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Game Journalism Pioneer Joyce Worley Passes Away

Joyce Worley-Katz, one of three founders of the Electronic Games magazine, passed away yesterday after battling a series of health problems following a stroke in May. Worley, along with her husband Arnie Katz and coworker Bill Kunkel, were three of gaming journalism's pioneers.

In 1981, the group formed the first dedicated video game magazine, Electronic Games, which opened the door to a new frontier of entertainment journalism. Its influence on gaming media today is undeniable. For example, terms that we use regularly today, such as "shoot-em-up," were born from the pages of the magazine, and it was one of the first publications to build a structure specifically for reporting and reviewing games.

In 1985, the magazine came to an end, and the three continued in the games industry as consultants, as well as contributed to publications such as Video Games & Computer Entertainment. In 1992, Worley and the team revived Electronic Games for a few years until its repeated fold.

Game Informer extends its condolences to Worley's family and her husband Arnie during this tough period. If you'd like to look back at several Electronic Games issues, you can browse them online at the Digital Press Library.

[Source: File 770] – The Feed

Pokémon Go Update Removes ‘Nearby’ Tracking With Footprints, PokéVision Becomes Unavailable

An update (version 0.31.0 on Android, 1.1.0 on iOS) for Pokémon Go released last night, bringing a host of improvements, while also adding some new problems. The three-step glitch that many players noted has been fixed by removing footprints entirely. Unfortunately, that now means finding Pokémon is even more based on luck than actual tracking. This, in turn, has shut down the third-party app PokéVision, which helped users track Pokémon on a map in real-time.

New achievement medals have also been added, and you'll now be able to re-customize your trainer's look on the profile screen, including changing gender along with a swap of clothes. In terms of transferring Pokémon, you can now do so immediately after catching one, but you are still limited to one transfer at a time. New prompts have been added to the game as well, such as warning users to be aware of their surroundings and to not play the game behind the wheel. This is likely due to the traffic accidents and other unfortunate news stories that have resulted from the game.

Check out Niantic's full patch notes below:

  • Avatars can now be re-customized from the Trainer profile screen
  • Adjusted battle move damage values for some Pokémon
  • Refined certain Gym animations
  • Improved memory issues
  • Removed footprints of nearby Pokémon
  • Modified battle damage calculation
  • Various bug fixes during wild Pokémon encounter
  • Updated Pokémon details screen
  • Updated achievement medal images
  • Fixed issues with displaying certain map features
  • Minor text fixes

PokéVision, a third-party tracking tool for Pokémon Go, has become unavailable since this latest update. This is likely because of Niantic's removal of tracking Pokémon altogether, but it sounds like the team has been cracking down on these third-party tools. PokeHound, another tracking application for the game, has also become unavailable, with its website stating "We tried our best" and its Twitter account deleted. Allegedly, Niantic sent an email to these third-party trackers, listing its terms of service. 

For more on Pokémon Go, check out the reveal of the team leaders' appearances, along with editor Brian Shea's feature on how the game was a smash hit at San Diego Comic-Con.


Our Take
There's some decent improvements in this list, but it's both frustrating and disappointing to see the footstep tracker system removed. Niantic had a really neat function that needed some refinements, rather than a complete removal. I hope it's a temporary omission, but it's unclear whether the team wishes to reinstate the function at a later date. As for PokéVision, its team hasn't said they've shut it down indefinitely, but I'd guess that will likely the case. – The Feed

Reminder: Today’s The Final Day To Grab Two Xbox Live Games With Gold

Today marks the end of the month, meaning that it's the last day to grab two of July's Xbox Live Games With Gold titles, namely The Banner Saga 2 and Tron Evolution.

The Banner Saga 2 is available on Xbox One, while Tron Evolution is up for grabs on Xbox 360. You still have until August 15 to pick up Tumblestone on Xbox One.

You can look back at our previous coverage to see all the games that were in rotation this past month. August's Games With Gold include titles such as Beyond Good and Evil HD and WWE 2k16. View the full line-up here – The Feed

Game Journalism Pioneer Joyce Worley Passes Away

Joyce Worley-Katz, one of three founders of the Electronic Games magazine, passed away yesterday after battling a series of health problems following a stroke in May. Worley, along with her husband Arnie Katz and coworker Bill Kunkel, were three of gaming journalism's pioneers.

