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Washington Post - Technology News


Tokyo Olympics get a taste of esports, sort of

Washington Post - Technology News

Since at least 2017, there have been discussions about esports becoming part of the Olympics, even as sports aimed at younger audiences joined the Games, including skateboarding and surfing in Tokyo. This year, those conversations led to esports gaining a more significant presence in professional competition. In April, the IOC announced it would hold virtual auto racing, baseball, cycling, rowing and sailing competitions, ahead of the Summer Games. However, those competitions omitted the most popular game titles in esports, such as "League of Legends" and "Dota 2," and focused instead on games that replicated traditional sports with limited player bases.


The music for the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremonies? It comes from video games.

Washington Post - Technology News

Music in gaming is written to motivate players all the while not distracting them from the tasks at hand. It's why Popular Science wrote in 2018, "You should be listening to video game soundtracks at work." As the article states, there's little research on the effects of video game music while working, but it checks a lot of boxes when it comes to low roars of noise boosting productivity, including having no lyrics and maintaining a steady rhythm. If video games really are esports, the medium's music has provided our brains with workout playlists for years.


Blizzard president Brack allowed toxicity to fester, according to lawsuit

Washington Post - Technology News

Brack has presided over Blizzard Entertainment, one of Activision Blizzard's largest subsidiaries and the maker of the massively popular Warcraft game series, since 2018. The suit, which alleges multiple instances of discrimination, inequality and harassment against women throughout Activision Blizzard's network of companies, focuses heavily on toxicity within Blizzard and its Warcraft development team. In particular, allegations in the suit state that former "World of Warcraft" senior creative director Alex Afrasiabi would routinely harass female employees at the company's annual convention, BlizzCon. The incidents were an open secret at the company, the DFEH alleges, and the suit claims Brack had "multiple conversations" with Afrasiabi and cautioned him over his drinking and being "too friendly" toward women employees.


New Portal tool promises Battlefield community epic customization options for 'Battlefield 2042'

Washington Post - Technology News

From the first time it was mysteriously referenced in public, DICE developers have repeatedly described Battlefield Portal, the newly-revealed creative mode for the upcoming "Battlefield 2042" as a "love letter" to their community. During the hour-long EA Play livestream Thursday, that letter was unsealed. Its contents showcased a new mode in which players can use a free tool to customize multiplayer matches in a plethora of detailed ways to craft and share unique, playable experiences using assets from "Battlefield 2042" and several past installments of the franchise. Now, DICE's developers are hoping the community will embrace its overtures and go on to make lots and lots of beautiful Battlefield babies, so to speak.


Self-driving cars confront a daunting new challenge: New York City streets

Washington Post - Technology News

Mobileye received a special permit from New York state, allowing manufacturers of "autonomous vehicle technology" to test on public streets. The permit requires that drivers be present in the vehicle but allows them to keep their hands off the steering wheel yet "be prepared to take control when required to … operate the vehicle safely and lawfully." It's unclear whether others may have applied. The state hasn't responded to a request for comment.


With its changes, 'Zelda: Skyward Sword HD' reminds us what 'Breath of the Wild' lacked

Washington Post - Technology News

A story and a tangible sense of place: "BOTW" is a monstrous game, filled with lore. There's a reason why Internet essayists, like the YouTube channel Zeltik, have created dozens of videos peering into the mysteries of a post-apocalypse Hyrule. The "Zonai Tribe" doesn't even factor into its main game, and is barely named, but seems to be central to the series history. "Skyward Sword" is far less subtle about its story, and many will miss it. While I personally appreciate a more mise-en-scène approach to video game storytelling, the characters and cinematic framing of "Skyward Sword" is undeniably charming.


'Last Stop' is an entertaining boxset of interactive stories

Washington Post - Technology News

Variable State still has a knack for conveying meaning through simple actions, however, and that comes through in a range of contextual QTE inputs that pop up as characters indulge in certain activities. Having you perform John's morning routine, for example -- a few back-and-forths of the analogue stick to brush your teeth, quarter rotations to sip coffee and scoop spoonfuls of cereal -- tunes you in to his autopilot apathy. It also contrasts against Meena's spy mode, highlighting her professional skills and distrustful nature, where a conversation flips to a static first-person view and you highlight key features of her interlocutor to establish their threat level. Or with Donna, you scroll through photos on her phone, choosing which to delete to free up space, a practice that grants insight into what she values most. Sometimes you only press a single button, but each such gesture tells you something about the mind-set of the person involved.


New 'Streets of Rage 4' update turns fighters into gods, making a great game even better

Washington Post - Technology News

All of this adds a surprising new layer of customization, depth and strategy to a game that already felt complete when it released last year. "Streets of Rage 4" was not only one of the greatest games of 2020, but it's perhaps the finest example in the genre to date. Now these indie studios have improved upon what was already a near-perfect product. There are also new music tracks and Survival-only levels that evoke the past games to a remarkable degree, often bringing back long lost enemy characters from the original Genesis trilogy.


'Psychonauts 2' developers discuss mental health, video game industry crunch

Washington Post - Technology News

To undo the mistake he made, Raz must venture back into his mentor's mind, but this time, it's transformed into a fantastical level that's part hospital, part casino. Eventually, he's able to undo the bad mental connections he made in Hollis's mind, undo other mental connections she's formed such as "defiance is useless" and get her to recognize better connections such as "wisdom decisions." It's clear throughout this level that Raz is genuinely feeling regret and guilt for messing with Hollis's mind without consent. He reflects on what he did wrong, and apologizes to Hollis.


I never expected to like 'Ghost of Tsushima.' Now, I love it.

Washington Post - Technology News

To me, the mark of a beautifully crafted open-world map is when it makes you want to explore even when there's no quest or even a clear reason pushing you in a certain direction. You just want to see what the world looks like "over there." There have been dozens of times I've scaled down cliff faces to investigate deserted beaches below, just'cus. Some of those unheralded corners of the island inspired as much as awe as major points of interest like the Golden Forest, Hidden Springs or Mount Jogaku.