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By 04 November 2021
What the world’s newfound fascination with kids’ playground games has brought to PC gaming.
Unless another show rallies shockingly hard in the fourth quarter, Squid Game is the megahit that will define 2021 in popular culture. The Korean Netflix drama portrays the poor and downtrodden of a contemporary to near-future society, conscripted as participants in a reality show where they must compete in lethal variants of children’s games, with the last person standing winning a multi-million dollar cash prize. So, what do I win for being the last person who hasn’t watched it?
If nothing else, I have a unique, perhaps even privileged position as a Squid Game holdout. The cultural wake of this show has produced knock-offs, riffs, parodies, and scams in every sector. Weird pink guard costumes at Spirit Halloween, online cultural criticism, and Google Play Store DMCA-bait shovelware have all contributed to the cacophony of discourse surrounding this show. I’m here with a fresh perspective and cold, clinical gaze to sample some of that noise and report to you on Squid Game’s effect on PC gaming. Here’s what I’ve found.
To even begin to tackle the enigma that is Crab Game, available on Steam for free as of October 29, you have to start with its creator, Dani. I had never heard of Dani before, but his YouTube subscriber count is north of the population of Chicago, and his most-watched videos reach 15 million views. He has a catalogue of humor-oriented, physics-based projects developed on the Unity engine, including a parody game called “3D Among Us.” I did not go into Crab Game with the highest expectations, but found myself very pleasantly surprised.
Aside from cribbing Squid Game’s iconic, lethal rendition of ‘red light, green light,’ most of the minigames are decidedly non-canon, including ‘king of the hill,’ ‘hot potato,’ and territory control modes cycled through at random until a single victor remains, at which point the next match can begin.
Crab Game keeps to a fast pace of play, and it’s honestly something I wouldn’t mind catching up with a few friends over. It’s also quite impressive that a single person whipped this up in less than a month, though you may want to wait for the update that stops it from leaking IP addresses.
(2/3) The game is built on Facepunch Steam P2P networking, which seemed like a fast and good solution. But it is apparently very unsecure, and you can sometimes leak your IP. I’m changing it to the new and more secure Steam Networking now, but it might take a few days, as I haveNovember 2, 2021
I reinstalled Minecraft for the first time since 2012 in order to find a server doing Squid Game stuff. How well does this genre-defining title—beloved sandbox to children everywhere—mesh with the world’s favorite Korean drama? Not terribly well, in my experience, but it was cool to see people try. Several servers out there are hosting variations on the theme of Squid, including automated matches and scheduled, player-hosted tournaments. I loaded into the Legundo server with my pathetic, default Steve skin and partook of their automated Squid Game mode.
I found the expected minigames, I assume straight from the show, such as ‘red light, green light’ and a frustrating bridge crossing based entirely on guesswork. All of them were slightly hampered by controls more oriented toward careful exploration and construction than frantic puzzle-solving. Still, a lot of effort clearly went into the production and it’s impressive for what it is.
Roblox’s multi-day outage almost kept me from sampling its own attempt at the way of the Squid. Thankfully, the Roblox Corporation averted catastrophe and brought it back online, allowing me to have one of the most dissociative experiences of my life. My nephew is still too young to bond with over games, so I had never loaded up Roblox before. I was dimly aware of this thing, this weird little game-making game exploding in popularity and landing in this generation’s middle schools ten times harder than Runescape landed in mine, but I was not prepared to face it directly.
I got over my shock at its frontier sense of copyright law and my own sense of awkwardness at being the only grown up at the playground, and loaded into the first legit-looking squidlike I found: Trendsetter Games’ “Squid Game 🎃 EVENT.”
Squid Game 🎃 EVENT was largely the minigame collection I expected, with the requisite ‘red light, green light’ adaptation only notable for ripping audio from the show and featuring alarmingly loud gunshots every time a player was eliminated. I initially got my hackles raised over our children being exposed to such things, but then I remembered that my own father let me watch every Hannibal Lecter movie in the sixth grade, and calmed down.
The most interesting thing I found here was a timed platforming challenge that felt like it was ripped straight from a Destiny raid. I finally met my end very late in a match and had the option to respawn back in for fifty “Robux,” but I refuse to invest in cryptocurrencies, so I ended my run. (Kidding, it’s just the normal kind of pretend money.)
