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Updated: 41 weeks 3 days ago

Pro Smash Bros. Player Makes Old Games Move Like Lightning

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 14:25

The Super Smash Bros. series began on the Nintendo 64, and Daniel “SuPeRbOoMfAn” Hoyt is one of the greatest to ever play the game.

The Smash player, ranked second in the world according to the SSB64 listing published last month, recently shared a clip of on Twitter in which he moves as fast as the game allows to completely demolish a Yoshi player in record time. Despite the game’s age compared to more recent and quicker paced entries like Melee and Smash Bros. Wii U, in the hands of a pro like SuPeRbOoMfAn, Smash 64 has no limits.

Particularly impressive is the double laser shot SuPeRbOoMfAn unleashes while drifting back towards the stage’s left ledge. It’s a good stunt for show that many would love to try but few should.

SuPeRbOoMfAn explained that he was just playing some friendlies at his house and decided to stream the carnage. “We get together every once and a while sometimes I decide to ‘tech out’ and see what I can do fast,” he said.

Just prior to last month’s Gensis 4 event, SuPeRbOoMfAn was signed by the esports organization Panda Global. He ended up going on to place second in the event’s Smash 64 tournament after losing a best-of-five series 3-2 to Alvin Leon Hara, one of the game’s top players from Peru. It was a tough fought fifth and final match that nearly saw SuPeRbOoMfAn claw his way back into contention after Alvin took an early lead. In the end though it wasn’t to be, as Alvin closed out the match before things could be evened back up.

But while he didn’t take first at this year’s Genesis tournament, SuPeRbOoMfAn did manage to be victorious in one of his other hobbies: speedrunning. A few days ago on February 1, he managed to take back the title for 100 percenting Crash Bandicoot 2 the fastest with a time of 1:11:08, less than a minute ahead of the previous record holder, stuart0000.

The game is particularly notable for having one of the hardest levels in the entire series called “Cold Hard Crash.” The stage features the highest crate count of any game in the original trilogy as well as one special gem that can only be collected after successfully reaching the end of the level’s death route, an alternate path filled with nitro crates that is only accessible if the player hasn’t yet died. It’s the kind of level that designed to destroy the player and make them chuck their controller across the room.

Unless you’re SuPeRbOoMfAn that is, and simply have a gift for making the most colorful and jagged polygons of the late 1990s move really, really fast.

Track: Show You The Way | Artist: Thundercat | Album: Drunk

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 13:25

Track: Show You The Way | Artist: Thundercat | Album: Drunk

Kotaku Soundtrack is a selection of the stuff we’re listening to at the moment.

Hideo Kojima Calls The Nintendo Switch An 'Extension' Of 'Transfarring'

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 11:50

It’s 2017 and Hideo Kojima is still talking about “Transfarring.”

Speaking at RTX Sydney, a two-day video game convention hosted by Rooster Teeth!, the creator of the Metal Gear series told IGN that he sees Nintendo’s upcoming Switch gaming console as the next step in an evolution he imagined years ago with the feature known as “Transfarring” that allowed players to transfer saves between different versions of a Konami game.

“I believe [Switch] is an extension of that idea,” he said. “The fact you can play something at home and take it outside, this is the gamer’s dream. The Switch is an evolution of that.”

“Transfarring,” a phrase that to this day should never be written or uttered outside the safety of quotation marks, was originally revealed in 2011 right before that year’s E3. In a video, Kojima explained how the new feature would allow people share progress between the PS3 and PSP versions of games like Metal Gear: Peace Walker. It was supposed to be the beginning of a whole new “gaming lifestyle.”

The official description of the service included, among others, the following promise:

“TRANSFARRING will free you from restrictions of location or time, allowing you to play freely anytime, anywhere. Experience a new degree of freedom in gaming that may one day make console wars a thing of the past.”

At RTX Sydney, Kojima called for games to emulate movies and television in the ease and variety of platforms that people can use to enjoy the latter. While I can play the digital version of a downloaded movie or album just about any smart device, most games are still hindered by competing proprietary formats and software requirements.

Shortly after Kojima revealed “Transfarring,” the whimsically named game feature was already being made obsolete by things like Sony’s Cross-Buy and Cross-Save services. But for every indie game like Rogue Legacy or Titan Souls that supports the ability to share a single save file and game purchase between the Vita and PS4, there are games like World of Final Fantasy that don’t. Meanwhile, I can use Netflix and Spotify to save movies, television shows, and music locally to my phone so I can access them even when I’m not at home.

More recently, Sony’s tried to solve this problem with more robust Remote Play options. While being able to stream Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on PS4 to a Vita made helped gloss over the shortcomings of “Transfarring,” being able to stream PS4 games to any PC has helped take the dream of seamlessly playing games wherever, whenever, another step forward. But even then, Sony’s relationship with cloud computing and save syncing remains fraught.

Despite the issues that still plague different implementations of cloud computing, like those holding back Playstation Now, Kojima was bullish on the prospects for the technology going forward. “I feel like cloud technology is what everything will eventually move to,” he said. “It’s further behind right now than I think where people thought it would be at this point, but I think it will go there, and when the infrastructure is ready, you’ll be able to play everything, on every device, anywhere. The Switch is the predecessor to this step.”

When asked at the event by DualShockers whether his latest project, Death Stranding, might slip to PS5, Kojima was adamant it would release on the PS4 as intended. There’s a lot about the game we still don’t know, however, like whether it will be “Transfarring” enabled.

Only time will tell.

The Weekend In Esports: Rainbow Six Siege Heads To Montreal

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 09:50
Lethal Gaming preparing for the Rainbow Six Siege Invitational, via Rainbow Six.

Taking a break from CS:GO and Call of Duty, this weekend belongs to Rainbow Six Siege, a tactical shooter still looking for its place in the world of competitive gaming that will get a big boost from this weekend’s Invitational in Canada.

You can read about all of the teams competing here, but all eyes are sure to be on Continuum, the game’s Pro League season 3 champions and also the youngest group in competitive Rainbow Six. But if doors, bombs, and tactical cams aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of other stuff going on in the world of esports.

