April 7th - April 15th Nintendo was this week’s heavy hitter with news with a Nintendo Indie World and a new switch color announced! A new character was also added to the Fortnite roster. New Nintendo Switch Lite Color Option Announced Nintendo announced a new color for the Switch Lite. The color is “blue” and is reminiscent of the original GameCube purple. The Switch Lite is currently available in gray, yellow, turquoise, and coral. This color joins coral as the only two color options announced post-launch. The blue Switch Lite will be releasing on May 21st, the same day as Miitopia launches! The blue Switch Lite will also be priced at the standard $199.99. Nintendo Indie World Showcase Nintendo has an indie showcase yesterday! The show was reasonably steady with exciting announcements, ending the show with Oxenfree 2. See the list below for a full list of everything announced: Road 96 Never Yield Last Stop OlliOlli World The Longing There Is No Game [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xw8BhXyc2aQ[/embed] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge CrisTales GetsFumaDen: Undying Moon Aztech: Forgotten Gods Skul: The Hero Slayer [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K1mDwQ-zr4[/embed] Art of Rally KeyWe Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective Weaving Tides The House of the Dead: Remake Ender Lillies: Quietus of the Knights Beast of Maravilla Island Fez Oxenfree 2: Lost Signals [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3-C5cjEoLg&t=2s[/embed] Aloy (Horizon Zero Dawn) Coming to Fortnite Aloy, the main character in Guerrilla Games’ 2017 open-world masterpiece, is coming to Fortnite! Aloy will be available on April 15th in the item shop. Aloy is not the first character from another franchise to join Fortnite, with Master Chief, Kratos, Lara Croft, and Ellen Ripley already available in the game. Fortnite’s current theme this season also puts primal elements, such as dinosaurs, into the game making Aloy’s introduction to the battle royale even more apt. April 15th - April 21st This week was FULL of gaming news from every side of the industry. New game announcements, cancellations, and departures happened this week. Jeff Kaplan Leaving Blizzard Entertainment Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch director, announced yesterday that he was leaving Blizzard Entertainment. Jeff Kaplan has 19 years of service with Blizzard. His role as director of Overwatch 2 will be filled by Aaron Keller. Keller has been with the company for 18 years and has worked on other titles, like World of Warcraft, as well as being an original member of the Overwatch team. Some fans have expressed nervousness about the change in overhead so far into Overwatch 2’s development. Celeste Developer Reveals Next Game Extremely OK Games, the developers of Celeste showed off a teaser for their new game on Twitter. The game is titled Earthblade. The reveal was said to be a “vibe reveal,” with the game’s title, a song from the soundtrack, and a poster revealed within the tweet. Extremely OK Games was very transparent about the development time for this game, saying “The truth is that we don't know how long it will take, just that it will take as long as it takes (and that it will take a long time),” in their announcement blog post. [embed]https://twitter.com/exok_games/status/1384182598507778052?s=20[/embed] xCloud Beta Comes to iOS and PC This Week Xbox’s Cloud Gaming has officially come to PC and iOS! Select Xbox Gamepass Ultimate subscribers received invites to beta test the service, which will be available via browser at www.xbox.com/play. Beta testers will have more than 100 games to choose from, and compatible Bluetooth and USB controllers will be supported. PlayStation’s Online Stores Will Not Shut Down After the announcement of PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita’s online stores closing many fans expressed frustration at the thought of losing their digital content. PlayStation has reversed its decision to close these platforms with an announcement Monday. Horizon Zero Dawn Free on PS4 and PS5 PlayStation is giving away Horizon Zero Dawn for free from now until May 14th. The download will be the complete edition of the game, meaning the Frozen Wilds expansion and DLC outfits and weapon packs will be included. A PlayStation Plus subscription will not be required to download the game. Amazon Cancels Lord of the Rings Game After Dispute Amazon has stopped production on their Lord of the Rings game following Tencent Holding’s acquisition of Leyou Technologies, the developers of Amazon’s game. The game was first announced two years ago and not many updates on its progress had been given prior to its cancellation.
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I want to preface by saying I have no idea where to begin with this topic. When writing about something as devastating and widespread as the pandemic, it feels like everything has been said already. At the same time, I don’t think I can say enough about it. It’s impossible to write anything about COVID-19 without acknowledging everything we’ve already heard time and time again from world leaders and neighbors alike- the “unprecedented” times, our “new normal”, the whole works. As a huge fashion nerd, the notion of fashion’s ability to adapt is fascinating to me, but applying this to an event that led to so much loss without first acknowledging the gravity of everything that surrounds a pandemic feels wrong, especially with this month marking the one year anniversary of nationwide lockdowns. Though certainly not the most important facet of our year with COVID-19, the way we dress is a key means of defining what life is like during a global health crisis. Somehow, during such a sudden and dramatic change in lifestyle, the fashion world picked up the pace and evolved to accommodate our safety, comfort, and security. That said, let’s take a look back at some of the most influential changes we’ve seen this year in fashion. Masks: There’s no way I can discuss pandemic-wear without bringing up the essential face mask. Although a baby blue surgical mask is often what comes to mind (and is recommended by the CDC), people all over the world have found creative ways to let their masks shine. With everything from custom reusable masks, to face coverings decked out in glitter and rhinestones, masks have become a fashion statement in 2021. A quick search for “face masks'' on Etsy brings up thousands of results with colors and patterns for almost any occasion. Large clothing brands like H&M and Nike have