PEGI rating board explains why it didn’t flag NBA 2K20 as gambling

It is no surprise that neither of the two big ratings agencies — North America’s ESRB and Europe’s PEGI — flagged NBA 2K20 for gambling, simulated or otherwise. PEGI nonetheless explained its reasoning to someone who complained.

The tl;dr is that PEGI says its gambling content descriptor doesn’t apply because the mini-games involved in NBA 2K’s MyTeam mode — whose promotional trailer on Monday was chock-a-block full of wheel spins and slot machines — don’t actually “encourage and/or teach the use of games of chance that are played/carried out as a traditional means of gambling.”

The reply from PEGI to the writer (Eurogamer confirmed with PEGI the reply is legitimate) goes into greater detail, and acknowledges that the agency had “seen the announcement trailer of NBA 2K20 and noticed the controversy it has caused.” However, the board’s representative noted that “the controversial imagery played a central role in the trailer, but it may not necessarily do so in the game, which has not yet been released.”

PEGI is correct that this isn’t gambling, per se, in that nothing is really wagered in the slot machine, wheel of fortune and pachinko mini-games, and whatever is won has value only as game content. These are basically drawn-out reveals of a dice-roll reward; the wheel/slot spins and ball drops are earned through gameplay and can’t be bought, so nothing is really “wagered.” PEGI’s only relevant content descriptor is “gambling,” and games with it are rated PEGI 12 or higher.

But for the ESRB, these mini-games aren’t even “simulated gambling.” In its rating summary for NBA 2K20, the game’s only content descriptor is “mild language,” as apparently the words “hell” and “damn” are in some dialogue (or the lyrics of a song). The ESRB could have, but didn’t, apply one of two descriptors for these minigames: Real Gambling and Simulated Gambling. Real means “Player can gamble, including betting or wagering real cash or currency.” Simulated is “Player can gamble without betting or wagering real cash or currency.”

While the ESRB is an independent unit, it’s also an industry creation (set up by the Entertainment Software Association 25 years ago next month, in fact). And the industry’s position, per the ESA, is that these kinds of card packs and mini-games in sports video games’ card collection modes, and loot boxes in other games, are not gambling because nothing of value is wagered and the rewards can’t (or aren’t supposed to) be exchanged for money. So when the industry here says these things are not gambling, the industry’s ratings board agrees that they’re not even simulated gambling.

It would be remarkable if the ESRB rated games more strictly against its parent organization’s position. But I’ve reached out anyway to see if someone has further explanation for how the board views NBA 2K20 whose video makes a rather blunt presentation of casino-style gaming. The other thing to consider is that NBA 2K is hardly the only sports series with randomized rewards tied to a specialized mode. So if the ESRB or anyone flagged NBA 2K20 for “simulated gambling,” Take-Two Interactive would not only fight it, it’d expect the same label to go on EA Sports’ games, and possibly MLB The Show and Pro Evolution Soccer for good measure. That’s four big publishers and a big can of worms to open over one trailer.

PEGI says as much: “We are very aware that it may get too close for comfort for some people, and that is part of an internal discussion that PEGI is having for the moment,” they wrote. “The games industry is evolving constantly (and rapidly in recent years). As a rating organization, we need to ensure that these developments are reflected in our classification criteria. We do not base our decisions on the content of a single trailer, but we will properly assess how the rating system (and the video games industry in general) should address these concerns.”

Interestingly enough, the trailer posted by 2K Games’ United Kingdom YouTube account has since been taken down. It’s still live on the main NBA 2K YouTube channel.

NBA 2K20 launches Friday, Sept. 6 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

Source: Polygon.com

The best movies of the summer

The summer is over. Let’s not get technical with the astronomical autumn start date of Sept. 23 — as soon as the first chill set in, the breezy beach days and poolside weekends were out the door. The fall is upon us, and all we can do now is look back at all the movies we missed because we really wanted to know what Marvel added to that Avengers: Endgame re-release.

Speaking of Endgame, the biggest movie of all time (without inflation) is not, by our May-through-August standards, a summer movie. The movie is a hell of a thing and a bottomless well of post-viewing entertainment, but you won’t find it on the list. Disney thought it had it all, but Endgame won’t qualify for our best of summer list, so in the end, the movie was a failure.

With the blockbuster to end all blockbusters out of the way, the season’s movies, big and small, are finally unobscured. Here are the ones we recommend catching up with as you drink your tea, pull on your sweater, carve a pumpkin, and, uh, rake leaves maybe …

shadow: a man in a flowing white robe twirls a deadly black umbrella in the underground caven under a palace Well Go USA

Shadow (May 3)

Wuxia master Zhang Yimou (Hero) is known for capturing color, from the crimson wash of Raise the Red Lantern to the eye-popping landscapes of House of Flying Daggers. In Shadow, a reminder that not even a bloated-but-gorgeous Hollywood effort like The Great Wall can keep him down, Zhang dials back the gradient to black and white, and the result is a politically tinged martial arts epic as mesmerizing and complicated as a Rorschach. After condensing the entire run of Game of Thrones into the first hour, Zhang goes on to stage blade-wielding combat and royal court clashes on par with his early work. Devoted fans will know what to expect, but unsuspecting newcomers may melt over the sheer vision on display in this contrast-heavy return to form. —Matt Patches

Rent on Amazon

Charlize Theron as Charlotte Field, the U.S. Secretary of State, and Seth Rogen as Fred Flarsky, throw up their hands and smile Philippe Bosse/Lionsgate

Long Shot (May 3)

A movie about Charlize Theron falling for Seth Rogen could have easily fallen into the “hot lady falls for scrubby dude” trope we see over and over. But Long Shot showcases some of the best romantic chemistry of the year. The relationship between the two leads feels real, and sizzles from the very first moment they interact. Out-of-work journalist Fred Flarsky (Rogen) reconnects with his high school babysitter Charlotte Field (Theron), who incidentally is now the U.S. Secretary of State. Looking for a speechwriter to make her more relatable, Charlotte hires Fred. Their relationship evolves from aspiring presidential candidate and speechwriter, to friends with real emotional connection, to something with hints of attraction. By the time they share that first shaky kiss, it’s absolutely electric. Add the intrigue of a secret relationship, political turmoil, and a dash of crude humor, and you get the oddly heartfelt, romantic, and sexy comedy that is Long Shot. Petrana Radulovic

Rent on Amazon

detective pikachu and his pals fall back on the ground in shock after a bunch of pokemon explode out of the ground Warner Bros. Pictures

Detective Pikachu (May 17)

