Police: kids are being preyed upon by sextortionists while playing Fortnite

In what feels like the one billionth installment of We Can't Have Nice Things, some pervy asshole's been creeping on Fortnite-playing minors. Over the past few weeks, according to police from the Quebec, Canada area, a number of parents have stepped forward to complain that their kids were asked, in-game and via Instagram, to fire over nude photos of themselves. The payoff: ways and means of advancing their in-game prowess. Once the prick had their hands on the pics, the kid that sent them would be threatened: send more or the ones that the pederast already had would be plastered all over the internet.

From The CBC:

Four cases have been reported in the past few weeks, according to police.

In three of those cases, minors were threatened, and in one, the victim sent personal photos to the cyber-predator.

Sgt. Jean-Luc Tremblay with the Richelieu Saint-Laurent police said the predator, or predators, tried to infiltrate groups of friends by offering them a chance to advance their game in exchange for providing revealing photos.

Police are working with school boards in the area to disseminate information about the sextortion.

Being a kid is already difficult enough without having to endure this kind of horse shit. Parents need to be on their guard and kids need to be educated in how to avoid these greasy shits online. It's a mantra that too many people have had to type too many times.

Hopefully, those responsible will have left enough digital breadcrumbs to be tracked down and dealt with--quickly. Read the rest

Game strategy guide publisher Prima is no more

Gamers of a certain age remember what it was like to walk into Game Stop or Electronics Boutique, pick a game, then be tempted by the siren call of a Prima guide at the front counter. Before the Internet offered walk-through videos Twitch streams and online guides, the guides churned out by Prima were one of the best ways to enrich/ruin your gaming experience with all of the hacks, loot locations and maps required to play every game in your library from soup to nuts. Sadly, after years of service to gamers and scads of books, Prima's calling it a day.

From Kotaku:

Thanks to the rise of sites like GameFAQs—and major gaming publications like IGN commissioning their own online guides, which bring in monstrous amounts of traffic—print strategy guides have struggled for years now. In 2015, Prima purchased and swallowed its biggest competitor, BradyGames, and has been consistently churning out guides for both print and the web, but it wasn’t enough to survive what the company called “a significant decline” in the world of print video game guides.

I feel a lot of nostagia for Prima's dead tree guides, but they've honestly have had their day. Books were fine back in the days before updates, expansion packs and patches. But as games have become more dynamic, the books became far less useful and were often out-of-date within weeks of hitting store shelves.

Image via Custom Tombstone Maker Read the rest

Review: Diablo III for Nintendo Switch is the best way to play this much-loved game

Blizzard games have staying power. They're incredibly well crafted and designed to run on a wide spectrum of Windows PCs and Macs, both low powered and high. New content? They're all over it. I can't think of a single one of their titles that hasn't received multiple updates, oft-times for free, in the past decade.

I played Diablo III on my Mac. When it came out for PS3, I played it there, too. It's a game that I return to time and time again, not because it is particularly challenging, but because of the grind: there's always something new to find--a new piece of gear that'll give the character that you're playing a slightly different way to play. So, when I tell you that Diablo III Eternal Collection for Nintendo Switch is pretty much the same deal as Diablo III played on any platform, you'll understand that what I actually mean is that it's great.

I've always preferred playing Diablo III with a game controller over a mouse and keyboard. I like that a wee flick of the right thumbstick will send my hero rolling out of the way of danger. This was one of the first things I tested when I loaded up the copy of the game that Blizzard sent to me last week. The thumb-flick works with the Switch. The rest of the game's controls are similar to what I remember from my PS3 as well. You can't remap your controller's buttons, but your powers and attacks are laid out well enough in the game that it's not a hassle to use them, arbitrary or not. Read the rest

Watch this journalist uncover how games mess with his brain

There's a lot of text out about how, for better or worse, playing computer games will mess with your brains. Instead of adding to the pile of words already scrawled on the subject, WIRED's Peter Rubin took it upon himself to work up a video that examines how gaming messes with his brain in particular. Read the rest

Video game catalog from 1996 is a wonderland of gamer nostalgia

If you weren't a kid or a nerd in the '90s, these video game advertisements might look strange. Read the rest

How to modify your Nintendo Switch game case to hold up to 24 games (cheap gamer tricks)

“I modified a standard Nintendo Switch game case to hold up to 24 games,” says IMGURian MrJspeed, who provides a killer step-by-step HOWTO for gamers who'd like to try this instead of buying a multi-game carrying case. Read the rest

Sony to retire PS Vita in 2019

We've come to the end of an era in portable gaming: according to Engadget, Sony has announced that they'll cease producing their handheld PS Vita in Japan, next year.

