Minecraft is popular—really popular. So it’s no surprise that Pfizer is looking to capitalize on that success.
The pharma giant has launched Hemocraft, a take on the ultrasuccessful video game that’s just for hemophilia patients. Developed in partnership with the Entrepreneurial Game Studio at Drexel University and representatives from the hemophilia community, the game is meant to help younger patients—between the ages of eight and 16—learn “the importance of integrating treatment into their routine,” Pfizer said.
How does Hemocraft do that? As part of their quest, game players interact with the so-called “village doctor”—a fictional healthcare professional—to learn how to adhere to their treatment plans and understand how their therapies work. They put that knowledge to use throughout the game, as they’re challenged to monitor factor levels and self-infuse to control bleeding.
If Hemocraft turns out to be a hit even a fraction of the size of Minecraft, Pfizer will be in good shape. The building game has sold more than 1 million copies around the world and ranks high among the most popular games ever created.
But Pfizer isn’t stopping there. It’s also rolled out a new piece of wearable tech: a wristband dubbed HemMobile Striiv. The wearable—the first made for hemophilia patients, Pfizer says—tracks activity levels and heart rate, and the company is offering it free of charge to all U.S. hemophilia patients, no matter what therapy they’re on. To use it, though, patients will likely want to download the HemMobile app—used to log bleeds and infusions, monitor factor supply and set appointment reminders–that Pfizer already offers.
“These new digital innovations can be integrated into everyday routines to help empower people with hemophilia to learn about and track different aspects relevant to their disease so that they can have informed conversations with their health care providers,” Kevin Williams, chief medical officer of Pfizer’s rare-disease unit, said in a statement.
Pfizer, which markets recombinant factor IX treatment BeneFix, is currently battling a host of companies in the hemophilia field, including Bioverativ, Novo Nordisk, Shire and Bayer. And things are only set to get more intense once gene therapies hit the scene.
At that point, though, the New York drugmaker is hoping to be in the thick of things; in late 2014, it struck a gene therapy collaboration with Spark Therapeutics over hemophilia B candidate SPK-FIX.
Outside of painted cardboard boxes and foam, toys are the best way to play with Minecraft in the real world. Jinx’s second series of Minecraft Craftables vinyl toys feature nine collectible kits that combine together into three iconic Minecraft locales.
The first wave of Craftables, currently sold out at Jinx but possibly available elsewhere, were singular builds. The nine kits in the series each featured a character, creature or combination of the two. Opening one of the blind boxes revealed a set of small vinyl bits that combined into a larger vinyl bit, and the constructing was done.
Series two does things a little differently. Each of the nine kits available still function as a solo piece, but this time around the pieces combine into a larger scene. For example, here is the Ender Dragon, freshly removed from its box.
Once assembled we’ve got a nifty little figure of the dragon perched on a tower, blowing a lovely translucent gout of purple pixel flame.
Here’s another kit. This one is Alex and Steve, outfitted in diamond armor. It’s kind of a weird pose, with the two facing one another. Are they quarreling among themselves?
And what of the mysterious Enderman, which refuses to be photographed without blur no matter how I tried?
Once the three sets are combined, it all makes sense. Alex is defending against the dragon’s flames, while Steve prepares to loose an arrow in the Enderman’s direction, like that will help. These two heroes are so dead.
Meanwhile, in the Nether, Steve stands poised to battle . . . something.
Or maybe he’s running away from the zombie pigman, whose base connects to Steve’s set, adding a stream of molten lava to the mix?
Or maybe, just maybe, the two of them are teaming up to fight against the creepy Ghast, floating above a bed of translucent orange?
My favorite of the three combined sets begins with a pig peeking out of a window. Had I received no other sets but the pig peeking out of the window, I would have been perfectly happy.
I would have also accepted the horse with its head stretched over a fence, chewing on some grass. You can’t go wrong with a blocky horse.
Especially a blocky horse with a duck attached to its tail.
I probably wouldn’t have been as happy had I just received the village priest. With his high forehead and what looks like Burt from Sesame Street’s nose, the dude creeps me out.
Put them all together, however, and suddenly he’s not so bad. We now see that the pig feels the same way I do, and the cow couldn’t care less. He’s got a mouthful of grass and a tail duck.
All in all, Minecraft Craftables series two is pretty sweet, definitely a big improvement over the original. The only problem is the delivery method. Since these come in blind boxes, fans will either have to pray they get the right nine or purchase a full case of 27, selling off the extra two sets. Considering how well these all come together, that shouldn’t be too hard a task.
Minecraft Craftables series two goes on sale on September 15 at Jinx.
Nintendo Direct: Everything you need to know including Super Mario Odyssey, Pokémon, Minecraft and DOOM
With the Nintendo Direct airing last night, we got our first glimpse at some new upcoming Nintendo Switch and 3DS games.
As well as brand new games, there’s also more information on games we already knew about.
