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Thursday, Aug 25, 2016

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Duke Nukem Countdown

Duke Nukem Website now has a countdown timer diligently ticking off the seconds until a week from tomorrow (thanks PCGamesN). There's no other clue about what's going on, but the most obvious assumption is that Gearbox is gearing up for another game in the shooter series. The developer ended up owner of the Duke IP after completing and releasing Duke Nukem Forever, which began as a 3D Realms project. We should know more about where this is going soon enough. At this rate the timer will hit zero on September 2nd at 8:30 pm EDT.

Master of Orion Launched

WG Labs and NGD Studios announce the release of Master of Orion, their remastered edition of the 4X space strategy classic. The release trailer offers a look, and you can find more detail on the Master of Orion website. They also note that Wargaming account holders who purchase this will get a free copy of Total Annihilation as a bonus. Here's word on the game:

Master of Orion is a modern rebirth of the critically acclaimed sci-fi strategy game. The forerunner of the influential “4X” style, Master of Orion builds on the iconic explores, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate, gameplay that the original game pioneered. This reimagined title stays true to its legacy, delivering on the promise of deep strategy, hard fought battles, diplomacy, and exploration—all with a healthy dash of humor.

Players can expect a fresh perspective on the original 10 races, each offering different styles of play. Within thousands of ever-changing galaxies, hundreds of unique technologies, and dozens of ships waiting to be tested, no two games will ever be the same.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Hive Released

The Hive is now available on Steam for Windows and OS X. This is a sci-fi adventure game where you get to take control of an insect-style hive mind. After two years of early access, the game is now in full release and this brief post thanks EA players. Here's word on the game, which is 20% off for the first week: "The Hive is a story-driven fantasy game. Gorgeous music and a beautiful visual design takes you to planet of New Eden. There you assume control as the Insectoid Hive mind and face the challenges ahead. How long can you survive?"

Killing Floor 2 Tactical Response Update

Tripwire Interactive offers Tactical Response, a new content update for Killing Floor 2. This free patch adds a new map, new weapons, a SWAT perk, and more to the zombie shooter sequel. The game's Steam page has this news post on the update, and this page has more details.

Vampyr Trailer

This video is the Gamescom walkthrough for Vampyr, the upcoming horror game (thanks Cutter). The clip runs over 14 minutes and shows cinematics as well as gameplay. Here's the clip's description:

Jonathan Reid is a man returned home from the War. A high ranking surgeon, Reid implements new blood transfusion techniques to save lives. One night, Jonathan Reid regains consciousness in a mass gave. The memories of his life and who he is remain in intact, but, he realizes he's been transformed into a vampire. He has no recollection of how he came to be in the grave or how he was transformed.

When he attempts to return to a normal life, Reid quickly learns that he needs the blood of others to survive. As a doctor, sworn to save lives and heal people, Reid is faced with a damning reality of having to Kill to survive if he is to last long enough to uncover the mystery behind his turning.

Continue here to read the full story.

Rocksmith 2014 Edition - Remastered Announced

Ubisoft announces Rocksmith 2014 Edition is coming this fall to Windows and consoles. As the title implies, this is a remaster of the previously released edition of the game, and it will be offered to owners of the original game as a free update. It will be interesting to see if putting 2014 in the title will detract from the message that this is a new game. Here's an outline of the plan:

Today, Ubisoft® announced that Rocksmith® 2014 Edition – Remastered, an updated and improved version of Rocksmith 2014 Edition, will be available this fall. The remastered edition will retail for $59.99 for new users and will be available for current owners as a free downloadable patch on all platforms. Nearly four million people have learned to play guitar and bass through the award-winning Rocksmith method, and even more players will join their ranks when Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Remastered comes out on Xbox One, PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Windows PC and Mac on October 4.

“We are very proud the success Rocksmith has had in teaching nearly four million people how to play the guitar and bass,” said Nao Higo, executive producer, Ubisoft San Francisco. “The Ubisoft San Francisco development team continues to add new songs to the extensive Rocksmith catalog, now more than 800 deep and support the game with new updates for Rocksmith’s loyal fans. With Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Remastered, we’ve improved the Rocksmith method, providing more powerful tools for players to tailor their own learning experience, making it easier than ever to learn how to play.”

