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Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom review - a vital updating of a classic series

Eurogamer - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 14:00

Back when I was eleven, Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon's Trap contained a lot of firsts for me. It was the first game I ever played on a console. It was, as far as I can remember, the first game I played in which you pressed up to go through a door. Most importantly, it was the first game that made me feel wonderfully lost in the sheer breadth and richness of the world that it created.

I understand, now, that this was probably the result of genre confusion. Wonder Boy 3 is kind of an RPG and kind of a Metroidvania. You collect coins and learn spells and buy increasingly better gear as the enemies around you get tougher. And you also change between a series of different animal forms, and the abilities that come with these animals open up new parts of the map and provide fresh opportunities to explore places that you've already been to. But I didn't really know about RPGs when I was eleven, and Metroidvanias probably weren't even called Metroidvanias back then. Instead, what I knew was that this was a game that looked like a platform game and behaved like a platform game most of the time. But in platform games you travelled left to right, and when you fell off the screen you died. In Wonder Boy 3 you could travel left or right. And when you fell off the screen you landed in another screen. Every exit was an entrance somewhere else, Guildenstern. Its world was vast and filled with secrets, and it seemed to unspool in every conceivable direction. See those mountains in the distance? You'll be able to climb them. Wonder Boy 3 is the game that made this as-yet-unminted cliche live for me.

A few years back, Wonder Boy 3 got a truly wonderful remake. I'm still playing it off and on, overwhelmed by nostalgia and admiration. And now, Wonder Boy 3 suddenly has a spiritual successor. It still seems odd to type that. It's made by a French team rather than a Japanese team, but Ryuichi Nishizawa, the creator of Wonder Boy was involved, and while the name has changed - we're now playing as Monster Boy - and while the pixelly sprites and backdrops have been replaced by wonderfully characterful hand-drawn animation, the sense of continuity is absolutely dazzling. All of which could be dangerous. This is the sequel to the game that blew my eleven-year-old mind, the first game that taught me that you press up to go through a door. How can it possibly compare, not just with an ancient classic, but with thirty years of glitching memories?

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Categories: Video Games

Pre-release version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's first premium DLC leaks in Australia

Eurogamer - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 13:17

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's first premium DLC has leaked.

THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD.

Overnight, Australian Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 players found they were able to access a developer build of Multiplayer Map Pack 1, which is a part of the controversial Black Ops Pass, from the PlayStation Store.

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Categories: Video Games

Developer finally releases cancelled ZX Spectrum game 30 years after he finished it

Eurogamer - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 12:01

In 1988, Andy "Cosmium" Beale finished work on his ZX Spectrum game, but its publisher canned it at the last minute and it never came out.

Now, 30 years later, Beale has finally released the game he'd finished what felt like a lifetime ago and, he tells Eurogamer, it "seemed like an old friend!"

Beale's game is called Quadron, a "new" retro 48K ZX Spectrum arcade game that's currently available on itch.io priced $4.99. It draws inspiration from 1980s Williams classics such as Defender and Robotron: 2084, and features fast arcade-style gameplay, with loads of weapons, enemies, power-ups and collectables.

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Categories: Video Games

Californians Have Now Purchased Half a Million EVs

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 12:00
According Veloz -- an electric car industry group -- electric vehicle sales in California hit a cumulative 512,717 since 2010. "Months of strong U.S. sales in 2018, preceded by a strong 2017, are starting to show a trend: electric vehicles are selling well, especially in places where there are strong monetary and non-monetary incentives to buy them," reports Ars Technica. From the report: "Overall, this year has seen exponential growth in electric car sales," Veloz wrote. "Electric cars accounted for 7.1 percent of California car sales in the first three quarters of the year, with fully electric, zero-emission car sales outpacing plug-in hybrid sales 4.1 percent to 3 percent respectively." Veloz's data tallies not just fully battery-electric vehicles but also plug-in hybrids as well as the much rarer fuel cell vehicles. The group gets its data (PDF) from the blogs InsideEVs and HybridCars.com as well as a market-research firm called Baum & Associates and estimates from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). According to data from InsideEVs, the Tesla Model 3 was the top-selling electric vehicle model in the U.S. in November. In November alone, 18,650 of those vehicles were sold in the U.S. To its credit, Veloz's press release isn't too self-congratulatory. The group writes, "Veloz recognizes that, while electric car sales are increasing at a rapid clip, it is not happening fast enough to achieve the deep cuts in emissions that the state needs to achieve to protect people's health and curb negative impacts on the environment."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

