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I've been in a bit of an RTS mood lately, so when the preview event for Halo Wars 2 cropped up I was pleasantly surprised. It was exactly the kind of game I wanted to play, right when I wanted to play it.

And after a few hours with the game's campaign and various multiplayer modes, I walked away reasonably satisfied. But as a StarCraft tragic (and by tragic, I mean someone who had two active accounts in Grandmaster back in the vanilla days), not all is well.


Six years ago, Awesome Games Done Quick started as a small outfit of speedrunners who played games to raise money for cancer prevention. Since then, AGDQ has ballooned into a big event: this year alone, viewers donated $US2.2 ($3) million dollars for a good cause. The added visibility has brought new challenges, as runners and organisers butt heads over rules that dictate what is banned from the event.


The original NVIDIA Shield looked cool and had some neat ideas behind it, but its cost and use of the neglected Android TV operating system left the set-top box/console fusion feeling more like Frankenstein than legitimate answer to either Roku, PS4 or Xbox One. A major software update and some much needed changes to the system peripherals has changed the NVIDIA Shield into a legitimate set-top box choice — especially if you're looking to playback 4K HDR content.


Have you ever thought "my wireless earphones are just too big?" Have you ever thought "man, I wish my headphones told me their battery life whenever I switched them on?" Have you ever thought "I wish I could listen to all my music through one earphone, so I don't need to wear both?" Apple's new AirPods solve a lot of these problems. Problems I'm not entirely sure needed to be solved, but problems nonetheless.


Today was one of those occasions that comes once, maybe twice (but definitely not thrice) in a lifetime. Gabe Newell arose from his Scrooge McDuck-esque lake of knives and cash to conduct an AMA. Spoiler: He likes Portal 2 more than Half-Life, and despite appearances to the contrary, Valve still makes games.


Thanks to its ability to attract non-gamers, nostalgic characters, simple mechanics, the novelty of augmented reality and its social nature, Pokemon GO reached a level of success in 2016 that eludes even some of the most successful traditional video games.

Record downloads, engagement and of course - revenue.


There have been many great first-person shooters in the last couple of decades, but what really makes shooters work — multiplayer-centric ones especially — is the quality of the levels.