New Doom Map Recreates A Famously Terrible Bathroom

Two years ago, a Something Awful user decided to renovate his bathroom, and did it in about the worst way possible. Not only was it a garish mess—it looks like a Helghast home improvement show—but he violated a bunch of building codes with some reckless DIY along the way.

As bad as all that is, you can now enjoy it from a distance with a Doom map that faithfully recreates the room. It also has an excellent name.

If you’re wondering why the ground around the bath is causing damage, that’s because the actual bathroom featured rocks all around the bath (designed to grow moss), and the damage caused to Doom Guy is a reflection of the damage we have all had to take looking at this casino/Yakuza bar colour scheme.

You can download the map here.

Via Motherboard.


Gaming Monitor Stops A Bullet, Still Works Great

Gan’s gaming monitor
Image: Eric Gan (Twitter)

At 4 a.m. last Sunday morning, Fresno County, California resident Eric Gan heard a loud banging noise in his house. He lay awake in panic for an hour before falling back asleep, figuring he’d observe the damage in the morning. He didn’t expect to find five bullet holes in his home hours later. What he also didn’t expect was that his gaming monitor had stopped one of them mid-flight. What he most definitely didn’t expect is that the monitor still worked.

Gan’s home, where he lives with roommates, had been punctured five times in the night, PC Gamer first reported after Gan posted about the incident on Twitter. Bullet holes marred the south wall. He didn’t know why, and chalks it up to some kids partying too hard nearby.

In the morning, Gan surveyed the scene to find a bullet lying on the computer table where he typically whiled away nights playing Overwatch, Apex Legends, and Dota 2. “The bullet was right behind my monitor. That was the biggest hole. We were like, ‘What the fuck is this,’” he said over the phone. Gan looked at the hole, wondering whether the bullet had missed his MSI Optix G27C2 gaming monitor completely, but then saw the dent where it had hit the back of his monitor. It looked like the wall had slowed it down first, but still, he said, “I was shocked.”

“It’s kind of messy down here in Fresno, I guess,” Gan added. A public information officer from the Fresno County sheriff’s office corroborated Gan’s story with Kotaku.

After posting about the shooting and his monitor’s incredible endurance on Twitter and Reddit, Gan received a message from the monitor’s manufacturer offering a replacement. Gan says that the day after the incident, he was playing Apex Legends again as if nothing had happened.


Pogostuck Is The Latest Game To Make Twitch Streamers Rage

Image: LudwigAhgren

On the internet, everybody is angry all the time. The 2017 release of Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy, then, marked a special occasion: a time when everybody on the internet was mad at the same thing. Pogostuck is trying to replicate that feat.

Pogostuck, a game whose store page unabashedly says it’s inspired by Getting Over It, is about climbing a surreal mountain and failing repeatedly. It’s different from Getting Over It in two central ways: 1) the device of your alternating salvation and damnation is a pogo stick instead of a hammer, and 2) you can see other players struggling their way up the mountain at the same time as you. Also, the little people you play as make Mario-like noises that are cute at first but become horrifically annoying when repeated every couple seconds for hours on end. There’s leaderboards and character customization but no direct interaction between players. Instead, the presence of others mainly serves to highlight your successes and—more likely—inevitable progress-obliterating failures.

The game’s only been out since the end of last week, but already, it’s produced some very satisfying clips of people falling down mountains. For example, here’s Lirik losing more than an hour of progress shortly after whining about the terrible crime of his fans excitedly informing friends that they killed him in games:

Here’s noted troll (and marshal of one of Twitch’s most obnoxious communities) Forsen suffering almost the exact same fall:

The game even got streamer FlashGamesNemesis so worked up that he, er, went on a surprisingly on-point rant about the economy, the housing market, and baby boomers:

And lastly, my personal favorite: Here’s LudwigAhgren giving a big, bombastic speech about how he’s the worst in his friend group at Smash and bad at physical sports, but he’s got a special “something other people don’t, a power that can beat anything”—before absolutely eating it:

“Aw shit” indeed.