The fastest way to learn guitar* is better than ever with a customizable learning curve, expanded practice tools, stat tracking, improved menus and more. Rocksmith 2014 Edition – Remastered has more than 50 tracks on disc and over 800 additional songs are available for purchase with new content added every week. New players who purchase Rocksmith 2014 Edition - Remastered will also get six new bonus downloadable songs from a wide variety of genres for free. These six songs will be available for purchase separately for existing owners that download the free patch.

  • Bob Marley & The Wailers “Three Little Birds”
  • Elvis Presley “Suspicious Minds”
  • FUN. “Some Nights”
  • Jackson 5 “I Want You Back”
  • Outkast “Hey Ya!”
  • Train “Drops of Jupiter”

Heroes of the Storm Match Commendations Detailed

Battle.net elaborates on Blizzard's plans to bring Overwatch-style match commendations to Heroes of the Storm. Here's word on how they will be adding MVPs and more to the MOBA:

At the end of every match, excluding Custom matches, the game will automatically promote a player to MVP based on their performance in the match. All players will be eligible for the title of MVP and Awards, regardless of whether or not they were on the winning team, so be sure to try your hardest in every match to earn your place on the Award screen.

Of course, the MVP isn’t alone in performing heroic feats of strength on the battlefield. Awards will also be distributed at the end of the match to four other players who made significant unique individual contributions to their team. Just like the MVP, your skill will earn you a place on the Award screen, allowing others to commend your achievement, as well as a unique icon next to your name on the end-of-match Stats screen. Take a look at a few examples of some of the awards you could earn below.

  • Headhunter – Most Mercenary camps captured.
  • Bulwark – Most damage taken by a Warrior Hero.
  • Cannonneer – Most Core damage done on Towers of Doom.
  • Moneybags – Most coins turned in on Blackheart’s Bay.
  • Stunner – Longest combined Stun time against enemy Heroes.

Instead of leaving it up to the game to completely decide who had the greatest or most impressive individual impact, we’re allowing everyone in the game to pick an awarded player to commend at the end of every match. Commendations serve as a virtual thumbs-up, recognizing the player that you thought earned some additional attention. By simply clicking the arrow underneath that player’s Award, you can boost them up and support their accomplishments for everyone to see. Allied chat will also be available for the duration of the Awards celebration, which should take about 15 seconds in total, so dish out commendations and say your congrats to any teammates who you feel deserved some praise! Players who receive enough commendations at the end of the match will be elevated to Epic or Legendary status and may even receive a little extra fanfare.

Evening Patches

On Sale

Evening Previews

Thanks Acleacius.

Evening Consolidation

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Space Rangers: Quest Announced

1C Company announces Space Rangers: Quest is coming to Windows and mobiles on September 5th. This sci-fi adventure looks to inspire nostalgia with text-based gameplay. You can get a look at how this works in this trailer. The game's Steam page is live. Here's word:

Now, the developers of Space Rangers: Quest are boldly going where many have gone before – recreating the classic genre of text adventures to allow modern gamers to experience the nostalgia with this loose sequel to the previous Space Rangers games. As in all text-adventures, players are urged to use the mighty computing power of their imagination, while the game supplies graphical hints to cradle the atmosphere of deep space exploration. The vastness of the galaxy is yours to explore, with various quests, randomly-generated events and three different play styles based on your character’s livelihood. Travelling through the universe, players will cross paths with friend and foe alike, upgrade their ship and build their character, in order to rid the galaxy of a new growing threat...

Continue here to read the full story.

Crusader Kings II: The Reaper's Due Released

Paradox Interactive now offers The Reaper's Due, the new expansion for Crusader Kings II. Here's the release trailer and here's word on why you don't want to avoid this like the plague:

Few things are more contagious than the stories people tell about Crusader Kings II. Tales of intrigue, piety, conquest and murderous sibling rivalry have circled the internet for over four years. Today, Paradox Development Studio adds the world’s greatest pandemic to the mix in The Reaper’s Due, the latest expansion to its best-selling medieval grand strategy-roleplaying game.

