Pro Video Game Players to be Tested for Performance Enhancing Drugs

Yes, you read that right. It’s not just professional sport leagues that are testing for performance enhancing drugs. It’s not exactly something you may think could play a part in gaming. Performance enhancing drugs are usually associated with physical strength and energy, but alertness and mental energy can also be enhanced. Even chess players get tested for doping.

The biggest professional video game league, the Electronic Sports League, will be introducing anti-doping tests at the ESL One Cologne event next month.

Here is an official statement from the ESL:

“As the world’s largest and oldest eSports organization, ESL has an ongoing commitment to safeguarding both the integrity of our competitions and that of eSports as a whole – we wish to ensure we can provide a fair playing field for all participating players.

We will be administering the first PED [performance-enhancing drug] skin tests at ESL One Cologne this August, with a view to performing these tests at every Intel Extreme Masters, ESL One and ESL ESEA Pro League event thereafter as soon as the official PED policy is established and tournament rules updated accordingly.”

This move comes while there’s an ongoing drug scandal in eSports, with pro teams admitting to using Adderall, an ADHD treatment drug that’s known to boost concentration. It’s often used by college students as a study aid.

Brand New Character Necalli Revealed in Street Fighter V

During EVO this year, Capcom has confirmed it’s first new fighter Necalli who is set to appear in Street Fighter V. Capcom has released a trailer and screenshots to show off their new character.

Capcom also detailed Street Fighter V as a Street Fighter Service, meaning that there won’t be any paid balance updates like Street Fighter IV, as all post-launch content like characters are free and can be earned by playing the game through ‘fight money’ or can buy them with ‘zenny’ as in-game currency.


Play ‘The Flock’ Before it Disappears Forever

You may want to check out a game called The Flock before it’s gone forever! It’s a competitive online multiplayer horror game that has a ticking clock attached to it.  Every player is a monster collectively called the Flock, and they’re all after the Artifact, a light-filled item that transforms whomever holds it into a new creature. The goal is to hold the Artifact for the longest stretch of time, fighting off Flock monsters with the object’s light. Here’s the twist: For every player that dies, the Flock’s population number drops by one. When the population hits zero, no new players will be able to purchase the game. Only people who already own The Flock will be able to participate in the “climactic finale,” and once that’s done, the game will go offline for good. No one will ever be able to play it again.

“A multiplayer game can take players to incredible heights, but at some point gamers will start to play less, get disinterested and stop playing altogether,” Creative Director Jeroen Van Hasselt says. “In opposition to other multiplayer games, we want The Flock’s experience to inspire a sense of awe, to keep players eagerly anticipating what is coming next and to end with a memorable climax.”

The Flock is due to hit Steam for PC later this year. It comes from independent Dutch studio Vogelsap (which translates to “bird juice”), a small group of HKU and Utrecht University game program students. It’s already secured a few awards and was also featured in the Indie Megabooth at GDC 2015 in San Francisco California. The Flock will be playable at the Indie Arena booth at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from August 6th to the 9th.

Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata Passes Away from Cancer

Unfortunately, Nintendo’s President and CEO, Satoru Iwata, has passed away July 11th, 2015 due to a bile duct growth. The news comes directly from Nintendo, with instructions for the company following his untimely passing.

Born December 6, 1958, Satoru Iwata joined the Nintendo company in 2000, and quickly became President in 2002. In 2013, he became CEO for Nintendo of America, where his presence in both Nintendo Direct’s and Iwata Asks provided news and updates in regards to upcoming Nintendo games and consoles.

Prior to that, Satoru Iwata worked for HAL Laboratory as software coordinator. Games he helped create include Balloon Fight, Earthbound, and Kirby. He eventually became president of HAL Laboratory in 1993.

Satoru Iwata had to miss E3 2014 due to a previous tumor in his bile duct, and unfortunately little more than one year later, a second growth tragically took him at the age of 55.

Our condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Iwata. You can read the official notice from Nintendo, here.

Marvel’s Adding 12,000 Comics to the Kindle Store

Marvel has just made another big leap into the digital world this week by adding some 12,000 single issues to Amazon’s Kindle Store, allowing Kindle readers Marvel comics directly on their digital device. Amazon also owns the biggest digital comics publisher, comiXology, and as part of the deal, Marvel will now have a featured spot on Amazon and the Kindle app’s homepages.

With so many new fans being drawn to the Marvel universe via the movies, it’s no surprise that their readership has grown by leaps and bounds lately, and the biggest new influx of readers to digital comics, it turns out, has been women. According The Wall Street Journal, the new Ms. Marvel title was actually Marvel’s best-selling digital comic of last year, which makes a ton of sense, as that book has been a big hit with female readers.