GTA Online's Arena War update adds Mad Max-style vehicles

Eurogamer - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 11:48

Don't worry GTA Online players - Rockstar hasn't completely forgotten about you in its rush to tighten up Red Dead Online (which still seems to be something of a work in progress). The latest update - which arrives sometime today - is all about death vehicles and gladiatorial arenas, and almost sounds like enough excitement to get me to ditch my horse for some wheels again. Almost.

According to Rockstar's official post, the aptly-named Arena War update will allow players to "compete in all new vehicle types" inside the "stratospheric dome of the Maze Bank Arena". There's going to be seven new game modes, and combat will revolve around customising your vehicle with various deadly weapons. I'm guessing from the description and image that includes flamethrowers, tank turrets and miniguns. Overkill? Nah.

It also sounds like the arena will have its own progression system, as players will be able to earn "Arena Points" to "rank up and unlock even more toys to take into the Arena or out onto the streets". If the modded vehicles are allowed onto the streets, the citizens of Los Santos are in for a real treat.

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Categories: Video Games

Epic's Infinity Blade series removed from App Store

Eurogamer - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 11:32

Like a sword yanked out of a stone, Epic has reached into the App Store and pulled the Infinity Blade series from sale.

That's not really like the Sword in the Stone at all, but you get the point. Infinity Blade 1, 2 and 3 are no longer downloadable.

If you have the games already downloaded, they'll continue to run as normal. If you purchased the games in the past, you'll still hold onto your right to redownload them. In-app purchases have been switched off permanently, however.

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Categories: Video Games

Facebook Filed a Patent To Calculate Your Future Location

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 09:33
Facebook has filed several patent applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for technology that uses your location data to predict where you're going and when you're going to be offline. BuzzFeed News reports: A May 30, 2017, Facebook application titled "Offline Trajectories" describes a method to predict where you'll go next based on your location data. The technology described in the patent would calculate a "transition probability based at least in part on previously logged location data associated with a plurality of users who were at the current location." In other words, the technology could also use the data of other people you know, as well as that of strangers, to make predictions. If the company could predict when you are about to be in an offline area, Facebook content "may be prefetched so that the user may have access to content during the period where there is a lack of connectivity." Another Facebook patent application titled "Location Prediction Using Wireless Signals on Online Social Networks" describes how tracking the strength of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular, and near-field communication (NFC) signals could be used to estimate your current location, in order to anticipate where you will go next. This "background signal" information is used as an alternative to GPS because, as the patent describes, it may provide "the advantage of more accurately or precisely determining a geographic location of a user." The technology could learn the category of your current location (e.g., bar or gym), the time of your visit to the location, the hours that entity is open, and the popular hours of the entity. Yet another Facebook patent application, "Predicting Locations and Movements of Users Based on Historical Locations for Users of an Online System," further details how location data from multiple people would be used to glean location and movement trends and to model location chains. According to the patent application, these could be used for a "variety of applications," including "advertising to users based on locations and for providing insights into the movements of users." The technology could even differentiate movement trends among people who live in a city and who are just visiting a city. A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement: "We often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patent applications -- such as this one -- should not be taken as an indication of future plans."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Samsung Embarrassingly Partners With Fake Supreme

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 05:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Droid Life: Samsung was doing its song and dance in China today at an event where they announced the Galaxy A8s, their first phone equipped with an Infinity-O display, only to pause midway to announce a new partnership. Samsung claimed to be partnering with iconic streetwear brand Supreme. They invited a couple of gentlemen on stage to talk about the deal, including plans for Supreme to enter China next year with a big flagship store. The thing is, those dudes don't work for Supreme and Supreme has no presence in China, nor do they plan to head there next year. Samsung appears to have been duped by a fake Supreme company or just doesn't care that anyone who pays attention to fashion will mock them for decades to come over this partnership. The Supreme that Samsung is partnering with is actually called Supreme Italia, which is a fake Supreme brand that is able to sell fake Supreme gear, thanks to some weird legal loophole or decision in Italy. They have no affiliation with the real Supreme. They are counterfeiters. As for the Galaxy A8, it too hasn't been very well received. Not only is it the first Samsung phone without a headphone jack, but it has a laser-drilled hole in the display for the front-facing camera sensor. It's not quite as obstructive as the iPhone X notch, but it still leaves a noticeable hole in the top left corner of the display.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Huawei Executive Arrest Inspires Advance Fee Scams

