An extreme sports game with a story? FutureGrind’s developers talk cyberpunk

Yesterday, an indie extreme-sports game called FutureGrind launched on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows. And it’s about time, too. I had played the game at events like E3, PlayStation Experience, and the Game Developers Conference several times over the years, and I got addicted—to the point that, in the lead-up to any new industry show, I started to wonder, “Oh man, I wonder what’s new with FutureGrind.”

Now FutureGrind is here, and I’m enjoying it just as much as I expected. In it, you ride bikes on rail-based tracks and perform stunts in gameplay that draws from popular extreme sports titles like OlliOlli, SSX, and most of all Trials. But there are all sorts of unique spins (pun only sort of intended) made possible by the game’s futuristic setting.

FutureGrind is hardly the only extreme sports game set in the future, but it doubles down on story more than most others do, and it uses the setting to add to game design in fresh ways.

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HBO mines Asian mythology for scary monsters in anthology series Folklore

HBO Asia’s new horror anthology series, Folklore, features six standalone episodes, each set in a different Asian country.

Back in the 1990s, HBO notably produced the cult-classic horror anthology series Tales from the Crypt. For its new horror anthology, Folklore, the scary monsters are drawn from the mythologies of various Asian cultures. Instead of a vampire, you get a pontianak, and in place of a trickster genie who grants wishes, there is a blood-drinking toyol from Malaysia.

Created by Singaporean director Eric Khoo, the series features six standalone episodes, each with a different director and cast, set in a different country: Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Korea. (Khoo directed the Singapore-set episode, “Nobody.”) The episodes have been making the rounds at film festivals, including the 2018 Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, and the 2018 Toronto Film Festival. And now they’re coming to the small screen.

In “A Mother’s Love,” a single mother moves into a mansion with her young son and finds several unkempt children in the attic. When she helps return them to their families, she incurs the wrath of Wewe Gombel, a child-snatching vengeful spirit—although, to be fair, in the original folktale she only takes children who have been abused. (The story is reminiscent of how the Icelandic ogre Gryla was portrayed as a protector of children recently in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina solstice special.)

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Resident Evil 2 remake review: Beautiful, terrifying, and annoying

Resident Evil 2 remake review: Beautiful, terrifying, and annoying

Two years ago, Capcom struck surprising gold with its umpteenth Resident Evil video game. 2017’s Resident Evil 7 was the spark the aging series needed, particularly after RE5 and RE6 threw out the series’ best ideas, and it proved that Capcom still knew how to deliver familiar chills without making things boring.

The game’s success put Capcom in an odd conundrum. How the heck does it follow such a quality surprise? The answer is an apparent stopgap: Resident Evil 2, a deliberate remake of the 1998 classic Playstation hit.

The result is honestly everything you might want from a triple-A game launching in the slow month of January. RE2 is a modern Resident Evil game: behind-the-shoulder action, smooth controls, gorgeous visuals, masterfully staged atmosphere, ridiculous entrails, and true surprises. RE2 is also a classic Resident Evil game: cheesy dialogue, tight corridors, police-station environs, lumbering zombies, and simple puzzles that rely on item fetching and backtracking.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, video games, and the new online town square

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, video games, and the new online town square

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of people—including one sitting US Congressperson—gathered online to watch a marathon stream of someone playing Donkey Kong 64. The most notable thing about this, perhaps, was just how little organic interest in Donkey Kong 64 actually had to do with much of the gathering.

Let me back up a little bit. The main, ostensible purpose for Harry “Hbomberguy” Brewis’ “Donkey Kong Nightmare Stream” was that he simply wanted to beat Donkey Kong 64, as he put it on YouTube. DK64 was a game Brewis said he “never finished properly as a kid… I want to destroy Donkey Kong 64, so until that has been achieved, the stream doesn’t stop. I don’t care if I fall asleep. I don’t care if I run out of food. The stream will continue.”

But the stream was also set up as a fundraiser for Mermaids, a UK-based gender-dysphoria charity that has recently been criticized by TV writer and comedian Graham Linehan (The IT Crowd, Father Ted). And Brewis was clear that Linehan’s words also served as a direct motivation for the charity marathon.

