Racial justice tops the opening of the Supreme Court’s new term. When Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead in Feb. conservative Republicans vowed to stall President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland. The eight-member Court is limping forward with race questions involving the death penalty, voting districts, jury deliberations, and the name of the Washington Football Team.It was life or death for Duane Buck. Then, Dr. Walter Quijano, a psychology expert, testified Buck was dangerous because he was Black and male. So dangerous, in fact, Buck should receive a death sentence in the murder of his girlfriend. And, he did. That expert had been called to testify by Buck’s very own attorney. Because this defense attorney knowingly called an expert witness to testify against his client, Buck brought his case to the high Court seeking to re-open it based on ineffective assistance of counsel.The Supreme Court will hear a First Amendment challenge over the government’s refusal to register offensive trademarks in a case that could affect the Washington Football Team. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)In a case in Texas a judge determined a mentally incompetent man, Bobby Moore, was fit for execution using a fictional farmhand character in the stageplay “Of Mice and Men.” Now, the Supreme Court will review this legal standard created by Judge Cathy Cochran who ruled Moore, who cannot tell time, add or subtract, and has an average IQ of 70 should die for the murder of a 70 year-old store clerk. Under Cochran’s Lennie-standard Moore knew what he was doing and is therefore competent enough to be executed. Executing an incompetent person violates the cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.Voter suppression cases add more controversy to this Presidential election. In North Carolina, Governor Patrick McCrory was sued by David Harris and Christine Bowser who argued Blacks there were crammed into two racially gerrymandered voting districts to reduce Black political influence in other districts. In McCrory v. Harris, the Supreme Court must decide if North Carolina’s redistricting plan was politically or racially motivated and a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution. A split-decision favors Harris because it means the lower court’s decision stands. McCrory lost in the lower court.In Virginia the Board of Elections was sued over allegations of racial gerrymandering in a redistricting plan. But, is it necessary to prove race was the main motivating factor to win a racial gerrymandering case under the Voting Rights Act. Last term, the Court unanimously overturned the corruption conviction of former Va. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell. A few months ago, current Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed thousands of petitions restoring the voting rights of formerly convicted felons. Virginia has a long history of intentionally depriving voting rights to African-Americans, along with many other States.The fate of the name Washington Redskins may be decided by a case involving The Slants, an Asian band. When the Federal government denied a trademark to The Slants the band appealed to the Supreme Court. Under the Lanham Act, the Federal trademark office can refuse to give a trademark protection to any name that disparages persons, institutions, beliefs, national symbols or bring them into contempt or disrepute.In Lee v. Tam, Michelle Lee, the first woman and Asian-American director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, denied a trademark to Simon Tam, lead singer of The Slants. Tam argued that denying his trademark due to an offensive name violated his freedom of speech. Trademarks are granted to identify and distinguish names and goods. The band intentionally uses the ethnic slur slants to take on stereotypes about Asians. A decision in this case may decide if the name Washington Redskins is a violation of federal law or freedom of speech.Biased lending practices are a reminder of the tactics brought to light during The Great Recession. Wells Fargo Bank and Bank of America are attempting to evade punishment for their racially discriminatory lending schemes in Miami, FL. The banks are challenging whether the Fair Housing Act was meant to cover their biased practices.Immigration reform eludes President Barack Obama, again. The Court refused his recent request for a re-hearing of the U.S. v. Texas case. The Supreme Court was tied in that case where President Obama used his Executive Power to create a pathway to citizenship for children brought into America illegally. A 4-4 split means the lower court’s decision against the measure stands.Religion is on the docket again in this Missouri case about denying a church access to a State program giving recycled tires to cover playground.The Court’s 2016 term, which began Oct. 3, will end in June.Gloria J. Browne-Marshall is a legal correspondent covering the U.S. Supreme Court for AANIC (African-American News & Information Consortium), an associate professor of constitutional law at John Jay College (CUNY), and author of the new book “The Voting Rights War: The NAACP and the Ongoing Struggle for Justice.”
The Juris Prudence Kids Mock Trial Academy is scheduled to facilitate 25 youth (who live in Ward 7), between the ages of 8-12, through an interactive mock trial/legal introductory process on Aug. 26 from noon-3 p.m. at the Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library, 3660 Alabama Ave., SE. To register for the free event, visit eventbrite.com.
Maya Rockymoore Cummings ended her gubernatorial bid on Friday citing “personal considerations,” hours before her husband, Rep. Elijah Cummings, announced he had been hospitalized in the latest of a string of medical issues.Maryland gubernatorial candidate Maya Rockeymoore Cummings. (Courtesy Photo)“Making a positive and direct contribution to the state of Maryland and to our nation was my greatest motivating factor for stepping into the public arena,” Rockymoore Cummings said in a statement. “Unfortunately, due to personal considerations, I am suspending my bid for governor of Maryland.”Rockymoore Cummings was the last of eight Democrats to enter the race, and her bid marked her first time as a candidate for office.Later in the day, Rep. Cummings office released a brief update about his health.“Congressman Cummings was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital for a bacterial infection in his knee,” the statement read. “Doctors drained the infection in a minor procedure today. He is resting comfortably and expects a full recovery.”According to Politico, Rep. Cummings, 66, was hospitalized in May for a heart valve replacement that his office described at the time as “minimally invasive.” He ended up missing several months of work due to a post-operation infection.
