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Where Is Xur Today? Destiny 2 Location & Exotics Guide (May 24-28)

The Season of the Drifter is drawing to a close in Destiny 2, and the Season of Opulence is hot on its heels. Everyone’s favorite weekend vendor with a weird face, Xur, is back in the solar system, and if you’re still working on Invitations of the Nine, now is an excellent chance to wrap them up and push yourself up to the season’s Power level cap of 700 before it rises on June 4. Xur is also offering a Year Two Titan Exotic he’s never carried before, so you’re going to want to seek him out. Here’s where to find him and the Exotic weapon and armor he’s selling.

Xur is located in the EDZ this week. Head to Earth’s Winding Cove spawn point, and then go north toward the wall of the area, just past the road. Climb up the cliff to where a Fallen dropship has crashed, and you’ll find Xur standing to the right of the ship, on the cliff edge.

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Your Xur weapon this week is an oldie but a goodie: Sweet Business. This minigun-like auto rifle packs an enormous magazine and sprays bullets like a firehose, with increased accuracy when firing from the hip. Holding down the trigger increases its rate of fire and accuracy, and ammo you pick up will automatically be deposited in the magazine while you’re firing–so do your best Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2 impression and mow down some enemies.

For armor, Titans get One-Eyed Mask, a Year Two Exotic helmet that Xur has never carried before. It marks enemies who damage you, and if you hunt them down and kill them, you get an overshield and increased damage for a short time. Warlocks can also claim a Year Two Exotic in Chromatic Fire, a chest armor piece that creates elemental explosions on enemies when you get kinetic damage precision kills. Hunters can pick up the Raiden Flux chest armor, which increases the duration and damage of your Arc Staff Super when you get quick successive kills.

Xur Exotics For May 24-28

  • Sweet Business (Exotic auto rifle) — 29 Legendary Shards
  • One-Eyed Mask (Exotic Titan helmet) — 23 Legendary Shards
  • Raiden Flux (Exotic Hunter chest armor) — 23 Legendary Shards
  • Chromatic Fire (Exotic Warlock chest armor) — 23 Legendary Shards

You can also buy a Fated Engram, if you can afford it. Dropping 97 Legendary Shards on the item will grant you one Year One Exotic you don’t already have for that character. Xur also offers the Five of Swords challenge card for free, which allows you to add difficulty modifiers that increase your score in Nightfall runs.

And if you haven’t finished all nine of Xur’s Invitations of the Nine, you can snag one of those as well. The bounty was new in Season of the Drifter, dispensing Powerful gear rewards, a bit of story about the Nine and the Drifter, and a lore drop.


Destiny 2 Xur location and items, May 24-27

If you played Destiny, you may be familiar with Xur, the weekly Exotic item merchant. In Destiny 2, he’s back, and he now appears all over the map. This week, he’s in the EDZ. You can find Xur to the northwest of Winding Cove, standing on a bluff next to a Fallen Ketch.

Bungie via Polygon

Xur’s inventory this week consists of the following:

  • Sweet Business, Exotic auto rifle: 29 Legendary Shards
  • Raiden Flux, Hunter chest: 23 Legendary Shards
  • One-Eyed Mask, Titan helmet: 23 Legendary Shards
  • Chromatic Fire, Warlock chest: 23 Legendary Shards
  • Isochronal Engram: 97 Legendary Shards
  • Invitation quest: 9 Legendary Shards

Xur’s inventory caps out at 681 if you’re 700. He also offers specific rolls on each armor piece each week, giving out different perks for the same pieces. We’ve highlighted any great rolls below.

Sweet Business

Sweet Business is a beautiful exotic minigun that you can use in your Kinetic slot. Its exotic perk, Payday, causes the gun to hold 99 bullets and features great accuracy when fired from the hip.

But what makes this gun really special is the Business Time perk, which increases the weapon’s range and rate of fire when holding down the trigger. As a bonus, any Kinetic ammo you walk over will be instantly loaded into the clip if Business Time is active.

