Blizzard takes legal action against ‘Overwatch’ copycat

Image: blizzard entertainment

There’s a Chinese mobile game called Heroes of Warfare, which takes as much inspiration as possible from Blizzard Entertainment’s hit game Overwatch. A little too much inspiration for Blizzard’s liking.

Blizzard and its Chinese partner NetEase are suing Heroes of Warfare‘s creators, 4399, for infringing on its intellectual property, Japanese news site PC Watch reported today. Blizzard claims that 4399’s Heroes of Warfare and another game that’s already been shut down is too similar to Overwatch, and is calling for a take down.

Just take a look through this gameplay video of Heroes of Warfare and you’ll see what Blizzard is getting at:

Many of the playable characters in Heroes of Warfare look and play similarly to the heroes in Overwatch, the maps are nearly identical to Overwatch maps, and the heads-up display showing scores, kills, and health is basically the same as Overwatch‘s.

As is common practice for intellectual property infringement lawsuits, Blizzard is asking for 4399 to cease production of its copycat games, for monetary compensation for damages, and that Heroes of Warfare be removed from iOS and Android app stores.

This isn’t the first time a game developer has copied Overwatch‘s aesthetics and gameplay approaches. A different Chinese mobile game called Hero Mission did the exact same thing earlier this year. In fact, Hero Mission and Heroes of Warfare are pretty hard to tell apart.

Also, sidenote to all game developers ripping off existing games: Try to come up with better, less-generic names than Heroes of Warfare. What does that even mean?

H/T Kotaku

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Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/13/overwatch-china-infringement/

Daily Show’s Trevor Noah thinks it’s finally time to talk about guns in America

Image: Dennis Van Tine/Sipa USA

In the wake of a mass shooting that left 59 dead and more than 520 people hurt, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “There’s a time and place for a political debate, but now is a time to unite as a country.” 

Well, The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah thinks that’s BS. On Monday night, he called out politicians and members of the media who claimed right now is not the time to talk about gun control. 

“I feel like people are becoming more accustomed to this kind of news,” he said, noting there have been 20 mass shootings in the two years he’s lived in the United States. 

After the latest shooting — in which a gunman fired at a country music concert from his Las Vegas hotel room — pundits even turned to hotel security as a possible culprit. Instead of, you know, sane gun laws. 

“We seem to do everything to avoid talking about guns,” Noah said. 

The talk show host pointed out that Congress was still considering the Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, which would make it easier to buy silencers and armor-piercing bullets.

“I can only say I’m sorry,” Noah told the people of Las Vegas, “sorry that we live in a world where people would put a gun before your lives.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/02/trevor-noah-daily-show-las-vegas-shooting/

Jimmy Kimmel’s baby may save healthcare for 30 million people

Image: randy holmes/ABC via Getty Images

Welcome to 2017, where the American government has ceded its already crumbling moral authority to the former host of The Man Show.

Don’t you miss the 2016 election now?

Still, the last few days have produced some of the best material late night television has ever had to offer, and all it’s because of former Man Show star, Win Ben Stein’s Money co-host, and late night host, Jimmy Kimmel. Kimmel has not only taken on the Senate’s practically homicidal Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill, he’s done it without resorting to lies or distortions (how quaint!). He accomplished this by speaking from a place of deep empathy, and by centering on a character that remains untouchable across the political spectrum: his baby.

Back in May, Kimmel’s newborn son had to undergo an emergency open-heart surgery. It was this hardship that brought America’s perilous healthcare situation into sharp focus for the comedian. And as he’s grown more vocal about the issue, he returns to his own child as the impetus for his outspokenness.

That’s why every counter-attack by GOP politician and pundits against Kimmel has fallen flat on its face: in the symbolic war between sick babies and man-baby Senators, the sick baby will always win.

By positioning his baby at his monologue’s heart and center, he’s created the most sympathetic protagonist imaginable and made anyone who opposes that character a hateful antagonist by extension (which, I mean, is accurate). Everyone who attacks Kimmel’s position, is essentially attacking his baby. 