Detective Pikachu brings Pokémon to life like never before. Every shot of the movie oozes with the loveable pocket monsters, showing off a world where they seamlessly live alongside humans. It knows just what it is about Pokémon that has made the game franchise endure for 20 years: Pokémon are cute, Pokémon are our friends, and everyone has at least one Pokémon they will go absolutely apeshit over. The directors made it a point to integrate Pokémon from every generation — from the classic Kanto region to Hawaii-inspired Alola — to make it clear that this movie is for all Pokémon fans, no matter which game they picked up first. The plot is pretty straightforward, with a twist we saw from a million miles away, but it’s unapologetically a kids movie first and foremost, and wears that title proudly. So relax, sit back, and let childlike whimsy take you straight into the Pokémon world. —PR

Rent on Amazon

Honor Swinton Byrne’s Julie sits across from her schlubby boyfriend Anthony during a tea at a fancy restaurant in The Souvenir Agatha A. Nitecka/Sundance Institute

The Souvenir (May 17)

The new film from Joanna Hogg (Exhibition) is a barn-burner of intimate proportions. Honor Swinton Byrne — the daughter of Tilda Swinton, and proof that on-screen grace is genetic — stars as Julie, an emerging film student who falls hard for the older Anthony, an upper-crust wannabe with dangerous amounts of charm. The romance between the two is real, and so is the damage; between toxic behavior and a taste for illicit substances, Anthony erodes Julie. Hogg’s journey becomes one of lust, identity, and survival, and the painterly frames bring dimension to a relationship that, in similar stories, has been overwrought. Martin Scorsese is an executive producer on The Souvenir, a stamp of approval for any skeptics worried the film get too far under their skin (which, it will, but c’mon, get serious!).—MP

Rent on Amazon

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever hang off a pole in the middle of the road in Booksmart. United Artists Releasing

Booksmart (May 24)

Olivia Wilde’s feature directorial debut, Booksmart, deserves its comparisons to the seminal coming-of-age film Superbad, but manages to transcend them, too. After spending almost all of high school hitting the books and avowing partying, two friends (Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever) embark upon a quest to spend their last night of school doing everything they missed out on. Feldstein and Dever are perfectly matched (and believable as teenagers, as is the whole cast around them), and the film manages a perfect balance between humor and tenderness as these teenagers try to process the emotions that go hand in hand with growing up and moving onto a new phase in life. —Karen Han

Rent on Amazon

John (Egerton) in the middle of composition in Rocketman. Paramount Pictures

Rocketman (May 31)

There’s no need for Rocketman to be as good as it is. The Elton John biopic, with Kingsman star Taron Egerton playing the music legend, could have tried to coast on familiarity with John’s music, but instead focuses on crafting a story that, in the words of director Dexter Fletcher, “could have been about anybody.” Beginning with John entering into rehab before flinging us back into the singer’s adolescence and rise to fame, the film doesn’t rely on John’s music to win its audience over; rather, the singer’s tunes are the cherry on top of the cake, helping to propel the story along and showcase a remarkable performance from Egerton. —KH

Rent on Amazon

Jimmie Fails and Jonathan Majors walk down the street carrying a skateboard in The Last Black Man In San Francisco Peter Prato/A24

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (June 7)

One of the tenderest films of the year is Joe Talbot’s The Last Black Man in San Francisco, which is equal parts biography and love story. Jimmie Fails plays a version of himself in a tale based on his own life and obsession with his old family house. Jonathan Majors, as Jimmie’s best friend Monty, delivers an Oscar-worthy performance, capturing the character’s idiosyncrasies and the sometimes-whimsical tone of the film without ever pushing things into the territory of caricature. The film also touches upon the issue of gentrification and inherited trauma, wrapping it all up in the push and pull between Jimmie and Monty as it becomes clear that some things just can’t last. —KH

Rent on Amazon

Woody (Tom Hanks) and Forky (Tony Hale) on the road in the middle of the night. Disney

Toy Story 4 (June 21)

It’s become a Pixar tradition by now to focus each new movie around some sort of existential crisis, and the one at the center of Toy Story 4 is one for the ages. After being created by Bonnie at school, the newly sentient Forky (Tony Hale) repeatedly attempts to throw himself back into the trash from whence he came because he doesn’t understand why he’s alive. It’s a question that Woody (Tom Hanks) is forced to reckon with, too, as he keeps Forky from essentially committing suicide and tries to come to terms with his waning popularity with Bonnie. Things are complicated when he comes across his old flame Bo Peep (Annie Potts), who has spent the last several years living in the wilderness. It’s a joy to revisit these characters, and even more so to discover that the franchise hasn’t yet lost its edge. —KH

Currently in theaters

the leads of midsommar come upon a prismatic field of flowers and a group dancing around a maypole A24

Midsommar (July 5)

There’s a lushness to Midsommar, Ari Aster’s follow-up to Hereditary, that makes it just as wondrous as it is horrifying — not that the two are mutually exclusive. Florence Pugh’s performance as Dani, a grieving young woman whose trip with her neglectful boyfriend (Jack Reynor) and his louche friends does nothing to ease her pain, has all the force of a hurricane, especially as Midsommar ramps up in intensity. The Hårga community that they’ve chosen to visit are conducting a midsummer ritual, but all is not as it appears to be, and watching the characters’ emotional truths come bare under the pressure of the unfolding events is one of the greatest pleasures of the summer. —KH

Director’s Cut currently in theaters

Tom Holland and Jake Gyllenhaal shake hands as Spider-Man and Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home Jay Maidment/Sony Pictures

Spider-Man: Far from Home (July 5)

The latest Spider-Man movie may be the last we see of him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but more importantly, it’s the epitome of the summer blockbuster. It’s got action, it’s got romance, it’s got charming performances all around, and it’s just low-/high-stakes enough to be fun the whole way through. Tom Holland’s future as Spider-Man may be unknown at this point in time, but if there’s anything that’s certain, it’s that he’s a joy to watch as the webslinger, especially as he tries to navigate his crush on MJ (Zendaya) and his duties as a superhero at the same time. It’s a high school movie, it’s a superhero movie, it’s a rom-com, it’s a coming-of-age movie — and it’s perfect. —KH

Currently in theaters

Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) stands toe to toe with a female student at the dojo in The Art of Self-Defense Bleeker Street

The Art of Self-Defense (July 12)

The latest from Riley Stearns (Faults) dunks hard on the American hypermasculinity complex with a devilish tonal attack that lands somewhere between Wet Hot American Summer and Fight Club. Jesse Eisenberg stars as Casey, a mild-mannered office drone who floats through life with a sweet little pup by his side. But after a gang attacks him on the street, Casey recoils into a state of paranoia over his manhood, and starts life anew in a local dojo that promises lethal training, drill-sergeant discipline, and a complete lifestyle makeover. Stearns plays Eisenberg’s fish-out-of-water entry into the extracurricular for laughs, but the chauvinism on display in the martial arts microcosm gives The Art of Self-Defense greater, urgent meaning. —MP

