The image of PC gaming as something that happens in a cramped study or a musty bedroom is fading. More people than ever seem to be happy plugging their rig into their TV and gaming on the sofa. Who wouldn’t want that? It’s comfier than an office chair.
Finding games that are truly suited for play in the living room requires a bit of research, though. After many hours of hard research, we’ve come up with 10 corkers. The things we do for you readers.
Some of these titles are picked for their ‘couch co-op’ support, others because they’re just the sort of thing we think you’ll want to play after a hard day’s work. A few are ready for a bit of generation-splicing family play too.
Do hardcore PC games make sense in the lounge? Some don’t, but Divinity: Original Sin absolutely does. While it takes inspiration from classic RPGs like Baldur’s Gate, which is best experienced in front of a monitor with a mouse glued to your hand, Divinity works like a dream in the lounge.
First, it supports gamepads, being optimised for PS4 and Xbox One as well as the PC crowd. And it’s one of the few giant AAA role-playing games you can play in co-op with someone else, on the same TV.
We’ve lost track of the hours we’ve put into Divinity: Original Sin, but How Long to Beat puts the average ‘completionist’ time at 109 hours. At under £30 or $39 (around AUS$59), you can’t argue with its value. It’s a flat-out great game too, one packed with humour.
A bit of a throwback to the days of 90s lounge multi-player gaming, Trine 2 feels like a classic platformer. But it also has great 3D graphics, smart modern physics and puzzles better than what we remember from back in the SNES days. Well, apart from The Lost Vikings.
What takes it over the edge into a lounge must-try is couch co-op, with no need for split-screen. You can use a gamepad too, for the ‘lean back and relax’ feel. Trine 3 also supports the same lounge-friendly stuff but we think the second game was simply better. The newer one is too short and needlessly makes the game environment full-3D, giving away the pure vibe of the first two Trines.
This is what you get if you take “one more go” gaming, times it by six and then square the result. Trials Fusion balances frustration and reward like a trial biker teetering along a tight rope.
You tilt your rider back and forwards, grappling with the physics engine to avoid smearing your rider over the tarmac. It’s a casual mechanic, amped up for hardcore appeal. In the harder levels you might end up kissing the track 100 times getting to the end, but as you can restart in a fraction of a second, you end up frustrated at yourself rather than anything else.
There are two ways to approach multiplayer here: you can take it in turns, one crash per go, or there’s a versus mode where you try to get so far ahead the other racers end up off the screen. A hair-pulling riot.
Have kids? You need to try one of the Lego games. There’s a whole bunch on PC, and the latest is Lego Marvel’s Avengers. This takes characters and scenes from both the Avengers films and maps them out in Lego.
It’s a bit of a button-bashing collect-a-thon where just about everything can be destroyed, bursting in a spray of Lego ‘coins’. Two people can play on the same screen, taking on the role of one of the Marvel heroes.
Don’t dismiss this as a ‘baby’ game, though – it gets pretty tough. If you can’t stand superhero nonsense, there are now absolutely loads of similar Lego titles, including ones themed with the Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and Batman brands.
What would happen if you merged football and arcade racing? Maybe no-one asked that question, but Rocket League still popped into the world and is incredibly moreish.
It’s fast, a bit silly and the physics is inspired more by pinball than FIFA. Rocket League is arcade fun, but it’s still very easy to get scarily competitive over.
It has a massive following online, but you can also play on the same TV, using split-screen. You have to see Rocket League in action to get a real flavour of what it’s about. Track it down on YouTube. There are thousands of Rocket League videos there.
Back when we were playing games in the 90s, their worlds were usually very rigid, hand-made things. Beautiful, yes, but sometimes you’d just wish you could rip them apart just a little bit.
Broforce is a what might come out if a group of now-30-somethings got together and devised their perfect game. All the characters are not-so-subtle rip-offs of 90s action movie heroes like Blade, John McClane and Blade, while the action is a flat-out side-scrolling destruction fest. And the graphics are pure pixel art.