Below you’ll find where and when you can catch all the weekend’s biggest events in competitive gaming. Let me know what you’ll be watching in the comments and if you think there’s something I missed.

Rainbow Six Siege

The Rainbow Six Invitational, featuring a $200,000 prize pool, will see the game’s best teams compete in Montreal across a three-day tournament that crown champions in both the Xbox One and PC versions of the game. The semifinals began earlier today, with play going until the last match beginning at 6:45PM EST.

Games will then resume tomorrow with the grand finals for Xbox One at 10:45AM EST followed by the PC grand finals at 2:45PM EST. Each series is a best-of-three with every match consisting of eight rounds all on Siege’s bomb game mode.

You can watch all of the matches in the stream below.

League of Legends

The third week of the North American and European LCS Spring Splits wraps up this weekend beginning in Europe with Fnatic and ROCCAT facing off at 1:00PM EST today followed later by North America’s Team Solomid vs. Counter Logic Gaming and FlyQuest eSports vs. Team Dignitas both at 3:00PM EST. Both Echo Fox vs. Team Liquid and Cloud9 vs. Team EnVyUs will occur this evening at 6:00PM EST with matches resuming again on Sunday at 3:00PM. You can find the complete schedule and standings here, and stream the matches live here.

You can also catch some action from the South Korean spring league tomorrow when ROX Tigers take on Samsung Galaxy at 3:00AM EST, followed by MVP LoL vs. SK Telecom T1 at 6:00AM EST. Those matches will be available here.

Heroes of the Storm

The HGC Pro League continues today as Misfits look to take on Synergy at 12:00PM EST, followed by Team Dignitas going up against Team Expert at 2:30PM EST. North America is up after that at 6:00PM EST, with the Korean league following tomorrow at 4:00AM EST.

One match not to be missed is today’s 7:30PM EST beat-down between Tempo Storm and and Team 8. Both are currently at the top of the North American standings on three-game win streaks at the moment, but only one of them will be able to make it through this weekend with that record intact. You can find a full schedule for every game here, with all of the matches available to watch live right here.

Dota 2

Qualifiers for Dota 2's Asia Championships 2017 are this weekend beginning at 12:00PM EST when Natus Vincere will look to face down a Team Secret side who’s seen better days. Play in each region’s group will continue through the rest of the day and into tomorrow. Only the top team from each group will be invited to compete in the Championship tournament in April.

You can watch all the action live right here.

Counter-Strike:Global Offensive

A handful of matches for the IEM Season XI World Championship closed qualifiers will take place this weekend starting with Fnatic vs. Mouseesports.CS in Europe at 12:00AM EST today followed by NA teams Misfits, Immortals, Counter Logic Gaming and Liquid at 3:00PM EST.

You can find those games here.

Overwatch

The Oceanic Summer Series kicked off yesterday and will resume tonight at 8:ooPM EST. Play will progress throughout the month until the Finals on the weekend of February 26.

You can stream all of the matches right here.

Hearthstone

The Kinguin for Charity event continues throughout the weekend. Play begins in Group C today. You can stream all of the matches, beginning at 12:00PM EST right here.

FIFA 17

The Europe Regional Final in Paris is this weekend, part of the FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Championship Series featuring a prize pool over $1.3 million. You can watch the tournament live here or find the replays here.

This Week In The Business: Great Switch Expectations 

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 08:00

QUOTE | “Some of those who have seen this lineup have expressed the opinion that the launch lineup is weak. Our thinking in arranging the 2017 software lineup is that it is important to continue to provide new titles regularly without long gaps.” - Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima explains the company’s strategy for the Switch launch. Interestingly, it is the same strategy the company embraced for the Wii U launch.

STAT |13.5 million - Lifetime sales of the Wii U. In a post-earnings Nikkei interview, Kimishima said he expects the Switch to sell as well as the original Wii, which sold more than 101 million units.

QUOTE | “I’m sure the organizers of GDC, E3, WWDC etc. are mortified that their conferences are no longer global, and held behind a Racist Curtain.” - Former Sony PlayStation strategic content director Shahid Kamal Ahmad, weighing in on Donald Trump’s executive order banning US immigration and travel for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

QUOTE | “The executive order strikes an incredibly sharp contrast with the values on which our company was founded. We are, and will always be, a company that strives for inclusion, embraces diversity, and treats one another with respect. This is the very foundation of what makes not just our company - but America - great, which is why I am so troubled by these actions.” - Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime joins a number of voices throughout the industry speaking up against the travel ban.

QUOTE | “We appreciate the jury’s finding against the defendants, and the award of half a billion dollars in damages for those serious violations.’” - ZeniMax chairman and CEO Robert A. Altman hails the verdict in his company’s lawsuit accusing Oculus of stealing technology and code from ZeniMax subsidiary id Software to create the Rift VR headset.

QUOTE | “Being sued sucks.” - id Software co-founder and Oculus CTO John Carmack, in a Facebook response to the court’s decision.

QUOTE | “It won’t be about going to YouTube to watch a tutorial, or having to play for three hours to understand. I can’t afford that in a freemium sort of model, retention would be terrible, probably even with existing Paradox players. We know it’s going to be super tough, so we have to keep experimenting.” Paradox Interactive’s Kim Nordstrom identifies the paradox he faces in making the company’s notoriously daunting strategy IP work for the notoriously finnicky and impatient mobile market.

QUOTE | “We still need great games to push other great games. Whenever you have really good mobile titles, people go back to playing on their phones and realise there is some quality content on there. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.” - Patrick Naud of Hitman GO developer Square Enix Montreal explains why he welcomes high quality competition in the premium mobile space like Super Mario Run.

QUOTE | “What we didn’t anticipate a year ago was just how much more of a burden Rock Band 4 was going to be.” - Mad Catz CEO Karen McGinnis explains the company’s grim financial position to investors.

QUOTE | “We did nothing the right way.” - Waygetter Electronics’ Ben Esposito reflects on the marketing plan for the PC horror game Tattletail, which was released the same day it was announced, December 28, during a Steam sale. (It has already made its money back.)

