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Posts Tagged ‘riot’

Google: No, no. You’ve got Glass all wrong

It’s nothing, really. Just a nice idea.


(Credit:
Google/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

Something I’ve learned over the last few years is that Google is always right.

It criticizes the NSA for snooping, when it quite happily crawls all over your e-mails. But it’s right, because it’s for your own good.

It pumps ads at you even when you’re writing e-mails, but it’s right to do so. Because these ads are far better than all the other ads you’ll see on the Web.

And then there’s
Google Glass, which Google insists isn’t a creepy, awkward intrusion into public and private life. So Google must be right.

Well, except that those who have so far resisted a Google chip being implanted into their brains still feel that Glass might be for the self-righteous, rather than the normal human being.

Of late, Google seems to have adopted a crouching posture, as the criticisms and humor have rained its way.

First, it issued a Do’s and Don’ts post — in which it asked its Glass Explorers not to behave like Glassholes. Yes, they needed to be told.

Now the company has published a lengthy post on Google+ titled “The Top 10 Google Glass Myths.

It’s a riotous little read that comes across as a miffed and haughty self-justification, masked as mealy mouthed modesty.

In essence, dear downtrodden Earthling, you’ve got Google Glass all wrong.

Sample 1: You think Glass is on all the time? Of course it isn’t. Its default is off, just like your phone. It only gives you stuff when you need it. “It’s designed to get you a bit of what you need just when you need it and then get you back to the people and things in life you care about.”

And, as you’re doing that, please try to forget that you’re wearing a ridiculous Borgiastic pair of glasses that make the people you care about suspect you need sedation.

Sample 2: Glass Explorers aren’t technology-worshipping geeks. Apparently, they’re normal people like firefighters and, um, reporters who just like to play technology-worshipping geeks when they’re out in public.

Google’s version of this: “The one thing they have in common is that they see the potential for people to use technology in a way that helps them engage more with the world around them, rather than distract them from it.”

It’s hard to write when I’m slapping my forehead very hard, but isn’t the way to engage more with the world around you, to not keep looking up at the right-hand corner of your Borgiastic glasses?

Other areas in which Google would like to disabuse you include: Google Glass is a finished product (no, no); Google Glass does facial recognition (No, no. Well, not yet); Google Glass is the perfect surveillance device. (Gosh, no. There are far better ones. They’re just not made by Google.)

This allegedly myth-busting post ends where you really want it to: in a discussion about whether Glass marks the end of privacy.

Don’t be ridiculous, says Google. There’s simply a trend toward more and more cameras. That’s the way the world is going.

“In ten years there will be even more cameras, with or without Glass. 150+ years of cameras and eight years of YouTube are a good indicator of the kinds of photos and videos people capture — from our favorite cat videos to dramatic, perspective-changing looks at environmental destruction, government crackdowns, and everyday human miracles,” says the post.

Yes, humans are such positive, optimistic, freedom-fighting, cat-loving sorts. They never snoop on anyone. They never Scroogle or Microsnoop. They never pry and spy and plot and envy and loathe.

Well, at least not on the West Coast they don’t.

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Snakes invade casino? Ask the social-media lie detector

February 21st, 2014 No comments


(Credit:
CNET)

Remember when a shark swam through the streets of New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy? Actually, it didn’t. But wouldn’t it have been handy to have been able to check the veracity of those Garden State shark reports without going through the office of Gov. Chris Christie?

An international group of researchers funded by the EU is working on a lie detector for social media that could make it easier to separate online truth from lies and the lying liars who tell them (apologies to Al Franken).

Named Pheme after a Greek mythological figure who “pried into the affairs of mortals and gods, then repeated what she learned, starting off at first with just a dull whisper, but repeating it louder each time, until everyone knew,” the system will collate a variety of data to assess in real time how likely it really is that a baby mermaid was just born in the Philippines or snakes invaded a Pennsylvania casino.

