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Mask Up Mondays: NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 (Season Game 8)



Wearing masks stops the spread, so imagine COVID-19 if everyone acted accordingly and wore their masks. People are dying, people are losing their jobs, people are being evicted, companies are losing business, essential workers are getting sick, and that only increases the scarcity of everything when you think about it. It doesn't require you to wear it in your car, just wear it in stores and public buildings around others, and when you're in crowded spaces and areas where you will interact with things where the public, in general, will go (i.e. gas stations).

Not sure what type of mask is most effective? Take a look at this lab test from June, where the Florida Atlantic University researchers developed a cough emulator lab configuration to determine what the most effective mask would be. The focus is air droplets and how effective certain masks are, and we have the most effective masks in the test available for you w/ a coupon code to save 15% off. So take a look at the video to verify for yourself, and... let's flatten the curve.

STARGIRL: The Complete First Season... Reviewed!

It's that time again, review... time! This time around I'm reviewing the first season of... Stargirl, a hero I had absolutely zero knowledge about... and so I'm going in with zero expectations about anything. Before I jump in, I have to give a shout out to Warner Bros for sending a copy of the Blu-ray our way for review, and the opinions I share are my own.

The first season of... Stargirl, started out action-packed with the heroes of the Justice Society of America taking on the villains of the Injustice Society of America. The heroes were killed off in that battle, including Starman (played by Joel McHale) who left behind a sidekick by the name of Stripe (played by Luke Wilson). The action came to a close with Starman telling Stripe to find someone to fill his shoes.

Story: This was the segue into Stargirl's story, which was created by Geoff John's (launching his career in comic books). Stargirl was actually created by Geoff in memory of his late sister who lost her life, which is cool... and allows her to live on through fans of the hero.

Stargirl started off great, and didn't lose steam... which I was impressed by. They gave us a taste of Courtney Whitmore's backstory by way of awards and pictures as she packed up to make her way from normalcy to... Holy crap!

Courtney's blended family relocated to Blue Valley, Nebraska for her mom's new job... and her stepdad (Pat Dugan) was totally on-board, unlike the pending hero... until she found something that took her focus off of relocating from the life she once knew in California. You can thank the Cosmic Staff for that.

The story is good, and definitely engaging. It's just going after a throw away villain episode after episode, they're woven into story and it really makes the show interesting. You're seeing the Injustice Society of America and how they operate, not only as villains in costumes... but in their day to day lives and it shows a layer of realism when it comes to corruption in society and how it's wield in positions of power. Since Courtney's in highschool, the story is presented through the lens of a highschooler... and that also includes the other heroes recruited to fill the roles of Starman's comrades.

Speaking of Stargirl being in highschool, she also has the everyday highschool problems... like the mean girls and all the crap comes with their sinister ways (in more ways than one). It's a good mix and I don't know... I get a movie-like vibe from the show (it almost feels like they broke a movie up into episodes). If you've seen the show, i'm sure you know... exactly what I mean.

This season showcases the team basically getting over themselves, and coming into their own. Working as a team... was one of the biggest challenges.

I was able to get engaged in the show easily (even when the action wasn't at it's peak because it flowed well), and I was waiting for the moment where that would change but... it didn't. I don't want to give away too much, but it's a solid show... and it set up season 2 well. By the way, the last two episodes are named after the "STARS and S.T.R.I.P.E." comic. This is the perfect name for these episodes as the Justice Society of America (JSA) tightens up and showcases their synergy against the ISA.

I'll point out a few criticism later, but in the mean time... let's jump into the visuals.

Visuals: The show looks great, and... like I said... it totally has a movie vibe with the visual quality and the angles. Stargirl has plenty of day and nighttime scenes to represent the work/school days, and the dangers lurking in the night.

When it comes to the action, it was actually really good... and reminded me of Sarah Michelle Gellar's days as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They were really brawling in the show, especially Sportsmaster + Tigress... they have teamwork down pat with their fighting abilities. It's not cheesy either, it's actually some damn good fighting ability.

There are some parts that were off that were off to me.

