All The Ways The MCU May Have Already Set Up Norman Osborn

Read original article here: https://screenrant.com/norman-osborn-mcu-villain-phase-3/

Has Marvel already set up Norman Osborn as the villain of the MCU’s Phase 4? Next year’s Avengers: Endgame will bring the first three phases of the MCU to an end. Although Marvel is currently attempting to keep discussion of their future plans to a minimum, it hasn’t stopped anyone speculating about just who could be the next “big bad” in the shared universe.

We’ve already suggested that the next major villain could be Norman Osborn. As any comic book reader will know, there’s a lot more to Osborn than just his insane Green Goblin persona, which Sony has already brought to the big screen twice before. In the comics, Osborn is a genius scientist and industrialist; although he’s traditionally associated with Spider-Man, the truth is that over the last 20 years or so he’s become a mainstream Marvel villain and even a nemesis for Iron Man and the Avengers. In the 2007-2008 “Dark Reign” era, for example, Osborn successfully manipulated himself into a position where he became the new Nick Fury in the Marvel Universe, the man in charge of the world’s superheroes. Needless to say, it didn’t go well for the heroes.

But has Marvel already prepared the grounds for Norman Osborn to appear in the MCU? Right now, there are four unanswered questions in the MCU, mysteries that have so far been unresolved. And every one of them could be answered by Norman Osborn.

This Page: Spider-Man: Homecoming & The Vulture
Page 2: Stark Tower and Ant-Man & The Wasp
SPIDER-MAN’S MYSTERIOUS ORIGIN

When Marvel introduced Spider-Man into the MCU, they deliberately decided to skip the origin story. It was an understandable decision; after all, that had been brought to the big screen twice since the year 2000. Just how many times would audiences tune in to watch Uncle Ben get shot? Interestingly, though, Marvel Studios has studiously avoided telling the origin story in any of the tie-in media. It was initially assumed that the Spider-Man: Homecoming Prelude comic would fill this gap, but instead it settled for retelling the events of Captain America: Civil War.

Everybody assumes they know the story of how Peter Parker became Spider-Man, but a few simple questions reveal just how much wriggle-room Marvel has left themselves. Where did the radioactive spider come from in the MCU? In the original comics, a spider happened to dangle on a web in front of a science experiment; its body was subjected to powerful radiation, and it fell from its web on to Peter’s hand, reflexively biting him. In the modernized Ultimate Universe – which has often served as an inspiration for the MCU – the spider was part of experiments being conducted by OsCorp. One of the specimens escaped, just the day before Peter attended OsCorp on a school trip – and the outcome was never really in doubt. Clearly, then, if the MCU origin of Spider-Man is lifted from the Ultimate Universe, Norman Osborn could well be an important part of it.

But here’s another key question: Was there only one spider? In the Ultimate Universe, it didn’t take Osborn any time at all to realize that Peter Parker was developing superhuman abilities. He became convinced that these genetically engineered spiders were “the key that unlocks the next step of human evolution,” and continued experimenting upon the spiders. That allowed Marvel to have other characters bitten by them, meaning there could be other Spiders in the Ultimate Universe. The most prominent of these, Miles Morales, took over as Spider-Man when Peter Parker was killed. Significantly, Miles has already been established as part of the MCU, so there’s already potential for him to become another wall-crawling superhero. All Marvel need is another spider – and if Norman Osborn and OsCorp are involved in Spider-Man’s MCU origin, then that’s not a problem at all.

WHO WAS ORIGINALLY BUYING VULTURE TECH?

The plot of Spider-Man: Homecoming actually left a lot more unanswered questions. For one thing – who was originally buying the Vulture’s tech? Back in 2012, in the aftermath of the Chitauri invasion of New York, Adrian Toomes began obtaining illegal tech and selling it on the black market. Curiously, though, it’s only four years later that the businessman starts selling advanced weapons on the streets, to criminals like Aaron Davis. So who were the Vulture’s first customers?

Toomes is a smart businessman, so it’s safe to assume he initially approached technology companies and weapons manufacturers. Perhaps he’s the reason Hammer Industries developed the Judas Bullet, as seen in Luke Cage season 1 and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4. If that’s the case, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Norman Osborn – genius industrialist and weapons developer par excellence – would be another of his clients. Osborn would find Chitauri weapons alluring, would be fascinated with Ultron tech, and would love to get his hands on Dark Elf gravity bombs. Over the years, though, presumably that market would dry up; these companies would acquire enough Chitauri tech to be confident they didn’t need any more, for example, and they’d only be interested in so many samples of the same equipment. Thus by the time of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Toomes has been forced to find new customers.

STARK TOWER UP FOR SALE
In the aftermath of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers moved out of Stark Tower; by the time of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tony Stark was selling it and moving out himself. But who was buying Stark Tower? At the time of the film’s release, a lot of viewers speculated that it could be Reed Richards, preparing the way for the MCU to introduce the Fantastic Four. While that’s still possible, it could also be Norman Osborn. The idea of basing himself in a former Avengers base would appeal to Osborn’s ego, and the purchase would indicate his ambition of replacing Tony Stark in every way possible.

It’s important to note that it was probably impossible for Stark to extract all of his tech from the building. The tower was intended to be revolutionary, the first completely clean energy-powered skyscraper in New York. It’s powered by one of Stark’s pioneering Arc Reactors, which means the tower can run itself for over a year. It seems reasonable to assume whoever bought Stark Tower would also acquire the Arc Reactor – and that would most certainly be of interest to Norman Osborn. In the “Dark Reign” era, Osborn quite enjoyed experimenting with creating his own version of the Iron Man armor.

SONNY BURCH’S BUYER IN ANT-MAN & THE WASP

The final unanswered question is the mystery of Sonny Burch’s employer in Ant-Man & the Wasp. When Burch learned the potential of Pym Particles, it didn’t take him long to find a buyer, and he then proceeded to attempt to get his hands on as much Pym-Tech as possible. The film was careful to avoid revealing just who Burch was working for, but there was one notable hint; the criminal offered Hope $1 billion for the tech, suggesting he was expecting to receive a far healthier paycheck himself. Whoever Burch was working for, then, is interested in advanced tech – and extremely wealthy. Norman Osborn definitely ticks those boxes.

All this may simply be a coincidence, of course, but the fact remains that right now there is a distinctly Norman-Osborn-shaped hole in the MCU. Assuming all these do indeed point to Norman Osborn, then the MCU’s version of the villain is an up-and-coming industrialist and weapons manufacturing who’s been conducting illegal deals to acquire advanced technology that will give him a competitive edge. He’s greedy and ambitious, not afraid to cut corners, and he’s already very wealthy indeed. Looking forward to Phase 4, that would perfectly position him to become a terrifying new threat for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

The man behind Marvel Studios has teased the biggest change in the MCU yet

Read original article here:https://www.joe.ie/movies-tv/man-behind-marvel-studios-teased-biggest-change-mcu-yet-653309

Fans have been waiting 10 years for this to happen.
Anyone familiar with superheroes movies knows that while Disney owns Marvel Studios, it doesn’t actually own the rights to all the characters created by Marvel throughout its history.

Most notably, the entire X-Men world is currently owned by Fox — and all X-Men, Deadpool and Wolverine films have so far had nothing to do with the same Marvel Cinematic Universe where Iron Man, Spider-Man and Captain America live.

But Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has began to publicly tease the introduction of the X-Men into the MCU.

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Speaking to Variety magazine, Feige said: “We’ve been told it’s looking very, very good and could happen in the first six months of next year. The notion of the characters coming back is great. It’s nice when a company that created all these characters can have access to all those characters. It’s unusual not to. But in terms of actually thinking about it and actually planning things, we haven’t started that yet.”

The development has been made possible by a merger that will see Disney absorb 21st Century Fox and its Marvel-licensed properties, notably the aforementioned X-Men and Fantastic Four (and Silver Surfer).

Obviously, Professor X and the gang won’t be arriving in enough time to save the universe from Thanos, but it’s certainly looking like the MCU is about to get a lot bigger.

