Live Olympic Games Broadcasting Migrates to the Cloud With Alibaba

Olympic Broadcasting Services has partnered with China’s Alibaba to offer cloud based technical solutions for live broadcasting at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The high requirements for volume, speed and latency that are inherent in live sports broadcasting of major events have kept the use of the cloud to a very low level, despite […]

Variety

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5 Indie Games With Amazing Female Leads

Samus Aran and Lara Croft will inevitably come up in any conversation about fantastic female protagonists. Both of them are badass and well-equipped to battle waves of enemies or perilous dungeons. But what about the heroes who don’t usually get a taste of the limelight? These five indie games showcase some of the best badass leading ladies.

Captain Faraday — SteamWorld Heist


Piper Faraday from SteamWorld Heist.
Piper wears the best hat of them all.

Half turn-based-strategy game and half squinting-at-the-screen-and-praying-you-don’t-aim-wrong, SteamWorld Heist mixes its strategy FPS-like mechanics with colorful personalities, retro-inspired backdrops, and classy music. The leader of a band of space pirates, Captain Piper Faraday, battles Scrappers to survive after the destruction of Earth. She’s accustomed to wielding scoped guns and is one of the slickest wall-bouncing shooters.

Piper’s witty and resourceful. She won’t hesitate to board your ship and serve justice with a well-aimed shot. Piper recruits a plethora of ragtag heroes, like Sea Brass and Sally Bolt, who all offer up their own abilities and weapon specialties. They follow her because of her charisma, leadership abilities, and, of course, the hats she’s scavenged from fallen enemies. Hats off to you, Piper.

Jill Stingray — VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action


Kira Miki comforts Jill.
Sometimes, we just need someone who’s willing to listen.

The minimal gameplay visual novel, VA-11 HALL-A showcases a relatable story of love, regret, and self-growth over a great soundtrack. Glitch City is loaded with corruption, and VA-11 HALL-A is one of its only safe havens. Yet, despite the circumstances, Julianne Natalie Stingray isn’t an action hero.

As a bartender in a shady corner of this futuristic cyberpunk universe, Jill listens to the stories of eccentric citizens, such as a Hatsune Miku-inspired pop idol and the most rad Shiba Inu. She’s the furthest removed from the action, but the player learns about the world and its dynamics through these conversations.

Patrons usually see Jill as a typical bartender: cool, calm, and collected. However, between Glitch City’s growing violence and her past regrets, Jill eventually has to drop her emotional defenses and face her decision to walk out on her then-girlfriend. As she serves drinks to both friends and strangers alike, Jill reminds us that we’re never too late to right wrongs and make a difference in someone’s life.

Hat Kid — A Hat in Time


Hat Kid from A Hat in Time.
She’s the hero we never knew we needed.

Pulling together the best parts of Crash Bandicoot, Super Mario 64, and Banjo-Kazooie, A Hat in Time weaves a fun tale about a talented and adventurous alien girl. As a skilled weaver and explorer, Hat Kid travels all over the galaxy in search of her missing Time Pieces. She crafts a variety of awesome hats that grant abilities like turning into an ice statue or creating explosive potions. Hat Kid also uses her spectacular jumping skills to headbutt her foes or simply smack away at the baddies when wielding her trusty umbrella.

With such great power comes great responsibility — and a heroic adventure Hat Kid doesn’t think is necessary. This pits her against Mustache Girl, who decides Hat Kid is wasting her potential to end all evil. Her search to fix her spaceship culminates in one of the craziest boss battles, where all the “bad guys” come together and help Hat Kid teach the real villain of the game a vital lesson.

Red — Transistor


Red leaning against her motorcycle next to the Transistor.
“Hey Red. We’re not getting away with this, are we?”

A mute singer in the crumbling city of Cloudbank, Red battles against the Process and the Camerata to learn the truth behind the Transistor and maybe even save whatever’s left. We feel a sense of dread from the introduction, as Red retrieves a talking sword from a man’s lifeless body. Everything was taken away from her: her city, career, voice, and lover. The world is falling apart around her, but she chooses to keep moving forward.

Along the way, Red obtains the Traces of fallen citizens, harnessing their abilities through the Transistor and giving them a semblance of new life. This is the main aspect of Supergiant’s isometric strategy game: these Functions can be combined to fit the player’s style. Using Jaunt() recklessly or thinking deeply about your Turn() strategy are both valid options to any fight. Learning the nuances of Function combos prepares the player for the final boss. However, Transistor’s finale, coupled with the musical genius of Darren Korb and the passionate singing of Ashley Barret, will not fail to tear at your heartstrings.

Madeline — Celeste


Part of Madeline, Madeline, and Theo from Celeste.
“Your breathing keeps that feather floating.“

Madeline strives to overcome her mountain — literally. She isn’t punching enemies in the face, and she doesn’t wield an awesome blaster. Instead, Madeline uses sheer willpower and emotional fortitude to battle her personal demons. (And also literally hop up and around a mountain.)

Celeste’s platforming is not easy, and this pairs perfectly with its themes. Madeline’s journey illustrates the difficulties of people who face depression, anxiety, and other mental health battles. Madeline faces a part of herself that discourages her journey by insulting her, making her second-guess herself. Experiencing her exciting ups and painful falls makes the final stretch of the game that much sweeter — a moment of triumph, boiled down into joyous tears when we realize she’s reached the summit.

Besides, who could resist having a snack with all the friends we made along the way?

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5 Hidden Object Games You Should Play Right Now

Many video games today take a lot of time and effort to get to the end. Luckily, there are casual games that don’t need much demand on time or skill in contrast to ones like Call of Duty or Red Dead Redemption. With hidden object games, you just have to find items on a list that are within a larger picture. Sometimes, you also need to solve intricate puzzles that require a bit of logical thinking.

Thanks to publishers like Big Fish Games and Elephant Games, hidden object games have become increasingly popular. There are countless games to choose from, whether you want to unwind after an exhausting day or to boost your problem-solving skills. So, here are five hidden objects game that you should start playing today.

Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst


best hidden objects games Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst Series

Starting off our list is the third installment of the popular hidden object series — Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst. In the game, the Queen of England asks you to investigate a mysterious mansion in Blackpool, the Ravenhearst Manor. In her letter to you, her Majesty explains that those who have entered the estate have witnessed strange things happen and that many of the doors have bizarre looking locks.

It’s up to you, the Master Detective to solve this mystery and inform her Majesty what is really going on in Ravenhearst Manor. Luckily, you have the journal of a young woman named Emma Ravenhearst, who will guide you every step of the way.

With each clue, you solve you get a piece of the journal detailing the events that happened in Ravenhearst. In the end, you will answer a 100-year-old case, but that doesn’t mean that the story is over. The rest of the games chronicles the events that take place after you solve the first mystery. With things getting a lot more grimmer and covering more extensively topics such as murder, ghosts, and black magic.

Urban Legends: The Maze


best hidden objects games Urban Legends The Maze

The Maze is an incredibly popular reality TV show that garners countless viewers. However, during the show’s finale, the transmission mysteriously stops, and the contestants seem to have disappeared.

Now it’s up to you to solve this mystery and find the participants. But exploring the bizarre sets and traps that make up The Maze will prove to be a challenge of itself. To make matters worse you’re not alone — there’s a strange man who’s ready to stop you. What really happened during the taping?

It was inevitable that there would be a hidden objects game about a reality TV show. Unscripted series have become a common phenomenon. Elephant Games uses this and combines it with the supernatural to deliver a unique take on the hidden objects game genre. The graphic design also brings all the magic of TV to life with exotic animals ready to pounce and, of course, a mysterious man in a terrifying mask. To top it all off, Urban Legends: The Maze is fast-paced and lasts longer than the average hidden object game.

Criminal Case


best hidden objects games Criminal Case

First released for Facebook in 2012, Criminal Case has grown in popularity and is now available in both iOS and Android. You start out as a rookie detective who works in Grimsborough, a town where every day there’s a murder. It’s up to you and your partner — although you will be doing all the work — to solve these crimes.

By locating relevant clues and rapidly clicking the items on the list, you’ll get a high score and earn stars. You can trade in these starts to interrogate suspects, examine evidence or buy power-ups. When you’ve finally caught the murderer, a speedy trial takes place. But that isn’t all — to unlock the next one, you’ll need to complete the case’s post-indictment chapter. This will give you clues to the larger mystery plaguing Grimsborough.

With each passing crime scene, the game’s dark and gritty story will keep you hooked until you finally click away the murderer. And, of course, Criminal Case’s crude humor will also make you giggle at the bickering your partner and the CSI crew take part. If you like dark plots and have quick reflexes, then give Criminal Case a try.

Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses


best hidden objects games Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses

Edward Stratemeyer’s Nancy Drew couldn’t miss out in solving a mystery. The first installment of the series, Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses! follows the fictional amateur sleuth Nancy Drew, who’s on the set of the controversial remake of the film “Pharaoh!” However, strange accidents have been plaguing the crew and actors. Is someone behind these mysterious accidents or is Lois Manson, the original film’s star, back to finish the movie, no matter the cost?

Published by Her Interactive, Lights, Camera, Curses! can be enjoyed by anyone, especially fans of the fictional sleuth. The music and Nancy’s many catchphrases complement the challenging and creative puzzles and mini-games.

Besides that, no ending is the same. Depending on the number of points you collect throughout the game, you will have a different conclusion — a good reason to play the game more than once.

Surface: Alone in the Mist


best hidden objects games Surface Alone in the Mist

In the seventh installment of the Surface series, you’re a sixteen-year-old girl named Carol. You wake up full of joy ready to celebrate your birthday. However, what’s supposed to be a joyous day quickly turns to horror, as all of the adults in town including your parents have disappeared. Children run rampant, but the only thing on your mind is to find out what happened to the adults. It will take a lot of strength and courage to solve this mystery.

You’ll have to travel to creepy buildings and meet mysterious characters who will help you on your search. To keep things even scarier, Elephant Games also added a horrifying soundtrack to build up the suspense.

Besides that, the game offers both simple and complex point-and-click puzzles, like matching objects you find to silhouetted shapes. To increase the difficulty level, you can go out of your way to collect unique flowers to unlock special items and more puzzles.

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How to Live Stream ‘Monday Night Football’ Games for Free Throughout the 2018 NFL Season

“Monday Night Football” games are broadcast on ESPN. That’s a pay TV channel, of course. But it’s still possible for nearly all fans to watch “Monday Night Football” for free tonight and every Monday during the 2018 NFL season, even they don’t have cable or another TV or live streaming service that includes ESPN.

As we reported in a previous story covering how to live stream NFL games free, the 2018 season marks the first time that fans can stream their locally broadcast games, as well as nationally televised matchups — including “Sunday Night Football” on NBC and “Monday Night Football” on ESPN — by using the NFL App:

Fans can watch NFL games online for free via the NFL App. After you’ve downloaded the app to a mobile device or connected TV, you’ll be able to live stream many NFL games — specifically, your local team’s games, as well as nationally broadcast prime time games like NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” — throughout the entire season. Downloading the NFL App is free, and there is no charge for using it to stream games. You can even use it for free live streaming of the 2018 season’s “Monday Night Football” games, which are broadcast by the pay TV channel ESPN.

This season, you can also live stream the same selection of NFL games on mobile devices with the Yahoo Sports app.

So all you have to do to live stream “Monday Night Football” for free is download either the NFL App or the Yahoo Sports app and tune in from your preferred device.

Tonight, during the 2018 season’s first “Monday Night Football” broadcast, there are two games: The New York Jets vs. Detroit Lions, followed by Los Angeles Rams vs. Oakland Raiders.

What Time Does “Monday Night Football” Start?

For the 2018 NFL season’s first “Monday Night Football” game — Jets vs. Lions — kickoff time is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET at Ford Field in Detroit.

