Both things can be true: I spent my first three hours playing Monster Hunter Rise screaming, "I hate this game!" at my Nintendo Switch screen. Since then, I have logged more hours in Rise than in any other game this year, and I've successfully convinced several friends to pick the game up as well. For some further context, I'd never played a Monster Hunter game before. I knew that the title did most of the explaining as to what the franchise is about--you hunt big monsters--but that was about it. Rise's debut marks the sixth main Monster Hunter game (the games have been popular enough to spawn several spinoffs, as well as a recent blockbuster adaptation starring Milla Jovovich), but that success has been a mixed blessing, as the series has become notorious for having a steep learning curve.
This week, the Justice Department indicted a 22-year-old on charges of tampering with the water facility where he used to work. It's a stark reminder that while the power grid gets most of the attention, it's not the only piece of critical infrastructure that's vulnerable to potentially devastating attacks. We also took a look at YouTube's ongoing problems with moderating kid-focused content; a WIRED investigation found dozens of creepy thumbnails on videos for Minecraft and child-centric pursuits that were at or near the top of the platform's "Topic" pages. It's not quite as dire a situation as the so-called Elsagate controversy from a few years back, in which the YouTube Kids app was flooded with grotesque videos featuring popular children's characters performing unspeakable acts. But it still shows that YouTube has a lot of moderation work still ahead of it.
Discord chief executive Jason Citron talked to NPR about his chat app and his plans. Discord's active monthly users have doubled in the pandemic and Microsoft is reportedly in talks to buy the company. Discord chief executive Jason Citron talked to NPR about his chat app and his plans. Discord's active monthly users have doubled in the pandemic and Microsoft is reportedly in talks to buy the company. Social networking platform Discord is having a moment.
On YouTube Friday morning, several hundred viewers watched a live, animated video of a female Minecraft avatar with bare breasts opening a present full of the poop emoji. In the video's thumbnail, two inflated breasts held up a poop Minecraft brick. It's one of several disturbing and grotesque animated Minecraft videos identified by WIRED featured under YouTube's Minecraft "Topic" page, a content-sorting feature introduced in 2019. Similar Minecraft-style thumbnails found there include an avatar with heart eyes and a bloody knife smiling at a chained-up woman in a bikini, a mother and father holding sticks up to a crying toddler, and a woman pregnant with feces about to sit on a man. The live videos loop for hours on end, some racking up tens of thousands of total views.
The graph represents a network of 4,752 Twitter users whose tweets in the requested range contained "#VR", or who were replied to or mentioned in those tweets. The network was obtained from the NodeXL Graph Server on Tuesday, 23 March 2021 at 17:54 UTC. The requested start date was Tuesday, 23 March 2021 at 00:01 UTC and the maximum number of days (going backward) was 14. The maximum number of tweets collected was 7,500. The tweets in the network were tweeted over the 1-day, 10-hour, 57-minute period from Sunday, 21 March 2021 at 13:01 UTC to Monday, 22 March 2021 at 23:59 UTC.
Video game photography is arguably enjoying a golden age. In recent years, the photo mode has exploded into blockbuster titles such as Spider-Man, offering intricate tools to pause the action, compose a shot, and tweak the finished result. You'll find the results peppered throughout social media feeds thanks to the Share button found on modern controllers. Often these depict "cool" moments, sometimes even absurd glitches, but mostly such photos, like those of popular snapper and EA DICE screenshot artist Petri Levälaht, are concerned with the beauty of big-budget video games. With each like, retweet, and share, we collectively revel in the technical artistry of worlds now so visually detailed they appear to rival our own, enthralled by the sheer density and arrangement of their pixels.
With four million games sold on Steam Early Access in three weeks and overwhelmingly positive reviews, Valheim became a commercial and critical darling at an almost unprecedented speed. The viking survival game, developed by a small Swedish team at Iron Gate Studio, might appear to be an overnight success, but CEO Richard Svensson has been directly communicating with the gaming community about this project for years. In September of 2017, Svensson posted a video to his personal YouTube page that captures what seems to be the infancy stages of Valheim and demonstrates Svensson's philosophy of public communication concerning the game's ongoing development. When the game's working title was changed from Fejd (Swedish for "feud") to Valheim in 2018, Svensson noted the switch in the YouTube comments section. Video game studios can often be tight lipped during the development process, but Iron Gate Studio took the opposite approach, directly listened to what their players wanted, and built a vibrant community on Discord.
Cyberpunk 2077's woes have continued long after the game launched, with all the issues that entailed. CD Projekt Red announced yesterday that we'll have to wait until the second half of March for the next big patch. The developer cited that recent ransomware hack as the major culprit -- it initially planned to launch the 1.2 patch in February. As you're probably aware, February ends this week. The news is especially frustrating for PS5 owners as the game hasn't returned to the PlayStation Store since it was pulled.
This week's biggest story continues to be the Perseverance rover. NASA's latest space robot has brought another Linux device to Mars, and is already sending back some impressive pictures. We'll have to wait a little longer for HD video and the first drone flight -- beware of fake videos circulating on social media -- but next week should be even better. Until then you can always catch up on WandaVision's bite-size episodes, and make sure you stick around after the credits start to roll. Blizzard's online-only convention is going on this weekend, and the opening keynotes provided plenty of info about upcoming games.
With every new generation of consoles and components, video games grow closer and closer to replicating reality. From the glistening sweat on star athletes' faces in sports franchises like "Madden" and "NBA 2K," to the soft swaying of grass in samurai thriller "Ghost of Tsushima," game-makers are always leveraging the latest in granular detail to sell the immersive power of the medium. Tristan Cooper, who owns the Twitter account "Can You Pet the Dog?," never set out to create a social media juggernaut. Rather, he was just trying to point out what he felt was a common quirk of many high-profile games: While many featured dogs, wolves and other furry creatures as hostile foes of the protagonist, those that did feature cuddly animal friends rarely let you pet them. Cooper says the account was particularly inspired by his early experience with online shooter "The Division 2." "'The Division 2′s' apocalyptic streets were rife with frightened dogs that you could not console or help in any way," he wrote in an email to The Washington Post.