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Updated: 2 hours 46 min ago

The Friends Reunion Special Is Definitely Still Happening, Lisa Kudrow Says

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 02:32

The American sitcom Friends is one of the most beloved TV shows ever, and a reunion special was originally slated to premiere on HBO Max in 2020 as a marquee offering to help encourage people to sign up. However, filming was delayed due to COVID-19 and there is still no official word on when the show will premiere. Some are wondering if it's still happening at all.

Series star Lisa Kudrow, who played Phoebe on the show for all of its 10 seasons, said on Rob Lowe's podcast recently (via EW) that the reunion special is definitely still happening. Some of the sequences have been filmed already, in fact.

"There's different facets to it, and we already shot packages of things. I pre-shot something for it already so we're definitely doing it because I already shot a little something," she said.

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First Images Revealed For New Mortal Kombat Movie

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 02:32

The creative team behind the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie, which is due out April 16 simultaneously in theaters and HBO Max, is well aware how earlier films in the series have garnered a reputation for being cheesy. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, director Simon McQuoid says his feature directorial debut will pay homage to the video game series' over-the-top leanings while also going deep on the story. The story is worth clicking over to since it's got tons of new shots of the film--plus another one not featured there over at EW's Instagram.

The movie gives what fans want right from the beginning: Sub-Zero vs. Scorpion. Only it's when they were known as Bi-Han and Hanzo.

The opening sequence finishes with "a pretty nasty hand-to-hand combat" … "really elemental and really brutal." https://t.co/4DjBOL5Q33 pic.twitter.com/NyS5vtlbfG

— Nick Romano (@NickARomano) January 15, 2021

For example, it's impossible to think about Mortal Kombat without thinking about blood, something McQuoid says he and screenwriters Greg Russo and Dave Callaham really meditated on and wanted to be intentional about exploring in the story. For example, says McQuoid, "Blood represents family. Blood Represents connection. Blood represents who we are. Without getting too overcomplicated, what we did is use blood executionally." (Presumably, pun intended.)

Taking this theme even further, the story is described as a blood feud that "needed to be told within the fight." The clans of Hanzo and Bi-Han come to blows, and as the story unfolds more and more familiar characters from the universe get recruited into the fight as mercenaries and previously undiscovered descendants in each lineage rejoin the fold. An example of one wholly new character is Cole Young, played by actor and martial artist Lewis Tan.

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Persona 5 Strikers Goes All-Out In Stylish New Gameplay Trailer

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 02:18

It's been a long time coming, but Persona 5 Strikers is finally launching in the West on February 20, and a new trailer shows just how chaotic its musou-inspired fights can get.

In the vein of Dynasty Warrior titles, Persona 5 Strikers will load the screen with enemies for you to mow down, tying Persona 5's RPG systems to the hack and slash action. That includes the game's signature All-Out attacks, which let each of your party's members team-up to unleash a devastating attack. That, and they just look incredibly stylish doing it, too.

In GameSpot's Persona 5 Strikers hands-on preview, editor Michael Higham found comfort in revisiting the likable cast of characters, while also experiencing a game without the time-sensitive stresses from the RPG.

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Persona 5 Strikers Hands-On: A Lighthearted Yet Tough Follow Up

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 02:00

It's an exciting prospect when one of your favorite games—in a series that typically doesn't receive direct sequels—gets what's more or less, well, a direct sequel. Mainline entries in Persona have a sort of definitive conclusion then get spinoffs or reissues, while a brand new storyline starts in the next full game (Persona 2 being an exception). Persona 5 Strikers, however, picks up where the original left off: The Phantom Thieves are back together to fight evil in the Metaverse as the cops keep a watchful eye on their moves. But now we have musou-style action RPG gameplay that's explosive, frenetic, and at least in the early stages, pretty damn tough.

I've spent about five hours with Persona 5 Strikers, which encompasses the opening scenarios and the entire first palace (or dungeon), and it's a blessing to be kicking ass as these characters again with all the lavish style you'd expect. With what seems to be a story with lower stakes and tiny slices of life simulation elements, it kind of feels like a Persona 5-lite in its narrative. The best way to put it is that Persona 5 Strikers is like the movie companion to your favorite anime.

Return Of The Metaverse And Humanity's Companion

It's summer vacation. Makoto and Haru have already started college, while everyone else is finishing up high school (except for Futaba, who broke out of her shell and started high school, props to her). Joker decides to return to Tokyo after a string of group texts, and everyone's going to have a carefree and lovely time with their leader back in town. Except, that's a lie.

