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Yes, Pokemon Sword And Shield Have Trainer Customization

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 06:15

Since Pokemon X and Y, each mainline installment in the series has allowed you to customize your trainer's outfit, and it looks like that will be the case in Pokemon Sword and Shield as well. While the games' reveal trailer hinted that trainer customization would return, the feature was confirmed when clothing retailer Uniqlo announced the winners of its Pokemon t-shirt design competition.

The winning design will not only be made into a real shirt, it'll also appear in the upcoming Nintendo Switch games as a clothing option for your trainer (via Serebii). Uniqlo's website shared a pair of screenshots showcasing the male and female trainers wearing the winning shirt rather than their default clothes, confirming you'll be able to change their outfits. You can take a look at the screenshots below.

It remains to be seen how many different clothing options will be available in Pokemon Sword and Shield. Both Pokemon X/Y and Sun/Moon allowed you to purchase an assortment of different outfits and accessories for your trainer, from hats and glasses to bags and shoes, and that will presumably be the case in Sword and Shield as well. One thing we do know for sure, however, is your avatar will at least be able to don a soccer-like uniform; the male trainer could be seen wearing one as he entered a stadium near the end of the games' reveal trailer.

Nintendo gave fans their first look at Sword and Shield during a special Pokemon Direct broadcast this past February. While the presentation was fairly brief, it did reveal some important details about the upcoming games. For one, the titles are set in a new region called Galar, which appears to be inspired by the UK. We also got to see the games' new starter Pokemon: the Grass-type monkey Grookey, the Fire-type rabbit Scorbunny, and the Water-type lizard Sobble.

Pokemon Sword and Shield are slated to launch for Switch in "late" 2019. We'll presumably learn more about the games during Nintendo's E3 2019 presentation, which is set to take place on Tuesday, June 11, at 9 AM PT / 12 PM ET / 5 PM BST. Until then, you can check out everything we know about Pokemon Sword and Shield so far.

Call Of Duty Mobile Beta Beginning In Some Regions; Maps, Modes, And More Details Announced

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 06:06

Activision has shared more details on Call of Duty Mobile as the spinoff approaches the regional beta testing phase. The first closed beta is beginning this week in India, with regional tests starting soon in Australia and then following to other territories over the coming months.

A post on the Activision Blog details the upcoming game. A variety of control options let you customize the toggles like sensitivity, gyroscope aiming, field of vision, and sprinting. You can choose Simple Mode, which auto-fires your weapon, or Advanced Mode that uses manual firing along with some other options and HUD customizations. It even boasts 17 sliders for aiming sensitivity.

As a Call of Duty game, of course, you can select up to three Scorestreak equipment like the Recon Car, Air Supply Drop, Missile Strike, Drone, and Sentry Gun. From your Loadout menu you'll pick a Primary and a Secondary weapon, each with its own optics and attachments, grenades, and perks. Your five loadout slots can be one of several characters from Call of Duty history, including Alex Mason, Soap MacTavish, and Ghost Riley.

So far the studio has announced five modes: Free-For-All, Frontline, Team Deathmatch, Hardpoint, and Domination. It will also bring back several well-known Call of Duty maps, including Crossfire, Standoff, Crash, Killhouse, and Firing Range.

You can pre-register through the official site which will also sign you up for a chance at the beta. Additional gameplay modes are still to be announced.

Game Of Thrones Ending: Why Did Jon Snow Say "Love Is The Death Of Duty"?

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 05:54

Like every episode in Season 8, the Game of Thrones finale was full of Easter eggs, as well as callbacks and references to the journey many of the characters have undertaken to get to where they are at the end. A big one in Episode 6, "The Iron Throne," came during a conversation between Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow that went all the way back to a critical moment in Season 1--one that had a great deal of meaning for Jon. Be warned: We're talking spoilers for the Game of Thrones series finale here, so read on at your own risk.

After the sack of King's Landing in Episode 5, "The Bells," Daenerys has Tyrion arrested for freeing his brother Jaime, going against the queen's orders and thereby betraying her. Jon meets with Tyrion in his impromptu cell, where Tyrion laments finding out he was wrong about Daenerys. He tries to convince Jon to do something about Dany since Jon is also a Targaryen and has a better claim to the Iron Throne. Jon, of course, struggles with the situation because of his love for Dany, and Tyrion talks about how he understands that Jon loves Dany.

"Love is the death of duty," Jon responds. He's remembering a pivotal moment from his past--a conversation he had with Maester Aemon, way back when Jon was new to the Night's Watch in Season 1. During that discussion, Aemon revealed his true identity as Aemon Targaryen, a man who could have been king, but chose the life of a Maester and a man of the Night's Watch instead.

At the time, Jon had been considering breaking his new Night's Watch vows to ride south and join Robb Stark in his campaign to defeat the Lannisters and rescue Ned Stark. Aemon stopped him by telling him a story about how his own vows were tested during Robert's Rebellion. He wanted to go south to help the other Targaryens, but ultimately, kept to his vows and did his duty. It's that story that convinces Jon to stay on the Wall and keep his vows, as well.

Jon's sense of duty has repeatedly been tested by love. He didn't leave the Wall to aid Robb, which meant that Jon didn't die at the Red Wedding, but one wonders how Jon's presence could have helped save Robb's life. When he went north of the Wall with Lord Commander Mormont, Jon joined the Wildlings he discovered there to find out what Mance Rayder was planning. He fell in love with Ygritte but was unable to betray the Night's Watch for her, which ended in her death in Season 4 at the Battle of Castle Black. And finally, Jon chose duty over Daenerys, killing the queen before she could hurt anyone else after she destroyed King's Landing.

In the end, Jon always chooses duty over love. Tyrion gets him on that point before the conversation is over.

"Sometimes, duty is the death of love," Tyrion says. "You are the shield that guards the realms of men, and you've always tried to do the right thing, no matter the cost. You've always tried to protect people. Who is the greatest threat to the people now?"

Tyrion knows how important Jon's sense of honor is to him, just like Maester Aemon did (although Aemon might have given Jon different advice if he'd known that Aemon was Jon's great-great uncle, or that Jon was intending to kill Aemon's niece). Jon struggles with whether he made the right call in killing Daenerys, but we've seen throughout the show that it was the only one he could have made.

What's New This Week To Hulu, Amazon Prime, And Shudder? Movies, TV, And Originals

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 05:54

Many people are subscribed to multiple streaming services, and every week, places like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and the horror-themed Shudder release new content to their users. This week, there are plenty of options to check out on Hulu, while the two other aforementioned services only have a couple new offerings.

The most notable release of the week is Season 3 of AMC's Preacher on May 21 on Hulu. Based on the comic book series of the same name, the TV show follows a priest who is searching for God and comes across bizarre characters during his travels. Also, the complete series of Baywatch comes to Hulu on May 23.

If you're looking for horror flicks to check out, then May 20 is a good day for you, as both 100 Bloody Acres and Effects hit Shudder. It is a very light week for these streaming services.

Below, you'll find the list for what's coming out on these services this week. Additionally, both Hulu and Amazon Prime Video have revealed what's coming to those services for the month of June.


May 20

  • Federal Hill (1994)

May 21

  • Preacher: Complete Season 3
  • Bernie the Dolphin (2018)
  • Jesus’ Son (2000)

May 22

  • Tracers (2015)

May 23

  • Baywatch: Complete Series
  • MasterChef Celebrity Family Showdown: Special Part 2
  • Backtrace (2018)
  • Lulu on the Bridge (2011)

May 19

  • Federal Hill (1994)

May 20

  • Jesus' Son (1999)

May 22

  • Lulu on the Bridge (1998)

May 25

  • Morning Glory (2010)

May 20

  • 100 Bloody Acres (2013)
  • Effects (1980, also available on Shudder Canada)

Game Of Thrones Finale: The Ending Explained

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 05:26

Obviously, this post is going to contain MASSIVE spoilers for the Game of Thrones season finale. Now's your chance to stop reading and escape unsullied.

