Just what A Hat in Time needed: more hats!

, | News

The hat god looked upon A Hat in Time and rightly decided that the delightful puzzle platformer from Gears for Breakfast needed more hats. And lo, there are now more hats! There’s more of everything thanks to the addition of official mod support. All those user-made levels won’t go to waste either. Playing mods and completing mod levels, will grant Rift Tokens which can be used to purchase new hat flairs, remixes, and more! The cutest platformer in the universe just got an extra oomph of cuteness. It’s almost twee overload.

Don’t take my word for how cute the game was already. Check out the review of A Hat in Time here.

This is what gaming with ray-tracing might look like someday

, | News

That’s Electronic Arts’ SEED (Search for Extraordinary Experiences Division) showing off their tech demo for Project Pica Pica, a game built with real-time ray-tracing technology. Ray-tracing has been around for decades, but mostly as a way to render light on surfaces for static images or in motion only via very powerful and expensive systems. We probably won’t see consumer games built with this tech for a bit, but it’s an interesting look at the ever-evolving world of computer graphics.

One of the best things you’ll see all week: Thumper

, | Movie reviews

Thumper begins as an artsy look at the life of high school kids with all their social media and first loves and difficulties in school and casual drug use and absent parents. Leads Eliza Taylor and Daniel Webber positively glow as a young couple, ablaze with bright blue eyes and radiant smiles. But Taylor doesn’t quite fit. She’s got too much presence to play a high school student in a movie about the travails of vacuous youth. Beneath the self-assured sexuality of a young Kathleen Turner, there’s something maternal about her, something with the wholesome midwestern quality of a zaftig Reese Witherspoon. She has gravity beyond her years, or at least beyond the years of the character she’s playing. She’s as out of place as a 22 Jump Street character. Thumper knows just what to do with this disconnect.

Writer/director Ross Jordan has a background in MTV docudrama, which presumably informed this movie’s starting point. But Thumper doesn’t stay where it begins. By the time it has strayed into conventional territory, dragging a trail of cliches behind it, it has at least come in from a new direction. The cast can handle the familiar beats, with Pablo Schreiber charging ahead. When Taylor’s character asks him if he’s a shepherd, he demurs to deliver a small speech about the disaffected lower class, tinged with just the right amount of racism to sound real. But Schreiber is a shepherd here. Without his presence, Thumper probably wouldn’t work, and Jordan’s cliches would sink instead of skipping across the surface. Schreiber is an actor in the middle of a fascinating career, spanning crime thrillers and arthouse comedies, action schlock and serious drama, TV and movies. Come to Thumper for its attractive blonde leads, freshly imported from Australia (it’s a real hoot to listen to Taylor and Webber in interviews, accents in full bloom). Stay for the Schreiber.

Kingdom Death: Monster: you can’t stop what’s coming

, | Game diaries

After you get past gluing together teensy bits of plastic and then receiving your mauling at the claws of what should have been a tutorial, Kingdom Death: Monster finally shows you what it really is. Once you’re filling out the sheet for your settlement, you’ve arrived and now you can see clearly. Now you can see what the road ahead looks like. What’s that strange hulking shape up there? Is it getting closer?

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People either love Fortnite or Drake a lot

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What happens when a music superstar with 36 million Twitter followers hops into a session of Fortnite with one of the most popular videogame streamers in the world? You blow out all the records for Twitch viewership. Late last night renaissance man Drake popped into a game with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and hit a peak of 607,000 Twitch viewers, easily surpassing the previous high of 388,000. Drake performed well, telling Blevins at one point that he’d only got into the game a “month or two” ago.

If that wasn’t enough of a pop-culture confluence, by the end of the night, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver John “JuJu” Smith-Schuster, rapper Travis Scott, and Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom joined the game. It all sounds so amazing that one might think it a prearranged marketing stunt, except for the way the group’s in-game meetup was plagued with technical issues for a good part of the stream. (Drake’s PlayStation tag was apparently too full.) Most of the issues were eventually resolved thanks to judicious use of cross-play between the PlayStation 4 and PC versions of the game. Basically, this may have been the best advertisement for Fortnite ever.

You can check out an archive of the gaming session here.

Would you like to play a game of #WarGames via Her Story?

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Sam Barlow, creator of the much-lauded 2015 Her Story mystery game, has released his interactive media update to WarGames. #WarGames, from Barlow and production company Eko, features scrappy young “hacktivists” cracking Gibsons and using hashtags for the forces of good. The player (media interactor?) gets to help the crew and do a lot of passive observation.

The first season is up on Steam, but it’s also available on Eko’s site free with ads.

Jurassic World Evolution didn’t stop to think if it should add Jeff Goldblum

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Jeff Goldblum will appear in Jurassic World Evolution. It’s no Cooking with Jeff Goldblum, but this announcement that he will be present in one form or another as Dr. Ian Malcolm in Frontier’s upcoming dino-theme park sim is almost too cute for words. It’s not clear why Dr. Ian Malcolm would help the player build a new amusement park filled with murderous dinosaur facsimiles from InGen, but with Frontier behind the game we can expect lots of Planet Coaster goodness using the popular Universal Studios license.

Jurassic Park Evolution will release later this year, probably around the time Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hits theaters.

Qt3 Movie Podcast: Death Wish

, | Movie podcasts

The good news is that you guys are awesome! We got 1,803 votes for this year’s Make Us Watch Whatever You Want Fund Raiser. The bad news is that this is a podcast about Eli Roth’s Death Wish. You can jump to 1:21:30 if you don’t want to commiserate with us.

Next week: Tomb Raider, and the Make Us Watch Whatever You Want winner the week after that


Dota 2 has an old-school idea for games as a service

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There is now a subscription option for Dota 2. Dota Plus is an ongoing, uninterrupted evolution of the Battle Passes that Valve would sell during the Majors and The International tournaments. Now that there’s a Pro Circuit featuring games all year long, the Battle Pass concept has changed to keep up. For $4 a month, subscribers will get the ability to level heroes and gain Shards, a new in-game currency, which can be traded in for goodies. They’ll also get access to special challenges for their heroes, and their subscription will allow a “free” entry to each weekend Battle Cup tournament that will otherwise cost $1 per admission ticket. Perhaps the most intriguing offer for subscribers is access to Plus Assistant, a new tool that gathers and analyzes everyone’s build decisions in real-time and offers suggestions for the user’s own build. It’s like having a personal meta-game counselor.

Dota Plus is available now.

Worst thing you’ll see all month: Psychopaths

, | Movie reviews

Mickey Keating wants us to know he’s seen Taxi Driver. Well, at least the shoot out at the end. In Psychopaths, a new low for the most uninteresting horror director working today, he restages a snippet of the brothel shootout, shot for shot. He also wants us to know he’s seen Audition. Well, at least the torture scene at the end. But Martin Scorsese and Takashi Miike understand that something needs context to be truly horrific. The ends of Taxi Driver and Audition wouldn’t be nearly as powerful without the rest of the movie laying the groundwork. Which is why those scenes are at the end and not merely edited in at some random spot. Keating apes, without understanding, to such a degree that his movie is barely even a movie.

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Ambush!: maybe I was wrong about this game…

, | Game diaries

Well, now there’s this.

In order to win this mission, you have to satisfy several victory conditions. Among them is the following:

“At least one active US soldier is in any hex of the heights in the southeast corner of the map (defined by the elevation change running from Q-19 to Y-13) from which he can see all the road hexes on the map.”

After the jump, there’s just one little tiny problem. Continue reading →