In 1981, the group formed the first dedicated video game magazine, Electronic Games, which opened the door to a new frontier of entertainment journalism. Its influence on gaming media today is undeniable. For example, terms that we use regularly today, such as "shoot-em-up," were born from the pages of the magazine, and it was one of the first publications to build a structure specifically for reporting and reviewing games.

In 1985, the magazine came to an end, and the three continued in the games industry as consultants, as well as contributed to publications such as Video Games & Computer Entertainment. In 1992, Worley and the team revived Electronic Games for a few years until its repeated fold.

Game Informer extends its condolences to Worley's family and her husband Arnie during this tough period. If you'd like to look back at several Electronic Games issues, you can browse them online at the Digital Press Library.

[Source: File 770] – The Feed

User Accounts Associated With Disney’s Playdom Forums At Risk After Breach

Disney Interactive released a notice yesterday, warning users that a security breach has affected the official Playdom Forums ( website. While no credit cards or other sensitive information were obtained by the unauthorized party, several account usernames, passwords, and emails have been compromised.

Playdom Forums is a community website specifically for mid-core mobile games such as Star Wars Commander. As of July 12, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media detected the breach and immediately launched an investigation, reporting the incident to law enforcement. Approximately 391,000 accounts were affected, and if you are a user of the site, it is strongly recommended that you change your password and email associated with your account. Outside of account information, IP addresses that were used during account registration were also collected by the hacker. No other affiliated Disney sites have been affected by the breach. You can still access the Marvel Avengers Alliance and and Star Wars Commander forums safely.

You can contact Disney Interactive for support at [email protected] Read Disney's notice about the incident here.

Disney bought Playdom back in 2010. For more on hacks and attacks in games, check out editor Andrew Reiner's piece. Sony only just recently sent out compensation codes this year to affected users of the 2011 PSN hack.


Our Take
Breaches like these are always unfortunate to hear about. If you're a member of Playdom's forums, I'd suggest changing your account information immediately. If you use that same password elsewhere, it's probably best to change it there as well. – The Feed

The Most Bizarre Pokémon Go Stories We’ve Heard Thus Far

There's no doubt about it: Pokémon Go has become a cultural phenomenon, and it's rapidly engrossing players worldwide. Because of its immense popularity and its ability to mesh into real life on such a wide scope, several surreal news stories have popped up, from armed robbers luring unsuspecting players to a PokéStop to a woman finding a dead body whilst playing. Here are the craziest stories surrounding Pokémon Go that have caught our attention so far.

Pokémon Go Player Crashes Into Cop Car
It should go without saying that driving and playing Pokémon Go is a disastrous combination, but this logic didn't hit home with everyone. A man from Baltimore was zooming down the street in his car and accidentally crashed into a parked cop car. Apparently, it was because he was too busy staring down at the game on his phone, which he admitted quickly to the cops standing nearby. Unfortunately for him, it was also all caught on camera.

Woman Gets Stuck In Tree While Searching For Pokémon In Cemetery
A woman from New Jersey was reportedly playing Pokémon Go in a cemetery, and somehow ended up stuck in a tree there. Unable to get back down, she had to phone 911 to come and rescue her. Let's just hope she caught whatever Pokémon was hiding up there. Totally worth it, right?

Two Guys Fall Off A Cliff While Playing
Pokémon Go can be incredibly engrossing, especially for two guys from Encinitas, California. The two were so distracted while playing the game that they fell off a cliff of between 75 to 100 feet. Both of them received injuries from their rough falls.

Editor Brian Shea Falls Down A Hill In Attempt To Catch Magikarp
The two guys above aren't alone in their misfortune. Our editor Brian Shea took a tumble when he was out looking for Pokémon as well. Unbeknownst to him, he was heading for a hill but his eyes were glued to his phone screen. As he attempted to capture a Magikarp (and, according to him he succeeded), he took a hard fall downward.

Man Mistakes Teens For Burglars And Shoots At Them
A man from Florida was awakened in his home following a large noise, and grabbed his handgun to go outside and investigate. He found a couple of teenagers sitting in a car outside his house in the middle of the night, and suspected they were scoping out the area to find a home to rob. He approached the front of the vehicle and pointed his handgun at them, demanding that they don't move a muscle. The two sped off in response, and he shot at the car as they did so. Luckily, no one was injured.

Teens Get Stuck 100 Feet Underground In Caves
A group of teenagers made the dubious decision to enter some mines in search of Pokémon in Wiltshire, England, BBC reports. The underground journey went sour when the four boys realized they were trapped inside. They called for help when one of them "miraculously" found a cell phone signal. If it was this difficult to find a signal, I'd bet they didn't catch a whole lot.

