PS2J 312 News – Domestic Spying Only

Free Games

  • Twitch

    • NeuroVoider

      • 2016
      • Twin-stick shooter RPG set in a futuristic world about brains shooting around evil robots with nuclear rocket launchers, where you can customize your brain with the smoking remains of your victims
    • Dead in Vinland

      • 2018
      • Survival management game mixed with RPG and adventure elements, about a viking family trying to survive after being exiled on a mysterious island
    • Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn

      • 2018
      • Fighting game featuring Shaquille O’Neal that has you fighting your way around the world, beating outlandish celebrity bosses, and listening to a new rap track from Shaq himself
    • WARSAW

      • 2019
      • Turn-based historical role playing game where you need to use everything at your disposal to help a team of accidental heroes survive on the streets of Warsaw in 1944
    • Treachery in Beatdown City

      • 2020
      • Retro-style beat ’em up with RPG tactics and wrestling mechanics that lets you build a custom character and go save the president
    • Blazing Chrome

      • 2019
      • Side-scrolling action run and gun that has you freeing human kind from a machine-ruled world with fast-paced single player or co-op gameplay
    • Chroma Squad

      • 2015
      • Turn based tactical RPG about five stunt actors who decide to quit their jobs and start their own Power Rangers inspired TV show, where you customize your studio, craft your giant cardboard mechas, and combine your heroes’ abilities with teamwork maneuvers
    • Baseball Stars 2

      • 1992
      • Two player sports arcade game for the Neo-Geo that also saw a home release on the NES, it was lauded as having unparalleled gameplay and “the best graphics, sound, and gameplay this side of ESPN”
    • Shock Troopers 2nd Squad

      • 1998
      • Top-down military themed action shooter arcade game on the Neo-Geo that actually has no connection to the first Shock Troopers game, you choose from four mercenaries with different abilities to take down a terrorist organization
    • Ironclad

      • 1996
      • Side-scrolling shoot ’em up that has you manoeuvring a warship and teaming up with the mighty Iron Clad in order to fight the Iron Mask Republic and save the Kingdom of Chop
    • King of the Monsters

      • 1990
      • Isometric fighting game that pits pits kaiju against eachother and humanity to discover who is the strongest Super Monster of all
    • Sengoku 3

      • 2001
      • Side-scrolling beat ’em up that has you adventuring around the world to destroy evil spirits awoken by the red moon, with armed and unarmed combos and massive Ninja Art attacks
    • Metal Slug 2

      • 1998
      • Iconic run and gun action shooting game where you fight your way through a hail of bullets to thwart General Morden’s evil ambitions and uncover the secret of his new coup
    • SNK 40th Anniversary Collection

      • Video game compilation consisting of 24 different arcade and console games published by SNK between 1979 and 1990, from Ozma Wars to Crystalis
  • Epic Games

    • Wilmot’s Warehouse

      • 2019
      • Top-down puzzle game about keeping a warehouse running in tip-top shape. You’ll need to flex your organizational muscles in arranging and grouping items so you can retrieve requests as quickly as possible
    • 3 out of 10, Ep 1: Welcome To Shovelworks

      • 2020
      • Billed as the world’s first playable sitcom, it’s a fully animated and voiced free episodic series based in the world’s worst game studio, with narratively driven mini games taking you behind the scenes in a satirical look at game development

Health Canada has released a national COVID-19 contact tracing app, and it actually uses the proper exposure notification API

  • COVID Alert is available on iOS and Android, and takes full advantage of the Apple/Google Exposure Notification API
    • One thing to note here is that because the API is only available in iOS 13, you’ll need an iPhone from the last five years or so (6s or newer)
    • That lets your phone silently record randomized identifiers for anyone that comes within range of you for 15 minutes or more
    • Then, if someone tests positive for COVID-19, they just have to enter a code given to them by health care workers and it will upload a list of everyone that was in range in the last 14 days
    • At set intervals your phone will check the uploaded lists and, if your identifier was included in one, let you know that you may have been exposed
    • No personal information is asked for or collected by the app- you’ll see a prompt asking to enable COVID-19 Exposure Logging and Notifications, and then another asking to enable notifications for the app. Other than that it just asks what province you live in
  • A lot of other apps, even some local ones like ABTraceTogether, have attempted something similar, but because they wanted to use their own systems they hit walls like your iPhone screen needing to be on and unlocked at all times
    • These apps are not only battery hogs, but also less secure as they could be accessing other identifying information while they run
  • There is a caveat here in that reporting is currently limited to a pilot program running in Ontario, but you can still download and run the app anywhere in Canada so that your contact tracing records are kept up to date. Then even on day one of reporting in your province you’ll be able to see if you came into contact with someone days or weeks ago
  • Estimates show that these apps become really effective after they reach 60% of an area’s population, and there’s literally no downside to running it, so I’d heartily recommend everyone take a moment and get that going on your smartphone

