PS2J 307 News – Ransomware Quality Control

Free games

  • Twitch

    • Melbits World

      • 2018
      • Co-op puzzle platformer where you team up and use your phone as your controller to guide your characters through challenging, intricate levels
    • Kunai

      • 2020
      • Billed as a quirky, fast-paced action platformer, you play as Tabby, a tablet who joins the fight against a robot uprising using his kunai and ninja-parkour
    • Dear Esther: Landmark Edition

      • 2017 remaster first released in 2008 as a free-to-play mod for the Source engine, then later redeveloped into a commercial release in 2012
      • First person exploration and adventure game that is considered to have started the “walking simulator” genre, it has you exploring an unnamed island in Scotland, listening to a troubled man read a series of letters to his deceased wife
    • Dark Devotion

      • 2019
      • Action adventure game where you explore the secrets of a mysterious fallen temple and put your Templar’s faith to the test
    • Turok 2: Seeds of Evil

      • 1998
      • First person shooter originally released on the N64, it follows Turok’s efforts to stop a powerful alien entity from escaping the confines of his Lightship
    • Reus

      • 2013
      • God game where you control giants that can modify the nature of the planet through terraforming, creating life, and altering genes
    • GRIP: Combat Racing

      • 2018
      • Originally a Kickstarter campaign that I backed in 2015, it raised $154K of its $657K goal before it was taken down, but it was still announced to be pushed into early access
      • High octane hardcore combat racer inspired by Rollcage, Wipeout, Motostorm, and Podracer with gravity-defying twists and heavy weaponry
  • Xbox

    • WRC 8 World Rally Championship

      • 2019
      • The official game of the 2019 World Rally Championship, it’s a simulation rally racing game with new physics for all surfaces and a redesigned career mode
    • Saints Row 2

      • 2008
      • Sandbox action-adventure game that has you leading the Third Street Saints gang against three rivals and the corrupt Ultor Corporation, with a more comedic tone to set the game apart from Grand Theft Auto
  • PS4

    • NBA 2k20

      • 2019
      • Basketball simulation game featuring current and past players and teams, along with up to six custom expansion teams and the ability to relocate and rebrand any time
      • It also included, for the first time, all 12 teams from the WNBA, though they can only be played in one-game exhibition and single-season modes, and the game drew criticism for its gambling-based minigames that overshadowed the basketball in early trailers
    • Rise Of The Tomb Raider – 20 Year Celebration

      • 2016 update to the 2015 release, with updates including coop play and classic outfits as well as combat-free exploration and zombie modes
      • Action-adventure sequel to the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, it has standard ruins exploration and bowplay but this time set in Siberia
    • Erica

      • Bonus for the 10th anniversary of PS Plus
      • 2019
      • Live-action interactive adventure thriller with multiple endings that feels Heavy Rain-esque, putting you in the role of Erica, a brave young lady who is plagued with nightmares of her father’s murder and has to unearth the truth behind the tragedy
  • Epic Games

    • Hue

      • 2016
      • Puzzle platformer where you explore a grey land while searching for your missing mother, and along the way you uncover coloured pieces that reveal new puzzles. The more colours you find, the more complex the puzzles become

Co-Founder of Cards Against Humanity Max Temkin has stepped down following accusations of racist and sexist office culture (courtesy of Polygon)

