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Tag: June 14

GAMES

Download Breath of the Wild to Your Switch For the Best Price Ever

The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild [Digital] | $45 | Amazon

If you own a Nintendo Switch, but don’t have Breath of the Wild, first of all…huh? Second of all, digital versions are just $45 right now on Amazon, the best price we’ve ever seen.


Vía https://kinjadeals.theinventory.com/breath-of-the-wild-is-down-to-45-on-the-nintendo-switc-1823186395 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

GAMES

Twitch’s E3 Stream Punks Skate 4 Fans

Skate fans were hoping for a Skate 4 announcement at E3 this week, and when it didn’t come, folks were bummed. Anyone watching Twitch’s official coverage of the show earlier tonight, though, were treated to a few moments of delicious hope…before having it snatched cruelly away once again.

As they wrapped up today’s show, the platform’s E3 panel—under the guise of saying they had a classic “one more thing” to announce—did this (you can see video here):

For anyone unable to watch the linked vid above, Despacito started playing over the top of it as well. Ouch.

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Look at it this way, Skate fans. One day, EA may actually announce the game. And this might all have been worth it. Maybe.

Vía https://kotaku.com/twitchs-e3-stream-punks-skate-4-fans-1826849076 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

GAMES

Ghost of Tsushima looks good, but the heavily accented English in the E3 trailer was a bit jarring.

GAMES

I Feel Sorry For Sports Games During E3

The kind of person reading this website probably thinks E3 is for you, the F5ing obsessive keen for Cyberpunk and The Last Of Us Part II, but for millions of fans around the world it’s about little more than the first good look at the only game they’ll be playing seriously for the next 12 months.

Tweet: Gav

So while it’s common for the hardcore narrative around E3 to deride sports games’ presence (above is a typical example), or even to just plain ignore them altogether, the fact remains these games are super important and sell millions of copies every year.

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As someone who plays and enjoys a load of these series, it’s easy amidst the big blockbusters for sports games to pass you by at E3, which is why I’ve enjoyed circling back around tonight and checking out what I missed while covering games like Anthem, Spider-Man and Halo.

First up is FIFA 19's E3 trailer, which showcases the series’ new Champions League branding and which may prove to be a death sentence for Konami’s fledgling competitor, PES.

https://kinja.com/ajax/inset/iframe?id=youtube-video-zX0AV6yxyrQ&start=0

Next is Madden 19, with a seemingly pointless clip that does nothing but remind us that, like death and taxes, Madden is coming to 2018. A lot of new info was revealed in a blog post in the week before E3; it would have been nice to see some of that actually spelled out here.

https://kinja.com/ajax/inset/iframe?id=youtube-video-Js04hvdVUA8&start=0

Another sports game with an E3 trailer is FIFA’s competitor PES. I admire the way it’s made almost entirely from actual gameplay footage, but advertising the fact you’ve got the license for the Scottish Premiership and Eredivisie only serves to highlight the fact you don’t have the license for the Premier League or Bundesliga. 

https://kinja.com/ajax/inset/iframe?id=youtube-video-SSfko2Ps9oY&start=0

Back to EA now, with NBA Live 19's trailer. With NBA 2K’s various missteps last year, I’m actually looking forward to seeing what EA can do here; their on-court offering may not be a match for their more popular competitor, but if they can simply offer a less bullshitty product than 2K19—especially whe it comes to the singleplayer campaignit might be worth a look.

https://kinja.com/ajax/inset/iframe?id=youtube-video-nZ6CqPnSbeA&start=0

It’s OK, sports games. E3 may not be the best place for you, but you came, you showed some stuff, and those of us who were looking forward to it got something out of it.

Vía https://kotaku.com/i-feel-sorry-for-sports-games-during-e3-1826848325 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

GAMES

Twitch Partners Feeling Burned After Affiliates Receive Features That Took Them Years To Earn

There are Twitch streamers, and then there are Twitch streamers. The platform has tiers: hobbyists, affiliates, and partners. The latter two titles must be earned through lots of successful streaming, and they come with perks that directly impact streamers’ ability to make a living. Now, with the gulf between affiliates and partners closing, tensions are on the rise.

Late last week, Twitch announced that, starting June 15, affiliates will get paid 15 days faster and will be able to create custom badges for their subscribers. On their own, these features are nice, but they’re not earth-shattering. The issue in the eyes of many is that they bring affiliates even closer to achieving feature parity with partners, who ostensibly represent Twitch’s highest echelon. Some partners are tearing their superhumanly shiny hair out about this because the affiliate program is relatively new, and prior to its inception, some of them had to stream for years before they gained access to partner perks. Now these young upstarts, they say, are getting almost everything that partners have without having to put in the work.

Here’s a basic breakdown of the differences between partners and affiliates:

In broad strokes, the affiliate and partner programs have become pretty similar. Affiliates can make money through long-term subscriptions, game sales associated with their channels, and cheers—which basically amount to fans tossing a few coins in streamers’ cups at their leisure using Twitch’s “bit” currency. Affiliates can’t make money from advertisements, but that feature is apparently “coming soon.”