Pheme will, for example, gauge the authority of sources such as news outlets, individual journalists, alleged experts, potential eyewitnesses, and automated bots. It will take into account the past histories of social-media accounts to help spot those that have spread false rumors in the past. And it will search for sources that corroborate or deny a given piece of information and plot how conversations about the topic evolve on social networks.

The results will focus on the quality of the information, unlike similar analytics tools that focus more on language. Software out of Israel, for instance, scours online text for words, phrases, and even metaphors that might indicate depression.

The Pheme results will be displayed in a visual dashboard that should at least give some sense, if not a definitive ruling, of where a rumor falls on the pure-poppycock-to-totally-true scale.

“We can already handle many of the challenges involved [on the Internet], such as the sheer volume of information in social networks, the speed at which it appears and the variety of forms, from tweets, to videos, pictures and blog posts,” Kalina Bontcheva, a researcher from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Computer Science, said in a statement. “But it’s currently not possible to automatically analyze, in real time, whether a piece of information is true or false and this is what we’ve now set out to achieve.”

Not all rumors created equal
According to the University of Sheffield, Pheme will classify online rumors into four types: speculation — such as whether interest rates might rise; controversy — as over the MMR vaccine; misinformation, where something untrue is spread unwittingly; and disinformation, where falsehoods are disseminated with malicious intent.

There are definitely categories missing here, like April Fools’ Day falsehoods spread with humorous intent, and “Star Wars” casting rumors. But of course not all online rumors are light entertainment or the harmless sort of speculation that long precedes any iPhone or Samsung Galaxy launch. Sometimes rumors can have a real impact, as with fake announcements of people’s deaths and doctored storm-related images that can seriously scare an already-jumpy city.

Pheme will cost an estimated 3.5 million British pounds (around $5.8 million) and evolve over the course of three years, being tested during that time both by the online arm of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, a collaborator in the project. There, researchers plan to investigate online discourse about recreational drugs, mental-health concerns, and teenage self-harm and how those discussions translate to patients’ real-life behavior.

In addition to Sheffield and King’s College London, other universities participating in Pheme include Saarland in Germany, Modul University Vienna, and the UK’s University of Warwick, where a professor worked with the London School of Economics and The Guardian’s interactive team to manually analyze the spread of rumors on Twitter during the 2011 London riots.

And while you’re waiting for Pheme to appear, there’s always Snopes — and common sense.

This image, which purported to show Hurricane Sandy menacing New York, is actually a composite of a picture of a tornado storm cell in Nebraska and one of the Statue of Liberty, according to Snopes.com.


(Credit:
Snopes.com)

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‘Twitch Plays Pokemon’ is now a fight for the soul of the Internet

February 20th, 2014 No comments


(Credit:
Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET)

No one was quite expecting “Twitch Plays Pokemon,” the massively-multiplayer Pokemon game being streamed on Twitch.tv for more than 150 hours straight, to virally erupt within a week of going live, let alone accomplish anything by way of in-game progress. Yet the channel has ballooned to mind-boggling popularity as the group of tens of thousands of Twitch users have managed to make surprising advancements in tandem with hilarious missteps.

In the process, a community unlike anything the Internet has ever seen has sprouted up, the strangest aspect of which is the disturbingly elaborate religious narrative crafted by thousands of meme-hungry participants. It would be an understatement to say it’s one of the weirder things to happen on the Internet lately.

Currently, the stream has garnered more than 15 million total views and the active viewer count has at times exceeded 100,000, up almost 10 times what its peak was last Friday. The self-described “social experiment,” started by an anonymous Australian programmer last week, began as a fascinating look into collective behavior and group dynamics.

And thanks to the channel owner’s addition of “democracy” and “anarchy” game modes on Tuesday, Twitch Plays Pokemon has grown beyond a simple social experiment and into the realm of symbolic, quasi-political Internet culture wars. Between the trolls who find humor in the sadistic torture of the game’s already snail-like progress and those who demand more speedy completion, Twitch Plays Pokemon is now a battle between the split personality of the Internet hive mind.