QUOTE | “In many ways, we feel the way games are made is broken. We put huge bets on making a game, and if that bet doesn’t work out... well, we see it all the time: studios are being shut down, or resized. It seems to always be the developer that gets the sharp end of the stick.” - Freestyle Games co-founder Jamie Jackson explains why he and David Osborne left the company last year to create their new studio, Slingshot Cartel.

Saturday's Best Deals: Breville Smart Oven, Bose Cinemate, and More

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 07:19

Your favorite toaster oven, a tri-ply stockpot, and one of your favorite blenders lead off Saturday’s best deals.

Bookmark Kinja Deals and follow us on Twitter to never miss a deal. Commerce Content is independent of Editorial and Advertising, and if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here to learn more.

USB-C/QC 2.0 Power Receptacle, $27 with code N5OI53XR | QC 2.0 Power Receptacle, $25 with code HNOHZFWT

Our readers have upgraded a lot of AC power receptacles with USB charging ports over the last few years, but if you were holding out for more future-proof options with USB-C and Quick Charge technology, today’s your lucky day.

Top Greener’s brand new receptacles include either two Quick Charge USB-A ports, or one QC port and a USB-C port for your newer devices, and both are on sale today, plus modest additional discounts with the promo codes listed below. Unfortunately, you will sacrifice one of your AC outlets for the privilege, but chances are, you already have some USB charging bricks plugged in at all times throughout your house anyway.

There are also Quick Charge 3.0 versions of the same receptacles available, but unfortunately they aren’t on sale.

Refurb Breville Smart Oven Pro, $200

Breville’s reader-favorite Smart Ovens almost never go on sale, but Amazon’s offering a rare refurb discount today on one of the largest models

The Breville Smart Oven Pro can easily accommodate six full sized pieces of toast, a 13" pizza, or even an entire medium-sized bird, and its smart cooking modes mean you get perfect results every time. I got a smaller model as a wedding gift last year, and it’s every bit as good as advertised.

Brand new, this would set you back nearly $270 (still worth it), but today only, you can get a refurb for $200. We don’t often see refurbs of these available at all, so don’t miss out.

Bose Cinemate 15, $310

Bose’s Cinemate 15 packs some seriously impressive sound into a tiny sound bar and accompanying acoustic mass module (don’t you dare call it a subwoofer), and it’s never been cheaper than $310. In fact, until late last year, it rarely dropped below $500.

AmazonBasics 12-Pack AAA Batteries, $12

You’ve probably got a bunch of rechargeable AA batteries lying around, but if you need some AAAs to go with them, AmazonBasics’ 12-pack is down to just $12 right now.

Amazingly, that’s only half the price of the equivalent Eneloop pack, and if you believe some reviewers, these may actually be rebranded Eneloops themselves. We can’t verify that claim (though like Eneloops, they were produced in Japan and pre-charged with solar energy, which seems really specific to be a coincidence), but whatever their origin, they have great reviews, and a stellar price tag.

Update: Some AmazonBasics batteries are from Japan, but these don’t seem to be.

RAVPower 8-Outlet/3-USB Surge Protector, $20

You can never have enough power outlets, and you can never have enough USB charging ports, but this $20 surge protector from RAVPower gets you a little bit closer to charging nirvana.

Canon EOS T6 2-Lens Bundle + Photo Printer, $350 after promo code SDWPPI2017 and $350 mail-in rebate.

Update: Code has expired.

Ready to graduate from smartphone photography? Adorama will sell you a Canon EOS Rebel T6, two lenses, and even a photo printer for a measly $350 today, or $100 less than Amazon charges for the camera and kit lens alone. You’ll have to deal with a $350 mail-in rebate, and use promo code SDWPPI2017 at checkout to save $200, but this deal is worth the hassle.

Refurb Ninja Professional BL661, $56

Update: Sold out

The Ninja Professional BL660 recently took home the title of your favorite affordable blender, and the nearly identical BL661 is down to just $56 refurbished, today only on Amazon.

The BL661 includes an 1000 watt motor (compared to 1100W on the 660), a 72 ounce pitcher, and a pair of single-serve smoothie cups so you don’t have to clean the big pitcher every time you feel like making yourself a smoothie to go. The 660 usually sells for around $100 new, so this one-day refurb sale is a tremendous value.

Ginsu Steak Knives, $30 | Ginsu 4-Piece Knife Set, $85

Today only, Amazon’s marking down two different sets of Ginsu knives, all of which include those drool-worthy steel ripples that immediately make your kitchen look ten times fancier.

Cuisinart Tri-Ply Stockpot 12 Qt., $60

Everyone needs a big-ass stock pot, but they take up so much room, it’s worth investing in a good one. Today’s discounted 12 qt. Cuisinart uses tri-ply construction (just like All-Clad) for a beautiful finish, and quick, even heating. Seriously, if you’re using a flimsy steel pot right now, you’ll be amazed at how much faster water boils with tri-ply.

I recommend using it to cook Deadspin’s clam chowder recipe for about a dozen of your closest friends.

Suaoki Air Compressor, $30 with code 5EDE6JOQ

There are few things more irritating than noticing your tires are low on air, and then having to find a bunch of quarters, driving to the gas station, and cursing the heavens when the compressor shuts off before you’ve finished filling all four.

Instead, just buy this tiny $30 compressor, and fill up your own tires from anywhere. You can thank me later.

Beurer Foot Massager, $58 | Naipo Cordless Neck and Shoulder Massager, $75 with code 321off25 | Naipo Neck and Shoulder Massager, $36 with code 28off150

It’s been a...stressful few weeks for many of us, so turn off Twitter and treat yourself to a massage at home with these discounts. Then do it again, and again, and again, and ag....

Note: It’s not obvious from the images below, but the $75 Naipo includes a two hour battery, while the less expensive model needs to be plugged in.

O.J. Made in America, $14

ESPN’s award-winning documentary, O.J.: Made In America, is the definitive retelling of O.J. Simpson’s rise and fall, and the entire eight hour production can be yours forever on Amazon Instant Video for $14.