Up to four people can play at once, turning the screen into a joyfully chaotic mess.
Not just one of the greatest lounge games but one of the greatest games, full stop, is Portal 2. Most of you probably know a bit about this game already, but for the lucky virgins:
In Portal you use a gravity gun to make little teleporter holes in walls and objects. You might send a ball through a wall, only to pop up through a floor somewhere 20m away. It’s a dazzlingly clever puzzle game, but one with bags of atmosphere and a great story too.
The extra lounge factor comes in when you get someone else involved. While great played solo, you can also tackle Portal 2 co-op.
Sometimes you just want a game to take you ‘somewhere else’ after a long day’s work. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons does just this, without asking for any massive time commitment. You can complete it in a handful of hours.
It’s a 3D action puzzler. A pair of brothers have to get to the Tree of Life to save their Father, and you have to guide them there. This is a quiet, contemplative game that gives your brain a light workout but will otherwise lower your heart rate and keep you all-round relaxed. It’s a delight.
Two people can play as well, each taking on the role of one of the brothers. Failing that you can switch between them on your own. The brothers helping each other to get past obstacles is the central premise.
Telltale’s adventure games make great lounge gaming fodder for a whole bunch of reasons. First, they feel right with a keyboard or a gamepad. There are no complex controls, which is why these classic adventure games work as well on phones as they do on PC.
Next up, anyone else in the living room is less likely to complain about you hogging the TV. The Walking Dead is a genuinely involving, often pretty emotional story. You’ll have your partner or house mate arguing with you over which survivor your should save. The game is split into TV episode-like chunks, although they’ll last for a few hours rather than 40 minutes.
Then, well, they’re also simply good games, balancing out story and puzzling. Telltale Games has been making this stuff for 10 years now. It knows what it’s doing.
Don’t like zombies? Other TellTale adventures worth checking out include Back to the Future, Tales from the Borderlands, Tales of Monkey Island and The Wolf Among Us.
Here’s a game you can just sink into blissfully, and forget whatever stresses have glommed onto you during the day. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture zaps you into a fictional, but entirely believable, rural English village in which all the inhabitants have disappeared.
You stroll about, following a strange and apparently alien glowing ball, discovering what has happened by finding audio diaries. If you have a nice surround system or a good pair of headphones, the atmosphere produced by the soundtrack alone is hard to beat.
It’s engrossing, but won’t bogart too many of your evenings. We finished it in around six hours. It’s an experience you won’t forget.
Source: techradar – Gadgets
10 best PC games to play on your living room couch
There are plenty of air quality sensors out there but so far the Awair Glow is the only sensor I’ve found that can do something about nastiness in your environment. The Glow is a small plugin nightlight that connects to an iOS or Android phone and lets you turn on a fan or air purifier if certain conditions are met. The device is quite compact – it’s about as big as a… Read More
It’s no secret, Apple and Qualcomm have been fighting relentlessly for a few months over royalty payments. Apple told Qualcomm that it would stop paying the disputed licensing fees. Qualcomm confirmed the agressive move and said that its revenue and profits would be lower than expected. Apple said that it is waiting for a court decision to resume payments. Of course, the company expects… Read More
Come with me if you want to sear. The Cinder, which we first looked at two years ago, is now selling on Indiegogo and I had the unique opportunity to try this clever sous vide-style meat cooker. Basically the Cinder cooks meat perfectly. You place a hunk on the internal platter, set the temperature, and close the heavy lid. The lid acts as a sort of vacuum seal that keeps in juices while a… Read More
Later this year, John McAfee plans to launch a smartphone which boasts such tight levels of security that it’s streets ahead of the likes of the Blackphone .
The security expert (who founded the eponymous antivirus company – which is now a standalone firm separate from Intel, incidentally) talked to Newsweek about the handset, which he said was the result of ‘enormous investment’.
The John McAfee Privacy Phone – someone certainly likes using their own name in their creations – is an Android handset which will not just sport software security features, but also hardware measures.
