SwitchArcade Roundup: ‘Clusterpuck 99’, ‘Not Tonight’, New Switch Releases

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Welcome to the latest SwitchArcade roundup, covering the latest in Nintendo Switch news, releases, and sales! If you’re still playing Super Mario Odyssey, two new outfits are available: an outfit inspired by the Satellaview, an SNES add-on, and a baseball helmet and uniform. Those pinstripes sure look like the Seattle Mariners’ shade of Northwest Green that they use, hmm…

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Not Tonight announced and coming to Switch

No More Robots is an indie publisher founded by former game journalist Mike Rose, who helped grow tinyBuild into one of the most prominent ‘indie publishers’ in gaming. The studio’s second title after Descenders is Not Tonight, a game developed by Panic Barn. It takes place in near-future Britain where Brexit is in full effect, and you play as a government worker, checking the IDs of citizens as they try to get into buildings, trying to stop anybody who’s set to cause trouble. Considering that political satire is barely fake at this point, this might be a preemptive documentary.

New Releases

Clusterpuck 99 ($ 9.99)

Coatsink delivers a fun local multiplayer game to the Switch this year. I played a bunch of this one at PAX South, and had a lot of fun. It’s basically hockey, where each team is trying to get the puck into their opponent’s goal, but you have wacky arenas to play in, with the ability to do charge moves to make aggressive plays. Pick up a bunch of controllers and/or Joy-Cons, and play with some friends.

Zombillie ($ 4.99)

This looks a whole lot like Millie, a game from the same publisher that also involves a many-legged creature making its way through mazes where the player can’t collide with themselves. The theme is darker, so if that intrigues you, perhaps this is the one to go with!

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The Adventures of Bertram Fiddle: Episode 1: A Dreadly Business ($ 4.99)

This wacky point-and-click adventure game makes its way to the Switch for the first time. There’s plenty of puzzles to solve, and a goofy detective story to take in. This series released on PC and mobile a few years ago, so if later installments don’t wind up on the Switch, you at least have some recourse to complete the adventure for yourself.

Lode Runner Legacy ($ 11.99)

I often wonder if Lode Runner is a genuine classic, or just a game that a bunch of people remember. Regardless, if you like climbing ladders and picking up trinkets, here’s a new version of Lode Runner for you. There are user-created levels, and even the ability to create a blocky protagonist of your own.

The Charming Empire ($ 24.99)

D3 Publisher delivers its latest Japanese title, a dating simulation from the Taisho Roman era of Japan. You play as the sister of the current emperor, though a conspiracy may be afoot. All the while, you’re out there looking for love from the empire’s most eligible bachelors. If you’re a fan of some of the other D3-published titles, this might be perfect for you.

Gotcha Racing 2nd ($ 9.99)

ARC System Works delivers a racing game that’s all about gacha randomness: you have to assemble a car from randomly-drawn parts from the gacha machine, and try to keep building better cars in order to advance through the game’s circuits. You also have multiplayer in a four-column, split-screen format. Might be an intriguing top-down racer to check out.

Tengai ($ 7.99)

More Psikyo side-scrolling shoot ’em up action is here! This game, also known as Sengoku Blade, has you controlling flying heroes as you try to fight through a fantastical historic Japan and stop the Yorishiro ceremony. Psikyo sure makes some ridiculous-looking games, don’t they?

Sengoku 3 ($ 7.99)

No relation to the Zerodiv-published Tengai which is also a Sengoku-period game, this SNK title is a side-scrolling beat ’em up where ninjas fight the undead. Should be fun if you like the Neo Geo era of gaming.

Games On Sale

Bleed 2 ($ 13.49 from $ 14.99 until April 12th)

The original Bleed was on sale not long ago. Picked it up and enjoyed its speedrun action gameplay? You can pick up the sequel for a discount now! If you haven’t played the original, well, expect to fight for high scores and fast times, using your sword and gun – and your pink hair – to defeat hordes of enemies and bosses. Make them bleed. Make them all bleed…2.