Top 5 Favorite Marvel Movies (So Far…)

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is truly a cinematic marvel. Never before has the film industry witnessed a universe shared by so many characters, storylines, and consistent record-breaking box office successes. It’s been a huge year for Marvel Studios due to the achievements of “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War.” But it’s also been a sad one due to the passing of Marvel patriarch and creator Stan Lee. Still, the Marvel train shows no signs of slowing; and we may have only seen the beginning of what MCU can do with a slate of new films and some new characters in the near future. So in honor of the new “Captain Marvel” trailer, “Black Panther’s” groundbreaking Golden Globes nomination, and the much-anticipated “Avengers: Endgame” trailer, here’s my top 5 favorite Marvel Movies (so far…)

Disclaimer (& Invitation!): If you’re a fan, I know you have ranked the Marvel movies too. That’s part of the fun of being a fan! This is my personal list based on my own thoughts and critiques, but I want to hear yours. Maybe you can persuade me to change mine? Comment with your own top 5 favorite list and let’s discuss!

5. Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014)

Directed by the Russo Brothers, “Captain America: Winter Soldier” is my favorite Captain America film. Yes, I like it even more than “Captain America: Civil War”. Change my mind. Anyway, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is struggling with how to live in our current day and with the new direction of S.H.I.E.L.D. But when the past presents new threats, Rogers and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) have to go on the run to uncover a conspiracy.

Why It’s Great: Sequels are challenging. However, “Winter Soldier” manages to build upon “Captain America: The First Avenger” without repeating it. It also serves to further enhance the character of Captain America, as well as remind the audience why he truly is a hero worth believing in. The style of “Winter Soldier” is different as well. It’s more realistic at times than the comic book, with fantastic stunt choreography that’s a lot more believable. Finally, I appreciate the twists and mostly unexpected surprises, but I’m even more a fan of its theme of freedom versus security. In a genre where they could’ve gotten by with simply good guy versus bad guy, “Winter Soldier” tackled a complex and incredibly relevant issue.

4. Black Panther (2018)

Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” tells the story of how T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) takes the throne as the new king of Wakanda and must decide whether to keep the kingdom a secret or use its technology to help others around the world. This dilemma becomes personal and impossible to ignore in the form of Erik Killmonger, who’s determined to take the throne and mantle of Black Panther and to do what the kings of the past have not.

Why It’s Great: The cast! Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Shuri (Letitia Wright), and Okoye (Danai Gurira) are arguably the most compelling characters on screen. They’re brilliant, entertaining, and each has their own unique stories and motivations. They illustrate how female characters should be depicted without screaming at the audience that they’re relevant and progressive. Also, Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) is one of the best villains in the MCU. He’s a legitimate threat, ruthless, yet the audience can’t help but relate and sympathize with him.

While T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) had a lot of competition on screen, his story is the centerpiece of the film. Our hero is wrestling with the fact his own hero, his father, has made mistakes which he now must handle. Only when he makes decisions for Wakanda based on what he believes is right is when he truly becomes king. Finally, it’s the worldbuilding! Wakanda managed to balance a futuristic look with history and culture. You don’t just believe it existed, you want to go there yourself. Wakanda forever!

Lastly, “Black Panther” recently received Marvel’s first nomination for Best Picture at the Golden Globes, hopefully paving the way for future nominations of superhero films.

3. The Avengers (2012)

Joss Whedon had the challenge of bringing all the heroes together in one film for the first time. Ironically, that’s exactly what the movie was about: the individual heroes learning to come together. The threat is Loki, Thor’s brother, and the Tesseract which will continue to play a role in the Marvel Universe.

Why It’s Great: It’s so fun without being too lazy. It’s all about relationships and interactions, which is why you care despite the unbelievable circumstances of the film. “The Avengers” also does a great job highlighting each of the characters. If you’re a fan of only one of the Avengers, you’ll still enjoy the film. Basically, this is the comic book movie you’ve always wanted and paved the way for where we are now in the MCU.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” throws you off from the start; but once you recover, you’ll realize you’re loving the ride. “Guardians of the Galaxy” leaves Earth to the Avengers and takes the action to outer space. Here, a gang of misfits become their own sort of family to save the galaxy from yet another mysterious object which will play a significant role in the Marvel Universe.

Why It’s Great: It’s hilarious, it’s irreverent, yet it has so much heart. The casting is spectacular; and yes, while there is a plot, this film is about the characters first and foremost. One of the most unique aspects of “Guardians of the Galaxy” is its soundtrack. It’s tied to main character Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) story, and it both influences and reflects other moments in the film while offering that dash of nostalgic, oddball flavor. Lastly, a dance-off saved the universe. Yep, it’s true.

1. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The Russo Brothers’ “Avengers: Infinity War” is the culmination and climax of ten years of MCU films. Thanos is bent on collecting the Infinity Stones and using them to eliminate half of the universe. Fortunately, he doesn’t have them all yet; and all of our Marvel heroes are being called upon to stop him.

Why It’s Great: This film has a massive cast. I’m talking seventy plus characters here, each with their own storylines and motivations. Somehow, the Russo Brothers made it work seamlessly. Plus, it’s a blast seeing so many of your favorite characters interacting with one another. Basically, “Infinity War” is a cinematic symphony where each character has their own moment which contributes to the overall story without ever losing steam and with the highest of stakes.

The film is also a huge payoff for fans of the MCU, as details and plot points from films past are addressed without losing or confusing casual fans or even those seeing a Marvel film for the first time. “Infinity War” also took bold risks and managed to surprise audiences in a time where spoilers, leaks, and fan theories are a part of the landscape. Finally, “Infinity War” is a stand-alone film with an ending. Yes, we always knew there would be a sequel, which we now know is “Avengers: Endgame”. But “Infinity War” didn’t take the easy way out, cheaply cutting to black at the climax only to generate ticket sales for the next film. In a time where franchises are shamelessly stretched into multiple films for box office wins, “Infinity War” doesn’t beg.

So that’s my top 5 favorite Marvel movies so far, but I want to know yours! What’s your top 5 favorite Marvel movies? Did any of mine make your list? Let us know!

Read more here: https://wdwnt.com/2018/12/top-5-favorite-marvel-movies-so-far/

A simple guide to quickly fixing corrupted Minecraft Worlds

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Fixing corrupted chunks or whole worlds in Minecraft isn’t necessarily a hard thing to do. Those corruptions rarely occur on the vanilla version of the game, but mods tend to break the game from time to time.

If you’re on the receiving end of this, we are sure you fancy restoring the corrupted world instead of starting from scratch. There are multiple ways to fix corrupted Minecraft worlds and we provided you with the two below.

How to fix corrupted Minecraft world in a few simple steps
Create a new world and retrieve data
Try with the Region Fixer
Solution 1 – Create a new world
The first thing you can do if your Minecraft world gets corrupt is to create a new world and use some of the data files to retrieve as much of the old world as possible. Have in mind that this applies to the world only, as all your belongings and wear are not recoverable. What you’ll need to do is to back up the corrupted save file and use some of its data files to restore it into a new

Follow these steps to recover corrupted Minecraft world:

In the Windows Search bar, copy-paste the following line and press Enter:
%appdata%\.minecraft\saves
For the remainder of the tutorial, we’ll call the corrupted world World C. Copy the World C folder, rename it to World C and save it in the Saves folder.
Start Minecraft and re-create the corrupted world as a new world. Name it Blank, save it, and close Minecraft.
Go back to Saves folder (%appdata%\.minecraft\saves) and you should see a newly-created Blank world.
Copy the following files from the Blank folder to backed up World C:
level.dat
level.dat_mcr (not always present)
level.dat_old
session.lock
Restart Minecraft and load World C.
Solution 2 – Try with the Region Fixer
If you have an older backup of your world, you can use the Region Fixer to restore it or remove everything from your server locally. Corrupt worlds will cause your server to crash and that’s the last thing we want. What you need to do is download your backup and the server world. Now you can use an older backup to restore the world instead of starting from scratch.