Read the original article on the Wall Street Journal here.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Microsoft played host to Rise of the Tomb Raider in its E3 booth, showing some familiar gameplay from Lara Croft’s latest adventure as well as a look at what she does best: raiding tombs.

Lara is climbing a mountain with her comrade Jonah, when everything falls apart. An avalanche tears the pair apart, and soon Lara is alone. From there, she trudges through knee-deep snow and establishes a small camp,  building a fire and gathering materials to put together a bow. Her fire attracts some unwanted attention from Trinity, a sinister organization that has patrols near Lara’s position. She manages to get the drop on them with a combination of stealth and smarts.

Those tactics don’t work on a grizzly bear, which manages to be a deadly pest. Her attempts to flee are all for nothing, and one mighty swat from a giant paw knocks her off the edge of a small cliff. She’s relatively OK, but she gets a discouraging look at the massive camp that Trinity has set up in the area. Whatever it was that she was looking for here, she’s not alone, and she probably won’t be able to find it without further incident.

The next part of the demo showed a tantalizing glimpse of a tomb, in this case The Prophet’s Tomb. In an earlier mission, she encountered some kind of mystical phenomenon. If Lara’s instincts are correct, that could point to other so-called myths carrying a kernel of truth. With that in mind, she heads to a tomb hidden in the desert.

Lara reels from the heat, finally finding respite in a nearby cave entrance. Walking deeper, she trudges through a shallow stream. It gets dark, and she lights a blue glowstick to illuminate the passageway. It eventually opens up into a larger area, which is filled with artifacts. For an archaeologist like Lara Croft, this is a breathtaking discovery.

She walks around the area, interacting with several points of interest. One mural reinforces a pet theory of hers, and she gains language XP. As players explore more of the world and interact with more objects, she’ll become more adept at deciphering ancient text for clues. For example, a nearby obelisk is meaningless for Lara at this point – she’ll have to return to this place later to determine its full value.

Upon spying shafts of light peeking from behind a wall, Lara tears it apart. There’s a hidden passageway behind it, leading to a hidden courtyard. The ruins of a temple are nearby, and it’s filled with vegetation – a stark contrast from what we’ve seen in the area so far. Unfortunately for us, this is where our journey ends for the time being. Don’t worry; we plan on returning to this tomb as soon as we can.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is coming to Xbox One this November 10.

Xbox One Backwards Compatibility List

This list of 360 games playable on Xbox One records all backward-compatible 360 and XBLA games confirmed to function on current-gen hardware. At the moment, these games are only playable by members of the Xbox Preview Program.

Microsoft announced Xbox One backward compatibility at E3 2015 and is rolling out the function starting this year. 360 discs do not play natively but trigger a download of a compatible file, while downloadable titles appear automatically.

Games currently compatible include:

  • A Kingdom for Keflings
  • A World of Keflings
  • Alien Hominid HD
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • BattleBlock Theater
  • Defense Grid
  • Geometry Wars Evolved
  • Hexic HD
  • Jetpac Refuelled
  • Kameo
  • Mass Effect
  • N+
  • Perfect Dark
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Small Arms
  • Super Meat Boy
  • Toy Soldiers
  • Toy Soldiers: Cold War
  • Viva Piñata
  • Viva Piñata: TIP
  • Zuma

Microsoft has also added a specific section titled “Backwards Compatibility” on their Xbox Feedback page for the purpose of allowing users to vote on which games they may want added to the list of backwards compatible games, although this list is not a guarantee that the games will be added in the future.

Xbox One to have backwards Compatibility

Xbox boss Phil Spencer just announced that the Xbox One is getting backwards compatibility with 360 games later this year, which is pretty damn cool.

You’ll be able to access your digital collection of 360 games on Xbox One, as well as put discs in and download games you already own. The service will be available to everyone this holiday season, Microsoft says. Not all games will work with the service—Microsoft said around 100 will be available when it launches—but during the conference, they brought up Mass Effect as an example of an old 360 game you’ll be able to play on your current-gen console.

This is a huge move for Microsoft, especially compared to Sony’s lackluster (and pricey) PlayStation Now service, as Spencer pointed out.