By J. K. Schmid, Special to the AFRODetective Sean Suiter was murdered November 15, 2017, in the 900 block of Baltimore’s Harlem Park.It has been over five months since his death. Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) Commissioner Darryl De Sousa still regularly meets with Suiter’s widow, he says.“It’s still heavy in her heart and heavy in the heart of all of us in the Baltimore City Police Department,” De Sousa said at a press conference April 12.Det. Sean Suiter, an 18-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, was shot in the head while investigating a murder in West Baltimore, Nov. 15. He died from his injuries about 24 hours after the shooting. (Courtesy photo)At the same press conference, De Sousa announced the creation of an independent review board (IRB) and that the city will be hiring CNA Analysis and Solutions to review seemingly every aspect of the case and the department’s handling of it.The Board of Estimates was asked to authorize the execution of a memorandum of understanding April 18.“The BPD, after consultation and approval from the Independent Review Board, desires to retain and the services of the CNA to provide analytic and staff support to the BPD and the review board during this process,” the request reads.The request is for $149,046.97 to be paid to CNA for its services. AFRO questions to the BPD asking for an explanation of what this seemingly small sum could pay for went unanswered at the time of this writing.The independent investigation is expected to take six months, meaning something on the order of $25,000 each month will be available to the IRB.AFRO questions to the specifics of the establishment of the IRB were also left unanswered. It can be inferred from De Sousa’s answers to other questions at the press conference that CNA was hired first, and then the IRB’s panel of experts and investigators were hired later.The IRB is co-chaired by CNA members James “CHIPS” Stewart, Director of Public Safety, Senior Fellow for Law Enforcement, and James R. “Chip” Coldren, Jr., Ph.D., Managing Director, Justice Group.According to De Sousa, CNA was selected due to their satisfactory handling of high-profile BPD crises such as the police killings of Black Baltimoreans Anthony Anderson, and Tyrone West and the friendly fire incident that killed Black Baltimore police officer William Torbit and Sean Gamble.Last year, the BPD settled with the Anderson family for $300,000, four years after his death in police custody. Since Anderson’s death in 2013, Baltimore has also borne witness to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in 2015. Tawanda Jones, Tyrone West’s sister, has scheduled another West Wednesday for April 18 “demanding accountability for the police murder of Tyrone West, and accountability in every case of police brutality.”De Sousa cited CNA’s recommendation that Black plainclothes officers wear larger body-width “police” labels in order to keep themselves safe from fellow officers as another success.With federal agents declining to investigate, there may be nowhere else to turn.CNA is being asked to investigate the death of Detective Suiter and not just analyze policy and procedure. The IRB will be able to interview witnesses, but will have no subpoena or arrest power.Stewart is a former commander with the Oakland Police Department Criminal Investigation Division. Last year, Oakland PD was scandalized when an officer accused multiple fellow officers of the statutory rape of a police dispatcher’s daughter.“We’re gonna follow where the evidence leads us and we are gonna provide some conclusions,” Stewart said.
By Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editor NFL Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson made headlines this week when he announced that he and a group of fellow Hall-of-Famers would be boycotting future Hall ceremonies and other related activities if the league did not provide them with health insurance and a $300,000 annual salary.Dickerson and at least 20 other HOF players made their demands in a letter that was reportedly addressed to the Hall’s president, C. David Baker, along with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association Director DeMaurice Smith; the letter was obtained by ABC News, according to the news medium.In this Aug. 2, 2014, file photo, enshrinee Eric Dickerson is introduced during the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony, in Canton, Ohio. A group of Pro Football Hall of Famers is demanding health insurance coverage and a share of NFL revenues or else those former players will boycott the induction ceremonies. In a letter sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and Hall of Fame President David Baker — and obtained by The Associated Press — 21 Hall of Fame members cited themselves as “integral to the creation of the modern NFL, which in 2017 generated $14 billion in revenue.” Among the signees were Eric Dickerson. (AP Photo/David Richard, File)Those who signed the letter included notable football legends like Deion Sanders, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor and Joe Namath, among others. Jerry Rice and Kurt Warner’s names were also on the letter, though both of them later released personal statements, saying that while they would not be boycotting any Hall of Fame activities, they did support the request for better health care coverage for retired players.“People know us from our highlight reels. They see us honored and mythologized before games and at halftime, and it would be reasonable if they thought life was good for us. But on balance, it’s not,” the letter read. “As a group we are struggling with severe health and financial problems. To build this game, we sacrificed our bodies. In many cases, and despite the fact that we were led to believe otherwise, we sacrificed our minds.”Dickerson also spoke directly to ABC News, and told them he doesn’t want just free health care coverage and a proper pension for the Hall’s members but, also, he wants the league to provide healthcare insurance for any and every player that retires from the NFL, regardless if they make it to the Hall of Fame.“All of us feel like having health care is just a normal thing to have,” Dickerson said. “And I think it’s right. I think people are kind of losing the message that you know it’s all about the Hall of Fame. Well right now it’s all about the Hall of Famers because we can’t do anything because of the current CBA [collective bargaining agreement], we can’t go back in and do that. I want all players to have health care; every player that played in the National Football League.” https://www.google.com/amp/s/abcnews.go.com/amp/US/nfl-hall-famer-eric-dickerson-push-insurance-health/story%3fid=57927287But the group’s request for a $300,000 lifetime annual salary has caused some to speculate if they may be asking for too much. Yahoo Sports senior NFL reporter Charles Robinson said asking for that kind of money for life “cheapens the message” he was trying to relay on the importance of health care for retirees.