Games Wot We Recommend: RPS Is Now A Steam Curator

Yesterday, Steam Curators launched. What does it mean? Nobody knows. What does it smell like? That I can tell you: raspberries, with a hint of smoked paprika.

Given there’s plenty of off and on worry about Steam’s own game discovery tools, which controversially have just changed again, maybe now’s a pretty darn good time for carefully-chosen recommendations about what to play from third parties. So here we are, with our 141 years’ worth of PC gaming experience, suggesting games old and new, mainstream and indie, big and small, noisy and sleepy, that our staff have felt fondly towards. Please do give us a follow.

We won’t be putting up any old rot up there – only games that one of us genuinely feels warm and fuzzy about to the extent that we’re sure they’re worth your while. There’s no money involved, by the way.

Every game we recommend also includes a link to our longer thoughts on it on RPS. Please do have a read, because reading is fun, and good for you.

95 Comments

  1. dangermouse76 says:

    Followed. This is great for me. I don’t have a lot of spare time to go trawling through lists.So sign up to few people and sites I trust voilà ! They can do the looking for me.

    It may not have totally answered the discover-ability of new indie titles yet though. But it has created an effective way to push the exposure of new games and content to other people I follow outside the steam system. That’s a win for my lazy ass.

    Edit: Although I would add, the curator pages could do with having genre and search by tag feature added. Otherwise it could become a very long list. And impracticable to search through.

  2. revan says:

    Followed. Funny enough, most of what you recommend, I already have in my library or wishlisted.

  3. thekeats1999 says:

    Will follow this when I get in from work. There are a couple of games listed that I have forgotten to chase up and grab so it’s done it’s job so far.

  4. Core says:

    This is great.

  5. DanMan says:

    Followed, for now. We’ll see how good it’ll mesh with my interests. I like fully fleshed out games.

    • Keiggo says:

      Can you name a few example of what you would consider to be fully fleshed out games? Just so I get a better understanding of what you mean.

      • stonetoes says:

        For me, I wish I could filter out reviews/recommendations of unreleased, kickstarted, greenlit and early-access games. I’m really sick of being bombarded with news about games which literally aren’t going to be fully playable for years.

        I’m aware, however, that in this day and age of constant patching and DLC trying to play only “finished” games is pretty futile.

      • DanMan says:

        Mostly graphics (yes, I’m a sucker for that). I can’t bring myself to play something like Nidhogg. I guess I’ve caught a serious case of Indie Fatigue.

        • Niko says:

          So you like games with big budgets.

        • Keiggo says:

          I guess the cool thing about this system is that if you don’t dig the RPS recommendations, there will always be someone to follow whose tastes align more closely with yours. Mind you, the big budget stuff will probably be on the front page too.

  6. Llewyn says:

    One thing that might be helpful is to mention at the end of the recommending quote whose words they are, eg “Watching and waiting… – Tim”. Yes, we can easily check by following the links to the reviews, but it’s useful to see the personal recommendation bit while looking at the list, in my opinion.

    • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

      I’d like this, knowing who wrote it could be helpful.

      Although that may because you mentioned Tim, and if Tim Stone had his own curator page I’d just follow that. I likes my wargames, I do.

  7. slerbal says:

    Followed, along with 1320 other people apparently. Nice :)

  8. Christo4 says:

    What does smoked paprika smell like?

    • mft-dev says:

      Obviously it smells like smoke and paprika, except all at once.

    • slerbal says:

      Delicious. I have several dishes I cook with three types of paprika in them (regular, smoked and sweet) and they are super nom. It smells like paprika with a wood smoke edge.

    • RedWurm says:

      Happiness. I usually add smoked paprika and chilli powder when I’m making potato wedges.

  9. trjp says:

    So – New Vegas is in there or not? :)

    • Tom Walker says:

      No, but it’s clearly only a small subset of games RPS would recommend. I think we can safely assume that between the six of them they’ve liked more than twenty-four games ever.

