Steam Charts: And we all sing along like before

Had a week off. (No, not a holiday, no such thing when there’s a three-year-old in the house). Bit of a break from writing about games. Though I’d rebuild and resupply a little, come back fighting fit, ready for anything GAMESWORLD might throw at me next.

Anything but this.

1. Grand Theft Auto V

I borrowed a 3DS from a friend during my week off. Yes, I played some Pokemon – I needed simple things with simple values. Luigi’s Mansion 2 was the best thing I played on it, though – an extremely focused and charming game which makes unbelievably efficient use of a relatively small location. The 3D is superb in it too. I’ve been quite sour about Nintendo for a few years, and all this was a much-needed reminder about why they are much-needed. The world of PC and ‘grown-up’ console games takes itself so seriously now (and so much drama gets whipped up around it), so an oasis of pure play is more vital than ever.

I caught up on Westworld, including the finale. I guessed most of the twists, but it was still broadly cracking, and concrete enough in its answers to avoid the Lost curse. Though I fear it can’t see the woods for trees when it comes to its wooly discussions of sentience. Maeve is MVP IMHO.

I listened to a lot of Kate Bush. Granted, this isn’t much of a rarity for me, but I was shaken by her recent support for Britain’s current cruel and ignorant Prime Minister and thus determined to seperate art from artist before I became unable to enjoy music I have long loved. It’s worked. I have made the music the music, and its creators’ politics seems less important. Although her declaration is one more gut-punch from a peculiarly frightful year, Hounds of Love will remain a desert island disc. Unless, of course, she now goes Full Morrissey.

I setup a Steam Link I bought during Consumer Fest ’16. I’ll probably write about that seperately later, but man, did I underestimate these things. I have a lounge TV PC gaming ‘solution’ now.

I’ve been reading Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan, which is a noir/cyberpunk mash-up. It’s trash but it knows it, and wears it with pride. Bit OTT in its sex scenes but otherwise it’s been a much needed no-brain riot.

I had the best vegetarian sausage’n’mash of my life, at the Shakespeare’s Head in Brighton. The mustard gravy is to die for, darling.

I didn’t think about Grand Theft Auto even once. Damn you all.

2. Planet Coaster

Now this I am happy to see doing well. Something pure and simple about building rollercoasters, isn’t there? Something that PC gaming needs right about now. I’ve yet to play it, mind you, but hope to have the chance this week in case I need to make a last-minute play for it to lurk behind one of our advent calendar doors.

3. Watch Dogs 2

It’s just not the same without the iconic baseball cap. People seem almost confused by this – it’s apparently trying so hard to be loved that it’s almost cloying, and on the other hand it’s positively humming with detail but the nuts and bolts are workaday. I suspect it’ll end up being looked at more fondly a little while after the fact, when it’s not simply more noise in an exhaustingly noisy time of year.

4. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

5. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – Game of the Year Edition

Resurgent thanks to another sale, not because there’s been any new Witching to speak of. Any other day I’d be happy to see Geralt back again, but after a week away I was hoping for a chart full of fresh faces. I’m sure they’re on their way.

6. Fallout 4

Oh for God’s sake. I yearn for a return to the days of Rimworld, Factorio and the like being chart mainstays.

7. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

The quiet success story of the last weeks of 2016. Given that a lot of big new releases have had a torrid old time, a year-old Ubishooter hanging around the charts for several weeks on the trot is a bloody big achievement. The snowball effect in action.

8. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

This reminds me – I haven’t been back to rename all my cities after ’80s Transformers since the patch that finally added the option to title your settlements as you please. Honestly, I’m surprised there wasn’t more of a controversy than there was about this. It’s like a Call of Duty being released without a targeting reticule.

9. Dishonored 2

I’ve been playing a little of this since resolving my performance woes. (I’ve even found the sweetspot for 45ish FPS 3440×1440 now). I love and admire the detail of it, and the crazy-wide range of ways to inflitrate. I suppose the base silent strangling stuff does feel quite familiar, though.