also stepped up their game, introducing face masks to even the most casual clothing shoppers. Even Louis Vuitton offers their own mask, albeit for $355.00. With so many options to choose from, shoppers are provided with a fun addition to their outfits and whether they mean to or not, fashion brands consequently promote public health. These companies' quick shift to embrace the mask “trend” is an essential part of getting the ball rolling when it comes to face coverings, painting something that (somehow) became controversial in the US as a cute, trendy, and completely normal accessory. On top of this, matching a mask with your outfit has never been more in style. First Lady, Jill Biden, caused a stir at the first presidential debate with her floral patterned dress and a mask of the same design to match. To many, her tasteful choice in face-covering was the peak of an otherwise extremely concerning debate. Twitter user, Chloe Thatcher Esq., took to social media to state, “I saw @DrBiden wearing a matching floral face mask and shift dress, so I bought a matching floral face mask and shift dress.” Other public figures have followed in Dr. Biden’s footsteps, with matching masks a clear trend at the 2021 Grammy Awards. Artists including Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Megan Thee Stallion matched designer masks to their elegant award show wear. With so many opportunities to accent an outfit, the fashion world has welcomed the face mask as everyone’s new favorite accessory, despite its sudden introduction into our lives. They’re a necessity after all, so why not have some fun with them? Loungewear: The respect I have for people who actually got dressed during quarantine is immeasurable. Sweatpants were my best friend last spring and apparently, I’m not alone. Loungewear saw a massive rise in popularity during 2020, as we traded in our jeans for something a little more comfortable. Oversized joggers, crewnecks, and pull-on shorts are now a staple in anyone’s closet, with flattering silhouettes catered to make anyone stuck at home feel confident. Clothing brands were quick to embrace the sudden demand for more quarantine-friendly options, expanding their loungewear lines to include a wider variety of designs and colors. These styles mimicked those we’ve grown fond of outside of the house, including high waists, tapered legs, and oversized silhouettes that have quickly gained traction thanks to platforms like TikTok. On top of this, matching sets of loungewear were a massive hit. The mix of a color-coded look and the pajama-like feel of a sweatsuit proved to be the perfect fit for life at home. Plus, having an entire outfit pre-matched doesn’t hurt. Not only did a wide variety of brands begin to carry full loungewear outfits, but loungewear shops on Etsy and Depop offered customized options and handmade tie-dye prints. Although loungewear is certainly no new feat, the necessity for more livable options brought this clothing genre to the forefront, giving comfort the credit it deserves. Here’s to hoping this trend doesn’t go away anytime soon. Small businesses: As Americans made their sudden transition to lockdown life, the US economy faced what was considered the worst recession in American history since the Great Depression. The future looked especially unclear for small businesses, which rely on local customers to keep their livelihoods afloat. In response to this, the call to support our favorite local spots became a defining factor of pandemic life, with Twitter threads listing local restaurants to order from in cities across the country, and public figures calling Americans to shop local during the lockdown. This push to buy from small businesses pertained to small fashion shops as well, especially to those of us who developed a serious online shopping problem in quarantine. From Etsy businesses to Instagram boutiques, to resale shops on Depop, thousands of shoppers turned to small clothing and accessory brands for high quality, unique designs. Not to mention, the growing push for sustainable fashion that continued to gain traction during the pandemic converted customers from large fast fashion companies to ethically made garments from small creators. All of a sudden, fashion was no longer limited to the large corporations that dominated the industry, rather bringing much-needed attention to the little guy during their time of need. Equally as important, if not more so than the push to support small brands, was the emphasis on supporting black-owned businesses. This summer saw a monumental and long overdue rise in support for the Black Lives Matter movement, as activists across the country expressed their outrage in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and hundreds of other innocent members of the black community at the hands of police. As protestors demanded justice for these disgusting acts of racism, along with change in the racist policies that perpetuated the threats to BIPOC, thousands of Americans began sharing their favorite black-owned businesses that are too often overlooked. Since the fashion industry is predominantly white, the push to support black-owned clothing, jewelry, and accessory brands is a dynamic and extremely important step towards progress in an industry notorious for its lack of diversity. Though there is still a lot of work to be done on behalf of the fashion world to make a more inclusive environment, the Black Lives Matter movement sparked much-needed action in diversifying our shopping habits. Despite the drastic changes made in the fashion world in response to the pandemic, I want to emphasize that the current state of the world is so much more abstract than the progress in fashion. Though fashion evolution is certainly apparent and interesting to reflect on, the larger effects of COVID are not ones to celebrate. To me, the most difficult part about writing a fashion article centered around COVID-19 isn’t putting the research together, nor analyzing information in a coherent way. Rather, it’s the phrasing of it. How on earth can I write about clothes in relation to something as horrific as this pandemic? How can I be respectful about it? I would love to tie this article up into a neat little bow, but even after living through all this for over a year, the devastation of the virus still leaves me at a loss for words. That’s why I love the way we dress so much. It reflects the world around us in a way that I often struggle to find the words for, defining each moment of our history, once in a lifetime or not. I can’t wait to see how we define our next moment.
