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A flood of new Mario Kart 8 information appears

This week was a surprise treat for fans of Nintendo’s go-karting mainstay, as a huge amount of new information about the next entry into the Mario Kart franchise was revealed. Launching alongside a brand new trailer, journalists around the world were invited to play the first half of the game’s 32 courses.

The legendary racer is set to launch on May 30, with some newly revealed courses including remakes of:

  • Donut Plains 3 (Super Mario Kart, SNES)
  • Toad’s Turnpike (Mario Kart 64, N64)
  • Royal Raceway (N64)
  • Rainbow Road (N64)
  • Dry Dry Desert (Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, GameCube)
  • Cheep Cheep Beach (Mario Kart DS, DS)
  • Moo Moo Meadows (Mario Kart Wii, Wii)

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All of these remakes include updates with vastly improved graphics and new gliding and anti-gravity sections. Shy Guy, Metal Mario and Lakitu were confirmed as returning racers from Mario Kart 7, while two new weapons were revealed: the boomerang from Super Mario 3D Land, which can be thrown a short distance three times, and the potted Piranha Plant from Super Mario 3D World, which will chow down on nearby racers. Close analysis of gameplay footage also reveals a speaker-like block and the title’s trademark figure-of-eight will also be new items.

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Other tweaks implemented include the new restriction to the ability to hold one item beside your kart alongside another in storage, bringing gameplay back towards Double Dash!!’s more tactical roots, while previously revealed courses were also given official titles, such as Shy Guy Falls and Thwomp Ruins. The only new track revealed is the game’s first, the simple yet grandiose Mario Kart Stadium.  Further tracks are hinted at by the destination signs spotted in Sunshine Airport: alongside the previously seen Sweet Sweet Valley, Cloudtop Cruise and Dolphin Shoals, we now also see Yoshi Valley and Sherbet Land listed as destinations. This could potentially hint that these two tracks could be returning from Mario Kart 64, or the latter from Double Dash!!.

Mario Kart 8 launches on Wii U worldwide on May 30th.

Oculus acquired by Facebook, and why I’m leaving Facebook

I’ve always loved games. They’re windows into worlds that let us travel somewhere fantastic. My foray into virtual reality was driven by a desire to enhance my gaming experience; to make my rig more than just a window to these worlds, to actually let me step inside them. As time went on, I realized that VR technology wasn’t just possible, it was almost ready to move into the mainstream. All it needed was the right push.

We started Oculus VR with the vision of making virtual reality affordable and accessible, to allow everyone to experience the impossible. With the help of an incredible community, we’ve received orders for over 75,000 development kits from game developers, content creators, and artists around the world. When Facebook first approached us about partnering, I was skeptical. As I learned more about the company and its vision and spoke with Mark, the partnership not only made sense, but became the clear and obvious path to delivering virtual reality to everyone. Facebook was founded with the vision of making the world a more connected place. Virtual reality is a medium that allows us to share experiences with others in ways that were never before possible.

Facebook is run in an open way that’s aligned with Oculus’ culture. Over the last decade, Mark and Facebook have been champions of open software and hardware, pushing the envelope of innovation for the entire tech industry. As Facebook has grown, they’ve continued to invest in efforts like with the Open Compute Project, their initiative that aims to drive innovation and reduce the cost of computing infrastructure across the industry. This is a team that’s used to making bold bets on the future.

- Palmer Luckey, Oculus VR founder

Above is an exert from a post made to /r/oculus by Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR. In case you missed the news, Facebook is to acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion. As a comparison, Facebook bought WhatsApp (an IM app) for $19 billion.

Oh, I forgot to start the post with my usual introduction. Hi, I’m David Blayney from Laggacy and WHAT THE F***?!! The article caught my eye on reddit and when I clicked on it I genuinely thought I’d be shown an article from The Onion. I genuinely couldn’t believe that a company so fixated on changing the face of gaming as we knew it would be bought by a company like Facebook. I don’t think anyone could have seen it coming. Well, maybe this guy:

The chosen one foresaw it and we ignored him!

The chosen one foresaw it and we ignored him!

Facebook is a company that makes money on the back of mining the personal data of people who use the service. Make no mistake, Facebook is not the product, you are; and you are not the customer, the advertisers are. This is the extent of the relationship that you have with Facebook. It’s appropriate that I draw comparisons between Facebook and Google because neither of them are in my good books right now. Google makes their money off mining data from users too but I do have to give them credit for one thing: they are transparent about it. Google’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service are written in plain English. Facebook’s on the other hand are not in my opinion. Google allows you to very clearly see what information they know about you in one location and change settings to prevent them from getting more information about you. For example: your Android phone checks in with Google’s servers periodically and your location is recorded. You can see how much they know here and delete the information in one place.