This comes hot on the heels of Gamescom , where we were already full on video game trailers and news.
There’s a lot of exciting stuff to get through, so no more fluff – here’s what you should get hyped for:
Super Mario Odyssey
Nintendo’s mascot has a mainline game coming to the Switch in October – but we already knew that.
What we didn’t know, however, is that Princess Peach’s tiara is the sister of Mario’s hat buddy Cappy, or that the game will feature an impressive snapshot mode with tons of filters.
We also got our first look at a few new kingdoms, including the Seaside Kingdom, Snow Kingdom, and an unnamed tropical forest.
Nintendo Switch + Super Mario Odyssey bundle
Nintendo revealed a brand new Nintendo Switch bundle, to be released alongside Super Mario Odyssey on October 27.
Included in the box is the standard Nintendo Switch console, dock and Grip, with two new red Joy-Con controllers and a copy of the game.
If you already have a Switch console, the new Joy-Con can be bought separately, as can a stylish Mario Odyssey carry case.
DOOM + Wolfenstein II
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the announcement that DOOM, the acclaimed Bethesda first-person shooter, is coming to the Nintendo Switch.
Releasing on the console later this year, it’ll be amazing to be able to play one of the greatest FPS’ ever made on the go.
As a nice bonus, its retail release will use the far prettier box art than its previous releases.
On top of that, the upcoming Wolfenstein II game will also be coming to the Nintendo Switch next year.
We were treated to a fair bit of Pokémon news during the event.
Firstly, we were given some more information on the upcoming Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon games, learning that the cover star Pokémon were in fact versions of Necrozma.
After taking over Solgaelo, Necrozma turns into his Dusk Mane form, and it becomes its Dawn Wings form by taking over Lunala.
We also received our first glimpse at two new Ultra Beasts, as well as some new moves for Lycanroc.
For those who don’t already own a Nintendo 3DS or 2DS, a new Pokémon-themed system was unveiled. Called the Poké Ball Edition, the New Nintendo 2DS XL design launches on November 17.
Lastly, Pokémon Gold and Silver is coming to the 3DS Virtual Console on September 22, with a limited number of boxed versions also hitting store shelves.
Having been teased earlier this year, the multiplayer Kirby game for 3DS sees various versions of the lovable puffball battling in multiple modes, including Battle Arena and a racing mode.
The UK will actually receive the game several months early, as it launches here in November.
On top of that, the upcoming Kirby game for the Switch now has a name – Kirby: Star Allies, and it releases next spring.
Minecraft has released on almost every platform under the sun, but it never did come to the 3DS.
Better late than never, as Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition is available on the 3DS eShop today.
Mario Party: The Top 100
Despite it being quite late in its lifespan, the Nintendo 3DS is still getting plenty of new games.
One of those is the newly-announced Mario Party: The Top 100, which includes the top 100 mini-games from across the Mario Party series.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
We had an closer look at Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the massive RPG coming soon to the Nintendo Switch.
In fact, the game now has a release date, surprisingly releasing this year on December 1.
Make sure you check out the European Collector’s Edition , too!
Snipperclips is a cute, underrated co-op puzzle game for the Nintendo Switch, and now it’s receiving an update and a retail release.
Appropriately called Snipperclips Plus, it releases this November.
Project Octopath Traveler
Square-Enix’s upcoming Switch-exclusive RPG received a brand new trailer, with a demo now live on the Nintendo Switch eShop.
Fire Emblem Warriors
A brand new trailer for Fire Emblem Warriors confirmed Lyn as a playable character.
The game launches on the Nintendo Switch on October 20, alongside some new amiibo figurines .
The Arcade Archives series is bringing 6 Nintendo arcade classics to the Nintendo Switch.
The arcade classic Mario Bros. releases on September 27, with Punch-Out!!, Ice Climbers, CluClu Land, Pinball and Balloon Fight launching at a later date.
A few Nintendo Switch indie games got a passing mention, such as Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, PAN-PAN and Crypt of the Necrodancer.
The brand new patch for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds hit the game’s test server this morning, and players were delighted to find a brand new set of buildings on the map.
Located in the Northeast corner of the map, the new town is called Kameshki and it takes up a spot that was previously mostly empty. It is closest to Stalber, which also got a bit of an upgrade with the addition of a few buildings as well.
Where Kameshki now stands, there used to be just a few small buildings. Now there is plenty to loot, and it offers yet another spot for players to drop at or head towards in a game of PUBG.
Even Stalber seems worth looting now as a number of buildings have been added, as can be seen in the image above. Overall, these changes make the Northeast area of the map way more worthwhile to visit than ever before.
These new changes are now available to play on the test server, and the update should hit PUBG’s live servers some time this week if all goes according to plan.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ new desert map is still many months away, but the game’s players are still very excited about it.
