Game Freak announced Thursday that versions for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One will launch later this year. Rising Star Games is developing the port, which will add 20 more puzzle stages, a harder Ironman mode and a new companion character. Physical versions for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch will also be available.
Giga Wrecker is a Metroidvania where players solve puzzles to further the game’s sci-fi story, in which the world has been invaded by evil robots and left in ruins. The hero, a cyborg named Reike, can construct various weapons from the rubble to help her navigate the puzzles. Shinji Hosoe, the composer of soundtracks for Ridge Racer and Tekken, composed the music for Giga Wrecker.
The game was born of Game Freak’s internal “Gear Project” initiative, which encourages developers to form teams and submit proposals for games to make. The studio has developed and published three other games, including 2015’s Tembo the Badass Elephant, this way.
The Future Stars for FIFA 19’s Ultimate Team are here. EA announced the full lineup on Friday morning, revealing all 21 of the players that are on this year’s opening list.
Future Stars are players that EA has determined are likely to be superstars, and in anticipation of their rise to the top, has given their Ultimate Team cards a bit of a stat boost. The lineup includes players from all around the world, each 23 years old or younger. All 21 of the stars will be available in a Future Stars pack that will be released for a limited time sometime in the near future.
According to EA’s announcement of the lineup, six more will also be joining the ranks of these Future Stars sometime during the season. The final new addition will be voted on by fans, who can log in between 1 p.m. EST on Jan. 19 and 1 p.m. on Jan. 21 in order to vote for one of Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace), Allan Saint-Maximin (OGC Nice), Reiss Nelson (TSG Hoffenheim), Krzysztof Piatek (Genoa), or Brahim Diaz (Real Madrid) to join the roster of this year’s Future Stars.
For a full list of this year’s Future Stars, their positions, and the teams they currently play for, check bellow.
Vinicius Junior, left winger – Real Madrid
Matthijs de Ligt, center back – Ajax
Houssem Aouar, central midfielder – Olympique Lyonnais
Alban Lafont, goalkeeper – ACF Fiorentina
Jadon Sancho, right winger – Borussia Dortmund
Arthur Melo, central midfielder – FC Barcelona
Kai Havertz, central attacking midfielder – Bayer Leverkusen
Trent Alexander-Arnold, right back – Liverpool
Patrick Cutrone, striker – AC Milan
Rodrigo Bentancur, central midfielder – Juventus
Phil Folden, central attacking midfielder – Manchester City
It’s cold out here in the northern part of the country as we head into the dead of winter, with a major winter storm on the way reaching from California to Maine. A perfect time, in other words, to get snowed in and cozy up to the Frosty Faustings event taking place this weekend that’s bursting at the seams with random fighting game tournaments.
Frosty Faustings is a sprawling fighting game event based in Elmhurst, Illinois and now in its 11th year that features prize pools across dozens of tournaments. Top billing goes to Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2, an excellent anime fighter that rarely gets its due at larger events dominated by the likes of Street Fighter and Tekken. BlazeBlue Cross Tag Battle and BlazBlue: Central Fiction will also be on display at Faustings, as well as more obscure games like Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[ST]. Yes, that’s the name of a game and not my cat walking across my keyboard.
A special shoutout needs to go to the event’s Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars tournament. Among the 30 other competitions going on this weekend, the Faustings organizers managed to fit in one of the most oddball but underrated fighting games of the 2000s, pitting Capcom icons against the more obscure characters starring in classic Tatsunoko anime series like Casshan, Teknoman, and G-Force: Guardians of Space, the plots of which are too wild and contain too much energy to be described in this particular post.
Ever wanted to see Mega Man’s sister, Roll, beat the crap out of Yatterman-1 from the series Yatterman! Gan Takada? TvC has you covered. Did I mention that the game only released on the Wii? Fortunately, it supports fight sticks and GameCube controllers in addition to the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Unfortunately, Capcom’s licensing deal with Tatsunoko lapsed sometime in 2012, so we never got a sequel. Where there’s anime, there’s hope, though.