“Guys in the NFL should have their health taken care of later in life. It’s a noble message. When a Hall of Fame player essentially says the NFL has a ton of new money and we laid this foundation, then throws out a $300,000 salary-for-life suggestion, that cheapens the message,” Robinson wrote, explaining how he agrees that NFL players should seek better pensions, “but seeking $300k a year for life for Hall of Famers is a reach for NFL revenues that never should have been mixed in with the health care argument.”But Dickerson stated in his letter that $300,000 isn’t too much, citing how the NFL made $14 billion in revenue last year.“The total cost for every Hall of Famer to have health insurance is less than $4 million – less than that of a 30-second Super Bowl ad, or about 3 cents for every $100 the league generates in revenue,” the letter states. “Paying Hall of Famers an annual salary works out to about 40 cents for every $100 in annual revenue, a figure that will increase dramatically in the near future with legalized gambling.”Dickerson also mentioned to reporters how MLB players make more than $200,000 in pension salary, so if it can be done in pro baseball, it should be fine for ex-football players, too.“If you played in the MLB for 10 years you get $220,000 a year and free health care,” Dickerson told Fox Sports. “We’re nowhere near that.” https://twitter.com/foxsportsradio/status/1042550762704797701?s=21While some call Dickerson’s efforts noble, others have begun to call him out for not having that same energy years ago, when he broke the picket line during a players’ boycott that would have given retired players better benefits.NBC Sports writer Michael D. Smith reported that NFL players had gone on strike in 1987, and one of the main agendas they were boycotting for was a better pension for the retired legends of the game. But Dickerson helped end the strike when he gave in and rejoined his team.“When players went on strike for better benefits, Eric Dickerson undermined them,” Smith wrote.https://www.google.com/amp/s/profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/09/19/when-players-went-on-strike-for-better-benefits-eric-dickerson-undermined-them/amp/
By LAURIE KELLMAN and CATHERINE LUCEY, Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is making another hardline immigration play in the final days before midterm elections, declaring that he wants to order an end to the constitutional right to citizenship for babies born in the United States to non-citizens. Most scholars think he can’t implement such a change unilaterally.With seven days to go before high-stakes elections that he has sought to focus on fearmongering over immigration, Trump made the comments to “Axios on HBO.” Trump, seeking to energize his supporters and help Republicans keep control of Congress, has stoked anxiety about a caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border. He is dispatching additional troops and saying he’ll set up tent cities for asylum seekers.FILE – In this March 23, 2016 photo, the Constitution is held by a member of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump says he wants to order the end of the constitutional right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born in the United States. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Trump has long called for an end to birthright citizenship, as have many conservatives. An executive order would spark an uphill legal battle for Trump about whether the president has the unilateral ability to declare that children born in the U.S. to those living here illegally aren’t citizens. Most scholars think he can’t.Asked about the legality of such an executive order, Trump said, “they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.” He added that “we’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States.” A 2010 study from the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that supports immigration restrictions, showed that 30 countries offered birthright citizenship.The Pew Research Center found in a survey published two years ago that births to “unauthorized immigrants” were declining and accounted for about 1 in 3 births to foreign-born mothers in the U.S. in 2014. About 275,000 babies were born to such parents in 2014, or about 7 percent of the 4 million births in the U.S. that year, according to Pew estimates based on government data. That represented a decline from 330,000 in 2009, at the end of the recession.An excerpt of Trump’s interview was posted on Axios’ website on Tuesday.The president said White House lawyers are reviewing his proposal. It’s unclear how quickly he would act and the White House did not provide further details.A person familiar with the internal White House debate said the topic of birthright citizenship had come up inside the West Wing at various times over at least the last year, but has some internal detractors. White House lawyers have debated the topic, and expect to work with the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to develop a legal justification for the action. It is one of many immigration changes being discussed including asylum law changes, and barring the migrant caravan from entering the country.But administration officials said there would likely be no decisions until after the midterms, due in part to the president’s trip to Pittsburgh.Legal experts questioned whether Trump has the authority to do this by executive order.Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union in New York, said Tuesday that the Constitution is very clear.“If you are born in the United States, you’re a citizen,” he said, adding that it was “outrageous that the president can think he can override constitutional guarantees by issuing an executive order,Jadwat said the president has an obligation to uphold the Constitution. Trump can try to get Congress to pass a constitutional amendment, “but I don’t think they are anywhere close to getting that.”“Obviously, even if he did, it would be subject to court challenge,” he added.Suzanna Sherry, a professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School specializing in constitutional questions, said those advising Trump that he can change the Constitution via executive order are simply mistaken. “He can’t do it by himself and, in fact, he can’t do it even if Congress passed a statue.”“I think it would take a Constitutional amendment,” she said. “I don’t see it as having any plausible legal basis,” she said.But others suggest the president may have an opening.