Headlining this year's virtual Culture Shock Music Festival is Norwegian-American singer-songwriter Okay Kaya! We got the chance to ask her some questions before her set premieres this Saturday. Who are 3 artists that inspire your music writing process? Hard to pick just three, for this concert I covered songs by Blaze Foley and Leo Sayer. I’m usually inspired by what I’m reading, these days poems by Claudia Rankine and Fernando Pessoa. How does your identity as a Norwegian-American influence your musical style/music in general? I think identity influences many parts of one's life. I’m a bit of a sponge and my mother has a big record collection which has left me hungry and playful with my own musical stylings. That said, when I’m actually making music or creating the sonic aspect there is very little conscious thinking going on, I feel like only the right side of my brain is working with little concept of “myself” or time passing by, just this gut feeling of something sounding yummy or not. Lyrically it’s quite the opposite. I’ve made a whole record sorta about doing the splits across the Atlantic Ocean it’s called Both and is an embrace of the in-between, the confused. In the future, will you release music in Norwegian / promote your music in Norway? Every album I’ve released actually has a Norwegian song on it! I’m fortunate to get to play in Norway although every time I play close to home it feels like my own funeral. What is your favorite live performance memory? Once playing in Vancouver, a person joined me on stage, swaying beside me or breaking into contemporary dance. That was fun and special. He got kicked out but then allowed back in. It was on my birthday. Do you prefer performing live or being in the studio? I have stage fright still but I like performing more live now that I can have bands on stage with me. Being in the studio is either very very frustrating or very very comfortable, I try to welcome both. If you could choose one other artist to write a song with, who would it be? Cody Chessnutt. What were your top 3 or 5 songs that you listened to last year? Voyage Voyage by Desireless So Unusual by The Impressions If I Can Help Somebody by Siter Rosetta Tharpe Okay Kaya will be performing at the 2021 Culture Shock Music Festival on Saturday, April 17th at 9 pm EST. Her performance, along with all others for this year’s festival, will be streamed live on the Culture Shock Website. The festival will begin streaming at 1:30 pm EST. WIUX will also be set up in Dunn Meadow from 1 – 6 pm selling shirts, sweatshirts, and other merch.
Indiana University’s Monika Herzig and Oliver Nelson performed at this year’s Culture Shock. Monika Herzig is a part of faculty and administration at the O’Neill school as well as a jazz pianist, bandleader, author, and “everybody’s favorite music industry professor.” Oliver Nelson Jr. is a professor at the Jacobs School of Music and at the O’Neill school. His goal is to promote and keep his father’s musical legacy alive. They started collaborating in 1992 before they joined Indiana University's faculty. At the time, Herzig was a doctoral student at the music school and Nelson Jr. was a salesman for Citizens Gas in Indianapolis. What inspired you to create this group and perform here? Monika Herzig: Well this group... I kind of wanted to put together, We two have been performing for a long time and you know we had a very different year obviously, and I’ve not seen my students in person or very very few of them and I don’t think they even know how we look like from down here so I thought I just wanted to do something where we could do our craft and they can see us lower than the neck right? Oliver Nelson Jr.: Yeah I haven’t been on this campus since March. Actually, Monika and I did a concert at her house in August, and some of my students came which was pretty cool just to see them in real-time. But I haven’t seen a student since last March, pretty much How has your sound changed since you have begun performing? How has it evolved? Monika Herzig: Well that’s interesting because you’re talking to jazz artists and as a jazz artist you’re always on the quest of sharing your ideas and things that you have in mind and transforming them into a sound and you know I’ll actually do a Ted Talk on April 17th about this, brain on improvisation and what everybody can learn from and how everybody can train their brains daily to do this step forward because hopefully over the years in terms of evolving you practice and you solidify the sound and the way that expresses best, who you are. Oliver Nelson Jr.: And I think with us, we just evolved as players. We’ve all gotten better over the years, so Monika and I, we can play duets together and anticipate where the other person is going and it actually works out really well. It’s kind of like a basketball team where you can go down the court and they can come up with a play and the guy is right there because he kind of knows instinctively that his teammate is right there. And actually Monika and I have been doing this a lot last year before COVID because we played a couple times together and it was just clicking. How do you play off each other’s strengths? Monika Herzig: Right well you have to learn to listen. I love what Quincy Jones says ‘... you have two ears and one mouth’ there’s a reason you have two organs for listening and one for talking. Listen first and then find what you can add to the situation. And I think once you find that skill, you will be able to do that. What is your favorite part of performing in Bloomington? Monika Herzig: Well that’s interesting because you know I do actually tour all over the world and different places, sometimes I like Bloomington and sometimes not. I do like Bloomington because you know a lot of people and it feels like home but you know I also get to play quite a bit overseas and the audiences are different and sometimes when you go and play in these concert halls and you have people listening, sitting there quietly, and then you get back and you are playing where people are drinking and are noisy and nobody cares. Sometimes it can be tricky too. But I mean I’ve been here for 30 years and it's a very special place. Oliver Nelson Jr.: I just come down every now and then but we have really appreciated this place since its a school, so you got people who are more sophisticated with music because jazz takes intellect to really listen to it, I mean you have to think and people don’t like to think too much so having a place like this where at least people are thinking about what you are doing and can appreciate it is really a pretty good thing. We had some really great times in Europe together a couple years ago… they will tell you to shut up and I actually got told to shut up a couple of times myself um but we had some really great musicians over there and it was really really nice so Bloomington is wonderful but it is nice to play at other places like that too. Are there any specific musicians who inspire you or your music? Oliver Nelson Jr.: Probably my dad, my dad played with everybody: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, James Brown, and more. He also was a Hollywood film composer, wrote for television in the 70s and could do anything, had perfect pitch, could write in his sleep. So he was able to maintain a really active career as a writer and as a player. He was a really great player too. He has a lot of influence on everybody and he was a musician, he could do anything, he wrote symphonies...So he is probably my biggest influence/inspiration of anybody. Monika Herzig will be giving her Ted Talk this Saturday, April 17th. She plans to take a group to Europe in May and play a big festival and some clubs in Germany. She explains how it has been a little tricky because of Germany’s lockdown, so there is a lot that needs to go into organizing this trip. Over the summer, they will be performing many outdoor concerts at Bryant Park and in Indianapolis. Finally, she plans to take her all-female group back out and start some new recordings. Oliver Nelson Jr. is going to Southwest Minnesota State University and planning a three-day concert with students who will be performing much of his father's work. He also wants to get some new recordings in and will be collaborating with a SUNY on a project focusing on his father’s music. The full interview is available now on YouTube. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvtjmbSk8aQ&ab_channel=WIUX[/embed] Herzig Teacher Band will be performing at the 2021 Culture Shock Music Festival on Saturday, April 17th at 2:45 pm EST. Their performance, along with all others for this year's festival, will be streamed live on the Culture Shock Website. The festival will begin streaming at 1:30 pm EST. WIUX will also be set up in Dunn Meadow from 1 - 6 pm selling shirts, sweatshirts, and other merch.
