The Plagiarizer

IGN recently fired an editor that covered Nintendo platforms and software, Filip Miucin, when it was discovered that he had plagiarized a review for Dead Cells from another video review.

This situation was awful enough, but IGN’s managers did a good job of resolving it quickly, and I thought it could be an opportunity for the journalist who plagiarized to grow and learn a valuable lesson. That isn’t at all what happened, he posted a video apology to YouTube and it is just completely insincere garbage that I won’t embed or link to. ResetEra has a transcript.
Portions are excerpted in this retort from another writer that Miucin plagiarized, Chris Scullion:

Fortnite Skipping Google Play to The Detriment of User Security

Epic is skipping Google’s Android app store (the advertising publisher calls it Google Play as if that meant anything) for their upcoming Android version of the free-to-play Fortnite (which is already on iOS and almost every gaming and computing platform.) There’s a beta signup here and the compatibility situation on Android is already a nightmare, check out the list of supported devices. It is extremely specific and the few Android devices I have aren’t supported.

Epic’s Tim Sweeney was pretty straightforward about why they’re avoiding Google’s app store in this interview with Dean Takahashi:

There’s typically a 30/70 split, and from the 70 percent, the developer pays all the costs of developing the game, operating it, marketing it, acquiring users and everything else. For most developers that eats up the majority of their revenue. We’re trying to make our software available to users in as economically efficient a way as possible. That means distributing the software directly to them, taking payment through Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, and other options, and not having a store take 30 percent.

I’m not sure how well this is going to work out for people playing Fortnite. Google’s app store security is awful and routinely distributes software that compromises user privacy and security already, but at least they can moderate that. To get started with Fortnite on Android users are going to have to disable built-in security functionality that disallows third-party apps. Sideloading applications is useful and should be possible on any computer we use, but there are going to be negative consequences for users who don’t fully understand the risks involved.

Parents and tech savvy folks helping their friends and family are going to be busy when they realize their devices are compromised by installing a phony version of Fortnite, or a version that works but steals their credit card data. Try searching your favorite web search engine for the premium currency in the game, “Fortnite Free V-Bucks”, those scammers are oiled up and ready for anyone who falls into their trap.

Julia Alexander investigated the versions of these “V-Buck” scams that run on YouTube:

Since Fortnite’s meteoric rise, there have been multiple YouTube videos running as ads that pitch Fortnite players easy ways to get free V-Bucks. (V-Bucks are Fortnite’s premium in-game currency, which lets them purchase limited-edition skins, gear and weapons.) Search “free V-Bucks” in YouTube’s search bar, and more than 4.3 million results will populate.

Epic Sues 14 Year Old Fortnite Cheater

Sarah Jeong has an article up about Epic suing a 14 year old cheater in their free-to-play game Fortnite.

It’s absolutely twisted that a business can sue anyone for cheating in a video game. It’s slightly more understandable to get litigious with people making and selling cheats, but then Epic should really just strengthen their anti-cheating software and review system.

Epic should alter Fortnite to give players tools to understand cheating and report it when it happens. Of course they’d need to hire people to review reports. Maybe they’re doing that as well, we don’t know, but suing people for cheating in an online multiplayer game is boneheaded.

Jeong also talks about Epic using YouTube’s copyright infringement reporting tool to take down the cheater’s videos. That shouldn’t be possible. It’s absolutely a broken system that developers and publishers can make videos disappear via copyright notices just because they don’t like the content of the video. If YouTube doesn’t want videos about game cheating on their site then video game cheating should be in their stated policies.

That C64 Mini

The c64 mini

The miniaturizing nostalgia shrink ray is sprayed at everything now: Cars; entertainment systems both super and conventional Nintendo; iPads; arcade cabinets… There’s also now a The C64 Mini, not a Commodore 64 Mini or Classic Edition, but strictly The C64 Mini. Apparently they couldn’t get the name Commodore 64.

This miniature device that definitely isn’t a Commodore 64 also isn’t out yet in the U.S., but it is out almost everywhere else and I wouldn’t trust an American to review it, so here is Dr. Ashens’ review:

It sounds like this The C64 Mini isn’t going to be beloved like the original unless the firmware is updated in some fundamental way and they also recall and replace every joystick. Still, it is fun to hear someone who is familiar with all of the 64 games it ships with go over each one.

