PC Gamer

Games confront us with failure all the time. It could be the famous YOU DIED message of Dark Souls, or the unfavourable scorecard at the end of a hard-fought round of Rocket League. In the heat of the moment calm Vulcan exteriors can crack. Curses are uttered. Innocent controllers are thrown out of windows. Things can get intense.

Some games induce rage more than others. A long game of Dota 2 squandered by one error will understandably leave some participants furious, but when we started writing about the games that made us quit in anger some surprises turned up. Even a serene adventure like The Vanishing of Ethan Carter or a strategy game like Civ can trigger a moment of total despair. Here is a collection of our ragequit stories. Share your own in the comments.

Rocket League and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Samuel Roberts

About ten years ago I used to break games, controllers and keyboards on a regular basis after losing at something (without going into it, losing my Ifrit card in Final Fantasy VIII s Triple Triad to the game s awful random rule ended up costing me 30). Then, in the last few years I thought I d mellowed out, sailing through much of my twenties with only a vanquished 360 controller (vanquished by my foot—I don t remember why) to show for it. Turns out, this was delusional and I m still furious all of the time. Usually when I m playing online.

Rocket League came out last year. I must ve reinstalled that game about five or six times after having bad games and deleting it from my Steam library, and it s always for the same reason—losing when I feel I didn t deserve to, either because my teammate was rubbish or because I was (usually the latter). The worst time was when I turned my computer off at the wall after, probably, an own goal. I am a tit. I m staying away from competitive games from now on, going back to my precious little bubble of mowing down NPCs in a bid to see the closing credits of story-based games because I m too much of a baby to compete with other humans. Wah! In a similar vein, I also wasn t massively keen on the time we lost an amateur match of Dota to a surprise team of experienced players, and my measured response was to never play Dota again.

I tend to have more moments of indescribable disappointment than ragequitting these days. This happened to me with The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the first-person adventure released in 2014. I was enjoying the feeling of being in that world a lot, and while I loved a few of the individual, weirder moments I encountered in that world, I didn t really like the story that much at all. I wandered into a mine, went down some stairs and a monster walked up to me and killed me without any explanation. I turned it off, uninstalled it and went to bed. It s a very mellow form of ragequitting.

Now, I ve been told there s a very easy way to get past this bit by PC Gamer s Tony Ellis, and I don t doubt it. But there was something so crushing about this seemingly random death in a game about walking through an environment and absorbing story that I just had to leave it. I didn t play games for an entire month after. I m sure it s not just Ethan Carter s fault, but I found that moment so oddly depressing that I needed a month off from the entire medium. Still, I very much enjoyed the trees and the tense atmosphere, and maybe one day I ll go back and activate the simple solution for getting past that monster. And then I ll take another month off playing games.

Nuclear Throne

Wes Fenlon

A lot of things explode in Nuclear Throne. Barrels. The grenades and rockets you fire out of very dangerous weapons. Worm things. Frog things. Cars. I ve died many times in Nuclear Throne, often due to one type of explosive or another. Usually that death comes swiftly and unexpectedly, and I sigh or go UGH and start up another round. But sometimes that death is annoying enough to make me mash the ESC key until I m back on my desktop to cool off. And man, nothing in Nuclear Throne has managed to piss me off more than a stupid exploding car.

The cars are just environmental hazards to avoid or use to your advantage. Shoot em and they can take out a good chunk of enemies. Stand near them when bullets are incoming, and you might be blown up yourself. Got it? Easy to understand. I never took damage from an exploding car. Until. UNTIL. Until I cleared out a level and the portal to the next level appeared near me with a boom, as it always does. Near me also happened to be near a car. And when a portal appears near a car with a boom, that car explodes. And when you re near a car and it explodes, even as you re being dragged helplessly into the portal that whisks you away to the next level, you take damage. And, in my case, die. And, also in my case, mash the ESC key so hard it will forever fear the touch of an index finger.

Fuck you, portal. Fuck you, car.

I relaunched Nuclear Throne three minutes later.

Tomb Raider

Angus Morrison

I ragequit a series. One of my favourite series, in fact, but despite knowing that I burn with the self-righteous anger of a fanboy, I won t go back to Tomb Raider. Each time I post about an impending Rise of the Tomb Raider release I secretly wish that Microsoft s exclusivity deal had been that little bit more exclusive. I retreat to a dark corner so as to escape the vile glow of other people s excitement.