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 04:45
UnderAttack writes: Scammers are attempting to trick Chinese victims into sending thousands of dollars in order to secure the release of Chinese Huawei executive Meng who was arrested in Canada last week. The messages claim to originate from Ms. Meng and suggest that she found a corrupt guard who will let her go for a few thousand dollars. Of course, there will be riches for anybody who is willing to help (and more). The scam is reportedly targeting people via WeChat, which may have a higher success rate than more widely distributed scams. One of the messages reads (translated): "Hello, I am MENG Wanzou. Currently, I have been detained by Canadian customs. I have limited use of my phone. Right now CIA is trying to get me into the hands of the US government. I bribed the guard of my room, and urgently need US$2000 to get out of here. Once I am out, I will reward you 200,000 shares of Huawei. I will be good on my word. if you are single, we can also discuss the important thing in life. The guard's name is David, the account number is 52836153836252, swift 55789034. I will be good on my word."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

More People Get Their News From Social Media Than Newspapers, Study Finds

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 04:03
The Pew Research Center has found that more adults get their news from social media than newspapers. "In a survey conducted earlier this year, 20 percent of adults said they often get news via social media while just 16 percent said the same about print newspapers," reports Engadget. "Television topped the list, with 49 percent of respondents saying they get news from TV often while 33 percent and 26 percent of respondents said news websites and radio were significant news sources for them." From the report: Though television is still the dominant news source for American adults, it has been on a decline -- 57 percent of surveyed adults reported getting their news from television regularly back in 2016. And Pew points out that when you look at online news sources together, so either news websites or social media, it's creeping up to TV as the top source, pulling 43 percent of adults combined. But there are significant differences between age groups. TV is by far the most popular news source for adults aged 50 and over while just 16 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 36 percent of 30- to 49-year-olds say they often get news via television. Among the youngest adults (aged 18 to 29), social media is the most popular platform for news, and for 30- to 49-year-olds, websites are the top news source.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Walmart Is Reportedly Testing a Burger-Flipping Robot

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 03:25
Flippy, a burger-flipping robot that's been trialed in a number of restaurants this year, is coming to Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, to see whether or not it's the right fit for its in-store delis. Yahoo News reports: Flippy is the world's first autonomous robotic kitchen assistant powered by artificial intelligence from Miso Robotics, a two-year-old startup. Flippy got a gig at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles with vending food service company Levy Restaurants, part of Compass Group, to fry up chicken tenders and tater tots. Through the World Series, Flippy churned out 17,000 pounds worth of the fried foods. It's able to fry up to eight baskets of food simultaneously. "Walmart saw what we were doing and said, 'Could you bring Flippy from Dodgers Stadium to our Culinary Institute?'" Miso Robotics CEO David Zito told Yahoo Finance. In practice, a Walmart associate would place a frozen product on the rack. Using visual recognition technology, Flippy identifies the food in the basket and sets it in the cooking oil. The machine then "agitates" the basket by shaking it to make sure the product cooks evenly. When the food is finished cooking, Flippy moves the basket to the drip rack. An associate then tests the food's internal temperature. A few minutes later, the associate can season the food before it hits the hot display case. The reason Walmart is looking at the robot is so it can do some of the more mundane and repetitive tasks at the deli. The robot is supposed to serve as an "extra set of hands," letting the associate spend less time putting potato wedges and chicken tenders in fryers and more time on other services like taking customer orders and prepping other foods.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

