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The Arcade Vol. 2: your one-stop-shop for this week’s quirkiest gaming news

Good to see you again, fellow netizens! And if you’re new here, then let me bid you a warm welcome to the Arcade: a space for you to soak in all the quirkiness and intrigue the world of video games has to offer. Why don’t you take a seat, save your progress, and download the latest gaming news with us? Oh, and enjoy your stay while you’re at it!

1. ’Stray’, the game where you play as a cat, has taken the world by storm

Unless you’ve been living under a rock over the last week, you’d have undoubtedly come across the indie game Stray which has captured the hearts of literally every gamer out there. Set in a dystopian, cyberpunk world, you play as a cat as it tries to get back to its family after falling into the depths of a world ruled by robots.

If that’s not enough to tempt you, then take a look at this:

Modders—people who create custom content for games—have managed to change the playable ginger cat to look like their own felines and the results are far too cute. Some of these experts are even taking requests to mod your cat into the game. So if you want to go on an adventure with your own furry friend, you know what to do!

Set in a dystopian world, there are plenty of mysteries to uncover and secrets to find in Stray. But one such riddle is well on its way to being solved. While wandering around the city, you are more than likely to encounter signs or graffiti with completely illegible text, with only snippets being translated for you by B-12, your robot buddy. Stray fans, however, have taken it upon themselves to decipher this strange language—with one such Redditor, @studiotheque, having worked out a majority of it already.

According to the user, the language seen in Stray uses three different ciphers, each with their own unique alphabets. So far, they have decoded the ciphers used in the video game’s chapter titles, which is known as Cipher 1. It has one letter for each of the 26 letters in the English alphabet and an additional ‘P’ for a total of 27 unique characters. Only eight letters of Cypher 2 have been decoded to date, and for its hand-written text, Stray seems to use a completely different language altogether. This is something @studiotheque has yet to make any significant progress on.

trying to translate all the in game text…some of it makes more sense than others
by u/studiotheque in stray

On a slightly different note, does anyone remember the game, Elden Ring? No? Well, that’s probably because Stray now has a higher user score rating than the former. Yep, you heard that right.

On Metacritic, both the PC and Playstation 5 (PS5) versions of Stray sport a higher user score. The PS5 version of the game has a rating of 8.8, while Elden Ring only had 8.0. Its PC score is even worse, with Stray once again clocking in at 8.8, leaving Elden Ring at a low 7.0.

It’s worth noting that Elden Ring’s PC port did have some pretty bad issues at launch which would have dragged the score down. Plus, it has far more user reviews than Stray does, but it’s still a very interesting comparison to see nonetheless.

2. ‘Elden Ring’ player overcomes PC stutter to beat Malenia after 30 hours of failing

Talking of Elden Ring, we all know by now that FromSoftware’s latest creation is a hard-as-nails game, with some of the bosses (yes, Malenia, we’re looking at you) causing many players to rage harder than ever before. But for one gamer, Redditor @Toushi138, beating Malenia, Blade of Miquella, nearly cost them their sanity.

After 30 hours of fighting Malenia trying to defeat her for the first time, my PC decided to stutter in the WORST moment possible...
by u/Toushi138 in Eldenring

With many players getting stuck on this optional boss, @Toushi138 was no different—but after 30 hours of trying, you’d think they would catch a break. It’s at that point they should have probably enlisted the help of legendary Elden Ring player, Let Me Solo Her. But finally, they were on a roll—Malenia had barely any health left and the end was in sight. But at that moment, disaster struck. @Toushi138’s PC stuttered, just as Malenia had jumped into the air for a powerful attack. Unable to dodge, the gamer was hit with four of Malenia’s Scarlet Rot projections (a status effect that causes you to lose health overtime) and left with what’s known as the ‘magic pixel’, a sliver of health so low that it can barely be seen.

Miraculously, they managed to keep their composure and dodge a follow-up attack and back away to heal. With that ordeal out of the way, they got the final hit in and Malenia was eventually vanquished. @Toushi138, you’re our hero.

3. UFC fighter teabags opponent like in ‘Halo’ and ‘Modern Warfare 2’

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter Paddy Pimblett has been doing the rounds lately due to a post-fight speech he gave about men’s mental health. But in that same fight, just moments after winning, Pimblett performed a move known as ‘teabagging’ which has its roots in a couple of old online games.

Teabagging was originally seen in games like Halo and Call of Duty during online multiplayer matches and is performed by repeatedly crouching over a freshly-killed enemy’s head, effectively dunking your nether regions onto the opponent’s face. In the pre-fight interview, Pimblett retaliated to opponent Jordan Leavitt’s remark on how he would approach the fight by saying that he would teabag him like its Modern Warfare 2.”

