This Civilization V mod is a product of the University of Cambridge

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The Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, an academic research think-tank in the University of Cambridge, has published a Superintelligence mod for Civilization V. The mod features the possibility of “superintelligent” artificial intelligence, that if left unchecked, can go rogue, destroy humanity, and result in a game over for the player. In game terms, the mod replaces the normal science victory condition that involves building an interstellar craft to leave Earth, with an AI technology track that can either evolve into an extinction-level AI like Skynet or a benevolent one like… Well, there really aren’t any I can think of. Deep Thought is about as nice as they get in movies.

Paladins’ new Battlegrounds mode puts chicken dinners and heroes together

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Hi-Rez Studios has announced the addition of a Battle Royale style Battlegrounds mode for Paladins: Champions of the Realm. Just like the uber-popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, the Paladins version will drop 100 players onto a large, but ever-shrinking, map to kill each other until only one team stands alone. Hi-Rez calls it the “first-ever hero shooter battle royale” because it blends elements of its ongoing MOBA with the upstart phenomenon. There has to be room for more Battlegrounds, right?

How many times would you watch a Battlegrounds movie in the theater?

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The CEO of PUBG Corporation, would like to see PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds made into a movie someday. Not only that, Chang Han Kim told Inven Global that he can imagine a whole cross-media universe of Battlegrounds.

“We want to take part in diverse industries including Esports, movies, drama, cartoons, animation, and more. In fact, we received a couple of love calls from a number of developers in Hollywood and Netflix.”

It may sound silly to think about a movie or multiple-part series based on the basically plot-free Battlegrounds, but that never stopped Hollywood when enough money is on the line. If they can turn Battleship or emojis into movies, why not a rip off of Battle Royale?

Need for Speed Payback’s free roam will add the reckless driving that was missing

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Online multiplayer free roam is coming to Need for Speed Payback. Ghost Games and Electronic Arts confirmed the popular request is being worked on now, with an expected release later this year for all players. Currently, multiplayer free roam is only possible during lobby waits while queuing up for races. The coming update will allow players to take their arcade rides onto the streets of Fortune Valley and act like YouTube stars without being yanked out of their tomfoolery to play an actual match.

Top ten games of 2017

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I might have included on this list of top games some really great 2017 releases if they felt more like 2017 releases. Total War: Warhammer 2, Dominions 5, and Spintires: Mud Runners are all great, but they’re great because they’re iterations on great games. They don’t feel like separate releases. The fantastic Pinball FX3 adds new reasons to play tables in lots of different ways, but they’re the same tables I’ve already been playing. Superlative DLC for Guild Wars 2, XCOM 2, and Diablo III made all of those games more relevant than ever in 2017, but none of them are 2017 releases.

This is the first year that none of my ten favorite games were popular AAA titles from larger publishers (with the possible exception of my #9 pick). I liked plenty of popular AAA titles from larger publishers! Destiny 2, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Warhammer II, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and Wolfenstein II, for instance. But there were at least ten games I liked better.

Finally, the usual disclaimer for the games I didn’t get to play: Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Splatoon 2, Hob, Hellblade, Persona 5, Heat Signature, What Happened to Edith Finch, Gravity Rush 2, and Logistical were all games I wanted to play. I also didn’t get to play any game that had the misfortune to be an Xbox/Windows Store exclusive. For instance, did you guys know there was a new Halo Wars this year?

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The most overrated games of 2017

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Overrated is a loaded term. It looks good in a headline. It’s often used for no purpose other than to goad a reaction. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. When I call a game overrated, I don’t mean it’s bad, that the reviews were wrong, that the people who liked it were dopes, or even that I didn’t like it. It just means I’m surprised more people weren’t more critical, that the conversation wasn’t more often about ways the game could have been better.

