Steam Charts: Mystery No. 9 Edition

Where oh where is #9 this week, you ask, uncertain that it is possible to have a top ten without it. A mystery! Of course there are the usual suspects, the increasingly usual new suspects, and even a couple of new entries, but when it comes to slot nine, there’s a gap. The URL for the entry is this, the number seemingly unattached to anything on the store, and not the since deleted entry for the idiotic CS:GO championship sticker collection, as I’d first assumed. Go solve the mystery, mystery solvers!

10. Grand Theft Auto V

A whole other mystery is the persistence of this game in the top ten, despite its being over 47 years old. Back after one week off, it means we can continue our new series, What’s Another Thing You Could Buy Instead Of GTA V Again?

What’s Another Thing You Could Buy Instead Of GTA V Again?

This inflatable unicorn

8. Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition

Next mystery! Despite not being out for over a month, FFXV is already in the charts, owing to people pre-ordering the game AT FULL PRICE.

Now sure, the issue here of buying a game before reviews are out – just such a colossal act of idiocy – isn’t the case here. The game was out two years ago on console, and everyone already knows it’s pretty decent (Edge gave it a 7, donchaknow). It’s just that, buying it early affords players… some pretend t-shirts.

That’s literally it. People are buying a game in volumes enough to see it chart above GTAV because the in-game characters get a couple of pretend t-shirts that give them unquantified, but obviously negligible ‘buffs’. As if Square said, “What is the absolute least these suckers will give us their money for, before any word spreads of issues with the PC release?” Human beings are a mystery.

7. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The mystery here is one of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

6. Slay The Spire

Slay The Spire is entertainingly mysterious if you’ve never played it, and then watch the video in this post. I just tested this out, and it’s like watching a sport from an alien planet, where there’s not even the common basis of balls or fields from which to try to interpret the events.

It’s a guy clicking on cards, seemingly at random, and then he clicks on some more cards. And I know, because everyone else on RPS is adoring this game, that this particular guy’s card clicking leads to especially impressive results. But to me, it’s as mysterious as watching five-dimensional Blargg-karp played on the inside of a Dyson sphere.

5. Battalion 1944

How long until this provides a screenshot for the CSGO entry in the Charts? That’s the mystery likely to be solved next week, now I’ve thought of that joke.

This is the retro-online shooter for people who are so sickeningly young they think of the early 2000s as retro. Inspired by CS and Call Of Duty, it’s a WW2-themed multiplayer of headshots and connection drops, its early access matchmaking proving a little flaky to our Alec.

4. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

You wait ten years for a Final Fantasy XV, and then all of a sudden, er, you wait twelve years for FFXII to come out on PC too. The PS2 JRPG first appeared in 2006, which, for a joke, some people are pretending is a year that was twelve years ago. Not three, at most, which is obviously definitely true. This game’s mystery? Why people would lie about the speed of linear time like they keep doing. And now both games are out within a month of each other.

Why now? Well, because it was remastered for PS4 last year, and now this means the inevitable slow crawl to a PC’s wider screens. “But what is it?” you ask, forgetting that written articles are a one-way means of communication. Fortunately, by coincidence I’m going to link you to the answer, because I haven’t the faintest idea. I tried playing a Final Fantasy game once. A lot of people said a lot of incredibly sincere but immediately forgettable things in white writing on a blue background, and then I was having a tiresome fight somewhere I wasn’t, and then I ran out of room in my life to care about all the different characters at once. Here to help.

3. Subnautica

I “finished” Subnautica on Friday. It’d be madness to pretend that I am done playing, because it’s my favouritest game in forever. But I reached what one might reasonably call the ultimate point: I hatched a Cuddlefish. Also I saw the end-game sequence and credits, but that’s by-the-by.

It’s so completely splendid, and not mysterious at all, to see a single-player game riding so high in the charts for quite so long, especially one as fantastic as this. Long may it last.

2. Dragon Ball FighterZ

Look, I’ll be honest, I’ve absolutely nothing to say about this game. It might as well be a penguin for all I care. So instead I’ll share my favourite mystery. Coral Castle.

The Coral Castle is an extraordinary (and extraordinarily sad) construction built out of incredibly heavy vast blocks of limestone oolite, purported to have been single-handedly built by one Edward Leedskalnin. He was, the story goes, rejected by his 16 year old fiance (eurgh, phew), and became so depressed that his only recourse was to build a coral complex of buildings, gateways, and astrologically-themed sculptures, dedicated to his love.

It’s a mystery for two reasons. The first is that no one’s quite sure how he did it. It’s said that no one ever actually saw him building, but that no heavy-duty construction tools were used. His claim was that he’d discovered the ancient Egyptian secrets of leverage, such that he was able to pivot thirty-ton blocks of stone via mystical, magical forces. He also said he used a “perpetual motion holder”. Clearly he didn’t, because those are pretend things, but it still leaves the mystery of exactly what it was he did do.

The second mystery is how someone could be so colossally peculiar that they’d do this. Let alone that they’d, brrrrr, build a cot for the imaginary baby he’d have had with this teenager if she’d not had the good sense to bolt as far from him as she could.

The guy lived in the castle. On the second floor. This is no mean feat, building multi-storey coral buildings in the first half of the 20th century, weighing a total of 1000 tons, with no one ever seeing him build a single part of it. With no mortar. And more than this, the construction is exquisite. It features a perfectly balanced pivoting 8-ton gate stone, and structures accurately built to observe astronomical events, like a working sundial and Polaris telescope.

