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Criminal Minds was my show and it was never supposed to end

After 15 years on air, Criminal Minds is ending.

I am not caught up with Criminal Minds. I’m not even sure what’s about to go down in the final episode, or what’s even happened in the past season — I’m only in the middle of season 6. I’m in no rush to finish. But the fact that the procedural will end, that there will one day be a finite amount of Criminal Minds episodes for me to watch, is a blow to my personal happiness.

[Ed. note: This article contains spoilers for episodes of Criminal Minds that came out 10 years ago.]

Criminal Minds is the show I turn on when I’ve had a bad day. In high school and college, I’d watch random episodes while folding laundry. Nowadays, I watch for six straight hours when I can’t bring myself to do anything else. It’s the show I put on in the background when I’m home alone and need some filler noise, the show I throw on when I’m cleaning my tiny kitchen and don’t need to pay attention. The suave, smooth FBI unit talks about the disturbing beheadings happening in a small Texas town. The team finds a head on the gate outside a sheriff’s house. I scrub my microwave. I watch Criminal Minds for six hours at a time and then forget about it for six months, but it’s always there for me. The show is my constant in the entertainment world. But now my endless slush pile of perfectly hyperbolic TV is coming to an end.

The CBS crime series premiered in 2005, and blossomed in the heyday of NCIS, Bones, Cold Case, and other procedurals-with-a-grim-twist. On Criminal Minds, the kind of freaky serial killers that typically appeared in Very Special Episodes of normal crime procedurals became the standard bad guys. Each week, the Behavioral Analysis Unit (or BAU), a special division of the FBI, hunts down the Unknown Subject (or UnSub) by diving into the human mind and using psychology to anticipate the killer’s next move. I was late to the show, but found myself lured in by my big, fat crush on Matthew Gray Gubler, whom I knew from eight minutes of 500 Days of Summer; he played the team’s youngest recruit, the messy-haired brainiac Dr. Spencer Reid.

Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), a brown-haired, clean-shaven main in a gray dress shirt and skinny black tie, on Criminal Minds I had a Matthew Gray Gubler collage as my phone background for a long time. Image: CBS

Spencer Reid is not the only beautiful member of the Criminal Minds team. Every main cast member is impossibly beautiful, from dreamy Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore) to perfect, blond-haired Jennifer Jareau (A.J. Cook). They throw around jargon like “unsub” and “geographical profile” while wearing sunglasses and stomping around crime scenes. They all have backstories of the utmost tragique variety, though they aren’t always explored with much depth. My boy Spencer’s fear of inheriting his mother’s schizophrenia plays a prominent role in his entire arc, but at one point in the first season, stern agent Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson) says something dramatic about how boys with abusive fathers don’t always grow up to be serial killers — sometimes, they grow up to catch serial killers. His past never comes up again.

Though the show never dives into Hotch’s backstory, it does show his ex-wife being brutally murdered by a serial killer who has sworn personal vengeance on him. Actually, almost every single man on the show has an important woman in his life brutally murdered, either on screen or via backstory. They cry about it. The team consoles them. It’s a bad trope beaten into the ground at this point, but the magic of Criminal Minds lies in how it embraces the tropey stuff.

Criminal Minds is pulpy and schlocky and full of crime-solving that teeters on being magical. Tech analyst Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) browses every single corner of the internet merely by furiously typing on her keyboard for a few seconds. Just by glancing at a photograph, a bunch of junk in a storage unit, or the hidden viewable-only-via-ultraviolet-light tattoo on a dead body, the team is able to pinpoint a criminal’s exact motive. The serial killers themselves often employ ostentatious methods that seem fitting of horror movies where the in-universe explanation is that they’re aided by demons or some magic shit, but no, that’s just how the serial killers in Criminal Minds work.