Tonight’s “Monday Night Football” features a rare double header. For the second game — Rams vs. Raiders — kickoff is scheduled for 10:20 p.m. ET at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif.

Again, to watch “Monday Night Football” online for free, you can use either the NFL App or Yahoo sports app as explained above.

How to Live Stream ESPN for Free

If you’d like to watch ESPN online for free in general for a few days, many live streaming TV services include the sports-focus pay channel in their packages. They all have free trial periods of about a week available to new subscribers.

You can watch “Monday Night Football” online for free — and all ESPN content, for that matter — with streaming TV services such Fubo TV, Hulu Live, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.

The monthly rate for a basic package that includes ESPN with these services ranges from roughly $ 25 to $ 40. You’ll be charged if you don’t cancel the service by the time the free trial period ends. So remember to cancel if you don’t want to become a paying subscriber.

Sports – TIME

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5 Most Resilient Women in Video Games

Throughout gaming history, there have been women who display an inner strength — a dignity and a will that won’t back down to adversity and won’t buckle under pressure. They can bounce back from the most painful of events and still keep their heads on straight. This is about the strength of the mind and will of the spirit. Here are five of the most resilient women in gaming.

Jade — Mortal Kombat


Jade in Mortal Kombat(2011)

Since its release in 1992, Mortal Kombat has been entertaining players of all ages. The creators Ed Boon and John Tobias have created characters that connect to the players, like Jade. The best friend of series staple, Kitana, and General of the Edenian Army, Jade is someone who not only values loyalty but practices what she preaches.

When Kitana escaped from Outworld, Jade and Reptile had orders to retrieve her. Jade has to bring her best friend back alive and unharmed. But Reptile’s orders are to kill Kitana on the spot. After learning this, Jade makes the decision to stick by her friend, no matter what. She thwarts Reptile’s attempt on the princess’ life without hesitation. At the time, Jade’s duties as one of Shao Kahn’s soldiers hung over her head. Yet she chose her lifelong friend Kitana over her orders as a mercenary of Shao Kahn.

Kasumi — Dead or Alive


Kasumi in Dead of Alive 5

Dead or Alive has been a staple in the arcade style fighting genre since it first came out in 1996. Its story is about a group of adept fighters who take part in the Dead or Alive tournament to further their goals, like Kasumi, the missing ninja on the run from her former clan.

Kasumi left her village to avenge her brother Hayate, after their uncle, Raidou, beat him and left him comatose and paraplegic. Since Kasumi had left her village against orders, her clan considered her rogue. She now had a target on her back and no home to return to. Both the brother she set off to avenge and her cousin Ayane were to find and kill her.

This saddened Kasumi but she never gave up hope. She didn’t hold a grudge against Hayate and Ayane, even though they attacked her at almost every occasion. She only asked that they allow her back home and for them to not fight her. Kasumi stayed kindhearted even though her world was crashing around her.

Yuffie Kisaragi — Compilation of Final Fantasy VII


Yuffie in Final Fantasy VII Advent Children

Final Fantasy VII is the most successful of the series by Square Enix. It tells the story of a young former SOLDIER, Cloud Strife, and his journey of self-discovery. While on this journey he links up with old friends and new ones, like the eccentric ninja Yuffie Kisaragi.

Even though in the original game Yuffie is an optional character, she’s still a bright spot for her friends during dark times. She first comes off annoying with her energetic nature and her quick verbal jabs. But when the team gets to know her, they see the loving and protective person that she is, like when she rescued Vincent Valentine from the WRO after he was shot in the chest.

As a kid, Yuffie heard about the powerful nation that Wutai was before it went to war with Shinra Inc. She grew up wanting to do something about her homeland’s treatment as a tourist resort. Her solution: become a materia hunter in the hopes that the orbs of mako would help her homeland and her people. Yuffie went headfirst into conflict to help her people, and she stuck to it. She’s a great support both as a friend and as a leader for the people of Wutai.

Aqua — Kingdom Hearts Series


Aqua in Kingdom Hearts 0.2

Kingdom Hearts is the successful series by Tetsuya Nomura. It’s a story that speaks of friendship and inner balance, teaching that darkness and light should coexist and not eclipse one another. A character that exemplifies this is Aqua.

Aqua, along with her friends Ventus and Terra, have what has to be the saddest hand dealt in the series. She watched as both of her friends lost their hearts to the darkness and even had to face them in battle. In the end, she made the ultimate sacrifice to save what’s left of Ventus and Terra’s beings — thus trapping herself in the Realm of Darkness, cursed to wander the desolate place for years.

Many people would buckle under this kind of fate, but Aqua never did. She never regretted her sacrifice or fighting for her friends. But she didn’t accept her fate either. Aqua showed a sense of resilience and will to not give up or give in to despair. In Kingdom Hearts 0.2, we see that she never gave up on finding a way out. It’s that kind of perseverance that shows why she’s such an important figure in the fandom.

Makoto Nijima — Persona 5


Makoto Nijima in Persona 5

Persona 5 is the latest installment in the Shin Megami Tensei Persona series. It tells the story of the protagonist, a young man who’s accused of assault and sent to live in Shibuya with his new guardian, Sojiro, for a years’ time.

One of the people he meets during his stay in Shibuya is Makoto Nijima. She’s an honors student and the class president. But this doesn’t stop her from having her share of insecurities. Makoto’s journey is one of the most relatable as she overcomes her fear of being useless and a burden.

In the beginning, we see she’s told that she has to be useful and an asset or she’s nothing. She gets these hurtful words from her older sister, her principal, and even her future friends. Instead of letting these jeers bring her down, she rises to the occasion. Makoto uses her intellect to establish herself as one of the most valuable assets to the Phantom Thieves. She proves that other people’s assessments of you don’t have to define you — that you define your own value and set your own benchmarks.

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5 Incredible Games You Cannot Play Anymore

The video game industry constantly propels the medium to new heights through innovative designs and technological advancements. However, the industry also fails at preserving the older games that created the foundation needed for this advancement. Sure, you can’t expect to play every game ever made on a single piece of hardware. But a lot of terrific games are now completely unplayable to the vast majority of the public because of common business practices and a general disinterest in keeping these titles available. Previously, many of these games were kept alive through fan and hobbyist websites, but that pseudo-preservation may come to an end in the near future.

Recently, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against several ROM and emulation websites that ultimately resulted in them shutting down. While Nintendo is entirely within their legal right to file these suits, it also means that it is now much harder to play many fantastic games — officially or otherwise. Hopefully, some of these titles will return in one form or another. But until then, here are five amazing games you cannot play anymore under normal circumstances.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game


Scott Pilgrim vs The World battle
Perhaps one of the best licensed games ever made.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is a side scrolling beat-em-up in the vein of Streets of Rage and River City Rampage. It also happens to be one of the best licensed games ever made, offering a fun experience for newcomers and fans of the comic and movie. Sadly, this game was only available digitally on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 from 2010 to 2014. If you didn’t purchase and download this title during that time, there is no legal way for you to play this game.

The sale of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game likely came to an end due to its license expiring, meaning that the developers of the game, Ubisoft Montreal, could no longer legally make money off of the Scott Pilgrim property. Sadly this is the fate for most games based on an existing property — although most aren’t as substantial of a loss as this title. It’s too bad this title will likely never see the light of day again.

Dragon Ball Online


Dragon Ball Online characters
A fantastic MMO that explores Dragon World.

The world of Dragon Ball is more compelling and full of creativity than perhaps nearly any other long-running fictional universe. For decades, fans wanted a game that allowed them to explore this exceptional world as their own character — and battle androids and dinosaurs alike. Dragon Ball Online was supposed to be that glorious adventure, but the servers shut down after only three years and never even made it to Western territories.

While this MMO did shut down before it had the chance to reach its prime, elements of these games still influence other Dragon Ball titles. The antagonists of Dragon Ball Online, Towa and Mira, as well as the create-a-character system of Dragon Ball Xenoverse, come directly from DBO. Also, several characters and factions in this MMO would go on to appear in Dragon Ball Heroes. There are several attempts to emulate Dragon Ball Online for English-speaking regions. However,  it’s doubtful they will ever reach the same level of adoption as an official release of the game would have.

Final Fantasy XIV


Final Fantasy XIV online
Reborn, but still gone.

If you enjoyed the original version of the MMO Final Fantasy XIV before it became Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, there aren’t many people who agree with you. While the world and story of Final Fantasy XIV had plenty of potential, the game wasn’t actually much fun to play. Due to this shortcoming, and the relatively small sales numbers, the team behind the game decided to incite a cataclysmic event within Final Fantasy XIV, which allowed them to reshape the game into Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.

There aren’t really many instances of a game becoming unplayable, it’s best features preserved, and it’s most glaring flaws fixed before relaunching as a rebranded version of itself. Usually, these issues disappear over the course of months or years through patches and updates. While this re-creation did allow a better version of the game to reach players more quickly, it also rendered the original game unplayable. Even as storylines and characters are getting reintroduced in A Realm Reborn, it’s still a shame that so much of the original had to disappear to usher in this new game.

P.T.


The scariest thing about this game is that you can’t play it anymore.

You know a title would have been good when it reinvigorates an entire genre of games without ever actually releasing. Hideo Kojima’s P.T. — short for Playable Teaser — had players try to escape from a haunted home while pursued by a ghost. It contained puzzles related to the everyday items within the decaying home. Adding to the horror, players were unable to fight any of the supernatural phenomena that the mysterious protagonist encountered. The game was supposed to be a new entry in the iconic Silent Hill franchise. But sadly, Konami canceled the project and removed P.T. from the PlayStation store and library.

P.T.’s erasure from digital spaces and the cancelation of a new Silent Hill game was a major disappointment to fans of horror games and the industry as a whole. A horror game directed by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro starring Norman Reedus as the protagonist had the potential to be one of the greatest in the genre. On top of the talent behind the project, the game’s first-person, non-combative design garnered so much acclaim that it’s become the go-to style for many upcoming horror games. It’s disappointing that there is no way to play such an influential game — unless you downloaded P.T. back in 2014 and never uninstalled the title.

The Simpsons (1991 Game)


An arcade take on America’s favorite dysfunctional family.

The Simpsons arcade game is a brilliant and bizarre side-scrolling beat-em-up that set a high bar for subsequent licensed games. While the characters and setting of the game are immediately recognizable as a part of the massively popular The Simpsons television show, none of the events of the show affect this game. In fact, the actions of many characters go completely against their established personalities. For instance, Marge and Lisa are perfectly fine with beating up numerous henchman and other acts of violence, and the conniving billionaire Mr. Burns orders his assistant Smithers to steal a measly diamond as the inciting incident of the game.

Despite diverging so far from its source material, The Simpsons arcade game was a blast to play and one of the best multiplayer beat-em-ups of its time. While the game did appear briefly on digital storefronts in 2012, it’s no longer available online. Today, the most reliable way to play this title is to happen upon a working arcade cabinet. Until then, we’ll continue to dream of the day we’ll once again be able to fight Mr. Burns in his Mecha-Hitler-like mech suit while playing as a vacuum-wielding Marge Simpson.

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12 Board Games to Play With Your Kindergartner

Clearly, the classic board games we grew up playing (hi, Monopoly!) are here to stay. But which are the games that even little kids will love? 

If you’re planning on a family game night, you want to land on an option that all ages will enjoy — and finding something to play with both a 5-year-old and a 15-year-old can be quite a challenge. But don’t fret: We scoured Amazon for the most popular board games for kindergarteners and beyond. 

The verdict? We were pleasantly surprised to see that many of the top-rated options are the tried-and-true games we (or even our parents, yikes) grew up with — plus a few newbs to round out the ratio. Read on for your best bets for boredom-beating board games any kindergartener can’t resist.

