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The Wisdom of the Crows
October 9, 2012 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Rockpapershotgun on gaming in 2012.

Alec Meer from Rockpapershotgun with 9 ways in which 2012 has been a pivotal year for PC games.

1) The year of comebacks
2) The year of the MOBA
3) The year the PC returned to ascendancy
4) The year free to play made sense
5) The year the role of violence in games was questioned by games
6)The year always-on perhaps won more battles than it lost
7) The year fan pressure was taken seriously
8) The year that gender roles and perception took baby steps towards equality
9) The year of new independence – and its silent masters

For other recent RPS highlights see their thoughts on Dishonored (Deus Ex meets Thief) and Xcom: Enemy Unknown ("suck it" meets "that's Xcom, baby!")"
posted by Sebmojo (79 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's funny, even though I have rps in google reader, and I spend a lot of time reading their articles, I still manage to miss quality stuff like this.
posted by empath at 2:37 PM on October 9, 2012


That's because there's so many posts to wade through that a lot of 'em end up getting skipped. (I missed this one too)
posted by Earthtopus at 2:47 PM on October 9, 2012


The increase in free-to-play games this year has been quite remarkable, especially in that many of them are 100% playable without spending a dime. I tend to feel as ambivalent about micro-payments as does Meer. If I can get the full experience without micro-payments, but am choosing to pay $5/ea. to get better weapons faster than I can earn them in-game, I'm generally OK with that. If I literally cannot access certain gear without paying for it -- the freemium model -- I'm less OK with that and would much rather just pay upfront for the complete game.

In other words, I prefer the TF2 model to the Battlefield Heroes method (at least as far as free-to-play is concerned).
posted by asnider at 2:51 PM on October 9, 2012


Not sure I agree with point 6, but I am willing to admit that my frustration with D3 might be part of that.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:58 PM on October 9, 2012


Great, now I'm going to buy Dishonored. And Xcom. ARE YOU HAPPY RPS?
posted by Skorgu at 3:15 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is this the thread where we talk about how great the new XCOM is? Because I just lost two officers to some Mutons I was trying to capture alive, and I need a break.

Also I need some alien alloys.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:24 PM on October 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


6)The year always-on perhaps won more battles than it lost
7) The year fan pressure was taken seriously

these aren't really good things, really, though. plus citing EVE.

The RPS deal feels like a thing consciously designed to position itself within the "respectable gaming" niche (for people who consider themselves respectable), position being not that great for "art" and tending to lead to kind of safe, bland nostalgia stuff or esports?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 3:46 PM on October 9, 2012


Anybody who doesn't make money from it considers always-on a good thing?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:49 PM on October 9, 2012


These aren't really good things, really, though. plus citing EVE.

In the case of EVE, at least, it was a very good thing. The developers were showing casual disrespect for their players desires (and more importantly their basic human dignity) in an attempt to cash in on micropayments while the fire was still hot. And they were doing this in lieu of developing long promised new features and fixes.

The resulting outrage and protests (both in-game and through cancelled subscriptions) caused them to do a rapid about face, issue a serious mea culpa and start making a much better game as a result.
posted by 256 at 3:50 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh goddamit. I'm with Skorgu, now I have to get dishonored, and I'm only halfway through Mass Effect 3, which I finally broke down and bought a month ago and am mostly enjoying (with some pretty big reservations).

When someone convinces me I really do have to see a particular movie, I have to mentally figure out a way to set aside 2 hours of my life to do so. When someone convinces me I really do need to play a particular video game, I have to figure out a way to set aside 30 hours of my life. That's not so easy to justify when you're 45 years old and have a stack of unread books at your bedside.
posted by the bricabrac man at 3:53 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is this the thread where we talk about how great the new XCOM is?

I will try this false XCOM.
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on October 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


these aren't really good things, really

Pivotal doesn't necessarily mean good.