Xbox Game Streaming is going full Stadia on September 15th, but they might actually do it right

  • Based on Project xCloud, the new tech will allow Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers to play more than 100 games from the cloud on their Android devices
  • You’ll be able to play things like Minecraft Dungeons, Destiny 2, Gears 5, and Yakuza Kiwami 2, and they’ve announced they’ll be providing day-one access to new titles from Xbox Game Studios
  • Mobile users will have full access to the console experience, including friends lists, achievements, and saved game progress
  • And one of the best parts is that this isn’t limited to the States- September 15th will see the launch across 22 countries across North America and Europe
  • Unfortunately this is Android exclusive- Microsoft was running tests with iOS devices, but Apple’s App Store policies smacked the whole idea down
    • An Apple spokesperson told Business Insider that streaming services like these can’t be on the App Store because the company can’t review every single game included in the apps
    • They say that because games are interactive, unlike movies and music, they must be reviewed before being allowed to reach iPhone and iPad users
    • I think if that’s their concern they should just put the highest age-rating on the app and let it loose. There are a lot of interactive things on iPhones, like web browsers, where it’s just not feasible to review every single interaction

Samsung introduced a bunch of new tech with their Unpacked digital event this week

  • They introduced a fancy new Galaxy Z Fold 2 with a faster processor and redesigned hinge
    • The gap between the screens has been shrunk and the device is thinner than the first Fold, but the hinge also boasts improved dust elimination. We’ll see more details on September 1st when preorders open
  • The Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra are the next flagships of the Galaxy line with 5G support
    • They’ve improved the S Pen and, for the Ultra model, set up a 120Hz screen for less latency when gaming
    • They’ve also partnered with Microsoft for three free months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate with Xbox Game Streaming, as well as a free controller to play with
  • New tablets are coming in the form of the Tab S7 and S7+, and are the first tablets that support 5G in the US (for what it’s worth)
    • Apparently they’ll have a lot of Microsoft integrations, including the ability to use it as a second screen with your Windows computer
  • Taking a note from Apple’s iPhone X, Samsung skipped right from the Galaxy Watch to the Galaxy Watch3, with a smaller, thinner, and lighter body that still houses a larger screen
    • The new model has a cool feature that can measure your blood oxygen levels, too, which is pretty handy when we have a lung-attacking pandemic on our hands
    • Recent rumours are saying that the next Apple watch will also include this feature
  • Galaxy Buds Live are Samsung’s latest wirefree earbuds, now with active noise cancelling
  • And they’ve announced the followup to their original folding smartphone, the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
    • This one goes back to the book-style body of the Fold, but now when it’s closed you get a full 6.2” screen instead of the giant bezels and 4.6” screen of the original
    • They’ve also switched the display from using plastic to “ultra thin glass”, to improve strength and scratch-resistance, and improved the hinge to be not only stronger but also offer more varied angles
      • It still has a slight gap in the hinge, but Samsung says they’ve added bristles to keep dirt out

It’s been a weird week when it comes to TikTok

  • With such a popular app being owned by a Chinese company, many are concerned about the data that so many are willingly uploading to the service (along with whatever it may be grabbing behind our backs) ending up in the hands of a foreign government
    • Some are also concerned about how it could pave the road for some low-grade propoganda, given how the way videos are promoted to users is a complete mystery
  • Last Friday Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that he would be banning the Chinese social media service from the United states, though given his track record who knows what he actually meant
    • He said he’d be signing the document the next day, but whether that was supposed to be an executive order or something else it never materialized
  • Then two days later Microsoft confirmed its intent to acquire TikTok in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealond, saying they got a window from the president to have a deal in place by September 15th but is still threatening a ban if they can’t hash it out
  • On the political side, China’s communist party tabloid Global Times called a forced sale the “hunting and looting” of TikTok, and with Trump saying the US Government should get a “substantial portion” of the sale for “making it possible for this deal to happen”, you can start to wonder if they may be on to something

