PS2J 299 News – Virtual Cataracts

Free Games

  • Cross-platform

    • Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 is available for free until May 10 on PS4, PC, and Xbox One
  • Twitch

    • Old School Musical

      • 2015
      • A rhythm game that takes you through 50 different chiptune tracks on a tour of old favourite retro games to teach you where all the bugs in those classic games come from
  • Epic Games

    • Amnesia: The Dark Descent

      • 2010
      • Survival horror adventure game that has you exploring a dark, foreboding castle while trying to avoid monsters and maintain your sanity
    • Crashlands

      • 2016
      • Action-adventure RPG originally built for iOS and Android described as a story-driven crafting game comparable to Don’t Starve, wherein you need to collect items in order to make weapon and armour
  • PS4

    • Cities: Skylines

      • 2017 port of the 2015 PC game
      • Open-ended city building simulation in the spirit of SimCity after the critical failure of EA’s 2013 franchise reboot
    • Farming Simulator 19

      • Pretty much what it says on the tin- it’s a full farming simulator with huge American and European environments, over 300 vehicles and machines, online co-op play, and a surprisingly large mod community
      • This entry brought in horse farming as well as oat and cotton crops
  • Xbox

    • V-Rally 4

      • 2018
      • Rally racing game with 51 different cars that takes you from through Monument Valley, Niger, Romania, Malaysia, and more
    • Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr

      • 2017
      • Action RPG with a top-down view and a focus on melee and ranged combat set in the Warhammer 40K universe, frequently compared to Diablo
    • Overlord 2

      • 2009
      • Action RPG that has you destroying or conquering the land by commanding your hordes of minions and taking down the Roman-styled “Glorious Empire”
    • Sensible World of Soccer

      • 2007 HD enhanced version of the 1996 Amiga classic
      • 2D European football game with a comprehensive manager mode, with data on 1,500 teams and 27,000 players. This game is notable as the only sports game included on the list of “the ten most important video games of all time”, as compiled by the curator for the History of Science and Technology Collections at Stanford along with notable game designers and researchers

Apple and Google’s new exposure notification framework, previously referred to as contact tracing, is continuing to evolve and and develop

  • They’ve settled on the different name because of what it is- a framework for notifying people if they’ve been exposed. It’s a tool that can be used in conjunction with contact tracing, but because they’re focused on privacy as a top priority that’s not a part of the developing specifications
    • More details have been coming out with the framework’s introduction into the iOS 13.5 beta, and it sounds like notifications will be handled by phones  downloading a new list of identifiers for positive tests regularly and then notifying you if any of them match ones you’ve come into contact with
    • Users will be able to opt out of exposure notifications under Settings, Privacy, Health
  • Germany, originally set on developing a home-grown contact tracing app with centralized data available to health authorities, has changed course and now is working with the Apple-Google approach
    • Also running with the decentralized plan is Switzerland, Estonia, and Austria
  • The UK, unfortunately, is dead set on having their National Health Service manage all the data and not working within those parameters
    • The NHS says it has a way to make the software work “sufficiently well” without users needing to keep it active and on-screen, without “excessively affecting battery life”, but that “excessively” has me concerned
      • Apparently it will work by having the app wake up in the background every time another device running the same software is detected. Then it runs some code to log the contact before going to sleep again
      • Australia said they also had a workaround, but they’ve since acknowledged power consumption problems as well as interference if users have other Bluetooth and location-tracking apps open
    • Not to mention the fact that they’re so set on taking all this data in that I worry they’re not giving full weight to the privacy argument- if you’re going to expect your citizens to use this app, you can’t treat it like an ankle-bracelet on a felon.
    • I get that having all the data kept in-house seems like a good idea, but Apple and Google are pretty smart and they’re building a seemingly solid platform that allows for notifications and battery performance without compromising integrity and privacy

Good news, Google Stadia has now launched PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds! Bad news, it’s filled with terrible bots!