But (for eg) the way Dark Souls and Journey use always on multiplayer is fascinating, and makes a case for itself that is distinct from the hamfisted Ubisoft and Blizzards of this world.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:54 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is this the thread where we talk about how great the new XCOM is?

I will try this false XCOM.
posted by Artw at 12:53 PM on October 9 [+] [!]


Run it Classic difficulty, and Ironman, and get your glassy-eyed thousand yard stare ready.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:55 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The new XCOM is not a false XCOM. It is the second coming.
posted by ellF at 3:58 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


With Sid Meier as John the Baptist.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:59 PM on October 9, 2012


I am proud to say that I did the responsible thing last night and after pre-loading (and then updating, grrr), I got some much-needed sleep so as to be able to partake in post-work activities this evening.

And then skipped those activities themselves for XCom
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:01 PM on October 9, 2012


Run it Classic difficulty, and Ironman, and get your glassy-eyed thousand yard stare ready.

I will do so in order to steel myself against heresy.
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on October 9, 2012


I think I might have to get Dishonored too. It's getting really good reviews, and it sounds atmospheric as hell.

Oh, wait. I don't have to get it. I have a birthday in two weeks. MUAHAHAHA!
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:17 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I put dishonored on my wish list, with luck it will be in the Steam Christmas sale in a couple months. I have XCOM to tide me over!
posted by Justinian at 5:37 PM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I honestly have no idea what XCOM is, and am terrified to google it.
posted by the bricabrac man at 6:14 PM on October 9, 2012


XCOM is a old turn-based strategy game about fighting off an alien invasion of earth. It's notable for its base-building, technology researching, and utterly brutal turn-based combat.

Fun fact: there's a bug that, after the first combat mission in XCOM, resets the difficulty to the easiest setting. Fans complained that the game was too easy, being unaware of the bug, so the devs made the sequel horrifyingly difficult even on the easier settings.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:20 PM on October 9, 2012


Also XCOM fans tend to be like Fallout or Deus Ex fans in terms of their devotion.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:21 PM on October 9, 2012


I honestly have no idea what XCOM is, and am terrified to google it.

MeFi search for "XCOM", "cortex".
posted by Artw at 6:39 PM on October 9, 2012


blah blah blah Halflife 3??? blah blah blah blah....
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:47 PM on October 9, 2012


I feel a little bad for derailing the thread, so I thought I ought to comment on the actual link (which I also missed even though I read RPS about 6 times a day).

3) I think that the RPS crowd's love of PC gaming is coloring their views a little bit. I did recently go to PC gaming entirely myself (with an Xbox controller a lot of the time) and it is much much nicer than console gaming was, but contra RPS I do think a lot of that is because the PS3 and XBox 360 are near the end of their life cycle. Once the Xbox 720 and the PS4 are out (whenever that happens), I think PC gaming might wane.

On the other hand, I wonder about the next console generation anyway. I'm skeptical about the Wii U (although I hope it is supported enough that I can get my daughter one in a few years and teach her the Path of Mario), and Sony and Microsoft seem to realize the future of their consoles are as supersized Roku boxes. I wonder if this is all converging on our phones/tablets being powerful enough to run AAA games, maybe with some peripherals (sync a Dual Shock to the iPad via Bluetooth or whatever).

5) I think the role of violence in games has been questioned in the past, and will be so in the future, but Modern Warfare 12 and Black Ops 19 are still going to come out, and Spec Ops: The Line had a bit of that "You can't make an anti-war movie video game" problem.

XCOM) Everyone who is on the fence should read RPS's XCOM review. It is probably the fairest one I read, having spent a few hours playing. Also, don't play the demo, which is the worst demo I have seen in a long time. It just plays the beginning of the obnoxious tutorial, which somehow overexplains and underexplains the game mechanics simultaneously. It would have been better if it wasn't there at all.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:52 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I will do so in order to steel myself against heresy.