Popular on Variety YouTube has a new strategy for taking on Twitch: It’s letting YouTube gamers mingle with regular YouTubers again. The Google-owned video service launched a new destination for video game content on YouTube.com Tuesday, and also announced that it will phase out its standalone YouTube Gaming app in March of 2019.“We have a strong and vibrant audience on the YouTube Gaming app, but the amount of gamers we are able to reach is far bigger on YouTube,” wrote YouTube director of product management Christina Chen in a blog post Tuesday. “After all, YouTube is where more than 200 million gamers come to engage with your favorite games and creators every day, watching over 50 billion hours of gaming content in the last 12 months alone.”YouTube’s new gaming destination personalizes video game content based on a user’s favorite games, and automatically integrates the content from any of the video game channels they already subscribe to. YouTube is also launching dedicated game pages to aggregate all of the videos and streams for a specific game. “With tens of thousands of different game pages, you’ll be able to find content no matter how big or small the game is,” wrote Chen.YouTube first launched a dedicated YouTube Gaming app in 2015, and has since used the app to pioneer some features that ultimately found their way to YouTube’s entire service, including Super Chat donations and paid memberships for creators as well as YouTube’s dark theme. That work is ongoing, and creators should expect other features specific to the gaming app — including the ability to stream mobile game play — to eventually find their way to YouTube’s main app as well.But while the app was originally meant to counter Amazon’s Twitch video game streaming service, it never really managed to attract the same kind of audience. Case in point: Twitch’s Android app ranked 15th among the most popular entertainment apps on Google’s Play Store last week, according to data from app analytics specialist App Annie. YouTube Gaming on the other hand was ranked #283. ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15
Ben and his girlfriend Tora are huge Borderlands fans, and rightfully so: the game is fantastic. Ben and Tora have been together for a long time, and have been playing Borderlands co-op since they started dating. They’ve finished the game’s main campaign twice, and played through all of the DLC. Now Ben wanted to ask Tora to marry him, but wanted to find the perfect way to do it. Since Ben and Tora were such huge Borderlands fans, Ben figured he would ask Gearbox Software for a little help with the proposal. Sure enough, they answered.If you’ve ever played Borderlands, you know all about the Claptraps: adorable – or annoying, depending on your perspective – one-wheeled robots that are everywhere in the game. Usually they have missions for you, they open doors, they alert you to new jobs on area job boards, and repairing one that’s been damaged in the field can earn you some sweet weapons, not to mention a new friend. In this case, Gearbox asked one of their claptraps to deliver the marriage proposal, with hilarious (and NSFW) results.The video has a couple of Borderlands in-jokes in it, but it’s funny regardless. Gearbox sent Ben the video they put together, and Ben stashed it away for the perfect moment: a huge party with Tora in front of the big screen and all of their friends gathered around to watch. You can see her reaction in the video one of their friends shot at the party while Ben played the video for Tora.Sure enough, she says yes. In an interview with Kotaku, Tora praised her now-fiancée for having the guts to not just think of asking Gearbox to do the video, but actually reaching out to them to ask. Both Ben and Tora were surprised enough that Gearbox agreed to help. Gearbox, for their part, says the video took them a week to make but they were happy to help. I don’t think anyone would disagree when we say we think it was definitely worth it.Read more at Kotaku, via PCMag
Evidence is appearing that suggests Sony is not going to retain the PSP moniker when it comes to giving the NGP a final, commercial name. We may not get a PSP 2 from Sony, instead it looks like the handheld gaming platform is to be called PS Vita.There are two key bits of evidence that support such a name. The first is an image showing the NGP sporting the PS Vita name below its 5-inch display as well as a larger version to the side of the device on some promotional image. That may indeed be a Photoshopped image and on its own doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.However, the image is backed up by a much more clear piece of evidence this is a name Sony will use. The website vita.scedev.net does resolve back to the main site, with SCE Dev Net being one of Sony’s websites for developers working with its hardware.The word Vita translates to mean “life.” Whether it forms the final name of the new device remains to be seen, and will surely be confirmed at E3 next week.Read more at Games PunditMatthew’s OpinionI would be shocked if Sony decided to drop the PSP name for its portable gaming platform. It is so well-known across the gaming world that it doesn’t make much sense to drop it. There hasn’t been any bad press surrounding the PSP, in fact the PSP-3000 is the preferred platform to the more recent PSPgo.Does Sony feel that PSPgo has soiled the name to the point where a PSP 2 name would be unacceptable and risky?For me, the name PS Vita sounds more like a service than a device. The fact it means life also makes me think service more than thing. I am more confident that we will hear about a PSP 2 running PS Vita at E3 than I am of hearing Sony call its 3DS competitor the PS Vita.
Bastion is the most interesting, most delightful, and most fun game I’ve played in 2011.That might sound like a high bar to set for a downloadable title, but the game really is that good. It has super tight controls, a beautiful world, fun mechanics, lots of replayability, and excellent sound. Sure, the story is a bit weak and the game is rather short, but the entire experience really is as good as it gets.Bastion is an isometric action game, with some RPG elements. It’s a bit like a modern day brawler, with more of a story, collectibles, a wide range of weapons, and an interesting perspective on the action. You play as The Kid, a tough but good-natured hero who runs through a shattered world, trying to rebuild a civilization. Your only companion is the voice of the old man who narrates your journey, chiming in frequently as you play. This is the element of the game that has gotten the most attention–probably since it could have been completely annoying–but it turned out to be one of the best parts. The man’s gruff voice guides you through the world, inspiring confidence, explaining events, and working you through your defeats.When playing, a few aspects of Bastion really stand out. The design of the world is the first–it has an incredible color palette and despite the world consisting of floating platforms, it feels lush and well thought out. Perhaps the coolest part of the world is how it feels incomplete, and even damaged. As you run in a particular direction if there is a path ahead of you the floating island you are on will expand, and the path will materialize ahead of you. Most levels offer multiple paths, which means there is some exploring to do.Another high point is Bastion’s array of weapons. At any time you can use any two weapons and a special attack. You’ll probably want to go with a melee weapon and a ranged attack, but you don’t have to. There is a wide variety of tools of destruction, all of which are fun to use and feel really tightly designed. Each is upgradeable independent of the rest, so long as you have collected the right parts and have enough of the game’s currency.The next point of the game that feels really special are the upgrades and customizations in the hub levels. There is leveling in the game and while it’s not prominent it still plays an important role. Rather than just gaining a few more hitpoints or some random number going up by one, you get to use potions. This will give you a persistent upgrade–maybe you’ll be able to carry more health potions or maybe you’ll automatically counter-attack an enemy when you are hit–you choose the upgrade but you’ll have to pick from a potion you’ve bought or found. The weapon upgrade system is similar in that Bastion is all about choice. Not only will you be able to choose which weapons you upgrade, but every upgrade level will give you two choices… say 15% faster reloading or 15% more damage. You’ll have to pay for the initial upgrade, but then you can freely swap from one to the other.The last feature other gamemakers will want to learn from is the difficulty customization. In order to make Bastion harder, you pick certain gods to pray to. Pray to one and the enemies will be faster, but you’ll get 5% more experience. You can choose which and how many gods you turn on/off and both the difficulty-enhancing changes and the experience bonuses are stackable. So in a few seconds you can go from an easy button-masher to a rather difficult action game where you’ll be gaining 50% more experience. The game is pretty easy without these so these gods play an important role.Bastion ended up being the most entertaining and polished game I’ve played all year. It takes the legacy of a brawler, drops in some well-constructed RPG elements, and emerges with a unique and interesting game. Anecdotally, as someone that generally beats games and then puts them down for extended periods of time, I can say I’m currently playing through a second time in the New Game + mode, which is a testament to how well Supergiant handled this game.bastion_gameplay_06bastion_gameplay_06bastion_gameplay_05bastion_gameplay_04bastion_gameplay_03bastion_gameplay_02bastion_gameplaybastion_002Our review copy of Bastion was provided by Super Giant games.
