2022 is almost over, but we’ve got just enough time left to squeeze in one of our favorite annual events: the TechRadar PC Gaming Week.
PC is still – for us, anyway – the single best place to play games. A vast breadth of titles ranging from giant triple-A games to obscure indie gems makes PC the definitive platform, whether you’re playing on a powerhouse rig or a clapped-out old laptop – or, if you’re lucky, Valve’s awesome Steam Deck handheld.
With some major releases in the graphics card and processor departments this year, PC gaming is in a strong place hardware-wise. What about the games themselves, though? We’ve been poring over all sorts of gaming-related pitches this year, and we’re pleased to bring in a wealth of fresh writing talent for your reading pleasure. Scroll on down to find all the PC Gaming Week 2022 articles – we’ll keep adding more as they’re published throughout the week, so check back in right here tomorrow!
Cancer, COVID, card battles: how games saved my life
This is a very personal piece from me, chronicling the hardest battle of my life and how games helped me through it. With COVID lockdowns sealing many of us inside our homes for weeks or even months at a time, plenty of people turned to gaming to keep themselves occupied (and, you know, sane) in the past few years.
I’m one of those people, but I had more to worry about: as you’ve no doubt judged from the headline, I was fighting cancer too. I truly hope you enjoy reading this – games are a wonderful medium that can have such a positive effect on us all, and my story is a testament to that fact.
5 PC Games to Play After Finishing Cyberpunk: Edgerunners
If you haven’t already watched Netflix’s animated adaptation of the Cyberpunk 2077 universe, stop reading this and go do that right now. We’re serious. No, you don’t need to have played CD Projekt Red’s recent game, although the series is an excellent companion to that title.
Edgerunners portrays a dark yet bombastic vision of a technological urban future, and these five games perfectly encapsulate the sci-fi leanings of both the show and the original Cyberpunk tabletop game.
How PC became the unlikely home of fighting games
They may have spawned from generations of home consoles, but fighting games were bound to find a home on PC eventually. What was once considered an unusual way to play these games has become a widely accepted platform for the genre – and it’s not just about the high performance offered by PC, either.
Fighting game communities are among the most hardcore and dedicated clades of gamers, and PC provides the ideal space for games past their heyday to live again. With the arrival of crossplay, even modern fighting titles draw a strong player base on PC these days.
Five best Steam Deck games for your commute
Ah, the Steam Deck. A wondrous portal to the very best of what PC gaming has to offer, compact enough to fit in a small bag or a very large jacket pocket. Plenty of us love our Decks for on-the-go gaming, even if the editor managing this particular page doesn’t have one and is very unhappy about it.
For those of you who do have one of Valve’s excellent handhelds, though, these five games are sure to keep your commute feeling fun – and yes, Elden Ring is on the list. A game this editor still hasn’t played.
(Valve, send me a Steam Deck. Please. I’ll do whatever you want except actually pay for it.)
Steam Deck has made me sell my PC and move on from my PS Vita – here’s why
Another Steam Deck article? We’re not being paid by Valve for this, we promise. But as our charming and universally beloved Software Editor Daryl points out, the Deck is the perfect gaming PC replacement – and evokes memories of the most underappreciated handheld of yore, the PS Vita.
The Vita was an incredible tool for game emulation as well as just packing a ton of great games of its own, and the Steam Deck is the natural evolution of that. If you’ve been on the fence about picking up this handheld PC, see if this piece sways you.
How indie developers built the path to queerness in gaming
The gaming industry has come a long way in terms of LGBTQ+ representation, but it was small indie developers who anchored the need for queer storytelling in games and gave us the great triple-A rep we see today.
From definitively queer experiences like Hades and Monster Prom to more oblique stories of sexuality and gender expression like the award-winning Celeste, this article breaks down how indie devs paved the way for LGBTQ+ characters on PC and beyond.
I wanted to get into PC gaming, but the language around it is alienating
We know it, you know it: as much as we love PC gaming, the jargon surrounding computer hardware is utterly impenetrable to any fresh-faced newcomer. Even a savvy PC-builder can get tripped up when new terminology enters the fray.