Currently in theaters

The gathered family in The Farewell. A24

The Farewell (July 12)

There’s not a single element of Lulu Wang’s The Farewell that rings false or out of place. It’s a remarkable feat, even more so when one considers that the story being told is one ripped directly from Wang’s own life. When her grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Billie (Awkwafina) is shocked to discover that the entire rest of the family has decided to keep the diagnosis a secret, gathering in China under the pretense of a wedding rather than telling her that she’s fallen ill. Wang gracefully addresses the question of whether or not it’s the right decision, as well as the divides between being Asian, American, and Asian-American. —KH

Currently in theaters

Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) listens to Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) tell a story as the two sit at a bar in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Andrew Cooper/Sony Pictures

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (July 26)

As expected, the latest film from Quentin Tarantino has stirred up a fair amount of controversy, but no matter what side of the argument you land on — whether it’s the argument about Sharon Tate, Bruce Lee, or Tarantino’s work in general — it’s hard to deny that Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is a major work. Starring arguably the last two male movie stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, the film is a love letter to ’60s Hollywood, and surprisingly tender as far as Tarantino movies go. His love for the time — and for movies as a whole — is palpable throughout the tale of a washed-up actor trying to make a go of it in an industry that is passing him by. —KH

Currently in theaters

Surrounded by hospital staff, Fiennes (Jeff Goldblum) poses with an icepick held above a patient’s eye. Kino Lorber

The Mountain (July 26)

Fans of The Master and a certain strain of stoic cinema must seek out the latest film from Rick Alverson, which shifts gears from the hyper-irony of The Comedy and Entertainment to a historical rebuke with a more traditional structure. Jeff Goldblum stars in The Mountain as Dr. Wallace Fiennes, who, like his real-life inspiration Walter Freeman, travels from mental hospital to mental hospital “fixing” patients with lobotomies. After the death of his father, Andy (Tye Sheridan), whose own mother was institutionalized and lobotomized, joins Dr. Fiennes on his trip, a path full of devastating concessions to the romantic notion of “perfection.” Told in muted images straight out of the ’50s time period, Alverson dissects the American dream using two high-caliber actors as his surgical instruments. —MP

Currently in select theaters

a young evangelical girl prepares for her first snake handling ritual 1091 Media

Them That Follow (Aug. 2)

Set deep in Appalachia, Them That Follow revolves around a tiny sect of Evangelicals who practice snake handling: the belief that God will protect the righteous from harm by picking up venomous snakes during worship. The plot, following a preacher’s daughter who was impregnated by an excommunicated church member, is delightfully melodramatic, if a bit predictable — is there’s such a thing as Chekov’s snake? But Them That Follow is worth a watch for the stellar performances alone. Walton Goggins is equally magnetic and chilling as pastor Lemuel Childs. Jim Gaffigan gets to show off his dramatic acting chops. And Olivia Colman is just a perfect human being. I’m excited to see what writer-director team Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage do next, especially if they continue casting beloved character actors. —Emily Heller

Currently in select theaters

Grace (Samara Weaving) looks up a ladder, holding the first rung with her bloody hand in a shot from Ready or Not Eric Zachanowich/Fox Searchlight

Ready or Not (Aug. 21)

Like Cabin in the Woods meets Succession, horror-comedy Ready or Not is not subtle in its messaging: The 1% are cruel, selfish, and completely out of touch with reality. Protagonist Grace (in a star-making performance from Australian actress Samara Weaving) marries into an old-money empire, one that’s like if the Rockefellers made creepy board games. She soon discovers that this family practices some weird rituals that sometimes involve hunting down a bride on her wedding night. What follows is a deadly game of hide and seek ending in an explosive climax as Grace tries to escape her in-laws’ creepy old estate. (Special shout-out to Andie MacDowell, who seems like she’s having the time of her life as the catty, boozy matriarch.) While “rich people suck” isn’t an especially hot take in the year of our lord 2019, Ready or Not is, above all else, just a fun time at the movies. —EH

Currently in theaters

Source: Polygon.com

Reggie’s gonna teach in the Ivy League!

What’s Reggie Fils-Aimé doing now, six months after stepping down from Nintendo of America’s top job? He’s headed back to Ithaca, N.Y., where he’ll be teaching at Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. Funny thing about that, Reg, my uncle teaches in the same school, too.

Fils-Aimé announced the news via Twitter on Friday. A 1983 Cornell graduate, he is returning to campus as Dyson’s inaugural Leader in Residence, and will give his first lecture in October. The Leader in Residence serves the school’s Leadership Program for students, which seeks to foster critical thinking, behaviors and skills expected of top business leaders.

His first lecture “will share principles for you to master so you can cultivate your own leadership capability,” says the syllabus. “The principles are applicable to any situation, including now while you are a student or in your future endeavors.”

We’re betting there are more than a few Nintendo fans among Cornell’s classes of business student. Let’s not forget that, before Nintendo, Fils-Aimé had tours of duty with Pizza Hut (Bigfoot!), the folks who make Guinness beer, and VH1, products and services also widely in favor with undergraduates.

Fils-Aimé joined Nintendo in December 2003, and was the president and chief executive of Nintendo of America from 2006 until this year. He was the western face of the console maker for more than a decade, and a video gaming fan favorite for the wholesome, upbeat demeanor, self deprecation and positivity that marked his E3 showcases and Nintendo Direct appearances.

Source: Polygon.com

Everything you need to know about Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Walt Disney World

A second version of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is finally open at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. After years of waiting, guests are streaming into the 14-acre land in Orlando, Florida for the first time. Luckily, we’ve already put its West Coast clone at Disneyland through its paces. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know before you land “on planet” to visit the world of Batuu.

The door to Oga’s Cantina at Galaxy’s Edge in Anaheim, California on opening day in 2019.

Black Spire Outpost

The planet of Batuu is home to the Black Spire Outpost, a seedy little spaceport on the edge of the known galaxy. The land is roughly divided into three parts, one controlled by the Resistance, another by the First Order, and a more cosmopolitan space in between. Themed shopping and dining opportunities are available in all three.

Be sure to dress accordingly. That means protecting yourself from the sun, but also knowing that you can’t wear a costume if you’re aged 14 years or older — not even the ones you can buy in the park.

