Daenerys' execution of the Tarlys could be her downfall on 'Game of Thrones'

Daenerys dun f*cked up.
Daenerys dun f*cked up.
Image: hbo

For a couple seasons now, we’ve been waiting for the Mad Queen Daenerys to implode her own chances at the throne. Now, finally, the Season 8 premiere and promo for next week’s episode hint at just how it might happen.

Poetically, it’s an act that directly parallels the downfall of her father, the Mad King Aerys. Apparently, Targaryens never learn to stop playing with fire.

Daenerys started showing her most concerning “burn them all” tendencies in Season 7. The Loot Train Attack on the Lannister armies was fair game, because that’s just war (and it was rad). But her hot-tempered cruelty was on display for all to see in the aftermath of the battle, when she didn’t give a second thought to turning Randyll and Dickon (lol) Tarly into Drogon BBQ for not kneeling.

Did someone order a serving of roasted Dick(on)?

Did someone order a serving of roasted Dick(on)?

Image: hbo

Neither Dany nor the audience grasped the consequences of this choice at the time, despite Tyrion’s best attempts. But now all the biggest players left alive in the Westeros are convening in Winterfell. And Daenerys’ questionable Mad Queen ruling style will finally come under question, particularly thanks to the arrival of Kingslayer Jaime Lannister.

But before we speculate on his role, it’s worth noting that we already saw this execution weaken one of Dany’s key alliances.

Learning what happened to Sam’s family seemed to sow a significant seed of doubt in Jon about whether his new love and queen actually deserves the crown. That will add even more potentially catastophic tension to an upcoming bombshell, when Daenerys is told her lover boy actually has a stronger claim to the throne than she does.

Even more importantly, a Targaryen already lost a crown for the exact same mistake — the unnecessary, fiery public execution of two respected male members of a noble house. Only last time it was Rickard and Brandon Stark, Ned’s father and brother. And it was the final straw that led to Robert’s Rebellion, which eventually ended the Targaryen dynasty’s centuries-long reign.

The execution of the Stark men has been mentioned several times on the show before. As Captain of the King’s Guard, Jaime had been present, and painted the bleak picture of what happened to Ned in Season 1. 

Sam's face is basically how the whole realm feels about Dany and her dragons

Sam’s face is basically how the whole realm feels about Dany and her dragons

Image: hbo

After Rhaegar “abducted” Lyanna Stark, the Stark men rode south to King’s Landing to demand answers. Lyanna was already bethrothed to Robert Baratheon, so her alleged rape and kidnapping added to the growing list of the Targaryens overreaches in power against other noble houses.  

But instead of answering for Rhaegar’s crime, the Mad King arrested the Stark men for treason, setting them both on fire right there in the throne room. Hundreds stood and watched as the Mad King laughed while the lord and the heir to Winterfell screamed in agony. 

The rest, as we know, is history.

It was that act of merciless madness that finally pushed the realm over the edge, making the other houses more willing to turn against the Targaryens in support of Robert. Unnecessarily executing a lord of Winterfell was stupid enough when Joffrey did it to Ned decades later. But doing it to both a lord and his heir is sure to give you a reputation as a mad dog threatening the entire system.

As for Jaime’s arrival, well, he’s one of the last people alive from that era who can speak to the striking similarities between Daenerys and her father.

Dany needs to figure out her daddy issues

Dany needs to figure out her daddy issues

Image: hbo

The promo for episode 2 makes it seem like Jaime is the one in the hot seat. “When I was a child, my brother would tell me a bedtime story about the man who murdered our father,” Daenerys says to him. “Of all the things we would do to that man.”

But Viserys was a twisted asshole with a very warped view on the war — one shared by almost no one else in Westeros. If Daenerys starts trying to serve Viserys’ idea of justice, it won’t win her any favors with the people doubting her ability to be a good queen.

It won’t win her any favor with the people doubting her ability to be a good queen.

And Jaime could very turn this line of questioning against her, by finally revealing the truth of what lead him to become a Kingslayer.

