How Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s Economy Works

In Pop Flash, a series of insights into Counter-Strike: Global Offensive [official site], Emily Richardson looks past the amazing clutches and crushing defeats to understand the culture and meta of Valve’s everlasting competitive FPS.

Counter-Strike’s weapon skins are as numerous as they are glamorous. The very best in tactical fashion, they’re bright, they’re weird, they’re occasionally very expensive. Some of us don’t care for them, but many more do. They’ve been a phenomenal success, so much so that the rarest knives sell for more than the Steam wallet’s cap of $500, and betting and trading sites are springing up all over the web.

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DevLog Watch: The Best GIFs Of In-Progress Games

You asked for it. Or specifically, users Ninja Dodo, Lexx87 and Llewyn asked for it in the People’s Games Journalist: the return of DevLog Watch. Where the old column was weekly, this one will likely be monthly. More time to pick the best game GIFs from developer updates about in-progress games, and to procrastinate by staring out the window at the sparrows.

What are you up to, sparrows?

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Are Platform Exclusives THE VERY DEVIL Or Kinda OK?

Once a week most weeks, team RPS gathers, eyes itself warily across the table then debates. Sometimes it’s about SCANDAL, like slow-motion Batman or No Man’s Sky hype, other times it’s about perennials, like best levels ever or if Early Access means the end times.

This week, we’re discussing the pitfalls and merits of platform exclusives, in the wake of Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture being PS4-only, despite its devs making their name with the PC-only Dear Esther. In recent months similar has happened with Tomb Raider, and of course there’s a long history of this sort of thing, from your Marios to your Halos. Is this right? Is it sensible? And what about the other side of the coin, with XCOM 2 being PC-only? Not so grumbly then, are we? Let’s see if we can figure this one out, eh?
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Why Loads Of People Are Playing Trove (& Why I’m Not)

“We should look at Trove,” mused RPS’s Dark Gods. “Hundreds of thousands of people are playing it, so there must be something interesting about it. You, Thrall Meer, go investigate.” I gazed at Trove’s key art, sneered at how it looked like someone tried to remake Minecraft out of fossilised blancmange and then stuck 1980s sweets all over it, and despaired. Then I went in, and I found out why it’s so popular.

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Have You Played… Mark Of The Ninja?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every weekday of the year, perhaps for all time.

Klei Entertainment might be currently wowing us all with Invisible Inc, but let’s not forget how they also delighted with 2012’s Mark Of The Ninja [official site].

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The Flare Path: A Flood Of Foxers

The Flare Path turns four this week. Here in the UK that means it can legally bear arms, arm bears, bear grudges, and drive geese and Vauxhall Chevettes across London Bridge on public holidays. To mark the occasion there’ll be no news items or inscrutable intros today. The entire column will consist of puzzles. On the moss-upholstered bank beyond the break eight fat Foxers lounge. Tackle these brow furrowers within the next 48 hours   and you’ve a chance of winning various top-notch wargames. (COMPETITION NOW OVER) Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Intel’s Skylake Finally A New CPU To Get Excited About?

Hello, good evening and give it up for an all-new Intel CPU. By chip industry standards, it’s been a long time coming. But with a nonchalant shrug of its 14nm FinFETs, Intel’s new Skylake chip has crashed the desktop PC party. Dare we hope for genuine progress? Or is the new Core i7-6700K yet another samey CPU from Intel? I also have an early take on the new Z170 platform that pairs with Skylake, in the form of MSI’s Z170 Gaming M5 motherboard. Without giving much away, Skylake is something we desktop gaming dinosaurs can definitely get excited about. But not necessarily for the reasons you might expect.

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Skyshine’s Bedlam Blends FTL, Mad Max, 2000 AD, Chess And XCOM

That’s a headline packed with good things, isn’t it? And here’s another good thing – even if you don’t like any of the games films and comics listed in that headline, there’s still a possibility that Skyshine’s Bedlam [official site] will have something for you. Maybe you liked The Banner Saga? Bedlam is built on the engine used in that game. Maybe you really like the idea of riding around a broken world within the guts of a giant mutation? Sure. You can do that.

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ARK’s Survival Of The Fittest Makes Crafting Tense

Ark: Survival Evolved [official site] has found a huge audience as a long-term, surprisingly friendly crafting and survival game, but the approaching Survival Of The Fittest mode is aiming for something different. It drops a group of players into the world with few supplies and a re-balanced progression curve and challenges them to be the last person standing. In other words, it’s Battle Royale with dinosaurs.

We were invited to try the mode before release, and although server problems cut the experience short, there’s a video below of intrepid RPS freelancers Andro Dars and Steven Messner eating berries, collecting wood and dying heroically in the cold.

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Have You Played… Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Few better games have been given a tougher break than Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning [official site]. A truly wonderful epic, bright, and action-led RPG, it was screwed from every direction. It deserves your attention still.

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Dote Night: The Fallout From The International 2015

Half a Call Down

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. Today she’s going to talk about the aftermath of TI5 for pro players and spectators.

With the confetti [mostly] picked out of my handbag and Aegis of Champions in the hands of five new gentlemen, it’s time for the fallout from The International 2015.

For the players that all began a little while ago. The International is a great place to try and win stacks of money with your current team but it’s also a networking event and a recruitment opportunity. The best teams in the world (and their managers and associated folk) are all in attendance and an attractive prospect dissatisfied with their current roster is a veritable Cinderella in a shoe shop. I don’t think that analogy worked but you get the point.

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Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord Aims To Be Friendlier

This is an embarrassing admission: when I first played the original Mount & Blade I spent twenty minutes walking around trying to find other players and confused by the mostly empty villages I found instead. I had thought it was an MMO.

This makes me the person in the world best equipped to write about its sequel, Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord [official site], which is aiming to make many of the series’ systems easier to grasp for idiots like me.

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Mafia 3’s Move To Sixties New Orleans Is Risky But Potentially Rewarding

The Mafia 3 [official site] presentation at Gamescom felt very much like an attempt to hammer home several important changes to the series rather than an accurate representation of the minute-by-minute experience of playing. Given that this was the first public showing of the game, which probably won’t see release until the second half of 2016, that’s to be expected. The vertical slice shown had a lot to cover: a new city, a new time period, a new protagonist, and a new take on open world criminal conquest. Perhaps it’s understandable that the “new” was hammered home with all the subtlety of a blow from Mjolnir, but it’s fair to say that the road to New Orleans looks rather treacherous.

And that brings us to item number one…

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