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Finally: A Gimli-Themed Metal Band That Uses Lord Of The Rings Dialogue

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 01:58

The news this week about Amazon's Lord of the Rings TV show has seemingly led to an uptick in Lord of the Rings discussion everywhere, and people are now discovering a metal band called Gimli, Son of Gloin.

This is not your average metal band. The group, from Southampton UK, only uses Gimli samples from the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings series for vocals like, "'Cause he's got my axe embedded in his nervous system!" and, "We dwarves are natural sprinters!"

These lines, and many more, play on top of some crushing and heavy metal guitar riffs and drum beats. You can listen to the group's new album, At Last; Durin's Mightiest Son Returns To The Field Of Battle With Axe In Hand And Glory In His Heart!, here on Bandcamp.

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MSI's Stealth 15M Is The Thinnest 15-Inch Gaming Laptop In The World

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 01:40

Manufacturers have been able to cram more impressive hardware into gaming laptops over the years, and MSI's latest devicelatest device--revealed at CES 2021--continues that trend. Having shaved more micro-inches off of its chassis, the Stealth 15M is the world's thinnest portable gaming PC with a 15-inch screen.

With a height of 0.63 inches high when closed, the MSI Stealth 15M is slightly slimmer than similar products on the market such as the Razer Blade 15 laptop, the Lenovo Legion 7 Slim, or Alienware's M15.

MSI Stealth 15MGallery

Ultra-thin gaming laptops usually require some serious concessions in order to be shrunk down to that size, but the Stealth 15M still packs some impressive hardware inside of its aluminum frame. The recently-revealed Intel H35 Tiger Lake CPU Core i7-11375 CPU, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an RTX 3060 laptop GPU are all part of the package, which also includes a 1920x1080 IPS display that has a refresh rate of 144Hz.

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Hitman 3 Coming To Nintendo Switch This Month Too

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 01:23

We've known since October that Hitman 3 is coming to Nintendo Switch via cloud streaming, but both Nintendo and developer IO Interactive had not yet mentioned a release date. That's changed now, with official word that it will come right alongside the other platforms on January 20.

IO announced the date with a tweet. That puts the Switch release on the same day as more powerful platforms that will run it natively on the hardware itself: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. The Switch version will require an internet connection, since it's streaming.

This is one of a handful of streaming games on Switch, and was announced along with Control. In GameSpot's Control cloud edition review, Phil Hornshaw said it ran generally well on Switch, with some degree of noticeable frame rate issues and graphical compromises. It's not the best way to play Control, but it will do in a pinch, so we can probably expect the same from Hitman.

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Shudder Will Release A New Horror Movie Every Week For The Next Three Months

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 01:08

Last week Netflix announced that it plans to release a new movie every single week in 2021, and revealed its expansive line-up for the year. But it's not the only streaming service with an ambitious plan for releasing new films this year. AMC's horror platform Shudder has confirmed that it will release a new movie every week for the next 11 weeks.

The 11 movies span a variety of sub-genres within the horror genre, and several releases arrive with rave reviews from high-profile film festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, and Fantastic Fest. The line-up kicked off this week with the survival horror The Hunted, which is now available. The subsequent releases are:

  • The Queen of Black Magic (January 28)
  • A Nightmare Wakes (February 4)
  • After Midnight (February 11)
  • Shook (February 18)
  • The Dark and the Wicked (February 25)
  • Lucky (March 4)
  • Stay Out of the F—ing Attic (March 11)
  • Koko-Di, Koko-Da (March 18)
  • Slaxx (March 18)
  • Violation (March 25)

Despite the disruption to much of the entertainment industry in 2020, Shudder had its most successful year since the service launched in 2015. It recorded record subscription numbers, and its zoom-based found footage movie Host was one of the most talked-about movies of the year.

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Stream Classic Arcade Games With AtGames' ArcadeNet

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 01:08

At-home arcade and retro gaming brand AtGames has officially launched its streaming service ArcadeNet after a beta period. The service, which is available on AtGames' Arcade Legends products like the Legends Ultimate and Legends Gamer devices, allows players to stream additional games, including arcade, console, and pinball games, via either free or paid tiers.

With the basic free plan, ArcadeNet members can stream a limited amount of games on the service for up to two hours, and an additional one hour for pinball streaming. The games will change regularly in this plan.

For ArcadeNet Standard, which costs $20 per month, you'll get improved quality--up to 1080p and 60fps instead of 720p and 30fps--and you can play multiplayer and use voice chat with up to three other people.

