Featured Gaming & Tech

Are Instagram Notes a Twitter Copycat?

Instagram Notes are the latest update added to the content-sharing social media giant

Since the launch of Instagram notes last month, most people have focused on sending notes requesting food or sharing PayPal & CashApp links. But, since Instagram has a track record of attempting to copy what other social media apps are doing successfully, this seems like their version of Twitter. They copied Snapchat with Instagram Stories; they copied TikTok with Reels and their backtracked attempt at a single-scroll feed.

Instagram Notes are messages that appear at the top of someone’s inbox. You slide to your DM’s, and you’ll see all these Instagram Story-like bubbles, but with text messages instead. You have the option of selecting followers who follow you back or your Close Friends as those who can see the notes. Notes can include text and emojis, and must be 60 characters or less.

Notes are available to all Instagram users except those based in the European Union, the UK, and Japan, who will get the features in early 2023. Other users have also reported not seeing the notes despite being part of these countries.

Businesses might be interested in using notes for promoting flash sales in a non-pushy way. As they don’t come with notifications and are only available in your inbox, they are more subtle than any other Instagram feature. Despite their relatively hidden location, they are also a good way to draw attention to an announcement, as they’re always at the top of your audience’s inbox, and away from the clutter of Instagram Stories.

Most people wondered who asked for Instagram notes, or what’s the overall purpose of them, at first. Of course, they asked these questions precisely using the notes feature, or by going on Twitter, its distant cousin.

After a couple of days with the notes active on Instagram, users have gotten more or less used to them, using them to comment on the events of their daily life, or popular worldwide events, like the FIFA World Cup.

Reception has been mixed, but since Instagram Notes seem to be here to stay, people are using them regardless. And, those who want them removed (expressed through Notes, of course) will probably have a better chance of being heard by screaming into the void.

The Instagram Notes feature was actually tested out several months prior to its implementation in specific countries, and only with certain users. Supposedly, Meta learned that people liked having lightweight, easy ways to share what’s on their minds and begin conversations with others. Notes give people a way to express themselves and contact each other.

Featured Gaming & Tech

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Under Fire For Bad Graphics

The new Pokémon Scarlet and Violet Games can make a case study for a truly critic-proof game.

Both Pokémon Scarlet and Violet have sold ten million units in three days. And, despite being almost universally panned due to its abysmal performance for an AAA Nintendo Switch Game in 2022, the game has even broken records for Nintendo. 

The games have some of the best storylines from any Pokémon game, are more open-world than Pokémon Legends: Arceus (the de-facto open world Pokémon game), and have some interesting additions to the ever-growing Pokédex. They also had incredible marketing, which we covered in previous articles. The starters were almost universally loved, and the Iberian Peninsula-inspired Paldea seemed gorgeous, at least in the trailers. And, if the games didn’t run like a PowerPoint slideshow at some points and had a full Pokédex, they would probably be hands-down the best Pokémon games ever.

The game’s graphical flaws are glaring, and it’s almost impossible to play Pokémon Scarlet and Violet without feeling affected by its low quality at some point. Even gamers who don’t care about the graphics feel like Game Freak is trying to get away with far too much. Their predecessor, Pokémon Sword and Shield, was also met with similar criticism due to cutting out Pokémon, barebones story, and excessive hand-holding. 

Pokemon scarlet and violet
@ Nintendo

Fans of the games have shared funny clips of the game’s bugs and glitches, including one where the player becomes a giant Slenderman-like creature while riding the game’s mount or minor graphical bugs where NPCs phase in and out of existence spontaneously. This is also the first time that many gamers who pre-ordered the game actually went to request refunds from Nintendo. Those who pre-ordered either copy of the game already had it downloaded on launch day and paid for it once it finished.