I tolerated the new Tomb Raider, for a time. The blocky climbing frame formula of the previous games was ancient after all, and the series was due for a refresh, but Crystal Dynamics refreshed it so hard it became something else, namely an over-earnest story about a psychotic, angst-ridden gap year.

The open, choose-your-own-route environments had a dash of brilliance about them, but on every clifftop was a platoon to be mown down while teen Lara warbled about Bastards! in a comically bad British accent. And the actress is British! I got so sick of shooting things and failing QTEs that I left the main story in search of what I was led to believe would be a tomb to raid: The Tomb of the Lost Adventurer. It was in the name. What I got was a lone physics puzzle, but as I was willing to try anything to relive Lara s glory days at that point, I gave it a crack anyway.

The lone physics puzzle bugged. The body of a crashed plane I had to topple to make a bridge just hung in the air devoid of support. The sole remnant of Tomb Raider s heritage as a puzzler was inexplicably borked. I m done.

Super Hexagon

James Davenport

Sometimes I wonder what it would take for a video game to kill a person. During my senior year of college, I found Super Hexagon. I dabbled with the mobile version between classes, but didn t get serious until I could sit across from 50 inches of warping, pulsing, spiraling shapes on an obscene TV via my PC. Games rarely hold my attention for more than their running length or the first few times I hit a difficulty wall. There are just too many other interesting games to try out, and I get anxious about missing something special.

Super Hexagon consumed me. I spent hours and hours trying to beat my friends high scores on every level, and eventually unlocked the final stage, Superhexagonest. At first, it seemed impossible to survive for 60 seconds, the requirement to win a given stage. During a weekend visit back home, I ignored my family for a day, working to hit that sweet 60. Hours of attempts didn t even net a close run. Sleep was difficult that night.

Immediately after waking up, I booted up the game, still not entirely conscious. It was magic. Like some kind of sleepyboy superhuman, I hit 45 seconds with ease and kept going. Suddenly aware of my nearly perfect run, I started to wake up. 55 seconds, still going. My hands start shaking. 57 seconds and the sweat rolls in. 58 and I nearly cry out. 59 and I fuck it. Without a word, I got dressed, packed up the dogs into the pickup and drove up Elk Ridge, a mountainous forested area ten miles out of town. I brought headphones and set Boards of Canada on shuffle. My dogs were excited for the impromptu walk, and started peeing on every tree and bush they could. This was something I could control, something I could win. So I peed on their pee until my place in our little hierarchy was made clear. We walked for a while, spooked a black bear, sat on a log, and then went home. I didn t touch Super Hexagon for months.

Spelunky

Chris Livingston

Not only is Spelunky the rare game that makes me ragequit, it s the only game that always makes me ragequit. I never finish on a high note: if I have a good run but die, I always play again to try to best it. If I have a terrible run, I keep playing until I have a better one, but then after that better run, as I said, I keep pushing until I have another terrible one. It doesn t help that I ve never once successfully beat the game, which means every single session has ended in disappointment or frustration. And we re talking about over a thousand sessions.

What s more frustrating is that the rage is directed at myself rather than the game, as my deaths are pretty much always caused by a mistake, a stupid risk, or an error brought on by trying to be overly cautious due to a previous mistake or stupid risk. Spelunky is harsh but generally fair: I ve learned how everything works so there are no real surprises. I love it, but stink at it, and the only way I see not ragequitting it is to beat it, which I just can t seem to do. I hate you, Spelunky. Never change.

Civilization V

Tyler Wilde

When I was a kid, a friend mercilessly pummeled me at Street Fighter 2 and then said I was a gaylord, so I threw the controller at him and power-walked out of his house. They called me sensitive back then. I don t really get too mad in competitive games anymore, though. I ve spit angry half-words at Rocket League teammates here and there, because what are they even doing, but I do it with my mic off, because I m not a jerk. I ve never left in the middle of a match, except once when my roommate started uploading a YouTube video and my ping went to hell and so I had to go throw the controller at him.

