Podcast: The toughest moral choices we’ve made

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All right, picture this. There’s five podcasts tied to a train track, and you’re on a train speeding toward them. On another track, there’s just one podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. Do you swap tracks and kill one podcast to save the other five? Or do you forge ahead? Take your time, it’s a difficult moral choice – exactly our topic this week. Think hard about it. No, listen, you should think about it very carefully. No, listen–

I know, but–

You can’t just p–

Ha ha, okay, stop the train. Joke’s over.

Stop the train.

STOP THE TRAIN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP THE TR– Read the rest of this entry »

Path of Exile’s upcoming Bestiary league adds zookeeping and blood-rituals to your repertoire

Bestiary

In The Fall of Oriath, you went to war with the gods themselves. In the Abyss, you fought ancient undead, led by a nameless lich-king and in the War For The Atlas, you set your sights on two almighty beings that create and destroy entire worlds on a whim. Now, Path of Exile‘s next league challenges you to… open a zoo? Well, that’s a bit different.

While not quite as ambitious as the expansions preceding it, the Bestiary league (due March 2nd) for Path of Exile looks to add a lot more flavour and tangential content to the popular free-to-play action RPG, designed to be accessible to all players from total beginners right up to endgame grind-fiends.

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Sea Of Thieves’ servers need plundering this weekend

Sea of Thieves

While I’ve not had the chance to find my sea legs yet, our Alec has greatly enjoyed his time thusfar with Rare’s upcoming co-op pirate sandbox adventure Sea of Thieves. Over the past month or two, beta testing events for the game have been stepping up, and now it’s in the final stretch of development. There’s just one thing left to do: Bracing for impact.

In order to help ensure that their servers don’t completely melt down on launch day, Rare are going to be running a series of Scale Testing beta weekends from now until release. The first of which is due to kick off tomorrow morning, 10am GMT, and end at the same time on Sunday morning.

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The original Devil May Cry trilogy gets the HD treatment on PC next month, plus a giveaway via Twitch Prime

Devil May Cry 3

It’s been a while since Capcom announced that the original Playstation 2 Devil May Cry trilogy would be making their way to PC, upscaled and polished up for modern machines. After going silent over the holidays, the Japanese publisher have finally piped up, and released a trailer for the updated bundle, along with a release date: March 13th.

Even though Dante’s iconic red duster never goes out of style, I feel that this debut on PC may be a little more than fashionably late. Even more strangely, Capcom may well torpedo their own launch plans by giving away the first of the three games to anyone subscribed to Amazon Prime as part of their Twitch perks package later this month.

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BenQ GL2580HM review: Great looks undermined by terrible contrast

BenQ GL2580HM

What’s this? A screen that isn’t prefaced by the words ‘best monitor for Final Fantasy XII‘? Well, I never. Yes, I’m having a small break from my 21:9 test quest to take a look at something altogether more affordable: the BenQ GL2580HM.

While not a ‘gaming monitor’ as such, this slimline 24.5in 1920×1080 TN display costs just £140 in the UK (or around $150 if you can find it in the US) and is arguably one of the most stylish monitors I’ve seen in some time. Let’s see if it’s any cop.

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Stardew Valley’s multiplayer beta expected for spring

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My farm in Stardew Valley is a place of solace. It’s a shrine to quiet contemplation, a valuable retreat from the demands of sociability, a hidey-hole built just for me and my thoughts. Why would I want to invite someone in and spoil all that?

Actually, none of that’s true. I’d love to romp around Stardew Valley with a friend in tow, and I’ll soon get the chance to: Stardew Valley’s 1.3 update has entered its QA phase. Update 1.3 will bring official support for online multiplayer, along with other (smaller) new features like the signs pictured above. In a shocking example of northern hemisphere bias, dev Eric Barone’s blogpost also mentions that he’s “still shooting for a spring release for the beta” – so any time from March through to June.