Access to the land is expected to be available to any Disney World guests with tickets to Hollywood Studios. However, anticipate a kind of virtual queuing system to be put in place. Your best bet is to download the My Disney Experience mobile app. With that same tool you can also manage your FastPass+ rides, character experiences, and meals throughout your trip.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge - Millennium Falcon

Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run

Job one during your visit will be to hitch a ride on the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon. Don’t rush. In our experience the wait times have hovered around 60 minutes at Disneyland, and the extra capacity expected at Galaxy’s Edge in Orlando should help mitigate the wait. The in-line experience itself is worth the wait, including detailed props and a recreation of the iconic lounge area inside the ship itself.

Be sure to download and install the Play Disney Parks app ahead of time, since there’s an extensive quest that you can only complete while waiting in line. You can also earn points based on your performance on the ride itself that can increase your rank with the various factions around Batuu.

Inside Oga’s Cantina in Anaheim, California the back of the bar looks straight out of Mos Eisley, including tureens that look like the heads of IG-series droids — just like in the original movie.

Oga’s Cantina

Getting the opportunity to visit the cantina at Galaxy’s Edge may actually be a bit more dicey than riding Han Solo’s ship. We recommend keeping tabs on the Play Disney Parks app and watching the wait times for Oga’s Cantina like a hawk. There may also be opportunities to grab a FastPass+ for certain times of the day, including breakfast, which includes small portion meals and alcoholic drinks.

Spit-roasted ronto at Galaxy’s Edge in Anaheim, California on opening day in 2019. Galaxy’s Edge

Food and drink

Eating and drinking at Galaxy’s Edge is an adventure in and of itself, and includes just as much theming as other areas of the park. Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo is the place to go with a family, since it offers sit-down dining and a decent selection of food for the entire crew. For smaller groups on the go, hit up Ronto Roasters for a wrap. There’s also the Milk Stand, offering “imported” blue Bantha milk from Tatooine and green Thala-Siren milk from Ach-To. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t quite taste the way you expect it to.

App-based food and beverage ordering was recently added to the My Disney Experience Mobile App, so use that system to your advantage to maximize your downtime waiting in lines or moving between attractions.

A view of the marketplace at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on opening day in Anaheim, California. Moroccan-inspired lighting hangs overhead, mixed with technical baubles from the Star Wars universe.

Shopping

The epicenter for shopping at Galaxy’s Edge is in the Marketplace. That’s where you’ll find open air stalls like the Toydarian Toymaker selling children’s toys and games, Jewels of Bith selling mugs and pins, and even the Creature Stall where you can purchase your own Kowakian Monkey-Lizard puppet. There are also themed shops and stalls in the Resistance and First Order areas of the park.

The main attraction, however, is Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. Part museum, part high-end retailer, the shop is still worth a visit, even if you’re not looking to spend hundreds on screen-accurate lightsaber replicas. Check our our complete guide to Dok-Ondar’s for exhaustive details about the bits of lore hanging on the walls.

Chris Plante vamps with his new lightsaber inside the lounge of the Millennium Falcon during a special press preview of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Anaheim, California in 2019.

Savi’s Workshop

Speaking of lightsabers, we’ve already visited Savi’s Workshop and built our own. The small-group experience only manages to serve a few dozen guests every hour, so if you can grab a FastPass+ ahead of time you can save yourself a lot of trouble.

However, know that Savi likes to keep a low profile. Many park maps don’t even show where his workshop is located. Take our advice and start asking any cast members you can find where to get the best “junk” and they might be able to tip you off on where to find him.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge - building an R2 droid

Droid Depot

Another unique retail experience is called the Droid Depot. That’s where you can build your own custom R-series or B-series droids. The $99 units interact with the park itself, reacting to the different areas that you visit. So pick up a backpack and strap on your new little buddy so he can participate in the adventure all day.

Purple lights reflect from a TIE Echelon during a special press preview of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land in 2019.

Live shows

Speaking of participation, know that every single Disney cast member that you meet will have their own unique backstory related to Batuu. Spend your time in line chatting them up about their sympathies toward the Resistance or the First Order.

There aren’t any traditional character meet-and-greets inside Galaxy’s Edge, so don’t expect to spend time in line waiting to get your picture taken with Rey. Instead, look for characters like super spy Vi Moradi, Chewbacca, and Kylo Ren wandering the park and interacting with guests along the way. It’s all part of a canonical story set in the larger Star Wars Universe.

Be sure to check with the cast to learn when the twice daily shows — which include special effects like blaster fire and pyrotechnics — will be happening around the park. Expect to find them on stage in front of the TIE Echelon spaceship parked in the First Order area, and on top of the speeder garage.

an interior shot of Rise of the Resistance, which features an army of stormtroopers in a vast spaceship-like space
The first image, a photograph, released from inside Rise of the Resistance at Galaxy’s Edge in Orlando.
Photo: Joshua Sudock/Disney Parks

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Last, and definitely not least, know that the biggest attraction at Galaxy’s Edge hasn’t even opened yet. It’s called Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and it’s reportedly more ambitious than any amusement park ride that’s ever come before.

Rise of the Resistance enlists guests as recruits fighting against the First Order. The journey begins when they board a transport shuttle in the wooded area of the land, similar to the one seen carrying General Leia Organa into the Battle on Takodana in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As the ride progresses, the First Order captures guests and brings them aboard a Star Destroyer. At that point, they’re treated to a space battle raging outside a large hangar bay, complete with at least one life-sized TIE fighter in the foreground. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s reportedly four different rides in one, and by far one of the longest experiences that Disney has ever created.

Sadly, Rise of the Resistance doesn’t open in Orlando until December. Fans can experience the same attraction at Disneyland in January.

For all of Polygon’s coverage of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, including more tips and tricks as well as analysis and interviews, see our dedicated guide.

Source: Polygon.com

Anodyne 2 And Eliza Are Just Some Of The Amazing Games You Missed Last Month

August might have kept you busy with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Control and Astral Chain–all great games that can suck your life away. But as the year ticks along, plenty of great, smaller games with stellar ideas and executions come out, especially on PC, and they won’t eat up dozens of hours if you’re looking for something fresh. But they’re easy to miss.

There are a lot of games out there, and we sure do play a lot of them. We’ve picked three standout games from August that which really sparked our interest and really captured our attention. They’re games that might usually fly under most people’s radar, but still great experiences in their own right, so if any of them sound up your alley, know that they have our hearty recommendation.


A Short Hike (PC)

If A Short Hike has a central theme, it’s that kindness is rewarded. In other words, be nice to those you meet and nice things will also come your way. It’s a lovely little game that will either make you feel better about the world or provide you with a brief escape from these dark, chaotic times.