At the 2018 Tokyo Game Show, Sony has announced the birth of a new product and what could possibly be the final nail in the coffin for another. Sony Interactive Entertainment SVP Hiroyuki Oda has revealed that the company will cease PS Vita's production in Japan sometime in 2019. Further, he said the electronics/gaming giant has no plans to create a successor, echoing Shuhei Yoshida's revelation way back in 2015 that Sony doesn't see a market for a follow-up to the handheld console.

That it's not going to be produced for the Japanese market any longer is likely the final nail in the PS Vita's coffin. Japan was the nation where the handheld was most popular. If it's dead there, it'll soon be dead everywhere else as well. I for one am sad to see it go. I have a large library of PS Vita and PSP games that I still enjoy goofing on, from time to time. The size of the PS Vita and its performance made it an enjoyable piece of kit, for me. I ran out to buy one as soon as it became available in Canada and never regretted the decision.

Image via Wikipedia Read the rest

Review: Wasteland 2 for Nintendo Switch

I played Wasteland 2 when it made its debut, four years ago. Despite my Love for Brian Fargo's work on Fallout 1 and 2, I never did manage to finish it. There's something about working in front of a computer, seven days a week, that keeps me from wanting to sit in front of my laptop during my downtime.

However, in the weeks since I was given a review copy of it for the Nintendo Switch, I've been enjoying the holy hell out of it.

If you're not familiar with the franchise, its premise is pretty simple. You and your squad mates are new recruits to the Desert Rangers: the only real peacekeeping force in post-apocalyptic Arizona. It's your job to range out and aid the folks under your protection. You'll kill bandits, attempt to negotiate peace between warring factions and uncover insidious threats. The game lets you choose whether you want to start with a squad of four pre-made rangers, each with different skills and strengths, or role your own. This time around, I chose the latter. As I accidentally created a pretty strong team, it's worked out pretty well so far. That's all I'll say about the game, plot-wise. Wasteland 2 might not be new to many of us, but there are some first-timers that might be reading this. I don't want to blow the story for them.

I will however, talk about game play.

All of the interactions you'll have with NPCs are text-based. Given the small size of the Switch's display, the game's development team could have blown it by making the text too small for older eyes, like mine, to read. Read the rest

Google to add Xbox One controller compatibility to Android

Given a choice of which controller I’d rather use to play games, my response is always Xbox One. I like how beefy it feels run my hands. I bought one for playing Steam games with a while back and have never regretted the decision. I’ve never felt the urge to use it with my smartphone—I do my gaming on the go with a PS Vita or Nintendo Switch. But I totally get the appeal: Being able to rock emulators using physical controls or play games developed for Android without being driven mad by how lousy an input device a display can be at times, could be pretty sweet. Up until now, gaming on an Android device with an Xbox One controller was a wonky experience as there were mapping problems galore. Thanks to Google, that’s all about to change:

From The Verge:

Google is now officially supporting Xbox One controllers with Bluetooth in its latest Android Pie release. XDA-Developers reports that a Google engineer has closed a long standing bug report on the Xbox One controller mapping issues, noting that they’re fixed in Android Pie.

“This bug should be fixed in P… therefore, marking this as fixed,” says the unnamed Google engineer. The fix has been placed into the core of Android Pie, so all releases of it will include it. A variety of games support Bluetooth controllers in Android, and CNET reports that even Fortnite will be getting support soon. That will make playing Fortnite on Android a lot more interesting on the go, especially if other game developers start to see mobile as more of an opportunity to include controller support. Read the rest

Why games cost more for the Nintendo Switch than other platforms

I own a Nintendo Switch. I deeply Enjoy my Nintendo Switch. I am not, however, thrilled to discover that I am paying more games for my Nintendo Switch than folks playing on other platforms are.

From Ars Technica:

The folks over at Switch blog Switcher decided to quantify how much that "Switch tax" costs while building their own database of Switch games. Their analysis found that, of 471 games being sold on both Steam and Switch, the downloadable Switch versions cost just over 10 percent more on average. That average obscures a wide range of price discrepancies, of course, including some that end up in the Switch's favor. In fact, a majority of titles listed on both platforms (55.8 percent) sell for the exact same price on both, and an additional 8.9 percent are cheaper on Nintendo's eShop.

That said, the price discrepancy for the remainder of the Switch's PC ports can be quite large. Payday 2, for example, costs $50 on the Switch compared to just $10 on Steam. The 2016 Doom reboot runs $60 on Switch and $20 on Steam. Steam's frequent sales can exacerbate the differences, too: De Blob is currently $30 on Switch but just $6.59 on Steam—down from a PC list price of $20.