More: 12 Board Games That Make Kids Smarter

Connect 4

Connect 4

You can’t go wrong with a classic. Connect 4 allows kids to use their critical-thinking skills by trying to get one step ahead of the other player. 

Ages: 6 and up
Review: 4.6 stars with over 2,300 reviews

Connect 4, $ 8.79 at Amazon

Let’s Go Fishin’

Let's Go Fishin'

This board spins as the fish open and close their mouths. Up to four players use fishing poles (and hand-eye coordination) as they try to catch the most fish.

Ages: 3 – 15 years
Review: 4 stars with over 2,000 reviews

Let’s Go Fishin’, $ 6.69 at Amazon

Candy Land

Candy Land

Kids will have a blast using their imaginations as they race to the finish line (aka the castle), encountering sweet surprises along the way.

Ages: 3 – 6
Review: 4.4 stars with nearly 1,000 reviews

Candy Land, $ 12.99 at Amazon

Hungry Hungry Hippos

Hungry Hungry Hippos

In this fun (but warning: oh-so-loud) game, up to four players try to chomp down on the marbles scattered across the board, and the player with the most marbles wins.

Ages: 4 and up
Review: 3.7 stars with over 1,500 reviews 

Hungry Hungry Hippos, $ 13.49 at Amazon

Yeti in My Spaghetti

Yeti in My Spaghetti

The object of this game? Don’t let the yeti fall! 

Each round, players remove a single noodle strand from the bowl, trying not to let the yeti touch the bottom. This game is so popular it won TOTY Game of the Year in 2017.

Ages: 4 – 15 years
Review: 4.5 stars with over 900 reviews

Yeti in My Spaghetti, $ 9.99 at Amazon

Zingo!

Zingo!

Kids develop critical skills, including language and matching, while playing this fast-paced game of image and word recognition.

Ages: 4 and up
Review: 4.8 stars with over 250 reviews

Zingo!, $ 19.99 at Amazon

More: 8 Fun Outdoor Games for Kids to Get ‘Em Moving

Monopoly Junior

Monopoly Junior

You’ve likely already played the OG Monopoly board game, but now, the even younger kids can join in on the fun. This Monopoly version includes adorable junior tokens (like a cat and dog) and single dollar bills for simpler transactions as kids work to obtain fun new properties like a pet store, a candy store and a video game arcade.

Ages: 5 and up
Review: 4.6 stars with over 900 reviews

Monopoly Junior, $ 14.99 at Amazon

Chutes and Ladders

Chutes and Ladders

Two to four players scramble to the top of the game board without sliding down, and the first player to reach 100 squares wins.

Ages: 3 – 7
Review: 4.4 stars with 370 reviews

Chutes and Ladders, $ 14.99 at Amazon

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Simple concept, really: Kids guess which of the 24 characters their opponent picked. If you want to get creative, you can guess based on hypothetical subjective questions about the character rather than just their objective characteristics (i.e., “Does this person look like an art teacher?”) 

Ages: 6 and up
Review: 4 stars with nearly 650 reviews

Guess Who?, $ 16 at Amazon

Sequence for Kids

Sequence for Kids

Kids will develop logical-thinking skills as they play this strategy game, aiming to be the first player with four chips in a row to win.

Ages: 3 – 6
Review: 4.8 stars with nearly 750 reviews

Sequence for Kids, $ 14.99 at Amazon

Marvel Matching Game

Marvel Matching Game

As kids take turns trying to match cards displaying their favorite Marvel characters, they will develop their matching and memory skills.

Ages: 4 and up
Review: 4.5 stars with over 160 reviews

Marvel Matching Game, $ 9.50 at Amazon

Scrabble Junior

Scrabble Junior

The classic word-creating board game now has a kid-friendly version. On one side, little ones match letters to form words, and on the other side, they can form new words of their own.

Ages: 5 and up
Review: 4.5 stars with over 300 reviews

Scrabble Junior, $ 12.99 at Amazon

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5 Ways ‘Pac-Man’ Influenced Modern Video Games

In 1980, an odd little game began appearing in arcades, bars, and shopping centers first in Japan, and later the US. The game featured a maze, colorful ghosts, and what looked like a partially-eaten cheese wheel. Unlike anything that had come before it, it took the world by storm and changed the video game industry forever. Even today, video games owe a debt to Pac-Man for breaking ground in so many ways.

The Playable Character


“Woka woka woka woka.”

Although some early computer games did feature crude examples of a playable character, Pac-Man was the first arcade game to utilize the concept, creating a mascot that would become the face of the game. Pac-Man popularized the concept of the player character to the point that the little yellow circle with a mouth became a star in his own right.

Pac-Man showed game designers the true importance of character and helped make the player character a staple of gaming. From Mario to Lara Croft to Master Chief, the best characters help elevate their games from a simple exercise of skill to an immersive world a player can inhabit by proxy.

Power-ups


The hunters become the hunted.

You’re playing Pac-Man for the first time. Five quarters in and you’ve finally managed to survive more than twenty seconds. You make for a corner, scarfing down a power pellet. Suddenly, the colorful ghosts turn blue and run. You chase after them, gobbling up as many as you can. You’ve discovered a new weapon against the ghosts, and more importantly, the first power-up in gaming history.

From med packs to weapons upgrades to flowers that let you shoot fireballs, hardly a game exists that doesn’t in some way allow you to enhance your natural abilities. Power-ups have become as diverse in gaming as they are numerous, and they all owe their existence to Pac-Man.

Cutscenes

Cutscenes, for better or worse, are a staple of gaming. No matter how people may feel about them, they help build the world of the game, adding context and background to the character and the mission. With complex storytelling, talented voice actors, and captivating visuals, the best cutscenes almost outshine the games themselves.

After Level One is cleared, Pac-Man’s titular hero appears minus the maze with Blinky hot on his heels. They both disappear off-screen. Blinky returns seconds later, now blue and being chased by a giant-sized Pac-Man. This brief animation marks the humble beginnings of a format that today has reached a cinematic level of quality and sophistication.

Stealth Play

Until Pac-Man came along, the primary objective of arcade games had been to shoot at as many enemies as you could or to beat your opponent in a sports simulation. Pac-Man, however, defeated his foes not by attacking, but by avoiding them. Pac-Man popularized the concept of stealth in gaming, that hiding from danger can be just as compelling as running from it.

More sophisticated games such as Metal Gear Solid and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell heavily employ Pac-Man’s conflict avoidance strategy, focusing gameplay on eluding the enemy until the right time to strike. Stealth play has become a staple of modern gaming. Though it may not be the primary focus, dozens of games utilize stealth in one form or another, all beginning with a pixelated circle running from ghosts.

Mass Appeal


Must-haves for the Gen-X middle schooler.

Pac-Man is the most popular arcade game of all time, and the little yellow chomper is the most recognizable icon in all of gaming. Creator Toru Iwatani designed Pac-Man to appeal to an audience beyond the typical hardcore gamer, and that it did. Pac-Man became a global phenomenon, spawning books, a cartoon, a top-ten pop song, and hordes of merchandise from breakfast cereals to roller skates.

The “Pac-Man Fever” of the early 80s eventually broke, but Pac-Man never truly faded from pop consciousness. In addition to its own success, Pac-Man brought gaming itself into the mainstream. The industry ever since has produced games marketed to broader audiences in addition to those targeted specifically to serious gamers. Mass appeal games like The Sims, Dance Dance Revolution, and Candy Crush can thank Pac-Man for proving that anyone can enjoy video games.

6 Fighting Games That Broke The Mold

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The 5 Most Anticipated Games of September 2018

September is here! Students will hit the books once more, and working adults will need to hustle to hit those end-of-year goals. Luckily, there are plenty of exciting games coming up to help make this month of transitions more manageable.

September has a fun combination of niche games and triple-A titles, with a healthy amount of nostalgia bait thrown in as well. We may not be at the end-of-year barrage of titles quite yet, but these upcoming games are a taste of things to come. These are the five games releasing in September 2018 that we’re looking forward to the most.

Dragon Quest XI


Dragon Quest XI protagonist
  • Release Date(s): September 4
  • Developer(s): Square Enix
  • Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch (TBA), and 3DS (TBA)
  • Genre: JRPG

After eight long years, gamers outside of Japan will experience a brand new Dragon Quest game! The series, seemingly as old as the gaming medium itself, has a brand new entry, Dragon Quest XI. With one of the most influential and beloved JRPGs returning to the world stage once again, it’s a great time to be a fan of the genre.

If you’ve ever played — or even heard of — Dragon Quest, chances are you know what you’re in for with this upcoming title. Dragon Quest XI will feature a fantastical story where a boy of humble origins is destined to save the world. This time around, though, you can expect zero random encounters, stunning graphics, and loads of callbacks to previous titles. If Octopath Traveler’s unconventional storytelling was a bummer for you, Dragon Quest XI is set to bring things back up with a solid dose of the traditions the series invented.

SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy


SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy
  • Release Date(s): September 7
  • Developer(s): SNK
  • Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Arcade Machine
  • Genre: Tag-Fighter

Wow, fighting games became mainstream again overnight, didn’t they? Between the highly anticipated release of Super Smash Bros Ultimate, the phenomenal EVO 2018, and Dragon Ball FighterZ’s commercial and critical success; now’s a great time to get into or start following the fighting game scene. Entering the stage during this resurgence is SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy. It will feature female characters from several SNK series — and a considerable amount of fan service. The combat system will allow players to combine different fighters in attack and support roles.

Fighting games tend to be better in both story and execution when they lean into more ridiculous elements. SNK Heroines is definitely going for that over-the-top tone. The story centers on numerous characters waking up in an alternate plane of existence and will feature a genderbent Terry Bogard. It’s too soon to tell if this title will become a mainstay in the competitive scene, but even if it doesn’t reach those heights, it’s still sure to be a fun and silly experience.

Marvel’s Spider-Man



  • Release Date(s): September 7
  • Developer(s): Insomniac Games
  • Platform(s): PlayStation 4
  • Genre: Action-Adventure

First revealed at E3 2016, the highly anticipated Marvel’s Spider-Man for PlayStation 4 is finally dropping in early September. Taking place in a universe where Spider-Man wasn’t erased by Thanos, this game will have players take control of the successful and well-established crime fighter. Players will battle some of Spider-Man’s greatest foes, as the Sinister Six escape from prison and try their best to exact their revenge against the web-slinger.

While there is some worry over the presence of quick-time events, many gamers are interested in this upcoming title because of its web-swinging mechanic and entertaining combat. If exploring this New York-based open world feels as good as the trailers make it look, then Spider-Man is on track to be one of the best PlayStation 4 exclusives yet.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider



  • Release Date(s): September 14
  • Developer(s): Eidos Montreal
  • Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Action-Adventure

The third installment of the Tomb Raider prequels and the twelfth entry in the franchise overall is set to end this summer with a bang. Raising the already high bar set by the previous reboots, Shadow of the Tomb Raider will improve the swimming mechanics, place more emphasis on stealth, and offer more optional tombs to explore than ever before. However, the astonishingly detailed and realistic graphics present in previous games will thankfully remain in this new title.

It’s shocking how far the Tomb Raider series has come since the original PlayStation games. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is set to push the series to even greater heights, and further cement it as a juggernaut of the gaming medium. Now if only we could get a better-than-mediocre movie adaptation.

Life Is Strange 2



  • Release Date(s): September 27
  • Developer(s): Dontnod Entertainment
  • Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Genre: Graphic Adventure

At long last, the next entry in perhaps the greatest graphic adventure series currently in production is right around the corner. Life is Strange 2 Episode 1 is the third entry in the series and will bring back the paranormal elements absent in the prequel, Before the Storm. While there isn’t a ton of information on this upcoming game, we do know that the events of The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit will influence the story and that Chris Eriksen will appear in the sequel.