Many of these gamers took to Reddit, Twitter and Instagram to vent their experiences with the game. Gaming YouTubers also praised the game. Not only that, but the game had a mix of new features that increased quality of life while also removing other features that were a mainstay from past games. Pokémon breeding is much easier and faster, while the games removed status effect animations on Pokémon battles, a feature that’s been in the game since Gen 5. Now, Pokémon also go to sleep and have their eyes wide open.

But, overall, while Gen 9 made several steps in the right direction, every other video game company is walking for miles.

Pokémon is the highest-grossing media franchise in the world, worth $118.5 billion. It doesn’t seem like Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, and Game Freak are paying attention to the gamer’s concerns and might be more focused on milking their cash cow. But, that doesn’t mean many gamers have enjoyed the game. You can identify a game’s flaws while still having fun out of the many new things added.

And, of course, more children and young teenagers only care about the Pokémon, so it’s not like the game’s target audience will care if a couple of fictional birds look pixelated in the distance.

Featured Gaming & Tech

Splatoon 3 Becomes Best-Selling Game in Japan

Step aside, Elden Ring, Splatoon 3 is taking over

Splatoon 3 became the best-selling title in Japan in 2022, with around 4 million copies sold in Japan, combining retail and digital sales. Of these 4 million, at least 3 million copies are physical. The game also became the fastest-selling game ever in Japan, a record previously held by Animal Crossing New horizons. The game also made a strong debut in the UK.

A hyped-up marketing campaign plus an anticipated release were big factors in making the game a success, especially as fans believe the game has lived up to the hype, reflected in the impressive sales numbers.

Surprisingly, Splatoon 3’s main competitor for the title isn’t Elden Ring, rather, it’s Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, set to be released on November 12. 

Splatoon has always been a popular game in Japan, with its predecessor, Splatoon 2, selling around a million copies in 2017. Some of the new features of Splatoon 3 include the return of fan-favorite weapons, like the Octobrush and Clash Blaster. Reviewers and casual players stated the game weapons feel more balanced, and the maps feel tighter and more open.

The single-player aspect of the game was usually left in the dust, given the higher relevance to the multiplayer in a first-person shooter. It was present, but not exactly important.

splatoon 3
© Splatoon 3

Most of the previous Splatoon entries’ missions were simple “get to the goal” quests. This time, some missions have you dodging shockwaves until you survived the timer. You receive a weapon, with the quirkier weapons getting you a higher reward.

Splatoon 3 also features Return of the Mammalians, with more cutscenes, more variety in its mission structure, and a more fleshed-out plot. Return of the Mammalians has been praised for enhancing the Salmon Run mode.

In Salmon Run, players team up to defeat waves of Salmonids and boss Salmonid varieties, similar to the zombie modes in may popular first-person shooters.

There’s also a frequent number of Splatfest events giving players all the reasons to keep playing the game, including a Pokémon Scarlet and Violet-themed Splatfest to keep players hyped for the next big entry in the Pokémon mainline family.

The two major new weapons are the Splatana, an ink Katana with a wide horizontal attack mode and a vertical strike mode, and the Tri-Stringer, a bow that shoots smaller ink balls in sets of three.

It can fire three smaller explosives that can surprise enemies at a distance after charging.

The Crab Tank is a new special weapon, which turns players into a crab-like vehicle that can snipe enemies from medium to long distances.

There are new maps, new hubs, and a tricolor turf war that starts with one traditional team of four and two separate teams of two.

The game is available for $59.95 digitally and on retail.

Featured Gaming & Tech

iPhone 14: Everything Wrong With New Design

The jury’s out on iPhone 14 functionality

Apple’s newest flagship phone came with many features and tech improvements. And, when we say iPhone 14, we mean the entire family of new Apple phones, including the iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The chief complaints from users have been Bluetooth problems, Face ID, Wi-Fi problems and performance issues. However, activation issues are common with new iPhones at launch

In an official statement by Apple, they explained that after setting up your iPhone 14, you might experience one or more of the following issues:

  • Unavailability of iMessage or FaceTime calls
  • Conversations in the Messages app show as two separate threads
  • You’ll see a green message bubble instead of a blue one when you send a message to another Apple device
iPhone 14
© Apple

That has led users to downgrade their iOS instead of updating it right off the bat. A group of users has complained about battery drain and unaddressed bugs as part of iOS16. To solve this, apple confirmed a new version of iOS 16 and iOS 16.1 Apple seems to be planning to release the patched version of each of these softwares during the week of October 24th.

