Category: video games


human-rights-day-limg

The CrunchGov Essential is a scannable roundup of technology’s influence on the day’s big issues. Below a feature post, we present the most thoughtful, outrageous, and inspiring stories told through the web’s best content. Sign up for the morning newsletter here.

The U.S. has pledged not to seek the death penalty for NSA-whistleblower Edward Snowden. To persuade the Minister of Justice to give up Snowden, it appears that Eric Holder had to ironically assure Russian authorities that it will respect human rights.

“The United States would not seek the death penalty for Mr. Snowden should he return to the United States,” he wrote. “We believe these assurances eliminate these asserted grounds for Mr. Snowden’s claim that he should be treated as a refugee or granted asylum, temporary or otherwise.”

For good measure, he wrote that “Mr. Snowden will not be tortured. Torture is unlawful in the United States.”

Snowden is currently holed up in Moscow Airport, seeking asylum from the United States.

U.S. State Department employees tell me that the NSA spying affair is seriously harming their ability to negotiate human rights issues with authoritarian governments around the world. Apparently, the perception of hypocrisy does not put the U.S. in a compelling position.

The Essential: Anti-NSA Debate In Congress, Manning Trial Closes, Navy’s Kinect Sexual Assault Solution, FOD for Obamacare

Anti-NSA Debate [TechCrunch]

-Watch Congress debate whether the NSA’s dragnet spying operation should be defunded


Manning Trial Closes [TechCrunch]

Creepy having armed MPs in camo patrolling behind each row of reporters & looking over shoulders as we take notes on Manning trial today

-
Charlie Savage (@charlie_savage) July 25, 2013

-The trial of Wikileaks Source Pfc. Bradley Manning ended yesterday
-Prosecutors argued that Manning leaked information out of lust for fame
-Manning faces life in prison for “aiding the enemy”

Using Kinect To Stop Sexual Assaults [Verge]

-The military awarded a contract to build a video game anti-rape simulator
-“The system will not use pre-programmed branching scenarios to determine the responses for the avatar. It will instead animate a human agent using a [Kinect] interface”

Funny Or Die Is Making A Pro-Obama Care Video [Mother Jones]

-Viral sketch comedy startup, Funny or Die, met with celebrities at the White House to design a pro-Obamacare video, aimed at getting young people to sign up for insurance.

Miscellaneous Funny:

Blink three times if you're being held against your will guys. RT @katetaylornyt: The Weiner volunteers at the forum. http://t.co/T8ve5Jlf0q

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Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) July 25, 2013

Kinect 2.0

North Korea and South Korea are separated by the most heavily armed border on Earth. But rest easy, there’s a new guard on the lookout: Kinect. Self-taught South Korean programmer Jae Kwan Ko developed a Kinect-based software system to monitor the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), which separates the two countries. It was deployed at the border last August, but its existence wasn’t made public until recently. According to news site Hankooki (via tipster Sang), the Kinect-based system identifies objects crossing the DMZ. It can discern the difference between animals and humans. If the system detects a human, it will alert the nearby outpost. Further details are sparse-probably, because this involves national security. “I’ve never even thought of a game system performing national defense tasks,” Ko is quoted as saying.

Read the full story at Kotaku.

Best iPhone Games of 2013

I love year-end lists! It’s my favorite thing about turning over the calendar. Here are my picks for the best iOS games on iPhone and iPad of 2013.

Ridiculous Fishing ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Ridiculous Fishing is my vote for Best iOS Game of the Year. A ridiculously (no pun intended?) simple concept had me hooked (again with the puns!) for hours. The game asks you to cast your line and avoid fish as long as you can on your way down. Once you hit the bottom – or once you hit a fish – you start to reel your line in and try to snag as many fish as you can on your way back up. When you make it to the surface, blast those fish out of the sky with shotguns and rocket launchers! If you’ve ever played a mobile game that’s had you saying, “Just one more run. I promise,” Ridiculous Fishing is for you. It’ll have you casting your reel just one… more… time… in the goal of getting that top-tier weapon to blast more fish to smithereens.

Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time (free for both the iPhone and iPad version)

In just about any other year, the amount of time I put into Plants vs. Zombies 2 would have far surpassed any other game; that should tell you how much I love this game. The first Plants vs. Zombies game is one of my favorite computer games of all time. This mobile-only sequel works perfectly on the iPad, and makes me forget about playing with a mouse altogether. The game has you defend your house from increasingly tougher hordes of zombies by using plants to ward them off. With dozens of plants and even more zombies, there’s no end to the variety you’ll encounter. Since it’s free, there’s no reason for you not to check this game out. Plus, PopCap is doing its part to help keep this game around – every couple days, I get push notifications to return to my game for new levels, new challenges or new seasonal upgrades.