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Top-Selling Games And Consoles Of 2020 Revealed For The US

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 00:52

The NPD Group has released its report for US video game sales for December 2020 and the full year, shining a light on which games, consoles, and accessories sold the best.

As predicted, Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War was the top-selling game of 2020 during a banner year for games. Total spending on video games in the US--spanning games, consoles, accessories, and more--reached $56.9 billion, up 27% compared to 2019 and representing a new all-time high for spending in a year. December 2020 alone posted $7.7 billion in sales, which is up 25% compared to December 2019.

In terms of hardware, the Nintendo Switch was the best-selling console in terms of units and dollar sales for December 2020 and the full year. The Switch's annual dollar sales in 2020 were the second highest for any platform in US history, only trailing 2008 when the sales of the Wii were higher.

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Lord Of The Rings Online MMO Offering Big Discounts This Month

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 00:28

The developers of the enduring MMO The Lord of the Rings Online have announced a variety of sales and discounts for the multiplayer game that are available for a limited time.

Now through January 21, players can save 20% on expansions, XP supply, skirmishes, and more. Here is a rundown of what's on sale during the promotional period:

  • Expansions and Expansion Quests (In-Game Only)
  • Enhanced XP Supply and Hornberg Token
  • Skirmishes and Instances
  • 100% Mark Acquisition Boosts

Reclaim Middle-earth! Get 20% off:
Expansions and Expansion Quests (In-Game Only)
Enhanced XP Supply and Hornberg Token
Skirmishes and Instances
100% Mark Acquisition Boosts
Now through January 21st! #LOTRO pic.twitter.com/QqKPGzka5B

— LOTRO (@lotro) January 14, 2021

The Lord of the Rings Online was released in 2007 and it has received steady support over the years with numerous paid expansions and free updates. The game switched from a subscription model to free-to-play in 2010 and development on the game shifted from Turbine to Standing Stone Games, which is the current developer of the MMO.

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Bungie.net Will Remove Halo Section Next Month, Erasing Stats

Sat, 01/16/2021 - 00:21

It's the end of an era, at least formally. After having left the Halo series a decade ago to focus on Destiny, Bungie has now finally opted to close the Halo section of its website. When that happens, the stats and files you've accumulated across Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo: Reach will be lost to time unless you save them yourself.

The Halo section of Bungie.net will officially be taken offline for good on February 9, but the forums and articles posted before are now on the current version of the website and won't be taken offline. Current Halo games' stats are also available on the current Halo website, Halo Waypoint.

The news comes just a month after 343 Industries announced it would be ending Xbox 360 game services for Halo games at the end of 2021. This applies to Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo 4, Halo: Reach, Halo: Spartan Assault, and Halo Wars. All of these games are playable on Xbox One via dedicated versions, so they'll still be available online, and the majority of them are included in Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

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Battle.Net 2.0 Update Delivers Biggest Upgrade In Years

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 09:00

Blizzard is launching a major update for Battle.net, representing the biggest front-facing upgrade to the PC platform in years, according to the developer.

The upgrades, which have been available to beta testers for some time already, include things like an improved layout and navigation tools. Specifically, you can now "favorite" games and select how you want them to appear in your library.

Battle.net 2.0 looks a lot cleaner

The Battle.net 2.0 update also includes a "much more expansive layout" to help you catch up with news about your games more easily. The social plane has also been updated for greater visibility, while there are a number of accessibility improvements so you can quickly access many things on Battle.net with just the keyboard. The color contrast has been improved as well, as screen support has been updated, Blizzard said.

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Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor Servers Have Shut Down

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 08:31

As of January 12, the online servers for the open-world action-RPG Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor have shut down, publisher WB Games confirmed on the game's support page.

WB Games cited "changes with our network" as the reason for Shadow of Mordor's servers to have gone offline. As a result, several online features, like Nemesis Forge and Vendetta missions, are no longer available on PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Players familiar with the game's sequel, 2017's Middle-earth: Shadow of War, may recall the Nemesis Forge. A featured added to Shadow of Mordor shortly before Shadow of War launched, Nemesis Forge allowed players to import their most-hated nemesis and most-loyal ally from Mordor into War. This feature is offline now that the servers have shut down.

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Free Xbox Games This Weekend Only: Star Wars: Squadrons, Dragon Ball FighterZ, And Yooka-Laylee

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 08:01

Looking for something new to play but don't want to spend any money? Microsoft has announced the latest additions to the Free Play Days promotion, and they include some big-name titles.