Hammerhead 4V Lithium Rechargeable Screwdriver with Circuit Sensor, $17

It’s 2017, so pray tell, why should you have to turn screws by hand anymore?

Seagate Backup Plus 4TB, $110

Update: The WD is backordered, but this Wirecutter-recommended Seagate Backup Plus 4TB is available for the same price.

Whether you need to be better about backing up your computer, or are just so excited that the PS4 is finally adding external hard drive support, you can get a WD My Passport 4TB drive for just $110 today for Prime members on Amazon, the best price they’ve ever listed.

It wasn’t that long ago that drives over 2TB required an extra power supply, but that’s not the case here; just plug it into a USB port, and it’s good to go.

Waste King L-8000 Garbage Disposal, $100

If you want to install a garbage disposal, your search can begin and end with the Waste King line.

You don’t see a ton of products on Amazon with over 5,000 reviews, but this 1 HP Waste King model manages a 4.6 star average from a boatload of customers, and it’s marked down to $100 right now on Amazon. We’ve seen it slightly cheaper on a handful of occasions, but this is the best deal since the holiday season, and definitely on the low end of its price range.

Buy Five Items, Get Free Shipping

Amazon’s Prime Pantry service has kicked off February with a pair of free shipping promotions.

If the $6-per-box Prime Pantry delivery fee is scaring you off, it’s easy to avoid by including any five items from this page in your box. There are hundreds of eligible products from across every major category, so you should have no trouble finding five that you were going to buy anyway. If you meet this requirement, you’ll see the $6 shipping fee waived at checkout.

If you somehow don’t find five items that you want, you can also add some from this “Made For Super Bowl” promotion. You won’t get your items by Sunday, but there’s never a bad time to eat Stacy’s Pita Chips. It’s the same free shipping offer, but you could combine items from both pages to get the deal.

The best part? If you have a Prime Pantry shipping credit on your Amazon account for choosing no-rush shipping on a previous order, that will stack with this deal, saving you an extra $6.

Aukey Apple Watch Charging Stand with Suction Cup, $6 with code AUKEYLYU

There are probably thousands of Apple Watch charging stands out there, but basically every one I’ve seen shares the same problem: They slide all over your nightstand when you try to pull the watch off its magnetic charger.

Aukey seems to have solved that with an ingeniously simple suction cup on the bottom of its new stand. It’s a little thing, but you’ll appreciate it every night, and what’s $6 to someone who spent $270+ on an Apple Watch?

Note: This doesn’t include any actual charging hardware: Like most Apple Watch charging stands, it’s basically just housing for the included charger.

Vansky Motion-Activated Under-Bed Night Light, $18 with code SJMFQK08

Finally, someone made the Glow Bowl, but for everywhere else in your home. This motion-sensing light strip is billed as an under-bed night light, but you could just as easily attach it under your bathroom counter, along a railing, beneath your baby’s crib, or anywhere else you might need to venture in the middle of the night. For a limited time, you can get one for just $18 with code SJMFQK08, matching an all-time low.

Hisense 50" 4K Smart TV, $300

Hisense isn’t the most well known TV company out there, but they’re generally well respected, and it’s tough to find much fault with a 50" 4K smart TV with HDR processing for $300. This is the entry level model of the company’s 2016 lineup, and its black levels are apparently a step or two behind its more expensive brethren, but this price is still about $100 less than you’ll see elsewhere, and a great bargain any way you slice it.

Aukey Car Mount, $6 with code AUKEYLYU

Aukey’s simple magnetic smartphone vent holder is one of the most popular car mounts out there, and from personal experience, I can tell you it’s awesome for taking on vacation for use in a rental car as well. For $6, go ahead, give it a try.

OxyLED D01 Doorbell Kit, $10 with code OXYD0199

We’ve posted our fair share of deals on wireless doorbells, motion sensor lights, emergency flashlights, and security alarms, but this is the only product we’ve seen that performs all of those functions on its own.

J and L Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds, $10 with code Q73GWW55 | Sony Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones, $45 | Mpow Thor Bluetooth Headphones, $19 with code PTQAXDOZ

It’s pretty clear by now that wired headphones are a thing of the past for all but the most serious audiophiles. Luckily, Bluetooth headphones are ubiquitous and affordable, and we’ve spotted three different deals today, including on a pair from Sony.

Contigo AUTOSEAL Transit, $14

This Contigo travel mug is very similar to the Autoseal West Loop, your overwhelming favorite mug on Kinja Co-Op, but with a rubberized non-slip grip. $14 matches a Gold Box deal from last week, so if you missed out on that all-time low price, this is a great second chance.

Lorell Sit to Stand Monitor Riser, $148

So you want to try a standing desk, but you’re not ready to commit to it for eight hours a day...what do you do? You buy this Lorell monitor riser for $148, an all-time low.

This riser arrives fully assembled, and just sits on top of your existing desk. Put your monitor(s) on the top shelf, your keyboard and mouse on the bottom, and use its integrated spring system to raise the entire setup from a sitting to standing position within seconds. I own a very similar product from Varidesk (which was much more expensive, by the way), and I absolutely love it.

I can tell you from experience that you’ll definitely want a good anti-fatigue mat for standing. This one has great reviews, but whatever you choose, make sure it’s at least 3/4" thick.

Etekcity Dimmable LED Desk Lamp, $25

$25 is a solid great price for any LED desk lamp, but it’s one of the best we’ve ever seen for a model that includes a USB charging port and adjustable color temperature, which can seriously boost your productivity.

Hoover TwinTank Steam Mop, $45

When it comes to cleaning hard floors, you’ve basically got three options to choose from, if you don’t want to get down on your hands and knees:

  • A regular old mop, which can leave your floors wet for hours.
  • A Swiffer WetJet, or any similar product that uses chemical spray that can leave a residue, and disposable (i.e. expensive) cleaning pads.
  • A steam mop, which cleans using regular old water that dries within seconds.