You play as Claire, a teen bird who is camping at a national park managed by her aunt while she awaits a very important phone call. Trouble is, reception is non-existent so Claire must hike to higher ground, all the way to the summit of the tallest mountain peak in the park. Though she may be a bird, Claire can’t ascend during flight; she can only glide in a gentle descent, making said hike somewhat more circuitous than you might expect. She can climb though, and so much of her time is spent exploring the woods, lakes, and beaches of the park in search of the golden feather collectibles that boost her stamina and allow her to scramble up ever higher surfaces.

On her trek, Claire meets a cast of adorable animals who are likewise visiting the park, many of whom ask her for a favor–to find something valuable to them or maybe to just hang out for a little bit. These cheerful encounters work hand in hand with Claire’s exploration, sometimes rewarding her with the items she needs to journey further afield, other times encouraging her to slow down and breathe in the clean mountain air.

Running, climbing, gliding–and occasionally digging, watering and fishing–through the park’s sprawling, looping network of obvious and not-so-obvious pathways is a heart-warming experience. Revealing new corners of the pleasingly chunky, vividly colored, lo-fi parkland is a constant delight matched by the satisfaction of having performed good deeds for good creatures every step of the way.

Finding phone reception is a MacGuffin that actually pays off in a sincere and touching conclusion, after which you’re free to continue wandering the park to your heart’s desire. A Short Hike is honestly a misnomer. It’s more like a day trip that you’ll want to never end.

It’s Like: Breath of the Wild’s climbing and gliding mechanics dropped into a walking simulator with the cast of Animal Crossing.

You can find A Short Hike on Steam and Itch.io


Anodyne 2: Return To Dust (PC)

In Anodyne 2, dust is a catch-all metaphor. For repressed grief, for ennui, for illness, for denial, for confusion. For whatever is dragging us down, holding us back, stopping us from moving on. Dust is depicted as a plague, its nano particles clogging up the internal thoroughfares–both mental and physical–of those it has infected. As Nova, a so-called nano cleaner, you are tasked with eradicating such dust and healing the afflicted, and perhaps yourself in the process.

The first Anodyne (released in 2013) told its tales of personal trauma via a reimagining of an NES-era action-RPG. In this far more ambitious sequel the nostalgic palette is broader, expanding its sources of inspiration to encompass not just The Legend of Zelda but late ‘80s PC RPGs like the Ultima series, SNES era JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, and even the early forays into 3D platforming on the N64 and PlayStation. One moment you’re driving across the lo-fi dunes of a bleak desert, later you’re in a top-down pixel-art Ren Fair castle while in between you’ve starred in a wrestling show and run the gauntlet of a survival horror chase through the isometric maze of your apartment building. To call Anodyne 2 eclectic is perhaps an understatement.

Genre mashups can often have a hard time holding it all together. They can suffer from too many incompatible parts pulling in different directions. But Anodyne 2 finds a throughline in Nova. It’s her slow journey of self-discovery, even more so than the myriad side stories she intersects in her dust-busting capacity, that brings every perspective shift or gameplay refresh into focus.

Things can get ugly at times–in a graphical fidelity sense and in terms of the raw emotions at stake–but despite the stylistic detours and tonal swings, Anodyne 2 retains an unfaltering commitment to exploring the very real, very relatable struggles of day to day human life. By turns dark, funny, confronting, empathetic and inexplicable, it’s a defiantly weird game that will keep surprising you until the end.

It’s Like: The Legend of Zelda and Banjo-Kazooie pay a visit to the Psychonauts.

You can find Anodyne 2: Return To Dust on Steam and Itch.io


Eliza (PC)

Eliza, the new game from developer Zachtronics, best known for procedural puzzle games like Infinifactory and Opus Magnum, is a tight, thought-provoking visual novel that connects the dots of our disconnected world, tracing a path through the alienation of social media, big data, the gig economy, startup culture, privacy, gentrification and more.

Developed in the 1960s, ELIZA was a real-world, early attempt at programming a computer to speak with a user in what felt like natural language. It wasn’t an AI–it was more like a bot; it couldn’t learn, but rather called upon canned responses based on keywords and patterns entered by the user. ELIZA’s designer even wrote a script that mocked the popular conception of a psychotherapist, specifically the technique of reflecting a patient’s answer back at them in the form of a question. “And why do you think that you’re ripe for parody?”

Here, Eliza speculates a future version of the program that now operates as a therapist, harvesting data from its users in an effort to learn how to help them and make the world a better place, at least in theory, at least. Evelyn she isn’t so sure. She’s the former chief engineer at Skandha, the company responsible for Eliza, who left her job three years ago and has spent the intervening years battling depression.

Evelyn has returned to Skandha, almost incognito, to work as a “proxy,” people employed to read Eliza’s words to clients in order to give the appearance of the human touch. Proxies can’t deviate from the Eliza script, much like the gameplay. Evelyn’s story is a series of conversations in which dialogue options, where there are any, mostly exist to give you a moment to reflect on the issues being examined. In the final chapter, Evelyn is faced with a few choices that affect the outcome, but until that point many of the things you can have her say are deliberately non-committal.

It works though, because the game’s writer, Matthew Seiji Burns, is genuinely interested in understanding not just where AI is taking us, but how and why it’s taking us there, and maybe whether we should pause to consider whether there are other destinations we–that’s “we” as in the human race, not the technocrat class–might prefer.

It’s Like: If the movie Her was a visual novel that really made you think.

You can find Eliza on Steam.

Source: GameSpot.com

Three Amazing Games You Missed This Month

August might have kept you busy with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Control and Astral Chain–all great games that can suck your life away. But as the year ticks along, plenty of great, smaller games with stellar ideas and executions come out, especially on PC, and they won’t eat up dozens of hours if you’re looking for something fresh. But they’re easy to miss.

There are a lot of games out there, and we sure do play a lot of them. We’ve picked three standout games from August that which really sparked our interest and really captured our attention. They’re games that might usually fly under most people’s radar, but still great experiences in their own right, so if any of them sound up your alley, know that they have our hearty recommendation.


A Short Hike (PC)

If A Short Hike has a central theme, it’s that kindness is rewarded. In other words, be nice to those you meet and nice things will also come your way. It’s a lovely little game that will either make you feel better about the world or provide you with a brief escape from these dark, chaotic times.

You play as Claire, a teen bird who is camping at a national park managed by her aunt while she awaits a very important phone call. Trouble is, reception is non-existent so Claire must hike to higher ground, all the way to the summit of the tallest mountain peak in the park. Though she may be a bird, Claire can’t ascend during flight; she can only glide in a gentle descent, making said hike somewhat more circuitous than you might expect. She can climb though, and so much of her time is spent exploring the woods, lakes, and beaches of the park in search of the golden feather collectibles that boost her stamina and allow her to scramble up ever higher surfaces.

