The forthcoming new season of Stranger Things will be accompanied by its own mobile game. Series creators Matt and Ross Duffer announced a new mobile game, simply titled Stranger Things 3: The Game, last night at The Game Awards and dropped a short trailer to tease the game. The game will follow the events of season 3 and will reportedly be available on all mobile platforms.
The Duffer Brothers didn’t provide any more details about the game, and the trailer is quite short, so it doesn’t give too much away. However, it does show some of the show’s beloved characters, including Hopper and Steve, fighting enemies in messy storage rooms, a food-court-like setting, and in front of a movie theater. Users will reportedly be able to take control of characters and go through some of the season’s events, with surprises throughout.
The locations shown in the trailer jive with the mega-mall that will come to Hawkins, Indiana, in the show’s third season. The season’s cryptic yet nostalgia-filled trailer promised that the town will “step into the future” with the addition of the Starcourt Mall, where we can expect to see characters hang out, shop, and even work (Steve appears to be the newest employee of the Scoops Ahoy ice cream shop).
Developer Bonus XP partnered with Netflix to create this 16-bit title, following up their previous partnership that created Stranger Things: The Game. That was another mobile, top-down game that was based loosely on the first season of the popular sci-fi show.
The trailer didn’t come with a release date for the game, and there were no announcements about the release date for Stranger Things‘ third season. However, we can expect both to arrive around the same time, sometime in 2019.
Because Microsoft is actually in the news for a change, this edition of Short Takes looks at Microsoft’s new Edge, facial recognition regulation, market cap, Windows 10 on ARM, and much more.
Microsoft will use Chromium as the basis for a new version of its Edge browser
It’s been a curiously newsworthy week, but the top story, for sure, is that Microsoft is finally giving up on the foundation for its web browser—which literally dates back over two decades—and will instead adopt the open source Chromium project as the basis for the next version of Edge. There’s nothing but good news here, folks. The new Edge will be more compatible and offer better performance. It will run on Windows 7 and 8.1 and on the Mac, in addition to Windows 10. It will be updated every month, and thus be kept up-to-date with the latest web standards, and not twice a year as has been the case so far. Some have complained about a web “monoculture,” since Chromium powers Google’s dominant Chrome web browser too. But that’s wrong-headed: This will result in a de facto standard where we need one—how the web works at a low level—while Microsoft, like other web browser makers, can continue to innovate where it really matters, with unique features and user experiences. Bravo, Microsoft. Bravo.
“Mozilla says that Microsoft adopting Chromium is bad for the internet”
That’s not true. It is, of course, bad for Mozilla. And for any other firm that thinks that creating confusion and complexity for web developers is a good strategy.
Microsoft calls for facial recognition regulation
Microsoft this week called on the world’s governments to regulate the use of facial recognition technology so that it’s not abused for privacy invasion and surveillance. “This technology brings important and even exciting societal benefits but also the potential for abuse,” Microsoft president Brad Smith wrote in a blog post describing the company’s concerns. “The time for action has arrived.” In Microsoft’s view, facial recognition technology could “exacerbate societal issues” and that it should advance in capabilities and protect the public interest at the same time. Knowing that governments move slowly or not at all, Microsoft is also calling on other tech firms to self-regulate their use of facial recognition in the meantime. These are all laudable goals. But I suspect that the facial recognition genie, as Microsoft puts it, is indeed out of the bottle. And that less privacy-concerned governments like those in China and Russia will simply push forward.
“Apple Just Fixed The Worst Thing About FaceTime”
Oh, does it work on Windows and Android now?
Microsoft surpasses Apple market cap, again
It’s been an interesting week for the tech industry in the financial markets. After briefly exceeding Apple’s market capitalization last week, Microsoft itself was surpassed by Amazon.com. And then, Microsoft surged to the top, again: Its market cap hit $815 billion, ahead of $813 billion for Apple. But see, that’s the thing I pointed out last week: This is really about Apple failing, not about Microsoft succeeding. Apple, you may recall, was the first firm in the modern era to hit a market cap of $1 trillion. So the firm’s worth today is significantly reduced, thanks largely to alarm over poor iPhone sales.
“5 Lessons Apple Can Learn From Microsoft’s Comeback”
It wasn’t a comeback.