It’s fair to say that fans of this series have some pretty lofty expectations for Life is Strange 2. The first game was a masterful blend of compelling characters, small-town drama, and a terrific time travel mechanic. If the same level of charm and passion is poured into the sequel, it’s sure to be as big a hit as the original. Although, it would be nice if it had one less Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within reference than the original Life is Strange.

‘Dragon Quest XI’ Review: Echoes of Many Other JRPGs

‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’ Jumps Straight Into the Supernatural

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Ubisoft CEO Pictures the Future of Games

Yves Guillemot has big ideas about the future of gaming. Beyond just better graphics and more power for new systems, Guillemot sees a future where the concept of home consoles could change altogether, and games could embrace new technology to grow in major ways.

Speaking to IGN at Gamescom, Guillemot described a vision he’s laid out many times in the past: that the future of home gaming will arrive via streaming.

“Technology is actually going in that direction. The machines will be more powerful and the system to transfer data will be more efficient, so at one point, we will have a better experience streaming something than having to buy a machine and change the machine regularly,” Guillemot told IGN.

Continue reading…

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Games-Japan’s scandal-hit men’s basketball team out of Asian Games

Japan’s turbulent Asian Games basketball tournament, which saw four players sent home in disgrace, came to an end on Monday when they were beaten 93-67 by Iran in the quarter-finals.


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Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer Suspended for Three Games for Mishandling Abuse Allegations

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio State on Wednesday night suspended head football coach Urban Meyer three games for mishandling domestic violence accusations, punishing one of the sport’s most prominent leaders for keeping an assistant on staff for several years after the coach’s wife accused him of abuse.

The move followed a two-week investigation into how Meyer reacted to accusations that former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith abused his ex-wife, Courtney Smith. Zach Smith was fired last month after she asked a judge for a protective order.

Courtney Smith alleged her husband shoved her against a wall and put his hands around her neck in 2015. The university put Meyer on paid leave and began an investigation after Courtney Smith spoke out publicly, sharing text messages and photos she traded in 2015 with Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer. Shelley Meyer is a registered nurse and instructor at Ohio State.

Trustees discussed the decision to punish Meyer in a marathon meeting Wednesday while Meyer awaited the decision.

The investigation prompted a tweet from Meyer in which he insisted he followed proper protocols after learning of the 2015 accusations. But he also acknowledged lying to reporters a week earlier when he said he hadn’t heard of the incident until shortly before he fired Zach Smith.

The probe directly centered on the question of what Meyer knew and when. Meyer said in his tweet that he always elevated issues through the proper channels, and did so with the Smith situation in 2015. That contradicted what he told reporters at Big Ten media day a week earlier: “I was never told about anything and nothing ever came to light. I’ve never had a conversation about it. I know nothing about it.”

Speaking after the investigation was announced, Zach Smith said he spoke with Meyer at the time and athletic director Gene Smith also knew about the allegations.

Zach Smith said Meyer told him he would be fired if the head coach found out Smith had hit his wife.

Zach Smith — the grandson of late Ohio State coach and Meyer mentor Earle Bruce — has never been criminally charged or convicted of abuse. He has a charge of criminal trespass pending, and the Smiths are due in court next month for a hearing on a restraining order Courtney Smith was granted July 20.

Meyer was heading into his seventh season at Ohio State, where he is 73-8 with a national title in 2014 and two Big Ten Conference championships. Ohio State’s Title IX sexual misconduct policy includes reporting allegations of domestic violence made against university employees.

Violating that policy allows Meyer to be fired with cause, according to provisions placed in his contract when it was extended in April by two years. The deal through 2022, increasing Meyer’s salary to $ 7.6 million in 2018, with annual 6 percent raises. Meyer had about $ 38 million left on his contract.

Ohio State’s season starts Sept. 1 with a game against Oregon State in Columbus.

In 2009, Zach Smith was accused of aggravated battery on his pregnant wife while he was working a graduate assistant for Meyer at Florida. The charge was dropped because of insufficient evidence.

The Smiths separated in June 2015 and divorced in 2016.

Meyer is one of the most accomplished coaches in college football history, with three national championships and a 177-31 record in 16 seasons at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State, the team he grew up rooting for in Northeast Ohio.

Meyer won national championships with Florida in 2006 and ’08, but his teams also had more than two dozen players get into trouble with the law. He resigned twice at Florida, citing health reasons, first in the 2009 season after the Gators lost the Southeastern Conference championship game while trying to repeat as national champs. He changed his mind soon after and coached another season. The Gators went 8-5 in 2010, and afterward, Meyer stepped down for good.

Meyer was out of coaching for a season but was hired by Ohio State in November 2011. The Buckeyes had fired Jim Tressel, another national championship-winning coach, before that season for lying to the NCAA and university about rules violation committed by some of his players.

Since returning to coaching, Meyer’s program has been one of the most dominant in college football, and his players have mostly stayed out of major trouble.

Meyer faced some criticism in 2013 for allowing running back Carlos Hyde to return to the team after he was charged with striking a woman in a bar. The case was dropped by police when the woman chose not to pursue charges, but Hyde was suspended three games.

The Meyer investigation cost $ 500,000 and was conducted by the national law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.

Ohio State began investigating Meyer while also facing three federal lawsuits about its response to allegations of groping, leering and other misconduct by a deceased athletic department doctor who treated wrestlers and other students for two decades. The lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss say Ohio State facilitated the abuse by ignoring complaints.

Since Ohio State announced an independent investigation in April, more than 100 former students have come forward with accounts of sexual misconduct by Strauss. The allegations range from 1979 to 1997 and involve male athletes from 14 sports, as well as his work at the student health center and his off-campus medical office.

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Feeling Lucky? This Single Dad Won $5K Playing Games on His Phone


When he got a phone call saying he’d won $ 5,000, Oneil Campbell immediately assumed it was a scam.

“At first, I was going to do what I usually do — hang up the phone,” Campbell says. “You always get these calls saying, ‘Oh, you’ve won a $ 5 million lotto, but you’ve got to send us a check for $ 1,000 first.’”

But he stayed on the phone just long enough to hear the caller mention an important word: “Lucktastic.”

Campbell stayed on the line. He frequently plays Lucktastic, a free app that generates virtual scratch-off tickets with real prizes. You can also play games and enter contests on the app.

Campbell had entered a Monopoly Boardwalk contest on the app — the $ 5,000 he won was no scam, after all.

The Lucktastic representative who called Campbell about his prize suggested that, to satisfy his doubts, Campbell could go to the Lucktastic app and contact customer support to find out if this was for real or not.

It was for real. Five grand in prize money.

“I didn’t see that one coming,” Campbell says with a laugh. “I really didn’t.”

But it was a welcome surprise.

“This is something good that happened to me at the right time — when I can really use it.”

A Home for His Daughter

A father and his young daughter look at plants in the yard of a house.
Campbell and his daughter Annika explore a butterfly garden on a property that he is buying with the help of $ 5,000 he won playing Lucktastic. Katherine Taylor for The Penny Hoarder

A 42-year-old native of Jamaica who now lives in Boston, Campbell knows exactly how he’ll spend his Lucktastic winnings.

It’s a big chunk of the down payment he’s going to use to buy a home for himself and his beloved 5-year-old daughter, Annika. He’s not sure yet how much he’ll need, but $ 5,000 will help him get there.

Campbell works in maintenance for a property management company. He spends his workdays fixing things that break in apartment buildings. He’s been trying to save money to buy a home, but it’s tough in the super-expensive Boston real estate market.

“Right now, I’m basically renting a room in a home,” he said. “I’m a single dad, and I have my daughter with me most of the time. She’s getting older. She needs more room — and I need more room.”

He’s looking at homes in the city of Worcester (which Bostonians pronounce “Wooster”), an hour’s commute from his job. “I can’t come up with $ 600,000 to buy a house in Boston,” he explained.

‘I Could Play It When I Was Relaxing on My Break’

A man plays a game on his mobile phone.
Campbell plays Lucktastic, a free app that generates virtual scratch-off tickets with real prizes, on his mobile phone. Katherine Taylor for The Penny Hoarder

Campbell first got into Lucktastic in early 2018. He had always liked entering contests and sweepstakes.

“I used to do that religiously,” he said. “But when life gets busy, you don’t have a lot of time to do these things.”

Lucktastic was easier. “I liked the fact that it was on my phone. I could play it when I was relaxing on my break, or whatever.”

The app offers free digital scratch-off cards. You scratch off the cards by holding your finger to the screen and swiping back and forth. Plus, there are a variety of contests, which are basically raffles where you’re entered to win a prize.

Lucktastic says you can win up to $ 10,000. It boasts 1 million winners who have taken home a collective $ 3 million to date.

Feeling Lucky?

A father holds his young daughter.
Campbell and his daughter in the backyard of the house he is buying in Worcester, Mass. His unexpected $ 5,000 win from Lucktastic is a huge step toward getting himself and his daughter out of his single rented room in Boston. Katherine Taylor for The Penny Hoarder

Of course, with anything that has to do with luck, remain realistic about the odds.

“For the instant win scratch-cards, the odds of winning depend upon the number of people playing the cards,” Lucktastic answers in its FAQ section. “For contests, the odds of winning depend upon the number of entries received.”

At the Better Business Bureau, the app gets some negative customer reviews from folks who complain about not making money. However, the company that operates Lucktastic, Jump Ramp Games, boasts an A rating from the BBB.

Several of us here at The Penny Hoarder have played Lucktastic and have walked away with $ 1 and some tokens, which you can use to enter contests.

Bottom line: You never know whether you’re going to get lucky.

As for Campbell, his unexpected $ 5,000 win is a huge step toward getting himself and his daughter out of his single rented room and into that house in Worcester.

“I’m working very hard to see if I can get a house so my little girl can have her own space,” he says.

Oh yeah, and he still plays Lucktastic.

“You know I’m hooked on this [app] now, right?” he says with another laugh. “I’m constantly on the [app].

His reason is simple: “Everyone likes to win free stuff. It could happen for you, too.”

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s lucky.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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ESPN Says It Won’t Air National Anthem Before Monday Night Football Games

Avoiding potential controversy over showing players kneeling in protest of racial inequality, ESPN won’t broadcast the national anthem before any Monday Night Football games this year.

“We generally have not broadcasted the anthem and I don’t think that will change this year,” ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said Friday, according to news site Axios. “Our plan going into this year is to not broadcast the anthem.”

The national anthem had long been a staple of sports games until two years ago, when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump capitalized on the ensuing firestorm and has railed against the protests ever since.

The furor has put broadcasters a difficult spot. If they broadcast protests during the anthem, they risk adding to the controversy. If they don’t show the anthem, they face criticism from people who support the kneeling players.

In October, Fox Sports said it would no longer air coverage of the national anthem before NFL games after members of the New Orleans Saints team kneeled before the music began. In January, NBC decided to air the anthem and any protests that accompanied it, although no players kneeled when the anthem was played.

ESPN broadcast the anthem during certain games last year, when it was played alongside events the network deemed newsworthy, such as moments of silence to honor tragedies. Pitaro said that ESPN does not see itself as a political organization.

“It’s not our job to cover politics, purely, but we’ll cover the intersection of sports and politics,” Pitaro said. “When something happens, when the Eagles are disinvited from White House, or when someone takes a knee, if we think newsworthy we’re going to cover it.”

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Who is Polly Walker? Age Before Beauty’s Bel and star of Mr Selfridge and Patriot Games

POLLY Walker is an English actress who is starring in the new BBC drama Age Before Beauty.

But what else do we know about her? Read on to find out.

Polly Walker is an English actress
Polly Walker is an English actress
Getty – Contributor

Who is Polly Walker?

Polly Walker is an English actress who was born on 19 May 1966 in Lancashire.

She originally wanted to become a dancer, graduating from the Ballet Rambert School in Twickenham.