After eight seasons, the final moments of Game of Thrones brought some big shakeups from what viewers have been expecting. The destruction of King's Landing has seemingly led to a better world in the Season 8 finale, although not the one that some characters have been working toward for years. Westeros moves forward not through conquest, but through (a tiny bit of) democracy.

A whole lot of wrap-up got handled in Episode 6, "The Iron Throne," the last of the show. First and foremost, we saw the end of Daenerys Targaryen. After she destroyed King's Landing, she finally lost the support of some of her best allies (although not all of them). Jon begged Dany to show Tyrion mercy, and when she refused, he took action--murdering Daenerys to stop her from ruling the Seven Kingdoms (and beyond) with fear and dragon fire. After her death, Drogon showed up a few seconds later to melt down the Iron Throne (which was more symbolic than a moment that made sense, but whatever), then flew away with Daenerys's body clutched in his claw. Our only clue as to where he went came a little later into the episode when it was mentioned that he'd last been seen flying east toward Essos, the continent that includes the cities Dany and her dragons freed from slavery, and Valeryia, the destroyed country from which dragons and Targaryens originally hail.

The Unsullied took Jon into custody, but without a leader to tell them what to do with him, they just kept him locked up for a while. Next, they convened a council of the lords and ladies of Westeros at the dragon pit in King's Landing, to decide who should lead the Seven Kingdoms and what should be done with Jon and Tyrion. (It included a few familiar faces, including one who's had quite a glow-up.) At Tyrion's suggestion, the most powerful people in Westeros voted on their new monarch: Bran Stark.

In part, Daenerys's influence really did help "break the wheel," ending part of the system of inherited power in the country. Bran took the throne because he was the wisest among the powerful people of Westeros, thanks to his abilities as the Three-Eyed Raven, and his disability means he can't father children of his own. That means that when Bran eventually dies, there will be no eldest son to inherit his title, and nobody will be forced to live under the thumb of a king just because he was lucky enough to be born a prince. Instead, the lords and ladies of Westeros will convene again and vote on a new king. It's not a perfect system, of course--the great houses are still great because they have money and land, and they're still keeping that power in their families forever--but at least there's some semblance of representative democracy in Westeros that will probably make life a little better for regular people, at least for a while.

Bran used his new authority to immediately name Tyrion the Hand of the King, essentially pardoning him for betraying Daenerys. The idea is that Tyrion's sentence for treason will be a lifetime of service, trying to make up for his past mistakes by being a good ruler.

Things work out a little less great for Jon. The Unsullied and Sansa Stark are willing to go to war over his fate--the Unsullied want justice for their queen, while Sansa wants to save her brother and the man once named King in the North. They compromise, with Jon exiled back to the Wall to rejoin the Night's Watch. It's not much of a real sentence since there's not really a Night's Watch anymore. "The world will always need a home for bastards and broken men," Tyrion says of the organization. When Jon arrives at Castle Black, he finds Tormund and the rest of the Wildlings and decides to leave the Watch and go beyond the Wall with them. You could interpret this as Jon going on to become King Beyond the Wall, but it seems much more likely he's just going to go live out his life in freedom with his buddy Ghost.

There's no new King in the North, but there is a queen: Sansa Stark. During the council, Sansa refused to let the North be ruled by a southron king again, even if that king was her brother. Bran allowed the North to keep its independence, thus transforming the Seven Kingdoms into six. That makes Westeros technically two countries, rather than one united one (although one can't help but wonder how Dorne feels about all this since it has remained pretty much independent as well). Who knows how that'll change the political situation in Westeros in the future.

Bran formed a new small council with a few critical surviving folks. With Tyrion as his Hand, Ser Davos became his master of ships, and Bronn of the Blackwater--now lord of Highgarden, as per his agreement with Tyrion and Jaime Lannister back in Season 8, Episode 4--was named master of coin. And although he didn't finish his Maester training at the Citadel, Samwell Tarly became Grand Maester. Ser Brienne is named Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, and her longtime faithful squire, Podrick Payne, is also knighted and joins the order.

The episode also tied up a few other loose ends. After things settled down, Grey Worm and the freed Unsullied boarded ships to head back east (presumably with the Dothraki, as well). Grey Worm's destination was the Isle of Naath, which recalled his earlier conversation with Missandei back in Season 8, Episode 2. The pair had planned what they'd do after defeating the Night King and winning the Iron Throne for Daenerys: return to Naath, where the Unsullied would protect the isle's peaceful people, as Grey Worm said. Though Cersei had Missandei killed, Grey Worm is still executing on the plan to make a home of Naath and to protect its people.

Also boarding a ship was Arya Stark, who decided she wouldn't return home to Winterfell or live her life as a highborn lady. Instead, she means to explore the world by finding out what's west of Westeros, a task she mentioned she might want to try her hand at back in Season 6 when she was still in Faceless Man training in Braavos. We don't know what might be out there, in fact, but if anybody can handle what she finds, it's Arya.

Oh, and Drogon is still out there. Apparently Bran is going to use his Three-Eyed Raven powers to maybe try to track the dragon down. In any event, dragons are still alive in the world, and that means there could one day be more of them.

And that's it. War is over in Westeros, finally, and the fate of its people is in the hands of a group who seem to want to make life better for everyone in general. Whether they succeed is quite literally another story. As Tyrion told Jon, we'll have to check back in 10 years to see whether the pair made the right decisions.

The Best Game Deals At Amazon For Memorial Day Weekend (Switch, PS4, Xbox One)

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 05:01

While not a games-focused retailer, Amazon often has some of the best gaming deals available online, even discounting some new games on release day and dropping the price on expensive first-party Switch games. The digital store currently has great discounts on some noteworthy games for PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. And if you live in the US, you may have a three-day weekend ahead of you due to Memorial Day, which means even more time for gaming--so we're here to let you know about all the best deals.

On Nintendo Switch, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is back in stock this week for $10 off, a rare price for one of the Switch's flagship games. Both Pokemon: Let's Go games are down to $45 and can help you get your Pokemon fix until Pokemon Sword and Shield are out later this year. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is also discounted at $45, and you can grab Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for $49.94.

Over on PS4, Nier: Automata's Game of the Yorha Edition is only $28 and includes all DLC and bonus content. Assassin's Creed Odyssey is only $25. On both PS4 and Xbox One, don't miss Monster Hunter World for $19, Devil May Cry 5 for $40, and The Division 2 for $45. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is also only $45 on Xbox One, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a bit cheaper than elsewhere at $26.20.

Remember that if you're an Amazon Prime member, you'll get free two-day shipping on many of these games. See more of the best game deals at Amazon below!

Nintendo Switch:


Xbox One:

Spider-Man: Far From Home Teaser Clip Confirms Major Spoiler

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 04:44

When it comes to spoilers in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Marvel Studios and Sony aren't being anywhere near as cautious as with Avengers: Endgame. A new promo manages to spoil something major that was hinted at in an earlier trailer, which is impressive since the clip in question is only five seconds long. If you don't want to be spoiled, now's when you should stop reading.

The promo confirms that MJ (Zendaya) finds out Peter Parker's (Tom Holland) secret identity as Spider-Man, making her the second of Peter's school friends to realize he has extraordinary powers--the other being Ned (Jacob Batalon). The video was caught by a user on Twitter, who shared it.

