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Xbox Play Anywhere Support Comes to Ark: Survival Evolved

The wait is finally over, survivors. Ark: Survival Evolved has officially launched in the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 and is available for download right now if you already own the Xbox One version! Or, if you haven’t yet set foot in the world of Ark, now’s the perfect time to join in on the fun with all of your Xbox friends via Xbox Play Anywhere and cross play. Ark: Survival Evolved includes the base game along with Primitive+, The Center, and Ragnarok and there are already two massive expansion packs available: Ark: Scorched Earth and Ark: Aberration.

What does all this mean? Isn’t Ark already released? Yes, the game was already available for Xbox One and Xbox One X, but now it’s officially an Xbox Play Anywhere title! Studio Wildcard has worked closely with the teams at Microsoft to make sure anyone who has purchased the game digitally on Xbox can still download and play on both platforms at no additional cost. You can pick up your adventure wherever you left off, switching between your Xbox One and Windows 10 PC while dynamically taking your saved progress, Gamerscore, DLC, and achievements with you.

Ark: Survival Evolved Screenshot

The release of Ark on Windows 10 also brings cross play, something we’re all very excited about. Whether playing on Xbox from the comfort of your sofa with a controller in hand, or at your Windows 10 gaming desktop, survivors with this Play Anywhere title can live on the ARK with their tribe across both platforms. You’ll be able to tame, harvest, dominate or uncover the secrets of the ARK with each other!

Want to jump into the cross play experience immediately? You can do so by browsing our official server network for servers titled “CrossPlay.” We’ve launched 24 servers, a mixture of PvE and PvP, clustered by region, available to play right now! All Official Servers may become cross play enabled in the future when a cross-platform anti-cheat system can be deployed, but you can already find a large quantity of player-hosted Dedicated & Non-Dedicated cross play sessions to join. You can even host your own 70-player dedicated server using the Windows 10 version of the game. See for technical details on how to set up your own servers.

Ark: Survival Evolved Screenshot

The launch of the Windows 10 version also brings single-player & non-dedicated split-screen to PC, and the non-dedicated tether range for Windows 10 hosts has been increased by 50%! Early in 2018, we’ll be removing the tether limit altogether in single-player split-screen, and a distance slider will be made available for Windows 10 non-dedicated sessions (which in-turn will be enjoyed by any Xbox clients playing with a Windows 10 non-dedicated host). We’ll also be working on bringing trueSKY, our volumetric weather system on Xbox One X, entirely to the Windows 10 version of the game.

I can’t tell you how excited we are to welcome Windows 10 players to the tribe! Online cross play and Xbox Play Anywhere support are awesome features that allow you to play Ark where you want and how you want. Personally, I’ll be gliding through the chambers of Ark: Aberration this holiday on my Rock Drake… sometimes from my couch on my Xbox One X and sometimes from my Windows 10 gaming laptop on the road. Enjoy this update and look forward to an exciting 2018 for Ark on Xbox and Windows 10!

See the rest of the story on Xbox Wire

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Flatland Revisited: A Lovely New Edition of Edward Abbott Abbott’s Classic 1884 Allegory of Expanding Our Perspective

On the absurdity of truth by consensus, and a gentle invitation to consider how our way of looking at the world limits our view of it.

Flatland Revisited: A Lovely New Edition of Edward Abbott Abbott’s Classic 1884 Allegory of Expanding Our Perspective

This is how the world changes: We loosen the stranglehold of our givens, bend and stretch our minds to imagine what was once unimaginable, test our theories against reality, and emerge with vision expanded into new dimensions of truth. “What we see, we see,” Adrienne Rich wrote in her beautiful ode to women’s unheralded heroism in science and to science itself as a supreme tool of changing our seeing and understanding what we cannot see. Nearly a century earlier, the Victorian schoolmaster and theologian Edwin Abbott Abbott (December 20, 1838–October 12, 1926) explored this subject from a different angle in his brilliant 1884 allegorical novella Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions, newly issued in a lovely slip-case edition. In this classic masterwork of perspective, Abbott examines the science of multiple spatial dimensions while satirizing the absurdity of truth by consensus and extending a subtle invitation to consider how what we take as our givens limits our grasp of reality, presenting us with a false view of the world warped by our way of looking at it.