I feel like the initial introduction to the Cosmic Staff was slightly off. Courtney finds this staff, she's still... feeling it out but she knows that she's able to jump on it and flip while it's suspended in mid-air?

That may seem like a shrug (and it is) but I was like... how did she know the thing could and would hold her up? If she said something like... "hold still" or... "hey, stop" and found out that it could hold it's position... that would've been a cool discovery that led up to that. It wouldn't have been a drawn out discovery, but it would've connected the dots on potential moves. Just saying.

Visually, looking at the costume of Stargirl... a certain hero from an alternate company came to mind, but I didn't let that get in my way of appreciating the show. I did scratch my head as to how she was able to alter Starman's costume without knowing the specific measurements of everything to make it fit her, but at the same time I thought it was cool that she did it on her own and there wasn't the typical sidekick waiting on standby to deliver one to her.

One costume related item i'm not crazy about in the show is... Wildcat's mask. The puffy cheeks on wildcat's mask... look cheesy, which is the only cheesiness I got from the show.

By the way, I watched the show in HDX... which is a term used by Vudu to represent a higher bitrate than standard HD video. Higher bitrate delivering better quality while maintaining 1080p resolution.


Audio + Extras: The audio is clear, and Stargirl doesn't have that unbalanced audio that some shows and movies have... so I didn't have to turn the volume up and down. Sound effects were accurate too. They did a great job with the music selection for the show too, they didn't deliver a cheesy theme song... it was a sound upbeat playlist.

Unlike other show's i've reviewed thus far, there aren't any extras in this first season of Stargirl. I think they should've interviewed the cast or something... or gave some sort of history into the world of Starman + STARS and S.T.R.I.P.E.

Like other DC Comic related box sets, I think that Warner Bros missed an opportunity by not doing a collector's edition bundle to include a figuring and/or a special edition of the STARS and S.T.R.I.P.E. comic.


Price: Pricewise... the DVD comes in at $24.98 SRP, while the Blu-ray comes in at $29.98 SRP. Not bad at all for 13 episodes that deliver a total of 572 minutes of awesome.

Now for the not so awesome. The con I have about the show... is actually beneath the surface (but when I found out I was like... damn). On the surface, great show, and if season 2 is anything like season 1... it should prove to be badass. Beneath the surface is something offensive on a racially insensitive level that should not have been done with Stargirl's Anjelika Washington, who plays Beth Chapel (aka Dr. Mid-Nite II).

Black stuntmen exist, but Beth Chapel's double was a woman in Blackface. WTF?! 

The actress said that she pushed back against it, but one of the producers said that she should just be thankful to be working. That's a major con, major. The producer (whoever they are) is adding to an existing problem that has stood in the way of many Black professionals, which are these offensive things that they're expected to accept in order to quality for the few opportunities available to them. This one in particular robbed a Black stuntwoman of an opportunity by way of something that's offensive and jeopardizes the show.

Should Black viewers protest the show as a way to remind them that... they should be thankful we're supporting the show as well? Anjelika needs a Black stuntwoman to represent Beth Chapel, no matter the excuse and... an apology needs to be issued. I know comicbook fans who buy comicbooks faithfully to this day, including DVD box sets or Blu-ray to support their favorite shows. This has been done from childhood, and some kept their support going strong while deployed in the military and after completing their service. Acknowledge that, show respect for the actress, your audience and... cut the crap.

Overall, it's a really good show (on the surface) and... I wish that the ISA-style crap beneath the surface didn't occur, but it can be changed if the producers are willing to make that change. Anjelika reported that she did her best to ensure that the double wasn't even used, which could open the door to her being one of those actresses able to do her own stunts... which is cool... so who knows what it may motivate. Nevertheless, I look forward to a positive update on this.


Story 5

Visuals 5

Audio 5

Price 5

5 out of 5 Cool Points



Serious Sam 4



serious sam 4


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FTS: Borderlands 3 helping to cure diseases?