In season 4, Jason Alexander played an egomaniac with long flowing white hair who kidnapped a teacher and her students, and tossed them in a death-trap mansion modeled after the golden ratio. A few episodes before that, Wil Wheaton owned a motel where individual cabins could trap unsuspecting couples. Once, a psychiatrist lured victims to a fake office and then killed them by exposing them to their greatest fears. A crossover episode with a spinoff show, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, featured a man who kidnapped father-daughter pairs and forced the dads to battle homeless men to the death in abandoned pools. The show is just bonkers enough that I’ve never worried that a wig-wearing Jason Alexander would kidnap and murder me (though I do have nightmares about the wig itself).

Jason Alexander in a horrible white wig in an interrogation room on Criminal Minds, with David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) sitting at a table behind him Literally, what the hell? Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

As sensational as the show can be, the detectives’ motivations and the deeper criminal psychology are genuinely compelling. Some of the best episodes of Criminal Minds are the least violent ones, and subvert the more simplistic get-the-bad-guy plot. An early episode found the BAU trying to prove the innocence of an inmate on death row — and confronting her insistence to meet her fate in order to protect her child. One particularly gripping hour ended with the revelation that a young boy had been killed by his 9-year-old brother, not by the apprehended serial killer. No, the psychological episodes were no less hyperbolic, but that sheer exaggeration was part of Criminal Minds’ allure.

There’s comfort in watching beautiful people hunt down bad guys using not just their guns and manpower, but their minds. Though the violence is terrible and described in gruesome specificity, the acts are rarely depicted in detail on screen, which means I can watch and not cover my eyes. The series’ longevity is a testament to how creator Jeff Davis understood the audience: A TV show has to be a specific type of mindless-yet-interesting to be capable of being both background noise and binge-worthy. Criminal Minds achieved that by following a repetitive format — bad guy setup, briefing, plane trip, simultaneous sleuthing and murdering, final stakes, rinse and repeat — but punctuating each moment with as much drama as possible.

Criminal Minds’ basic sensationalism isn’t the only reason I’ll miss the series. I’ve grown to know these characters. They’ve grown to know one another. I see them interact together, in pairs, in various subgroups. I know their rhythms. A favorite opening bit of mine sees the female agents at a bar together, where a guy claiming to be an FBI agent hits on them and they humor him for a second before pulling out their badges. They share coffee on their super-cool private jet. They play poker between flights. Agent Prentiss (Paget Brewster) and Dr. Reid watch Russian cinema together. Morgan and Garcia share a special, flirty-but-not-really relationship. It’s these moments of friendship and found family that ground the otherwise hyperreal show into something tangible. Maybe the real criminal minds were the friends we made along the way!

The 324th and final episode of Criminal Minds airs on Feb. 19. I still have nine seasons to go before I even get to that point, but the fact that I will one day meet the end of this cozy, comfortable show about murder makes me sad. Even when I eventually finish it, though, I will be comforted by the fact that after 15 seasons spread over however long it takes me to watch them, I’ll still be able to enjoy old episodes full of hyper-exaggerated heroes and bad guys. I might run out of episodes, but Criminal Minds’ legacy of mind-numbing escapism blended with just the right amount of heart and excitement will live on forever.

Every Criminal Minds episode begins and ends with a quote loosely befitting its plot line — except in the very few instances that the crimes were so heinous that nothing was fitting. In this particular metatextual case, searching for a quote to sum up the end of Criminal Minds feels like a task too momentous. Instead, I’ll paraphrase Agent Hotchner in the season 4 finale, in which the team discovered 89 murders at a pig farm wherein all the bodies were fed to the pigs: “Sometimes there are no words, no clever quotes.” Sometimes, a show just ends.

Source: Polygon.com

Final Fantasy 14 now lets me have an entire shelf dedicated to cheese

I’ve been sifting through the content in Final Fantasy 14: Shadowbringerslatest patch for the past day or so now, and I’ve found the most important new update: the Cheese Collection.

Square Enix added a furnishing item that is a shelf of cheese. A Twitter user pointed out the shelf and I immediately logged on to craft the shelf for myself. I gathered the wood, turned it into lumber, and got ready to make my dream shelf. I did not, however, make the cheese from scratch. It was cheap enough on the marketboard, so I bought it, except the person sold it in a stack of 97, so I’m pleased to also announce that I am now the owner of 93 extra bowls of cottage cheese.