Stay on target Netflix Is Set to Adapt Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’ Comics Into TV ShowNeil Gaiman’s ‘Good Omens’ Fantasy Series Is Coming to Amazon on May 31 Many of us may be thinking about the apocalypse in the year 2017, but if we can wait one more year, we’ll be getting a much funnier version of it on our screens.Good Omens, the biblical, apocalypse novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, is set to be adapted into a miniseries for the BBC and Amazon Prime, according to an announcement released on Thursday.The six-part series, adapted entirely by Gaiman, will be released sometime in 2018 on the streaming service, and then broadcast on BBC in the UK.The book documents the final days before the apocalypse, with a demon and an angel attempting to find the Antichrist, who was misplaced. The story features some fantastical figures, including witches, the horsemen of the apocalypse, and prophecies. It’s a wonderful, bonkers novel.“Spanning not only the universe but also the entirety of time, Neil Gaiman has created a story that may be the largest ever told on television,” said Joe Lewis, Head of Comedy and Drama at Amazon Studios.The book was published in 1990, but the quest to bring it to the big or small screen has been long. With Pratchett’s death in March 2015 following a years-long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, it seemed like it was never going to be.This isn’t the first time Good Omens has been adapted. BBC Radio produced a radio series in 2014 which starred Peter Serafinowicz and Mark Heap.A visual adaptation has been in the works for almost two decades, with Terry Gilliam originally attached to direct a film. A TV series has been planned since 2011. In 2012, Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna Pratchett announced Narrativia, a production company run by the family in the hopes of adapting his works. Back then, Good Omens was going to be a TV movie.However, the project took on new momentum when Gaiman announced he’ll be writing the adaptation after he was presented with a letter Pratchett wrote before his death. He had previously mentioned he wouldn’t be working on anything based on the book without Pratchett, but the letter gave him the blessing to continue.“Almost thirty years ago, Terry Pratchett and I wrote the funniest novel we could about the end of the world, populated with angels and demons, not to mention an eleven-year-old Antichrist, witchfinders and the four Horsepeople of the Apocalypse. It became many people’s favorite book. Three decades later, it’s going to make it to the screen. I can’t think of anyone we’d rather make it with than BBC Studios, and I just wish Sir Terry were alive to see it.”Few other details are available. We know it’ll be produced by Gaiman, Caroline Skinner of Doctor Who, Chris Sussman, Rob Wilkins, and Rod Brown, who’s from Narrativia.“Good Omens has always been one of my favorite books, and it’s hugely exciting not just to be able to bring it to life, but to do so with scripts from Neil Gaiman himself. It feels like a good time to be making a comedy about an impending global apocalypse,” Sussman said.
Stay on target HBO Max Scores Exclusive ‘Doctor Who’ Streaming RightsJo Tro Do Plo Plo No: ‘Doctor Who’ Welcomes Back Familiar Monster “Things end. That’s all. Everything ends. And it’s always sad. But everything begins again, too, and that’s always happy.”That sentiment, spoken so eloquently by the 12th Doctor last year’s Christmas special, exemplifies BBC favorite Doctor Who.Thirteen actors have stepped into the titular role, transitioning from one to another through the concept of regeneration—instituted in 1966 to allow the show to continue after the departure of its main character.Now, with the impending exit of star Peter Capaldi and another regeneration expected in December, YouTube user TheGaroStudios picked the right time to share a tribute to the Time Lord.The video, titled “Everything Ends,” recaps the Doctor’s story—from his ninth incarnation (Christopher Eccleston) to his 12th (Capaldi)—in true wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey fashion. Just don’t blink.In this four-minute supercut, Georgian video editor David Garuchava pieces together the Doctor’s confessions, admissions, and final words before each recent regeneration. (I’m not crying, you’re crying!)TheGaroStudios’ “Everything Ends,” published Jan. 13, has more than 164,350 views and 6,500-plus likes; it even got the stamp of approval from the official Doctor Who YouTube channel.Season 10 of Doctor Who returns to BBC and BBC America on April 15, marking the final dozen episodes from showrunner Steven Moffat and Capaldi’s pragmatic Doctor.But, it also introduces new companion Bill (Pearl Mackie), and what appears to be a number of fresh—and refreshed—characters, including emoji-face robots and an update to classic villains, the Ice Warriors.If the 50-year-old reptilian rapscallions don’t feed your nostalgia, the BBC recently released Doctor Who‘s lost four-season serial “The Power of the Daleks” on DVD and Blu-ray.Also, keep an eye out this weekend as the Doctor’s greatest enemies hit the big screen in The Lego Batman Movie: Daleks (or “British robots,” as they’re called) team up with the Joker and a handful of other non-DC Comics “uber villains” to wreak havoc on Gotham City.