Knightmare Tower ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Knightmare Tower is like Fruit Ninja, except the fruit fight back. And instead of fruit, it’s monsters. You’re tasked to rescue a dozen princesses from an evil overlord, and progressing through the levels earns you coins to unlock new stronger weapons, bigger bonuses and better potions. And once you beat the main game, you unlock a Survival Mode where you can keep playing forever… if you’re good enough to survive. The great art style, addictive gameplay and easy-to-understand controls will hook you instantly and keep you coming back for more. I loved this game.

Hundreds ($4.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

What year-end best list would be complete without my first favorite mobile game of the year? This game came out waaaaaaay back in January and occupied most of the time on my flight to and from CES. If you’re looking to show off your iPad’s multi-touch abilities, check this out. This is game is deceptively difficult; you’re asked to make circles grow until their combined total hits 100. The first level is one circle with nothing around it. Hold down your finger and beat the level. Sounds easy, right? Not when you have spikes popping your circles, or when the circles are dancing all around. This made my five-hour flight to CES much more tolerable, and it can do the same for you.

Rayman Fiesta Run ($2.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Rayman’s returned in a big way the past few years. The franchise has seen two awesome platformers make their way to home consoles, and two on-rails platformers – that might be even better! – make their way to mobile. Fiesta Run is the sequel to Jungle Run, which launched a few years back. It’s very approachable for anyone who picks up an iPad, but can really ramp up the difficulty if you want a challenge. Collecting all the lums throughout the levels will require timing, skill and a whole ton of patience. Plus, the game is gorgeous to look at, so even if you’re frustrated, you can sit back and enjoy the art!

Best (of the Rest) iPhone Games of 2013

BEST OF THE REST: Games I Haven’t Tried Yet

My video game backlog is obscene. I buy far more games every year than I could ever get through. There are a handful of games on the iPad that I think I’ll totally love – I just haven’t played them enough (or at all) to recommend them. If you’re looking for some more games to check out, here are a few I’m looking forward to playing.

  • Badland ($3.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • Cut the Rope 2 ($0.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • DEVICE 6 ($3.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • Pathogen ($0.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)
  • The Room Two ($4.99 for both the iPhone and iPad version)

Another World or Out Of This World as it is sometimes referred to is currently available on Steam in a 20th anniversary edition. The action/ platform game made its debut in 1991 and has since been ported to several different platforms. Recently Another World was selected as one of the few games chosen to be part of New York‘s Museum Of Modern Art.

Another World has been catapulted to “cult” status by critics and game lovers and is widely recognized as one of the most original and innovative games of its generation. Presented with high-definition graphics, and newly remastered sound, Another World is sure to capture the attention of new and old fans alike.

Another World 20th Anniversary Edition offers 3 difficulty modes; its original mode, an easy mode, and for skilled gamers, a mode that is more difficult than the game’s original hardcore mode. The 20th Anniversary edition also comes with the Development Journal and a making of video.

Grab a copy now on Steam for $9.99. Out Of This World The 20th Anniversary Edition is available on PC and Mac and was developed by Eric Chahi, DotEmu. Focus Home Entertainment is publishing the game.

The next-generation Xbox-the one that will follow the still-popular Xbox 360-will run multiple games at once, require game installations, and will only work when a much-improved version of the popular but divisive Kinect sensor array is plugged in, according to a source who says he has access to development hardware. Those are a just a few details about the new console, codenamed Durango, that were shared with us by a person with access to next-gen information. Our source also claims to have a pair of Durango development kits. We’ve also heard more about how the system apparently works and what it will be like to control it and play games on it, though we’ve not seen the unit ourselves. Our source even claims to have played some Durango games, describing the graphical leap from current-gen console gaming like going from playing Halo 2 on an original Xbox to playing Crysis on a powerful PC.

Read the full story at Kotaku.

Nintendo has begun airing its first commercial for the upcoming Wii U console in the US, and it reveals a lot about the company’s marketing strategy moving forward and also what its target audience is for the impending new games/entertainment platform.

The minute-long spot features a bunch of short clips of families playing games together, with high-energy music in the background. There is no explanation as to what the console’s features are. Instead, viewers just get to see families sitting together and having fun.

The only people in the commercial who look like they’re over 18 are parents, with the exception of a cheesy clip of a man and a woman watching a movie together via the Wii U. In other words, this commercial is targeted at one audience — parents. It just slaps them over the head and shouts, “You’ll be an awesome parent if you buy this for your kids.” If you are a gamer, the ad barely tells you anything. So of course Nintendo is going after the crowd that it has always gone after, which is young kids and families.

Potentially the biggest problem for Nintendo in the next console cycle and beyond is that the family-friendly niche is not as strong a competitive advantage as it used to be. Gone are the days when buying a non-Nintendo console was reserved for the hardcore gamers. It’s very possible to see someone who has no interest in gaming go out to the store to buy an Xbox 360 because they want to be able to watch Netflix, video chat with friends and family, and stream music all from the TV in a seamless and user-friendly way.

It leaves the Wii U carving out a very isolated part of the market, but it is not without intrigue. The machine will no doubt be one of the hottest tech gifts this season simply because it is new and carries the Nintendo name, but the real question is whether it has staying power.

via Eurogamer

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