  • Everyone with a Gmail account still has a free two-month trial of Stadia Pro, which now includes the ability to play PUBG on the service
  • Unfortunately it looks like they’re filling matches with bots- players with underscores in their names that don’t actually jump out of the plane, but appear randomly through the world with pre-filled inventories
    • The game normally drops 100 players on an island to fight it out for supremacy, but ArsTechnica had matches with 98 or even 99 bots
  • I can get why they have bots, to ease new players in without throwing them to the wolves that have been playing religiously for years, but this really seems like a terrible way to do it

Oculus Quest Follow-up

  • Knuckle grips are great and really help with Beat Saber
    • AMVR
  • Battery pack counterweight works well, but hampers the pick-up-and-play a bit
    • Anker, Aukey
  • Prescription lenses are really comfortable
    • WidmoVR
  • The Room VR is a creepy escape room that’s a lot of fun
    • Casting to my phone turned it into a co-op game, but the visibility is a little rough with fast movements causing lag and text not being very readable
  • Oculus store really needs a way to gift games to someone

Josh’s day was ruined very early

VSGO professional lens pen, the buffing pad scratched my left lens on my Oculus Quest
  • Now its like I have cataracts in my left eye playing VR
  • I tried a rubbing alcohol and water solution and it helped a LITTLE bit
Hope is on the horizon
  • a redditor had a family member clean their quest with a shirt or something abrasive.
  • polyWatch is a product that fixes surface scratches
    • polyWatch Plastic Polish offers a simple and reliable solution for removing scratches from plastic watch crystal.
Some people have been using watch glass protectors for their lenses
  • I’m nervouse about adding anything like that to the lenses

Josh guested on Podzilla 1985’s Mr 100 and the 5 Star man

Mr. 100 (or should we say the PHOENIX) and the 5 Star Man are finally back after a TWO MONTH hiatus with a special guest from up north – Josh from PS2J! Come for the Canadian politeness, stay for the talk about American Horror Story, Final Fantasy, Buffy, and more!

Assassins Creed Valhalla

The history of the Assassins versus the Templar travels to Norhtern Europe
Settlements play a big part in the game
  • Trailer opens up on a viking village in Norway.
  • The trailer follows the protagonist Eivor
  • It seems that the viking religion plays a part in the game
    • Unsure of it being supernaturally or just spirtually
Eivor
  • A viking raider from Norway, leaving to the shores of England
  • Eivor is able to be male or female as the player prefers
The story is trying to show a full culture of people
  • The English are shown as terrified of Viking settlers and trying to show them in a bad light
  • At the time of the game 870 AD, England is not united, and is run by many kings
  • The game seems to be about Viking trying to settle on England
    • And fighting for the territory already held by the Saxons.
Alfred the Great, the King of Wessex
  • He is the main antagonist to the vikings in the game and history
There is a lot of viking tactics in the game
  • Longships are used to strike and retreat quickly
  • Some battles of soldier to soldier combat on fortifications
  • Raiding, where the objective is to steal resources rather than fight an enemy
Combat is quite a focus
  • You will be able to dual-wield any one handed weapons
    • Even dual-wield shields
  • And I feel there will be the ability to steal the weapons from the enemy
  • There is a face-off where Eivor is tossed around by a very large opponent
    • Heavily armored and seems to wield a claymore as a long sword
    • Avor wins with the “surprising” reveal of a hidden blade gauntlet
      • It is strapped to the top of his arm, rather then concealed below
      • It doesn’t mean Eivor is a born an raised assassin, but it is confirmed that they are working together
There will also be RPG elements
  • The usual skill trees and gear collecting to fit your playstyle
  • You will also be forming strategic alliances
  • Wins in combat and conversation both pave your path the greatness.
  • You get to grow and customize your settlement
    • recruit clan members
    • upgrade structures
    • make a barracks to get better recruits
    • have your blacksmith improve your weapons
    • new customization options at the tattoo parlor
    • and they promise more
  • Seems like in Blackflag, you will be able to send your recruits on missions for your friends
    • create and customize your own viking mercenaries
    • share them online
    • share in the spoils when they help your friends in their own sagas
    • all while recruiting your own player made mercenaries
  • There are also side quest activities
    • hunting
    • fishing
    • dice
    • drinking games
    • and the traditional Norse competition of flyting
      • basically Viking rap battles
Will be a launch title for Xbox Series X and PS5, and coming to current generation consoles this holiday season.