We’ve seen numerous teaser images of the map, but no real information has come out about it—until today, thanks to a post on Reddit. The minimap for the new unnamed desert map has been revealed via a test server datamine, and it looks pretty cool so far.
The map has some very interesting names for towns and cities in place. The biggest city is known as “Hard Luck,” with other areas labeled “Kill Box,” “Wasteland,” “Mishap,” and “Murderland.” These names are likely placeholders, but they definitely invoke a certain kind of mental image, don’t they?
The layout is different enough from PUBG’s original map, Erangel, while being similar as well, with numerous towns and cities with large open areas and small towns in between.
Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene recently revealed that this new map will be “roughly” the same size as Erangel, as well as posting a teaser image of what looks like a large city—most likely the “Hard Luck” area seen on the map.
At least 150,000 cheaters have now been banned from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, according to Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene.
Greene revealed the news on Twitter today, a little over a month after confirming that 50,000 cheaters had been banned at the beginning of August, up from 25,000 at the end of June.
BattlEye is an anti-cheat client employed by many games, including PUBG, which automatically bans someone who attempts to use cheats like aimbots or other hacks, before they’re even able to use them in-game. The bans are permanent.
Players can buy another copy of the game under another Steam account, but if they try to cheat again, they will most likely be banned again.
Greene also said that 8,000 players had been banned in the past 24 hours alone. These numbers are big, but it’s to be expected with such a huge playerbase, which now stands at over 10 million. PUBG is consistently at or near the top of the list for concurrent players on Steam on a daily basis now.
Even if a cheater somehow slips through the cracks, the game employs a report button so players can instantly flag their killer if they think they have been cheating.
Epic Games’ crafting survival game Fortnite has a brand new mode that might as well be a carbon copy of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and H1Z1.
Everything from the parachutes to the floating transport that drops players into the world screams PUBG, albeit with a subtle twist—crafting.
Fortnite’s new competitive mode has everything that you would expect a Battle Royale to have. 100 players, PVP, huge maps, weapons to find and, of course, the last man standing wins.
What sets it apart from PUBG and other titles, however, is the world itself. Everything is destructable and buildable, and players can choose to create traps and structures from materials scattered around the world to create their own defenses.
Building takes some time and could make you a bigger target, with structures being a big giveaway to your location—but it’s a nice touch.
Fortnite went into early access on July 25 and has steadily been adding content and modes ever since. Last month the game released its zombie survival mode and Epic is looking to continually add content to the game before its official release sometime in 2018.
The game will be free-to-play, allowing anyone to jump in and enjoy themselves on either PS4, Xbox One, or PC.
Minecraft has come to another platform. During the September 13, 2017, a New Nintendo 3DS version was announced during the Nintendo Direct. It is immediately available via the eShop, with a physical release to arrive at a later, unspecified date.
The New Nintendo 3DS version of Minecraft has standard and touch controls. There are Survival and Creative modes. Five Skin Packs are included, with the Mooshroom Tamer, Artisan, Red Boy, Santa Claus, and Tundra Tamer shown in the trailer. It also comes with two Texture Packs.
A low key but probably still popular announcement came in the first few minutes of the latest Nintendo Direct.
Nintendo Directs are curious things. Naturally, Nintendo uses them to showcase a few upcoming console titles in pretty nice detail, but it also just casually info dumps a bunch of stuff in other segments, including, in this case, Minecraft.
Yep, the first few minutes of this Nintendo Direct were devoted to Nintendo 3DS and 2DS games, one of which just happens to be a handheld version of the game your kids still can’t get enough of.
Playable only on the New Nintendo 3DS units, this version of Minecraft can be played with touchscreen or button controls and is actually out right now via the Nintendo eShop.
Despite the fact that Minecraft seems like it’s already on every video game platform known to mankind, it had yet to receive a version specifically for the New Nintendo 3DS, so we can cross another one off the list.
Plus, while many things in a Nintendo Direct are coming months later or even next year, this Minecraft comes with the best possible release date, which is immediately. Head to the eShop and check it out now.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled geeking out over upcoming Nintendo games.
Just when you thought that Minecraft couldn’t hit any other console, the game is heading to the Nintendo 3DS. Set to release in digital version on 9/13, Minecraft 3DS was revealed during the most recent Nintendo Direct.
The digital version will arrive first, but there is a packaged version coming to the handheld at an unspecified date. The Minecraft 3DS version includes five skin packs and two texture packs. Other details gleaned from the video were that inventory, crafting and map would be handled on the touchscreen. While the gameplay would be on the main screen.
Players will be able to choose between button or touch controls for the game.
Nintendo is no stranger to a relationship with Microsoft to put the crafting and building game on their platforms. The game just arrived on the Nintendo Switch and we liked it in our review.
We won’t need to wait long to see how Minecraft does on the Nintendo 3DS. It will get the benefit of the New Nintendo 3DS handhelds. The game will only be available for those that own the more recent 3DS systems.