Hello, and welcome to another Wednesday! I’ve been dipping back into my gaming jar recently to pull some games at random, and among the multiplayer TTRPGs I don’t have time for, I had a good time playing Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald, which is directed by William Pugh, who did The Stanley Parable, and that’s all I’m going to tell you about it. I also very much enjoyed Tiny God: A Tiny Game of Two-Minute Mindfulness, which was lovely, actually. I don’t even remember what the theme of my game was, but I do remember the experience being something like this iconic Tumblr post, so that’s nice! If you backed the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality three years ago, it should be in your library too, and Dr. Langeskov is free, so don’t hesitate to dive in!

Israel’s attacks on Palestine, including the invasion of Rafah, are still ongoing. If you have the funds to donate, Gaza Funds provides a new fundraising opportunity each time you reload the page. I’ve also been reading Palestine Feminist Collective lately, as well as Zainabb Hull’s Crips for Palestine newsletter, which provide vital information and updates on the crisis as well as actions you can take to inform others and support Palestinians in need.

And here’s what’s been happening in mobile games!

What’s Happening in Fortnite?

I am not pleased that Taylor Swift has released a song called “Fortnight” because now every time I think about the game I hear a strikingly dull song play in my head. I know this isn’t a music site, and especially not a music round-up, but it’s my space and I’m gonna tell you I don’t like the song.

Anyway, Fortnite. Doja Cat—see, I wasn’t that off-base by talking about Taylor Swift right off the bat—is fucking done with waterbending in the incredibly popular shooter.

In a series of tweets, Doja cat went off about waterbending, a mechanic introduced for the recent Avatar: The Last Airbender event. Though her feelings about waterbending and other “non fucking weapons” were clear, Doja went on to say that the Wings of Icarus and thunderbolts introduced in the Greek myth event are “fine.”

No word on whether Doja Cat will join the game like Billie Eilish and Lady Gaga, but my fingers are crossed. (I still am not going to play Fortnite, I just want to see the chaos unfold.) Also, I just looked at Doja Cat’s profile while writing this and, no joke, this is one of her latest tweets as of writing:

Just one of the many ways that Doja Cat is not relatable to me.

In other Fortnite news, Disney—Disney!—will allow creators to use their IP to make “Disney-themed gaming experiences.” Disney invested $1.5 billion in Epic earlier in 2024, which is meant to develop an “entertainment universe” connected to Fortnite.

Lego Smoothie Odyssey has also joined the world of Fortnite, giving players yet another Lego-themed game to play. In this one, you go to space and collect smoothie ingredients. Sure, why not. Also, Sony and Lego invested $2 billion in Epic Games last year, so this will likely not be the last (bizarre) collab we see.

Chapter 5 has now launched, and includes Fallout content, as well as… Magneto, for some reason? And something that’s suuuuuuper not Mad Max related. No, really, it’s super, duper not. Its inclusion also definitely doesn’t have anything to do with the recent release of Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.

See? It’s just another generic desert post-apocalyptic wasteland with car combat mechanics. Totally different, you guys.

What’s Happening in Roblox?

Roblox had some fun headlines this month, so I’m giving it its own section! I also have never played Roblox but when I used to tutor, every single one of my students sure did. And that’s the extent of what I know about Roblox.

Anyway, for some reason The Elf on the Shelf will be appearing in Roblox this November thanks to a crossover with Pinata Smashlings, a Roblox game where you—you guessed it!—smash pinatas. Did you know The Elf on the Shelf is only one of the characters from The Lumistella Company’s Santaverse™? How many Elves on the Shelves are there? I have raised more questions than I have even come close to answering.

Netflix is bringing Nexworld, a digital theme park, to Roblox. The digital world is available now, and brings fan-favorite shows like Stranger Things and One Piece to Roblox. Also Rebel Moon, for some reason. Players can complete themed challenges and explore the world as well as attending digital premieres and viewing parties. Wild.

Some New Mobile Games I Might Actually Play

In great news for Zainabb, the Cozy Grove sequel, Camp Spirit, is coming to mobile via Netflix Games! I don’t actually know how these things work internationally so it is my sincerest hope that this actually great news for Zainabb.

Oxytone, a puzzle game in which you rotate hexagonal tiles in a serene atmosphere, is out now!