Tidbits

  • The Last of Us Part 2, originally slated for release back in February and then pushed to May 29th, has been delayed once more to June 19th of this year
    • This latest delay is due to the COVID situation, but has some really bad timing considering there was a massive story leak purporting to show the entire game just a few days ago. People wanting to avoid spoilers will need to be careful for the next couple months
  • Google has launched its second-gen Pixel Buds this week, bringing a couple of my favourite AirPods features to Android
    • They use a pairing process Google calls Fast Pair- you just hold the case near your phone and open it, then a screen pops up to automatically pair them and link them to your Google account
    • They’ve also brought the wireless earbuds into their Find My Device app, similar to Apple’s Find My app that lets you ring them and see the last location they were connected
  • The latest iOS beta software will now detect if you’re wearing a mask and skip from FaceID to the passcode prompt faster
    • You can also speed up the passcode prompt before this releases if you tap on the text saying “Face ID” on your screen while it tries to identify you
  • Huawei, for the fourth time, is taking heat for advertising campaigns that make it look like photos are being taken with their phones but in reality the photos are being taken with professional Nikon or Canon DSLR cameras and lenses
    • Their excuse is that they never actually say the photos are taken with the phones they’re advertising, but when you have you model hold their hand out toward the camera as if they were holding it you’re definitely setting some expectations on purpose

 

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Thank you to Breanne, for being so kind and helpful!

And thanks to all our ‘fanily’ that support us.
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We are a proud member of the Alberta Podcast Network powered by ATB
And talk to us in the comments!

Free games

  • Microsoft

    • Hitman: The Complete First Season

      • 2016
      • Third person stealth assassination game in episodic form, taking Agent 47 all around the world to prove he is the ultimate silent assassin
    • We Were Here

      • 2017
      • Co-op puzzle game where you team up with a friend or stranger online to escape an abandoned castle, but the twist is you’re split up only able to communicate with and help eachother via walkie talkie
    • Earth Defense Force 2025

      • 2013
      • Arcade-style third person shooter that has you taking on gigantic alien insects with infinite ammo and often-ridiculous weaponry
      • More details in PS2J 238, the history of Earth Defence Force
    • Tekken Tag Tournament 2

      • 2011
      • Tournament fighting game with solid gameplay and a massive cast
  • Sony

    • Batman: Arkham Knight

      • 2015
      • Solid third-person stealth action game in the Batman universe with great combat, fun stealth takedowns, and the addition of a drivable Batmobile, all brought together by Kevin Conroy’s iconic voice
    • Darksiders 3
      • 2018
      • Action-adventure Metroidvania style game that will be familiar to fans of the first two, Darksiders 3 has you taking control of Fury, the sister to War and Death and another of the four horsemen of the apocalypse
  • Epic
    • Celeste
      • 2018
      • Platform adventure game where you have to jump, climb, and dash through each area to climb a mountain and collect strawberries
    • Inside
      • 2016
      • The spiritual successor to Limbo, Inside is another deceptively simple platformer where you control a small boy in a big, very dangerous world
 

Security warning- it’s time to delete the CamScanner app immediately

  • Security researchers at Kaspersky discovered malware in various versions of the Android app, and the iOS app has a history of not being much better despite the protections Apple has built in to their App Store process
    • The malware is set up to extract and run another piece of software that downloads more malware for whatever its creators are up to at the moment, like showing intrusive ads or signing users up for paid subscriptions
  • Lifehacker is recommending Android users switch to a better, more secure app like Adobe Scan or Microsoft Office Lens, or use the built-in scanner in the Google Drive app
    • iOS users can also use the document scanning function built in to the Notes app
 

Speaking of security, after the Siri privacy concerns we reported on back in episode 265, Apple has officially apologized and put a halt to the Siri grading program pending some serious changes