The latter will include a bank of switches on the rear of the device which allow the user to actually physically disconnect components such as the antennas for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, and also the battery, camera, and microphone.
McAfee also noted that the phone would be prevented from connecting to a Stingray or other IMSI-catcher device (used for surveillance and tapping into nearby mobile phones), and that it would contain “a web search anonymiser”.
Further security features weren’t detailed, and neither were any specs – these won’t be revealed until the week before its launch, which is expected to be later this year, as mentioned.
Light years ahead
McAfee told Newsweek that: “[The phone] is not hack proof but it does give the user enormous power over his or her privacy and it is light years ahead of the Blackphone or any other phone claiming to be secure.”
The bad news? The John McAfee Privacy Phone (which will be released by McAfee’s firm MGT) will be priced at $1,100 (around £850, AU$1,470), which makes even Apple’s prices look cheap.
That’s mainly because this is a phone aimed at business users who really need that extra-tight security – although well-off consumers who truly value privacy may also be interested, of course.
A second incarnation of the phone will apparently be out in the summer of 2018, with McAfee claiming this will be as “hack proof as humanly possible”.
The sequel probably won’t be called the John McAfee Even More Privacy Phone.
- We’ve picked out the best business mobiles in the UK for 2017
Source: techradar – Gadgets
Here comes the most secure smartphone in the world
Want to run Android, but don’t want to buy a smartphone, tablet or Android TV device? Then this may be the answer to your prayers: Google has teamed up with Huawei to deliver the HiKey 960, a Raspberry Pi style computer board that runs Android.
Developed with teams at Google, ARM, Huawei, Archermind, and LeMaker, it was made primarily so that Android developers could code on a device using an ARM based chip like so many of the devices that run Android apps, rather than on Intel x86 chips.
But while it’s based primarily at developers, there’s nothing stopping anyone running it as a straight Android computer.
It’s a powerful board too, in line with the top-end performance of Android’s big smartphone hitters.
The HiKey 960 has a Huawei Kirin 960 octa-core chip, which makes use of four high-performance ARM Cortex-A73 and four efficient Cortex-A53 cores. That’s the same as you’d find in the Huawei Mate 9 . 32GB of storage is onboard along with 3GB of RAM. Frustratingly however, though the board’s Mali G71 GPU can deliver 4K visuals, the board’s HDMI 1.2a slot will limit it to 1080p output.
Elsewhere, the board offers 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1, with PCIe m.2 slots for expanding storage and connectivity options, and 40-pin and 60-pin connectors for monitors and cameras.
Getting Android 7.1 working on the board won’t be as simple as “plug-in-and-play” however – you’ll need to work on your command line know-how and follow instructions laid out by Google . But as a learning project it should be fascinating.
Launching in May, it’s priced at $239, which converts roughly to £185 or AU$320.
Source: techradar – Gadgets
Google now has a Raspberry Pi-like computer for Android
Google Wifi, the mesh router that Google unveiled first last October, is now on sale in Canada. The router sells either individually for $179 CDN, or in a 3-pack for $439 CDN, which is pretty close to U.S. pricing given current exchange rates. The Wifi solution’s mesh networking approach means it can seamlessly pair with other units to extend coverage throughout a house, without… Read More
Facebook’s been testing a lightweight version of its Messenger app — imaginatively called Messenger Lite —, in emerging markets since the end of 2016, and the social giant’s now expanded the apps availability, bringing it to the for an additional 132 countries.
Included on that list are APAC nations including Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan, along with select European nations like Germany and Italy. The original intention of the app was to offer a lightweight alternative to the standard version of Messenger so that people with (which is often the case in emerging markets) could still use the service.
The app is incredibly stripped back, weighing in at only 10MB, and features a simple array of three primary screens — Home (where you can view your current conversations), Contacts, and Profile (which includes all app and account settings). All of the Snapchat-wannabe functionality is gone (phew!) and the entire experience is incredibly streamlined and pared-back as a result.
