Half-Life just got its first update in years

about X hours ago from
Half-Life just got its first update in years

Half-Life is nearly 20 years old, but Valve is still fine-tuning the PC game. A patch is now live on Steam that fixes a handful of bugs. It’s the first time that the developer has updated the classic first-person shooter in four years.

It’s not the most interesting list of patch notes, although they’ll be appreciated by those who play to Half-Life to this day. Here’s the rundown:

Arms’ lore just gets weirder and weirder

about X hours ago from
Arms’ lore just gets weirder and weirder

Arms is Nintendo’s most bizarre game based on its premise alone. But the game’s Twitter account continues to expand on how strange its backstory is, with the latest update explaining how the sport of fighting with extendable arms came to be.

“120 years ago, thanks to the invention of the masks that help fighters maintain their spirally arms, the sport of Arms was born!” reads a recent tweet from Nintendo’s European Twitter. The post is a translation of an earlier one for the Japanese-only Arms account, as is its follow-up.

Oct. 27 is the biggest release day of the year — here’s where to start

about X hours ago from
Oct. 27 is the biggest release day of the year — here’s where to start

It’s impossible to keep up with everything in pop culture these days — especially if you, like many of Polygon’s readers, are into great games, TV and movies. It seems like a promising new TV show debuts every other week, and even the summer is no longer a slow season when it comes to video game releases.

But the first half of the year seems barren compared to how stacked Oct. 27 is with new stuff we want to check out. On just one Friday — the weekend before Halloween, mind you — we’re getting three of the year’s biggest games, the return of one of our favorite shows and two anticipated films.

Splatoon 2’s rhythm game should be its own spinoff

about X hours ago from
Splatoon 2’s rhythm game should be its own spinoff

Why isn’t there a full-fledged Splatoon rhythm game already? Splatoon 2’s minigame, Squid Beatz 2, is as close as Nintendo’s come to giving the series the stylish musical showcase it deserves — and it’s a lot of fun.

Squid Beatz 2 is a refined version of Splatoon’s similar rhythm game, which was much more barebones. The sequel actually doesn’t have that much to it, either, although it’s available by default in the arcade. (Squid Beatz was unlocked with amiibo.) Players choose from an assortment of 42 songs — some unlocked from the start, others hidden away — at will, each one recognizable from within the game itself. A dancing silhouette accompanies a track of color-defined notes, which get more or less complex based on which of two difficulty settings players go with.

Snoopy’s pledging $100K for a dog charity with new mobile game

about X hours ago from
Snoopy’s pledging $100K for a dog charity with new mobile game

Snoopy’s latest interactive adventure is a puzzle game called Snoopy Pop, which launches today on Android and iOS. It’s a Puzzle Bobble-style game, with Snoopy looking to save Woodstock and his fellow avian friends from the bubbles they’re trapped in. Snoopy Pop is a free-to-play title with in-app purchases, and that’s where publisher Jam City is coming in with a significant contribution to a canine charity.

Jam City announced today that it will donate up to $100,000 from sales of Snoopy Pop microtransactions to Canine Companions for Independence, a nationwide nonprofit organization that gives assistance dogs to children, adults and veterans with disabilities. Canine Companions trains dogs itself and then provides them to recipients at no cost.

Oculus Rift headset and controller bundle gets a steep discount for a limited time

about X hours ago from
Oculus Rift headset and controller bundle gets a steep discount for a limited time

Oculus is offering a $399 bundle that significantly discounts what one would otherwise pay for the virtual reality headset and its Touch controllers. It's available for a limited time according to the company’s website.

The bundle starts with the Oculus VR headset, two Touch controllers and two sensors supporting them. It also packs in seven games, a remote, an Xbox One controller and a connector for Rock Band VR's guitar controller. Overall, it's $200 off what the hardware would cost if bought separately.

These Pokémon McFlurries sound mostly terrible

about X hours ago from
These Pokémon McFlurries sound mostly terrible

McDonald’s Japan is gearing up for the release of the next Pokémon movie with a pretty delicious campaign — well, potentially delicious. One of six Pokémon-inspired flavors is heading to stores next week, and they each prove that McDonald’s has an ... interesting culinary palate.

The way this campaign works is that fans in Japan had until midnight today, July 10, to retweet their support for their preferred flavor. Those who picked the winning McFlurry heading to stores will be eligible for a discount coupon, which is a nice enough prize.

Middle school memories become playable with Lost Memories Dot Net

about X hours ago from
Middle school memories become playable with Lost Memories Dot Net

What could be a worse time to relive than middle school? If you were anything like I was from age 11 to 13, you were shy, sweaty, gangly and awkward in your body and mind. It was a time when we were all unloveable, but we couldn’t help but love (and hate) each other anyway. As soon as I moved onto high school — similarly bad, but more bearable — I locked all my middle school memories away, never to look back on them.

A new project from Aaron Freedman and Nina Freeman, a designer at Fullbright (Gone Home) whose other works include Cibele and Kimmy, challenged me to reconsider that. Lost Memories Dot Net is a short, simple game, albeit an unconventional one. Set during a few hours in the life of a teenage Freeman — or “Nina” — it brought back intense feelings of sadness and freedom and insecurity, all with just the occasional mouse click and webpage tab.

Valve bans more than 40,000 Steam accounts

about X hours ago from
Valve bans more than 40,000 Steam accounts

SteamDB, a third-party database tool, has uncovered a massive spike in Steam account bans. First reported by Dot Esports, more than 40,000 accounts could be involved.

Valve sends out a steady stream of data that third-party sites like Steam Spy use to make sense of the famously secretive storefront. SteamDB keeps track of the number of account bans per day, among other things. When the Steam Summer Sale ended on July 5, SteamDB detected a massive spike in bans with an estimated 40,411 accounts shut down.