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As game designer Jennifer Scheurle was prepared to speak at the 2018 Game Develoeprs Conference, she asked her Twitter followers for examples of “brilliant mechanics in games that are hidden from the player to get across a certain feeling.” There were hundreds of replies, many from the game developers themselves, and the insight was fascinating. The original thread is a lot of fun to read through, but here are some of my favorites:
In Jak and Dexter the player would “for no reason” trip and fall to give enough time to load the next section off disc. […] In the era of open world and “no load screens” you needed to stop the player going too fast. Disc load time was a nightmare.
Most (good) platform games allow you a small window after you run off the edge of a platform to initiate a jump
If only Wile E. Coyote had such luck.
Some of these might leave you feeling like Dorothy when Oz is revealed, but I love seeing how and when a developer might deploy a cheat on the player’s behalf. And, although I enjoyed reading through the various game mechanics, some of the best replies were from players who never realized what was happening.
Naturally, others followed suit in their own way. Breaking with its normal policy on allowing fictional characters to display hateful messages, Facebook internally decided to ban certain images of the Pepe the Frog, according to documents obtained by Motherboard. The documents highlight the constant shifting of social networks’ policies towards hate speech, as groups find new ways to communicate and push their agendas.
“Pepe the Frog has been endorsed by many hate groups to convey hateful messages,” a section of a training manual for Facebook moderators, entitled ‘Dangerous Organizations’ reads.
Typically Facebook allows users to post images of cartoon or video game characters, even in the context of hate without issue. The training material also includes an example of Homer Simpson with a swastika emblazoned on the side of his head. This is something that moderators would ignore and not remove if flagged by a user, according to the documents.
Caption: A section of the training material mentioning Facebook's policies on fictional characters. Image: Motherboard
Pepe is different though, or at least particular uses of him. The training materials provide two Pepe examples; the first is just a standard image of the bulge-eyed frog staring at his hands. The second shows Pepe dressed in an SS uniform standing outside a concentration camp. Moderators should “delete” the latter, according to the slide. The document specifically says that this only applies to “Pepe the Frog when he is shown in the context of hate.”
“They are abusing the image of a cartoon character, one that might at first seem appealing, to harass and spread hatred on social media,” ADL’s chief executive Jonathan A Greenblatt said when the group marked Pepe as a hate symbol.
Caption: A section of the training material mentioning Facebook's policies on Pepe the Frog. Image: Motherboard
Of course Facebook isn’t the only platform to wrestle with Pepe. In June last year, Motherboard confirmed that Apple had flagged the meme frog as “objectionable content,” banning it from the iOS App Store.
Matt Furie, the creator of Pepe, has also bitten back against the far-right’s adoption of his character. In August last year, Furie reached a settlement with Eric Hauser, the author of The Adventures of Pepe and Pede, a self-published children’s book that depicted Pepe as an Islamophobe. The settlement forced Hauser to donate all profits to a Muslim-American relations campaign group.
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What a bunch of horse shit. What is really at play: steam Link would essentially turn iOS devices into a dumb host/conduit serving titles of higher quality (actual games) which undercuts the mediocrity that underscores the majority of App Store game titles. How telling that they are not even trying to hid the fact that what is best for Apple in this situation is harmful to users’ interests (and arguable the platform’s).
The Selfish Ledger is a troubling, near-future concept video
produced within Google in late 2016, which we revealed on this
website a week ago. It uses plenty of stock footage to illustrate
its premise, which the BBC now reports wasn’t properly licensed by
Google. British filmmaker Philip Bloom expressed his dismay to the
BBC at seeing his footage used in The Selfish Ledger without any
license or authorization from him. He reports that Google lifted
73 seconds from seven of his videos, and when he got in touch with
the company he was offered no compensation. Google, in response,
indicates that the video was only for internal use, which Bloom
counters by noting that many other companies have previously
licensed his work for internal use only.
It’s bad enough Google didn’t pay for the footage up front, as they should have. But to refuse to pay now is outrageous. Who runs PR for Google? A generous payment to Bloom after he contacted them and this never even would have been a story.
SmoothieBox focuses on providing high-protein smoothie packs based on recipes that use collagen, which is found in parts of animals not typically eaten in the American diet, such as tendons, cartilage, hide and bone.
Mmm, mmm. That sure does sound appetizing, and not at all gross!
This is demonstrably false. I’m a vegetarian. I know this! Just go with it. ↩︎