Matches across all of Faustings’ tournaments started today, with top eight brackets for some of them taking place this evening while the rest are slated to finish up Saturday night. You can find a complete schedule of all the matches over on the event’s website. A lot of the bigger tournaments, as well as TvC, will be hosted on Will English’s Twitch channel.
Elsewhere in the world of esports this weekend, the group stage gets underway in Dota 2’s The Chongqing Major, that game’s first big tournament of 2019. Matches start at 9:00 p.m. ET tonight, followed by the next round at the same time on Saturday night. You can watch that event on Dota Starladder’s Twitch channel.
Finally, Hearthstone may be stagnating a little but it’s far from dying, something that can’t be said of all card games. This weekend, the top players from the Americas will face off in the Winter playoffs. Matches start at 11:00 a.m. ET on the Saturday and end at 11:00 p.m. before resuming across the same hours on Sunday. The entire event will be streaming live on Blizzard’s Hearthstone Twitch channel. If you want to get a feel for the current meta and what decks will be big at the event, Hearthstone podcaster and analyst Steve Lubitz has an interesting breakdown of what all the big competitors are currently playing over on his blog. Hint: Hunter secret decks remain very popular at the moment.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection just got an update that will make the aiming controls of the legacy titles in the anthology respond more like they do in modern games.
“Modern aiming” is meant to address player feedback that the aim acceleration in The Master Chief Collection “doesn’t feel right,” according to developer 343 Industries. The change is on by default, 343 says, because “the new setting feels so good.” However, players may switch back to the old control setting if they wish.
Modern aiming is meant to make the aim acceleration zones on the controller respond more like they do in Halo 2 Anniversaryand Halo 4. “The big difference you will notice is that the movement of your cursor is much smoother with these settings turned on and the aim acceleration zones in the diagonals are much harder to activate,” 343 wrote.
If you haven’t thought about “Everything is Awesome” in five years, it’s probably going to be stuck in your head right now. The catchy pop song, sung by Canadian duo Tegan and Sarah (featuring The Lonely Island) was the anthem of The Lego Movie.
A new clip reveals that February’s sequel, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is trying to outdo the sheer awesomeness of “Everything is Awesome” with a new song oh-so-self-awarely entitled “Catchy Song,” by Dillon Francis, T-Pain and That Girl Lay Lay. Featuring lyrics such as “This song’s gonna get inside your head” over and over again, the track is already an earworm.
While the full song itself is available to stream, the clip just shows brief clips of stars Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), Alison Brie (Community), Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) and Jimmy O. Yang (Crazy Rich Asians) singing along.
“That’s how you up ‘Everything is Awesome,’” says Pratt towards the end of the clip. “That song.”
The Lego Movie: The Second Part takes place after the events of the first movie’s Taco Tuesday and will follow the invasion of Lego Duplo. Joining the aforementioned cast are Stephanie Beatriz (Brooklyn 99) and Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip). It comes to theaters on Feb. 8.
Star Control: Origins is no longer for sale on Steam or GOG. According to an official statement by Stardock CEO Brad Wardell, it was removed from sale following a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) claim made against his company by the franchise’s creators, Fred Ford and Paul Reiche. The maneuver came one day after a United States District court denied Stardock an injunction intended to prevent just such a claim.
According to Wardell, those who have already purchased Origins can continue playing it. He added that the DMCA claim will cause his company “to lay off some of the men and women who are assigned to the game.”
At the time, Stardock said it was working under the assumption that it had “acquired the rights to Star Control1/2/3.” Court documents reveal that may not be the case, and that Ford and Reiche may instead have conflicting rights to the IP.
In their own document, [Ford and Reiche] say that when Stardock purchased rights to the Star Control franchise they received very little. Stardock’s purchase was, if anything, only of the limited rights granted through a previous agreement between Accolade, Reiche and Ford for certain parts of Star Control 3. Meanwhile, the two men retain full rights to Star Control 1 and Star Control 2.