Now, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but the choice seems rather obvious to me, especially when you can get a highly rated Hoover steam mop for just $45 today only on Amazon. That’s the best price ever listed, and $10 less than our previous mention.

Aukey USB Wall Charger, $6 with code ZOERF9IO

You know the little charging brick that came with your phone? Throw it out, and spend $6 on this replacement from Aukey (white only with code ZOERF9IO). It’s basically the same size as Apple’s standard iPhone charger, but it includes two ports, folding prongs, and 2.4A of current (shared between the ports) to charge your devices faster.

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Add USB-C and Quick Charge To Your Home's Outlets With These Discounted Receptacles

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 06:00
USB-C/QC 2.0 Power Receptacle, $27 with code N5OI53XR | QC 2.0 Power Receptacle, $25 with code HNOHZFWT

Our readers have upgraded a lot of AC power receptacles with USB charging ports over the last few years, but if you were holding out for more future-proof options with USB-C and Quick Charge technology, today’s your lucky day.

Top Greener’s brand new receptacles include either two Quick Charge USB-A ports, or one QC port and a USB-C port for your newer devices, and both are on sale today, plus modest additional discounts with the promo codes listed below. Unfortunately, you will sacrifice one of your AC outlets for the privilege, but chances are, you already have some USB charging bricks plugged in at all times throughout your house anyway.

There are also Quick Charge 3.0 versions of the same receptacles available, but unfortunately they aren’t on sale.

More Deals

Today’s selection of articles from Kotaku’s reader run community: The Saga of Tanya the Evil is an e

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 18:59

Today’s selection of articles from Kotaku’s reader run community: The Saga of Tanya the Evil is an epic pissing contest between an atheist and a godGame Review: The Last GuardianTwo Months Later, I’ve Finally Finished Pokémon Moon...It Was Iight Unboxing: Tales of Berseria - Collector’s Edition

You’re reading TAY, Kotaku’s community-run blog. TAY is written by and for Kotaku readers like you. We write about games, art, culture and everything in between. Want to write with us? Check out the Beginner’s Guide to TAY and join in.

You can always stop by to say ‘hi’ on our: TAY Open Forum

Or write an article to your personal blog and tag it TAY Classic for feedback.

Follow us here.

Angela Hill, an MMA fighter I interviewed about cosplay and video games, returns to the UFC this wee

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 18:00

Angela Hill, an MMA fighter I interviewed about cosplay and video games, returns to the UFC this weekend. While the UFC’s weigh-in dress code doesn’t allow for as elaborate of cosplay as Invicta, Hill made up for it by doing a great impersonation of Street Fighter’s Sagat.

Pirates Pounce On Conan Exiles After Developers Accidentally Remove DRM

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 17:33

In the never-ending battle between pirates and DRM makers, there are no easy victories. Or at least, that was the case with notorious anti-tamper tech Denuvo until, well, yesterday.

Denuvo anti-tamper was supposed to keep Conan Exiles’ cavalcade of burly barbarian men under lock and key, but the dang dongs broke free. Now they’re flapping and flopping every which way in the breeze. Turns out, it happened because of a boo-boo on developer Funcom’s end.

“Denuvo was temporarily removed due to an error in the build process,” Funcom told Eurogamer.

A subsequent update quickly restored it, but that didn’t stop pirates from catching Funcom with their pants down. Now there’s a DRM-free version of the game out there that people can play on private servers. Obviously, though, it won’t receive any updates, so it’ll forever be stuck in a state of very early access.

“There is unfortunately not much we can do about those who choose to download and play unauthorised copies,” Funcom said, “but we hope they make the jump to the official version so they can stay up to date with the latest patches and improvements. Being an Early Access title, there will be a lot of updates going forward!”

In this case, Denuvo wasn’t cracked, so much as it fell off for a second. More broadly, though, time has not been kind to the software once regarded as the final boss of the morally gray game that is DRM-cracking. Resident Evil 7 got cracked in a week, following cracks of games like Doom, InsideDeus Ex: Mankind Divided, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst in recent months.

The developers of games like Inside and Doom have also taken to patching Denuvo out of their games, though Denuvo told me it had nothing to do with cracks. Rather, Denuvo apparently “accomplished its purpose by keeping the game safe from piracy during the initial sales window” and was no longer needed.

It remains to be seen what’ll happen with Conan Exiles down the line. All of this does, however, raise a question: If Denuvo won’t keep the dicks safe, who will?

You’re reading Steamed, Kotaku’s page dedicated to all things in and around Valve’s wildly popular PC gaming service. Games, culture, community creations, criticism, guides, videos—everything. If you’ve found anything cool/awful on Steam, send us a message to let us know. 

What It’s Like To Be An Iranian Game Developer In Trump’s America

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 16:20
Image credit: Alchetron.

Navid Khonsari has been a legal resident of the United States for 17 years. He’s worked on games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Resident Evil 7, and an interactive story about the Iranian Revolution called 1979 Revolution: Black Friday. These days, though, he doesn’t feel entirely welcome in the US or Iran, and he’s worried about what’ll happen if he leaves.

“I’m cautious, is the best way to put it,” Khonsari, a green card holder, told me over the phone, voicing his concern about President Trump’s Muslim ban. “There have been updated statements saying that green card holders should have no issues entering the country, even though there would be a secondary interview that would take place, but I’m still worried.”

“I want to make sure that if I go abroad that I can also be able to come back to my home and to my family and not be locked out.”

The ban initially applied to and affected many green card holders, but the Trump administration has since clarified the language surrounding it. Still, Khonsari doesn’t want to risk it. “I’m married,” he said. “I have two children, and I want to make sure that if I go abroad that I can also be able to come back to my home and to my family and not be locked out.”

“None of the facts show that members of these nations have led terrorist attacks on American soil,” he added, pointing to reports that no American has been killed in the US by anyone from those seven Muslim-majority countries in more than 40 years. “Where my mind goes is, is this actually the proper approach for security vetting, or is this just based on a racist idea of what a certain group of people are predisposed to do?”

