Pokemon X and Y


For the first time in the series, Nintendo will release the games simultaneously across Japan, America, and Europe in October 2013.Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata announced the game during a Nintendo Direct presentation, showing off the game's fully 3D world and a new camera. Many of the traditional Pokemon elements were shown, such as a Pikachu hidden in some tall grass.The game will feature a mix of Pokemon old and new, and Nintendo unveiled its trio of new starting Pokemon--watery toad Froakie, firey deer Fennekin, and grass monster Chespin. An announcement trailer was also made available.Pokemon X and Y will be the first mainline Pokemon games made for the 3DS, although a series of spin-offs are already available on the device.“The stunning visuals, a completely redesigned environment, game scenario, music, and communication features will bring smiles to the faces of video game players around the world,” said GAME FREAK director Junichi Masuda in a press release...[MORE]

Vidal Sassoon, renowned hairstylist, dies at 84



Los Angeles --

Hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, who undid the beehive with his wash-and-wear cuts and went on to become an international name in hair care, died Wednesday. He was 84.

Mr. Sassoon died at his home on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, police spokesman Kevin Maiberger said. Officers were summoned to the home at about 10:30 a.m., where they found Mr. Sassoon dead with his family. They determined that he died of natural causes, and there will be no further police investigation, Maiberger said.

When Mr. Sassoon picked up his shears in the 1950s, styled hair was typically curled, teased, piled high and shellacked into place. Then came the 1960s, and Mr. Sassoon's creative cuts, which required little styling and fell into place perfectly every time, fit right in with the fledgling women's liberation movement.

"My idea was to cut shape into the hair, to use it like fabric and take away everything that was superfluous," Mr. Sassoon said in 1993 in the Los Angeles Times, which first reported his death Wednesday. "Women were going back to work, they were assuming their own power. They didn't have time to sit under the dryer anymore."

His wash-and-wear styles included the bob, the Five-Point cut and the "Greek Goddess," a short, tousled perm - inspired by the "Afro-marvelous-looking women" he said he saw in New York's Harlem.

Mr. Sassoon opened his first salon in his native London in 1954 but said he didn't perfect his cut-is-everything approach until the mid-'60s. Once the wash-and-wear concept hit, though, it hit big and many women retired their curlers for good.

Mr. Sassoon got more headlines when he was flown to Hollywood from London, at a reputed cost of $5,000, to create Mia Farrow's pixie cut for the 1968 film "Rosemary's Baby."

Mr. Sassoon opened more salons in England and expanded to the United States before also developing a line of shampoos and styling products bearing his name. His advertising slogan was "If you don't look good, we don't look good."

The hairdresser also established Vidal Sassoon Academies to teach aspiring stylists how to envision haircuts based on a client's bone structure. In 2006, there were academies in England, the United States and Canada, with additional locations planned in Germany and China.

He sold his business interests in the early 1980s to devote himself to philanthropy. The Boys Clubs of America and the Performing Arts Council of the Music Center of Los Angeles were among the causes he supported through his Vidal Sassoon Foundation. He later became active in post-Hurricane Katrina charities in New Orleans.

He had moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s in search of a chemist to formulate his hair-care products and had decided to make the city his home.

A veteran of Israel's 1948 War of Independence, Mr. Sassoon also had a lifelong commitment to eradicating anti-Semitism. In 1982, he established the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Growing up very poor in London, Mr. Sassoon said that when he was 14, his mother declared he was to become a hairdresser. After traveling to Palestine and serving in the Israeli war, he returned home to fulfill her dream.

"I thought I'd be a soccer player, but my mother said I should be a hairdresser, and, as often happens, the mother got her way," he told the AP in 2007.

Married four times, Mr. Sassoon had four children with his second wife, Beverly, a sometime film and television actress, usually billed as Beverly Adams.


Free, Browser-Based 'Wolfenstein 3D' Released by Bethesda



Bethesda Softworks on Wednesday released a free, browser-based version of the iconic first-person shooter, Wolfenstein 3D.

The game, available to play at the Bethesda site, supports most modern browsers: Google Chrome 16, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 11, and Apple Safari 5. The game is mouse-enabled, although players can play it via their keyboard only, if they so choose.

Bethesda, which bought iD Software in 2009, released the game in time for Wolfenstein 3D's 20th anniversary. The game is a remake of the classic Apple II game, Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Although it wasn't the first 3D shooter - Hovertank and Catacomb 3D came before it - it was the first to provide a "3D" view of the world, with 2D sprites that were mapped from eight perspectives, to produce the illusion of a 3D object. The game ran in just 320-by-200 with 256-color VGA graphics.

That fact, as well as others, are part of an Easter egg of sorts: a special podcast with legendary game designer and iD co-founder John Carmack, who contributes his memories of the game. (We've embedded the video below.)

"The core essence of taking an experience that used to be done in top-down - we were all familiar at the time with top-down shooters like Gauntlet and things where you would run around and shoot at the enemies there - taking really similar gameplay and projecting it into te 3D environment, adding perspective and the fact that that changed the game experience so much was the real triumph of what we did then," Carmack said.

Wolfenstein 3D holds up well over time, especially when you consider that so many first-person shooters, especially the single-player versions of games like the Call of Duty franchise, are little more than "rail shooters," with the experience nearly scripted. Wolfenstein and its successor, DOOM, encouraged exploration, and rewarded players with hidden secrets and even secret levels. Unfortunately (or not) users can pick which level they wish to play in the browser version, even the secret levels.

A quick PCMag run through found that while the sounds and graphics are the same as the original, the mouse control feels too floaty. Still, we'd expect that gamers will spend at least a few minutes during their lunch hour reminiscing. We will.


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