As he told Brienne privately in Season 2, that supposedly dishonorable act of treason was actually done to save hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. Daenerys’ father had instructed Jaime to “burn them all,” by setting the caches of wildfire all around King’s Landing ablaze and killing every man, woman, and child. Jaime knew the only way to prevent this was to break his oath and kill the king he’d sworn to protect.

It wasn’t Jaime’s only selfless act against a Targaryen for the good of the realm. After he saw the destruction Daenerys’ dragons could bring during the Loot Train Attack, Jaime very stupidly charged after her and Drogon. He was once again willing to sacrifice his honor and life to ensure the Mad King’s daughter couldn’t fulfill the destruction Jaime had prevented.

Some even theorize that, if Daenerys goes full on Mad Queen, Jaime will add Queenslayer to his list of titles (check out how Bran’s Season 6 visions might’ve foreshadowed that here).

If the realm finally learns the truth behind the Kingslaying, it will leave Daenerys with a choice: either condemn her father’s madness, or fall further into it herself. Either way, bringing up her problematic family history is sure to leave her in an even tougher spot at Winterfell.

Daenerys has revealed again and again that she makes for a great conquerer. But she’s repeatedly failed to learn lessons from the past that would make her a great queen.

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f91139%252fd7d00c9a a0f9 4823 89e2 4a98db276618.jpg%252foriginal.jpg?signature=a4azu644wwqbewfu6duj16zmxuc=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Chilly reception for marijuana tycoon game shows games industry’s backwards stance on drugs

Intense and graphic violence is something we’ve come to simply expect from games, but sexual and other adult themes are still largely taboo — including, as publisher Devolver Digital is learning, drugs. Even if the game in question is a relatively serious tycoon-type look at the current (and legal!) business of selling weed.

Devolver is no stranger to controversy; it has published and helped develop dozens of games and many of them have featured the kind of graphic violence that sets off those who still see the medium as a corruptive, fundamentally debased one. And to be fair, the likes of Hotline Miami aren’t going to change any minds.

But for the company’s first original commissioned IP, it had the idea of assembling a game in the popular “tycoon” genre, but focused on the emerging and popular sector of growing marijuana.

Obviously this is somewhat controversial, but the plant is legal in many states and countries already and on its way in plenty of others. This isn’t the time or place for a full evaluation of the scheduling system and the war on drugs, but it suffices to say that it is a complex and interesting business ecosystem that’s teetering on the edge of widespread acceptance. That makes it a bit edgy, but also fresh and relevant — perfect, Devolver thought, to build a game around. So they made Weedcraft, Inc.

Unfortunately, the company’s co-founder Mike Wilson told me the other day, they underestimated how square the gaming industry is.

“This is definitely the hardest game I’ve had to market, and that’s saying something,” Wilson told me. “It has been a fucking nightmare. The fact that we’re still so afraid of a topic like weed instead of the murder simulators you can market any time, anywhere, it’s shocking.”

Console game stores were reluctant to even carry it, and warned Devolver that it would never be featured, which is a death sentence for a game’s discoverability. They couldn’t get ads approved on Facebook or Instagram, and the person who submitted them even had his account suspended. And just this week, streamers trying out the game on YouTube had their videos demonetized.

The only stores that didn’t buck were Steam, which is largely content-agnostic, and GOG, a popular DRM-free storefront.

Why, though? This isn’t a game about smoking blunts or cutting dime bags with oregano to sell to middle school kids.

Well, it is a little pro-legalization.

“This isn’t a pro-legalization game. This is a tycoon game. You don’t do drugs in the game!” said Wilson. “You can play as a totally legal, scrupulous businessperson. We did all this research with like, dispensaries, geneticists, lawyers, we were worried about cultural sensitivity with the subject matter, things like how much more black people get jailed for it. We wanted it to be representative of all the social issues involved. It’s kind of like doing a game about booze in the prohibition era — like, what an interesting industry to study, right?”