Missouri Armed Robbers Lure Victims To PokéStop
With new technology comes new problems. A group of four men surrounded a secluded PokéStop in Missouri and added a bunch of lures to it, so that it would attract a handful of players in the dead of night. What these unsuspecting victims didn't realize was that they would be ambushed by these men and robbed at gunpoint. Fortunately, the perpetrators have been apprehended and charged since the string of incidents.

Woman Finds A Dead Body Instead Of A Pokémon
Shayla Wiggins, a 19-year-old girl from Wyoming, just wanted to expand her collection of water Pokémon. Instead, she made a grisly discovery. As she approached a river near her home, she discovered the corpse of a man that was drifting in the water.

Saudi Arabia Instates Pokémon Go Ban
While Pokémon Go isn't officially available in Saudi Arabia, it hasn't stopped hoards of people downloading the game illegally. In response to the global Pokémon frenzy, the Middle Eastern country's clerics reintroduced a 2001 religious edict, known as a fatwa. The edict was expanded to prohibit Pokémon Go throughout the region, in belief that it promotes polytheism and evolution.

Tons Of Pokémon Appear At Holocaust Museum
PokéStops are often associated with landmarks and points of interest. Unfortunately, these don't always turn out to be the best places to pull out your phone and catch a Snorlax. The Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., for example, encountered the problem of several visitors playing the game instead of paying their respects. The museum has asked attendees not to play while visiting, and reached out to Niantic so that it could be removed from the game. – The Feed

HBO Confirms That Game Of Thrones Will End After Its Eighth Season

HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys confirmed at the Television Critics Association's press tour today in Beverly Hills that Game of Thrones will wrap up after its eighth season. 

While many suspected this was the case, this is the first official confirmation that Game of Thrones will complete at that point in time. The two final seasons will also be shortened in comparison to prior seasons: Season 7 has a planned seven episodes, and Season 8 will have six. Bloys said that the idea of a Game of Thrones spin-off has been discussed by the team, and that he's open to it, but "there's no concrete plans."

Game of Thrones return with Season 7, which has been delayed to Summer 2017 because of weather concerns for filming. 

For more related to Game of Thrones, find out how the show's actor Kit Harington will star in the upcoming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

[Source: Variety] – The Feed

The Voices Of SpongeBob And Patrick Explore The Series’ Success

As one of the most enduring programs on television today, SpongeBob Squarepants transcended simply being a popular show long ago. As a veritable cultural mainstay, the award-winning show has not only spawned over 200 episodes during its 17 years on-air, but also two theatrical films (with a third said to be in development) and tens of video games.

This feature was originally published July 29, 2016.

While clever writing and undeniable charm have paved the way for the show's success and longevity, the core of the series' appeal are the two main characters, SpongeBob and Patrick, voiced by Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke respectively. I sat down with the two stars of SpongeBob Squarepants to find out exactly why the series has been so successful and what they go through to create and maintain such beloved characters.

SpongeBob and Patrick
are two iconic, beloved characters. When you first got these roles,
was there any indication that these were not only going to be around for a long
time, but would also have such a cultural impact?

Bill Fagerbakke: No! [Laughs] It's such a crapshoot! So many
things have to break the right way and by some magical serendipity, I think
[program creator] Stephen Hillenburg got to develop this in a really organic,
natural way. It wasn't super pressurized. We didn't have the corporate
overlords going "We want 60 episodes by March," like some places will do. They
just let it happen naturally.

Tom Kenny: I know we loved it from the beginning and thought
it was really funny and really different, but in terms of what that would mean
in terms of longevity or legs or whatever, that kind of stuff is stuff that's
beyond human…

BF: It's out of our purview.

TK: Out of everyone's purview, really. No one really ever
knows what's going on in show business. Everyone's an idiot. [Laughs]

What do you think it
is about these two characters and SpongeBob
as a whole that separates it from your other roles that have
either been shorter or maybe were one-off things?

TK: You know, SpongeBob took hold in a really strong,
unusually intense way. There are very few things that have that kind of a
footprint in the world for that long in terms of animated kids' properties. I
think it's just that the characters' are very archetypal. You know, SpongeBob,
the hard-working naïve, sweet guy, Patrick, the id friend that's not real smart
but he's loyal to the end, and he and SpongeBob have this friendship…
Squidward, the crankiest neighbor ever that has all these secret wishes and
desires to be able to play the clarinet well and be able to dance really good, and
Mr. Krabs who's just this avaricious, bottom-line, money-grubbing guy.