This gun is excellent in almost any PvE scenario and, while it may have low reload speed and limited uses in PvP, Sweet Business chews through Cabal, Fallen, Vex and Hive alike. If you’re a Titan able to pair it with Actium War Rig, you can fire for an extremely long time without having to reload. Pick this gun up while you have the chance if you play PvE content of any flavor.

Raiden Flux

The Hunter exotic this week is Raiden Flux. The main perk this chest piece is Synapse Junction, which causes subsequent hits from the Arcstrider staff to deal more damage and extend the duration of the Super. There are specific times in raids or Nightfalls where this chest piece can help clear out multiple enemies at once. Used well, it can even be powerful against bosses. It’s worth your Legendary Shards if you don’t already have one.

This week’s roll:

Slot 1: Unflinching bow aim, unflinching fusion rifle aim, unflinching Kinetic aim

Slot 2: Scout rifle reserves, special ammo finder

One-Eyed Mask

One-Eyed Mask is a Titan helmet from Forsaken, and it’s one of the best PvP Exotics in the game. Its Exotic perk is Vengeance. When enemies deal damage to you, you’ll mark them, allowing you to track them through walls. Killing marked targets gives you an Overshield and increases damage for a short time. This helmet is incredible; you need to have it if you have or will ever have a Titan.

This week’s roll:

Slot 1: Fusion rifle targeting, hand cannon targeting, Hands-On (melee kills give Super energy)

Slot 2: Sniper rifle reserves, machine gun reserves

Chromatic Fire

Chromatic Fire is a new Warlock exotic added in Forsaken. Its exotic perk is Crystalline Transistor. Getting precision kills with your Kinetic weapon creates an elemental explosion — like the Dragonfly perk — based on your current subclass. This perk is useful if you’re fighting large groups of enemies at once, or need extra elemental help against enemies.

This week’s roll:

Slot 1: Unflinching bow aim, unflinching fusion rifle aim, unflinching Kinetic aim

Slot 2: Scout rifle reserves, special ammo finder


If you haven’t completed the Invitation quest yet, Xur is still offering it for nine Legendary Shards.


Valve reveals Steam’s top-selling games for April, an eclectic mix

Valve this week offered the 20 best-selling games on Steam that were released in April, a new insight from the company itself into how games perform in the PC’s dominant marketplace. In the past, such analyses were often left to third-party examinations of Steam’s API data.

Sales figures are not provided, and the list is ordered by launch date, not sales rank, so Valve is being careful not to alienate any developers and publishers if their titles underperform or are outperformed by something else.

The rundown Valve offered is an eclectic bunch. Mortal Kombat 11 is probably the biggest name in a field that includes Weedcraft Inc., Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, Imperator: Rome, and Totally Accurate Battle Simulator.

Other highlights include Pathway, which we called “a mix of Indiana Jones and XCOM,” and the 64-player medieval combat game Mordhau, which Steam said “hovers around the No. 11 position for most simultaneous players.”

Valve said it started with a list of all the games that launched between April 1 and April 30, then examined the revenue they earned within the first two weeks of launch. So this is not launch-to-date sales data, and it sort of explains why the list trails by a month. The May roundup will probably publish sometime in mid-June.

Valve has played close to the vest with official data on a game’s sales performance or popularity over the years, leaving it more to sites like Steam Charts (which measures concurrent player figures) or Steam Spy, whose accuracy in tracking game ownership suffered a big blow a year ago when Steam changed its API. Steam Spy’s creator, Sergey Galyonkin, later joined Epic Games as its director of publishing strategy, and has been responsible for developing the Epic Games Store, which launched in December.

And while Valve didn’t say why it was sharing this list now, that may be what this is all about: showing those who do business on the Steam marketplace that their games do perform. Epic Games burst on the scene with a competing storefront that has fewer features, but several high-profile exclusive PC launches and a slate of free offerings to sweeten the deal.