READ ALSO: How to fix Minecraft error code 5 on Windows PCs
Here’s how to use Region Fixer:

From the in-game Multicraft Control Panel, choose File and then Backup. Save your world and exit the game.
Download your Minecraft server world to your PC.
Download Region Fixer from Gitbub, and extract it.
Open Command Prompt in the extracted Region Fixer window (Shift + Right Click) and enter the following commands:
cd
egionfixer.exe -p 4 –delete-corrupted

Don’t forget to replace “full directory path” with the path to extracted Region Fixer and “full directory path to world folder” with the path to the World folder.
Upload your world again with an FTP tool and look for changes.
With that said, we can conclude this article. Don’t forget to share alternative solutions or questions in the comments section below. If you’re still stuck with an error, consider posting your inquiry in the official forum or contacting support.

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Read more here: https://windowsreport.com/corrupted-minecraft-worlds/#.XClyA1wzbtQ

Pour one out, Minecraft on Xbox 360, PS3, PSVita and Wii U are no longer supported

Minecraft updates are no more on last-generation systems.

With the release of The Nightmare Before Christmas Mash-Up pack, Mojang has said goodbye to last-gen versions of Minecraft.

The Swedish developer has given Minecraft players more than most gamers would ever hope for. Since the game’s release in 2009, Minecraft has seen countless patches and additions. The last-gen versions of Minecraft have seen a wealth of support way after their successors rocked up, too.

The announcement came from 4J Studios, the porting studio behind Minecraft’s console versions. Posting on Twitter, the studio announced that they were packing up their dev kits of last-gen systems. There was also a crying emoji.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

4J Studios

@4JStudios
As we pack up our Xbox 360, PS3, PSVita and WiiU development kits, we’re getting all nostalgic 😢
Please share some of your best memories over the past six and a half years of Minecraft on these consoles!

3,094
6:29 PM – Dec 18, 2018
1,151 people are talking about this
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Minecraft was introduced to console players back in 2012 with the release of the Xbox 360 version. It was a huge deal and only boosted the game’s already stellar popularity. Since then, Minecraft has seen 73 Title Updates on the system. It really is the end of an era.

4J Studios

@4JStudios
TU73 (the final update) for Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition will be out later today, adding The Nightmare Before Christmas Mash-up Pack.
It’s been a long journey since TU1 on May 9, 2012!
Thank you to the more than 21 million #MinecraftX360 players for your support over the years 🙂

1,846
5:18 PM – Dec 18, 2018
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It’s rather sad that this is the end for Minecraft on last-gen systems – it was one of the few games still getting updates. So long, Minecraft. So long, last-gen.

Read more here: https://mspoweruser.com/pour-one-out-minecraft-on-xbox-360-ps3-psvita-and-wii-u-are-no-longer-supported/

‘Captain Marvel’ Star Brie Larson: “Who is Jude Even Playing?”

We’re only a few months away from finally seeing Captain Marvel on the big screen and there’s one mystery fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are dying to know… who is Jude Law playing?

The question has plagued us for a while and the film’s star, Brie Larson, is loving the tease. The actress shared a photo her and Law to Instagram yesterday, making fans even more eager to find out the truth behind Law’s character.

“Special handshake? Mid-air arm wrestle? Who is Jude even playing?!! So many questions we will forever refuse to answer because it’s fun to keep you antsy just a little bit longer,” Larson wrote.

For a long time, it was generally assumed that Law was playing Walter Lawson AKA Mar-Vell. In fact, he’s still listed as such on IMDB. In the comics, Mar-Vell is a Kree hero who dons the Captain Marvel suit. However, various toy leaks have indicated that Law would be playing Captain Marvel’s archnemesis, Yon-Rogg.

Last month, a look into Funko’s line of Captain Marvel POP! figurines named Law’s character Yon-Rogg. However, once the toys went live, the figure was renamed as “Star Commander”. The same happened again this week when Hasbro’s Captain Marvel wave of Marvel Legends figures also named him as the villain.

Things got even more confusing when the official Captain Marvel website declared Law was playing Mar-Vell, but then quickly removed it. Many theorize that since the film is expected to feature Skrulls, a race of (typically) villainous extraterrestrial shapeshifters, that there’s a chance Law could be playing multiple characters in the film.

While we love a good mystery, we definitely cannot wait to get some answers!

Who do you think Jude Law is playing in Captain Marvel? Tell us in the comments!

Captain Marvel stars Academy Award winner Brie Larson (Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou (Korath), Lee Pace (Ronan), Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan (Minn-Erva), Algenis Perez Soto, Rune Temte, McKenna Grace, Kenneth Mitchell (Joseph Danvers), with Clark Gregg (Phil Coulson), and Jude Law (???).

Captain Marvel is being released on March 8, 2019. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Avengers: Endgame on April 26, 2019, and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019.

Read more here: https://comicbook.com/marvel/2018/12/30/captain-marvel-star-brie-larson-who-is-jude-even-playing/

Marvel Fan Points Out Tony Stark’s Love for Peter Parker

All Marvel Cinematic Universe fans know that Spider-Man is Iron Man’s protege, but one fan on Reddit just realized exactly how much Tony Stark has done to improve Peter Parker’s life.

Redditor Arpanonfire noted in a post that Peter Parker’s room in Captain America: Civil War is pretty bare. He’s even dumpster diving for parts for his computer because he and his aunt are living on such a tight budget.

Things seem to have changed in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Peter’s room is full of stuff, including a new bunk bed to replace the old twin and a top of the line computer. It’s a teen boy’s dream.

“There’s no way in a period of what is only a few months that his family would be able to have enough money to pay for even half of this,” the post explains. “I had always thought this was a continuity error, but then I had a revelation. Who has enough money to pay for this? What man would buy a whole new room for a kid that he learns has been dumpster diving to get a decent computer? Tony. Freaking. Stark.”

The post goes on to note that Tony Stark isn’t the most openly emotional person and that he didn’t have much a father figure to learn from. But he does have money, and he would likely see Peter trying to work on an Apple II from the 1970s as wasted potential. It makes sense then that Tony would provide significant pay for Peter’s “internship.”

Tony also paid to have Peter’s Spider-Man costume upgraded. He designed and built the Iron Spider costume. Peter passed on using the new suit at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, but he was lucky to have it when he ended up leaving Earth in Avengers: Infinity War. Of course, even the Iron Spider suit couldn’t save Peter from the effects of Thanos’ snap, resulting in one of the most heartbreaking moments in the entire film.

What do you think of Tony’s love for Peter Parker? Did you notice this detail when you watched Spider-Man: Homecoming? Let us know what you think in the comments!

Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Avengers: Infinity War are all available now on home media.

Spider-Man returns in Spider-Man: Far From Home, opening in theaters on July 5, 2019.

Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019; and Avengers 4 on May 3, 2019.

Read more here: https://comicbook.com/marvel/2018/12/30/marvel-tony-stark-love-peter-parker/

‘The Punisher’ Season 2 Is About Frank Castle Embracing His Vigilante Identity

The first season of The Punisher was less about Frank Castle living up to his name, and more about exploring the circumstances that made him willing to kill criminals.

Though he does wear a kevlar vest with a skull painted on, Frank doesn’t really embrace his role as the Punisher in the first season. Expect that to happen in Season 2, says The Punisher showrunner Steve Lightfoot.

“If you ask, ‘What is the theme of Season 2?’,” Lightfoot told Collider, “It’s about Frank really adopting the mantle of The Punisher.”

The series will be the first Marvel Netflix series that does not begin in New York City, and will instead will start with a tour of the United States before Frank returns home to wrap up some loose ends. The first few episodes will show the title character “getting a look at the country he fought for but has never really seen,” according to Lightfoot.

In the new episodes, Frank will start off in casual clothes before upgrading to his signature comic book appearance — and the change will be significant to the story, a symbolic gesture, according to actor Jon Bernthal.

“This year, when he puts it on, we figured out a very intelligent, very tactical reason, a very psychologically tactical reason to wear it. It makes a lot of sense,” said Bernthal.

Bernthal addressed the costume in Season 1 and revealed that they almost included an introduction of the vest that he wasn’t very proud of, so he fought against it.

“There was going to be a whole scene with Micro where they’re at the computer figuring [the suit] out,” Bernthal said. “That was going to be the first time with him in the vest. [Micro] was just gonna’ sort of be drinking tea and I’m like, ‘You can’t do that. It’s gonna’ look so friggin’ stupid.'”