MJ knows Peter is #SpiderMan
In this new mini ad for #SpiderManFarFromHome

— cosmic (@Q82004yousef1) May 17, 2019

This plot twist was first hinted at in the latest Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer, in which MJ confronts Peter with his secret identity, telling him, "It's kind of obvious." Still, given the Marvel Cinematic Universe's reliance on secrecy and misdirects in trailers, it was hard to believe this is how the story would go.

In the latest clip, though, it's clear that not only does MJ know, she figured it out on her own. What remains to be seen is precisely how she figures it out. Granted, Spider-Man does seem to go wherever Peter does and conveniently pop up as soon as he disappears. So perhaps it's not that hard to figure out.

Spider-Man: Far From Home sees the cast of the first movie return, along with the first appearance of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill since they popped up in Endgame. Another intriguing new addition is Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio. While traditionally, Mysterio has been a villain in the comics, the trailers thus far have painted him as a hero from a parallel dimension. Still, we're convinced he's lying and turns out to be the villain of this particular story.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is in theaters on July 2.

New Apex Legends Patch 1.1.3 Is Available Now

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 04:08

Popular battle royale title Apex Legends has received a new patch that addresses a variety of issues concerning audio, hit detection, PC crashes, and more. Respawn Entertainment community manager Jay Frechette took to the EA blog to detail the patch, which is available now for all three platforms.

Frechette discussed improvements made to audio performance. "We have made improvements both in our code and with our content that will hopefully fix [sounds dropping out, missing sounds for an extended duration, or distortion for a period of time]." These fixes should lower the encounter rate of the described audio issues.

Also in the audio department, Frechette confirmed the team has addressed other issues, "including increasing the volume of close proximity enemy footsteps and lowering the overall volume of the game from the character select screen to the end of the drop sequence."

Hit detection has been contentious for Apex Legends but this new patch should eliminate most incorrect hit detection with the help of some behind-the-scenes bullet damage tracking. "We expect there will still be some remaining hit registration problems, but with these fixes and diagnostic information, we are better equipped to track them down," Frechette wrote.

It seems internet connectivity can result in incorrect hit detection. In order to better determine how internet connectivity factors into hit detection, Respawn has "refined the functionality behind [their] network problem indicator icons in the upper right of the screen." These icons may show up more frequently now, but they will help "[narrow] down the cause of any bugs" the team may notice.

Lastly, PC crashes seem to be ubiquitous amongst Apex Legends players. Respawn noticed, specifically, "that Intel CPUs sometimes were not executing the instructions properly in one particular function." The crashes seem to occur when writing to invalid memory. And so, Respawn found that "lowering the clock speed always fixed the crashes, even if the CPU wasn't overclocked or overheating." Intel has been notified, but this patch includes a temporary workaround to prevent and/or limit the number of crashes in the meantime.

You can check out the full patch notes below.

Audio Fixes and Improvements

One of the biggest issues we had to tackle was improving the audio performance to address reports of sounds dropping out, missing sounds for an extended duration, or distortion for a period of time. We have made improvements both in our code and with our content that will hopefully fix these issues for many players, and should lower the amount and length of time they encounter audio issues for others.

We have also addressed some of the other mix issues with the game, including increasing the volume of close proximity enemy footsteps and lowering the overall volume of the game from the character select screen to the end of the drop sequence. We will continue to monitor mix issues and address them as necessary. Below are the notes on improvements we’ve included in today’s patch as we continue to work on future improvements.


  • Improved audio engine to be around 30% more CPU efficient, lessening the chance of distortion or dropouts.
  • Lowered impact on data loading through code and content changes to improve potential dropout issues.

Quality of Life

  • Lowered the master volume of all sounds during the character select screen through the end of the drop sequence.
  • Lowered the volume of Wraith's ambient kunai knife sound for those who are sensitive to the sound. If it is still bothersome we will remove it in a later patch.
  • Increased the volume of close proximity enemy footsteps for all Legends.
  • Increased the priority of enemy footsteps to ensure the sounds play even in heavy combat situations.
  • Slightly lowered the volume of Pathfinder footstep sounds heard from the first person view.
  • Fixed missing or quiet dryfire (out of ammo trigger click sound) and low ammo (the progressive change in sound that the gun makes as the magazine approaches empty) sounds for the R301, Hemlok, Flatline, and RE45.
  • Increased the volume of the music that plays when winning a match.
  • Added more detailed audio to the Training mission.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed occlusion bug for the Havoc’s "wind down" sound.
  • Fixed issue with automatic weapon fire sounds occasionally getting stuck on, usually after a Legend respawns.
  • Fixed bug with RE45 missing tail sounds (the echo in the environment after the shot) when in close proximity.

Hit Detection Fixes and Improvements

As we talked about last week, in this patch we’ve pushed some fixes that should eliminate many cases of incorrect hit registration. This patch also includes some behind-the-scenes tracking of bullet damage logic. We expect there will still be some remaining hit registration problems, but with these fixes and diagnostic information, we are better equipped to track them down.

One potential cause of hit registration bugs can be simple internet connection problems. In order to determine how much of a factor this is in reality, we’ve refined the functionality behind our network problem indicator icons in the upper right of the screen. These icons are now pickier about your connection quality and may show up more frequently than they did before.

These icon changes will be useful in narrowing down the cause of any bugs that we continue to see. Please continue to share videos and report hit registration issues you still encounter after the patch.

Fix for Lifeline "Pick Me Up" Banner Bug on PS4

  • The issue has been resolved and we will be re-enabling the banner after the patch is live.
    • NOTE: We made changes to client and backend to address this, and it’ll take a little time to take full effect. We’re expecting the error to resolve within a few hours after the patch is live.

[PC ONLY] Crashes Specific to Intel CPUs

We investigated the crash reports from many people who were crashing frequently and found that Intel CPUs sometimes were not executing the instructions properly in one particular function. A common example was an instruction that only reads a register crashed on writing to invalid memory. With the help of many forum users, we found that lowering the clock speed always fixed the crashes, even if the CPU wasn't overclocked or overheating. Thanks everyone, with a big shout out to Falkentyne, TEZZ0FIN0, JorPorCorTTV, and MrDakk!

This has been by far the most commonly reported PC crash over the last month or so and we’ve notified Intel about the issue. In the meantime, we’ve put a workaround in this patch to avoid the crashing at your original clock speeds just by changing the instructions used by that one function.

Additional Bug Fixies

  • Fixed issue with the Fortified Passive ability for Gibraltar and Caustic where they would take damage through shields.
  • Fixed the bug that allowed players to stick objects to Gibraltar’s Gun Shield.
    • Admittedly, it’s been fun to see the results of this, but the behavior is not intended by design and could get out of control. Items will no longer stick to Gibraltar’s Gun Shield. However, it will now deflect Arc Stars.

Pokemon Go: How To Get Leafeon And Glaceon

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 02:40

A new wave of Gen 4 Pokemon has arrived in Pokemon Go. Along with Garchomp, Cherrim, Hippowdon, and a few other monsters originally from the Sinnoh region, players can now finally get Glaceon and Leafeon, the long-awaited Ice- and Grass-type evolved forms of Eevee. However, the way to induce these evolutions is a little different than normal.

To get Glaceon and Leafeon, you'll need to use Glacial and Mossy Lures--two new kinds of Lure Modules recently introduced to the game. If you're unsure of what those are or how the whole process works, we break down everything you need to know about the new Lure Modules and how to evolve Eevee into Glaceon or Leafeon below.

What Are Glacial / Mossy Lures And How Do I Get Them?

Glacial and Mossy Lures are two new types of Lure Modules in Pokemon Go. Like standard Lures, these can be placed in Poke Stops and will attract certain kinds of Pokemon for a limited time. Glacial Lures will draw in Water- and Ice-types, while Mossy Lures will attract Bug-, Grass-, and Poison-types. There are also Magnetic Lures, which will cause more Electric, Steel, and Rock Pokemon to appear.