Casper’s Glow Lamp Is Nearly a Dream Come True

Spinning the Glow to adjust its brightness is a ridiculously clever interaction model.
GIF: Shep McAllister

As a longtime wake-up light devotee, I was practically losing sleep waiting to get my hands on Casper’s much ballyhooed Glow bedside lamp. Philips Wake-Up Lights are great, but the company hasn’t done much to modernize them over the past few years, so I immediately saw the potential of Casper’s battery powered, smartphone-syncing alternative. Having finally put it to the test in my own bedroom, there’s a lot to love about Casper’s light, in addition to a few missed opportunities.

First, it’s important to realize that the Glow is not an alarm clock. It doesn’t have a clock, nor does have an audible alarm, so you’ll need to use it in conjunction with another alarm clock, or more likely, your phone alarm. What the Glow will do though is slowly brighten for 30 minutes prior to your scheduled wake-up time, which usually (in my experience at least) gets you out of your REM cycles and into a less deep sleep. That means that when your alarm does sound, you’ll feel like you woke up naturally, as if by the light of the sun, rather than jolted out of a deep dream, which can ruin your entire day.

The Glow is also meant to be used as a bedside lamp. Flip it over to turn it on, and it’ll slowly (you decide how slowly in the Glow app) fade and shift to a warmer hue until it turns off completely, helping you ease you towards sleep at night. And if you want to keep it on, say, while you read a book, just tap the button on top at any time to pause it at its current brightness level.

So essentially, it’s a smart light. Albeit a very nice looking one. With no sharp corners and only a single, large button on either end, it’s one of the more attractive and minimal pieces of consumer electronics I’ve ever seen. Rather than using buttons to control its brightness, you just spin the entire thing around on its axis, Nest thermostat-style. At its brightest, it’s as bright as my Philips Wake-Up Light, but its dimmest setting is far dimmer, which is a plus in the middle of the night.

The Glow is battery powered and can operate untethered for several hours, say, if you want to toss it in a suitcase for a weekend. This is a huge differentiator from most wake-up lights (and most smart lights, generally), but its wireless charging base, while miles better than a grody microUSB cable, is the Glow’s one hardware misstep.

Casper should have safely assumed a few things when designing the Glow:

  • Most people will keep the Glow on its base most of the time, since that means you never have to think about charging it.
  • Most Glows will be kept in bedrooms.
  • Bedroom gadgets should operate quietly, lest they disturb a partner sleeping nearby.

Why does it have to sound like this?

Given these truisms, combined with the fact that the Glow’s primary interaction model is spinning it around, you would think that the act of turning it on its base would be quiet. Perhaps aided by ball bearings, or maybe some sound-deadening material. But no, it just sounds and feels like plastic and metal scraping against each other. It’s not rustling-potato-chip-bag-loud, but it’s definitely louder than you’d want a bedroom accessory to be at 3AM when you’re trying to sneak away to use the bathroom. If you set it on a smoother surface like your nightstand, it’ll make less noise, but then you’ll have to periodically remember to charge it during the day.

Relatedly, you can also turn on the Glow’s dimmest light setting with a quick shake if you need a night light, but again, you’d better remember to lift it off its base before you try it, unless your partner is a very deep sleeper.

By wake-up light standards, the Glow is very smart. My Philips light doesn’t even have a battery backup (though more expensive models do). By most other modern gadget standards though, it’s pretty barebones. You connect to your Glow via a smartphone app to set its maximum brightness level, its fade-out countdown time, and your wake-up time. You can also use it to pair multiple Glow lights together to act in unison, something you won’t find in any wake-up light alarm clock.

That said, there’s no Alexa or Google Home compatibility, no custom rules, and no real features to speak of, save for a few brightness and countdown settings tweaks. You can’t even set a separate wake-up time for weekends; you just have to remember to change it manually in the app (Update: Casper tells me they’re working to add this feature). That seems like it could easily be rectified in the future, and in fairness, my Philips Wake-Up Light doesn’t have a weekend schedule either. But the fact that the Glow is app-connected means that these sorts of touches should be table stakes.

There’s a lot to like about the Casper Glow. Its quality of its light, its beautiful industrial design, and the fact that it could conceivably get better over time are all marks in its favor. Hell, as I write this, I’m spinning it back and forth on my desk to change its brightness, just because it’s so viscerally compelling. Given the choice, I’d take the Glow over my beloved Wake-Up Light, and I don’t say that lightly.

