The best bargains
The Steam summer sale is in full blaze. For a while it even blazed so hot that the servers went on fire and all the price stickers peeled off the games. Either that or the store just got swamped with cheapskates looking for the best bargains. Cheapskates like you! Well, don’t worry. We’ve rounded up some recommendations – both general tips and some newly added staff choices.
Here are the things you should consider owning in your endless consumeristic lust for a happiness which always seems beyond reach. You’re welcome.
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Doing what developers aren't
Hannah just wanted to be a farmer. Not a male farmer. Not a female farmer. Just a farmer that didn’t have to suffer NPC after NPC lumping them into one gender or the other. Hannah’s hopes rose with the release of Stardew Valley, but after jumping into the farming sim they discovered it offered only male and female gender identities, with he/she pronouns to match. As someone who identifies as non-binary, Hannah couldn’t help but be disappointed.
“I’ve almost come to expect little to no representation,” says Hannah. “Being able to play a character that is different from myself is fun and interesting, but playing one true to myself I find is often more fun. It feels more real if you are in the world rather than just an observer playing a person in that world.”
Unwilling to sit idly by, Hannah took it upon themselves to broaden Stardew Valley’s gender diversity, modding the game so that NPCs referred to the protagonist with gender-neutral pronouns and replacing the gender symbols in the character creator with ungendered body-type indicators.
The response from other players was overwhelming. Read the rest of this entry »
No 2017 games included
Cor blimey, it’s only the weekly Steam Charts! As always, these are based on the accumulated sales on Steam over the previous week, not what’s doing best for itself at this exact moment in time.
A nice number one this week, but a rather old-fashioned top ten otherwise – with one unexpected aberration.
N.B. there is NO VENGABUS this week. Repeat NO VENGA BUS. It’ll return when it is most needed. Read the rest of this entry »
Mass produced murder
Decoding is a regular column about the games we love, and the tricks and traditions that make them tick.
“Oh shit, I pressed the wrong button and killed that guy.”
It happens to the best of us. You could play Watch Dogs 2 [official site] for days without firing a gun, or causing a fatal traffic accident, or beating someone to death with a billiard ball. Lead character Marcus Holloway doesn’t seem like the kind of person who’d leave bodies in his wake, and the ease with which he can become a killer is jarring. Like so many of our protagonists, he walks through life with the safety off and his finger on the trigger.
Open world games, particularly those of the urban variety, have a violence problem, and it’s mechanical rather than philosophical.
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