At Least One Major Carrier Lied About Its 4G Coverage, FCC Review Finds

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 02:45
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Four months after receiving a complaint claiming that Verizon "grossly overstated" its 4G LTE coverage in government filings, the Federal Communications Commission says that at least one carrier is apparently guilty of significant rules violations. The FCC did not name any specific carrier in its announcement and did not respond to our question about whether Verizon is among the carriers being investigated. But the investigation was apparently triggered by a complaint about Verizon filed in August by the Rural Wireless Association (RWA). The RWA, which represents rural carriers, made its case to the FCC by submitting speed test data. The speed tests showed the Verizon network wasn't providing 4G LTE service in areas that Verizon claimed to cover, according to the RWA. Inaccurate coverage maps could make it difficult for rural carriers to get money from the Mobility Fund, a government fund intended for unserved areas. "A preliminary review of speed test data submitted through the challenge process suggested significant violations of the Commission's rules," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said Friday in his announcement of the FCC investigation. The FCC said its investigation focuses on "whether one or more major carriers violated the Mobility Fund Phase II (MF-II) reverse auction's mapping rules and submitted incorrect coverage maps."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

GoPro To Move US-Bound Camera Production Out of China

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 02:03
In an effort to counter the potential impact from new tariffs, GoPro is moving most of its U.S.-bound camera production out of China by the summer of 2019. The company said international-bound camera production will remain in China. Reuters reports: The company had previously said it was being "very proactive" about the situation regarding tariffs as U.S. and China ramped up its bitter trade war, in which both nations have imposed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other's imports. "It's important to note that we own our own production equipment while our manufacturing partner provides the facilities, so we expect to make this move at a relatively low cost," said Chief Financial Officer Brian McGee. In the company's earnings call in November, GoPro said it had the option to move U.S.-bound production out of China in the first half of 2019, if necessary.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Fab Ninja-Gaiden-inspired retro platformer The Messenger is getting free DLC next year

Eurogamer - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 01:34

Developer Sabotage has announced that its excellent retro platformer (with a twist!) The Messenger will be receiving a helping of free DLC next year on Switch and PC.

Known as Picnic Panic, The Messenger's free DLC update will feature a vibrant vacation theme, replete with oceans, palm-strewn beaches, and, yes, skull surfboarding. It promises to deliver a standalone storyline featuring three new areas, voodoo magic, callbacks to the superb main game, and boss fights - some of which, including a pleasingly pink octopus, can be admired in the reveal trailer below.

Based on one brief snippet in there, it looks like The Messenger's brilliant gimmick - in which (no spoilers) the game finds interesting new ways to evolve its wonderfully fluid, Ninja-Gaiden-inspired 8-bit action-platforming - is back, courtesy of the aforementioned voodoo magic. And there's some catchy new music to complement the whole thing too.

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Categories: Video Games

Verizon Announces 10,400 Employees Will Voluntarily Leave the Company

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 01:20
Verizon today announced that 10,400 employees -- about 7 percent of its worldwide workforce -- are taking buyouts to leave the company. "This is part of an effort to trim the telecom giant's workforce ahead of its push toward 5G," reports TechCrunch. From the report: Verizon put this offer on the table in September with a goal to save $10 billion in cash by 2021. The offer, which included 60 weeks of salary bonus and benefits depending on length of service, applied to 44,000 employees across Verizon's business. "For those who were accepted, the coming weeks and months will be a transition. For the entire V Team, there will be opportunities to work differently as we prepare for the great things to come at Verizon," CEO Hans Vestberg said in a note to employees, CNBC reports.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

House Panel Issues Scathing Report On 'Entirely Preventable' Equifax Data Breach

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:40
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Hill: The Equifax data breach, one of the largest in U.S. history, was "entirely preventable," according to a new House committee investigation. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, following a 14-month probe, released a scathing report Monday saying the consumer credit reporting agency aggressively collected data on millions of consumers and businesses while failing to take key steps to secure such information. "In 2005, former Equifax Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Richard Smith embarked on an aggressive growth strategy, leading to the acquisition of multiple companies, information technology (IT) systems, and data," according to the 96-page report authored by Republicans. "Equifax, however, failed to implement an adequate security program to protect this sensitive data. As a result, Equifax allowed one of the largest data breaches in U.S. history. Such a breach was entirely preventable." The report blames the breach on a series of failures on the part of the company, including a culture of complacency, the lack of a clear IT management operations structure, outdated technology systems and a lack of preparedness to support affected consumers. "A culture of cybersecurity complacency at Equifax led to the successful exfiltration of the personal information of approximately 148 million individuals," the committee staff wrote. "Equifax's failure to patch a known critical vulnerability left its systems at risk for 145 days. The company's failure to implement basic security protocols, including file integrity monitoring and network segmentation, allowed the attackers to access and remove large amounts of data." The Oversight staff found that the company not only lacked a clear management structure within its IT operations, which hindered it from addressing security matters in a timely manner, but it also was unprepared to identify and notify consumers affected by the breach. The report said the company could have detected the activity but did not have "file integrity monitoring enabled" on this system, known as ACIS, at the time of the attack.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