But there are just a few small issues that prevent me from truly loving the thing, and at $99, (or $179 for two), the Glow ought to be a dream to use. Its minor issues won’t keep you up at night, but it’s so close to being perfect that they stand out all the more.


Humble announces its 20th pay-what-you-want indie games bundle

Humble today revealed the seven games available in its latest Indie Bundle, including silly cult favorites Dream Daddy and Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy. This is the company’s 20th Indie Bundle and its first of 2019.

The first Humble Indie Bundle launched in 2010 and was a project of indie studio Wolfire Games. Nearly a decade later, Humble still offers the signature pay-what-you-want PC game bundle, along with a monthly subscription service and a digital games storefront. Humble has also offered several one-off bundles.

Like previous bundles, Humble Indie Bundle 20 follows a pay-what-you-want structure, and Humble will donate a portion of the proceeds to charity. The first tier of the bundle is available for $1 or more and includes DRM-free copies of Tangledeep, Among the Sleep, and The First Tree. Tangledeep is a 16-bit roguelike dungeon crawler; Among the Sleep is a survival horror game taking place inside a toddler’s dreams; The First Tree is a beautiful, story-driven exploration game.

Anyone who pays more than the average — $3.61 at time of writing — will unlock three delightfully silly games: Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy, Dream Daddy, and Tooth and Tail.

Things come full circle with the seventh title, Overgrowth, which is added to the bundle when you pay $10 or more. Overgrowth, an action game about a ninja rabbit, was developed by Wolfire Games.


Destiny 2 Now Lets You Level Up Super Fast

If you, like me, haven’t had the time or patience to keep up with the Destiny 2 grind, here’s some good news on this day full of new Gambit modes: You can now get all the way to 640 power in just an hour or two, as long as you have the game’s year two Annual Pass.

Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Go to the Drifter. He’s hanging out in the Annex now, so use that fast travel point when you head to the Tower.

Step 2: Get his four Power Surge bounties. They look like this:

Step 3: Do all four. They’re all really easy, simply requiring you to go out and play the game—one is in Gambit, one asks you to do a strike, one asks you to play some PvP, and one has you go off and do public events and local bounties.

Finishing all four power-up bounties will get you to power level 640, which is more than high enough to complete the newest raid and to compete in the new Gambit Prime mode. The recommended power for Reckoning, the other big new mode added to Destiny 2 today, is 650, so you’ll be pretty close to that, too. (The level cap is now 700.)

Here’s the most important part: If you’re below 640, don’t do anything else until you’ve done these quests! Your weekly powerful rewards will continue to drop closer to your current power level, which is a waste until you’ve gotten your total max all the way up to 640 through these special bounties.

It’s a great mechanic and a welcome addition to the game for those of us who want to see all the new stuff but haven’t kept up with the grind. And hey, Gambit Prime is pretty fun. Destiny 2—it’s a good video game.


Destiny 2’s Season of the Drifter adds five new Exotics

Destiny 2’s Season of the Drifter update arrived this morning, bringing a new twist to Gambit for Annual Pass players and a host of balance changes.

As usual, the new season of content comes with Exotics for players to collect. The new Exotic armor pieces are class specific gauntlets for Hunters, Titans, and Warlocks.

There are also two new Exotic weapons this season, including the returning Thorn hard cannon.

The only hidden weapon in the collection is Thorn. Its perks have already been data-mined, and are a bit different than last time it was available.

Thorn’s Exotic perk, Mark of the Devourer, causes shots to pierce the target and deal damage over time. When Thorn kills enemies, they drop Remnants on the ground, which refill the magazine and make Mark of the Devourer more powerful.

Bungie is adding Thorn into the game via an Exotic quest that starts on March 12.

The other new weapon is Arbalest, a Kinetic linear fusion rifle. This is the first Kinetic fusion rifle in Destiny 2. In addition to its unique slot placement, Arbalest has a perk called Compounding Force. The perk allows it to fire slug bullets instead of energy blasts, dealing heavy damage to enemy shields.

Nobody knows how to get Arbalest or if it’s even available in the game yet. Players will likely get their hands on it sometime this season.

The Hunter Exotic gauntlets are Liar’s Handshake. They have a perk called Cross Counter. When players use their Arc melee ability or enemies hit them with a melee, they’ll gain a buff to follow up with a powerful counterpunch that also heals them.