Significantly, earlier this week THQ Nordic’s chief executive said that a majority of Metro Exodus’ sales came from consoles as the title, overall, outperformed the publisher’s expectations for digital sales. Metro Exodus was a last-minute switch to exclusive availability on the Epic Games Store, generating a wave of gamer anger against Epic and the publisher.

THQ Nordic didn’t share specific sales figures for PC, but it’s helpful to remember the case of Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, which sold poorly when it originally launched exclusively on (which is owned by the game’s publisher, CD Projekt Red). Despite the Epic Games Store’s insurgency, Steam remains by far the dominant online marketplace for PC games.

The 20 top-selling games that launched on Steam in April 2019 are (in chronological order of release date):

  • Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
  • Super Dragon Ball Heroes World Mission
  • Islanders
  • Marz: Tactical Base Defense
  • Supraland
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
  • Vacation Simulator
  • Zanki Zero: Last Beginning
  • Pathway
  • Weedcraft Inc.
  • Staxel
  • One Finger Death Punch 2
  • Forager
  • Pagan Online
  • Katana Zero
  • Driftland: The Magic Revival
  • Paper Dolls Original
  • Mortal Kombat 11
  • Imperator Rome
  • Mordhau


Look at these Bloodborne monsters and tell me they’re not Muppets

Bloodborne is a game full of eldritch horrors and mean dudes that want nothing more than to chop you into ragged chunks with busted, rusty old meat cleavers. Its bestiary is huge and diverse: witches, werewolves, flightless birds, ogres, fungal aliens, walking brains, magic centipedes, fish people, sentient coffins, and more.

Apart from being nasty, the one thing that these monsters have in common is that they absolutely look like Muppets. Tufts of fur. Long, lanky limbs. Wildly exaggerated body language.

I’m not accusing FromSoftware of copying Jim Henson’s homework here, but the overlap was enough to make me wonder if Bloodborne and Muppets were actually being guided by some common design principles. Check out the video above, where we dive into how character designers use shape, movement, and texture to bring horrible monsters and furry friends to life.

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How Detective Pikachu Built Its Adorable Star

For visual effects house MPC, Pikachu stood as the ultimate thesis for its approach to designing the world of Pokémon for Detective Pikachu. io9 recently spoke to MPC VFX Supervisor Pete Dionne about his work on Detective Pikachu, and the particular challenges behind bringing the most vital Pokémon to life.

Detective Pikachu’s adorably weird approach to the world of Pokémon was a risky gamble—but it would’ve fallen apart if its titular hero didn’t work. For MPC, that meant one of the biggest tasks of the whole movie was making one of the most iconic characters of all time come to life in a whole new way.

“Being the most recognizable and iconic Pokémon, and character designs, in the last few decades, he was probably the most difficult character [to get right] from the point of, ‘How much do we bend his design before he no longer looks like Pikachu?’,” Dionne told us. “Other characters, there’s a little more leeway poking through than with Pikachu—the slightest deviation from the original TV design and he stopped looking like Pikachu. Knowing that we’re throwing fur on him and putting Ryan Reynolds’ snarky personality in him, how were we going to find the balance?”

MPC started with a mandate it never wavered from while breaking down Pikachu’s design. “It became really clear that we needed to embrace every single aspect of that design, the original 2D design, as possible,” Dionne revealed. “So, as we were designing him, we started with just the silhouette of Pikachu, and fundamentally, we chose no matter what we come up with, we’re not going to change the silhouette. From the very beginning of our process, building him out, we were always comparing him against that original design.”

Once MPC established that Pikachu’s silhouette couldn’t change, Dionne and his team turned to the animal kingdom for inspiration from the ground up—right down to his musculature and bones.

“We did research into animal anatomy—I think it was a bushbaby, or a lemur. We took their skeletal system and stuck it into the body of Pikachu and started changing proportions. Along with the muscle system inside, as well,” Dionne said of the early process. “We just started looking at all these different animals. “What kind of animal could exist within this [silhouette]?” Like, physically, within this form. And then we came up with something we were happy with, like, ‘This could exist, this could make it through the night in the real world as an animal.’”

