TGIF. I’m Nick Lucchesi, an editor at Inverse. Keep reading for more stories on polar bears, a long-overdue innovation in video game development, a report on a resurgence of a very ‘90s gaming genre, the origin story of our Sun, and the birthday of a heralded philosopher. We end it all with a Smash Mouth song.
The year polar bears will disappear [NATURE] — Tara Yarlagadda reports on scientists who have determined global warming above 2 degrees Celsius will increase summer melt of Arctic ice and reduce multi-year ice, reducing polar bears' habitat:
The year 2100 may seem distant and hazy, but scientists say it’s easier than ever to picture the bleak future in store if we don’t act to curb the climate crisis. Human activity is accelerating extinctions. Climate change specifically endangers roughly one in five animals on the IUCN’s Red List of threatened species, increasing the likelihood they will go extinct.
Go deeper into climate science:
- Look: 3 images reveal the year when Earth becomes inhospitable to humans
- Map shows what cities are at risk of deadly urban heat
- A Yucatan forest “trapped in time” shows why an ancient threat can get worse
A more accessible future for video games [INNOVATION] — From Xbox's Kinect to Sony's Last of Us Part II, haphazard beginnings paved the way for innovations that make video games more welcoming to every player. Christopher Groux offers his own first-person experience as a person living with Cerebral Palsy, and interviews people in the gaming industry, and advocates for this definitive report:
The Nintendo Wii is widely regarded as one of the only gaming devices fit for preschoolers and senior citizens alike.
For me, it’s been a symbol of frustration, limitations, and tears. I didn’t even have enough motor control to navigate the home screen.
The motion-controlled gaming console remains one of the most successful video game consoles ever made, with more than 100 million units sold worldwide since 2006. But the Wii made me feel like I had lost my ability to play video games.
I’ve been writing and reporting on video games for more than a decade, but I’m also a lifelong member of a millions-strong community of gamers with disabilities.
My Cerebral Palsy, and my associated muscle weakness and lack of fine motor control, left me excluded from a library that includes Mario Galaxy, Wii Fit, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I felt forever barred from using a platform that had brought joy to millions.
Go deeper into gaming accessibility:
- Xbox is making it easier to find accessible games in its stores (The Verge)
- Steven Spohn on strides in accessibility for gaming, and Nintendo's room for improvement (Nintendo Life)
- Audio Radar is an accessibility tool that turns gaming PC sounds into light cues (PC Games N)
How developers revived the “boomer shooter” [CULTURE] — Video games like Dusk, Amid Evil, and Into the Pit are shining examples of a new first-person shooter subgenre: the "boomer shooter" inspired by games like Doom and Quake. Tomas Franzese explores this cultural revival in gaming:
When asked to define “boomer shooter” on Twitter, Dusk developer New Blood Interactive wrote, “A shooter that goes boom.”
However, the reality of the emerging subgenre is much more nuanced, with a history going back decades.
“Boomer shooter” is the latest term to follow the likes of “Roguelike” or “Soulslike” in the realm of hyperspecific gaming subgenres. It applies to first-person shooters that intentionally harken back to the classic PC games of the late ‘90s like Doom and Quake.
Go deeper into gaming culture:
- How "grinding" came to dominate video game culture
- How a video game shortcut became a brutal online insult
- How Winston Churchill coined the notorious business practice
Nan Liu, a research assistant professor of physics at Washington University in St. Louis and lead author of the study a study on a meteorite that contained stardust linked to the formation of our Sun, explains the connection
“Our Solar System was made from this stardust and the gas expelled from their parent stars,” Liu tells Inverse. “So by studying these types of grains, we know what type of stars contributed material to our Solar System ... and these grains help us understand whether our Solar System is unique or common in the whole galaxy.”
Go deeper into space science:
- Follow Passant’s astrophysics channel on Instagram
- Apollo 17 rocks reveal something strange and new about the Moon
- Does Venus have alien biosignatures? Why the biggest debate in astronomy burns so hot
- About the newsletter: Do you think it can be improved? Have a story idea? Want to share a story about the time you met an astronaut? Send those thoughts and more to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Notable Birthdays: Boxer Anthony Joshua (32), the late philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (born on this day in 1844), footballer Mesut Ozil (33), the late actress Penny Marshall (born on this day in 1943), and journalist Michael Lewis (61).
- Quote of the Day: “No, life has not disappointed me… ever since the day when the great liberator came to me: the idea that life could be an experiment for the seeker for knowledge….” —Friedrich Nietzsche
- Song of the Day: “Walkin’ on the Sun” by Smash Mouth, in honor of our Sun story.
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