  • It looks like concerns were more founded than I thought, with Apple laying off the contractors they’d hired to review selected Siri conversations to improve the service and completely revamping the whole program later this fall
  • The changes include defaulting everyone to opt out of the recordings, allowing an optional opt-in with the ability to turn it back off at any time, and only allowing Apple employees access to the audio samples instead of using contractors
  • They’ve also released a new Siri Privacy and Grading FAQ that you can check out for more details on the upcoming program: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210558
 

The Apex Legends subreddit became an interesting place this month, with developers logging on to insult players reacting to microtransactions

  • About two weeks ago Respawn posted an apology regarding the Iron Crown event and how they locked some of their cooler skins and items behind paid lootboxes
    • For context, one event item called the Heirloom Axe costs over $200 CAD to get
    • In the future they say they’ll provide more ways to obtain items, and in the meantime they’ve made some tweaks to how the event items are being distributed
  • The comments thread then got pretty heated, as a Respawn employee started engaging with people pretty angry about the situation calling them dicks, ass-hats, and freeloaders
    • The downvotes are currently sitting at -5300, -3500, and -1000 respectively, so they’re going to have to try a lot harder to beat the Battlefront 2 “sense of pride and accomplishment” microtransaction comment with a whopping -670000
    • I’m not sure what’s going on over at EA, but it really seems like they should tone it down with both the lootboxes and the social media responses
  • This time it was handled with a lot more class though- instead of EA’s strategy of “ignore the masses”, Respawn CEO Vince Zampella publicly apologized for the discussion, saying
    • “Some of our folks crossed a line with their comments, and that’s not how we want Respawn to be represented. I apologize to any of our fans that were offended.”
    • “I will always stand behind the team here at Respawn and support them on speaking out against some of the toxic and nasty comments aimed at their families and loved ones,” he continued. “But we shouldn’t contribute to it when we do comment, and add to the very thing we want to prevent. Last week we didn’t do that, going forward we will be better. Having an open, healthy relationship with our community is incredibly important to all of us at Respawn.”
  • All in all it’s a pretty classy response to a bad situation, taking responsibility without throwing anyone under the bus
 

An attempt is being made to bring Telltale Games back from the dead, though with very few of its original parts

  • All the assets were purchased by LCG Entertainment, and the new Telltale will sell some of the back catalog as well as work on new games based on some old associated properties as well as new licenses
  • Apparently some workers from Telltale Classic will be offered freelance roles with a possibility for full-time in the future, but it looks like LCG wants to make a fairly clear distinction between that company and New Telltale
  • It’s been confirmed that New Telltale has the rights to continue The Wolf Among Us and Batman, as well as some original properties, and there are some expired licenses that they’re currently reviewing
    • Unfortunately the rights to release a game based on Stranger Things have already reverted back to Netflix, but there’s still a lot there to work with
  • Fingers crossed they can recapture the magic of early Telltale, before they overreached and started pumping out poorly managed games in a dated, hard to work with engine
 
Good news everyone, the final additions to Shovel Knight, King of Cards and a multiplayer fighting mode called Showdown, are officially coming in December
  • The game is also getting features like new body types, a they/them pronoun option, accessibility features, co-op feats, new language support, and additional cheats that apparently add whole new ways to play
    • It’s been so long since the main campaign released I’ll have to dust off my Vita and check it out this Christmas
  • There’s also a new spinoff coming called Shovel Knight Dig, following Shovel Knight in a Spelunky-type adventure through semi-randomized levels as you pursue Drill Knight and his dastardly crew to the centre of the earth
    • It’s being developed in collaboration with Nitrome, makers of games like Redungeon and Rust Bucket
    • There’s no word on a release date for Dig quite yet
 

More than a year after Zuckerberg promised a Clear History tool for Facebook it’s finally here, and it kind of works?

