British heavy metal legends Iron Maiden have just announced their new studio album Senjutsu, slated for release on September 3rd. There couldn’t be a better time to talk about why this concerns not only old school fans of 80’s rock music, and what lies behind the phenomenon of the band that has been growing in popularity after more than 40 years.

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Iron Maiden has been around since Christmas 1975 — thus, the band is now almost 46 years old. This is not a unique achievement in itself, as Judas Priest or Deep Purple started even earlier. What is impressive, however…


In February during the Stream On keynote, Spotify laid out its vision and long-term plan for the development of the service, as well as made a number of announcements. The world’s leading music streaming platform is not content with staying where it is now — instead, it wants to be the platform for audio content way beyond music. Spotify started its expansion to podcasts years ago with a number of notable acquisitions (The Ringer, Gimlet Media, Megaphone), and now it aspires to be the best place for any kind of audio content for both creators and consumers. …


I love immersive sims and I love randomness and procedural elements in games — and I’ve always wondered why these two don’t usually get along too well. For quite some time I thought that the reason is that immersive sims are always a very hand-crafted experience, created with meticulous attention to the tiniest of details — while procedural games are in many ways opposite of that, a chaos created by a random number generator, not some kind of a world builder’s master plan. …


WWDC 2020 has been groundbreaking for Apple — between the online-only format of the event itself, through a truly generational leap for the Mac, to sometimes subtle but fundamental paradigm changes, it has been packed with news. Perhaps most importantly, at this year’s WWDC, we have seen Apple at its absolute best — the company incredibly well positioned for the long-term, taking bold moves, shaking up things and reinventing itself instead of clinging to tried-and-true formulas.

Here are some announcements and developments that I find the most exciting from the strategic standpoint — presented in a somewhat chronological order.

The sunset of apps as the UI paradigm

For…


(NOTE: It’s unclear what is the exact date of Deus Ex’s original launch, as different sources provide different dates. It’s safe to say, however, that this and next week are the 20th anniversary weeks.)

Deus Ex became a part of my life almost immediately after Thief. The Dark Project was released in December of 1998, then The Metal Age came out in March of 2000, and right when I was in the middle of playing it, Deus Ex appeared. By that time, I was a fully converted, die-hard stealth player, but all the videos from Deus Ex I’d seen, and…


“The Trickster is dead. Beware the dawn of the Metal Age.”

These were the last words Keeper Artemus said to Garrett before the Master Thief vanished into the shadows of the early morning City streets at the very end of Thief: The Dark Project. The world was saved. The evil Pagan god, The Trickster, was stopped at the very last minute, killed at the heart of the Maw of Chaos. …


Immersive sims were born and flourished during the 90s and early 2000s, and arguably, it was a period when they were a part of the mainstream games industry. Sure, these games have always been niche, but they were still using advanced tech, significant budgets, and made by teams that were not that much smaller than the AAA go-to hits of the time. Looking Glass were constantly pushing the AI, physics, sound design and systems envelope with Ultima Underworld, System Shock, and Thief series, and all of these games have been built by not-so-small teams of dozens of employees and brought…


A few days ago, tech publicists and Apple fans celebrated 10 years of the iPad original announcement. While there are many people who stated that iPad changed their lives and became their favorite computing device (I’m one of those people), there have been some critical voices as well. Two pieces stood out to me in particular — “The iPad Awkwardly Turns 10” by John Gruber and “The Tragic iPad” by Ben Thompson.

John Gruber’s criticism is fairly straightforward. His key thesis is that the iPad has become too complex and confusing, especially for casual users. Gruber argues that with the…


Last October, Thief Gold turned 20 years old. For many, Thief Gold is just a patched, “improved” version of Thief: The Dark Project, but I disagree with this assessment. Thief Gold is a different variant of the game that doesn’t cancel or supersede the original release — it exists alongside The Dark Project as an alternative take on the game’s story and gameplay.

Gold is a pretty significant change over The Dark Project. The original game has 13 missions (including the opening “A Keeper’s Training”), whereas Gold has three more completely new levels, thus bringing the total amount to 16…


For a few years now, some people have been saying that Apple doesn’t “get” games. Reportedly Steve Jobs himself wasn’t too fond of games as a medium; Apple’s dedicated gaming device, Pippin, released in 1996, failed; and Mac has long lost the status of a truly credible core gaming platform which it arguably was in the 90s. Most recently, Apple has struggled with turning Apple TV into a capable gaming device — it was too slow with allowing third party controllers and removing some software limitations. …

Maxim Samoylenko

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