In other areas, the iPhone 14 Pro has been criticized for its aged-looking design, no fast-charging uptick and the inability to fold it in half. On the other hand, the iPhone’s longstanding feature of the display notch has been transformed. 

One of its new features has been the Dynamic Island, the replacement for its notch. Dynamic Island is a pill-shaped cutout that changes shape and size to show alerts and notifications. The justification for the notch is that Apple has many sensors in it, a reason why the design wasn’t changed for several years. Dynamic Island is now used for Face ID, showing how much time remains for your Uber or Lyft to arrive.

On the other hand, Dynamic Island is an interactive element in a hard-to-reach area of the iPhone 14. Placing the camera there means it will be constantly blurred by people tapping it for notifications. Finally, Dynamic Island makes the iPhone look worse in full-screen videos than with the notch. 

And, it seems, these were necessary sacrifices to make Dynamic Island possible, but fans seem more pleased with the new attention to notifications they’ll be receiving.


Featured Gaming & Tech

5 Video Games Coming this November

Here’s our list of five video games coming this November, including The Entropy Center and Pokemon Scarlet and Violet

The Entropy Centre – November 3

entrophy centre
© Stubby Games

The Entropy Center is a Steam game that rewards players for thinking backwards. This mind-bending first-person adventure involves solving complex puzzles by rewinding them through time.

In their world, an extinction-level event has set the world ablaze, and you’re possibly the last remaining person alive. The only hope for mankind lies at the core of the Entropy Centre.

The game gives some serious Portal vibes, so if you’re a fan of these types of puzzles. The Entropy Center might be for you.

The Entropy Centre is set to come to the PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, PS5, and Xbox One.

God of War Ragnarok – November 9 

video games coming this November
© Sony

You know a game’s expected when it has won awards before even being released. God of War: Ragnarök experienced a couple of delays due to Kratos’ voice actor having health issues and the COVID-19 pandemic, but that hasn’t quelled fan excitement for the ninth instalment in the God of War series. 

Ragnarök will be based in ancient Scandinavia and feature Kratos and his teenage son Atreus.

Expect Norse gods, the apocalypse, and over sixty accessibility options. The game will add more customization options for combat and interaction systems.

God of War Ragnarok is set to come for the PS5 & PS5.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet – November 12

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet
© Nintendo

The newest entry in the mainline Pokémon games is probably the most expected game of November. While Sword & Shield’s Gen 8 was nothing but controversial, and last year’s Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl more so, Pokémon fans are more excited than ever to see what Game Freak comes up with in the Paldea region.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet will be released on the Nintendo Switch.

The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me – November 18

video games coming this November
© BNE Entertainment

Known simply as the Devil in Me, this is an interactive drama and survival horror game where a cast of five playable protagonists can make choices to create their own story.

Depending on which choices you make, you’ll alter the trajectory of the plot and change the relationships of the main characters, all of which can die permanently.

The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me is set to come to the PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, PS5, and Xbox One.

The Knight Witch – November 29

video games coming this November
© Team17 Software

The Knight Witch is a Metroidvania adventure game with shoot-em-up combat in a hand-drawn world. In this game, you can cast card-based spells, forge close bonds and make moral choices to save your home and find out the mystery behind the War Golem invasion.

The Knight Witch is set to come to the PC, PS5, Xbox Series X, PS5, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

Featured Gaming & Tech

GTA 6 Gameplay Video Leaks, Rockstar Devastated

GTA 6 Developers have expressed disappointment upon discovering massive leak of early gameplay footage

The gameplay from GTA 6, which some fans had previously believed to be false, was confirmed to be authentic and triggered a response from Rockstar Games. In their statement, the developers expressed it had suffered a network intrusion, where a hacker breached its systems and downloaded confidential information, including the infamously leaked footage. The game has been in production since 2014.