Xenoraid ($ 6.69 from $ 9.99 until April 4th)

10tons doesn’t just make dual-stick shooters. They made a true vertically-scrolling shoot ’em up called Xenoraid, and it’s well worth checking out. You control a squadron of ships, and can switch between pilots with different abilities in order to get the best possible advantage on the enemies. You make your way through a series of levels, and can buy upgrades between levels, fighting the boss at the end of the series. Unusual for a virtually-scrolling shoot ’em up, the game actually takes place in landscape, so no worries about getting a game that’s only using up a tiny amount of the screen. Definitely give this one a shot if you haven’t yet.

Transcripted ($ 6.79 from $ 7.99 until April 5th)

This is a curious combination of dual-stick shooter with Zuma-style gameplay where you have to shoot and match colors to make your way through levels. Definitely a clever combination, and I’ve probably not played a match-3 game in long enough that I can’t complain about how there are too many match-3 games that are same-y. Because this definitely isn’t.

Pan-Pan ($ 4.00 from $ 5.00 until April 12th)

This is a fun puzzle-based Metroidvania. You crash-land on a strange planet, and have to find all the lost parts of your spaceship to reassemble them and get off the planet. The entire game lacks dialogue and the story is told entirely through actions. Not a perfect game, but an entertaining experience for sure.

Keep an eye out every weekday for more SwitchArcade Roundups! We want to hear your feedback on Nintendo Switch coverage on TouchArcade. Comment below or tweet us with your thoughts!

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‘Not Tonight’ makes you a bouncer in post-Brexit Britain

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In exactly 12 months, Britain will leave the European Union. It's a troubling time for the island state as politicians squabble over exit conditions and citizens grapple with a deep divide in their economic, societal and cultural values. For many, th…
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Blockchain: “not solution to 90 percent of problems”, warns expert

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Blockchain specialist Denis Baranov, principal consultant at consultancy group DataArt, has warned the UK’s Institute of Directors of the dangers of jumping on the blockchain bandwagon.

“In about 90 per cent of cases, blockchain is not the solution for an individual company or organisation, and there is a better answer,” he said.

While the distributed ledger technology could have a transformative effect on some processes, it would be dangerous to follow the hype and jump onboard for the wrong reasons, he added.

IoD meets the IoT

Denis Baranov

Baranov was a panellist at an IoD event in London this week, Volatile cryptocurrency and game-changing blockchain: What does the future hold?, moderated by broadcaster and technology journalist David McClelland.

The discussion presented an uncertain outlook for cryptocurrency in its current form, but sent a strong message that blockchain is “coming of age” for a range of business applications.

Despite that, Baranov – an early blockchain innovator and consultant to industry – warned against falling for AI-style hype and making big strategic errors.

“We already have big data and many solutions,” Baranov said. “Just as with AI, where lots of people said, ‘Our company should get some AI because everyone is getting AI’, when it often isn’t the appropriate solution, some are now saying ‘Blockchain, I must get some blockchain’ because everyone has it.

In about 90 per cent of cases blockchain is not the solution for an individual company or organisation, and there is a better answer.

“However, for 10 percent, blockchain makes perfect sense and is a powerful addition, creating transparency, accountability and huge competitive advantage. The key is knowing what this technology is, does, and can do.”

Blockchain doesn’t play well

Baranov explained, as a distributed technology, blockchain does not work well in isolation, adding that, “blockchain is a community.”

On data aggregation as a barrier against the use of blockchain technology, Baranov said that in many cases a hybrid technology that incorporates blockchain is the best solution, bypassing the issues created by the attachment of heavy data loads.

Read Internet of Business’ own, equally cautious, report on blockchain applications here: IoT 101: How blockchain will transform manufacturing and supply chains.

Baranov emphasised the importance of starting the decision-making process by examining the business case, rather than bringing in the technology for the sake of it, as many have done with AI.

• Also on the panel was cryptocurrency consultant Matthew Baldock of Portsmouth Crypto, who explained that cryptocurrency is only anonymous in theory, as blockchain makes it both traceable and accountable. He added that the Bitcoin Lightning Network – which has gone live this week after beta testing – is highly controversial in the crypto community and generally disliked.