Dishonored 1 feels as though it happened only yesterday, and the absolute core similarities between the two games are conjuring some dissonance for me – like I’ve always been crouched behind a corner, waiting to strangle. Perhaps I played too much Hitman too recently, and need to go off and play something very different for a couple of months.

Nevertheless – I’m happy to see this hanging around, given the apparent apocalypse in AAAville.

10. DOOM

Another sale-boosted re-entry. Let’s just stop right there and go back and count. That’s three Bethesda games in the top ten. And that isn’t even a particularly unusual event. They’ve had their wobbles, particularly in terms of Dishonored 2’s PC performance, review-suppressing and reportedly not matching its predecessors’ sales, but it’s very much been Bethesda’s year, hasn’t it? (There’s also Skyrim SE to factor in, although it made only the briefest appearance in the Steam charts – no doubt because it was a free upgrade to owners of the original game and its expansions. I’ll bet it’s done great guns on console where that offer wasn’t, er, on offer.)

Don’t let it go to your heads, folks. That’s what pushed EA and Activision into the hellpit of annual sequels and forever needing to top the last year’s sales.


  1. satan says:

    Actually really looking forward to some nighttime exploration of San Andreas covered in snow, it only happens for a few days a year, and I was only able to do a little of it last year, but it looked/felt amazing. Almost like another world.

    • davebo says:

      That’s actually what really got me into GTA Online finally last year. Just seeing that things really could change game-wide, and this past year has seen a lot of enjoyable expansions. I’m going to be out of town with no internet unfortunately but should be able to catch a day or two after x-mas. Have they announced the specific days it’ll be changed this year?

      • satan says:

        Haven’t heard anything about this year, but last year I *think* it was something like the 25th-30th when everything was covered in snow.

  2. Antongranis says:

    Well, fallout 4 is doing really good. Very much deserved!

  3. chuckieegg says:

    If you think the sex in Altered Carbon is OTT, just wait till you get to the Land Fit For Heroes books. Oh lordy.

    • kud13 says:

      “Woken Furies” (the 3rd Takeshi Covacs book) already has the plot to sex scenes ratio of an average porn parody movie. “The Steel Remains” dialed things back a lot by comparison.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        I really liked the Land Fit For Heroes books (The Steel Remains, The Cold Commands and The Dark Defiles). Has Richard Morgan or anyone else written something similar. The bleak characters, creative plot and world building as well as just the general writing was great, even though I enjoy more traditional fantasy like the Drizzt Do’Urden books.

        Sorry about the GTA V debacle, Alec, reality can be a “female dog” sometimes. We’ll try to do better next week.

    • Benratha says:

      Or change to fantasy and go for ‘The Cold Commands’ & ‘The Steel Remains’ & ‘The Dark Defiles’.

      • Zenicetus says:

        I enjoyed the first two in that series. I didn’t like that last one at all. The plot seemed like it was spinning its wheels and didn’t go anywhere for most of the book. The ending wasn’t very satisfying, and it left a bunch of questions unanswered about the world and the different factions. It felt like the author just got bored with this particular series, and had to wrap it up anyway.

  4. Xipheas says:

    I love these articles! Not convinced about the need for personal politics to be included though.

    • Alec Meer says:

      But you are expressing your personal politics there.

      • Xipheas says:

        Oh wow! I appreciate the reply, which I wasn’t expecting.

        I’m pretty sure I have only expressed my desire that RPS be politics-free. You could I suppose argue that to be a political position, I’d call it a view on editorial policy.

        • Premium User Badge

          Dios says:

          Demanding that a platform be politics-free is implicit support of the political status quo. You have already made a political statement by doing so. The lads from Cool Ghosts put it best: link to

        • Alec Meer says:

          “I love these articles” – these articles are in the main about my opinions on things. It is extremely political to observe that you tolerate those opinions until they are opinions you do not yourself wish to hear.

          • GundamMerc says:

            yes, your opinions on games. Not politics.

          • Alec Meer says:

            How political of you!

          • BertieDugger says:

            Please keep the personal opinions coming, politics and all. Great avatar BTW, Alec!

