Why settle for ranking within a calendar year when you’ve got a whole (depending on where you start counting) decade available? Wired has cobbled together it’s 15 “most influential games of the decade,” and, it may be safe to conclude from the list, it wasn’t much of a decade for gaming.
There are some iconic games on the list: World of Warcraft (4), Halo (6), Silent Hill 2 (11), and Half-Life 2 (12). But there’s also a few that are more time-filler than influential: Brain Age (5), Bejeweled (7), Wii Sports (8), Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved (9), and Happy Farm (14). (Okay, you had fun with them, but in what profound way did they impact gaming? What legacy did each leave behind that shapes gaming now or in the future?)
Still, in all fairness, Wired seems to acknowledge that its list is a bit dodgy. While expecting great things at the start of the decade, Wired concludes “it went down like this: A whole bunch of companies dumped a whole lot of money down the next-gen sinkhole, and the number of publishers that could be counted on to deliver bleeding-edge entertainment without going broke in the process dwindled to just a few.” In other words, the industry took a big gamble on the high-end and lost, leaving behind a lot of unrealized potential.
As for The Sims, Wired notes that while 100 million copies were sold, “many people don’t even consider The Sims to be a game at all.” Perhaps that about sums it up for gaming over the past ten years.
A lot has happened in the last 12 months. At the start of the year, iTunes was still peddling DRM, Yahoo and Microsoft were at bitter odds over the latter’s takeover attempts, Nvidia had the fastest consumer videocard, and the ”cloud” was still a burgeoning concept. Oh, how times have changed. Follow along as we relive and reflect upon some of the most memorable moments, products, and people to impact computer users over the last year.
What was your favorite tech product or event or 2009? Let us know in the comments!
There's an untold bounty of awesome available on the Internet, and it's all free, free, FREE! From applications and games to movie tickets and mattresses, we'll show you what's safe and steer you away from the unsavory.
As inhabitants of the Internet, we’ve become so inured to the hyperbolic advertising and questionable offers that we miss the incredible values that are ripe for the taking. If you know where to look, you can find all sorts of awesome stuff available for the low, low cost of $0. Whether you’re looking for a great image management app, free AAA games, or the proverbial free lunch, we can tell you where to find it. But wait, there’s more! We’ll also show you three things that seem free, but really aren’t.
Borderlands is an undeniably fun game with a killer concept, innovative game mechanics, a gorgeous art style, and kick-ass cooperative gameplay, but it also includes some frustrating design choices that require the player to bend to the limitations of the game. If you can do that, and you enjoy shooters and Diablo-esque action RPGs, you’re going to love this game.
The sales pitch for Borderlands is simple: It’s first-person Diablo… with guns. While exploring a large, open, post-apocalyptic world, you complete quests, collect loot, and go on adventures with up to three of your pals. While it may sound like Fallout 3, Borderland’s shooter heritage is obvious—the combat is fast and furious without the maddening influence of a random-number generator to take your shots off target. The game feels more like Quake than any RPG.
A while ago we wrote about setting up a MAME machine, which allows you to play faithfully emulated old arcade games on your computer. In an aside to that article, we mentioned that a similar program exists for the other arcade staple—pinball machines. Some pinball fans have written in, asking for more information, and because we love all arcade technology equally here at Maximum PC, we decided to do a quick writeup on how to get started playing classic pinball machines with Visual Pinball and PinMAME.
Read on to find out how to play your favorite pinball classics for free!
Id Software didn’t develop the latest Wolfenstein, but the sequel to its genre-founding 1991 classic Wolfenstein 3D absolutely captures the meaning of the studio’s name: an impulsive, stimulating shooter full of gory, colorful, mindless gunplay.