What these games reminded me of the most was my own experience with Garry’s Mod as a kid. I loved playing on maps that recreated movie scenes, with adaptations of the Matrix’s lobby scene and the cabin from Evil Dead especially sticking out in my memory. I loved hopping onto servers full of strangers and competing in user-made minigames or weird prison break modes. I felt that same sensibility here, this enthusiastic rush to replicate iconic ideas from other media in games, mostly for laughs.
PC gaming’s rejoinder to Squid Game seems very similar to PC gaming’s response to many trends over the years: confusion, playfulness, absurdity, and a delightful disregard for copyright law. I think I would have enjoyed myself more if I were still the same weird teenager who liked screwing around in Garry’s Mod and who had friends with a similar abundance of free time. I can only assume that’s what Squid Game is all about: reminding you of the warmth, the fun, and all the other great things from your youth. (And what could be sinister about that?)
As timeless as such themes are, I doubt Squid Game games will be a thing for much longer. Janky, physics-dependent multiplayer games and mods continue to make up one of Steam’s best genres, but you can only play so many ‘red light, green light’ variants before anything else is preferable.
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The PS5 and Xbox Series X are for sale now for Walmart Plus subscribers – The Verge
Both the disc-based PS5 and the Digital Edition are up for grabs
If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.
In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s becoming ever-so-slightly less of a maddening exercise to get your hands on a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. Granted, it’s still harder than it should be, but recent retailer restocks have taken longer to sell out than they used to. So, here’s hoping that you’re able to purchase whichever console you want during today’s restock at Walmart, which is specifically for paid Walmart Plus subscribers and going on right now.
Walmart is offering the $499.99 PS5 with a disc drive, the $399.99 PS5 console that can only play digital titles, as well as the $499.99 Xbox Series X. These consoles are available to non-trial Walmart Plus members, meaning you actually have to opt-in to pay Walmart for the service to get access (here’s where you can sign up for Walmart Plus). Though, Walmart is calling these “early access” deals, perhaps suggesting that they’ll open up to non-Plus customers after a window of time. In the past, the window of exclusivity has been three hours.
To ease the checkout process, make sure you have your shipping and payment info ready to go ahead of time.
Sony’s flagship next-gen console, which includes a disc drive, allows you to play both digital and physical games for the PS4 and PS5.
The PS5 Digital Edition costs $400. Compared to the standard PS5, this console is $100 less and does not include a Blu-ray disc drive.
The Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s flagship console, serving as its most powerful (and biggest) option. While the Series S is aimed at smooth 1440p performance and takes a disc-less approach, the $500 Series X is focused on fast, 4K gameplay.
In case you plan to get lucky with buying a console today, there are several excellent games and accessories that we recommend. Starting with games, head over to this list to see the PS5’s best games of 2021.
An open-world, third-person sword fighting game that has your character trying to prevent the Mongolian invasion of Japan.
Insomniac Games’ latest adventure in the Ratchet & Clank series is the most fun entry yet. It’s also the first to launch on PS5, and it’s both a showcase for amazing graphics and fast loading speeds.
The midnight black DualSense controller sports the same hardware as the original — haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, etc. — only with a two-tone black design reminiscent of PS2, PS3, and PS4 consoles.
If you’re on team Xbox, you may already know about Game Pass Ultimate, which gives you discounts and access to an ever-expanding catalog of Game Pass games, along with online multiplayer. You may never need to pay full price for a game for your new console. Though, whether you do want to pay full price or you just need some ideas on what to play, check out the Xbox’s best games of 2021.
You don’t have to miss a call while you game thanks to Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless Headset, which is currently selling for $96.99 instead of $99.99 at Target. In our review, we found it to be a comfortable, intuitively designed headset that’s well worth the price. In addition to working well with Xbox consoles, it can connect to another device simultaneously via Bluetooth.
Of course, you can buy faster storage to add onto your Series X / S console, but it’ll cost you significantly more money than the option above. Microsoft partnered with Seagate to make proprietary SSDs that can be inserted into the rear of either console. The SSDs are currently available in multiple configurations, including a 512GB model for $139.99, a 1TB variant for $216.95, and a 2TB version for $399.99. All three are supposedly just as fast as the storage inside your new console, so this is the best place to keep all of the new games you want to quickly load and switch between at will.
Update January 13th, 4:11PM ET : Walmart has sold out of consoles for now.