          • Xipheas says:

            I tolerate all opinions and do not think one should exist in an ‘echo chamber’ formed purely of those who reflect one’s own opinions.
            However, at least to me, RPS is a site about entertainment. Escapism even. My personal preference is that that is kept separate from other parts of life.

        • emotionengine says:

          Bah! I want more politics on this site. MOAR.

          I am being completely serious.

      • inspiredhandle says:

        Just out of curiosity… Is that you don’t like musicians (or celebrities in general) aligning their celebrity with politicians/political parties?

        Or is it that you don’t like that Kate Bush might be a Tory?

        Or… Is it that her reasoning is so damn obtuse? (Nice to have a woman be leader etc. (how patronising)).

        Maybe all 3? Maybe you’re an anti globalist?

        • inspiredhandle says:

          Just want to clarify, I’m not trying to bait you into a political debate. Just curious. ?

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          I think it’s the surprise more than anything. I can get my head round the idea of Kate Bush preferring the tories (she’s probably not short of a few bob, so from shear self interest it makes sense), it’s her singling out May for praise that threw me.
          Thatcher had charisma (I bloody hated her, but I can’t deny she did), even Call-Me-Dave seem to be well liked by his friends, but Kate Bush is the only person I’ve seen complement Theresa May*, it’s genuinely perplexing.

          * politicians being sycophantic don’t count

          • inspiredhandle says:

            I read more news than I watch, so I have little clue as to what any leader is like insofar as how much charisma they convey. I figured May was probably just a less ball-breaking version of thatcher. If that’s not the case, then why do you think Kate Bush threw her lot in with her? It can’t just be a gender thing can it? (Not written with cynical intent)

      • GundamMerc says:

        Hardly, he just doesn’t want politics in general in a gaming article. It doesn’t matter what side he’s on.

        • FailX says:

          I really don’t understand this weird witch hunt when it comes to expressing a connection between politics and games, connection that already exists regardless of what is said, because every creator has their own beliefs and they will somehow be expressed through their creations.
          Not talking about politics is a political choice. Neutrality is a political stance. Maybe if we could simply allow each other to talk about politics in relation to whatever we want to talk about, what we see as “politics” would not be as taboo…

          • Alec Meer says:

            Aye, it’s extremely telling that folk aren’t complaining about the discussion of a pop star or a book or a TV show or Nintendo or sausages on a PC gaming site.

          • inspiredhandle says:

            The argument has nothing to do with a creator’s implicit politics (purposefully or not) being embedded in a game. It’s about a game reviewer’s explicit disapproval of a political party/politician. The latter tends to annoy people. It doesn’t really bother me (hard to defend a Tory at the best of times) but I suspect that Alec knew it might annoy some. I guess it’s the irresponsibility of doing something known to be divisive that people get annoyed with.

            Just a guess.

        • Lacessit says:

          He’s in the wrong Place then, isn’t he?

      • Snowskeeper says:

        Yes, but he’s not the journalist that wrote this post; that’s you. People typically hold their journalists to a different standard than they do their internet randoms.

        I don’t particularly care whether or not these articles involve personal politics, and I believe there’s definitely an argument to be made in favour of them having them, but “but you do it, and that makes it okay” is not really an argument an individual in a position of power should be making in response to an internet random in their comments section.

    • gwop_the_derailer says:

      When your entire nation is being pushed off a cliff by a bunch of lying, clueless clowns, you damn well better insert politics everywhere.

      • inspiredhandle says:

        We’re still talking about Britain, yeah?

        • gwop_the_derailer says:

          If I meant the US, I would have said a bunch of lying, clueless clowns pushing the entire world towards a cliff of uncertainty.

          • inspiredhandle says:

            True,true. Still though, at least Hillary didn’t win. *wry smile*

  5. Tiax says:

    Regarding Dishonored 2 : “I’ve even found the sweetspot for 45ish FPS 3440×1440 now.”

    Is there any possibility you’d share it with us (as well as what GPU you’re using) ?