  • For anyone unaware, it’s like a lewd version of Apples to Apples with references to politics, pop culture, sex, and so on
  • It started as a DIY print your own game distributed for free, but after a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign it became the focus of a multi-million dollar game company
  • In the past few weeks multiple former employees have shared stories of racist and sexist behaviours that largely affected Black employees, as well as some accusations of sexual assault by Temkin
  • Many people reporting these behaviours remained anonymous due to fear of retaliation, and that seems to have been well founded after several employees described being fired for confusing or unexpected reasons after raising concerns about discrimination at work
  • Cards Against Humanity’s official response is that “some of these accounts are true, others are not, and a few we are continuing to investigate”
  • It seems almost inevitable that a company trading on humour powered by shock and racial stereotypes, like all the variations on “A big, black dick” that exist in the game, would have some problems, but though they’ve tried to increase sensitivity and remove some cards deemed offensive, there are still many packs being sold today that include cards that marginalize vulnerable groups of people
  • There have also been stories shared from the writer’s room about how the head writers like Temkin would push for the inclusion of cards like “Saying the N-word”, despite the protests of the one Black employee on the team
  • A spokesperson pointed Polygon to 14 cards, out of the hundreds available for the game, that “reflect Black culture, history, and perspectives”. In a follow-up they clarified that the game has “well over 100” cards that do that, and the examples were merely a favourite sampling, but the gesture reeks of “I’m not racist, I have a Black friend”
  • Many former employees described their departure from the company as “escaping”, and since there was no real HR department to speak of they felt unheard and powerless even after leaving, for fear of lawsuits and reprisals. The Chief Operating Officer was the sole HR department, and was also in charge of finance, operations, and legal. His close working relationship with Temkin led to concerns about bringing issues forward.
  • Apparently Cards Against Humanity is hiring an independent third-party HR consultant to audit and improve its practices, but from the sounds of it a lot of damage has been done to a lot of lives
  • Former employees also spoke of Temkin yelling at employees, and said that people on staff often spoke on Slack about the most private places to cry after encounters with him, and that he exerted undue influence over not only people’s livelihood but also their personal lives- in one case, Temkin decided that an employee would have to stop seeing someone or they would get “kicked out”
  • And all of this from a company that has opposed Trump, donated money to charity, and given scholarships to women in STEM programs has left many with whiplash after experiencing what the company culture was like internally
  • As of June 9th Temkin has stepped down from the company and will have no staff interactions, and though he maintains 1/8th of the company’s shares he will not receive a salary.
  • With these reports becoming public and the employees gaining courage and support they’ve established the Cards Against Humanity Workers United union and begun to demand recognition from the company’s owners, looking to establish better collaboration and transparency between workers and management after the trust has been eroded so thoroughly already
  • In a statement provided to Polygon, the company’s leadership says that it intends to recognize the union, and that if the majority of their employees want a union they’re all for it

Reddit has officially, finally, banned the “The_Donald” subreddit

  • The ban was part of the site’s overhaul of its hate speech policies, and will affect the more than 790,000 users that used it to post memes, videos, and messages supportive of Trump
  • This came down because of the group’s consistent breaking of its rules by allowing people to target and harass others with hate speech
  • Reddit’s chief executive, Steve Huffman said “Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people. ‘The_Donald’ has been in violation of that”
  • At the same time, Twitch temporarily banned Trump from the service for hateful conduct, for things like video of his kickoff rally where he claimed that Mexico was sending rapists to the US
    • Twitch has apparently begun issuing permanent bans to other streamers because of hate speech, with long-time popular streamer Dr Disrespect receiving one without specific details on why
    • It sounds like Twitch is taking moderation a lot more seriously, and not just allowing racist or hateful language just because it’s newsworthy due to its source
  • In the words of the Daring Fireball, “It’s a race to get out of Dodge as the whole world gets its footing back on the rightful notion that bigotry is shameful and must be shunned.”

Warning to all pirates running macOS, there’s a new ransomware making the rounds

  • The new EvilQuest ransomware variant is being spread through pirated Mac apps, according to Malwarebytes, and was initially found in a download for Little Snitch found on a Russion forum
  • The infected installation does install Little Snitch, a tool for monitoring network traffic on your computer, but also moves and installs files throughout your system to encrypt both system and personal files on your computer before prompting for a $50USD ransom
    • The malware apparently doesn’t work very well though, as the ransom instructions are often not displayed properly and you don’t actually get your files back if you pay it
  • Malwarebytes says their software can remove the infection, but any encrypted files will need to be restored from backups

Clone High is coming back!?!

  • For the multitude that missed it the first time around, it was an animated series about the teenage clones of historical figures going to high school together, that worked as an out-loud parody of teen soaps like Dawson’s Creek with things like every episode opening with “Tonight, on a very special episode of Clone High…”
  • It was cancelled after one season due in part to its depiction of the clone of Mahatma Ghandi and controversy outside of North America. Even the DVD release never made it outside of Canada
  • Well apparently Clone High’s creators went on to make a few films like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie, and Spider-Verse
  • So it seems like now that they’ve got some pull after a few hits, they’re bringing the show into the era of Riverdale, Pretty Little Liars, and 13 Reasons Why, so maybe we’ll finally get some closure to the first season’s cliffhanger two decades later. Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with this