At the moment, the only way to obtain the new Lure Modules is to purchase them from Pokemon Go's in-game store. Each one costs 200 coins and works for 30 minutes when activated. In the future, Niantic says the new Lures will also be distributed as rewards for completing Special Research tasks.

How Do I Evolve Eevee Into Glaceon / Leafeon?

In order to evolve Eevee into one of its Gen 4 forms, you'll first need to either place a Glacial or Mossy Lure in a Poke Stop, or visit a Stop where one of these is already active. As their names suggest, the Glacial Lure will allow you to evolve Eevee into Glaceon, while the Mossy Lure will allow you to evolve it into Leafeon. If you're within range of an active Glacial or Mossy Lure, go to Eevee's detail screen and you'll have the option to evolve it into its corresponding evolution.

Are There Other Ways To Get Glaceon / Leafeon?

If you don't have enough coins to spring for a Glacial or Mossy Lure, you can obtain Glaceon or Leafeon by employing the Eevee naming trick. As Serebii details, if you give your Eevee a specific nickname, it'll evolve into one of the new forms when powered up. Nickname it Linnea to evolve it into Leafeon, or nickname it Rea to evolve it into Glaceon. However, this trick appears to work only once, so you'll need to get your hands on a Glacial or Mossy Lure if you're hoping to add more Glaceon and Leafeon to your collection.

Do Any Other Pokemon Evolve With The New Lures?

Like the Glacial and Mossy Lures, the Magnetic Lure also enables certain Pokemon to evolve when placed in a Poke Stop. Specifically, Magneton and Nosepass can evolve into Magnezone and Probopass, respectively, when you're nearby an active Magnetic Lure. As with Glaceon and Leafeon, to get either of these evolutions, place a Magnetic Lure in a Poke Stop, click on the Pokemon's detail screen, and you'll have the option to evolve it into its Gen 4 form.

Xbox Boss Promises To Combat Online Toxicity And Encourage Inclusion

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 02:00

Xbox head Phil Spencer has published an editorial on the Microsoft Blog expressing the importance of diversity, and committing the company to combating toxicity online. To that end, he identified three key initiatives for the Xbox team.

The first initiative is continued vigilance from its Xbox Safety team, and expanding the composition of the safety team for a greater variety of perspectives. The group of community leaders known as Xbox Ambassadors will also be working on "community missions" to help create an inviting environment for players.

Spencer's second initiative is to create more tools for players and community leaders to customize their level of engagement to their comfort level. Over the summer, Club managers will get more moderation features, and other content moderation tools will be available by the end of 2019. It also commits to easier parental control tools, along with Gaming Summer Camps launching this summer to teach kids healthy habits. A recently launched "For Everyone" portal on keeps track of these initiatives.

Finally, Microsoft will share its safety tech across the industry, including its teams working on research, data science, and moderation. It compares this plan to its PhotoDNA technology, which it has shared with police and tech companies to fight child pornography.

"The gaming community continues to grow rapidly, and the imminent roll-out of new game services such as Apple Arcade, Google Stadia, and Microsoft's Project xCloud, will make gaming available to even more people worldwide," Spencer states. "Our industry must now answer the fierce urgency to play with our fierce urgency for safety."

The full letter also serves partly as a mission statement for the company. It cites data on the current diversity of the gaming audience, the benefits of gaming for people with autism or Alzheimer's, the connection between gaming and STEM education, and then explains the current events that have led to this safety-focused approach.

"This widespread embrace of gaming and its global communities have turned video games into the world’s leading cultural industry, bigger than movies or music," it says. "But it also comes at a time when digital life includes a growing toxic stew of hate speech, bigotry and misogyny."

New Outer Wilds Trailer Reveals The Xbox One Console Exclusive Launches Next Week

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 02:00

Mobius Digital has released a new trailer for its upcoming open world exploration game, Outer Wilds. The game is scheduled to release for Xbox One and PC on May 30.

On Xbox One, Outer Wilds releases day one on Game Pass. Provided you're already paying the $10 USD a month subscription fee, you can download and start playing the game come May 30. On PC, Outer Wilds is launching as a limited-time Epic Games Store exclusive.

After fans expressed a desire for the game to launch on Steam as well, Mobius Digital said people can feel "rest assured" that their feedback is heard and that the overall goal is to "bring the game to [players'] preferred platform as quickly as possible." Mobius Digital explained that deals were struck with both Epic Games and publisher Annapurna Interactive--the latter of which is also responsible for publishing indie games such as Ashen, Donut County, and What Remains of Edith Finch--to "keep our small studio running long enough to ship the game at the level of quality that it is today." The studio added that "[each] of these partnerships has enabled us to make the game better and more accessible for everyone who will play it."

In Outer Wilds, you play as an alien caught in a The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask-like time loop. As the newest member of your planet's space program, you travel from planet to planet within your solar system in search of an explanation as to why the loop keeps occurring. Like Majora's Mask, you use what you learn from each loop to further your progress in subsequent attempts. "The planets of Outer Wilds are packed with hidden locations that change with the passage of time," Mobius Digital said in a press release. "Players can visit an underground city before it’s swallowed by sand, or explore the surface of a planet as it crumbles beneath their feet."

What's New To Amazon Prime Video For June 2019: Movies, TV, And Originals (US)

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 01:22

Amazon has released its monthly list of what's coming in the upcoming month. In June, the company is breaking away from what other services have been doing by releasing the bulk of its content at the end of the month instead of the beginning.

Coming on June 30 is a slew of new movies for you to check out, with some very notable entries for movie fans. Rocky I-V all drop that day, so you can spend that Sunday watching boxer Rocky Balboa rise to the occasion, become the greatest boxer in the world, and have his robot butler deliver a birthday cake to brother-in-law Paulie.

If boxing movies and robot friends aren't your thing, there are some funny flicks headed to Amazon on June 30 as well. You can relive the cultural phenomenon that was 1997's Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Does it hold up? You'll be able to find out at the end of the month. Also headed to Amazon that day are both of the Airplane movies from the early '80s, which are a parody of that time's disaster flicks. Finally, you can see one of Will Ferrell's most fun movies Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Below, you'll find the full list of what's coming to Amazon this June. If you're looking for more June offerings, here's what Hulu has planned for the month.

Coming To Amazon Prime Video In JuneJune 3


  • District 9 (2009)
  • Jackass 3D (2010)
June 4


  • Chasing Happiness – Amazon Original movie


  • Creative Galaxy S3 – Amazon Original series
June 7


  • Home Again (2017)
June 13


  • No Strings Attached (2011)
June 14


  • Law Abiding Citizen (2009)


  • Absentia S2 – Amazon Original series
June 17


  • Yardie (2018) – Amazon Original movie


  • Suits S8
June 21


  • Documental S3 – Amazon Original series
  • Final Life S1 – Amazon Original series
  • Tokyo Alice S1 – Amazon Original series
June 24


