We’ve got 10,000 Gwent: The Witcher Card Game closed beta keys to give away

Northern Realms, Nilfgaardian Empire, Scoia’tael, Skellige, Monsters – which do you prefer? Will you rush the table and overwhelm by number, or will you wait and watch, tease and toy?

Will you win at standalone Gwent: The Witcher Card Game, or will you lose? We’ve got 10,000 keys to the closed beta – on PC or Xbox One (you play with people on both systems) – to give away so you can find out.

Our giveaway coincides with today’s arrival (probably later in the afternoon) of a big Gwent patch introducing the Nilfgaardian deck to the game. The Nilfgaardian deck can reveal opponent’s cards, reorder their decks and use disloyal units. More than 60 new cards are being added to the game in all, new cards for other factions among them.

Jelly Deals: Nintendo Switch pre-orders back ‘in stock’ from Nintendo itself

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.

Nintendo’s new, portable brainchild, the Switch, was unveiled at the tail-end of last year and went up for pre-order last month. In the days that followed, it quickly fell ‘out of stock’ at most retailers’ websites. Early impressions suggested that the Neon console sold out first, in case you were wondering. Retailers such as GAME kept pre-orders available but with the caveat that stock wasn’t guaranteed to arrive at launch.

All that has changed, though, since Nintendo UK has added a new batch of stock available to pre-order right now on its own website, as well as at a handful of selected retailers. This means that if you initially missed out on securing a pre-order for either version of the Nintendo Switch, you can head over to Nintendo’s UK site and put a pre-order down, which Nintendo assures us will be guaranteed for launch – at least until further notice.

Hearthstone fans unearth dinosaur-themed expansion

Hearthstone’s next expansion may be called Lost Secrets of Un’Goro and focus on dinosaurs.

That’s according to an expansion dug up by fans after being spotted on the professional resume of regular Hearthstone voice actress Lani Minella.

Minella’s resume also lists five new cards she’ll be voicing: Golakka Crawler, Pterodactyl, Anklesaur, Hydra, Brontosaurus.

Latest footage of crowd-funded Psychonauts 2, as it picks up publisher

Double Fine’s Psychonauts 2 will be published by Payday 2 developer Starbreeze Studios.

Starbreeze confirmed the deal via press release this morning, while Double Fine boss Tim Schafer jointly announced the publishing plan via another video blog showing off the in-development sequel.

“They come from a development background, like us,” Schafer said of Starbreeze. “They’ll also know when we’re lying, so we won’t do that.”

Being Player Two is rubbish

Somewhere around 1990 my sister, nearly four years my senior, received a NES as a gift. The first game we played, as is true for most people, was the original Super Mario Bros.

Because that little grey box of wonder belonged to my sister and I am the younger sibling, the natural order shook things out almost immediately: she was Player One and I was Player Two.

That pattern followed through subsequent games. Super Mario Bros. 3, Bubble Bobble, Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers; it didn’t matter what the game was. I was always Luigi to her Mario, Bob to her Bub, or Dale to her Chip. I was happy enough with my lot and, talking to friends, it seemed like similar unspoken arrangements had settled into their households. The older sibling or the one who ‘owned’ the console was Player One, and the younger sibling was, invariably, Player Two.

An entire 60-80 hour Pokémon game on one Minecraft map

Cor, somebody has made an entire Pokémon game inside Minecraft called Pokémon Cobalt and Amethyst!

There are little Pokémon villages and houses, a whole training and battle system, and dialogue system, and you can throw balls at wild creatures and hope they crawl in. Apparently there are 136 pokémon to catch.

At 60-80 hours, and with a whole storyline, Pokémon Cobalt and Amethyst is the real deal. Mind you, it’s odd seeing cute and colourful Pokémon transposed into blocky, first-person Minecraft.

Nintendo Classic Mini NES review

Nintendo’s Classic Mini NES is a sleek, miniaturised version of the classic console that mimics the look and feel of the original hardware to great effect. Costing £50/$60 (with prices currently inflated to over double that owing to stock shortages) it comes complete with a single controller, and it’s preloaded with 30 classic games. It’s a convenient nostalgia trip for those unwilling to track down original cartridges and offers plenty of value too. Retro gaming is only gaining in popularity, but soaring online prices put a true NES collection out of reach for many. The Classic Mini, known as the NES Classic Edition in North America, bridges that gap effectively. But just how well does the hardware hold up to close scrutiny, and how closely does the emulation compare to original hardware?