  10. AshRolls says:

    Followed and now my wishlist is swollen with new games, despite the fact that my library is already overflowing with unplayed games. /me comically shakes fist at the sky like popeye

  11. SupahSpankeh says:

    I’m sticking to just TB for now. Not sure what following more will benefit me; there’s rarely a game worth buying that he hasn’t reviewed.

    Also he offers extended gameplay footage, with a review of PC centric options etc.

    • dangermouse76 says:

      Ironically TB might tell you to do the exact opposite. Like,use other sources, don’t take my word for it etc.
      Each to there own though.

      • SupahSpankeh says:

        He quite probably would.

        The thing is though that I’ve been a long term RPS reader and I’ve recently realised that this site is feeling more superfluous as time goes on.

        I’m late to watching TB videos, but the very first thing he does is show you the game options; the strongest reasons not to buy a game are generally found there. Then he goes through performance issues, control schemes and finally has an extended section of gameplay with his commentary.

        The Wot I Think series used to be my gold standard of reviews, but I’m now realising that there’s a better approach.

        It’s one guy, with no paywalls and several times the audience of RPS, yet he delivers a more concise and thorough review than I’ve seen on here in what feels like forever.

        Tl;Dr TB is better as a curator and reviewer and opinion merchant.

        • jezcentral says:

          I’m another who feels less drawn to RPS as time goes on. I think it is more to do with their love for Indie games gets more indulged now that more games of that type are coming out. I want escapist spectacle, often AAA games* (not that these are mutually exclusive).

          I.e. the fault (such as it is) lies with me, not them.

          * But not COD or Battlefield. Or Assassin’s Creed.

          • SupahSpankeh says:

            I can dig that.

            AAA titles aren’t very numerous over summer though… That could explain the indie trend. Or perhaps they get more clicks on indie reviews.

          • Niko says:

            Wait, did RPS miss any recent AAA games?

          • jezcentral says:

            An Assassin’s Creed game probably. :)

            I’m still a proud supporter, but I don’t check the site several times an hour any more (just several times a day). I’m more interested in learning the ins-and-outs of Unreal Engine, at the moment, than play any games.

            The trouble with YouTube is I can’t watch an hour long video clip* at work, while I can dip into a few webpages.

            * God, I feel old. What do the kids call “video clips” nowadays? It’s like that bloody Payphone song** meme.

            ** Maroon5 singer: “I’m on a payphone.” Fan 1: “What’s a payphone?” Fan 2: “Dunno.”

          • jrodman says:

            By my local taco truck, there is an empty lot with a bombed-out payphone corpse. It is the relic from another age.

        • dangermouse76 says:

          As time goes by I have found I watch more video reviews than I read.Mainly because I can do something else as the review is running ( I do a lot of photo editing ). But I can still drop in and check out the mechanics if it sounds interesting.

          I don’t think the written WIT or review is over but I have found video early looks and reviews have been in many cases easier to access and therefore more helpful in my everyday life.

          I would love RPS to get into video previews and reviews as well. Writing skill is needed to do it well so I don’t think it would be inappropriate to the site or demographic. But it may simply be the case they don’t want to so fair enough.

          But I must say I still do love the writing here.
          Different strokes for different folks I guess.

          • SupahSpankeh says:

            I second this.

            WIT plus TB style game autopsy would be amazeballs.

          • Niko says:

            Guess in your case it’s about your work – watching a video on a second monitor is really convenient. I can’t help but measure video reviews in how many Adventure Time episodes would fit in that time. Seriously, there are like forty minute videos and I just can’t afford it if I can read about this game in 5-10 minutes.

          • Kaben says:

            Nooo, if you want that just go to IGN. Almost everything is video content on there now and i hate it. Its not amazeballs, its a ball ache. I get annoyed havinbg to watch an unskippable 30 second advert for what can often be a 1 minute or less clip containing the same amount of information that i could have read in less time than the 30 second advert took.

          • dangermouse76 says:

            Kaben: It’s not IGN or nothing as you already know. There are other ways.

          • Herewegoagain says:

            Have you not seen the outcome of RPS writers making youtube vids? A hint it sucks, it’s really bad, It should never be attempted again.

