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We live in complex times. When I was a youngster, it was perfectly reasonable to buy a game simply because it had more monsters than the other games. Playing through shooters, RPGs and platformers alike, I’d be tempted to give up when I reached the point where no new enemy types were appearing. The very idea of a game with only one type of enemy, no matter how intelligent and believable, was poison. Give me all of your mutants, demons and aliens>, I cried, give them to me now>.
Here are a few of my favourites, ranging from the first-person shooters of my teenage years to the surreal horrors of my childhood.
I’ve realised I miss watching other people play games. That’s perhaps a strange thought, given the ubiquity of Twitching live-streams and long plays on YouTube – but that’s really not what I mean. I mean sitting in the same room and watching as someone I know plays the game. It’s just not something that happens to me any more.
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
Okay, now we’re nearly 300 deep into these recommendations we’re clearly getting a little obscure, a little desperate, but it’s still possible that a few people will have played this oddity. Half-Life 2 came out in 2004, but as there’s been no Half-Life 3 in the eleven years since one can only assume it didn’t sell well.
Valve crept in during the night and left a little present under your Christmas PC (I’ve seen it, stuffed full of lights and gingerbread with a case window to show them off), a nice, big Team Fortress 2 [official site] update. Okay, yes, much of Tough Break Update is reserved for people who spend $6 to buy into the Tough Break ‘Campaign’ (a series of challenges like CS:GO’s Operations), and yes the new taunts it also adds are expensive, but the greatest gift of all is free: a look at the TF2 gang doing aerobics (sorry, Mannrobics) together.
A free Portal-themed set of cosmetic items and flourishes will arrive in Rocket League [official site] tomorrow. There are gel trails for your nitro boosts, cake hats and decals, and heart-breaking Companion Cube antennae. There’s plenty more along those lines as well, and it’s all free, but I’m perhaps unfairly disappointed by the lack of actual portals. I hadn’t even considered how amazing it would be to attach a portal to the area above my own goalmouth, causing stray shots that enter to emerge right by the opponent’s goal. And if the cars could dash through portals as well? Beautiful chaos.
“Laughter is the best medicine,” say people who are about to discover laughter actually makes a broken nose worse. Laughter’s pretty okay, though, as are other emotions – and creative mediums can help stimulate them. Valve have rolled out the red carpet (it smells rusty?) for the year’s finest Source Filmmaker machinima, little films mostly starring Valve characters, declaring which are the bestest best so you too can easily experience such human emotions as Action, Comedy, Drama, Short, and Extended.
Each year, Valve honour the finest Source Filmmaker creators with an imaginary gold statuette of a shirtless imaginary man with chest hair in the shape of imaginary country Australia. Ah, the Saxxy Awards! Saxxy season is upon us once again, and you – yes you! – can join movers, shakers, and thinkfluencers like Steven CP_Steelberg and Shia LaBadlands. Valve have opened up public voting on submissions to whittle down entrants to the finalists, so you can watch and vote on machinima shorts to your hearts’ content.
Sell your pumpkin heads! Team Fortress 2‘s [official site] Halloween event has launched. Scream Fortress runs from now through till November 11th, comes with a new comic, and introduces themed items, maps, taunts and an event that lets you win items from all previous Halloween events – presumably tanking the market for them in the process.
If you were a Mega Driver back in the day (or Genesis-er if you live Stateside) then you’ll know Sonic 2 was the best Sonic. The original Sonic the Hedgehog introduced the concept and set the tone, whilst Sonic 3 tried too hard with its dodgy boss melodies and pain-in-the-arse bonus levels. Anything after that was mince. Sonic 2 was the sweet spot in the series.
Why is this relevant here at RPS’s House-O-PCs, I hear you ask? A ROM hacker has given Sonic something very cool from our home: an Aperture Science portal gun.
An envelope arrived in the post this morning. Thick, stuffed with books. Diaries, in fact. Someone has sent me Gordon Freeman’s diaries from the last eight years. I don’t really know what to do about this. I mean, this is obviously big news, but this is also someone’s private life. But what if it was Gordon himself who sent them? What if he wants the… the misery therein to be exposed?
I’ve decided on a compromise. I’m going to publish some extracts, picked almost at random from the lot. If Freeman wants them taken down, he can get in touch and we’ll honour that right away.>