11-11: Memories Retold review – a first world war game in which no shots are fired

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PCAardman’s painterly primer illuminates the war with sensitivity and poignancy while putting story at the frontlineCreating a commemorative first world war game is bold, given the traditionally blunt approach to warfare that video games have, but boldness is to be expected of Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations. The mission of 11-11: Memories Retold, released before the centenary of Armistice Day, is to provide insight into the war, particularly for younger generations.Aardman Animations’ first full-length game takes an impressionistic approach, with its visuals – which employ a “living painting” effect inspired by the likes of Turner and Monet – seeming to boil and flow. It is a clever ploy, and is in keeping with the game’s contemplative tone. The game avoids explicit bloodshed, but still communicates the grim nature of trench life. It also heightens your attention to the story, which has a fable-like quality, as if vividly but distantly remembered. Continue reading…

Red Dead Redemption 2: calls to ban violence against women in games are too simplistic | Van Badham

How violence is punished or rewarded is part of the challenge of playing, and always has beenTen minutes into the game’s snow-whipped, western world of weary cowboys, disintegrating crime gangs and staggering audiovisual design, Red Dead Redemption 2 had me in its thrall.Rockstar’s latest blockbuster game is so captivating, and its powers of visual, narrative and interactive stimulation so habit-forming, that criticism of the potential the game allows for violence against women – an allowance being taken advantage of with glee by some users – has registered with sharpness proportional to its own extraordinary detail. Continue reading…

Tax big tech to help the homeless? San Francisco says yes after fierce campaign

Industry titans had traded blows over the hot-button ballot measure, which passed Tuesday with 60% supportA measure to tax wealthy companies and fund homelessness services that saw tech titans trade insults passed with overwhelming support TuesdayProposition C is expected to raise an estimated $250m-$300m in additional revenue for services for the estimated 7,500 people who sleep on the sidewalks each night. Continue reading…

What is the point of mini PCs?

Steven wants to know why people buy mini PCs when they seem ridiculously underpoweredWhat on earth do people do with those mini PC things like the Beelink and ACEPC T8 Fanless? They seem ridiculously underpowered and often have just 2GB of RAM. But according to an article I saw in a business magazine in the dentist’s waiting room, it seems there are big sales and a lot of competition in that market. StevenMini PCs are a great illustration of a topic I wrote about in Computer Guardian 30 years or so ago: speciation. When the market for computers was very small, there were not many models. As the market expanded, it could support many different types designed to meet specific needs. Continue reading…

Mirzapur, Sacred Games and India’s new wave of mafia TV

The Indian screen gangster – long a staple in Bollywood – has evolved in recent years, with Netflix and now Amazon Prime tapping in to the country’s interest in crime storiesThe launch of Amazon Prime’s gangster saga Mirzapur marks another milestone in the evolution of the Indian screen gangster. The TV series will go head-to-head with season four of Netflix’s Narcos, providing rich pickings for those wanting to see the grittier side of life outside the western world.Telling the story of a crime dynasty ruling the town of Mirzapur in the dusty outlaw hinterland of Uttar Pradesh – a vast Indian state with more than 200 million people, which has long been synonymous with violence and corruption – the show is the latest to feed India’s perennial appetite for seeing the raw underbelly of its society on the big screen and on TV. Continue reading…

Merkel to address Kristallnacht ceremony at Berlin synagogue

Rykestrasse synagogue’s 80th anniversary event leads global commemoration of night of antisemitic terrorAngela Merkel, the German chancellor, will address a ceremony in a Berlin synagogue on Friday to mark the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of Nazi terror across Germany and Austria that led thousands of Jewish families to flee.Merkel will be joined by the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at the commemoration at the Rykestrasse synagogue, organised by the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Continue reading…

Irish deputy PM urges caution over ‘imminent Brexit deal’ speculation

Simon Coveney advises Westminster not to consider cabinet decision as agreementIreland’s deputy prime minister has urged caution in Westminster over speculation that a Brexit deal could be struck in the next few days.Simon Coveney, the tánaiste, spoke amid concern in Brussels and Dublin that the Conservative party was again “negotiating with themselves” over Brexit and mistakenly considering a cabinet decision as “end of story”. Continue reading…

Commonwealth veterans living in poverty set for £12m UK aid boost

Money will provide daily meals and cash transfers to 7,000 world war two veterans and widows, says Penny MordauntAid funding of £12m will be used to help thousands of impoverished war veterans who served with the British military across the Commonwealth, Penny Mordaunt has announced.The minister for international development said the cash would be used to provide two meals a day and regular cash transfers to 7,000 veterans and war widows who served in the British armed forces. Continue reading…

Librarians to the rescue! A brief history of heroic bibliophiles

Whether they’re saving books from censorship, or sheltering their community from danger, there’s nothing new about librarians choosing actions alongside wordsOnly at Oxford could musty tomes about phallic worship be regarded as a genuine target for onanistic students. With the university’s Bodleian Libraries announcing that they will be putting their restricted section (read: anything classified as immoral, erotic or obscene) on display for the first time since it was started in 1882, the lengths librarians took to build this collection of books published abroad but banned in the UK has been revealed. These include the covert mission organised between librarians and a Foreign Office official to smuggle in two copies of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, librarians who identified lulls in criminal proceedings that allowed them to buy books legally, and personal letters written by library staff to British officials, pleading for books snatched by customs before they were destroyed.There have been brave librarians throughout history; sadly, in many parts of the world, librarians are often called on to stand up for the principles of freedom of expression, while also upholding the dictum of libraries being a place of sanctuary. In 2012, Abdel Kader Haidara – one of the subjects of the 2017 book The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu – helped to smuggle 500,000 manuscripts out of the city, away from Malian Islamists who were threatening to destroy them. Saad Eskander, director of Iraq’s National Library, has tirelessly sheltered and chased books targeted by both Islamists and US forces since 2003. (“I never have a bodyguard because that attracts attention,” he told the Guardian in 2008, adding: “If they want to kill you, they will do it.”) And many librarians were charged with “dangerousness” in Cuba for stocking books classed by Fidel Castro as incendiary – like George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Continue reading…