Not a good position for a politician.

“Before 2014, if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there’s a good chance you would never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition,” Kimmel said in May. “If your baby is going to die, and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make … we all agree on that, right? I mean, we do!” 

Babies work. There’s a reason why every politician is required to take a photo with them at some point in their campaign.

When I was a social worker, we talked a lot about “worthy victims” and “unworthy victims.” “Unworthy victims” are people a society has collectively decided are victims because of their own poor choices: the poor, victims of sexual assault, the homeless, welfare recipients, people of color, criminals and undocumented immigrants. “Worthy victims,” by contrast, are folks that society has deemed sufficiently worthy of empathy (and consequently, of charitable donations) including sick children, the elderly and people with *certain* disabilities.

That doesn’t mean that worthy victims are exactly living large in America. Just think of the folks who were cruelly pulled from their wheelchairs by Capitol police while protesting Trumpcare that summer. But it does mean that they, culturally at least, have tremendous worth. I can’t think of a stronger symbolic lead than Kimmel’s son — a sick, wealthy kind with a devastating illness — followed closely by his acerbic father. Is there anything Americans love more than a cynical man, who simultaneously knows his facts and is deeply in touch with his own tenderness?

Of a Fox and Friends host who attacked Kimmel for his monologues, Kimmel had this to say:

“And you know, the reason I’m talking about this is because my son had an open-heart surgery and has to have two more, and because of that, I’ve learned that there are kids with no insurance in the same situation,” Kimmel said. “I don’t get anything out of this, Brian [Kilmeade], you phony little creep. Oh, I’ll pound you when I see you.”

Just look at how these Republican politicians and pundits tiptoed around his attacks, especially as  they relate to Kimmy’s son, and relied on the tired excuse than Kimmel wasn’t smart enough to analyze the bill because’s he’s a late night comedian. 

Remember: these folks voted for a man who recently made up an African country in front of Africans and didn’t realize that Frederick Douglass was dead, so we’re not exactly dealing with “wonks” here. 

All late night comedians have in some ways impacted culture and by extension, politics, but Kimmel might become the first late night politicians to have an immediate, substantive impact on policy. There’s a Jimmy Kimmel test Senator Cassidy once told Congress it has to pass. Kimmel even ended his monologue with a screen full of Senator’s phone numbers, amplifying his personal story and turning it into collective action.

Babies work. There’s a reason why every politician is required to take a photo with them at some point in their campaign. There’s a reason why political ads that include children, like this one of Hillary’s, are far more effective than those that feature rehabilitated criminal — even though both would be endangered by Graham-Cassidy.  Kimmel even admitted that he was “politicizing his baby” for the greater good.  

Doing anything that might directly harm babies is one the last moral lines we have around these broken parts. Let’s see if one man’s 13-minute monologues are powerful enough to keep us from crossing it.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/21/jimmy-kimmel-secret-weapon-baby/

Helen Mirren brilliantly shuts down sexist interviewer

Harvey Weinstein at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017.
Image: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

As anyone could’ve predicted, last week’s New York Times exposé was just the tip of the horror iceberg that is Harvey Weinstein’s past. 

The New Yorker on Tuesday published its own exposé of the disgraced movie mogul – and these accusations are somehow even more detailed, more disturbing, and more damning.

Journalist Ronan Farrow spent ten months speaking to 13 different women who alleged that Weinstein had sexually harassed or assaulted them – including three who say they were raped. Some remained anonymous; others identified themselves on the record, including actresses Asia Argento, Mira Sorvino, and Rosanna Arquette. (Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have since gone on the record to the New York Times detailing their experiences with his harassment.)

Collectively, they paint a portrait of a man who was not only monstrous enough to commit these acts in the first place, but powerful and intimidating enough to get away with them again and again and again. Combine that with a wider culture of victim-blaming and an inclination not to believe women, and, well, you’ve got a toxic recipe for decades of sexual abuse getting swept under the rug.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest report.