The Punisher Season 2 will not address the snap from Avengers: Infinity War, continuing the separation of Marvel Television and Marvel Studios, but it will include some returning villains.

Ben Barnes is going to return as Billy Russo, though he won’t be going by his comic book super villain name Jigsaw.

The second season will also include a new villain in John Pilgrim, described as an alt-right Christian Fundamentalist.

We’ll see how fans react to the second season of The Punisher when it premieres on Netflix sometime in January 2019.

More details here: https://comicbook.com/marvel/2018/12/30/the-punisher-season-2-embraces-vigilante-identity/

Minecraft, AirPods, YKTV top Snapchat’s 2019 trends

If businesses and marketers want to know what’s on Gen Xers’ minds in 2019, they need look no further than Snapchat.

Snap Inc. has identified the top games, tech, beauty, slang, memes and celebs that are trending upward on its flagship app as a way for its business partners to “get inspired for your upcoming products, creative and messaging.”

“Minecraft” is expected to remain popular next year, as are Apple’s wireless AirPods. Meanwhile, marketers might want to familiarize themselves with such slang as “YKTV” (“you know the vibes”), “on a date, kinda nervous” and “born day,” as well as the “you had one job” and “my last brain cell” memes.

Click here to read more.

Here’s what else Snap (NYSE: SNAP) has been up to recently:

Snap’s to-do list for 2019: Add more users before it runs out of money
CEO Evan Spiegel [has] quite a long to-do list for 2019, to say the least. He’s said in earnings calls that he still thinks Snap can turn a profit in 2019 — but it will be a serious stretch goal. Here’s what will need to be at the top of Snap’s to-do list in order to make that happen. (VentureBeat)

Snap reportedly turned down Facebook a second time
Snap Inc. CEO Evan Spiegel famously turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook to buy the then two-year-old Snapchat in 2013. If ever he regretted that decision, he reportedly had a second chance three years later to sell his hot ephemeral messaging app to the social media giant. (L.A. Biz)

China’s WeChat is the latest to get Snap-like ‘Stories’
WeChat, the Chinese messaging giant with more than 1 billion monthly active users around the world, just added a Snap-like ephemeral video feature as part of its biggest overhaul since 2014. (TechCrunch)

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel was at the heart of a Wall Street Journal company profile this week.
Enlarge
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel was at the heart of a Wall Street Journal company profile this week.
MIKE COHEN/THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Feb. 25

Evan Spiegel’s imperious style made Snapchat a success — until users fled
Snap, once seen as a viable competitor to Facebook, is struggling after the CEO ignored warnings about a redesign that proved unpopular.” (The Wall Street Journal) Subscriber content

Snapchat changes specs to look past the iPhone generation
As [Snap] looks back on 2018, where it recorded losses of more than $1 billion on revenues of just $791 million in the first three quarters, the clear target is to improve revenues and head towards profitability. It aims to do that in two ways: by getting more users who own smartphones running Google’s Android software; and by delivering more adverts to all its users through “programmatic” advertising bought automatically by ad agencies. (The Guardian)

Juul’s $12.8B deal is the biggest U.S. funding ever. Here’s the rest of the Top 11
Last week’s funding deal in which Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group Inc. bought a 35 percent stake in San Francisco vape startup Juul Labs Inc. is by far the biggest investment ever in a U.S. venture-backed company. Two of the Top 11, including Snap Inc., involve Los Angeles-area companies and five of the top deals all came in 2018. (Silicon Valley Business Journal)

These were Snapchat’s most popular lenses and Bitmojis of 2018
Lenses led the pack in 2018 when it came to one of the most used features in the Snapchat app, with [a] Snap spokesperson saying, “augmented reality and our Lenses continued to take one of the most central roles in the Snapchat experience.” (Fast Company)

Snap employees won’t get bonuses again this year
With Snap Inc. shares closing at an all-time low, it probably should come as no surprise that the social media company won’t be giving its employees cash bonuses this year. The Snapchat maker didn’t give out bonuses last year, either. (L.A. Biz)

More details here: https://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/news/2018/12/27/minecraft-airpods-yktv-top-snapchat-s-2019-trends.html

GTA VI – Top Five Most Exciting Rumors and Speculations

It’s been five years since GTA V launched and despite this, GTA V is still one of the most popular games in the world. To make things even better, Rockstar Games has kept the GTA franchise alive by constantly releasing updates for the Online version of GTA V and therefore, no one should be shocked to find out that GTA VI is the most anticipated game of 2019. On the downside of things, Rockstar Games has yet to make any announcement regarding the game’s official launch date and features.

The World’s Most Anticipated Game

GTA V has generated billions in revenue for Rockstar Games and everyone’s jaw dropped when the game developer announced that GTA VI is not going to be developed anytime soon. This didn’t make sense at first, but it’s all clear now that Red Dead Redemption 2 is out. Rockstar Games wanted to focus all its attention on Red Dead Redemption 2 and it was all worth it because this game was the runner-up for the GOTY (game of the year) award in 2018. Nonetheless, where does this leave GTA VI?

Now that we made it clear why Rockstar Games had to switch its attention from the GTA franchise over to Red Dead Redemption, we will go over the top five GTA VI rumors so that everyone can get an idea of what to expect from the next game that Rockstar Games is going to launch.

Top Five GTA VI Rumors

Before we get into it, we need to mention that all the rumors that we are going to present should be taken with the necessary grain of salt. We have no way of knowing if they will be proven to be true, but they are the most reliable ones on the web. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.

#1 2021 Launch Date

Game analysts believe that GTA VI is going to hit the markets somewhere in 2021. The reason behind this is because Rockstar Games usually leaves an eight years gap between its biggest titles. Take Red Dead Redemption 1 and its successor for example. Therefore, we might have to wait until 2020 until Rockstar Games announces GTA VI.

#2 Next-Generation Console

The other reason why Rockstar Games wants to wait until 2021 is because the game developer wants to give Microsoft and Sony enough time for them to release their next-gen consoles. This makes sense because GTA VI is surely going to ship with amazing graphics and a higher FPS cap that current-gen consoles can’t run without overheating and crashing.

#3 Multiple Countries

The action in all GTA titles until now has taken place in a city from the US. Well, it looks this might not be the case for GTA VI. The most reoccurring rumor about GTA VI on forums and subreddits is that the game is going to feature multiple countries and that players will get missions such as smuggling drugs overseas via airplanes. This is surely an interesting idea that gives room to the scriptwriters to create lots of exciting missions.

#4 VR Technology

The VR market is booming and there is no doubt about that. Therefore, we believe that Rockstar Games might want a “piece of the cake” and that it will introduce VR support in GTA VI. Considering that GTA V can be played both in first-person and third-person mode, we think that the idea of VR support in GTA VI is not for that crazy.

#5 Customizable Characters

The last rumor that we want to present in our list is about the main characters. Rumor has it that Rockstar Games wants to make the upcoming GTA VI the first ever GTA title where players can customize the protagonist. Now, this would be really awesome!

More details here: https://miamimorningstar.com/2018/12/28/gta-vi-top-five-most-exciting-rumors-and-speculations/

Minecraft Update Available – See What Version 1.84 Brings For PS4

Minecraft is one of the games that started small and managed to grow in time. Its constant updates are one of the reasons why it evolved so much. Each update brings something new, or, at the very least, it fixes some of the existing issues. Recently a new update has been released for PS4.

As you can already remember, the Minecraft holiday update was released last week, for PS4 as well as other platforms. It appears that there were some minor problems, so a new update was released for PS4 and it is now available for download.

Minecraft is available on various platforms including PC, smartphones, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita and Nintendo Switch. The game has millions of fans all over the world.

Minecraft version 1.84
If you are not sure whether you should download this update, we will let you know what the new version brings. The change log for patch 1.84 is available online, and the update was released on December 21st 2018.

First of all, this new version solves a crash that occurred whenever players attempted to explore an existing world or load a world. There is also a fix “for Salmon, Pufferfish or Tropical Fish dropping Cod when killed”.