Online game development company Kixeye is fighting back against Zynga after it was added to a lawsuit about an employee divulging trade secrets. Kixeye calls the allegations unfounded, and has now filed a countersuit against Zynga, claiming all the company wants to do is just use the guise of legal action to look into its internal documents. The entire case is based on allegations that a former Zynga employee stole confidential documents and revealed trade secrets.The two video game companies are quickly becoming bitter rivals. Numerous Zynga employees, worried about the company’s financial future, have jumped ship to join Kixeye because of its quick growth over the last couple of years. One of those employees is Alan Patmore, who managed Zynga’s CityVille studio until earlier this year. Before his resignation, though, Patmore transferred 700 internal files to a Dropbox account, according to Zynga’s lawsuit.Zynga claims Patmore exposed at least some of those files to Kixeye, which is why Kixeye has been added to the lawsuit. Kixeye’s countersuit, however, says it did not receive any of Zynga’s trade secrets and thinks the company is using the suit as an attempt to scare any other employees who are considering a job at Kixeye.Kixeye is known as a “midcore” developer, a recent term that refers to games that are more sophisticated than those found in the casual space, but not quite as intense as the more hardcore titles. Zynga has been encroaching on that space, and Kixeye says it thinks Zynga will use this lawsuit as a way to force the company to turn over its internal documents.Kixeye not only wants Zynga’s lawsuit to be thrown out, but it wants Zynga to be mandated to tell all of its employees that they can seek other jobs without the fear of threat or bogus lawsuits.via Gamasutra
It’s not often that the stars align like they are this week. No matter what flavor of technology gets your modem dialing, you’ll be getting your fill this week. Everyone from Apple to HP has something big going down, and you’ll have a front row seat. Let’s preview some of the big points of interest.Apple’s four-day WWDC show is kicking off Monday June 10th, and all signs point to the big reveal of iOS 7. This is the first version of iOS since former software head Scott Forstall left the company, leaving Jony Ive in command of interfaces. We’ve been hearing rumors of a flatter, more modern design. Also on the potential agenda is an updated Macbook Pro and Macbook Air running Intel Haswell processors, but everyone hoping for a retina screen on the Air might be disappointed.E3 is the other big conference coming up next week, and it overlaps with WWDC. E3 is starting on Tuesday June 11th, and runs through June 13th. At this show we’re going to get more information on the next generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft. Sony detailed the PS4 software a few months back, but the hardware is still a mystery. The Xbox One is a known quantity now, but game announcements and demos are likely from Microsoft.The other big gaming story is the release of The Last of Us on Friday June 14, a PS3 exclusive title set in a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested world. This third-person action game will feature intense melee combat and an assortment of ranged weapons. It’s being developed by Naughty Dog, a division of Sony and the same studio responsible for the Uncharted games. The visuals are reportedly stellar and the gameplay addictive. Early reviews are solid.If you haven’t gotten your fill of conference news, HP is having its Discover meetup June 11-13th. It’s mainly a business and government-oriented show, but it might give us some clue as to where the beleaguered PC maker is going.Last but not least, Superman is returning in Man of Steel on Friday June 14th. This re-reboot of the classic franchise stars Henry Cavill as Superman and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Expectations are high with director Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) at the helm, and Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, Inception) producing.Get ready for a big week of news, and keep your internet box tuned here.
At the beginning of October Rockstar took its first step into online gaming with the release of GTA Online. They didn’t expect the launch to go smoothly, and it didn’t. In fact, there were some major issues like the loss of player progression. So, Rockstar decided to apologize with a stimulus package.That package consisted of every player who had logged into and played GTA Online during October being gifted 500,000 GTA dollars. But players were made to wait for the major bugs to be fixed in patch 1.05, which is understandable. The patch rolled out earlier this week, and yesterday Rockstar confirmed that over the next two days GTA Online accounts would start getting their stimulus package.There doesn’t seem to be an order to the roll out, it’s just a case of making sure you have installed the latest patch and then checking your account for the cash. If everything goes to plan, by the end of tomorrow all eligible accounts should have the money deposited and ready to use. Rockstar also hasn’t mentioned the payment being split in two like they originally planned, so chances are a single $500k lump sum will now just appear. (If you’ve received your GTA$ let us know if it is just one deposit or split in two in the comments.)
