Six years after its original release, Command & Conquer Generals has – like a human-controlled competitor at a GameStop Mario Kart kiosk – finally crossed the finish line. Frankly, we would’ve just started a new race.
But we’re not nearly as generous as EA, who has decided to append Command & Conquer Generals with a level once considered too controversial to be deployed with the rest of the game. Why? Because of this little number:
“Players were given command of the Toxin Tractor, a slow-going farm vehicle modified to spray a deadly corrosive agent, and ordered to eliminate a town that had been ‘corrupted beyond salvation’ by the USA's propaganda. While the mission was ultimately removed from Generals, the Toxin Tractor was available in other campaign missions, as well as in multiplayer and skirmish modes.”
Murdering civilians? Detestable! Sorry, EA, but we draw the line at the undiscerning slaughter of friendlies who are actually packing heat, thank you very much. We pick on those who – to the near-sighted – are more or less our same size.
But how about you? Will you be picking up this tiny (and free!) slice of history? Were you even alive when C&C Generals first came out? God, we’re so old.
Console gamers have been melting faces and bashing skulls under mountains of plastic peripherals for years, but what about those of the PC persuasion? Where are our seemingly Skittle-riddled, Fischer Price-friendly hunks of electronic bliss?
They’re in the future. Like jetpacks.
First up, Street Fighter IV – apparently afraid of being associated with this week’s feature flop – is laying low until summer. Well, probably. Capcom vice president, business development and strategic planning, Christian Svensson’s exact words were: "Let's say summer."
The game will likely come bundled with some “sticks and pads” – if you catch Svensson’s meaning. (We assume he means arcade sticks, though “Mad Catz” were also mentioned. This is why videogames confuse old people.)
In other, slightly vaguer peripheral-related news, Intel basically confirmed the existence of Guitar Hero World Tour on the PC. The King Kong of processors passed along a press release that acknowledged the game, and then just sort of stopped, as though the employee writing it finally reached the end of his/her Quake Live queue and abandoned their work to--
The game that gave birth to Operation Immortality is, ironically, about to reach the end of its unfortunately fly-esque lifespan -- but it’s giving us one last lecture on why we totally dropped the ball on this one before going upstairs and never coming back down.
Tabula Rasa will not end with a whimper, but with the kind of bang that one anticipates before hearing a balloon pop. But here’s the crucial difference: Tabula Rasa delivers.
Beginning today at 8PM CST (or GMT, depending on your server), the sci-fi MMO will tape down itsself-destruct button with an intricately planned in-game event. Said a “message” from AFS High Command:
“Special Intelligence units throughout AFS territory have been monitoring an escalation of Bane assaults and communications in the recent weeks. Some of the communications have been intercepted and decoded, and we have reason to believe that the Bane are planning a massive, multi-front assault sometime in the coming days.”
“We request that all military personnel begin fortifying defenses at every AFS base in preparation for a massive Bane assault. If enemy troop movements are as large as we fear, and the Neph are truly prepared to lead all out war against us, this may be our last stand. Penumbra has been informed of the situation and is standing by on the use of their last resort weapon.”
“We cannot afford to be complacent or uncertain, but if it is truly our destiny to be destroyed, we are taking them all with us.”
Sends chills, really. This game was too good for our undeserving world.
High prices have traditionally relegated gaming laptops, which often qualify as desktop replacements, to niche markets served by boutique vendors, but we're starting to see more manufacturers step up to the plate with affordable models. Gateway kicked off the recent trend with its P-7811FX and others -- take Acer, for example -- have followed suit.
In an apparent attempt to undercut the competition, HP has updated its Pavilion dv7t gaming laptop with new parts and a new lower price tag. The OEM decided to stretch the screen real estate from 17 inches to 17.3 inches (1,600 x 900 resolution), and the Nvidia graphics have been traded in for a pair of ATI parts, the 512MB Mobility Radeon HD 4530 and 1GB HD 4650.
It all adds up (or down) to a new starting price of $800, which is a good chunk lower than its previous starting point of $1,230. However, that includes an AMD Turion X2 processor. A baseline Intel setup starts at $850, which includes a similarly weaksauce T4200 processor. Upgrades are available, and if you can toss $1,125 more into the mix and you can bump the CPU to Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9000.
When you’re playing a Scout, you have to be nimble, quick, and able to jump over candle sticks burning metal death at a moment’s notice, so shedding a few pounds probably isn’t a bad idea.
With that in mind, in honor of its recently released Scout update, Valve has decided to lop a few digits off TF2’s already trim (and even a tad sexy) price tag. To be honest, we’re not sure if it’s healthy, but then, who are we to judge?
The sale runs until Friday and sees Valve’s Crayola-tinged diatribe about the horrors of war drop down to a mere $10. Not jumping on this would probably be one of the biggest mistakes of your life. Your future wife can wait.
And really, what else are you going to buy for ten smackaroos? Oh, right.
That John Carmack! What a gossip, huh? He goes on a beer run with PC gamers and he’s all like, “I just wanted to… I just… I love you guys!” But then, after totally crashing a console-only party, he’s singing a different tune (possibly while wearing a dog costume). And now, once again Carmack’s shacking up with PC game—oh no! He’s here! Please, please, please don’t tell him what we said. That’d be soooo awkward.