Once Pikachu had a body that made sense in the world of Detective Pikachu, the team faced another tough question that arose from familiarity with his design as a flat, 2D creature for the best part of two decades. “In surfacing, there was a debate whether Pikachu had fur or not,” Dionne said, once again turning to real-world animals as a source of inspiration. “We went back and forth, trying versions with him, starting with the process of, ‘What is the cutest furred animal we can come up with?’ So we started referencing that—fluffy bunnies and kittens—and we started adding the fur on top of Pikachu.”

It wasn’t just a case of whether Pikachu had fur or not though—the exact nature of the fur in order to properly emphasize his trademark cuteness was a major factor. “[We started] paying really close attention to, ‘What makes this kitten look so fluffy and cute and adorable, compared to this other kitten that looks coarse and rugged?’,” Dionne continued. “And [we] built little fine details into the quality of the fur and flow and distribution in certain regions of its body. We really tried to pay special attention to that.”

And that attention applied everywhere—even when it brushed up against the rest of Detective Pikachu’s approach to realistic design. “[The] anatomy on the inside of ears, you know, there’s no way to make that look adorable,” Dionne joked. “So, we embraced Pikachu’s lack of an ear cavity and groomed it with a fuzzy fur you’d expect to come out of a bunny’s ear, where a cavity would be—so it still implies, without having any details that break the adorableness of it.”

Those debates continued throughout the process, not just for how Pikachu would look, but how he’d walk the walk and talk the, uh, Pokétalk. “We’re going through this process, as well as motion studies about how well he moves through the environment,” Dionne said of the other side of designing Pikachu’s model. Once again, real animals that had first inspired Pikachu’s underlying skeletal structure provided a reference point. “We went through and looked at upright quadrupeds navigating on two feet and how steady and unsteady they are,” Dionne continued. “What are their physical limitations? So we started talking about how to make Pikachu move around his environment upright throughout the majority of the film, but still make him feel like a quadruped. [When] we got to that place we felt pretty confident.”

For all MPC could pour into making its Pikachu move and look like a realistic version of the classic design, the team still had another issue to contend with: They were designing a motion-capture creature for a star that had yet to be cast. “The biggest challenge, though, was getting Ryan Reynolds’ facial performance in the Pikachu,” Dionne said of the design process. “Interestingly, one of the things that was great was, early on in the process before Ryan was cast, when we were initially building our Pikachu, we were at the point where we built an additional facial rig, and we wanted to start exploring this against an actor and see what we could learn from it,” Dionne said. “So, we got the list of all the actors being considered and grabbed clips of them on YouTube and started animating our Pikachu to all those different actors.”

It’s a good thing Reynolds eventually agreed to the role, according to Dionne—because tests with his footage provided the perfect canvas for Pikachu. “Amazingly, Ryan Reynolds stood out among the bunch because a lot of the other actors had big, gestural performances in their face and body, and Ryan—he’s so dry,” Dionne revealed. “It’s that little cock of the eyebrow or that little smirk as his lip rolls up, that conveys so much expression and character. And so, what was great about Ryan from a facial performance point of view—we were really able to have a constrained performance and not contend with anything that was too big and over the top, which becomes cartoony very quickly. It was a gift having Ryan as Pikachu because right from the get-go, his face translated quite well.”

As good as Reynolds was to work from, however, another problem arose when trying to incorporate human facial capture animations and Pikachu’s finalized design. “To actually capture what’s fun about Ryan’s performance and have the face still look like Pikachu—that’s another problem,” Dionne said. The team at MCP found very quickly that too much of Reynolds’ performance broke Pikachu’s “feel” as a working design. “Any time we started articulating the face like a human’s—with human anatomy and expressions—it didn’t look like Pikachu at all,” Dionne noted.