A prompt asks if I really want to buy 97 cups of cottage cheese I guess I could have bought the smaller stack of 72, but I was too excited about the idea of cheese to notice Image: Square Enix via Polygon

If you also want a delightful shelf of cheese, you can make one, as long as you have a high leveled carpenter. It requires five Lignum Vitae Lumber, two White Oak Lumber, four bowls of Cottage Cheese, and four pieces of Cream Cheese. You can also totally buy one off the marketboard if you don’t feel like crafting.

The item’s description says the following:

Why in the gods’ name would a person amass such an amount of cheese? A peculiar obsession? A craving that transcends all reason? Some manner of cheese-related divination known only to a forbidden sect? Whatever the reason, one can only hope that the results are still saleable.

The answer is simple, Final Fantasy 14 tooltip: I want a huge amount of cheese because I will eat this huge amount of cheese. Oh, how I yearn for this shelf filled with cheese in real life. Look at the variety. Look at how much cheese that is. Do you have any idea how expensive a full wheel of cheese is?

Now my only problem is figuring out if I want to rip down my modernly decorated home just to flood it wall-to-wall with these cheese shelves …

Source: Polygon.com

Biomutant studio assures everyone it’s still making Biomutant

After a few months of notable silence from the developer of Biomutant, the upcoming “open-world, post-apocalyptic kung fu fable,” the studio took to Twitter today to confirm that, yes, it’s still making Biomutant.

“Let us assure you that we’ve never been working harder and more focused on it than now,” developer Experiment 101 said in a statement.

But the team behind Biomutant said it’s still not ready to announce a release date for the game, which is being published by THQ Nordic. “We will reveal the release date as soon as everyone at our studio feels confident about hitting that date and that the game is ready for it,” the developer said.

Biomutant was originally scheduled to arrive sometime in 2018 (and later pegged for 2019), but THQ Nordic parent company Embracer Group confirmed in November that the game was still “in the final stages of polishing,” and would not confirm a release date. Experiment 101 also hadn’t updated the Biomutant Twitter account since September, leading to some anxiousness from fans that the game was in trouble or, worse, outright canceled.

Here’s Experiment 101’s statement on the status of Biomutant in full:

We know that many of you are wondering if the game is still in development. Let us assure you that we’ve never been working harder and more focused on it than now!

We are doing everything we can to make this the best game all of us have ever worked on and that it will be as entertaining and great as we can possibly make it.

We can only hope for your continued support and patience as we complete the final stages of its development.

As some of you might understand or know, the work involved in finishing a game is long, challenging and unpredictable. The sheer magnitude, size, and length of Biomutant adds to said effort.

We will reveal the release date as soon as everyone at our studio feels confident about hitting that date and that the game is ready for it.

Biomutant was originally announced in August 2017. The open-world action game will let players customize their character “with powerful mutations, bionic prosthetics and weapons.” Players will be able to genetically modify their character with claws, barbed tails, and wings, and can earn “psi-mutations” like telekinesis and levitation or add robotic limbs. Experiment 101, a team founded by former Avalanche Studios creative director Stefan Ljungqvist, is developing the game for PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

Source: Polygon.com

A short film provides a striking look inside Wuhan’s coronavirus lockdown

Since the coronavirus outbreak began in December, reactions in the Western Hemisphere have ranged from confused to flippant (jokes about Corona beer) to racist and xenophobic (the severe drop in business in Chinatowns all over the U.S.). In part, it’s been a symptom of just how remote the outbreak feels — though there are at least a thousand confirmed cases worldwide, more than 74,000 have been infected in mainland China (killing more than 2,000 people), and reports have generally focused on less human aspects in favor of the outbreak’s effects on the Chinese film industry. A new short documentary film, Wuhan: The Long Night, seems primed to properly convey the magnitude of what’s happening.

