Weekly 3 minutes of reading

Weekly ※ Friday 29.09.23

Article author :

François Genette

News addict, geek culture fan, digital tech aficionado and hardcore gamer, François Genette is passionate about everything related to digital. A journalist for nearly 15 years in the major national and local media, he now uses his pen to share his discoveries from the worlds he loves.

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Friday is weekly: a digest of what the team has seen, read and listened to, and wants to share with you.

Celebrities recast in Starfield

A little guessing game to get the article started: what do David Bowie, Shrek, Mike Ehrmantraut and Tony Soprano all have in common? The answer is simple: they all have a virtual avatar which has been developed in Starfield.

But let’s establish some context. Starfield is the brand-new video game ranked ‘triple-A’ (similar to the term ‘blockbuster’ in the cinema world), launched by Microsoft and published by a legendary development studio named Bethesda, to which we owe in particular the immense global success ‘Skyrim.’ Starfield, in contrast with the latter, takes place in space and offers players the opportunity to become explorers of the cosmos in an open world environment, where you can visit thousands of planets and moons, whilst taking part in a thrilling story along the way.

Unsurprisingly, the game has been a massive success. On the day of its launch, over a million gamers ventured into its universe, according to Phil Spencer, the head of the Microsoft Xbox brand. Many cosmonauts have been impressed by the system of creating extremely developed characters, which has inspired several to model… celebrities, with a certain amount of panache, it must be said. 

Amongst the stars represented, there is a David Bowie which has undoubtedly been pretty successfully rendered.

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A larger-than-life Mike Ehrmantraut (one of the main actors of Breaking Bad).

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A very convincing Tony Soprano.

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And even a quite bizarre Shrek.

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JCVD, the ultimate guest-star of Mortal Kombat 1

Were you aware of this? When the first Mortal Kombat opus was still at the development stage (it was in 1990, and no, we are not getting any younger), the studio behind the punch-up game had a very specific idea in mind: making the star of the major fight films of that period, Jean-Claude Van Damme, the game’s main character. Unfortunately, this dream never became reality, as JCVD never replied to the requests sent to him. It must be said that at the time, our national Jean-Claude was at the peak of his career, appearing in films such as ‘Blood Sport,’ ‘Full Contact’ and ‘Double Impact.’ 

But this cruel absence is finally being made up for. In fact, JCVD is starring in the recently released remake of the mythic video game.  Adopting the features of one of the franchise’s main characters, the one-of-a-kind Johnny Cage (whose initials, ‘JC,’ are obviously not a coincidence), the Belgian actor is modelled as he was a good twenty years ago. A design which is already being hailed by gamers, who see in him THE key figure of this ‘reboot.’

A third of the planet locked out of the web

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Nevertheless, not everything is so gratifying in the digital world. Whilst many of the fortunate ones can indulge their favourite pastimes on the internet, a third of the world’s population does not have this right, which to us seems a basic one nowadays. According to the International Telecommunication Union, 2.7 billion people remain unconnected to the global network. An astronomical figure which, according to Doreen Bogdan-Martin, the ITU’s secretary-general, ‘is not moving in the right direction.’ 

The only encouraging bright spot is the appreciable improvement in connectivity in developing countries. In several of them, the levels of internet access have grown impressively to around 20% in a single year, thereby demonstrating the positive impact of investment and the initiatives taken to reduce the digital gap in these regions. 

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