For whatever reason, Minecraft had a bit of a moment this summer. We got on board ourselves, with Nate setting up a pleasant little RPS server last month. It had been a hot minute since I’d last dived into Minecraft, but we had a proper great time: I helped a hermit rescue dogs from the underworld. Nate insisted I build a colossal airship off some naff Soviet-futurism comic series. Usual stuff.
Those of you chained to the churning wheel of the internet might have seen this facial recognition algorithm thingo doing the rounds. It’s called ImageNet Roulette, and it’s basically a website where you feed in a photo of your human face and see what the cybergods of our terrible future make of you. But it’s probably not safe to show the neurohive your real face. So we showed it 13 pictures of videogame characters instead, to see if the machine lords of the net realm can tell who they are and what they are all about. The short answer: not really, but sometimes. The neural net, it turns out, is a dangerous idiot.
Twenty years of EverQuest, blimey! I’d have been four years old when that came out, too young to experience the harsh and clunky fantasy world that made World of Warcraft a shocking breeze when it hit. A fresh-faced baby, free from worrying about losing all my boar teeth and experience points on death.
Since their succesful Kickstarter bagged double their target, Poland-based The Farm 51 have announced that their ambitious Stalker-esque survival horror Chernobylite will enter Steam Early Access on the 16th of October, with a full release an estimated 10 to 14 months later. It’s a game, not a mineral or a low-calorie power plant.
You may not be able to buy No One Lives Forever outside the second-hand market these days, but if you do have it you’ll now find it a lot friendlier to revisit. Modman Jacob Breen has made a “modernisation patch” fixing up performance, UI, and resolution issues to make the much-beloved spy-fi stealth FPS feel less like, well, a game released 19 years ago. It is still one of the best PC FPSs so I hear. The 39th best, I’m told. Some highly scientific method applied there, no doubt.
Revelling in the finer points of gun operation seems distasteful to me now in a way that it didn’t back in 2013, but I still bloody love Receiver. It’s about stalking across dystopian rooftops, deserted but for the turrets and drones intent on killing you. So far so videogames, but what sets Receiver apart is the way every weapon requires meticulous care. Press R in the hopes of reloading and, depending on the fiddliness of your weapon, you’ll probably just eject a bullet onto the ground. Not ideal when a single zap sends you right back to your randomly-determined beginning.
Mondays are for scheduling articles that were meant to go up on Sunday. Sundays are for, if I’m honest, doing very little but laze around and play videogames. Here’s the best writing about them from the past week.
Speak not to me of your Flappy Bird, childling. I only sup from the finest Flash cup. In here? Why, it’s fully liquidised Copter. Please, have a taste. Ah yes, I can tell from your crinkling nose and gurning, twisted mouth that you do not see anything special about this crude single-click game of helicoptering through a simplistic cavern of lime green walls. Please, go away now, you’re depressing me.
There’s a number of things on your to-do list in the teal world of Churchgoers. Learning new prayers to better navigate the world, avenging your sister’s murder, and trying not to fall asleep on the bus. That last one is probably, and understandably, the hardest one, as demonstrated by the launch trailer below.
Open world ecological simulation Pine drops you in the shoes* of a human who lives among intelligent animals, and asks you to carve out your own niche. You’ll have to figure out how to navigate the world, craft what you need, and generally survive. And also not get stepped on by a bipedal mammoth. Take a look at the launch trailer below.