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Categories Video games |

Become a cat in Stray, fight the zombies in Walking Dead: Last Mile, and earn points for playing on your PS4 and PS5 consoles.

Help a cat survive a strange, futuristic city in Stray

One of the summer’s surprise delights is Stray (PS4, PS5, Windows), in which you are a cat in a rundown city of the future.

The city you get lost in is a slum inhabited by robotic denizens with CRT monitors for heads. These residents have lives and you will interact with them in order to solve the mystery of what happened and so you can escape to the surface and rejoin your family.

You’re assisted by a small, flying robot that can communicate with you and translate the droids speech. It will also collect objects in the environment that you’ll need to solve the puzzles.

You use your feline dexterity to navigate hard-to-reach places, and what the developers at BlueTwelve really nailed was the biomechanics of the cat’s movement: the pause before the leap, the saunter, the delicate placement of feet.

Even the way your cat swats at an object with a slight head tilt seems entirely authentic.

There are occasional episodes where you need to run and avoid some strange, dangerous bug creatures that can hurt and kill. There’s no way to fight them – you’re a cat – so finding a way to attract them before dashing away is the only way to survive.

Published by Anapurna, I was able to play Stray because it is one of the games available as part of the Playstation Plus Premium subscription plan.

Charming and beautiful, Stray is a perfect summer distraction.

The Walking Dead: Last Mile debuts on Facebook Gaming

Fans of the Walking Dead franchise can interact with the zombie-filled world on Facebook now.

The Walking Dead: Last Mile is a massively interactive live event (MILE) developed by Genvidtech in conjunction with Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment.

Set in Alaska, the game has players creating a character, selecting a class (I made mine a scavenger) and joining one of two factions. Along with weekly story moments, you can play a number of minigames to help out your faction, and you can also participate in live events with others who are playing the game at the same time.

You can even send your character on assignments for the community – these are passive, so you don’t interact – but you are rewarded with supplies and ammunition.

The real interesting feature here is that you can spend the currency you earn playing the game to vote in the decisions made by the community that affect the story being told.

And those decisions are going to be canon in the Walking Dead universe, promises the writing team at Skybound.

Technically still in “beta”, Walking Dead: Last Mile is a bit buggy, and a bit tedious, but it is also an interesting experiment in the realm of interactive entertainment.

PlayStation shares details of Stars loyalty program

In addition to a revamped PlayStation Plus subscription program, PlayStation is rewarding people who game on its systems with a new loyalty program, PlayStation Stars

Launching later this year, players will be able to collect points by playing, by making purchases on the PlayStation Store, and by participating in various promotional campaigns.

Those points will redeemable for things like DLC, games, and even top-ups for a PSN wallet.

PlayStation Stars will be free to join when it launches later this fall.

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Categories Consumer technology |

Canada Learning Code is running a virtual conference for teachers next week that will provide opportunities to learn how to bring coding into the curriculum.

TeacherCon is for teachers with coding in their curriculum

TeacherCon is a free virtual conference for Canadian teachers produced and hosted by Canada Learning Code.

From Tuesday, August 9 to Thursday, August 11, participants can join in on webinars and workshops in English and French, connecting coding with larger educational topics like literacy, math and science, and arts.

The three day conference begins with a keynote address by Victoria native Ann Makosinski, an inventor and speaker who tinkered her way to winning Google’s Science Fair with a flashlight that is powered by heat from the human hand.

Teachers will come away from the conference with free lesson plans, ideas on how to conduct assessments, and practical examples of how these resources connect to the curricula being adopted by school boards across Canada.

Get your free ticket for TeacherCon 2022.

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Categories Video games |

Summer is all about gathering with family and friends. As Dusk Falls and Wavelength are two games to play with them. And PlayVital is a new company providing cases and skins for game consoles.

As Dusk Falls a different type of game experience

As Dusk Falls is intended to be a collective experience, in the same way as seeing a film in a theatre. You can play the game by yourself, but to truly appreciate what the developers at Interior/Night intended, you need to play with others.