Khonsari stands to be affected more than many, directly and indirectly, by the Trump administration’s policies and the simmering pockets of racism and resentment bubbling up around the world. He even told me he’s regarded as something of an “American spy” in Iran. 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, which came out last year, is actually banned in the land it’s about, the place it’s a tribute to. It puts Khonsari in an odd spot. But he’s seen the effects of his own work, and that’s what keeps him going.

“I went to Iran, and kids who were playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas—which I worked on—came over to me, and we started having a conversation,” said Khonsari. “Their idea is that America must be an incredible place. I asked them why, and they were like, ‘Well, because you can drive around wherever you want. You can listen to the music that you want, and you can go buy clothes, and you can work out.’”

“This [aspect of GTA: San Andreas] is a celebration of the American way of life, and I got to be part of the team that helped bring that experience to fruition,” he added. “The opportunity only came because I came to America. When there’s pushback [against the government] in my statements, it’s because of my love, not my frustration or my anger. My love and the idea of where we were going and the possibilities of what we can be. Knowing that it’s not a one-way road, that it has to be done with an acknowledgment that there are different people with different needs and different backgrounds, but that we all still strive for similar things and ideals.”

“When there’s pushback [against the government] in my statements, it’s because of my love, not my frustration or my anger.”

When Khonsari was ten years old, his family left Iran. The 1979 Iran hostage crisis, in which 52 American diplomats and citizens were held in Iran for 444 days, had US-Iran tensions at a fever pitch. Meanwhile, schools were shutting down, and the country’s soul—what it meant to be an Iranian—was in flux. Khonsari’s parents had lived in Iran their entire lives, but they made the excruciating decision to leave and move to Canada. They wanted a better life and a good education for their kids, so they tore themselves from the fabric of the place that made them.

Khonsari told me multiple times that he adores America. He loves the ideals of freedom and opportunity the nation espouses, the culture we’ve carved into cliffsides and foisted upon eagles. He even understands the desire for increased security, given that he lived in New York at the time of 9/11. He also loves Iran, the homeland of his family and many people he cares about. At this point, though, it seems that neither America nor Iran particularly love him.

“I think when [1979 Revolution] got banned,” said Khonsari, “[the Iranian government] saw it—because it was made [in the United States]—as a form of propaganda. The game is called 1979 Revolution. It’s not called The Islamic Revolution, so as a result, that had some pushback. If they’re not controlling their message, it’s considered propaganda, or what we like to call fake news now. It’s exactly that. If it’s not in line with what the message of the regime is, it’s deemed to be propaganda or untrue. Strangely enough, we’re now seeing that happen over here.”

Having lived it, Khonsari sees parallels between what happened then in Iran and what’s happening in America now.

“The fact is,” said Khonsari, “there’s so many elements of this that are mirroring what took place in Iran. People who were frustrated fought for change, and then that change morphed and kind of got hijacked into something they were never really a part of or believed in at the beginning, except for a minority of outspoken people that really pushed it. They wound up on the other end of it under a theocratic leadership.”

Khonsari made 1979 Revolution: Black Friday to help people understand the moral ambiguity of the situation—the good intentions, painful outcomes, and humanity at the heart of it all. He wanted to depict Iranian culture as it truly was, not as this menacing alien tapestry of otherness, but as a country of people who wanted the same things everybody wants: to live free and happy, to laugh, love, and maybe even partake of some good old-fashioned American pop culture.

“I made that game with the idea of trying to break down barriers so that people from the West could see what Iran was like in the 1970s.”

“I made that game with the idea of trying to break down barriers so that people from the West could see what Iran was like in the 1970s and what their initial ideals were to come about and to start a revolution—the change that they wanted to bring about and the liberties that they wanted to achieve,” said Khonsari. “And then how that revolution also morphed into something else and how they wound up under a theocratic leadership.”

Khonsari wanted to help humanize a populace that’s been relentlessly dehumanized over the years, painted as religious zealots and potential terrorists. He told me the game inspired discussions on Steam of how people in Iran actually dressed and acted at the time. It corrected misconceptions and helped people understand how much they had in common.

I pointed out that it’s kind of sad that people need to see others in clothes that fit a hyper-specific definition of “normal” in order to accept them, but Khonsari replied that there’s a power in pop culture, a sort of cultural glue that can assemble disparate parts into a more understanding, accepting whole. “While you’d love to show people in the way that they are and how people accept it,” he said, “think about how much further you’ll get by having something people can assimilate with, something they can find in common, rather than having nobody experience that movie because it’s so specific to the culture.”

Despite everything going on in the world now, Khonsari still believes what he did when he first set out to create 1979 Revolution. He believes in the power of pop culture—of games, movies, TV, and music—to heal divides, to unite people whether they’re separated by geography or ideology. He’s felt that resonant force in his own life, and he wants to pass it on, because people need to understand each other now more than ever.

“In the end the greatest thing that the United States has ever exported is pop culture,” said Khonsari, pointing to examples like Star Wars. “All this stuff is taking place on a political level. Iranians, I mean Iranian civilians, love America. They love the pop culture. They love the movies. They love the music. They love all of that kind of stuff. That’s not just Iran, that’s around the world.”

“In the end the greatest thing that the United States has ever exported is pop culture.”

“Take a look at the late ‘60s and early ‘70s,” he continued. “It was the musicians, it was the artists that became some of the voices to bring about change, to bring about resistance. I think art and music and games and films and books is actually what allowed me to become integrated with North American society and how I started having conversations with my friends. How I created friends when I first moved to Canada when I was ten years old was that common conversation about arts, about video games, about movies, and I think that shows us how similar we are. I really believe that there’s great opportunity and that my job is just getting started.”

Scum’s Wish Is A Disturbing Anime About Lovers Who Love Other People

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 15:00
Scum’s Wish

In media, teenagers often possess a delicate balance of callousness and narcissism. In CW dramas like Gossip Girl, producers lean into their more sociopathic tendencies, not considering the emotional debates that lead them to cheat, steal or hurt others, all well-trod stereotypes of teenagers discovering themselves. Often, in real life, it is self-preservation driving these things. That’s the one thing so many dramas don’t capture.