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Other differences are granular, but have more of an impact on streamers’ ability to make a living than you might think. That’s where the new affiliate additions come in. Soon, affiliates will be able to create custom badges for their subscribers. This, along with custom sub emotes, directly incentivizes their fans to give them money. They’ll also get paid sooner, making their financial situations potentially less precarious. All that said, partners and affiliates are still not on entirely equal footing when it comes to money-making possibilities. Partners have access to less tangible benefits, like a dedicated support staff and potential brand and sponsorship deals.

Here’s the thing, though: the affiliate tier was added to Twitch last year as a means of bridging the sometimes insurmountable chasm between hobbyist streaming and an actual career in talking over video games while trying extremely hard not to blurt racial slurs. By design, the requirements to apply for affiliate status—50 followers, an average of three viewers per stream, streaming eight hours across seven days within a 30-day period—are much lower than those blocking the way to partner.

On top of that, there was a time when partner status didn’t even have standardized requirements. Instead, it was bestowed on streamers who either had a personal relationship with Twitch or just stuck it out for months and months or even years. Longtime partners feel like near-parity between perks offered to affiliates and partners invalidates the grueling climb to the top that they had to endure before the affiliate tier even existed.

“If Twitch rolled out affiliate to only hard-working streamers who put in the effort, have great content, and deserve the ability to generate revenue, then yes, have all the features! You deserve it,” wrote a Twitch partner named Lt Zonda in a since-deleted post on Twitter. He and many others take issue with the affiliate level’s low barrier to entry. “I can’t help but feel that streamers I know, who have been grinding for partnership for months, some years, who could not quite reach those partnership requirements, are rewarded with the same perks as ‘my mate Tony who streamed himself having some beers with the lads in the garden a few times,’” he continued.

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Another partner, Flowdriver, expressed a similar sentiment, adding that she feels like affiliates need more goals to work toward. “I have no hate for affiliates, and I think it’s great they are getting paid earlier,” she wrote on Twitter. “What I’m saying is, I think things like sub badges should be a partner perk. It gives them something to work for. No hate.”

Even some affiliates aren’t 100 percent on board with the new affiliate perks. “As an affiliate myself, I am both grateful but frustrated at the recent changes,” wrote a Twitch affiliate named Orbz. “Yes, it’s great for my channel, but my grind for the past four years seems like I’m being gifted every partner perk without getting partner. Affiliate, I believe, is given out too early to people, and it changes from the love of streaming to money-making in people’s eyes.”

Advertisement

It wasn’t long before other streamers—affiliates and partners alike—started voicing backlash against the backlash. “If you’re complaining about affiliates getting a better deal than before, you’re likely providing bad content,” said a partner named Thorlar on Twitter. “You actually going as far as being rude to affiliates just shows you’re afraid of them ‘taking over,’ and that’s the saddest part… When did you stop making friends and just allied yourself with other assholes on the site? That’s not a friendship or business approach. That’s just being an asshole.”

Others pointed to the widely-held sentiment that Twitch is a community, something that Twitch, the company, has espoused on numerous occasions with rhetoric and slogans like “bleed purple.”

“In the end, no matter what your title is on Twitch, we are all content creators the moment the ‘start now’ button gets pushed,” an affiliate named Nightlyght said. “Differences in opinion are fine but bashing on your Twitch family isn’t. Support each other.”

It all leaves Twitch, as a platform, in an odd spot. On one hand, Twitch goes on and on about community until it’s purple in the face, implying that everybody is—on some level—in it together. On the other hand, Twitch is an inherently competitive system. There’s a finite number of viewers, and streamers are vying for their attentions. Gamifying people’s ability to make a living muddies these waters even further. It taps into a quintessentially game-y mentality that everyone should start from the same point and work toward unlocking a series of concrete, immutable rewards. And so, even as Twitch speaks of community in almost propagandistic terms, people feel pitted against each other in a competition not even to make money and succeed, but to earn the means to do so by ranking up.

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This can lead to gatekeeping from people who may not realize they were extremely fortunate to have the time and space to grind their way to partner sans the sort of runway affiliate provides, even if it ended up taking them years. It’s tempting to believe that all Twitch streamers start from the same place and can work their way to fame and fortune through sheer doggedness, but it’s simply not true.

“There are barriers to success on Twitch,” Adam Koebel, a partner who focuses on tabletop role-playing and a variety of games, told Kotaku in a DM. “Technologically, you need to be in a part of the world with a decent internet connection, have access to and afford the hardware required, and have the leisure time to build an audience. There’s a myth that anyone can be successful as a broadcaster that simply ignores those kinds of barriers. It’s a question of equity vs. equality. The assumption that it’s a level playing field to begin with. That assumption is even bigger than affiliation or partnership.”

For some people, then, it was simply impossible to succeed on Old Twitch. Nowadays, they have more options, but there are still plenty of other invisible barriers. Streamers who insist that everybody should experience their same years-long struggle or demonstrate a certain, arbitrary level of dedication to streaming risk becoming barriers themselves. In many ways, Twitch creates these mentalities. It is, Koebel stressed, a capitalist system, and therefore one that encourages a degree of ruthlessness in competition.

