Yesterday, we reported that, along with losing Activision Blizzard, the PC Gaming Alliance accepted a shifty-eyed new figure into its ranks: Sony DADC. Fortunately, however, the SecuROM parent company doesn’t plan on working any shady deals behind the curtain, according to PCGA president Randy Stude. In fact, like Arnold in Terminator 2, Sony DADC is switching sides to help PC gamers topple a much bigger baddy -- in this case, piracy.
Speaking with BigDownload, Stude explained that Sony DADC decided to join the PCGA in order to assist the organization’s piracy-perforating subcommittee. According to Stude, keeping its alleged enemy roughly as close as its friends will provide the PCGA with ideas for its PC game piracy report, which is coming sometime before the year’s out.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the revolving door, Stude confirmed that PC manufacturer Acer left the building along with Activision Blizzard, for essentially the same monetarily minded reasons. Apparently, when it comes down to saving a few bucks or performing a philanthropic act – contrary to what Fable II and BioShock had us believing – the yellow brick road is the path of least resistance.
But hey, at least GameStop… exists. It recently joined the PCGA as a penny-pinching “Contributor,” which means that the notoriously PC-unfriendly game store is a member, but for less cash. Better than nothing, we guess.
Expect more PCGA-related announcements before this June’s E3 gaming expo.
Just this week MSI announced their latest laptop, the GX403 featuring a ‘turbo button,’ which juices up your CPU, giving you the most gaming power possible.
The GX403 will come with an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, Windows Vista Home, the Intel PM45 chipset, a 14.1-inch 1280x800 display, a maximum of 4GB DDR2, and an Nvidia GeForce GT 130M GPU. And, to help you out when you take this bad boy on the road, it’ll come with 802.11b/g/n wireless and the option of a six or nine-cell battery.
And, as for that fabled “turbo mode,” it’ll only work when you’ve got your laptop plugged in to a power source (sort of a no brainer), but there’s no solid information as to what exactly it does.
Mmm. There really isn't a great way to start off a roundup of open-source and freeware games. We should just be able to say that: "Hey! Over here! Free games! Free, fun games for you to play! Come play them!" But that would be a dull and uninteresting way to start a feature article about free games. So with that out of the picture and all, maybe we can describe a game or two that you'll be seeing in this little roundup. A sneak preview, if you will.
First up, we have a great quasi-sequel to a zombie-killing classic. We say "quasi," because it's not really a sequel, just a graphical modification. But going from 2D to an orthogonal view adds such depth and joy to the game that we can't bear to keep it all to ourselves. Oh, and the zombie-killing. You kill a lot of undead creatures in this title. In fact, that's really your sole purpose: survival, killing, and more killing.
Second, we're taking a look at this crazy numbers-based puzzle game. It's a lot like Tetris, only instead of trying to make solid lines from falling shapes, you're tasked with matching groups of numbered blocks together. The more you use the fantastic powers of addition to combine your blocks into larger numbers, the crazier combinations you can create. If we weren't having so much fun playing this, we'd swear it was educational...
But that's enough teasing for now. Click the link and check out the five awesome, free games we're playing this week!
If the PCGA’s having an in-office Opposite Day celebration, well, someone took it a little too seriously.
Over the weekend, eagle-eyed, bloodhound-nosed chimera readers of the PCGA website noticed that Activision’s name disappeared from the organization’s member list. As it turns out, Activision – as well as “a few others” – could no longer afford the decadent lifestyle a PCGA membership entails, so they quit.
"A few members have decided they cannot justify the budget (membership and staff) required to maintain an active role in the PC Gaming Alliance at this time," the PCGA told Kotaku.
Activision’s departure, of course, means that recent spouse Blizzard is also packing its bags. For those not in the know, Blizzard may very well be the biggest PC game developer in existence, and filling its cavernous cleats will likely prove impossible.
But here’s where things just get weird. The same list that lost Activision to miserly thrift recently gained a new member known as Sony DADC. Long story short, Sony DADC is the parent company of SecuROM, creator of the restrictive DRM that appeared in titles like Spore and Far Cry 2.