With Google, you can disable targeted advertising in Google and on the Google Display Network. Since the thought of something picking keywords from private email conversations and using those to provide targeted advertising creeps me the hell out, I disabled targeted advertising. If you know how to do that in Facebook, please let me know because I’m genuinely curious. While a lot of Google’s decisions (specifically those surrounding YouTube and Google+) have been quite shocking at times, the sheer frequency of Facebook’s bad decisions over the years and their “you’ll eat my shit and enjoy it” attitude to it is what really stings.

Anyway, back to Oculus. I’ll be honest, virtual reality has always just been a faint possibility in my mind and not much else, a bit like a possible release of Half-Life 3. I didn’t really follow the news:

The idea of virtual reality in video games really excites me. I mean it’s freaking virtual reality, of course it’s exciting. Reading the news today did nothing but destroy my hopes of virtual reality being a “thing” any time soon. Call me cynical, but Facebook doesn’t see this as an opportunity to change the face of gaming as we know it, the same way as they don’t see social networking as the same for connecting with friends. They see it as an opportunity to make an assload of money, and they will find a way to do it and don’t like it one bit.

I’m leaving Facebook, and I encourage anyone who has second thoughts about the site to do the same. The only reason why I hadn’t done it before was because of apathy, pure and simple. Laggacy will no longer have a Facebook page either as I’m required to maintain my personal profile to have a page. I really hope organizing group events won’t be too difficult without a service like Facebook.

One redditor by the name of OpenSauss said this when Palmer shared the news on /r/Oculus. I believe it sums it up perfectly so I’ll finish with a quite of what he said.

Congratulations, you just killed any and all hope or trust millions of people had in your product and the future of gaming and computing as we know it.

I’m not even sure what to say because it’s pretty obvious you put sacks of money before your supposed “dream”, and will sell yours and everyone elses hopes and dreams away to an absolute fucking pariah of a company that’s actively destroying any semblence of privacy or open digital market left in the world. And on top off all of this, you’re not even GOOD at selling out. A measly $2 billion? You’re talking about a company that just bought a glofified fucking IM app for $20 billion. You know damn well what this technology is worth and what a future it has, and you know just how deep Facebook’s pockets are and just how desperate they are to save their eviscerated whale of a megacorporation, and $2 billion is enough for you? You’re not only an unprincipled sell out, you’re not even any fucking good at being an unprincipled sell out.

Well great job, because your dream of VR is fucking over. Facebook are gonna get the patents to the Rift, and they’re gonna do exactly what all the patent hawks of the industrial revolution did and what all of the petrochemical industry is doing to renewables. They’re not gonna do shit to further VR, they’re just going to sit on a patent they never worked on and sue the everloving shit out of anyone who even dares to compete with them. All the while, they’ll be putting out an inferior, bare minimum cost surveillance device to the idiotic masses and they’ll keep it that way. And when (and it’s not a matter of if, it’s WHEN) they keel over and die, who’s gonna buy out such a lucrative patent? What’ll happen to VR then? Someone not quite so “innovative” as Facebook (those two words should never be in the same sentence) is gonna grab it up (for a hell of a lot more than $2 billion I can tell you) and your dream of true VR ever being a thing will drift further and further into the garbage pile. And you’ll have sold it all away for Wall Street peanuts.

“I’m obsessed with VR. I spend every day pushing further, and every night dreaming of where we are going. Even in my wildest dreams, I never imagined we’d come so far so fast. ”

And you only ever got that dream because of the millions consumers handed over to you to develop a product THEY wanted. You’d have made a pheominal amount more than what you were offered as a small, independent powerhouse in a matter of years. But apparently your “dream” doesn’t have time for patience or common sense. And what about all of the developer’s who’ve made the Rift what it is today entirely of their own volition? With no desire for financial gain, but merely to be a part of the brave new world you apparently wanted to create? That you believed in? Well good luck, because the best you’re ever going to see on your platform now is VR Farmville and VR Instagram Panorama apps. Is THAT what your “dream” looked like?

If you have even a single braincell left in your cranium you’ll call off this deal and hope to God you can muster back the faith in your userbase that you’ve now utterly robbed both financially and spiritually. Sadly, having posted this wall of absolute management-speak “connected world” straight-from-Zuckerberg’s-PR-department grade A patronising bullshit I doubt you’ll ever get anyone’s trust back.

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High-flying shooter JetGetters launches into Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a great platform for indie developers to find a foothold and enter the world of professional games development, and one Kickstarter project that recently launched has caught the Laggacy team’s eye.

JetGetters is a plane-based multiplayer shooter that is currently fundraising on the site in order to release on Steam later this year. All three current-generation home consoles are additional stretch goals. The campaign site can be viewed here.

The project promises fast-paced action that focuses around repeatedly hijacking opponents’ planes and navigating through huge dogfights, all set to a cel-shaded tropical backdrop.

The site describes the project as being a combination of “Just Cause 2 meets Battlefield 4″. It should be interesting to see how the game pans out, to say the least.8f8de2a548fb95d0893f61e55771f896_large

Never lagging behind