Lethal League Blaze turns handball into a stylish fighting game

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It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.

Lethal League Blaze is a game that feels like a distillation of the things I loved about games on the Sega Dreamcast. During that time I was really into sports games like NFL 2K and Virtua Tennis, and also fell hard for fighters like Soulcalibur and Capcom vs. SNK. At the same time, I was also enthralled by the incredibly creative gameplay and aesthetics Sega produced with Crazy Taxi and Shenmue.

Lethal League Blaze combines all of these elements. It’s the sport of handball turned into a fighting game, with the brightly…

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Amazon is selling a Kindle Paperwhite and Audible bundle

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Last year, Amazon began adding Audible to its Kindle Oasis, the entry-level Kindle, and the latest Paperwhite, allowing users to listen to their audiobook library, provided they had a set of Bluetooth headphones. Now, Amazon is selling an Kindle package that includes a Kindle Paperwhite, a set of Bluetooth headphones, and a three month trial for Audible.

The Good eReader spotted the deal, which will run you $139 for the 8GB Kindle, and $179 for the 32GB model. The package comes with the latest Kindle Paperwhite model, as well as a set of Amazon’s POP Design headphones — which Good eReader points out retails for $79 on their own.

The deal also comes with a starter subscription Gold Membership for Audible, which will provide you with…

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You have another chance to save on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

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Google is offering yet another discount on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, its latest flagship smartphones known for their impressive cameras — particularly in the dark. As is the trend with most deals that are popping up around now, this offer from Google isn’t quite as good as what we saw over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend. Still, this is probably as good as it’s going to get for an unlocked Pixel 3 this holiday.

Until December 22nd, you can get $100 off of the Pixel 3 at the Google Store, bringing the price down to a friendlier $699 for the 64GB model, and $799 for the 128GB option. If you’re looking for reasons to pick the 3 over the 3 XL, it all comes down to size. Its 5.5-inch display makes it easier to hold than the 3 XL,…

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Amazon is discounting Echo, Fire TV, and smart home devices once again for the holidays

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Amazon’s range of tech, including Fire TV streaming devices, Echo smart speakers and displays, Fire tablets, and more, were heavily discounted during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period in late November, and the company is offering another chance to save before more holidays arrive.

Most of these deals are within $10 of being as good as we saw a few weeks ago, though the reader-favorite Ring Video Doorbell 2 with a free Echo Dot is coming back at its best-ever $169.99 price point.

December 24th is when these deals are set to expire, and we’ll note when the end date for a product differs.

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9 new trailers you should watch this week

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Photo: Marvel

Sometimes when I’m watching a movie, I’ll start re-directing it in my head, thinking about how I would have done something differently, or if I would have never even conceived the idea of doing it the way the director did, whether that be good or bad.

Most recently, I was thrown big time when watching the opening scene to Quiz Show, Robert Redford’s 1994 movie about a rigged TV game show. The movie is kind of nice and kind of boring, and the opening scene melds both of those things together so exceptionally well that I can’t tell if it’s genius or terrible.

The film opens on a shopper and a car salesman, with the film slowly dissolving between the two of them and the car. It’s lethargic, it’s wistful, and there are all kinds of strange…

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Apple releases new Beddit sleep tracker

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Apple has released the first Beddit sleep tracker since acquiring the Finnish company in 2017, via CNET. The Beddit 3.5 Sleep Monitor is a thin sensor strip that can be placed under the bedsheet to track body movements through the night. It’s available to purchase now for $150 on Apple’s website and in stores.

The 2mm-thin sleep tracker can measure sleep time, heart rate, breathing, snoring, and bedroom temperature and humidity. The advantage over other sleep monitoring fitness trackers is you don’t need to wear an activity tracker to bed, or remember to use it. You can still connect it to your Apple Watch, which can display sleep report notifications, bedtime reminders, and nudges when synced. Your sleep analysis and heart rate data is…

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This is a terrific weekend for alternate realities

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There are so many streaming options available these days, and so many conflicting recommendations, that it’s hard to see through all the crap you could be watching. Each Friday, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend.