  • Rather than the previous claims of it deleting tracking information from your account, it just slightly limits data that is collected about you when you’re not on Facebook
    • For instance, how Facebook would present ads based on things you shopped for online
  • It doesn’t even stop the tracking, but rather disconnects it from a specific user- everything is still gathered to build a profile, it just may not be used on you in particular
    • And keep in mind, this only applies to behind-the-scenes tracking- they can still identify you if they have your email or phone number
  • And it only limits data gathering one way, from third parties into Facebook. Nothing stops Facebook from reporting back to advertisers when users purchase a product after seeing a targeted ad
  • All in all it’s kind of a garbage attempt, especially when it was first touted as working the same as as your browser’s Clear History feature- flushing the data entirely
 

In response to WebKit’s announcement that tracking cookies will be treated as a security risk, Google’s now trying to make the argument that blocking them is actually bad for privacy…?

  • For anyone not aware, a cookie is a little piece of info that websites can read and write in your web browser, to do things like keep you logged in when you leave a website, that can also be used like breadcrumbs to see what websites you visit
  • Their first point seems to be that if you block cookies then developers will find other, more secret ways to track users, like building a fingerprint based on things like what device they’re using or what fonts they have installed. Since users can’t manually clear that, it’s apparently worse
    • freedom-to-tinker.comsaid it well: “We see that our town has a pickpocketing problem. But if we crack down on pickpocketing, the pickpocketers will just switch to muggings. That would be even worse. Surely you don’t want that, do you?”
  • And their second point is that blocking cookies that target ads causes content publishers to lose ad revenue because the ads become less relevant. This was, of course, backed up by a study (read, single paragraph in a blog post) run by Google. Who I’m sure is a completely third party wait it’s the same company
    • As long as we’re comparing anecdotes, the international edition of the New York Times recently switched from tracking-based ads to contextual and geographic ads—and it didn’t experience any decrease in advertising revenue.
  • So their strategy is to block fingerprinting (which is good) and improve the classification of cookies to be more transparent about what’s being used to track you (which is kind of neutral? Because in theory any cookie could be used to track you)
 

Creature in the Well

  • A top down dungeon crawler
    • With elements of pinball
  • You play as Bot-C
    • The last of engineer of a robot collective
    • You have to save the town of Mirage from a huge sandstorm by repairing an ancient weather machine
    • But there is a strange creature that is watching you from the shadows
  • The gameplay is hack and slash
    • With puzzles influenced by pinball, breakout and other ball based games
    • You explore rooms rooms to gather energy, which you spend to open doors and upgrade your character
    • Lots of secrets, with different weapons and cosmetic items
    • The town also has citizens that can help you
    • And they coined the phrase Pin-Brawler
  • September 6 for Switch, Xbox One and Steam.
 

Indies for Switch that Josh has

  • Enter the Gungeon
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
  • Stardew Valley
  • The Messenger
 