Manic Pixie is the newest girl band the Bloomington-music scene needed. Comprised of Maggie Zielinski, Grace Kryder-Reid, Frances Heintzelman, and Sophie Vukmirovich, the girls live and work together, making music from the comfort of their home. Their energy is contagious and the underlying themes of friendship and female autonomy are ever-present in every performance. Having started the band at the beginning of lockdown, Manic Pixie has yet to play big shows, but they're looking forward to playing more in Bloomington as vaccinations become more popularized. You can check out their Instagram @manicpixieband for more updates, live streams, and sneak peeks as they continue to make and release music. You guys are a relatively new Bloomington band, how did you get started? We got started by going to shows together all last year. Sophie and I (Maggie) have been going to concerts since we became best friends in middle school, and that has been our favorite thing to do together. We were all sitting outside one night wishing there were more girl bands that were playing in town, and that's when we decided we will just start one ourselves! What is the story behind your name? Manic Pixie is a play off of a “manic pixie dream girl” which is a common trope of female characters having little depth and only existing for a male protagonist’s character arc. We wanted to reclaim the term to show that we are more than just side characters in a man’s story. The name is also a bit ironic because as performers, we create a sort of exaggerated, manic pixie dream girl-esque persona with our songs and performance style. How is it living together and playing together? We’re like sisters at this point so at any given moment we’re either bickering or communicating telepathically. As you’ve started finding your sound, how have you found your songwriting process, and what is that like? For the songs we have written so far, they typically start as someone having a basic idea whether it be musically or lyrically, and we share that with the band and work together to form ideas and finish the song from there. I love writing with the girls because I have always loved writing songs since I was a little girl, but my struggle has always been finishing them! (btw this is maggie talking idk if I need to say my name haah) So it's been really great being able to have an idea in my head and then recording a voice memo of me singing the first verse or chorus that I thought of, and sending it to the girls with the idea I have in mind for the song, and all of us coming together to make it our own. What are your influences? Women! Alvvays, Hinds, Big Joanie, Joni Mitchell, HAIM, Lady Gaga, Fiona Apple, Mazzy Star, The Cardigans, Chastity Belt, Mitski, Phoebe Bridgers, Faye Webster and so many other amazing musicians help shape our sound and the musicians we are! How have you navigated covid and what are you most looking forward to, as campus starts to open up? Three of us live together, so it’s a lot easier to practice and perform together in quarantine. We’ve done a few livestreams and socially distanced outdoor gigs, but we’re most excited for house shows because they’re what made us want to form a band in the first place. Style icons? Tiktok lol :/ Best release of this year? So hard to choose. Obviously, folklore/evermore by Taylor Swift, Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple, Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers, The New Abnormal by The Strokes, Women in Music Pt. III by HAIM, Crumb’s new singles… also Snail Mail LP2 whenever it gets released. The full interview is available now on YouTube. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH-d-s1Ph50&ab_channel=WIUX[/embed] Manic Pixie will be performing at the 2021 Culture Shock Music Festival on Saturday, April 17th at 3:20 pm EST. Their performance, along with all others for this year's festival, will be streamed live on the Culture Shock Website. The festival will begin streaming at 1:30 pm EST. WIUX will also be set up in Dunn Meadow from 1 - 6 pm selling shirts, sweatshirts, and other merch.
** WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS** Marvel Studios’ limited series WandaVision just concluded its run on Disney+ last month, becoming one of the most talked-about shows of 2021 so far. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj9J2ecsSpo&ab_channel=MarvelEntertainment[/embed] WandaVision picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019) following Wanda Maximoff and The Vision, who actually died in Avengers: Infinity War (2018). Throughout the series, audience members are given the chance to know more about Wanda while she tries to understand the true potential for her powers. Along the way, we meet Agnes and Monica Rambeau who are set up to be key characters in future Marvel movies. The format of the show is what makes it compelling; WandaVision is a show within a show. Each episode is inspired by a popular sitcom in each decade—the first one being set in the 1950s taking inspiration from The Dick Van Dyke Show, all the way to the 2010s where The Office and Modern Family are paid homage. Questions pertaining to the series set up get answered later on in the series, however, despite not directly making mention of the main conflict in the series, it still serves to move the story forward. There are even fake commercials during the episodes which serve as easter eggs derived from Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War—films that had a focus on Wanda and Vision’s characters. Most know the Marvel Cinematic Universe for being action-packed with explosions and fight scenes, but WandaVision was the total opposite. The lack of action was substituted for emotional conversations and confrontations with Wanda’s grief and self-exploration— a character development concept that is quite foreign in most Marvel films. The series is essentially crafted to portray the stages of grief within the 9 episodes: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It’s safe to say the writers executed the discussion of grief quite well considering how successful the quote “What is grief, if not love persevering?” became, causing audience members on Twitter to become emotional and, of course, create memes of it as well. The show has captured the attention of millions and has even attracted new fans to the Marvel Universe. One of the biggest takeaways of the show has been the theories curated by fans regarding easter eggs presented within the series. The idea of discussing theories with other viewers only supports how Disney’s format of releasing new episodes weekly rather than all together, is attempting to keep the idea of TV alive. Since a new episode WAS released weekly, it caused #WandaVision to trend every week with nearly 500,000+ tweets, creating conversation, and expanding the fanbase. Some might say the release format was a drag, but this execution made WandaVision the #1 show in the country during its 8-week run. Perhaps it was the fan theories and teasers made by cast members that made the series finale of the show feel underwhelming. Many believed the show would serve as a crossover with X-Men or even an introduction of another comic book superhero. However, fans were left to wonder what Wanda is to do next and won’t know until 2022, where she’ll make an appearance in Dr. Strange: Multiverse of Madness. Marvel Studio’s Phase Four has just started. Fans eager to find more content won’t need to wait any longer as the next limited series, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, is now streaming on Disney+.