What really gets to me is Civilization V. When I ve got a sweet little empire going, and I m just about to realize my master blueprint of roads and port towns and cozy, defensible foothill settlements, some bastard like Alexander the Great rolls up to my capital with a bunch of siege engines. I ve been tinkering with trade routes and figuring a military can come later, trying to make a pretty civilization before a toothy one, and Alexander just has to pop in and kick over my sandcastle. I play this way almost every time, even though I know better. I probably Alt-F4 half the time I play Civ these days. I wonder if I wouldn t prefer to play without any other civilizations. Just me, alone, slowly covering the world with little buildings.

Dark Souls

Tom Senior

Ragequit moments are deliberately built into Dark Souls. As you push into a new location you steal souls from hollowed corpses that Alt-F4 d out of existence long ago. With each new difficulty spike Dark Souls dares you join them. It's clever, but it doesn't make me feel any better when things go wrong.

In fact, knowing this only makes me angry about my own anger. I'm playing right into their hands. When the Four Kings' homing purple missiles of hot bullshit one-shot me, a noise like a strangled moped emerges from my throat. I throttle my pad and grimace like a Sith lord on the bog. Sometimes I say "whyyyyyy" out loud. It is very undignified.

The burning fury in my soul can only be resolved by blaming things. I blame my ageing Xbox 360 controller, with its stunted insensitive shoulder bumpers. I blame FromSoft, for everything. I blame the laws of chance, for some reason, even though damage in Dark Souls is metered out through blows and counter-blows without need for dice rolls. I blame the bus-wide butt-cheeks of the Demon Firesage for blocking the camera during a deadly area-of-effect attack. Screw it all. Turn it off.

I ve had a stuttering relationship with Dark Souls, then. I was left so exhausted by the descent through Blight Town that I stopped playing for a few months. I put it down after attempting the opening section of Anor Londo, which has you running up and down buttresses under heavy arrow fire that knocks you to your death. But looking back, it was a broadly positive experience. Dark Souls infuriating moments are matched by euphoric highs. Even in the throes of agonising frustration, at least Dark Souls made me feel something. Few games put me through the emotional wringer in such a way.

Fuck the Bed of Chaos forever, though.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

I’m used to Spelunky [official site] speedruns being filled with incredible feats, but the “No Gold True Pacifist Hell Run” below is a thing of wonder. To clarify: entering into the game’s Hell world requires obtaining the Ankh from the Black Market, killing Anubis for his staff, killing Olmec, and completing the game requires killing Yama in hell. How do you kill things without violence? Well, you’ll see.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

On Tuesday at the  Awesome Games Done Quick bi-annual charity gaming marathon, Spelunky's creator, Derek Yu, jokingly asked on the Twitch stream if anyone had ever done a combined no-gold pacifist run of his platformer. A day later, Yu posted to his Twitter account that he had received an answer. YouTube user krille71 uploaded a video today showing a no-gold pacifist run: not only beating the game without collecting any gold or gems but also without directly killing any enemies, including bosses, including the bossiest boss of all. You can watch it above.

Combining these two feats into a single run seems impossible, but by now we know that Spelunky junkies are capable of just about anything. What's really neat, however, despite the extreme talent on display, is how krille71 deals with Olmec and King Yama. Olmec he hides from before bombing his way to Hell's entrance, then using a couple stone blocks to stand on so he can climb inside, leaving Olmec behind (and alive). I certainly wouldn't call his encounter with Yama pacifism, since he tears Yama's face off, carries it to some spikes, and lets it be jabbed to death. For the impatient, you can see it happen at 34:50.

I hadn't seen this particular technique used before. If you've fought Yama, you're aware his face comes off during the fight and flies around the room dumping fireballs on you. There are a few ways to deal with him, typically stickybombs, ranged weapons, or using an eggplant (if you happen to be talented enough to carry one the entire way through the game). But krille71 actually pulls Yama's face off and carries it away before it detaches on its own.

Derek Yu explained it on Twitter, remarking that monsters and items in Spelunky are both derived from the same generic entity class. Items can be picked up, and unless their "isHoldable" flag has been set to false, so can monsters. The boss Olmec, for instance, had his flag set to false, meaning he can't be picked up and carried, but Yama's face didn't get the same treatment. That's why you can pluck his face right off his skull and abscond with it.

Neat! No gold, no kills. Quite an accomplishment.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

There are thousands and thousands and thousands and oh God help thousands of games discounted in the current Steam Winter sale. Honestly, it’s ridiculous.> Where do you start? Where do you end? How many will you ever really play? How many do you have to buy in order to discover the secret Half-Life 3 release date? Well, we can’t help with the more existential aspects of that, but if you’re entirely stuck on what to get, what we can do is tell you which single game each member of the RPS staff would pick from the vast and endless digital discount shelves.