This Week In Gaming History:

August 1 – 1991 – F-Zero – SNES

  • The series is known for its high-speed racing, characters and settings, difficult gameplay, and original music, as well as for pushing technological limits to be one of the fastest racing games.
  • The original title inspired the creation of games such as Daytona USA and the Wipeout series.
  • And selfishly, I love this game for putting Captain Falcon into Smash bros, so he could be cloned to be my main Ganondorf.

August 2 – 1992 – Mortal Kombat – Arcades

  • Mortal Kombat was considered as one of the greatest video games of all time by critics and audiences in 21st century and became a best-selling game and remains one of the most popular fighting games in the genre’s history, spawning numerous sequels and spin-offs over the following years and decades, beginning with Mortal Kombat II in 1993, and together with the first sequel was the subject of a successful film adaptation in 1995.
  • However, it also sparked much controversy for its depiction of extreme violence and gore using realistic digitized graphics, and, along with the home release of Night Trap, prompted the formation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a U.S. government-backed organization that set descriptor ratings for video games.

August 3 – 2008 – The Angry Video Game Nerd in Pixel Land Blast – PC

  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd in Pixel Land Blast, you play the Angry Video Game Nerd from the web video series.
    • You are flying along wielding your NES Zapper, shooting NES cartridges that have been features on the Angry Video Game Nerd videos.
    • Do not touch a cartridge or get hit with a shot as this drains your life meter. If your life meter drops to zero, you lose a life. Hitting a spiked wall instantly loses you a life.
    • If you see a couple bottles of Rolling Rock beer, these will restore some of your life meter.
    • A six-pack is an extra life.
    • You can press a second fire button to call forth Shit Pickle, who will clear all enemies from the screen.
    • After a couple of levels, your progress will be saved so you don’t need to restart from the beginning, if you don’t want to.

August 4 – 2013 – Pikmin 3 – WiiU

  • The game centers around controlling three new characters: Alph, Brittany, and Charlie. They travel to PNF-404 (the planet featured in the first two games) to save their home planet Koppai from famine by harvesting seeds from the planet’s fruit. Upon reaching the planet, they discover the Pikmin, a servile species that’s both plant and animal, which they use to collect the fruit and battle the planet’s many fierce creatures.
  • Pikmin are super cute, and I love Pikmin 2, but the loss of control in this was devastating to my enjoyment of the game.
    • You used to be able to control Pikmin with the right analog stick, but in this game it is a camera control, and the Pikmin mindlessly follow you to me devoured, stomped or somehow caught by anything that follows you.

August 5 – 2000 – Hot Chix ‘n’ Gear Stix – PC

  • Caught my eye with the ridiculous title
  • Behind the wheels of one of the 6 mid-70s American muscle cars your only aim is to show yourself as the hottest chix around in this arcade-style racing game.
  • Tried to get more info off the developers website, but their website looks like its no longer hosted

August 6 – 2001 – Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburo – PS2

  • An action game based directly on the Mobile Suit Gundam films and series. The game begins at the start of the series and ends at the ending of the second film.
  • The game plays in an action game format with a standard third-person view. It features newly hand animated cutscenes that depict events from the original television series as well as a CGI opening depicting a space battle from the One Year War and then a scene of the Gundam destroying several Zaku IIs before being attacked by Char Aznable.
  • A sequel, Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters in Space, was released in 2003.
    • Which has hard to learn controls that reflect space combat well.
  • The English dub of the video game features the voices of the actors who were cast for the Mobile Suit Gundam television series as with most games subsequent to the series’ dubbing, rather than the English cast of the films.

August 7 – 2018 – Dead Cells – XBox One/PS4

  • Dead Cells is a roguelike action platformer video game inspired by Metroidvania-style games
  • Absolutely love the art style, I have no idea how to play the game. And feel like I’m bad at it.

