Archived News:

Friday, Sep 29, 2017 National Coffee Day (USA)

Fallout Turning 20: Get a Free Copy

The original Fallout turns 20 years old tomorrow, as the post-apocalyptic RPG was first released on September 30, 1997. To celebrate, the game is available for free on Steam for a limited time, an offer that apparently does not extend to other digital storefronts (thanks Ars Technica). The game will be a permanent edition to your library as long as you act on this offer by 2:59 am Sunday morning (11:59 pm PDT). Since it has been 20 years, here's a refresher on the game:
You've just unearthed the classic post-apocalyptic role-playing game that revitalized the entire CRPG genre. The Fallout® SPECIAL system allows drastically different types of characters, meaningful decisions and development that puts you in complete control. Explore the devastated ruins of a golden age civilization. Talk, sneak or fight your way past mutants, gangsters and robotic adversaries. Make the right decisions or you could end up as another fallen hero in the wastelands...

Football Manager 2018 Features Video

A new video for Football Manager 2018 introduces some of the new features that will be part of the latest installment in this association football/soccer game. This may be best experienced if you take your crazy pills first, as it takes the form of a news broadcast with an anchor, a man-on-the-street reporter, and the whole works. Word is: "Speculation about the new features set to be included in Football Manager 2018 has been mounting since the game was announced last month! A report has now surfaced on the Football Manager YouTube channel that manages to separate the fake news from the truth with a host of inside information from the Sports Interactive studio." Continue here to read the full story.

Into the Black

Link of the Day: QVC host and guest debate whether Earth's moon is a planet or a star. Wow. I mean you don't go to QVC for science, but... wow.

FIFA 18 Kicks Off

Electronic Arts announces the release of FIFA 18, the new installment in their association football/soccer series for Windows and consoles. They accompany this with a video they call the "launch commercial" in a refreshing dose of frankness. Here's a bit of the news:
Today, Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA) launched EA SPORTS™ FIFA 18 on PlayStation®4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch™, PlayStation®3, and Xbox 360 systems*. The World’s Game blurs the line between the virtual and real worlds bringing to life players, teams, and atmospheres with all new gameplay features including Real Player Motion Tech, a Dribbling Overhaul, Player Personality, and Dramatic Moments*. FIFA 18 also delivers a robust Ultimate Team™ experience with the introduction of FUT ICONS, the most iconic football legends available as three unique versions representing their storied careers. Furthermore, Alex Hunter returns for his second chapter in The Journey, the franchise’s critically-acclaimed story mode. To read more about the feature set in FIFA 18 visit: here.

“When you play FIFA 18, I think you’ll immediately notice the benefits of the Frostbite engine across the game, the level of detail that has gone into gameplay to deliver unprecedented fidelity of control, and the passion that has gone into the modes like FUT, Career Mode, and The Journey to make them even more engaging,” said David Rutter, VP and GM of EA SPORTS. “Today FIFA 18 will launch in more than 50 countries and 19 languages; I’ve never seen the team this proud to launch and I know fans will get many, many hours of enjoyment out of FIFA 18.”
Continue here to read the full story.

Fall of Light Rises

1C Company now offers the release of Fall of Light, a dungeon-crawler described as "story driven" from developer RuneHeads. A playable demo for this was released a couple of weeks ago, and word is this has since received an update to bring it in line with this release version of the game. The game (and demo) are both available on Steam for Windows and macOS. A launch trailer offers a look, saying the game is "Dark Souls meets Ico." Here's word on the game:
1C is pleased to release Fall of Light today. This story-driven dungeon crawler, developed by independent studio RuneHeads, is set in a world consumed by darkness and combines a solid Souls-like experience, captivating atmosphere, a deep story and original visuals. Benefiting from full English voice acting and localized into the EFIGS languages, Fall of Light comes to Windows PC and Mac OS via SteamTM and other digital stores.

“Dark Souls meets ICO” (IKnowYourGame)

The release of Fall of Light is accompanied by a new trailer that uncovers some of the farther locations of the game, its fierce enemies and deadly traps. Nyx, our main hero, has dozens of weapons at his disposal throughout the game to beat back the dark adversaries of men, but he would not get far without his daughter Aether. She is literally the light piercing the darkness, Nyx’s source of will and his power to push on further until they reach the place where the Sun still shines.

But although the story of Fall of Light and the journey of Nyx take place in a medieval fantasy world, their true background lies in our world and touches on a very sensitive subject. When playing Fall of Light, the metaphor for the fight against pervasive darkness will be revealed through one of three alternative endings.
Continue here to read the full story.

Cuphead Released

Cuphead is now available for Windows though and Steam, offering an action game styled after the cartoon art of Max Fleischer and other cartoon animators of 1930s. In addition to the game, its original soundtrack is also available as a separate purchase. You can get a look at this in the announcement trailer from a few months ago, and here are more details:
Cuphead is a classic run and gun action game heavily focused on boss battles. Inspired by cartoons of the 1930s, the visuals and audio are painstakingly created with the same techniques of the era, i.e. traditional hand drawn cel animation, watercolor backgrounds, and original jazz recordings.

Play as Cuphead or Mugman (in single player or local co-op) as you traverse strange worlds, acquire new weapons, learn powerful super moves, and discover hidden secrets while you try to pay your debt back to the devil!
Continue here to read the full story.