  • Juliet, Naked (2018)
June 28


  • The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)
June 29


  • Moose (2015)
  • True Grit (2010)
June 30


  • 14 Women (2007)
  • A Texas Funeral (1999)
  • Abolition (2011)
  • AIR: The Musical (2010)
  • Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)
  • Airplane! (1980)
  • All American Zombie Drugs (2010)
  • An American Werewolf in London (1981)
  • Apocalypse Kiss (2014)
  • Appetite (1987)
  • Arbitrage (2012)
  • Attack of the Herbals (2011)
  • Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
  • Ball in the House (2001)
  • Bank Roll (2012)
  • Bartleby (2001)
  • Battle of the Bone (2008)
  • Big Money Hustlas (2000)
  • Bigfoot Wars (2014)
  • Blind Heat (2002)
  • Blood Moon Rising (2009)
  • Blood of the Samurai (2001)
  • Blood Reaper (2003)
  • Blow (2001)
  • Blue Dream (2013)
  • Boricua (2004)
  • Bullfighter (2000)
  • Bumblefuck, USA (2011)
  • Carne the Taco Maker (2014)
  • Clean Guys of Comedy (2013)
  • Complicity (2000)
  • Curse of the Zodiac (2007)
  • Dai wu ke (1979)
  • Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
  • Destination Vegas (1995)
  • Dilemma (1997)
  • Ding tian li di (1973)
  • Dirt Merchant (1999)
  • Dirty Pictures (2011)
  • Dragon Blade (2015)
  • Elephant (2003)
  • Endless Love (2014)
  • Exit to Hell (2013)
  • Flipping (2010)
  • Frankenstein Reborn (2005)
  • Frozen Kiss (2009)
  • Gene-Fusion (2010)
  • Ghost Bride (2017)
  • G-Men from Hell (2000)
  • Good Luck Chuck (2007)
  • Gunshy (2017)
  • Hard Candy (2008)
  • Hazard Jack (2014)
  • Into the Blue (2005)
  • Into the Fire (2005)
  • Investigating Sex (2001)
  • Jack in the Box (2009)
  • Jezebeth (2011)
  • Jingles the Clown (2009)
  • Killing Ariel (2006)
  • La casa sfuggita (2003)
  • Lao shu la gui (1979)
  • Lawless: Dead Evidence (2000)
  • Lazarus: Apocalypse (2014)
  • Legend of the Sandsquatch (2006)
  • Little Red Devil (2008)
  • Lovin' Molly (1974)
  • Malarek (1988)
  • Man About Town (2006)
  • Mansion of Blood (2015)
  • Meeting Spencer (2010)
  • Metamorphosis (2007)
  • Minority Report (2002)
  • Mission: Impossible III (2006)
  • Model Behavior (2000)
  • Mortem (2010)
  • Moscow Heat (2004)
  • Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005)
  • Neshika Bametzach (1990)
  • New Order (2012)
  • Night Train (1998)
  • Open Water (2004)
  • Open Water 2: Adrift (2006)
  • På fremmed mark (2000)
  • Phil the Alien (2004)
  • Pledge of Allegiance (2015)
  • Poliwood (2009)
  • Postmortem (1998)
  • Prey for the Beast (2007)
  • Private Lessons (1981)
  • Pumpkin (2002)
  • Red Is the Color of (2007)
  • Redball (1999)
  • Rocky (1976)
  • Rocky II (1979)
  • Rocky III (1982)
  • Rocky IV (1985)
  • Rocky V (1990)
  • Romeo and Juliet (2013)
  • Rules of Engagement (2000)
  • Running Scared (2006)
  • Rush Hour (1998)
  • Rush Hour 3 (2007)
  • Sample People (2000)
  • Shanghai Surprise (1986)
  • Silent Youth (2012)
  • Silo Killer 2: The Wrath of Kyle (2009)
  • Sleepy Hollow (1999)
  • Slip & Fall (2011)
  • Smoke n Lightnin (1995)
  • Sounds of the Underground (2007)
  • Spaceballs (1987)
  • Species (1995)
  • Species III (2004)
  • Species: The Awakening (2007)
  • Squeal (2008)
  • Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
  • Streets of Rage (1994)
  • Stripperland (2011)
  • Sugar Boxx (2009)
  • Sunshine Cleaning (2009)
  • Sweet Angel Mine (1996)
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
  • The 28th Day: The Wrath of Steph (2013)
  • The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009)
  • The Californians (2005)
  • The First Wives Club (1996)
  • The Last Samurai (2003)
  • The Little Kidnappers (1990)
  • The Rules of Attraction (2002)
  • The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  • The Sum of All Fears (2002)
  • The Telling (2009)
  • The Women of Brewster Place (1989)
  • The Wraith (1986)
  • This Revolution (2005)
  • Throwing Stars (2007)
  • Tsareubiytsa (1991)
  • Vampire Boys (2010)
  • Vampire Boys 2: The New Brood (2013)
  • Viking Quest (2015)
  • When Justice Fails (1999)
  • Where Truth Lies (2005)
  • Xuan feng shi ba qi (1977)
  • Yong zheng ming zhang Shao Lin men (1977)
  • Zateryannyy v Sibiri (1991)
  • Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington (2011)
  • Zombiez (2005)


  • Wiseguy S1
  • Wiseguy S2
  • Wiseguy S3
  • Wiseguy S4
  • Wiseguy S5
  • Wiseguy S6
  • Wiseguy S7
  • Wiseguy S8

The Most Influential Games Of The 21st Century: Half-Life 2

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 01:00

Join GameSpot as we celebrate gaming history and give recognition to the most influential games of the 21st century. These aren't the best games, and they aren't necessarily games that you need to rush out and play today, but there's no question that they left an indelible impact on game developers, players, and in some cases, society at large.

2004 was a hotbed for games that would go on to leave a lasting impact on the industry. World of Warcraft popularized the massively multiplayer online sub-genre, Doom 3 impressed with its mesmerizing visuals, and Halo 2 set a new standard for console multiplayer going forward. Another title that would leave a tremendous impact on the gaming landscape was Half-Life 2. It was arguably the most anticipated game of the 2000s, and the sequel to Valve Software's seminal debut became something of a force of nature within the games industry, reshaping PC gaming as we knew it.

At the time, Valve had a lot to live up to. The original Half-Life was a significant turning point for narrative-driven games, with the industry and PC gamers alike immediately taking notice of its unorthodox yet revolutionary approach to storytelling and action. Moving away from the traditional level progression and story beats from previous FPS titles, Half-Life's plot was conveyed through a seamless and largely passive style. The creators were swept up by the craze surrounding their game, which eventually took on a life of its own with the rise of player-made mods--most notably the incredibly popular Counter-Strike.

While other developers were learning from Half-Life and its burgeoning modding community, Valve was already hard at work on the follow-up that would cement the company as a creative force within the industry. Releasing on November 16, 2004, Half-Life 2 was a major success in regards to game design and presentation. While it largely upped the stakes and expanded upon the backstories of the first game's characters, it maintained the intimate and more subdued approach to telling its story--channeling the "show, don't tell" mantra hard.

One of the big takeaways upon its release was how much of a significant upgrade it was over the original. In GameSpot's 2004 review, former editor James Ocampo stated: "while Half-Life 2 breaks little new ground, it's still a superb and engaging first-person shooter, as well as an amazing technological accomplishment." The linchpin of Half-Life 2 was Valve's proprietary Source engine. The sequel made smart use of its improved rendering tech to increase the scale and density of the world, along with giving each character a higher level of detail. The culmination of craft and advanced tech made seeing some returning faces like Barney Calhoun, the security guard from the original, all the more impactful. By far, the most prevalent aspect of its impressive technical upgrades was the revolutionary use of in-game physics. At the time, most games that featured real-time physics only used the technology sparingly. In Half-Life 2, it was always present, giving the world added weight and a feeling of unpredictability. Not only were physics used to help tell the story, it was also the crux of some key gameplay moments.

About a third of the way through the game, you acquire the Gravity Gun, one of the sequel's more clever creations. The Gravity Gun was a game-changer, allowing you to take advantage of Half-Life 2's sophisticated physics by picking up, manipulating, and throwing objects, resulting in some hilarious and jaw-dropping periods of unintended fun. There was no going back after Valve's freeform use of physics, and AAA games like Bioshock and Crysis ran with the concept; today, it seems unusual for a big-budget game not to feature real-time physics of some sort.