It’s not that the companies involved here — Microsoft, Sony, YouTube and so on — are applying some invisible rules. The rules are there; when I contacted YouTube for comment, they pointed me to the list of guidelines for “advertiser-friendly content.” And plain as day there’s the one about drugs: “Video content that promotes or features the sale, use, or abuse of illegal drugs, regulated drugs or substances, or other dangerous products is not suitable for advertising.”

It’s just a bit weird to me still that we have this backwards, puritan approach to this stuff. Think of how much vile garbage is on YouTube and how the most popular games in the world glorify guns and death. But a recreational drug legal in many places and generally well thought of, not to mention a massive and growing business — that’s beyond the pale.

I understand YouTube doesn’t want people doing bong-clearing competitions, and console makers want to appear family-friendly so they don’t lose that teen and tween market. But surely we can be adults about this.

Gaming is maturing to be an interactive storytelling medium that encompasses serious issues, but the industry is holding itself back by its squeamishness about adult themes. And that feeds into the puritanical objections from misguided commentators, who go nuts over romancing an alien in Mass Effect or the ridiculous “Hot Coffee” thing in GTA, but don’t acknowledge the sophisticated storytelling of Return of the Obra Dinn, or subversive commentary of Papers, Please, or the impressive period recreation of an Assassin’s Creed.

Drugs are a complex and controversial topic. I get that some people want to stay hands-off. But when that hands-off stance doesn’t apply to graphic violence, sexism, and other sore spots, it comes off as prudish and hypocritical.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

The Unexpected Success of No Man's Sky

Sean Murray, lead developer of the planetary exploration game No Man’s Sky, doesn’t want to dwell on negativity, tempting as it is when chatting for an interview about any game with a huge, vocal playerbase.

“The story often is the narrative of the bad community, the toxicity, and it really annoys me that [it] commands so much of the narrative in games,” he recently told me, as we chatted in a room in the Chelsea Piers fitness and entertainment complex on the western edge of Manhattan.

“You know, for two years I turned down any talk that was a talk about toxicity in gaming. I could have been the poster child for that, and we’ve never really talked about how bad things got at launch or whatever. I just think whilst it’s interesting and a good headline and stuff like that, I just think it commands too much of the discussion around games.”

Instead, he wanted to point out something that excites him about No Man’s Sky, two and half years after its rocky debut and the subsequent updates that won so many critics and fans over.

“I think what gets lost—and that Gita does a really good job of highlighting—is the nice things people do in games,” he said, name-checking our own Gita Jackson, who has covered player-run governments and other fan creations and experiments in No Man’s Sky for the past couple of years.

No Man’s Sky has been amazing for that: weird things that people do that you can’t predict. This is lovely and really meaningful to make games in a time when people are connected enough that they can do that.”

Murray: “I think what gets lost…is the nice things people do in games.”

Murray has seen the best and worst of it since No Man’s Sky first appeared with an incredible trailer during the 2013 Spike gaming awards. He participated in the hype leading up to its summer 2016 release, notoriously promised a multiplayer feature on national television that wasn’t in the game, got scorched by fans upset with what his team at Hello Games originally launched and then slowly, surely, saw the reputation of No Man’s Sky change as years of post-release updates transformed and improved it.

“I think we learned lessons, right?” he said, making one of several cheerful understatements as we chatted for a half hour.

No Man’s Sky has flourished in recent years, rising in regard through the 2017 Atlas Rises update and 2018’s No Man’s Sky Next. While he won’t release sales figures, Murray said that “last year we sold the kind of numbers a AAA game would be happy with at launch,” using the industry jargon for big budget games.

“I’d love to say it’s because we had this great plan and blah blah blah, but I did not think that would be the case,” he said. “You know, Atlas Rises was the version we released after a year, that did really well. Each update has sold commercially more than the one before. I sat down with the team for Next and I was like, ‘We should be prepared that this obviously isn’t going to sell as well as the things we’ve done before. It’s two years since launch and we went a year without doing an update, which is supposed to be death for a games-as-a-service game.”