• Jonathan Beddoes, co-founder of Giftcoin, a blockchain start-up that aims to enhance transparency and trust in charities, presented the ICO (Initial Coin Offering) soon to be launched by his company.

Internet of Business says

We have published a number of in-depth reports recently on both blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The strong theme in all of these is to compare the hype, ideology, and – in some cases – complete lack of common sense of the technologies’ more evangelical fans with their real-world impacts, such as processing power, energy, and basic physics.

But at the same time, we are clear about the technologies’ potential value, their advantages, their promise, and their future at the core of the Internet of Things – and share some inspiring examples.

As is the case with AI, blockchain and crypto present unique challenges, which make them distinctly different to other waves of technology innovation, such as cloud services or mobility. Just as AI challenges traditional notions of accountability and responsibility, so blockchain and crypto shine a light on longstanding concepts such as value and trust.

In some cases, they propose a superior alternative to systems that have become corrupt and abused over decades – even centuries. But at the same time, they need to be anchored in the real world of physics, value, time, and good sense.

As ever with new technology: put strategic business need first, and technology second.

Read more: IoT 101: How blockchain will transform manufacturing and supply chains

Read more: Cryptocurrencies failing, claims Bank of England. But is it right?

Read more: Qarnot QC1: An IoT heater that mines for cryptocurrency. Hot idea?

Read more: IoT firm deploys blockchain to transform pharmaceutical shipments

Read more: Opinion: Use blockchain to build a global data commons

The post Blockchain: “not solution to 90 percent of problems”, warns expert appeared first on Internet of Business.

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Apple says HomePod’s white stains ‘not unusual,’ suggests placing on ‘different surface’

Apple HomePod review

Apple has responded to numerous reports that the HomePod can stain some wooden surfaces with a resounding ‘meh.’ In an updated support article, Apple confirmed that the HomePod’s silicone base can “diffuse oils” into certain wooden surfaces, but it says that it’s “not unusual” for this to happen with speakers, and suggests that users put it somewhere else.

In other words, you’re placing it wrong.

“It is not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-dampening silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces,” the company said in an updated support article for the HomePod. “The marks can be caused by oils diffusing between the silicone base and the table surface, and will often go away after several days when the speaker is removed from the wooden surface. If not, wiping the surface gently with a soft damp or dry cloth may remove the marks. If marks persist, clean the surface with the furniture manufacturer’s recommended cleaning process. If you’re concerned about this, we recommend placing your HomePod on a different surface.”

The problem only exists on wood surfaces that are treated with an oil or wax finish, since those finishes are still somewhat permeable to water. The HomePod shouldn’t leave a mark on surfaces with a polyurethane finish. Oil and wax finishes are more common on food-contact surfaces, like kitchen counters or cutting boards, and wax finishes are common on antique furniture or items made from exotic hardwoods.

While it’s true that other things with silicone bases may stain wood furniture (allegedly the Echo Dot suffers from a similar issue), the real question is why Apple decided to use silicone in the first place. Speakers and audio equipment most commonly use rubber bumpers to isolate vibration, and those can happily sit on any wooden surface for years without leeching oil into the finish.

Apple – BGR

Chrome will show all HTTP sites as ‘not secure’ later this year

For years, HTTPS was regarded as only necessary for sites handling critical information, like bank portals. The movement for all sites to use HTTPS has gained traction over the past few years, partially thanks to the availability of free SSL/TLS certificates from Let’s Encrypt, and partially thanks to browsers encouraging sites to switch. Starting with version 68, Chrome will start marking all HTTP sites as ‘Not Secure.’

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, especially since Chrome already marks HTTP pages with text fields as insecure when you enter any information.

Read More

Chrome will show all HTTP sites as ‘not secure’ later this year was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google’s Lunar XPrize Is Over. Spaceflight Innovation, However, Is Not.

Moonshot, Shot Down

The time has finally come: Google is pulling the plug on its decade-long lunar spacecraft competition, the Google Lunar XPrize (GLXP).

