Computer Games


'Return of the Obra Dinn' Is the Best Indie Game Around

WIRED

It's Friday, which means it's once again time for Replay, WIRED's look at the world of gaming. Since nearly everyone involved in the videogame industry spent the week at the Game Developers Conference discussing the future and reflecting on the past, a lot of news came out of that annual gathering. But a lot of news came from elsewhere too. Well, there are awards, a new title to look forward to, and an old conflict finally (almost) coming to an end. Earlier this week at the Game Developers Conference, the Independent Gaming Festival held its yearly awards ceremony, honoring the best and most exciting works in the indie gaming sphere.


World of Warcraft now lets me play as a fat guy, and I love it for that

PCWorld

Every so often I get the urge to travel to the Caverns of Time dungeon in World of Warcraft and behold one of the game's rarest creatures. Instead, this once-endangered species is a portly human mage who ambles down shady lanes in the Hillsbrad Foothills. So far as anyone knew, he was the only fat human in the game for at least a decade, and damn if he didn't make a potbelly look good. He carried himself with the poise of a king. He didn't give a flip what you thought of his paunch-friendly shirt.


Bafta games awards 2019: God of War leads nominations

The Guardian

Sony Santa Monica's God of War has received 10 nominations for this year's Bafta game awards, leading a diverse pack of nominees. Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2 also picked up six nominations, as did Florence – a game about a relationship played from the perspective of a young woman – and Return of the Obra Dinn, a lo-fi monochrome mystery set on an abandoned ship. The contenders for best game are Assassin's Creed Odyssey, PlayStation VR game Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, Celeste, God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Return of the Obra Dinn. Last year's winner was What Became of Edith Finch, an emotionally charged magical-realist game about the fate of an ill-fortuned family. The games beyond entertainment category, introduced to recognise games whose impact extends into the real world, comprises Celeste, Aardman Studios' first world war game 11-11 Memories Retold, Life is Strange 2, My Child Lebensborn, and Nintendo Labo.


Microsoft ports DirectX 12 to Windows 7, giving some older PC games a performance boost

PCWorld

Just in time for Windows 7 to die, Microsoft is porting DirectX 12 to it -- on a game-by-game basis. The first game to deliver will be World of Warcraft, with others to follow. Microsoft's latest graphics API has actually been around since 2015. But Microsoft typically reserved its latest features for Windows 10, the latest OS that already demands the latest hardware. DirectX 12's support for multithreading, for example, already generates "substantial framerate impriovement," Microsoft says.


Google hires 'Assassin's Creed' lead Jade Raymond to help its big gaming push

Engadget

Google is turning to the brains behind Assassin's Creed ahead of its gaming debut later this month. Jade Raymond, who clocked in over a decade at Ubisoft, has been appointed vice president by the tech giant. "I'm excited to finally be able to share that I have joined Google as VP!" she tweeted on Tuesday. It's currently unclear what she will work on at the company. I'm excited to finally be able to share that I have joined Google as VP!


Windows 7's first DirectX 12 game is 'World of Warcraft'

Engadget

Gamers who remain on Windows 7 can now play World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth with the added boost of DirectX 12. Microsoft announced that Blizzard would be the first game developer to offer DirectX 12 support for Windows 7. This will be good news for stubborn Windows 7 users who still haven't upgraded to Windows 10. Thanks to the API's support for multi-threading, players can expect a framerate boost even on the older OS. Microsoft has tried to remain firm on the end of Windows 7's lifecycle, which is scheduled to end in January 2020. Windows 7, first released in winter of 2009, is still a popular desktop OS for many PCs despite no longer being sold on new computers.


The best games for PC

Engadget

So how do you categorize a beast like gaming on the PC? With decades of titles to pluck from (and the first port of call for most indie titles, too), there's so much to choose from. Gaming on your PC adds the benefits of (nearly always flawless) backward compatibility and console-beating graphical performance -- if you've got the coin for it. We've tried to be broad with our recommendations here on purpose. There are so many great games out there for your PC, consider these some starting points.


The best games for Xbox One

Engadget

A series of missteps put Microsoft in second place before the Xbox One even came out. While it's likely to remain there until the next generation begins, there are a lot of people out there who have never experienced what the console has to offer. With the Xbox One X having a clear advantage over Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro when it comes to gaming on a 4K TV, there's never been a better time to jump in. While not all the games on this list are Xbox exclusives, every game is at least better on Xbox than PlayStation, provided you're playing on a One X. Studio MDHR's Cuphead is as beautiful as it is challenging -- and it's very beautiful. Half bullet-hell shooter, half platformer, half classic boss rush... wait that's too many halves.


How Nintendo's Embrace of Indie Games Is Helping the Switch Win Big

TIME

For those who self-identify as gamers, chances are you have -- or at least know someone with -- a Nintendo Switch. The Switch was the best-selling console in 2018, thanks in no small part to Nintendo's own popular titles, like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Nintendo now says Switch sales will be lower this year than what it originally expected. But it's also been following a new strategy that could help it keep the Switch cooking: going all-in on independent video games from tiny studios. Indie game developers have benefitted mightily from the age of Internet-connected consoles, which offer digital stores that make it easy for gamers to spend a few bucks to download quirky games from small teams.


Farming RPG 'Stardew Valley' finally comes to Android

Engadget

About five months after the "delightful farming RPG Stardew Valley" came to iOS, it's ready for Android. The now three-year-old game will be available on the Google Play Store for $8 on March 14, meaning Android users will no longer need the Nintendo Switch to manage their virtual farms on the go. In the "Zen-like farming simulator," players inherit an old farm and have to turn the land with some hand-me-down tools and a few coins. First a PC game, the indie hit has since been ported to PlayStation 4, Xbox and other consoles. It quickly became a fan favorite on the Switch, and last year, it was turned into a multiplayer game -- though, mobile versions do not yet support this feature.