Playable Claptrap is a good way to get us excited about a new last-gen Borderlands game

Claptrap was a pretty outstanding non-playable character. In the first two Borderlands, he was sort of a curt, demented WALL-E. He made you laugh. He made you cry. OK, really he just made you laugh, and doled out some side-missions. But in the new Borderlands game announced today, we get to see what it’s like to take control of the top-heavy, uni-wheeled robot with a bit of a superiority complex. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (that’s not me blanking on the word prequel, that’s the name), coming to old-gen systems this fall, will let you be Clappy, along with a few new…


New PBS Game/Show asks why we get so attached to NPCs

From Ellie, to Clementine, to, yeah, even Claptrap, the advent of believable non-playable characters, or NPCs, is one of the biggest developments in games in recent years, and also one of the strangest. Unlike the occasional actor and television personality that we form unrealistic attachments too, NPCs are clearly not human, but a manifestation of algorithms under a pixel-thin layer of polygons. Yet we love them just the same. This week’s Game/Show looks at the scientific, sociological, and psychological reasons that we do, and then for fun counts down the 10 best NPCs, according to this evidence. Watch the episode…