What happens when you put Notch, Gearbox, Yogscast, Day, Bethesda, Valve and more in a room together? You’ll find out soon in a new release from Vivid Video. (DON’T Google that if you don’t already know what it is and/or are being observed by anyone). What about when you just put them in a virtual room? Well, then they play a Team Fortress 2 match for charity. (more…)
I don’t think it’s possible to have any misgivings over an update officially titled “Mechsgiving.” As for Portalmas, well, that one’s a bit more up for debate, seeing as it’s just a word I made up. But generosity’s officially in the air, and both Piranha and Valve are doling out fairly significant updates to their breadwinners, MechWarrior Online and Portal 2. Unfortunately, neither involves gigantic mechanized turkeys, but I suppose beggars in the midst of celebrating a decadent holiday of feasting and lethargy can’t be choosers. Still though, that’s far from a reason to mope. So let’s look under the ol’ turkey tree and see what we got.
Valve – little-known Washington-based developers of Richochet and Alien Swarm – have been working on another project for the past couple of years. It’s a remake of an obscure mod called “Defense Of The Ancients”. This unlikely sequel has been a surprise hit, with “computer gamers” from all over the world saying that it’s “quite good” and “maybe I’ll play just a bit more”. This rash streak of acceptance has recently culminated in a championship of some kind, mysteriously dubbed “The International 2012″.
Valve took their camcorders and video-phones along to capture the event – which took place in some kind of space center – as you can see below. (more…)
By way of careful study and hundreds of hours of naturalistic observation, I’ve ascertained that some PC gamers actually don’t like Windows 8 all that much. Which – in retrospect – seems like a pretty tremendous waste of my time, because it was punch-me-in-the-eyeball obvious all along. But while everyone else becomes vocally enraged, outraged, and other directions of rage, Valve’s actually trying to do something about it. The king of swing (and also PC gaming) is pushing to build Linux into a viable gaming platform with Steam for Linux, and now, it’s taken the oh-so-crucial step of, you know, letting said masses use it.
Interrupted while coiling his precious cables, the sound guy glowers at me. “Scarface? What?” Now, the way you can tell games journalists aren’t like other journalists is our shame. We’re shy, we lack the killer instinct, mostly, that enables tabloid hacks to doorstep grieving families and hack murdered children’s phones. I’m a case in point – 6′ 1″, 13 stone – and I’m being intimidated by a diminutive roadie. “His assistant is called Scarface,” I repeat. The roadie shrugs. As he shuffles away, he’s obviously assigned me to the same aberrant category as everyone else still hanging around at the Jonathan Coulton gig – No 1 Fans, all of them.
After the gig, from the gallery of Union Chapel, I look down on the accretion disc of fandom. They’re loitering but not mingling, in the hope of catching another sight of their hero. With its non-conformist heritage, this old Gothic church is a strangely perfect venue for Jonathan Coulton, whose music is packed full of liberality, anti-authoritarianism, irony and inclusiveness – and for his reverential fans. While he’s best known in gaming circles for endlessly singable Portal ditty Still Alive, Coulton is the high priest of geek music. This former programmer’s songs about geek culture are so well known he was made ‘Contributing Troubador’ at Popular Science magazine. (more…)
Given that you’ve paddled your browser over to this isle of the vast Internet ocean, I feel fairly safe in assuming that you’re a PC gamer. Therefore, you have – presumably, in some form or another – played Counter-Strike at some point in your life. But maybe that was back in ye olde futureyear of 2000, or perhaps you gave Source a go around the time Half-Life 2 came out. So along comes this newfangled “Global Offensive” thingamawhatsit, and naturally, you’re suspicious. I mean, what if they replaced all the guns with bottles of Mountain Dew? Or maybe Valve turned the series into a piece of postmodernist art, with us taking the role of a deeply contemplative bomb forced to witness the futile conflicts of man. These are very legitimate concerns, but this weekend, you can find out whether or not they hold any water. For free!
By my estimate, there are 327 billion videogame Halloween events, but they all tend to share a couple commonalities between them: 1) they do the bulk of their grim work before or on Halloween, and 2) many of them sorta aren’t very interesting. DOTA 2, though, has dumped out its pumpkin pale to reveal an entire new mode, complete with its own mysteeeeeerious metagame. Meanwhile, it’s keeping the festivities going until… well, nobody’s really sure. That said, the new items expire on November 12th, so draw your own conclusions. For now, though, let us not worry about that. Instead, let’s turn our doting gazes on poor, malnourished ancient terror Roshan. He lurks beneath the break, million-year-old maw glistening with unquenchable candy lust. Awwww. I kind of want to give him a hug.
Until this weekend, I hadn’t revisited Portal 2 since the release of the Perpetual Testing Initiative. I vaguely assumed that user-built test chambers would fall, broadly speaking, into two types: so easy that they made me appreciate the complex genius of the originals, or so difficult that they made me appreciate the simple genius of the originals. Replaying Portal 2 at the end of 2011 also made me realise that the puzzles were the bits in between the prattling robots and the archaeological ascent through Aperture. I spent more time smiling than thinking with furrowed brow. Naturally, then, a set of user-made levels that form a story appeal more than standalone levels. Designed for Danger is such a thing and, from the little I’ve played of the eight levels, it’s high quality stuff.
This year’s Team Fortress 2 Halloween event has been stripped of its cobwebbed shrouds and revealed to be one of supernatural shenanigans: there will be spells, there will be zombies, there will be spooky achievements, and there might owls. (I can’t tell if that’s just for illustrative purposes.) Relevantly: there’s a new King Of The Hill mode featuring a wizard, and a new Man Vs Machine mode where the robots are “800″ zombies, which is called Wave 666. Both look enticing, in a “don’t touch that green glow!” sort of way.