Whether you’ve just gotten a new gaming PC, are building a new PC for yourself, or have just decided to gift yourself with some new games, we have ten suggestions to make your gaming experience fun. Not all of them are new or the most graphically demanding, but they should provide you with hours of enjoyment.
Unlike gaming on a console, there are several ways for PC gamers to get their fix, from Steam and Origin to Epic Game Store and GOG. It’s important to know that not all platforms offer the same games. When they do, shop around — you might find a better price on one versus the other.
We’ve rounded up our favorite and most-used games, apps, and entertainment. Check out our app picks for iPhones, Android phones, PCs, Macs and TVs; our favorite mobile games from Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass; and our top choices for the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. We’ve also listed our favorite streaming shows on Disney+, Hulu and Netflix, some great sci-fi books, and exciting new podcasts. (Note: pricing was accurate at the time of publishing, but may change.)
If you’re looking for a first-person shooter that masterfully mixes the satisfying mobility, responsive controls, and sci-fi lore of the Halo series (it’s made by Bungie, after all, the same developer that makes Halo) with the endless replayability found in games like Borderlands, Destiny 2 is easy to recommend. The game is now free to play on Steam, so there’s no cost required to play through the base game. After that, you can pay for even more content.
Hades is the latest game from Supergiant, the developer of Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre. Right now, it’s in Early Access on Steam and Epic Games, which means that it’s technically incomplete. But it already offers a lot — and the developer aims to keep adding to the game in 2020. Hades is a rogue-like (every attempt is different in some way, including shuffled item drops, enemy encounters, and level layouts), similar in a sense to The Binding of Isaac. As such, it offers tons of depth, the writing is excellent, and the controls are responsive on keyboard and mouse, or with a controller. It will likely make its way to consoles at some point, but right now, the PC is where you can play it.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Rockstar’s sequel to Red Dead Redemption landed on consoles in 2018, but it only recently graced the PC platform. Now that it’s had a few months to shake out some annoying bugs, you should check it out. It’s a technical marvel, and it’s a fun game, too. Unlike the prior entry in the Red Dead franchise, or recent Grand Theft Auto games (which it bears some similarities to), Red Dead Redemption 2 is a more slow-paced adventure that takes its sweet time unrolling, with plenty of twists along the way. The fun gunplay is still a constant presence, though, and when you finish the long campaign, you can hop into the free Red Dead Online component of the game that comes included with it.
Remnant: From the Ashes
At the core of Remnant: From the Ashes is loot, and a lot of it. But it’s not just another loot shooter; this title has similar squad co-op and controls to what you’d find in The Division 2, but with a world that’s steeped in fantasy. This game has a reputation for being difficult — and difficult, it is — though it’s much easier and more fun to make your way through with a trusty group of friends. If games like Destiny 2 and Borderlands 3 are up your alley, you should give this one a try.
If you want to play through an awe-inspiring first-person adventure that lets you travel through space but doesn’t require you to shoot at things, Outer Wilds is a worthwhile game. Just don’t call it a walking simulator. It’s a game that can deceive you with its simplistic look and unassuming first half-hour of gameplay. After a little more time, though, you’ll be hooked, trying to discover every last secret floating around in Outer Wilds’ universe. And while I mentioned that there’s no shooting in this first-person game, it’s still plenty tense in ways better left unsaid if you want to go in fresh.
It’s tough to make a list of PC games you should play without mentioning a game in the popular battle royale genre. There’s a good chance you’ve already played Fortnite and PUBG, but Crytek’s Hunt: Showdown is one that may have escaped you. This game puts you and a few friends, along with plenty of other random players, into a sprawling, dangerous, and gorgeously designed map that’s filled with monsters that want to kill you. In addition to standard Player vs. Player gameplay, the other big goal of the match is Player vs. Enemy: dispose of the map’s baddies efficiently and quietly in order to score the most experience points and make your escape with the loot in tow. Neither is easy to do, especially since it’s a battle royale game wrapped in survival horror aesthetic, but the feeling of barely escaping with your life feels fantastic.