However, she had to abandon her ambition after she sustained a leg injury at the age of 18.

She then moved from the Drama Centre in London to the Royal Shakespeare Company and began her career as an actress.

What has she starred in?

Polly has starred in films including Enchanted April, Patriot Games, Sliver, Restoration, The Gambler, Clash of the Titans and Savage Messiah.

Her TV credits include Paranoid, Line of Duty, The Syndicate, Mr Selfridge, Prisoners Wives and Rome.

She is set to play Bel, a homemaker who takes over her family’s salon, in Age Before Beauty on BBC One later this month.


When does Age Before Beauty start on BBC One?

Age Before Beauty starts Tuesday, July 31, on BBC One at 9pm.

The creators have said: “Age Before Beauty explores a fascination with staying young, a fear of ageing, instant gratification and long-term relationships in an irresistible setting.”

Charlotte Moore, the director of BBC content added: “Age Before Beauty has it all: a dysfunctional family, bitter rivalries and botox!”


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The Games We’re Most Excited About in the Next Two Months

It’s almost the business end of the year. Full of… business. Also games.

August provides the last relatively quiet window for a few indies to release before the proper madness starts, and we’re starting to see some of the bigger releases of the year as well. Namely, you’ve got Marvel’s Spider-Man and Shadow of the Tomb Raider landing very soon.

We’re right around the corner of the delayed PC release of Monster Hunter World of course — a game which is definitely on our radar for Game of the Year so far. As for all the new stuff, here are our picks for the next couple of months.

Dead Cells

August 7th – PC/Mac/Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One

This is the final release version of the game that we’ve already been playing for a year. A platformer with a Dark Souls-ey combat system, you’ll try to escape an island that shifts every time you die. Its randomised levels and satisfying fights would’ve been worth the price even in the early stages of its beta. Since then, it’s kept updating its brawlers, biomes, and bosses. This is Early Access done right.

Funnily enough, Dead Cells was originally going to be a tower defence game. There’s an abundance of these 2D pixel art Soulslike roguelite/metroidvanias, and we have no problem with that at all.

We Happy Few

August 10th – PC/Mac/Linux, PS4, Xbox One

We get some serious Bioshock mashed up with A Clockwork Orange vibes from this one. A futuristic, dystopian city requires everyone to take their “joy” to be happy, productive citizens.

What happens when you stop taking it? Presumably, Taye Diggs starts chasing you. The seemingly “beneficial” nature of the city’s drug has nearly resulted in the game being banned in some territories. Let’s hope it’s worth all the trouble.

Death’s Gambit

August 14th – PC, PS4

I mean, when we said there’s an abundance of these games, we meant it. Death’s Gambit is another 2D pixel art Soulslike metroidvania, seemingly a niche genre but hoo boy is it populated.

The biggest twist here is every time you die, you actually drop one of your healing items as well as your “souls.” Returning to your point of death is that much more important, now that it’s necessary to regain that healing charge.

That’s pretty cruel. Imagine if death lost you an Estus shard in Dark Souls. But Death’s Gambit is also letting you invest excess healing items to upgrade stats, sacrificing a heal or two to buff your damage or something else.

There’s also the ability to challenge a boss again right after you’ve defeated them, which is fantastic — we always felt the bonfire ascetic should’ve been carried over from Dark Souls 2 into other games.

PES 2019

August 30th – PC, PS4, Xbox One

Slated a full month before its main competitor, PES likes to be the first to market every year. Though it has to be said, a lot of the features it was spruiking at E3 this year were implemented by FIFA a year or two ago. It doesn’t help that it lost the Champions League licence as well, but people who play PES don’t play it for the licences.

We’ll still be putting this one through it’s paces because what’s important to us is under the hood. After the handful of games we’ve had it was hard to isolate and test the newer AI functionality PES 2019 is supposed to have. Things like players reading the play a few steps ahead, and responding in a way that more accurately represents their style. It’s the type of thing we’ll have to really sit down and analyse, and that’s alright with us.

Marvel’s Spider-Man

September 7th – PS4

No surprises seeing the mighty web-slinger here, as we’re pretty sure it’s the game many people are most looking forward to this year. This PS4 exclusive has many debating who the final boss could be. Who’s capable of bringing this who’s who of villains into one plan as if they were mere henchmen?

This one features combat that’s looking oh-so-Arkham, some baller Spidey suits, and – most importantly – getting across town feels great as you sling like it ain’t no thing.

We’ll be previewing this one soon, so keep FANDOM bookmarked and wait for your Spidey sense to tingle.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

September 14th – PC, PS4, Xbox One

My goodness, how much of a beating will Lara have to take before she becomes the Tomb Raider? We’re still smarting from seeing a lead pipe go right through her gut in the first reboot.

It sure looks purdy though, as long as we never have to wear the haptic suits from Ready Player One to feel every shank and bullet bothering the new, always-wounded Lara Croft, we’re up for a bit of tribal island madness.

Valkyria Chronicles 4

September 25th – PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch

We’ve been jonesing for this one since… well, 2008, when the original Valkyria Chronicles came out. The mix of World War I and anime was a surprisingly engrossing setting for first-person, turn-based tactics.

It was fantastic fun, but for some reason the gods of gaming saw fit to limit the next two games to Sony’s PSP. No shade to PSP owners, but it’s a travesty these games weren’t available to more people.

Now at last, we get the multiplatform release we’ve been waiting for. We’re sure there are many who will see this as the proper Valkyria Chronicles 2 in a way, and we can only hope the developers have factored that into their storytelling.

FIFA 19

28th September – PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PS3, 360, Android, iOS

A full month later than its rival, the dominant football franchise lands. FIFA releases are up and down — sometimes the franchise coasts with a bunch of fluffy, cosmetic features like improved grass and spectator clapping. Other years you’ll get hyper-intelligent AI improvements and important balance tweaks.

If you’re not the sort to buy every release anyway, it’s worth paying attention to see whether that year brings one of the “good” ones.

All told, the feature list doesn’t look too disruptive this year, but the timed shots will have a massive, unignorable effect on how you play. We liked the pace and the feel of what we played at E3 this year, but much like PES, we’ll need some more time with this one before singing its praises.

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Play NYC Will Feature Games from First-Generation Immigrant Developers

Video game expo Play NYC will be showcasing the work of first-generation immigrants in its Graffiti Game installation second year. Playcrafting, the organizer of the event, says that diversity is in the DNA of New York, which is why it is “proud to celebrate what makes New York and the American gaming industry so special by commissioning six, […]

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The GameCube Classic Edition Games List: Titles We Need to See

We’ve had a few “Mini” consoles from Nintendo already, and we’re counting the seconds before we get the GameCube Classic Edition. It’s pretty much a given we’ll see a GameCube Mini. And when it comes to the roster of GameCube Classic Edition games, there are some must-have classics that Nintendo needs to include, no questions asked.

Released in November 2001, the GameCube was not a great success. Well, not in terms of its sales. For those who owned the console, it would be home to some of the greatest games of all time. But by the time it was superseded by the Wii in 2007, it had only managed a meagre 21.74 million sales worldwide.

When we look at the 101 million units achieved by the Wii, and the 32 million units by the Nintendo 64, it was bookended by far more successful machines. If there is any Nintendo console that deserves to be rediscovered by those who missed out, it’s the GameCube. And it could happen.


GameCube controller classic
The iconic GameCube controller

In 2016, Nintendo surprised everyone, and probably itself, with the release of the NES Classic Edition, better known as the NES Mini. The console provided a miniaturised replica of the original machine released back in 1983, packed with 30 classic games from the era. It was a hit. In fact, it was near impossible to come by, and sold out in most locations around the world.

In the end 2.3 million units of the NES Mini were sold, with another run hitting shelves again in June 2018 to meet consumer demand. Given the success it was no surprise that a SNES Classic Edition (read: SNES Mini) appeared in 2017, and this time Nintendo was better prepared. There were 5.3 million units available to be sold, and sure enough, they sold out.


SNES Classic Mini held in one hand
Yep, it's really that small.

Now as all Nintendo fans will know, the company loves nothing more than to jump on a winning horse and to give it a good whipping, so in the eyes of most, it’s not a matter of if, but when we see Nintendo take the “Mini” treatment to another one of its classic machines.

Why not the GameCube?

List of GameCube Classic Edition Mini Console Games

The NES Mini released with 30 built-in games, and the SNES Mini with 21. There were variations in the game lists between regions, but the number remained the same. Predominantly, these titles were from Nintendo. In fact, two-thirds of the NES and SNES Mini games were Nintendo published, with the rest supplied by Japanese studios such as Square, Konami, Capcom and Tecmo.

It’s fair to say the expectation among fans will be for at least 25 titles to be built-in to the GameCube Classic Edition Mini console. Based on their critical reception and lasting popularity, as well as what we saw with the selection in previous mini consoles, this is a likely games list.

A little under half of those are 3rd-party GameCube games, making for a more diverse GameCube Classic Edition games list. That lines up with the ratio of titles on the console anyway, and it’d take a brave soul to remove classic games like Metroid Prime.

The only surprise game on this list is Gifttopia. With this re-release, why not give Western audiences a taste of a title that never made it out of Japan? It was developed by a number of ex-Square employees who formed a new studio, Skip Ltd.

In an island nation, you played a young boy called Pockle who slept through his coming of age ceremony and now needs to complete tasks for the citizens to raise enough funds for a redo. It’s a truly bizarre game, and would be a surprise, but welcome addition.


Metroid Prime on GameCube Classic Edition Mini console
Among the must-haves is Metroid Prime.

GameCube Classic Edition — Mini Features With Big Effects

In its day the GameCube could hold its head up high alongside the Xbox and PlayStation 2 in terms of its power, but by today’s standards there is more grunt in your typical smartphone. The IBM-designed CPU operated at just 485MHz, while the ATI Technologies GPU offered 162 MHz.

Meanwhile, games typically came in at less than 1.5GB – the maximum capacity of the GameCube’s discs – with only a few requiring two discs to play.

The long and short of the above is that it would neither be a challenge, nor a relatively costly affair, to reproduce the GameCube experience in Mini form, and store a tonne of games on it. In fact, even the ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU used on the NES and SNES Minis would be capable of emulating GameCube software.


Super Mario Sunshine GameCube games list FLUDD
Not your usual Mario game, but Sunshine was fantastic.

In terms of upgraded features, online play through all the multiplayer games would be a welcomed addition. There is also the potential to see a more robust, high-definition upgrade of GameCube titles on a Classic Edition console over what we saw with the NES and SNES Minis.

The leap in assets from that era of gaming to now isn’t as great as it was with those older consoles. In fact, we’ve seen plenty of titles from the era get a successful re-tune in recent times. You only have to look as far as the re-release of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, a GameCube classic, for proof.

Given the success of the previous mini consoles, Nintendo could confidently invest in levelling some of their classic titles up to modern standards. Which makes the above games list even more appealing.


Super Smash Bros. Melee was a GameCube classic
Still played in competitions, Super Smash Bros. Melee is a must.

When Will the GameCube Classic Edition Mini Console Come Out?

It’s nice to talk about all the games the GameCube Classic Edition Mini console will have, but what we all want is a release date. Many believe we will see an N64 Classic Edition Mini console first, and obviously that would make the more sense. But after successive releases of a NES and SNES Mini, it may not be as far off as you think.

Adding fuel to the fire was the announcement of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at the 2018 E3 press conference, in which support for the iconic GameCube controllers was confirmed. In addition, we’ve seen as recently as late June 2018 Nintendo apply for three GameCube related trademarks in Japan. Something is afoot.

Are these signs of a GameCube Classic Edition Mini console announcement in the near future? Watch this space!

The post The GameCube Classic Edition Games List: Titles We Need to See appeared first on FANDOM.