There was an unconventional solution however, according to Dionne, to act as a bridge between Reynolds and Pikachu. “What we did was build Pikachu’s facial rig with underlying anatomy and muscle structure as a feline, like a cat,” Dionne told us. “Using that as our base, we mounted a headcam on Ryan, and ran him through an entire facial expression workout. There are pretty much 80 different facial expressions—we’d just get him to do [those] poses, and from them, we’d have a library of all his individual expressions. Then we did the same thing for Pikachu, using 2D animation.”

Pikachu might be incredibly expressive, but in the games and anime he doesn’t have anywhere near as many facial expressions as a human does. “We kind of came up with the equivalent, which is funny, because with Ryan, every one of 80 poses is different from the next. Pikachu, he only has six or seven poses,” Dionne said of Pikachu’s time in the expression workout. “If he’s happy, his mouth is a ‘W’ and if he’s sad, it’s an upside-down ‘V’. Even beyond his mouth, his upper brow tucks into his eyes, which does all the heavy lifting. There’s not a lot to work with. But that’s what Pikachu is, and that’s what we needed to embrace. So, we just kind of built up an equivalent library of Pikachu doing all these different expressions. Then we were able to kind of cross reference and build our library of CG Pikachu [expressions].”

Then came the toughest part of the whole endeavor, according to Dionne. “How do we find a really calculated compromise between the two,” the VFX supervisor pondered, “so that we can capture the nuance in Ryan, but never break the design of Pikachu’s face?”

The answer, in the end, was actually a more hands-on approach to animating the Pokémon, instead of solely relying on motion capture. “As Ryan was performing for the film, every time he’s performing, he would have that head-mounted camera capturing his performance,” Dionne said. “For technical reasons, it wasn’t that beneficial to use that technical data explicitly to draw out that performance. We found we got more out of it if we just took that captured performance, and an animator would use that side-by-side as a footpath with the facial performance, driven by Ryan’s face.”

A little less Ryan Reynolds, and a little more Pikachu—but 100 percent adorable.

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E3 2019: A History Of Xbox Console Reveals

E3 is almost here, and Microsoft appears likely to begin debuting its plans for the next generation of Xbox. The timing is right, and Sony has already started to outline its PlayStation 5 specs. Microsoft has said it will “go big” at this year’s E3. Rumors have been circulating for months about a new Xbox, and E3 would be the place to finally make it official.

Before we look forward, though, let’s take a look back. Microsoft has been debuting new hardware for almost 20 years, and it may be instructive to the future of Xbox if we look back at how Microsoft has debuted its previous consoles.


Microsoft’s first foray into video games debuted in two parts, a sign of a time period when the industry was more fractured and hadn’t yet coalesced into a handful of big consumer-facing trade shows. First, the company debuted the console to potential developers at the Game Developers Conference in 2000. Then the company took its console to the general public with a separate presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2001.

No Caption Provided

At the second presentation in Las Vegas, then-chairman Bill Gates took the stage to show it off. The presentation promised a “revolution” and an October rollout backed by a $500 million marketing campaign. The consumer presentation revolved mostly around showing off its performance, which positioned it as a powerful contemporary of Sony’s PlayStation 2. Microsoft also promised easier architecture for developers. It all led to a wrestling game debut, complete with a cameo by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Analysts claimed it could be used as a Trojan horse to push Internet and interactive TV functions, but games publishing VP Ed Fries shrugged off this eventuality.

“We’ve been fighting a lot of battles all along to make this box all about gaming,” Fries said. “Whether it makes sense long term, if Xbox works its way into that networked home Bill was talking about, we’ll see about that later.”

It launched at $300, or approximately $430 adjusted for inflation.

Xbox 360

Work began on the Xbox 360 in 2003, and Microsoft again targeted developers first with a small event in Bellevue, Washington. The company was quietly making moves to recruit executives like Sega’s Peter Moore to improve its workflow and build the architecture, but this time it had a different plan in mind for debuting the machine to the general public. Rather than hold a keynote at an industry trade show, Microsoft went straight to TV. More specifically, MTV.