Classic is 'proper' Xcom, and you'll be facing horrible choices and losing treasured units on the regular. IF you make it to the end you'll have the glassy thousand yard stare of a veteran.

However, don't go to the next level, Impossible. Impossible difficulty is the videogame equivalent of the eerie piping music the elder gods play as their mortal puppets dance on the gossamer fine string that holds them momentarily above the abyss.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:54 PM on October 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I haven't played many games lately--the last two I played, more-or-less in tandem, were Human Revolution and Arkham City--but I will probably be making room for Dishonored as soon as I find it on sale (or when Christmas comes around, whichever is sooner).

On XCOM, though, I had a cracked copy of, I want to say Terror from the Deep, in 1996 or so, and man, I never did get the hang of it.

On the other hand, I wonder about the next console generation anyway.

Speaking as a reasonably-casual gamer, who doesn't give a rip about all the neat little graphical enhancements many PC gamers salivate over, I'd say that the current generation of consoles is almost "too good." Where do you go from here? Better AI? Larger open worlds? Because on the average TV, in the average living room, I don't think you're going to knock anybody's socks off with next-gen graphics.

I would predict slow adoption, but something tells me I'm probably wrong.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:03 PM on October 9, 2012


Seriously don't play the demo? Because I am on the fence about XCOM - I liked final fantasy tactics, but I'm no good at RTS's. I figured I'd give the demo a shot cuz it's free, and maybe I'll like it! But otherwise, I'll just let it pass.
posted by rebent at 7:09 PM on October 9, 2012


If we're talking about the original X-COM now, we'll have to use the hyphen.
posted by Earthtopus at 7:17 PM on October 9, 2012


I'm not convinced that the PC "ascended". My brief encounter with Skyrim revealed controls designed with a gamepad in mind.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:21 PM on October 9, 2012


(just yesterday I lost a Superhuman game in eighteen days to a base attack--Sectoid/Cyberdisks mind-controlling my commanders and brushing aside the four laser pistols I'd managed to scrape together)
posted by Earthtopus at 7:26 PM on October 9, 2012


The demo does a good job of showing how the new mechanics work, but the first (of two!) missions is completely on rails. Play the demo, but with the knowledge that the game is way more fun.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:35 PM on October 9, 2012


Terror from the Deep is basically the first X-COM with an aquatic reskin and everything renamed.
posted by Artw at 7:58 PM on October 9, 2012


People told me I'd like the new fake Deus Ex, and that if you put the difficulty up it would be like the original. It wasn't, it was just annoying.
posted by Artw at 7:59 PM on October 9, 2012


artw: it had a pretty good soundtrack tho!
posted by rebent at 8:19 PM on October 9, 2012


Did they remake Syndicate yet?
posted by Brocktoon at 8:30 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Earthtopus: It's easy to skip articles, since you have no idea from the teaser about any of the content, since they often spend all of the teaser on jokes. I'd suggest to them to say whether the game is worth reading about in the teaser.
posted by saber_taylor at 8:34 PM on October 9, 2012


Jesus. I don't recognize any of my crew. All the vets have died. Who are these fresh-faced kids?

Don't play the demo. It's terrible. The promo videos are actually way better.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:43 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


@Brocktoon: Sadly, yes. It is nothing like the original, so if that's what you're hankerin' for, give it a miss.

Thankfully, the new X-Com brings back all the good memories of old.
posted by Imperfect at 9:13 PM on October 9, 2012


My XCom base is feeling very Dharma Initiative with François Chau updating me on base improvements.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:13 PM on October 9, 2012


Ok, so I see the game devs dropped the ball on X-Com. Based on that review, it just can't be nearly as good as original
posted by Bwithh at 10:24 PM on October 9, 2012


Is this the thread where we talk about how great the new XCOM is?

Don't... don't mess with me here. Is the new XCOM as good as the old X-Com one, does it have the same jump out of your skin value when some fscking alien jumps out from behind a shed and frags your best soldier?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:29 PM on October 9, 2012


I'm with Elementary Penguin when it comes to the ascendancy of the PC business.