The effectiveness of Half-Life 2's presentation and gameplay was in its simplicity. While the original was about arriving to work at the underground Black Mesa laboratory, the sequel's introduction highlights the mundanity of totalitarian rule following Earth's invasion by an extraterrestrial force. Half-Life 2's opening is a masterclass in worldbuilding and storytelling, portraying the many horrors and triumphs from Gordon's narrow yet incredibly detailed perspective. This clash between the understated and extraordinary is what made Half-Life compelling, and its sequel even more so. Fans eager to see a follow up didn't have to wait too long, as Valve eventually released Half-Life 2 Episode 1 and 2. Revealing the events shortly after the sequel's conclusion, these mini-campaigns served as a nice tease for the escalating conflict with Gordon Freeman and the alien Combine, and hinted at what was to come in the next major installment--for which players are still waiting. Both episodes were made available through the developer's proprietary digital distribution client, Steam, allowing fans to download the next installment straight from the source.

In the beginning, the purpose of Steam was to allow for quick updates to Valve's core titles, and Half-Life 2 was the first that required its use. Over time, however, Steam's role in Valve's repertoire changed. In the year following Half-Life 2's release, Valve began negotiations with third parties to have outside games on the client, creating a new digital marketplace. Thanks to Half-Life 2 and Counter-Strike serving as the killer apps for Steam, the digital platform became synonymous with PC gaming. It turned the once-impenetrable PC gaming scene into something more accessible and enticing. But above all, it would become the nexus point for all new indies and AAA games that would be released on PC. Today, Steam is so well-established and ingrained in the PC gaming community, many players are quick to voice frustration when a new AAA game goes to a rival service instead.

Half-Life 2's opening is a masterclass in worldbuilding and storytelling, portraying the many horrors and triumphs from Gordon's narrow yet incredibly detailed perspective.

Half-Life 2 was just one of many steps that Valve took to expand its reach and influence in the PC space. Just two weeks before Half-Life 2 launched, Valve had shipped Counter-Strike: Source, the successor to the popular mod that took the online PC community by storm. Along with Half-Life 2--which also included a download key for CS: Source--this one-two punch of hotly anticipated titles from Valve made for an incredibly enticing package. The developers even supplied toolsets for the Source Engine, planting the seeds for the massive modding scene that would explode in popularity in the years since.

In 2004, Half-Life 2 became the template for single-player, narrative-driven AAA games that followed, and it also marked the beginning of Valve's time as a prestige developer. Following Portal and Team Fortress 2 in 2007, the developer also released the incredibly popular co-op zombie-shooter Left 4 Dead, finding a massive audience on both PC and consoles. However, things slowly began to change in the 2010s, as Valve focused more on the business of Steam and less on their own products.

Half-Life 2 was a creative and technical breakthrough for Valve, very much setting the tone for what came next. Unfortunately, Gordon Freeman and his iconic crowbar were one of the things cast aside following the developer's mammoth success and eventual pivot towards Steam. To put this into perspective, we've been left with Episode 2's cliffhanger four times longer than the time it took Valve to create the first sequel. The Valve of today is a vastly different company than what it was during the 2000s, with many key creatives like Marc Laidlaw, Chet Faliszek, Viktor Antonov having left for other opportunities.

In many ways, the Half-Life series fell victim to Valve's tremendous success following the impact of Half-Life 2 and Steam. Despite the sudden changes that the company went through, there were many attempts to get a potential sequel off the ground internally--including a new episode developed by Dishonored developer Arkane Studios set around returning to one of Half-Life 2's most memorable locales, Ravenholm. These unfortunately never came to fruition. In 2017, former Half-Life writer Marc Laidlaw posted a heavily revised and reworked script from one of the previous attempts to get a new game off the ground, leaving fans to speculate on what was to come. The mere mention of a proper follow-up to Half-Life 2 has often led to gossip and internet rumors about what happened or what might have been. Some fans have even taken it upon themselves to produce their own follow-ups to the game. Half-Life 2 was a massive leap forward for AAA titles, and there's always a twinge of sadness that Half-Life 3 hasn't come around to show what a newer future could be.

Looking back on the history of Half-Life 2, it was very much the quintessential PC game. Half-Life 2, much like its predecessor, let players experience Valve's vision for what modern AAA could be. And just like the original, it became a gateway for something more significant. For both Valve Software and the gaming community at large, the absence of Half-Life has left a noticeable void within the very culture of gaming. We may never see Gordon Freeman and his crowbar again, but the impact of the series--setting the stage for what was to come with the future of AAA gaming--is still felt to this day.

For a look at the rest of our features in this series, head over to our Most Influential Games Of The 21st Century hub.

PlayStation Opens Its Own Film And TV Studio

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 00:45

Sony has opened a new studio to produce film and TV projects based on its games. The newly created PlayStation Productions will be headed by Asad Qizilbash, who previously served the company as a marketing VP for exclusive games.

THR reports that the studio has already started to set up shop and begin its first projects in the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, California. Sony Pictures will also help with distribution. The initiative is being overseen by Sony Worldwide Studios head Shawn Layden. The studio will pull from its library of exclusive games, but specific projects have not been named.

"Instead of licensing our IP out to studios, we felt the better approach was for us to develop and produce for ourselves," Qizilbash said. "One, because we're more familiar, but also because we know what the PlayStation community loves."

Qizilbash said the studio startup has looked at the Marvel model for inspiration, and even spoke with Marvel producer Kevin Feige, along with other producers like Lorenzo di Bonaventura from the Transformers franchise.

Layden says that its studio will be different, since it's approaching with a fuller understanding of the games and their audiences.

"You can see just by watching older video game adaptations that the screenwriter or director didn't understand that world or the gaming thing," Layden says. "The real challenge is, how do you take 80 hours of gameplay and make it into a movie? The answer is, you don't. What you do is you take that ethos you write from there specifically for the film audience. You don't try to retell the game in a movie."

He also said the studio hopes to create touch points for fans of their franchises that will help them enjoy the world in between sequels. Though the studio didn't detail how many of their projects are aimed for film versus television, Qizilbash said it will "bring our IP for the medium that best honors the property." The partnership with Sony Pictures will give the fledgling studio more leeway to get off the ground.

"This is a passion project for me," says Layden. "To be the first gaming entity to do something lasting and meaningful in a completely different medium is something I'd like to see us achieve here at PlayStation Productions."

PlayStation is expanding its brand into movies just as it changes how it engages with video game audiences. It is skipping the annual video game expo E3 this year, and has started a series of direct streams called State of Play. It also has started to detail its plans for the PlayStation 5.

Metro Exodus Expansion Pass Details New Playable Characters

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 22:23

The latest entry in the Metro franchise, Metro Exodus, will receive an expansion pass that includes two new story missions featuring two new playable characters, Deep Silver and 4A Games have announced. The Expansion Pass' contents, available on PC (through the Epic Games Store), PS4, and Xbox One, will launch in Winter 2019 and early 2020.

The first piece of DLC, titled The Two Colonels, follows new playable character Colonel Khlebnikov as he heads home to Kirill, and his son, for New Year's Eve. But, as expected in the unground world of Metro, nothing is as it seems. This new story-driven chapter will introduce a new weapon (the flame-thrower) and claustrophobic environments, tightly wrapped in the same tension players expect from the Metro series. The Two Colonels lands Winter 2019.

The second DLC, titled Sam's Story, follows Spartan Ranger and ex-US Marine, Sam, in a brand new survival sandbox tale. Hopeful that his family is still alive, Sam makes his way back to the US, landing in the tsunami-ravaged Vladivostok. The journey tasks players with guiding Sam through Vladivostok, traveling across the wasteland of post-apocalyptic Russia. It arrives in early 2020.