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Kingdom Come Deliverance mod adds unlimited saving

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come: Deliverance deliberately doesn’t allow you to save the game whenever you feel like it, insisting that you either buy or brew a bottle of something called Saviour Schnapps first. It’s a heady beverage that saves your game even as it gets you drunk, and by the sounds of things it doesn’t seem too easy a beverage to come by. While the game does autosave on occasion, it doesn’t do so when you exit out, so it’s understandable that one of the very first Kingdom Come mods is one that does away with this punishing save restriction.

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Meet the man who runs the Origin Museum, collecting the history of Wing Commander and Ultima

Joe Garrity

In the basement of an unassuming suburban home just outside Washington, D.C., you’ll find one of the largest collections of documents, data, images and props from Origin Systems, the company behind the Ultima and Wing Commander game series of the 80s and 90s.

The Origin Museum is owned and curated by Joe Garrity, and has been running since 1999, when Garrity lived in Virginia. Over the past 18 years, former Origin staff have donated entire offices worth of documents and even source code to the museum. Read the rest of this entry »

Fortnite update adds new grenade type, lunar new year clobber

Fortnite

After a bit of a delay, Fortnite’s Save the World mode (that’s the original, non-Battle Royale one) has finally received its promised Valentine’s Day update. The patch adds a few love-themed quests, along with rather a lot more Lunar New Year content that doesn’t have a ton to do with Mandatory Romance Day. As detailed on the Fortnite blog, update 2.5.0 whacks in four additional outfits and a pile of weapons with dragons on, while making plenty of bug fixes in the process.

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Have You Played… this mystery game?

A classic

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

A timeless classic. This game has been indulged by children and adults alike for so many decades that its artistry, ingenuity and grace cannot be denied. It is, without a doubt, one of the best games ever to sprout from mankind’s imagination. But what is it? Look below and you’ll find out. Read the rest of this entry »

Ace Jam created a space for games with asexual characters

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Asexuality is one of the most misunderstood identities under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella. Among other issues, it’s extremely rare to see asexual characters in games or wider media, and when they do appear, they often fall into harmful stereotypes. January’s Ace Jam invited developers to go some way to change this by creating games that feature characters on the asexual spectrum, and treat them respectfully. Read the rest of this entry »

Epistory dev’s Algo Bot swaps typing for coding

Algo Bot

I’ve never entirely understood the appeal of games featuring programming elements. They ask you to enact one of the trickiest parts of development, but without rewarding you with a finished game at the end. Algo Bot – a new puzzler from the developers of horsey type-’em-up Epistory, which Pip enjoyed a fair bit – features programming, but wraps it up in an attractive sci-fi world where WALL-E-esque robots bicker in gleaming spaceship hallways. It’s out now on Steam for $8.99/$6.47.

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Bought an AMD Ryzen Vega APU from Newegg this week? You could be in for a partial refund

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G

Earlier this week, AMD’s new Ryzen APUs with built-in Vega graphics – the Ryzen 3 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G – finally went on sale for $99 and $169 apiece. That’s how much AMD said they would cost and most retailers, lo and behold, have been selling them for those exact amounts.

Newegg, however, haven’t been playing ball this week, as their initial prices for the pair of Ryzen Vega APUs were around $20 more than their recommended retail prices. Fortunately, the metaphorical mob has retaliated quickly against these price shenanigans (hopefully by pelting them with old eggs), and affected customers are now being offered partial refunds to bring their purchases back in line with everyone else.

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Starmancer is a neat looking space station sim inspired by Dwarf Fortress

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If you want to get my attention, opening your Kickstarter pitch with a mention of transhumanism is a great way to go about that. Another great way is to make a game that’s essentially ‘RimWorld in space’, and developers Ominux Games seem to have succeeded on both counts.

Starmancer is a space station sim where you play as a human/AI hybrid tasked with managing a human crew. The devs point to Dwarf Fortress as an inspiration, with colonists that get up to sneaky stuff like blabbing about their days to their crew mates, forming relationships and potentially starting mutinies if you chuck their friends out of airlocks. Starmancer’s Kickstarter campaign is set to comfortably exceed its target, with an alpha that’ll start in the next few months and a full release planned for January 2019.