Tidbits

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons has officially sold more than double what New Leaf did, beating out Breath of the Wild and Super Smash Bros Ultimate to reach the number 2 spot for Switch game sales just under Mario Kart 8
  • Bethesda has announced that Doom Eternal and The Elder Scrolls Online will both be free on the PS5 or Xbox Series X for players that have them on PS4 or Xbone, respectively
  • A new brushing scam saw people in dozens of US states receive mystery seeds in the mail that they didn’t order
    • Governments are urging people not to plant them or throw them out, as they could introduce invasive species, but to contact your state plant regulatory official instead
    • Brushing scams, I learned this week, are a e-commerce trick where scammers will get ahold of people’s names and addresses and then send them some random, low-value item.
      • The idea is that once there’s a record of some kind of shipment, they can use that to legitimize fake positive product reviews that they attach your name to
  • Three teenagers were arrested this week for last month’s massive Twitter hack that had prominent users like Bill Gates and Elon Musk promoting a Bitcoin scam that earned over $100K
    • According to federal agents, they’d used their own driver’s licenses to open Bitcoin wallets that received some of the loot
    • The suspected leader is being charged with more than 30 felonies, including communications fraud and identity theft, but the hack could have been a lot worse if the goal had been to affect global policy rather than make a quick buck

 

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Free games

  • Microsoft

    • Gears of War 4

      • 2016
      • Third person sci-fi shooter where you can team up and take on the new threat in split screen co-op with some crazy weapons (explosive drills, chainsaw guns) that’s the first in the series not developed by Epic Games
    • Torchlight

      • 2009
      • A Diablo-esque action hack-and-slash RPG dungeon crawl that has you completing quests and exploring dungeons with your pet, which starts as either a wolf dog, a lynx, or a ferret, but can be transformed into other animals by feeding it
    • Forza Motorsport 6

      • 2015
      • Realistic racing sim that introduced new gameplay elements like rain and night racing, along with a new story mode called “Stories of Motorsport”
    • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

      • 2010
      • Third person action RPG that has you questing to resurrect your dead wife with your trusty retractable chain whip
  • Sony

    • Wipeout Omega Collection

      • 2017
      • Racing game where you pilot anti-gravity ships around futuristic racetracks
      • Includes high-def remasters of Wipeout 2048, Wipeout HD, and the HD Fury expansion. It’s also compatible with PSVR
    • Sniper Elite 4

      • 2017
      • Tactical stealth shooter game that has you exploring levels for the perfect vantage point to snipe your enemies
  • Epic

    • Alan Wake

      • 2012
      • Action-adventure game following best-selling thriller novelist Alan Wake as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance while experiencing events from the plot of his latest novel, which he can’t remember writing, coming to life
    • For Honor Standard Edition

      • 2017
      • Ubisoft’s pseudo-historical strategy fighting game, where knights, vikings, samurai, and more recently the Chinese Wu Lin faction, all face off online and fight for supremacy
  • Twitch

    • Pumped BMX Pro

      • 2019
      • The latest installment in the high adrenaline fast-paced arcade BMX physics-based trickathon
    • Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

      • 2017
      • Platform action-adventure remake of the 1989 Master System title of the same name, with gameplay reverse engineered from the original Master System code and brand new graphics and music
    • Mable & The Wood

      • 2019 from the Kickstarter launched in 2016
      • You play as Mable, a shape-shifting girl who can take the form of the creatures that she kills.
      • The strange cult that resurrected you speak of an ancient prophecy that says you will hunt down the great beasts, take their shape, and use their powers to save this dying world.
      • But what if they’re wrong? The prophecy is old, and words lose their meaning with time…
    • Automachef

      • 2019
      • A resource management puzzler where you design kitchens and program machinery for a robotic fast food tycoon who believes he’s human
 

A former Amazon employee managed to hack Capital One’s network last week, stealing sensitive data for about 106M people