The alleged hacker dropped 90 videos of unreleased gameplay footage to an online forum and has threatened to leak more gameplay footage and even the game’s source code. Some of the leaked videos are over 20 minutes in length, are apparently set in Vice City and show multiple playable characters, including a woman. Rockstar Games employees were left shocked by the leak.

The hacker goes by the name ‘teapotuberhacker’ on GTAForums. It seems ‘teapotuberhacker’ wants to blackmail Rockstar as they stated, “I am looking to negotiate a deal.” This deal is assumed to prevent the release of more sensitive data. The hacker also claimed to be behind a data breach in Uber’s internal systems, though the statement remains unverified so far. 

Rockstar did all it could to take down the leaked videos. Still, as happens with leaked footage on the Internet, people are already making video theories, TikToks and memes throughout all digital venues.

© Rockstar Games

“We are extremely disappointed to have any details of our next game shared with you all in this way.” Expressed the studio following the leak. Rockstar games continued, “Our work on the next Grand theft Auto game will continue as planned, and we remain as committed as ever to delivering an experience to you, our players, that truly exceeds your expectations.” Fans reacted with support and love for the company.

While the studio didn’t share extensive details on the depths of the data breach, they were confident that this would not disrupt the service for its network or games and won’t have a long-term effect on the development of their next projects.

Rockstar Games owns Grand Theft Auto, (GTA), one of the most successful video game franchises in the modern history of games. For comparison, GTA 5 was released nearly ten years ago and remains popular today, selling nearly 170 million copies as of August 2022, becoming the best-selling game of the last 10 years. Simply announcing Grand Theft Auto 6 (GTA 6)  being in development was enough to cause Take-Two Interactive’s stock to rise.

Take-Two Interactive is Rockstar Games’ parent company and owns 2K, their Private Division label to support publishing from independent developers, and another new studio known as Intercept Games.

Featured Gaming & Tech

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom To Launch in 2023

The long-awaited sequel for 2014’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was announced on September 13th

Most of the game’s details remain a mystery, with the cryptic trailer focused mostly on ancient paintings depicting various races, Zelda and Link. As this is a sequel, Breath of the Wild’s open-world will return, along with a new flight mechanic and possibly new runes.

Much of the new content has been allegedly inspired by leftover ideas from the DLC and the prior game’s brainstorming sessions. This is why the trailer incorporates the skies above Hyrule as a new feature to be explored. The first teaser trailer was released in the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct, though most fans of the series will have forgotten about the initial preview since the pandemic. During that time, the sequel was untitled. 

At E3 2021, Nintendo revealed some story elements and gameplay, on top of a planned 2022 release date. As this is a big Zelda game, everyone knew it would most likely have delays, as confirmed by producer Eiji Aonuma in 2022.

Hidemaro Fujibayashi will return as director for the game. 

the legend of Zelda breath of the wild
© Nintendo

Of course, the new trailer, along with all previous ones, has given fans enough content to begin speculating the game’s plot and gameplay. The 2019 trailer’s most notable feature was a decrepit corpse who was in an even worse state than the Sheikah monks found in the first game. Most users theorized that it could be Ganondorf, due to the mummy’s long red hair and corresponding Gerudo jewellery. 

The 2021 trailer showed a new magical effect that seems to turn everything grayscale and freeze it in place before reversing its movements. The trailer also showed a massive new weapon: a gauntlet-flamethrower hybrid. 

There are some theories that Zelda might be a playable character, due to her new short haircut. However, the latest trailer has all but confirmed the contrary.

Finally, there’s a belief that the Zonai will play an important part in the story. The Zonai are an ancient precursor race of warriors presumed extinct, whose existence is known by ruins and the Barbarian Armor set available in Breath of the Wild.