More MovieBob reviews:MovieBob Reviews: VENOMMovieBob Reviews: MandyMovieBob Reviews: A Star is Born Is First Man good?Yes.What’s it about?Claymation cavemen playing soccer.Wasn’t that Early Man from a few months ag-Just checking to see if you were paying attention. As implied by the title, First Man is an abbreviated biopic of astronaut Neil Armstrong – the first man to walk on the Moon – arriving courtesy of director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land) and his muse of boyishly-expressionless stoicism Ryan Gosling.Something about that sounds… alarmingly “spot-on.”Yeah, you can say that again. If you know both your NASA lore and your recently-popular Millennial actor/director bromance-duos you know that’s damn near an ideal pairing: Gosling powering through tasks of intense difficulty and concentration wearing Resting Terminator Face really does seem to be Chazelle’s favorite thing in the world to put on film, and Neil Armstrong of course was infamous for having done the COOLEST THING A HUMAN BEING HAD EVER DONE… EVER and yet never once before or after betraying that he thought it (or anything else, really) was all that big of a deal. So this is very much “Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela” levels of appropriate casting. Stay on target How does the movie around him work out?Having admired but not loved both men’s prior collaborations, First Man represents the first time I’ve really felt unreservedly “onboard” the Damien Chazelle train – it’s a confident film that ably balances the technology/science/history lesson aspects and “muscular human drama” aspects of any good early space program movie; feels authentic and subtle in its period details without going overboard on nostalgic indulgence and pulls out the stops for Big Epic Moments when they’re called for. And in terms of central performance it’s probably the best use any individual filmmaker has made of Gosling’s unique temperment as a cinematic instrument since at least Drive – it’s honestly hard to imagine any other actor of his generation so realistically embodying the restrained dialed-back countenance of men of this particular generation (though he’s also backed up by a full-on Murderer’s Row of current Hollwood’s best “Modern Guys Who Look Like Early-60s Guys” character actors: you know, Kyle Chandler Brian d’Arcy, Lukas Haas, Shea Whigham, Corey Stoll as Buzz Aldrin – they’re all here.How does it fare outside the central performance?…less solidly, to be honest. Though not damningly so in the end. Where it goes a little bit askew is in trying to give an “identity” to Armstrong’s bottled-up stoicism. Other tellings have opted to contrast him with the more personable Aldrin (here played as something of a well-meaning but tactless comic foil by Stoll) or present him as an unknowable, enigmatic figure whose almost robotic discomfort as a social animal is what made him a kind of “predestined” ideal moonwalker; First Man zeroes in on a more contemporary, conventional-feeling reading where Armstrong is haunted (in a few scenes literally) by the loss of his daughter to childhood cancer and driven moonward in her memory because… well, that’s sort of the tricky part: The two threads don’t really come together and we’re not removed enough from Armstrong as a character for it to feel like a proper mystery instead of just an iffy connection; teasing some cursory parallels and tokens that – if they were to have basis in fact – don’t feel like anything either Gosling’s Armstrong or the real one would’ve been broadcasting for everyone to recognize so openly.But that doesn’t sink it for you?A few times it felt like it might, but to the film’s credit, First Man only gestures in the direction of establishing an explicit relationship – symbolic or otherwise – between the lost girl and the moonshot. Attempting to synthesize Armstrong’s persona to “withdrawn because personal of loss” doesn’t totally work, but broader narrative spinning out from that characterization very much does: an attempt to do a test-of-faith/“come-home-to-Jesus” storyline – but for STEM.Come again?It sneaks up a bit, but the eventual idea at play is that Armstrong’s singular commitment to the value of knowledge, math, technology etc as pursuits in and of themselves have been shaken to their core by the realization that no amount of charts, tests, notebooks full of numbers or “doing everything right” was enough to thwart cancer; and the film thus posits that the quest to achieve a once-thought-impossible feat of human advancement becomes for him a way to reaffirm that the world can be made to work the way that it’s supposed to and that these skills and vocations he’s committed to aren’t a waste.So… it’s heavy. Does it earn it?It gets there, yes. The psuedo-documentary-style space and tech scenes all look really good, I never would’ve guessed Justin Hurwitz had THIS kind of score in him but he does, Claire Foy is very good as Janet Shearon, Armstrong’s wife (she’s turning out to be a legit chameleon of actress) – a fairly tough role considering how many films of late have had to retread the “secretly-complex lives of quietly-suffering women behind the Great Men of History” ground. And when the time comes… I really did “buy” the feelings-expressed-unfeelingly bit from Gosling MUCH more than I have in previous recent variations.Okay, but aren’t you just one of those guys who loves every space movie?I mean… not EVERY space movie?I’ve heard you defend Armageddon.Everything BEFORE they actually go to space really is almost the third best Michael Bay movie, though! Fun training sequences, heck of a cast between Willis, Affleck, Wilson, Buscemi, Thornton, Fichtner, Liv Tyler, Peter Stormare, Michael Clarke Duncan – easily one of Aerosmith’s better slow songs… it just turns bad once they get to the asteroid. And then Bruce pushes the button and it’s pretty good again for the ending.…Uh-huh. But as to the original question?Cards on the table, I am probably an easier target for this specific sort of movie than I am for just about anything – I mark out for NASA stuff pretty reliably. But on the other hand I didn’t care for Interstellar and that movie was begging me to love it, so… take that for what you will. As to First Man: It’s not perfect, but it hits the big notes the right way and finds an interesting take on a harder-than-you’d-think story to tell. It may well be a quintessential 21st Century Awards Season Biopic (Millennial actors in Boomer Nostalgia cosplay imagining more emotionally-forthcoming versions of their grandparents) but it’s a superlative version thereof and will deserve the love it’s likely the receive come Oscar season. MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’