And you can play with up to seven other people, both locally and online. To support this, Interior/Night developed a mobile app (Android, iOS) that turns your smartphone or tablet into a controller.

This works because the interaction in As Dusk Falls is simple. You can look around the environment and select things to investigate, you can choose dialogue options, and there are occasional Quicktime events.

Available on Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, and as part of Xbox Game Pass, this “interactive drama” is akin to choose your own adventure books. You can even replay chapters to see what happens if you make different choices.

Here, though, the decisions are made by the group.

When there’s a choice to be made, everyone gets to select the option they prefer, and the majority decides. If there’s a tie, the system randomly selects.

And if you feel strongly that you want your choice to be selected, you have a limited number of overrides available to you.

In terms of script and acting, this is Hollywood quality work. The drama is involved and complex and deals with mature themes; it’s not for kids.

Playing As Dusk Falls really feels like you’re playing a movie, and the production aims to capitalize on the fact that these days games are being watched as much as they are being played. There’s even a “broadcast mode” for streamers that enables viewers to vote on the decisions to be made.

The limited interactivity won’t please gamers looking for something they can influence more completely, but as an experiment in shared entertainment, As Dusk Falls intrigues.

Wavelength a great group game for the campsite or cottage

Another great game to play with a group is Wavelength, designed by CMYK (formerly known as Palm Court) and distributed in Canada by Asmodee.

With Wavelength, you throw all participants into two groups. On your turn, a person from your team becomes the “psychic,” randomly sets a target on a continuum, and then provides your team with a hint that is intended to help the rest of the team determine where the target is.

Each attempt comes with a clue with opposing concepts. Hot or cold, for example. Wet or dry. Awesome or not awesome.

The trick for the psychic is to provide a hint that will help their team to zero in on the target.

The fun comes in the conversations that happen while the teammates try to figure out what the psychic was thinking when providing the hint.

Pick up Wavelength at your favourite local board game store:

Wavelength also exists as a free-to-play app for Android and iOS.

New skins and covers for all your gaming consoles

PlayVital is a new provider of covers and skins for you to personalize your game console.

With products also available at Amazon, the company is providing everything from hard and soft cases, to vinyl sticker skins, to trigger extenders, controller grips, and joystick caps.

And these all come in a range of colour schemes and designs for Nintendo Switch (regular, lite, and OLED models), PS4 and PS5, Valve’s Steam Deck, and Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.

Prices range from about $15 to about $40, depending on what you’re keen on.

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Categories Consumer technology |

For the past few days I’ve been wearing one of Huawei’s new smart watches, the GT3 Pro. And I like the GT3 Pro titanium. It’s a handsome, elegant device that looks great on my wrist and is has a distinct, professional look.

The new line comes in two models. The housing on the titanium edition ($549) is 46 mm. The ceramic edition ($799) has a slightly smaller housing, at 43 mm.

Functionally, the watches are the same. Each has a high-definition, AMOLED display that provides plenty of screen for all the information you might want to show and they have a battery that can give you up to two weeks on a charge, but that depends on what you’re using the watch for.

I’m in the Apple ecosystem, and the GT3 Pro connected with my iPhone without a problem, and delivers the same notifications I’d get while wearing an Apple Watch. You just need to download the Huawei Health app onto your iPhone.

If you’re an Android user, the experience is even better because Huawei is more familiar with those systems.

They are also sufficiently water resistant that you can dive with them on your wrist, and it’s the workout tracking feature of the GT3 Pro that I’ve used most.

While there’s concern among politicians and in the tech community about Huawei devices – Google is no longer allowing the Android operating system to be installed on Huawei smartphones – the smart watch doesn’t itself connect to anything except your mobile.

And doing that, the app needs to conform to the data privacy guidelines of Apple and Google. I checked the fine print, and any data that the Huawei Health app sends to cloud servers is saved on servers in Europe which are bound by GDPR rules.

Huawei’s GT3 Pro smart watch isn’t the cheapest watch out there, but it’s a great professional-looking alternative to some of the sporty bands available.

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