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Solve puzzles with split-screen in co-op platformer DYO

DYO

We first mentioned DYO a couple of years ago, when the one or two-player platformer impressed as part of the Games Made in Berlin collection. It’s a co-operative puzzler in the vein of The Lost Vikings or Trine, but with a novel mechanic allowing you to use the split-screen border itself to solve puzzles. For instance, by finagling the screen division just right, you might be able to erase a pesky barrier, or glue a hole in the floor back together. That’s exactly the kind of outside-the-box cleverness that keeps me interested in puzzle games, so I’m happy to see that an expanded version of DYO is now available on itch.io and Steam.

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Warhammer: Vermintide 2 washes in on March 8th

Vermintide 2

The Vermintide will be coming in on March 8th, developers Fatshark have announced, giving us less than a month with which to sharpen our axes, re-string our longbows, and generally mentally prepare to carve up hordes of ‘orrible ratmen in Warhammer: Vermintide 2. We’ve not covered the co-op FPS since its announcement last year, but since then it’s been made clear that the ratty Skaven have teamed up with those jerks from the Chaos army, meaning we’ll be fighting humans as well as rodents this time.

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Co-op puzzler Fossil Hunters erupts onto Steam

Fossil Hunters

While I feel that I’ve largely outgrown my childhood adoration of all things dinosaur-related (up to and including excavating ancient bone records), watching the trailer for Fossil Hunters made me squeal a little with joy, as my inner child bounced furiously off the walls of my cold and hollow adult soul.

Originally crowdfunded on Kickstarter and refined through a stint in Early Access, the final version of Reptoid Games’ cooperative game of fossil excavation and assembly is out now, and looks quite utterly charming, so far as I’m concerned.

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Space-Dwarf sim Deep Rock Galactic launches February

Deep Rock Galactic

Whether deep under-mountain or out in the void of space, Dwarves are one of the most stable of fantasy archetypes. They love their drink, they love their gems, and when given the chance they’ll always dig too greedily and too deep. You’ll get to do all of this in upcoming co-op shooter/mining expedition Deep Rock Galactic, which looks to blend Minecraft-ish spelunking with Left 4 Dead style procedural combat encounters, all wrapped up in a neat semi-low-fi art style.

While the final release of the game is still some ways off, developers Ghost Ship Games will be opening throwing open its doors to brave bearded pioneers later this month, with the first public build available via Steam Early Access on February 28th.

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Push Prey’s limits with this impressive lighting overhaul

Prey

Last year’s Prey was a lovely thing. Arguably one of the best immersive sims ever made, and despite its title being lifted from Bethesda’s back-catalogue, it had vastly more in common with System Shock than any other game. On top of being impressively designed, it looked quite nice thanks to consistently slick art direction, and ran excellently on just about any gaming-capable PC.

Some people with beefier machines felt a little let down, though, feeling that corners had been cut over the course of development to ensure smoother performance on lower-end hardware. Enter modder jmx777, and their rather clumsily named ‘Real Lights Plus Ultra Graphics’ mod, allowing you to squeeze an immediately noticeable chunk more graphical fidelity out of the game.

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The joy of mud in Spintires: MudRunner

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Spintires: MudRunner is a game about driving slowly through mud. It’s beautiful and detailed but also gruelling and unforgiving. The first level took me 3 hours and 21 minutes to complete, during which I drove 18.64 km. That means I averaged slightly less than 6 km per hour. It’s less Fast and Furious and more Grimy and Gradual.

I’d struggle to describe it as ‘fun’ without caveat because much of the game simply isn’t. Most of the time you’ll be driving a heavily laden lorry slowly along a muddy track, wheels slipping on the mud, dreading the moment when they bog down and spin helplessly with little hope of escape. It’s probably not what most people would choose to do in their free time. There’s a constant nagging thought that I could be doing something, anything, more enjoyable and productive. Read the rest of this entry »