BF: I think what SpongeBob offered immediately was
entertainment that was really sweet, but also really funny. That's not easy to
do. You can be really caustic and over-the-top pursuing humor, but there's a
sweetness to the characters and a genuineness to the characters.

TK: Yeah, like Carebears ain't funny! [Laughs] You know what
I mean? It's sweet, but nobody's ever laughed at it! Then there's other stuff
that's more nihilistic or whatever where you go, "Wow, that's really funny, but
it's kind of mean and I almost feel bad laughing at it" or it's kind of the
comedy of cruelty and embarrassment and uncomfortableness. Obviously a lot of
stuff that I enjoy has those elements in it, but SpongeBob, like Bill said, it
had this naivety and sweetness, but it also had an energy and a knockabout
comedy and a silliness and a surrealism. Just the way that Steve Hillenburg
mixed those elements together really struck a nerve that not he or anybody could have
predicted. He was just doing a cartoon that maybe he would enjoy
watching or he would like to see and it really comes from his sensibility and
his sense of humor, and it looks like a lot of people shared his sensibility or
were waiting for something like that and still dig it.

You're the
voices of these characters and that's a huge part of how the audience sees them. How much
creative input do you guys have in the way these characters are portrayed or

TK: The writers are obviously really great and work super
hard. It's a storyboard-driven show so most of the scripts start out with a
paragraph or two of idea and story that's by one or two writers, then it gets
roundtabled to a bigger group that adds stuff to it, then a storyboard team
takes that and draws its in panel-by-panel form, and those guys are allowed to
bring their own spin to it. By the time we record it, they're very nice about
letting us bring our own spin to things.

BF: We're able to – which is unusual for animation – we're
so intrinsic to the D.N.A. of the characters…we're able to contribute a little
bit. They even give us a free pass to ad-lib, which is also fun. That becomes
like a challenge. You don't want to have a stupid ad-lib; you want to have the
ad-lib be really good.

TK: Yeah, it's gotta be something that could be useful,
otherwise you just wasted everybody's time. "Here's something that will never
make it into the show and never work!"

BF: You can make everyone in the room laugh, but it won't be
good! [Laughs]

TK: Yeah, you don't want to do that too often! [Laughs]

BF: You want it to be really germane and funny.

TK: Germane. That's a great word!

BF: [In Patrick voice] Heh heh, thanks!

TK: See? That's Mensa Patrick right there. That's smart
Patrick. [Laughs] They're very generous and I feel very proud that I bring some
kind of special sauce to things and that everybody up and down the line does.

BF: And you're really good, Tom, about saying "This feels
wrong for SpongeBob." You're really good about that. And there's a lot of trust
on the team. I mean, Tom is now our sessions director, and that took a lot of
trust for them. It's wonderful. It's so unusual.

TK: It's been fun. And obviously these guys don't need a
whole ton of direction.

BF: It's not a vanity thing by you either. It's a natural
kind of evolution in production.

TK: It's fun to do and it's fun to wear that different hat
these days. The great thing about the SpongeBob experience for us is that it
keeps kind of changing and morphing. I think it's a little different from
people I know who are on The Simpsons
and stuff where they literally phone it in these days. You know, just call in
from your house in Malibu and do your lines over the phone. [Laughs] Good, I
guess? But I don't know. We're having a blast. We're having a lot of fun, and
the new episodes are really fun and seem to have a real nice energy and
weirdness and psychotic-ness infusion. It's a blast.

Over the course of
the series, we've seen episodes where the characters in the show stretch some
of the rules of their traits. How fun are those episodes to act?

TK: Really fun!

BF: So much fun!

TK: Yeah, where Patrick gets to be the smart boss giving the
advice. Patrick gets to be the voice of reason. A lot of that is writers going, "We've done so many scripts!" They're just moving the pieces around on the
board and going, "How about put this here? We've never done that before!"
[Laughs] It's like a Chuck Berry song; you've got four chords, how many variations
on that can we come up with? That is the great thing about cartoon characters: You can play a bit fast and loose with it. It's not like a super logic-driven
show or superheroes where, "Oh, it's canon that he knows how to do this because
he learned it from this guy!"