After the jump, the ten most overrated games of 2017. Continue reading →

The most surprising games of 2017

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So if the most disappointing category is a list of games that should have been better, the most surprising category is the opposite. These are games that were better than they should have been. Just as disappointing is about falling short of expectations, these surprising games exceeded expectations and, in some cases, were among the best games of the year.

After the jump, the ten most surprising games of 2017. Continue reading →

You are officially addicted to video games

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The World Health Organization has included “gaming disorder” in a draft of its 11th International Classification of Diseases, which will be published next year. According to the new guideline, gaming disorder is characterized by persistent or recurring gaming, online or off, that takes precedence over other interests and daily activities. Like regularly foregoing sleep to stay up until, oh, let’s say, a quarter to three in the morning to hit one more turn on Civilization IV.

The WHO’s guidelines are used by member countries to classify and diagnose medical conditions. Many private and government organizations take the WHO’s guidelines into account when drawing up their health care budgets.

This is how Minecraft brought down the internet

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The Mirai Botnet crippled major hubs of the internet in October 2016 with a series of distributed denial of service attacks deployed at a speed and volume that security experts had never seen before. The big innovation was using infected “internet of things” devices that consumers and manufacturers routinely fail to secure like home surveillance cameras or web-enabled kitchen appliances.

According to the Justice Department, it was all done in the service of Minecraft. There’s stiff competition in the world of pay-to-play Minecraft servers, and three young hackers, short on morality but long on innovation, turned their skills towards the business of securing Minecraft hosts. What better way to do that than invent the world’s most powerful botnet and unleash it against competing security and server providers? Okay, it may not have turned out the way the creators wanted, but for an upside, it taught the FBI how much money Minecraft can generate.

The most disappointing games of 2017

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Calling a game disappointing arguably has more to do with me than the game itself. Disappointment isn’t an inherent quality. It can’t exist without some sort of expectation in the first place. In many cases, these games are sequels, or the creations of developers with proven track records, or entries in established genres, or games with promising beginnings. But for various reasons, a central fact about these games is that I had personally hoped they would be better.

After the jump, the ten most disappointing games of 2017. Continue reading →

It’s time to make the dealer suffer a little in Hand of Fate 2

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You can now unlock a Dealer companion in Hand of Fate 2. The Dealer’s Apprentice is a free update for the game that will allow you to add the Dealer to your combat strength in the action levels. While his ranged attacks aren’t as effective as his reputation suggests, he makes up for any martial deficiencies with quips galore. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that everything you’re suffering through adds to his misery.

Bomber Crew: mission 21

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Mission 21: Operation Chastise (critical mission). I’m really proud of fishpockets. He used his star-navigation skills perfectly, and got us to the target without ever having to go to low altitude. I’m also proud of RichVR. He got in the ventral turret once we got up high, and even though he was wearing plimsolls so that he could scoot around the plane faster as the engineer, he never complained, even as I’m sure his feet froze at that altitude. I sure am proud of Miguk: he had just gotten to level 6 and learned how to auto-tag fighters, which relieved us of the need to watch radar and track them manually when things got really hairy. I think he truly felt like a contributing part of the team, now. I can’t say enough about Juan_Raigada and MrCoffee, who kept the fighters off us so effectively that we could afford to make a run in with the experimental bomb without being bothered by anything worse than some paltry small arms fire.

But I’m really most proud of…

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Bomber Crew: missions 19 and 20

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Mission 19: Bouncing Bomb Test Run. We’re out of special bonuses, so we decide it’s time for the test mission. There shouldn’t be any enemy fighters over Cornwall, but because we have a protocol in place, the gunners without ammo feeds still got up just after takeoff and grabbed an extra ammo box each. This turned out to be a great move when Forgetful Biggins routed us to some splashed-down fighter pilots in the Channel. We just had to spot them, which wasn’t too hard, since their fancy pants were so shiny and all. Then we took a detour and photographed some recon sites, because we were feeling a bit fancy, ourselves.

The good news I guess is that the experimental bomb works. The bad news is that it means they’re almost certainly gonna make us use it.

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