Forza Motorsport 7 Ultimate Edition Peels Out

Xbox LIVE's Major Nelson announces the release of Forza Motorsport 7 Ultimate Edition for Windows 10 and Xbox One. The only aspect of this special edition they mention is that it allows players to get behind the wheel in the racing sequel a few days in advance of the planned October 3rd release of the not-ultimate edition. Word is:
Game Description: Experience the thrill of motorsport at the limit with the most comprehensive, beautiful and authentic racing game ever made. Enjoy gorgeous graphics at 60fps and native 4K resolution in HDR. Collect and race more than 700 cars, including the largest collection of Ferraris, Porsches, and Lamborghinis ever. Challenge yourself across 30 famous destinations and 200 ribbons, where race conditions change every time you return to the track.

Forza Motorsport 7 Ultimate Edition comes with early access – play the game now before it releases on October 03, 2017.

Tracks - The Train Set Game Early Access

Steam now offer early access to Tracks - The Train Set Game, a railroad construction game for Windows. Rather than simulate the real trains, or the elaborate electric physical train set hobby, this takes a further step, and nostalgically recreates children's wooden push trains. Here's a video showing this in action, and here's more on gameplay:
Track Building
Build the train sets of your childhood dreams with an easy-to-use editor. Just indicate where you want to build and Tracks does all the hard work for you, effortlessly mapping out turns, junctions and crossings under your command.

  • Add houses and trees to create your own little villages
  • Place unique track shapes and configurations beyond what you would normally find in a physical train sets
  • Physics objects to play with
  • Play in free-mode to build at your leisure without any set objectives

Ride the rails
Once you’ve created your rail network, you can ride along from inside your train, in first person. You’ll have full control of your vehicle in this view and will be able to adjust the train’s speed and direction. Your train’s weight and momentum are simulated, challenging you to maintain a steady but efficient speed while transporting passengers.

Continue here to read the full story.

Railway Empire Trailer

Speaking of rail simulations, Kalypso Media offers a new how to play Trailer from Railway Empire, showing off another upcoming train game you may choo-choo-choose to play. Here's a blurb on how to experience this how to clip:
Kalypso Media is excited to release the new ‘How to Play’ trailer for upcoming tycoon simulation game Railway Empire, which is currently planned to launch in Q1 2018 for PlayStation®4, Xbox One, Windows PC and Linux. In Railway Empire, you get the opportunity to go on a 100-year journey starting in 1830, with an entire nation’s terrain yours for the taking! Check out the insightful new trailer to get some hot tips on how to win the race to become the most dominant and powerful rail empire in North America.

In just a few minutes, the new trailer will give you a brief but detailed overview of Railway Empire, showing concepts like planning routes, hiring staff, researching over 300 new technologies and choosing between over 40 historically detailed trains. These first steps will get you on the way to taking on your competition, who you may eventually have to sabotage with a raid or some good old-fashioned industrial espionage. Lead an epic empire into the 20th century and show your rivals who the real railway tycoon is!
Continue here to read the full story.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Op Ed

Loot boxes have reached a new low with Forza 7’s “pay to earn” option - Ars Technica.
"Much like other in-game loot boxes, those in Forza 7 unlock random in-game cars and cosmetic items (and I'll get to those). But Forza 7 adds a peculiar and arguably non-essential twist to the loot boxes' random contents through a new item called a "mod." That might sound like an item that will modify a car to enhance its performance, but it actually modifies the circumstances of the next race—and, consequently, the amount of CR you can earn in that race.

Apply a "night race" mod to your car before a race, for example, and you'll turn your next race from day to night—and earn 30 percent more CR on that race. An "instability" mod turns off one of the game's "driver assist" perks in exchange for a 30-percent CR boost. Some mods don't count unless you complete an objective, like pulling off two "perfect turns" in a race. Other mods simply grant a flat CR reward boost in your next race without additional requirements.

Changing the difficulty or terms of a single race in exchange for a higher CR payout will sound familiar to Forza fans, because this used to simply be a standard thing you could do whenever you wanted. Players could manually add or remove certain assists—like "driving line" marks of where you should accelerate and brake—and get more CR per race for having fewer assists. That's no longer the case. You can still adjust the assists as you see fit, but you won't be rewarded for doing so... unless you have the right mod in your inventory."

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • ASRock Z270 Supercarrier Motherboard on AnandTech.
  • Cooler Master Cosmos C700P Full-Tower Chassis on TweakTown.
  • E-Win Flash Series Gaming Chair on TechPowerUp.
  • Synology DS416 (With DSM 6.1) NAS on Vortez.


Out of the Blue

Today is National Coffee Day here in the U.S., where every day commemorates something. This is actually pretty close to an International Coffee Day according to Wikipedia. They recall one "official" worldwide celebration in 2015, but it's not clear if there's been one since. But they also list the various dates where national coffee day is celebrated, and for most of them it's today as well (though most of them also include notes saying "citation needed"). So happy national coffee day to Mexico, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, England, Ethiopia, Hungary, Iceland, India ("Chikmagalur, bangalore, The land of Coffee"), Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines ("Conceived to showcase Lipa City as the longstanding 'Coffee Granary of the Philippines'"), Scotland, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United States. And hopefully there are no legal issues if you choose to celebrate in some other location. This article lists places to score free coffee for your celebration.

Caffeinated Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Wild Animal Zoo City Simulator.
Stories: Hugh Hefner Gave Hunter S. Thompson's Widow $25,000.
Model Goes Blind After Tattooing Eyeball, Warns Others of Dangers.
Drunk canoeing no longer driving offence in Canada.
Science: Is coffee healthy?
Elon Musk: Rockets will fly people from city to city in minutes. ICBMAir.
NASA delays launch of the world’s most powerful space telescope, again.
Media: Celebrities Read Mean Tweets #11.
The Japanese Town Growing Masterpieces With Rice.
How to learn Spanish in a week.
Follow-up: Mother facing jail time for not vaccinating son.
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