I game both on PC and console. I like PC better for MMOs and real-time strategy games, and console for shooters and other first-person shenanigans. So while I can see why there's an idea that PC gaming is on the up, a lot of it comes down to the restrictions hemming in developers when it comes to the consoles.

Firstly, the hardware is just getting too old to cope with a lot of the broader, richer content being developed. I'm currently playing through Skyrim again on the PC after waiting forever for Dawngaurd to hit the PS3. Generally I prefer the ease of control that a console gives in first person games - easy and intuitive - over the splayed-out mess that keyboards leave me with in PC gaming*, but I got sick of the delays. Even though it's "prettier", it feels awkward, and in the end I don't actually care about the depth of resolution. I just want to run around bashing things and shooting them with arrows. But Bethesda have danced around release date for the DLC, citing issues with the capabilities of the console, and given how buggy the PS3 release was to start with I seriously doubt we're ever going to see the DLC released. The hardware just can't support it. I also like consoles because I can just plug shit in, slap in a disc, and play. The last two big releases I've bought (Skyrim and Borderlands 2) have been too hardware intensive for the PS3 to cope with. Skyrim had to be patched to hell, and in the end I would up just replacing my 6 year old machine with a new one so it could cope with BL2. I expect some shenanigans when installing PC games, but I really resent it from consoles.

The other thing that makes a huge difference is how relatively easy it is to develop and distribute indie software for PC. The market is not the walled garden you get with the console marketplaces, and you can distribute on your own. Given that an awful lot of people are playing games casually these days (not to mention on smartphones - that's a whole other interesting development right there) it often doesn't make sense to jump the hoops to get distribution with the big guys.

Incidentally, with regards to point 8), Borderlands 2 is a whole world better than the original and "girlfriend mode" aside has some really positive gender stuff in it. It's got a major female npc who is not a hippish stick with tits on, who is proud of her body, comfortable in it, and who is eloquent in defending her rights to look how she wants. It's got at least 3 same sex couples in it, just off the top of my head, a POC as a playable protagonist as well as a female protagonist with a complex back story. It passes the Bechdel test, too, even once you factor out the female protagonist, and has a good ratio of male-female NPCs in general. Given that there were only 4 women on Pandora the first time around, I'm seriously impressed by the improvements, and I'm not even very far into it.

*My experience is not your experience. Conditions may vary. I have dainty mits and touch type. I've only just gotten to a point where asdw means movement, not a lost welsh pronoun typed in a hurry. Re-mapping every time I pick up a new game is a pain in the arse.
posted by Jilder at 12:11 AM on October 10, 2012


Don't... don't mess with me here. Is the new XCOM as good as the old X-Com one, does it have the same jump out of your skin value when some fscking alien jumps out from behind a shed and frags your best soldier?

Well, this literally just happened in my current game. Sorry Recruit Kelly, now you know why you were put on point.

Terror from the deep is my favourite game of all time. After 15 odd years, the new XCOM:EU is the first sequel that truly deserves the title XCOM. (Yes, I've owned lord knows how many different attempts, including the whole UFO series from Altar)

After some 6 hours of playing so far, I'd say the RPS review is pretty much spot on. If you're after a slavish remake, goto Xenonauts. If you want a game that retains all the good bits of the original XCOM, and improves on it (with a few minor mis-steps, like the all-american soldier voices*) to make a modern sequel and quite probably the best game of 2012, and definitely the best strategy game in ages, and scratches all the same itches as the original X-COM, including a 'just one more mission!' addictiveness - then the new XCOM:EU is for you.

*I've turned off the in-game soldier voices after one too many times of my Russian sniper yelling "Roger Dodger" in a Yankee accent.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:14 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now, in the original X-COM, that wouldn't have been a problem, ArkhanJG, because poor Recruit Kelly would have been holding two grenades primed to 0, so they'd have taken out the Chrysallids and the zombie she was about to become when they killed her.

