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6 Awesome Indie Games to Watch for in 2021

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Gaming is truly at its peak in 2021. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X released late last year, and presumably they will stop selling out long enough for more people to be able to buy them at a reasonable price. Nintendo will be upgrading to the Nintendo Switch Pro soon. Competitive gaming is booming in cities like Las Vegas and Philadelphia. While it’s fun to to think about rumored for a new Pokémon remake and Halo sequels, lets not forget all the awesome indie games that are due out this year.

1. 12 Minutes

12 Minutes is a single-player mystery game centered around a 12-minute loop of time. As the story goes, the protagonist’s wife announces that she is pregnant. Shortly after, a police officer shows up and accuses the wife of murdering his father. After a scuffle, the officer knocks out the protagonist and kills the expecting wife. You then rewind 12 minutes and are tasked with trying to alter the events ahead. The gameplay is a top-down adventure style taking place in a small apartment.

12 Minutes is set to release on PC, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One.

2. Stray

In this open world game, you play as a stray cat. That’s right, not a super hero, not an black ops soldier, or an electric mouse – just an ordinary stray cat. In this futuristic cyberpunk city, you can roam the alleyways, making friends and solving puzzles.  The imagery is beautiful and intricate, especially for an indie game.

Stray will release in October and will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.

3. The Medium

Video games of the honor genre need to be unsettling to pay off. The Medium certainly delivers on this front. The main character, Marianne, is a pregnant medium who can exist in both the real world and the spirit world at the same time. Players must use this dual-reality system to solve puzzles and forge ahead. Gaming is breathtaking with hyper-realistic graphics and a suspenseful score that will give you goosebumps.

The Medium released on January 28th and is available on PC, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One.

4. Sable

Sable is a third person open world game. Play as the titular character Sable, as you travel through a desert wasteland, scavenging and meeting new characters. Sable gets around on her glider which looks like a lot of fun. The graphic novel-like design looks like an early-gen Borderlands, and is very pleasing.

Sable will release later this year on Mac, PC, and Xbox Series X.

5. 30XX

This old school platform game has all the 32-bit look and sound of your favorite SEGA game. This sequel to 20XX has everything you want in a visually nostalgic game. The pixels are purposely reminiscent of Mega Man. Be patient, though. One death, and your character goes all the way back to the beginning of the game.

30XX is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

6. Skatebird

Skatebird brings you the money thing missing from all the Tony Hawk Proskater video games: a bird that rides. Simply put, play as a bird on a skateboard as you kick flip and ollie off skate ramps. The game shares many of the mechanics of the Tony Hawk games as you play from a 3rd person angle. As you can imagine, gameplay isn’t heavily grounded in reality. This just means that more trick combinations lead to wilder stunts.

Skatebird will release later this year on PC, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.

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Sony Stocks Plummet After Microsoft-Activision Deal

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Sony shares fell by more than after a Microsoft-Activision deal was announced. 

There is no doubt that this deal weakens Sony’s position in the market.

“Whether or not Activison Blizzard’s content is progressively made exclusive to Xbox platforms and services, inclusion of new releases into Xbox Game Pass for several major games franchises, including Call of Duty, will undermine Sony’s third-party business.” 

Piers Harding-Rolls, games research director at Ampere Analysis, explains the situation. 

Sony has benefitted from the ability to negotiate timed exclusive content for Call of Duty but this is now under threat.” 

Shots fired in the never-ending console war. 

Did The Market Overreact?

Serkan Toto, CEO of Kantan Games, thinks so:

I think the market has totally overreacted in Japan today.

See?

Sony will continue to push out blockbusters, there can be no doubt about that.

Those PlayStation exclusives are pretty sweet. Spider-Man, The Last Of Us, Ghost of Tsushima? Come on now. 

Sony can, of course, fight back: they still have their own top in-house studios spread around the world, PlayStation remains a powerful brand in gaming, and acquisitions are in the cards for Sony as well.” 

PlayStation isn’t going down without a fight. 

The Console Wars Continue

For some time, Sony has been ahead of Microsoft. But the $68.7 billion Microsoft-Activision deal raises the stakes the highest they’ve been since the Black Friday Battle of 2013. Franchises like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft could become exclusive. 

How will Sony respond? We shall see what happens next in the seemingly never-ending console wars.

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Gaming

Are Online Gaming and Streaming Platforms Still Safe?

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Is online gaming not safe anymore? 

Many would argue that trolls and disrespectful players have made online gaming a “toxic community,” but extremists are adding to already hostile conditions in online gaming platforms. 

Researchers have found alarming activities that could fuel more hate in the gaming community and possibly influence gamers to take part in their radical group. This was found by the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which released a series of research work regarding extremism and online gaming.

Extremism on An Online Gaming Distribution Service

The ISD found right-wing and terrorist groups on Steam. It seems that these groups have been on Steam since 2016, and it’s concerning that the distribution service allows these groups to continue to exist. Moreover, these groups spread certain ideologies and further expand their beliefs outside of Steam, such as Discord and Telegram. Not only that, but they also organize raids, terrorizing and harassing other groups on Discord.

