We returned this week after a week’s hiatus with a slightly different format to our usual setup. Instead of the standard “Stuff And Things” followed by a meatier discussion in “The Main Event”, we each selected three stories that interested us in the last week and set a series of five-minute timers for a quick-fire round of news and discourse!
As always I urge you to listen to the episode before continuing, but hey, I can’t force you.
Here’s a rundown of our whopping nine stories this week:
Acer unveiled the world’s first laptop with a curved screen, the Predator 21 X. It boasts two GTX 1080 graphics cards and is clearly aimed at serious gamers. It has a screen of 21 inches which is fairly large for a laptop (though small for a curved screen) and weighs a hefty 8kg, making it technically still portable but by no means a lightweight device for web browsing or video streaming. We discussed whether the curved screen trend we’re seeing is a step forward in terms of immersion, or simply a gimmick that will soon fade into obscurity.
Echo is an upcoming third-person infiltration game developed by Ultra-Ultra. The protagonist must sneak into the mysterious “Palace” and defeat clones of herself. The appeal of this game is that the AI adapts itself to try and outwit the player, and if you’re too reliant on a particular play style or ability the game will soon learn how to stop you dead in your tracks. We discussed similar examples of where this has been done before in games, including in Super Smash Bros. with Amiibo and to a lesser degree in Metal Gear Solid V last year. Echo is coming to Steam next year and it looks full of potential.
EA have publicly acknowledged that they have been dubbed “the worst company in America” several years running on the Consumerist.com polls, and have officially changed their mantra to be “player-first”. EA Executive Peter Moore explained in an interview that “perception is reality”, and this means that all future decisions made by the company have to be player-focused, rather than aiming purely to benefit EA. He went on to detail that this means more betas, transparency and community inclusion during game development, and to delay games where necessary. Needless to say we were somewhat dubious of these promises but hey, it’ll be nice to be proven wrong!
Amazon’s latest venture is the “Dash Button”, a small device fitted with a single button that when pressed, adds a specific item to your Amazon basket and checks out for you. A myriad of brands have signed up to this, each with their own Dash Button available, including Gillette, Andrex, Nerf, Durex and more. And while this is absolutely a step forward in terms of making day-to-day life more convenient, we all had issues with how environmentally damaging this could be because ordering single products for delivery through Amazon is sure to be far less efficient than, you know, actually going to the shop and buying all your groceries and household items at once. It’s a novel idea but will it be anything more than a novelty?
Avid Grand Theft Auto V players are still hunting for secrets more than three years after the game’s initial release. Players have trawled through the game’s files and have seemingly come across animations and code that signify that one of the large dams in-game can be destroyed, causing the game’s fictional city of Los Santos to flood. So far they’ve tried spawning hundreds of explosives, attacking it with a fleet of military aircraft and more but to no avail. This isn’t the first time that players have banded together to find secrets in the game, so here’s hoping that the dam will one day give way.
Nintendo streamed a 3DS Nintendo Direct on YouTube last week, announcing a plethora of new games for their handheld. Amongst the announcements were 3DS versions of Super Mario Maker and Yoshi’s Woolly World, as well as a new Pikmin side-scroller. As a huge Nintendo fan myself, these announcements were good, but did anyone ask for any of these? At the moment everyone wants to know about the NX and it seems that Nintendo are just ignoring what fans want and releasing…well, whatever they like.
The world’s first wearable translator, named the “ili” is now available. It’s a small device resembling an Apple TV or Amazon Fire remote that you speak into that can translate your words into a variety of languages without needing to connect to the internet. Currently the device only works with English, Japanese and Chinese but the potential here is insane. All three of us agreed that this kind of technology could be world-changing and perhaps one day language barriers will be a thing of the past.
TV shows about video games have never really done very well in recent years, but that isn’t stopping Dara O’Briain from taking a punt. His new show named “Dara O Briain’s Go 8 Bit” is on Dave and sees celebrities battle each other across various video games, both new and old. It’s geeky and silly but more importantly it’s nice to see that video games are mainstream enough for an idea like this to get approved.
It has come to light in recent months that a lot of social media celebrities have publicly announced their movement away from the likes of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Australian Model Essenna O’Niell deleted her Instagram account after announcing that there was too much of a focus on filtering her life to be “perfect”, when in reality life isn’t like that. Similarly big names like Ed Sheeran and Daniel Craig have publicly demonised social media, believing that it is actually disconnecting people. This spurred the debate on the show as to how we cherry-pick the best moments of our lives and create a false impression of what we really do.