Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Cara Ellison)

The first time I ever wrote anything about games, it was because I was still brokenhearted about a relationship that had dissolved years ago. PC Gamer edited the 4000 word essay into a six pager about Dota in 2012 and it is still one of the best things I have ever written. But wherever I go, whatever I do, games participate in a meaningful way in many of the relationships I see. Welcome to a special edition of S.EXE: the love letters edition. Brace yourself, you are in for chop. Here are seven stories about falling in love next to a loading screen.

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PC Gamer

The good news in Save Haven, the third Alien: Isolation DLC pack that launched today on Steam, is that you've found the one safe room on Sevastopol Station. The bad news is that you can't stay there. Such is life for Hughes, the Sevastopol Communications Manager and new playable character, who must navigate the perils of the "Salvage Challenge" if he wants to get out alive.

Things, inevitably, gets worse: The new Salvage mode map is twice as large as any previous Survivor mode map, and you'll have to complete a series of ten tasks in order to clear a path to escape. Best of all, you only get one life, and if you blow it, you're returned to your last saved challenge, with your final score and position on the leaderboards penalized accordingly. Completing challenges unlocks rewards and points, and those points can be traded for a save slot, but again, your score will suffer.

Safe Haven is the third of five planned DLC packs for Alien: Isolation, which as you'll recall is a pretty good game—and by "pretty good," I mean "Game of the Year" around these parts. It goes for $8 on Steam, and is also available as part of the Alien: Isolation season pass.

PC Gamer

The Writers Guild of America has named its nominees for the 2014 'outstanding achievement in writing for videogames' award. Set to be decided at the 2015 Writers Guild Awards on February 14, the games include Alien: IsolationAssassin's Creed: UnityAssassin's Creed: Freedom Cry and The Last of Us: Left Behind. Note how all of these games have a colon in their title.

It makes sense that our 2014 game of the year should be among the nominees, but keep in mind that the Writers Guild of America only nominates members of the WGA Videogame Writers Caucus, or those who have applied for membership, which probably rules out of a lot of other worthy games released last year. Games also needed to be released between December 1, 2013 and November 30, 2014, which mercifully rules out The Crew, to name one example.

Here are the nominees in handy list form:

Alien: Isolation, Writers Dan Abnett, Dion Lay, Will Porter; SEGA

Assassin's Creed: Freedom Cry, Lead Scriptwriter Jill Murray; Scriptwriter Melissa MacCoubrey; Story by Jill Murray, Hugo Giard, Wesley Pincombe; Ubisoft

Assassin's Creed: Unity, Story by Alexandre Amancio, Sylvain Bernard, Travis Stout; Scriptwriting Alexandre Amancio, Travis Stout, Russell Lees, Darby McDevitt, Ceri Young; Additional Scriptwriting Jeffrey Yohalem; Ubisoft

The Last of Us: Left Behind, Written by Neil Druckmann; Sony Computer Entertainment

PC Gamer

Get your bargains in while you still can - Steam's Holiday Encore Sale, bringing together 40 of the most popular discounts of the last couple of weeks, ends in just a few hours.

Until 6pm in the UK (10am PST) you can get PC Gamer award-winners like Alien: Isolation, Divinity: Original Sin and Endless Legend for a cut price - or non-award-winners too, if you like.

There's enough choice there to suit most of you and prices are, as you'd expect from a Steam sale, very reasonable in general.

The full list of discounts is right here:

  • 7 Days to Die - 50% off
  • Age of Empires II HD - 80% off
  • Alien: Isolation - 50% off
  • Arma 3 - 50% off
  • Assassin's Creed Unity - 33% off
  • BioShock Infinite - 75% off
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel - 50% off
  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - 25% off
  • Company of Heroes 2 - 75% off
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - 50% off
  • Dark Souls II - 63% off
  • Divinity: Original Sin - 33% off
  • Don't Starve - 75% off
  • Endless Legend - 50% off
  • Euro Truck Simulator 2 - 85% off
  • Far Cry 4 - 20% off
  • Football Manager 2015 - 33% off
  • Game of Thrones - A Telltale Games Series - 25% off
  • Garry's Mod - 75% off
  • Kerbal Space Program - 40% off
  • Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes - 33% off
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition - 80% off
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - 40% off
  • Mount & Blade: Warband - 80% off
  • Payday 2 - 75% off
  • Prison Architect - 80% off
  • Saints Row IV - 75% off
  • Shovel Knight - 33% off
  • Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth - 40% off
  • South Park: The Stick of Truth - 66% off
  • Space Engineers - 50% off
  • The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth - 33% off
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - 75% off
  • The Forest - 33% off
  • The Long Dark - 50% off
  • This War of Mine - 25% off
  • Total War: Rome II - Emperor Edition - 75% off
  • Transistor - 66% off
  • Wasteland 2 - 50% off
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order - 66% off
PC Gamer

Two Sega-published xenomorph-based games - Aliens: Colonial Marines and Rebellion's 2010 version of Aliens vs Predator - are no longer available to purchase directly through steam.

