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Brendan Caldwell

4 months ago

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The 11 nicest smiles in PC games

The human race evolved the facial expression known as the “smile” because we needed a way to silently communicate satisfaction to other members of our species. So we decided to bare our teeth at one another and squint. This stuck, and now even the characters of your favourite digital storyderby are doing it. It’s sort of disgusting, and yet… you know what, I like it.…

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Feature: Looking for love in all the wrong palaces

My quest to get married in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord

I met Arwa during a siege. She was a spearwoman of the Aserai. A fighty southerner who had been taken prisoner on four separate occasions, but still loved to go to war. She made me feel dizzy, a real knock-out. Or maybe that was the Imperial mace that cracked me across the skull. It's hard to say what mystery ailments arise from love, when you're…

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5 months ago

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The most satisfying physics in PC games

An obscenely rich teenager throws his VR controller across the room in a fit of blind panic while playing Half-Life: Alyx. It leaves the window of his bedroom at 5m/s. It falls 10m vertically and hits his neighbour’s greenhouse, smashing the glass. How many metres did the controller travel horizontally before coming to a stop in the tomatoes? Use a kinematic formula to determine your…

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The 10 best hells in PC games

“Hell is other people,” wrote Jean-Paul Sartre. “But also my favourite level in Doom.” He was a smart man, and he probably lives in hell now, on account of all the atheism. But listen, hell doesn’t seem that bad. Bit hot. Bit demonic. You could do a lot worse than a trip to the underworld, is what I’m saying, and as luck would have it,…

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The 9 unluckiest characters in games

It’s Friday the 13th, the day of Saint Badluck, patron saint of ladders and casinos. And it is a fabulous holiday. Out there, parades are getting ready to be rained on, and children are looking forward to tonight’s shenanigans, when they will dress up as mirrors and knock on doors, declaring: “sweets or I’ll smash myself”. I love Friday the 13th. So many cherished memories.…

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The most satisfying architecture in PC games

If it's not baroque, don't fix it. Little architecture joke for you there, just to kick off a dry topic with a giggle. You see, appreciating architecture is for people in beige cardigans. Folks who subscribe to magazines printed on paper so thick you can still calculate the tree’s age. You know the type I mean. Spectacled couples with non-Ikea coffee tables. Thirty-year-olds. People like…

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6 months ago

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The 9 dodgiest religions in games

Ah, religion. I know this is a topic we all have trouble agreeing on. But fear not, humble practitioner of a good pray, I am not here to squint angrily at your favourite book of life advice. I’m only here for the videogame religions. The ones that are very, very, very, very bad. You know, the gun-loving cults and the xenophobic people-burners. The (mostly) fictional…

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The 12 most extravagant lines of dialogue in games

The greasy realm of the videogame is not always the best place to look for good writing. For every Disco Elysium there are roughly 800 Detroit: Beyond Humans. But it is a good place to look for wondrous, over-the-top nonsense. I’m talking about character dialogue so flamboyant and exaggerated, you could insert some line breaks and it would instantly become a verse in a glam…

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The 10 most unhealthy relationships in games

Happy love day, you disgusting piece of filth. Got you. That was an example of what today’s young people call “neggling”. This is when you are nice and nasty in such quick succession that the body becomes inexplicably aroused. Spasms of lust take over both neggler and negglee, resulting in a paroxysm of extramarital sex and, subsequently, the degeneration of humanity. This is just one…

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The 8 most shocking uses of electricity in games

Imagine a world without electricity. Horrible. What would we use to blend our smoothies? How would we know when uncle Derek hits the metal bit again in the Sunday game of Operation? Electricity has roughly one dozen uses, and yet it is in the realm of videogames when we see its most fantastical and offensive capabilities brought screaming to life. To celebrate the important role…

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7 months ago

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The 10 most annoying children in PC games

Children, life’s great copy-paste. Adorable, drooling idiots with no self-control and a habit of yelling embarrassing facts to the entire supermarket. In our everyday lives, human children are a snotty emblem of hope, vulnerability, and aspiration. In videogames, they are a cursed harbinger of escort missions, narrative roadblocks, “cutesy” voice acting, and precocious dialogue. They are annoying. But hold on, that’s the point. Many of…

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The 8 most peaceful gardens in games

Put the 9mm down, for crying out loud. Not every game is about shooting your enemies in the shin bones. Honestly. Give me that, here, take this trowel. Now, follow me, through this tranquil landscape of blooming daffodils and perfectly arranged stone paths covered in happy moss. Yes, that’s it, you want a turn around the garden. A bit of soil on your fingers. And…

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The 11 worst years of our future, according to games

Here we stand in the dark neo-year of 2020. The spam bots have risen to prominence, the governments of the world are bickering over follower counts, and history class has been renamed "meme studies". Somewhere, in a dusty room in the RPS treehouse, a rogue human is compiling a list article for a crumbling PC games website. It is a warning to all those who…

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The 8 coldest monsters in PC games

I have spent the winter holidays making a list, checking it twice, trying to find who is naughty on ice. But unlike the popular red-clad demon of the north, my list is reserved for terrors, demons and critters larger than 4 feet tall. I’m talking about cold monsters. They’re very chic this week. You see, while Nic has been battering majestic species of endangered giganto-moose…

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8 months ago

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9 of the best games with time travel

And with that we are another year closer to the eagerly anticipated cooling of all matter. You may have read that the concept of weeks, months and years is the culmination of humanity’s collective understanding of a complicated astronomical pattern. It's an interesting take. However, the correct hypothesis was posited by your stoner housemate Jed from university. “Time is, like, a construct,” he said, with…

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The 8 worst gifts for PC gamers

There are only five days left to furtively flick through your cousin’s Facebook page in a desperate attempt to understand them as a person. But you do know one thing: they love to play those videogames. That’s enough to go on, surely. You can just type “gamer gifts” into the cybervoid and see what comes out! No. Do not do that.Here are the 8 worst…

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The 9 stompiest mechs in PC games

Mech love, not war. That is the lesson we must learn from the futuristic prophecies of the MechWarrior games. Yes, it is very noble to slam your big steel shoes upon a separatist’s bedroom, and to laser him in the head. But would it not bring greater valour, greater unity, greater enlightenment, if those same 65-ton brogues were used … to dance! No. Here is…

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The 9 harshest winters in games

‘Tis the season / use a brolly / tra la la la / la la la la. Hello, it's me, the list goblin, here in this festive first week of December to deliver a big black bin bag of presents to you. And by presents, I mean a single irrevocable inventory of the most disastrous and terrible winters in the videogames of recent history. Yes,…

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9 months ago

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17 reasons to be thankful in games

Gather round, descendants of unwelcome occupiers. It is time to celebrate turkeys again. Now, I don’t have any comically large birds to slaughter, but I do recognise the emotional benefit of reflection, which is what this questionable holiday is all about. Being thankful. There are many small things we videosgamers take for granted, the stuff you don’t even think about. But tiny “quality of life”…

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The 7 most needless minigames

Minigames are the coffee Revel of videogames. They are harmless, infrequent and unpleasant to think about. We accept their presence, yet no one has ever eaten a pack of Revels and wished for more coffee nuggets. Nobody completed Final Fantasy X and thought: “Needs more Blitzball”. That minigames exist as a mild distraction inside the glowing guts of other games is itself ridiculous. Imagine you…

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