To refresh, the special Twitch stream is an emulated version of the original GameBoy classic Pokemon Red with a catch: to progress through the game, active viewers of the stream with a Twitch account must type in commands — a and b or up and down for example — in the chat box, while an IRC bot translates those comments into in-game commands with some considerable lag. As thousands of inputs pour in, the system processes only a select handful of commands. The result is a dizzying display of chaos as the main character walks in circles, opens menus repeatedly, and spends countless hours failing to surpass simple obstacles.

The main hurdles thus far have been in both the increasing size of the viewer pool, meaning more and more potential commands muddling each attempt at meaningful progression, and the fact that it was from the beginning impossible to truly know which commands were being processed at what time due to the chat lag. The latter issue has resulted in travesties like the effective deletion of the group’s pivotal starter Pokemon — let out “into the wild” thanks to an errant “a” button press — and numerous instances through the last six days of the group being stuck for ungodly amounts of time in the same areas.

Fighting against ourselves

Enter democracy and anarchy, two game modes that pits differing playing philosophies against one another in a constant tug-of-war. The two game modes can be switched between at any time if enough people tilt the scales by typing in “anarchy” or “democracy” in the chat box alongside the button inputs and directional commands. Once one game mode is active, the other must receive enough votes to nullify it and activate the switch. A slider measures this in real time.


Fan artwork regarding the push-pull between the democracy and anarchy modes has already started filling image boards and, like the photo above, fueling the game’s wacky pseudo-religious fixation on the Helix Fossil item.


(Credit:
Twitter user @SamTheMasters)

Democracy is theoretically a game mode that helps players overcome the trolling malignancy of the stream by allowing a more judicious way of governing the character. Chat comments are translated into actual button inputs and directional commands like usual, but through a voting system that selects an input every 20 seconds and then resets. While terribly slow and overall more ineffective, it’s a far more careful way of performing complex maneuvers, which in Twitch Plays Pokemon can be something as simple as opening a menu and selecting the necessary option while facing the right way.

On the other side is anarchy, a game mode that retains the original channel’s mechanic of an all-out free-for-all where any one of the thousands of game commands flooding in every minute can form the basis of in-game movement.

When the modes were first introduced, many felt it was a betrayal of the purity of the challenge. After all, the group had moved remarkably far along the storyline using anarchy game mechanics that up until that point were the default. The push-pull between anarchy and democracy is now easily the most visible showdown in the chat box. Those in favor of anarchy mode are so intent on victory over their democratic adversaries that they devised a clever trick to spam the command stream with a function that slowed gameplay to a crawl in order to let anarchy reclaim the throne.

“It appears that we’re still wandering around Celadon City, the city of gambling and shopping…the chat seems more interested in the tug of war between anarchy and democracy than the final destination,” wrote Reddit user Mandraxon in the stream’s dedicated Reddit live update feed.

The dichotomy between the game modes has morphed into a philosophical debate in and of itself, with Reddit discussion threads, strategy-focused message board arguments, and meme after meme folding the struggle into the game’s ever-increasing communal narrative. But, believe it or not, the game modes have begun to have a profound affects on how the group participating in Twitch Plays Pokemon responds to itself, devises strategies, and overcomes seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

For example, observe this amazing chain of events that allowed the channel participants to maneuver what had been an in-game hell for more than 24 hours. Below is the moment when democracy mode takes over, allowing the group to maneuver towards an elevator hidden within a puzzling building layout that had been eluding them since day four of the stream.


(Credit:
Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET)

Inside the elevator, democracy mode allows the group to carefully select the right floor.


(Credit:
Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET)

Once on the appropriate floor, the group is finally able to confront the last enemies. Then, when in battle, they overwhelmingly flood the chat box with calls for anarchy to speed up the battle process.


(Credit:
Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET)

But the switch to anarchy ends up proving fatal to the group’s efforts as the collective conscious is unable to make effective choices.