Fortunately, we’ve got some advice for hardware rookies looking to build their first PC. You don’t have to be scared of the jargon – this article breaks down the confusion many feel when setting off on their own PC-assembling journey, and provides some nifty resources for any baffled budding builders.
How Twitch integration can change gaming for everyone
Ah, streaming. Now a multi-billion-dollar industry, it’s a tantalizing promise of being able to make money from playing games, but the barriers to entry are numerous. Fortunately, some game developers are leading the charge to make streaming their games easier, thanks to the magic of Twitch integration.
From fully-fledged built-in ‘streamer modes’ to more subtle tweaks that can be made in-game by budding Twitch stars, these features allow users to further customize their audience experience and improve accessibility so that anyone – even you! – could become the next big streamer.
Sonic fangames are quenching the thirst of fans already
The recent Sonic Frontiers may have been an incredibly divisive entry into an even more divisive franchise, but fans of the blue blur haven’t been resting on their laurels while Sega fumbles with its mascot.
These Sonic fangames are among the best gaming experiences the ring-grabbing hedgehog has to offer, driven by an incredibly dedicated community. The three fanmade titles listed here are just scratching the surface, but for our money, they’re the best ones out there.
How to install the Heroic Launcher to play Epic and GOG titles on your Steam Deck
If you’ve got a Steam Deck, don’t go thinking that you’re beholden only to the games you’ve purchased from Valve’s own storefront. This dinky AMD-powered handheld PC is a surprisingly versatile tool.
In this simple guide, we’ll walk you through how to install the Heroic Games Launcher on your Deck, unlocking it for all the games you own on Epic, GOG, and beyond. Just remember that not every PC game will run flawlessly on the Deck’s compact hardware!
The best PC games
PC Gaming Week wouldn’t be complete without our definitive rundown of the very best PC games you can play right now.
From the top single-player titles, to hectic multiplayer madness, we selected what we think are the best PC games in 2022. Each one has been thoroughly played by us, and they all prove why PC is the best gaming platform.
The best gaming laptops
What good is having all the best PC games if you don’t have anything to play them on? With TechRadar’s carefully curated ranking of all the best gaming laptops on the market right now, you’ll be able to nab a great deal on a powerhouse gaming rig in no time at all.
From the sensibly-priced Asus TUF Dash F15 to the high-end Alienware x15 R2 and Corsair’s new laptop, the uniquely designed Voyager a1600, there’s something for everyone on our list. Go check it out!
The best PC gaming headsets
Being huge fans of PC gaming, we test every end of the hardware experience, even the vast PC gaming audio market. We particularly enjoy the immersion of a good gaming headset.
Since we figure at least some of you share the same desire for excellent audio from our PC games, we included our comprehensive list of the best PC gaming headsets we tested in 2022.
Black hair and black bodies in gaming
Allisa James dives into the discussion at the Game Devs of Color Expo 2022 from earlier this year around the absolutely atrocious treatment of black hair in video games, and highlights the bright spots on the horizon for better representation.
How gaming and colonization are intertwined
Allisa James continues her reporting on the Game Developers of Color 2022 conference from earlier this year with a look at narrative writer and designer Jen Coster’s discussion of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and how it’s dominance in the video game space perpetuates imperialist attitudes against non-Western forms of storytelling.
Romance sims aren’t for me, but Sucker for Love: First Date is still my game of the year
Computing Editor John Loeffler fell in love with Cthulette earlier this year and won’t shut up about it. In the process, he does highlight how good the Lovecraftian dating sim Sucker for Love: First Date captures the Cthulhu mythos from an unorthodox perspective, and how the Kawaii presentation makes the games horror elements that much more compelling.
Turning the sundial back to the era of retro edutainment
Before Google and Wikipedia ruined our brains with a planet’s worth of information at our fingertips, there were PC games that taught young minds about the world. Edutainment is a genre that has fallen by the wayside in recent years, but Antony Terence still remembers the glory days of the genre, and invites you to join him on a journey through the 90s on a tour of the best edutainment games of the genre’s heyday.