In a special called “MTV Presents Xbox: The Next Generation Revealed,” Microsoft took the wraps off the Xbox 360, per Polygon. The event was hosted by Elijah Woods, and featured guests like The Killers and Lil’ Jon. Xbox 360 executive producer J. Allard was interviewed, and Microsoft stressed the console as always-connected and personalized. That set the stage for the success of Xbox Live.

No Caption Provided

The Xbox 360 launched on November 22, 2005 in two configurations: a Core unit for $300, and a Premium with a 20 GB harddrive for $400–or $390 and $520 adjusted for inflation, respectively.

As a result of its long lifespan, Xbox 360 had the most rebranding and revisions of all Xbox consoles. Most of the revisions were rebranded models with different harddrive sizes and slight changes. The largest change was the Xbox 360 S, also called the 360 Slim, which was an entirely new form factor for the console that debuted in 2010. This revision not only gave the console a new look, but it also included revised hardware to stave off the overheating issues that had lead to the console failure known as the “Red Ring of Death.”

Xbox One

As the most recent console debut, the Xbox One is the one most recognizable to modern audiences. The Xbox 360 had gotten an extended lifespan, lasting roughly eight years instead of the usual four. One late addition to the Xbox 360 was a key part of the Xbox One: the Xbox Kinect. The motion-sensing camera was an optional accessory for the 360, but it was a major part of Xbox One’s “all-in-one entertainment device” pitch.

Microsoft debuted the console in a special event in Redmond, Washington, stressing it as a multimedia console. The console could serve as a cable pass-through box, and the Kinect would allow voice commands for entertainment and gaming functions.

A second event scheduled for E3 in that year was meant to focus on its video game capabilities. At this event Microsoft announced a plan to bind Xbox One games to a user account, including retail disc copies. The company announced a complicated scheme to allow players to continue trading games or transferring ownership, and the console had an always-on requirement to verify game ownership. In response to a negative reaction, including some mockery from its competition, Microsoft changed its DRM plans before launch. Over the years since launch, the company has also issued firmware updates that de-emphasized its entertainment functionality.

The Xbox One launched on November 22, 2013 in two configurations: a standalone unit for $400, and a bundle with Kinect for $500–or $440 and $550 inflation-adjusted, respectively.

Since then, Xbox One has gotten two significant hardware revisions. The first, the streamlined Xbox One S, was announced during Microsoft’s E3 2016 press conference. The second, the more powerful Xbox One X, was announced at E3 2017.

The New Xbox

Now all eyes are on E3 2019 as the most likely place for Microsoft to debut new consoles. Xbox head Phil Spencer seeded an announcement last year at E3 by stating that new consoles are in development. He later reiterated that the company has “a lot to share” at this year’s event. Now, with only weeks remaining, we’ll see what exactly that means.


Epic admits it overpriced Fortnite’s Slippery weapon skin

Fortnite has had weapon wraps for a few seasons now and fans feel like they have a pretty good handle on what the pricing of the cosmetic items should look like. So, when Epic broke with that traditional pricing with the game’s new Slippery Wrap fans weren’t happy. After a bit of backlash, Epic has decided to change the price of the wrap to match fans’ expectations.

In the past, when Epic has sold cosmetic Wraps in the store, the standard has been that they would cost 500 V-Bucks for animated Wraps — which have moving patterns that constantly shift throughout the game — and 300 for non-animated ones. But the Slippery Wrap, which isn’t animated, was released at 500 V-Bucks. The wrap itself looks nice in-game with its fish-scale-like pattern, but without any animation fans were unhappy to see the price set at the higher tier.

Just two hours after the skin debuted, Epic acknowledged the criticism it was receiving from fans, and tweeted out an apology about the skin.

For now, the skin is still in the Fortnite in-game store, though it’s likely to rotate out soon as all Fortnite skins do. It appears that the skin itself couldn’t have its price changed while it was in the store, so the price listed remains 500 V-Bucks, but based on this tweet it would appear that Epic will still refund players who pay the higher price for the skin. Next time the Slippery Wrap shows up in the store, it will probably reflect the new 300 V-Bucks price point instead.