(Credit:
Screenshot by Nick Statt/CNET)

While maddening to anyone invested in the game, the last-minute failure was still a simultaneously impressive and telling demonstration of strategy in the face of the steam’s imposing insanity. While thousands of players fought to keep the scales between democracy and anarchy in an appropriate balance, a core group of participants was able to push the character towards a series of successful maneuvers, only to be foiled by the inherent risk in giving in to the hive mind. Democracy mode is now appearing to be a more genuinely accepted strategy with each new challenge it’s used to overcome.

“As Twitch begins to realize that their efforts of clearing the tile puzzle and defeating the elevator were now in vain, Twitch’s surprise begins to transform into anger, and the Twitchnauts slowly resume their push for Democracy,” Reddit user Mandraxon quipped following the debacle. Twitch’s official Twitter account however came out in support of anarchy in a tongue-and-cheek support of the trollish undercurrents of Twitch Plays Pokemon.

So while the humorous narrative continues to churn out meme fodder, even from the people behind Twitch itself, the question now is not which side will prevail. Both have proven to be effective when used one after another towards a singular goal. Rather, to which degree can progress be halted through those intent on failure and their misuse of anarchy, and how fruitless are future attempts at meaningful strategy when the game becomes harder and more complicated, all while tens of thousands of participants continue to pour in and play.

It was originally a social experiment that was interesting even with a few thousand people involved. But now, with the Internet hive mind enraptured and on full throttle, Twitch Plays Pokemon could very well end up being one of the most fascinating looks at organic Web behavior in a long while. And the best part is it’s happening live, right now.

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Snowboarder’s iPhone crashes after fans swamp him with nude pics

February 10th, 2014 No comments

Not bored any more.


(Credit:
The Fumble/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

The lovely thing about snowboarders at the Winter Olympics is that they’re devoid of political correctness.

They’re just as full of “dude” and “cool” as they would be on a normal, pot-filled day in the mountains.

Some, though, don’t always think through the consequences of their free style.

Take Russian slopestyle snowboarder Alexey Sobolev. His iPhone wishes you would. For Sobolev had the, um, cool idea of putting his phone number on his helmet.

Why would he do that? The Daily Mail suggests that he was merely bored. And when a 22-year-old snowboarder is bored, he seeks action.

Perhaps he thought that he’d move too quickly for anyone to note it down. Sadly, with the joys of DVR, freeze frame, and highly advanced photography, his particulars drifted far and wide.

As Yahoo Sports reports, so many people contacted him that there were unforeseen consequences.

The first of these was that he received a handsome number of images that featured comely women in a state of absolute nudity.

Oddly, this didn’t seem to disturb him at all.

Indeed, Yahoo Sports quoted him as saying of one picture: “Yeaaaaah. She is really good.”

You will be stunned into returning to your bed when I tell you that the International Olympic Committee ordered Sobolev to cover up the phone number. (He didn’t make Saturday’s finals, but we all know that the IOC is always most concerned with decorum.)

The other consequence? It seems his iPhone was so appalled with his behavior that it went on strike. It was reportedly so overwhelmed with the number of messages and images (more than 2,000 in total) that it swooned and seized up.

Once it had taken a rest, it restarted, so that he could appraise the various images and share his opinions with reporters.

I’m not sure whether other sportsmen should follow his path. There might be difficult consequences if, say, a bored Tom Brady wore his phone number on his Patriots helmet. I am not sure that his wife, Giselle Bundchen, would approve.

Moreover, who sends naked pictures of themselves to sportsmen they don’t know?

There seems a peculiar level of desperation on both sides, one that boredom can’t quite excuse.

“Love me! Love me!” both parties seem to be screaming. The trouble is, deserving that love takes a lot more than screaming.

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Annoyed by Facebook? Sorry, it’s sticking around, study says

February 8th, 2014 No comments

If this study is right, we’ll all have plenty of years of Facebook “looking back” to look forward to.


