We're approaching the halfway point of the year, and the weekly Steam charts continue to paint a clear picture of which games are chewing up everyone's attention. These, as always, are the ten games with the most accumulated sales over the previous week.
Big May releases Dawn of War III and Outlast 2 have bowed out after only a couple of weeks, which is probably causing all kinds of panic somewhere- but what's taken their place?
Paradox's spacey 4X is rarely too far from the top ten, but a 15 spacebucks spaceprice-cut last spaceweek has spacepropelled it and its expansion spacepack back in.
I can vividly recall the day that single was released, when weeks of anticipation after hearing it on some jeans advert had reached fever-pitch amongst the youths of the UK. You couldn't move for floppy-haired, agitated schoolboys clutching £1.99 in the endless queue in Our Price that lunchtime. I couldn't afford it, so instead paid a Walkman-owning kid 10p per listen to his over the following week. Probably spent about £6 in the end.
Truly, a different world. Who watches on adverts on TV these days, after all?
8. Dead Cells
The only new entry this week combines a few dead-cert Steam hit qualities: Souls-inspired, roguelike, side-on pixelly art. However, oor Brendy reckons it's anything but cynical Twitch-farming, describing it as "rather good", "gorgeous" and "a nifty little thing", even if he thinks the Souls element isn't as strong as it could be.
Worth noting that Dead Cells is an early access game too, which puts the lie to the increasingly-made claim that that side of Steam is no longer much of a profit-making one.
Speaking of the UK's propensity for mass hysteria around songs they'd heard on telly in the 1990s, there's also Mr Oizo's Flat Beat (from another jeans advert), which also prompted a rush of purchases of shit cuddly toys...
...but at least that sound had some measure of credibility to it. The same cannot be said of Britain's most extreme music-off-of-the-TV folly in the 90s, the notorious Mr Blobby:
An enormous chart hit in 1993, that one, which no doubt will have residents of other nations wondering what the hell is wrong with Britain. That's something we're asking ourselves often these days, I assure you.
Nooooo! The half-price sale that propelled this to fifth position ended yesterday. If Dark Souls is a game about death and purgatory, then it seems my own spell in limbo entails repeatedly telling people about discounts on games only after those discounts have ended. Truly, I have suffered more than anyone in Lothric. You do read Friday's bargain roundup though, right?
Bethesda's Prey hasn't managed to make number one since its release - and I don't know how problematic that is, given that a great deal was clearly spent on promoting it - but perhaps Doom 2016 making its umpteenth return to the charts (this time thanks to a ridiculous $20 sale, but sorry, it's all over again) will calm a few fretting businessbots. Doom's surely done the numbers - I wonder if we might see a Wolfenstein: The Old Blood style expandalone this year.
Such was the UK's weakness for TV-based audio tripe in the 1990s that it is frankly a miracle that this advert for a chatline used only by legions of teenage boys hoping to be offered sexual favours by strangers was not spun-off into a full-length track. It would almost certainly have been at number one for 48 weeks:
Still chewing up my evenings a couple of weeks on. I'm taking my time with Prey, leaving no door unlocked and no item unrecycled. As I understand it, there's still a significant chunk of the game left to go, which may be mildly problematic as it increasingly seems I've hit that Elder Scrollsy thing where I'm massively overpowered too early on. (I can take down Nightmares with four shotgun blasts and in about as many seconds, for instance). Curse my packrat tendencies! Still having a great time too, in the way I have with little else this year so far.
I notice that the wider conversation about Battlegrounds has lately morphed from "oh God no not another one" to "heyyyyyyy". Whatever secret sauce was immediately obvious to battle royale game loyalists has, perhaps, also now become apparent to those who suffer from manshoot ennui. Heck, even I'm increasingly tempted to play it. DOING SOMETHING RIGHT.