I like how the new XCOM punishes you for using explosives, because it forces you to shoot at stuff, which causes a lot more "How did I not hit that with ANY of my soldiers?!" moments.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:58 AM on October 10, 2012


Did they remake Syndicate yet?

Yes, and it was a mediocre FPS (although I beta-tested the co-op multiplayer and quite enjoyed it).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:59 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't get Xcom for 2 more days!
Stupid EU release dates! Argh!

I guess I'll just put this on loop until then.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 2:34 AM on October 10, 2012


The last two big releases I've bought (Skyrim and Borderlands 2) have been too hardware intensive for the PS3 to cope with.

BL2 is fine on the PS3, though its graphics are basically set to low and it runs at (at best) 1280x720. Still looks good though, and if anything it's smoother than BL1.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:43 AM on October 10, 2012


I'll end up playing the new X-Com at some point but I'm afraid it could be another Terror from the deep and I'll never get more than a couple of screens in.
posted by ersatz at 4:46 AM on October 10, 2012


Seriously don't play the demo? Because I am on the fence about XCOM - I liked final fantasy tactics, but I'm no good at RTS's. I figured I'd give the demo a shot cuz it's free, and maybe I'll like it! But otherwise, I'll just let it pass.

As previously mentioned, the demo is very hand-holdey and not a great representation of the game as a whole. You would be far better served by watching some of the myriad gameplay content out there, as the developers were very reviewer friendly.

Also, their lead developer Jake Solomon is a wonderful human being.
posted by aranyx at 6:54 AM on October 10, 2012


I think I'll pass for now; fifty euros is a bit rich and I'd rather make a dent in FM2013 once that comes out...
posted by MartinWisse at 6:57 AM on October 10, 2012


I'm baffled to learn that some people actually prefer "not a mouse and keyboard" for controlling first-person games. That's like riding a bike and preferring a complicated structure of strings and pulleys to directly holding the handlebars.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:59 AM on October 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, I prefer it at this point, but I think it's really learned helplessness, plus the fact that most modern first-person games assume you have ready access to the buttons/triggers/bumpers/pushable thumbsticks. I prefer mouselook, but I like being able to hit 10 buttons without having to move my hands.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:05 AM on October 10, 2012


There's essentially no RTS aspect to XCOM. You take care of all your between-missions stuff with as much time as you need, then click the "fast-forward to next important thing" button. Combat is all turn-based and is REALLY good. I've only outright failed two missions, but it's rare for everyone to come home, and I had one mission go down to a sniper playing cat & mouse with the last alien. Very very very tense.
posted by kavasa at 7:41 AM on October 10, 2012


New XCOM is so, so good. Really nails that "Oh shit. Oh Shit. OH SHIT. NO." stomach-sinking feeling as you watch all your best-laid plans go to hell in a matter of seconds, and your most senior soldiers kick the bucket for good. (Ironman is the only way to play, of course.)
posted by naju at 8:27 AM on October 10, 2012


Well FTL has already ruined my life so I guess getting a new XCOM can't make things any worse.
posted by thecaddy at 8:38 AM on October 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it means I'm getting XCOM "when I finish FTL" - I can put you heretic unbelievers off for a long time!
posted by Artw at 8:41 AM on October 10, 2012


Between XCOM and Dishonored I will not be getting anything done for a while.
posted by daHIFI at 8:55 AM on October 10, 2012


Pope Guilty: For me, to use your analogy, take the handlebars and spread it out onto a flat surface and make it a slab of little buttons, rather than something that fits organically in your hands with every important button already under a finger. That's basically it.