This week was packed with news, with a Nintendo collaboration, more AAA games coming to Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series X mini-fridge, and a record-breaking video game sale. Build-A-Bear x Animal Crossing Collaboration Build-A-Bear Workshop and Nintendo have collaborated to bring Animal Crossing characters to the real world! For the time being, only two characters are offered (Isabelle and Tom Nook) and are available exclusively online. They will be coming to physical retail stores later this summer. On the day of their launch, the stuffed animals gathered crowds in online waiting rooms that opened 30-minutes prior to their release. Some fans were delighted with the release, while others showed disappointment at the lack of selection. With a game that boasts more hundreds of characters, the selection left some fans wanting more. Xbox Game Pass Collection of Games Continues to Grow Grand Theft Auto V will be returning to Xbox Game Pass on April 5th, nearly a year after its removal from the platform. GTA V has become one of the bestselling games of all time, selling more than 140 million copies since its release in 2013. Xbox Game Pass continues growing its collection of both AAA and indie video games, making its value nearly unbeatable. Many other games were announced for April’s list of Game Pass additions, most notably San Diego Studio’s MLB The Show 21, which will join Game Pass on launch day (April 16th)! Xbox Series X Mini Fridge Xbox went head-to-head with Skittles on Twitter for Twitter’s first #BestOfTweets Brand Bracket. Aaron Greenberg (Xbox Games Marketing) promised that if Xbox came out victorious, they would release Xbox Series X mini-fridges to the public. Skittles made the promise to bring back the lime-flavored Skittle. With promises made, Xbox went on to beat Skittles by just 1% of the total vote. Other than the confirmation on Twitter, we know nothing more than the production of these mini-fridges will begin sometime this year. Sealed Super Mario Bros. Breaks Records A sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System has sold at auction for $660,000 making it the highest price ever paid for a video game. The game sold at an auction house based in Dallas, Texas. The game was a part of a limited run of Super Mario Bros. that was released in 1986 before Nintendo switched from shrink-wrapped seals to sticker-based seals. The seller said the game was received as a Christmas gift in 1986 and was forgotten about for 35 years in a desk drawer. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_zfrG2bAsQ&ab_channel=Mr.Sujano[/embed]
Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall began operations as a COVID-19 vaccine clinic to eligible Hoosiers earlier this week. Yesterday, vaccine scheduling in Indiana opened up to anyone over the age of 16, which in turn made the majority of the student body eligible to sign up. In an effort to urge reluctant students to make an appointment, directors at the vaccine clinic proposed an initiative to hand out $25 Upstairs Pub gift cards upon receiving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Students are now signing up in droves and appointment slots are being quickly filled through the end of the month. One student, Bryce Chadington, reports his initial hesitancy was quickly squashed by the clinic’s new incentivization program. “My parents told me not to get the vaccine because the government can use it to track you,” Chadington stated. “But honestly I’ll take that risk because I go to Upstairs at least three times a week.” Leaders involved with the opening of the Assembly Hall clinic expressed their satisfaction with the program’s popularity. Representatives from the Indiana Department of Health worked alongside Indiana University faculty to implement the innovative program. The director of vaccine initiatives at IU made an insightful remark: “If you’ve ever stapled your underwear to the Upstairs ceiling, you shouldn’t be worried about what’s in the vaccine anyways. We’re excited to see where this new initiative takes us.” -- For accurate and serious information regarding COVID-19 or scheduling your vaccine, please visit ourshot.in.gov.
This was a relatively light week in terms of video game news. The most notable events this week were the return of the annual ‘Bunny Day’ in Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the disappearance of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. Bunny Day With the arrival of spring comes Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ annual ‘Bunny Day’. Whether you are overjoyed or filled with dread at the reemergence of Zipper, the unsettlingly ominous Bunny Day mascot, he has returned for the season. The goal and rewards for Bunny Day 2021 seem to be falling in-line with the previous year, with the point being to collect eggs and use those eggs to craft special Bunny Day-themed items. There are also items sold in Nook’s Cranny that are exclusive to this event, so if you’re interested, you can check those out before they leave! [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hO21KLsk-Uk&ab_channel=Nintendo[/embed] Mario Disappears for Good Nintendo’s limited-time release of Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Super Mario Bros. 35 ends today, March 31st. Both video games will be delisted from digital stores, with physical versions of Super Mario 3D All-Stars no longer restocking in retailers. The games were released as a part of the celebration of Mario’s 35th anniversary. Super Mario 3D All-Stars was a compilation of three of Mario’s most popular games, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Super Mario Bros. 35 is an online game that challenges 35 players to see who is the fastest at completing Mario courses. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo7GyxfIg3Y&ab_channel=Nintendo[/embed]
All albums are listed in order of their release. Soccer Mommy “Color Theory” February 28, 2020 (Indie Rock / Dream Pop) Soccer Mommy’s second studio album, Color Theory, very much rooted in sadness and nostalgia, is ironically a bright, colorful light in 2020. Building on the great sound established in her previous releases, this album’s production sounds more polished, while at the same time more distortion-heavy through the use of effects. As expected, it is chock-full of personality and emotion, chronicling grief, depression, and feelings of inadequacy. Each track is important and unique, with the true standout being “yellow is the color of her eyes." Taking advantage of several synthesizers and effects, Sophie Allison creates a piece that is both incredibly beautiful and melancholy. It’s one you listen to from start to finish, with no skips, and then again. - Ben Spector [embed]https://open.spotify.com/album/2CISL0rSGzbO0MbQMlqBez?si=G6nB-hB4TbOjTBDgF6TWTg[/embed] Phoebe Bridgers “Punisher” June 17th, 2020 (Indie Rock / Emo-Folk) Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher was a huge standout album for me in 2020 because of its captivating sounds and classically-Phoebe simple yet gut-wrenching lyrics like “I would do anything you want me to / I would do anything for you” and “You couldn’t have stuck your tongue down the throat of somebody who loves you more.” My personal favorite tracks are the upbeat (at least for Phoebe Bridgers) “ICU,” and the beautifully folky “Graceland Too.” The album as a whole is a great continuation of Bridgers’ discography and a definite star of 2020 with her haunting vocals and incredible lyricism. - Macy Brammer [embed]https://open.spotify.com/album/2xECuqnvvmVktV7UO8Dd3s?si=r3ELfPp1RO2R0tU4hd_xQQ[/embed] God Colony “Cult” July 10th, 2020 (Hip-Hop / Techno) Cult is a master-class in collaboration. God Colony themselves expertly weave together their respective musical backgrounds to create tracks with a strong base of techno-club beats without skimping on melody or structure. Delivering the vocals on this album are a diverse collection of artists from fashion designer Ib Kamara (Sine’Gal) to grime up-and-comer Flohio (Funmi Ohio). This is a dense project; each feature warrants its own deep dive. It’s experimental yet accessible. I’m reminded of Childish Gambino’s 3.15.20. From earlier this year; maybe stylistically it's not the best comparison, but both are bold and refreshing. - Joey Conway [embed]https://open.spotify.com/album/6wHSTMyc5lOTJYw1VeF1Hc?si=kq7oQVPxRJmmF8iSb-C4GA[/embed]