The story is narrated by a protagonist named A. Square, a native of Flatland — a world whose geometric denizens only live and see in two dimensions. But the square has a transformative experience that renders him “the sole possessor of the truths of Space.” On the eve of a new year, he has a hallucinatory vision of journeying to a faraway place called Lineland, populated by “lustrous points” who see him not as a shape but merely as a scattering of points along a line. Frustrated, he tries to demonstrate his squareness to their king by moving from left to right. The king, ignorant of directions, fails to perceive the motion and clings to his view of the square as points on a line.

But then the square himself is visited by a creature from another world — a sphere from the three-dimensional Spaceland. The very notion of three dimensions is at first utterly unimaginable to our hero — he sees the visitor merely as a circle. And yet when the sphere floats up and down, thus contracting and expanding the radius of the perceived circle based on its distance from our grounded observer, the square begins to suspect that he, like the inhabitants of Lineland, might be congenitally blind to the existence of another dimension.

When he returns to Flatland and tries to awaken his compatriots to the revelatory existence of a third dimension, he is met only with obtuse denial and declared mad. Decrees are passed to make illegal any suggestion of a third dimension and all who make such claims are to be imprisoned or executed. (Only two centuries earlier, in the very unimaginary world of the Inquisition, Galileo was imprisoned for asserting that the Earth moves.)

The square himself is eventually thrown in jail, where he spends seven years and composes Flatland as a cautionary memoir he hopes will inspire posterity to see beyond the limit of two dimensions. (In that selfsame era, in the nonfictional obtuseness of Victorian reality, Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for loving another man and composed his own stirring prison memoir of sorts as cautionary commentary on a society whose blind adherence to dogma bleeds into inhumanity.)

Complement the delicious new edition of Flatland with these stunning Victorian illustrations of Euclid’s Elements and the 1963 Norton Juster gem The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics, inspired by the Abbott classic, then stretch your mind into the science of multiple dimensions.

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Scientists model the climate in Game of Thrones

Jon Snow from Game of Thrones

[Hi everyone! I’d like to re-introduce you to Clive Thompson, who will be writing posts for Boing Boing. You may remember Clive from his guestblogging stint here a few years ago. Clive is a journalist and book author — he’s a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, and a columnist with Wired and Smithsonian. He’s working on his next book right now, about “how programmers think”, and he’s online as @pomeranian99 at Twitter and Instagram, or at his site ​I’m very excited to have him join us! — Mark]

The climate in Game of Thrones is incredibly weird, not least because of the strange timing of the oddly-long seasons. A group of climate scientists from the Universities of Bristol, Cardiff, and Southampton decided to figure out what’s going on by making a climate model of the world — based on the weather data they could scrounge from George R. R. Martin’s novels. They wrote it up as a mock academic paper authored by the GoT character “Samwell Tarly”.

Their/his key finding? The only way to create a model that behaves like the world described in the books is to assume the planet in Game of Thrones “tumbles” as it orbits its sun:

One way that seasons can be made to last longer is to allow this tilt of the spinning axis to change throughout the year, so that the Earth ‘tumbles’ on its spin axis, a bit like a spinning top. If the Earth ‘tumbles’ exactly once in a single year, then the spin axis always points towards (or away) from the Sun, and the winter (or summer) is then permanent (Figure 3(b)). This extended winter or summer would come to an end if the tilt flipped such that the opposite hemisphere pointed towards the sun. [snip]

In terms of the transition between the two seasons, my assumption is that the planet is fixed in a permanent season over several years due to the tumbling of the tilt 60 of its spinning axis, but that the tilt flips every few years to give the opposite season. The reason for this flip is unclear, but may be a passing comet, or just the magic of the Seven (or magic of the red Lord of Light if your name is Melisandre).

It tunrs out that various parts of Game of Thrones world bear similarities to the climate of our real-world earth (minus the magic and weirdly tilting planet, of course). In winter, The Wall resembles parts of Alaska, Canada, western Greenland, and Russia; meanwhile, Casterly Rock is kind of like eastern China and Houston, Texas.