Yes, that’s right. An organization that claims to defend PC gamers’ interests has apparently taken a shine to public enemy number one. Um, what?
We’re hoping to learn the why’s and how’s of this strange turn of events from the PCGA soon. In the meantime, though, we’re off to coax the pigs down from the rooftop. Ever since they grew wings, they’ve been completely inconsolable.
Oh no! The sky is falling; PC gaming is doomed; they cancelled Firefly again, etc. After essentially tasting, feeling, and smelling like a multiplatform developer for a couple years, id Software – this time through the mouthpiece of CEO Todd Hollenshead – has finally come out and stated the obvious.
"There's no question that our roots are in PC gaming. And when I play a first-person shooter, keyboard and mouse is the configuration that I want to play on," Hollenshead noted. "But we feel like, in terms of your triple-A, big-budget, big-market title, that you really have to be cross-platform to be successful, unless you're a first party."
"As an independent developer, we feel like we have to be on all the relevant platforms. So we don't really view ourselves as PC first."
Is PC gaming The Future? Who knows – but multiplatform development is now, so excuse us while we don’t spit our cola onto the face of the nearest onlooker.
In other news, Hollenshead said that id will announce “some new stuff” at E3, and that Doom 4 will be like other Doom titles, but not – meaning that guns and demons are probably in, but that those of you who wanted conversation trees and complex interpersonal communication will probably be disappointed.
Read the full interview here, if you want. A word of warning, though: It’s long – and there aren’t many pictures.
Ever since we nearly died from our childhood playground’s cootie epidemic -- only to be saved when we decided to play doctor -- we’ve known that girls and boys are very, very different. And now, according to the Nielsen Company, there’s yet another reason to slap that “No Girls Allowed” sign on your tree fort: the fairer sex digs PC gaming way more than you.
So, what’s the catch? Well, 55% of all PC gameplay minutes can be attributed to females above the age of 25; that much is true. But guess what many of them are playing? That’s right: Solitaire. Barebones, no frills Solitaire. So much so, in fact, that Solitaire is the single most-played PC game, with 17 million players in December 2008.
The majority of female players – and therefore, most PC gamers – are casual gamers. Granted, Nielsen’s subjects allow their every online move to be monitored by some monolithic company, but other than that, we presume that they’re normal people.
So, what do we take away from this? For one, if you give people a game and the hardware to run it – whether manly man or girly girl – they’ll play it. Bundle Windows with a few games that prominently feature knights, kings, and queens sans the cards and we might be onto something. And second, that curvy Night Elf that keeps interrupting your grinding session with another, far more sinister variety of grinding? Probably a dude.
Do you play MMOs? Do you – as MMO-related Youtube videos have jammed into our noggins on many occasions – also listen to fantasy-oriented power metal? Well, if you’re anything like us, the two tastes go great together until the vocalist starts belting, yet, when he speaks of glorious battle, fails to mention game-specific character classes, locations, and damage stats. Totally kills the immersion of downing the same legendary baddy for the hundredth time.
Well, while Blue Öyster Cult and Warhammer Online haven’t quite satisfied our rigorous demands, they’ve certainly come close. See, as it turns out, clamshell-themed rock and rollers Eric Bloom and Richie Castellano are both card-carrying WAR addicts, so they teamed up with Mythic to put their love into the form of a song, while also avoiding potential lawsuits!
The result, called “Kiss My Axe (While I Drink My Beer)"… doesn’t sound anything like vintage Blue Öyster Cult, but it’s still pretty good. It’s easily the best song about Warhammer Online’s brand new Dwarf Slayer class we’ve ever heard.
So, crank your speakers, put the horns in an upright position, and give it a listen. With any luck, it’ll wash away the taste of listening to DragonForce’s “Through the Fire and the Flames” for the – well, how many times have you downed that raid boss again?
After 12 years of printing money working in faithful service to EA, Sims and Spore’s resident genius has decided to call it quits. But just because Wright managed to create a virtual representation of all biological existence doesn’t mean he’s done making most other game designers look silly just yet – far from it.
