Opinion: Maybe Microsoft Buying Mojang Is A Good Thing?

By John Walker on September 15th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

The news that Mojang is to be sold to Microsoft undoubtedly causes a lot of upset for some. Minecraft, more cultural phenomenon than game at this point, has had a breadth of appeal unlike almost any other game. And Microsoft aren’t exactly at the top of most PC games player’s Christmas card lists. It’s very easy to see the news and immediately consider it bad news. But perhaps we should pause, and wonder if this might be something worth celebrating? At least, that’s what I’m trying to convince myself.

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Skywind’s Slough Trailer Shows Bitter Coast, Not Slough

By Graham Smith on September 15th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Skywind‘s latest trailer is titled ‘Slough’, but it does not, as every British reader just hoped, mark the inclusion of Berkshire’s much maligned city in the game. Instead it’s the first look at the remake of Morrowind‘s Bitter Coast inside the Skyrim engine, and it’s as pretty as every other chunk we’ve seen of the ambitious mod project so far.

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TheirCraft: Microsoft Buying Mojang, Notch Leaving

By Adam Smith on September 15th, 2014 at 2:12 pm.

Edit #2: updated to include Microsoft’s video statement.

Edit: updated to include Notch’s statement regarding the sale and his own departure from Mojang.

Speculation occasionally has a basis in fact. A few minutes ago, Minecraft creators Mojang confirmed that Microsoft’s purchase of the company is going ahead. The price? Two and a half billion dollars. The reason?

As you might already know, Notch is the creator of Minecraft and the majority shareholder at Mojang. He’s decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance. Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang.

The company founders will be leaving the company and Notch has released a statement (notch.net down, pastebin link supplied) regarding the sale and his own future – “It’s not about the money. It’s about my sanity”.

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From The Haunted Hymnal: Ghost Song

By Adam Smith on September 15th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

I could describe Ghost Song as a Soulsian roguelike Metroidvania but only if I wanted to eliminate the people reading this post with a trio of surgically precise strikes. Instead, I’ll describe the game as an exploration-based 2d platformer set on a mysterious planet filled with weird horrors. We scrutinised a great wodge of footage back in April and for eight minutes or so it seemed like typical fayre, attractively presented. The twist in the tale was positively porcine, however, and the final minute of the video showed a fight with a deranged robot butler. It was preposterous and unnerving, like a boisterous opera singer in a wind tunnel. The new video below is in the same style – jumping, shooting, rolling, double jumping, and then, around the 6.30 mark, beautifully sinister synths and…eek.

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Editorial: Some Subjective Thoughts On Objectivity

By John Walker on September 15th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

A topic of conversation that is frequently revisited in discussion of gaming and games criticism is that of “objectivity”. It’s an important topic, and it seems worth exploring the subject a little, and in doing so we’ll try to outline RPS’s position on the matter.

First: Rock, Paper, Shotgun, has no desire or aim for objectivity.

If this sounds surprising, then please do read on. We want to explain why our our driving goal is not objectivity, but honesty. Here’s why.

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Solar Strategies: Lords Of The Black Sun

By Adam Smith on September 15th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

I’ve been away, gallivanting over vales and hills, and living the life of a rugged outdoorsman. Every day, I punched trees to collect firewood and caught fresh fish by sitting beside a babbling brook and engaging in a QTE-based minigame. A sequence of fifteen or higher bagged a sizeable trout, while a score of four or less meant I’d be chewing on a sticklebacks stickles and wondering whether it had been wise to leave all of the pot-based snacks at home.

During my break, I maintained radio silence, telephone silence and internet silence. I expected to return to a changed world, in which new genres had replaced old, and the Oculus Rift had been reduced to the size and weight of a pair of pince-nez spectacles. Instead, the first thing that greets me is a 4X strategy game set in space. Previously known as Star Lords, Lords of the Black Sun is of familiar stock, but it is still capable of capturing my interest.

