Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a restful and relaxing last few days of the absolute trash fire that was 2020 and are now enjoying a kind beginning to 2021. I spent the past few weeks playing about as many mystery games as I could get my grubby little hands on—which was many, thanks to the Steam winter sale. Some of my favorites were The Painscreek Killings, a gentle investigation game that initially reminded me of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture but with a major twist at the end, and The Flower Collectors, a short but incredibly engaging murder mystery set amidst political turmoil in 1977 Spain. Have you been playing anything good lately? Let us know on Twitter! Now, as for the news this week…

MAGfest Executive Director Fires Staff Amid Allegations of Harassment, Abuse

Last week, numerous employees and volunteers were fired from MAGfest after speaking out against its Executive Director and Board of Directors. According to a statement by longtime MAGfest volunteer Shir Goldbird, Executive Director Paul Birtel took action after numerous employees filed HR complaints against Birtel six months prior. Employees further explained the situation on a “Friends of Mag” website, where they allege that Birtel, enabled by MAGfest’s board of directors, has created a hostile and abusive working environment.

After these allegations became public, Goldbird stated on Twitter that they and several other volunteers and employees, including MAGfest’s events organizer director, were fired in retaliation. In an interview with The Gamer, Goldbird said employees were offered severance pay and two months of healthcare benefits in exchange for signing a Separation and Release clause that would ban them from speaking out further, suing the company, and attending MAGfest in the future. Despite these serious allegations, a virtual MAGfest event is still scheduled for late January.

Adobe Has Ended Support for Adobe Flash Player

Adobe announced that it would end support for Flash all the way back in 2017 as websites increasingly turned toward more modern and secure alternatives. On December 31, 2020, Adobe finally ended support for Flash, though it won’t begin blocking Flash content until January 12, 2021. Though the program was outdated at best and a security risk at worst, Flash was also a unique creative outlet for artists, developers, and gamers, especially during the early years of the internet. Losing Flash means losing decades of internet art and history, though preservationists at The Internet Archive and Ruffle, a Flash emulator built using Rust, have been able to preserve some content (thankfully without the security pitfalls).

If you would like to learn more about the history of Flash, Nathalie Lawhead has written a wonderfully in-depth blog post on the topic. You can also explore some of their Flash projects on Tetrageddon Games.

ICYMI

A player discovered Nier Automata‘s final secret more than three years after the game’s release.

Top Hat Studios may have invented controversy to promote a new game that seemingly few people have heard of.

Google employees have unionized.

It’s possible to mod Miis into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

https://twitter.com/HEYimHeroic/status/1345946860222033923

Not sure where you’re going to put your giant, brand-new gaming console? Ikea wants to help.