Wright’s next endeavor, called Stupid Fun Club, is a think tank that has actually been bubbling around for a few years now. However, back when it was merely a side project, the most unfittingly named club ever seemed content to just manufacture cutting-edge robots – whereas now, it’ll develop new intellectual properties across multiple media formats like film, TV, the Internet, and of course, videogames.
Make no mistake, though: EA may have let Wright off the leash, but – much to the chagrin of some, we’re sure – Stupid Fun Club is still very much in the mega-publisher’s lap. As a result, EA owns just as much Stupid Fun Club stock as Wright himself and has the first right to develop anything the thinkin’-est tank in the business comes up with.
The rub of it all? Mr. Wright hasn’t exactly given EA his walking papers, but he’ll certainly have more wiggling room, at least in the conceptual phase, from now on. As for his first task as an un-tethered man, we’re hoping he’ll invent a few new words to replace “stupid” on the intelligence hierarchy, since he’s apparently laid claim to it. Really, it’s not even fair. If Will friggin’ Wright calls himself stupid, what’s everyone else?
PETA has decided – in a nutshell – to grief a bunch of WoW players because they’ve taken to bonking adorable-ish piles of pixels with equally imaginary weapons. Can we do Mac users next?
“That’s right, gamers, get ready: This Saturday, World of Warcraft (WoW) players will have the opportunity to combat a team of four Horde seal killers. We need your help to stop them from bashing in the heads of any more seals!” reads a post on PETA’s blog.
“Activists from across the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor are banding together to put a stop to the atrocious seal slaughter. Anyone who slaughters baby seals for their fur must surely be in service to the evil Lich King.”
So, putting aside the fact that PETA’s storming a sand castle while the real deal lies only a few feet away, what exactly is being protested here? Are we trying to teach Blizzard a lesson for granting an infinitely-respawning virtual seal utopia some form of population control? Because really, in that case, why not just stop subscribing to World of Warcraft altogether?
And, of course, if PETA’s brandishing its Rolling Pin of +10 Guilt at the players, why not do it in a less infuriating way? Honestly, if you – in the process of going about your daily WoW duties – found yourself steamrolled by a bunch of hootin’ and hollerin’ PVPers, would you immediately think, “OH MAN, THE BABY SEALS NEED MY HELP”? Personally, we’d probably take a boot to one of the big-eyed little buggers, if only to relieve our frustration.
So yeah, just donate to Sea World or something. It’ll be a much better use of your time. Unless you just love griefing other players, in which case, go right ahead. It’s a free country.
If Fallout 3’s Operation Anchorage DLC was its electro-sword-swinging, happily ending “A New Hope,” The Pitt is its “Empire Strikes Back.” Full of depressing realities and potential backstabs, The Pitt isn’t exactly the best place for a vacation if Fallout 3’s gray skies and grayer morals were getting you down. The DLC’s plot sees you dropping your mechanical trousers, donning slave rags, and infiltrating Pittsburgh’s disease-riddled remains, with the hope of freeing its enslaved citizens. Or cracking the whip even harder, if you’re playing a heartless ne’er-do-well. But is it really worth your time to save Pittsburgh when you could be saving $10? Well, here’s our verdict in five easy points. (Granted, we could’ve given you a simple yes or no, but what fun would that be?)
1. Now with made with 100% real Fallout! – Despite its first-person trappings, Fallout 3 isn’t an FPS. Unfortunately, developer Bethesda seemed to have forgotten that when it released Fallout 3’s first run-‘n’-gun-heavy piece of DLC, Operation Anchorage. With The Pitt, though, the game has kicked its identity crisis to the curb. No more snow, no more identical Chinese soldiers, no more strangely out-of-place cyborg ninjas – Metal Gear Solid this ain’t. Instead, The Pitt sends you on a veritable Wasteland safari, full of open areas, colorful characters, and optional side quests. And for the most part, another few hours of the same things Fallout fanatics have been doing for the past 50 make for an enjoyable – if somewhat familiar – experience.