Posts Tagged ‘feature’

“Like me GTA is white, middle-class and nearing middle-age, and it’s about time it faced up to its responsibilities”

By Nathan Ditum on March 30th, 2015.

Picture of a dog because so far there are no PC shots which feature women on the game's official site.

Excepting further delays, Grand Theft Auto V [official site] is due to finally arrive on PC on April 18th. In anticipation, Nathan Ditum sent us this piece about how the series’ increased fidelity has created problems, and why that same “miraculous detail” is why his love for it endures.

Recently I was reminded by Helen Lewis of the New Statesmen of the current predominance of a certain kind of opinion writing, which can be summarised as “As a blank, I feel x about y.” This formulation can be limiting, to the writer as well as the pursuit of the ideas at hand, but probably also reflects something laudable about at least trying to diversify from a monolithic consensus. As a white middle-class male approaching middle age I am of course precisely the pale demographic flob from which this archetypal pitch is trying to escape, so it is with a sense of irony which apparently no longer exists in GTA itself that I present this: a list of reasons why, as a representative of the default morass of accumulated privileged perspective, I feel culturally and morally compromised by some of the bad bits in GTA V.

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Hands-On: Job Simulator On Valve’s Vive VR Headset

By Graham Smith on March 30th, 2015.

The Vive overwhelmed me when I first tried it at GDC, but after playing through Valve’s hand-picked demos for a general sense of the VR headset, I went back for a second time to play more of Job Simulator [official site]. Of the game-like experiences I’ve had with the device, it was the best – better even than Valve’s own Portal 2 vignette.

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Further Thoughts On Pillars Of Eternity: Animancy & Faith

By John Walker on March 30th, 2015.

Now that people have had a weekend to spend with Pillars Of Eternity, it feels a bit more appropriate to offer thoughts on parts of the game that would otherwise have been spoiling revelations or moments within the opening few hours. Not core plot events, or twists that may occur, but just the basics – basics I wanted to leave out of my review because it felt like stealing. Stealing the blank slate experience I had from you, in my effort to describe the game.

So here are a first couple of extended chunks I would have liked to have included when expressing and explaining my enthusiasm. Assume big spoilers for themes of the game.

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The Pipwick Papers

By Philippa Warr on March 29th, 2015.

It's an ant.

Last week I was in Iceland observing the international internet spaceship convention that is EVE Fanfest. It was fascinating stuff but ALAS meant an absence of Pipwick Papers on account of me not looking outside videogames for, like, five out of seven days. This week, however, I’ve taken a day off and have confirmed that the outside world is still doing things you might find interesting. Here’s this week’s roundup. Think of it as a geothermic spring, covering you in curious soothing warmth except the warmth is weblinks and the spring doesn’t exist and I’m making no guarantees about warmth or being soothed.

This is not the Sunday Papers.

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The Sunday Papers

By Graham Smith on March 29th, 2015.

Sundays are for sheltering from the harsh weather and cursing the time lords who stole an hour from your sleep. Better hunker down with a particularly fine selection of the week’s best (mostly) writing about games.

  • After the end of Saturday Crapshoot around six months ago, Richard Cobbett started a new PC Gamer column on story and writing in games. That sadly ended yesterday with this excellent piece on representations of depression in games, with Life Is Strange’s display of contact information for a suicide hotline as the starting point. No spoilers inside.
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    The RPS Bargain Bucket: Frozen-satche

    By Cassandra Khaw on March 28th, 2015.

    And I am freshly returned from Iceland, more or less intact. The foul weather only cost a single toe, although the locals were happy to replace it with a puffin claw. As such things go, it could have been worse – and I’m thrilled to discover all the world’s gaming sales didn’t cease during my absence. Enjoy this week’s Bargain Bucket and also this dapper plushie from dosbox!

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    Electric Dreams, Part 4: The Lost Art Of Dreaming

    By Michael Cook on March 27th, 2015.

    Electric Dreams is a five-part series about AI, academic research and video games, and how together they’re shaping the industry. Part one on the lost future of AI is here.

