This article ran in two parts across PC Gamer issues 324 and 325. For more quality articles about all things PC gaming, you can subscribe now in the UK and the US. The history of computer strategy games begins on tables and boards, crammed inside cupboards alongside that knackered old box of Risk that every home seems to possess. The moment strategy made the leap to consoles and computers, it was already familiar. These weren’t just inspired by the games people were playing, in many cases they were direct copies that had been squeezed, sometimes awkwardly, onto a new platform. In 1972, Invasion was released for the Magnavox Odyssey. It was Risk, essentially, but with Pong-like battles that were fought on top of overlays that had to be slapped on the front of the television. Aside from the battles, Invasion was mostly played on a physical board, so the actual strategy game didn’t really take place on the console at all. The Odyssey’s limited capabilities … [Read more...] about The history of the strategy game
Infamous abandon all ships
A decade ago, at a community day for Dead Space, I stumbled upon an accidental scoop. I was checking in at the front desk of Electronic Arts’ Redwood Shores headquarters with a few marketing folks guiding me along. “Oh,” said the receptionist offhandedly, “are you here for The Ripper?” I’ve never seen someone in marketing turn so white so fast. My guides stammered something to the receptionist to get him to shut up, and hustled me away from the desk. In the elevator going up to the studio, I couldn’t help but turn to them and ask what that was all about, and they pleaded with me not to mention anything. No one was supposed to know about this top-secret project, and they were terrified I would blab. I assume the receptionist got a good talking-to. Later that night, over many drinks, I got some of the story out of people, under a promise to keep silent on the project until it was closer to release. As I guessed from the name, EA was working on a … [Read more...] about The Ripper: The disturbing Visceral Games project that never was
A sublime little side-scroller in the PlayDead tradition of child protagonists and looming industrial backdrops, FAR: Lone Sails is about going somewhere while staying put. It is the story of a girl, her features swallowed by a comically over-sized coat and hat, who embarks on a journey across a dried-up, abandoned continent after the loss of a loved one. The girl, however, does not do the journeying herself. She lives inside and operates a beautiful two-wheeled landship, its wooden frame peeling away when you board to reveal a dollhouse universe of cylinders and dials, swaying lanterns and pipes joined up by fat red buttons.The landship is an immediate delight to interact with, from the way its engine backfires apoplectically to the sails that sprout like bullet-holed rabbit ears from its hull, allowing you to save precious fuel when the wind is at your back. It's also something of a pain in the arse, and all the more endearing for it. The vessel's tank only has enough fuel for a … [Read more...] about FAR: Lone Sails review
Episode 14 of The Walking Dead Season 8, Still Gotta Mean Something, may have aired on April Fool’s Day, but there was little room for tomfoolery in a noticeable darker outing for Rick, Morgan, Carol, and the rest of Atlanta’s survivors. In keeping with the season, however, we got our best (yet most confusing) look yet at the show’s longest running Easter egg, even if the details remain wrapped up in mystery for now.In fact, I’m still left with more questions than answers about that scene with Negan and Jadis, in addition to a bunch of other head-scratchers relating to character motivations, plot holes, and every other kind of dangling thread you can expect from The Walking Dead at this point. Spoilers below, as I look at six of the biggest questions I had after watching Still Gotta Mean Something.1. What was Jadis planning to do with Negan? Despite dropping the monosyllabic cult leader act, there’s definitely still more to Jadis than meets the eye. … [Read more...] about 6 questions I have after watching The Walking Dead season 8, episode 14
Update Night is a fortnightly column in which Rich McCormick revisits games to find out whether they’ve been changed for better or worse. I died fifty times before I felt the hand of god. Trapped on an unbearably hot world in No Man’s Sky’s survival mode, I died to the teeth of a stubby legged Tyrannosaur. I died to a roving band of sentinel robots, upset that I dared to plunder their planet for ore and isotopes. I died during blazing storms, the already extreme temperature ratcheting up to 300 degrees celsius, and cooking me alive in my space suit. Most often, I simply died from exposure as my suit’s life support drained away and left me without any oxygen to breathe. My ship offered a tantalising escape from the death world, but a series of cascading dependencies put its functions out of reach. I couldn’t take off without Plutonium, but I didn’t have enough residual life support left to go hunting for Plutonium. I could recharge my life … [Read more...] about Has No Man’s Sky been improved by its updates?