Nature Biotechnology Journal Showcases Unprecedented Success of Borderlands Science in Driving Citizen Science Participation

Mini-Game Within Borderlands 3 Generates Data That Can Be Applied Toward Improving Research, Helping Cure Diseases



FRISCO, TX – September 24, 2020 – Today, Nature Biotechnology – a monthly journal in the top 2% of impact factor that covers the science and business of biotechnology – published a perspective paper authored by the creators of Borderlands Science about Borderlands Science’s success, the massive scope of its impact on medical research, and its applicability to future research.

 

Released in April by Gearbox Entertainment and 2K, in collaboration with MMOs, McGill University, and the Microsetta Initiative, Borderlands Science is an interactive science discovery game (SDG) within Borderlands 3 that invites players to map the human gut microbiome to advance vital medical studies while earning in-game rewards.

 

“I am so encouraged by how the Borderlands community has embraced Borderlands Science and the tremendous impact the game has had on real-world medical research,” said Randy Pitchford, co-author of the paper and Gearbox Entertainment co-founder. “Moreover, I’m heartened by the prospect of video games continuing to advance the scientific and medical research that could contribute greatly to our understanding of many diseases.”

 

The integration of Borderlands Science into Borderlands 3 has become one of the most active citizen science initiatives. In fewer than three months, Borderlands Science reached more than 1 million participants who solved at least one open task. During those three months, researchers collected 50 million puzzle solutions from Borderlands Science players, saving medical researchers hundreds of thousands of hours in training computers to do the same. Strikingly, the volume of work generated by Borderlands Science has oscillated between 10,000 and 15,000 hours of work per day, compared to the couple of hundreds of hours per day reported in other projects.

 

“The participation rate is unprecedented and beyond our most optimistic anticipations,” said Jérôme Waldispühl, co-author of the paper and Associate Professor of Computer Science at McGill University. “Borderlands Science demonstrates the formidable potential of video games to accelerate research and opens new horizons to science.”

 

The data collected from Borderlands Science will help researchers map the human gut microbiome and better understand a variety of medical conditions. But future applications of the framework established by Borderlands Science could have an even greater effect. Borderlands Science was supported by the Genomic Application Partnership Program of Genome Canada and Genome Québec.

 

Borderlands Science has demonstrated the tremendous impact of citizen scientists, and yet there is still so much more we can do,” said Dr. Rob Knight, co-author of the paper and the co-founder of the American Gut Project. “For example, the Microsetta Initiative started to collect data to study the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and factors influencing susceptibility to COVID-19. This project is another instance of the type of research that is a natural match for the Borderlands Science framework.”

 

"This extraordinary achievement of the Borderlands 3 player community in Borderlands Science is not only a major contribution to scientific research, but a clear message to the whole game industry: citizen science and video games are a perfect match," said MMOS CEO and co-founder Attila Szantner.

 

Potential applications, like the Microsetta Initiative’s COVID-19 research, highlight the impact that partnerships between the video game industry and researchers may have during emergency situations when the scientific community could benefit from a platform that quickly mobilizes large numbers of participants to complete urgent tasks.

 

To learn more about the Borderlands Science project, visit Borderlands Science online or dnapuzzles.org. 



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Top Audiences Last Week as of... 09.23.2020!

 

Top 10... let's go!

The battle for PS5 + Xbox Series S & X pre-orders!

USA
Hong Kong
Germany
United Kingdom
France
Canada
Brazil
Ukraine
Australia
Turkey

Russia, United Arab Emirates, and... the Netherlands came close!


          

Nintendo... Nintendo: Super Mario 3D All Stars

Nintendo... Nintendo, this isn't winning me over. I'm not speaking against the gameplay, but Nintendo could've knocked this collection out of the park by giving Super Mario 64 an update. That's the least they could've done for Super Mario 3D All Stars. There have been fan projects shut down by Nintendo for making visual enhancements, and they gained some serious attention (including the unfortunate attention from Nintendo that didn't involve working with the team who made it). Why not capitalize on the attention that was able to gain... by answering with breathtaking visual?

This was my reaction to the commercial.

At worst it could've resembled Super Mario Sunshine. It would've been best if all 3 games were on the same visual level as Super Mario Galaxy, that would've been more of a head-turner. Maintaining the same clunky outdated graphics won't make the games bad, but it does maintain that "Been there done that" outdated look.