These, as far as we’re concerned, are the games you must must must pick up in the sale if you don’t have ‘em already.

… [visit site to read more]

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

The best free games are on PC, and if you want to know what the best 50 are then you’ve come to the right place.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Image by cuttingthebullet

PC games have produced some beloved music, but there's a tiny irony in the fact that the technological advantages that the PC held over other platforms in the 1990s have actually hindered a music scene from forming around that original work.

We had CD-ROM, hard drives, and discrete soundcards years before anyone else, and those advances pushed many studios toward not only full-motion video but elaborate, orchestral music rather than the chiptunes possible on the NES, SNES, and other sound palettes—a sound that has become a beloved aesthetic and genre in and of itself. Nintendo s (and even Sega s) platforms inspire a ton of affection, but there s still a lot of worthy professional and amateur PC gaming floating around the web.

Mines, Spelunky

Songe is an unbelievably talented multi-instrumentalist, mixing everything from flutes, drums, and ocarinas (when appropriate) to multiple guitars and piano, to his own vocal backing, like on his terrific takes on Warcraft II s Orc theme or the Skyrim Dragonborn theme. Among his dozens of tracks, his Spelunky Mines Medley stands out as a reverent interpretation of a song heard thousands of times by any dedicated Spelunker.

Performed by: Songe Original composer: Eirik Suhrke Buy on  Loudr.fm

Baba Yetu, Civilization IV

The only piece of game music to win a Grammy, this performance by a Los Angeles choir is my favorite among the many that have been recorded. Composer Christopher Tin was, interestingly enough, the roommate of Civilization IV lead designer Soren Johnson.

Performed by: Angel City Chorale Original composer: Christopher Tin Buy on  Amazon

UNATCO, Deus Ex

This rock-metal cover of UNATCO (the organization of which Deus Ex s JC Denton is a member) was one of the favorite things I found online, mainly due to how restrained it is. So many of the metal covers of game music fall drift dangerously close to parody with over-applied kick pedaling and overlong guitar solos. Skilton keeps it simple here while producing an exciting take on what was a pretty sedate, austere tune originally.

Performed by: Tim Timofetus Skilton Original composer: Michiel van den Bos

FTL Theme Epic Rock cover, FTL: Faster Than Light

We really like Ben Prunty s stuff around here—so much so that we asked him to compose an original song for our podcast—so it s great to see an FTL track covered so well by Canadian guitarist James Mills. Give Mills System Shock 2, Hearthstone, StarCraft, and Dragon Age: Inquisition tracks a listen too.

Performed by: James Mills Original composer: Ben Prunty

I m Your Medic, Team Fortress 2

From the Weird Al genre we have this rap from Captain Spalding, a regular on the PC Gamer TF2 server circa 2008-2010.

Doom: The Dark Side of Phobos

Way back in 2005 OCRemix, the web's biggest game remix community, assembled a team (that included Super Meat Boy composer Danny Baranowsky) to produce a massive two-disc, 23-track tribute to Doom. The best way to get it is by downloading it through OCRemix's official torrent.

Performed by: various Original composer: Bobby Prince

Suicide Mission, Mass Effect 2

There s an insane amount of Mass Effect covers out there paying homage to Jack Wall (and others ) incredible work. Sadly, an uncomfortable amount of it is dubstep. Tim Skilton s take on the wonderful Suicide Mission theme isn t, thank goodness.

Performed by: Tim Timofetus Skilton Original composer: Jack Wall

Hunt or Be Hunted, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Tidwell is well known to fans of game music covers (you can find a lot of his stuff on Spotify), but he rarely covers songs from PC games.

Performed by: Daniel Tidwell Original composer: Marcin Przyby owicz Buy on iTunes

Super Meat Boy! - Choice Piano Cuts

Danny Baranowsky is absolutely prolific, having most recently composed for musical dungeon crawler Crypt of the Necrodancer. With his style of mixing modern composition with instrumentation from the 8- and 16-bit era, it s no surprise that Baranowsky got his start on OCRemix. Super Meat Boy remains his essential work and while the official Super Meat Boy album contains a bunch of covers, I love the official piano collection by Brent Kennedy, a 10-track set that can be had for $5.