In other words, Reiche and Ford allege that Wardell’s Stardock may have paid as much as $300,000 to $400,000 for nearly nothing of value.
The case has been ongoing since that time, with claims and counterclaims being issued back and forth by both parties.
During the lawsuit, Stardock set a release date for and eventually released Star Control: Origins. Stardock then asked U.S. district court judge Saundra Brown Armstrong for an injunction to prevent Ford and Reiche from taking action against Origins’ release.
On Dec. 27, the judge dismissed that request. The dramatic filing, which includes multiple colorful footnotes from Judge Armstrong, reads as a stinging indictment of Stardock’s business practices.
“The harm Plaintiff [Stardock] complains of is indeed of its own making,” writes Armstrong. “Plaintiff had knowledge of Defendants’ [Ford and Reiche’s] copyright claims from the outset. Despite that knowledge, it developed potentially infringing material without resolution of the IP ownership issues, and then publicized the release of that material during the pendency of this action. It now claims that its investment in Origins and reputation are on the line. Given that Plaintiff largely created the foregoing predicament, the Court is disinclined to extricate Plaintiff from a peril of its own making.”
In their denial of the injunction, Judge Armstrong even affirms that at one point Wardell himself had requested “a license for some or all of” the IP that Ford and Reiche held. When the pair refused to work with him, Stardock’s game project went ahead anyway.
“Plaintiff was aware of Defendants’ copyright claim to Star Control 1 and 2 since the development of Origins commenced, however, and was aware of the contours of the present copyright dispute since at least December 2017,” Armstrong writes. “Thus, whatever monies Plaintiff invested in Origins was done with the knowledge that serious copyright disputes were likely to arise or had arisen.”
Polygon has reached out to Ford and Reiche for comment.
Update (Jan. 18): Star Control: Origins has returned to Steam, just over two weeks after it was delisted from the store. Asked for comment, representatives from Stardock refused to provide details on how or why it was reinstated.
Polygon has reached out to Valve, as well as Fred Ford and Paul Reiche, for comment.
A spreadsheet containing the names of alleged abusers and harassers who attend U.S. anime conventions is making its way around social media as part of a small #MeToo movement in the niche community.
After a days-long social media discussion among U.S. convention-goers naming alleged harassers, who are accused of anything from preying on minors to taking upskirt pictures of cosplayers, one online activist drew up a public spreadsheet that collected people’s allegations of misconduct. As of this article’s publication, it contains 34 names, and at any point, dozens of people may be looking at it. Kotaku is not linking to the spreadsheet, and has not independently verified the claims in it. We did, however, meet with the spreadsheet’s creator, who would only go by “The Moderator,” in a Manhattan bookstore to discuss the controversial move.
“I’m not interested in punishing these people,” The Moderator told me. (The Moderator would not share their name or any private information about them for fear of repercussions; they were wearing a fur coat and described themselves as a “grumpy native New Yorker.”) “Conventions can punish. Law enforcement can punish. I am not here to punish. I am here to equip people who are likely to be victimized to arm themselves and be suspicious because fear keeps us safe in these situations.”
The spreadsheet follows the format of the crowdsourced Google spreadsheet titled “Shitty Media Men,” which went viral in fall 2017. Moira Donegan, a former assistant editor at The New Republic, had participated in an ongoing whisper network among journalists, researchers, critics, and other public media figures about men in their community who allegedly harassed or harmed others. The spreadsheet was only live for half a day, but had immense impact in journalism. One man named on the list, former editor-in-chief and founder of The Rumpus, Stephen Elliott, filed a $1.5 million defamation suit against Donegan.
For her part, Donegan wrote in a 2018 The Cut article titled “I Started The Media Men List,” “In the beginning, I only wanted to create a place for women to share their stories of harassment and assault without being needlessly discredited or judged.” Users were anonymous, she explained, to protect them from career or personal repercussions. “There were pitfalls. The document was indeed vulnerable to false accusations, a concern I took seriously,” wrote Donegan, citing the message at the top of the spreadsheet: “This document is only a collection of misconduct allegations and rumors. Take everything with a grain of salt.”
