Friday, March 02, 2018

Weekly Link Round Up

Anyone else grateful that it's Friday or is it just me? At least we can have our weekly link round up! A collection of the best, worst, and strangest gaming news on the internet...this week! Let's see what's cooking:

- According to a press release from Sony Interactive Entertainment (that no other article links to, but I took the 10 seconds of Googling to find it for you all to read, enjoy!), they will begin restructuring management in April to start focusing on first part titles. A lot of it is management swaps to take on more responsibilities to help improve the "creative" fields and push for more first party titles on Sony platforms. What does that mean for you? Nothing right now. But over the next few years, expect to see more PlayStation only games.

- AI's are doing more weird things in video games, this time with Q*Bert. University of Freiburg's Patryk Chrabaszcz, Ilya Loshchilov and Frank Hutter set a few AI loose on the game to see how they learned from "playing." By doing so, the AI have 2 unique ways to win the game that few are aware of, or may not have been discovered before. The first involved jumping on blocks seemingly at random. However the AI only jumped on the blocks that "blinked" and provided them with more points - a glitch in the Atari version that is sometimes exploited. The second method was the try and get Q*Bert to commit suicide, by jumping off the platform entirely. Yep. AI's are going to kill us because of Q*Bert. Thanks scientists!

- Academics are stepping up to rebuke the World Health Organizations (WHO) recent classification of video games as an addiction. I've written about this before, and don't think that the update is a bad idea, in theory. There are those with addictive personalities that need assistance, and can't get it because doctors are afraid to bridge that divide. But not everyone who games has an addiction. That's where academics are butting heads with WHO to ensure that the updated rules are fair for those who need/want help, and the average gamer.

- The economy of gaming is still growing every year. In the UK, over 5.11 billion pounds were spent in 2017 on games and digital content. Games are continuing to beat out film, television, and even traditional sports (football, baseball, etc) as the top source of entertainment for consumers. And it will keep on climbing!

- "You can play all the Mario Kart you want." Those were the words of Chicago, IL Judge Robert Anderson after he banned a teenager from playing any violent games. The teen was arrested after making a video threat to people to stop talking about guns in schools or he would shoot one up. He was placed on "indefinite" home detention. Here's your reminder that violent games do not create violent people.

- SquareEnix is doing some weird stuff lately. The Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition will be released soon, and depending on where you pre-order it, you'll get some bonuses to be used in the multiplayer game. For Steam, you can get the Half-Life Gordon Freeman outfit. Because that fits so well in a Final Fantasy game, doesn't it? My favorite is the Origin pre-order bonus - creepy The Sims 4 inspired costumes of a Plumb Bob and Llama that look like wanna-be superheroes. They. Are. Creepy. Not quite as bad as the Assassin's Creed: Origins camel-Chocobo, but close. Those who own The Sims 4 will also get an item for their game. Oogie. They also decided to release an "enhanced" version of Chrono Trigger this week on Steam...to really bad reviews. Why? Because it's a port of the awful iPhone/Android version of the game, and not the decent Nintendo DS variation. SE needs to have a talking to.

- No Round Up is complete without a WhatCulture list. We chose their "15 failed video games that became cult classics" because I have to see what they deem as a "failure" and a "cult classic." On the list is Okami, Fahrenheit/ Indigo Prophecy, and Beyond Good and Evil. Eh? I never really saw Okami or BGE as cult classics given how big their followings were. Both games sold well for their time and continue today to have a strong fanbase. I'd say that the NiGHTS: Into Dreams fans were not as active as Okami and BGE. I don't see this as a list of cult classics, but a list of games that didn't reach their full potential for one reason or another. Some of these were games that were released at the tail-end of a console cycle and couldn't get the traction needed for better sales. Others released at the same time as much bigger games and would not have been noticed. These are not games that failed, not by a long shot.

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