There’s a new anime that does, and with cutting tenderness. Scum’s Wish is without a doubt my top anime this season. Based on a 2012 manga and produced by Studio Lerche, Scum’s Wish is a disturbing but empathetic drama about how teenagers use others and are used, all in the service of keeping afloat. It’s only four episodes into a ten-episode series, but it’s already slated to be one of my all-time favorites.

Scum’s Wish

Hanabi is a 17-year-old high-schooler who dates Mugi, a handsome older student. They go through all the motions of young love, stowing away behind the school to kiss and walking each other home. There, in the dark, they test their sexual and emotional limits as any young couple would. But it’s a farce. Each is in love with someone they can’t attain. To satisfy their emptiness, they’ve agreed to use each other as foils.

“Why don’t you pretend that I’m him?” Mugi says after school one day, leaning in to kiss Hanabi’s neck. “It doesn’t matter,” Habani responds. “I’m a replacement, too.” Mugi tells her to close her eyes. Pressed against him, Hanabi sees her crush’s face staring back. At first, their agreement is cold and transactional. Slowly, it thaws.

It soon becomes clear that a web of characters has formed around Hanabi, each with their own wicked yet understandable romantic motives. Through time, Hanabi tries to figure out whether she’s the kind of person who can be satisfied by lies.

Maybe it sounds campy, but full of painful silences, Scum’s Wish is a psychological maze. Sometimes, it’s funny. In a private karaoke room, Hanabi and Mugi sing depressing pop-punk together, entirely off-tune, as consolation. It’s a sad moment, for sure, spun as a silly one.

Scum’s Wish

This might go without saying, but Scum’s Wish is extremely NSFW. Sexual scenes are drawn with a rare fidelity to teenaged romance. Sometimes, awkward questions break up these scenes, making them even feel even more real. It’s at times uncomfortable, but never porny. At one point, Hanabi stumbles upon Mugi after he’d had a wet dream.

In terms of the actual animation, it’s clean with bright colors and detailed backgrounds. It’s got these Samurai X petals falling all the time. Compared to this season’s trend of over-the-top colors and animation sequences, Scum’s Wish is one of the more beautiful but understated anime I’ve seen in a while—a welcome contrast.

You can watch Scum’s Wish on Amazon, which was initially off-putting, since it’s not Crunchyroll or Funimation or, um, other websites. My recommendation is to watch it alone, so each of its increasingly dark and lonely notes will hit harder.

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 13:30

Do you even have to ask?

I just chose Yennefer to be Geralt’s love interest but I have a lot of doubts! What if I only think I love her because the game makes such a big deal out of their relationship, much like she’s worried about? What even is love? These are big questions, readers.

What doubts plague you? What are you playing?

The third Pokémon Sun and Moon Global Mission reached its goal today.

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 13:11

The third Pokémon Sun and Moon Global Mission reached its goal today. Players successfully completed one million trades, and are now heading to the second milestone of two million trades. Good luck!

The Book That Inspired The Witcher Games Is Just $3 on Kindle Today

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 13:05
The Last Wish: Introducing The Witcher [Kindle], $3

It’s not unusual to see terrible spin-off novels based on hit video game series, but The Witcher is actually a hit video game series spun off of a fantastic series of novels. The first chapter in the series, The Last Wish, is only $3 on Kindle today. Even if you haven’t played the games, it’s a great introduction to the lore, so don’t worry if you don’t know your botchlings from your bilge hags.

What's The Best D&D Character You’ve Ever Made?

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 13:05
D&D’s Dead in Thay

Rare are the opportunities for Dungeons & Dragons fans to geek out about their favorite character. It’s like explaining your dream to someone. A few seconds in, your poor non-D&D-playing friend’s eyes glaze over in a bored daze.

Really, who can blame them? Unlike Fire Emblem’s cast, your character is yours from top to bottom. If anything, telling someone about your favorite PC is a lot like telling someone about who you are. For example, I tend to play chaotic/neutral magic-users who probably do not care about lighting a whole dry field on fire as long as there’s an enemy there. (People who play D&D with me have found this unsavory.)

But here at Kotaku, we have carved out a space for you to talk about your D&D character of choice. And I’m not talkin’ about your dwarvan fighter. Tell us about your craziest, weirdest and most original character you’ve ever made in the comments.

Simpler Video Game Menus Are Better

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 12:10

The release of the former Wii U exclusive Yoshi’s Woolly World to the Nintendo 3DS demonstrates once again that gaming menus are best when they’re lists. Nothing fancier is needed. We don’t need to be able to wander every which way through them.

Both versions of Woolly World are sidescrollers. They pretty much have the same levels. But the Wii U game presents its menus on a walkable 2D plane. The 3DS game presents them as straight lines. Guess which one is more convenient to use?

Here’s the main menu of the Wii U version of the game. In it, you must walk Yoshi around a circular area, going from a hut for swapping Yoshis to another hut for doing Amiibo stuff and so on.

Here is the new 3DS version of that, all laid out in one nice straight line...

Another example: This is how you pick which of the game’s levels you want to play. Yoshi’s got to walk to each one wandering around a little field:

And here’s how they do it in the 3DS version...

There no doubt that the Wii U game is prettier. Its menu areas look way nicer than the 3DS game’s. But menus aren’t about looking pretty. They’re about showing you your options and letting you get to stuff quickly.

Sometimes 2D is better than 3D. In this case, give me a 1D menu over a 2D one any day.

Your Super Bowl LI Tecmo Super Bowl Simulation Is Live

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 11:45

We updated the rosters. We updated the uniforms. We even updated the end zones. It’s time to CPU vs. CPU simulate Sunday’s Super Bowl in Tecmo Super Bowl, LIVE:

Here's How Fast Cars Would Be If They Advanced At The Pace Of Computers

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 11:30

The idea of comparing the pace of development of computers to cars has been around a while. Snopes traces the idea all the way back to some early-internet joke in 1997, even. Fundamentally, it’s sort of an absurd comparison—the two technologies are so different, they’re really not comparable. I did it anyway.