The Reaper’s Due adds a host of new mechanics centered on the Black Death and other world shaping epidemics. Lock your gates to keep the plague from infecting your court, even if it means cutting yourself off from your suffering citizens. Peace and good management will see your provinces reward you with greater wealth and manpower, but rampant disease may depopulate your countryside.

Continue here to read the full story.

The Guild 3 Gamescom Presentation

This video allows us to sit in on the Gamescom presentation for The Guild 3, the medieval life simulation sequel. The show was in Germany and this is posted by a German site, but the proceedings are in the King's English. The video and audio quality are fine, though this look at the game was shot second-hand off the monitor. For more on the game, there's an interview on the game's website talking with its senior animator. Finally, THQ Nordic outlines details about how politics and trials will be both simpler and more complex than in the past. Here's word:

Popular Opinion
A component that can really change the outcome of both elections and trials in The Guild 3 is the notion of popular opinion. Those years, after all, were marked by the emergence of the Humanism philosophy that would later sweep Europe and the rest of the world. For the first time, nobility had to start listening, at least in part, to some of what "the People" had to say.

While the population doesn't have a say in the affairs of the city and the offices, they do have a standpoint. If you are a popular character and you are being charged with a crime, for instance, it will be known by the masses and chances are they will support an outcome in your favor.

If, for example, the judges or some other political enemies of the character select a very harsh sentence for a petty crime, the population might think that a grave injustice has been done and turn against the judges themselves.

Power & Authority
There will be many political positions (less if your city is smaller), separated into chambers. Even if you can be elected to just one position at a time, you can also influence other chambers (e.g. through putting a family member) - but up to a certain point. Like we discussed Wednesday, popular opinion is something that can boil over. If the population suspects that the system is corrupted, they could turn on you.

This offers gameplay to every elected positions, and incites you to hold on to offices and put as many people as possible in many different positions. It also allows you to advance positions, while opening and closing doors along the way. For players who attain high levels of power, this reality creates interesting situations where you can't simply rule with an iron fist. If you do, the population might revolt and come burn your house, or even harm you. You have to work on multiple levels, and at least give the impression that you're taking the popular opinion in consideration.

Of course, popular opinion is something that can easily change. You know, with a couple of scandals here and there...

Continue here to read the full story.

Clockwork Trailer

Here's a trailer showing off gameplay from Clockwork, celebrating the launch of the game's Steam page. This puzzle platformer will come soon to PCs and consoles, offering time manipulation gameplay and hand-drawn levels. Here's word: "ClockWork is a time-bending puzzle-platformer that tells the story of Atto, a lonely mechanical boy in the great city of Watchtower. Explore the city, discover its mysterious past, control time and fight terrifying boss battles. It features over 60 hand-drawn, steampunk-inspired levels." Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Previews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Morning Legal Briefs

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

I got an email asking about the annual football pool. Thanks Protoford for the reminder that we're running out of time to get this going. With that urgency in mind I still want to make sure we're happy enough with ESPN Pigskin Pick'em to host this. This seems worthy of consideration: They've added features, a new "confidence" mode, and even prizes, while remaining free. Feel free to offer feedback and suggestions. But hurry, we only have a couple of weeks to get going.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Westerado.
Links: Japanese Arcades: Gundam Pods & Other Guilty Pleasures.
Story: Fan Got To See "Rogue One" Before He Died.
Science: Firefighter describes life after historic face transplant.
Being overweight may increase risk of 8 cancers.
Media: Hand Me A Beer - Cyanide & Happiness Minis.
Duck Tape Tron.
The Funnies: If Other Video Games Were Like Pokemon Go.

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Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016

Titanfall 2 Changes

Titanfall website has details on changes planned for Titanfall 2. Based on user feedback, Respawn will be doing some things differently. Multiplayer Game Designer Steven DeRose outlines new outlooks on pilot mobility, titan meter accumulation, titan survivability, map design, and the HUD. Here's the overview: "Over this past weekend, we’ve heard a lot of passionate feedback from Titanfall fans. Even though the Tech Test build is a couple months old, we learned some valuable things based on your feedback. Some of these changes have already been addressed and will be updated for weekend two of the tech test, with other changes making it into the final game."