The Expansion Pass will retail for $24.99 USD across all three platforms.

Metro Exodus recently got the Ranger Update, a new update that adds a New Game Plus, address various bugs, and makes a few tweaks to the game. The update is approximately 6GB and is available to download now.

Game Of Thrones Ending Recap: Who Was That Kid At The Council Meeting?

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 16:22

The final episode of Game of Thrones saw the conclusion of eight seasons of stories, some ending tragically while others came out pretty well, all things considered. "The Iron Throne" also saw the return of a few characters who've been missing from the show for a while, giving us a look at what happened to them since their last appearance.

A word of warning: there are spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 6, beyond this point!

After Daenerys Targaryen's sack of King's Landing, Tyrion Lannister tries to convince Jon Snow that something has to be done about the queen. Jon is finally convinced and when he finds himself alone with Dany, he pledges his loyalty to her one last time--before stabbing her with a dagger, killing her.

Without a monarch to lead the Seven Kingdoms, the surviving lords and ladies of Westeros meet at the dragon pit in King's Landing to decide who should rule. There are a lot of familiar faces in attendance, including Yara Greyjoy of the Iron Islands, Edmure Tully of Riverrun, Ser Davos, Ser Brienne of Tarth, and Yohn Royce, who led the Knights of the Vale in the Battle of the Bastards. You might have caught sight of another familiar face with Lord Royce: the grown-up Robin Arryn, Lord of the Vale.

We first met Robin in Season 1 when Catelyn Stark took the captured Tyrion Lannister to the Eyrie to get the help of her sister, Lysa Arryn. Robin was the son of Lysa and Jon Arryn, the former Hand of the King who died before the start of the series. With his father's death, the young boy became the new Lord of the Vale. When Robin first appeared on the show, his mother was breastfeeding him (despite the fact that he was definitely about eight or 10 years old at the time). He went on to demonstrate how spoiled and awful he was as he demanded that Tyrion be tossed out the Moon Door.

Robin showed up again in Season 4, when Littlefinger brought Sansa Stark to the Eyrie after spiriting her away from King's Landing in the wake of Joffrey Baratheon's death. At that point, he was still spoiled and awful--you might remember the temper tantrum he threw while talking to Sansa, stomping on her snow castle.

According to Lysa, the plan was that Robin was to marry Sansa, but that obviously never happened. Littlefinger threw Lysa out the Moon Door instead, and eventually, he married Sansa to Ramsay Bolton. We last saw Robin in Season 6, being absolutely miserable with a sword. That was when Littlefinger sent Robin to live with Lord Royce, who was charged with training the young lord and turning him into a man.

Who knows if Robin ever learned anything, but he's definitely come a long way since Season 6. At the council meeting, we see an adult Robin (actor Lino Facioli, who plays Robin, is 18) who looks a lot less sickly than he did as a kid. One wonders if Sansa thinks she made a mistake bailing on Robin; then again, it's hard to separate the good-looking young man from the way-too-old-to-be-breastfeeding boy.

Game Of Thrones Coffee Cup 2.0: A Water Bottle Snuck Into Multiple Shots In The Finale

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 16:19

Game of Thrones no doubt has one of the biggest production budgets in all of TV, but production mistakes continue to happen in its final, abbreviated season, which has often been criticized by some fans for feeling rushed. Just like the coffee cup that appeared earlier this season, the series finale has somehow included another, incredibly similar gaffe involving a beverage container. Episode 6 spoilers follow below.

Eagle-eyed fans have noticed a plastic water bottle that can be seen behind Samwell Tarley's leg in one shot of the council scene of the finale, "The Iron Throne." This was noticed by fans on Twitter, and we've confirmed it ourselves.

You can see the water bottle just behind Tarley's left leg. Take a look for yourself in the image below. Amazingly, a second water bottle was also seen next to Ser Davos, and you can check out a screencap of that further below. That one actually appears in more than one camera shot, which is just hard to believe, but we've verified it's there--at least for now.

As noted above, this is just the latest mishap for Game of Thrones Season 8, as an earlier episode--The Last of the Starks--showed a Starbucks-like coffee up on a table in front of Daenerys when she and the survivors of the Battle for Winterfell celebrated their victory. (It was later revealed to be from craft services, not Starbucks.) HBO digitally removed the cup in the days after the episode aired, but the internet never forgets. It seems likely that HBO will also erase the water bottle, but we'll see if it jokes about this incident as it did last time around.

The Game of Thrones series finale wrapped up the story that began back in 2011 and revealed who ultimately won the Iron Throne. For more on the episode, you can check out GameSpot's The Iron Throne review and related content linked below.

Game Of Thrones Season 8 Ending Recap & Review: A Fitting Finale, A Botched Journey

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 15:37

The series finale of Game of Thrones has aired, bringing a conclusion to both Season 8 and the entire show. Next Sunday will feature the premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones documentary, The Last Watch, which has just gotten a new trailer. That will take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show's final season. For our thoughts on the final episode, check out our review below.

Given the smelly trash fire that the episodes leading up to it were, there was never any real chance of Game of Thrones' finale, Season 8 Episode 6, "The Iron Throne," being anything other than a disappointment. But at least they tried.

There's a parallel universe somewhere where this exact episode was preceded by two full seasons of the phenomenal storytelling that Game of Thrones was once capable of, and in that brighter timeline, the show went out on the right note. It still would have been bittersweet, but it would have also felt earned, which this definitely did not. Too many plot points were swept under the rug and too many endings came from seemingly out of nowhere for this to feel satisfying.

Unlike the nonsensical Dothraki charge in Episode 3 or Euron's magic scorpion bolts in Episode 4, there was nothing particularly terrible in the Season 8 finale; we got some surprises (Bran the Broken), while other plotlines concluded exactly as they needed to (Arya sailing West, and Brienne finishing Jaime's page in the Kingsguard book). It just all felt a little tawdry thanks to the path we took to get here.

Look at where the show's biggest characters ended, in broad strokes: Jon never fully embraced his secret identity, which was disappointing, but fitting; he'll die a Stark, in the North, as he lived. (I kept waiting all season for something to make me start thinking of him as Aegon Targaryen instead of Jon Snow, but it never happened, seemingly by design.) Dany wound up being her father's daughter after all, which is depressing, but not unrealistic. Some combination of Bran, Sam, and Tyrion--the characters who are supposed to be smart--rewrote the rules of Westerosi politics, transforming the realm from the hereditary monarchy it's been for centuries into, essentially, something resembling a representative democracy. Sansa is Queen in the North, Arya leaves for her own adventure, and the Six-Plus-One Kingdoms are left in somewhat capable hands.

Let's talk about King Bran the Broken, First of His Name (and here's a good joke about that very weird title). On paper, yes, he makes a good king. And it's not completely incomprehensible that he winds up on the throne, since the show established that everyone just sort of accepts his Magic Powers of Knowing Everything as fact for some reason. As with the rest of this, I think there's a version of this ending that lands better--one that follows a story in which Bran wasn't written out of an entire season and didn't return to the show as a soulless, dead-eyed husk of a character who did nothing for several years.

There's an alternate theory for why Bran winds up on the throne that involves things like the Three-Eyed Raven's true identity, both characters' skin-changing/warging abilities, and cryptic Bran statements about how he's not really Bran anymore. But since the show never really committed to any of that (seriously, when was the last time Bran actually warged into anything or anyone and did something useful?), we have to just take what we got at face value. Whatever.

Jon killing Daenerys definitely falls under the umbrella of "things that were inevitable but that doesn't make them any less sad." This episode had some insanely beautiful and effective shots, from Dany walking out to address her soldiers with Drogon's wings spreading behind her to the pivotal scene in the throne room, up to and including the dragon flying away with his dead mother clutched in one claw. Where did he go? Maybe Bran will find him, maybe he won't. Like so many other things in Game of Thrones' neutered final season, that's beside the point.

