Hello and welcome to a new episode of our games podcast! This week I travel deep into the Grid for a VR special, with Oculus Quest’s answer to Portal (yes, really), and then a reminder of why Valve is the best in the business of games design. Put on your VR headset of choice* and join me!
That horrible feeling that sometimes follows a decent mid-afternoon nap – who am I, where am I, where is everyone – is the starting point for Carrion. Except here you need to add what am I, as your first action is to slop across the floor in a clot of slopping tendrils, with a tiny razor-lined mouth in a perpetual silent scream. And that feeling never fades, instead driving you forward with a singular motivation: get out.
As I got into bed last night I slipped my hand under the covers and something buzzed against it. I instinctively yanked my arm away while something black and striped and angry crawled out from underneath the duvet and headbutted the light in determined repetition. I wish I could say that my response was calm and measured, but it was more like Free Willy jumping out of the aquarium with a high-pitched yelp to match. It was dealt with.
Now, imagine that scenario but you’re in the middle of a swarm of *hundreds* of these bastards and all you have is an machine gun. Or replace the bugs with zombies, or lizard men, or tiny red demons, or mechanical spiders that split into *more* spiders, and more spiders, and *more* spiders, when you destroy them. Welcome to *Crimsonland*, where *Borderlands* meets *Earth Defense Force* in a bloodied frenzy.
Well now, this is interesting. There have rumours circulating for a *long* time that *Half-Life* developers and operators of Steam, Valve, are preparing to shift into home console production with a TV box that would let you play all your Steam games from the comfort of your sofa. The hype train gained even more speed last week when owner Gabe Newall said that open-source operating system Linux was “the future of gaming” and they were working on a way to get it into people’s living rooms.
[T.C. Sottek Writing for The Verge](http://www.theverge.com/2013/2/6/3958162/valve-steam-box-cake):
> Valve is trying to build a game console that you haven’t seen before: something that brings the PC (the big thing sitting on your desk) and the traditional console (the little thing sitting under your TV) together into a single device. A device that will run Valve’s Steam platform: the biggest digital game distribution service on the market, with upwards of 50 million users. (By comparison, Xbox Live has somewhere around 40 million subscribers.) But what does that really mean?
> Based on what Valve has told us, its Steam box will — like a console — be something small and quiet that you can fit near your television while you kick back on the couch with a wireless controller. Like a PC, it will let you buy and download your games as many times as you want without needing any discs, and choose from a vast library of free game customizations. The Steam Box will also include a few unique twists, like controllers that can passively sense your feelings (biometrics), and wireless technology that can connect the console to several rooms and screens in your house at the same time.
> Valve is shopping for the right ingredients — the features, parts, and partners — to make the Steam Box a reality. But why would a software company like Valve, known for its game-making chops, want to bake its own consoles and controllers? Let’s look back at 2012 to find out.
It’s a long article so be sure to get comfy before you sit down to read, but do sit down to read because it’s a nice rundown of everything that seems to be going on.