Technological World for July 22: Fan conventions at home, Phil Spencer's promise to gamers, Xbox gaming show floor demos, Flash fades away, Superliminal a fun puzzle game, Sims 4 goes green

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This week, Xbox starts ramping up to new games and a new console, Adobe Flash looks into the sunset, Superliminal is like Portal and that’s a good thing, and the Sims 4 gets an Eco Lifestyle. But first, more fan conventions are going online.

More fan conventions moving programs online

Comic-Con at Home begins today and runs through the weekend. This is the online version of San Diego’s massive fan event that includes everything from TV and movies to games, and even comics.

The event includes presentations and demonstrations, panel discussions, watch parties, and portfolio review, and it’s all happening across different platforms, including Discord, Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube.

There are hundreds of things to choose from.

Later in August, DC FanDome is Warner Bros celebrating DC Comics characters and worlds over a 24-hour virtual event on August 22.

Organizers of FanDome are already looking for fans to share their creativity for a chance to be included in the virtual event. You can submit artwork, questions, cosplay, and even portfolios.

And from September 12 to 20, PAX Online combines PAX West and PAX Australia in a nine-day gaming extravaganza. The free event will include three streaming channels worth of panels coming from Australia, London, and the U.S.

One of the things that makes PAX different from other fan events has always been the spontaneous games that happen all over the place, and organizers are working to find ways to support that same kind of discovery online.

Xbox begins the ramp up to a new console, new games

Microsoft’s new video game console, the Xbox Series X, is just a few months away from being released. This week, the company begins ramping up the hype machine.

Phil Spencer’s promise to gamers

The head of Xbox has authentic gamer cred, and in a post online last week he laid out their commitments to gamers. I encourage you to read the article, but here are a couple of highlights:

  • “You won’t be forced into the next generation.” For the next couple of years, all games developed for the Series X will also be playable on the Xbox One.
  • “You can buy games once at no added cost.” With many games that will be playable on both Series X and Xbox One, you will be able to upgrade your game for free when you upgrade your console.
  • The Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription will not only give you access to more than 100 games, but you’ll be able to play them on your console, Windows computer, and your phone and tablet.

Xbox Games Showcase

Spencer also pledged that there will be new games to play on the Series X on the day it is released. We’ll know a lot more about some of those games tomorrow, as the Xbox Games Showcase streams in all of the usual places:

I will be tuning in because I am so excited for Halo Infinite.

Play show floor demos of more than 60 Xbox games until July 27

As the usual summer game festivals and conventions aren’t happening, people are missing out on an opportunity to try out new games and games that are new to them.

The Summer Game Fest aims to remedy that, and as part of that, Xbox is making nearly 100 games available to try out for free.

Many of these games are being developed by independent studios, and you can access them on your Xbox One. Just look for the “Game Fest Demo” tile on your screen.

Major Nelson has the full list.

Adobe Flash is technology that has come to its end

Flash is sunsetting. This December, Adobe will stop distributing and supporting the software, which for more than 20 years has helped create the browsing experience we enjoy today.

Flash, which came into being in 1997 as part of Macromedia software, has been used to create interactive experiences, animation, and video for the world wide web. And in the next couple of years, having Flash on your website was a badge of honour.

In 2005, Adobe acquired Macromedia’s assets, and in addition to embedding Flash in operating systems and browsers, the company hoped the mobile revolution would expand growth.

That didn’t happen, though, for a number of reasons, including Apple’s Steve Jobs refusing to let Flash on the iPhone.

The functionality that Flash allowed is now available through HTML5 and other applications, so it’s time. Even today, most browsers won’t automatically run Flash code, and Adobe recommends that users uninstall the Flash Player now:

Superliminal a fun, quirky, Portal-like puzzle game

If you’ve ever played Portal, you need to be playing Superliminal.

Where Portal taught players how to use the mechanic of doorways to move between places, Superliminal uses perspective. When you pick up an object, its size scales depending on what it’s close to. So a small chess piece can become gigantic or a block becomes miniature.

The puzzles are all about playing with this perspective, and it gets progressively more difficult, where you’ll need to alter the size of a dollhouse so that you can walk into it.

Seattle-based Pillow Castle Games has also given Superliminal a conceit, too, which is another homage to Portal. Here you are a patient at a sleep institute, and there’s a robotic voice, the “Standard Orientation Protocol” that provides you with some context for what you’re doing.

Also like Portal, you’ll find yourself exploring behind the scenes, as it were, and trying to make sense of what’s really going on.

Superliminal is an inventive puzzling experience. It’s available for PS4, Switch, Windows, and Xbox One.

Solar panels come to The Sims 4 with Eco Lifestyle expansion

Electronic Arts has released another expansion for The Sims 4.

Eco Lifestyle modifies the systems of the game so that there are consequences to the actions of your sims.

There are three new communities to live in. Conifer Station, Grim’s Quarry, and Port Promise all have different beginning states, and the sims in those neighbourhoods can embody new personalities, including a Freegan, who will dumpster dive in order to get used objects – like furniture – out of the waste stream while saving a few bucks.

Eco Lifestyle is available now for Mac OS and Windows through EA’s Origin.

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