The game’s next update, Beyond, includes an optional virtual reality mode, a new online “experience” and a mysterious third element Murray doesn’t want to mention yet. They were going to be smaller updates, but the work on them ballooned, and it became obvious to the developers that they should bundle them. Murray figured it would help if some people, perhaps the media, could try the VR part in advance, which led him to feeling the need to show some of it earlier than he’d like.

“I wish that we weren’t showing this off, if I am honest,” he said as I tried the game’s VR mode and he talked me through it just safely outside of the reach of my swinging arms. “I wish we could have just come out of nowhere and shown the game a couple of weeks before launch.”

Talking to Murray is to experience a mix of ebullience—he is clearly proud of his game and his team—and the caution of a developer who’s stepped in it before. So cautious is Murray now about not overhyping things that when I asked him if the game could ever come to Switch, he groaned and then said, “So it’s not something we’re talking about at the moment, you know what I mean? You must know this. We’ve learned the hard way to not encourage guesswork and whatever.”

This caution is why part of Beyond is still secret and why Murray feels like he’s been more worried about telling people what Beyond is not (“not a subscription, not an MMO”) than what it is.

[embedded content]

It would be safer and perhaps wiser for No Man’s Sky to skip the hype cycle in the wake of the game’s launch, during which Murray became a poster child for promises gone undelivered—almost a spiritual successor to Peter Molyneux. After that rocky release, Murray and his team decided not to move straight to their next project but instead to stick with No Man’s Sky, delivering upon all of their launch promises and much, much more. He maintains that the core fantasy of exploring a new planet was there from the get-go, but the game didn’t look or run quite was well as it did in trailers and plenty of fans said they didn’t get what they expected.

“When it launched I think two things really motivated us,” he said. “One was that we could see people were playing. The general narrative is that they weren’t, that it’s a dead game, which is so common, but the numbers for us were still very impressive. The average play time was 25 hours at launch across many millions of people.” He said some were playing for just an hour and bailing, others for hundreds.

Murray: “I made bad decisions at times for sure but it really hurt me for the team to have that legacy. They worked so hard.”

The other motivation was to improve the reputation of the team. “The narrative around the game—for all of these games that comes out and act as a lightning rod—is that the team, they were lazy or they made bad decisions or they were dishonest or something like that.” He laughed. “I made bad decisions at times for sure but it really hurt me for the team to have that legacy. They worked so hard.” For most of the game’s development, he said, there were only about six developers on it, somehow putting out this huge game.

These days there are fewer skeptics and more fans of Hello Games, more people appreciative of a team that has proven to be dedicated to improving their work and meeting those original expectations of the game’s hype-heated launch.

The team at Hello has grown to about 25 people, Murray estimates. They’re split across No Man’s Sky, a different mystery project, and a smaller game called The Last Campfire that Murray hopes will help some of his developers experience the scrappy learning process a smaller Hello Games had when building 2010’s motorcycle stunt game Joe Danger. He believes that experience gave Hello’s early developers the skills to make the grander No Man’s Sky. “We’re losing that in the studio if we don’t keep doing that sort of thing,” he said of making the smaller games. “I don’t want a load of people who haven’t had that experience.”

The Hello team is also relishing the positivity emerging from their big hit. They keep an internal website, Murray said, “where we put all the nice things and the way the game has impacted people.” They hear from people who say the game is meditative and helps them relax. “And so you get a lot of people say it’s helped them through tough times.” They hear from fans who’ve logged 3,000 hours or more and need help fixing their save files or even building a new one. “I don’t want to encourage this as a service we provide but we’ve done things where people will tell us, ‘I had this, this and this on a save and I’ve played so long and I’ve lost it for whatever reason.’ They broke up with their partner or whatever and we’ll just do some debug things to try to rebuild some part of it.”

