When Sony announced the PlayStation Classic console, its response to the wildly successful NES and SNES Classics from Nintendo, it promised us 20 games, but didn’t give us the full slate. Instead, it teased us with only 5 games that made the cut, Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. It could have released only 5 titles to help keep word of mouth going as people, like Andrew and me, speculate on what games will show up on the console when it launches in December, or it plans to drip feed us games until then as a way of keeping its marketing going. Or, it could be that they don’t yet know what the final list of games will be and are struggling, just as I am, from turning this system into a massive RPG box. Continue reading
UPDATED: Its Back. Earlier today, CinemaSins, the channel dedicated to critiquing and over analyzing every single movie in existence, published its regularly scheduled sins video. This video was to sin the Warner Bros. distributed movie Annabelle: Creation. However, visitors to the popular movie critic Youtube channel were not given their weekly dose of movie sins. Instead, they were presented with the above copyright claim by Warner Bros. The text reads as follows:
This video contains content from MC for Warner Bros., who has blocked it on copyright grounds.
Yesterday, Niantic, the developers of Pokemon Go, announced a new product aimed at giving parents better control over how their kids use Pokemon Go, and potentially other Niantic games. Niantic Kids is a login system developed in partnership with SuperAwesome. It is billed as a away for parents to manage what their kids can do.
Parents can register with Niantic Kids to manage their child’s privacy via the parent portal. Niantic Kids helps you review and approve your child’s permissions before they can play and provides options to control the personal information shared in Pokémon GO.
They don’t mention any specifics here, but the consensus among parent of kids who play Pokemon Go is that this could mean that Niantic is finally going to let parents decide if their under 13 kids can use the friend feature. Continue reading
A while back, Atari announced that they were working on their own retro console. Since that original announcement, they have drip fed those of us paying attention more information. Today, Atari finally announced when people can start preordering this console, May 30th. They also announced the preorder price of $199, if you get it when it goes live on IndieGogo.
The VCS seems really ambitious. Despite it coming out as a response to Nintendo’s massively successful NES and SNES Classic Editions, the VCS claims to be much more. While it does have a built in collection of retro Atari games, over 100 titles according to the latest email, Atari also claims “Many popular modern titles will be playable on Atari VCS”. That is certainly something Nintendo can’t claim. Yet, it is a claim that has yet to be qualified.
Despite the idea of the VCS being in competition with the SNES Classic, the price of the system lends it to be more in competition with the Switch and even Sony and Microsoft’s consoles. With a retail price of $250 and its claims of “support for 4K resolution, HDR and 60FPS content, onboard and expandable storage options, dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as USB 3.0 support,” it certainly doesn’t feel like it is in the same category of the SNES Classic and its respective $80 retail price. Yet its lack of physical games and unknown library of 3rd or even 1st party titles means it does not quite fit in with the rest of the major console world. Continue reading
It seems like it has been years since video games have been blamed for violence and tragedies. Since the 90s, video games had been under fire for causing youth violence. This swelling of outrage became a tumult after Columbine and continued to rise each time a major shooting involving a youth happened after that. Laws had been passed trying to ban the sale of violent games to minors and each of those laws had been struck down by the courts, ending with the US Supreme Court ruling that video games are protected speech and can’t be regulated in such a manner.
There were plenty of good things to come from all this commotion though. The ESRB rating system was a direct result of this outrage and has been used effectively for years by console manufacturers to give parents control over what games their children can play. It resulted in video game retailers denying the sale of M rated games to minors nearly 90% of the time, even while movie theaters and movie retailers retained a terrible track record for R rated movies.
After the Supreme Court weighed in on the issue, it had seemed that things were pretty settled. Only the very fringes of would blame games after a tragedy since then. That is until the Parkland, Florida shooting. It isn’t clear what made this particular tragedy different from those that came before it, but it sparked an outcry of blame against violent movies and games. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin blames violence in movies and games for school shootings. Kentucky suffered its own school shooting in January. In Rhode Island, Representative Nardolillo plans to introduce a bill to tax M rated games an additional 10% to fund mental health programs in schools. Even President Donald Trump called out violence in games and movies calling for a “rating system for that.” Finally, NewsOK is reporting that Representatives Mullin and Russell have both put the blame on video games for the recent tragedies. There is a lot to unpack in this but let’s give it a try. Continue reading
January 1st of each year is what is colloquially referred to as Public Domain Day. It is the day that works enter the public domain after their copyright terms have expired. At least in most countries outside the US. The US has gone decades without anything entering the public domain, but thankfully, 2018 will be the last year this is so. Unless Congress succumbs to the whims of the Motion Picture Industry and extends copyright again.