Reboot will be Coming Back With New Episodes

That’s right, ‘90s kids. “ReBoot,” that classic animated series from your childhood, is about to glide its way back into your life with 13 hours of new tech-related hijinks. Broadcaster Corus Entertainment made the announcement at the Banff World Media Festival on Monday and detailed its plan to “reboot the ‘ReBoot’ universe” with 26 new half-hour episodes. “The new ‘ReBoot’ will feature the same action and comedy mix viewers loved in the original series, but with an updated technological universe that will fascinate a new generation of kids,” said Corus Kids content director Jamie Piekarz in a news release. TWC/Dimension Television is slated to distribute the series. Rainmaker Entertainment revealed the new logo and title for the series last year after announcing its Mainframe division had a sequel in development.

reboot sequel title tv

Vancouver-based Rainmaker also produced the original series. Company president Michael Hefferon promised the rebooted series — called “ReBoot: The Guardian Code” — will have mass appeal, beyond its original fan base. New episodes will pick up on the series’ original concept, “with the help of VERA, the last surviving cyberbeing from the original Guardian Programs.” Focusing on four teens — Austin, Parker, Grey, and Tamra — viewers will follow these “next-gen Guardians” and their fight to save the world by defending it in cyberspace.

Bob from the original show (left) and an unnamed character that will be appearing in the new series (right).

“The Internet revolutionized the world, but it also left it vulnerable to attack,” teased a show description. The original series air premiered on YTV in 1994. It was known as the first-ever CGI animation series at the time and was broadcast to 84 countries worldwide! Unfortunately the last episode had aired in 2001.. but now I’m super happy ReBoot is coming back to TV!.. I used to watch this show with the rest of my Saturday morning cartoons!! A premiere date for the show hasn’t yet been released.

Tim Curry receives Lifetime Achievement Award

despite the health woes, the 69-year-old was in good spirits as he was honored with The Actors Fund Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday at the Tony Awards Viewing Party in Los Angeles. Speaking to Los Angeles magazine, he said that he has been ‘doing well’ and was ‘looking forward’ to receiving the honor.

‘I’ve done a few benefits for the Actors Fund and I think it’s a marvelous organization. I hope not to have to use it,’ the acclaimed character actor quipped.  The Actors Fund provides assistance with the cost and arrangements of funerals and burials. It’s the Legend star’s sense of humor that has helped helped him to remain optimistic since his July 2012 stroke when he collapsed at his Los Angeles home.

‘It’s not tough to maintain,’ he explained. ‘It is just part of my DNA.’ The magazine noted that his ‘speech is slowed a bit.’ In December last year, he made an appearance for a Christmas Eve dinner at Ago restaurant in Los Angeles with a friend, who pushed the It actor in a wheelchair. Tim is best known for his role as the brilliantly mad transvestite scientist Dr Frank N Furter in the The Rocky Horror Show.

He first starred in the original 1973 London production, and continued to play the part on Broadway before playing the same character in the 1975 film. On the role that catapulted him to stardom, he told Los Angeles magazine that he looks at the film’s success ‘with a sort of bemused tolerance.’ He continued: ‘It’s neither a blessing nor a curse. I was lucky to get it.’ For many years he rarely discussed the movie, fearing he would be typecast.

Tim recalled opening night during his Broadway debut in The Rocky Horror Picture Show as ‘very exciting’ but found its critics to be far too harsh. ‘I had to go on the Today Show the next day and they read the reviews – which were appalling,’ he explained. ‘That brought me down. It was very cruel.’ The reviews described his performance as ‘a mixture of Joan Crawford and Burt Lancaster’ and ‘Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Marc Bolan all in one.’

Stage legend: Between 2004 and 2007 he played King Arthur in the Monty Python musical Spamalot on stage in Chicago, Broadway and the West End

However, he won over the Broadway community in 1981 when he was nominated for a Tony Award for the lead role in the play Amadeus. ‘It was a brilliant play and a terrific production. And a wonderful part,’ he said of portraying Mozart. ‘The big problem is not to make him as loony as he is, but to make him sympathetic as well.’
Between 2004 and 2007 he played King Arthur in the Monty Python musical Spamalot on stage in Chicago, Broadway and the West End.

Some of his stage credits include What About Dick? My Favorite Year and Travesties, among others. In 2011 he was scheduled to appear in Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, however he withdrew from the production at the last minute citing ill health. Meanwhile, at the viewing party, the veteran actor arrived in a black suit and was seated in a wheelchair. He joins Theodore Bikel, Alfred Molina and Joe Morton as recipients of the same lifetime achievement award.

‘It means that it just sort of solidifies the kind of work the American acting community has given me for years now,’ he said of the honor. ‘It’s very gracious of them, I think. I was thrilled when they told me and I am thrilled now.’ When asked what life would be like for him if it reflected the theater, he said: ‘Scary. Well the theater is scary. And the longer the time in between the periods in the theater, the scarier it gets. Adding: ‘Life isn’t meant to be scary. It’s to be celebratory. In which case, it would be like the theater. I think of that as a celebration of life.’

Read more on Tim Curry:
Curtain Call: Tim Curry Discusses His Broadway Career – Los Angeles Magazine