Back in 2007, Google decided that humans should once again have a presence on the Moon. To spur innovation toward that goal, the company set up a $ 30 million prize, to be rewarded to the first private company to build a lunar rover, launch and land it on the moon, travel at least 500 meters, and transmit photos and videos of its journey on the Moon’s surface back to Earth. The rules have proven deceptively simple, as everything required before any launch proved much too difficult for contestants.

The lunar XPrize was originally set with a deadline of 2012, but was then extended to 2015, and once again to 2017. The most recent extension, in August, brought the deadline to March of 2018. Four teams are close to completion, but none will be ready to launch by the latest deadline. A spokesperson from Google told CNBC that the company “does not have plans at this time to extend the deadline again.”

A Moon Too Far

The four teams that came closest to lunar glory are SpaceIL, a startup out of Isreal; TeamIndus, from India; Moon Express, from the US; and Synergy Moon, an international coalition of space exploration technologists. Various obstacles still stand in the way of launches, such as running out of money and the inability to agree on launch dates, as well as simply not being ready. 

The Race for a Moon Base: Who Will Build the First Lunar Colony?
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A few of the teams have launch contracts already, such as Moon Express, who is planning to still launch with Rocket Lab, a spaceflight company that just conducted its first successful test mission.

Yet just as we pointed out with SpaceX’s affinity with learning from its failures, the lack of a winner emerging does not mean that all this effort was in vain. The innovation on display by all of the teams involved likely has done more than we can know at this juncture for the future of space travel. The work will continue; the major breakthroughs of tomorrow could very well have begun with this competition.

The post Google’s Lunar XPrize Is Over. Spaceflight Innovation, However, Is Not. appeared first on Futurism.

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FBI director reignites ‘not so clean cut’ encryption debate

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More than a year after the last high-profile showdown between the FBI and Silicon Valley over widespread encryption, recently-installed FBI Director Christopher Wray again signaled that his agency will continue to fight for access.
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Make Magazine founder apologizes after accusing Chinese maker of being ‘not a real person’


Dale Dougherty, founder of Make Magazine has been forced to issue a public apology after falsely accusing popular Chinese maker Naomi “Real Sexy Cyborg” Wu of not being a person, but rather a “persona” created by “several or many people.” Naomi Wu is an engineer, designer, educator, and a prolific YouTuber. Her videos are unique, as they provide an accessible English-language insight into the Chinese technology world. On YouTube, she boasts almost 140,000 subscribers, with a total view count of nearly 14 million. She also has a large following on Twitter, with over 30,000 followers. Dougherty’s since-deleted Tweet read “I…

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“We Think That We Beat AIDS. We Think It Is Done. It Is Not.”

The Battleground

Over the course of the 20th century, tens of millions of people have died because of HIV. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that, since the epidemic started in the early 1980s, more than 70 million people have been diagnosed with HIV. More than 35 million people have died of HIV. And today, there are more than 36 million people living with HIV or AIDS.

Keep in mind, these are just the numbers that we know about. The actual numbers could be far, far higher.

When the outbreak began, the disease was a death sentence. The chances of survival, all but zero. In previous decades, after being diagnosed with HIV, most individuals developed AIDS within 8 to 10 years. Once an individual was diagnosed with AIDS, they had a life expectancy of just two years.

In a harrowing report, the WHO summed the nature of this global killer:

Untreated disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has a case fatality rate that approaches 100%. Not since the bubonic plague of the 14th century has a single pathogen wreaked such havoc. AIDS has torn apart families and caused untold suffering in the most heavily burdened regions. In hard-hit areas, including some of the poorest parts of the world, HIV has reversed gains in life expectancy registered in the last three decades of the 20th century. HIV/AIDS is a major global health emergency.

Fortunately, recent advances in medicine have allowed us to fight back. In fact, because of these advances, the disease is no longer considered a terminal illness. It is no longer a death sentence. As we previously reported, scientists now list HIV as “chronic, manageable illness.” Although there is no cure, and you will have to take medicine to manage the disease the rest of your life, we can manage it. And in the end, individuals who have HIV ultimately have the exact same life expectancy as those without the virus…at least, they do if they are fortunate enough to have access to basic healthcare.

Globally, 400 million people do not have access to essential health services.

