Tech round-up for August 7: Video games do not cause violence, 8chan explained, Apple's AR art experiences, Wolfenstein: Youngblood.

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, a look at the latest Wolfenstein video game, Youngblood, and new AR experiences from Apple will expose you to art. But first, the problem with the 8chan forum and the non-existent link between video games and violence.

Clearing up the record on video games and mass shootings

In the wake of yet another mass shooting in the U.S. over the weekend, you may have heard some politicians laying the blame on video games.

Just so we’re clear, this is bunk.

Let alone the fact that people around the world play video games and only the U.S. has a problem with mass shootings.

Here’s scientist and ER doctor John Jiao.

And lawyer Bryce Blum lays down the actual evidence.

And scholar Ian Bogost, writing in the Atlantic had this to say: “In the two decades since Columbine, video games have taken a lot of the blame for mass shootings. The evidence has never supported this conclusion, and researchers have become only more certain that media don’t cause violence, or even aggression.”

Now, Trump is trying to blame these incidents on mental illness. That’s not true, either.

The problem with 8chan

You may also have heard the media referring to “8chan” when covering the event in El Paso. That’s because the shooter posted a screed and his murderous intent on the message board prior to the rampage.

The forum was home to Gamergate and has a problem with child pornography, hate speech, and white nationalist content.

It was also the online space where the Christchurch mosque shooter spent time and posted a link to his Facebook live video.

It was also the place where the killer at the synagogue in Poway, California posted hateful content.

8chan is where violent extremist views go. And now it’s only available on the dark web after having hosting services withdrawn.

Good riddance. Your right to free speech does not give you a right to a platform where you can espouse it.

De-platforming works. Starve them of oxygen. Make it difficult for vulnerable people to find them and be influenced.

Visit your local Apple Store to experience new augmented reality art adventures

Apple has collaborated with the New Museum and a host of artists to create a trio of augmented reality experiences the company is calling, [AR]T (website).

[AR]T Walk includes work by Nick Cave, Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Cao Fei, John Giorno, Carsten Höller and Pipilotti Rist. It’s literally a walking exhibit that viewers experience through their iPhones while in Hong Kong, London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo.

There’s also [AR]T Lab (website), which is a new education program available in all Apple Stores as part of the Today at Apple series. Designed by Sarah Rothberg, participants will learn how to create their own AR experiences with the Swift Playgrounds coding platform. These sessions begin on August 10.

And the next time you’re walking past an Apple Store, take a moment to experience an AR installation created by Chicago artist Nick Cave. It’s viewable through the Apple Store app on your iPhone with the [AR]T Viewer.

Twin girls take the fight to the Nazis in Wolfenstein: Youngblood

If you’ve played a Wolfenstein game before, you know that they revolve around a soldier, B.J. Blazkowicz, fighting Nazis. Early games were set during the Second World War, but recent games developed by MachineGames imagine a world in which Nazi Germany and the Axis powers actually won.

After the last game, Blazkowicz helped to liberate the United States, but Europe is still under control of the Nazis.

In Youngblood, players don’t become B.J. Instead, the game features his two daughters, the twins Jessica and Sophia. They are a riot. They are teenagers, overconfident and invincible. Kinda perfect for a Wolfenstein game, because they’ve always been just a bit goofy and Youngblood is no exception. The twins are every bit their father’s daughters; Jess and Soph are constantly commenting how fun it is to be “killing Nazis”.

This game was designed for co-op play. You pick one of the two sisters and your gaming friend plays the other one (you can play solo with the AI helping you out). To make this easier, Bethesda has introduced the Buddy Pass system for people who have the Deluxe Edition of the game.

With the Buddy Pass you can have a friend play with you whether or not they own the game. You can do this with as many people as you want, but only one can play with you at a time.

It’s all set in a Nazi-occupied Paris in 1980, and the environments are mazes you’ll navigate, taking out the occupiers as you go, collecting paraphernalia and currency so you can improve your skills and weapons.

The developers made the most of the era, and the music you’ll hear in the background are remixes of ’80s-era European new wave music, twisted so they have a nice, Kraftwerk feel.

Youngblood is a competent first-person shooter, but it is best played in short bursts, as Jess and Soph, like all teenagers, will get on your nerves after a while.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood was developed by MachineGames and Arkane Studios, is published by Bethesda, and is available now on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.

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