Josh is interested In getting

  • Cuphead
    • StudioMDHR’s astonishing Cuphead has made the jump from Xbox One/PC to Switch. The port runs wonderfully both in console and handheld mode, retaining all the glory of the 1930s cartoon art style and animations.
    • Cuphead is a challenging game, but it never comes across as unfair. Minimalistic mechanics let you focus on the task at hand — the multi-phase bosses — while enjoying all of the excellent animations and sounds.
    • Cuphead is worth playing for the art style alone, which is as impressive now as it was upon its original launch in 2017. The engaging boss fights and crisp mechanics make it a pleasure to work through, even when the going gets exceedingly tough.
  • Hyper Light Drifter
    • Hyper Light Drifter is an ode to 8-bit and 16-bit adventure games, set in a distinct world reduced to shambles. This top-down adventure features extremely challenging gameplay with a neat gimmick.
    • Your main weapon, an energy sword, has to strike enemies in order to charge your supplementary, ranged weapons. This means you have to master melee combat to have a chance against the onslaught of enemies.
    • Rounded out by a beautiful soundtrack and fantastic animations, Hyper Light Drifter is a moving experience with an understated, but powerful story.
  • Down Well
    • Downwell, a game about a man falling down a well in a park, has been available since 2015 on mobile devices. Rendered in black and white, the premise is simple: Make it to the bottom. Since you’re falling at a rapid pace, you would think you’re already ahead of the game, right? Not so fast. Avoiding obstacles, enemies, and projectiles is an arduous endeavor that forces you to think and move on the fly.
    • As a rogue-like, each time you make your descent, the layout of the well changes. With guns attached to your boots that only recharge when you touch the ground safely, it’s a constant battle between the offensive and defensive. Power-ups are rewarded at the bottom of each stage, but each level ups the challenge. Basically, no matter what you have in your arsenal, you’re always facing an uphill battle (ironic, huh?).
    • A round of Downwell can last anywhere from seconds to a handful of minutes, depending on your skill level. On Switch, it’s a perfect game for quick bursts in handheld mode. The $3 price makes Downwell a steal, but you should splurge for the Flip Grip to play Downwell comfortably with a vertical orientation.
  • Into The Breach
    • From the makers of the excellent FTL: Faster Than Light, Into the Breachsomehow manages to be Subset Games’ best outing. A turn-based tactics game, Into the Breach takes place on small grids filled with only a few units. The name of the game is survival, as losing all your units restarts the game.
    • It’s an interesting approach to the relatively well-trodden grid-based tactics genre. You can, if you choose, take out enemy units, but you must focus on protecting your power grids. Since you only have a limited number of turns, choosing where to place your units at the start of each round is key.
    • Into the Breach has so many surprising layers to it that you’ll learn new strategies even after you’ve cleared the game multiple times. It’s a near perfect turn-based strategy game that should not be missed by any fans of the genre.
 
 

Tidbits

  • A new trailer for The Mandalorian dropped this week, and it looks just fantastic
    • Strikes me as Firefly but Star Wars, and has the titular Mandalorian teaming up with IG-11 in a lot of very cool settings and situations
  • The 2015 MacBook Pro battery trouble is now having some negative effects on travellers, with many airlines banning all 15″ MacBook Pros from checked luggage regardless of the year and warning they must stay off for the duration of the flight
  • Dutch brand ZENS unveiled a wireless charging mat that can charge two devices at a time anywhere on the mat, bringing us one step closer to the cancelled Apple AirPower
    • The mat uses 16 overlapping coils to deliver the power, compared to Apple’s planned 32 coils to charge three devices, and doesn’t have the same kind of software integration, but if it sounds like something you want I hope you have $140 USD to burn. $180 USD gets you a glass version so you can see the coils and circuitry
  • A short-lived Amazon listing for an Overwatch-themed Nintendo Switch case, marked as “officially licensed by Nintendo and Blizzard Entertainment”, is fuelling speculation that the team shooter is coming to the Switch sometime soon
    • Between an upcoming Nintendo Direct and Blizzcon this November, the time is definitely ripe
 

Alan recommends Archero

  • You play the Lone Archer in this roguelike dungeon crawl, choosing from randomly assorted skills each time you level up to take on bigger and more daunting challenges
  • It got some interesting gameplay, where each room has a variety of enemies either shooting or charging at you, and you have to take them down while keeping your health bar up
    • The interesting part comes in with your attack- it automatically aims and shoots but only while you aren’t moving, so you have to choose between attack and dodging at any given moment
    • And it has my favourite roguelike mechanic, where there are permanent upgrades you can unlock and level up between sessions, so that even if you’re having trouble at the moment you’re still making progress
  • It’s got some annoying F2P bits to it, but it’s been pretty easy to not drop any money on it so far and I’m about halfway through the campaign
    • They also don’t have any mandatory ads, only putting them in when you choose to continue after dying or keep playing when you’re out of energy
  • Over all I’ve been enjoying it, and it looks like there are some cool updates coming in the near future with unlockable heroes and a battlepass feature that increases the rewards you can get
 

Literally Misleading

MOVIE – After being mistaken for terrorists, protecting intellectual property is now the least of the hero’s problems.
 
If you have a Literally Misleading Description, message Josh directly on our Discord, or Twitter @fushigiyami
 

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