Let’s start with the hardware. Both console and controller are built from reasonable quality plastics, with the main device a pleasingly authentic replica of original hardware, downsized to fit in the palm of your hand. However, the key difference is in connectivity: it outputs HDMI and it’s powered by micro-USB, sporting a pair of controller ports based on the Wiimote connector standard. The feel of the controller is a surprisingly close match for the original NES design; a sturdy yet authentic replica, with a d-pad that feels identical to the original.

The drawback? In a bid for accuracy this is a purely wired pad, with an exceptionally short cord to the base unit – it’s actually shorter than the controller that shipped with original hardware. Extension cables are available, and it’s also possible to attach the Wii Classic controller directly too – though this alternative has its own issues with cord length.

The rebellious rise of road-trip games

Have you ever noticed that driving games are all a bit samey? Whether it’s Formula 1 or Forza, the emphasis never changes. They’re all about speed and success, a relentless, testosterone-fuelled drive toward dominance. Drive in enough circles in your gleaming, sleekly lined car, and eventually you’ll be rewarded with an even sleeker, gleamier car.

So the cycle continues in this fashion, fanning the player’s ego with points and prestige, without ever actually taking them anywhere. Conservatism is so firmly entrenched in driving games that even the outliers of the genre, like the ferociously challenging Dirt Rally, or the blissfully batshit Burnout, are built upon the same fundamental principles.

If you’ve ever realised this whilst playing a driving game, then imagine what it must be like for the developers who make them, spending months and years working on a project that is scarcely any different from their last. “I noticed a while ago that I really am not that fond of driving, unless I’m headed somewhere I’ve not been before,” says Greg Prjmachuk, a developer who worked on Codemasters’ Formula 1 franchise from 2009 to 2014. “I started to notice the parallels of commuting to work with working on the same game year on year. You can’t but help notice the joy fading.”

Intel Pentium G4560 review: the ultimate budget CPU?

So here’s a thought. Buy a Core i5 or Core i7 processor for gaming and the bottom line is this: on the majority of titles out there, its resources are highly underutilised. The GPU is the primary bottleneck during gaming, sometimes leaving your CPU with a significant amount of untapped overhead. So the question is this: can you spend less on your CPU and still get a great experience? And more to the point, what processor can keep your graphics card fed with data while offering exceptional value? We put our money where our mouth is and spent £63 on a Pentium G4560 – and it’s something special. It truly is the new budget CPU king. Indeed, since we bought it, .

The remarkable reality is that the real excitement in Intel’s new Kaby Lake processor line-up isn’t actually at the high-end, it’s in the budget sector. Up until now, Pentium processors have been hamstrung by only offering two threads in a world where games require at least four. The Pentium G4560 is essentially a junior i3 – clock-speeds are lower, but crucially, hyper-threading is retained. As we saw in our recent Core i3 7350K review, the end result is that the Pentium is offering 75 to 80 per cent of the i3’s performance at just 36 per cent of the price. An i7 7700K is twice as fast in many cases, but it’s over five times more expensive.

So just how well does it perform? First of all, we’ll take a look at some basic benchmarks. Of course, there is something of a disconnect between synthetic benches and real-life gaming performance, but for the record, here’s how the Pentium G4650 stacks up against a range of Core processors we’ve recently tested. Its 3.5GHz clock speed puts it at a disadvantage compared to the pricier chips, but there are other cutbacks too. AVX2 instructions are disabled, meaning that the benchmarks here show a considerable disparity between the Pentium and last year’s Core i3 6100 – which on paper, offers just 200MHz of additional frequency.

Johnny and Ian had a fight about Switch – in video form

Ever since its announcement, the Nintendo Switch has been a divisive console. Preorder numbers are looking fairly healthy across the board for the portable hardware, and yet scores of people are playing soothsayer and declaring the Switch will be the death of Nintendo. The argument has even reached the Eurogamer video team, as Ian Higton and I butted heads over the Switch in these two videos.

Since I pride myself on being the sporting type, I’ll let my opponent go first. In this video you’ll find four reasons why Ian decided against preordering the Nintendo Switch.

Right, my turn. Maybe it’s because I was raised playing Nintendo games, but I think there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to the Nintendo Switch. Allow me to convince you.