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The 7 best free iPhone games of the week

Best Free iPhone Games

We’ve officially entered the sweltering month of July, but that’s not going to stop us from recommending the best free iOS games we find on the App Store week in and week out. It’s a relatively tame selection this week, but Dead Island: Survivors and the Western-themed MMO Westland Survival are already in my personal queue.

Continue reading…

BGR Top Deals:

  1. It’s finally time to ditch Windows… and Mac
  2. Everyone’s favorite Aukey Bluetooth earbuds are down to $ 18 on Amazon

Trending Right Now:

  1. We finally know how Ant-Man and The Wasp ties into Infinity War – it’s all in the credit scenes
  2. Apple’s iPhone 8 is already outselling Samsung’s new Galaxy S9 and S9+
  3. We now know that ‘Infinity War’ deaths will be undone in ‘Avengers 4’

The 7 best free iPhone games of the week originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 8 Jul 2018 at 09:00:27 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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How to Watch the 2018 World Cup Games Today Online for Free, Including France vs. Argentina

The field of 32 teams in the World Cup 2018 in Russia has been cut in half, and the World Cup round of 16 games start on Saturday, June 30.

Germany, the reigning World Cup champion and a favorite to repeat and grab the title again, has been eliminated after a lackluster performance. But soccer powerhouses Brazil and France are very much alive, as are Argentina and Portugal, thanks to their mega-superstar players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In fact, the 2018 World Cup games today feature both of those soccer stars in two exciting matchups: France vs. Argentina and Uruguay vs. Portugal.

When is the France vs. Argentina game scheduled to start? If you want to know when France and Argentina play, and how to watch the World Cup 2018 for free on TV, or how to live stream France vs. Argentina and other games for free, you can check out our comprehensive how to watch the World Cup guide, or just scroll down for the key details.

What Channel Is the World Cup 2018 France vs. Argentina Game On?

Both World Cup games today — Argentina vs. France and Portugal vs. Uruguay — are being broadcast in English on Fox, and in Spanish on Telemundo.

Here’s the schedule for round of 16 World Cup 2018 games today, and in the days ahead:

World Cup Games Saturday, June 30

• France vs. Argentina, 10 a.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo
• Uruguay vs. Portugal, 2 p.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo

World Cup Games Sunday, July 1

• Spain vs. Russia, 10 a.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo
• Croatia vs. Denmark, 2 p.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo

World Cup Games Monday, July 2

• Brazil vs. Mexico, 10 a.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo
• Belgium vs. Japan, 2 p.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo

World Cup Games Tuesday, July 3

• Sweden vs. Switzerland, 10 a.m. ET, on FS1 and Telemundo
• Colombia vs. England, 2 p.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo

If you have satellite or cable TV, simply find your local Fox station to watch World Cup games in English, or Telemundo if you want to watch the Spanish broadcast.

Even if you don’t have a pay TV package, you can still watch the World Cup games today for free. All you need is a digital antenna, which can cost under $ 30 and provides free, over-the-air broadcasts of networks like ABC and Fox. You can also watch Spanish broadcasts of the 2018 World Cup on Telemundo for free in most of the country with a digital antenna.

How to Live Stream Argentina vs. France Online for Free in the World Cup 2018

As we detailed in our previous story on how to watch the World Cup 2018 for free, it is indeed possible to live stream World Cup games without necessary paying a monthly bill—for cable or a streaming service.

Here’s the gist:

Every World Cup game can be streamed in English with the Fox Sports Go app. There is no charge for downloading and watching via the app, but you must log in with an appropriate pay TV provider account to get access.

To get the Spanish broadcasts, you can stream World Cup games in any browser at TelemundoDeportes.com, or with the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo or NBC Sports apps. Up until June 25, you could stream World Cup games live for free on Telemundo in a browser, without any log-in. Now, however, you must log in online with a pay TV account to live stream the World Cup that way.

Most live-streaming TV services will also let you watch the World Cup online. Services including Hulu Live, Fubo TV, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, Sling TV, and YouTube TV all have packages available with some or all of the channels broadcasting 2018 World Cup matches.

Each of these services has a free trial period, allowing you to watch at no charge for roughly one week. Just remember to cancel the service if you don’t want to pay the monthly fee, which will cost $ 20 and up.

Sports – TIME

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5 PC Games That Are Worth Replaying

These days, one significant factor in a video game’s success can come down to whether or not it’s worth replaying. No matter how good it may be, some games aren’t worth coming back to after a player completes it the first time. Other games, though, leave players hooked with anticipation for the next time they can play it. Whether it’s the different endings to the story or the freedom for creativity, these five PC games are the kind that will leave you saying “just one more turn.”

Kerbal Space Program


Impending Kerbal Doom
Things like this happen a lot in the game, but it’s still fun to watch!

Getting to space has never been as easy or as fun as it is in Kerbal Space Program. Developed by indie game developers, Squad, the secret to this space flight simulator’s high replay value boils down to the freedom of creativity it gives players. While your primary goal is to get your plucky aliens, the Kerbals, into space, the game lets you decide what you use by constructing spaceplanes and rockets from scratch.

If the base game doesn’t have the parts you want, no reason to worry — it’s supported by a thriving modding community that’s continually adding new mechanics, skins and spaceship parts for players to use. The passionate modding community, in addition to regular updates, ensures that Kerbal Space Program will keep players reaching for the stars for years to come. That or they blow up ships in a hilarious fashion.

Fallout 4


Fallout 4 Graygarden Overpass Settlement
Just an example of what people do with the settlement feature.

Bethesda raised the bar on the open-world RPG with Fallout 4, and it has enough content to keep players busy until the bomb drops. The base game itself is massive in size and scope, with developers loading every portion with items to hunt, locations to explore and legendary enemies to kill.

In a first for the Fallout series, Bethesda added a base building feature, allowing players to build the post-apocalyptic settlement of their dreams. Combine that with several factions-based endings, the game’s modding community, and the DLC packs adding more places to explore, and you’re liable to ignore the plot and wander the wastelands for eternity.

Civilization IV

Of the many PC games that developers have released over the years, Sid Meier’s Civilization series stands near the very summit, and Civilization IV is possibly the greatest out of them all. On the gameplay level, Civilization IV and its major expansion packs contain numerous scenarios based on historical events or historical fiction that players can immerse themselves in for hours on end.

What makes this game so addictive, though, is the sheer level of customization available, with the world builder tool letting players design a world from scratch and build it as they see fit. Throw in a theme song so good it won a Grammy and narration by Leonard Nimoy, and little wonder why people keep coming back!

Sid Meier’s Pirates!


Dancing Minigame in Pirates!
Pirate romances are optional, but fun.

Another creation of Sid Meier’s, Sid Meier’s Pirates! is the pirate game that refuses to grow old. A 2004 remake of the 1987 game of the same name, this is the go-to experience for those dreaming of life as a pirate. Sailing the waters of the 17th century Caribbean, the appeal of the game lies in its constantly changing scenarios.

While players can decide the difficulty, nationality, and starting era, the game randomly generates different situations involving a war between the four nations in the Caribbean for players to profit from, ensuring that no two games are alike. With the constantly changing variables, deep gameplay, and graphics that still look amazing even 14 years later, this is one game that you’ll want to replay dozens of times over.

Jurassic World: Evolution


Releasing a T-Rex into the par
Admit it, you’re in this for the T-Rex.

A recent release meant to coincide with the new Jurassic World film, Jurassic World: Evolution is the business simulator dinosaur lovers have wanted for years. The goal of the game is like the Zoo Tycoon series, only instead of lions and tigers, you have to worry about velociraptors and T-Rexes eating people.

The primary campaign on five unique islands presents a fun challenge as you adapt your build style, but its the sandbox mode on the original island of Isla Nublar where this game flexes its muscles, with unlimited funding leaving you free to make your dream dino park. When you’re bored with that, let the dinosaurs out and go nuts; that’s part of the appeal of the franchise, after all.

4 New PC Games to Play This Summer

7 Overlooked Games on Steam You Need to Download Right Now

The post 5 PC Games That Are Worth Replaying appeared first on FANDOM.

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5 ‘Minecraft’-Like Games You Can Play Right Now

Minecraft may look simple, but beneath its plain exterior lies an interesting game with endless creative options. However, Minecraft isn’t just a building game. Players can explore intricate mines and battle against spiders, skeletons, zombies, or all three — which can be strangely exhilarating. But nothing lasts forever, especially games. So, once you’ve become a Minecraft god, what’s the next game you should conquer? Well, we have some suggestions for you. Here are five Minecraft-like games you can play right now.

Roblox


roblox
The creative alternative everyone wanted.

Roblox not only looks and feels like Minecraft, it also allows you to build an entire world from the ground up. The popular MMO game boasts an in-depth and intricate design system that allows players to immerse themselves in someone else’s creation or vice versa.

The kinds of worlds players can create range from wild pirate islands to bustling cities. And with endless items to place in each environment, the only thing limiting players is their own imagination. Building your own kingdom, beach, or city in Roblox is sure to scratch that creative itch that Minecraft left behind.

The Forest

Minecraft‘s survival mode can get very scary and intense, especially when your character is starving. Now, imagine an entire game built around this concept that has players fight and build shelter, tools, and fire to survive. That’s where The Forest, the Minecraft-like horror game that no one asked for but everyone loved, comes in.

With its realistic, Gothic aesthetic, The Forest pushes Minecraft‘s survival mode even further, resulting in a more bone-chilling experience. In Minecraft, enemies just kill you. However, in The Forest, enemies will knock you out and drag you into their dark underground lair where countless creature lie in wait, ready to pounce. Adrenaline junkies should definitely give The Forest a try. Just make a point to keep close to the fire and have a crafted weapon ready.

Terasology


The same look and feel — but with minions.

Terasology‘s design is near identical to Minecraft‘s. It also similarly allows players to craft, build, and mine. But Terasology has a lot to offer players that Minecraft doesn’t, such as a more realistically rendered landscape, an environment that can change over time, and even the ability to create loyal minions.

The villager NPCs in Minecraft are interesting and good for trading, but not much help in a fight. They just run around grunting or get turned into zombies. This isn’t the case in Terasology, where NPCs can be spawned from your toolbar. These NPCs can take inventory, mine blocks, build their own societies, and trade with you. This is definitely the game for those who love control but want their creations to lighten their workload.

Stardew Valley

Mining and farming are some of the most important and interesting parts of playing Minecraft. Mining helps you improve your tools, while farming allows you to live on the land. While smaller in scope, Stardew Valley also allows you to care for your own farm and mine to upgrade your tools.

Unlike Minecraft, where you can only trade with villager NPCs, the RPG-style Stardew Valley allows you to cultivate and deepen relationships with characters in the town, which can lead to friendships and even a romantic relationship. Being able to take an interest in the in-game community, creates a more immersive experience for players than what’s found in Minecraft. Everyone has wanted to knock off the grunting villagers in Minecraft at some point in time, but in Stardew Valley, you won’t be able to get enough of the game’s interesting and engaging little community.

Starbound


Who doesn’t want to give ‘Minecraft’ in space a go?

The beginning of Starbound sees you fleeing from your home. Eventually, you find yourself stuck on a planet where you are forced to explore, construct, and collect resources to escape. The game aesthetically resembles Stardew, boasting the same RPG gaming style. But Minecraft fans will love the game’s creative crafting mechanic and intense survival mode.

A more story-driven game than Minecraft, Starbound doesn’t limit what players can achieve or create. Players can shape their own future — whether that be as a farmer or an intergalactic estate agent. There are also plenty of opportunities for players to become battle-tested through boss fights and fun and challenging dungeon runs. There’s nothing more satisfying than throwing yourself in the dark depths of a jungle in an attempt to claim the treasures within.

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The post 5 ‘Minecraft’-Like Games You Can Play Right Now appeared first on FANDOM.