Tidbits

  • Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa has officially apologized for the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con drift issue, saying “Regarding the Joy-Con, we apologize for any trouble caused to our customers. We are continuing to aim to improve our products, but as the Joy-Con is the subject of a class-action lawsuit in the United States and this is still a pending issue, we would like to refrain from responding about any specific actions.”
    • Nintendo began offering free repairs for controllers afflicted with drift shortly after the lawsuit was filed, but with its built-in controllers the Switch Lite was also added to the class action suit a week after its September launch
  • Microsoft has updated their enforcement guidlelines for Forza Motorsport, banning players using the custom design feature to put confederate flags or swastikas on their cars
    • Some have raised issues with this, complaining that iconic cars like the Dukes of Hazard’s General Lee had nothing to do with race and featured a large depiction of the flag on its back, but just because an unproblematic show used the flag doesn’t mean it’s not a problematic symbol itself
    • Even the General Lee car itself, owned by pro golfer Bubba Watson, had its flags removed in 2015
  • According to rumours, Apple may be removing the charger and EarPods from new iPhone boxes, leaving just the phone and a USB cord
    • The switch would allow them to reduce packaging and waste, and for many long-time iPhone users it wouldn’t be a large issue, but it seems like the option should still be there to make sure you have everything you need if you’re buying for the first time
    • One idea I’ve seem on reddit is to either have two different versions, which could get confusing, or include a coupon for the value of the charger inside the box. Then you can get one for free or use the savings on another Apple device, though it’s still an additional step
  • Now through July 10th Apple is giving you an extra 10% bonus when adding funds to your AppleID
    • On your phone you can go to Settings, tap on your name, iTunes & App Store, tap on your AppleID, View AppleID, then tap Add Funds to Apple ID
  • After taking fire for reading iPhone clipboards every time users type a single character into the app, TikTok has promised to release an update to stop reading that information from devices
    • iOS 14 beta shows a notification each time an app reads your clipboard and so this was really highlighted in TikTok, but it’s also behaviour being seen in other apps like AccuWeather, Overstock, AliExpress, Call of Duty Mobile, Patreon, and Google News
    • TikTok claims it’s part of an anti-spam feature and they don’t actually read what you may have copied from another app, but there’s no way to verify that. With it being a Chinese company whose algorithm is a complete black box, you can assume that they’ve stored copies of whatever you had on your clipboard while using the app
  • Microsoft is officially shutting down their physical stores worldwide, except for four specific locations in the US, England, and Australia that will become “experience centers” that no longer sell products
    • The stores were originally inspired by Apple Stores both in concept and execution, but failed to really get a foothold in the market
    • verynicewebsite.net put it well – “I do enjoy their PR headline: “Microsoft Store announces new approach to retail.” The new approach: not doing retail.”

 

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Free Games of February 2019

Free Games of the Month!

Security

  • There was a big FaceTime bug discovered this week that lets you listen to audio from the person you’re calling before they pick up
    • If you try to FaceTime someone, then while it’s ringing use the Add Person button to add your own phone number, it will start a group call that includes the person you originally dialled even if they haven’t accepted it- allowing you to eavesdrop on whatever they’re doing
    • Added on to that, if the person on the receiving end hits the power button (turning off the screen and silencing the ringtone without rejecting the call itself) their device will start to send video as well
    • Class action lawsuits about the privacy implications are already in progress in the US and Canada, citing reports that people contacted Apple about this back on January 20th but didn’t receive a response
    • Two things to note here are that:
      • This only works while the device is ringing, so if you reject the call it breaks the connection
      • And some good news- Apple has actually taken the Group FaceTime functionality offline, preventing people from exploiting this bug, until they release an update next week fixing the issue

News

Battlestate Games, the makers of the tactical first-person shooter Escape from Tarkov, is making headlines after abusing DMCA takedowns against two separate YouTube channels

  • Back in December Polygon reported on the nearly 50 DMCA claims against YouTuber Eroktic, wherein rather than claim piracy or unfair use, Battlestate posted the takedowns because of allegedly incorrect info and overall negativity about their game
    • They stated that while only a few of the videos had the misinformation, “negative hype” was present in all of them so they feel justified in their takedown claims
  • Shortly after this article went up on Polygon’s site, they were contacted by another YouTuber that goes by EL_Dee, saying that they too had received 47 DMCA claims
    • The cause of these was apparently because they had Battlestate’s watermark and logo, as shown on Tarkov’s title screen, but many other YouTubers use the same images
    • EL_Dee believes they were also singled out because of “negative hype”
  • Battlestate tried to push blame for the claims on to what they claimed was a subcontractor, but in actuality seems to be a company with many close ties to them and their staff
  • Even more damning is that prior to the claims being filed Tarkov’s project leader and producer, Nikita Buyanov, had requested that the videos be taken down and sent privately. Buyanov said that EL_Dee had the attention of the devs “so it is no reason for all of us to go hostile”
  • Regardless of who authorized the claims they appear to be a clear form of censorship, and they’ve had serious and lasting impacts on the livelihoods of both Eroktic and EL_Dee, losing hundreds of Twitch subscribers and thousands of YouTube views. All over some videos that just weren’t 100% positive about the game

