Friday, June 29, 2018

Weekly Link Round Up

It's Friday! Another week is in the books. Time for a Weekly Link Round Up, pulling together some of the best, worst, and weirdest gaming news on the internet for this week. What will make the Round Up this time?

- With all of the news stories focusing on WHO's classification of gaming disorder, it's nice to see some opinion pieces from professionals who understand that this is being blown out of proportion. Ryan M. Earl is one such person, a staff therapist and faculty member at Northwestern University with a PhD. He's also a gamer. It's proof that while some may be in a moral panic over WHO's decision, those in the field know it should be taken at face value. Let the pro's diagnose your kids.

- Are video game cartridges making a comeback? With the popularity of the NES and SNES Minis, gamers have been asking for new products on the old systems. Which means cartridges. And independent teams are stepping up to take on this challenge. Cartridges have their own flaws compared to today's CD's and digital games. For one, lack of space. Content needs to be immediate and accessible from the start. The other is making the cartridges, which opens up a new line of manufacturing that today's developers haven't had a need to consider. Who knew that the Mini systems would cause growth in an old sector of gaming?

- Despite all the weirdness going on with Elon Musk right now, his company OpenAI is doing some amazing work. Specifically, beating human opponents in Dota 2. The team's goal is to get the AI into the official tournament later this year and defeat professional players. Technology at it's finest, ladies and gentlemen.

- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will be hosting a forum next week to further explore the inclusion of eSports into the Olympics. In the most corporate statement I have ever read, the IOC explains that "[t]he aim of the Forum is to explore synergies, build joint understanding and set a platform for future engagement between the esports and gaming industries and the Olympic Movement." Synergies? Really? Didn't we dump that word in 2009? Anyway, the IOC wants to understand how eSports work and if it's feasible to bring them into the Olympics. 2020 will probably be too soon for the it's inclusion, but 2024 is on the table.

- Our WhatCulture list of the week is the top 14 most disappointing games of 2018 so far. Fair warning: you are not going to like this list. Monster Hunter: World is on there and A Way Out. The former, the lists claims, has poor matchmaking, a clunky UI, and the hunting is too repetitive. The argument for the latter is "overly linear cinematic gameplay, a number of laborious and repetitive tandem sequences, numerous jarring tonal shifts, and relatively wonky shooting and driving mechanics." The list is sad. There are much more disappointing games out there!

- This week the Australian Senate passed a motion to investigate loot boxes and if they are a form of gambling; adding to the list of countries who are openly reviewing or penalizing games with loot boxes. Knowing Australia's strict laws regarding violence in media, and with it being a big market, developers will cater to their needs. Which gives us even more hope that loot boxes might be tailored to not be so gambly!

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