Wolfenstein embraces over-the-top action like a summer blockbuster movie. As U.S. super-operative B.J. Blazkowicz, you’re tasked with foiling the Nazis’ latest evil archaeology: They’ve dug up ancient medallions and energy crystals to build some scary sci-fi weaponry. The medallions let their holders access a shadow dimension called the Veil, and when B.J. gets his hands on one, it grants him a set of powers that augment his gunfightin’—slow-mo, a personal shield, enhanced damage, and turquoise-colored “Veil sight” that lets him see in the dark.
Though these Veil abilities operate similarly to BioShock’s plasmids, they aren’t the focus of Wolfenstein. Nor is B.J. himself. Instead, it’s the arsenal: Nazi-melters like the particle cannon, a Ghostbusters-like hose that sprays gallons of disintegrating blue-green energy. Or the Tesla gun, a spinning iron coil that feels like an exposed power transformer and sends deadly jolts through anyone you point it at. Basic firearms like the MP40 and KAR 98 are also available, ready to pop the limbs off endless identical Nazi privates.
Now is not the time to abandon the PC as a gaming platform, not with all the money at stake. According to Jon Peddie Research, gamers will spend over $32 billion next year upgrading their PCs, and that's the kind of number that draws the attention of hardware vendors. Enter Nvidia, who suddenly felt the urge to reiterate its commitment to the gaming industry.
"Gaming remains our bread and butter focus area. However, there are other opportunities for us to explore as the company grows, such as the HPC sector," explained Bryan Del Rizzo, a spokesman for Nvidia.
Del Rizzo was responding to rumors that Nvidia was no longer interested in gaming for the HPC (high performance computing) market, calling the notion "completely unfounded" and "ludicrous," TGDaily reports.
"Look, I understand that some people might be feeling anxious because we haven't published detailed information about Fermi-based GeForce cards," said Del Rizzo. "But, I can assure you that data is forthcoming. The wait will be worth it, especially when people understand what products based on Fermi are capable of."
So there you have it: PC gaming is alive and well, and so is Nvidia's interest in catering to computer gamers.
Ever wondered what it would be like to game at 3600x1920? Of course you have! And lucky for your, [H]ardOCP has posted a screenshot of Left 4 Dead 2 running at just such a resolution courtesy of its Eyefinity setup running on a Radeon HD 5870. Check out the full sized pic here.
In case you haven't been following, AMD surprised everyone in September when it showed off a single videocard powering six 30-inch Dell dsiplays configured as a single, 7680x3200 resolution monitor. Will Smith took the whole thing in and has a writeup on it here.
We’ve been saying it for years: The moment they stop messing around with rushed, under-funded movie tie-ins and make a real Batman game, we’ll have a huge hit on our hands. With Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady has proved us right—this game finally does justice to the Dark Knight by recreating the monstrous foes, the dark, gritty atmosphere, and Batman’s legendary fighting skills to near perfection.
Arch nemesis Joker, in particular, is a masterpiece. Voiced by Mark Hamill (reprising the role from Batman: The Animated Series) and modeled and animated with some astonishing detail and lighting, he’s genuinely convincing as the deranged, murderous clown who turns the tables on Batman by seizing control of Arkham, Gotham’s supervillain lock-up.
It's all fun and games, until that game you downloaded from the iTunes App Store turns out to be harvesting your cell phone number. That's what gaming developer Storm8 has been accused of doing.
"The wireless telephone numbers of users' phones are not used or necessary to play any of Storm8's games, yet Storm8 has written the software for all its games in such a way that it automatically accesses, collects, and transmits the wireless telephone number of each iPhone user who downloads any Storm8 game," states a lawsuit filed on behalf of Lynwood, Washington resident Michael Turner.
Storm8 first came under fire in late August when news reports pointed out that Storm8's apps appeared to be phoning home. Addressing the reports, the company said the system had a "bug" and that it has since been fixed. But Storm8's explanation isn't enough for Turner's lawyer, who says his goal is to ensure the company is no longer allowed to collect private data in the future.
"A public admission is not the same as a legal representation or legal injunction," Turner's lawyer said.