At the Social Good Summit today (Sept. 17, 2017), an event organized by the United Nations Foundation and Mashable, Whoopi Goldberg, the Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF, outlined the ways that we are—to be blunt—failing.

Recognizing a Truth

Goldberg began her discussion with Quinn Tivey, who is the Trustee for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, by noting a harsh truth: “We are under the impression that we beat AIDS. We think that it is done. It is not.” She continued her criticism by asserting that, while there are many people globally who are living normal lives with HIV, there are many more who are dying. “Yes, there are people living on medication, but we have not eradicated the disease.”

The truth of Goldberg’s assertions cannot be denied. Unfortunately, HIV education and treatment is not universal, and access to both effective prevention and medication dramatically impacts an individuals fate. These things are, quite literally, the difference between life and death.

In impoverished areas—in poor communities in wealthy societies—HIV remains a death sentence.

Although people living with HIV who have access to the latest medical advances can lead relatively normal lives, in impoverished countries and in poor communities in wealthy societies, HIV remains a death sentence. As Tivey noted in his conversation with Goldberg, “Poverty, inequality and HIV and AIDS are inextricably linked issues, particularly in the United States.”

Ultimately, facts like this are precisely why the Social Good Summit exists. Organized during the annual United Nations General Assembly week, the Summit aims to bring together entrepreneurs and innovators, scientists and thought leaders, politicians and citizens discuss how we can unlock the potential of science and technology and harness them to make the world a better, more equal, place.

The key, the first step, according to Goldberg, is to recognize that this is not an issue faced by one nation or people. This is an issue that we all must contend with, “It does not matter how wealthy you are. The disease doesn’t care…and that is the great equalizer.” She continued by noting that assisting others does not just help them, it greatly contributes to our own well-being by encouraging new collaborations and innovations. In this respect, Goldberg noted that “If you have, then you have to share.”

It is simple. It is small. But according to many experts and political leaders, developing a global consciousness is the first step to building the future that we all want.

The post “We Think That We Beat AIDS. We Think It Is Done. It Is Not.” appeared first on Futurism.

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Magic Leap’s Disruption of the VR and Computing Industry is “Not That Far Away”

What We Learned

At eMerge 2017, Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz gave a number of updates concerning his company’s first product, which is currently in production. He revealed in his speech that the technology is “up and running and live” — it is hands free, does not require looking through a video display, and introduces an entirely new class to the technology which he coined as “spatial computing.”

VR, AR, And MR: What’s The Difference? [INFOGRAPHIC]
Click to View Full Infographic

Another exciting piece of news is that it is being priced for “affordability” — Abovitz stated “if you’re willing to pay for a premium mass consumer device, you’ll be happy with us.” He also said the “launch is not that far away,” and will focus on the “U.S. first, but definitely not U.S. only.”

Abovitz also said that potential consumers are not the only group enthusiastic about Magic Leap. He has seen an outpouring of people who want to become developers. He stresses that he has an extremely loose definition of the word, which can extend from artists to film-makers to programmers to “kids in garages.” In order to foster this developing community when the release comes, Abovitz says that he and his team “want to make sure we’re learning to serve developers and creators properly first.”

The Potential of Magic Leap

Magic Leap is neither augmented reality or virtual reality but, as Abovitz explained at eMerge, a “Spacial Ambiance, using digital light fields to create a personal computer that is ambient, always around you […] and is always contextually aware.”

While Andre Iguodala gave some vague information about his demo experience — including that the technology is controlled by eye movements and modulates lights in a user’s environment, that it has a voice assistant like siri, and that it takes the form of a belt pack with connected glasses. The company has neither confirmed or denied his claims, nor provided much more information.

What we do know, though, is that it has the potential to change almost any industry in the world. David Erwalt, of Forbes, got a rare interview with the founder and concluded that:

This technology could affect every business that uses screens or computers and many that don’t. It could kill the $ 120 billion market for flat-panel displays and shake the $ 1 trillion global consumer-electronics business to its core.

While the eMerge announcement gives us just a taste of the technology to come, we hope all of our questions will be answered very soon when we get to try the product for ourselves.

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