Extremism on Messaging and Streaming Platforms

Discord

As mentioned above, those in Steam also transfer to Discord to build their community and do raids. Aside from right-wing organizations present in Discord, there are terrorist groups as well. Plus, it’s alarming that 15-year-old members are also in these communities, which could help them adopt these ideologies into adulthood. Moreover, it appears that these groups have been on the platform for years, considering that the ISD found discussions of groups talking about right-wing rallies in 2017.

DLive

DLive is one of the many live streaming communities that seem to allow extremists to engage in the community and get funds. After all, DLive may have more lenient policies over the content provided by these live streamers. However, the streaming platform has removed several accounts and moved to other sites such as Odysee and Trovo. In addition, it appears some groups were part of the US Capitol siege in January 2021.

Twitch

Many gamers and fans of online gaming swarm to Twitch. Despite its popularity, there’s a massive extremist following too. There are videos showing or promoting extremist activities that are easily accessible to the public. Similar to Steam, these groups further their ideologies elsewhere, particularly in Omegle. Here, they promote racist behavior.

Despite these things, the ISD found no evidence of recruiting and grooming individuals to extremist groups. Furthermore, it appears there are counter-speech groups that counter the behavior and ideologies of those who spread extremist beliefs. Plus, it seems that Twitch has been proactive in ensuring platform safety by publishing new community guidelines and a transparency report.

Online Games With A Large Number of Extremists

Knowing that extremists are on these platforms, what games do they take part in? Some reported games include:

  • Roblox
  • Minecraft
  • Call of Duty
  • Feminazi 3000

On Roblox and Minecraft, these groups will build concentration camps, like ones from World War II and Ughyur. On Roblox, in particular, members of extremist groups encouraged other players to be racists by running over minorities using a car. Meanwhile, on Feminazi 3000, they promote ideologies and imagine themselves winning World War II as extremists.

The first three listed games have had spokespeople say they ensure their platforms are safe and condemn any terrorist and racist behavior by these extremist groups. And through monitoring and technology, they can take action and remove them from their platforms.

Many would ask themselves these questions: how do I keep myself (or kids or young people) safe on these platforms? Considering that the research is UK-based, Ukie (trade body) says that they use AI, moderation tools, and community managers to ensure these platforms are safe. Plus, they also work hand-in-hand with law enforcement and report potential problems they might encounter.

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Gaming

Super Mario Bros Film Brings Back Nostalgia with 2022 Film Release

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Remember that familiar sound of Mario and Luigi consuming a mushroom and doubling their size to fend off from pits and enemies? Well, Super Mario Bros. fans might get a bit nostalgic because the Super Mario Bros movie is in the works. And with an A-list cast, of course!

If fans have been wishing for a Super Mario Bros movie, then their wish has been granted. In 2022, the film will be released with impressive casting. 

Super Mario Bros, a game developed by the men behind Nintendo Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, was first released in 1985. It’s the successor to its arcade game version Mario Bros. in 1983. If millennials haven’t played a game of Super Mario Bros, here’s how it works. 

The brothers, Mario and Luigi, go through various levels with different pits and enemies in the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach Toadstool. The princess is held captive by the villain King Koopa (Bowser). They would journey through the Mushroom Kingdom in their standard capabilities. 

However, they can grab mushrooms, flowers, or stars along the way, giving them superpowers such as extra life, size, or speed. At every end of the Mushroom Kingdom level, either of the brothers (depending on what players choose at the start of the game or in multiplayer mode), would have to fight the Bowser to rescue the princess. 

The Super Mario Bros is deemed as one of the best games in history. It’s even one of the best-selling games worldwide, selling about 50 million copies around the world. And now, fans can relive their Super Mario Bros days in the upcoming Super Mario movie this 2022. 

A-List cast

Fans will be in for a real surprise as the movie bombards them with an A-list casting. The voice behind one of the protagonists, Mario, will be played by Chris Pratt. Pratt is the hunk who starred in the Guardians of the Galaxy. Charlie Day will also give life to Mario’s counterpart Luigi, making the superb duo complete. 

Anya Taylor-Joy will be giving a real voice to Princess Peach Toadstool. And let’s not forget the villain Bowser, who will be playing a monumental role in the movie. The star behind Tenacious D Jack Black will play Bowser. 

Seth Rogan, who starred in comedy films Superbad and Pineapple Express, will play Donkey Kong. Keegan-Micheal Key will liven up the character Toad, Kevin Michael Richardson will be Kamek, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, and finally, Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.

Is it coming soon? 

The Super Mario Bros film is co-financed by Nintendo and Universal and distributed by Universal Pictures. The producers are Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri, together with Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath, both also partly directed the movie Teen Titans Go!. The scriptwriter, Matthew Fogel, will be handling the Super Mario Bros’s script. He also worked on the script for The Lego Movie 2. 

Fans can say, directors, producers, and the whole team behind the Super Mario Bros film will definitely end the year in 2022 with a bang. The movie is set to be released in December 2022. So hold your horses as we wait for the best-selling game in history to come to life next year!

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