It’s the end of the year, a time for looking back, reflecting, and remembering everything worth storing in your already overstuffed hippocampus. That’s how we wind up with our Game of the Year Awards, along with stories about 2020’s best looking games, the best games you might have missed this year, and the events that will have the biggest impacts on the future of our shared hobby.
But when Tyler asked us to contribute to the story about the big and small gaming surprises of 2020, I realized I couldn’t remember a single surprising thing, big or small, probably because my brain is essentially lukewarm oatmeal with just enough electrical current to power my listless shuffling from bed to desk twice every morning. It’s just been that kind of year, you know?
So, I decided to cheat. I searched the PC Gamer Slack channel for the phrase “holy shit,” figuring it would give me a Cliff’s Notes crib sheet for all the surprising moments in PC gaming this year. What I found, though, was much more—and frankly, much less. We use the phrase “holy shit” in our Slack a lot, and for more than just games. Sure, we use it for game trailers and surprising news, but also in discussions about bad movies, virtual spiders, giant keyboards, The Hamburglar, pizza boxes, nut butter, and even the price of a dozen farm fresh eggs.
And so, it is with equal amounts of excitement and shame that I present to you 62 times we said “holy shit” in our Slack channel, and who said it about what, in the extremely holy-shitty year of 2020.
Our first “holy shit” of 2020 is Steven reacting to news that Simplified Chinese had become the number one demographic on Steam. (Though it no longer is.)
Steven fires another one off after seeing Legends of Runterra’s Twitch integration. which lets viewers mouseover cards to reveal their stats. It’s pretty cool!
Steven sees something else he likes.
The rare non-reaction use of “holy shit” as James uses the phrase to describe the Kentucky Route Zero soundtrack:
Andy makes an exciting discovery. “Holy shit, I just learned that you can drag YouTube’s closed captioning to reposition it.”
Two holy shits in regards to Steven’s new ring light, with the second asking for clarification from the first.
Andy reacts to footage of Hardspace: Shipbreaker by saying “Holy shit, is this actually Homeworld Shipbreaker?”
Chris (me, hello) reacts to Andy’s reaction: “Holy shit, is this actually Homeworld Shipbreaker? is a good headline”
Evan says it upon getting Doom Eternal review code 10 days before the game is released, considering Bethesda’s 2016 policy of sending it a day before launch.
Andy uses it to react to news of a travel ban due to Coronavirus.
The first F-bomb sneaks into play. Thanks, JJ Abrams.
Steven reacts to an email sent to PC Gamer that we can’t show you. But it’s definitely worthy of a “holy shit,” we promise.
Steven reacts to the surprising news of Last Oasis suspending its servers and offering refunds.
James posts a Doom Eternal gif into Slack, and Slack freaks out and posts it several times in a row. “holy shit chill,” says James, to Slack itself.
Steven: “Holy shit Graeme you beast” upon learning Graeme has nearly 200 tarantulas on his Animal Crossing island.
Andy has a twofer upon discovering middle mouse click closes a browser tab, a true revelation.
Andy learns important Assassin’s Creed history. “Holy shit, Stalin and Roosevelt were Templars too”
Steven sees the Unreal 5 tech demo.
Steven sees a super impressive GTA 5 graphics mod trailer.
Fraser sees concept sketches of the awesome intro to The PC Gaming Show. “Holy shit, this is wild,” he says. It is, in fact, wild.
Evan spots Larva playing StarCraft with a keyboard the size of a desk.
Steven watches the The PC Gaming Show. “Guys this is so good,” he says. “Holy shit.” And he’s right! Holy shit, it is so good.
I have scrolled through the timeline in both directions and still have no idea what this one from Andy was in reaction to.
While discussing cars shown in the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer, Tyler says they look like cars from the 1980s “but in ways that they don’t need to be made high tech, like with cables running along their outsides,” and then posts a listing for a real 1985 Toyota Tercel for sale. Andy: “Holy shit, $12,000?”
Fraser sees a video of Doom running in Task Manager (which turns out to be fake).