Nintendo’s last generation console, the Wii, had a problem: it could break your TV. You may remember all those videos that appeared on YouTube back in 2007-8 of people losing grip of their Wii Remote mid swing and throwing it into their expensive plasma or LCD TV. The result was usually the need to buy a new TV due to a cracked screen. Nintendo quickly realized this was an issue and started bundling a safety strap with controllers. You could also request the strap be sent to you for free.The new generation Apple TV is going to have the exact same problem, and Apple intends to make a profit from your fear of it happening.Apple has added a touch surface and motion control elements to the remote in the form of an accelerometer and gyroscope. Game developers are expected to take full advantage of motion input. This will inevitably lead to people swinging the remote around, losing their grip, and throwing it in the direction of their HD or expensive 4K TVs.Unlike Nintendo, Apple has realized this potential problem before launch. Of course, Apple has a different take on what it should do about the issue. Where as Nintendo bundled a safety strap with the Wii Remote, Apple fully intends to charge you extra for what it is calling a Remote Loop safety strap.The Loop is basically exactly the same as the Wii Remote strap. It is listed as a forthcoming accessory for the new Apple TV, which means you’ll need to purchase it. And with this being Apple, don’t expect the Remote Loop to be particularly cheap. An official Apple HDMI cable is $19, which you also need for the Apple TV. Maybe the Loop will be a quarter of that, let’s guess $5?I didn’t particularly enjoy having a strap around my wrist when using the Wii Remote, and I expect most Apple TV owners won’t bother with the Remote Loop, especially as it isn’t free. With that in mind, expect a whole new round of YouTube videos showing TVs being smashed by a small black object.One final thought: destroying your TV with the Apple TV remote is bad, but don’t forget you can also use an iPhone as a controller. Lose grip of that mid swing and you’ll potentially smash a TV and break your phone. That Remote Loop investment looks ever more tempting…
Review: ‘Fantasy Strike’ Is A Fighting Game That Understands…Game of the Year: Jordan Minor’s Best Video Games of 2018 Stay on target For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at Geek.com we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year!What’s this? Two Game of the Year columns in one week? It’s a holiday miracle! And since this is the last time I’ll be sharing the best games of 2016 in the year 2016, I thought it’d be appropriate to actually run down what were, in my opinion, the ten best games of 2016. No jokes. No memes. This is serious, objective, games journalism. So let’s get started!10. Pokemon GoConsidering how much traffic this game brought in Pokemon Go should be Geek.com’s game of the century. As a game, it’s far from perfect. It’s limited, the combat is painfully simplistic, and developer Niantic has been caught completely off-guard by the game’s massive success. But catching Pokemon in the real world is just so cool. Watching that fantasy become a worldwide phenomenon has been the most fascinating moment in gaming of this entire year.9. ThumperI already talked about Thumper in a previous game of the year column, but I have grown to appreciate it more since then. Once I started treating it less like a “music” rhythm game and more like a “noise” rhythm game it all snapped together a little better. Plus it’s one of the most intense and trippy virtual reality experiences you can have right now. What else are you playing on those big, pricey headsets?8. SeveredAnother game I’ve already written a little about, Severed was a rare, quality PlayStation Vita exclusive before moving to mobile, 3DS, and Wii U. Seeing DrinkBox Studios use its art prowess for something more serious than memes was a nice change of pace. Meanwhile, Zelda-style dungeon exploring pairs nicely with Infinity Blade touchscreen combat. To top it all off, the game is smart enough to end before it wears out its welcome.7. Pokken TournamentWith Smash Bros. you’d think Nintendo wouldn’t need another fighting franchise. But Pokken Tournament is more than a double dip. Developed by the Tekken team, it combines the 3D fighting off that franchise (mostly) seamlessly with fighting on a 2D plane using controls surprisingly simple to learn but capable of EVO-level depth. Plus, the Pokemon themselves have never been more visually detailed.6. Fire Emblem FatesFire Emblem Fates didn’t need to be three games and doesn’t justify it’ child soldier mechanic quite as well as its superior 3DS predecessor Fire Emblem Awakening. Still, the Fire Emblem fantasy tactics formula has basically been perfected. Customizing your lord and choosing between your goth knight family or cheery ninja family is great. Romancing your units to the point of marriage also remains the best feature ever put into a strategy game.5. Overwatch2016’s thirstiest shooter, Overwatch takes the stylish designs and varied play styles of a fighting game roster and applies them to a team-based first-person shooter. Add in Blizzard’s smart, meticulous approach to multiplayer balance and a welcoming atmosphere for players of all skill levels. The only thing missing is a single-player mode that actually makes use of all these great characters and lore.4. Forza Horizon 3They should make another Burnout Paradise. But until then, these Forza Horizon games will have to do. Fortunately, they’re pretty great! Forza Horizon 3 is the best yet. Racing around different Australian locales to expand your stupid car festival is fantastic. Racing against trains, planes, and other automobiles is tons of dumb fun. It’s gorgeous, too, especially on a high-end gaming PC but even on an Xbox One. Now we go back to waiting for a new Burnout.3. SuperhotIn a year full of great, unique shooters, Superhot’s hook is probably the most inventive. Time only moves when you do. So as you pump enemies full of your bullets, you’re skillfully weaving between theirs. It’s like John Wick meets Braid. The developers craft a ton of excellent puzzles with this idea, as well as a Fight Club-esque meta-narrative. The recent VR edition isn’t quite the same game, but it’s equally phenomenal.2. Titanfall 2Titanfall 2 is the best Mirror’s Edge game in a year that also had the sequel to Mirror’s Edge. Double-jumping and wall-running and sprinting and sliding and all of the other buttery-smooth movement options just feel so profoundly satisfying. And that’s before you command a giant robot to stick you in its chest to increase your firepower. Obviously the multiplayer is on point, but the real highlight is the brief but brilliant single-player mode full of enough creativity to rival a Valve game.1. DoomThere was no way a new Wolfenstein could be good. And then Wolfenstein: The New Order was great. There was no way a new Doom could be great. And then Doom was the best video game of 2016. This raucous romp through Hell emerged from its own years-long development hell to prove just how fresh and fantastic this elder statesman shooter franchise could be. I once called Doom “a shoot ‘em up that disemboweled an FPS and is running around in its bloody skin.” If that doesn’t get you excited, then I don’t know what else to tell you.Thanks to everyone who has read and enjoyed this column these past few months. Check back next year to read about the next Game of the Year!