I can park myself in front of my tv, loll about in any position I please, and still make very tidy headshots without worrying too much about my fingers slipping off asdw while stretching out to hit Ctrl or whatever.
posted by Jilder at 9:33 AM on October 10, 2012


Gamepad users can't look up.
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


the idea of making tidy headshots with the analog stick is completely foreign to me. If you can pull it off, more power to you, but I've found it about as intiuitive and precise as dangling one fishing rod from another fishing rod and then trying to catch trout.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:39 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


but contra RPS I do think a lot of that is because the PS3 and XBox 360 are near the end of their life cycle.

This is not actually contra RPS. They (and other right-thinking PC gamers) said years ago that the hand-wringing about the "death of PC gaming" was just part of a natural cycle in which developers ignore PC's when consoles are new but, as PC power increases, PCs first are able to easily run console ports (with minimal optimization) and then become so powerful that they entice developers into making games first for PC and porting them to the consoles.

The same thing happened in 1994 when Doom, Tie-Fighter, and X-Com made the SNES seem obsolete, in 1998 when Half-Life, StarCraft, and Baldurs Gate outshone games on the PS1 and N64, and in 2004 when Half-Life 2 and Far Cry and World of Warcraft made the Xbox and PS2 look pathetic, although it has taken a lot longer this time.
posted by straight at 9:50 AM on October 10, 2012


Argh this thread is making me crave Dishonored and even Borderlands 2. But the lesson I learned from only playing Skyrim for at least 6 months was that everything goes on massive sale before too long, and I still haven't played most of the AAA games from last year. Just getting into Saint's Row 3 (Good fun, not as cohesive or funny or mindblowing as SR2), and Uncharted 3 is out there with a $20 price tag just begging me to consider it.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:51 AM on October 10, 2012


I routinely game on both the keyboard and the controller. I think that the game type determines which tool works best. For instance, with counter strike, I use the keyboard. I can do everything I need with relatively few movements, and everything is intuitive because it uses the standard controls that have been applied to games since time immemorial, or at least since I started playing.

Borderlands 2 on the other hand is a controller-only game for me. There are too many finicky little abilities that are mapped all over the keyboard, and the way the menus worked just didn't suit me at all.

Over all, I love having the option to chose for each game how I want to control it, because it keeps the wrist pain in check.
posted by rebent at 9:52 AM on October 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think what you are encountering there is a limitation of shitty console ports rather than the keyboard/mouse.
posted by Artw at 10:00 AM on October 10, 2012


I was disagreeing with this paragraph, straight:
Yes, the PC is inevitably the technologically superior platform due to its modular nature, but the age of today’s consoles isn’t the real cause of the recent shift back towards PC, or at least I don’t think so. Contemporary console games look pretty darn good on a decent telly, y’know – developers have become better at wringing every ounce of power out of them even as engines (especially Epic’s ubiquitous Unreal) mature and offer more. It’s simply the freedom of PC that’s caused it to return to the head of the pack. We’ve been all but force fed hyper-scripted action games for quite some time now, and as such hungry communities have organically formed around alternative offerings – see the MOBAs above, or Tribes Ascend, or TF2. Even seemingly (but not, I well know) out-of-nowhere indies like FTL and before it Minecraft. Word of mouth, Twitter and Facebook are making small games gain huge attention.
All I was saying is that I think the age of today's consoles is the real cause of the shift back to PC, if there is a real shift back to the PC anyway. I found this article claiming PC gaming is dominating console gaming, but what seems to actually be dominating is microtransactions and social gaming (which was RPS point 4). On the other hand, this Destructoid article is sort of persuading me that there is a real shift. I would look into it more, but I have real work to do an alien base raid to finish.