The scientists also found that “the modelled climate can be used to explain the likely attack plans of invading dragon hordes from Essos, the dominance of the seas by the Iron Fleet, the hibernation zones of White Walkers in summer, and the trading routes between Westeros and the 30 Free cities across the Narrow Sea.”

Given today’s climate-change denialism, there’s a sly political aspect to the work here, as the authors note: Their project shows the “flexibility of climate models, arising from their basis in fundamental science.” (Emphasis all mine.)

(There’s a quicker-to-read version of the findings in this press release by the academics here, too.)

from Boing Boing


Grown-ish First Look: Meet the Cast of Yara Shahidi’s Black-ish Spinoff

Grown-ish, Yara ShahidiGrown-ish is taking viewers to another world: college. The black-ish spinoff starring Yara Shahidi debuts on Freeform on Wednesday, Jan. 3 with back-to-back episodes starting at 8 p.m. and E! News…

from E! Online (US) – TV News


Firefox is now available on Amazon’s Fire TV, and it can access YouTube

Amid Amazon and Google’s bitter and self-defeating feud over the right to stream videos from YouTube, Mozilla today announced that its Firefox browser is now available on Fire TV devices. The Firefox team, which just released the fastest ever version of the browser back in November, doesn’t explicitly say in the blog post announcing the news that you can use Firefox to access YouTube.

But the company does write that, “Once installed, you can launch popular video websites, like YouTube, load any website address, and search the web for videos to play full screen on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick.” When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Mozilla confirmed that you can in fact view YouTube content using the Firefox browser on…

Continue reading…

from The Verge – All Posts

Pop Culture

Cosplayers Address Rick Basaldua’s Alleged Sexual Misconduct

Four years ago, Bleeding Cool ran the story that comic book inker and cosplay glamour photographer Rick Basaldua had a restraining order legally placed against him from another, female, comic creator. At the time, we heard stories that it was bigger than that, but could only get so far in our investigations. But this weekend, a number of cosplayers have come out to share stories about other alleged misbehavior, as well as those opting to defend him. The hashtag #rickbeware saw just a few posts — but they were impactful. The first, from Teena Phoenix, who cosplays as Kitty the Dork:

Report abusers & predators! Talk about it! Silence is the abusers best friend! There’s over 20+ girls who have said Rick Basaldua harassed or abused them. This is not ok! I was one of them! Some of the girls are/were underage!😱 If you’re a photographer who knows about this guy please talk about it on here. Post it! Don’t let the women he abuses feel alone. Speaking up gives others courage! If a female you know ever says they are shooting with someone ask them who it is. Make sure it isn’t Rick! Then tell them about him! Please! Spread the word! Women & girls are being harassed, manipulated, & guilted into sleeping in his bed and just flat out scared to say no to him! He’s 200+ pounds and 6 foot! Even guys are intimidated by him so how do you think the ladies are feeling? He’s been doing this for years!😡😡😡 #rickbeware #speakup #nomoreabuse #predator #takenoshit #spreadtheword

A post shared by Teena Phoenix (@kitty_the_dork) on


And from Steph Sugar, who cosplays as Harley Quinn 505:


They shared similar stories and stated that there over 20 others planning to do the same soon — some of whom were featured on a number of highlighted screencaps being shared:

Phoenix stated:

“Women & girls are being harassed, manipulated, & guilted into sleeping in his bed and just flat out scared to say no to him! He’s 200+ pounds and 6 foot! Even guys are intimidated by him so how do you think the ladies are feeling? He’s been doing this for years!”

However, Basaldua was defended by fellow cosplayer Angela Mazzanti, who wrote in a comment on Phoenix’s Instagram post:

He’s never been anything but respectful to me and never overstepped any boundaries Honestly after watching so many of your Snapchat’s you’re the kind of girl who cries over anything and always has something to cry and complain over so i have a hard time taking anything you say too seriously Again don’t involve me in some dumbass accusation shit about someone.

