This week, Google brings the Lookout app to Canada as MEC drops its iPhone app, Beats 1 becomes Apple Music 1 and renamed EA Play and Prime Gaming, Archer: Danger Phone is a great way to waste time, Tell Me Why centres a transgender character in a video game story.
Lookout app comes to Canada for Android users
Android users in Canada with visual impairments are now able to use Google’s Lookout app, which uses smartphone cameras to collect information which it then shares with users verbally.
Users can have Lookout identify packaged foods in a store, for example. Or take a photo of a document so your smartphone can read it to you.
Lookout also works in French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
MEC killing its iPhone app
While some companies are falling over themselves to create smartphone apps, Mountain Equipment Co-op is getting rid of theirs.
On September 15, the MEC iPhone app will stop working and customers will be sent to the website instead.
It’s actually a smart business move because maintaining both a smartphone app and a website can be costly. As long as the website is created to be a positive experience on a mobile device, there’s no need to have both.
All the name changes coming to media companies near you
There are a lot of services that are getting name changes in the coming weeks. Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered!
Beats 1 becomes Apple Music 1
Apple has been slowly fading out the Beats brand and this is one of the last steps. Buh-bye Beats, hello Apple Music Radio.
Not only is Beats 1 being retired, but Apple is launching two new radio stations: Apple Music Hits and Apple Music Country.
One of the hosts of the former is Canada’s own George Stroumboulopoulos.
Strombo’s show which debuted on August 18, broadcasts from Toronto and he’s already showed his knowledge of rock history with segments featuring Alanis Morissette and Jagged Little Pill, the Ramones, and the bad blood between Blur and Oasis.
One listener praised his juxtaposition of Killers with Men Without Hats.
I have no idea how
strombo</a> sees the musical journey for his shows, that nobody else can, but I am so happy he does and that he invites us along! And yes, putting Killers back to back with Men Without Hats was some magical connection. You legend! [Thanks] for a very special Ep.7. </p>— Michelle Addison (GoBeyondTheShow) August 30, 2020
As for Apple Music Country, I will acknowledge that it’s a thing and there are people who will appreciate it. Nuff said.
EA renames game subscription services to EA Play
Video game developer and publisher Electronic Arts was one of the first companies to offer a subscription service for gaming. It was a bit piecemeal, though, with EA Access originally only available on Xbox and Origin Access providing games to computer players.
Well, EA is simplifying all this under the EA Play brand. The subscription service is now available on PlayStation, Xbox, EA’s Origin platform, and Steam.
For $30 a year, EA Play gives you early access to “select new releases for up to 10 hours of play time”, unlimited access to older games, and a discount on EA games.
EA Play Pro, which is only available on the Origin platform, costs $100 a year, and lifts the 10-hour limit on the new releases.
EA’s annual celebration of gaming that has coincided with the E3 trade show in L.A. is to be named EA Play Live.
Twitch Prime becomes Prime Gaming
Twitch, the video game video streaming service, was acquired by Amazon in 2014, and now the company aligns the brand with its other Prime properties.
You’ll love wasting time with Archer: Danger Phone
The mobile game, which has you collecting and assigning resources in an attempt to mine “Kriegerrands”, a digital currency conceived by Krieger, the research and development employee of the show’s spy agency.
All of the usual suspects are here, too. Archer, Lana, and Archer’s mother, Malory, are the key characters, but the entire supporting cast, in all their weird guises, also feature. You unlock them by accumulating and redeeming various collectibles.
They’re all involved in the wacky schemes and double crosses that make up the story elements, and that’s what elevates Danger Phone above other incremental games: the writing absolutely nails the snarky tone of the television show.
In addition to the main story about a global financial meltdown that’s spinning out over time, there are regular short-term events that span a day or a weekend. These are variant stories set in different environments – a space ship or arctic research station – and they pit you against other players to see who can collect the most in-game cash, with tiered rewards going to the top earners.
You can spend real money to progress the story faster, but you don’t need to. You can also watch short advertisements to double the amounts of currencies you collect. Again, you don’t need to.
In fact, I’d suggest that to stretch out the experience and make it last longer, you shouldn’t. Just load it up a couple of times a day for a few minutes to get a few laughs and collect your cash.
Twins make for interesting characters in the transgender story of Tell Me Why
Tell Me Why is a new narrative game about family secrets and the difficulty of coming home that transcends genre by putting a transgender character at the centre of the experience.
Set in Alaska, the three-chapter story features transgender Tyler and his twin sister Alyson traveling to the remote, rural home where they grew up to get it prepared for sale. It’s been ten years since they left under traumatic circumstances, and the two are understandably unsure what will surface on their return.
While there, they rediscover what it means that they are twins, and they realize that what happened in that place is not quite what they remember. As they explore the truth of it all, as the player you decide what their relationship will become depending on how you act.
Tell Me Why comes from Dontnod, the studio that created the Life is Strange series that explored high school students coming of age. This is similar in how it plays, with you controlling one of the two characters at a time, moving through the environments and choosing what to look at, who to talk to, and how to respond.
In addition to unabashedly including a transgender character, Dontnod’s development process was distinguishable in how people from represented populations were consulted, including GLAAD and members of the Tlingit Indigenous culture that is also part of the fabric of the game.
The story is told with great respect and sensitivity to the point that Tyler’s deadname, or birth name, is not used anywhere in the game. And to make sure that everyone can be comfortable playing, the developers have published answers to questions that, while spoiling aspects of the game, may be important to know. Whether Tyler is ever misgendered, for example.
Tell Me Why is a serial for Windows and Xbox One. The first chapter is available now, chapter two releases on September 3, with chapter coming on September 10.