Now through Sunday, January 17, Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass Ultimate members can play Star Wars: Squadrons, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Yooka-Laylee for the low, low price of $0.00.

To get started, you can queue up a download of each game through the Xbox website. You can also download the games on your Xbox by visiting the Subscriptions tab of the Xbox Store and then navigate to the Gold member area to find the Free Play Days library.

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New Smash Bros., Splatoon Rewards Added To My Nintendo

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 08:00

Nintendo has added a couple of new physical rewards to its My Nintendo loyalty program. My Nintendo members can now spend their points on a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate greeting card set or a Splatoon 2 keychain set.

The Smash Bros. greeting card set costs 400 Platinum points and is designed to resemble the series' signature invitation letter. The Splatoon 2 keychain set, meanwhile, costs 350 Platinum points and comes with keychains of the Super Mushroom and Super Star, the two Mario power-ups featured during this weekend's Mario-themed Splatfest.

Smash Bros. invitation greeting card setGallery

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Charming RTS Bomber Crew Is Free Through Humble Bundle

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 07:47

Fans of real time strategy games can pick up Bomber Crew, a game about managing the inner workings of a World War 2 bomber, for free by subscribing to the Humble Bundle newsletter. The offer is only around for the next three days, so players will need to act quickly if they want to grab this freebie.

Visit Humble Bundle's official website, click on the banner on top, create an account, and enter your email in order to receive a copy of Bomber Crew. This offer will end on January 17, 2021 at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET.

Bomber Crew puts you in charge of various crews flying missions at the height of World War 2. You'll act as their invisible leader, giving engineers, gunners, and other crewmate's orders. The graphics may look charming, but there is a real challenge hidden behind Bomber Crew's colorful visuals.

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This Mario Kart Wii Shortcut Took Years To Pull Off

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 07:19

A notoriously tricky "ultra-shortcut" in Mario Kart Wii has been performed by a human, after years of attempts. The shortcut is on the final track, Rainbow Road, and though players have known about its theoretical existence for almost five years, no one has been able to pull it off.

As noted on Reddit, streamer @ArthuurrrP is the first person to have performed the shortcut. You can see it in the streamed video below: The racer stops and turns their kart just after the starting line, then rides the railing and hops over to a piece of the track, bypassing most of Rainbow Road and going straight to the finish line. Total lap time: 22.5 seconds. Doing this successfully is said to have taken thousands of hours.

This is one of the "ultra-shortcuts" in Mario Kart Wii, and a 2018 video from Summoning Salt explains what makes it so rare and tricky. Mario Kart Wii uses a series of checkpoints to load in and make sure you've finished the entire track in sequence, so if you find a shortcut, you need to trip those markers or it won't count your progress. This particular shortcut was discovered in March 2016, and had been recreated with bots, but there wasn't yet a record of a person actually performing it.

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Edge Of Tomorrow Director Gives An Update On The Sequel

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 07:16

2014's Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt action movie Edge of Tomorrow--or, Live Die Repeat as it was rebranded--was a critical success and as a result, fans have been calling for a sequel. Director Doug Liman has now provided an update on how it's coming along.

He told Collider that, if indeed a sequel is made, he would want it to be a smaller-scale movie. Sequels often go for bigger action and more explosions, but Liman said this pales in comparison to giving Cruise and Blunt more screen time because they are such great actors.

"I've always been interested in the idea of a sequel being more character-driven than the first film, because that's not how things are normally done," he said. "That's been my approach when developing the sequel and because Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt are such phenomenal actors. I get sometimes the sequel just has to have more firepower or more explosions but no visual effect is going to top what you're going to get from a great scene performed by Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt."

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New Apex Legends Update Addresses Stability Issues, Patch Notes Detailed

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 06:58

Developer Respawn Entertainment has rolled out a new patch for Apex Legends on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S that stabilizes the game.

The patch comes after numerous players reported errors while playing the game on all platforms. Specifically, players were getting caught in infinite loops that freeze the game or the game would crash entirely. Respawn said that while it couldn't replicate whatever's causing the hiccups, the new patch "improves stability and (hopefully) fixes the freezing issues."

In addition to trying to address technical issues on the server side, the latest patch for Apex Legends fixes a variety of other problems. This includes issues with Fight Night event skins like Haute Drop and Gold Standard getting in the way of the reticle when aiming down sights, errors with selecting the Steam Friends list, and other problems related to clubs and text chat.

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