Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 Windows Multiplayer Beta on live

I got a chance to play the Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 multiplayer beta on Windows today. Here’s the footage from the live stream of my first hour or so with the game. It looks like Treyarch has done a great job with the Windows version. The FOV and FPS police should be happy with the options in-game, but I’m sure they’ll find something else to complain about.

Here’s my suggestion: Linux/SteamOS support.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega

Dan Whitehead reviewing the Sinclair ZX Spectrum-in-a-controller:

I’m holding a Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega, the crowdfunded plug-and-play gaming device produced with the involvement of Sir Clive Sinclair himself. Even the box, with its black cardboard sleeve and rainbow corner flash, has been designed to mimic that of the original 48k home computer. I can feel the nostalgia juices rising, but also a wave of scepticism. Is this a genuine new Sinclair product, or a cleverly packaged emulator, ruthlessly designed to tweak my middle-aged yearning?


As an actual piece of hardware, the Vega does not impress. It’s light and feels cheap. The input buttons are stiff, and the odd button placement does it no favours in games that require more than just moving, jumping and shooting. More troubling is how many corners have clearly been cut. Two long and rather ugly wires trail from the Vega. One is a standard AV input which plugs directly into the basic Video In and left/right audio sockets on your TV. There’s no HDMI, and if you even want to run it through SCART, you’ll need to supply your own connector.
This is also true of the power, since your only option out of the box is a USB cable. The idea is that this plugs into the USB socket on your TV – assuming your TV has one – or else you’ll need to borrow a phone charger or find some other USB port to draw power from. The absence of even a simple plug really makes this feel like a bargain basement offering. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if the Vega retailed for around thirty quid, like other plug-and-play TV game devices, but when the asking price is £100 requiring the customer to dig around for spare parts is very cheeky.

Who would have thought that a Sinclair-approved product would feel like cheap junk? Still, I’d like to play Elite on an original ZX Spectrum at some point and I suspect that it’ll cost much less than the £100 (157.68 USD) asking price for the Vega to acquire one.

Two Men Arrested for Bringing Guns to a Pokémon Tournament

Luke O’Neil:

On Saturday, cops arrested two men who may have intended to carry out a shooting spree at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, where thousands gathered over the weekend for the Pokémon World Championship.

James Austin Stumbo, 27, and Kevin Norton, 18, high-level competitors in the internationally popular card game, had traveled from Iowa to take part in the event, and were listed in the “Masters Level,” according to the Pokémon website. (Their names have apparently since been removed.) Boston police say the duo was turned away on Thursday by private security after they had been alerted to a threatening message posted by Stumbo on a Facebook group called Mayhem Pokémon Crew. The post, a picture of firearms arranged on the back of his vehicle, read, “Kevin Norton and I are ready for worlds Boston here we come!!!”

Metal Gear Solid 2’s False Hero

Richard Stanton has this great article on Metal Gear Solid 2 and how the game was itself an examination of expectations for what a sequel to Metal Gear Solid could be. Here’s a short part about the protagonist, Raiden:

Raiden was MGS2’s big secret, a character visually designed to appeal to people who didn’t play MGS – specifically women. The first game’s audience was largely male, and Kojima believed a good-looking young man would be a pleasant contrast to the gruff chain-smoking Snake.

But the true purpose was different. Before he was ever called Raiden, the character was known by the kanji (Ore) that literally translates as ‘I.’ Raiden was intended to represent the player, specifically the type of player who enjoys war-themed games like MGS. The events at the Big Shell closely parallel the events at Shadow Moses, with one big difference.

The first time you control Raiden, with his mask off and blonde locks flowing freely, the location is designed around a bespoke effect: lots of bird shit. Walk on it and Raiden pratfalls, an initially amusing animation that soon becomes a little tiresome as you search for the way forward.

It’s a little thing but, boy, do they pile up. MGS2 in ways big and small undermines Raiden at nearly every turn, constantly reinforcing to both him and the player that he is not Solid Snake. The Big Shell is Raiden’s first combat mission, and no-one misses the opportunity to remind him of it. When Snake meets Raiden he calls him “green” and “rookie.” Raiden’s first boss fight, against Fortune, cannot be won – and she taunts him for not being Snake. Where Snake stoically bore torture, Raiden ends up crying.

There’s so much more in the article. The upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5 is giving people a great excuse to write about the older games in the series and how awesomely unconventional they were.

There’s One Big Upside to Broadcast & Cable Television

The FCC’s page on the CALM act that outlawed loud commercials:

Q: Do these rules also apply to radio commercials or commercials on the Internet?
A: No, the CALM Act only applies to commercials aired on television.

This explains the deafeningly loud commercials while watching Mr. Robot on USA’s Apple TV app.

Winners Don’t Use Drugs

Sean Hutchinson has the story behind the famous slogan:

But what, then, should the slogan say? How could the Bureau be concise without coming off as condescending or paternalistic? The teams spitballed phrases and designs. Fay remembers that Davenport came up with the final slogan. Davenport believes it was someone else. “We were just tossing things around,” he said. Anyway, both of them found “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” direct and snappy, with a blithe cheerfulness that would’ve fit at any Boy Scouts meeting. “We wanted to get it to something that was short,” Fay said, “something that you could say winners not only applied to game-playing, but also if you want to be a winner in life, you can’t use drugs.”

The Flock on Live

The Flock was released today on Steam for Windows. It’s the first game from a new developer called Vogelsap and it is an asymetrical first-person multiplayer game. The asymmetry comes from everyone in the titular Flock fighting against one player who has a glowing artifact that kills the flockers if the light shines on them. This is a fairly unique concept but what is entirely unique to The Flock is that after a certain number of player deaths the game will cease being for sale and end with some kind of finale that the developers aren’t talking about yet.

Sounds interesting, right? Well, I have some more impressions about the game in the video above, but I would definitely not recommend anyone purchasing The Flock in its current state. The game is incredibly limited in content and seems to be very broken from my play time with it. Hopefully Vogelsap will be able to resolve all of those issues because I am interested in the concept.

Shadowrun: Hong Kong Released

Shadowrun: Hong Kong was released today on Steam:

Shadowrun: Hong Kong is the third standalone game in Harebrained Schemes’ critically-acclaimed Shadowrun cRPG series. Experience the most impressive Shadowrun yet with an all new crew, expanded magic and cyberware, a revamped Matrix, an upgraded Shadowrun Editor, and much more! 

I’ve never cared for mixing magic stuff with cyberpunk, but that is what Shadowrun’s always been about.