Alec Meer’s review at RPS rakes the makers of this device over the coals about the non-functional keyboard a bit more than Ashens did:

There are two things a miniaturised version of gaming-centric 80s home computer the Commodore 64 needs to do above all else: 1) have a working keyboard 2) have a really good joystick.

Uh-oh.

Meet Brazil’s Gaming Scene With Cloth Map

Drew met Brazil’s game players, developers, and the people who sell them.

Cloth Map’s Drew Scanlon tours the world with a video gaming bent. He’s been to a Ukrainian nuclear missile base, Chernobyl and Eurovision, and now, Brazil.

Touring Brazil’s graymarket game stores:

Meeting the people who play games:

As well as people who make them:

Cloth Map is viewer supported and if you’d like to kick in a few bucks you can check out the Cloth Map Patreon here.

New Video Sheds Light on Last Year’s “Alt-Right” Neo-Nazi Unite the Right Garbage

Shaun, a Patreon-backed video producer, has made this video that re-examines last year’s absolutely horrible “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville Virgina, with some new perspective gained after the postmortem analysis by an independent law firm hired by the city and reports from journalists.

The video is almost hour long, and is difficult to watch, but it is well worth your time if you’re not familiar with the most extreme examples of racist bullshit in the US.

YouTube Suggested Conspiracy Videos to Children

Let me check one thing, I’ve forgotten since the last time, should we let algorithms written by an advertising publisher decide what is OK or not for kids to watch? James Cook:

Search for “UFO” on YouTube Kids and you’ll mostly find videos of toys that are clearly fine for children to watch. But one of the top videos claimed to show a UFO shooting at a chemtrail, and we found several videos by prominent conspiracy theorist David Icke in the suggested videos. YouTube removed the videos from YouTube Kids after we contacted it about the issue.

One suggested video was an hours-long lecture by Icke in which he claims that aliens built the pyramids, that the planet is run by reptile-human hybrids, that Freemasons engage in human sacrifice, that the assassination of President Kennedy was planned by the US government, and that humans would evolve in 2012.

Ah, that would be a “no” on the algorithms by an advertising publisher then. I’ve never had more love for the PBS Kids apps and video programming.

Don’t Let Children Watch “YouTube Kids”

James Bridle has a terrifying and important article, it’s pretty long but the most important point is that people and businesses are systematically generating new videos for YouTube that appear to be tame pirated copies of shows like Peppa Pig but after a few minutes they change to be really awful and the YouTube app and site for kids don’t filter these out:

A step beyond the simply pirated Peppa Pig videos mentioned previously are the knock-offs. These too seem to teem with violence. In the official Peppa Pig videos, Peppa does indeed go to the dentist, and the episode in which she does so seems to be popular?—?although, confusingly, what appears to be the real episode is only available on an unofficial channel. In the official timeline, Peppa is appropriately reassured by a kindly dentist. In the version above, she is basically tortured, before turning into a series of Iron Man robots and performing the Learn Colours dance. A search for “peppa pig dentist” returns the above video on the front page, and it only gets worse from here

The reason why this crap skates by is because YouTube (and Google, and other companies) refuse to take responsibility for moderating what they host. Instead of hiring more people to moderate these things, the moderation is offloaded to algorithms and viewers.

Even if you only start a video on an official channel, auto play and the recommendations next to and after the video may take a viewer to another one.

tl;dr: Don’t let your kids watch YouTube. If you don’t have kids, please let your friends who do know about this problem.

 

Surprise! PewDiePie is Still Racist

I’m not going to embed the video, here’s a link to it if you must see it, but Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg once again confirmed his status as a belligerent racist by calling someone the N-word. This guy has about 57 million subscribers on YouTube, he does this again and again, it should not be a surprise to anyone.

I believe everyone should get a chance to apologize for almost anything and legitimately change as a person, but when you’ve had multiple opportunities and the best you can muster is the half-hearted “This isn’t my fault, it’s the fault of anyone offended, the people who reported it, and by the way fuck you” that he gave last time, well it’s time to give up on that person.

It’s a shame that companies like Google continue to give Felix Kjellberg a platform, I feel bad for children who are still exposed to his casual racism when their parents don’t know what he stands for.