At the top of The Moderator’s spreadsheet, it reads, “DISCLAIMER: This document is only a collection of misconduct allegations. Please use it to spot red flags and reduce victimization, not for vigilantism.”
“I just got so tired of seeing so many parallel accounts of the same predators,” The Moderator told me. They cited the fact that, according to severalstudies, over half of incidents fitting the definition of sexual assault are committed by repeat offenders. “I kept seeing people make call-out posts, but if they’re being made on Twitter, they’re just going to vanish into the ether because of time. If they’re made on Facebook, they’re not going to make it outside of a really small circle. The convention community is nationwide.”
Skimming Twitter over the last few days, The Moderator noticed several allegations against members of the U.S. anime convention community, which were made in the context of a greater conversation about holding convention attendees accountable for their behavior. There’s a great fear about excluding people in the U.S. anime community, they explained, which may be what’s led so many alleged victims to hold their tongues for so long. “I know we all want to be accepting because the reason we’re together as a community is because we’re rejected for our interests in other spheres of society,” they said.“But at the same time, there are people who are just not safe.” What draws tens of thousands to anime conventions every year is, in part, their funhouse wonderland environment where the normal laws of social interaction are suspended. Cosplayers strut about in full body armor or revealing costumes resembling their favorite anime heroes as part of a collective fantasy. Anime fans at conventions may feel liberated from general anxiety they may feel about not fitting in elsewhere.
“The problem is that once those initial social boundaries are eroded, a lot of people don’t stop there,” said The Moderator.
Larger conventions have trained security staffs and, more recently, have widely begun adopting strong codes of conduct around harassment. However, what happens in hotel rooms or in private is not so easily policed. For years, convention attendees has been repeating the mantra “cosplay is not consent” in an effort to reinforce boundaries between cosplayers, who may be wearing attractive outfits, and their admirers or harassers. Building on this, the Cosplay Survivor Support Network, founded in 2016, offers mental health resources to victims of harassment at conventions. The Moderator thinks all this places too much of the onus to create cultural change on survivors.
“I don’t think it’s fair to identify a problem and not identify concrete solutions that are implementable by everyone,” said The Moderator. “People blame the victims, they blame the cosplayers, whoever was more drunk. It needs to be everybody’s problem, not just the problem of the victim.”
Individuals with allegations of sexual misconduct against cosplay photographers, convention chairs, panelists or even regular attendees are sharing them with The Moderator on a Google form. The results populate a private spreadsheet, which the moderator reviews before posting them on their public spreadsheet. The Moderator goes through to make sure the language is consistent. “A lot of cases of people referring to all sex with minors as pedophilia and that’s not technically correct,” they said. “Also, a lot of people put in descriptions of something that was grooming but not use the word ‘grooming.’ I wanted to use as accurate language as possible.”
There isn’t a threshold for who is included in the spreadsheet. Somebody with one allegation against them might find their name in it. “There’s probably more. It’s just a matter of time,” they said. About a third of the names on the list have multiple allegations against them.
This low barrier to entry is one of the reasons why the spreadsheet has proven immensely controversial, even among anime fans calling out alleged abusers on Twitter and other social media. Justin Sevakis, who writes a column on Anime News Network, says he was horrified to see his name, apparently misspelled, on the spreadsheet. He was being accused of stalking. Sevakis says that an individual with a vendetta against him and Anime News Network has been “bullying” him for years, which some of his friends corroborated on Twitter. (Once, he ran into that individual’s gym coach and explained with “colorful language” that she had allegedly been harassing him. When I asked her over e-mail whether, by including him in the spreadsheet, she was accusing Sevakis of being an abuser or a predator, she said no, but added that speaking about her to her gym coach “was a highly invasive and inappropriate action that showed a pattern of poor behavior in the anime community being overlooked and felt this action warranted being put on the list.”)