On her trek, Claire meets a cast of adorable animals who are likewise visiting the park, many of whom ask her for a favor–to find something valuable to them or maybe to just hang out for a little bit. These cheerful encounters work hand in hand with Claire’s exploration, sometimes rewarding her with the items she needs to journey further afield, other times encouraging her to slow down and breathe in the clean mountain air.

Running, climbing, gliding–and occasionally digging, watering and fishing–through the park’s sprawling, looping network of obvious and not-so-obvious pathways is a heart-warming experience. Revealing new corners of the pleasingly chunky, vividly colored, lo-fi parkland is a constant delight matched by the satisfaction of having performed good deeds for good creatures every step of the way.

Finding phone reception is a MacGuffin that actually pays off in a sincere and touching conclusion, after which you’re free to continue wandering the park to your heart’s desire. A Short Hike is honestly a misnomer. It’s more like a day trip that you’ll want to never end.

It’s Like: Breath of the Wild’s climbing and gliding mechanics dropped into a walking simulator with the cast of Animal Crossing.

You can find A Short Hike on Steam and Itch.io


Anodyne 2: Return To Dust (PC)

In Anodyne 2, dust is a catch-all metaphor. For repressed grief, for ennui, for illness, for denial, for confusion. For whatever is dragging us down, holding us back, stopping us from moving on. Dust is depicted as a plague, its nano particles clogging up the internal thoroughfares–both mental and physical–of those it has infected. As Nova, a so-called nano cleaner, you are tasked with eradicating such dust and healing the afflicted, and perhaps yourself in the process.

The first Anodyne (released in 2013) told its tales of personal trauma via a reimagining of an NES-era action-RPG. In this far more ambitious sequel the nostalgic palette is broader, expanding its sources of inspiration to encompass not just The Legend of Zelda but late ‘80s PC RPGs like the Ultima series, SNES era JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, and even the early forays into 3D platforming on the N64 and PlayStation. One moment you’re driving across the lo-fi dunes of a bleak desert, later you’re in a top-down pixel-art Ren Fair castle while in between you’ve starred in a wrestling show and run the gauntlet of a survival horror chase through the isometric maze of your apartment building. To call Anodyne 2 eclectic is perhaps an understatement.

Genre mashups can often have a hard time holding it all together. They can suffer from too many incompatible parts pulling in different directions. But Anodyne 2 finds a throughline in Nova. It’s her slow journey of self-discovery, even more so than the myriad side stories she intersects in her dust-busting capacity, that brings every perspective shift or gameplay refresh into focus.

Things can get ugly at times–in a graphical fidelity sense and in terms of the raw emotions at stake–but despite the stylistic detours and tonal swings, Anodyne 2 retains an unfaltering commitment to exploring the very real, very relatable struggles of day to day human life. By turns dark, funny, confronting, empathetic and inexplicable, it’s a defiantly weird game that will keep surprising you until the end.

It’s Like: The Legend of Zelda and Banjo-Kazooie pay a visit to the Psychonauts.

You can find Anodyne 2: Return To Dust on Steam and Itch.io


Eliza (PC)

Eliza, the new game from developer Zachtronics, best known for procedural puzzle games like Infinifactory and Opus Magnum, is a tight, thought-provoking visual novel that connects the dots of our disconnected world, tracing a path through the alienation of social media, big data, the gig economy, startup culture, privacy, gentrification and more.

Developed in the 1960s, ELIZA was a real-world, early attempt at programming a computer to speak with a user in what felt like natural language. It wasn’t an AI–it was more like a bot; it couldn’t learn, but rather called upon canned responses based on keywords and patterns entered by the user. ELIZA’s designer even wrote a script that mocked the popular conception of a psychotherapist, specifically the technique of reflecting a patient’s answer back at them in the form of a question. “And why do you think that you’re ripe for parody?”

Here, Eliza speculates a future version of the program that now operates as a therapist, harvesting data from its users in an effort to learn how to help them and make the world a better place, at least in theory, at least. Evelyn she isn’t so sure. She’s the former chief engineer at Skandha, the company responsible for Eliza, who left her job three years ago and has spent the intervening years battling depression.

Evelyn has returned to Skandha, almost incognito, to work as a “proxy,” people employed to read Eliza’s words to clients in order to give the appearance of the human touch. Proxies can’t deviate from the Eliza script, much like the gameplay. Evelyn’s story is a series of conversations in which dialogue options, where there are any, mostly exist to give you a moment to reflect on the issues being examined. In the final chapter, Evelyn is faced with a few choices that affect the outcome, but until that point many of the things you can have her say are deliberately non-committal.

It works though, because the game’s writer, Matthew Seiji Burns, is genuinely interested in understanding not just where AI is taking us, but how and why it’s taking us there, and maybe whether we should pause to consider whether there are other destinations we–that’s “we” as in the human race, not the technocrat class–might prefer.

It’s Like: If the movie Her was a visual novel that really made you think.

You can find Eliza on Steam.

Source: GameSpot.com

Three Excellent PC Games You Missed This Month

August had Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Control and Astral Chain. All great games that can suck your life away. But as the year ticks along, plenty of great, smaller games with stellar ideas and executions come out, especially on PC, and they won’t eat up dozens of hours if you’re looking for something fresh. But they’re easy to miss.

There are a lot of games out there, and we sure do play a lot of them. We’ve picked three standout games from August that which really sparked our interest and really captured our attention. They’re games that might usually fly under most people’s radar, but still great experiences in their own right, so if any of them sound up your alley, know that they have our hearty recommendation.


A Short Hike (PC)

If A Short Hike has a central theme, it’s that kindness is rewarded. In other words, be nice to those you meet and nice things will also come your way. It’s a lovely little game that will either make you feel better about the world or provide you with a brief escape from these dark, chaotic times.

You play as Claire, a teen bird who is camping at a national park managed by her aunt while she awaits a very important phone call. Trouble is, reception is non-existent so Claire must hike to higher ground, all the way to the summit of the tallest mountain peak in the park. Though she may be a bird, Claire can’t ascend during flight; she can only glide in a gentle descent, making said hike somewhat more circuitous than you might expect. She can climb though, and so much of her time is spent exploring the woods, lakes, and beaches of the park in search of the golden feather collectibles that boost her stamina and allow her to scramble up ever higher surfaces.