While Epic made a habit in the past of setting the prices on wraps around the idea of animated versus non-animated, this price change is the first time we’ve gotten an official confirmation of this difference. This may not be a guarantee from the company, but it seems likely that from here on out all of Fortnite’s wraps will be priced to reflect this difference.


I Both Love And Feel Embarrassed About All The Video Game Music On My Phone

Screenshot: Nintendo (YouTube)
Kotaku Game DiaryDaily thoughts from a Kotaku staffer about a game we’re playing.  

An eight-hour road trip I recently took with a friend quickly turned into a musical deep dive. As we flew through conversations about bachata, gospel, R&B, soul, house, and more, my friend mentioned that ’90s music made up a significant portion of his palate. “You know, there’s a lot of anime and video game music that’s influenced by black American music,” I casually mentioned, barely concealing the same air of conspiracy as someone planning to play you no less than several dozen “hilarious” YouTube videos. My friend, a non-nerd who trusts my sense of his taste (wise) and who is very patient with me (unwise), humored me and handed me the audio cord for the car’s stereo (anarchy).

“Walking in the crowd in a faceless town, I need to feel the touch of a friend,” I crooned, Milly Rocking emphatically. “Smile Bomb,” the opening them from Yuyu Hakusho, is widely considered a classic among anime openings, and I wanted to put my friend on.

“YASSS high notes! She must be a soprano,” my friend cooed in approval, which I took as a sign to keep going. As a card-carrying Sonic R apologist, this was clearly my chance to get someone else in my corner. I played “Work It Out,” one of several songs from the game that I’m convinced could have been on a CeCe Peniston B-side.

My friend liked this one, too, but after a while, he reasonably wanted to hear something he knew the lyrics to. I set a smaller section of my 6,000-song collection on shuffle, but then I felt a familiar anxiety building. It’s one thing to curate these songs for someone but another thing entirely to randomly shuffle through thousands of unorganized songs. I kept my finger on the skip button so that I could keep us within the parameters of the R&B and soul that had sent us down the rabbit hole in the first place, dodging cringey options. I also resisted the temptation to play more Bust a Groove music, even though it actually would fit the vibe we were going for.

I have way too many unpleasant memories of shuffle snafus directly caused by game and anime music. It’s embarrassing to be creating a relaxing mood and suddenly have a weird nasal voice start warbling, “Where’s that place that comes in pairs whenever I’m aware? Casino here, casino in my hair!” Once, I was playing a bunch of relaxing alternative R&B when “Devils Never Cry” suddenly came in with its mildly horrifying church organ music. It’s one thing to explain away, say, a Korn phase, but it’s a little harder to make a case for occult-sounding pretty-boy devil music. If my friend thought I was a murderer after hearing that on my playlist, I kind of couldn’t blame them?

Then there are the jarring moments where I’m not paying close enough attention to that skip button and I ruin my own mood by letting a song play when it should have been skipped within the first millisecond. I love Louisiana bounce music and dance to it a lot. What I don’t love dancing to is “Go K.K. Rider,” yet there it is on my playlist, confidently following Big Freedia like it’s just supposed to be there!

I often find myself skipping songs I otherwise like because they are notorious mood killers, popping up just like that one super weird episode of a show you were otherwise excited to brag about. “Otherworld,” the theme that plays in the big fancy cutscene at the beginning of Final Fantasy X, does this often. “DON’T. YOU. GIIIIVE UP ON IT,” it growls at me, before I quietly give up on it and try the next track. I headbang a few times to the riffs of “Fright Flight!!” from Um Jammer Lammy, but I skip to the next track before the traumatized pilot can scream at me to “LOOKUPINTHESKY, GIMMEALLYOUGOT, NEVAGIVEITUP, SOLDIER!”

Still, sometimes, I hit lyrics that truly capture the essence of the soul, and in those moments, the cringe of it doesn’t really matter: now me ohhh me now, kway kway me nah oh, me oh me oh me oh me oh!