One of their recurring motifs is a red spiral pattern that can be seen in much of their architecture, present in the ruins. 

What’s certain is that players will get to explore the skies of Hyrule, an element only explored in full during Skyward Sword.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is set to release on May 12th, 2023. Watch the trailer here.

Featured Gaming & Tech

Video Games Coming this October

October is a promising month for video games on all consoles. Here’s a list of titles to watch out for, and their release dates

Overwatch 2 October 4th

Video Games in October: Overwatch 2
Overwatch 2 © Blizzard

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to one of Blizzard Entertainment’s most famous first-person-shooter video games, Overwatch. It’ll feature new PvE and PvP modes, such as Story Experience for the former and Push for the latter. Each game mode will also feature new maps and heroes, a new HUD, and a much-needed engine upgrade.

Overwatch 2 will be available for the PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

No Man’s Sky (Switch) October 7th

video games in October: No Man's Sky
No Man’s Sky © Hello Games

No Man’s Sky is coming to the Nintendo Switch after being released for most other consoles in the past years. This action-adventure survival game is built around five pillars: exploration, survival, combat, trading, and base building.

The game is an open world with over 18 quintillion planets created through procedural generation. Kind of like Minecraft, but in space.

While the game had mixed reviews on release, many of its features have been improved for the Nintendo Switch in later years.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers – October 14th

Drangonball The Breakers
Drangon Ball The Breakers © Dimps Games

Dragon Ball: The Breakers places Dragon-ball-themed survivors running for their lives from DBZ big baddies, such as Frieza or Cell. It’s a new take on the Dragon Ball games, focusing on survival rather than fighting.

Dragon Ball: The Breakers will be available for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

Bayonetta 3 (Switch) – October 28th

Bayonetta 3: October Video Games
Bayonetta 3 © Platinum Games

The long-awaited third edition of our favorite Umbra Witch, developed by PlatinumGames, is finally coming out. The action-adventure hack and slash game was announced in 2017.

In Bayonetta 3, players will control Bayonetta as she fights enemies using melee attacks and gunplay. She’ll have unique mechanics known as “Demon Slave,” “Demon Masquerade,” and even a display mode, “Naive Angel Mode”. She’ll be able to take control of an Infernal Demon or even fuse with a summoned demon to gain new magical abilities.

This last display mode conceals nudity during cinematics and gameplay.

Bayonetta 3 will be available for the Nintendo Switch.

Resident Evil Village: Winter’s Expansion – October 28th

Resident Evil Village: Winter’s Expansion
Resident Evil Village: Winter’s Expansion © Capcom

Resident Evil Village is the latest installment in the survival horror series, featuring an action-oriented game system. Fans have requested an additional DLC and finally announced it to the public.

Winter’s Expansion is coming on October 28, and they’ll be including a Third-person Mode. It’ll also have a Shadows of Rose mode, where players will see baby Rose’s story of survival 16 years after the original campaign.

Resident Evil Village: Winter’s Expansion will be available for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Stadia, and PC.


Featured Gaming & Tech

Resident Evil Show Canceled After its First Season

Netflix is known for cancelling shows prematurely, but what about Resident Evil?

The Resident Evil Netflix show was cancelled after its first season. While Netflix is known for cancelling many of its shows on a whim, sometimes for contradictory reasons, many times it waits until a couple of seasons have passed before taking any action. But, this time, fans of the live-action adaptation of the famous video game series agree that the adaptation was a bad one.

Its premiere was well-received on Netflix, even managing to outdo Stranger Things Season 4 to seize the #1 spot for a short while, but it fell out of the Top 10 in less than their weeks. Other shows cancelled after a one-season run on Netflix include Cowboy Bebop and the Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

The horror TV show is based on Capcom’s long-running survival horror video game. Lance Reddick played Albert Wesker and Ella Balisnka and Adeline Rudolph played his daughters. The first season is based on a worldwide zombie apocalypse caused by Umbrella Corporation and explains the events that led to the disaster, especially those related to the Wesker family. 

