The Steam Summer Sale has been in full effect since Thursday, with a boatload of new steals and deals available each day. Today's summer sizzlers include Portal 2 for $5 (normally $20), Hitman Absolution for $6.24 (normally $25), and Fallout: New Vegas for $2.50 (normally $20).
I can't tell you the number of times I came down with dysentery, one of the many diseases that stopped me dead in my tracks on the Oregon Trail. But I plodded on, a banker from Boston who developed a skill for shooting bison and fast moving critters. And then it would be time for recess. Today's generation may never known of the awesomeness that was playing Oregon Trail on an Apple computer, but thanks to Valve, a good many will experience Portal 2 in the classroom as part of a "Steams for School" initiative.
Last year, Valve teased gamers around the world with the promise of eventually releasing a level editor for Portal 2. The company's been frustratingly close-lipped about details since then -- until yesterday, that is. Valve announced that the level editor is shipping as a DLC offering called the Perpetual Testing Initiative, coming to PC and Macs on May 8th for the low, low price of absolutely free.
Yes, a year has passed since we last feted our favorite pastime—PC gaming. In some ways it feels like it’s been much longer, so rich was the quantity and quality of titles that PC gamers had to choose from. That abundance served to make our job as awarders especially challenging. Nevertheless, we holed up in an office as we do every year and collectively reviewed the highlights and lowlights of the last year in PC gaming. Now it’s time for you to kick back and enjoy the spectacle that is Maximum PC’s 2011 Gaming Awards!
Hey, Rest of the Gaming Industry, want to know how to support a PC game? Take a page (or a piece of mottled parchment or whatever they use around there) from Bethesda's book. For the low, low price of zero arms, legs, or firstborns (or dollars, we guess), you can now nab Skyrim's official mod toolset, a spiffy high resolution texture pack, and the Valve-created “Fall of the Space Core, Vol. 1” mod. It's an incredibly generous gesture, and one that – in hindsight – makes that ugly horse armor business from back in the day seem like some bizarrely specific bad dream. On that note, we're now off to create our first mod: Everything Armor. Mudcrabs, Silt Striders, children – the works. Also, we're bringing back Silt Striders, because there's no greener form of transportation than a giant horrifying bug creature.
Portal was something different. It was compact, flawlessly designed, witty, and unexpected. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on it. Sure, it was a puzzle game, but in the process of ushering you gently through the puzzles it gradually transformed into a wickedly funny piece of sci-fi storytelling. The genius was in the thrill of this discovery, as a puzzle game flowered into something amazing and unpredictable.
Let’s get one thing straight right away: Portal 2 is not Portal 1. Don’t get us wrong: Portal 2 is still completely brilliant—just in entirely different ways. If Portal 1 was an incredibly witty one-liner, then Portal 2 is a whole night of stand-up. That is to say, it’s still smart, subversive, and riotously funny, but it does manage to drag in a couple areas—if only briefly.
A few weeks ago, we took a not-so-fond look at the console portion of the grotesque, unruly mass (in some circles known as a “family”) that is the gaming world. As we often do with those with whom we share any sort of relation, we proceeded to list off all the ways they've wronged us. We find it to be a good ice-breaker. Now, though, we've been struck with some strange and debiltating malady that top scientists are calling “civility,” and we've realized there's plenty of good mixed in with the bad. No, seriously. Consoles, we may not always get along, but we'd be remiss if we didn't give you due praise for having our backs every once in a while. Now go! Jump past the break before we change our minds.
A new No BS Podcast, you say? With useful information? Unpossible! But it is, uh, possible. In Episode 173 of the No BS Podcast, Gordon, Alex, Alan, and Andy call Nvidia's Tom Petersen to get the skinny on SLI for AMD boards. Then, Gordon drops wisdom about small form factor PCs, Nathan talks about Intel's new 3Gb/s SATA SSD and the gang discusses the magic of Portal 2. Plus, the BlackBerry PlayBook, answers to your questions, and, inevitably, rants about the state of the world and the origins of various phrases.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are not standing by.
Portal 2 isn't just any computer game. Like its precursor (and most Valve games, really) it's dripping with pure character, a fact that results in a fan base that's a little bit more creative than usual. Even though the game's only been out for a week and a half or so, the fans have already come up with a whole bunch of excellent, handcrafted Portal 2 wallpapers. We're always looking for ways to spruce up our desktop, so we gathered together 21 of our favorites. If you're a fan of Valve's latest masterpiece, or just of high-quality wallpapers, read on!