Just for fun, fully aware that, yes, it’s kind of stupid, I just wanted to crunch some numbers about specs of cars and computers over 35 years of development and see what happens.

For the 1982 side, I picked an Apple II Plus, a popular computer of the era that introduced many of us to the joys of virtually dying of dysentery. For the car, I wanted to pick something we still have today, so I went with the base-level four-cylinder Ford Mustang.

For the year of our snappy lord 2017, I’ll use Apple’s current base-level desktop computer, the 21.5" iMac, and the four-cylinder base Mustang, the Mustang Ecoboost.

I picked four specs to measure for each: for the computers I picked RAM (random-access memory), storage memory capacity, CPU speed, and price. For the car I picked horsepower, fuel economy in MPG, 0-60 mph time in seconds, and price.

Equating the metrics isn’t perfect by any means, but here’s what I did: 0-60 time and CPU speed (they’re both speed related), RAM memory and MPG (because having more RAM tends to make the computer run more, um, efficiently, sort of?), storage capacity with horsepower (because knowledge is power), and price to price.

The results are pretty striking: computers have developed insanely quickly, and if cars developed at that pace, well, look at the chart.

Again, this apples and oranges, or apple and horses, or whatever. It’s not a really rational comparison. But it’s fun to think about, right?

Watching Someone Else Play Resident Evil 7 On YouTube: The Kotaku Review

Fri, 02/03/2017 - 11:14

Despite having a taste for horror movies and novels, horror video games freak me the hell out. Still, I was curious about Resident Evil 7's promise of a Southern Gothic zombie game. Like millions of other scaredy cats out there, I decided to watch it on YouTube instead of playing it.

Horror games are huge on YouTube, and popular YouTubers such as Pewdiepie, Jacksepticeye and Markiplier are all playing the game. I understand why people like these guys: they’re broadly funny, they have extreme reactions and are willing to embarrass themselves on camera. It’s also way easier to watch someone else be scared. But I’m also a nerd who was interested in the plot. I didn’t want to be distracted by screaming when I wanted to untangle the premise: why did Ethan Winters’s wife tell him to come to this Louisiana swamp? Who are the Baker family? How did they end up as horrifying, deformed zombies?

It might sound like I was in the market for a commentary-less LP, but those have their own set of problems. It’s easy to get distracted if I can’t see someone reacting to scary moments in the game, but more importantly, the game wasn’t as scary. The benefit of a Let’s Player is that they can telegraph key moments to you, allowing you to be in the same headspace, and that’s an important part of the experience on YouTube.

I settled on YouTuber Christopher Odd. It’s not as if Odd wasn’t scared by the game—at one point, late in his Let’s Play, his wife and a friend enter the room to say hello and he completely freaks out, telling them that they really cannot do that. But Odd’s reactions didn’t pre-empt my own. Notably, he doesn’t use a scare-cam, meaning I could see all of the screen and not be distracted by his face. I could be scared along with him, while also allowing his reactions to give me some distance from the game.

Odd says in his first episode that he likes to set the mood when he plays scary games. That means turning off all the lights, putting the headphones on, and turning the volume up just a little too loud. The result? Odd was often startled by even small things, like creepy mannequins in his peripheral vision. In a weird way, it was nice to watch something scary along with someone who was also clearly scared. Some of Odds updates are short because he says he’s freaking out too much and needs to take a break. You can hear him breathing hard, his voice quavering a little. I certainly believed him.

As a viewer, it’s easy to get drawn into the zombie mystery of Resident Evil 7, which focuses on Ethan Winters trying to find his wife, Mia, who has been missing for three years. Narratively, the game does a good job of placing the player and viewer in an extreme, but intriguing, situation. Hard to be bored by being trapped in a house by murderous cannibals, that’s for sure. Odd also vocalized his theories as he played, an aspect that is important to the identify of a modern horror game. Near the end, Odd correctly guesses the secret of the identity of Eveline, the spectre haunting the Baker farm, and I felt a completely unearned sense of pride.

I found the gamier elements harder to watch. You know what’s really frustrating? Watching someone else solve puzzles, and not being able to give any input. I could feel myself tensing up, wanting to scream, It’s over there, you dingus, every time he missed a major clue. I know for fans, the return of puzzles is something that they celebrated. And I also know that puzzles are very fun—but not when you are watching someone else work through the steps you may have already figured out. I was definitely at an advantage because I wasn’t scared to death, but knowing that I was in a privileged position didn’t make it any easier to watch. I found myself pulling out my phone to play Dots & Co when hang-ups like a puzzle or boss fight happened, though I was still engrossed overall.

A lot of video game plots fall apart if you think about them for too long, but Resident Evil 7 works just well enough that I could suspend my disbelief. Elements of Southern Gothic literature are exaggerated in the game to the point of grotesquery. This is not just a Louisiana bayou—the very environment is hostile to you, buzzing with wasps the size of cats. Your hosts are obsessed with hospitality to the point of wanting to kill you for not eating their food. It’s like a perverted cousin of Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find.” After setting these conventions up, though, the game turns them on their head. One character insists the Baker family wasn’t always a scary coven of swamp dwelling creeps, but instead a generous and kind family that lost their way. Later, Jack Baker is given a genuine moment of humanity that is touching, redeeming himself and his family somewhat. It’s not Nobel Prize for Literature material, but it was enough for me.

I once had a boyfriend that made fun of me for watching Let’s Plays, saying I’d have a fuller experience if I just played the game, but I don’t think that’s true. Like my coworker Luke Plunkett, I feel like I’m physically incapable of playing horror games, on a brain-wiring level. Even if I had somehow, through the aid of anti-anxiety medication, finished the game, I don’t feel like I’d have gotten as much out of it as I did through watching an LP. It’s like watching a movie with a friend and then sitting down for a drink to talk about it afterward: their experience complements yours, and fills out some pieces you may have missed. It’s no wonder millions of people choose to watch horror games on YouTube instead of playing them.