Sid Meier's Civilization VI 25th Anniversary Edition Announced

2K announces Sid Meier's Civilization VI 25th Anniversary Edition, a special edition of the strategy sequel limited to 20,000 copies:

2K and Firaxis Games are excited to announce the Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI 25th Anniversary Edition. Limited to 20,000 copies worldwide, the offering will celebrate 25 years of the Civilization franchise, which began in 1991 with the groundbreaking Sid Meier’s Civilization. The Sid Meier’s Civilization VI 25th Anniversary Edition will be available exclusively for PC, at participating retailers for a suggested retail price of $89.99.

The Sid Meier’s Civilization VI 25th Anniversary Edition will include the following:

  • Copy of Sid Meier’s Civilization VI game and all bonus digital content found in the Digital Deluxe Edition*;
  • 25th Anniversary Edition premium packaging;
  • Exclusive 25th Anniversary commemorative coin set with display case;
  • “Civilization Through the Years” 100-Page hardcover art book;
  • Aztec Civilization Pack pre-order bonus**;

“Generations of gamers have been able to experience the award-winning Civilization franchise, and 2K is honored to bring Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, to fans on October 21,” said Matt Gorman, Vice President of Marketing at 2K.

Obduction Released

Steam News announces the release of Obduction for Windows. Here's word on the new adventure from Cyan: "Everyday life is gone. An organic artifact that fell from the sky inexplicably transports you across the universe. You're in a place called Hunrath, with pieces of earth scattered within an alien landscape. Nobody’s here - well... almost nobody. Explore, uncover, solve, decide. This is your story now." Here's a full description of the game:

From Cyan, the indie studio that brought you Myst and Riven comes a whole new adventure that will become your world.

As you walk beside the lake on a cloudy night, a distant thunderclap demands your attention. A curious, organic artifact falls from the starry sky and inexplicably, without asking permission, transports you across the universe. You’ve been abducted from your cozy existence and added into an alien landscape with a stereotypical Kansas farmhouse, a white picket fence, and a rather bizarre little ghost town - well… almost ghost town. Adding to the oddity, you discover a strangely kluged kiosk that reassuringly welcomes you to Hunrath.

The new worlds of Obduction reveal their secrets only as you explore, coax, and consider them. And as you bask in the otherworldly beauty and explore through the enigmatic landscapes, remember that the choices you make will have substantial consequences. This is your story now.

Ashes of the Singularity Escalation Announced

Stardock announces Escalation, the first expansion for Ashes of the Singularity. This is planned for release this autumn, and they are set to begin accepting preorders tomorrow. This post has details on what this brings to the RTS game, including a load of new content and a doubling of player count per map to 16. This page is home to the project, and offers images and an overview. Here's the intro:

Command an interstellar empire and battle across entire worlds in this massive-scale RTS. Take your war to the next strategic level on huge maps, destroy your enemy with devastating orbital abilities, bolster your armies with unique new units, and much more in Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation.

Valley Released

Steam News announces the release of Valley for Windows. This first-person adventure places you in an exoskeleton with extraordinary powers. Here's word:

Explore the vast and beautiful world of Valley using the power of the L.E.A.F. suit: a fierce exoskeleton that grants exceptional speed and agility along with the phenomenal ability to manipulate the life and death of all living things.

Experience the adventure of a lifetime
Valley is a First-Person adventure unlike any other. Hidden deep within a remote region of the Rocky Mountains, you find yourself bewildered within a secluded valley. With the power of a recently discovered L.E.A.F. suit (Leap Effortlessly though Air Functionality), run and jump your way through beautiful forests, dangerous ruins and vast environments; all the while utilizing the power to control life and death to uncover the startling secrets of the mysterious valley.

Be forewarned, with these new-found abilities comes a daunting repercussion: the more you experience death within the valley, the more the valley will die around you.

