QuakeCon got off to a fantastic start today with the release of a remastered Quake, available on digital storefronts for just £7.99 – and free too those who already own it. Long-rumoured and much anticipated, this remaster comes courtesy of Machine Games Nightdive Studios, and id Software.
Machine Games had already proven their Quake bona fides with the 2016 release of Dimension of the Past, a third expansion pack to the original game that was released on Quake’s twentieth anniversary. That expansion pack is now available in the remaster package, along with plenty more to be excited about.
Idris Elba being cast as Knuckles in the next Sonic film, rumours of Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City and San Andreas remasters, plus the announcement of Frostpunk 2 have made for a very busy week of gaming news. In a different world, we’d be covering some of these big news items…or at least the Frostpunk 2 news as that is brilliant, but sadly we all have busy day jobs. Apart from Ross who floats around as Editor making all of our words sound so much better.
If you haven’t checked out Jon’s impressions of Back 4 Blood, then before reading on for Our Week in Games, do check that out.
“The last Metroid is in captivity. The galaxy is at peace…”
The start of last summer was special, in spite of everything: I completed System Shock for the very first time. I had long been acquainted with its sequel, but the original eluded me. To my surprise it was unquestionably the best gaming experience I had throughout 2020, save Half-Life: Alyx.
Not bad going for a game close to thirty years old. I didn’t much expect anything comparable in 2021, but 1994 wasn’t done with me yet.
Mini Motorways made its debut on Steam at the end of July, and will be coming to the Nintendo Switch next year, but it still feels absolutely like a mobile game at heart. Perhaps, though, I should correct myself there. It feels like a touch game at heart. This isn’t some in-app purchase driven knock-off, but a very smartly thought-out city builder that begs to be picked up and played, one which will undoubtedly find a very welcome home on the Switch.
Coming to Mini Motorways on the PC without having played it, or its predecessor Mini Metro, I was immediately struck by how clean and fresh it looked. I’m a sucker for good-looking art, and with Mini Motorways, where everything is fairly minimalistic, there is more than enough character to draw me in. I love the way the cities expand as the days and weeks tick by, but in such a subtle fashion that you don’t realise that you’ve progressed from managing the road network of a village at the start, to now trying to tame the sprawl of a megalopolis. A sprawl that is all your own doing.
Once a few in-game weeks have passed and your starting route between two houses and one work place has grown exponentially, it’s wonderful to take a moment to pause, delete your original road networks and create things afresh to best take account of how your city has evolved. A city that has evolved to grow around your roads, with houses sprouting in the most awkward of spots but able to be ignored. Meanwhile the new business that sets up on the other side of a river when you have run out of bridges to plop down will be what finally brings a game to an end.
It might not be your traditional city builder, and yes it might work best on a touch device, but Mini Motorways is a gem, and comes highly recommended.
I was recently fortunate enough to gain access to the Back 4 Blood (B4B) closed-beta, and I’m going to share my thoughts on the game as it is and where I think it can go both before and after release. Bear in mind as this was the beta build of the game content and mechanics may – and probably will – still change.
Another week rolls by here at The Reticule, and all is quiet. Well, it was until Jon returned!
As we explained last week, we are still looking for new diverse voices to join our motley crew. Even if you aren’t looking to write with us, feel free to join our Discord server to hang out and talk about whatever takes your fancy. With that, on with Our Week in Games.
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you’ll know it’s Olympics time, and Team GB have Sky Brown competing in the park discipline. Today you can (nearly) emulate Sky with The Ramp, an indie skateboarding title from Paul Schnepf.
Unlike Sky’s adventures in Tokyo, The Ramp features vert skateboarding across a handful of locations, and that’s pretty much it. On the Steam page, Paul describes The Ramp as offering you 15 minutes of flow for “the price of a medium sized cinnamon pistachio latte”.
The Ramp is out right now on Steam, and I’ll be putting down the price of a fancy coffee for 15 minutes of flow.
We’ve had an unofficial summer break here at Reticule Towers, and we hope you’ve all had a pleasant few weeks of peace and quiet. Did we say quiet? Well, while we may have been quiet, the industry has been in turmoil with appalling reports of a toxic culture at Activision Blizzard, which ultimately lead to a staff walkout. This all emerged when the State of California filed a lawsuit against the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft creators, with the lawsuit alleging pervasive discrimination and harassment of women. Eurogamer have a good lowdown on the latest events with Activision Blizzard here.
We witnessed similar damning revelations spill out of Ubi Soft last year, but the truth is that this problem is industry-wide – it is deeply embedded in the very culture of gaming, both within those that produce our games and those that engage with them. A toxic culture, and one that has to be brought to an immediate end so that something better – an equitable, fair, decent, and empathetic culture – can emerge.
Enough is enough. Gaming needs to be better – and it needs to be better right now.
And it starts with us, too.
Here at The Reticule we embrace equality and diversity. We’re incredibly proud of our writing team, but we’re super conscious that, ultimately, we’re a team of white dudes, and that’s not a reflection of the gaming culture we want to see. We are committed to diversifying the voices that you see and read on our website. We are now actively recruiting such voices. If you want to get in touch about working with us, drop us a note on Discord or get in touch with our Editor Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org
I know a lot about football. Admittedly, the bulk of this knowledge comes from a cover-disk demo for Sensible Soccer which I obtained in 1992. For example, did you know that once the ball has been kicked, the player still has several seconds in which to decide if he wants the ball to curve in one direction or another? Also, if a goal is scored in the final minute of the game, the match-timer breaks and the game never actually ends, condemning the players to play on and on until the final days of humanity or the console is switched off, whichever comes first. Still, at least the crowd will get their money’s worth.
So fingers crossed. I hope the players aren’t doomed to an eternal match without end, endlessly scoring goal after goal without purpose, begging for the final release of death and their nightmarish existence on the pitch to come to a final relief.
“The planetary policy was clear. An absolute quarantine was guaranteed by apocalyptic levels of radiation. The empty dark corridors stand motionless, abandoned. The installations sealed.”
Doom 64 took me by surprise. Growing up I never owned a Nintendo 64 (I was a PlayStation kid), so for years I operated under the belief that no such conversion of id’s classic first-person shooter had made its way onto Nintendo’s console. By the time I learned of its existence, my interest was best described as “indifferent”. I just casually assumed it was Doom all over again, not caring to dig any deeper into Midway Games’ title.