    • Alec Meer says:

      r9 nano (power settings raised to +50%), latest drivers, vysnc and triple buffering and adaptive resolution all off, mix of medium and high and very high settings. Frame rate is completely all over the place – from 30 to 70 with no obvious reason as to why – but Freesync monitor evens it out.

      • brucethemoose says:

        FYI Triple Buffering doesn’t actually do anything in DirectX games. It’s an OpenGL flag.

        RadeonPro’s triple buffering used to work, but it hasn’t been updated in ages.

        Not that you really need it with freesync…

  6. exile2k4 says:

    I realise in this post-truth world we’re all allowed to have our own facts, but I see a completely different top-10 (on both ‘Top Sellers’ and ‘Global Top Sellers’), with things like TW:WH Elves DLC, Space Hulk, Arizona Sunshine, Miscreated, Steep – I guess it’s just down to when exactly this is written and catching/missing the end of sales, but it seems a shame to have to write a column coming up with things to say about perennial top sellers every week. Maybe a different format?

    • Alec Meer says:

      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now
      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now
      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now
      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now
      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now
      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now
      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now
      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now
      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now
      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now
      It’s last weeks’ accumulated sales not the ones selling best right now

      • exile2k4 says:

        Yes, I understand that, sorry if I phrased this wrong – I’m saying that generally, if the point of these articles is to highlight games that are selling well on Steam but you’re fed up about writing about the same top sellers again and again, there could be a different format that lets you skip through the repeats and highlight some of the others?

        • Alec Meer says:

          Something “selling well” on Steam at any given moment in time may only be selling well for half an hour. Clearly I’m very much aware that the top ten will often be unchanging, but as it stands there is no other reliable metric or data. Nonetheless, it answers the question ‘what are the most people buying over the last few days?’ comprehensively.

          • exile2k4 says:

            Fair enough – it’s just that the tone of these articles is generally bleak despair, and I thought there might be a different way of approaching it that you might enjoy writing more.

          • Premium User Badge

            Dios says:

            Consider: He may exaggerate for comedic effect/excuses to post busses of the Venga variety.

          • Alec Meer says:

            It can neither be confirmed or denied that we like to party.

          • Monggerel says:

            Yes but comedy is never actually depressing though, is it?
            Like, gallows humour is supposed to be this reverb effect when the fact that you’re genuinely laughing at something so horrible is half of the joke in itself.
            But when you post
            “Remember us – if at all – not as lost violent souls, but only as the hollow men, the stuffed men.”
            as a joke about the state of gaming trends it’s not very funny – it might elicit a chuckle, but it is probably just plain depressing in the long term.
            Then again, the format kinda lends itself to this sort of thing and not much else to begin with.

          • gwop_the_derailer says:

            “Yes but comedy is never actually depressing though, is it?”

            I would say the state of the current world is quite comic, but depressing.

  7. AbyssUK says:

    Regarding the steam link,
    I just set one up too.. I didn’t have high hopes as I have my main PC via a powerline adaptor and I used to steam stream before to an older media pc before and it wasen’t really that great.. but clearly my media pc was too underpowered or doing something very wrong.. because it’s awesome now.
    Oh and isn’t the steam links packaging box the best thing you’ve ever seen..

    • Cvnk says:

      I too tried the Steam Link and wasn’t all that impressed. Maybe I set my expectations incorrectly but i thought it was going to be something other than just an additional monitor for my PC. I was expecting some sort of virtual machine magic that would allow the PC to be generally usable (granted, minus the massive share of performance the running game might require) while someone was playing a game on the TV.

      As I said maybe I expected too much but in my case the PC is close enough to the TV that I can accomplish the same result with a $10 HDMI cable.

      • inspiredhandle says:

        I am pretty much at this point right now. Got a new 4K tv, it’s about 8m from the PC. The old one was just 1920×1080 (same as my monitor). The old hdmi cable was fine for that resolution over that distance but obviously it’s not cutting it running a 4K/ 60hz signal. The steam link is only for 1080 though?