At the same time, he said, Twitch’s pro-community rhetoric isn’t entirely hot air. “On the one hand, ‘bleed purple’ is so much jingoistic bullshit but on the other hand, solidarity is a real thing,” said Koebel. “I came up in Twitch riding the back of a remarkably generous broadcaster named JP McDaniel, who invited me on to his channel as part of RollPlay, exposing me to a huge audience that I eventually invited into my own community, in parts, when that community formed around my stream. I’m trying to do the same for other smaller streamers, especially marginalized folks. This is how that has to work.”

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It’s all about striking a balance between that competitive reality and a collaborative spirit, he said, or else Twitch really does become a cutthroat environment in which everybody feels threatened by everybody else’s success. “It’s only as cutthroat as we make it,” he said.

Bryan Veloso, a former Twitch employee-turned-partner who publicly said he was happy for affiliates and left it at that, said to Kotaku that Twitch could at least be doing more to make partners feel like, well, partners.

“At best, the relationship is strained,” Veloso said in an email. “We’re all happy to be partners, but we don’t feel like we matter. There are thousands of stories out there about the ‘horrors’ of communicating with Twitch, disparate opportunities, double standards, favoritism, etc.”

Advertisement

More staff dedicated to handling Twitch’s 20,000-plus partners, he noted, would go a long way toward mending those fences and, perhaps, taking some heat off affiliates, who seem to be getting more attention from the folks building features at Twitch lately.

“Obviously, there’ll always be people that’ll think any gains on the affiliate end would threaten their territory,” Veloso said. “But if they managed fix the program’s pain points, raise morale, and communicate more with partners, it’d be a step forward something healthier.”

Vía https://kotaku.com/twitch-partners-feeling-burned-after-affiliates-receive-1826810027 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

GAMES

Twitch Partners Feeling Burned After Affiliates Receive Features That Took Them Years To Earn

There are Twitch streamers, and then there are Twitch streamers. The platform has tiers: hobbyists, affiliates, and partners. The latter two titles must be earned through lots of successful streaming, and they come with perks that directly impact streamers’ ability to make a living. Now, with the gulf between affiliates and partners closing, tensions are on the rise.

Late last week, Twitch announced that, starting June 15, affiliates will get paid 15 days faster and will be able to create custom badges for their subscribers. On their own, these features are nice, but they’re not earth-shattering. The issue in the eyes of many is that they bring affiliates even closer to achieving feature parity with partners, who ostensibly represent Twitch’s highest echelon. Some partners are tearing their superhumanly shiny hair out about this because the affiliate program is relatively new, and prior to its inception, some of them had to stream for years before they gained access to partner perks. Now these young upstarts, they say, are getting almost everything that partners have without having to put in the work.

Here’s a basic breakdown of the differences between partners and affiliates:

In broad strokes, the affiliate and partner programs have become pretty similar. Affiliates can make money through long-term subscriptions, game sales associated with their channels, and cheers—which basically amount to fans tossing a few coins in streamers’ cups at their leisure using Twitch’s “bit” currency. Affiliates can’t make money from advertisements, but that feature is apparently “coming soon.”

Advertisement

Other differences are granular, but have more of an impact on streamers’ ability to make a living than you might think. That’s where the new affiliate additions come in. Soon, affiliates will be able to create custom badges for their subscribers. This, along with custom sub emotes, directly incentivizes their fans to give them money. They’ll also get paid sooner, making their financial situations potentially less precarious. All that said, partners and affiliates are still not on entirely equal footing when it comes to money-making possibilities. Partners have access to less tangible benefits, like a dedicated support staff and potential brand and sponsorship deals.

Here’s the thing, though: the affiliate tier was added to Twitch last year as a means of bridging the sometimes insurmountable chasm between hobbyist streaming and an actual career in talking over video games while trying extremely hard not to blurt racial slurs. By design, the requirements to apply for affiliate status—50 followers, an average of three viewers per stream, streaming eight hours across seven days within a 30-day period—are much lower than those blocking the way to partner.

On top of that, there was a time when partner status didn’t even have standardized requirements. Instead, it was bestowed on streamers who either had a personal relationship with Twitch or just stuck it out for months and months or even years. Longtime partners feel like near-parity between perks offered to affiliates and partners invalidates the grueling climb to the top that they had to endure before the affiliate tier even existed.

“If Twitch rolled out affiliate to only hard-working streamers who put in the effort, have great content, and deserve the ability to generate revenue, then yes, have all the features! You deserve it,” wrote a Twitch partner named Lt Zonda in a since-deleted post on Twitter. He and many others take issue with the affiliate level’s low barrier to entry. “I can’t help but feel that streamers I know, who have been grinding for partnership for months, some years, who could not quite reach those partnership requirements, are rewarded with the same perks as ‘my mate Tony who streamed himself having some beers with the lads in the garden a few times,’” he continued.

Advertisement

Another partner, Flowdriver, expressed a similar sentiment, adding that she feels like affiliates need more goals to work toward. “I have no hate for affiliates, and I think it’s great they are getting paid earlier,” she wrote on Twitter. “What I’m saying is, I think things like sub badges should be a partner perk. It gives them something to work for. No hate.”