What to watch

2013’s The Double, a loose movie adaptation of a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novella, directed by The IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade and co-written by Ayoade and Avi Korine. Jesse Eisenberg stars as meek office drone Simon James, who spends his days being undervalued by his boss (Wallace Shawn) and pining for his co-worker Hannah (Mia Wasikowska). Then…

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Vergecast: 5G phones, Juul, and Microsoft’s move to Chromium

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This week on The Vergecast, Nilay, Paul, and Dieter are joined by Verge science reporter Rachel Becker to discuss what’s going on in the world of Juul — why it’s so popular, how addictive it is, and where it’s being restricted.

Also, Qualcomm had a conference in Hawaii this week, so the crew goes through the announcements, including the Snapdragon 855 processor and its support for 5G networks.

There’s a whole lot in between that — like Microsoft abandoning its Chrome competitor strategy, the latest with SpaceX, and RCS Chat coming to one phone — so listen to the whole episode to get everything you need.

02:05 – Qualcomm announces the Snapdragon 855 processor for 5G phones

18:36 – “This week in Elon Musk” with Liz Lopatto

24:49 – Juul…

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How to back up your Tumblr before the porn ban

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On Monday, Tumblr announced that it’s removing all adult content from its site on December 17th. Any explicit sexual content and nudity that’s already on the site will be hidden and users won’t be able to post any more adult content.

That means reblogs and public posts will all be hidden. You’ll need some way of saving all your posts. Tumblr does offer an export tool, but it’s buried under multiple pages in the Help Center.

First, head into your Dashboard and click on your account menu, which is represented by a person icon. Click on the Settings gear on the account menu. From there, you can select which blog you want to export from a list on the right. Tumblr lets you have multiple blogs per account, but you’ll have to go through the…

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The 13 biggest announcements from The Game Awards 2018

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<em>The Outer Worlds</em>.

The Game Awards is ostensibly the equivalent of the Oscars for the video game industry, but the biggest names in interactive entertainment have never been known to turn down a good marketing opportunity. So The Game Awards have also evolved into a jam-packed news event, with new trailers, game announcements, and other surprises packed in between the night’s slate of prizes.

This year was no different, and The Game Awards were home to some big announcements from Fortnite creator Epic Games, Ubisoft, and a slew of indie developers. If you weren’t able to watch it live, here’s the biggest news from the show:

Image: Simogo

Simogo announces Sayonara Wild Hearts for the Nintendo Switch

Simogo, the Swedish studio behind…

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Fortnite’s new block area will feature player creations

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Fortnite is a game that just won’t stop. In addition to announcing a brand-new creative mode this week, a new Epic Games store, and the start of season seven, the developers behind the battle royale game announced “The Block” today at The Game Awards, an area of the battle royale island that will highlight some of the best creations made by players in the new creative mode. You can load Fortnite right now and see it yourself at the Risky Reels location, which has been cleared to make space for the new addition.

To enter the competition, players must build something in Creative Mode and share it on social media using the hashtag #FortniteBlockParty. Whatever fans make must follow the new code of conduct, which disallows things like…

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Persona 5’s Joker is the first Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC character

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is almost here, but Nintendo isn’t resting on its laurels. On the eve of the game’s launch the company announced the first of five DLC characters for the fighting game: Joker from Persona 5.

There’s no word yet as to when the DLC will be out, but we do know that along with Joker as a playable character, the DLC pack will also include a new, Persona-themed stage and a collection of new music from Persona.

Each Smash Bros. ultimate DLC pack will cost $5.99 separately, with Nintendo also offering a bundled “Fighter’s Pack” for $24.99.

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Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds looks like sci-fi Fallout

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Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian Entertainment’s newest RPG is The Outer Worlds.

Obsidian Entertainment brought the first teaser for The Outer Worlds to The Game Awards, giving fans of the developer just a small glimpse into the newly crafted world. The trailer showed off intergalactic travel, numerous planets, and sci-fi technology. A brief introduction to weapons and characters players will encounter also appear.