    The more we play games, the more we forget how much time it took us to learn the mysterious toolbox of language and skills that they require. Mostly we think of this toolbox as being full of things that enable us to do new things, like circle-strafing or that sixth sense that tells you to stuff ladders and paperclips into your pants in an adventure game, but in truth a lot of it actually controls what we think and do. If you’ve ever sat down to watch someone less familiar with games play something, you’ve probably witnessed something along these lines. They’ll do things that you instinctively know aren’t possible – trying to open doors that we know are part of the scenery, or repeating an action in an adventure game when we know it’s always going to have the same outcome. Sometimes when I play with someone new to games, they’ll ask me ‘How did you know that was the solution?’ and the answer is simply because I’ve been here before. On the surface it looks like skill, but in reality it’s a sign that we’ve learned to be obedient. A lifetime of playing games has taught us to be followers, and it is now a major factor in slowing down innovation and experimentation in games.

    So far in Electric Dreams we’ve discussed how innovation and artificial intelligence in particular has stalled somewhat, but now it’s time to look to the future, and talk about how to start it up again. In this article I want to turn the spotlight on you, RPS readers, and talk about a culture shift I’d like to see happen to games. A shift from knowing that things aren’t possible, to wondering if they could be. A chance to start dreaming again, to ask big questions so that people have a reason to go and find answers. I think we can do it, but you might need to forget everything you’ve ever learned about games to make it happen.

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    Join The RPS Supporter Program, Fund Great Writing, Receive Free Gifts, And Satisfy Horace The Endless Bear

    By RPS on March 27th, 2015.

    It’s been six months since we launched the RPS Supporter Program, the method through which wonderful people help us produce words and videos about PC games. This means that, for those who paid for the six month package, your accounts will be about to expire.

    This is where we try to compel you to re-subscribe, with new gifts and reminders of all we’ve accomplished together.

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    Bad Medicine, Good Money: Hands-On With Big Pharma

    By Alec Meer on March 27th, 2015.

    I’ve never much thought about what goes into the little white tablet I swallow when I’m hungover, have the sniffles or another bout of Geek’s Disease.* It’s just chalky magic, right? Well, no: it’s the result of millions of dollars, aggressive R&D, production facilities of breathtaking size and precision, ruthless marketeering and impossibly sinister downplaying and mitigation of side effects. While medicine-themed management game Big Pharma doesn’t go for pharmaceutical industry’s jugular, Goldacre-style, its pills-as-merciless-industry approach is certainly a welcome change from the bland, smiling, comfortable faces that advertising tells us medicine are all about.
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    COGWATCH – 1. Crypt Of The Necrodancer

    By Quintin Smith on March 26th, 2015.

    Hey! It’s a new weekly video series from Quinns talking about one mechanic in one game. First up: rhythm-based movement in music-infused roguelike Crypt of the Necrodancer [official site].

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    RPS Chat: Life Is Strange Mid-Season Thoughts

    By Adam Smith on March 26th, 2015.

    The problem with trying to review the second episode of Life is Strange [official site], Dontnod’s five-part teen drama, is that it would be largely the same as the first episode review except steeped in spoilers. That’s why our episode 2 coverage is going to be a conversation between Adam and me. Full of spoilers. Like, SWIMMING in spoilers. Hella spoilers. From the start.

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    Wot I Think: Pillars Of Eternity

    By John Walker on March 26th, 2015.

    Oh thank goodness. After 77,000 backers, $4 million raised and nearly three years in development, Obsidian’s Pillars Of Eternity [official site] is here, and it’s just stunning.

    This is the RPG I’ve been craving since Planescape: Torment, the first to win my absolute love since Dragon Age: Origin. It’s a vast, deep and wonderfully written game, malleable to how you want to approach the genre, replete with companions, side-quests, an enormously involved combat system, and lasts a solid 60 hours. Here’s wot I think:

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    Citybuilder++ – Our Fave Cities Skylines Mods

    By Alec Meer on March 25th, 2015.

    Mirror's Edge mod = best mod

    It’s crazy how big publishers seem so fearful of mods, given how they’ve a proven track record for keeping a game popular. Skyrim still generates regular news stories due to its thriving mod community, and I’m pretty sure Paradox’s rapturously-received townbuilder Cities: Skylines is going to do similar. To take a look at its Steam Workshop library of community creations is to disappear down a rabbit hole of tinkering, as hundreds of players seek to finetune the cities of their dreams. Compare this to be walled garden of SimCity and it’s clear to see why citybuilder fans have taken Skylines to heart.

    Any claim to have made a definitive Best Of compilation is an insane one, given the speed at which new creations arrive, and due to the high subjectivity involved. An authetically-shaped Australian football pitch is probably a Godsend to someone, for instance, whereas something that automatically bulldozes abandoned or burned-out buildings was what made me rub my lazy hands with glee. But, for now, here are just a few selected highlights to be getting on with. Please do suggest more below.
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