But other people joined in, such as J Meow, who posted:

I don’t know you, but Rick was 100% a creeper to me and my fiancé had to get to him leave me alone after I said no MULTIPLE TIMES. Your friend is gross – this is NOT an “accusation” it’s an experience. I’m SO genuinely glad he hasn’t treated you that way – that how we ALL would like to be treated. If you’re a good friend, keep your eyes open and guide him to help future issues become non existent.

Cosplayer Alexandria N. Fall also defended Basaldua in a comment on Steph Sugar’s post, saying:

THIS STORY IS FAKE. DO NOT BELIVE [sic] THIS. It is true that Rick can be very flirtatious towards women but he did not realize how he was coming off and he is making an active effort at improving himself after me and people who actually care spoke to him about what people were saying. Rick is a really good person and he has a good heart, but instead of talking to him like adults you’re making assumptions and labeling him things that he isn’t. I have known him for a long time and I guarantee that if he knew how uncomfortable he was making people he would’ve changed a long time ago, but he is changing now so instead of attacking him for how he didn’t realize he was even acting how about help him become a better person and applaud him for realizing things that happened and making an active effort into fixing it?

Sugar responded saying:

Rick practice [sic] body against mine multiple times blocking my path as I would try to walk somewhere he would get in my face he would hold my neck he would hold my face he would tell me he like to kids he would put his lips on mine I had no choice but to kids back to get him out of my personal space. He would make little comments in public he would constantly make sexual references. I was asleep on the couch and he still woke me up to ask me if I wanted to sleep on the twin size mattress with him upstairs I told him for the second time after already showing discussed that I was fine sleeping on the couch. He then threw me attitude because I didn’t want to do what he wanted. And we didn’t even do the shoot that we had originally planned.

My issue is RICK📸📸📸 is that he pressed body against me Multiple times. He would kiss me he would hold my neck he would be in my personal space he would block my path when I would try to walk somewhere.

Basaldua did not respond to enquiries made regarding these accounts over the weekend, but it appears he blocked some of the complainants in question on Instagram. We’re happy to add any comment he may want to make, just as we offered four years ago.

The post Cosplayers Address Rick Basaldua’s Alleged Sexual Misconduct appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.

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New ‘The Grinch’ Poster Reminds You They Made Another Grinch Movie

the grinch poster

Just in case you forgot: they’re making a new Grinch movie and it comes out next year. Titled either The Grinch or How the Grinch Stole Christmas (it seems to be known as both depending on where you look), this version hails from Illumination Entertainment, the company behind The Secret Life of Pets and the Despicable Me series. The film is still nearly a year away, but we can already say one thing for sure – it will almost certainly not be the worst cinematic take on this character. It has that much going for it.

Revealed via the film’s official Twitter feed, the very green poster offers a very green look at the very green title character before he grows up, gets mean, and decides to abscond with Whoville’s holiday season. Can you blame Illumination for highlighting the adorable young Grinch? He is pretty cute and the red scarf suggests that he doesn’t despise Christmas yet. Anyway, he’ll soon grow up and have a heart two sizes too small and the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch, which is pretty fantastic casting if we’re going to be honest about it.

the grinch poster

Of course, you surely know that the Grinch was created by Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, within the pages of his 1957 children’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And you probably know that it was adapted into an iconic 1966 animated TV special directed by the legendary Chuck Jones that still dominates the airwaves every holiday season. And you may like to forget that it was adapted into a live-action movie starring Jim Carrey in 2000. Despite Carrey’s commitment to the role, that movie is a rotten, festering insult to Dr. Seuss’ work, a wrongheaded, nauseating, hyperactive and “hip” take on a character that deserves a classical touch. It’s streaming on Netflix. I just re-watched it. It took three sittings. Avoid my mistakes.

So The Grinch directors Peter Candeland and Yarrow Cheney have that much going for them – their film will be better than the previous version by default. It has to be. And while Illumination Entertainment’s adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax stripped down the original story’s melancholy bite, it was a harmless movie. I imagine The Grinch will, at the very least, follow suit. Hopefully, it’ll be better. Animation is certainly the right medium for this story, even though that adorable young Grinch gives me flashbacks to the interminable scenes in the live-action movie where we spend far too much time with a far-less-cute young Grinch.