ESET Discovers 21 New Linux Malware Families

Slashdot - Tue, 11/12/2018 - 00:00
In a report published last week by cyber-security firm ESET, the company detailed 21 "new" Linux malware families. All operate in the same manner, as trojanized versions of the OpenSSH client. From a report: They are developed as second-stage tools to be deployed in more complex "botnet" schemes. Attackers would compromise a Linux system, usually a server, and then replace the legitimate OpenSSH installation with one of the trojanized versions.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Scientists Identify Vast Underground Ecosystem Containing Billions of Micro-organisms

Slashdot - Mon, 10/12/2018 - 23:20
The Earth is far more alive than previously thought, according to "deep life" studies that reveal a rich ecosystem beneath our feet that is almost twice the size of that found in all the world's oceans. From a report: Despite extreme heat, no light, minuscule nutrition and intense pressure, scientists estimate this subterranean biosphere is teeming with between 15bn and 23bn tonnes of micro-organisms, hundreds of times the combined weight of every human on the planet. Researchers at the Deep Carbon Observatory say the diversity of underworld species bears comparison to the Amazon or the Galapagos Islands, but unlike those places the environment is still largely pristine because people have yet to probe most of the subsurface. "It's like finding a whole new reservoir of life on Earth," said Karen Lloyd, an associate professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. "We are discovering new types of life all the time. So much of life is within the Earth rather than on top of it." The team combines 1,200 scientists from 52 countries in disciplines ranging from geology and microbiology to chemistry and physics. A year before the conclusion of their 10-year study, they will present an amalgamation of findings to date before the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting opens this week.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Sonic's looking slightly terrifying in first teaser image for next year's movie

Eurogamer - Mon, 10/12/2018 - 23:16

Sega and Paramount Pictures have released the first teaser image for the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie, due to arrive next year - and, well, Sonic's weirdly lithe new look will certainly be haunting my dreams tonight.

Inexplicably, the production team has opted to transform Sonic's smooth, slightly rotund classic look, into something resembling an excessively hirsute human with a bulbous Sonic-shaped head and a punishing anaerobic fitness regime. Who is also blue. The overall effect, I'd argue, is more 'limbering up for a sweaty night out down at the fetish bar' than 'endearing reimagining of a beloved video game character for a new family friendly movie franchise'.

Sonic's teaser reveal comes via IGN, and is accompanied by a few words from executive producer Tim Miller. On the subject of Sonic's top-to-toe fur makeover, Miller suggested, "It would be weird and it would feel like he was running around nude if he was some sort of otter-like thing. It was always, for us, fur, and we never considered anything different. It's part of what integrates him into the real world and makes him a real creature."

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Categories: Video Games

Assassin's Creed live symphonic tour is coming to London next year

Eurogamer - Mon, 10/12/2018 - 23:11

Assassin's Creed Symphony, a live orchestral performance of the long-running series' best loved music is coming to London next October, Ubisoft has announced.

The tour, which starts on June 11th next year in Los Angeles (the same day as E3, fact fans), is described as an "immersive symphonic experience" and features music from all across the series, by composers including Jesper Kyd, Lorne Balfe, Brian Tyler, Austin Wintory, Sarah Schachner, Winifred Phillips, Elitsa Alexandrova, Chris Tilton, Ryan Amon and The Flight. Here's one for the pirates in the house tonight:

The show moves to Paris on June 29th, then continues to San Francisco on August 3rd, Montreal on September 27th, and then arrives in London - at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith - on October 5th. Finally, the tour comes to a close in Milan on October 6th. Full details, including links to ticket vendors, can be found on the Assassin's Creed Symphony website.

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Categories: Video Games
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