Weinstein didn’t just harass women. According to new allegations, he raped them.

Asia Argento, Lucia Evans, and one other unnamed woman allege that Weinstein didn’t just harass them – he forced them into oral sex and vaginal sex. 

“I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,’” recalled Evans. Eventually, she said, “He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.” In a depressingly similar account, Argento says she told Weinstein “no, no, no,” to no avail. “[He] terrified me, and he was so big,” she said. “It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.”

Chillingly, Weinstein himself apparently found the encounters to be no big deal. “It was like it was just another day for him,” said Evans. “It was no emotion.”

Another woman, actress Emma de Caunes, managed to leave before he could physically attack her. But, she said, “I didn’t want to show him that I was petrified, because I could feel that the more I was freaking out, the more he was excited … The fear turns him on.”

The Manhattan District Attorney declined to charge Weinstein for sexual abuse in 2015

In 2015, Weinstein groped Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, who promptly reported him to the authorities. The New York Police Department arranged to have her wear a wire to her next meeting with Weinstein, in hopes of recording an incriminating statement. 

She did. You can hear her confrontation with Weinstein here:

However, as the investigation continued, unflattering stories about Gutierrez’s past hit the tabloids, which cited a “source” at the company. Eventually, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. decided not to file charges, even though, according to a police source, they “had collected more than enough evidence to prosecute Weinstein.” 

Weinstein used ‘honeypots’ to lure his targets into meetings

Weinstein’s reputation was well known around Hollywood, and had been for decades. That may partially explain why he reportedly used women who worked for him to trap his victims.

According to a female executive who spoke with the New Yorker, Weinstein would set up late-night meetings with his targets, often in hotels. She continued:

And, in order to make these women feel more comfortable, he would ask a female executive or assistant to start those meetings with him … It almost felt like the executive or assistant was made to be a honeypot to lure these women in, to make them feel safe.

Weinstein retaliated against women who rejected him

Actress Rosanna Arquette detailed an early-’90s incident in which she rebuffed Weinstein’s advances. He told her she was making a mistake and, lo and behold, she saw her career suffer afterward. “He made things very difficult for me for years,” she said.

Similarly, Sorvino told the publication that her rejection of Weinstein seemed to impact her professionally. “There may have been other factors, but I definitely felt iced out and that my rejection of Harvey had something to do with it.”

On the flip side, still other women, including Asia Argento, say they continued to have professional relationships with Weinstein after he attacked them, lest he ruin their lives. “I was in a vulnerable position and I needed my job,” said one anonymous woman. “It just increases the shame and the guilt.”

Weinstein was very proud of not being a Bill Cosby

According to Emily Nestor, formerly a temporary front-desk assistant at the Weinstein Company, Weinstein propositioned her on her second day at the job. 

In the same conversation, Nestor says, he bragged that “Oh, the girls always say ‘no.’ You know, ‘No, no.’ And then they have a beer or two and then they’re throwing themselves at me.” He was “weirdly proud” to report “that he’d never had to do anything like Bill Cosby” – meaning, presumably, that he’d never had to drug anyone. 

But Weinstein’s downfall isn’t entirely unrelated to Cosby’s: Later in the article, Farrow mentions that Weinstein Company employees felt more emboldened to speak out about Weinstein now, after decades of his misbehavior, because scandals like Cosby’s and Ailes’s demonstrated “a growing culture of accountability.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/10/harvey-weinstein-new-yorker-expose/

Here’s what you need to know about that study suggesting french fries increase your risk of death

At least you still have Bloody Marys.
Image: Facebook

Alright, french fry lovers, you might have heard that apparently, the amount of times per week you eat fried potatoes could increase your risk of death.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who eat fried potatoes two or more times a week were at an increased risk of mortality.

But the results of this one study aren’t as scary or dire as they sound.