(Credit:
Screenshot by Tuong Nguyen/CNET)

I tend to think Princeton researchers — and, more importantly, CNET readers — are a pretty bright bunch. But if a new study from Carnegie Mellon University is to be believed, both groups are dead wrong, at least about the future of Facebook.

Late last month, a widely publicized Princeton study (PDF) using computer models derived from studying the spread of disease predicted that Facebook would lose 20 percent of its users between 2015 and 2017. Facebook immediately blasted the study, in a pretty humorous way, saying that if it used the same methodology as Princeton, the college itself would have no students by 2021.

During this kerfuffle, CNET asked readers if they thought Facebook would still be thriving in 2017. As you can see for yourself, 50 percent believed the social-media mammoth was going to go the way of the, well, mammoth.

Now, the latest study that’s turned its attention to this oh-so-pressing problem, says the Big F, which just turned 10, will still be here for the foreseeable future. Bruno Ribeiro, a postdoctoral researcher in Carnegie Mellon’s computer science department, came to this conclusion by applying a model he created using data from Web traffic data company Alexa to six years worth of user data from 22 membership-based sites like LinkedIn, Meetup.com, and — yes — Facebook.

Unlike the Princeton study, which looked primarily at Google searches for “Facebook,” Ribeiro’s model (PDF) looked at sites that have grown, as well as those that have suffered attrition, and analyzed various user trends like how likely active members were to become inactive, what role members played in getting others to join the site, and what role advertising played in increasing the site’s traffic.

His conclusion? Facebook, along with LinkedIn, Huffington Post, and the Ashley Madison dating site — which helps people find relationships, even if they’re married — will continue to thrive, while Flixter, OccupyWallStreet, and Tea Party Patriots won’t. He does, however caution that, as with all predictions, unseen activities like the launch of a new social-media upstart that steals some of Facebook’s thunder could affect his model.

One of the key components to a successful membership-based site, the study suggests, is users engaging in irritating behavior like twice-hourly updates on how fed up they are with the annual occurrence known as winter. “If this model is correct,” Ribeiro said, “social network sites will try to make your friends’ lives seem more interesting and your feedback on posts more urgent. From the model’s perspective it is beneficial for companies to be encouraging this type of behavior.”

Great. Just when we thought cute cat photos might be on the decline.

Facebook then and now (pictures)

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Amazon acquires Double Helix

February 6th, 2014 No comments

Amazon acquires Double Helix

Double Helix is made up of Shiny Entertainment and The Collective. Its most notable title at present is Killer Instinct.


Online retail giant Amazon has continued its foray into the world of gaming with the acquisition of Killer Instinct developer Double Helix.

The development studio, formed of a merger between The Collective and Shiny Entertainment in 2007, was acquired for the purposes of talent and intellectual property, according to a report from TechCrunch.

The deal came to light through an invitation to a joint recruiting event held by Amazon and Double Helix due to take place next week. Financial details of the deal have not yet been revealed.

Approximately 75 people work at Double Helix and will now become Amazon employees. The team will continue to work from their California studio.

Alongside Killer Instinct, Double Helix has also worked on Silent Hill: Homecoming, Front Mission Evolved and some licensed titles including GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters and Battleship.

The studio’s upcoming title Strider due for release later this year is still on schedule, but subsequent games on the company’s release schedule have been put on hold.

Amazon already has a presence in the games industry through Amazon Game Studios which focuses on mobile and social games. It has currently only has tower defence game Air Patriots available for download.

Rumours have also circulated that Amazon intends to launch its own Android-powered gaming console this year that will compete with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo.

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‘Star Wars’ sled strikes back: AT-AT races in Cardboard Classic

January 30th, 2014 No comments

Doug Brewbaker rides the AT-AT while fellow builders Garret Geiger (in black) and James Groves give it a shove. The All Terrain Armored Transport doesn’t look quite as intimidating when it’s a sled made of cardboard, tape, and optimism that it can reach the finish line.