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Christina El Moussa on Ex Tarek Bumping Into New Boyfriend Ant Anstead at Kids’ Soccer Games

Christina El Moussa is balancing time with her new British TV star boyfriend and her ex-husband and current co-star, Tarek — occasionally at the same time.

The HGTV star, who just announced a new solo series, Christina on the Coast, opened up about what happens when the men in her life cross paths. “Ant comes to the kids’ soccer games, and met Ant multiple times and he likes him. He thinks he’s a good guy,” she tells Access Live

Asked how Tarek reacted to her new romance, she said, “I think he had an idea. We’d been dating since about November 2017. So he knew that we were together.”

RELATED: Tarek El Moussa Ponders Becoming a Hot Yoga Instructor as Ex Christina Announces New Solo Show

The friendly exes continue to work together filming their hit show Flip or Flop — season 7, the first they filmed after divorcing, is airing now — and Christina maintains their working relationship has “been really good,” adding “I think it’s really fun incorporating more of our personal lives into it.”

She also breaks down her feelings for her new guy: “I am dating an absolutely amazing person named Ant Anstead. He’s fun, he’s funny, he’s grounded, he’s gorgeous. He’s honestly my best friend.” Anstead, who’s well known in the U.K. as an automotive expert and TV personality from the show For the Love of Cars, is also a friend of Prince Harry.

Anstead had previously shared on social media that he’d been texting with the Duke of Sussex asking for advice on “dating a Yank,” but noted the tips he received would “be kept secret!”  When asked about their friendship, Christina replies, “Yes, maybe,” but declines to share other details.

RELATED: Christina and Tarek El Moussa Embrace the Awkward in First Flip or Flop Episode Since Divorce

The couple first confirmed their relationship with an Instagram post in January, and have since enjoyed a handful of romantic vacations as well as low-key hang time with their kids. Christina shares Taylor, 7, and Brayden, 2, with Tarek and Anstead has two children from a previous marriage.

Christina and Tarek announced their split publicly in December 2016, noting they’d secretly been living apart for months.

 


PEOPLE.com

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How to Watch the 2018 World Cup Games Today Online for Free, Including Mexico vs. South Korea

After upsetting reigning World Cup champion Germany in a thrilling 1-0 opening round victory, Mexico looks to continue its success in the 2018 World Cup today when it faces South Korea.

When is the South Korea vs. Mexico World Cup game? Mexico and South Korea are scheduled to play starting at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 23. Here are all the other details you need to tune in.

What Channel Is the World Cup 2018 South Korea vs. Mexico Game On?

Mexico vs. South Korea is being broadcast in English on Fox, and in Spanish on Telemundo. In fact, all three World Cup games today (including matches featuring Belgium and Germany) will be aired on Fox and Telemundo.

If you have a standard satellite or cable TV package, your bundle probably includes these channels. Simply find your local Fox station or Telemundo to watch the South Korea vs. Mexico game.

If you don’t have a pay TV package, you should still be able to watch Mexico and South Korea in the 2018 World Cup with a digital antenna. You can buy a basic digital antenna for around $ 30. When you hook up a digital antenna to a TV in most of the country, you can watch over-the-air broadcast networks like Fox, ABC, and, yes, Telemundo totally for free.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Schedule for Saturday and Sunday

What 2018 World Cup games today are being played? Here’s the TV schedule:

• Belgium vs. Tunisia, 8 a.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo
• South Korea vs. Mexico, 11 a.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo
• Germany vs. Sweden, 2 p.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo

What’s the 2018 World Cup schedule for Sunday, June 24?

• England vs. Panama, 8 a.m. ET, on FS1 and Telemundo
• Japan vs. Senegal, 11 a.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo
• Poland vs. Colombia, 2 p.m. ET, on Fox and Telemundo

Even if you don’t have cable, you should still be able to watch all 2018 World Cup games for free—either on TV (check out Telemundo) or by live streaming the game.

How to Live Stream the World Cup South Korea vs. Mexico Game for Free

In our previous how to watch the World Cup guide, we covered the basics for how to live stream World Cup 2018 games for free, including some strategies for how to watch Fox, FS1, and Telemundo online. Here are the details:

Every World Cup game can be streamed in English with the Fox Sports Go app. There is no charge for downloading and watching via the app, but you must log in with an appropriate pay TV provider account to get access.

To get the Spanish broadcasts, you can stream World Cup games in any browser at TelemundoDeportes.com, or with the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo or NBC Sports apps. Telemundo says that anyone can watch the World Cup online for free without a pay TV subscription until June 25. After that, you may be prompted to log in online with a pay TV account.

Most live-streaming TV services will also let you watch the World Cup online. Services including Hulu Live, Fubo TV, DirecTV Now, Playstation Vue, Sling TV, and YouTube TV all have packages available with some or all of the channels broadcasting 2018 World Cup matches.

Each of these services has a free trial period, allowing you to watch at no charge for roughly one week. Just remember to cancel the service if you don’t want to pay the monthly fee, which will cost $ 20 and up.

Sports – TIME

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Nine Must-Play Games from the New Mega Drive Classics Collection

This isn’t easy to say, but here goes. Of the 50-plus games featured on the new Mega Drive Classics collection, released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on May 29, only a handful of them possess any appeal for the modern player. Yeeouch. That hurts.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. Even with some glaring omissions (no After Burner, Out Run or Sonic 3, really?), the set pulses with nostalgic charm, with each of its selections as crisp as they’ve ever looked, and now with the bonus of rewind and quick-save features to ease you through some of the more testing options.

But the Mega Drive’s 30 years old, having originally released in Japan in October 1988, and the UK in 1990. It’s ancient history to younger gamers, who cut their teeth not on side-scrolling platformers, but the 3D worlds made possible by the PlayStation 2, or later consoles.

People who never blew on a cartridge, or understood what Game Genie or Mean Machines meant, or called a hints line while their parents were out at Asda. Damn, the internet ruined everything.

As a result of its age, the Classics collection can look flat, basic, dull even. And, with some of the games, that’s hard to argue with. However, there are titles here that anyone who appreciates the gaming medium needs to spend some time with – because of their historical significance, their role in the Mega Drive’s great 1990s success, their legacy, or simply because they’re amongst the minority and still rule today.

Which is to say, at the risk of stating the obvious, “must play” really doesn’t mean “best of”, with this little list.

ALTERED BEAST


It may be a bit crap, but its an undeniably important game.

First released into arcades in 1988, this shape-shifting, side-scrolling beat ‘em up was the first game that many a new Mega Drive owner played on the console, by virtue of it being the system’s pack-in title for Christmas 1990. Your character punches all manner of gruesome enemies into chunks, collecting dropped spirit orbs (“power up!”) – and upon retrieving three, he transforms into a powerful beast, just in time for the end-of-level boss.

Altered Beast is a hopelessly one-note game that really hasn’t stood up to the test of time, its five stages beatable in 15 minutes – but its place in Sega’s 16-bit history is indelible.

ALEX KIDD IN THE ENCHANTED CASTLE


Alex Kidd is a much needed reminder that retro platforms can be mind-numbingly awful.

Sega’s unofficial mascot before they felt forced to formalise one, in an attempt to do precisely what Nintendid(heh), Alex Kidd was the star of five platformers for the 8-bit Master System, but just the one on the Mega Drive. Enchanted Castle was a 1990 launch title for the system in the UK but felt tremendously dated even then, with imprecise leaping and landing, questionable punch connection and one-hit-kills, and a rock-paper-scissors battle mechanic that meant successful progress was more about luck than skill.

It’s awful, not quite a nadir of Sega’s first-party output of the time but certainly close to it. But play Enchanted Castle today and you’ll immediately understand just how behind the Super Mario series Sega’s equivalent genre efforts were. That had to change.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2


While Super Mario World may be the defining platformer of the 16 bit era, Sonic 2 shows exactly why the blue hedgehog is still so beloved today.

Sonic was born of an internal challenge at Sega to devise a proper company mascot. Top brass settled on a hedgehog, initially called Mr Needlemouse before becoming the Sonic we saw in 1991’s first game. Sonic the Hedgehog swiftly replaced Altered Beast as the Mega Drive’s bundled title, and strong reviews and splendid (ultimately platform-best) sales encouraged Sega to develop a sequel. And the stops were well and truly pulled out.

1992’s Sonic 2 introduced a second playable character in “Tails”, and a new spin-dash ability that radically improved Sonic’s movement. It brought spectacular imagination to the speedy platformer’s level designs, and cranked up the quality of the visuals and music. It stands today as the best 2D Sonic game of all time – which makes it the best Sonic game of all time, full stop. If you grew up with Sega’s mid-00s output, and thus came to distrust anything with Sonic on it, Sonic 2 will show you that, once upon a time, he ruled the platforming market.

GUNSTAR HEROES


If you're looking for an old school sch'mup classic, then this blocky blastahon is just the ticket.

Treasure’s reputation as multi-platform shooter developers par excellence is well earned, through releases like Sin & PunishmentRadiant Silvergun and Ikaruga(released for Switch on May 29). The Tokyo-based studio, founded by former Konami employees, began by making games exclusively for Sega – and four of them appear on Classics. Alien Soldier is a gorgeous but punishing shooter that’ll have you screaming at your screen; Dynamite Headdya still-fresh-feeling, hyper-colourful platformer; and Light Crusader an isometric action-RPG that has its ambition torpedoed by its awkward perspective.

The jewel is Treasure’s debut title, Gunstar Heroes, a blisteringly fast arcade run-and-gunner – think Konami’s Contra, turned up way past 11 – that never gives the player a moment to catch their breath. It’s bright and bold, its music atmospheric and dramatic, and Gunstar’s challenge is significant without reaching Alien Soldier heights of Oh I Give Up. Just a beautiful retro wonder, and a vital play from this Classics set. And in what other game, ever, would you receive the notification: “Warning! Danger Ahead: Melon Bread!” Brilliant.

TOEJAM & EARL


If you fancy a story-driven laugh a minute co-op adventure, this 90s classic still holds up surprisingly well.

There’s just something so wonderfully 1990s about ToeJam & Earl, that playing it in 2018 is a dizzying time warp to when The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was on after school, and Saturday morning kids TV was still a thing, all high-contrast graphics and “fresh” musical beats. A curious concoction of gentle-paced exploration and combat-less action – it’s mostly a case of avoiding enemies than engaging them – ToeJam & Earl shines as a couch co-op experience, the two titular alien protagonists exchanging jokes and quips when both in play.

Something of a cult hit for the Mega Drive, this is one for when you’ve a mate over, and some suitably of-the-time refreshments on hand, like Chewits and Carling Black Label.

STORY OF THOR/ BEYOND OASIS


The Mega Drive may have lacked the big Square-developed RPGs that helped make the SNES a hit, but Beyond Oasis is one of SEGA's forgotten role playing classics.

Nintendo had the Zelda series, and a string of superb (pre-Enix merge) Square-produced titles, like Secret of Mana and Final Fantasy VI, making the SNES the preferable 16-bit system for role-playing gamers. But the Mega Drive wasn’t without a few RPG gems. Collected on Classics are three Phantasy Star games, three from Sega’s Shining series, the isometric adventures Land Stalker and Light Crusader, and the multi-perspective Sword of Vermillion.

But the most accessible RPG on Sega’s new set has to be Story of Thor– or Beyond Oasis, as it was known in the US. Its big, colourful sprites have it standing out beside its duller-palette platform-mates, and the consistent top-down viewpoint will make Zelda fans feel at home, likewise its dungeon puzzles and limited-use weapons like arrows and bombs. The score by Yuzo Koshiro, alternatingly enchanting and ominous, is the cherry on the cake.

STREETS OF RAGE 2


This game is hailed as a classic for a reason and its still great fun today.