As you can see, this update doesn’t bring numerous new additions. However, as always, it is recommended that you download a patch as soon as it appears. This way you can make sure that your game will run smoothly and you won’t encounter any crashes or other issues.

We remind you that systems such as Nintendo Wii U, Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita won’t receive future updates. Meanwhile, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 will continue to receive Minecraft support.

For more details: https://miamimorningstar.com/2018/12/30/minecraft-update-available-see-what-version-1-84-brings-for-ps4/

The kids’ Christmas gift guide: Minecraft, unicorns, slime and space cats

Full-sized joy for pint-sized people: here’s a happy mix of parent-pleasing, hygge-style presents, ‘cool aunt’-worthy clobber and the glittery, slimy, noisy stuff that children really want

Dinosaur excavation kit

Hearing the pitter-patter of tiny palaeontologists? Feed their passion with this delightfully dusty dinosaur excavation kit, complete with hammer, spade and brush. Kids can build the skeleton once they’ve unveiled it. Small Dinosaur Excavation Kit, £3.95, rexlondon.com

Circus play tent

Djeco Multicoloured Tent Hut, £49, alexandalexa.com
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A million times better than bedsheets for building the den of dreams, Djeco’s charming circus tent achieves the nigh-on impossible by being both brilliant kids’ plaything and pleasing home accent. Spot on for story time. Djeco Multicoloured Tent Hut, £49, alexandalexa.com

Minecraft water bottle

Kids minecraft water bottle
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Combining two of 2018’s biggest things: Minecraft and reusable water bottles. Bet your bottle isn’t called a FUNtainer though, is it? Being an adult sucks. Minecraft Thermos FUNtainer Water Bottle, £15.59, minecraftshop.com

Unicorn dress

Upcycling unicorn dress, £59, minirodini.com
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Super-stylish Scandi kit for kids, Mini Rodini’s party line is playful, printed and planet-friendly – like this upcycled organic cotton dress, featuring the mythical beast du jour. Upcycling unicorn dress, £59, minirodini.com

i-Top

i-Top Electronic Spinning Top Game
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Before you say it, not a spinning top. This year’s best-selling, spectacularly addictive, light-up game – in three play modes. Does kind of act like a spinning top … i-Top Electronic Spinning Top Game, £14.99, johnlewis.com

Little people, big dreams

Little People, BIG DREAMS board books,
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Introducing children to inspirational women from Rosa Parks to Georgia O’Keefe through inspiring, accessible illustrations, the beloved Little People, Big Dreams books have long been bestsellers. These stories have now been opened up to younger readers, published as board books in simple sentences to read aloud to babies and toddlers. Start them early on Angelou, Earhart, Kahlo and Curie. Little People, BIG DREAMS board books, £5.99, amazon.co.uk

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DIY snow globe

The Snowman make your own snow globe, £12.99, gosh.org
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Kids can create their own Snowman snow globe in this very merry tribute to Raymond Brigg’s classic Christmas story – with all profits going to Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity. The Snowman make your own snow globe, £12.99, gosh.org

Cra-z slime studio

Cra-z Super Slime Studio, £29.99, argos.co.uk
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A serious slime station that lets kids create gunk in a miscellany of glittery and high-glow shades. Cra-z Super Slime Studio, £29.99, selfridges.com

Leo loungewear

LeonDré lounge wear set, £20.99, pandalondononline.co.uk
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Leopard-cub-print loungewear from the coolest kidswear company in the playground. Hear them roar. LeonDré lounge wear set, £20.99, pandalondononline.co.uk

Lego creative box

Kids lego
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Lego might come kitted out for every Potter, Avengers or Star Wars story, but nothing beats the magic of making up your own. Get them going with the classic creative box: almost 800 bricks in 33 colours, primed for wizards, distant galaxies, and parochial shop scenes. Whatever they’re into. Lego Classic Large Creative Brick Box, £39.99, shop.lego.com

Lush rainbow fun

Kids rainbow
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Multi-purpose, mouldable bath putty in enough shades to sing a rainbow – each with their own so-good-you-could-eat-it (they are non-toxic, but not advisable) scent. Shape it into any magical bath monster you like, then use it as bubble bath, body wash and shampoo. Infinite fun. Rainbow Fun, £8.50, lush.com

Monopoly: Fortnite Edition

Monopoly: Fortnite Edition Board Game, £21.99, Smyths Toys
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They’re obsessing over Fortnite; you’re worrying about Fortnite addiction clinics? Take it offline with the Monopoly: Fortnite Edition. Recognisably Fortnite, reassuringly analogue. Monopoly: Fortnite Edition Board Game, £21.99, game.co.uk

The Week Junior

Kids TheWeekJunior
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A clever current affairs weekly that encourages curiosity and critical thinking, covering the news clearly and compellingly, without ever condescending. The Week Junior, from £21.50, theweekjunior.co.uk

Football pencil case

Kids PencilCase1
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Just when you thought double maths couldn’t get anymore exciting, bag-makers to the young and fun, Smiggle, only went and put fake grass and a football table on a pencil case. Totally appropriate for adult meetings too. Football Grass Hardtop Pencil Case, £15.99, smiggle.co.uk

Fox hat

British Heart Foundation’s girls’ knitted fox hat, £4.99, available at 530 BHF shops nationwide
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Cute, cosy and all for a good cause. Knitted fox hat, £4.99, available at 530 British Heart Foundation shops nationwide

Colour-in cape

Selfie Clothing Co Colour-In Cape, £25, kidly.co.uk
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Of course a self-made, modern-day superhero would colour in their own cape. Super-cool super-hero-wear in three fun cartoon designs. Selfie Clothing Co Colour-In Cape, £25, kidly.co.uk

Wooden workbench

Kids wooden workbench
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Smart interior design meets DIY with Le Toy Van’s workbench, packing in 12 top tools, a chalkboard and a workbench, all in stylish muted colours with a high-end wooden finish. Le Toy Van’s Alex’s Work Bench, £114.95, cottagetoys.co.uk

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Poopsie unicorn slime surprise

Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise, £49.99, argos.co.uk
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A half slightly grotesque, half totally genius gift for anyone who likes any of the following: slime, glitter, unicorns or toilet humour. In other words, all children, and most adults. Unashamedly bringing together all four, this is one of this Christmas’s biggest buys. It comes with a handy keyring, so you can carry your high-sparkle-unicorn-slime-poo with you wherever you go, if you are a child with keys. Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise, £49.99, argos.co.uk

Basketball laundry hoop

Basketball Laundry Bag, £16.95, rexlondon.com
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Since a Mary Poppins-style spoonful of sugar is frowned upon these days, we’ve had to up our game. Try this smart basketball laundry hoop to keep them entertained and orderly. Basketball Laundry Bag, £16.95, rexlondon.com

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Thomas bear

Jellycat Thomas Bear soother
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A cuddly bear cub comfort blanket with velvety bits, fluffy bits, gingham bits and chewable bits. 100% hugs. Jellycat Thomas Bear soother, £13, jellycat.com

Dark points sweater

Starstyling red glow points sweater, £48.99
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By day, a jazzy spotty sweatshirt from Berlin brand Starstyling. By night, its polka dots glow in the dark like stars. Also comes in adult. Result. Starstyling red glow points sweater, £48.99, trouva.com

Robot Tobbie

Robot Tobbie, £30, sciencemuseum.org.uk
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Tobbie is an interactive, bug-eyed, six-legged robot – kids start by building it, then programme to either trail their movements (will also follow other Tobbies, annoying siblings etc) or “explore”, using infrared sensors to avoid obstacles. Stem-informed and surprisingly sweet for a hexapod. Robot Tobbie, £30, sciencemuseum.org.uk

Dancing kangaroo

Kids kangaroo
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Every parent’s pre-plastic paradise, design store Skandium sells architectural wooden toys from everyone from Eames to Georg Jensen. Plan Toys’ sustainable kangaroo stroller is perfect for artsy new walkers. Dancing kangaroo, £21.99, skandium.com

Sweet tooth pencils

Sweet Tooth Pencil 4 Pack
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Sweet treat stocking filling pencil pack. Inedible, sadly. Sweet Tooth Pencil 4 Pack, £5, neon-sheep.com