“Luckily I immediately identified the claim as being from my harasser, and had a bunch of friends come to my defense,” Sevakis told me. He tweeted at The Moderator to tell them to remove him, but he says he didn’t get a response. Somebody he knew made contact, though, and his name was removed. The Moderator agreed it was a mistake. When I asked them about the possibility of further false accusations, they cited the statistic that just two to eight percent of reported rape accusations are false.
Sevakis says that, while he is “heartened by the current conversation” around “creeps and abusers at conventions,” “the spreadsheet is not a good idea. It seems like a practical thing on the surface, but without anyone to vet the claims being made, it’s a free-for-all, and anyone can smear anyone with impunity.”
Without the rigor of fact-checking, triangulating between victims and alleged abusers, or even vetting of whether the person who submits an alleged name is submitting it because of a rumor or a personal experience, a spreadsheet like this exists in a moral gray area.
The editor-in-chief of the Cosplay Survivor’s Support Network, who goes by Trickssi, agrees that there are problems with the spreadsheet format, but takes another perspective. “That spreadsheet is not a good solution,” she explained over e-mail. “It was intended to help, and those intentions were good, but it continues to be a bandaid. . . . Such a spreadsheet also implies that it’s the victims’ responsibility to look over the list and have knowledge of who the predators are, and if the victim doesn’t know, that it’s their fault for not knowing. That’s known as victim blaming and it’s a part of the greater rape culture that exists thoroughly within the cosplay/convention/’nerd’ community. It also comes up in the form of, ‘Well, if you didn’t want to get harassed, why did you wear that costume?’
Another convention attendee, Suri Price, has been retweeting accusations against community members over the last few days and thinks the spreadsheet is a good idea. “I think it’s good that toxic people are being exposed and, hopefully, flushed out. I hope it stick and the momentum keeps going. It’s not good enough for it to be something ‘everyone knows’ if no one actually talks about it,” he told me on Twitter.
The Moderator views themselves as a data broker rather than as somebody making judgments. “It makes me really uncomfortable to have to make personal, reasoned judgments about what goes in the sheet. I don’t want to be put on a pedestal as the moral touchstone of the weeb community,” they said. “I want people to understand that this is attempting to be a neutral source.”
Citing Mr. Rogers, they continued, “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.”
Bad Vibes is a colorful first person shooter that is a feast for the senses. Sometimes all you want to do is shoot some baddies and work through some negative feelings. What better way to do that then with some magic orbs and trippy sights?
Bad Vibes, created by pfail, has been out since 2017 and has received a few updates since then. The concept is simple: you’re in a maze and need to survive. That means avoiding aliens and acid pits while looking for a few colorful stickers that will chase away your bad vibes. Bad Vibes describes itself as “pure shooter madness, the way it was intended to be,” and it does a good job capturing the straightforward experience of early first person games. Why are there monsters? Why am I so engrossed in this? All I know is, I really want to have a high score.
Shooters are a dime a dozen these days, so Bad Vibes compensates for that with a bright style that is somewhere between MS-DOS and someone’s nightmare scribblings. The result is that Bad Vibes works incredibly well as a sensory experience. Its mixture of chirpy bloops and techno beats with its alternative hot and cold colors makes it easy to immerse yourself in the raw experience. I recommend booting Bad Vibes up for a ten minute shootfest to let off some steam.
The cutscenes in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown take place in gorgeously rendered environments populated by excellent 3D character models. Also, this static picture of a very good dog.
Introduced in a lengthy cutscene leading into the game’s sixth mission, Ace Combat Dog sits stoically by its master’s side. Its tail never wags in excitement. Its chest never heaves with breath. Its body wavers slightly in what seems to be a heat haze, but otherwise the dog is as still as the photo it obviously is. Why a two dimensional dog? I do not know, but I feel like Twitter’s @Watchsymphogear’s explanation is the best.
Ace Combat Dog has to move at some point. When first introduced, it’s looking up to its master, the princess of the fictional kingdom of Eursea, adoringly.