It was called one of the worst-rated shows ever, with Rotten Tomatoes showing an audience score of 25%. Resident Evil also has an average user rating of 3.6% on IMDb, making it one of the lowest-rated series overall. 

Resident Evil Show
Resident Evil Show © Netflix

Most of the criticism towards the show is aimed at its writing. Resident Evil games have humorous, creative moments, but part of the dialogue is bizarre and out of place for a Resident Evil game. Namely, some characters mention anime sites and streaming sites that haven’t been mentioned in the Resident Evil games. There’s another scene that’s been wildly parodied on Reddit and Twitter with one of the characters breaking into full song as if it were Glee.

Ironically, despite Resident Evil being a precursor into the zombie apocalypse genre, the fact that the show was released in 2022 worked against its plot. It’s considered predictable and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. On the funny side, even if the dance is out of place and random, the actress enjoys it so much that one can’t help but laugh at her expressions.

Some viewers expressed enough frustration at the show that they’d rather get back to the old games and play due to the confusion. As said by a Reddit user, “an IP isn’t an automatic win for your project”, not every TV show based on existing property is guaranteed success.

On the other hand, the series has been on a high note with the video games, with the latest games being a success.

Featured Gaming & Tech

September Video Game Releases: The Freshest Titles

Which one of these September video game releases will you be buying?

Here are some September video game releases that you should look out for this autumn:

Splatoon 3 

Splatoon 3
Splatoon 3 © Nintendo

Set for release on September 9, Splatoon 3 is a third-person shooter coming on the Nintendo Switch as a sequel to Splatoon 2. Like its predecessors, the game consists of a player choosing between an Inkling or an Octoling who wields weapons that shoot coloured ink. There’s a wide variety of painting weapons players can use to demolish their foes, such as rollers for close-combat or sniper rifle-like Charges with a long range. 

The new edition of Splatoon comes with new main and special weapons, with all previous ones returning. All multiplayer game modes and the Splatfests are also returning for the third edition. The game is a Nintendo Switch exclusive and will cost $59.99.

The Last of Us Part 1

The Last of Us Part 1
The Last of Us Part 1 © Sony Interactive Entertainment

The Last of Us Part 1 is a ground-up remake of the first The Last of Us, recreated on Naughty Dog’s PS5 engine and technology. The remake’s story remains largely untouched, describing the struggles of Joel and Ellie. They travel throughout a ravaged, post-pandemic version of the U.S in search of hope for humanity.

The game is an action-adventure game where the players control Joel from a third-person perspective to fight hostile humans infected by a mutated fungus. It’ll feature better gameplay, controls and accessibility options.  The game is a PS5 exclusive and will cost $70.

NBA 2K23

NBA2K23 © 2K Games

NBA 2K23 is the new iteration of the basketball sports simulation games developed by Visual Concepts. It’s the 24th instalment in the NBA 2K Franchise and will release on September 8, 2022, for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. 

The game will feature 20 different Shot Meters, new badges, a new tier system for badges on the newer consoles and defensive AI changes. And, NBA 2k23 will be available for $59.99 on all consoles but the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, where it’ll be available for $69.99 instead.

Gerda: A Flame in Winter

Gerda: A Flame in Winter © Don’t Nod

Gerda: A Flame in Winter is an RPG adventure published by Dontnod, set in Denmark during its occupation by the Nazis during World War II.

It’s an adventure game with RPG elements such as multiple endings and making choices that affect how we play the game. And, it’ll feature unique systems of Trust and Mental energies (compassion, wit, and insight) that give you points you can spend on in-game actions, such as helping someone or gaining their trust.

The Trust system affects your standing with its four factions: Germans, Danes, Occupation, and Resistance. The game will be on the Nintendo Switch and PC, to be released on September 1.