Performed by: Brent Kennedy Original composer: Danny Baranowsky Buy on Bandcamp

"Act on Instinct," Command & Conquer

A list of PC gaming music wouldn't be complete without Frank Klepacki. Almost two decades after its release Red Alert's "Hell March" track gets the most play, but rather than recommending one of many, many takes on that boot-stomping classic, I think stuff like "Act on Instinct" represents Klepacki's grinding, industrial oeuvre much better.

Performed by: Tim Timofetus SkiltonOriginal composer: Frank Klepacki

X-COM: UFO Defense theme

You won t see X-COM getting a lot of recognition for its music in remixing communities, but this track from Fnotte manages to make something good out of the memorable intro sequence to UFO Defense.

Performed by: Fnotte Original composer: John Broomhall

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

I inch my way through Spelunky [official site], trying to get a read on the layout of each randomised cavern. Caution doesn’t always breed success and I rarely reach the ice levels, let alone the hellscape beneath. It’s both chastening and invigorating to begin a weary Friday morning by watching a speedrun that sets a new world record – from start to finish in 3:44. The runner is D Tea and he shatters the previous 3:52 record for a true ending. As well as being an impressive feat, like most things Spelunky, it exposes the workings of the various systems – from the fury of shopkeepers to the arrangement of tiles – in fascinating new ways.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

I don't even know what to say about Spelunky speedruns anymore. YouTuber D Tea has beaten the game's hardest run through the City of Gold and Hell in three minutes and forty-four seconds, and you know what? I'm not surprised. I won't be surprised when it's beaten either. I've ceased to be surprised by what amazing Spleunky players can achieve.

Last time we reported on a Hell run it was impressive that the game had been beaten in less than seven minutes. How far away those innocent days seem now.

"Very, very good run," D Tea writes in the YouTube description. "This was a seed where pretty much everything went right, apart from a few small factors like not having a compass. The fast start, shopkeeper de-aggro on 3-4, and a 42 second hell were all amazing (and lucky) things that made this run good."

D Tea reckons there are ways to shave time off the record, too. "The only realistic time saves here are in the temple with the somewhat slow 4-2 and 4-3," he writes, "as well as Olmec with the hell door spawn being on the right side."

Think you're up to the challenge? I'm not. No siree.

PC Gamer

Here's a pattern I've noticed: you either "don't get" Spelunky or you're obsessed with it. As a member of the latter category, I have the deepest sympathy for the former. I haven't played Derek Yu's masterful, procedurally generated platformer for a couple of months now, but I still think about it all the time, so news that Yu is writing a whole book on the game's creation is very welcome indeed.

Published by Boss Fight Books, 'Spelunky' is the "story of a game's creation as told by its creator", tracing its origins as a free PC game through to its rebirth as a multiplatform classic. Here's what the publisher writes:

"Spelunky is a game design manifesto in which Derek Yu uses his own game to discuss wide-ranging topics such as randomization, creative process, team dynamics, the philosophy of challenging games, and player feedback. Grab some ropes, a mattock, and your favorite pug—this book is going to dig deep."

Spelunky releases some time this summer (or winter down in Australia). You can pre-order it on the website, where you'll find several other books in the Boss Fight catalogue, including works on Baldur's Gate II, World of Warcraft, Chrono Trigger, ZZT, Galaga, Jagged Alliance 2, and Super Mario Bros. 2.

If you're wondering what the big deal is with Spelunky, then start with our review. It's one of our highest scoring games of all time, and took our Game of the Year award in 2013.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Kirk McKeand)

Sometimes you need a hand to hold, so we ve compiled a list of the 25 best co-op games to play on PC with a headset-wearing friend or a muted stranger.

Whether solving puzzles, sneaking, shooting zombies or stabbing mythical creatures in the face, the existence of another player adds an element of unpredictability. The reality of your co-op partner constantly alerting the guards is drowned out by the experience in your head – the synchronised stealth takedowns, the perfectly executed plan – but both success and failure are more compelling when you can take credit for the former and blame someone else for the latter.

There is a co-op game for every duo and our selection includes a variety of the most bestest. Don t worry if your favourite co-op game doesn t feature – it just means you re wrong. All mortals are, on occasion. … [visit site to read more]

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