Qualcomm tries for relevance in the PC market
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors dominate in mobile, but the firm’s first effort for the PC market—reusing the smartphone-focused Snapdragon 835 in PCs based on Windows 10 on ARM—didn’t fare so well: The resulting PCs got epic battery life, but the performance was terrible and there were tons of compatibility issues. Qualcomm issued a mid-season replacement this fall with its Snapdragon 850, which promises to improve performance by about 30 percent. But the big news is happening next year: Qualcomm this week announced its badly-named Snapdragon 8cx—for “computer” and “extreme”—and promises a roughly 2X performance improvement that it says is roughly equivalent of an Intel Core i5 chipset. We’ll see. But this is what Windows 10 on ARM needed to be even a consideration. And whether Microsoft and Qualcomm can overcome the remaining compatibility issues—64-bit Win32 apps are still a no-go—before new PCs arrive next fall is an open question. I’m rooting for them.
“At least $46.8 billion has been spent acquiring open source companies in 2018”
And you thought Linux was free.
Amazon asks its users to help make Alexa smarter
Alexa users love to ask it questions, Amazon says, usually via its Echo line of smart speakers. But Alexa, like other digital personal assistants, isn’t always so smart. So Amazon is pushing ahead with an interesting new initiative in which Alexa’s own users can help provide the answers to questions that it can’t quite seem to understand. Yes, Amazon will of course continue improving Alexa with “machine learning and natural language understanding,” plus integration with what Amazon calls its “many trustworthy information sources.” But this effort, called Alexa Answers, might help put this fledgling technology over the top. It may also help taint Alexa with the stupidity and biases of its user base, much in the same way that customer-written reviews on Amazon.com often veer off in directions that have nothing to do with the quality of the product in question. Just a thought.
“Windows Lite, anyone? Microsoft said to be working on yet another cut-down version of Windows”
Repeat after me: A Windows that cannot run Windows apps is not Windows.
At a time in gaming where several say a game has to have multiplayer to succeed, Obsidian steps in to show off their latest foray into the single player RPG experience with their newest game The Outer Worlds with the help of Private Division. A new title that is part of a new IP for them aims to prove that they are still one of the best companies around in this aspect of gaming. I had an opportunity to visit Obsidian’s headquarters recently and get a look at the game and what it’s all about.
Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky join forces for this special new project from Obsidian. Both of them not only veterans of gaming but 2 of the original people behind Fallout. They sought to do something different and picked a sci fi setting for the Outer Worlds. Set in a future where Earth has colonized multiple worlds in space, you play as a survivor of a colony ship where mysteriously none of your crew was awakened. Left to slumber away as the other ship and crew did their job. Wakened by a quirky scientist you can set out to find out what happened and maybe fix things, or forget about all that and just enjoy your new-found freedom. Oh, and drugs, lots of drugs.
In the Outer Worlds, choice matters and with those choices come consequences. That scientist that saved you in the beginning? He’s wanted by the big corporations in charge and if you wanted to you could turn him in and get a sweet reward. Or, you could do the “right” thing and work with him. Obsidian really wanted you to be able to play the game how you wanted to. Not just with in decisions of combat, but in decisions of story and how things turned out. Of course, in regards to combat you could try to go in guns blazing, sneak your way through or even try to talk your way by. The choice is yours. This choice brought to you by Auntie Cleo, It’s better than nature.
The setting and looks right away set The Outer Worlds apart from other games. They sought to bring the flavor of the Robber Baron age to a new futuristic setting. In this new universe race or gender don’t matter, it’s all about what company you work for and how high up the food chain you are. As you explore the game, you’ll notice that settlements are owned by various brands with everyone towing the company line. It’s all about the brand and you’ll notice that not only in propaganda but in what the various NPCs have to say. The look of the game tends to have vibrant colors here and there scattered amongst the browns and grays of cities. With a clunky semi Victorian look to the tech itself. It all smacks of something you think you may have seen before, but haven’t.
You aren’t the lone hero in this tale, you are joined by multiple companions along the way. You can play with up to 2 at a time and your choices matter. They have their own set of skills with can augment yours and their own set of morals. They’ll let you know what they think not only of your choices but of the situation itself. Sometimes being very vocal about it. Sorry to those interested though, there’ll be no romancing your ship mates. But you can romance Spacers Choice all you want, it’s mm mmm good.