How Ron Gilbert and Humongous Entertainment gamified education
Oh, you thought we’d just have the one article about how games can be used to teach? Rookie error. Sarath Thwaites breaks down the history behind legendary game dev Ron Gilbert’s quest to pack knowledge into kids’ heads through games, primarily through the medium of the now-languishing point-and-click adventure genre.
Queer retro horror games are the genre to watch right now
What happens if you combine horror games, queer indie developers, and the burgeoning trend of retro ‘demakes’ right now? These incredible low-poly horror titles, that’s what. Writer Oma Keeling highlights the very best of this unusual and incredibly specific horror subgenre, with games that might look like they were released in 1998 but can still deliver some top-notch scares.
The 5 best gaming industry redemption arcs
No, we’re not talking about Jecht’s redemption arc in Final Fantasy X. These redemptions happened in our world; when games seemed to be abject failures but were turned around by the hard work and dedication of dev teams who simply refused to quit. Yes, we’re aware that we’ve already given away the big one in the image. There’s really no competition in this category when No Man’s Sky has enjoyed such an incredible transformation, but there are plenty of other games out there that bombed on release only to enjoy a revival later down the line.
Back to the Future in GTA Vice City is the mod you need to play right now
We love a mod with a novel premise, and this one knocks it out of the park. GTA: Vice City was already a modder’s paradise, with fan-made mods to do everything from fixing the game’s numerous bugs and improving the graphics to adding Tony Montana from Scarface. This mod, though, provides a huge overhaul that puts you in the trousers of Marty McFly rather than original protagonist Tommy, with new missions and, of course, the iconic Delorean, capable of taking you back to the future when you hit 88MPH. Oh, and the flying Delorean from the second movie is there too, which is just amazing.
Meet the women facing harassment and sexism for doing their streaming jobs
Sexism in the gaming community is nothing new, but the dawn of the streaming era with Twitch’s explosive popularity has opened new doors for people to showcase their dreadful behavior towards women online. Hooray. In this thought-provoking piece, Cheri Faulkner interviews several successful female streamers about how their gender identity affects the way they do their jobs, and how the mission to build more inclusive spaces for streamers and their fans is a work that will never be truly complete.
Low-spec gaming gave me a new appreciation for games
If you’re like us, you might’ve spent time in the past pushing the limits of your computer hardware by trying to run progressively more demanding games without upgrading your PC. Diego Arguello reminisces over the glory days of online multiplayer, long before Nvidia arrived on the scene with today’s uber-powerful RTX graphics cards. If you ever tried running World of Warcraft on an old potato PC, give this a read.
Death of a genre: what happened to the superhero MMO?
Did you ever play DC Universe Online? For a while, it looked like the superhero MMO might become one of gaming’s biggest staples, but the genre has fallen by the wayside in recent years – surprising, given the humungous success of other MMOs and the ubiquitous presence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Harvey Randal takes a look at three of the biggest superhero MMOs ever made, and what happened to cause the genre’s untimely demise.
Why we need the original Sims back for the modern age
The Sims 5? Don’t care about it, mate. Released back in early 2000, the first Sims game typified the turn of the century, crystallizing a new-age optimism in the form of a weird little game where you played puppet master with people’s everyday lives.
Vic Pheasey reckons we should go back in time. The original Sims was a genre-defining, hugely successful game that is simply crying out for a proper remaster – ideally one where buying all the expansion packs doesn’t cost you the same as a two-bed apartment in NYC, please, Maxis.
It might be the Christmas season, but Halloween is better – here are some spooky games for any holiday
Listen, I love Halloween. I love it so much that we were originally planning to run this year’s PC Gaming Week in late October. Well, we might be on the cusp of 2023, but we’ll keep that spooky spirit going; these games have the best Halloween vibes around, and you might be surprised to learn that they’re not all horror games. Seriously, if you used to enjoy classic console platformers like Crash Bandicoot, you owe it to your younger self to go play Pumpkin Jack. That game’s fire, yo.
Decompilations could be the solution to ports and remakes in the future
Our software writer Daryl Baxter takes a short break from waxing lyrical about his new Steam Deck to explain the merits of decompilation; a process whereby the source codes of old games can be reverse-engineered to allow for modern PC ports.