The Grinch was originally scheduled to open on November 10, 2017, but it will now hit theaters on November 9, 2018.

The post New ‘The Grinch’ Poster Reminds You They Made Another Grinch Movie appeared first on /Film.

from /Film


The Best Video Game Surprises Of 2017

This year, a lot of things sucked. But a lot of things were also unexpectedly good! Let’s celebrate those latter things with a big list.

As we do every year at Kotaku, it’s time to take a look back on the highs and lows of the last 12 months. (See: the biggest surprises of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.) We’ll post the biggest disappointments of 2017 later this week, but for now, it’s time for happiness! Unexpected joy! Lots of Nintendo stuff! With input from the rest of Kotaku’s staff, here are the best video game surprises of 2017.

The Nintendo Switch has the best console launch year… ever?

The more we learned about the Nintendo Switch, the more we got our hopes up. Of course, Nintendo is expert at dashing raised hopes, so most of us struggled mightily to keep those hopes in check. When it was announced, the gimmick of a portable home console sounded good but there could still have been some hidden catch or downside. When it came out, the Switch seemed like a good console in general, but no one was sure if there’d be enough games. And then, somewhere around the release of Mario + Rabbids in August, it became clear: The Nintendo Switch in the midst of the best console launch year ever. From Zelda and Splatoon to Mario, Golf Story, Steamworld Dig 2 and Doom, there are already too many terrific games on the system to keep up with. The Switch’s first year went better than almost anyone dared hope. May its 2018 be just as strong.

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds invents a whole new genre.

One hundred players start. The last one (or the last team) standing wins. Many people probably remember Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds as the new early access game with the terrible name that was consistently at or near the top of the Steam charts in March. Terrible name or no, PUBG went on to conquer the world of PC gaming in 2017 with a simple premise and good-enough execution to become a beloved game and a streaming sensation. It seems likely that other games (like Fortnite Battle Royale) will cut into PUBG’s audience significantly, and one may ultimately overthrow it. PUBG will still be remembered as the game that brought Battle Royale gaming to the world.

Mario + Rabbids = Excellent.

When cover art from Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids crossover leaked in May, the response was nearly unanimous: this is going to suck so bad. Then Ubisoft showed the game at their E3 press conference, and… wait, what? It’s an XCOM-like turn-based tactics game? It actually looks kind of silly and maybe even… fun? Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto came out on stage to show off the game. The guy heading development cried during the press conference. Online sentiment began to soften. And then the game itself turned out to be pretty great, a smartly streamlined take on the XCOM formula with an emphasis on mobility and a few distinct, character-specific abilities. It wasn’t all that surprising that a Ubisoft studio could crank out a well-made tactics game, but it was surprising that Ubisoft’s Minions-esque Rabbids would wind up mixing so well with Mario, Peach, and Luigi.

Nintendo announces not one but two new Metroid games.

“Oh yeah,” we joked, “I’m totally sure Nintendo will announced Metroid Prime 4 at E3 this year.” We make those sorts of jokes to inure ourselves to the constant disappointment of wanting a thing to happen, then watching it not happen. Yet… there’s always reason for hope, isn’t there? Nintendo was on a roll with the Switch, and seemed to be consciously targeting the sorts of hardcore Nintendo fans they arguably left behind with the Wii and the Wii U. Maybe, just maybe, a new Metroid Prime really could be in the works? Turns out, it was. Not only that, but Nintendo buried a second, more immediately exciting announcement in their subsequent livestream: Metroid: Samus Returns, a 3DS remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, would be out in just a few months.

Japanese games give the PS4's 2017 a phenomenal start.

There was a point right around March where the PS4 was just on fire. In just a couple of months it’d gotten a few big exclusives, including the beautiful-if-niche Gravity Rush 2 and the fantastic open-worlder Horizon Zero Dawn. But it was the Japanese games that put it over the top, and more pressingly, over Microsoft’s competing Xbox One. Nier: Automata, Yakuza 0, Persona 5, and Nioh all hit the PS4 at about the same time, a collection of wildly different games that had something for just about anyone. It was, and remains, a very good time to own a PlayStation 4.