Without missing a beat after defeating Leavitt, Pimblett proceeded to teabag his opponent, as seen in the video from Barstool Sports. While this act looks funny and is kind of awkward, recent reports have claimed that this kind of behaviour, even in video games, should be considered as a form of sexual assault.

4. Geralt visits McDonald’s with the help of AI

Everyone’s favourite Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, is known for his fascinating adventures throughout the video game, books and TV series. But thanks to Redditor @Ravenholic and the use of AI, they have sent the White Wolf on a brand new adventure: McDonald’s.

That’s right, folks! It seems that on his way to track down the Wild Hunt, Geralt got a bit peckish, and what better way to curb hunger than a Big Mac from the world’s most iconic fast food restaurant?

Not only has @Ravenholic sent him to McDonald’s, but the post also contains AI-generated images of Geralt at a metal concert, in a car, and at the grocery store to name  a few. Let’s be honest here, seeing the famously gruff and grumpy Witcher in such mundane settings makes for some pretty hilarious viewing.

Some Geralt related pictures generated with AI
by u/Ravenholic in witcher

5. Female developers at ‘League of Legends’ creator, Riot Games, disciplined for having bikini pics on personal social media accounts

Current and ex-employees at Riot Games have called out the company for allegedly disciplining female staff for having bikini pictures on their personal social media accounts and subsequently asking to delete them. It has also been stated that Riot has a policy that prevents developers from complaining about male employees “walking around in t-shirts emblazoned with bikini models.”

This information was first brought to light by @SNazerine—a software engineer on Valorant—through their personal Twitter account.

Other employees have replied to the initial tweet and seem to confirm the statement, with Twitter user @swampyhag, associate producer for gameplay on Valorant, writing: “sad but true!”

Many have also pointed out the clear hypocrisy on Riot’s part. Quite a few of the skins they have created for their female champions in titles such as League of Legends feature them in bikinis, yet they are allegedly forcing female staff to remove similar pictures from their personal accounts. Something doesn’t add up here, and once again, Riot is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

6. ‘Minecraft’ players once again prove they have the best imaginations in the gaming sphere

Everyone remembers sitting down on a Saturday morning to watch cartoons and singing at the top of their lungs when Spongebob Squarepants came on. Well, one particular Minecraft player—Redditor @someonewhowa—has taken their love for the show to the next level.

@someonewhowa has given the Warden, a new Minecraft enemy, the makeover treatment and recreated it to look like Squidward Tentacles, Spongebob’s grumpy, clarinet-playing neighbour and work colleague.

by u/someonewhowa in Minecraft

Not only have they captured Squidwards’s likeness extremely well, but they have paid homage to his job working at the Krusty Krab by replacing the Warden’s antlers with spatulas. A nice little detail, I have to say.

The inhabitants of Reddit continue to amaze, with user @Frost_Beer creating a hyper realistic panther in Minecraft—with a little help from additional software.

So I made a Realistic Panther {Free Download}
by u/Frost_Beer in Minecraft

Mojang’s extremely popular sandbox IP is able to be modded with special texture packs that can be downloaded and applied to the game which change the overall look of it. Increasing the size of the construction can help alleviate the trademark angular look Minecraft is known for and make things look more rounded. Combined with ray tracing, you get epic creations like the one @Frost_Beer has made.

Moving away from the digital world and into the real one, Redditor @nobodyaskeddotc0m has created an adorable Minecraft bee—first introduced in the Buzzy Bee update in 2019—out of LEGO.

I made a Minecraft bee out of Lego this morning! (sorry I didn't know what to tag as)
by u/nobodyaskeddotc0m in Minecraft

@nobodyaskeddotc0m has nailed the details, including eye reflections which you can see if you get close to a bee in the game and the antenna placement. They have, however, opted not to add wings to the blocky critter, something that perhaps would have been more of a hassle than it was worth. All in all though, it’s a fantastic bit of creativity and shows just how good the imaginations of Minecraft players are.

7. PC gamer orders Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti from Amazon, gets sand instead

For those of you who know, graphics cards are pretty expensive at the moment. Without a decent one, however, many high end games won’t run as smoothly or at a higher graphics setting. So when TikTok user Mauricio Takeda, who goes by @MauriSousa_, saw the new Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti graphics card on Amazon during Prime Day, they had to purchase it.

Having paid the equivalent of $2,637 for the item, you can imagine their disbelief and anger when they received the product—only to find it was filled with jars of sand. Not a trace of the graphics card was in sight.