Halfling Dale, a choose-your-own, primarily text adventure game, lets you play as a halfling in a Tolkienesque setting called Dale. Dale is not the name of the halfling. Nonetheless, it sounds delightful and charming.

CHI Games has designed a 1:1 model of Nagasaki Shinchi Chinatown in Japan, playable now in Japan Postman Moto Simulator: Nagasaki Express. As you may have guessed, the game has you delivering mail, which actually sounds pretty soothing if you ask me? I am normal and find normal things soothing.

Love the idea of flipping eggs in real life but hate the resulting mess? Tamago: The Eggshibit is here for you.

Slug! Racing! Slug! Racing! Caracoles is out now… on iOS. The slimy buggers won’t even let me play it on Android (though a Steam page is available, sans release date, for PC).

Blue Wednesday, a jazz-themed adventure game, is out now! It has a lovely storybook vibe and rhythm mechanics and looks, pardon the pun, like my jam.

Phone Escape: Hopeless, out now, uses a fake operating system as well as your phone camera to let you pretend you’ve been kidnapped and locked in a room you’ll have to escape. At first this premise sounds scary and stressful to me, before I remember how many hours I spent playing games like Crimson Room and (my personal favorite) The Veridian Room and realize that I am actually the target audience.

In other news…

I don’t know what Disney Speedstorm is, but Kermit the Frog is joining the cast and this is only slightly less sick now that I realize that Kermit is holding a banjo and not a machine gun.

I made the mistake of watching the trailer and now I’m mad his vehicle is but a sham of Fozzie’s sick-ass post-Dr.-Teeth-and-the-Electric-Mayhem Studebaker.

The Epic vs. Google wars rage on, with the search engine giant putting out a press release stating that Epic Games’s solutions for giving app developers more freedom on Google’s platforms serve nobody but Epic Games themselves. Google claims that the potential downfalls include more malware and apps being published without a developer’s consent or safeguards.

A new report says that 65% of Gen Z gamers play video games for over three hours per day, which feels like a lot until I remember that when I was in my 20s I played more World of Warcraft than I’m willing to say publicly.

Subscrible, a startup behind a subscription app that gives players access to ad-free games, raised $300,000 to launch in a recent round of funding. The article from PocketGamer.biz has some interesting information on how they accomplish this, if you’re a little freak who’s into how mobile game business works (I am this little freak).

Mighty Kingdom, an Australian developer, laid off 28% of its staff to “streamline [their] operations and prioritise core business to align with our vision for the future.” Amazing how that keeps happening, isn’t it? The studio works on Star Trek Lower Decks Mobile and a number of other mobile titles.

Xbox is launching their own mobile games store on the web in July. The app will lead with Microsoft’s IP first, including games like Minecraft and Candy Crush Saga before opening up to other developers. It seems a little strange to launch on web before mobile, but Microsoft cited accessibility across all devices as a driver for launching web-first. I resent this because I had to write that something launched “on the web” and immediately felt one hundred years old.

Pokémon GO has increased prices for Turkish players by 1300% after players outside the country used location spoofing to buy coins for cheaper. The average salary in Turkey is much lower than where the location spoofers are located, making it more difficult for Turkish players to continue playing. According to one player, the hiked cost means that doing five remote raids per day is equivalent to their rent in a month.

Pokémon Sleep, the mobile sleep app meant to track player health, is partnering with the Grand Hyatt Tokyo for an $1,800 hotel stay available from July 1 to August 31. Participants will receive “a range of charismatic wellness experiences” including special meals, a rucksack, and plushies.

And finally, though I have zero interest in the Kardashians, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, which I haven’t played in probably a decade. Way back when I first started writing about games, I was asked to write something “controversial” to attract views and comments, so I wrote that Kim Kardashian: Hollywood gets a lot of flak (got? I’m not sure who’s talking about this game in 2024) proportionate to its actual quality. It worked! The site was inundated with people claiming I, personally, was ruining games journalism. Later that year, I watched a panel at PAX where a number of games journalists talked about how mobile games are unfairly maligned, while shitting on the game and its celebrity namesake as if it wasn’t worthy of discussion despite being one of the biggest mobile games at the time and maybe ever. Anyway, all that to say that I found this history of the game from Polygon in the wake of its closure this year a fascinating and rewarding read.