At PAX East, indie games booths often lack the flair and sheer bombast of the imposing fortresses that the AAA games inhabit. But venture inside and you’ll often find games that boast more sheer imagination and passion than what major studios are producing. We took it upon ourselves to dive headfirst into the bass-booming, fanboy-shrieking, awesome-stuff-riddled show floor to find the coolest indie games. Take a gander through the gallery below to see what caught our eyes.
Love or hate Windows 8, you have to give Microsoft credit for its tenacity. Most companies would’ve tucked their tail between their legs and run home crying after the disaster that was Zune, but Microsoft doubled down to bring a better-than-before effort rebranded as Xbox Music to its Live Tile-equipped ecosystem. With unlimited music streaming and the ability to buy individual tracks, Xbox Music looks like a hit on the Surface. (Get it?) But how does the new contender stack up to Spotify?
Note: This article was originally featured in the January 2013 issue of the magazine.
PC adventure games have seen a much-needed resurgence in the past couple of years, attracting newer audiences and developers who wish to get in on the fun. With renewed interest in the once-forgotten genre, we're seeing sequels to cult classic, new tales with familiar heroes, and in the case of some newcomers, those who dare to push the boundaries of convention. Going beyond simple detective stories, murder mysteries, and real-world trappings is welcome, and while we have a handful of modern examples doing so, the edgiest games were found in the genre's formative years. Some hardly made sense. Others ended up weirding out or offending and alienating audiences completely. We're celebrating the oddities of twenty of the strangest PC adventure games ever. Let's get weird.
Attention, would-be cord cutters: If you’re going to tell the cable man to shove it, you’re going to want a full-featured media center app to make browsing your digital movies, music, and pictures as pretty and painless as possible. Two of the top no-cost contenders are the open-source XBMC and Plex, a partly proprietary fork of XBMC that focuses on streaming media to multiple devices. Which is the blockbuster and which is the dud? Let’s find out.
Note: This article first appeared in the December issue of the magazine.
Most power users would be perfectly willing to upgrade to Windows 8 if it weren’t for two things—the tile-based “Metro” interface and the missing Start button. While Metro is like a rash in that you eventually get used to it, we can’t imagine getting used to the lack of a Start button. It’s too bad Microsoft didn’t give us the option of using both features, but fortunately, two third-party utilities do. If you want the speed of Windows 8 and your old buddy the Start menu, one of these utilities belongs on your system. Let’s find out which one.
Note: This head-to-head feature appeared in the Holiday 2012 issue of the magazine.
Dream Machine 2012 is the PC utopia we all long for
Conventional wisdom says that PC performance doesn’t matter anymore. That’s because the average consumer, the average gamer, and the average PC jockey can’t tell the difference between a slow POS machine and a fast one. Well guess what, baby? That’s a bunch of crap.
Some people believe piracy has no negative effect on sales. I am not one of those people. So I sympathize with EA's desire to combat piracy with SimCity. However, I do not believe that requiring users to always be connected to EA's servers to be the best solution to the problem, especially when those servers come crashing down and prevent honest customers from playing legitimate copies of their game.
An in-depth Q&A with one of the best professional LoL teams
With an astounding 32 million registered players and one billion hours of collective playtime each month, League of Legends (LoL) is the most-played videogame in the world. The free-to-play title pits two teams of five players against each other and has them destroying enemy bases: think team-based tower defense gameplay where players have different designated positions. The deep, complex game is just as competitive as it is popular and features unprecedented lucrative tournaments that have multi-million dollar prize pools. Throughout the process, LoL has created several gaming rockstars in the burgeoning eSports world.
One such rockstar team is top-10-ranked Team Curse. Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, the American team currently has a record of 9-2 this season and has garnered sponsorships from such companies as Cooler Master. Team Curse is so well-respected in the community that its players charge up to $250 an hour for gameplay lessons. While this fee sounds astronomically high for what is nothing more than a videogame practice session, Team Curse tells us that requests for lessons can be at times overwhelming.
Maximum PC had the opportunity to conduct an in-depth interview with the beloved team where they talk about their insane practice regimen, discuss what it's like to recieve so much attention from fans, share tips on how to become a better player, and much more. Read on for the full interview.
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.