Takeda contacted customer services about the matter, and the only response they got was a link to delete their Amazon account. It wasn’t until their story made its way to the news and Takeda filed a lawsuit against the company in a small claims court that they were offered options to resolve the problem.

8. ‘Sims 4’ update accidentally adds incest

The Sims 4 has recently received a large, free update that included curved walls, body hair and new wants and fears. Oh, and incest apparently. Sims also seem to be ageing a lot quicker too. What on earth is going on?

A bug within the new update has made the Sims harbour a new desire to have incestial relationships with family members. Players have shared images online of their Sims wanting to start relationships with their sons, twin sisters, even a daughter wanting one with her father. Yuck!

Fortunately, this bizarre occurrence was made known to the development team, as noted by @SimGuruNick on Twitter, who told fans “we are looking to get it fixed ASAP.”

This also comes after news that sexual orientation options are being added to the Sims in a free update.

9. Roblox’s ‘Oof’ sound is no more

Roblox, a game simultaneously known by many yet remains a mystery to all, has announced that it is removing its iconic ‘oof’ sound.

According to the company, the removal of the sound was majorly due to licensing issues. As of today, they have created a default sound to replace the same.

The iconic sound, which plays when one dies and the game resets, is something even non-gamers will know, having been used in countless meme compilations and as a sound effect in thousands, if not millions, of YouTube videos. As reported by Kotaku, the “oof” sound was created by former game composer and Intellivision CEO, Tommy Tallarico, and it’s not the first time Roblox has run into licensing issues around it.

It truly is the end of an era in gaming. RIP ‘Oof’. You will be sorely missed.

The Arcade: your one-stop-shop for this week’s quirkiest gaming news

Welcome, fellow netizens, to the Arcade: a space for you to soak in all the quirkiness and intrigue the world of video games has to offer. Why don’t you take a seat, save your progress, and download the latest gaming news with us? Oh, and enjoy your stay while you’re at it!

1. Gendered language is removed from the character creation screen of ‘World of Warcraft’

The alpha test of World of Warcraft’s newest expansion, Dragonflight, has removed gendered language from its character creation screen. According to Wowhead, “Where it previously gave players the option to select Male or Female body types, it now simply refers to them as Body 1 and Body 2 respectively.”

While this is only a minor text change and is considered pretty low-impact where the game is concerned, it keeps up with its developer’s views on inclusivity.

However, it seems that more involved changes are on the way. Data miners have discovered that World of Warcraft players will be able to eventually pick their own pronouns—she/her, he/him and they/them—as well as select their preferred voice. Sadly, there has been no information as of yet on how this will be implemented.

2. An ‘Elden Ring’ player has beaten the game in 2.5 hours without taking a single hit or levelling up

The world of From Software’s Elden Ring is a scary one at the best of times, even when you’re at a high level and have all the best weapons and armour. But one mad lad going by the alias Ainrun managed to beat the game without getting hit or gaining a single level, all in two and a half hours.

What makes this insane run so unique is that normally, most no-hit run attempts skip bosses or even entire areas to make it easier. But not Ainrun. The streamer—who has been doing challenge runs of From Software games since 2020—even decided to take on the Grafted Scion boss, one that forces you to jump off a cliff and die to continue. I personally feel like [skipping the Grafted Scion] breaks a sequence that the developers intended you to go through to progress with the game, so I opt to do the fight,” Ainrun told Kotaku.

“In my opinion, a ‘challenge’ run like what I’ve done is supposed to be challenging, [so] using shortcuts doesn’t really make sense.” he added.

The secret to Ainrun’s success was his character build, which focused on staggering the enemy, letting him keep at a safe distance and do massive damage once his foe was successfully staggered.

3. Sexual orientation options are being added to the ‘Sims 4’ in a free update

The next big update for the Sims 4 will allow players to choose the sexual orientation of their characters. This includes support for straight, gay and bisexual Sims, as well as aromantic and asexual options. Lead designer Jessica Croft said in a blog post that the new update is very much “a version 1.0.”

The new feature adds the choices in the Create-a-Sim part of the game. There are three new options to choose from: whether they are romantically attracted to men, women or both; whether they are interested to “Mess Around” with men, women or both; and whether the Sim is “exploring romantically.” So, apart from being a relaxing game to play, this new level of inclusivity means more people will feel at home in the Sims.

Previous updates for the Sims 4 added in pronouns, but this new feature only adds the gender binary, something that Croft mentioned and explained is due to “technical limitations.”

“As stated above, mechanically, non binary Sims don’t yet exist in the Sims 4. You still have to make a binary gender selection for your Sim when creating them, regardless of the pronoun settings,” Croft wrote. “The Sims 4 is eight years old at this point, and reliant on systems that were originally architected with a gender binary in mind. In the intervening years, we’ve taken important steps such as Gender Customization, Pronouns and now Sexual Orientation. It’s a journey still in progress, with many more steps to go. Proper mechanical systems to fully support non binary Sims is another step in that journey.”