While all of the above sounds great, what about the combat? It’s all in first person and you have your choice of various weapons. The guns themselves come in various types produced by different companies for varying differences. Of course, if you’d prefer to step in close and use a melee weapon you can. Obsidian decided to offset the cons of having to close that gap with melee by having it hit in an arc. Getting more bang for your buck up close while sacrificing range. In combat your companions have special moves they can use and you yourself are special. Weather through all the chemicals used to awaken you or severe brain trauma you have the ability to react at a higher speed at times. Tactical Time Dilation allows you to slow down time for abit and get a better sense of your enemy or just to get a better shot at certain areas. It’s a skill that recharges over time and with certain perks can last longer. While all of that sounded fun, the team wanted more. A hero is great, a flawed Hero is better. The game watches you play and throughout may offer you a flaw. Take that flaw and get a permanent depuff, but get a perk. Would it be wise to have for you to be afraid of a robots and energy weapons for those extra skills? That’s a decision you’ll have to make. Or you could just sneak by your enemies.
The Outer Worlds wouldn’t be a game in the vein of Fallout if it didn’t give you not only choice in all of the above but in also what you say. While there are conversation skills like Intimidate, Lie and Persuade; those skills are only as good as your stats with possible bonuses from your companions. Of course, your character could have rather low intelligence and have dumb responses to conversations, just don’t expect your companions to not make fun of you for going that route. Your reputation stays with you and may affect encounters. Sure, one side wants you to get them a thing and is offering you some money, but the other guys are offering you more to destroy that thing. Do one or the other or play them off of each other as you make up your mind.
The Outer Worlds sets out to prove that the single player RPG experience is alive and well and that Obsidian is a leader in that genre. Only time will tell if that is true.
While at Obsidian HQ I had a chance to sit down and talk briefly with two of the minds behind The Outer Worlds, Matthew Singh (Senior Producer) and Charles Staples (Lead Designer). Head to page 2 to check it out!
During a segment where Geoff Keighley was on stage, the lights cut out and led to a trailer featuring dialogue with various characters from Persona 5. That in turn revealed Joker as a playable character, although we unfortunately didn’t see any actual gameplay or learn anything about how he’ll play.
Joker will be the first DLC character released for the game (outside of Piranha Plant) and will come included in Challenge Pack 1. Each DLC pack will be solid individually and includes a character, stage, and music. Alternatively, you can buy the Fighters Pass to get them all.
Imad Khachan is proprietor of Chess Forum, the last chess shop in New York City. “When no other place will welcome you, you have a seat [here],” Khachan says. Khachan is the subject of King of the Night, a short documentary above by Molly Brass and Anne Hollowday. (The Atlantic)
This relaxing video shows a miniature chess set being made with rotary tools, lathes, saws and other equipment. It’s not quite a DIY guide, unless you already have a fabulous shop, but it definitely makes me want a nice chess set.
Ambakisye Osayaba is known to his students as TC (“Teaches Chess”), He can be found sitting at his folding table in New York’s Union Square every day, even in bad weather. He charges $3 a game. If you think you can beat him, the wager is $5. He charges $20 for a 30 minute lesson. […]
Smokers on the go can breathe a little easier. With an innovative, easy-loading spiral design, the Twisty Glass Blunt offered a smoother, more consistent draw than conventional pipes. Now the Twisty Glass Mini delivers the benefits of its heavy-duty sister pipe in a more discreet package. For those that haven’t already made the Twisty Glass […]
Sometimes, smaller is better – especially when it comes to technology. Doubly so when it comes to gear that will fit into that Christmas stocking. From high-powered flashlights to high-performance earbuds, we’ve got three deals on tech that anybody can use – and afford. Universal Waterproof Solar Charger This handy unit is perfect for the […]
More than almost any career, graphic design is about the marriage of creativity and functionality. Assuming you’ve got the tools of the trade, all you need is a tutor that can show you how to join the two. Enter the Ultimate Graphic Design Bundle, a pack of online courses that serve as a boot camp […]