          • dangermouse76 says:

            Herewegoagain says:
            ” Have you not seen the outcome of RPS writers making youtube vids? A hint it sucks, it’s really bad, It should never be attempted again.”

            They could try to do it better- they were a little rough-If they want to. I also hear there may be a Podcast coming soon, not sure if a regular thing. Looking forward to that.

        • Vast_Girth says:

          I’ve got to agree. I’ve read RPS daily for years and I used to find probably 8/10 stories on RPS would interest me. Now it’s more like 3/10. Add to that the locking off of content behind a paywall and i can see myself coming here less and less to be honest.

          I actually prefer PCGamesN nowadays. More interesting articles and more comprehensive coverage of the games i’m interested in. And of course, no paywall!.

          • Jenks says:

            Never heard of them, just checked out their site. It’s a little rough on the eyes but the content seems to be really good, with a focus on games I care about. Thanks for the tip.

          • Vast_Girth says:

            A lot of the writers there used to write for PC gamer magazine so the same pedigree as RPS. Its also pretty similar in style really so i think they were pretty inspired by what the hivemind have done here. They now seem to be doing it better though!.

        • Donkeyfumbler says:

          You see, I’m the opposite. Video reviews a la TotalBiscuit just go on too long for me and my short attention span. I can get just as good of an idea by taking 30 seconds to skim a written article (with pics) as to whether a game is likely to be for me as I can by watching an hour long video.

          OK, I could skip through the video to save a bit of time but then I might miss that vital snippet that would have made the difference – the USP that would have sold the game for me – the key word or phrase (or screenshot) that I would have seen by skimming the words in the written article.

          My preferred pattern is:

          1. Skim RPS article (or other alternative decent PC site).
          2. If interested, read said article fully (plus comments)
          3. If REALLY interested look for other articles
          4. If REALLY, REALLY interested, check out some videos.

          Videos just take too long – it’s why I’ll always look for a written ‘how-to’ article when googling stuff rather than a youtube version of the same.

          • somnolentsurfer says:

            Yeah, this. It’ll have to be a game I’m already pretty invested in before I watch a video of more than five minutes about it.

        • Rikard Peterson says:

          Wait… I’ve not watched TB’s videos (much prefer text to video), so this is no reflection on those, but… “the game options; the strongest reasons not to buy a game are generally found there”. It’s not the first time I’ve read similar statements, but these things always baffles me. In my world, what you’re describing are niceties, but as far from the essentials as you can get.

          If anyone could explain that to me in a way that I’d understand, that’d be interesting. (But I suspect that’s impossible.)

          • ScottTFrazer says:

            I don’t get this either. It seems to be a few things:

            * Fear of a console port (no key rebinding, not many choices for resolution)
            * “A developer who doesn’t give tons of options doesn’t focus on what’s important”
            * “This won’t look good on my machine”

            I’m totally with TB when he criticizes a frame-rate issue or something, but I generally skip over the 3-5 minutes he spends on the option screen. I’ve played great games that came with very few options.

          • Melody says:

            I share your bafflement.

            It’s probably just about different reasons and drives behind gaming, but in this case they’re so removed from my own reasons that I can’t even begin to understand it.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            Agreed. The options menu is the least important thing about a game.

    • slerbal says:

      Fair enough, and to each his own, but I am the polar opposite. I have no interest in the YouTube crowd. TB is ok, but I really don’t trust a lot of the others. RPS is my #1 go-to site for games and gaming related stuff. Plus I really do prefer the written word over the video any day.

    • Cross says:

      I’ll agree with you that as a buyer’s guide, TB’s videos are probably a great place to start. I still think RPS makes for more interesting critique, though. They usually go a little deeper than whether a game is functional, and into whether it’s interesting and matters. And indeed if it’s offensive.

      • Niko says:

        Yep. TB’s very cool when he’s talking about more mainstream stuff, but a video of him playing, say, Proteus, wouldn’t be very interesting.

        • dangermouse76 says:

          Double agreed. TB’s impression of Glitchhiker was “interesting ” but it was clearly not for him, hence being funny to listen to.

