Weekly Summary — Game Boy’s 30th Anniversay; 3 freebies; 2 game updates; 1 community update; 5 upcoming events; 1 news about GitHub; 1 news about Samsung.

Short summaries of gaming-related and tech-related news.

Yesterday — April 21, 2019, Sunday — was the 30th anniversary of the Game Boy’s release in Japan.

Despite being technically inferior to its fourth-generation competitors (Sega’s Game Gear, Atari’s Lynx, and NEC’s TurboExpress), the Game Boy received praise for its battery life and durability in its construction. It quickly outsold the competition, selling one million units in the United States within a few weeks. The Game Boy and its successor, the Game Boy Color, have sold an estimated 118 million units worldwide. It is one of the most recognizable devices from the 1980s, becoming a cultural icon in the years following its release. (source)

In 1995, Nintendo of America announced that 46% of Game Boy players were female, which was higher than the percentage of female players for both the Nintendo Entertainment System (29%) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (14%). In 2009, the Game Boy was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, 20 years after its introduction. As of June 6, 2011, Game Boy and Game Boy Color games are available on the Virtual Console service on the Nintendo 3DS’s Nintendo eShop. (source)

It may not have been the first handheld gaming device (that would be the Game & Watch). It may not have been the best (Sega’s Game Gear, Atari’s Lynx, and NEC’s TurboExpress had better specs). But it was a significant part of a lot of our childhoods.

“Transistor” is now free from the Epic Games store, until May 2, 2019.

Transistor” is the award-winning sci-fi themed action RPG by Supergiant Games (@SupergiantGames), the creators of “Hades”, “Bastion”, and “Pyre”.

“Transistor” was originally released in May 2014 for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4, and for OS X and Linux in October 2014, and iOS devices in June 2015. “Transistor” sold over one million copies across all platforms by December 2015. Aside from its awards, “Transistor” was also well-received.

You will need to download and install the Epic Games Launcher and create an Epic Games account, if you haven’t done that already. (If you are a videogame developer who uses the Unreal Engine, this is the same launcher where you get the updates.) Once downloaded, the game will be linked with your Epic Games account.

Ubisoft is giving away free copies of “Assassin’s Creed Unity” for PC, until April 25, 2019, at 12:00 am (your local time).

“Assassin’s Creed Unity” may not have been the best of the “Assassin’s Creed” series, with its launch riddled with bugs and problems. But it’s free, for now. Once you sign up, the game will be linked to your UPlay account.

Ubisoft’s reason for doing this: “In light of the devastating fire at the Notre Dame de Paris, Ubisoft wants to give all gamers the chance to experience the majesty and beauty of the cathedral through Assassin’s Creed Unity on PC.

If you are playing “Final Fantasy XIV”, here is some news for you:

  1. If you are in North America, and you’re wondering why you cannot log in to “FFXIV”, here’s why: Square-Enix is performing maintenance on all “Worlds” (a.k.a. servers) at Apr. 22, 2019 6:00 p.m. to Apr. 23, 2019 3:00 a.m. (PDT) (completion time is subject to change), during which FINAL FANTASY XIV will be unavailable. This is to accomodate their North American data center expansion as well as to accompany Patch 4.57.
    This data center expansion, and its accompanying moving of “Worlds”, had been planned for some time now, since their servers had sometimes become overloaded to the point that players can’t log in because the servers were too full. Hopefully, this will alleviate it.
  2. “FFXIV” has a “collaboration event” with “Final Fantasy XV”, called “A Nocturne for Heroes — 2019”. This event lasts until Monday, May 27, 2019. In order to participate, your character needs to be at least level 50 to access the quest.
  3. For all you Mac players out there: Square Enix support for the Mac 32-bit version of “Final Fantasy XIV” will end with the start of early access for “Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers”, currently scheduled for late-June 2019. Square Enix is scheduled to switch to the 64-bit version of FINAL FANTASY XIV for Mac on June 6, 2019. “Final Fantasy XIV” may still be accessible through the 32-bit application even after support has ended, and Square Enix may respond to requests for technical support for the 32-bit application, but such accessibility and support may be limited and is not guaranteed.

“Kingdom Hearts III” will have an update called “Critical Mode”, which players can download for free starting on April 23, 2019.

“Critical Mode” is an increased game difficulty that players have been asking for some time now. This announcement was made by Mr. Tetsuya Nomura through Kingdom Hearts’s official twitter account (@KINGDOMHEARTS).

Tetsuya Nomura announces “Critical Mode” for Kingdom Hearts III through the official Kingdom Hearts twitter account.