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Old Gods and New Gods prepare for war in new trailer for American Gods S2

Second trailer for American Gods season 2, which debuts on Starz March 10.

We’re less than two months away from the season 2 debut of American Gods, the TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel, and Starz has rewarded fans’ patience with a shiny new trailer.

(Spoilers for first season below.)

In season 1, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), a recently released convict, falls in with the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane) as his bodyguard, after losing his wife, Laura (Emily Browning). But Mr. Wednesday is not who he seems. He’s actually the ancient Norse god Odin seeking to rally all the remaining Old Gods, who are slowly dying off from people’s lack of belief. Their mission: beat back the encroaching influence of all the New Gods so they can survive.

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Intrepid scientist corrects physiology in Gulliver’s Travels after 300 years

Title page of first edition of Jonathan Swift's <em>Gulliver's Travels</em>, relating the fictional adventures of one Lemuel Gulliver.

Gulliver’s Travels is justly regarded as one of the best satirical novels of all time, although its author, Jonathan Swift, claimed he wrote the book “to vex the world rather than divert it.” Politicians of the time were indeed vexed at being mocked in its pages. It seems the author’s physiological descriptions also proved a bit vexatious, according to a charming new paper in the Journal of Physiological Sciences.

First published in 1726, Gulliver’s Travels relates the fictional adventures of one Lemuel Gulliver, “first a surgeon and then a captain of several ships,” according to the book’s lengthy subtitle. During his voyages, Gulliver encounters several unusual species: the tiny people of Lilliput, the giants of Brobdingnag, talking horses called Houyhnhnms who rule over the deformed, uncouth Yahoos, and the inhabitants of the flying island of Laputa, who devote themselves to the study of science and the arts but have never figured out how to apply that knowledge for practical applications. Apart from its literary qualities, Gulliver’s Travels provided ample fodder for eagle-eyed experts, since Swift couldn’t resist going into great detail about the physiology of his fictional species, practically inviting closer scrutiny.

Toshio Kuroki, special advisor to the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo and Gifu University, read Gulliver’s Travels for the first time with his book club. Having spent a long, prestigious career conducting cancer research, Kuroki immediately noticed an error on Swift’s part when estimating Gulliver’s energy requirements compared to that of the diminutive Lilliputions. It spurred him to look more closely at similar passages in the book, and to make his own comparative physiological analysis of the fictional creatures encountered by Gulliver during his travels.

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How Buke and Gase built a huge indie rock career—and its own guitars, software

NEW YORK CITY—The band brings to the stage: two grids of foot-triggered effects pedals and switches; two music stands, covered with a smattering of synthesizers, touchscreens, and touch-sensitive pads; two laptops, connected to this variety of inputs in a center console; two stringed instruments, neither of which look exactly like a bass or a guitar; and two foot-triggered pieces of percussion.

One of those is a compact kick-drum rig, connected to that array of laptops. The other is a bicycling shoe with tambourine parts welded onto its sides and sole.

This pre-show array of gear usually elicits curious looks from crowds who wonder what kind of noise is about to emerge. But the band Buke and Gase are here for a homecoming show of sorts. They’re fresh off a nationwide tour with Shellac, among the esteemed post-punk bands to have ties to the genre’s original DIY movement. They’ve just put the final touches on their new album, titled Scholars, set to launch two months later (as in, January 18). People are here to celebrate.

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Star Trek: Discovery’s second season may boldly go where the first did not

Michael Burnham is all of us.

In many ways, this season felt very much like a much-needed reset from the previous one. The Klingon war is over, and the Federation is consumed by a new scientific pursuit: mysterious red bursts of light that have appeared across 30,000 light years.

The scene that really drove home the reset was the formal roll call, where our bridge characters say their names—really, directly to the audience.

It’s still baffling that we went an entire season without knowing most of the bridge crew’s names! Yes, we sort of got to know a handful of characters, but there are regular faces that we’ve seen many times on the bridge. If like the other shows, where the bulk of each episode happens in the nerve center of the ship, it would help to know who we’re interacting with.

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