Player death is not a gameplay element. It’s a design failure. I know this is heresy among gamers with fond memories of Rogue and similar games, and for modern gamers who soiled themselves with glee over Dark Souls, but it’s the truth.
This mechanic may work in some puzzle games, such as Limbo, which incorporated character death into a puzzle format and narrative structure that made sense. But that’s an exception. The problem is this: With an adventure, role-playing, or action game, the gamer becomes the character. He identifies with it. He’s developed it. And that’s the point of the game: Take one person, see him through various trials, gather what needs to be gathered (experience, weapons, objects), and then use that accumulated knowledge to win.
Note: This column was featured in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
Every girl crazy about a sharp dressed...computer chip
Long ago, all men’s suits were handmade by tailors. Then mass production made off-the-rack garments more affordable, and now only the wealthy or fastidious buy fully tailored suits. A similar trend has transformed the semiconductor industry, making custom microprocessors a luxury only for well-heeled companies.
Two podcasts in one month? We share because we care
What's this? A new podcast already? Well, that's just how much we love you. And it gets us out of the salt mine for about an hour and a half. Not that benchmarking GTX Titans all day is a hard-knock life. In No BS podcast episode 196, we rotated in our trusty intern Chris, giving Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang and Editor-in-Chief Katherine Stevenson some time to plot writing assignments and other devious shenanigans.
In between my chores as a hardware tester, I’m an IIBT board-certified troller and can successfully argue with anyone about anything, anywhere, at any time.
These days, one of the many issues I get to spar with people over is, “What is a PC?” That might seem about as basic as opining on the color blue, but the distinctions are extremely important. Just this morning, I was reading a headline stating that Apple’s new mini tablet could very well “hurt the PC market.” Of course, on the very same news site, six months ago, was a story about how analysts had deemed Apple the world’s largest “PC maker.” That’s not because Apple sold more PCs than HP, Dell, or Lenovo, but because it sold more iPads, which as we know, should be counted as PC sales, right?
Note: This column appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
Build your own small Steam Box PC using Valve's Big Picture Mode
As PC gamers, we’re big fans of Valve Software’s Steam service and can’t imagine life without it. We’ve got a huge library of installed games, all of our friends are on it, and almost every AAA title is released on Steam, making it indispensable. The only “problem” with Steam has been that its interface was designed for sitting 24 inches away, at a monitor, making it incompatible with couch-bound gaming. Valve has rectified this dilemma with its recently launched Big Picture Mode, which slaps a 10-foot interface on top of Steam and makes it easy to control with a gamepad. Since distance and connection issues can get in the way of running your desktop PC on your HDTV screen, we’re going to walk you through a more workable solution. First, we will advise you on selecting a small-but-powerful PC that’s suitable for a living room, then we’ll walk you through selecting appropriate peripherals, and finally we’ll show you how to get it all up and running, ready for Big Picture Mode deployment.
Note: This article appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
This month the doctor tackles XP vs. Windows 7, Upgrading from LGA1366 and PhysX on AMD
Question: My laptop is an Asus G74SX-TH71. It has a GeForce GTX 560M with 4GB of RAM, a 2GHz Core i7 CPU, and 12GB of RAM. It has two 500GB hard drives in it, one for OS and games and the other for videos. I was wondering if I should upgrade my laptop to a desktop. I have about 500 dollars and I’m looking for a good budget gaming computer with a monitor. Can you suggest a computer or a way to upgrade my laptop, maybe an SSD?
Note: This article first appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
Not quite the fastest single-card, but definitely the fastest Single GPU
On Tuesday we posted our preview of the GK110-based Geforce GTX Titan from Nvidia, and like all of yall we were eager to stuff the Titan into a test system to see what it could do in both single-card and dual-card configurations. Now that the dust has settled and our initial testing is complete, we have to say we think we misunderstood what Nvidia was said to us when we asked them how the Titan compares to the GTX 690. The Titan is one hellishly fast single GPU, but it's not the fastest single-card solution for gaming. That title still rests comfortably with the dual-GPU GTX 690.
Good looks, solid installation, a few eyebrow-raising quirks
If you’re big on case lighting—you Cylon fan, you—you’re going to absolutely love NZXT’s latest Phantom chassis. It’s rare to see such attention to detail paid to simple illumination, as with the three separate strands of lighting found on the exterior, interior, and rear of NZXT’s Phantom 820. Cooler still, you can manually cycle through a variety of colors for the lights, so as to find the one that matches whatever mood you’re in at any given moment.
A massive GPU that’ll be hard to find, and even harder to beat
Today Nvidia is pulling the wraps off the GK110-based GeForce GTX Titan, a single-GPU card that is expected to easily capture the title of Baddest Ass GPU in the world when benchmarks are released this Thursday, February 21st. The Titan is Nvidia’s “Big Kepler” GPU, and has double the transistors and almost double the CUDA cores of the mid-range GK104 chip found in its flagship GeForce GTX 680 GPU. Though it runs at a lower clock speed in stock trim, it should still offer a sizable performance improvement over the already capable GTX 680.
Today is February 14th, otherwise known as Valentines Day, but we're not here to share chocolate and roses. No, our true love is in computer hardware! We couldn't think of a better way to share the hardware we love than to give our Best of the Best section a big update.