The Titan’s Exotic gauntlets are Stronghold, and have the Clenched Fist perk. When players guard with a sword, they gain increased movement speed. Guarding no longer drains ammo as well, and guarding right as they get attacked heals the player.

The Warlock’s Exotic gauntlets are Getaway Artist and come with the Dynamic Duo perk. Holding the grenade button lets players consume their Arc grenade, transforming it into a powerful Arc Soul turret that follows them for a short time.

Players can find these gauntlets by completing random activities or killing enemies. Exotics have an increased chance to drop when receiving powerful rewards.

While Bungie could add more Exotics in future patches, it’s likely these are the last batch until the Season of Opulence. Bungie has scheduled the release of The Season of Opulence for June of this year.


The Internet, And Sonic’s Creator, React To Sonic’s Movie Design

Screenshot: Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount Pictures)

We now live in a post-Sonic the Hedgehog-movie-render world.

Sonic the Hedgehog does not resemble a hedgehog in the slightest, and I’d argue he is more recognizable because of it. He’s a blue ball with spikes on his head, skinny legs, conjoined eyeballs, and sneakers.

In the upcoming Sonic movie, he (probably) looks like this.

I don’t like it, and neither did a lot of the internet. In fact, Sonic creator Yuji Naka took to Twitter to explain exactly what he didn’t like about the design.

Kotaku’s Tim Rogers translated these tweets, which read, “I feel like, with this Sonic here, visually, the important thing to look at is the head and body ratio and the roundness of the abdomen. I wonder if they couldn’t have balanced them a little bit better…These images of Sonic aren’t coming officially from the movie-making source; I think it’s possible they’re being strategically leaked, though getting people talking about it ‘because it’s bad’ can’t be good for Sonic’s existing IP.”

He continued, “Well, there’s also the possibility that this is fan-made, though even so, I’d still prefer it if they’d put some gloves on him. Seeing him bare-handed is quite a shock.”

Thank you, Naka! I also find seeing him barehanded to be a shock! Now onto the jokes.


The Latest Steam Game To Test Valve’s Laissez-Faire Policy Is Called ‘Rape Day’

Screenshot: Desk Lamp (Steam)

An independent developer called Desk Lamp says it has spent over two years working on a game called Rape Day. Now it’s waiting for approval from Valve to sell it on Steam.

Rape Day is a game where you can rape and murder during a zombie apocalypse,” reads its description on Steam. I’m not exaggerating when I say that looking through the screenshots for it made me physically ill. While the game, which seems to be structured like a visual novel, focuses on applying the choose-your-own-adventure formula to simulated rape, it almost seems designed to test just how far Valve is willing to go in its promise to keep Steam open and unrestricted.

“At some point in the future, game historians will look back on visual novels such as ‘rape day’ as game historians look back on games such as “grand theft auto” now or even the first time nudity was shown on television,” writes the developer in an FAQ section on the game’s website.

The very first update on the game’s Steam announcement page is from February 19 and titled “Controversy.” In it, Desk Lamp calls Rape Day a “niche” game that’s not for everyone. “4% of the general population are sociopaths and the type of people that would be entertained by a story like this is not even limited to pure sociopaths,” it wrote.

In a post from a few days later, the developer tried to differentiate Rape Day from Active Shooter, a school shooting simulator Valve ultimately removed from Steam last May for constituting “straight up trolling,” one of the two reasons a game might get taken down according to a policy laid out by the company a week later. The other reason is illegal content. Desk Lamp claims Rape Day falls into neither category. Yesterday, the developer announced the game was in the middle of being reviewed by Valve. Neither Valve nor Desk Lamp responded to a request for comment.

Screenshot: Desk Lamp (Steam)

Last year, Valve ended up banning some games from Steam for containing elements of “child exploitation”—mostly young-looking characters in animated sex games. It also removed over 100 porn game with titles like Big Dick and 69, which it deemed to have violated its decree against “trolling,” in October. While the rule against games containing illegal content is pretty clear-cut, the trolling criterion has provided the company with a lot of subjective wiggle room.

In a September blog post, the company described its process for determining when a game is trolling as a “deep assessment” beginning with the developer’s history, past associations, banking information, and other biographical details. It sounded an awful lot like Valve’s equivalent to the Supreme Court’s “I know it when I see it” test for deciding what counts as obscenity.