This week brought news of a change in Microsoft’s Xbox Live, a major company in the gaming industry may be up for sale, the reported closing of aging PlayStation online stores, and news on Niantic’s next Nintendo-based AR game! Microsoft’s Xbox Live Name Change Microsoft is rebranding Xbox Live. The new name, “Xbox Network,” will refer to the overarching Xbox online service. Xbox Live’s name, going on its 19th year of service, would possibly have benefitted from a total name change, though the name is not totally going away. In a statement to Eurogamer, Microsoft clarified the name change. “Xbox Live isn’t going away,” Microsoft said. "We are making ongoing adjustments to create a simpler, more descriptive messaging system for Xbox in different areas. None of these experiences or features will change as part of these updates,” they told Eurogamer. It seems the rebranding was done in response to the growth in free-to-play games, giving a more apt description of the online services that Microsoft will offer the player. Microsoft already announced that Xbox Live Gold would no longer be needed to play free-to-play online games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends. Discord Up for Sale Discord, the successful communication app made popular by gamers, is reportedly up for sale. Discord may yet choose to go public with the company, as no deal to purchase the company has been officially announced. While we know nothing more than rumors at this point, potential reported buyers include Epic Games, Amazon, and Microsoft. While no definite pricing is known, rumors suggest the current purchase of the company is valued upwards of $10 billion. Should Microsoft purchase Discord, it would only add to their list of recent company acquisitions. Discord is a major player in the video game industry and holds a large influence as they are a primary source of communication amongst online gamers. An acquisition by Microsoft could expect integration with current and future Microsoft gaming platforms and would be a large win for the company. PlayStation Online Stores Closing Sony is reportedly closing the online stores for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation Vita this year. According to an article on TheGamer, an official announcement is expected later this month. When these stores close, consumers will no longer be able to purchase games or DLC on the consoles mentioned. With the newest of the three consoles nearing its tenth year in service, it does not come as a shock that these online stores will be closing. Niantic/Nintendo’s New Pikmin Game Pokémon Go’s overwhelming success has spurred another partnership between Nintendo and Niantic Labs. Niantic’s next project will be an AR game based on Pikmin! This new game will share a goal with Pokémon Go in that it will encourage you to get outside and walk while making the experience more entertaining.
Chicago hosts one of the most iconic St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the country, dying their eponymous river green for the occasion. The pandemic altered the way Chicagoans celebrated the holiday, and the day proved to be a celebration for the music scene as one of Chicago’s best independent artists released two singles in music video format on the 17th. Last Wednesday, Chicago-born rapper Saba released two new singles, “Ziplock” and “Rich Don’t Stop” on Youtube, now available on all major streaming services, and they prove that Saba doesn’t miss. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNR4WHaGQQw&ab_channel=SabaPivot[/embed] As a Chicago native myself, I have been following Saba closely since the release of his 2016 album Bucket List Project, a project that made a huge splash in the Chicago music ecosystem at the time. Along with cohorts Noname, Smino, Mick Jenkins, and Chance the Rapper, Saba injected a scene once dominated by hard-edged drill with jazz-inflected introspective compositions that forced the listener to absorb the gravity of their messaging. His follow-up project, CARE FOR ME, was one of the most grief-filled and self-aware hip-hop projects in the past several years. I was not the only one to notice Saba’s dedication and skill: Saba was the headlining act of WIUX’s 2019 Culture Shock Festival. The music video for the batch of new singles finds Saba sitting and rapping on a picturesque rooftop. The architecture of the videos harkens imagery of M.C. Escher and Pink Floyd’s Animals, draped in La La Land glitz and glamour. Throughout the video, the only figure is Saba, spitting in solitude among the landscape. While COVID guidelines certainly played a role in the video’s content, it fits well into Saba’s image. Having spoken candidly about the struggles and pathways of being an independent artist, this video serves as a triumph for Saba in celebration of his liberated status. Musically, the singles are revelatory in nature, with Saba showing listeners another dimension to the motivations behind his artistry. “Ziplock” opens with a warped piano sample, creating an up-tempo dance groove that is disrupted by thick soupy bass and downtempo drum programming. Each verse delivers a place central to Saba’s development as an artist, from West Oakland to the Bronx, and he details the come up from broke to being in his bag (“and it ain’t a ziplock”). The reverberant chorus finds Saba highlighting the intersection of the dangers of music stardom and policing attitudes towards Black hip-hop artists, and it doubles down on his grit and willingness to put himself on the line for his art. The B-side single, “Rich Don’t Stop,” appears on the surface to be another entry into the “hustle-hop” category of hip-hop, where artists like J. Cole, Logic, and Drake talk about their come-up from the bottom to the top of the game. The genre glorifies the grind and strives to be vaguely motivational, though it comes off as self-serving more often than not. Saba dodges this narrow characterization, and the lyrics reflect more of a nuanced approach than several of his contemporaries. While most “hustle-hop” songs discuss the grind in an insular fashion, Saba shows the context of his work, and the necessity to succeed when facing pressures of violence, crime, and more. The bars of “Rich Don’t Stop” are conscious, animated, and delivered with the urgency that they aim to illustrate. While the instrumental can seem one-dimensional at times, closer listens show production not defined by samples, but rather adorned with them, hung like tapestries to fill out the environment of the single. These singles emphasize that Saba is one of the most exciting and talented wordsmiths in hip-hop. His excitement does not come from in-your-face braggadocio, but through his concise penmanship and nuanced production. If these tracks are signals of an upcoming full-length studio project, then there is little doubt that Saba will miss.