(Credit:
Courtesy of Doug Brewbaker)

Darth Vader himself would approve of the giant AT-AT sled that raced against 50 other entries in the 8th Annual Cardboard Classic last weekend in Lansing, Mich.

Contestants enter sleds made completely from cardboard, paper, glue, tape, paint, and creativity. All sleds race down a short hill near the Gier Community Center with hopes that their unique creations hold together by the time they meet the finish line.

Doug Brewbaker, Garret Geiger, and James Groves spent more than 70 hours creating the 7-foot, 8-inch tall cardboard AT-AT — short for All Terrain Armored Transport — modeled on the four-legged vehicle seen in the snowy Hoth battle scene from “The Empire Strikes Back.”

“The AT-AT walker’s journey down a snow-covered hill behind Gier Community Center lasted about 15 seconds,” according to Lansing State Journal. “With the 36-year-old Brewbaker crouched underneath, it crashed before reaching the finish line.”

The AT-AT competitors included a giant scorpion, a mini graveyard with zombies, and a Spartan Chariot.

Watch the AT-AT sled in action with this video of the 2014 Cardboard Classic here. The event raises money for the community center.

The builders (from left): James Groves, Doug Brewbaker, and Garret Geiger.


(Credit:
Courtesy of Doug Brewbaker)

The AT-AT sled, in all its glory.


(Credit:
Courtesy of Doug Brewbaker)

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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

January 15th, 2014 No comments


Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

Price: £19.99
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Konami
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360.

Japanese games don’t get released very often on PC, and when they do the ports are all too often clumsy, rudimentary things. It’s a sad state of affairs, as it means PC gamers are missing an entire culture of gaming from their history, and their experiences of bona-fide classics like Dark Souls or Resident Evil 4 may have been tarnished by a half-hearted transition.

After being released on console last year, Konami and co-developers Platinum Games recently unleashed the bizarrely titled Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance on the most enduring of platforms. And thank goodness they have. Not only is it a good port, it’s a good port of one of the most refreshingly unrestrained, unhinged and uncompromising action games we’ve played in years. It could be better still, as that uncompromising nature sometimes works against its expertly engineered combat system and brilliantly conceived action sequences. But in terms of sheer spectacle and satisfaction of play, it makes your Call of Dutys and your Battlefields look as dull as Ed Miliband’s socks by comparison.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review
Revengeance is a continuation of the Metal Gear story, chronologically the latest entry into the canon. For the most part though, Revengeance tells its own tale, so the series’ on/off relationship with the PC won’t impact on your understanding of the plot too much. Speaking of which, Revengeance’s telling of its story is long and detailed, a point which we’ll get onto later, but for now all you need to know is you play a cyborg ninja trying to unravel a conspiracy in a world dominated by private military companies and arms manufacturers, who are quite happy to sacrifice the human soul in their ongoing attempts to weaponise the human body.

Almost every character you encounter, including the lowest level grunts, are cybernetically enhanced in some fashion, and the playable character, Raiden, is a prime specimen of these technological advancements, able to run at the speed of a motorcycle, deflect bullets with his sword like a human windscreen wiper, and carve up opponents ten or twenty times his size without breaking a sweat, although that could be because his sweat glands have been engineered to secrete liquid awesome.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review
You, on the other hand, will be perspiring plenty, because Revengeance isn’t the sort of game that forces you to take a back seat. Central to the game’s combat system is a directional blocking technique which involves pressing the “light-attack” button while simultaneously pushing the analogue stick in the direction which the attack is coming from. No doubt by the use of the words “analogue stick” you’ve surmised the game is ideally played using a joypad. It can be played using the keyboard and mouse in the same way that you can steer a car with your feet; it works, but that’s simply not the way either the car or your feet were designed.