On her trek, Claire meets a cast of adorable animals who are likewise visiting the park, many of whom ask her for a favor–to find something valuable to them or maybe to just hang out for a little bit. These cheerful encounters work hand in hand with Claire’s exploration, sometimes rewarding her with the items she needs to journey further afield, other times encouraging her to slow down and breathe in the clean mountain air.

Running, climbing, gliding–and occasionally digging, watering and fishing–through the park’s sprawling, looping network of obvious and not-so-obvious pathways is a heart-warming experience. Revealing new corners of the pleasingly chunky, vividly colored, lo-fi parkland is a constant delight matched by the satisfaction of having performed good deeds for good creatures every step of the way.

Finding phone reception is a MacGuffin that actually pays off in a sincere and touching conclusion, after which you’re free to continue wandering the park to your heart’s desire. A Short Hike is honestly a misnomer. It’s more like a day trip that you’ll want to never end.

It’s Like: Breath of the Wild’s climbing and gliding mechanics dropped into a walking simulator with the cast of Animal Crossing.

You can find A Short Hike on Steam and Itch.io


Anodyne 2: Return To Dust (PC)

In Anodyne 2, dust is a catch-all metaphor. For repressed grief, for ennui, for illness, for denial, for confusion. For whatever is dragging us down, holding us back, stopping us from moving on. Dust is depicted as a plague, its nano particles clogging up the internal thoroughfares–both mental and physical–of those it has infected. As Nova, a so-called nano cleaner, you are tasked with eradicating such dust and healing the afflicted, and perhaps yourself in the process.

The first Anodyne (released in 2013) told its tales of personal trauma via a reimagining of an NES-era action-RPG. In this far more ambitious sequel the nostalgic palette is broader, expanding its sources of inspiration to encompass not just The Legend of Zelda but late ‘80s PC RPGs like the Ultima series, SNES era JRPGs like Chrono Trigger, and even the early forays into 3D platforming on the N64 and PlayStation. One moment you’re driving across the lo-fi dunes of a bleak desert, later you’re in a top-down pixel-art Ren Fair castle while in between you’ve starred in a wrestling show and run the gauntlet of a survival horror chase through the isometric maze of your apartment building. To call Anodyne 2 eclectic is perhaps an understatement.

Genre mashups can often have a hard time holding it all together. They can suffer from too many incompatible parts pulling in different directions. But Anodyne 2 finds a throughline in Nova. It’s her slow journey of self-discovery, even more so than the myriad side stories she intersects in her dust-busting capacity, that brings every perspective shift or gameplay refresh into focus.

Things can get ugly at times–in a graphical fidelity sense and in terms of the raw emotions at stake–but despite the stylistic detours and tonal swings, Anodyne 2 retains an unfaltering commitment to exploring the very real, very relatable struggles of day to day human life. By turns dark, funny, confronting, empathetic and inexplicable, it’s a defiantly weird game that will keep surprising you until the end.

It’s Like: The Legend of Zelda and Banjo-Kazooie pay a visit to the Psychonauts.

You can find Anodyne 2: Return To Dust on Steam and Itch.io


Eliza (PC)

Eliza, the new game from developer Zachtronics, best known for procedural puzzle games like Infinifactory and Opus Magnum, is a tight, thought-provoking visual novel that connects the dots of our disconnected world, tracing a path through the alienation of social media, big data, the gig economy, startup culture, privacy, gentrification and more.

Developed in the 1960s, ELIZA was a real-world, early attempt at programming a computer to speak with a user in what felt like natural language. It wasn’t an AI–it was more like a bot; it couldn’t learn, but rather called upon canned responses based on keywords and patterns entered by the user. ELIZA’s designer even wrote a script that mocked the popular conception of a psychotherapist, specifically the technique of reflecting a patient’s answer back at them in the form of a question. “And why do you think that you’re ripe for parody?”

Here, Eliza speculates a future version of the program that now operates as a therapist, harvesting data from its users in an effort to learn how to help them and make the world a better place, at least in theory, at least. Evelyn she isn’t so sure. She’s the former chief engineer at Skandha, the company responsible for Eliza, who left her job three years ago and has spent the intervening years battling depression.

Evelyn has returned to Skandha, almost incognito, to work as a “proxy,” people employed to read Eliza’s words to clients in order to give the appearance of the human touch. Proxies can’t deviate from the Eliza script, much like the gameplay. Evelyn’s story is a series of conversations in which dialogue options, where there are any, mostly exist to give you a moment to reflect on the issues being examined. In the final chapter, Evelyn is faced with a few choices that affect the outcome, but until that point many of the things you can have her say are deliberately non-committal.

It works though, because the game’s writer, Matthew Seiji Burns, is genuinely interested in understanding not just where AI is taking us, but how and why it’s taking us there, and maybe whether we should pause to consider whether there are other destinations we–that’s “we” as in the human race, not the technocrat class–might prefer.

It’s Like: If the movie Her was a visual novel that really made you think.

You can find Eliza on Steam.

Source: GameSpot.com

The gut-wrenching predictions of Satoshi Kon’s masterpiece Perfect Blue came true

In 1999, Satoshi Kon released his first feature, Perfect Blue, into U.S. theaters. The film would mark the beginning of an illustrious yet tragically short career of animated films that tapped into societal obsession and isolation, themes that still resonate today. Kon’s work, especially Perfect Blue, dove into what it means to have two personalities: one presented to the public and the “real” self.

Released at the cusp of widespread Internet usage, Perfect Blue anticipated how the online space would be used to manipulate and scare people, especially through stalking. Kon also addressed growing concerns around otaku, or young people who are obsessed with some aspect of pop culture, and how their obsessions could only be fueled by the access granted by the Internet. In 2019, Kon’s film is more relevant than ever: every celebrity’s action is scrutinized, women with an online presence are thought of as commodities, and everyone has two personalities to juggle day in and day out.

Perfect Blue follows Mima as she transitions from pop star idol to serious actress. She began her career in the girl group, CHAM, where she attracts the attention of thousands of male fans. But when she leaves the group to pursue a new line of work, those men grow angry. They dissect her acting jobs and chastise her choices. The angriest of all is her stalker, Me-Mania, a repulsive character whose room is plastered with photos of Mima. He creates a blog called Mima’s Room where he pretends to be writing posts by the young woman. Mima, having just received a computer, is learning how to operate the Internet and stumbles upon this site. As soon as she begins reading Mima’s Room — paired with her new role on the crime show Double Bind — her grip on what is real and what isn’t slips away.

mimia in perfect blue gasping over her own reflection GKids

In navigating what the Internet could mean for the future, Kon tapped into male obsession with the female body and a presumed ownership over women they’ve never met. The introduction of CHAM in the film’s opening moments set up this relationship between male fan and female star. Groups of otaku are seen milling around before a CHAM show, buying fanzines, scouring the Internet for news about the group, sharing videos of past concerts, and gossiping about Mima. These groups of otaku, all male, are shown throughout the film, providing a look inside the mind of an obsessed fan and how Mima’s actions are perceived by strangers. As the show starts, crowds of men armed with video cameras cheer for CHAM as they all collectively gaze at Mima and her group mates’ young bodies.