Look at this. I'm not biting my tongue because its... Nintendo.

Look at the Resident Evil remake on Gamecube. That was a must buy (that I still own), and if you didn't own a Gamecube at the time... you were probably drooling over the game. Nintendo needs to understand that it's okay to update games when the looks start to fade. There are 3 games in this collection, so at least it's not Super Mario 64 alone, but Nintendo could've done better.

 


super Mario 3d all stars


Mask Up Mondays: NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 (Season Game 7)



Wearing masks stops the spread, so imagine COVID-19 if everyone acted accordingly and wore their masks. People are dying, people are losing their jobs, people are being evicted, companies are losing business, essential workers are getting sick, and that only increases the scarcity of everything when you think about it. It doesn't require you to wear it in your car, just wear it in stores and public buildings around others, and when you're in crowded spaces and areas where you will interact with things where the public, in general, will go (i.e. gas stations).

Not sure what type of mask is most effective? Take a look at this lab test from June, where the Florida Atlantic University researchers developed a cough emulator lab configuration to determine what the most effective mask would be. The focus is air droplets and how effective certain masks are, and we have the most effective masks in the test available for you w/ a coupon code to save 15% off. So take a look at the video to verify for yourself, and... let's flatten the curve.

Dear Developers: Bad Impressions

I had to come at team Xbox based on how they were hating on Sony for the newest Unreal Engine reveal on the PS5, but... this... THIS (seen below), I do not contest. Sony screwed up with the recent pre-orders, you didn't know who was open for pre-orders until you went to the site and saw that they were sold out in most cases. So I can't get mad at Xbox for reminding everyone that they have options available for pre-order... soon (by way of a subtle jab).

I don't see the tweet swaying the decisions of the die hard Playstation fans, but we never know who it may entice. I'm still leaning towards Playstation for myself because of the exclusives, while Xbox i'm more like, see ya on PC (if the game comes out).



When it comes to both the Playstation 5 Digital Edition & the Xbox Series S, they're the more affordable options... but if I recommend any console... it would be the versions that allow for the use of a disc. I play games on PC primarily, and most of my games are digital (98% are digital)... but I'm wary of digital on console because the support window begins to count down on its life cycle at launch. I get solace when discs are involved.

Speaking of discs, I'd have the option of enjoying 4K Blu-ray with a disc drive (and the standard PS5 will only cost $100 more). From a value standpoint, it will cost more now... but what will you be able to use that available disc drive for? Well, I'm glad you asked... self! Used PS5 games + PS4 discs + movies + shows!

Think of how the price difference will be when it comes to older digital PS5 games versus physical discs. The price in most cases will be more for the digital version (the price tends to hold stronger in digital form) unless there's a sale. 

Anyway, I believe that someone's head is going to roll over the PS5 pre-order madness. 


Dear Developers,

When it comes to console launches if you don't know what's what... it's best just to keep quiet and make no sudden moves until you have a handle on a potential issue. This includes bugs, but in this post, I'm talking about console pre-orders.

I won't put this on the actual dev team, because they aren't the ones who make these sorts of decisions. I'm directing it straight towards the decision-makers that bang the start button on pre-orders and launch dates.

Don't say that pre-orders will "be available starting as early as tomorrow at select retailers", list who they are, Sony. Gamers and the parents of gamers... should never come across a staggered pre-order window where one company allows them ahead of another, only to turn around and be left out in the cold because the pre-orders are sold out (on the site they were available on, and also the site they went back to).

I understand that there is a pandemic going on (approaching the PS5 + Xbox Series S & X launches), but... that doesn't mean that anyone gets a pass for fumbling the pre-order process. If you wanted to stagger the pre-orders or that's the way it occurred based on the retailers, then list the dates and don't leave your customers guessing. There is a pandemic going on, and money isn't as easy to come by for most citizens in the U.S. (before the pandemic money wasn't as easy to come by if we're going to be honest).

I won't rag on Sony too bad, mainly because customers weren't screwed out of money or something... and this doesn't make or break the quality of the product, but it is a bad impression worth learning from.