          It was like listening to a man try food he know’s he wont like and then telling you how much he hates it, funny but expected. Errant Signal on the other hand…….. well lets just say I got more from his video about Glitchhikers purpose and intent.

          Both interesting to watch for very different reasons.

          • Banyan says:

            TB is almost the only game “critic” (he would probably contest the term) that I follow closely enough to use as a baseline to form my own opinion. E.g. I dislike brawlers and he loves them, so a middling review of a brawler by TB is a big red NO for me, while his grudging approval for a puzzler would normally translate into ecstatic shouting by me. I don’t know even the reviewers at RPS well enough to make those sort of automatic mental adjustments. It helps that he’s normally very clear about his own biases about certain genres or art styles.

    • HyenaGrin says:

      I am not sure why the medium matters. I get my game recommendations from a lot of different places;

      RPS, because they share my warm fuzzy feelings about certain kinds of games. I can easily skip past the articles I know I am not interested in (racing games wot) and I let the titles and graphics for the snipped article previews to grab my attention.

      Youtube Let’s Players; I don’t have the time to go hunting for new Let’s Players these days, but I have a collection of people who I keep an eye on because they share my taste in games. I generally don’t watch everything they do, I may only watch 15 minutes of one video in a series, and if the game looks fun, I grab it.

      Friends; Just seeing what other people are playing can be a selling point if we share similar tastes.

      What I don’t use is pretty much any other review site. I give a grain-of-salt nod to metacritic because it’s a decent indication when I game is either a) Terrible or b) from a major publisher or c) miraculous. But I don’t put much value on scores, which is why I prefer RPS’s approach. I also prefer their special attention to games that may not get a lot of attention, and I genuinely enjoy their extra articles that are not game reviews.

    • kalirion says:

      Um no, TB has missed plenty of good games. The reason he doesn’t make more WTF Is videos is because he gets vastly diminishing returns if he puts more than 1 up per day. He started the Impress Me series for games he knows nothing about, but that’s still only 2-3 games per episode.

  12. Babel says:

    If you’re going to riff off EchoBazaar’s curation reviews, at least credit them! :-p

    link to steamcommunity.com

    So what I’m getting is that Steam Curation smells like Defense Grid tastes?

  13. Winged Nazgul says:

    With great power comes great responsibility. Don’t let us down, RPS.

    /followed

    • DuncanIdah0 says:

      Ha ha ha, you just take those words right from my mouth, I was going to reply just that.

      Anyhow, it is funny to see how easily Valve outsources what until recently was part of a store front work. Now are dear RPS staff has more work to do, while Valve employees have probably less. In the end it may benefit everyone, but who knows, we will see…

  14. Tom Walker says:

    This looks like a step towards automated purchases. It can’t be difficult from here to implement scripted rules to the effect of:

    Buy game if:
    – RPS recommends it
    – Is on sale
    – I don’t own it already

    Even more worryingly, having thought about it, that might be a feature I’d quite like.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Cooper says:

    You should get someone to go through the last few years of the “RPS Advent Calendar” and put those on the list.

    I’ve gone back to those advent calendars a few times. Given I rarely buy games on release, they’re useful lists both of the big games of a year I may have forgotten about and little gems I never got around to trying.

  16. BTAxis says:

    Somewhere down the line I expect a “Sir, you are being recommended” joke.

  17. Morlock says:

    What are the criteria by which games get recommended? At least n authors supporting it? Any author liking it? A minimum score?

  18. unimural says:

    Dear RPS,

    What’s your stance with the storefront and early access?

    I wish there was a single option in Steam that allowed me to toggle early access visibility. I do not necessarily want them to be hidden away completely. I’ve played a lot of games that have evolved a lot during the time I’ve played them. But it’s rarely a thing I want. And with any story-heavy games it’s a thing I absolutely don’t want. As an example, for me, Invisible Inc. sounds like a game I do not want to play before it is finished. Where as Terraria or Minecraft are games where I don’t really mind.

    At the very least I wish it was always clearly visible if a title is early access.

