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The Man recently told Valve to stamp out online gambling which uses virtual Steam items – Counter-Strike gun skins and the like – as chips. The Washington State Gambling Commission gave Valve until October 14th, under threat of legal action, to stop these gambling sites and report back explaining their compliance with Washington State’s gambling laws and Valve have replied, er, several days late. Valve say that they’re doing all they reasonably can, short of cutting off important Steam services for everyone. … [visit site to read more]
I have a terrible confession to make. While, on a weekly basis, I protest about the oft-unchanging nature of these charts, the truth is that a new entry makes me sigh. It means I have to laboriously type out new HTML rather than just copy the links from last week. This means terrible, unspeakable suffering in a week such as this, where there actually are quite a few ‘new’ games. … [visit site to read more]
Dear old Counter-Strike level Inferno has returned to CS: Global Offensive [official site] reworked and prettied-up. Gone is the grunge of early noughties FPSs, the cloudy skies, the illogical architecture, and the lingering sense that maybe CS is set inside the world of Half-Life 2, with Inferno’s village now a scenic spot you might potter around, cooing, on your summer hols. Oh, sure, and they’ve fiddled with a lot of areas to tweak how it plays. After a stretch in beta, the new Inferno is now public in the Reserves Map Group. Even if you’re not into CS: GO, do enjoy the comparison screenshots between 2012’s Inferno and 2016’s – the progress is pleasing. … [visit site to read more]
As it was prophesied, soon it will come to pass. The Steam Charts approach their endgame: where all sales and all pre-order shenanigans converge to ensure that just one game occupies all top ten placements. Soon, there shall be unity. Terrible, terrible unity. … [visit site to read more]
The Washington State Gambling Commission, a state agency governing gambling in that fair corner of Cascadia, has told Valve that they must “stop facilitating gambling” with Steam skins. If you’ve missed this whole fuss, basically: sites have been using Counter-Strike and Dota cosmetic item skins as chips for unregulated – and potentially underage – gambling, all running through Steam channels. Steam’s rules do forbid this and Valve recently stepped up and started sending legal letters ordering sites to knock it off. Now The Man is involved in Valve’s home state, and he’s none too pleased.
Dota 2‘s [official site] schedule for the latter part of 2016 will see pro players focusing in on the next Major tournament, which will take place in Boston in early December. Meanwhile, everyone else (and maybe the pros too) can take a peek at the latest battle pass if they fancy seasonal loot/cosmetics/competitive mini-tournaments.
I’m grouping these announcements together because there’s an autumnal map reskin as one of the rewards of this season’s battle pass and I associate Boston with that gorgeous, over-the-top changing of the leaves you get in the New England fall season.
I had all the characteristics of a blogger frayed jeans, opinions, laptop, tea but my depersonalisation was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to compile charts had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imitating top ten articles, a rough resemblance of a best-sellers list, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning.
And yet. … [visit site to read more]
Marc Laidlaw posted a fascinating blog entry from a younger version of Laidlaw about the development of Half-Life from the narrative perspective. By “a younger version” I mean that it comes from his own hand but via a file timestamped the day after Half-Life was shipped and is thus far closer to the game’s… ground zero? than the Laidlaw of now.
A non-major but still interesting Dota 2 [official site] patch has dropped. 6.88e is all about tweaks, as you’d expect from a patch with a letter on the end of it, rather than one which heralds a whole jump forward in numbering. The reason it’s interesting is more that it gives me a chance to talk about a thought related to patches and living games like Dota 2.
I’m trying to think who it could be. I don’t really have enemies any more, or not knowingly so. Some forgotten bully from school who never left our hometown and is still obsessed with tormenting me? A fellow journalist whose article I might have drunkenly tweeted something rude about in 2009? Someone I unfollowed or unfriended because they were tiresome or awful? You Know, Those Guys? Or: all of them, working together. Pooling their life savings to buy as many copies of a certain game as they can. Make no mistake: someone’s out to get me. It’s the only possible explanation.