Filmmaker Lan Bo initially went to the city of Wuhan to shoot a feature film. The lockdown to try to contain the virus, which occurred on January 23, meant the crew were forced to change their plans. Stranded in Wuhan, they decided to use their time and efforts to document what was happening around them.

The resulting short, which took off on the Chinese platform Weibo before crossing over to Western social media (and is available to watch online), offers a real look at Wuhan since the city was effectively cut off from the rest of the world. Though Wuhan boasts a population of 14 million people, the cellphone footage captured by Lan and his crew is of a ghost town. Few, if any, people roam the city, the streets and highways are almost completely deserted, and, in the short’s most striking sequence, a man leans out of his window onto an empty street, singing “My Motherland and Me.”

“They want to do something meaningful,” Lan said. “Since the lockdown, there hasn’t been a video presenting such a panoramic view […] I feel that these are going to be valuable images for historical reference and for other documentaries.”

Spurred on by the success of the short, Lan plans to make a feature-length documentary about Wuhan in lockdown, focusing on how the people remaining in the city have been affected.

Source: Polygon.com

How Sonic scored two different animated series at the same time

In 1993, there wasn’t a character in America more popular than Sonic the Hedgehog. According to a New York Times report from that time, in just two years, Sonic had become, “a $1 billion dollar business all to himself.” Because of Sonic’s initial success, the Times claimed that Sega was not only “threatening to topple Nintendo,” but also “aiming at Disney for control of the world of entertainment.”

With surging popularity, it made sense that Sega wanted kids to have their eyes trained on Sonic even when they turned off their consoles. The chili-dog-loving speed demon would soon appear in comic books, merchandise, and that fall, animated series. And not just one; Sonic became the first character in animation history to star in two separate series that aired at the same time.

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, developed by Kent Butterworth (The Ren & Stimpy Show), Phil Harnage (Captain Planet and the Planeteers), and Bruce and Reed Shelly (The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!), premiered on Sept. 6th, 1993, was a screwball, Tex Avery-style comedy that ran for 65 episodes (and one special). Every episode followed Sonic and Tails as they went up against Dr. Robotnik and his robot cronies, thwarting their plans to takeover the planet Mobius. The show aired Monday through Friday on syndication in various markets.

Sonic the Hedgehog, usually referred to as “SatAM,” premiered two weeks later, and ran for 26 episodes split over two seasons. The series had a higher production value than Adventures, and told a more cohesive storyline, despite airing on ABC Saturday Morning. Even though SatAM and Adventures shared the same main character and was even voiced by the same actor (Steve Urkel himself, Jaleel White), the former couldn’t have been any different than the latter.

SatAM’s story was darker, taking place in a post-apocalyptic Mobius where Robotnik is almost in complete control of the planet. Sonic, Tails, and the rest of the Knothole Freedom Fighters, a group of characters created specifically for the series (so, sadly, no Big the Cat), attempt to overthrow Egg Man and free Mobius from his evil tyranny.

The series separated itself from the usual Saturday morning cartoon fare by having the heroes, at times, fail to stop Robotnik’s evil schemes. The characters also had to deal with grief over the loss of fellow freedom fighters. SatAM was also more mature than Adventures and most other Saturday morning cartoons when it came to the relationship between two of the main characters, Sonic and Princess Sally, his childhood friend and the planet’s rightful ruler. In the second season finale, “The Doomsday Project,” Sally and Sonic share a celebratory and passionate kiss, certainly not something you would see on Tom & Jerry Kids.

SatAM was developed by Len Janson (The Real Ghostbusters), and Bruce and Reed Shelly. Both series were produced by DIC, producer of Inspector Gadget and Captain Planet, and it was their Executive Vice President of Creative Affairs at the time, Robby London, who came up with the idea to produce two different series. After pitching the darker take to ABC, the network surprised DIC executives by not only expressing interest in having Sonic appear on their network, but offering them an on-air commitment. “Usually they’ll do a development deal,” London told Polygon in a phone interview, “but this property was so hot they said, ‘you know what? Let’s do it.’”