Even some affiliates aren’t 100 percent on board with the new affiliate perks. “As an affiliate myself, I am both grateful but frustrated at the recent changes,” wrote a Twitch affiliate named Orbz. “Yes, it’s great for my channel, but my grind for the past four years seems like I’m being gifted every partner perk without getting partner. Affiliate, I believe, is given out too early to people, and it changes from the love of streaming to money-making in people’s eyes.”

Advertisement

It wasn’t long before other streamers—affiliates and partners alike—started voicing backlash against the backlash. “If you’re complaining about affiliates getting a better deal than before, you’re likely providing bad content,” said a partner named Thorlar on Twitter. “You actually going as far as being rude to affiliates just shows you’re afraid of them ‘taking over,’ and that’s the saddest part… When did you stop making friends and just allied yourself with other assholes on the site? That’s not a friendship or business approach. That’s just being an asshole.”

Others pointed to the widely-held sentiment that Twitch is a community, something that Twitch, the company, has espoused on numerous occasions with rhetoric and slogans like “bleed purple.”

“In the end, no matter what your title is on Twitch, we are all content creators the moment the ‘start now’ button gets pushed,” an affiliate named Nightlyght said. “Differences in opinion are fine but bashing on your Twitch family isn’t. Support each other.”

It all leaves Twitch, as a platform, in an odd spot. On one hand, Twitch goes on and on about community until it’s purple in the face, implying that everybody is—on some level—in it together. On the other hand, Twitch is an inherently competitive system. There’s a finite number of viewers, and streamers are vying for their attentions. Gamifying people’s ability to make a living muddies these waters even further. It taps into a quintessentially game-y mentality that everyone should start from the same point and work toward unlocking a series of concrete, immutable rewards. And so, even as Twitch speaks of community in almost propagandistic terms, people feel pitted against each other in a competition not even to make money and succeed, but to earn the means to do so by ranking up.

Advertisement

This can lead to gatekeeping from people who may not realize they were extremely fortunate to have the time and space to grind their way to partner sans the sort of runway affiliate provides, even if it ended up taking them years. It’s tempting to believe that all Twitch streamers start from the same place and can work their way to fame and fortune through sheer doggedness, but it’s simply not true.

“There are barriers to success on Twitch,” Adam Koebel, a partner who focuses on tabletop role-playing and a variety of games, told Kotaku in a DM. “Technologically, you need to be in a part of the world with a decent internet connection, have access to and afford the hardware required, and have the leisure time to build an audience. There’s a myth that anyone can be successful as a broadcaster that simply ignores those kinds of barriers. It’s a question of equity vs. equality. The assumption that it’s a level playing field to begin with. That assumption is even bigger than affiliation or partnership.”

For some people, then, it was simply impossible to succeed on Old Twitch. Nowadays, they have more options, but there are still plenty of other invisible barriers. Streamers who insist that everybody should experience their same years-long struggle or demonstrate a certain, arbitrary level of dedication to streaming risk becoming barriers themselves. In many ways, Twitch creates these mentalities. It is, Koebel stressed, a capitalist system, and therefore one that encourages a degree of ruthlessness in competition.

At the same time, he said, Twitch’s pro-community rhetoric isn’t entirely hot air. “On the one hand, ‘bleed purple’ is so much jingoistic bullshit but on the other hand, solidarity is a real thing,” said Koebel. “I came up in Twitch riding the back of a remarkably generous broadcaster named JP McDaniel, who invited me on to his channel as part of RollPlay, exposing me to a huge audience that I eventually invited into my own community, in parts, when that community formed around my stream. I’m trying to do the same for other smaller streamers, especially marginalized folks. This is how that has to work.”

Advertisement

It’s all about striking a balance between that competitive reality and a collaborative spirit, he said, or else Twitch really does become a cutthroat environment in which everybody feels threatened by everybody else’s success. “It’s only as cutthroat as we make it,” he said.

Bryan Veloso, a former Twitch employee-turned-partner who publicly said he was happy for affiliates and left it at that, said to Kotaku that Twitch could at least be doing more to make partners feel like, well, partners.

“At best, the relationship is strained,” Veloso said in an email. “We’re all happy to be partners, but we don’t feel like we matter. There are thousands of stories out there about the ‘horrors’ of communicating with Twitch, disparate opportunities, double standards, favoritism, etc.”

Advertisement

More staff dedicated to handling Twitch’s 20,000-plus partners, he noted, would go a long way toward mending those fences and, perhaps, taking some heat off affiliates, who seem to be getting more attention from the folks building features at Twitch lately.

“Obviously, there’ll always be people that’ll think any gains on the affiliate end would threaten their territory,” Veloso said. “But if they managed fix the program’s pain points, raise morale, and communicate more with partners, it’d be a step forward something healthier.”

Vía https://kotaku.com/twitch-partners-feeling-burned-after-affiliates-receive-1826810027 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

GAMES

Take Two’s E3 Booth Has No Red Dead And Is Incredibly Chill

The Take Two booth at E3 makes all other publishers look sweaty and sloppy. No insult to the others, really, because they’re just doing what game publishers do. They’ve got their games and their logos and their trailers and lines of people wanting to play stuff. Take Two’s got four walls of serenity.

Compare that top image to this:

And make no mistake, the Take Two booth is massive. Look how deep this goes.

So what’s going on here? Is this just a power move by Take Two, given that they’ve got the game this fall that everyone else is sweating? Maybe, but I understand that Take Two has done these kinds of game-free chill booths before. Even the people who’ve been to them tell me that, no, it’s never been quite this chill.

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Not only are there no games or game signage outside—no demo kiosks, no screens, nothing for Red Dead Redemption 2, NBA 2K, or WWE 2K—there’s no sign of those games if you go inside.

I did find a room that had an Xbox One S that was running copies of last year’s NBA 2K and WWE 2K games. The other game on it? Electronic Arts’ Madden.

The luxurious space behind the glass doors is full of comfy chairs and crate myrtle trees. There’s a bar serving fancy tea. It’s all set under a set of monitors that put a blue sky overhead. I was told that sometimes a plane flies overheard. Sometimes a bird.

The meeting rooms are lovely:

And there’s this room where you can turn on an old record player and just watch a surfing video:

It’s so relaxing, and such a contrast from the rest of E3. It’s a wonder why anyone would leave it. Going by this space, Take Two is currently pretty zen. I guess they’re feeling good and confident.

Vía https://kotaku.com/take-twos-e3-booth-has-no-red-dead-and-is-incredibly-ch-1826832885 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

GAMES

Frostpunk, A Miserable Game That Looks Beautiful

Hi there. Fine Art has taken a little break this week with all the E3 madness, but now that things are quieting down it’s time to bring it back. And it’s a pleasure to be coming back with art from one of the year’s biggest surprise hits, Frostpunk.

It’s a game about death, drudgery and despair, but as depressing as it is to play through, Frostpunk is also a gorgeous game, especially when it comes to the static art that’s presented throughout the game’s unfolding narrative.

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Below you’ll see a variety of art that went into Frostpunk’s development, featuring pieces from everyone who worked on the game. You’ll find links to their portfolios by clicking on their names.

To see the images in their native resolution, click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner.

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Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you’d like to share, get in touch!

Magdalena Katańska

Jakub Kowalczyk

Adam Śmietański

Bartosz Sobolewski

Vía https://kotaku.com/frostpunk-a-miserable-game-that-looks-beautiful-1826847282 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

GAMES

Frostpunk, A Miserable Game That Looks Beautiful

Hi there. Fine Art has taken a little break this week with all the E3 madness, but now that things are quieting down it’s time to bring it back. And it’s a pleasure to be coming back with art from one of the year’s biggest surprise hits, Frostpunk.

It’s a game about death, drudgery and despair, but as depressing as it is to play through, Frostpunk is also a gorgeous game, especially when it comes to the static art that’s presented throughout the game’s unfolding narrative.

Advertisement

Below you’ll see a variety of art that went into Frostpunk’s development, featuring pieces from everyone who worked on the game. You’ll find links to their portfolios by clicking on their names.

To see the images in their native resolution, click on the “expand” button in the top-left corner.

Advertisement

Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you’d like to share, get in touch!

Magdalena Katańska

Jakub Kowalczyk

Adam Śmietański

Bartosz Sobolewski

Vía https://kotaku.com/frostpunk-a-miserable-game-that-looks-beautiful-1826847282 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

GAMES

Team Sonic Racing Could Have Been A Lot Weirder

There’s a new Sonic racing game coming, one that ostensibly brings an element of teamwork to the action. So why did I feel like I was the only one pulling any weight, during my demo? There is no “I” in team, but there is one in “Team Sonic.”

In Team Sonic Racing, set to arrive sometime this upcoming winter on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, Players race along tracks in a Grand Prix as one of four separate three-character squads. The winning side is determined by the total points earned across the entire group. It’s an interesting twist, but in the handful of races I played it didn’t feel like enough to warrant Sonic getting back into an off-brand blue Corvette.

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The course I got to play at E3 was a nondescript track circling a giant tree. No real environment hazards, crazy loops, or interesting obstacles. Just lots of soft turns perfect for pulling the left trigger, drifting through until I was practically perpendicular, then slingshotting myself forward with a nice boost. The previous Sonic All-Stars racing games were mostly an approximation of Mario Kart filled with generalized Sega fanservice. Team Sonic Racing is more narrow in its ambitions, focusing just on Sonic’s friends and frenemies while improving the game’s underlying mechanics. Based on my time with the demo, developer Sumo Digital has made something whose fundamentals so closely approximate Mario Kart’s it’s hard to even consider them competitors. In addition to being a Sonic spin-off, Team Sonic Racing might as well be an offshoot of Nintendo’s racing series as well at this point. In the pursuit of being a better racing game, it also feels like it’s fallen into normcore.

https://kinja.com/ajax/inset/iframe?id=youtube-video-765jJE7HjUA&start=0

What surrounds those fundamentals is far from flashy and, based on the demo at least, pretty underwhelming. Team Sonic Racing has 15 characters, six of which were playable for me: Sonic, Shadow, Tails, Knuckles, Rouge, and Omega. Each had different stats: acceleration, speed, defense, handling, etc. But while hedgehogs Sonic and Shadow are supposedly the fastest, and characters like Knuckles and Omega prioritize defense, the differences didn’t feel pronounced enough in practice. Each stat goes from one to 10, but most characters’ numbers in each category hovered around the midway point, never going more than two points beyond or below it.

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The finished game might allow a much greater amount of customization and diversity, but what I played all felt very similar, whether I was barreling down a dirt path in Rouge’s bubblegum pink car or Knuckle’s red tank-like dune buggy.

In addition to determining who wins, the team racing dynamic also affects the moment-to-moment action by giving certain people boosts, letting players on the same team share items, and building up an ultimate meter that, when deployed, gives the entire team a speed boost and invincibility. The catch is that these interactions require you to be around other drivers, which you aren’t always. Shooting someone with a Crimson Wisp or driving super close to a teammate to give both of us a boost is only possible when you’re climbing the ranks or knocked back down to the back of the pack. But on single-player, at least, you’ll likely be doing your best to stay in first place, and as a result your AI friends will be left to fend for themselves, making the team driving aspect feel kind of moot. I won every race but one, and even then my middling finish was enough to get us close to a tie on overall points. Maybe the demo just wanted me to feel empowered, or maybe Team Sonic Racing is just going to be kind of a snooze on the standard difficulty.

The range of items, called “Wisps,” was also pretty disappointing. Some Wisps are still just the equivalent of Mario Kart’s shells while others yield mushroom-type speed boosts or act like exploding Bob-Ombs. It all makes for a pretty bleak buffet amidst the otherwise good handling of the vehicles and drifting mechanic overall.

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The character lineup also feels shallow. The last game, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, went beyond Sonic to offer Sega characters like NiGHTS from NiGHTS into Dreams and Golden Axe’s Gilius Thunderhead. Team Sonic Racing feels like it needs some much deeper cuts than a roster of 15 headlined by the blue hedgehog, Tails, and Knuckles can offer. I need Jet the Hawk and Wave the Swallow or at the very least the purple-striped feline Big the Cat. Some of these characters could very well be in the final game, but the demo overall felt way too safe and underwhelming without more of these nods to the Sonic universe’s freakshow past. 

Vía https://kotaku.com/team-sonic-racing-could-have-been-a-lot-weirder-1826847234 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

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The World Cup Is Here, And You Can Play It All In FIFA 18

THE WORLD CUP IS HERE AND I GOT THE FEVER BABY. IT’S A MONTH OF FOOTBALL WITH 64 MATCHES AND WHAT EVEN ARE VIDEO GAMES WHO CARES.

Hi. I’m Luke Plunkett, Senior Editor at Kotaku.com, and that’s pretty much me this entire month, at least any time I’m away from the keyboard. In previous World Cup years, to satisfy that kind of thirst, I’d have spent any time not involved watching real games by playing digital ones. From blessed 1998 through to 2014, that meant buying whatever game Electronic Arts had released to cash in on the tournament, often just a hastily re-skinned version of that year’s FIFA with an extra helping of official World Cup branding.

That might be fine for some genres of game, but what always stung about it with football was that anyone buying a World Cup game had probably already bought the latest FIFA eight months earlier, and were thus in essence being asked to buy much of the same experience (sans the licensing) twice in one year

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In 2018, though, EA isn’t bothering. Taking a cue from rivals PES and their digital version of Euro 2016, there is no standalone World Cup game this time around. Instead, there’s just a free update for FIFA 18 called 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

It launches from the main menu of FIFA 18, just like any other tournament, and once inside it you’re given a few options like playing friendlies or online matches. The meat of the update, though, is a recreation of the 2018 World Cup, which includes the tournament’s stadiums, each team’s correct and licensed kits and, perhaps most importantly, the same visual language (logos, score boxes, etc) that you’ll be seeing on TV watching the real thing.

Compared to previous World Cup games, it’s pretty good! It’s a little thin in places—pre-game national anthem routines aren’t as detailed, and there aren’t many tournament-specific upgrades in the commentary—but it still does what it’s asked, namely take the already fine FIFA 18 and dress it up convincingly in the flavour of the month.

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Not that everything is authentic; there’s the option to create a fictional tournament and edit the list of qualified nations, which means despondent American, Italian and Dutch fans can pretend, if just for a few fleeting minutes at a time, that they’re part of the big dance and actually have a shot at winning. Or even just taking part.

On the field, it’s pretty much FIFA 18, but there’s one new addition that I’ve been dying to see implemented for years. It’s a “suggested substitution” icon that pops up once a player is injured or tired, showing both their stats and the identity of an automatically-selected replacement. This comes up during gameplay, and you can make the selection happen using the left trigger without interrupting the action or returning to a menu screen.

It sounds minor, and I guess in the grand scheme of things it is, but it’s something I’ve always struggled with during games (by simply forgetting to make subs), and in a tournament where matches are played only a few days after each other, it really helped manage the stamina of my best players.

How much you enjoy the actual update will depend entirely on how much you enjoyed FIFA 18, since it’s practically the same thing. I like FIFA but don’t love it; I find its ball physics a bit weird and its player animations floaty, and vastly prefer how rival PES performs on the pitch.

But PES doesn’t have the World Cup license, FIFA does, and it’s fine. And while World Cup 2018 isn’t as exhaustive as previous cash-ins have been in terms of added flair and detail, those were pricey standalone games that were quite literally looking to cash in. To get an experience that comes damn close to that, only as a free update to a game you probably already own, is one of the steals of the year.

Vía https://kotaku.com/the-world-cup-is-here-and-you-can-play-it-all-in-fifa-1826817606 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

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Read These Legendary Reddit Comment Threads

“Jesus, Grandpa! What did you read me this thing for?”

“Reddit, what is a legendary comment thread that everyone should read?” With this question, redditor myawesomeself opened the floor for the development of a Canon of Great Comment Threads. Some happened on Reddit, some on blogs, some on the Bodybuilding Forum. Here the top picks from this grand convocation.

Full Body Workout Every Other Day?

This is an argument about how many days are in a week.

Hey, you know what, it is bullshit that weeks are an odd number of days, and therefore doing something “every other day” means you’re doing it different days each week.

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Also it is very hard to realize when to walk away from an argument on the internet, or when you have fucked up so hard that ten years later, you will be responsible for the most famously stupid forum thread on the internet.

It would take more time to read the thread than to watch this 18-minute video about it, made by sports writer and 17776 creator Jon Bois:

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The Predictable Threads Are Driving Me Insane

If you’re not familiar with Reddit in general, skip this. But if you are—especially if you’re familiar with Reddit’s love for self-referential comments—this one’s a treat. Watch the whole GIF in the top post, and watch the GIFs in the comments too.

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There’s a gimmick, which I won’t spoil, but which you’ll notice after reading a few of the comments. And then you’ll be amazed at this towering creative achievement. This is the Dark Side of the Moon of comment threads, a conceptual masterpiece in a modern medium.

This thread isn’t that atypical for r/HighQualityGifs, which is always full of GIFs and threads about Reddit itself, which make fun of Reddit’s foibles in a pretty light and self-effacing tone.

How did you take that picture?

Redditor Saend takes a picture of his wrist tattoos, and adds “Please don’t ask me how I managed to take this picture.” Someone asks. Saend shows them in a new picture. Repeat. Repeat. By the end, Saend is surrounded by cameras and mirrors, and everyone is impressed.

Landlord stopped by and is acting loopy. Halp!

In this thread from the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club (!), user Fubar’D reports that their new landlord showed up drunk and asked to sleep and shower in their home. Things got complicated from there.

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Fubar’D posts live updates about the incident and its aftermath, including calls to the realtor and landlord. The thread ran for three years, but is now only partly recoverable from the Wayback Machine. In the “legendary threads” thread, redditor Peeping_Kyle helpfully condenses the poster’s answers to various people’s questions and comments. And redditor think_with_portals finds a tragic epilogue.

TIFU by reading my wife’s text messages. She’s cheating on me (aka Jenny the Cheating Wife)

There’s a whole subreddit, r/TIFU, for stories about making a huge mistake. And the most famous is the story of Jenny the Cheating Wife. User MyLifeSuxNow discovered that his wife of eight years was cheating on him, and that his sister-in-law might know. He gave Reddit lots of juicy details about his wife’s sexts and his own sexual performance. Then he hired a divorce lawyer and a private detective and set up a long sting to catch Jenny. And he kept updating Reddit for about a week.

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This one’s a bit of a project. The original poster, MyLifeSuxNow, deleted their threads and their account. There was a whole thread of drama and updates about this deletion. The link above is a set of screencaps of the original posts, created on a dedicated subreddit called r/MyLifeSuxNow, which is full of more drama. Apparently the guy tried to license out his life story, and either got into trouble with the subreddit mods, or got other people in trouble with the mods? I really don’t have time to untangle this, and neither do you, but don’t let that stop you. Be sure to spend an hour or two figuring out whether this guy’s entire story is made up.

TIFU by throwing my steak out a window

Man and wife go to wife’s boss’s house for dinner. The steak is underdone. Man deals with this in the silliest way. Man pays for his mistake.

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This Seinfeldian, no-one-gets-hurt fuckup story is fun enough on its own, but it’s also followed by comments full of ways this guy could have saved face. The guy keeps replying that, yep, these all would have been smarter solutions than what he chose! What a champ.

But the real joy is that years later, the wife posted her side of the story. And she tells it well. This is our generation’s Rashomon.

The Art War of ShittyWatercolour and AWildSketchAppeared

Under a video of some annoying Viner pushing his sister into a pool, two beloved Reddit artists trade illustrations in their signature styles. Each picture is a one-up of the one that came before it, like a nerdy artist rap battle. Someone even “kept score” with a vote count.

Honorable Mentions

Vía https://lifehacker.com/read-these-legendary-reddit-comment-threads-1826834461 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

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Earther Welp, We Might Get Another El Niño This Fall | The A.V.

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Call of Duty Fans In Uproar Over Black Ops 4’s Season Pass

Activision is changing the way that DLC will work for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and fans are not thrilled.

On June 11, Activision announced that Black Ops 4's DLC would be delivered via what it calls the “Black Ops Pass.” While the full details haven’t been revealed, the paid DLC pass will still offer the 12 multiplayer maps and 4 Zombies maps normally included in Call of Duty’s past Season Passes, plus four exclusive character skins for the new “Blackout” battle royale mode and a bonus Zombies map.

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The biggest change for the new DLC pass will be how the content is delivered. Instead of the content being broken up into four separate map packs, players can expect DLC to be distributed throughout the year. Releasing DLC on a more regular cadence is probably a good idea, keeping Black Ops 4 competitive with constantly-updated competitors like Fortnite. But it’s the rest of it that has players rankled.

Paid DLC maps split the playerbase in a terrible way that makes the optional content a disservice to everyone who plays. Players who shell out the money for the extra maps often can’t find the DLC maps in normal game mode rotation, or their party vibes are killed because their friends don’t have the content to join them.

I’m sure every map pack owner has been in the awkward situation of being in a full party of friends, and there is always that one friend who doesn’t have the DLC maps. Do you kick them from the party to play the DLC or continue to play the standard maps together? I previously reported this was a huge problem with Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, but this is a common issue with games that offer paid map packs.

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Rather than fix this issue with Black Ops 4, it seems like Activision is just going to add a further sour taste to the DLC dilemma by not making the Black Ops Pass available as a standalone purchase or pre-order at this time. In the past, players were able to buy the Call of Duty Season Pass for $49.99 or individual map packs for $14.99 each.

The Activision Support page has listed the Black Ops Pass as being available as a standalone purchase at a later date, meaning there’s no way of knowing when the DLC can be purchased separately. This all-or-nothing approach forces those not boycotting Black Ops 4 to spend at least $99.99 on special edition bundles in order to guarantee they’ll have the DLC when it becomes available, adding another $40 to the game’s sticker price.

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Compounding the problem is the fact that Activision is moving in a different direction than the rest of the industry. Fortnite’s model of free content with the option to pay for skins and accessories has proven to be such a success that some big publishers are finally starting to get on board with the concept. Electronic Arts said this week that the upcoming Battlefield V will ditch the paid Premium Pass model to offer free DLC for everyone, and give players the option to buy cosmetics. Ubisoft also made an E3 announcement that The Division 2 will have completely free DLC, ditching the paid pass from the first game.

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The Call of Duty subreddit has become a hotspot to vent and threaten to cancel pre-orders. One recent post by Reddit user Geoffk123 has already seen over 2100 upvotes and hundreds of comments discussing the community’s disdain for the Black Ops Pass. In fact, almost all of the recent posts are venting on the topic. Ivan_JF gained upvotes by saying, “This is ridiculous. As if your games’ player count isn’t dropping enough you seriously forgot to follow the absolute biggest reason Fortnite and PUBG are doing so well. FREE CONTENT THAT KEEPS THE COMMUNITY ENGAGED.”

Another user asks perhaps the biggest question, to which we can’t know the answer until after Black Ops 4 is released on October 12: “Can a [battle royale] mode survive behind such a big paywall?”

When reached for comment by Kotaku on Thursday, an Activision representative referred us to its FAQ page on the subject.

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Fallout 76, Doom Eternal, And Everything Else At Bethesda’s E3 Booth

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Bethesda Softworks is named after the city in Maryland. Tim Rogers has been to that city, so it only makes sense that we sent him to the Bethesda booth at E3 2018. There was demons, carnival games, and a lot of VR.

You’re probably not at E3 but fret not. Tim checked out everything that Bethesda was rocking on the show floor. Last year, there were free milkshakes for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Will they return? Will anyone stop Tim from touching Vault Boy? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Vía https://kotaku.com/fallout-76-doom-eternal-and-everything-else-at-bethes-1826845612 ʕ ᴖᴥᴖʔ Subscribe to me here on Youtube!

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This Wheel Of Fortune Twitter account has all the best wrong answers

If you’re the type of person who watches game shows and screams out the answers as soon as you think you know them—and really, who isn’t?—then have we got a Twitter account for you. Wheel Of Fortune Answers (@wofanswers) is a relatively new parody account that fills in the blanks on Wheel Of Fortune puzzles with such confidence you almost don’t notice that they’re all 100 percent wrong.

It’s almost embarrassing the contestants didn’t get this one yet:

And who doesn’t remember this classic hymn?

These three are obviously not Tracy Chapman fans:

Whoever is behind the account clearly has no concern for the rules of Wheel Of Fortune, considering almost all of their guesses contain letters that are already on the board. But it’s way more fun to imagine Vanna White revealing that the answer of a common phrase is “MAKING SNACK HARD AT IT” or the well-known location is “AN BONER.” Also, be aware, if you want to be one of those smart alecks who points out @wofanswers error, you will be shut down swiftly and mercilessly.

[via The Daily Dot]

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

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