Speaking of Koshiro, it’s the composer’s incredibly evergreen work on Streets of Rage 2 that elevate a perfectly serviceable arcade brawler into a genuine classic, worth every reissue it receives. Its gameplay and plot may be elementary – walk from left to right, beat up all the goons, rescue your captured pal – but such is the slickness with which Streets of Rage 2was realised, that it is that rare 16-bit Sega game that feels as good to play now as it did in the early 1990s.

Like Story of Thor, its characters and NPCs are chunky and colourful; there’s a lot of fun being had with the level designs, ranging from theme park rides to underground wrestling arenas; and it’s perfectly beatable by beginners, which only adds to its wide appeal. And then there’s that music, an intoxicating blend of techno, funk and house, and the best the Mega Drive ever had.

RISTAR


Forget Sonic, Ristar is our BOI.

Arriving relatively late in the Mega Drive’s lifecycle, in early 1995, Ristar was a welcome reminder that Sega’s in-house Sonic Team division was capable of more than just pumping out games for its blue blur of a mascot. Another platformer, Ristar sees the titular character reach out with extendable arms to grab both the environment, for traversal, and enemies, for a deft KO-ing head-butt. It lacks the speed of Sonic but makes up for that with a greater emphasis on strategy across each stage – and, for many critics with the benefit of hindsight, it’s actually a better game than most 16-bit Sonics.

Ristar pushes its parent hardware, looking like a next-gen title in comparison to Alex Kidd and Altered Beast – but with Sega’s Saturn (and Sony’s PlayStation) already out in Japan at the time of its release, and imminent in the US and Europe, it was a game doomed to period irrelevance, as consumers looked to move onto emerging 32-bit hardware.

VIRTUA FIGHTER 2


The Mega Drive’s attempts at 3D were uh… ambitious.

Sega’s collapse as a hardware force can be attributed to many things, and we’re not about to dig into all of that here. But there can be no doubt that the company failed to move on from the Mega Drive as quickly as it should, and as a result found itself having to support too many consoles at the same time. When the 3D arcade hit Virtua Fighter 2 arrived on the Mega Drive in 1996, as a 2D Street Fighter-like affair stripped of its polygon visuals, Sega was still putting out games for the handheld Game Gear and its newer Saturn console, as well as the 32X and its edutainment platform, the Pico.

The company was spread way too thin, and you can positively feel that pressure in the Mega Drive’s Virtua Fighter 2, a muddy, imprecise, unrewarding take on what had been an acclaimed title. The game had no right being on a 16-bit system, and its place on 2018’s Classics is more a hands-up acknowledgement of the Mega Drive’s death knell than an attempt to position it as a fighter worth playing again in the here and now.

If you want a retro game in this style, that remains a joy today, stick to Street Fighter. If you want to see just how badly Sega had lost their way in the mid-1990s, though, fire this one up for just five minutes. And then never, ever, play it again.

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A To Z 2018: Nashra Balagamwala Is Sparking Debate Through Board Games | NBC Asian America

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‘Mass Effect,’ ‘Call of Duty’ Composer Reveals Musical Inspirations, Fave Games

If you’re a video gamer, you’re probably very familiar with Jack Wall’s works.

Over the last 20+ years, the prolific composer has scored the soundtracks to many best-selling titles, including the Myst franchise, Splinter Cell, Jade Empire, Mass Effect, and Call of Duty. His works have brought excitement to action sequences and depth to emotional ones.

FANDOM spoke with Wall ahead of his concert in Los Angeles. Wall shared what inspires him to work as well as his favorite titles. (Yes, he’s a gamer himself when he has a spare moment.)

FANDOM: Do you build the soundtrack around the game or vice-versa?

Wall: Yes, always around the game. I generally will get video playthroughs of an entire level and then I do what’s called a “spotting session” with the audio director where we figure out where music is going to go and what the function of the music is, the palette, etc. We try to create a story through the gameplay of the level and an arc to the drama of it all. It’s similar to scoring a movie.

FANDOM: How do you approach creating soundtracks for games in different genres? Do you gravitate to one over another?

Wall: Well, I really love sci-fi and action adventure, but also projects which have some drama to it and a real story. Story is paramount for me. Telling stories is where my passion lies.

FANDOM: What routine do you do to get in a composing mood?

Wall: Coffee. Nuff said. Well, except that you have to just sit down and do it. If I’m stuck or it’s not happening, I’ll walk away. I’ll literally go for a walk to clear my head or take a shower. Those are my 2 go-tos for priming the creative pump. It’s about opening yourself up to what it should be. But also, you really just have to trust your instincts. Over the years, I have learned how to do that….that my first thoughts are almost always my best thoughts. And to just go with that.

FANDOM: What are your favorite soundtracks, gaming or otherwise?

Wall: The usual suspects, I suppose. I love Tom Newman, John Williams, James Horner (RIP), James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer. But also my friends in the games industry as well. I’m a fan of Richard Jacques, Sam Hulick, Jimmy Hinson (Big Giant Circles), Gordy Haab, and too many others to name. I also love TV music as well. Trevor Morris and Sean Callery are among my faves.

FANDOM: What’s your favorite instrument or sound you try to put in your compositions?

Wall: Something I haven’t heard before. But you know. Cello. It’s so versatile and wonderful. I like guitar and guitarviol if they are played in ways we don’t hear every day. A really great mysterious voice works for me. Making new sounds from synths and sampling the world. I love finding musicians that do interesting and unique things with their instruments. I once hired a musician who made her own instruments out of clay.

FANDOM: What games do you play? If you play Mass Effect, who is your favorite character and why? Paragon or Renegade?

Wall: I like to play the games I work on — just to see what damage has been done. But also others that I know have great soundtracks. I’m currently playing Uncharted 4 with The Last of Us on deck. (Yes, I’m so behind!) I’m pretty busy so I can’t play a lot. I end up watching TV to unwind. But you know … FemShep Paragon works too. 🙂

Jack Wall with Studio Orchestra including CSUN Studio Ensemble are performing in concert at Valley Performing Arts Center/The Soraya on May 9. Fans can purchase tickets online here.

He is also composing the music for Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments airing on Freeform.

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If You Loved the Witcher Games, You Have to Read the Books

Not many in the English-speaking world had heard of Andrzej’s Sapkowski’s Witcher series until the first game came to PC. The Witcher books were not published in English until 2007 and only then slowly. As of this writing, one novel is still not officially translated (it will release in May). Meanwhile, as the Witcher books trickled out of Poland, CD Projekt Red’s games became mega hits. Since 2015, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has sold 25 million copies worldwide. This is one of the reasons that, outside of Poland, Geralt of Rivia is mainly a video game character. The games overshadowed the books. But having read these books myself now, I think we need to fix this.

CD Projekt Red didn’t merely borrow the Witcher characters, they wanted to write their own Witcher novels in game form. They are massive fans who set out to make playable what they had read in Sapkowski’s stories. The games directly imitate his tone, plots, and themes. You’re missing a key part of the games’ intent if you haven’t read the source material. You’re also missing out on Geralt’s exploits in these incredible fantasy novels.


English covers for ‘The Last Wish,’ ‘Blood of Elves,’ and ‘The Time of Contempt,’ all using Geralt’s design from the video games.

Short Stories to Epic Saga

Andrzej Sapkowski created Geralt of Rivia in a series of short stories beginning in 1986. Those short stories would be collected into two volumes, The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny, which cover the early part of Geralt’s witcher career. In the ’90s, Sapkowski took his characters and created the Witcher Saga, a series of five novels. The series brought Geralt and his adopted daughter Ciri into a massive struggle between empires, evil wizards, and inter-dimensional elves. It begins with stand-alone episodes which then evolve into a five-part war epic as complicated as Game of Thrones.

But what about The Witcher is so impressive that they stoked the creative fires of CD Projekt Red?


A witcher in his element.

Power Fantasies Subverted

 


The Velen battlefield from ‘Witcher 3’, a playable interpretation of the bloody wars in the novels.

Geralt of Rivia is, on the surface, a power fantasy. That’s why he fits so well into the role of a video game hero. Witchers are mutant monster hunters who travel the world having adventures. Geralt is the perfect combination of badass warrior and dark loner that makes for a sexy protagonist. He even has a habit of falling into bed with beautiful sorceresses. Yet Geralt is bitter. His world is subverted so that classical heroes can never simply fight evil. There’s always some tough moral choice.

Sapkowski’s style plays on your expectations. The early Witcher stories are satires of folktales and legends but with realistic complications based on gritty medieval history. In one story, Geralt stumbles upon some local knights out to bravely slay a dragon that attacked a village. However, we soon learn that the knights are corrupt, the villagers are evil (and murdered the dragon’s mother), and the dragons are actually quite friendly. Geralt is a cynic, but this is a world where the cynic is usually right. Yet, no matter how gray things get, he keeps acting like a black and white hero. He knows no other way to be.

Grim Darkness or Black Comedy?

 


Geralt taking in Ciri. This is from a ‘Witcher 3’ flashback to a book scene.

There are dozens of characters in these books, from great kings to small thieves, who all contribute something to the snarl of betrayals that drive the plot. Beyond the mess of would-be Littlefingers, Sapkowski writes in themes of racism, colonialism, and climate change. (The Witcher, for ’90s fantasy, was ahead of its time.) Humans are invaders on this continent, dwarves are forced into ghettos, and the planet is doomed to freeze over in centuries. Geralt’s life is action-packed. But everything he does only adds up to “pissing into a hurricane,” as one villain puts it.

This sounds bleak, but these books are actually very funny. The power struggles are more absurd than dark. Nobody really knows what’s going on. All the schemes of emperors or witches add up to blind luck in the end. The big battle in the last book is won by a tiny mistake. One individual scout gets too scared to check over a hill, which leads his army into an ambush. The black comedy, however, stops being very funny once Sapkowski takes you on the ground. The bloodbath is a very realistic nightmare.

Human Center


Geralt and Ciri in the Witcher 3
Ciri keeps Geralt grounded.

However, when it comes to the human relationships, Sapkowski plays it straight. Geralt’s life is anchored by his relationship with two women, his girlfriend Yennefer and his daughter Ciri. The Ciri connection is more important and is the centerpiece of the Witcher Saga. The two are tied together by destiny thanks to a fairy tale rule called “the Law of Surprise.” At first, Geralt stays his sour loner self and avoids this destiny. But at the end of Sword of Destiny, when Ciri’s kingdom, Cintra has been destroyed, Geralt takes off his cynical armor and takes her in.

Ciri is a princess by birth, the heir to powerful elven magic, and eventually a deadly witcher in her own right. That would make her a Mary Sue in most stories, but not here. Instead, she is the target of half a dozen conspiracies. Ciri’s life is a series of horrors and scars. As the Saga continues, Ciri is separated from Geralt, leaving her to fend for herself in a brutal world. She becomes an active protagonist and a hero equal to her father. The Witcher Saga is not Geralt’s story alone, but Ciri’s too.

Something Familiar


Geralt from The Witcher 3

When CD Projekt Red took on the Witcher series, they imitated what made Andrzej Sapkowski’s work great. They adapted the books’ fighting scenes into a Dark Souls-esque combat system. They kept the complicated storylines and multitudes of characters. There’s even that same winking satire of fairy tales. The Witcher 3’s main plot is a replay of the Saga novels. The war repeats, Geralt travels the world again, and Ciri is a secondary playable character. Many of the sidequests feel like the short stories — only, the player is making the moral choices now.

I read these books after playing the games and found that I was already familiar with the words on the page. The Witcher games are not just great on their own terms, they’re excellent adaptations of an already great fantasy world. Netflix recently announced they, too, would take on Sapkowski’s series. Hopefully, their upcoming TV series will also replicate the comedy, drama, and humanity that made the Witcher books such a joy to read.

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