"A lot of [Quake Live] was about doing something that the PC was going to be better at than the consoles," he told Gamasutra.
"Our modern triple-A stuff has to be somewhat more console-centric, with the PC as a peer, while this is an opportunity to do something where the PC will really stand alone,” he noted.
Carmack hopes to see Quake Live blossom into a sort of social-networking service – the one toy at show-and-tell that even Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo only wish they could get their grubby mitts on or toss in the sandbox or put in their mouths or whatever makes sense with this flimsy analogy.
"For years, I've often thought about the fact that a lot of people spend vastly more time on websites and forums about the games that they're playing than they actually spend playing the games themselves," he adds. "We hope to have some aspect of that here."
Well, that’s good enough for us, John. We’re yours forever now… wait a minute! Did you just steal this gift from our shelves – our shelves marked “1999” – and rewrap it? Is this all we are to you?
Traditionally a console-focused publisher, Square Enix has finally decided to bestow its, er, unique sensibilities upon Steam’s ever-growing masses.
On April 9, the Japanese mega-publisher will drop add its first drop – a JRPG called The Last Remnant – to Steam’s bucket, with promises of more to come.
"We are excited to offer the millions of Steam customers online access to Square Enix titles beginning with our major action RPG, The Last Remnant," said John Yamamoto, president and chief executive officer of Square Enix."Square Enix is committed to delivering the best quality titles to PC gamers and distribution on Steam is one of the many steps we are taking to increase accessibility for fans in North America and PAL territories."
We think it’s great that Steam’s embracing the Japanese side of PC gaming – just so long as it shies away from groping around in this steamy (read: NSFW) region. Thanks in advance, Valve!
When two diametrically opposed sides (Blue? More like Bluh-ewwwww) are forever submerged in the flames of war, an arms race is only natural. Miniguns, automated sentry rockets, curative edible devices – war is hell, but when the robots rise up and squash our silly conflict with a cold, metallic fist, they’ll have some damn fine gear with which to do it. However, one man doesn’t need any of that conflabbed technology; put him on the bus with a baseball bat and a crisp, refreshing beverage and he’ll come back with straight-A’s – in ass-kicking.
He’s the Scout, and with his brand new update, he’s more ready than ever to back up his big talk. Or he will be, anyway, after a bit of unlocking.
First up, after a mere ten achievements, you’ll nab the Force-A-Nature, which is a shotgun that – along with walloping your foes something fierce – forcefully coaxes enemies right out of your personal bubble and, if you’re lucky, into all kinds of fun environmental hazards.
Five achievements later, the Sandman will show up on your doorstep. It’s a bat. It hits things. Mostly baseballs. Go stand on the wrong end of a batting cage to find out what it does.
And finally, after a lifetime (read: 20) of achievement, you’ll be able to kick back with a crisp, refreshing beverage. Well, until you drink said beverage. Then, with “several hundred times the daily recommended allowance of sugar” screaming through your veins, you’ll be ready to “dodge bullets like they ain’t even there!” (Note: Post-digestion hangovers are perfectly normal. Really, it happens to everyone. If you don’t get them, you’re probably not cool.)
So yeah, there’s the update. Go download it. Tell ‘em Maximum PC sent you. You won’t get anything, but any publicity is good publicity, we think.
Look what the mail truck dragged in! After first announcing the X8 in early September (where we got our first look and photos of the mouse), Microsoft has finally shipped the latest addition to the Sidewinder gaming mouse family. The X8 adopts Microsoft’s proprietary Bluetrack technology, which empowers it with 4000 DPI tracking resolution (scalable from 500) and the ability to work on almost any surface. We tested this claim on five different surfaces, from a rough wood desk to Styrofoam board and even coarse carpet. The mouse worked fine (though understandable not perfectly smooth) on all of our test surfaces, and only failed when we tried moving it over glass.
The shipping version doesn’t differ much from the pre-production model we fondled back in September, and retained the nice grip and smart button placement that we liked from our first hands-on. The included rechargable battery was a cinch to install, and tethering the mouse to the thin magnetic cord didn’t hinder our sweeping mouse movements. The wireless receiver is built into a clunky puck-like disc that sits on your desk, which ensures that you get better reception than if the receiver was hidden on a USB key behind your PC. The X8 still feels big for some hands, but our initial impression is that this is a winner. We’ll post our full review soon, but for now, enjoy these sexy unboxing and handling photos.
Comparing Age of Conan’s dark, blood-splattered fantasy world to those of its competitors is like comparing night to day, so we suppose it’s only fitting that we can’t really see a light at the end of this tunnel.
Age of Conan developer Funcom recently announced its relocation to the pointy edge of a quickly crumbling cliff (artist’s depiction here) – reporting that it lost $23.3 million during its fourth quarter of 2008. The culprit: Age of Conan’s free-falling subscription numbers, which now sit at a mere 100,000 after reaching an all-time high of 700,000.
On top of that, Funcom CFO Olav Sandnes decided to risk a dip in the economy’s increasingly choppy waters rather than continue with Funcom, announcing his resignation with all the optimism he could muster.
"Funcom is a company with a substantial potential based on a unique combination of skill sets in a fast growing global market. I wish Trond Aas and the rest of the organization all the best in realizing the full potential of the company," he said.