Words are ill-equipped to describe how dull this week's Steam Charts truly are. Read on to see how I combat that. But also, thank goodness there's at least the interesting feature that Plunkbat has, for the first time since it shot to the top of the charts on its release, dropped to third place. Its year-long grip on the top spot was beginning to waver in recent weeks, increasingly finding itself at #2 in the face of a big new release. Now its weakening dominance has seen it slip another spot down. Could Plunkles be seeing its rule coming to an end?
(Oh, and look at Monster Hunter World, still here weeks before it's released! Imagine if the PC version were to be woefully technically poor, or some other hypothetical possibility?! Wouldn't all those people who've been paying a minimum of £50 for an unreleased, unreviewed port look incredibly silly.)
But look, I'm not going to reward you lot for buying the same ten games you always buy, every week. You need to learn. These things have consequences. So this week's punishment is a game of consequences played by the RPS team. I'm going to start a lovely story, and each RPSer is going to see the last eight words of the previous paragraph to continue it. And if you don't like it, buy some more interesting games.
John: It was an ordinary day in the offices of PC Gaming Website, arch rivals of the plucky team at RPS. Editor-in-chief Ross Paltry wandered into work, merrily sipping a can of Mountain Dew and munching on Doritos, accepted bribes spilling out from his pockets with every step. "Hello everyone!" he called with his infectious enthusiasm and sores. "Let's get to work destroying the good folk of Rock, Paper, Shotgun," he continued, carefully pronouncing the commas.
Immediately his nefarious crew began posting ill-advised think pieces and articles complaining about framerates, all the while knowing that RPS would be watching, sighing, desperately hoping for better.
Brendan: And better is what they’d get! A better mouse mat that is. This mouse mat was so smooth, so finely embroidered, so incorrigibly silky, that the RPS team gathered around it in wonder. But it wasn’t long before the eyeballs started to dart around. Who would be the one to inherit this miraculous piece of wondrous fibre? Not John, surely. He was too frightened of its awesome power, too scared of what he might do if he just… reached out… and touched it… No! He wouldn’t. He left the circle of silent writers, disgusted with his own vile desires. But he wasn’t alone in his abject failure. One by one, the others squinted at each other, and crumbled as they met the unblinking gaze of a rival. Graham left. Then Noa. Matthew and Katharine muttered as they broke the circle. Dave pushed the others aside as he departed, furious and bored. Matt said he hated mouse mats and never wanted one anyway, then spat on the floor and left. Bit by bit, the circle of mouse mat admirers dissolved, until only two remained. Alice and Alice. Their stony faces went unmoving, unblinking, unstoppable. And that’s when the mouse mat began to speak.
Alice O: "Mmhrmmrmrfmfmm" it said. "Fnrnr!" It coughed and spat out a mouthful of dead skin, salt, dried coffee, and other flakes and particles you couldn't identify. "As I was saying..."
Dave: Before finishing your sentence, a woman with a flamboyant hat forcefully opens a door with a frightful slam. "Where is my mead?!" she exclaims, slurred as if to indicate her mead might be already consumed. "Don't you think you've had enough?" you ask with an exasperated tone; you're tired of the constant interruptions and this ghastly woman is impeding in your conversation. "How are you!" she bellows, a waft of nauseating sweetness coursing through the air as she enunciates every word. "I put up with your nonsense day in and day out, and this is the thanks I get? A pox on you, and your kind!" With that, she slumps to the ground with a sickening thud.
Matthew: The noise was enough to startle a nearby seagull, sending the panicked bird careening through the open front door of an adjacent house. Little did the bird know that the building was undergoing expensive renovations for a particularly demanding client, and, as a result, was full of highly-strung builders armed with all manner of seagull-whacking tools. Hammers were thrown and wrenches were swung, but it was the unlikeliest of instruments that did for the bird. Have you ever seen an angle grinder applied to a gull? It’s not something you forget quickly. The mess you can wash away easily, yes; the smell of vapourised beak sticks with you.
Alice B: [There's always one - Ed] It sticks with all of us. You can always tell if someone survived the Rout at Trafalgar Square. Something about the look in the eye. We’ll start at the sound of washing drying on a line, at curtains by an open window. Any flapping sound, really.
We were covering the retreat of a bunch of civilians that day. Plan was, we go down into the Underground tunnels like the other groups. The birds won’t go underground. Makes ‘em feel nervous. Trapped. It was the main advantage we had in those days. Anyway, a few TFL workers had gotten panicked and they'd drawn the gates across at Leicester Square. We were trying to break through but it’s bad to stay still for too long, and some sparrows were already tracking us. We could either cut across to Covent Garden or make a break down towards Charing Cross and Embankment. We were stupid. We made the wrong decision.
We got about half way when we heard them. Know what a thousand pigeon wings flapping all at once sounds like? Sounds like hardly nothing at all. But you’re in enough battles with those sky rats and you learn to fear that whisper. A wall of ‘em - all grey feathers and evil - they came at us from Orange Street. I saw them cut off a woman holding a baby. I tried to go back but my sarge, he -
Anyway, we didn’t have a choice. They pushed us exactly where they wanted us to go. By the time we saw the fountains, we knew it was already too late.
Matt: The monstrosity that emerged from the water dwarfed every threat we’d faced so far. If only we’d taken the warning seriously. If only we’d listened, we might have made it out alive. Frederic, who’d been quiet up to this point, was the first to fall. Then Timmy. Then Sandra and the rest. I was the only one left.
Graham: I did the only thing that made sense: I opened my mouth and did a big sick. Brown liquid flecked by small clumps of matter - bagel, perhaps? - launched out of my mouth and down my vest. In my panic, I tried to stem the tide by putting my hand over my mouth, forgetting that this is not how sick works. The brown spray rebounded off my hand and back over my own face, caking my cheeks until finally there was nothing left.
Katharine: I glanced down. Pale flesh was now chalk white, but as I looked a bit closer, I saw a milky haze swimming inside some kind of invisible net where my skin used to be. My body was no longer comprised of veins and capillaries, bones and muscle. There really was nothing left at all. I didn't know what to do. What did this mean? Is this what happened to the others? I looked up, turning whatever remained of my head from side to side. The world around me seemed… different, almost distorted round the edges like the eye of a camera lens. There was a door to my right. Should I go through it?
1. No Man's Sky
Alice B: [Encore! -Ed] I could feel everyone watching me. Was my internal struggle that obvious? If I stepped through that door I’d be made junior executive vice president of sales. I’d get an office next to Mr. Peterson. Maybe in a few years I’d get to drop the junior.
But did that really matter when a sweet, simple country girl was giving birth to my child in a hospital on Guerrero Street? This is it, Daniels, I thought to myself. This is where the shit hits the fan, and maybe it’ll get all over your suit and tie. But who cleans it up afterwards, huh?
Becky, still as plucky as ever, stood behind her desk. “Go on, Mr. Daniels!” she said. “What’re you waiting for? You said it yourself, you spent your whole life working towards this!”
But you already know what I chose to do, don’t you? Because we’re all the same, in the end. Hell, if there’s just one thing I hope you learned today, it’s that. Took me a bit too long to figure it out. I may live on a goat farm now, but you tell me which version of Mr. Daniels is really the rich one.
The Steam Charts are compiled via Steam's internal charts of the highest grossing games on Steam over the previous week.