not, but devlogs featuring alien platformers, nuclear strategy, puzzling trees and simulated dwarves give it a good try below.

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Hands-On: Civilization – Beyond Earth

By Adam Smith on July 21st, 2014.

Last week, I visited Firaxis to talk about the studio’s history and the ongoing evolution of Civilization. We mainly focused on the series of games rather than humanity’s works as a whole, so as to stay on topic, and I spent part of the day playing Beyond Earth. Is it a sci-fi spin-off or a fully fledged sequel? How precisely is it related to the series and to the much-loved Alpha Centauri? Later this week, I’ll share conversations with the development team and more thoughts on the history of the series, but first of all, here are some impressions of the game itself.

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The Sunday Papers

By Adam Smith on July 20th, 2014.

Sundays are for balancing many interests and inputs, and realising that there aren’t enough windows in the world to see the whole picture. The International rumbles on, an unblinking machine that exhales dry ice as it calibrates the new theatre of esports live on stage and screen. Kill Screen’s reporter Darren Davis makes his debut at a live esports tournament and captures the exhileration and oddity.

As I said, I’ve never been to a live esports tournament. But once you’re there in the arena it’s hard not to feel like every other event is just talking shit. Valve has really outdone itself in terms of production and pageantry. This is not off-brand. This is the progamer tournament. Turns out, it has more in common with WWE than any pro sport. When Gabe Newell takes the stage to kick off the event, he steps through smoke and spotlights and may as well stop to flex. He speaks with the full-throated confidence of a wrestler at the peak of his narrative arch, bringing the crowd to a fever pitch in their reverence. This is Valve’s behemoth on Valve’s home turf.

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The RPS Bargain Bucket: International Tiger

By Cassandra Khaw on July 19th, 2014.

There’s a certain poetry to the recent schedule of sporting events. First, we had the World Cup, which was rather widely celebrated (and criticized.) Now, we have the International, which is somewhat less maligned but just as adored. I’m of the opinion that the Olympics will probably never open a sub-section for esports, but it’s rather exciting to see video game competitions turning into a multi-million dollar affair. My nine-year-old self would laugh at you if you told her that, but she was also very easily entertained and would laugh at just about anything. ANYWAY. Here’s this week’s Bargain Bucket, and the compulsory plushie. I shall leave its champion to explain this week’s conspicuous absence of a bucket. Prepare the pitchforks.

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S.EXE: Hentai Edition (NSFW)

By Cara Ellison on July 18th, 2014.

Nina and I are NSFWI have been aware, for a while at least, that for S.EXE you wanted me to do something on Hentai/eroge/H games, and so this week I fulfilled your wish with Da Capo.

For a pretty long time I didn’t want to cover Hentai, the main reason being that I couldn’t find one that appealed to my personal libido and I am very selfish. (Though when living in Japan I did spend a lot of time in manga shops and in sex shops merely attempting to understand the discourse around sex in Japan (I wasn’t getting laid at all).) (Maybe my lurking in those places was the reason?) But the other reasons I didn’t negotiate these waters sooner is that I find them full of problematic approaches to youth, incest, to consent, and to sex that even as an adult who enjoys a perverse fantasy or two it breaks me out of that and into the ‘this isn’t hot this is a nightmare’ mindset. It turns out even Hentai games with all men in them can be predicated on sexual assault scenarios. But I delve into Da Capo just for you, my dears.
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The Flare Path: John Tiller, Boredom Killer

By Tim Stone on July 18th, 2014.

Today in FP I question a man who has been testing, besting, and interesting PC wargamers for nigh-on twenty years. In my imagination, the legendary John Tiller lives in a hexagonal mansion/pillbox atop a hexagonal hill in Hexham, Northumberland. He never drives anywhere without first checking which hexes are visible from his destination, and setting aside sufficient Action Points for unloading. Read on to discover just how accurate my mental picture is for pithy personal reflections from one of wargaming’s most popular and prolific designers. Read the rest of this entry »

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The RPS Ultra Super Perfectly Coifed GaymerX Chat Show

By Nathan Grayson on July 17th, 2014.

For so many reasons (many of which I’ll elaborate on soon), GaymerX raised the bar for game conventions in my mind. I usually come away from these things drained and a little bit sad, a B.O.-scented ball of cynicism, but GaymerX actually left me energized after it came to a close on Sunday. The small San-Francisco-based con was dedicated to inclusivity and community in games, marketed foremost to the LGBTQ crowd but accepting of all (despite confusion on the latter part for some people).

To discuss what exactly made it so different, I gathered a small RPSfriend panel made up of Sentris creator Samantha Kalman, Treachery in Beatdown City master gentrification-suplexer Shawn Alexander Allen, Dominique Pamplemousse maestro Deirdra “Squinky” Kiai, and PopCap game designer Scott Jon Siegel. We talked the show’s ups and downs, queer representation in games, a bunch of games ranging from Perfect Woman to Borderlands, and heaps more. Watch below. 

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Dote Night: Will I Need A Jacket?

By Philippa Warr on July 16th, 2014.

It's snowing!

Part of a miscellany of serious thoughts, animal gifs, and anecdotage from the realm of MOBAs/hero brawlers/lane-pushers/ARTS/tactical wizard-em-ups. One day Pip might even tell you the story of how she bumped into Na’Vi’s Dendi at a dessert buffet cart.

A recent Dota 2 update furnished owners of Valve’s digital wizard fundraising book, the Compendium, with new in-game weather options. I’ve had the weather effects enabled since they were patched in and have spent the intervening time pondering their impact on the experience of playing.

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Braben On Elite, Oc Rift, Dodgy Gravity & Doing Space Right

By Alec Meer on July 16th, 2014.

At last week’s Develop conference in Brighton, I grabbed a half hour with Frontier Developments boss David Braben to talk about what’s going on with Elite Dangerous (fresh from my own wide-eyed experiences of it on a VR headset). Discussed: space, Oculus Rift, why FIFA games don’t sound right, how Star Trek doesn’t talk about gravity, developing in the public eye and publisher-free, and the resurgence of joysticks.
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Wot I Think: Quest For Infamy

By Richard Cobbett on July 16th, 2014.

Isn’t it just typical? You wait sixteen years for a new game that picks up where the Quest for Glory series left off, and suddenly four of them come along at once… or close enough, anyway. Hot on the trails of Heroine’s Quest, with Mage’s Initiation and the original creators’ Hero-U: Rogue To Redemption still to come, Quest for Infamy wants to take a rather less heroic approach to its mix of RPG and adventure. But do the bad guys really have more fun? Here’s Wot I Think…

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Cardboard Children: Cards Against Humanity

By Robert Florence on July 15th, 2014.

Content warning: references to sexual violence.

Hello youse.

In this silly old board and card gaming world, heavy, serious shit doesn’t happen much. When heavy, serious shit does happen, I think it’s really weird to ignore it. At the moment, certain people are talking about a boycott of the card game Cards Against Humanity.
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Wot I Think: Car Mechanic Simulator 2014

By Tim Stone on July 15th, 2014.

Here in the UK we have an annual ritual called the MOT test. Once a year, owners of automobiles over three years old, report to their local garages to have their holiday plans torpedoed, food budgets slashed and Christmases ruined. The oil-smeared cutpurses doing the torpedoing, slashing, and ruining are called ‘car mechanics’. This is their game.
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