In the next shot, it’s looking into the camera. Or at least its eyes are pointed toward the viewer. It’s unclear whether or not Ace Combat Dog can even see into our complex third dimension.
Either way, Ace Combat Dog is a lovable pupper, and we hope to see it in more games in the future. Or even right now, via the magic of transparent PNG files.
Now we can take Ace Combat Dog everywhere. Like Eorzea.
Story time! I went to an all-girls’ school. My friends and I had that special bond of closeness that apparently comes with synced-up periods and measuring the length of each other’s winter leg hair. This, obviously, led to a brief era of trying to catch one of the others unawares with the most impressive, most unexpected spank possible. We’re talking sneaking up behind each other in the hallway and laying one down that made the earth shake. If I couldn’t read your palm from the imprint, you weren’t doing a good enough job.
NSFW WARNING: this piece contains many bums. Some are animated GIFs.
In time, this led to the era of being very, very cautious about our bums. Which meant that, one sunny day in the common room, when I saw my friend Alice bending over in front of me, it was like a quick-time event: the world became slow-motion and greyed-out as my splayed hand took a run up.
It wasn’t until afterwards, as I stood proudly in the reverberating spank-sound that rippled into the silence, that I chanced to see Alice across the room, decidedly un-spanked, and saw the innocent spankee stand and turn to reveal that she was a girl that had joined the school only three months before. And, therefore, definitely not Alice.
My genius solution was to immediately face the other way and pretend that I hadn’t just been caught literally red-handed. I felt, and still feel, awful. It might have been an accident, but she didn’t know that. Sometimes I wonder what she must have thought of me, as I lie awake at night reliving my worst decisions.
But good news! I can now relive that horrifying moment of mistaken bumdentity with spank-focused game, Slappy Ass! And I can pay $3.50 on itch.io for the pleasure!
Slappy Ass doesn’t mess around. It does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a screen full of one giant ass, which you can spank. Spanking fills up a heart meter—which pulls double-duty as a butt icon! So clever. When the meter gets full, it gives you a gift, whichrange from new skins and underwear to new toys that you can use on the ass.
In Slappy Ass, the player starts off with the most basic of slappy tools: their own hand. You can expand your box of toys by filling the spankmeter, which will get you items like the riding crop, a pair of lips (to kiss the bum), and some rather medieval-torture-like instruments, which can zap the butt while making a guitar noise, or some kind of… pink… portal… thing? I’m not sure if I’m just not au fait with butt-spanking implements, or if that’s just a fantasy toy. I can’t even tell if it feels nice. It looks a bit like what I imagine breast pumps feel like. At least it keeps the spankmeter going up!
It seems like once the ass is used to being slapped, however, that the meter fills up slower. It feels less like a fun slappy game at this point and more like one of those endless clickers, even if the “clicking” part is slightly more interactive than usual—the disembodied buttcheeks have a pleasantly perky bounce to them, and redden nicely whether you’re spanking, whipping, or portal-torturing them.
The butt stuff starts getting a little repetitive after a while, especially with the slow increase in the meter refills, and it can be a little disappointing to spend five minutes on spank-clicking only to get an ambient background for your trouble, or worse, a zombie skin for the butt that makes it look like you’re into a very specific type of necrophilia. There are minigames, which range from a dull Guitar-Hero-like rhythm game with only one note to a slightly confusing bar-filling game that seems to require you to mash-spank the butt, but it’s not clear what these are for, exactly, other than breaking up the butt-monotony.
Spanking can be a lot of things. It can be fun, painful, entertaining, sexy, punishing, and even so embarrassing that you melt into a puddle of shame. I had not yet realized the potential of spanking as a tedious exercise until I played Slappy Ass, the game that begins as a fun, silly jiggle simulator and slowly develops into a dull clicker with no real reward unless you really love to spank CGI physics-enabled butts in a multitude of colors.
Ah, well. $3.50 spent on a couple of hours of spanking that made for some entertaining gifs? At least no butts were hurt in the process. And for what it’s worth, ten years on, I’m really sorry, [NAME REDACTED].