Update January 13th, 3:00PM ET: We’ve updated the copy and headline to reflect that the PS5 and Xbox Series X are now available to Walmart Plus subscribers.
Update January 13th, 12:09PM ET: We’ve updated several prices in the product cards, as well as the language in the post to reflect the timing of the event.
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PC Building Diary: Assembling my first gaming rig and why I should have gone pre-built instead – 9to5Toys
Like many other console gamers through the past few years, the allure of switching over to a PC finally got the best of me. There’s just the problem of actually making the jump, considering just how hard things are with the ongoing stock shortages. Detailing the entire experience of building a PC for the first time, down below you can follow along as I go through all the components in my first rig and my thoughts on why I should have just gone for a pre-built in the first place.
After having a chance to check out a pre-built machine from CLX as a loaner, it got the ball rolling in my head that it might be time to invest in a system all my own. In what was a test for “will I even use a gaming PC in the first place,” I inevitably decided that my mixed experience with that brand shouldn’t deter me, and I sent out to build my own gaming PC and see what the other side of the table had in store. After all, there has to be a reason why everyone is so gung ho about crafting their own gaming rig.
In what was perfect timing with NZXT launching a new case and some coolers to go with it, I took those debuts as the perfect chance to dive in. So what did I ultimately decide on for my first machine?
To start things out, I built the entire PC around NZXT’s new H510 Flow case. While I am hardly one to push my system to the point of really needing the improved airflow capabilities that give this case its namesake, the peace of mind is certainly nice. I was originally debating getting one of the brand’s more compact machines, though after assembling everything inside of the mid-sized case, I am glad I had the extra room to work with. That pairs with the NZXT C850 power supply to get things started.
As for the CPU, I was recommended the Intel i7-11700 chip by 9to5Toys’ own PC builder extraordinaire Patrick. The suggestion has turned out to serve my gaming needs quite well and should be more than capable for any workstation-related tasks in the unlikely event that I make the switch from macOS. I am not going to bore you with benchmark results or anything trying to contend that this is the best value out there for the price point, but the CPU seems like it will be able to hold me over well into the future.
Once settling on the CPU, it was time to get the hardest component of my PC build. That’s right, the graphics card. In what ultimately seemed to come down to fate, I was able to score an NVIDIA RTX 3060 for a little more than its retail price. Its performance has been worth every penny over its MSRP and has meant that my rig can handle pretty much every I throw at it in the gaming department. Even if all I seem to be playing right now is Halo Infinite and Overwatch.
On the RAM side of things, I am rocking four sticks of CORSAIR’s Vengeance RGB PRO DDR4 memory. This gives me a total of 32GB for multitasking and is the perfect kind of overkill for my gaming rig. Adding to CORSAIR’s claim on my gaming PC, I also have one of its CORE 1TB M.2 PCIe Gen4 SSDs as the main boot drive. It has been nothing short of a beast even with how little I push the limits of its 4,700MB/s max transfer speeds.
On the all-important front of cooling, I mentioned earlier that this entire build was inspired by some of NZXT’s latest releases. So it’s only fitting that the brand’s Kraken Z73 all-in-one cooler is what helped me pull the trigger on the entire system.
The refreshed white design was a big selling point for having a uniform PC in the looks department, and its actual performance has kept me happy with it over the past month or so of gaming. I particularly love the built-in screen which can do everything from monitor system stats like temperature or CPU utilization to displaying gifs, which might be my favorite part.
And to tie it all together, I am rocking one of NZXT’s N7 B550 motherboards. Keeping up with the slick white theming, it has a matching coat of paint to the rest of my system and more I/O than I thought I could ever need. Lastly, I threw in an extra pair of NZXT’s AER RGB 2 120mm fans for some extra cooling. Though if I am being entirely honest, the extra RGB lighting is really the reason I splurged here.
While assembly could have gone better than expected, the experience of actually building a PC wasn’t all that bad. It may have taken an afternoon to get all of the components slotted into place, and more time than I’d like to admit for installing Windows, but eventually everything was ready to go. Even though I don’t necessarily regret the process of sourcing my own machine, I am getting some envy from just going the pre-built route.
Shortly after finishing my own build, the holidays arrived and I picked up one of NZXT’s H1 Mini PCs for my significant other so we can game together. And the whole experience there was honestly night and day to what I had gone through with CLX. That’s to say I was impressed with the process from the second I clicked buy all the way until it was finally plugged in and ready to go. That’s in contrast to doing all of the work myself to end up with a similar, yet much messier setup. Seriously, don’t judge my cable management, I know it could be better!
