Team Fortress 2 Invasion

A new update to Team Fortress 2:

An extraterrestrial force threatens the planet in Team Fortress 2’s new event created exclusively by the community, for the community– INVASION! Over a (light)year in the making, we’re excited to finally hit the launch button and have the community join in on our fight against the alien menace! So buckle up, grab a space gun, and get ready to have your mind probed (and blown)!

The TF2 team is proud to announce Invasion, a wholly community-created update featuring an animated short, 16 new cosmetic items, reskinned weapons with cool death effects, a taunt, four maps, Unusual particle effects, and even an update landing page. It represents a boatload of work from some incredibly talented members of the TF2 community. Buy your Invasion Community Update Pass today!

The pass isn’t required for playing the new maps, just for keeping track of kills during the event and tossing some money the way of the people in the Team Fortress 2 community that made the maps and other content.

Tony Hawk’s Bug Skater 5

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 came out this week, it’s buggy as hell and not worth $60. Daniel Perez:

In a statement sent to Shacknews, Activision says it’s “aware of the issues that players have experienced following the launch of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 and are working with the developer to address these so that we can continue to improve the gameplay experience for all of the Tony Hawk fans who have known and loved this franchise for more than 16 years.”

Huh. If only there were some way that Activision could have been aware of the issues before the game shipped, like some kind of methodology to play a game before it comes out and find defects in the software… No, that couldn’t have happened. It’s too ridiculous an idea. Must just be a total surprise.

When is it the Wrong Time to Be an Android User

Dan Goodin writing for Ars about newly published vulnerabilities:

There’s a new round of Stagefright vulnerabilities that allows attackers to execute malicious code on more than one billion phones running ancient as well as much more recent versions of Google’s Android operating system.

Stagefright 2.0, as it’s being dubbed by researchers from security firm Zimperium, is a set of two bugs that are triggered when processing specially designed MP3 audio or MP4 video files. The first flaw, which is found in the libutils library and is indexed as CVE-2015-6602, resides in every Android version since 1.0, which was released in 2008. The vulnerability can be exploited even on newer devices with beefed up defenses by exploiting a second vulnerability in libstagefright, a code library Android uses to process media files. Google still hasn’t issued a CVE index number for this second bug.

When combined, the flaws allow attackers to used booby-trapped audio or video files to execute malicious code on phones running Android 5.0 or later. Devices running 5.0 or earlier can be similarly exploited when they use the vulnerable function inside libutils, a condition that depends on what third-party apps are installed and what functionality came preloaded on the phone.

It is always the wrong time to be an Android user.

The Beginner’s Guide

The developer behind The Stanley Parable has released a new game for Mac, Linux, and Windows. It’s called The Beginner’s Guide. It wouldn’t be right to do a video of this, at about an hour and a half long the video could spoil the whole thing. Wreden describes it like this:

It lasts about an hour and a half and has no traditional mechanics, no goals or objectives. Instead, it tells the story of a person struggling to deal with something they do not understand.

Paste Games’ Cameron Kunzelman has a positive review:

In his 1960 New York Times review of Psycho, Bosley Crowther leans into talking about Alfred Hitchcock rather than the film. He writes in the comparative, calling Hitchcock an “old hand” who has made an “obviously low-budget job,” but it’s crucial for me to point out that those things aren’t necessarily negative for Crowther (although the review isn’t a positive one). Instead, his entire review is about attempting to navigate the relationship between Psycho the film with Hitchcock the man. Ultimately, Crowther finds the film lacking in something and suggests that the problem might be that Hitchcock’s “explanations are a bit of leg-pulling by a man who has been known to resort to such tactics in his former films.” Time has been kind to Psycho, but for Crowther, it couldn’t escape the known-quantity orbit of its creator.

When Davey Wreden opens The Beginner’s Guide with his voice, name and email address, you get the feeling that there’s something Hitchcockian going on here. Hitchcock made himself a part of his cinematic worlds both as a framer and as a cameo actor, and through that he was able to infuse those films with a weird energy.

Still No Word on “Trapped in an Amazon Warehouse Simulator”

There’s this kind of weird genre of games being called Suchandsuch Simulator. A category immortalized into flesh and code by Surgeon Simulator, the game that asked you, person that doesn’t know how to surgeon, to simulate being one with intentionally poor controls. Or there’s Goat Simulator which asked you, person that doesn’t know how to goat, to goat. They’re comedy games. You get the idea.

Owlchemy Labs, ye of Jack Lumber and Smuggle/Snuggle Truck fame,  appears to be playing on this naming scheme and the gameplay style of Surgeon Simulator with Job Simulator, here’s their description:

The year is 2050.

Robots cook, clean, service, and rule organize the world with precision and speed. Human occupations are now memories of the past; long gone are the blue collar jobs that ran the old world. Humans raised in our perfect automated society must not forget their useless ancient ancestors and history.

This is why JobBot was born. JobBot created Job Simulator to teach humans what it is ‘to job’. All praise to JobBot, for he is the keeper of human history.

Yes, perfect. Yes, I would like to job. Unfortunately I don’t have a VR headset yet, and it also requires motion control on either the Oculus Touch (Oculus’ motion controller dinguses) or  the HTC Vive (Valve’s first Steam VR dingus) in order to achieve the unprecedented level of realism depicted in the trailers. Of which there are two more:


For most people reading this, I would suppose that you are already kind of familiar with the de-centralized bullshit currency, Bitcoin. Either you’ve tried it out and made a little bit of money mining it and then were quickly outpaced by minining farms, or you at least know a little bit about it. That is my guess, anyway. My first real introduction to it was when somebody gave me a few tiny pieces of Bitcoin that I promptly spent on a Humble Bundle once they started taking it in exchange for game bundles. If I had held onto that, it would have been worth significantly more virtual space bucks.

For most people, that is not their introduction to Bitcoin. It’s irrelevant to every day life, I haven’t really touched it since that one trial run buying some games and people just don’t need to know about it. But, for some folks, their first introduction was the day their computer files were locked off from them by the ransomware known as CryptoLocker. Radiolab’s latest episode (Overcast link) has an interview with someone who had no idea what Bitcoin or CryptoLocker was, and how she had to deal with this ransomware. Surprisingly, the people holding the ransom even have customer service.

Last-Gen (PS3, 360) COD:BLOPS 3 Dropping SP and CO-OP Campaign

The Call of Duty blog has details on the Black Ops 3 letdown, but it amounts to Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 players getting a download code for Black Ops 1 and a price drop to $50 as a pittance for the deficit as the game is now multiplayer and zombies-only on those platforms. The multiplayer will also be lacking various features like the weapon paintshop and others compared to the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Windows versions. The Linux version will continue to lack all features and not exist.