(For spoilsports, here are some ideas of how he did it.)

1. Plunkbat

Gosh I love absolutely every single song by Breathe Owl Breathe, and you should watch the whole show below, but today it’s the silliness of Dragon. A princess having a penpal, and the mystery of who it is being revealed. Ooh, that cello.


  1. AndreasBM says:

    Neither the Wayback Machine nor the Google Cache returns anything on the mystery URL. Any other methods?

  2. jresl says:

    I’m afraid that number 9 is the deleted sticker collection. Both your urls include “app/772170”, which is the unique identifier for a given entry on Steam. Sorry!

  3. chuckieegg says:

    Ah! GTA V is at number 10, so I confidently scroll down to find Yorkshire Gubbins, yet its still missing. I suspect that it is at number 9 but RPS have missed it off somehow. Never mind, it’ll be number 1 next week and RPS won’t be able to ignore Yorkshire Gubbins anymore.

    • Flavour Beans says:

      Ignore it? Alice did an article on it four weeks ago. It’s how I ever learned about it

  4. Mattsetback says:

    That Coral Castle link was super interesting, cheers John! *spends his lunchbreak going down increasingly weird conspiracy rabbitholes*

  5. teije says:

    The Steam Charts article continues to be a many-splendoured thing. Thank you.

  6. Thomas Foolery says:

    I appreciate the reference to Sleeping Dogs. I enjoyed it more than any of the recent GTAs. It’s too bad they never got a chance to make a sequel.

  7. Ghostwise says:

    Good music.

    • noom says:

      You know, as one of those types that often finds myself having differing opinions from John about vidyagames, I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I like much of the music he’s been sharing.

      Do keep it coming Mr. Walker, and give Bent Knee a look if you don’t know them. I’ve been obsessed with them lately and they strike me as a band you might enjoy.

  8. Zenicetus says:

    About that Coral Castle (and the linked article is good). I grew up in Miami, and in the older neighborhoods it’s common to see low walls between houses made of this “coral rock.” It’s actually very soft limestone, and it’s everywhere under a thin layer of soil in that part of South Florida.

    The weights of the blocks that were moved in the Castle’s construction are impressive, and it’s tempting to see the carving of those shapes as being equivalent to carving something like granite. It isn’t like that. If you’re going to pick a “rock” that’s very easy to carve into shapes, you’d pick this stuff. So it’s an impressive achievement, but don’t let the photos fool you about all that carved “rock.”

  9. Martin Hawkins says:

    Inflatable unicorn out of stock. :(

  10. WhateverSquall says:

    If you want a bit of context on why I pre-purchased a game that is already looking dubious in benchmarks (questionable culling etc.), here’s a list of reasons that slowly built up the terrible decision to pre-purchase a game from a company with a track record of not patching games:

    1) Haven’t played a Final Fantasy game since VIII. None were interesting enough since. Even XV is “Eh, whatever” but it seems better than many. Looks different enough to be a neat experience.

    2) Nvidia gimpworks. This should be a negative, but I am a sucker for options for better quality. Perhaps Volta will show up and save the day with performance, and maybe Square Enix can be a decent business and patch XV and Nier Automata on PC while they’re at it. I’m buying this game on the “faith” (a.k.a. stupidity) that Square Enix and the devs, from whatever Country they are from, will be decent human beings and do the bare minimum patch that should be mandatory from any game release. This is a matter of ethics, not money.

    3) I’m a bit of an idiot at times.

    4) It’s been a long time since I played a story driven/cinematics based game. Was sort of hoping for a new Star Ocean on PC to fill that want, but we just got a mediocre port. Fortunately that game has been slightly patched, so my trust in Square Enix has went from: “Not buying any of their games anymore” to: “I’ll buy their games unless they happen to not patch the next game I buy from them”. That’s a huge improvement considering doing a basic patch for a $25 game resulted in me purchasing a ~$60+ title.

    5) That sweet candy ass. Sex sells amirite boys? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  11. Dramund says:

    I swear John is drunk every time he writes Steam Charts. I’m not judging. I would have to be drunk to deal with this every week, too.

  12. Ejia says:

    “Windows Edition” is relatively boring as a title. I was half expecting Squeenix to call it Nova Forma Finestra: Final Fantasy XV or something similar

  13. sharpmath says:

    John hates (fine, is indifferent to) Final Fantasy, quelle suprise

  14. quasiotter says:

    I’m the same way with FF, though actually maybe all JRPGs. I am even having a difficult time with Space Funeral, as great as it is, because I just don’t click with the genre at all.

  15. Raxxy says:

    Whoa whoa whoa…that inflatable Unicorn says it’s unavailable… :(

  16. PIANOBOY121 says:

    For FFXV, the high sales could be because sites like Green Man Gaming had such good deals. After combining coupons with a promotional offer, the game was just $31 on Feb 1st. Hardly full price, especially when it includes all the previous preorder content, season pass, multiplayer expansion, etc. Now go grab all that stuff on PS4 and see how much it adds up to. :)

  17. snekodinsson says:

    “…watching five-dimensional Blargg-karp played on the inside of a Dyson sphere.”

    If someone can do the programming, we’ll have this into a game by next week. It’ll eventually come to outshine the superbowl.