Even if now isn’t the best time to be getting into the PC gaming space for the first time in terms of actually sourcing parts, I am shocked by how much value is offered by the mid-tier gear found in this build. I feel confident that my machine should last well into the future without having to sacrifice too much on performance for any new games that the next few years may hold. And honestly, if it wasn’t for the shortages, now would be such an amazing time to dive into the world of PC gaming with just how much competition there is in the space churning out better and better products.
That’s to say after experiencing both sides of the equation, I would go the pre-built route for myself if I had to do it all over again. Even if I ended up saving a little bit of cash, having a package ready to go out of the box that I could have tailored to my liking over time seems like a far better compromise for this casual gamer than having to do all of the hard work to get a perfect rig right from the start.
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Anbernic may be developing a Windows handheld gaming PC – Liliputing
Anbernic is a Chinese company that makes handheld gaming devices, most of which are powered by Android or Linux software and designed for retro gaming. But it looks like the company may be developing its first handheld gaming PC that runs Windows.
That could make the new device an option for gamers looking to play modern PC games, although the new model will also probably be Anbernic’s most expensive system to date – most of the company’s current devices tend to sell for between $50 and $250.
Anbernic hasn’t officially announced the new Windows handheld, but a set of pictures included in a recent patent application make it pretty clear that the device is designed to run Windows.
Like many handheld game consoles, it has a display surrounded by dual analog sticks, a D-Pad, action buttons, start and select keys, and four shoulder buttons/triggers. There’s also a home key on one side, and a Windows key on the other, which will likely function as a Start Key.
On the left side of the device there’s also a switch that lets you toggle between game controller and mouse modes, a feature we’ve seen on some other Windows-powered handhelds, which makes Windows a little easier to navigate on devices without a mouse or physical keyboard. This will most likely let you move a cursor with an analog stick while using action buttons for left and right-click actions.
Other features appear to include a USB Type-A port, what may be a USB Type-C port, stereo speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as what looks like a microphone.
There’s no word on the specs or pricing, but it seems like a safe bet that a Windows-powered handheld will have a more expensive processor than most of Anbernic’s systems to date, which will drive up the price tag accordingly.
If and when Anbernic’s Windows-powered handheld comes to market, it will join an increasingly crowded space that’s currently dominated by small Chinese companies like GPD, One Netbook, and AYA as well as the upcoming Valve Steam Deck (which will ship with the Linux-based Steam OS, but which has all the hardware necessary for Windows gaming if anyone feels the urge to replace the operating system).
via DroiX, Taki Udon, and /r/Anbernic
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What are they trying to patent? Buttons and switches where your hand will be gripping and more prone to accidentally activating (ie. bad idea)?
Also, if their handheld looks like this, how are they expecting to compete with the other Chinese handhelds (let alone the Steam Deck)? Price? The bar handhelds are all pretty much the same with different tweaks here and there.
At this rate, I feel like whatever part of the market the Deck isn’t able to capture will just be shared equally among the rest of these small companies.
Now more manufacturers in the game, waiting for Alienware and Razer to join this party, they had UFO and Switchblade concepts in the past
I feel a tiny bit sorry for GPD – after years of being the “only game in town”, now they have competitors coming out of the woodwork!
Still, it seems like good news for everyone else!
If it’s pocketable, then I’d get it. Otherwise, if I’m getting a non-pocketable slab/bar PC handheld, then it’s only the Steam Deck for me.
Judging from the USB Type-A port, this thing’s pretty large. It’s not any more pocketable than the other slabs so pass. The Steam Deck it is.
Waiting for a hologram of Roseanne Barr to explain the meaning of the device’s name to me.
🙂 Close enough to Ambergris
🙂 Close enough to Ambergris
Compare handheld gaming PC specs (Steam Deck, AYA Neo, GPD Win Max and Win 3, ONEXPLAYER and OneGx1 Pro)
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Overview of AMD’s Ryzen 6000 mobile “Rembrandt” chips with RDNA2 graphics and Zen 3+ CPU cores
Daily Deals (1-17-2022)
Samsung introduces Exynos 2200 processor with AMD RDNA 2 “Xclipse” graphics
Anbernic may be developing a Windows handheld gaming PC
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