A teaser for the announcement was posted on Obsidian Entertainment’s website prior to the game awards, and used images of retro space guns and local grocery store items like bread and skincare to tease out the next adventure. The extended reveal and first teaser confirms the sci-fi vibe, which should please Fallout: New…

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No Man’s Sky developer Hello announces its next game, The Last Campfire

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While No Man’s Sky continues to grow in interesting new directions, developer Hello Games is announcing its next project, and it’s something very different. Called The Last Campfire, the game is a beautiful, and much smaller experience compared to the sprawling No Man’s Sky. “We call it a Hello Games Short,” says Hello’s Sean Murray. “Like Pixar shorts, it’s a way to foster creativity and new voices in the studio.”

We don’t know much about the game, but here’s how the studio describes it:

The Last Campfire is an adventure, a story of a lost Ember trapped in a puzzling place, searching for meaning and a way home. Together you will discover a beautiful wilderness filled with lost folk, strange creatures, and mysterious ruins.

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Dark Souls-style adventure Ashen is out right now on Xbox One and PC

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It’s been a long wait for Ashen, an intriguingly dark action-adventure game that was first revealed back in 2014. At the Game Awards this evening, developer A44 revealed the game’s long-anticipated release date — and it’s actually available right now. You can grab the game now on Xbox One and PC, through Epic’s new game store.

Despite being in the works for so long, Ashen still remains something of a mystery, combining elements of Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus into a strange fantasy adventure. Here’s how A44 describes it:

Ashen is a co-op adventure game about a wanderer in search of a place to call home. At its core, Ashen is about forging relationships, as players may cross paths with one another and choose to guide those they…

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EA teases Dragon Age 4 at The Game Awards

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It’s been over four years since the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition, the most recent installment of Bioware’s fantasy RPG series, and at The Game Awards, the company finally announced the next entry — albeit with an extremely vague teaser that didn’t even provide a title.

The previous game, Inquisition ended with (spoilers) the reveal that the player companion character Solas was actually the Elven god of betrayal Fen’Harel — also known as the Dread Wolf — in disguise, who, uh, betrays the player (bet you didn’t see that coming!). The new Dragon Age looks like it’ll continue that story, presumably with players…

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Sayonara Wild Hearts is the next game from cult mobile studio Simogo

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It’s been years since we’ve had a new game from Simogo, the small Swedish studio behind offbeat hits like Device 6 and The Sailor’s Dream. But at the Game Awards this evening, the team announced its long-awaited next project: Sayonara Wild Hearts, and it looks completely different than anything the studio has done before. It’s described as “a euphoric music video dream about being awesome, riding motorcycles, skateboarding, dance battling, shooting lasers, wielding swords, and breaking hearts at 200mph.”

It clearly has a heavy musical focus — as you can see in the trailer above — and an absolutely wild sense of style, like an interactive music video. It’s also not explicitly a mobile game like most Simogo titles, but instead will be…

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Far Cry: New Dawn is a post-apocalyptic sequel to Far Cry 5

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After an early teaser, Ubisoft has officially announced Far Cry: New Dawn at The Game Awards, offering a new spin on the first-person shooter franchise by shifting the story of Far Cry 5 years later to a post-nuclear apocalypse world.

But as seen in the trailer, the world of Hope County has changed a whole lot since Far Cry 5, with the kind of improvised weapons, colorful spray paint, and scavenged gear that brings to mind the lighthearted tone of games like the upcoming Rage 2 more than the dour world of the previous game.

The cover art for New Dawn depicts a similar landscape as Far Cry 5’s cover, along with a man tied to a wrecked car that seems to be Joseph Seed, the villainous cult leader from the last game, along with a pair of…

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Journey headed to PC via Epic’s new Steam store rival

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Journey, thatgamecompany’s critically adored 2012 open-world game, is headed to PC in 2019. The game will be available for PC users exclusive through Fortnite developer and publisher Epic Games’ new digital marketplace, which went live during The Game Awards’ presentation.

Journey won multiple awards in 2012 and 2013, and took home six awards at the Game Developers Choice Awards: Best Audio, Best Game Design, Best Visual Arts, Best Downloadable Game, the Innovation Award, and Game of the Year. Journey even made history at the 2013 Grammy’s. It was the first video game nominated for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.

Until now, Journey has only been available for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

Journey will be available to…

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