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Freeware Garden: Battle Cube

By Konstantinos Dimopoulos on September 15th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Battle Cube is neither the latest game by Knytt creator Nifflas, nor his latest freeware offering — that would be lovely platformer Saira. It is a little non-platforming experiment instead and a game he released roughly a year ago and has himself categorized as a miscellaneous creation.

Also, it’s a brilliant little thing I totally randomly bumped into and instantly loved.

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The Football Manager Documentary Is Self-Descriptive

By Graham Smith on September 15th, 2014 at 10:00 am.

Football Manager is an odd cultural duckling. Its nerdy, number-heavy presentation holds it back from the ooh-it’s-like-a-film mainstream acceptance of Call of Duty, et al. Meanwhile, its being about football stops it from being embraced with the same open arms as, say, EVE Online, despite it inspiring similar levels of passionate brain-crazy among its far larger audience. Its far less talked about than its vast success would suggest it should be.

This news seems a good thing, then. An Alternative Reality: The Football Manager Documentary is a Football Manager documentary being released in select cinemas in the UK come October 7th.

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Star Citizen Update Adds New Controls, Top Gear Parody

By Graham Smith on September 15th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

When Star Citizen‘s combat module first took flight, there was frustration with its bugs and its controls. The massive patch 13, released on Saturday, works to address those complaints by introducing “additional controls for six degrees of freedom”, a new set of control options, along with a few new game modes including the ability to race new ships against your friends. Also they’ve made a Top Gear parody to talk about the new ships, confirming that Star Citizen is set in a dystopian future where Jeremy Clarkson’s malignant influence remains. Video and more details await below.

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Metal Slug X, King Of Fighters 98 UM Coming To Steam

By Graham Smith on September 15th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

It was late last year that King of Fighters XIII appeared on Steam, and the 2D beat-’em-up must have done well for SNK Playmore, because they’re bringing more games to Steam in the months ahead. First, classic 2D run-and-gun Metal Slug X is coming October 2nd, then King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match Final Edition is coming November, then King of Fighters 2002 Unlimited Match is coming in December. That’s three lovely-looking games in underpopulated genres.

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Why Fuel Is Still A Showroom Of Videogame Possibilities

By Jim Rossignol on September 14th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

Starting today, every Sunday we’re going to pull out one of the best moments from Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s 141-year history. This week, Jim’s road trip around post-apocalyptic racing game Fuel, first published June 22nd 2009 with the title, “Fuel: Around The World In Eight Hours”. With The Crew just around the corner, a Mad Max game in-development and open-terrain survival games on the rise, the musings below are still relevant today.

When it was announced that Fuel, Asobo Studios’ apocalyptic open-world racer, boasted a daunting 5,560 square miles of terrain (14,400 km²), I immediately made a mental note to go mental, and drive around the entire world. Last week, having received some PC preview code from publisher Codemasters, I did precisely that.

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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on September 14th, 2014 at 11:00 am.

Sundays are for looking. Scrabble around your brimming shelves until you find it down the back of your Gamecube games. A lighter, still full. Flick it on and hold it underneath your monitor till the heat warps the plastic, the frame cracks, and liquid crystals start to dribble on to your desk. Trepanning is the only way to get the madness out.

  • Mark Johnson is working on Ultima Ratio Regum, an ambitious procedurally generated 4X roguelike. Before that, he once tried his hand at making a living as a poker player, and he writes excellently here about the power games have when you invest in them fully. It’s a story about losing.
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    The RPS Bargain Bucket: Flash Frustration

    By Cassandra Khaw on September 13th, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

    I wrote about three games today that were, quite sadly, part of flash sales. In my pizza-birthed delirium, I made the mistake of forgetting to check if the deals would last long enough for me to transfer ownership of this column to an editor. They didn’t. So I am writing this introductory paragraph right now with my eyes carefully narrowed and a frown like thunder. Why, Gods of the Bargain Bucket, why have you forsaken me? I was aiming to introduce an authentic, one-of-a-kind Papa Moomin today as the plushie of the day, but that plan fell apart thanks to a lack of time. Instead, I am going to filch a photo from MadKatrina and show off this awesome snake on a bucket. Honestly, people, why have we not made this wonderful lady into a millionaire yet?
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