The same day, Steven logs into his PayPal for the first time in years and discovers he has a few hundred dollars he forgot about. Andy: “Holy shit. Party time.”
Andy, on reluctantly watching the Halo Infinite trailer: “Holy shit, nine minute of this.”
James reacts with a “holy shit” when Wes helpfully pastes several paragraphs and videos on how to get into Gundam.
The Epic/Apple battle heats up when Epic releases an ad parody of Apple’s ad parody of 1984.
A big day for holy shits. The TV on this Call of Duty site turned on, the comments on the US Army’s Twitch stream, and the realization that Mount & Blade had come out this year (because at this point the year already felt exceptionally long) all drew the same reaction.
First, Fraser is surprised: “Holy shit, there’s already a Crusader Kings 3 total conversion mod.”
Then, Fraser suggests that the headline for the story be “Holy shit, there’s already a Crusader Kings 3 total conversion mod.” (He ultimately goes a different way with it.)
Andy, ruminating on the price of a dozen farm fresh eggs in San Francisco: “$10 holy shit”
The topic of dopplegangers comes up, with James posting a picture of a guy who not only looks like him but has the same name. Andy drops a “holy shit” and Steven agrees:
Microsoft buys Zenimax, which owns Bethesda. It’s a major holy shit day, for sure!
Fraser kicks it off with a simple “holy shit.” The staff is invited to share their reactions in a Google doc titled “Holy shit, Microsoft just bought Bethesda.” (The headline we eventually run is different.) Robin, late to the party, throws an additional “just now catching up on the news, holy shit.” Total holy shit count for the day: 4!
Andy, on the price of fences. “Holy shit, I apparently did not know how expensive fences are.”
Paul writes a story about Razer’s Visa card for gamers with an LED. Jacob: “holy shit paul. I need this card.”
Okay. So. A “journalist workflow alignment chart” is posted and discussed. Wes reveals he is chaotic good, where you have one big Google doc with the draft at the top and notes beneath it. But he also says he opens that same lengthy Google doc in two different tabs which lets him write in one and insures he doesn’t have to scroll down to view the notes, since he can see them in the second tab. Morgan reacts: “holy shit wes, that’s evil as hell. you’ve cheated god”
Steven learns there’s a Darkest Dungeon board game being kickstarted.
Andy creatively tweaks the formula: “Holy dog shit there’s an Anthem update.” Evan drops in a gif of Paul Rudd doing a double take from Wet Hot American Summer.
Uplay becomes Ubisoft Connect. James expresses surprise that the ‘Remember Me’ checkbox has actually remembered his password. “holy shit it worked”
James conducts a brilliantly funny video interview with the Mayor of Silent Hill (above). We all swarm him with compliments in Slack because James is the best and the video is amazing. “Yeah, holy shit,” Steven agrees.
Tyler makes a video of himself dropping Smash Mouth’s All Star into songs where it doesn’t belong in Fuser. Jody calls it a masterpiece and he is correct. “Holy shit, this video,” he adds.
There is a Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War limited edition Papa John’s pizza box, and typing that sentence just made me feel instantly exhausted. Anyway, Andy is at it again, because he saw a picture of it but did not take it in fully until he saw a video of it: “Holy shit, I didn’t realize that was the pizza box”
IO announces it’s making a James Bond game. Evan drops an “oh shit,” which is close! Jeremey immediately follows it with a proper “holy shit.” Damn right, holy shit.
Andy Kelly posts a picture of something called Jobbie Nut Butter. Fraser: “haha holy shit.” I don’t know if there’s some context I’m missing. Maybe it’s a UK thing.
Jorge creates a great image for the story about $300,000 worth of RTX 3090s being stolen (above). Wes appreciates it with a “holy shit.”
Disco Elysium is getting updated with new stories, characters, and voice acting. James is excited. “holy shit VO” he says.
Chris suggests a headline: “Holy shit, Cyberpunk 2077, stop it with all the phone calls and texts.” But he wimps out and replaces it with “Seriously.”
Chris then suggests another headline: “50 things we said holy shit about in our slack channel in 2020.” Andy, fittingly, takes us to the finish line: