PS2J 291 News – Boring School Stuff Folder

Free Games

  • Epic Games

    • GoNNER

      • 2016
      • A roguelike game often described as a shooter version of Spelunky- a procedurally generated 2D platformer that has you journeying in deep and dark places for a trinket to cheer up a giant landbound whale named Sally
    • Offworld Trading Company

      • 2016
      • A sci-fi RTS from the publishers of Sins of a Solar Empire that has you waging economic warfare on Mars, using anything from corporate takeovers to sabotage
  • Twitch

    • Bomber Crew

      • 2017
      • Strategic simulation game that has you picking the right crew to keep your Avro Lancaster bomber in tip top shape and complete your World War II era missions
    • Whispers of a Machine

      • 2019
      • A point and click sci-fi nordic noir that tells the story of a cybernetically augmented detective investigating a string of murders in a post-AI world
    • Mugsters

      • 2018
      • A physics-based sandbox puzzle game that has you outrunning, outmanoeuvring, and outsmarting the aliens that have taken over Earth and enslaved humanity
    • Furi

      • 2016
      • A twin-stick hack and slash shoot ’em up bullet hell consisting entirely of boss fights. The jailer is the key, kill him and you’ll be free.
    • Epistory – Typing Chronicles

      • 2016
      • An atmospheric action-adventure typing game following a girl riding a giant fox fighting insectile corruption in an origami world

With the COVID-19 coronavirus concerns in full swing, Google has cancelled their annual I/O developer conference and many are speculating that Apple may at the very least modify their own WWDC this spring

  • Other events like this year’s Game Developer’s Conference and Mobile World Congress events were previously postponed or cancelled due to concerns about the virus
  • With supply chains in China certainly being affected, it might just make sense to delay the product announcements as well and keep the developer portions of the presentations limited to online sessions
    • It’s gotten to the point where Apple Stores have been warned that replacement devices will be facing supply constraints for the next 2-4 weeks, so be warned if your phone needs a repair you might be caught with a loaner device in the meantime
  • Apple’s even sent care packages, called CareKits, to staff they have currently stranded overseas, that include things like coffee, tea, cookies, facemasks, and an iPad
  • If you’re interested in helping fight COVID-19, you can donate your unused computer resources by downloading the Folding@home client. That will add your computer to a pool that lets researchers farm out processing tasks to see how the virus attaches itself to human lungs, which they need to understand if they’re going to stop it
    • Similar efforts have contributed to research on diseases like cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s
    • Check out the full details at foldingathome.org
  • There’s also a similar piece of software available called Foldit, but instead of just using your extra processing power it’s actually a puzzle game that has you changing a protein’s shape to block how the virus infects people. According to PCGamer, Foldit helped researchers decode the AIDS virus back in 2011
    • If you want to take a crack at it, with no medical degree required, you can go to fold.it and give it a go

What do US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the FBI, Best Buy, Walmart, the RCMP, and a sovereign wealth fund in the United Arab Emirates have in common? Well according to Buzzfeed News they, along with thousands of other organizations, have been using a controversial facial recognition startup that’s facing legal threats and violating App Store regulations left and right

  • Clearview AI is apparently on a quest to create a global biometric identification system by scraping social media and the internet at large, and it’s for sale to anyone who wants it
    • They have paid contracts with organizations like ICE, US Attorney’s offices, and Macy’s, and have users at the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, Interpol, and the NBA
  • The New York based startup has claimed it’s tech is meant as a tool for North American law enforcement, but it’s been used by more than 2,200 government agencies and companies across 27 countries
    • So we have this product featuring a treasure trove of identifying information on a ton of people, accessible to anyone that can pay, oh and also they’ve been breached at least once so presumably a few people that haven’t paid as well
  • The hardest part here is that the US just doesn’t have any laws or regulatory framework for this kind of biometric tracking- there’s literally no accountability for their ability to gather up this information and sell it, leading to government agencies running literally thousands searches and most likely acting on the information received
    • We could have ICE agents walking into a supermarket, scanning people, and immediately deporting them without due process or investigation
    • And this is all based on the tech of a company that can’t even keep their client list confidential
    • It’s one thing to have a database of internally gathered mugshots, or even shared between agencies, but when you outsource it to a third party whose interests are purely monetary and scrapes the internet at large for information it gets really scary
  • All in all there’s a complete lack of transparency here- Clearview is providing free trials to anyone who wants them, even officers in police departments that have explicitly banned the app, and provided its software to private and public institutions all over the world
  • This stuff is so shady that they didn’t even want their iOS app distributed through Apple’s App Store- they abused the developer program, similar to Facebook’s Research app that paid users to spy on their information early last year, so that users could sideload the app without it being reviewed by Apple
    • In a response to Buzzfeed’s inquiry Apple investigated and suspended their developer account, effectively preventing the app from running

Overwatch Competitive Play Hero Rotation

  • To make competetive Overwatch more dynamic, Blizzard has implemented a Hero Rotation
  • First banned characters are
    • Orisa
    • Hanzo
    • Mei
    • Baptiste

Cool looking game: Nocturne

  • For free on Steam, try Nocturne: Prelude
  • The game caught my eye with a bright colour pallette
    • Cool high quality pixel graphics
    • and rhythm based combat
  • Here is the copy thy have on their Steam page:
    • Rich Narrative
      • The digital afterlife survived humanity’s extinction.
    • Nocturne: Prelude is the first chapter of a story-driven RPG set within a digital afterlife. Millennia have passed since humanity’s extinction; but somehow you’ve only just arrived.
    • Your conscience was uploaded to a world where a sentient AI has taken control, twisted creatures roam the land, and a vast corruption spreads.
    • Rhythm Combat
    • Master an entirely skill based rhythm combat with fierce battles and unexpected challenges. With multiple difficulty options, Nocturne: Prelude is a game suitable for beginners and veterans of the rhythm genre.
    • Find equipment to unlock powerful combat buffs or special abilities. Defeat enemies to unlock them in Arcade mode, where you can challenge them again for highscores.
    • Classic RPG
    • Make friends, battle enemies, and traverse a beautiful world as it falls apart around you. The perfect balance of heart-pumping musical combat, magnificent worldbuilding and deep story.
    • Nocturne: Prelude was inspired by decades of traditional RPG’s that immerse you in fantasy worlds.
    • FEATURES
    • Meet a cast of unique characters who’ll challenge what it means to be alive.
    • Explore a vast and beautiful pixel art world.
    • Master an entirely skill based rhythm combat system.
    • Fierce battles with unexpected twists.
    • Challenge your highscores in Arcade mode.
    • Multiple difficulty modes suitable for beginners and veterans of the rhythm genre.
    • Original soundtrack composed with a mix of digital and live performances.
    • Befriend a giant orange fish.
  • Nocturne: Prelude is the first chapter of Nocturne, released for free. The main story contains about 1-2 hours of gameplay.

Tidbits

  • Final Fantasy VII Remake’s demo of officially available now, ahead of its April 10th release
    • I specify ‘officially’ available, because there was already a sizeable leak at the end of last year, with many getting their hands on the full playable demo at the time
  • Apple has agreed to pay up to $500M to settle the class action lawsuit over throttling the performance of older phones
    • The whole issue came about when iOS 11 hit, when it had an undocumented feature that managed the battery life of older phones to prevent unexpected shutdowns- benchmarks took a hit, but the devices stayed reliable
    • The problem was that they didn’t give any feedback or options for this feature until iOS 13 came out late last year, so while they’re not admitting any wrongdoing they’re still willing to pay each affected user $25 if the settlement is approved
      • As MrMcLargeHuge said in the arstechnica comments section, “They were correct from a technical standpoint, but wrong from a PR standpoint.”
  • The director of MI5, Britain’s Security Service has called on tech companies to find a way to allow spy agencies “exceptional access” to encrypted messages, and that he finds it “increasingly mystifying” that intelligence agencies aren’t able to easily read secret messages of suspects they’re monitoring
    • While he refers to cyberspace as an unregulated “Wild West” that is largely inaccessible to authorities, it kind of seems like they’ve gotten lazy with how easy it’s been to spy on users up to this point. Now that we’re putting locks on our messages they want a copy of the keys

 

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Huge development in medical tech this week

  • A group of researchers in Mexico have found a cure for the Human Papillomavirus infection, the primary cause of cervical cancer
  • Apparently it’s non-invasive, using a drug to photosensitize the infection and then light of specific wavelengths
  • The treatment, which has been 20 years in the making, is shown to cure 100% of HPV patients without cancer and has been successful in over half the cases when patients already have cervical cancer- even if they don’t have HPV

Activision Blizzard has laid off 800 employees after “weaker than anticipated retail demand” though they made $7.26B in 2018, a $100M increase over 2017 and the best in Activision history

  • Who knows what things will look like next year after their CFO Dennis Durkin announced that they aren’t releasing any titles beyond Diablo Mobile in 2019
  • The worst part is how this is exclusively affecting lower-level employees- all the high-paid executives continue to make money hand over fist
    • Compare this to when Nintendo was operating at a loss for months after the release of the WiiU and then-president Satoru Iwata cut his salary in half, along with other executives taking 20-30% pay cuts
    • Accountability needs to start at the top, and that is so rarely seen in large corporations nowadays

Apple is being sued this month because, in the class action filing, people claim 2FA takes too long

  • The suit complains that it takes too much time out of a users day, and says its abusive because it can’t be removed after it’s been on for two weeks
  • It goes on to say that the login process pops up randomly (it doesn’t), that it takes 2-5 minutes (more like 20 seconds), that it’s a violation of California’s Invasion of Privacy Act (how?)
  • It demands, among other things, “all funds, revenues, and benefits” that Apple has “unjustly received”, but doesn’t list exactly what those might be

Respawn’s new game is here, and it’s definitely not Titanfall 3

  • Called Apex Legends, it’s a class-based free-to-play battle royale on PC, XBone, and PS4 with some polarized reviews
    • Fans of the Battle Royale genre think it’s great, with a lot of quality of life improvements that make it more friendly to new players than competitors, while people who were waiting for Titanfall 3 miss core gameplay like wall-running, slide-hopping, and of course Titans
    • It even includes features that allow you to avoid the voice chat- characters are chosen via round-robin, your drop point is set by a random teammate, and you can ping pretty much anything to alert your team about it or suggest an alternate route with “smart comms” in-game dialogue
      • According to their twitter, they tested the game for a month with no mics and randomized names to refine how it feels
  • Many people are impressed with the representation shown, with a range of races, genders, and sexual preferences included among the 8 characters
    • If nothing else, they’ve definitely knocked the playable characters out of the park. The trailer looks great, with solid personalities, and you can even play a Marvin!
  • Though many were expecting news about Titanfall 3 when this was announced, and Respawn CEO Vince Zampella has tweeted that there will be more Titanfall later this year, developers have gone on record saying that Titanfall 3 is not in development
    • Apparently they’re focusing on Apex Legends and the upcoming Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
      • Maybe EA will let their studios finish a SW game this time?
  • Not to mention, EA is also releasing Anthem later this month. Time will tell if the games will cannibalize each other’s audiences
  • Either way it looks like a solid competitor in the Battle Royale arena, and if nothing else has sparked a ton of renewed interest in Titanfall 2

Nintendo Direct

  • Super Mario Maker 2 is coming to the Switch this June
    • This one really seems like a layup, in the usual Nintendo “It prints money!” style
    • It’ll be cool to see what fresh new hells people come up with, and with some art showing Luigi in a construction outfit maybe co-op is in our future?
  • BoxBoy and BoxGirl is coming April 26th
    • Followup to the acclaimed 3DS puzzle platform series BoxBoy, it brings co-op and a total of 270 levels to the Switch
  • Dragon Quest 11 S: Echoes of an Elusive Age — Definitive Edition hits this fall
    • Remaster of 2017’s PS4 and 3DS JRPG, it’s adding some new character-specific stories and a 16-bit-inspired graphics mode, alongside an optional fully orchestrated soundtrack that you can switch to on the fly
  • We’ll also see Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order on the Switch this summer
    • Team Ninja is bringing us the latest instalment of the ensemble action RPG series, featuring online and local play with up to four Switches
  • Yoshi’s Crafted World is getting a demo release today ahead of its March 29 release
  • We’re also getting a brand-new Fire Emblem on July 26th
    • Called Fire Emblem: Three Houses, it stars a customizable mercenary you can name and customize
    • It’ll also be the first Fire Emblem for over a decade that isn’t exclusive to handheld systems, technically
  • Square Enix is bringing a brand new action-RPG to the Switch this summer as well, called Oninaki
    • It has you traveling between the realms of life and death to save lost souls from turning into monsters
  • Deltarune: Chapter 1, the follow-up to Undertale, will be available for free on Feb 28th
  • Platinum Games is back at it again this August with a new title called Astral Chain, which looks like if Warframe and anime had a pretty badass lovechild
    • And of course it’s Platinum, so expect glorious over the top action fights
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is hitting the Switch this spring
    • This is a pretty crazy one I’ve had my eye on- originally released in 2017, it’s the story of a Celtic warrior with a severe mental illness who travels to Viking hell to rescue her lost lover
    • Apparently it was developed with a group of neural scientists to get a blend of psychological terror and an enlightening experience
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is getting a full 3D reimagining on the Switch this year
    • It looks like they’re using an entirely new toy-like art style, instead of repurposing the recent Zelda games for the 3DS
    • Apparently it’s one of the few Zelda games set outside of Hyrule, and actually has links to the Mario universe
    • It looks pretty cool, and if my Twitter is any indication people love it, so I might have to check it out
  • Final Fantasy 9 is out on Switch today, and 7 will be here on March 26th
    • Final Fantasy 10 and 10-2 are coming on April 16th, and later this year we’ll also see 12: The Zodiac Age
    • Considering this week was the 20th anniversary of FF8, I’m kind bummed it didn’t get a mention
  • Tetris Battle Royale is apparently a thing, and available today for free
    • Just like most other battle royale games, this is a competitive online multiplayer game pitting 99 people against eachother in a fight to be the last player standing
  • And Dragon Quest Builders 2 is coming to Switch and PS4 on July 12th
    • This one adds online multiplayer to the 2016 Builders formula, as well as larger structures, improved travel, and farming

Tidbits

  • Upcoming Amiibo Releases
  • Feb 15
    • King K Rool
    • Ice Climbers
    • Piranha Plant
  • April 4
    • Specter Knight
    • Plague Knight
    • King Knight
  • April 12
    • Young Link
    • Daisy
    • Ken
  • TBD 2019
    • Snake
    • Simon
    • Isabelle
    • PKMN Trainer
    • Squirtle
    • Ivysaur
  • Sprint is officially suing AT&T over their deceptive 5G E rebranding of existing 4G cell networks
    • Sprint says it’s false advertising, and AT&T says that their rivals are just frustrated and they “have now occupied beachfront real estate in [their] competitors’ heads”
  • The sixth Terminator movie is now officially called Terminator: Dark Fate
    • Apparently it’ll be a partial reboot, ignoring pretty much everything after T2: Judgement Day, calling it a bad dream or an alternate timeline
  • Apple has released updates for iOS and macOS addressing the FaceTime spy bug, and group FaceTime will remain disabled for the previous versions

Recommend Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios

  • Billed as a series that marries the magical realism and folklore of Sandman with the western brutality of Preacher
  • It’s a fantastic story with lush, beautiful visuals
  • Might be a little challenging to follow if you try to rush through, but it’s 100% worth taking your time and savouring every last panel

Bad Description of Movies and Games

With the aid of narcotics, a man viciously assaults anyone in his way to make it to his abducted girlfriend.

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