No Man’s Sky gets good.

There was always a good game hiding in No Man’s Sky, but you used to have to work to find it. After several major free updates, Hello Games has made it a lot easier to love their big, weird galactic exploration game. There’s so much more to do and so many more reasons to do it that the No Man’s Sky of 2017 feels almost like a different game. If you bought it back when it came out, try starting a new game and see what happens. As nifty as Hello Games’ updates have been, the No Man’s Sky community deserves just as much credit for keeping the game alive and interesting, creating and rebuilding a galactic hub and, most recently, working out how to wage a massive war in a game with no built-in PvP combat.

Bloodborne players are still finding new secrets.

Bloodborne is a game built on mysteries, literally—the city of Yarnham is built on a bunch of catacombs that players in a group called the Tomb Prospectors are still exploring, looking for rare monsters that few have ever seen. In November, they found an elusive Flaming Undead Giant, a beast no one had seen before, in one of the game’s Chalice Dungeons. What other secrets might Bloodborne be hiding?

20 years later, Nintendo releases Star Fox 2.

Along with a bunch of Switch and 3DS games, Nintendo released a new Super Nintendo game in 2017. Two decades after it was cancelled, Star Fox 2 finally came out as a bundle-in with the SNES Classic. It’s a weird game, and while it might not be enough to pull you away from the rest of the classic games Nintendo included on their retro console, it’s certainly a time capsule that’s worth opening at least once.

Despite its lengthy development, Nioh turns out fantastic.

It may have seemed like Team Ninja’s “samurai Bloodborne” action game Nioh dropped with little fanfare, but it was actually a loooong time coming. Originally announced in the mid-2000s, it apparently went through several substantial overhauls until Team Ninja took over development in 2010. Most games to go through such a process are released in sorry shape, if they’re released at all. Nioh is the welcome exception, a deep, finely tuned, extremely satisfying action game that stands toe-to-toe with the best in the “Soulsborne” subgenre.

Resident Evil 7 shows the RE formula works in first-person.

When Capcom first revealed Resident Evil 7, there was some question as to whether this new game, with its first-person perspective and focus on a modern found footage horror aesthetic, would be “Resident Evil” enough. Turns out that yep, it is indeed possible to inject new ideas into the Resident Evil formula without losing the series’s identity. The first few hours are nearly unrecognizable, as your terrified protagonist creeps his way through a decrepit southern mansion overflowing with horrors. Then the game gradually settles down and you begin the Resident Evil-y work of upgrading your gear, uncovering secrets, and finding animal keys to unlock corresponding animal doors. Other venerated game series could take a few lessons from RE7 for how to shake up their own formulas.

Half-Life “Epistle 3” offers a strange sort of closure.

At this point, Half-Life 3 is a tired punchline. Ditto Half-Life 2 Episode 3. We know that neither one is ever coming out, or at the very least, whatever version of them may have been in development over the last 10 years just ain’t gonna happen. So it was a bittersweet surprise when ex-Valve developer Marc Laidlaw, one of the chief writers of the Half-Life series, published a blog post titled “Epistle 3.” It told a lightly disguised, gender-swapped story of Gordon Freeman and Alyx Vance’s trip to the frozen north in the wake of the shattering cliffhanger the concluded Episode 2. It wasn’t Episode 3, but it offered unexpected closure and even inspired a bunch of indie game developers to come up with their own rough versions of what the game might have looked like.

A single glitch changes Wind Waker speedrunning forever.

In the world of speedrunning, a single discovery can reverberate through the entire scene and change everything. That was the case with the “Barrier Skip” in Wind Waker, which two players cracked in 2016 but was only successfully replicated this year. Once the trick went wide, it fundamentally changed the way Wind Waker speedruns will work going forward. These are the sorts of unusual maneuvers that keep a game exciting 15 years after it first came out.

Beyond Good & Evil 2 finally returns to the public eye.