Make your own matryoshka

Create your own matryoshka, £16, tate.org.uk
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Kids can draw their own designs on this full family of DIY nesting dolls – with wipe-clean coloured markers, so they can create their Russian masterpieces again and again. Create your own matryoshka, £16, tate.org.uk

Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey

Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey by Ben Newman & Dr Dominic Walliman, £14.07,
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This cool cat navigates the marvels of the human body in an engaging, educational (and medically approved) illustrated adventure. What does yours do? Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey by Ben Newman & Dr Dominic Walliman, £14.07, guardianbookshop.com

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Miffy backpack

Kids 0000s 0010 Miffy-Bag,-£15,-miffyshop.co.uk
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Chic striped school bag from everyone’s favourite Dutch bunny. Cute as a button-nose. Miffy Eva Backpack, £15, miffyshop.co.uk

L.O.L. Surprise doll

L.O.L Surprise Pass The Surprise Electronic Mystery Passing Game, £14.99, johnlewis.com
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If you thought playing with the doll of the year was a little bit like pass the parcel without the passing, you’ll be pleased to see the L.O.L Doll becoming sharable. This hot-potato-style game is still joyously pink, plastic and full of surprises. L.O.L Surprise Pass The Surprise Electronic Mystery Passing Game, £14.99, johnlewis.com

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Furry pram suit

Faux fur pram suit,
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Because if you think babies are adorable, you should see a baby dressed up like a bear. Faux fur pram suit, £39, mamasandpapas.com

Adventures of extraordinary women

good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, £22, guardianbookshop.com
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Revolutionary bestselling bedtime book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is back, with another 100 inspiring, exciting stories of extraordinary women, from Nefertiti to Beyoncé, Rosalind Franklin to JK Rowling. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2, by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, £22, guardianbookshop.com

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Bamboo bowls

Liewood bamboo bowls, £17 for two, kidly.co.uk
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Bamboo pussycat bowls for pretty pink breakfasts. Purrrfect. Liewood bamboo bowls, £17 for two, kidly.co.uk

Electronic piano mat

Giant Electronic Piano Mat
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Have your own Tom Hanks moment at home with this fun floor piano mat. Cough. We mean help them have their Tom Hanks moment, obviously. Giant Electronic Piano Mat, £24, johnlewis.com

Star music mobile

Star music mobile
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A cotton star with culture – Fern Living’s handsome mobile plays Brahms’s Lullaby. Star music mobile, £17, alexandalexa.com

Balance bike

Balance bike
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Smarter than stabilisers, the lightweight balance bike goes from tricycle to two-wheeler, helping kids hone balance, steering and Wiggins-worthy swagger. Balance bike, £109.95, micro-scooters.co.uk

Cloud night light

Cloud Night Light, £5.95, rexlondon.com
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LEGO Minecraft series expands in 2019 with BigFigs [News]

From humble beginnings as a single microscale set, the LEGO Minecraft series has grown into a cornerstone of the LEGO product line. In addition to two new minifigure-scale sets, the January 2019 wave includes a new concept — buildable “BigFigs” of Minecraft characters.

The initial series of BigFigs includes playable characters Steve and Alex as well as a Skeleton enemy character (or “hostile mob” in Minecraft parlance). Each BigFig set also comes with a smaller secondary character — Alex comes with a chicken, Steve comes with a parrot, and the Skeleton comes with a Magma Cube. We’ll be bringing you hands-on reviews of these sets very soon, but for now you can take a look at the official images below.

21148 — Steve with Parrot
159 pieces | $14.99 USD | Available January 1, 2019
Steve with Parrot

Each BigFig includes a play feature. Alex and Steve each have a lever on their back that raises and lowers an arm. This play feature is perfect for mining or fighting or punching trees.

21149 — Alex with Chicken
160 pieces | $14.99 USD | Available January 1, 2019

Each BigFig includes a pixelated accessory built out of large new pieces adorned with tiles. Steve has a stone pickaxe, Alex has a diamond sword, and the Skeleton has a bow.

21150 — Skeleton with Magma Cube
142 pieces | $14.99 USD | Available January 1, 2019

The Skelton BigFig features a removable iron helmet which can also be worn by Alex or Steve.

21152 — The Pirate Ship Adventure
386 pieces | $39.99 USD | Available January 1, 2019

The Pirate Ship Adventure is the first LEGO Minecraft set to include the Dolphin, Turtle, and Parrot mobs. The Pirate minifigure is also a new addition to the selection of player “skins” for LEGO Minecraft. This set also includes a brand new pixelated flame piece for the hapless Zombie who stayed out past dawn.

21151 — The End Battle
222 pieces | $19.99 USD | Available January 1, 2019

The End Battle brings a very welcome redesign of the Ender Dragon boss mob. The original Ender Dragon from 2014 was a little oversized and its use of curvy wings stood out in an otherwise blocky series. The new version is slimmed down, has brick-built wings, and can now shoot purple firebolts. This set is also a fraction of the cost of The Ender Dragon set from 2014, so I suspect it will be a very popular one.

The set also contains a new Dragon Slayer minifigure and a code to unlock this skin in the Bedrock Edition of the game.

Top ‘Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Leaker Has a Shocking Update on 3rd-Party DLC

When it comes to leaks and speculation over new Super Smash Bros. Ultimate characters, Minecraft is usually near the top of the list. That’s because prolific fighting game leaker Vergeben (an anonymous tipster who correctly predicted other Ultimate additions like Ridley, Isabelle, Incineroar, and Simon Richter) continues to state that the sandbox game will feature in the latest Smash. Except, maybe not the way you thought it would.

In a recent post on the GameFAQs forum, Vergeben backpedaled a bit on previous reports that Smash Bros. Ultimate would be getting a playable character from Minecraft, instead suggesting the crossover might take another form entirely.

“Minecraft is in Smash but represented with a boss,” they wrote. “I am curious if Minecraft representation about being a fighter or AT [Assist Trophy] was an intentional misdirect now. But there you have it.”

Beyond the news that a Minecraft character won’t be in the game, the inclusion of a new boss likely has even bigger implications. Since all the bosses included in the game at launch have already been datamined, that means this one would have to come via downloadable content — assuming Vergeben is right that is.

As for the specific boss, our best guess is that it would be the Ender Dragon, the first boss to appear in Minecraft. Then again, Vergeben doesn’t seem as confident as usual on this one, so we wouldn’t count on fighting a blocky, pixelated dragon in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate just yet.

“I’m not entirely sure what all it means,” they wrote. “But I was told earlier that exact quote that I shared from my most accurate of all sources. I’m as confused & curious as you are what the implications of that mean.”

So there you have it. When it comes to Minecraft and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate even the top leaker isn’t sure what to think, but for now, it definitely seems like something big could be in the works.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches December 7 for Nintendo Switch.*

LEGO Minecraft Big Figs Series 1: 21148 Steve with Parrot, 21149 Alex with Chicken, and 21150 Skeleton with Magma Cube [Review]

Minecraft keeps getting bigger — and I’m not just talking about the game’s record-breaking sales. The original LEGO Minecraft set I helped design back in 2011 as part of LEGO’s early Ideas platform was microscale, mostly due to the steep constraints of hitting a roughly $30 MSRP target. Later, that first wildly successful set was followed by more microscale sets, and finally in 2014 the theme got upgraded to our original vision by introducing minifigure-scale sets. Recently, LEGO bumped up the scale a bit with 41612 Steve and Creeper BrickHeadz. Now LEGO Minecraft is upping its game once more with a new line called Big Figs, and we’ve got the first series comprising three sets to review: 21148 Steve with Parrot, 21149 Alex with Chicken, and 21150 Skeleton with Magma Cube. Each of the sets contains a large figure paired with a small animal from the game, and will be available January 1 for $14.99 USD.

The box and contents
With each set hovering around 150 pieces (159 for Steve, 160 for Alex, and 142 for the Skeleton), it’s no surprise that the small bags in each box aren’t numbered.

The last page of the instructions notes that these three sets comprise Series 1 of the Minecraft Big Figs, though the box exteriors don’t indicate any series markings. It’s a safe bet that more characters are already in the pipeline.