Bandai Namco and CyberConnect2 have announced an upcoming game called Dragon Ball Project Z, releasing sometime this year

  • Billed as an action role playing game, it’s looking to be “the most dramatic and epic telling of the Dragon Ball Z story”
  • There aren’t a lot of details yet, but apparently you’ll be experiencing the story from Goku’s perspective
  • From the looks of their teaser it’s going to be tackling a large part if not all the series’ story, so it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out

You know those shady Android free TV boxes? Turns out they’re illegal! Who woulda thought?

  • The maker of the Dragon Box, build to let users watch video without cable or streaming subscription, has agreed to shut down and pay $14.5M in damages to the plaintiffs
    • Their lawyer initially said the lawsuit would backfire, but when you being sued by a group including Netflix, Amazon, Columbia Pictures, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros their lawyers might know what they’re doing

Piranha Plant

  • Neutral special
    • Ptooie 14% (held), 18% (thrown, early), 13% (thrown, late)
      • The Piranha Plant spits up a metal spiky ball, keeping it suspended by blowing air upwards. The spiky ball can then be blown either in front or behind the Piranha Plant. The spiky ball has transcendent priority, and the move stalls Piranha Plant’s descent if used in the air, making it a very deadly edgeguarding tool. Based on the Ptooie enemy introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3.
  • Side special
    • Poison Breath 1.2% (uncharged, center loop), 0.6% (uncharged, edge loop), 2.7% (fully charged, center loop), 1.6% (fully charged, edge loop)
      • The Piranha Plant spews a damaging cloud of poison in front of it. If all hits connect, it will deal a great amount of damage. The cloud itself has no knockback, and deals no hitstun, but it can be countered/reflected. If an opponent attempts to shield against this attack, it will do detrimental damage to the shield itself. The move is chargable, and it can be saved for later use. During execution, Piranha Plant changes its color to match the Putrid Piranha enemy from the Paper Mario series.
  • Up special
    • Piranhacopter 1.2% (hits 1-8), 4% (hit 9)
      • The Piranha Plant spins its leaves in a fashion akin to a propeller, causing it to rise upward. It can be angled to the left and right during the ascent. Based on the Jumping Piranha Plants from Super Mario World.
  • Down special
    • Long-Stem Strike 8.4% (uncharged, close), 12% (uncharged, far), 18.2% (fully charged, close), 26% (fully charged, far)
      • The Piranha Plant retreats into its pot/pipe, and extends outward to bite opponents in the direction aimed. This also extends the character’s hutbox. Piranha Plant gains super armor during the charge, and intangibility on its head during the bite. Likely a reference to Elasto-Piranhas or Stalking Piranha Plants.
  • Final Smash
    • Petey Piranha 49% total
      • The Piranha Plant summons Petey Piranha, who stomps around the stage with his cages from his boss fight in The Subspace Emissary. Opponents that get too close will get trapped in his cages. When the Final Smash is nearly over, Petey Piranha will breathe fire at both of the cages, then slam both of the cages to the ground, dealing heavy damage and knockback to the opponents who were trapped in the cages. It is possible for Petey Piranha to fall off stage, taking any trapped opponents with him, though is not a guaranteed KO if the opponent has leftover jumps, a strong recovery or both.

Tidbits

  • Google+ is shutting down this April due to low use
    • All the accounts , pages, and photos will be deleted starting April 2nd, and rolling out over a few months
    • If you’ve got anything you want to keep, make sure to download it asap
  • The Dragon Ball FighterZ roster is growing again this year with the creatively named FighterZ Pass 2
    • Confirmed are Jiren, Videl (and the Great Saiyaman), Broly, and SSB Gogeta

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The Grinch Smash Bros leak has hopeful fans’ hearts shrinks 3 sizes. Apple launches new products for the holiday season. Josh recommends a spooky Syfy original, Alan has a book series that he promised is a quick read.

For more info, Patreon supports get access to our show notes!

A huge thanks to Dalton, our favourite fan. And thanks to all our Official Fans that support us.
And if you want to support us too, its as easy as clicking this link!

Also, make sure to check out RIPT Apparel for sweet 24 tee shirt designs. And don’t forget to use the coupon code PS2JSHOW for 10% off!

We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB

And talk to us in the comments!
Or…

Discord Server
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Facebook