Galaxy Golf Tees Off

Fore, three two, one, liftoff! Steam News announces the release of Galaxy Golf, a new sports sim. This requires a virtual reality headset, but not even virtual clubs. Here's word:

Galaxy Golf has innovative and intuitive controls tailored to your favorite VR platform. With HTC Vive wands you’ll physically spin the planet, grab the ball, and draw your shot arc out into space. Playing on the Oculus Rift, you'll intuitively navigate and aim with your gaze with great precision. Either way, you’ll earn achievements and Trading Cards while you play.

Begin with Pleasant Hills and enjoy a mellow course with a pastoral vibe. Survey each planet from the sky, and plan out your path. Will you play it safe, or launch your ball into orbit chasing a hole-in-one?

Take it up a notch and test your skills on the terrible terrains of Frosty Brimstone. Battle gravity to new heights through its harrowing hellscape of glaciers and infernos, in challenges inspired by puzzlers and platformers.

Not enough you say? Hungry for a hardcore challenge? Take off the training wheels and turn on Pro mode. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.

On Sale

Evening Patches

Evening Interviews

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

etc., etc.

  • Steam offers Guards for Windows and OS X. This strategy game features four-hero teams fighting in turn-based battles.
  • Legend of Miro is now available on Steam, offering a Windows RPG with an old-school flavor…
  • Crossout is the latest post-apocalyptic game in early access on Steam. This one focuses on vehicle construction and customization…

Into the Black

I mentioned the Team Fortress anniversary earlier, and now the Team Fortress website has as well. I see today is also the 20th anniversary of the formation of Valve Corporation. Happy birthday guys! How about celebrating by announcing you-know-what?

Link of the Day: The Making of 'Star Wars,' 1977- Amazing photos of ILM filming Death Star explosions.

Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel in October

FromSoftware announces Ashes of Ariandel, an expansion coming to Dark Souls III on Oct. 25th. This had some stop-and-start leaks yesterday, but now is official. This will be part of the season pass, which will include another expansion early next year. Here's an announcement trailer along with word on what this will bring to the action/RPG sequel:

Leading interactive entertainment developer and publisher, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc., today announced DARK SOULS III™: Ashes of Ariandel™, the first of two planned downloadable expansions to the critically acclaimed DARK SOULS III for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, and PC via STEAM. Return to the world of DARK SOULS III and uncover a terrible secret that lies within the frozen land of Ariandel. Players will find themselves steeped in a brand new environment filled with terrifying new enemies, challenges, and exciting lore to expand the overarching DARK SOULS III storyline.

Players are tasked to enter the land of Ariandel and defeat the evil within to uncover the mystery of what has caused the land to become defiled. In addition to adding a new environment to DARK SOULS III, the DARK SOULS III: Ashes of Ariandel expansion will also include new weapons, armor sets, and magic for players to discover and experiment with, as well as new features for the game’s wildly popular competitive multiplayer mode.

“DARK SOULS III: Ashes of Ariandel continues FromSoftware’s track record of providing best-in-class post game downloadable content support,” said Eric Hartness, Vice President of Marketing for BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. “With hours of new challenges, new bosses, new mysterious locations to explore, new items to obtain, and new ways to challenge other players online, it’s the perfect time to jump back into one of the best games of 2016.”

Continue here to read the full story.

Battlefield 1 DLC & Season Pass Details

EA's Origin offers details on a season pass for Battlefield 1, the upcoming World War I shooter (thanks Videogamer). This will include four expansions with headstart access along with premium extras, including 16 Battlepacks. Here's the plan:

Expand the Battlefield to New Fronts
Expand the theater of all-out war with the Battlefield™ 1 Premium Pass. Get two-week early access to new multiplayer maps, armies and more in four themed digital expansion packs. Join the fight with the French army in the first expansion, Battlefield™ 1 They Shall Not Pass, in March 2017.

Key Features:

New frontline battles. Scout ahead with a two-week head start on four themed expansion packs. And France joins the fight in all new multiplayer maps. An upcoming expansion will bring the Russian Empire into the battle.

