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Happy Mechsgiving, And A Merry Portalmas To All

Clearly, he is acting in the spirit of Mechsgiving. Whatever that actually means.

I don’t think it’s possible to have any misgivings over an update officially titled “Mechsgiving.” As for Portalmas, well, that one’s a bit more up for debate, seeing as it’s just a word I made up. But generosity’s officially in the air, and both Piranha and Valve are doling out fairly significant updates to their breadwinners, MechWarrior Online and Portal 2. Unfortunately, neither involves gigantic mechanized turkeys, but I suppose beggars in the midst of celebrating a decadent holiday of feasting and lethargy can’t be choosers. Still though, that’s far from a reason to mope. So let’s look under the ol’ turkey tree and see what we got.

First up, the MechWarrior open beta’s celebrating its sadly fictional holiday by introducing the Cataphract mech – a strongly armored piece of hardware with jump jets and not-awful offense – and the Frozen City at Night map. Presumably, it’s a lot like normal Frozen City, except, you know, at night. Rounding out this most joyous of occasions, meanwhile, are a few new targeting and sensor modules.

Portal 2, meanwhile, is now sporting support for both split-screen multiplayer and Steam’s shiny new-ish Big Picture beta. For obvious reasons, the two go hand-in-hand, but it’s nice to see Valve going all-in with this. Much as I like playing my games all alone in the darkened corner of a cobweb-encrusted room where no other human has dared tread in centuries while drinking profusely to drown my sorrows, local multiplayer is, I think, a lost art that’s well worth revisiting.

Occasionally, even my inner misanthrope likes to venture out of his cave, and voices coming through tinny microphones simply aren’t enough. There’s simply nothing else quite like bonding with a friend face-to-face and then not speaking to them for a week because they failed miserably to be the portals beneath your wings. Sure, it sounds mighty console-y, but I’ll be damned if it’s not riotous fun whether you’re six or 60329481294.

So yes, this is an interesting development, and I’m hoping it means good things for PC gaming’s future evolution. For now, though, it’s Mechsgiving, which means we must celebrate in the traditional manner. I call the thigh! I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do with it seeing as it’s giant and robotic, but why do traditions exist if not to be followed blindly and without question?

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Nathan Grayson

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