This week held more news for the relationship between Microsoft and Bethesda after the company’s acquisition became official last week. We also got news on the whereabouts of an influential figure in gaming after Google’s Stadia studios closed, displacing many talented people in the industry. Microsoft Announces Games Coming to Game Pass Microsoft announced that twenty Bethesda Softworks games would be coming to Game Pass on Friday, March 12th (which means they are playable now!). The games span multiple franchises and generations and show the first steps the two companies are taking to form a united front moving forward. The games (listed below) are a combination of returning titles and games making their Game Pass debut. Some games will be available on Console, PC, and Cloud, while others will be exclusive to some platforms. Additionally, some of the games will also be receiving an FPS boost! Bethesda Softworks games now on Game Pass: Dishonored Definitive Edition (PC, Console, Cloud) Dishonored 2 (PC, Console, Cloud) Doom 1993 (PC, Console, Cloud) Doom 2 (PC, Console, Cloud) Doom 3 (PC, Console, Cloud) Doom 64 (PC, Console, Cloud) Doom Eternal (PC, Console, Cloud) Fallout: New Vegas (Console) Fallout 4 (PC, Console, Cloud) Fallout 76 (PC, Console, Cloud) Prey (PC, Console, Cloud) Rage 2 (PC, Console, Cloud) The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC, Console) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion ((PC, Console) The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition (PC, Console, Cloud) The Elder Scrolls Online (Console, Cloud) The Evil Within (PC, Console, Cloud) Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC, Console, Cloud) Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (PC, Console, Cloud) Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PC, Console, Cloud) Jade Raymond Announces New Game Studio Jade Raymond is an influential figure in the world of video games and has been behind some of the most iconic franchises to date (Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs). Raymond, who worked for an internal Google Stadia development studio when Google axed Stadia studios earlier this year, announced the opening of a new studio called Haven Studios. The announcement came in the form of a blog post on the PlayStation Blog, where it was also announced that the studio had the backing and support of Sony. Raymond said, “Haven Studios is already hard at work on an unannounced IP,” and with her at the helm, and untold talent joining the studio, there is massive potential for amazing games to come out of Haven. Smaller News Nintendo and Epic Games announced a Fortnite-themed set of Joy-Con controllers for the Switch coming this year. The Joy-Cons will feature a blue and yellow color scheme and will feature the face of “Peely” on the right Joy-Con. This is not the first time Nintendo and Epic Games have collaborated on a special edition console/controller iteration. Last year they released a special edition Fortnite-themed console and Joy-Con bundle. Undertale and Outriders were announced for Xbox Game Pass. Undertale will finally be coming to Xbox Game Pass on March 16th, with Outriders arriving on April 1st which means it will be a day one release for Game Pass. The team behind Outriders, People Can Fly, also made Gears of War: Judgement which was an Xbox exclusive. Undertale will also have exclusive content for the Xbox version, similar to its exclusive Nintendo Switch and PlayStation content.