“We get as much context around the creation and creator of the game and then make an assessment,” the company wrote. “A trend we’re seeing is that we often ban these people from Steam altogether instead of cherry-picking through their individual game submissions. In the words of someone here in the office: ‘it really does seem like bad games are made by bad people.’”

The resulting policy on regulating Steam’s content has been heavily criticized for being both too hands-off and also opaque. In the past, developers have reported having their sexually-explicit games wait in limbo while Valve reviewed them, sometimes without any clear indication as to what they could do to alter and re-submit their game in order to get it approved for sale.

The “straight-up trolling” criteria also has a flattening effect, combining different types of mature content under the same heading. The warning before accessing Rape Day’s Steam discussion page is one example. “Content posted in this community may contain Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Violence, or Gore,” it reads. The fact that Steam doesn’t have a unique tag for sexual violence, or in this case failed to deploy it, offers a small glimpse into why the platforms existing approach to curating content is so inadequate.


Chiquita Evans Could Be The First Woman In NBA 2K’s Pro League

Chiquita Evans, a 30 year-old professional NBA 2K player who splits her time between Chicago and Mobile, Kentucky, loves winning and really loves basketball. Today, she may become the first woman to be drafted in the NBA 2K league, and she’s more than ready to grab the W.

Evans is one of two female NBA 2K players who are in the 198-player pool for today’s NBA 2K draft in Brooklyn. The popular basketball game had its first pro season last year, in which more than a dozen real-life NBA teams also had esports teams made of top players of the game. All of those players were men, but, this year, two women, Evans and Brianna Novin, are eligible to be drafted to the virtual Celtics Crossover Gaming, Raptors Uprising GC, or the rest of the league.

Evans plays as a small forward, and is in Brooklyn for tonight’s draft.

Long before she tried to play virtual basketball competitively, however, Evans was playing the real thing. As someone who spent some of her youth in Chicago during the heyday of Michael Jordan’s Bulls, wanting to get on the court was maybe inevitable. She said she started playing when she was twelve or thirteen, and made it onto her middle school basketball team. Although they won the championship and went undefeated, she rode the bench for the season.

“I was happy that we won a championship,” she told Kotaku over the phone, “but I was upset that I couldn’t showcase what I could do.”

That summer, Evans drilled the fundamentals, determined to see some time on the court the next season. She would walk to the park to practice, dribbling there and back.

“The next year, my seventh grade year, I started and I’ve never rode the bench ever again,” Evans said. “I’m just too competitive to feel defeated.”

She said an injury ended her pursuit of real-world basketball, so she turned to the virtual thing. She started playing the NBA 2K with 2K09 in 2008. It kept her close to the sport. She started playing competitively with 2K16. Although she tried to get into the league last year, she met some resistance from other players during the Combine for the first season of the NBA 2K league, a qualifying event for people who are eligible to be drafted which took place last February.

“A few things got me discouraged,” she said. “You’re going through the Combine and people don’t want to pass the ball, and my gender became an issue.”

In a profile video for today’s draft, Evans said that when she talked on the mic during the Combine, people noticed she was a woman and then stopped cooperating with her.

“I’d get on the mic and say, ‘I’m open, I’m open,’ and they’d be like, ‘That’s a girl?’” she said. “I’d get iced out the whole game.”

Evans said that with the group of players she normally plays with, being a woman has never mattered and that her current team has four women on it. At that Combine, it was different. She said it got in her head, and she withdrew from the Combine. But Evans stressed that even when the men she was playing with weren’t giving her her due, nothing would keep her from playing basketball.

“I just can’t let it change who I am or change what I was going to do,” she said, “because someone feels like I don’t deserve to be here or I shouldn’t be doing something that I love to do.”

Since last year, league officials have been trying to diversify the draft pool, and now that Evans and Novin are in the pool this year, some of those efforts have paid off. That’s only two of 150 new draft picks though, and Evans is excited to start breaking down barriers. It should be noted that the league did include Evans and some other female gamers at a showcase event last July. She just hasn’t been able to get onto a pro team just yet.

“I do feel like if I get drafted a lot more women will be interested and they will feel more comfortable with being themselves and going out here and competing,” Evans said. “I can only imagine, you know, four or five years down the line, how many women would feel comfortable enough to go out here and compete.”


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