Disco Elysium is the kind of game made for people who want the freedom of choice, and want to see their actions have an impact on the in-game world. This PC exclusive (until it arrives on consoles later in 2020, at least) is a modern take on the classic RPG genre. It features a stirring whodunit story filled with open-ended conversation paths and memorable characters. It also has plenty of intricate game systems that let you have a personalized experience, and it rewards multiple playthroughs.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
The Halo series is coming — in full — to the Windows PC. I don’t really need to tell you why that’s exciting, but I’ll go ahead anyway. Only the first two Halo titles ever came to Windows — long before the advent of digital game platforms — but now all six of them will conveniently be in a single pack on Steam for $39.99. There are two things worth noting, though: only Halo: Reach is available to play right now (with glorious 4K/ 60 FPS support), with the others coming to the collection in 2020. And if you’d rather not buy the whole collection, you can play Halo: Reach with a subscription to Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass for PC.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
FromSoftware’s latest game runs best on PC, and this means you can enjoy more detailed visuals compared to the console versions, as well as faster load times. Faster load times doesn’t sound crucial, but in a game like Sekiro, where you’ll die again and again, it’s really nice not to be punished by long load times. Another note (which might be controversial to some): the PC version can be modded to allow for cheats. Cheats for Sekiro caused a stir earlier in the year, spawning the incredible “you cheated not only the game, but yourself” meme. Don’t feel bad if you need to cheat, though, especially if you just want to have fun in this tremendous action game without suffering too steeply.
OK, we’re adding a second battle royale title, but this one is well worth having on the list. Apex Legends is a first-person shooter from Respawn Entertainment, the same crew that developed Titanfall and, more recently, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Like Overwatch and Team Fortress 2, Apex Legends puts a class-based spin on an already-popular genre. With the studio’s pedigree, this game is, unsurprisingly, very fun to play. The progression systems in place are rewarding and will keep you playing for a while. Better yet, this game is free.
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Google updates Play Store policy with striking similarities to App Store – MobileSyrup
As Apple and Epic Games continue to duke it out over the iPhone maker’s 30 percent cut of in-app purchases, Google has released a plan to appease all parties on its platform, but it doesn’t go far enough.
To start, Android has always allowed people to download apps from third-party sources like the broader internet and Samsung’s App Gallery. However, beginning with Android 12 next year, Google plans to make it easier for Android users to add more app stores to their phones.
The company didn’t say much more than that, however. This tactic is the opposite of Apple’s approach, which only allows developers to use its own App Store.
The Google Play Store is about to become more like the App Store.
Beyond this announcement, Google has also reaffirmed its commitment to taking a 30 percent cut from app and in-app sales in the Google Play Store.
This means that apps in the main Android app market should be safer since everything in the store will be Google-approved and use the tech giant’s payment method.
Previously, Google was pretty loose with its in-app payment rules, so many developers could use their payment systems to avoid Google’s app tax from within the Play Store. Now, Google says it’s going to enforce all developers who wish to remain in the Play Store to use its payment platform.
Google suspended the 30 percent Play Store tax during the COVID-19 pandemic to help out developers. Still, on September 30th, 2021, it’s returning in full force, and all apps within the platform are expected to use Google’s approved payment method.
This is pretty much exactly like Apple’s current approach with the App Store.
What does this mean for Android users?
The key difference is that Google also allows people to download and sell apps from third-party sources, so if a company like Epic doesn’t want to pay the tech giant’s fee, it can create its own game store and release Fortnite that way.
On the surface, Google’s implementation seems like a fair alternative, but it really just gives established companies a Play Store fee evasion strategy. Smaller independent apps and games without an established fanbase are stuck using the Play Store since they might not have the branding or the money needed to convince users to leave Google’s walled-garden to download their game.
That’s not to say that developers can’t make money from within Apple and Google’s app ecosystems, but this new implementation isn’t as good as the search giant makes it seem. Google wants to be perceived as the good guy compared to Apple in the Epic Games battle, and chances are, it made the video game publisher happy with this move.
Overall, this changes nothing except resulting in the Play Store being more restricted with the trade-off that sometime in the fall of 2021, there will be improvements regarding how Android interacts with third-party app stores.
Microsoft says recent software change caused major outage – q107.com
Microsoft Corp said late Monday a recent change it introduced likely caused a major outage, affecting users’ access to multiple Microsoft 365 services, including Outlook.com and Microsoft Teams.