Ubisoft’s Beyond Good & Evil 2 has been a specter at each of the publisher’s major press conferences since the first teaser in 2008. Every now and then director Michel Ancel would say that he was still working on the game, but with no additional information or specifics. This year at Ubisoft’s E3 press conference, they brought an exciting CGI trailer, along with a working version of the game. Sure, it was a very rough build. And sure, the CGI trailer was just that—it wasn’t gameplay. But we know a heck of a lot more about Beyond Good & Evil 2 now than we did at the start of the year, and it seems much more likely that one day we’ll actually get to play it.

Sonic Mania celebrates everything fans love about Sonic.

Sonic fans have a lot to be grumpy about. There just haven’t been that may good Sonic games, and the series has struggled to find an identity in the landscape of modern gaming. Along comes Sonic Mania, a remixing/remastering of side-scrolling Sonic greatness that often feels like a devious ROM hack, reimagining aspects of the classic Sonic games to make its own twisting, turning levels. 2017’s other big Sonic game was much less of a success, but by going back to the series’s roots, Sonic Mania soared.

Doki Doki Literature Club is not what it appears to be.

The anime visual novel Doki Doki Literature Club is a wolfish tale dressed up in the sheep’s clothing of cheery moe anime and schoolgirls next door. You probably still haven’t played this, so I’ll refrain from saying more. Just know that the surprise here isn’t simply that the game is good.

Capcom announces Mega Man 11.

Right up there with Metroid Prime is Mega Man, whose fans had already been burned by the disappointing Mighty No. 9 just last year. Here comes Capcom to announce an all-new Mega Man complete with in-game footage and a late 2018 release date. It’ll be the first Mega Man in eight years, and while it looks a little plastic-y in screenshots, it looks pretty great in action.

A guy in a mullet wig takes over Twitch.

2017 was a weird year for Twitch and YouTube in general, and no one man embodies that weirdness quite as well as Guy “Dr. Disrespect” Beahm. The former Sledgehammer Games community manager who decided to don a mullet wig, some aviator glasses, and a fake-rude persona to begin streaming games as Dr. Disrespect. He went on to become one of the most talked-about PUBG players, earning himself a suspension for in-game hijinks yet also being overcome with emotions as he considered the admiration of his fans. Shortly after winning the “Trending Gamer” award at The Game Awards in December, he announced that he had been unfaithful to his wife and was stepping back from streaming to focus on his family. A fittingly controversial end of the year for a character who seemed designed to court controversy.

Fortnite actually comes out, catches on.

First revealed in 2011 at Spike’s Video Game Awards ceremony, Epic Games’ Fortnite has been on the cusp of release for so long that many of us thought it’d never happen. It finally hit early access earlier this year, and didn’t make much of an impact, at least not at first. Its profile significantly increased when Epic released a free-to-play Battle Royale mode that followed the template established by Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, albeit with some notable changes. By the end of the year, it’s become one of the most streamed games on Twitch, gotten some new modes and other tweaks, and is attracting new players each day.

The Switch has a lovely hidden tribute to Satoru Iwata.

At first, it wasn’t clear why hackers had been able to find a hidden version of NES Golf on the Nintendo Switch. After a bit more sleuthing, it turned out that the software was locked to a certain date and a certain Joy-Con motion, one that matched up with the famous gesture the beloved former Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata used to make during each of the Nintendo Direct videos he hosted. Iwata died of cancer on July 11, 2014. The Golf game hidden on the Switch appeared to be programmed to unlock on a July 11. Nintendo has remained cagy about the tribute, but a number of people have reported (sometimes with video) that the game does indeed work on the Switch. As our own Brian Ashcraft observed, Golf on the Switch could be coded to allow Iwata’s spirit to watch over the console and guide it to success. If that’s the case, he’s doing a marvelous job.

And that’s it for the biggest, best surprises of the year. Share your own favorite surprises in the comments and we’ll be back later in the week with the worst, most crushing disappointments.

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Enter The Gungeon Is More Forgiving On The Nintendo Switch

Enter The Gungeon released on the Nintendo Switch last week, and they go great together. Despite a few bugs and some little niggling issues with the controls (which are 100% remappable) the overall experience is great. It’s also the most approachable version of the game thanks to some balancing tweaks that haven’t yet hit the PS4, Xbox One, or PC versions.

