Sid Meier's Civilization® V - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Kim Neilson)

To this day, the jaunty static of the opening jingle to Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town brings me back to a simpler time. Summer evenings spent hunched over my Game Boy SP, a pane of glass between me and nature s suburban bounty as I tilled my little squares of land, pet my happy little chickens, and bribed a town s worth of reticent heartthrobs into falling for my little blonde avatar, Pepper, with an onslaught of ores, animal products, and various culinary delights (but never cucumbers, ya gummy-mouthed fish-man).

Harvest Moon was about as wholesome as wholesome gets, my first videogame love, but as the days turned to years, we grew apart. Since then, I ve filled the hole in my heart with the usual suspects, (Stardew Valley, Rune Factory, and so on) until there was only one thing left to do: make my own Harvest Moon. And so began my ongoing personal quest to turn every game I own that is unfortunate enough to not be Harvest Moon into the farming simulation game they were always meant to be. Here, in true naturalist fashion, I present my field notes in the hope that we may go on to tame this new frontier together.

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Borderlands 2 - Valve
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Borderlands 2

If the excitement surrounding Borderlands 3's announcement hadn't already shown you the scale of the hype behind this game, look no further than past entries in the Borderlands series. Despite Borderlands 2 having been released all the way back in 2012, the game still has a surprisingly large player base - with over a million unique users playing the game every month.

The figures come from Take-Two Interactive's latest quarterly earnings report, which along with details on Red Dead Online has provided us with some neat information on the Borderlands series. Along with the stat on monthly player numbers, Take-Two revealed the Borderlands series has sold-in 43m copies, with 20m of these made up by Borderlands 2.

Sold-in, by the way, means units sent to retail - so this figure includes game copies currently sat in shops.

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Sid Meier's Civilization® V - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

Your time is important. And you know what? So is mine. Here s this week s podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. It s about how your life is dripping away every second you play Stardew Valley.

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Borderlands Game of the Year - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Dominic Tarason)

Gearbox fully unveiled Borderlands 3 during a livestreamed event earlier today with an hour of largely-uncut co-op footage, showing off a brighter and more colourful sequel than I was expecting. Combat is more mobile, weapons have alt-fire modes, bosses look more interesting and players can now leave the dusty wastes of Pandora to go shooting and looting on other planets. You can see the full presentation below, and they’re setting streamers loose on the game now for three hours of freeform play, so Twitch will be flooded with footage later today.

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Half-Life - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (RPS)

I say watch because this week’s podcast takes place in a real room in front of a real audience (don t worry, there s an audio version too). At Rezzed in London this month, we thought it d be fun to re-enact three of the most memorable scenes of PC gaming, exactly as you remember them. So strap on your eye-wideners and prepare for some wonderful acting. Including a 100% faithful adaptation of the most notorious moment in any Final Fantasy game: the death of… Aerosmith?

Alice! Alice, what have you done to these scripts!?

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Eurogamer

Despite a campaign of review-bombing from disgruntled Borderlands 3 fans upset the game will be a timed Epic Games store exclusive, old Borderlands games have enjoyed a huge surge in popularity on Valve's platform.

Fuelled by the announcement of Borderlands 3 and the release of the free The Handsome Collection Ultra HD Texture Pack, Borderlands 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and Borderlands Game of the Year Edition have all seen a massive uptick in concurrent players.

According to Steam Charts, Borderlands 2 enjoyed a whopping 89.25 per cent gain in average players over the last 30 days, with an impressive peak of 59,333 concurrent players.

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Borderlands 2

Borderlands 2 has seen a huge increase in concurrent players on Steam in the last week, no doubt a result of escalating interest in the series following the reveal of Borderlands 3.

The game peaked just shy of 60K players last weekend—59,033 according to Steam Charts and highlighted here on GitHyp. The review scores remain Very Positive on both Borderlands 2 and the original game, though closer inspection will show that both games have seen recent 'off-topic review activity'—read more about those review bombing efforts here.  

Borderlands 2 has remained a firm favourite with PC players since its release back in 2012. It's been discounted a lot lately, too, which has likely driven further interest in it. Or maybe it's that 4K texture pack that was added to the game? 

If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, you can check out why Jody thought Borderlands 2 was ahead of its time. Alternatively, you can read up on everything we know about Borderlands 3, which is set for release on September 13.

Sid Meier's Civilization® III Complete

I love Civilization 6, but sometimes I pine for the art style of its equally wonderful predecessor, Civilization 5. Civilization 6's cartoony vibe is all well and good, but when you've got an entire civilisation's worth of people resting on your every decision, a serious look is sometimes required.

Thankfully, there's a mod for that - and this one's from a developer at Firaxis.

The Environment Skin: Sid Meier's Civilization 5 mod for Civilization 6, by the game's art director Brian Busatti, changes the visuals of the game to better match the colours and tones of Civ 5.

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Borderlands Game of the Year - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

As this is my penultimate edition of Steam Charts, before I return to nuzzle into the warm infinite belly of Horace for all of time, I thought it might be fun to take a bit of a look behind the scenes of Steam Charts, to see how this weekly column comes together.

So, hey, join me as we step behind the curtain, and learn a little bit about the magic of Rock Paper Shotgun.

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