This free update will be released on 28 July 2022 alongside the High School Years expansion pack.

4. New feline adventure game ‘Stray’ is helping save cats’ lives

Causing much hype after its initial unveiling in 2020, Stray sees you take on the role of a cat who falls into a mysterious world inhabited by curious robots and attempts to make its way back home. 

If this adorable sounding game hasn’t enticed you already, then maybe this will. Publisher Annapurna Interactive is teaming up with different animal charities in order to promote the game and raise money to help vulnerable cats around the world.

Nebraska Humane Society is one such charity, which has game codes to win by donating $5. Similarly, Cat’s Protection in the UK is giving out codes if you sign up to become a ‘Pawsome Player’, which means livestreaming to raise awareness and funds for stray cats. As always, Annapurna is doing its bit as a top indie game publisher and this kind of marketing is as clever as it is heartwarming.

5. A dedicated ‘Pokémon’ fan has crafted a cartridge that turns the Gameboy into a working Pokédex

Ever fancied owning your own fully-functioning Pokédex? Well, thanks to Pokémon super fan QueenL3fah on Reddit, now you can.

Using a modified Gameboy cartridge, QeenL3fah showcased the device—which is also hooked up to the internet—and proceeded to input “Bulbasaur” and bring up the Pokémon’s dex entry, albeit from Wikipedia. Despite it being a very barebones concept, it’s still very impressive.

Made a Wi-Fi enabled gameboy cartridge - a Pokédex of some sort!
by u/QueenLa3fah in pokemon

Many intrigued Pokémon fans asked QueenL3fah if they would be willing to improve the device and put it up for sale. However, they didn’t seem keen to do so, mainly due to the difficulty and cost of producing the device.

They were, however, very forthcoming with their knowledge of tinkering with the tech, and plan to make a document detailing how you can recreate the device yourself. It will be extremely interesting to see what others do with this knowledge, and perhaps we will see a new and improved version somewhere along the horizon.

6. UK government weighs in on the use of loot boxes in video games

Loot boxes have made headlines a few times in recent years, with kids accidentally racking up absurd amounts on their parent’s credit cards trying to get super rare character skins and in-game items, but recently, the UK government has weighed in on the matter.

For those who don’t know, a loot box is a purchasable item—usually with real money—in a video game that gives the player a chance of obtaining items of varying rarity. Much like gambling, you aren’t guaranteed to hit the jackpot, so it may be quite some time before you get that rare item you’ve been looking for.

There have been calls to regulate or even ban loot boxes as it exposes children to gambling-like behaviours, and as of 17 July 2022, the UK government has said that the games industry should self-regulate.

In a statement by UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the following was announced: “Games companies and platforms need to do more to ensure that controls and age restrictions are applied.”

7. ‘Elden Ring’ legend Let Me Solo Her given epic gift from Bandai in recognition of their achievements

For those of you who have been living under a rock since Elden Ring’s release, a player named Let Me Solo Her has been making waves in the community for helping players defeat one of the game’s hardest bosses by himself.

YouTuber and streamer Klein Tsuboi, who pilots the infamous character, has helped over 1,000 players defeat Malenia, Blade of Miquella and their exploits have not gone unnoticed.

In a recent Twitter post, Tsuboi showed off a sweet care package they received from Elden Ring publisher Bandai Namco, congratulating them on their achievements, which you can see below:

In the package, Tsuboi received a piece of custom artwork of their character Let Me Solo Her, a wooden lithograph, a coat and a full-length sword.

Tsuboi’s post read: “Thank you Bandai Namco and Elden Ring for giving me this gift and congratulating me for being Let Me Solo Her […] I can still remember my first experience with the Soulsborne series and almost quitting because of Iudex Gundyr in Dark Souls 3.”

“I’m glad I persisted and went on to enjoy the game, because this community is one of the most passionate and dedicated I’ve ever seen in a game, and I’m proud to be a part of it,” they continued.

8. ‘Bayonetta 3’ will feature a ‘naive angel mode’ for those who don’t wish to see nudity

After a long, long wait—eight years to be exact—Bayonetta 3 is finally being released later this year. Everyone’s favourite sexy, British witch is back, and with her comes the series’ signature sexual and suggestive content.

However, this time around, Platinum Games have opted to include what they call a “naive angel mode” for players who do not wish to see the 18+ content. This new filter will censor side boob, cover up legs and generally give Bayonetta a more ‘modest’ look.