If you’ve never played it, Enter the Gungeon is a roguelike bullet hell game. You run from room to room shooting enemies and collecting money and new guns until you get to the boss, where you’ll promptly die or just narrowly scrape by. Then you go down to a new floor and do it all over again. The roguelike element means all of these configurations are random. What enemies you face, how each floor is laid out, and the guns you happen to pick up along the way are all left up to chance. And when you die, that’s it. Next time you play you’re back at square one.


The randomness keeps the game fresh and is part of why it’s still fun to return to nearly two years after it was originally released. It can also make the experience seem both impenetrable and punishing. Whereas The Binding of Isaac keeps things short and constantly changing and Rogue Legacy let you carry over progress between each new run, Enter the Gungeon is more grindy and less forgiving. You can unlock new characters to play, but none of them will accrue upgrades or powerups over the course of your time with the game. Floors can also be quite sprawling, especially the lower levels, leading you to invest a lot of time and effort into a playthrough only to see it completely wiped away when your fingers accidently twitch at the wrong moment.

Fortunately, the Switch version is a bit more generous. Without sacrificing the challenge and variety that makes the game so interesting, it dolls out more money, guns, and other drops throughout the course of a each playthrough while also making warps between rooms more plentiful. All of these “quality of life improvements” as developer Dodge Roll calls them, are going to be part of the Advanced Gungeons & Dragons update planned for early 2018.


The Switch got some of them early thanks to its release timing. Going forward Dodge Roll says updates will be nearly simultaneous across all platforms, but for now it makes the Switch version one of the most fun ways to play. I actually had well over a hundred casings, the game’s currency, in my pocket by the second room on most playthroughs, meaning I could finally buy stuff from the dungeon shop rather than just stare longingly at its display case.

The Switch version isn’t without its flaws of course. Some players have experienced the game crashing quite a bit, a problem Dodge Roll says it’s working to address and thinks might be worse when playing in docked mode. In addition, the control scheme isn’t the best. Playing with the Pro Controller remains the best option given the need to be running, shooting, and aiming all at the same time. That said, you can remap the controls to bind just about every major action to the one of the bumper or trigger buttons (something I definitely recommend doing right when you start).


Those qualms aside, the game looks great on the Switch, especially in handheld mode. The compactness of the screen and having it that close to your face actually helped me do better and gave the game a crisper look and feel overall.

Enter the Gungeon on the Switch also supports local co-op using the Joy-Con. Normally that would be a big bonus, but given how important reacting quickly and accurately is in the game, playing on a single, detached Joy-Con is simply more trouble than it’s worth in my opinion. The good news is that Enter the Gungeon remains a great solo-dungeon crawler. 

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Celebrate ‘STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’ With Rey-Inspired Hairstyle Tutorial

Celebrate ‘STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’ With Rey-Inspired Hairstyle Tutorial

Subscribe to me here on Youtube! This week is a big deal for Star Wars fans here at the Walt Disney World Resort. The highly anticipated film, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” will be released in theaters worldwide and Star Wars: Galactic Nights will take place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this Saturday, December 16. To read more, visit the Disney Parks Blog:

And don’t forget, guests can experience thrilling new adventures on two new planets – Batuu and Crait – at the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction every day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.


About Walt Disney World:
At Walt Disney World, you’ve got a whole fantastic world to celebrate in! With four spectacular theme parks and two water parks plus the most amazing shopping, dining and recreation magic imaginable, it’s no wonder all of life’s special moments are made even more enjoyable when you celebrate at Walt Disney World.

Connect with Walt Disney World Online:
Visit the Walt Disney World WEBSITE:
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Connect with Disney Parks Online:
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Celebrate ‘STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI’ With Rey-Inspired Hairstyle Tutorial


UK Tory MP unclear on the concept of dystopia

The Getting to the Future First:
How Britain can lead the
Fourth Industrial Revolution report
was created by Alan Mak, Conservative Member of Parliament for Havant, and it’s a laughable compendium of trickle-down nonsense proposing that if all dividends from automation flow to capital, somehow everyone in the world will share in the benefits.

from Boing Boing