With a deal in place, DIC wanted to take things one step further by not only having SatAM air on ABC, but also have it air on first-run syndication, which had never been done before. DIC did something similar with The Real Ghostbusters in the late 1980s. After the first season of TRG aired on ABC, the second and third seasons aired simultaneously, the second in syndication, the third on the network.

DIC went back to ABC and pitched their idea to Mark Pedowitz, former Senior Vice President of Business Affairs and Contracts at ABC (and currently the President and CEO of The CW). Pedowitz, who London remembers as being, “ a formidable, intimating guy,” swiftly rejected the idea, telling him, “If you guys want to do syndication, be our guest, go with God, but you won’t be on our network.”

Disappointed, DIC almost dropped the idea, as the clear choice between syndication and network was network every time. “Network was always the preferred placement,” London said, “the license fees were better, and you got one license fee upfront, without having to piece together the financing; plus network shows got better ratings.”

However, even with his initial idea shot down, London wasn’t deterred. He went to his boss, Andy Heyward, and presented him with an alternative, “What if we re-approach ABC and do the following, we do two series simultaneously, but they will be completely different, so no one will confuse the product?” Heyward liked the idea, they ventured back to ABC, and pitched what would become Adventures. To their surprise, ABC obliged.

London had no idea as to why this wasn’t done before, however, he did know why it was done at the time. “Necessity is the mother of invention,” he said, “one thing about Andy Heyward and DIC at the time, we were extremely innovative when it came to the marketing and distribution of our ideas, and they had to be. While DIC was the biggest independent animation studio in North America, it still had to consistently come up with unique ways to stay competitive against animation studios with major studio backing like Disney, Warner Bros., FOX ( who also owned TV networks), and other independent studios like Sunbow and Nelvana. There was a lot of competition for a limited number of time slots, so to stay competitive London said that he and his team at DIC, “were required to find innovative ways to finance our shows.”

sonic the hedgehog kisses his girlfriend Image: DIC

SatAm ran until December 1994. A third season of was planned but before production could start, ABC canceled the series. As to why SatAM, London assumes it was either a ratings decision or change in direction. ABC was bought by Disney in 1995 and in a video interview for the SatAM DVD release, writer Ben Hurst said that the show’s second season was up against the most popular children’s show airing at the time, FOX Kids’ Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. And if it wasn’t getting pummeled by Power Rangers in the ratings, SatAM wasn’t airing at all, as episodes were delayed whenever ABC decided to air sports instead of cartoons on weekends.

DIC produced one more Sonic series, 1999’s Sonic Underground, a complete reboot where Sonic and his siblings Sonia and Manik go on a quest to find their missing mother, and again try to overthrow Robotnik, who rules over Mobius. The show ran for 40 episodes, and was followed by two more Sonic cartoons: TMS Animations Sonic X in 2003, the first Sonic anime series that aired on FOX, and 2015’s Sonic Boom, a CG animated series produced by Technicolor Animation Productions. Both ran for two seasons.

Hurst, who passed in 2010, became quite active in the SatAM fan community, and even shared details with fans on his attempts to revive the series, either with a full third season or a feature film. Sega passed, however, the series does live on thanks to Fans United for SatAM, a fan group that has kept the show going in the form of a webcomic. They’ve also funded a fan film, and a subsection of that group, Team Sea3son, have been producing a fan-funded, unofficial third season since 2012.

Much like the balloon that flew above midtown Manhattan in the 1993 Thanksgiving Day Parade, the hype around Sonic deflated. Almost 30 years since his first appearance, and days away from his big screen debut, Sonic is mainly an afterthought as far as video games are concerned. The blue buzzsaw couldn’t make the transition to 3D and now it’s a small miracle we can get anything close to a good Sonic game. So while today he’s just another face on the character select screen in many Nintendo party games, there was a time where Sonic was king, so popular that he was able to get two animated series based on him made at the same time, something that hadn’t happened before or since.