“I didn’t think it was a game you would actually play for a thousand hours,” he said. “Two years out, people still care. People still want to sit down and talk about it and play it. That’s a big deal for me. That’s a nice thing for that team.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Starz apologizes for pushing Twitter to remove tweets on online piracy


Peter Willert / EyeEm via Getty Images

How about this for a comedy of errors. Last week, Twitter removed a tweet posted by TorrentFreak, for an article about how Starz shows were being pirated. The TV service Starz compounded matters over the weekend after issuing a DMCA takedown to remove other users’ tweets that shared the article or even simply referenced the irony of the removal of the first tweet.

Techdirt reported that an article from the piracy news site was shared by several accounts over the weekend, including the Columbia Journalism Review‘s Mathew Ingram, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and copyright professor Annemarie Bridy. Twitter, acting on behalf of Starz, then served the accounts with a DMCA takedown despite no links to actual pirated content. Starz later apologized on Monday for inadvertently taking action on tweets that linked to news articles about online piracy.

The irony didn’t escape the users whose tweets were targeted. The TorrentFreak story they shared was about Twitter forcing the outlet to take down a link to its story about recent leaked Starz tv shows. Copyright lawyers had sided with TorrentFreak, arguing that news articles about online piracy aren’t the same as online piracy; and shouldn’t be subject to a DMCA takedown.

Following backlash on Twitter after several users accused Starz of overzealous copyright infringement, Starz issued an apology and said it was working to review the removed tweets.

“STARZ takes piracy and copyright infringement very seriously and must take steps, when necessary, to protect our content and creative IP as it is the core of our business. As such, we engage a third­party vendor to seek out and remove social media posts that provide access to illegally acquired content. The techniques and technologies employed in these efforts are not always perfect, and it appears that in this case, some posts were inadvertently caught up in the sweep that may fall outside the DMCA guidelines. […] ” wrote a Starz spokesman in an email to Engadget.

Twitter appeared to have restored some of the tweets in question on Monday afternoon. In a direct message on Twitter, Ingram told Engadget that he believed his tweets were back online. Other tweets by Variety and EFF were also restored.

Jon Fingas contributed to this story.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

iOS 13 will bring a huge dark mode update to iPhone

iPhones are about to get darker.
iPhones are about to get darker.
Image: justin sulivan / Getty Images

If you’re a fan of dark mode on just about every device you own, you’re really going to like the next version of iOS.

That’s because iOS 13, the iOS update expected later this year, will finally add a system-wide dark mode, according to a new report from 9to5Mac. 

According to 9to5Mac’s sources, the update will ship with a dark mode that you can control in the main settings app. Reportedly similar to the dark mode in macOS, the iOS version will enable a darker theme throughout your phone. (Though individual app developers would presumably still need to support the feature as well.)

Also on the agenda for iOS 13: new multitasking features for iPad, an improved Mail app, and a new “undo” gesture. 

The new iPad features promise a more flexible way to use multiple apps at once. Instead of simply split-screen multitasking, the update would allow each app to run in multiple, smaller windows. 

“Each window will also be able to contain sheets that are initially attached to a portion of the screen, but can be detached with a drag gesture, becoming a card that can be moved around freely,” according to 9to5. 

Speaking of gestures, iOS 13 will introduce a new gesture to “undo” actions that will include a three finger tap gesture that sounds rather complicated. (Though the current “shake to undo” iOS has used for years is also completely unintuitive.)

The Mail app is also set to get some changes to how emails are organized as the app will be able to categorize messages similar to Gmail and Inbox (RIP)

Finally, a small but significant change: Apple will reportedly change the on-screen graphic that appears when you change your iPhone’s volume. Presumably so the UI, which has been criticized for so long it’s become its own meme, won’t interfere with entire screen just because you want to adjust your volume settings.

Of course, these changes are all still rumors for now. Nothing is certain until WWDC, Apple’s annual June event where it shows off new iOS and macOS updates. Until then, we’ll have to obsess over Twitter’s actually-black dark mode as we wait for more leaks. 

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f90927%252f2cf79a7c b87e 406f 9ac5 614c9bc4c23a.jpg%252foriginal.jpg?signature=v9ojnfgtv4lyl5uhgmuj09hbpxq=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source