I would be curious how many PC copies of XCOM or Dishonored sold, versus PS3 and Xbox versions, if someone knows where to get that sort of data.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:12 AM on October 10, 2012


Well, for example VGCharts says that Borderlands 2 sold 710,000 copies on PS3 , 1,360,000 copies on Xbox and only 280,000 copies on PC. I looked at Max Payne 3 and DX:HR as well, and the story is the same.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:18 AM on October 10, 2012


You may not want to put too much faith in VGChartz: Analysis: What VGChartz Does (And Doesn't) Do For The Game Biz
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on October 10, 2012


The biggest problem with VGChartz isn't even their fault: Steam refuses to release sales figures. It's like talking about online music sales without iTunes.
posted by Maxson at 10:47 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, I'd say pretending to have any kind of PC sales data worth having without Steam would be their fault, because if you don't you should just not bother. Who goes to a store these days?
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on October 10, 2012


I think you're both right Elementary Penguin. RPS has agreed with what you're saying about the PC/Console life cycles in lots of other articles. And while the open nature of the PC (and YouTube) made the Minecraft phenomenon possible, it couldn't have happened five years ago because there weren't nearly enough people with PC's capable of running it.

But most of what's exciting about PC gaming isn't driven by the raw power advantage over aging consoles. MOBAs and Minecraft and DayZ and Black Mesa and Guild Wars 2 and FTL and the continuing support for Team Fortress 2 and all these other great mods and indie games and free-to-play games that don't suck --none of these would have emerged on consoles if we'd only had new Next-Gen ones from Microsoft and Sony.
posted by straight at 10:52 AM on October 10, 2012


Hah! Consider my claims withdrawn! All hail the PC revolution!
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:53 AM on October 10, 2012


I think part of my problem is that I am having trouble untangling the Video Game Industrial Complex (with your Activision and Ubisoft and EA and Zynga and new Madden 20X6 every year) from video games as a medium (with your Minecraft and FTL and all the NostalgiaSoft Kickstarters), because the line isn't clearly PC versus console. I think thatgamecompany and Media Molecule are doing interesting things on PS3, and XBLA had Fez earlier this year. There's a sense in which "indie" games that sell for about $10-15, are downloadable, are the forefront of what's interesting right now, but they don't have the market share of Skyrim or Madden or FIFA 13.

Anyway, that is as jumbled written down as it is in my head, so take that for what it's worth. Sorry to derail the XCOM thread.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:04 AM on October 10, 2012


I think what you are encountering there is a limitation of shitty console ports rather than the keyboard/mouse.

Sometimes PC gamers (and I'm including myself in that group; I have a Wii, but it's mostly used for Netflix and illegal emulators, and I have a PS2 that I mostly use to play Katamari and the PS2's incredible survival horror library) can go a bit overboard on complaining about ports, but sometimes it's totally a thing. Anybody who's ever played Resident Evil 4 for PC knows exactly what I mean.

Although the worst PC port I've ever played is Turok 1. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter for PC has a bizarre mouse function where if you move your view vertically or horizontally, it's fine, but if you move your view diagonally, instead of doing so, it moves your view horizontally, then vertically, then horizontally, then vertically, etc. Like it's stairstepping in the direction you're moving your view. I know that sounds ridiculous and unbelievable, but it's true. I played it myself.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:07 AM on October 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sometimes it's not even bad implementation, its the design choices - witness the horrible UI of Deus Ex: Invisible War versus the simple mousecentric UI of the original.
posted by Artw at 11:26 AM on October 10, 2012


Oh, yeah, absolutely. See also the brilliant Clive Barker's Undying, which did "left mouse to shoot, right mouse to cast" a decade before Bioshock 2 (and really, Bioshock 1 absolutely should have done it), but had tiny levels and long load times because they wanted to port it to the Dreamcast... which never happened, so instead we're left with absurdly long loading screens every five minutes, much like Invisible War, come to think of it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:49 PM on October 10, 2012


Do they even mention Fiasco or should I not bother?
posted by Eideteker at 9:33 AM on October 11, 2012


Good articles on this weeks Sunday Papers:
Some thoughts on "Dishonored"
UFO: Enemy Unknown retrospective
posted by Artw at 8:23 PM on October 14, 2012


The XCOM: Enemy Unknown review that took 18 years to write.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:08 AM on October 17, 2012


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