  • Capital One confirmed the intrustion, saying it hit about 100M people in the US and 6M in Canada
  • Info taken included names, incomes, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, and emails.
    • In the US, social security numbers for 140T people were also taken, as well as about 80T bank account numbers
    • For Canadians, social insurance numbers for about 1M people were obtained
    • No credit card numbers or login credentials were compromised
  • Apparently the data came from credit card applications filed from 2005 until early 2019
  • On the plus side bank officials have stated that it’s unlikely the stolen data was used or widely disseminated, but they’re clearly in damage control mode so take that with a grain of salt
 

A report from The Guardian last week talked about Siri privacy concerns from an Apple contractor

  • According to this employee, conractors working on Siri regularly hear confidential medical info, drug deals, intimate moments, and other private information when reviewing audio from accidental Siri activations
    • The whistelblower went on to say that the recordings are accompanied by user data showing location, contact info, and app data
  • In response, Apple released a statement saying that a small number of anonymized Siri requests are analyzed to improve the service, accounting for less than 1% of all activations
    • The audio is linked to a randomized identifier not associated with any of your personal info
      • According to Apple’s security white paper, user voice data is saved for a six month period using that random id
      • After that, a second copy may be saved with no identifier for up to two years
    • They also said that the audio is analyzed in secure facilities and all reviewers are under strict confidentiality requirements
  • One of my favourite bits from the story is them acknowledging that Apple says the data “is used to help Siri and dictation … understand you better and recognise what you say”, but then calls them out for not explicitly stating the work is done by a human
    • You kind of have to wonder how else we’d improve how a computer interprets someone talking, other than having a someone teach it
  • It seems like there’s a pretty big discrepancy between Apple’s policies and what the contractor are saying, but considering the unsubstantiated Bloomberg story from last year about weird hacking microchips hidden in servers and Apple’s track record when it comes to privacy I’m inclined to side with Apple on this one
  • Either way, if you’re concerned about privacy you can turn off the Hey Siri feature on your iDevices and choose to activate it manually if you need it
 

Tidbits

  • Great news for Call of Duty fans and fans of console openness in general: the new Modern Warfare will feature crossplay between PC, PS4, and XBone
  • Respawn will apparently reveal a AAA VR FPS at Oculus Connect in September
    • They’ve already confirmed it’s not a Titanfall or Star Wars game, but Respawn has been a solid developer so I’m interested to see what they release
 

Recommend A League Of Their Own

  • A comedy-drama that tells a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, created to keep the sport going during World War 2
  • Stars Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and a ton of other great actors
  • It was even selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry in 2012 for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant
  • And fun fact- all of the scrapes and bruises shown on the players are actual injuries sustained during the filming- except for a single scene, no stunt doubles were used. All the actresses actually played, hit, and slid

 

Literally Misleading

GAME – With strength, speed and always moving up, three teams must work to stop the mastermind behind thier turmoil.
 
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami
 

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This episode will be on a series that is unknown by most, and those who are aware of it, love it. You don’t play as a super hero, you are a soldier fighting to save the planet. Fighting waves of giant ants, spiders and robots, we are all a apart of the Earth Defence Force.  

Awesome EDF Compilation logo made by https://www.deviantart.com/jucstin

 

The EDF Fight Chant

PART 1:
To save our mother Earth from any alien attack
From vicious giant insects who have once again come back
We’ll unleash all our forces
We won’t cut them any slack
The E.D.F. deploys!
 
PART 2:
Our soilders are prepared for any alien threats
The Navy launches ships, the Air Force sends their jets
And nothing can withstand our fixed bayonettes
THE E.D.F DEPLOYS!
 
PART 3:
Our forces have now dwindled and we pull back to regroup,
The enemy has multiplied and formed a massive group,
We better beat these bugs before we’re all turned to soup,
The E.D.F. deploys!

 

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With the largest franchise in all of gaming, beating out the second place contender by over 200 million. This icon has saved, built up and revolutionized gaming in nearly every conceivable way. With a combined 528 million sales, we look at the portion of 310 million, that make the Super Mario franchise.

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For anyone not familiar with the Silent Hill games, it is a Japanese survival horror franchise. It uses a third person camera, and some cinematic camera angles. The game uses fog and darkness for low visibility, giving the player only a flashlight and portable device to detect nearby monsters with the sound of static. The player gains a variety of melee weapons and some firearms to defend themselves, in most games. And finally there is a key puzzle solving element, which has the player needing to collect special items to advance the story.

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