Studio acquisitions were the driving force behind headlines this week, with Microsoft’s purchase of Bethesda becoming official and Epic Games acquiring Tonic Games Group. Epic Games Acquires Tonic Games Group Epic Games (the group behind Fortnite) has acquired Tonic Games Group, the makers of Fall Guys. Fall Guys gained massive popularity this summer, which was helped by the rise of battle royale-style games, like Fortnite. No major changes are expected for Fall Guys as of now. In a statement, Epic Games said “For Fall Guys fans, your gameplay isn’t changing and Epic will continue to invest in making the game a great experience for players across platforms.” Fall Guys is currently on Steam and both PlayStation 4 and 5, with a planned release on Nintendo Switch and Microsoft’s Xbox line of consoles. Microsoft’s Bethesda Acquisition Becomes Official Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax Media and its subsidiaries has become official! This makes it one of the biggest deals in the history of video games after costing Microsoft $7.5 billion. The acquisition of ZeniMax Media brings along all of its subsidiary game studios and brings Microsoft Game Studio’s total studio count to 26 (for a full tally of MGS studio acquisitions, see the list below). With the addition of the Bethesda family of studios, many people have debated the likelihood of future console exclusives. Exclusives can make or break a console, and due to Microsoft’s lack of True AAA Xbox exclusives last generation, many have speculated how this will affect their approach to Bethesda’s upcoming games. Elder Scrolls VI, Starfield, and many more high-profile games will be coming out in the next few years, and with them now being owned by Microsoft, it is untelling whether or not we will see those games released on platforms other than the Xbox family of consoles and the PC. Already Owned by Microsoft Turn 10 Studios (Forza Motorsport) Undead Labs (State of Decay) World's Edge (Age of Empires) 343 Industries (Halo) Compulsions Games (We Happy Few) Double Fine Productions (Psychonauts) Playground Games (Fable [reboot], Forza Horizon) Rare (Sea of Thieves) The Coalition (Gears of War) inXile Entertainment (Wasteland) Mojang Studios (Minecraft) Ninja Theory (Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice) Obsidian Games (Fallout: New Vegas, The Outer Worlds) Gained by ZeniMax Acquisition id Software MachineGames Roundhouse Studios Tango Gameworks Alpha Dog Games Arkane Studios Arkane Studios Austin Bethesda Game Studios Bethesda Game Studios Austin Bethesda Game Studios Dallas Bethesda Game Studios Montreal Bethesda Softworks ZeniMax Online Studios
The equinox marks the end of a season and a powerful alignment of stars. For that special time of year when the weather starts to shift and new colors abound, the WIUX Music Team brings you a playlist to steady your vibes. Nearly four hours of --leafy tunes, sweater jams, and cool-blue songs-- all curated for your listening pleasure. <3 With contributions from: Macy Brammer, Zach Eason, Eve Elliot, Grace Franklin, Emma Havey, Jace Henderson, Haley Ryan, and Ben Spector Editor's note: The 2021 vernal equinox takes place on March 20th at 9:37 am.
The last few weeks have been very eventful in the world of video games. There was a full Nintendo Direct, a Pokémon Direct, and a State of Play for Sony! Many things were covered and/or announced, so I will go over the biggest news from each event. There were also casting announcements made for the movie adaptation of Borderlands! Nintendo Direct (February 17th, 2021) We finally got the long-awaited Nintendo Direct. This was the first mainline Nintendo Direct since September 4th, 2019! While the overall presentation was lackluster, there were several notable and exciting announcements. The show started out with the announcement of the new additions to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, revealing Pyra and Mythra (Xenoblade Chronicles 2) to be the new playable characters! Square Enix’s Project Triangle Strategy (working title) was also shown with a playable demo, available to download now, and 2022 release date. There were newly announced games like Mario Golf: Super Rush, releasing June 25th, 2021, and a port of the Nintendo 3DS title Miitopia, coming in May 2021. The definite highlight of the show was the announcement of an HD remaster of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which is coming to the Nintendo Switch on July 16th, 2021. A pair of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD themed Joy-Con controllers are releasing on the same day. The Zelda franchise celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2021 so the timing of an HD remaster for Skyward Sword is perfect. There were a few other remastered games and ports were announced, like Tales from the Borderlands, Outer Wilds, Fall Guys and Plants vs. Zombie: Battle for Neighborville coming to the Nintendo Switch. The show’s closing featured the reveal of Splatoon 3, showing off a trailer and release date (2022) for the game. The show had a few homerun announcements but overall seemed to be full of things that were not necessarily “mainline Direct” worthy. Sony State of Play (February 25th, 2021) While this State of Play didn’t necessarily shock viewers with new and exciting announcements or trailers at every turn, it served as an important update on where many games stood in the wake of COVID-19. We got to see new gameplay from Heart Machine’s Solar Ash and Housemarque’s Returnal, both set for a 2021 release date. New trailers were shown for Deathloop and Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach. Kena: Bridge of Spirits also received a new trailer showing new story details. The game is now set to arrive on August 24th, 2021 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Windows PC. Pokémon Direct (February 26th, 2021) The Direct started by giving a closer look at the new Pokémon Snap game coming to the Nintendo Switch on April 30th, 2021. We got a new gameplay trailer for the game and more details on the goals of the game. The announcement of three new Pokémon games also came during the Direct! The remakes of 2006’s Pokemon Diamond and Pokemon Pearl were titled Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Pokemon Shining Pearl, respectively. The games have a release date set for late 2021 and were met with general excitement from Pokémon fans, though there were some reasons to be skeptical of the remakes. The remakes appear to have taken on a less than modern look, sticking to something more closely resembling the original Nintendo DS games rather than a total visual overhaul, such as the one that Pokémon Let’s Go: Pikachu and Eevee received. Nintendo also announced Pokémon Legends: Arceus, a game set long ago in the Sinnoh region. In this open-world Pokémon game, you are tasked with creating the region’s first Pokédex. Arceus is the god of Pokémon, and with a setting like the ancient Sinnoh region, it will be interesting to see the game’s story. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-e-lev6iiA&ab_channel=IGN[/embed] Casting Information (*Latest March 2nd, 2021) With movie/TV adaptations of major gaming franchises coming (The Last of Us, Halo, Uncharted, ETC.) casting information may start coming more and more regularly as the shows approach their filming dates. On Monday, March 2nd we got an update on the cast of the wildly ambitious Borderlands movie. Ariana Greenblatt has been cast as Tiny Tina, the explosive-loving child who helps you throughout the events of Borderlands 2. Greenblatt, most well known for portraying young Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War, joins the star-studded cast alongside Cate Blanchett (Lilith), Kevin Hart (Roland), Jamie Lee Curtis (Tannis) and Jack Black (Claptrap). The screenplay for the Borderlands movie was drafted by Craig Mazin (HBO’s Chernobyl) who is also working on HBO’s TV adaptation of The Last of Us. This Borderlands movie is generating a lot of hype and could be a hit at the box office when it releases.