The 4,400 members of the study (aged 45 to 79) were divided into groups based on how often they ate fried potatoes per week. The study ran over the course of eight years and during that time, 236 of the participants died. Researchers helmed by lead author Nicola Veronese determined, “those who ate fried potatoes two to three times per week were twice as likely to die early compared to those who didn’t eat fried potatoes.”

However, noted nutrition, food studies and public health professor at New York University Marion Nestle says you don’t need to bemoan your last Sunday Funday fry-fest just yet.

She tells the Chicago Tribune, “”First, this is an association […] Fried potatoes are associated with somewhat higher mortality, but this does not mean that they cause death. People who eat a lot of fried potatoes might have other unhealthy lifestyle practices […]Second, the association is not strictly dose-related. At lower levels of intake, the association is not statistically significant.”

Adding to the good news, eating unfried potatoes didn’t impact health negatively and Time says, “more research with larger groups of people is needed to investigate the link before saying that overeating fries causes an increased risk of death.”

You mean fried potatoes aren’t a health food? This isn’t exactly groundbreaking news. Everything in moderation, after all. But that didn’t stop people from having a field day about the new info on social media.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/19/french-fries-bad/

‘Mom’ ditches Emmy campaign to donate to Planned Parenthood

(CNN)CBS’s “Mom” put its plans for an Emmy campaign on hold in support of Planned Parenthood.

Explaining their decision, star Allison Janney told “Access Hollywood”: “It just seems like now is a time to do something like this — as the House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood.”
Janney, who plays Bonnie on the series, is a long-time advocate for the organization. Janney said her great-grandmother worked with Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and her mother once sat on the board of an affiliate organization.
    Planned Parenthood has been a frequent target of GOP initiatives.
    In April, President Donald Trump signed a bill that allows states to withhold federal money from organizations that provide abortion services, like Planned Parenthood.
    The majority of federal money given to the organization funds preventive health care, birth control, pregnancy tests and other women’s health services, according to information on Planned Parenthood’s website.
    “It’s been part of my family,” Janney said. “It’s an organization that’s important and needs to be here.”
    Janney has won two Emmys for her work on “Mom” and seven Emmys total.
    “Mom” has been praised during its four seasons for tackling issues like addiction, breast cancer and adoption.
    “I’m proud of all of us at ‘Mom’ for making that decision,” she said.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/entertainment/mom-emmys-planned-parenthood/index.html

    Caitlyn Jenner doesn’t regret voting for Trump despite LGBT ‘mistakes’

    (CNN)Caitlyn Jenner may not like everything US President Donald Trump’s administration has done so far — especially when it comes to actions affecting transgender Americans like her.

    But she does not regret her decision to vote for Donald Trump, she told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday.
    “As far as LGBT issues, yes, he’s made some mistakes,” she said. “I don’t support him in everything that he does. But we needed to shake the system up.”
    It’s been almost two years since the famed US Olympian came out as transgender in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, revealing she had “the soul of a female.” Weeks later she debuted her new look in a Vanity Fair cover story that was heralded as a watershed moment for transgender visibility.
      Jenner reveals what the past two years have been like for her in a new memoir, “The Secrets of My Life.”
      At the time, Jenner said she was still a Republican despite the party’s anti-LGBT positions. She later said Trump appeared to be a champion for women and LGBT rights. When Trump famously said people should use “whatever bathroom they feel is appropriate,” including Jenner, she took up his offer to use the women’s restroom in Trump Tower.
      Her position evolved when the Trump administration withdrew Obama era guidance protecting transgender students from discrimination in public schools. She called the decision a disaster and urged him to “fix it.”
      She told CNN she’s still a Republican and she still believes Trump is the man “we need to turn this country around,” for better or worse.
      “To, you know, to have career politicians constantly, the Clintons, the Bushes, run this country. We need to get outside that box and shake things up again.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/25/entertainment/caitlyn-jenner-interview-don-lemon/index.html