This is the thing: An ending can make sense without feeling satisfying. The reasons why Game of Thrones' finale felt disappointing have less to do with the ways things actually wound up, and more with how we got here. If Bran had actually been present as a character and not just a doorstop for the past couple of seasons, fans might have cheered at the idea of him ruling over Westeros. If Dany's full-on murderous insanity had been properly built up to--as opposed to simply foreshadowed and then flipped on in an instant, which unfortunately isn't the same thing--her death could have been one of the most emotional television scenes ever, rather than something that felt like it simply needed to be done for the Story to continue its breakneck freefall toward a Conclusion.

The moments that worked best in "The Iron Throne" were the ones that were properly set up long ago, like Brienne finishing Jaime's page in the White Book of the Kingsguard. It's the right kind of bittersweet: The Jaime that we got to know over these eight seasons (and five books) wanted nothing more than to leave a legacy that could stand alongside those of past Kingsguard greats like Ser Arthur Dayne. And who knew that side of the Kingslayer better than Brienne?

But therein lies the quintessential difference between page and screen: If you only watch the show, do you know that side of Jaime? In George R.R. Martin's books, events play out from specific characters' perspectives. When we're seeing the world through Jaime Lannister's eyes, we're also privy to his inner monologue, thoughts, feelings, dreams, hopes, and fears. When the show was still based on the books, it felt similar--in early seasons we usually understood why the characters did the things they did. The show did a great job letting us get to know them.

In more recent seasons, it's felt like the show kept us at arm's length, deliberately leaving things offscreen--like Bran, Arya, and Sansa plotting against Littlefinger, or Dany learning to ride and control Drogon--in order to build up surprises and cinematic climaxes. Those moments often worked, but they also left us wondering exactly how the pieces fell into place behind the scenes. Maybe showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss orchestrated that shift deliberately, or maybe they just didn't have the answers and so chose to not even try to come up with some. R'hllor knows George R.R. Martin has a hard enough time--the story's complexity is often cited as one of the reasons the books take him so long to write.

The point is: The broad strokes of this ending may be what the author has in mind, and, if he ever manages to finish his own story, this may be the ending that we ultimately get. But the way we get there will likely be characterized not by the bad taste of a botched rush job, but by the careful plotting, endless detail, and realistic, complex characters that the story actually began with.

Here's a silver lining: Even if you wanted Jon on the throne in the end, you have to admit that finally seeing him pet his direwolf again is an even better conclusion to his story. At least they got there in the end.

Photos: HBO/Helen Sloan

Minecraft Reaches Massive New Sales Milestone

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 14:51

Minecraft is one of the most popular and commercially successful games in history. Microsoft has now shared a new sales update for the entire franchise--and it's huge.

Minecraft creative director Saxs Persson said in a blog post that the franchise--which debuted on PC 10 years ago in 2009--has now crossed 176 million copies sold. This counts copies sold across all platforms. The game has sold a copy in nearly every country in the world, Persson added. This includes at least four copies sold in Antarctica.

The game launched on PC, but now it's available pretty much everywhere you can play games, including console, mobile, and more.

Less than three years ago, in June 2016, developer Mojang announced that Minecraft lifetime sales stood at 106.85 million copies, so sales have continued steadily since then.

Not only have many, many people bought Minecraft, they're also playing a lot. By Microsoft's latest count, the game has 91 million monthly players, which is many millions ahead of Fortnite.

Given the huge success of Minecraft, you might think Microsoft would want to release Minecraft 2, but that's not going to happen soon--or ever. If Microsoft were to make Minecraft 2, the player base might get fractured as some move to the sequel and others stay with the original. While Microsoft could theoretically do that and still make a lot of money, it makes more sense to keep the community together, according to Minecraft boss Helen Chiang.

"We're trying to keep our community together," she explained. "That's why our updates our free. We don't want to ask [players] to move from Minecraft 1 to Minecraft 2. We want them to just enjoy Minecraft. And there's other ways that we can expand that are more meaningful and authentic to what we want to be, rather than just releasing another iteration in the way that most other franchises do."

In other news about games that have sold an unthinkable number of copies, Take-Two just announced that Grand Theft Auto V has sold almost 110 million copies.

Multiple new Minecraft games are in development, including an AR game called Minecraft Earth and a dungeon-crawler style project called Minecraft Dungeons.

Microsoft acquired Minecraft and developer Mojang in 2015 for $2.5 billion. The game's creator, Markus "Notch" Persson, is no longer involved with the franchise and Microsoft is distancing itself from him in the wake of his controversial opinions.

Game Of Thrones Finale Recap: What Happened To The Starks In The End?

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 13:03

So that's it. Game of Thrones has come to its end. There's a new ruler for Westeros, and while a whole bunch of people died along the way, a lot of fan-favorite characters managed to make it through the game of thrones and win, or at least didn't die.

In Episode 6, "The Iron Throne," we saw what finally became of the Stark kids after years of them dodging death at the hands of their enemies. Here's what happened to the Starks in the final moments of the show--as always, there are tons of spoilers for the finale episode from here on out.

Let's start with Jon Snow. In the aftermath of the destruction of King's Landing, Jon had to choose whether to serve Daenerys Targaryen as a tyrant queen. Instead of ruling at her side (or taking the risk of letting her kill him and the rest of his family at some later point), Jon assassinated Daenerys, stabbing her in the heart with his dagger.

Grey Worm imprisoned Jon, but he somehow avoided being executed for his crime. Jon didn't win the throne, however--as a compromise between Sansa Stark and Grey Worm, Tyrion exiled Jon back to the Wall. Right after rejoining the Night's Watch, Jon teamed up with Tormund, the wildlings, and Ghost (hooray!), and headed North, presumably to live in freedom now that there are no White Walkers to kill everyone.

With no new monarch left for Westeros, the surviving lords and ladies of the kingdom gathered at the King's Landing dragon pit to choose a new leader. At Tyrion Lannister's suggestion, they landed on Bran Stark as the new king. Bran can't father children, though, so the next king of Westeros won't be his son; instead, the lords and ladies of the country will choose a new monarch when Bran's rule ends.

Sansa might not have won the throne, but she won a throne. When everyone in the council was voting on a new king, Sansa abstained, instead refusing for the North to rejoin the Seven Kingdoms. That makes Bran the ruler of the Six Kingdoms, with the North remaining independent. Meanwhile, Sansa was named Queen in the North by her bannermen, leaving her with a kingdom of her own.

Arya often said she was no lady, so she didn't hang around in Winterfell with her sister or marry a lord (like Gendry Baratheon). She made good on her idea to find out what's west of Westeros, which she mentioned back in Season 6. We see her taking a ship to go exploring in her final moments.

While a lot of great houses went extinct through the course of the show (RIP House Tyrell), the Starks only lost a majority of their members. The head of the house, Ned Stark, was beheaded by Joffrey Baratheon back in Season 1. His wife, Catelyn Stark, died at the Red Wedding, along with her eldest son, Robb Stark. And Rickon Stark was killed by Ramsay Bolton during the Battle of the Bastards. But against all odds, the rest of the kids survived.

Of all the great houses of Westeros, the Starks wound up making out better than most of the others. Three of the five kids survived (or four of six if you count Jon, who's technically a Targaryen), and most of them got what they wanted. Sansa gets to be queen, her desire from Season 1; Arya got the freedom to do what she wants; Bran can use his Three-Eyed Raven powers to make the world a better place; and Jon gets to live among the Freefolk. All in all, not a bad result, especially compared to their enemies.