Sonic the Hedgehog is streaming on Starz, CBS All Access, and for free on Tubi TV. Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is streaming on Starz, CBS All Access, and Netflix.

Source: Polygon.com

Animal Crossing Nintendo Direct coming this week

Nintendo will broadcast a new Nintendo Direct episode this week, revealing new, “in-depth” details about Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch.

The new Nintendo Direct presentation will be broadcast on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT. Nintendo will broadcast the episode, which will run roughly 25 minutes, on its YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Facebook channels.

Originally announced in 2018 during a Nintendo Direct presentation, Animal Crossing: New Horizons sends players on an island vacation planned by Tom Nook’s new travel agency. The Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package will fly travelers to a deserted island, where they’ll establish a new life, craft and build custom items, and interact with newcomers as they arrive to the island destination. The Nintendo Switch sequel will add brand-new customization options and support for up to eight players in local and online multiplayer.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is coming to Nintendo Switch on March 20. Nintendo will release a special Animal Crossing-themed edition of the Nintendo Switch on March 13. It’s available for pre-order now.

Source: Polygon.com

Pokémon Go’s eggs are getting a fossil shake-up

Pokémon Go has changed what hatches out of 7 km eggs. While normally the yellow and pink eggs host baby Pokémon, they’re now only hatching fossil Pokémon.

This means that Omanyte, Kabuto, Aerodactyl, Lileep, Anorith, Cranidos, Shieldon, Tirtouga, and Archen are the only Pokémon coming out of eggs you get from friends’ gifts. With this shift, none of these will hatch out of any other eggs and Riolu will now hatch out of 10 km eggs.

There isn’t a set date for this fossil bonanza to end, but you can use this opportunity to grab a bunch of Cranidos, if you’re lucky. Its evolution, Rampardos, is one of the best rock-type attackers in the game. Bastiodon, the evolved form of Shieldon, is also a pretty solid Great League PvP Pokémon.

Tirtouga and Archen are still fairly new additions to this game, so this is also a good chance to grab them and enough candy to evolve them. Of course, you could be unlucky and end up with a bunch of Omanyte or Lileep that you don’t need anymore.

Note that this change does not affect any 7 km eggs you may have gotten before today. Those will still have older Pokémon in them, but any egg you get from friends starting now will hatch fossil Pokémon.

Source: Polygon.com

PlanetSide 2 is getting a big update as developer tries to build interest in a sequel

PlanetSide 2, the multiplayer combat game that first launched in 2012, is getting a big update on Wednesday. Executive producer Andy Sites tells Polygon that it’s part of an effort to pave the way for a potential PlanetSide 3. He says the sequel has not formally been announced, but his newly reorganized studio is committed to doing “whatever” it needs to do to keep the franchise viable. For now that means “shoring up” the live version of PlanetSide 2 with new features and content.

Rumors of a PlanetSide 3 have been circulating for a while, reaching newfound intensity in October 2019. That’s when Sites himself seemingly confirmed that the game had been greenlit in an official blog post. Now, he says that’s simply not the case.

“I did not officially announce that PlanetSide 3 was in development,” Sites told Polygon during a telephone interview in January.

The last few months have been a tumultuous time for Daybreak Games, the company behind not only PlanetSide but also EverQuest, DC Universe Online and H1Z1. It recently transitioned to the role of publisher, reorganizing its major brands under three separate studios. Rogue Planet Games, which Sites leads, is now solely responsible for the PlanetSide franchise. But that studio itself is enduring its own set of challenges, including the decision to wind down PlanetSide Arena, an early access game that was only live on Steam for a few months.

Now Sites says his team is putting all its energy into reinvigorating PlanetSide 2, which is available on PC and PlayStation 4.

“Like all games and franchises that have been running for almost 17 years like PlanetSide, we’re always thinking about the future,” Sites said. “We’re not by any means ready to start talking about PlanetSide 3 in any sort of extensive detail. […] Our emphasis is really shoring up PlanetSide 2.”

