As this is my penultimate edition of Steam Charts, before I return to nuzzle into the warm infinite belly of Horace for all of time, I thought it might be fun to take a bit of a look behind the scenes of Steam Charts, to see how this weekly column comes together.
So, hey, join me as we step behind the curtain, and learn a little bit about the magic of Rock Paper Shotgun.
The process begins every Monday morning. I'm up at the crack of dawn to check the giant novelty thermometer to see if Epic's paid us enough money to stop writing about Steam yet. Not today! So then it's time to pick up the telephone and give Valve HQ a call.
"Hello? Yes, I'd like the Steam Charts please... John Walker... JOHN WALKER... Yes, sure, W, A, L, K, E, R... ... Hello? Ah, there you are, so yes, which are the top ten grossing games on Steam this week?... I got this number from Chet Faliszek... Hello? HELLO?"
All the details jotted down on my notebook, I get to work researching all these obscure titles, trying to learn a bit about what it is the kids are into, and begin the process of whittling down the information into some bite-sized chunks.
At number 10 this week is something called "Flibble Glibble Pants". Obviously people aren't going to know what these games look like without a picture, so off I go with my trust camera to the studio's HQ.
I always try to find a unique image, something that might surprise long-time players of the games.
You might be wondering about the strange name of this game. Obviously it's a bit of a shame to give away some of these secrets, but it's probably the right time. Many readers may not know this, but "Flibble Glibble Pants" isn't the original name of whatever this game was called before. It was in fact changed when the game met Jesus, and he did that crazy thing he does of just telling someone their name has changed now. "Hey Simon, you're called Peter now." "Um, Jesus, that's a lot of paperwork."
Of course, you might already have a copy of Flibble Glibble Pants, so as part of the service I provide for the fee you owe me, here's a suggestion of something else you could buy:
What’s Another Thing You Could Buy Instead Of GTA V Again?
I don't want to get too technical here, but this entry brings up an interesting example of just how hard compiling and writing up Steam Charts truly can be. This entry points to something Borderlands did last week on Steam, but because of cosmic interference, there's no clear way to know which bit it was.
They've had most of the series on sale at 70-75% off, and then put Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel, along with approximately 29,348 bits of DLC, at 94% off. But it doesn't appear to be either of those. But for some dumb reason have left the original Borderlands GOTY edition at full price.
Anyway, so this is where I begin doing some intensive research into what's happened, using all the tools and skills I've gained as an investigative gaming journalist over the last two decades, but unfortunately the results are an Epic exclusive so I can't tell you.
If there's one question I get asked more than any other, it's, "How did you get into my house?" But when it comes to Steam Charts people always want to know what I do when I don't really know anything about the game I'm writing about.
Questions like, "How is it you manage to write such insightful vignettes about so many different games - surely you can't have time to play absolutely everything?" with a look of what I can only modestly describe as "awe" or "wonder" on their faces.
Well, I'll let you into the secret! A very clever thing I sometimes do is distract the reader away from even noticing that I've not written a single thing about the game in question! It's extremely subtle, and requires a very deft hand. Don't believe me?... I JUST DID IT!
Yup, got you again!
7. Tropico 6
OK, we can't really avoid the matter any more, and I can't think of a more apposite entry to put it under. Everyone wants to know if it's true we take bribes for positive Steam Charts entry coverage. So let's put this matter to rest once and for all.
Here are the pricing options:
£500 - We'll mention your game within the entry
£1000 - We won't directly imply a causal link between your game and the deaths of children
£2000 - We'll subtly suggest not owning your game makes the reader look a proper uggo
£5000 - There's a 50% chance we'll attach a screenshot resembling your game
£10,000 - John will have a week off and Alice0 will write it properly
A lot of people appear to think that running jokes appear in Steam Charts as a result of the soul-destroying horror that comes with having to write about the same bloody games week after week after week after week.
How To Beat Tiddles
A real oversight of MHW guides has been how to battle the Palico, or "Cats" as the game's devotees insist on calling them. I'm sad to say this is as true of RPS as anywhere else, with Dave and Ollie really letting us all down. Thankfully, I'm here for now, at least.
Tiddles' weaknesses and resistances
None is worse than bloody Tiddles, the complete shit. Fortunately he does feature some significant weaknesses. You're probably expecting me to say you can tickle his tummy or scratch behind his ear or something, but that's because you're a cat-racist. Tiddles' main weakness is in fact his liver, which once pierced significantly weakens him, allowing for much more direct attacks. Also chopping off his head slows him right down.
How to fight Tiddles
Adopt the crouched position.
"But," say so many of my readers, "how do you sustain a gimmicky theme to a week's Steam Charts across nine or ten entries? Surely any joke wears too thin after three repetitions, let alone six?" And to so many of my readers I say, "Go away I hate you."
And to thwart you, I'll reveal even more RPS secrets in place of more sensibly writing about this silly fun game managing to chart so well in its first week.
RPS Secret #1: Graham is in fact played by twins, so that when one 'Graham' is crying or sleeping, the other can step in, to ensure no time or money is wasted.
RPS Secret #2: Horace The Endless Bear Breakfast Cereal will launch in supermarkets in June!
3 & 6. Plunkbat
The video of Eels' Rusty Pipes is Machinarium: The Movie:
RPS Secret #3: Kieron Gillen was always a character played by Jim Rossignol, with animation from Ian McQue.
RPS Secret #4: The reason RPS hires so many Alices is Graham can't be bothered to read past the As in the piles of applications.
RPS Secret #5: RPS is controlled by a liberal elite.
I've saved the best for last. How exactly do we get this chart information out of Valve, when no one else seems to know where to find it? Is it corruption? Is it a mole deeply implanted within the corporation? Psychic messages from the ghosts that Gabe Newell enslaves in their Seattle HQ?
We remembered an old, slightly broken RSS feed that they've forgotten to switch off.
I hope you've enjoyed this one-off, exclusive (but... nope, not yet Epic exclusive) look behind the scenes to the inner workings of Rock Paper Shotgundotcom. Remember, if you've enjoyed it, leave a comment saying how much! Please don't forget to like and subscribe. And come back soon for more of your favourite STEAM CHARTS!!!
The Steam Charts are compiled via Steam's internal charts of the highest grossing games on Steam over the previous week.