The developer of Windows and Office software said it did not “observe an increase in successful connections” even after it rolled back the change to mitigate the impact.
“A moment ago nothing was working, then I went into files in Teams and it was working, now nothing is working. Well I guess now I have an excuse to not do work and watch TV,” one Twitter user tweeted.
“We’re pursuing mitigation steps for this issue. In parallel, we’re rerouting traffic to alternate systems to provide further relief to the affected users,” Microsoft said on its status page, without specifying how many users were affected.
Several other Twitter users complained that the outage meant they could miss their job interviews and deadline for college assignments.
The Xbox maker also said they were working to evaluate other solutions while they investigate the root cause of the outage.
© 2020 Reuters
Microsoft says recent software change caused major outage – Global News
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2020 Stanley Cup champions, hoisting the NHL’s championship trophy Monday in a near-empty Rogers Place to cap off a surreal, bifurcated, bubbled hockey season for the ages.
Brayden Point and Blake Coleman scored the goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 shots for his first career playoff shutout in a 2-0 win, giving Tampa Bay a 4-2 triumph in the best-of-seven series.
The Lightning players exploded off the bench as the seconds ticked to zero, swarming Vasilevskiy, their whoops and hollers echoing off the empty seats and capacious tarps.
No fans have been allowed in to these so-called bubbled playoffs, with players isolated between contests to prevent contracting COVID-19.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman walked out to centre ice to award the trophy, but this time not accompanied by the lowing boos from fans that had become an unofficial league tradition.
“To win in this place at this time under these circumstances is remarkable and frankly overwhelming,” said Bettman before he handed the silver barrel-and-bowl trophy to Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, who proceeded to lift it with two hands over his head.
In a twist on the usual Cup presentation, the players, coaches and staff gathered around Bettman, instead of standing off to the side as he officially awarded the Cup to Stamkos.
The players cheered, fireworks went off behind the players’ benches and other devices delivered bursts of flames, the heat of which could be felt high up in the arena.
Stamkos did not dress for the game, and played only 2:47 in the entire playoffs due to injury. He came out in his hockey equipment and jersey to accept the award and his first Stanley Cup.
“I’m speechless,” said Stamkos in an on-ice interview.
“I’m so proud of this team and everything that we’ve accomplished.
“It’s one of the greatest feelings, and to be able to celebrate with this group of guys is a dream come true.”
The traditional skate around the ice, hoisting the cup in front of rapturous fans, was altered to the players skating around centre ice, clapping and celebrating as each one in turn took a spin with the mug amid rock music pumped over the loudspeaker.
Fans celebrating in Tampa were shown on all four sides of the video screen that hangs over centre ice.
Tampa defenceman Victor Hedman was voted the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
It’s the second Stanley Cup in the 28-year history of the franchise. The first was in 2004.
It’s the first Cup for every Lightning player except Pat Maroon. The burly, bearded veteran winger won it all last season with the St. Louis Blues.
It’s also the first Cup win for head coach Jon Cooper, in his seventh full season behind the Lightning bench.
He defeated Dallas interim head coach Rick Bowness. Bowness had been hired by Cooper as a mentor in 2013 and served the next five years with the Lightning as his assistant. This was the first Stanley Cup where an assistant faced his former head coach.
Vasilevskiy was 18-7 of the post-season. The 26-year-old Russian played every minute of every game for the Lightning through 25 games.
Tampa Bay outshot Dallas 29-22.
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Point scored on the power play midway through the first period, sailing through the slot untouched and putting his own rebound past Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin. Coleman made it 2-0 by capitalizing on a turnover midway through the second frame, one-timing a cross-ice pass from Cedric Paquette.
Nikita Kucherov assisted on Point’s goal and was the NHL’s top scorer in the playoffs: seven goals and 34 points. Point was second at 14 goals and 33 points.
The Bolts had been knocking on the Cup door in recent years, making the final four in four of the last six seasons. In 2015 they lost to Chicago 4-2 in the Stanley Cup final.
Nine members of the current Tampa roster, including Kucherov, Stamkos, Hedman, Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn, Vasilevskiy, and Tyler Johnson were on that Cup-losing squad.