All the Premium extras. Get ready for new Operations and game modes, new Elite classes, weapons, vehicles and more. The Battlefield™ 1 Premium Pass includes 16 new multiplayer maps, 20 new weapons, 14 unique dog tags and 14 Battlefield™ 1 Battlepacks containing stand-out weapon skins. Each Battlepack is delivered monthly, starting November 2016.

* Check www.battlefield.com/games/battlefield-1/premium often for details and release dates for each expansion pack.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Patched

The first patch for the Windows edition of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is now available. This should fix crashes and "critical issues" some users have experienced. Square Enix explains this should be an improvement for all users, but the previous version is still offered as a beta if you want to revert. The details also discusses performance using the game's most demanding settings:

The following fixes are in this patch:

  • Fixed crashes caused by third-party programs interfering with the game.
  • Fixed crash that occurred after viewing the intro videos.
  • Fixed issue that could cause a crash at the end of the Prague intro scene.
  • Fixed mouse invert setting not being displayed correctly in the options menu.

Note about performance
We are seeing people reporting performance issues when playing the game on Very High/Ultra settings with MSAA set to 2x, 4x, or 8x. We would like to emphasize again that these options are very demanding.

We recommend everyone that is running at recommended spec or higher to start with the High Preset and MSAA turned off, and then tweak the options to optimize your experience.

While we expect this patch to be an improvement for everyone, if you do have trouble with this patch and prefer to stay on the old version we have made a Beta available on Steam, v1.0_build 524.6, that can be used to switch back to the previous version.

We will keep monitoring for feedback and will release further patches as it seems required. We always welcome your feedback!

Command Live: Episode 2 - You Brexit, You Fix it!

Matrix Games announces the release of a second episode of Command Live, the Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations expansion. These episodes are based on current events, which explains the cleverly topical title, You Brexit, You Fix it! Based on international turmoil based on the U.S. elections and the British Brexit, they offer a speculative scenario. Here's the related fictional news report and here's word:

Through this turmoil, NATO decision makers have struggled with a patchwork of collective defence initiatives in the Baltic and Ukraine. As reinforcement to the standing ‘Baltic Air Policing’ operation and training missions in the Baltic countries and Ukraine; a multi-national Brigade, led by four nations and consisting of troops from 5 others, spread across four countries (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia & Poland) is touted as the solution. Although judged anemic by most experts, placing American, British, German and Canadian troops in the Baltics displays a commitment to the region that if Russia were to attack is would be attacking the whole alliance not just the local forces.

The turbulence is not missed by Russia. With NATO destabilized politically, the whole idea of a cohesive command structure with an ability to react rapidly is in question. The Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) have long been a thorn in the side of the Russian Federation: Ethnically they have large Russian populations; strategically they isolate the key to Baltic defence, Kaliningrad; politically they should never have been allowed to slip into NATO’s sphere of influence. Perhaps now is an ideal opportunity to right the wrongs of the past and exert newfound strength where and when NATO is at its weakest. If the Baltic States can be taken in a short 1-2 day campaign without tipping the world into another global conflict, NATO may never recover. A short window of opportunity exists before the Multi-National Brigade deploys, if only a few aircraft are engaged and no NATO ground troops, it is much easier to de-escalate.

The second scenario is this set ‘No BREXIT, no Problem!’ will portray a cohesive, non-destabilized NATO response.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Mobilization

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews


Out of the Blue

Here's an old school anniversary. Happy birthday Team Fortress Quake. This mod that eventually became its own game was first released 20 years ago today! I know right? Heavy!

Heavy Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Madalin Stunt Cars 2.
Stories: Zion Harvey: A Year After Double Hand Transplant 9-Year-Old 'Can Do More Than I Imagined.'
Angler hooks German's todger at nudist lake.
Science: From the South Pole to the science section: How ice becomes knowledge.
Media: The Mystery of the Basket.
Carpenter Shenanigans.
Can Paper Cut Wood?
Follow-up: A Natural Cure for Lyme Disease. Thanks j.c.f.
A clue in Prince's death could have big consequences.


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