For being such small sets, there’s a large diversity of colors, though Alex takes the cake for best parts, in my opinion, with an interesting smattering of orange and sand green along with six teal 1×1 tiles. Each set also includes unique printed tiles for the characters’ faces, and both the Chicken and Magma Cube feature printed tiles for faces also.

If you’ve been itching to get your hands on a few of the new bracket elements we first encountered in the latest Modular, 10264 Corner Garage, then you’ll like these sets, which each come with several. You’ll get 2x in dark grey and 1x in tan from Steve, 2x in dark grey and 1x in yellow from Alex, and 2x in white and 1x in black from the Skeleton.

The sets also feature new unique elements for the weapons, which are likely to always be exclusive to the Minecraft Big Figs due to their highly specialized nature. Steve is equipped with a pickaxe, while Alex and the Skeleton wield the sword and bow, respectively. The weapons are a single plate thick and have solid studs on one side and hollow studs on the other. They’re not quite symmetrical, with the hollow-stud side also have a few anti-studs.

The build
Both Steven and Alex feature blocky bodies that are identical except in color. The torso hides a small lever that activates their main play feature of a moving arm.

The legs and head are attached with Mixel-ball joints, and each of the feet employs the 2×2 brackets I mentioned previously to give the feet a nice set of anti-studs to grip LEGO plates when standing.

Lacking a body, the skeleton’s interior is also its exterior, so there’s not much to cover in terms of hidden techniques. Likewise, the Chicken and Parrot are quite simple builds from the perspective of techniques. The Magma Cube is also rudimentary, but it does feature a little mechanism to let it stretch for a jump.

The finished models
If you’ve played Minecraft at all, you’ll immediately note how remarkable the resemblance and proportions of these characters are to their in-game counterparts. LEGO Minecraft minifigures may look odd with cubic heads, but these larger brick-built figures look right at home in brick form. Each character comes with a 6×6 plate to stand on, though Steve and Alex balance fairly well without them (the Skeleton is a bit more precarious).

The range of motions achievable by the characters is very, very close to that of the game, making you feel as though you’re seeing a part of the game actually brought to life.

The finger-activated lever on Steve and Alex’s back works well, with the weight of the arm naturally returning it to a resting position. The tools are molded in the color of their lowest level material: wood for the pickaxe and stone for the sword (bows are always wood). They rely on tiles to indicate their upgraded source material, with Steve carrying a stone pickaxe and Alex a diamond sword. It’s a cool feature that allows kids to swap out the source material by simply adding tiles from their own collections, but I do wish the base weapons also had upgraded colors. I’d bet that’s something we’ll see in the future as the line continues.

The accessories can be swapped between hands, requiring a 2×2 tile on the arm to be removed and replaced. One minor criticism is that LEGO didn’t bother molding the 1×2 brackets for the hands in tan, opting to use the existing dark tan element.

The skeleton is wearing an iron helmet and — somewhat surprisingly — it’s not only removable, but it fits all the characters, portending a nifty system of interchangeable armor. His bow also features a spring-loaded dart shooter with a solid brown dart (plus an extra). The dart shooter just stuck on the side of the bow and not integrated at all, so it looks a bit tacky but is also easy to remove.

The three companion animals are all excellent renditions, rivaling the larger characters for accuracy.The chicken is easily my favorite, however, with an uncanny resemblance to the squawking model in the game. These will make perfect desk companions.

The baby Magma Cube may be tiny, but he can still hurt! The little “jumping” mechanism simply splits the body by about a brick when the cube is lifted by the top half. For such a simple mechanism, it conveys the creature’s motion quite well.

Conclusion and recommendation
Let’s be honest, adult fans of LEGO don’t always love Minecraft or the LEGO Minecraft theme. And that’s OK. Not every theme needs to cater to the adults in the crowd along with its core audience of 6-12-year-olds. But we here at The Brothers Brick always advocate excellence in building, regardless of the theme. And the LEGO Minecraft Big Figs are excellent. They’re amazingly accurate models, they’re sturdy enough to withstand kid play, and they don’t rely on any specialized elements apart from the accessories. This scale fits LEGO Minecraft perfectly. Now there’s just one thing we’re missing: some scale blocks to accompany them.

21148 Steve with Parrot includes 159 pieces. The set will be available January 1st, 2019 from the LEGO Shop (US $14.99 | CA $19.99 | UK £12.99), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.

21149 Alex with Chicken includes 160 pieces. The set will be available January 1st, 2019 from the LEGO Shop (US $14.99 | CA $19.99 | UK £12.99), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.

21159 Skeleton with Magma Cube includes 142 pieces. The set will be available January 1st, 2019 from the LEGO Shop (US $14.99 | CA $19.99 | UK £12.99), Amazon.com, eBay, BrickLink, and elsewhere.

The LEGO Group sent The Brothers Brick early copies of these sets for review. Providing TBB with products for review guarantees neither coverage nor positive reviews.

Minecraft Update Version 1.83 Patch Notes For PS4

4J Studios has released Minecraft update version 1.83 for PS4 today. Here are the full patch notes that are available for this update.

Minecraft on PS4 usually lags behind the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch version. It still gets strong post-launch support from the developer 4J Studios. The new update to Minecraft for the PS4 is out now and it seems to add the new content packs that were released on other platforms. This includes the Holiday update, and The Nightmare before Christmas Mash-Up Pack.

minecraft-360_2-1024×720

The full patch notes for Minecraft update version 1.83 can be seen below. They are mainly for the PS4 version.

Minecraft Update Version 1.83 Patch Notes For PS4
Added The Nightmare before Christmas Mash-Up Pack.
Added the Holiday Update.
Added six new Trophies to acquire.
Added Cats, a new(ish) mob that spawns in villages and can be tamed with tasty fish. Cats scare off Phantoms, so if you don’t like to sleep much they’re the perfect pet!
Added Pandas, cuddly bears that love to eat Bamboo and have surprisingly complex genetics.
Lazy Pandas like to lie about just eating Bamboo all day.
Weak Pandas sneeze gross slime, and have less health than other Pandas.
Worried Pandas are scared of thunderstorms and other mobs.
Aggressive Pandas hit harder, and fight for their friends.
Playful Pandas enjoy rolling around and having fun!
Brown Pandas are exceptionally rare, and have unique looks.
Added Bamboo plants, that can be used to construct Scaffolding or feed Pandas.
Added Scaffolding blocks, a new way to quickly build and climb buildings. Check the How to Play page for more info!
Ocelots no longer turn into Cats, but you can still earn their trust in the usual way.
Added white, black, blue, and brown Dyes.
Fix for Crash that would occur while near areas with Snow.
Fix for Barrier block in the Tutorial level.
Fix for Crash that would occur when TNT blew up a Fence post and Shulker Box.
Minecraft is available now for the PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS3, Xbox 360, PS Vita, Nintendo Wii U and Smartphones.

Minecraft Bedrock update celebrates the arrival of… Pandas!

Minecraft: Java Edition players might be the first to get their hands on the the version 3 textures refresh, but Bedrock Edition users are getting an even better surprise today, pandas. The new creature, first introduced at Microsoft’s Xbox E3 event, loves bamboo (also new) and is highly protective of its cubs.

And with the introduction of bamboo, also comes scaffolding, a block that allows users to move up and down more safely than ladders and stairs. Cats have also been redesigned, and new experimental crossbow enchantments have been added as well for players to try.

Cats have been redesigned in Minecraft

The 1.8 update is available on every application store that Mojang officially distributes to, including those linked down below. Microsoft is also now allowing players on the Xbox One to subscribe to Minecraft Realms for the same $3-99-$7.99 per month as other platforms, so that they can more effortlessly keep the service active.

FREE MINECRAFT WINTER GIFTS BUNDLE HITS MINECRAFT MARKETPLACE

Mojang continues to celebrate the season, with the free Minecraft Winter Gifts Bundle now available to download on the Minecraft Marketplace.