The key change, your fave, never.

Now me oh is right, Totakeke. Now me oh is right.


World’s best Fortnite dad coached son into $30M tournament

Fortnite’s World Cup is just around the corner, and players are giving it their all to qualify for the big event. BuckeFPS, like many other players, wanted to throw his hat into the ring. Unlike most players, however, BuckeFPS’ secret weapon was none other than his dad.

BuckeFPS uploaded a video where he showcases the crucial matches that helped him qualify for the Fortnite tournament, and in the backdrop of his careful play is one constant: his dad’s voice. As BuckeFPS tries to survive a closing storm circle and a handful of determined Fortnite rivals, his dad tries to calm him down, gives him tips, and encourages him. He also constantly reminds him of how many points his son needs, and how many people are left on the map. It’s not just your typical parent support here — the dad clearly knows how the game works at a high level, and is able to commentate the gameplay even as it moves at a fast pace. I love it.

For his efforts, BuckeFPS will get at minimum $50,000 for entering the World Cup — and the moment he realizes he’s secured that money is raw and emotional. “Just do me one favor,” the dad says. “Be a humble, thankful player.” When the reality of the situation sets in, and BuckeFPS knows what he’s accomplished, he can’t hold it in. The tears start flowing, and I’ve got to admit, hearing BuckeFPS’ reaction got me feeling tender too. Fortnite is giving people life-changing money, and that’s no small thing.

When the World Cup rolls around, it’s unlikely that BuckeFPS’ dad will be able to continue coaching him, given that it’s going be a LAN competition. Still, it’s probably going to help to know that his parents are cheering him on fiercely from the sidelines.


Destiny 2’s new Contest mode evens the playing field for a world-first raid race

Prior to this week’s Bungie blog post, Destiny 2’s game director Luke Smith released an update on how the world first raid race will work in the game’s upcoming season. Not only will the Season of Opulence raid launch the same day the new season begins but, for the first 24 hours, the raid will have a different difficulty level designed to enhance competition.

The new difficulty mode is called Contest, and it will be mandatory for anyone trying to tackle the Crown of Sorrow raid on the first day. Contest doesn’t add mechanics, but instead limits how powerful players can be during the raid. The recommended Power level for player’s gear is 715 for the raid’s first fight. Contest mode restricts that Power, scaling everyone down to 700 max Power for the first fight instead.

Destiny’s Power scaling is a bit strange. If a recommended activity is 715 Power and the player character is also 715 Power, the Guardian and the enemies will deal 100% damage to one another. For every power under the recommended level, the Guardian deals less damage to enemies and takes more damage as well.

Contest evens the playing field between competing groups. No matter how high level a Guardian is in Contest mode, their effective Power level will still be 700 for that first fight — 15 levels under the recommended. At most, players will deal about 71% normal damage in the first encounter and suffer a comparable damage increase from enemies.

But the recommended Power goes up over the course of Crown of Sorrow, just like any other raid in Destiny 2. The Power limit enforced by the Contest mode will go up as well. For the final fight, players can be a maximum of 720 Power.

It’s important to note that in Contest mode, Power scaling only works in one direction. Players who enter the raid under 700 or reach the final encounter under 720 will take their natural Power penalty — their Power won’t be scaled up for Contest. That means there’s still a benefit to players who grind for Power before Bungie releases the raid. Going from the current max Power of 700 to 720 will take a lot of work — even with new raid loot.

Bungie will take the game servers down before Opulence starts, and release the update data two hours ahead of time so players can preload the new season. The goal is to give all players — streamers and casual fans alike — the chance to compete in the raid on day one. At 1 p.m. ET on June 4, Season of Opulence goes live, and all players can start racing for gear. Six hours later, Crown of Sorrow opens worldwide.

Smith clarified that Contest is an experiment for Destiny 2, and the team at Bungie will evaluate how successful it is before implementing it again. Also, Contest mode won’t stick around forever. One day after Crown of Sorrow’s release time Bungie will disable it, and Power will function normally in raids again.