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Tag Archives: Opinion

Video games can and should inspire entire societies to do better

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If the medium of video games wants to be considered great art it needs to move beyond simply motivating the individual and strive to move entire societies. "If you want video games to be treated as art, some, not all of you, are going to need to step it up," Dr. Jeff Norris, mission operations innovation lead at JPL NASA, told a gathering of developers in Las Vegas this week. Speaking at this year's DICE Summit, Norris pointed to the seminal work of Chesley Bonestell, a pioneer in the creation of art that blended scientific fact with best informed guesses to deliver stunning images of space. It was through that work, Norris argued, that the American people were both convinced of the potential of — and motivated to back — early NASA projects that helped land mankind on the moon and...

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Why Sonic Mania is my most anticipated game this year

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The first time I played Sonic Mania was a revelatory moment for me. I’d seen the footage from San Diego Comic-Con, and everything certainly looked right, but after two decades of disappointing Sonic games, I tried to temper my expectations. It wasn’t until I got my hands on the game for the first time at PAX West that my doubts completely vanished — it turns out, Sonic Mania is the real deal, and that fact alone has made it easily my most anticipated game of the year. But what exactly is it that Sonic Mania does right that so many other games have gotten wrong? Above, we’ll take a deep dive into what Sonic Mania is, why it’s special, and what exactly sets it apart from all the other failed attempts to make a good 2D Sonic game — plus, the surprising reason the game is called Sonic Mania...

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Why Sonic Mania is my most anticipated game this year

497f3813b464c2cc5180041f241164a54758754d.jpg

The first time I played Sonic Mania was a revelatory moment for me. I’d seen the footage from San Diego Comic-Con, and everything certainly looked right, but after two decades of disappointing Sonic games, I tried to temper my expectations. It wasn’t until I got my hands on the game for the first time at PAX West that my doubts completely vanished — it turns out, Sonic Mania is the real deal, and that fact alone has made it easily my most anticipated game of the year. But what exactly is it that Sonic Mania does right that so many other games have gotten wrong? Above, we’ll take a deep dive into what Sonic Mania is, why it’s special, and what exactly sets it apart from all the other failed attempts to make a good 2D Sonic game — plus, the surprising reason the game is called Sonic Mania...

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Silicon Valley is a good example of what proper satire can accomplish

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Silicon Valley has spent its last three seasons highlighting and calling out various issues within, well, Silicon Valley. From the caffeine and drug-fueled world of startup culture to the cost of rent while trying to live in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley hits most of the problems people inside the bubble come across. One issue, however, Silicon Valley has continued to address in a multitude of ways for almost four years stands above the rest: the inequality and lack of access to resources for women trying to work in tech. On Sunday, a former engineer at Uber, Susan Fowler, wrote a scathing report about her year at the Oakland-based company. In it, she called out the harassment she faced from male supervisors, the cutthroat work culture and the lack of access to a proper HR department....

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With a little help, video games could thrive under Trump … and why that matters

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Video games under President Barack Obama’s eight-year administration thrived, and the head of the Entertainment Software Association believes the same can be true under President Donald Trump’s, but not without a guiding hand and more than a bit of lobbying. “Our goal is to have a very positive and aspirational dialog with the administration and that includes the president,” ESA president Michael Gallagher told Polygon. “We hope we will have the same if not better relationship (with Trump as we had with Obama) in the months ahead.” With an administration so set on changing things in the country that it seems disinterested in what sort of chaos those changes reap, video games might not seem like a very important topic right now. But the reality is that, while not a top national priority,...

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The smartwatch is dead, long live the smart watch

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The smartwatch, an everything-plus-the-bathroom-sink approach to packing technology into something you wear on your wrist, is dying. Fortunately, something much better is coming in its place: the smart watch. Typically, one would refer to this as a natural evolution, but tech writing diehards seem so set on killing off the smartwatch, I figured it’s best to let them have their way. So yes, technophiles, the smartwatch is dead, poke its over-sized, short-battery-life corpse with your toe and then move along to write about the death of virtual reality or how 3D TVs are the next big thing I just have to buy. For the rest of us, something interesting is happening in the world of wearables: The ability to make things you want to wear smarter is getting easier and the people creating this...

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Oscar nominees are the most diverse field ever, but it’s not a trend yet

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The nominees for the 89th Academy Awards may comprise a more diverse set of actors and filmmakers than ever before. But let’s not pretend that one good year for diversity means that “#OscarsSoWhite is a thing of the past,” as The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg declared. As former President Barack Obama explained whenever he discussed race relations in America, it’s possible to recognize the progress we’ve made over the years while acknowledging that the work is never finished. Perhaps the most striking and commendable element of the diversity in this year’s Oscar nominees is how widespread it is. Among the 20 nominations for acting, six went to black actors — a record for the Oscars, and a welcome development after two consecutive years of #OscarsSoWhite. People of color also made...

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Video games owe a lot to President Obama’s administration

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Former President Barack Obama was the most video game-friendly president in U.S. history, a title that he may retain for awhile. It was under Obama’s administration that the Supreme Court of the United States declared video games free and protected speech, afforded the same rights as a Mark Twain short story and a Jackson Pollock painting. It was during Obama’s administration that the federal government was given the opportunity to investigate any real link between violence and video games, but declined to. And it was under Obama’s White House roof that game developers gathered for the first ever White House game jam and an online stream of a video game competition. One could argue that the times, not the president, were what made this last administration so accepting of video games....

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A Nintendo tablet is a fantastic idea

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Nintendo’s next big thing, its Switch gaming console, is essentially a fancied up tablet. It comes with a dock that allows you to play games on a television and small, paddle-like controllers bristling with buttons and triggers that can slide into either side of the Nintendo Switch tablet. But strip all of that away and you’re left with a 6.2-inch touchscreen tablet, or something a bit smaller than an iPad Mini 4, designed for gaming on the go. Which begs the question: Once the Switch hits on March 3 for about $300, will Nintendo’s competition become more Apple and its mobile devices than the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One? Perhaps that wouldn’t be a bad thing. The current state of gaming on Apple devices is a bit of a mess. While you can find robust games that run on the iPad, like...

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Want to know where TV is headed? Take a look at music streaming services

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For a while, industry leaders have said the future of television is streaming. They’re not wrong, but they’re also not entirely correct. The future of television is exclusive streaming via specific apps. Much like how music streaming services have become a battle of exclusivity, the television industry is taking note and following suit. Showtime is exclusively streaming a few of its new Twin Peaks episodes. The CW stopped giving Hulu the exclusive rights to carry episodes of its series the day after they aired, and instead started streaming through its own app. CBS launched its own streaming service, CBS All Access, and confirmed its upcoming Star Trek: Discovery series would be the only place North American audiences could watch the show. As the Television Critics Association...

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