This contains 13 packs from community creators, which are the Winter Wonders Skin Pack (Minecraft), Hollydale (Blockworks), Snowball Warriors (Pathway Studios), Christmas Jumpers (57Digital), My Snowy Journey Skin Pack (Toya), Lucky Present Survival (Jigarbov Productions), Ginger and Alaska (Visula), Snowstorm Simulator (Snowstorm Simulator), Norse Mythology Bonus Skins (Minecraft), Santa’s Gift Hunt (Polymaps), Ugly Jumper Contest (Razzleberries), The Lost Civilisation (Blockception) and Ready Sleddy Go! (Noxcrew).

“Starting today until 3rd January 2019, you can download the Winter Gifts Bundle from the Minecraft Marketplace. This completely free bundle is stuffed with worlds, skins, texture packs and more, all from your favourite community creators!” Mojang explains.

“Don’t forget to check out Catastrophic Pandamonium while you’re visiting the Marketplace. Catastrophic Pandamonium is a fantastic and free new adventure map starring cats and pandas, so head over to the Minecraft Marketplace to check out both of these great gifts. Happy holidays!”

Learning via Minecraft

The immersive game-based platform is being used to help students develop 21st century skills, writes Balqis Lim

MOHAMMAD Aliff Othman begins to choke up as he talks about his students’ development.

That’s how passionate this 29-year-old teacher is in making a difference in the children’s life.

A Geography subject teacher, Aliff uses Minecraft: Education Edition in his classroom to explain certain topics during a lesson.

He says that instead of “chalk and talk”, Minecraft is very good to engage students in class. It also boosts the students creativity and enhances their 21st century skills, he adds.

Minecraft, developed in 2011 by a Swedish company Mojang, is a game that allows players to build with a variety of different blocks in a 3D procedurally-generated world.

After acquiring Mojang in 2014, Microsoft also bought over MinecraftEdu that was developed by TeacherGaming, and launched a new version of Minecraft in 2016 that’s dedicated to learning. It’s called Minecraft: Education Edition.

MINECRAFT IN MALAYSIA
MRSM Tun Mohammad Fuad Stephens in Sandakan, Sabah was the first school in the country to adopt the Minecraft: Education Edition.

Aliff, who was teaching at the school, first learned about Minecraft: Education Edition last year while attending a Microsoft Education Exchange event.

On returning to Malaysia, he gathered some students to try it out.

“As I am not a gamer, I had my students teach me the technical parts of playing it.

“These students were the naughty ones but instead of punishing them, I gave them this task,” says Aliff, who is now a certified Minecraft Global Trainer.

Students using Minecraft in class.
At the first Minecraft workshop held recently, he was invited as an instructor.

The workshop was a joint effort by Microsoft Malaysia, National STEM Centre and Digital Classroom, a teacher community. A total of 70 teachers from different schools and backgrounds participated in it.

MINECRAFT IMPACT
Since Aliff started using Minecraft in classroom, he says a learn-with-each-other environment was also created.

“Today, teachers are no longer “kings” in the classroom who know everything. The students learn from their peers. The teachers too learn from their students.

“I truly believe in this outcome. Most importantly, the teacher-student relationship is now strong.

“Besides enhancing creativity and skillset, Minecraft makes the learning more powerful as the students feel like they ‘own’ the learning,” says Aliff.

Students with their AR creation.
Meanwhile, a science teacher at SMK Jenjarom, Selangor, Abd Rahman Ali Bashah, sees Minecraft as having big potential in developing the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills.

He plans to form a team with his students when school reopens next year.

“In STEM, we encourage students to create something based on a real situation. It’s a hands-on approach. For example, students can design a building or a bridge to solve problems.

“These lessons blend concepts from science and engineering through creativity and critical thinking,” says Rahman.

A creation by one of Aliff’s students.
For Aliff, the students’ engagement in class is more important than merely good grades.

“Yes, getting A in exams is important but how meaningful is the grade? Via the STEM and Minecraft approach, I can see that my students’ engagement in class has increased. They are now bolder in taking risks.

“They are not afraid to try new things now and they also have better understanding of the subjects,” says Aliff.

The Microsoft Showcase School now has teachers using Minecraft in their lesson activities.

About 2,000 Minecraft licences have been acquired by not only MRSM Tun Mohammad Fuad Stephens but also other MRSM schools nationwide.

STUDENTS PERSPECTIVE
Students who have tried out Minecraft say it an exciting and engaging learning platform.

Form Five student Amirul Hafiz Zulazli from MRSM Transkrian in Penang enjoys playing the game but he has only tried the original Minecraft game and not the educational version.

“We don’t have it at school because our teachers think it’s just a game and hardly educational.

“But I think otherwise. This game is a great way for people to explore their creativity. I hope our teachers will allow Minecraft to be used as a learning tool in our lessons,” he says.

Nor Sofea Alyea Mohd Shairani, 11, concurs.

“I started playing Minecraft since early this year and I believe the game helped me in my Science subject.

“A lot of thinking and planning need to be applied into designing my virtual world. The canvas is so vast and limitless. I also collaborate with my friends to construct the buildings,” she says.

Minecraft is used as a hands-on activity to relate to certain topics.
According to Aliff, deploying Minecraft is not an easy task. It’s a long process which needs the support from school, he adds.

He laments that teachers nowadays are still preoccupied with grades and sceptical about Minecraft as a teaching tool.

“Minecraft is not about getting As in exams. It’s for the development of students. It’s not something that can be measured. Anyone can teach but experience itself cannot be taught unless we give students the space and opportunity to try and explore it themselves. That is more valuable than any ‘A’,” says Aliff.

“If teachers are afraid about the students getting attached to the game, they can treat it as a reward when the students behave well in class,” he adds.

MINISTRY’S PARTICIPATION
Anita Adnan, the teacher engagement manager at Microsoft Malaysia’s Education Segment, says Minecraft: Education Edition is an open world game that promotes creativity, collaboration and problem-solving in an immersive environment.

This sets it apart from other games and the only limit is the children’s imagination, she says.

“Children today are very digital literate. Using books and giving them homework are not enough. Teachers need to catch up with current trends and technology.

“Minecraft can also be embedded in ICT programmes or curriculum, suggests Anita.

Aliff teaching a group of educators at the Minecraft workshop.
The collaboration with the National STEM Centre will see Microsoft having a more structured plan where they will help 2,000 schools to try out Minecraft.

National STEM Centre head unit Dr Ihsan Ismail says the collaboration is aimed at creating awareness about Minecraft in public schools.

“With Minecraft, we hope to instill students’ interest in maths and science. Although a proper module has not been finalised, there is a possibility that Minecraft will be used as one learning tool.

“At this early stage, we want to encourage teachers and students to use it so that the ministry can monitor and evaluate its impact. If the outcome is positive, we may extend it to all,” he says.

Telltale’s last completed project, Minecraft: Story Mode for Netflix, is out now

Netflix’s Minecraft: Story mode, an interactive TV reworking of Telltale Games’ episodic Minecraft adventure, is now available to stream in full. It marks the last Telltale project to be completed in-house, prior to the studio’s closure.

When Telltale announced that it had laid off the vast majority of staff earlier this year, it noted that “a small group of 25 employees [would be] staying on to fulfil the company’s obligations to its board and partners.” Netflix later confirmed that, while its Stranger Things project with Telltale was dead, Minecraft: Story Mode was “still moving forward as planned” at the studio.

That work is evidently complete, and, following the release of an initial batch of episodes last week, the full five-episode run of Minecraft: Story Mode is now available to Netflix subscribers. Netflix’s version of Story Mode pares the game’s first season back somewhat, focussing on key cinematic sequences and more binary choices compared to the originals.

If you’ve not yet experienced Story Mode, it’s worth a look, even if you’ve only a passing interest in Minecraft. It’s a warm, witty (and obviously family friendly) tale of everyday heroes battling against an ancient evil, full of likeable characters and rollicking adventure – not bad at all considering its almost story-free source material.

With Minecraft: Story Mode now complete, that just leaves Telltale’s final season of The Walking Dead to go – although remaining work on this project is now being handled by an external developer. Massive redundancies at Telltale left the season’s future uncertain, despite several episodes already having been released at the time.

Since then, however, Skybound – founded by Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead comic series – has stepped in to complete the game. Release dates for the two remaining episodes, which are being developed by at least some of the original team, are due soon.

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