BF: "Read your story bible!" [Laughs] The work done by the
writers and the storyboard artists is just herculean. Like H.G. Wells in The Time Machine when he goes into the
future, all the labor is done by the Morlocks that live underground. Writers
and storyboard artists are like our Morlocks. Like, the hours and creativity
and the sweat that all happens before we walk into the room…

TK: You know, the sausage making process…all that sausage
that has to get made before the recording process…I don't know that I would
have the intestinal fortitude to see it through. [Laughs] A lot of seasons, a
lot episodes, a lot of hands, a lot of eyeballs, a lot of suits, a lot of
notes. So it's definitely – I won't say a minefield – a racecourse that these
guys are driving because there's always the clock ticking and these guys are
always in some great race where they're doing a million things and have to be good at

BF: And only a couple guys show up to the sessions, so we
hardly see people. We're enclosed in our own little bubble.

TK: Mostly writers and storyboard directors come in for our

BF: Those are the only ones that we see. A lot of times
we'll come in and they're wiped out. They're fried.

TK: It's a lot of work for those guys. We respect them so
much. You get that storyboard and it's funny and different and crazy. I love
looking at the storyboards because something that wouldn't read really funny
one way or another if you saw it as a script in words, when you look at it in
those super extreme drawings like when they go over-the-top crimes against the
eyeballs like Big Daddy Roth like Ren & Stimpy extreme drawings, you go
"Oh! Okay!" If I saw it described, I wouldn't know if it's going to be funny,
but as soon as I see the picture I'm like "Great! Awesome! Home run!"

Would you be able to give a brief rundown of how you came to the voices of SpongeBob and Patrick?

TK: Steve Hillenburg had these characters laid out, had
personality profiles and drawings of the characters and who they were, what
they thought like, and what was important to them, so that was really where it
kind of all came from. Then you make the voice that those descriptions and that
picture suggest to you. He found voices that encapsulated what he was hearing
in his head.

BF: What was great about the casting process what that he
cast Tom early.

TK: SpongeBob was first.

BF: So when everyone else was being cast, he'd bring in his
adorable little cassette deck player and he would play SpongeBob. He'd say
"Patrick is this guy's friend" and he'd play Tom doing this ridiculous voice.

TK: He was always tonally aware of how the voices would
stack up against each other. He definitely casted it like it was an orchestra
or a band. There were certain tones he was looking for with SpongeBob being the
first thing that he was stacking everybody against.

BF: I've never auditioned before when I got to hear one of
the other characters.

TK: No. "Where he's going might impact your
performance." Usually you're not privy
to that, but I think Steve thought that was important information for people to
have. Like the guy auditioning for Bullwinkle should know what Rocky the flying
squirrel sounds like so he knows where to go with it. And Steve, once he made
his decisions, he was very decisive. He said as soon as he heard Clancy Brown,
he said he didn't need to hear any more Mr. Krabs. As soon as he heard
Squidward, it wasn't like, "Oh, I also kind of like this guy…" He said that as
soon as he heard the people he picked, he was done. His clarity of purpose and
idea really was what made SpongeBob
what it was from the beginning and still is. 


All images provided by Nickelodeon. – The Feed

Early Access To World Of Warcraft: Legion’s Demon Hunter Class Begins August 9

Early access for the Demon Hunter class in World of Warcraft: Legion begins in just a little more than a week.

Yesterday, Blizzard revealed this news on Twitter, where it said the class would arrive by August 9. This early access offer is exclusive to those that pre-purchase Legion before its release. Those who pre-purchase the expansion will also be able to boost one character up to level 100.

You can pre-order the $ 49.99 standard expansion, or the deluxe for $ 69.99, by heading here. Earlier this month, Blizzard released a pre-expansion patch. You can watch our Test Chamber about what was added here. World of Warcraft: Legion will be out on August 30.

[Source: Twitter] – The Feed

Overwatch Map Glitch Allows You To Explore Next Level In Nepal

Thanks to a glitch, two Overwatch players have uncovered a way that allows you to jump to Nepal's next level, which is fully loaded in the far distance on another section.

In the video below, the players use two Mercys to methodically drift outside of the map's normal boundaries, to land on an entirely other area. The section explored below is usually only playable during a later round, but now you can immediately check it out at your leisure. While glitching your way to the next section requires some tricky maneuvering, it's a fun glitch that might not be around for much longer, as Blizzard may fix it with an upcoming patch.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

When using this glitch, there are certain functions of the game that don't work. For example, you can't capture points there. However, you can still switch between heroes at starting bases. Health packs can also be found around the map as they normally would.

For more on Overwatch, read our review, and find out about the new hero Ana plays by watching our Test Chamber.

[Source: YouTube via Reddit] – The Feed