  19. Didero says:

    This is probably as good a time as any to ask: where did the founding year 1873 come from, anyway? Is it just random, or did something important happen that year? A brief perusal of the Wikipedia page on the year doesn’t show anything relevant.

    • YogSo says:

      “did something important happen that year?”

      Well, this happened ;-) (I recommend you start reading from the bottom, and specially don’t miss the “UbiMan” article)

      • Niko says:

        Oh my gosh, that Rim of the Sky article. I need more of those!

        • BathroomCitizen says:

          Ol’ Castle Shotgun sure is full of secret doors and passages!

          I didn’t know about the super-secret 1873 tag.

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      I too would be interested to know if it was anything other than just randomly picking a year.

  20. Cross says:

    I suspect this will be a boon to me, and a diet to my wallet…

  21. Megarlin says:

    While im partial to the new curator system, i really hate how they completely removed “all new releases” from the store front and now it only shows “popular new releases”, making it even harder to find new hidden gems for people who would not be looking for them otherwise.

    • Banyan says:

      I, on the other hand, have zero problems with not having the latest eight pieces of DLC for Truck Driving Simulator knock off actual games from the front page.

  22. Premium User Badge

    serioussgtstu says:

    I would appreciate it if RPS could let us know who is recommending each game, so for PS2 it says “my favorite game of the last two years”. Now I know Jim said that, but the context for that statement would be pretty different if I didn’t know who said that, like say John, who hates multiplayer.

    Just a thought!

  23. Llewyn says:

    On the subject of RPS recommendations, Indiegala have a bundle containing Echo of the Wilds (recommended in their curation list) and chapter one of The Journey Down (chapter two recommended), along with 4pm and some filler. For the next 4 hours or so this is available for just under $2.

  24. kalirion says:

    Ok, followed TB, PCGamer and RPS so far. But I think I’ll mostly be visiting the New Releases bookmark I’ve added: link to store.steampowered.com

  25. Premium User Badge

    Junch says:

    Basically now I will only play games recommended on Steam by RPS.

  26. Misnomer says:

    I feel like this is a dangerous path for major publications like RPS. People already whine on here about ads linked to reviews. Now we have editors actually tied into a storefront.

    Before anyone gets all “put on your journalism tinfoil hat,” I really am not worried about journalism. I am worried about the pressure on certain outlets from the media when the “tastemakers” wield even more direct to storefront control. It also makes other reviewers even less likely to matter, no matter how good their opinions or number of internet hits, if they don’t have as high a count of curator followers.

    I would actually much prefer an RPS community based curator system. Maybe we can make one of those. Centralizing even more money and industry focus on getting their game exposed and promoted by a couple big sites can’t be as healthy as actually getting them promoted by communities that care right? Right?

    • ScottTFrazer says:

      Disagree completely

      One of the things the internet age is bringing us is a complete lack of scarcity in entertainment options.

      In the past we relied on the producers (publishers, usually) to decide what was worth our time. Now that anyone can be a publisher we need a different filter. I trust the RPS staff far more than I trust you and a bunch of other randoms to be that filter for a simple reason:

      I’ve read the reviews on RPS for a long time. I’ve become familiar with which opinions work for me and which don’t.

      I’m not locked into RPS’ curator page, I can go elsewhere. So can you. Having this available harms you none at all, but provides a good service for me and currently 11,000 other people.

  27. InfamousPotato says:

    Followed. The more of your fabulous words the better.

  28. CMaster says:

    Question – Are there any form of kickbacks from this? Ie do the “curators” get a cut (however small) of Valve’s pie in exchange for doing Valve’s marketing for them?

    Not crticising, just curious.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      The answer is in the article: “There’s no money involved, by the way.”

      • CMaster says:

        Reading fail there.

        So, at this rate, another 2 years or so befre Steam just becomes the “Steam API” and curators become “store managers”, taking over the whole greenlight/describe/sell etc process and DO get a cut.

  29. C0llic says:

    RPS, you may not read this, but I’d like to point out that the brief descriptions for Crusader Kings II and EU IV are reversed. I haven’t checked the links.

  30. DXN says:

    God damn you.

    ARE YOU TRYING TO DESTROY ME