Some might think it's because they're pap, but it's likely because of licenses expiring and all of that silly gubbins that's hard for us normies to understand.

Basically it's a regular thing for licensing issues to stop games from being on sale via certain outlets - we've seen it with a bunch of Activision's licensed titles in recent years, as well as a similar situation with Crysis 2 the other year.

It's alright though, you can still buy both titles in physical form, and digital stores like Green Man Gaming offer both that can still be activated on Steam. (Here and here, in case you want to punish yourself).

And it's even more alright because you can continue to ignore a terrible game (Colonial Marines) and a devastatingly average one (AvP), instead picking up our game of the year, Alien: Isolation, or the infinitely better non-2010 version of Aliens vs Predator.

[via Reddit]

Announcement - Valve
The Steam Holiday Encore Sale starts today! We brought back 40 of the most popular deals to give you one last chance to pick them up while they are on sale. Only 2 days left to take advantage of huge savings on thousands of games throughout our store.

Steam Holiday Encore Deals include:


Participating in the 2014 Steam Holiday Sale will also earn you exclusive Holiday Sale Trading Cards. Collect all 10 cards during the sale to earn the Holiday Sale 2014 Badge, backgrounds and emoticons! This is your last chance to craft the 2014 Holiday Sale Badge.

The Steam Holiday Sale runs until 10AM PST, January 2nd.

PC Gamer
PC Gamer

With a sprinkle of holiday magic and a massive dose of sarcasm, we're continuing our look at what 2014's PC games would be like in an alternate reality where graphics cards were never invented. It's more of the text adventures that never were!

PC Gamer
PC Gamer

We like cheap PC components and accessories. But you know what we like even more? Expensive PC components and accessories that are on sale! We ve partnered with the bargainmeisters at TechBargains to bring you a weekly list of the best component, accessory, and software sales for PC gamers.

Some highlights this week: The Steam Holiday Sale is a go and has too many deals to round up here! The Dell UltraSharp U2412 monitor is down to $320 on Dell's official site and comes with a $100 Dell giftcard. Separate from the Steam sale, GreenManGaming is having a huge amount of sales on a bunch of games, but a lot of them are short lived. And not one to be left out of the party, Amazon is also heavily discounting digital games, including our  Game of the YearAlien: Isolation for only $25.

— Amazon is having a huge holiday digital games sale, including Command & Conquer Ultimate Collection for $5, Skyrim for $5, Grand Theft Auto 4 for $3, Dead space 3 for $4, Alien: Isolation for $25, and a lot more.

— GreenManGaming has a set of 24 hour deals including Fallout, the Valve Complete Pack, Tropico, and more for 75% off, and you can take another 20% off with the code: WINTER-SALE20-GROGRE

— GreenManGaming also has a bunch 48 hour deals including DMC, Dead Rising 3, Duke Nukem 3D, and more which you can also get an additional 20% off with the code: WINTER-SALE20-GROGRE

— GreenManGaming, not short on deals, is also having a Deals from the Deep sale on deadly games like Typing of the Dead, Left4Dead, Soul Reaver, Dishonored, and more which you can also get an additional 20% off with the code: WINTER-SALE20-GROGRE

— The entire Mass Effect Trilogy is on $13.50 on Amazon.

— And, lest we forget, the Steam Holiday Sale is in full force with more deals then we can possibly list here.

— The Lenovo Helix Convertible Laptop is down to $949.99 on Lenovo s site with the code USPHLX33U128

— The Corsair Carbide Series 500R ATX Mid Tower computer case is $79.99 on Newegg after a $20 rebate and with the code EMCWHWA35

— The Gigabyte GV-N75TOC-2GI GeForce GTX 750Ti graphics card is $114.99 on Newegg after a $30 rebate, and comes with $50 of in-game currency for Strife, War Thunder, and Infinite Crisis.

— The Corsair RM Series RM650 650W Full Modular Power Supply (80PLUS GOLD) is $79.99 on Newegg after a $20 rebate.

— The Dell UltraSharp U2412 24in 1920x1200 monitor is $319.99 on Dell s site and comes with a $100 Dell gift card. To see the deal, click "click here for pricing" then small business.

— The Dell S2715H 27in LED LCD Monitor is $299.99 on Dell s site and comes with a $100 Dell gift card. To see the deal, click "click here for pricing" then small business.

— The Crucial M550 512GB SSD is $209.99 on Newegg with the code EMCWHHH25

For more tech deals, visit techbargains.com.

A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to online stores. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which help support our work evaluating components and games.

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