With game preservation swiftly becoming a hot-button topic in the games industry, there are many debates surrounding whether developers and publishers have a moral obligation to keep their older works available, and the morality behind pirating old games that are no longer easily accessible. Decompilation could provide a neat fix, and here Daryl has highlighted five classic games that have been decompiled to make them playable again on modern hardware.
These were the 5 things I did when I got my Steam Deck – and you should too
…aaand we’re back with the Steam Deck. I’m totally fine with reading and editing all Daryl’s stories about how great this tiny PC is. It doesn’t fill me with rage and jealousy even a little bit, I swear.
In all seriousness, though, this is a great little guide on what to do when you buy a Steam Deck, breaking down the elements of Valve’s custom OS that you’ll need to navigate in order to get the most out of the handheld.
It’s been 25 years of Theme Hospital – here’s a look back on its legacy
A genre classic that has spawned dozens of imitators over the years, Theme Hospital has seen players putting patients in peril ever since 1997. This article from Vic Pheasey serves as a time capsule for the title’s massive influence, musing on its spiritual successors and examining how the original game holds up in 2022.
Steaming up the goggles – how emotional storytelling could be the future of VR
VR is still finding its feet as a medium, despite big strides in recent years thanks to investments from big players such as Valve and Meta. Jordan Oloman thinks that the best VR has to offer isn’t bombastic action games – but rather emotional experiences that draw the player deeper into the story via the immersive nature of VR. It doesn’t have to be specifically narrative-driven emotion at the fore, either; anyone who has played Tetris Effect in VR can likely attest to how cathartic the experience can be.
How the Steam Deck breathes life into underrated old games
Back to the topic of game preservation, this article looks at how the Steam Deck provides the perfect home for the revival of old classics. The limited hardware means that while you can play Elden Ring on the Deck thanks to work from Valve and From Software, it’s arguably better suited for replaying older games. Being able to take classics like Monkey Island on the go with you is a revelation for those of us who once played them shackled to our bulky desktops, after all.
How Roadwarden converted tabletop ideas into a game of choice
Text-based games have been around for decades, but developers are still finding new ways to iterate on the genre. Roadwarden isn’t exclusively text-driven – there are static scenery and inventory screens – but it’s an excellent example of how to tell a compelling story primarily through words alone.
Aamir Mehar interviewed Aureus, the lead of tiny Polish developer Moral Anxiety Studio, to learn more about the process of creating a game like this for modern audiences, who are more acclimatized to jaw-dropping graphics and fast-paced action. If you enjoy thoughtful adventure games, check this one out.
How dress-up games opened the fashion floodgates for small-town kids
‘Fashion was just for looking at’, says writer Sarah Thwaites. For many kids without the funds or freedom to upgrade their attire, character creators in games became an outlet for self-expression – whether that was in actual dress-up games such as StarDoll, or recreating oneself in The Sims. It’s a phenomenon that endures today – raise your hand if you’ve spent more time in a character creation menu than actually playing the game itself. Just us? Okay…
Neon White is the best game that’s not for everyone
Neon White is a relentlessly strange game. Part speedrunning shooter, part dating sim, all weird, this indie title was a surprise hit of 2022. Interviewing developer Ben Esposito, Jordan Oloman explores how a game that really won’t be to everyone’s tastes is sometimes the best game you can make.
Here’s how the Nemesis System could reforge Warner Bros’ games
If you’ve played either Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor or its equally great follow-up Shadow of War, you’ll be intimately familiar with the Nemesis System. Patented by WB after its creation, the Nemesis System put a novel twist on fighting enemy orcs in Tolkein’s classic fantasy setting: those orcs could come back, stronger and angrier than before, now immune to the previous method you used to kill them.
It cut both ways; get killed by an Uruk-Hai war chief, and they’d rise through the enemy ranks, turning up again later as a more powerful foe. The Nemesis System was a novel way to inject a bit of character into the otherwise bland legions of Sauron’s army, and Antony Terence has posited a novel idea: what if WB used it in other games?