After some brief use, the only thing that we truly missed was the searchable GIF option that’s included in the full-fat Messenger app — although we’d deem that a worthy sacrifice for the Lite app’s silky smooth simplicity.
Source: techradar – Gadgets
Facebook launches Messenger Lite for Android in Australia
Having to listen to the sound of a train during your daily commute or the constant hum of a plane on a long-haul flight over the soothing notes of your music can be annoying, to say the least.
The best way to shut the world out and enjoy your favourite tunes, or listen to an immersive podcast or audiobook, is to invest in great set of noise-cancelling headphones – in-ear or cans, whichever one you prefer.
As the name implies, noise-cancelling headphones eliminate background and ambient noise by noting incoming sound waves and then creating a new wave that is 180 degrees out of phase with said frequency.
They do this to allow you to focus on your preferred choice of audio-visual medium. In fact, these headphones can be so effective, we’ve seen people just pop them on for some peace and quiet during long journeys.
One of the biggest names when it comes to audio gear is Bose, with four great headphones in its noise-cancelling line-up called QuietComfort (QC). And we’re here to help you find the best bargains on the Bose QC range – whether that’s via a time-limited discount, a coupon, or some other bit of frugal magic.
Bose QuietComfort 35
Bose has brought its fantastic noise-cancelling technology to a pair of wireless headphones and it’s done so without any of the traditional drawbacks of wireless headphones. They sound great, and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights. They’re super comfortable, and despite the fact that they don’t use the AptX Bluetooth standard, the wireless doesn’t harm their sound quality one bit.
Priced at AU$499 a pop, the QC35s sit firmly at the premium end of the spectrum, but if you want the best noise-cancelling headphones available right now, then you can’t get any better. And they can be bought at a great price, too.
Bose QuietControl 30
For a pair of in-ear headphones, the QC 30 has a level of noise cancellation that matches any of Bose’s over-ear cans, and that’s very impressive given its size. In fact, the level of noise cancellation can be adjusted to suit your environment via the in-line remote.
But the effective noise-cancelling comes at the cost of sound quality. The QC 30 isn’t the best-sounding headphones in the world, but if you’re not an audio connoisseur, these are still a pretty good set of headphones to get, especially for those who don’t particularly enjoy the feel of cans on their ears.
These premium in-ear headphones retail at $449 a piece but, with some effort, it’s always possible to get them for slightly cheaper. Like from Videopro’s eBay store where you can get them for $388 . Or you can , using the code C20TEK to take the price down from $449. That’s a saving of $89.80, but hurry as the coupon expires 2 May.
Bose QuietComfort 25
The QC 25 are just as good as Bose’s premium cans, but without the premium price tag. They’re still expensive at $399 a piece, but they achieve top performance per dollar and definitely worth your hard-earned dosh.
With exemplary sound quality and equally excellent ambient noise cancellation, the QC 25 will suit the serious or the casual listener, providing a wonderfully immersive experience when watching movies or TV shows, playing games or just listening to your favourite beats.
Bose QuietComfort 20
For a pair of tethered in-ear headphones that cost you $369, you’d expect only the best from Bose, and the QC 20 does not disappoint. If you have the spare change and want incredible noise-cancelling combined with comfort and amazing sound quality, you really ought to get the QuietComfort 20.
The silicone ear tips are designed for a perfect fit while sealing the ear canal and the power for noise-cancellation comes from a lithium-ion battery. This makes the battery pack a tad unwieldy, but you’ll figure out how best to stow it as you go along. But all in all, these are one of the best headphones we’ve put through the paces.
Source: techradar – Gadgets
The best Bose noise-cancelling headphones deals in Australia
Nintendo has a new handheld video game system it released pretty much out of the blue on Thursday. The 2DS XL is basically a 3DS XL without the 3D, with a smaller physical footprint for more portability, but with the same size large, dual displays you’ll find on the 3DS XL. The new console hits store shelves July 28, so we’ll still have to wait a while to get our hands on one, but… Read More