If you already have a Twitch Prime account, you are eligible to get 12 months free of Nintendo Switch Online.

Nintendo Switch Online is Nintendo’s subscription-based online service for Switch games. It works with an accompanying mobile app, where players will be able to access and interact with a number of exclusive features.

Nintendo Switch Online is (mostly) required for online multiplayer. Before Switch Online launched, Nintendo offered free online multiplayer for games like Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8. Now you have to have a subscription to utilize the online features of first-party Nintendo games and most third-party games.

Employees Call On Microsoft To Protect GitHub From China Censors

The GitHub repository at “996.ICU” in China has been calling out tech companies in the country that pressure their employees to work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days per week. “Since it went up last month, the page has been starred over 229,000 times, making it one of the most popular GitHub repositories on the site,” reports PC Magazine. “But now a group of Microsoft employees are worried the Chinese government will force their employer to take the page down. So in response, they’ve been circulating an internal letter, urging Microsoft to stand up to any potential pressure to censor the GitHub page.”

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold Smartphone Release Delayed

Samsung Electronics is delaying the expected Friday rollout of its Galaxy Fold smartphone until at least next month, WSJ reported Monday citing people familiar with the matter, the latest fallout from a product headache that began with tech reviewers reporting their test devices had malfunctioned. From the report:
The Galaxy Fold phone — priced at nearly $2,000 and the industry’s first mainstream foldable-screen device — was slated to hit shelves this week in the U.S. But problems with phones being used by reviewers have changed those plans, the people said. The new rollout is expected in the coming weeks, though a firm date has yet to be determined, they said. Though the company’s internal investigation remains ongoing, the Galaxy Fold phone’s reported issues stem from problems affecting the handset’s hinge and extra pressure applied to the internal screen, the people said. A Samsung spokeswoman didn’t have immediate comment. The company had previously said it would adhere to its plans for the Galaxy Fold phones to hit shelves on April 26 in the U.S.

The delayed launch came hours after Samsung abruptly scrapped prerelease media events planned for Hong Kong on Tuesday and Shanghai on Wednesday.

The Bay Area Live meetup group (@BayAreaLiveTV) has become the OFFICIAL MEETUP for Twitch in San Francisco and the Bay Area, on April 21, 2019 Sunday!

Bay Area Live is a meetup for livestreamers who stream either games or artwork or miscellanous things to Twitch or Youtube Live. They have recently celebrated its 3rd anniversary, and they have come a long way. Congratulations to them!

The Queer Game Developers Meetup (@queergdm) will have another event at Noisebridge on April 25, 2019, Thursday. If you are interested in going, here is more info: https://www.meetup.com/noisebridge/events/hcdxsqyzgbhc/

You don’t need to be LGBTQIA+ (allies welcome!), you don’t need to be a videogame developer. You can just be someone who wants to make friends in a chill environment.

Speaking of Noisebridge Hackerspace (@noisebridge) and games, Noisebridge will host Ludum Dare 44. More info here: https://www.meetup.com/noisebridge/events/260441585/

Aside from that, Noisebridge Hackerspace (@noisebridge) will have a fundraising gala on April 27, 2019, Saturday, from 7:00 pm until midnight. More info here: https://www.meetup.com/noisebridge/events/258504896/

Fanime (@FanimeCon) — an annual four-day anime convention, and one of the largest fan-run anime conventions in the U.S. — will happen on Memorial Day weekend, Fri, May 24, 2019 to Mon, May 27, 2019.

Charities that FanimeCon supported in 2011 included the American Red Cross of Silicon Valley, APA Family Support Services of San Francisco, Cancer Support Community, and Japanese Red Cross Society.

The convention in 2004 brought US$5 million to the local economy, growing to an estimated US$8.7 million in 2013, and US$10.5 million in 2014.

This year, Fanime is trying out to have a section for indie videogame developers to showcase their work! I’ll post more details as they arrive.

Well, that’s a wrap for now. I’m trying out this new format. What do you think? Which of these mini-news segments is your favorite, and why? Do you find these useful? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks in advance! ^_^

Game Boy Color

Silicon Valley Global News SVGN.io

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Bernice Anne W. Chua, writing for SVGN.io

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I am a software developer, indie videogame developer, & IoT/Robotics/AI enthusiast. More info here: BerniceChua.com

Silicon Valley Global News SVGN.io

Silicon Valley Global News: Stories, Research, Advanced Concepts RE: Virtual Reality, AR, WebXR, AI Semantic Segmentation on 3D volumetric data, Medical Imaging, Neuroscience, Brain Machine Interfaces, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Drones, Light Field Video, Homomorphic Encryption.