Hence there’s a certain amount of skill and learning involved in fighting, so it does take a while for this unique system to click. But when it does, it feels fantastic. In my case it clicked when Raiden stopped a charging, twenty-foot mech in its tracks with his outstretched hand, an attack I’d previously assumed to be unblockable. Realising that you can stop almost anything provided you learn how to counter correctly is immensely gratifying.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review
Alongside direction, timing your blocks is equally crucial, as a perfectly-timed parry will leave your opponents open to a counterattack. This allows Raiden to bash them around a bit in impressively acrobatic style, but this also fills up his energy meter, which ultimately enables him to perform “Zandatsu”. This is the other key system of Revengeance, through which cyborgs and other opponents can be chopped to ribbons using Raiden’s “Blade Mode”. Pressing the blade mode button slows down time and offers more precise control of Raiden’s swings. Any part of an opponent’s body can be sliced into sushi, but targeting their core gives Raiden access to their central energy supply, which he can absorb to automatically fill his health and energy again.

The result of this is, when performed correctly, combat becomes a ferociously fluid dance, and one that, unlike so many games these days, you are completely in control of. It is also, of course astonishingly violent, although the game is surprisingly self-aware of this, and addresses the subject at length. It’s refreshing to see a game actively question and debate its own violent nature, rather than glossing over the fact or attempting to justify it through jingoistic patriotism. Especially interesting is the fact that Revengeance’s solution to this problem is not at all an ideal one, again something it is fully understanding of.

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World of Warcraft designer ‘Ghostcrawler’ leaves for Riot

January 15th, 2014 No comments

World of Warcraft designer 'Ghostcrawler' leaves for Riot

Street had been with Blizzard for nearly six years and was a prominent figure for the Warcraft community.


World of Warcraft lead systems designer Greg ‘Ghostcrawler’ Street has left Blizzard to join Riot Games as lead designer.

Street, who will be familiar to any Warcraft fans that follows the development of the game, published the job move on his LinkedIn profile. The update does not however state which project he will be working on.

The move was confirmed by Street over Twitter but he added that he won’t be clarifying any more details of his new employment for quite some time. He also posted a confirmation of his departure from Blizzard on the Warcraft forums.

‘An opportunity has come my way and I have made the very tough decision to move on from Blizzard,’ said Street. ‘I wanted to thank all of you for being a part of this grand quest. I have said a hundred times that having passionate gamers, including the angry ones, is a far better place to be than having a community that doesn’t care. You all care. Like us, you want the game to be the best that it can be.

Street was well known amongst the World of Warcraft community as a prominent conduit between the community and the development team.

Street had been with Blizzard for nearly six years, joining the company in 2008. Before Blizzard, he worked at Ensemble Studios and was the lead designer on Age of Empires 3.

The Warcraft development team is currently working on Warlords of Draenor, the MMO’s sixth expansion which was announced in November 2013. The expansion will take players back in time to before the events of Warcraft 2 and will feature a raised level cap and player-built garrisons.

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Colbert fights Google’s robots with Ewoks

December 17th, 2013 No comments

Will this work? We can only hope.


(Credit:
Comedy Central screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

“It’s the Yahoo of things that work.”

This is the benign description that Stephen Colbert offers on the subject of Google.

However, like the defender of all things natural and patriotic, Colbert can stay silent no longer about Google’s obvious militaristic ambitions.

The company recently bought Boston Dynamics, a maker of animalistic military robots.

Google’s purpose with this purchase? “Clearly to enslave humanity,” Colbert announced Monday.

And, well, “it’s the only way they can get us to sign up for Google+.”

Colbert knows that he must find equal ingenuity to fight back against this manifest threat.

He knows that he can’t just get on Usain Bolt’s back and run away from these technical monsters.

So he’s creating something new, something that will stand with the humans against this otherworldly threat. Yes, he’s creating an Ewok breeding program.

How else can we hope to have something that might help us preserve our way of life?

How else can we imagine that we can be free from attacks and invasions by machines that only care about algorithms and world domination?

We know that Ewoks have an excellent record in fighting against evil technological empires. They might look primitive, but they’re deceptive in their genius.

Let us stand with them. Let us grin and Colbert it. I fear this may well be our only hope.

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