From trailers to demo downloads, videos and breaking news about the most cutting edge games, here are 10 sites to whet you appetite
PC gaming is on the rise, despite the depredations of consoles over the years. Games such as World of Warcraft are now playing home to enough players to populate a small country - or a not-so-small country, perhaps, with subscribers for WoW topping 12 million in October 2010 - and that was before the release of the latest expansion pack Cataclysm. That's a lot of people, and we're not even including the non-WoWers who are all hungry for information.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Any old website can deliver gaming news, but very few do it with as much flair, humour and industry knowledge as Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Staffed with gaming veterans without fear, RPS is a great place to catch up on a mix of short, punchy news updates, brutally honest opinions, and some well-informed game commentary.
Our sister publication Atomic MPC is a great place for all kinds of gaming news, from the latest trailers to reviews and more. On top of that, it's also a great site to get to the lowdown on the newest and hottest (or not) gaming hardware - if you want to know about the next generation of video cards, or which mouse is best for hardcore gaming, Atomic should be your first stop.
Finally, there's N4G. In case you're wondering, it stands for News For (get it? 4?) Gamers, and that's just what you'll get. N4G collates the latest and most interesting breaking news from sites all over the world, so it's a great supplement to your daily news trawl.
Ten Ton Hammer
But if your idea of a relaxing night in is logging onto World of Warcraft with 20 close strangers and killing virtual bad-guys until the one piece of +60 Strength plate you've been drooling for drops, you need to read Ten Ton Hammer. This is a dedicated MMO site, delivering not only the standard news and reviews, but also some of the most in-depth gaming guides you could ever want.
RPG gaming a bit too dull? Gamespy has been around for what feels like forever, and while today it's best known for news and reviews, it was once the premier system for finding online games back when Counter Strike was still just a mod. While some titles do still use Gamespy as a gamefinding tool, it's largely a news site, and still well worth a daily visit.
On the other hand, Ausgamers does deliver a solid take on gaming news and reviews, but to our mind it serves an almost more important service - it's a file host, and if it's gaming-related, you can get it here, off of local Aussie servers. Game patches, for your favourite titles? You bet, released as soon as they're available. Game demos? This is probably the best spot for them. Not to mention latest free games, torrents and more of just about everything game-related. If you hate having to put up slow downloads from overseas sites, bookmark Ausgamers.
The world of gaming can sometimes take itself just a wee bit too seriously, so it's nice to get a little irreverancy now and then. Zero Punctuation by Ben ‘Yahtzee' Croshaw is a very irreverent gaming institution. His short-run, simply animated video reviews are arguably some of the most cutting and incisive game reviewing you'll ever come across. But, more importantly, it's also hugely hilarious and gloriously profane. Incidentally, Ben is also co-owner and a frequent visitor to The Mana Bar, in Brisbane. If you like his stuff, pop in for a drink some time.
There was once a time when the easy road to internet stardom was to make a simple three-panel web comic about gaming and watch the fans and accolades roll in. Soon after that time, most people discovered that actual artistic skill, comic ability, and real gaming insight were also needed - and Penny Arcade has all that in spades. Following the adventures of Tycho and Gabe, Penny Arcade is now a gaming news site, a yearly convention on the scale of E3, and a series of excellent adventure games.
For some gamers, the whole hobby isn't about the game, it's about the mods - the little user made add-ons that add all kinds of new functions, complexity and game styles to an already existing game. Whether you want to find the best mods for your game, or are a budding modder yourself, you can't go past MOD DB - it's the ultimate storehouse of modding knowledge.
We all like free stuff, right? And if you're reading this, chances are you like games. And, if you combine the two, you end up with Pop Cap, home of some of the most amazingly addicting, and most popular, games online. Pop Cap hosts a mess of free, browser-based games that'll run on any computer. From the addictive puzzler Bejewelled and all its sequels to Plants Vs Zombies and a mess of others besides, Pop Cap is an excellent lunchtime timewaster.