Every year, the Duke Law School publishes a report about the state of the public domain on January 1st and this year is no exception. This is what Duke had to say about the US.
What is entering the public domain in the United States? Not a single published work. Once again, no published works are entering our public domain this year.2 (Happily, works published in 1923 will finally begin to enter our public domain next year.) The only works that are clearly in the US public domain now are those published before 1923. But what about works published after that date? Does that mean that they’re still under copyright? Well, maybe. Citizens of the United States have to live with a frustrating lack of clarity about what older works they can use. Did the author comply with registration or renewal requirements when those were mandatory?3 The records are fragmentary and confused, the copyright holders hard to find. Perhaps some post-1923 works by the authors above are in the public domain. Perhaps they are still copyrighted. We have to live in a fog of uncertainty, uncertainty that benefits no one. By contrast, in Canada and the EU, the public will know on January 1 that all works by these authors are in the public domain.
The latest Justice League trailer launched today and it teased an incredible new edition to the team. At the end, while Alfred is working on some Bat-gadget, his scotch, or whatever it is that Alfred drinks, begins to tremble. He then looks up to see a welcome sight, exclaiming that they need that person’s help and that he hopes it is not too late. Of course we all know it can only be one being in the universe. See the reveal in the video after the break. Continue reading
If you follow Nintendo hardware rumors in any capacity, it likely won’t come as a surprise to you, but for everyone else, I hope this is great news. Nintendo will be releasing a SNES Classic Edition this fall, September 29. This will be pretty much the same concept as the NES Classic Edition but with a few modifications.
The big changes are that it comes with 2 controllers instead of one, it will only have 21 games instead of 30, and finally it will be priced at $80 instead of $60 plus $10 for a second controller, as was the NES Classic. I personally don’t find these changes as too much of a surprise. Continue reading
Among the many classic blunders in this world, the most famous of which is ‘never get involved in a land war in Asia’ and only slightly less well-known ‘Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line’, is the killing off one of your most popular products at the height of its life. Sadly, it seems that Nintendo has fallen victim to the latter blunder (of course Nintendo being a Japanese company may have been involved at one time or another in the first one). In a statement sent to IGN, Nintendo of America has ended production of the NES Classic Edition and after April you will never see them on shelves again, that is if you ever saw them there to begin with. (UPDATE: Japan’s version of the NES Classic Edition, a mini Famicom with a slightly different lineup of games, has ended production as well.)
The NES Classic Edition is the hit holiday product from Nintendo that bundled 30 classic NES games into a cute console with the old NES look. It even came with controllers that resembled the original NES controllers. People loved this thing so much that any units that stores got were quickly snatched up and immediately listed to ebay at double to triple markup. Few people who actually wanted one to play the darn thing got one. In a statement made in January of this year, Nintendo announced that they had sold a cool 1.5million NES Classics. That means that somewhere in the ballpark of 250k people have one to actually play right now, while 1.25million units are sitting languishing on ebay and Craigslist postings.
But what really gets my goat with this latest news is Nintendo’s completely tone deaf reasons for dropping the system. Continue reading
I am a big fan of superhero TV shows. I am currently watching every single superhero show on TV right now, except Gotham (seriously that show is garbage). So far nearly all of them have something going for them that is worth the slog through their many terrible episodes.
As a fan of this genre, I was excited when NBC announced their plans for a comedy based on the lives of the every-man living in a world of superheroes and supervillains. Originally rumored to be in the setting of an insurance company specializing in super-collateral damage, it was later confirmed to be a show about a research and development firm owned by Bruce Wayne and specializing in technology used by every day men and women to protect themselves from the damage caused by heroes and villains as they fought.
As screenshots and details of the show emerged, many people conjured up images of a show that was basically Better Off Ted, a delightful and hilarious show with a similar premise minus the supers, set in a world with super powers. After watching the pilot of Powerless, that image has been decisively shattered. While the show hits similar drum beats, the comedy and characters just can’t hold a candle to the shear wit and satire of Better Off Ted. Continue reading