It’s a capstone to bizarre season that began as normal in October 2019, but was halted, and ultimately cancelled around the 70-game mark, on March 12, due to COVID-19.
The NHL resumed play at the start of August in a 24-team, two-month tournament, held in hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton, with players and staff isolated and tested regularly to prevent contracting COVID-19. The NHL reported Monday there had been no positive tests in the nine-week bubble.
The conference championships and the Cup final were held at Rogers Place, the players skating, shooting, and scoring to the sounds of canned oohs, ahhs and cheers.
This is the first time the Stanley Cup has been awarded in the Alberta capital since the Edmonton Oilers won it in the spring of 1988.
The Lightning finished fourth in the regular season (43-21-6) and were a model of consistency in the tournament.
They went 18-7, never lost two games in a row, and shut down the top three defensive teams in the league (Boston, Dallas, and Columbus).
The Bolts were overtime warriors, going 7-2 in extra-session games, including a marathon five-overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round.
The Lightning played 221:14 total in overtime, more than any team in playoff history.
Hedman — all six-foot-six of him — was the rock, filling the leadership void when Stamkos went down in late February for core muscle surgery and then was re-injured before the playoffs began anew.
The 29-year-old Swede, in his 11th year in Tampa Bay, scored 10 goals, added 12 assists in the playoffs, ate up 26 minutes a night playing at even strength and on special teams, ignited the offence with seeing-eye tape-to-tape passes, and punished those who crossed his blue-line.
Premier Jason Kenney promotes Alberta during NHL game in hopes of boosting tourism, economic spin-off
The Bolts were the top scoring team in the regular season (3.47 goals a game) and their best marksmen got the job done in the post season. The top line of Point, Kucherov and Palat delivered eight goals and 21 points against Dallas and accounted for about 40 per cent of all team points in the playoffs.
When the opposition got past the defence, Vasilevskiy was there to shut the door, compiling a .927 save percentage in the playoffs.
The Stars franchise is now 1-4 in Cup play, dating back to its Minnesota roots. The lone championship came in 1999.
Dallas made it all the way to its first final series in two decades due mainly to the storybook play of Khudobin, a career journeyman backup elevated into the starter’s role for almost the entire post-season run after Ben Bishop was injured.
The 34-year-old from Kazakhstan absorbed a shooting gallery of vulcanized rubber: more than 30 shots in 15 games and 40 or more seven times. He was the deciding factor in the third-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights, saving all but nine of 161 shots over five games (.950 save percentage).
The Stars faced Tampa after being outscored 64-62 to that point in the post-season, but were the comeback kids of the playoffs, coming back to win nine times.
They won with stout defence and timely goals by committee, with veteran forwards like Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry stepping up when others flagged. First-line centre Tyler Seguin never found his groove, scoring just twice in 26 games.
The defence led the offence. Defenders John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen combined for 10 goals and 47 points.
Dallas was laid low by injuries to not only Bishop but also defencemen and key depth forwards: Stephen Johns, Taylor Fedun, Radek Faksa, Roope Hintz, and Blake Comeau. The Stars kept having to dip into their pool of Black Aces and ultimately the next man up became one injury too many.
For Tampa, the win will undoubtedly go a long way to washing away the bitter taste of last year’s humiliating playoff debacle. The Lightning won 62 wins in the regular season — tying an NHL record — then lost four straight games in the first round to the Blue Jackets.
Jets’ life in the NHL bubble
Following that loss, Tampa decided its high-flying offence needed more edge, pushback, and just plain nastiness. General manager Julien BriseBois signed Maroon and defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk in the off-season.
At the trade deadline, BriseBois inked defender Zach Bogosian, and traded a top prospect and high draft picks for bruising two-way wingers Coleman and Barclay Goodrow.
They proved to be the difference, with the new-look Lightning able to lock down late-game leads and, to paraphrase Conn Smythe, beat opponents on the ice and in the alley.
It was a year of firsts: the first time two teams from cities that never see snow battled it out in an empty arena on the Canadian prairie in late September for the Stanley Cup.
But in the year of COVID — where the only consistency has been contradiction and people must stay apart if they ever want to get together again — the Lightning fit right in, proving that if you want to polish the Stanley Cup, maybe just add a bit of grit.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
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