The new update, which goes live tomorrow for PC players, is called Escalation. It will include Bastion Fleet Carriers, which Rogue Planet describes as a “massive interplanetary craft can be called into battle once refueled and rearmed.” Bastions will serve as a mobile base of operations for factions as they do battle across the game’s massive 64-kilometer-square battlefields. It’s something the community has been looking forward to for a long time, and will hopefully breathe new life into the game.

“There will be no PlanetSide 3 if we don’t continue supporting PlanetSide 2, and we don’t continue showing that the PlanetSide experience is unmatched and amazing,” Sites said. “So our focus right now in the short term is continuing to reinforce that with the live game. In due time we’ll be ready to start talking about the future, which would be a PlanetSide 3.”

When asked if, given the new studio structure, Daybreak would publish Planetside 3 should the game get made, Sites said the studio would do “whatever [it needs] to do to continue moving the franchise forward.”

“Ideally that’s with Daybreak,” Sites said. “If there’s alternate means of publishing, and Daybreak’s okay with that, then we’re good to go as so long as that means we’re able to continue delivering what we want to with PlanetSide.”

Source: Polygon.com

Cooking Mama: Cookstar will turn you into an Instagram chef

Mama is returning to help you be the best cook you can be in Cooking Mama: Cookstar.

A trailer for the cooking game showed off a bunch of the fun Cooking Mama minigames that we’re used to seeing, like mixing ingredients together or chopping up vegetables. The best part of the trailer showed off making an Instagram staple: the rainbow grilled cheese.

After you’re done making your food, you take a sweet snap of it for the ’gram, and you can even deck out the photo with stickers. Mama has mastered both the kitchen and social media. We love to see her thrive and succeed.

Just like old games, you can still upset Mama by messing up your food, but it seems like she’ll fix it up for you as usual. She’s so reliable.

The trailer first appeared on the Dutch game store website, Nedgame. It’s since been made private, but it has luckily been re-uploaded for us to bask in all its rainbow grilled cheese glory.

Cooking Mama: Cookstar will come to Nintendo Switch in March 2020. According to the trailer, it’ll cost $39.99.

Source: Polygon.com

Yakuza 0, Kingdom Hearts 3 come to Xbox Game Pass in February

Xbox Game Pass subscribers will get access to games like Ninja Gaiden 2, Kingdom Hearts 3, and Yakuza 0 on console as part of the subscription this month. Those titles join recently added games like Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Final Fantasy 15 on Xbox One with Game Pass.

Here’s a full rundown of what’s coming to Xbox One for the remainder of February with Xbox Game Pass for Console and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate:

  • Ninja Gaiden 2, Feb. 20
  • Kingdom Hearts 3, Feb. 25
  • Two Point Hospital, Feb. 25
  • Wasteland Remastered, Feb. 25
  • Yakuza 0, Feb. 26
  • Jackbox Party Pack 3, Feb. 27

Subscribers to Xbox Game Pass for PC (and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate) will also get access to the following:

  • Indivisible
  • Reigns: Game of Thrones
  • Two Point Hospital
  • Wasteland Remastered
  • Yakuza 0

This makes February a good month for Yakuza fans, who get to experience the series prequel that sent players late ’80s Tokyo, exploring the rise of yakuza Kazuma Kiryu and Goro Majima set against Japan’s economic bubble.

Some Xbox Game Pass titles will soon leave the service, Microsoft warned today. Games departing the subscription service include:

  • Fallout 3
  • Just Cause 4
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Snake Pass
  • The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion
  • Batman: Return to Arkham – Arkham City
  • Batman: Return to Arkham – Arkham Asylum

Xbox Game Pass for Console costs $9.99 per month, and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (which includes access to Xbox Live Gold) costs $14.99 per month. Xbox Game Pass for PC, currently in beta, is priced at $4.99 per month. Microsoft is offering promotional pricing — just $1 per month — for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass for PC.

Source: Polygon.com