        I’ve read that I’ll need something (probably active at 8m long) rated at delivering the full 18Gbps speed. The problem is that anything with true ultra-super-duper-premium definition certification costs a stupid amount of money (£200-300).

        Has anyone got lucky with a cheap(er) 8m(ish) hdmi lead that can carry that sort of bandwidth? (For £20-£60ish) Or am I completely kidding myself?

        • Premium User Badge

          daktaklakpak says:

          monoprice will probably solve your problem. They have a sale going on a 30 foot active high speed HDMI cable (rated at 18Gbps for up to 50 feet) for just over $20: link to

          Not sure if they ship outside the US though…

          • inspiredhandle says:

            Going by the product reviews, it seems only one was left by someone who wanted to use it for running 4K at 60hz, apparently it fails miserably at it, he gave 1 star. This is the problem I’ve found, that 18Gbps is claimed by many leads, and some might even be capable of it. The only way to know for sure is if someone has actually managed to achieve this resolution and refresh rate with a specific lead, or if it is officially certified (big money). I can find similar claimed speed Hdmi leads here, it’s a bit of a gamble though.

            Thanks for the recommendation nonetheless. ?

    • BertieDugger says:

      I’m looking forward to a piece on the Steam Link from Alec. I saw him tweet about it recently and wondered what he didn’t like about it. It’ll be interesting to see what he does and doesn’t like about it now.

      I’m very happy with mine.

  8. DEspresso says:

    I never understood why musicians felt the need to share their view on politics with us. Why would I care if Mrs Spears is pro-abortion or Elton John against gay marriage? Go write a protest song or something.

    • Pharaoh Nanjulian says:

      Cult of slebs innit.

      Validation of self through public position innit.


    • inspiredhandle says:

      It is a damn strange way to differentiate the importance of people’s opinions. That somehow we care more about the political affiliations of those that hold celebrity status over those with demonstrated (independent) knowledge on policy making.

      Also, while we’re on this subject, can I also point out how bizarre it is that we idolise actors and musicians over more tangible (arguably more noble) professions like bakers and builders.

      I feel I have to point out that, I don’t for a second think that celebrities control the vast majority of wealth, that privelage is held by those in the corporate/financial sector.

      • Lachlan1 says:

        Noble my arse, how many builders do you see working for exposure or for the love of it?

        • inspiredhandle says:

          Bahahaha. Knew I’d get flak for my choice of words. Let me clarify.

          The vast, vast majority of working musicians are grossly underpaid and ill treated. I’m not talking about those, I’m talking about your pop/rock stars.

          Most professions had to fight for their rights, collective bargaining etc. It’s my understanding that musician’s unions tend be quite toothless, excepting in cases of copyright infringement… I think?

          • Snowskeeper says:

            There was that one time the people who made the Banner Saga got into serious trouble for hiring outside the union.

    • Premium User Badge

      The Borderer says:

      You’re not a fan of Billy Bragg, Manic Street Preachers or Rage Against The Machine then?

      • inspiredhandle says:

        I think bands that are basically made up of activists, or at least have music that has a heavy political message within, get a free pass on this. When a band’s entire back catalog is social/political commentary, they aren’t likely to cause a schism in their own fan base when they do show interest in the selection of government.
        I doubt you could give the same credit of knowledge to someone that exclusively sings about picking up ladies “in tha club” or in Kate Bush’s case ‘singing about Emily (Charlotte?) Bronte novels.

        (I believe that it was assumed that Bush was a liberal (don’t wanna quote that out of context)).

        I hope that makes some sort of sense, I accidentally got stoned just before the fructification of this comment.

  9. Harlander says:

    Is that grim harbinger of the Vengabus a shot from No Man’s Sky?

  10. SableKeech says:

    Altered Carbon is excellent – as are the remaining books in the series – they tone down the sexy stuff too. Check them out :)

    • Werthead says:

      Black Man is also a very good, and at the moment distressingly prophetic-looking, novel.

      They start shooting the Altered Carbon TV show for Netflix in the next few weeks as well, that should air at the end of 2017.

      • Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

        Huh, interesting. I barely managed to finish Altered Carbon (decent ideas, but I found the prose…clunky) and, while reading, I kept thinking: “I would enjoy this so much more if it was a movie”.

    • Don Reba says:

      Also, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do yet, and if I didn’t know, I certainly didn’t want anyone else knowing either.

      Altered Carbon, Richard Morgan

    • Spuzzell says:

      The protagonist of Altered Carbon and the two sequels, Takeshi Kovacs, is possibly my favourite character in fiction.

      All three books are also highly recommended by me, I’m told the Audible version of Altered Carbon is also excellent.

    • noerartnoe says:

      Tone down? Maybe in the descriptions, but I feel like Morgan has a list of things that needs to be in his books. And on that list is an entry that reads: “Three sex-scenes”. I kid you not. All the Kovacs books, The Steel Remains (haven’t gotten around to reading the rest), Black Man – they all have 3 sex scenes where the action is described. A few more in some of them if you count the book going a (somewhat better written) version of “then sexyfuntimes happened” and then got on with the story. “Market Forces” however, while still having sex, isn’t as needlessly descriptive as the others – so in that one I didn’t really notice any sex scenes enough to remember how many there were.

      That being said, I have enjoyed everything I’ve read by Richard Morgan. He’s not among my favourites, but I’ll read his stuff for fun every now and then.

  11. Spuzzell says:

    Dishonored, my pretty.

    Just Dishonored.

    Dishonored 2? Yes! Yes indeed! That is certainly a thing.

    Dishonored 1? Doesn’t exist.

    ( u u u u )

    ((the spare u’s for us English speakers))

    • Snowskeeper says:

      Dishonored 1 is a thing, just like Queen Elizabeth the First is a thing.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Alec – do you guys get Field Roast Sausage over there? It’s a vegan sausage made in Seattle and is probably the best non-meat sausage I’ve ever had (and most folks I’ve checked with agree).

    • Alec Meer says:

      Sadly not. I’ve got a growing shortlist of US only fakemeats I want to try if I ever make it ever there.

  13. Sacrelicious says:

    …..And we’ll all be lonely tonight, and lonely tomorrow.

    Alec sneaks a Del Amitri lyric into the article title ( from my favourite Del Amitri song )

    Post office clerks put up signs saying ‘position closed’….

    • inspiredhandle says:

      It is a tune and a half to be sure. Been years since I listened to this song.

  14. fish99 says:

    I somehow played 180+ hrs of Fallout 4 and I can remember enjoying a lot of it, but the overall impression I came away with at the end was that, while it wasn’t a terrible game, it was the worst of the Bethesda (GS) RPGs I’ve played.

    I can’t put my finger on what exactly ruined the experience though. Must have been something to do with the factions and story, plus the amount of radiant quests. I didn’t really like any of the factions, and didn’t feel motivated by their causes, and definitely didn’t think any of them deserved wiping out. The game failed to make me care about the plight of synths (Valentine aside), and there weren’t enough quests about something other than synths.

    • Snowskeeper says:

      Did it have anything to do with the voice-acted protagonist, maybe?

      • inspiredhandle says:

        For me, it was probably these 4:

        – voiced protagonist
        – pre-established backstory soldier/lawyer? Yuck
        – hugely gutted (non existent) character creation.
        – as per usual, awful main story.

        Basically it looked better than before, with much improved gunplay, completely at the expense of classic rpg elements. The survival difficulty update changed the tone though. Big time.

  15. UncleLou says:

    “I setup a Steam Link I bought during Consumer Fest ’16. I’ll probably write about that seperately later, but man, did I underestimate these things. I have a lounge TV PC gaming ‘solution’ now.”

    How could you ever underestimate the SteamLink! Glad you saw the light, though. :)

    My PC and TV are close enough that I could use a long.ish HDMI cable, but don’t let anyone fool you into thinking this is a better solution.

  16. heretic says:

    Alec you’re awesome I really enjoy reading these! <3