CHAM’s fans brag about attending almost all of the group’s concerts and feel, due to their support, that they are owed a say in each girl’s career moves. In one specific instance, Mima decides to film a rape scene for Double Bind. Her manager warns against it, saying it will destroy her career and her innocent persona that has earned her so much attention. Unfortunately, her manager isn’t wrong and the gossiping otaku are shown scoffing as Mima’s choice.

We see this idea of ownership that men exert over female bodies more and more, particularly when it comes to female online personalities. Twitch streamer Amouranth suffered fans’ wrath after they found out she was married. Amouranth gained quite a large Twitch following but once it was revealed she had a husband, followers were enraged and doxxed her. They thought, since she had never mentioned she was married, she was single and therefore more available. They felt betrayed. Her mod even explicitly told her that he thought since she was single that he had a chance with her. Amouranth made a comment about the controversy and sarcastically said, “Haven’t you heard the news? Every female on the internet is eligible to be dated by people who see her. She’s an eligible candidate for every person who sees her. That is the law of the land.”

In Perfect Blue, Kon imagines the worst-case scenario: Me-Mania, who goes to disturbing lengths to claim Mima as his own, and causes her to slip into an unsafe mental state, one full of fear and confusion where she is not sure who she is anymore. Even in the ‘90s, Kon saw the issues of obsession with J-Pop groups and examined how that obsession would only grow with the help of the Internet. Not much has changed when you look at the current K-Pop sensation, BTS. The group is revered around the world, and has become a content-creating machine, fueled by an army of fans who demand access to all aspects of their lives. Like the CHAM-obsessed otaku, the ARMY — what BTS fans call themselves — pick over the group’s music, photos, and videos. The behavior of the ARMY mirrors the opening scene of Perfect Blue: fans scouring the Internet for information, swapping stories, and scrutinizing career choices. The members of BTS even have numerous stalkers, some who operate fan sites that include paparazzi-like images of the group. The concept of Mima’s room, one site operated by one stalker, has blossomed into a web of obsession that stretches across the Internet as we know it today.

mima streaks blood down her face with a white glove, while staring directly at camera Gkids

While the public does not have true access to BTS’ private lives and cannot truly know how such attention has affected their mental states, there is no doubting the pressure fans put on its members. It’s becoming corporate practice for groups such as BTS to cultivate ravenous fans through nonstop content creation, from new songs, videos, and even apps, not unlike the inner workings of Japanese media seen through Mima’s own career negotiations. The world of Perfect Blue exists at the cusp of such practices, where young people are manipulated into idealized images that can be spread among fans like wildfire.

However, even those of us who engage with social media experience a little sliver of what it means to be Mima. We curate our lives and present them online as perfect moments of what we want people to assume are beautiful lives. We are all Mima riding the train, looking out the window and seeing a reflection of her popstar persona. Deep down, we want to please those who look at our Instagram grids, Facebook page, and Twitter timeline. Influencers research how to create the perfect Instagram layout, painstakingly editing images to make sure they all achieve the same lighting, hues, and contrast. Just as Mima begins to lose grip of her reality, we are also lured into another place where everyone has the perfect job, relationship, pet, and life. We slip into a realm of anxiety, trying to prove ourselves to those on our feed.

Social media culture is an exponentially larger version of the world Kon envisioned with Perfect Blue. Despite creating the film at the dawn of the modern internet, Kon tapped into the dangers of technological fantasy and the damage it does to the obsessor and the targets of their obsession. In a world dominated by social media clout and follower counts, Perfect Blue scratched the surface of a digitally saturated culture that would blur the line between online personas and reality. From K-Pop fandoms to the daily ritual of posting on social media, Mima’s world has become our own. We all live in Mima’s room.

Source: Polygon.com

Bulletstorm: Duke Of Switch Edition Is Out Now

The Nintendo Switch has suddenly gotten a little more M-rated with the surprise-release of Bulletstorm. The Bulletstorm: Duke of Switch Edition, previously announced for the summer, is now available on the eshop for $30.

As you may expect from the name, this version of Bulletstorm includes all the remastered “Full Clip” update from 2017, including the ability to play as Duke Nukem. The game was known for its crass humor and let’s say creative use of profanity, so Duke fit right in.

Bulletstorm’s gameplay hook was a tether mechanic, which allowed you to bounce enemies back and forth like yo-yos as you dealt damage and racked up score bonuses. GameSpot’s Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition review, awarded the remaster an 8/10.

“The experience absolutely holds up: the skillshot system remains wildly fun and inventive, the weapons are still a gruesome joy, and the writing…well, it’s as distinctive as ever,” Scott Butterworth wrote. “If you missed Bulletstorm when it originally released–and based on sales numbers, you probably did–now’s the time to treat yourself to a clever if cringe-worthy blockbuster.”

Source: GameSpot.com

Cyberpunk 2077’s Weapon Customization Looks Surprisingly Deep

Like CD Projekt Red’s previous games, there are tons of ways to customize your character in Cyberpunk 2077 to suit your liking. This level of personalization even stretches into the game’s various gun types, which come in three unique flavors.

When it comes to customizing guns, there are two significant ways to do so. First, you can change your gun’s appearance by applying different skins or paint jobs. In contrast, the most meaningful way to customize your gun is by applying attachments and modifications, such as silencers and scopes. You can also specifically boost a gun’s specific individual statistics.

Aside from customization, it’s worth noting as your proficiency with specific guns increases, your reloading and shooting animations change. For example, your crosshair might become smaller, indicating that your accuracy is improving, or your reloading animation becomes faster. According to senior level designer Miles Tost, this was implemented to better feed into your character’s growth.

“You really get this sense of progression and your character evolving as you play the game,” said Tost. “I think that’s a special experience when you combine it with the way you customize your gun where you get this feeling that this is your signature gun and that you’re really good at using it.”

We learned a ton of new details about Cyberpunk 2077 during its recent deep-dive stream, including more information about how non-lethal playthroughs will work, the three different playstyles, and more. If you’re keen to grab the game, be sure to check out our Cyberpunk 2077 pre-order guide.

Cyberpunk 2077 is launching on April 16, 2020, for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Source: GameSpot.com