Not cool.

One theory, based on the data that Switcher came up with, is that the games cost more on Switch because, while they’re old news on other platforms, they’re still fresh to the console. As time goes on, Ars Technica’s thinking is that the Switch port of the games will drop down in price. Read the rest

Diablo III for Nintendo Switch? Yes Please!

I lost my spring break to the original Diablo back in the mid-1990s. I spent the whole damn week in my underwear, wrapped in a blanket, playing it from dusk until dawn, surviving on pizza and Pepsi. It wasn’t my proudest moment. When Diablo II came along, I was a little older and much wiser. I knew what to expect. I promised myself that I’d play responsibly: No more losing sleep in the pursuit of better gear. I’d wear clothes. I’d force myself out into the daylight on a regular basis.

I would break every one of these promises as the game held me in thrall.

By the time that Diablo III rolled around, I was mature enough to know that playing too many games meant not making enough money. I was able to boot it up on my laptop and then, after a reasonable amount of time, turn it off so that I could get some work done. I bought it for my PS3, so that I could play it with my friends. When I upgraded to a PS4, I repurchased the game so I could play it there too.

This fall, Diablo III is coming to the Nintendo Switch. Junkie that I am, I will exchange money for a copy of it to play on my handheld. I will do so, giddily.

When the title comes to the Switch, it’ll include the Reaper of Souls expansion and the Rise of the Necromancer. I never got to play either before surrendering my PlayStation during a cash crunch, a few years back. Read the rest

GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter indicted on wire fraud & campaign finance crimes, incl. $1,500+ of Steam games

Actually, it's about ethics in purchasing videogames with campaign funds. Read the rest

Germany lifts ban on Nazi imagery in some video games

The German Entertainment Software Self Regulation Body voted to end a blanket ban on swastikas and other Nazi imagery in Wolfenstein, allowing case-by-case decisions similar to rules for movies and other cultural works. Read the rest

Uncover the tragic history of Fallout Online: The MMO that could have been

Before Fallout 76 was a twinkle in Bethesda's eye, there were rumors of another Fallout MMO being whispered by gamers. Interplay, the company responsible for the now classic titles, Fallout and Fallout 2, had plans for a title called Project V13 – an installment in the Fallout franchise that would allow players to work together, online, to solve puzzles, finish quests and overcome overwhelming odds in the game’s post-apocalyptic universe. Other than some concept art (which later was used by modders to create some fabulous weapons and armor for Fallout 4), Project V13 never saw the light of day.

Mostly.

For a brief, shining moment (37 seconds, to be exact) there was hope. Project 13 was teased as Fallout Online. They even made a trailer announcing a beta for it.

From The Verge:

O’Green tells The Verge that the already post-apocalyptic Fallout Online was going to start with another apocalypse. By the time Interplay started serious development, it had settled on an American West Coast setting that would span parts of Oregon, California, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, close to where Fallout and Fallout 2 took place. But around the beginning of Fallout Online, something would trigger an almost comically long series of disasters — potentially including asteroids, volcanoes, nukes, tsunamis, and a resurgence of the series’s powerful Forced Evolutionary Virus. “It wasn’t going to be completely torn down, but we were going to tear it up again a little bit,” says O’Green.

The idea behind the apocalypses was partly to create a world that was still believably chaotic after 200 years and partly to set up new storylines, some of which pushed the series’ science fictional limits.

Read the rest

Battle Daft Punk with Darth Maul style in VR rhythm game Beat Saber

Beat Saber is a VR version of music rhythm games like Guitar Hero. This cool demo plays in Darth Maul mode while taking the "Harder Better Faster Stronger" challenge. Read the rest

Gaming: Cyberpunk 2077 looks amazing

I often live in places where the only internet connectivity I have comes from tethering to my smartphone (just like I'm doing right now). So, online multiplayer games don't hold a whole lotta joy for me. Thank God that among the announcement for Fallout 76, and the fact that Fortnite is coming to the Nintendo Switch and other broadband gaming delights, CD Projekt Red finally gave us a proper gameplay trailer for their upcoming near future RPG opus Cyberpunk 2077. It's single player, RPG and played in the first-person: everything that I need to keep me happy. If the game plays anywhere as well as Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, I will be a very happy lad. Read the rest

Legal battle royale: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds maker sues Fortnite maker

Fortinte has eclipsed the previously reigning PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and now PUBG believes that success has come at the expense of their copyrights. So here comes the lawsuit! Read the rest

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