Play Salt and Sacrifice, catch up on 'Barry' and more weekend recs

Don’t know what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

What to watch and play.

Our weekend recommendations are here.

Illustration: Protocol

Trying to sink into something new this weekend? Try the 2D action RPG Salt and Sacrifice, or watch the excellent "Drive My Car" from Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi. Or, if you haven't heard, HBO's "Barry" is back for Season Three — and it's somehow, inexplicably, even darker than before. Here are Protocol Entertainment's weekend recommendations.

Reflecting on Call of Duty

Journalist Patrick Gill does the seemingly impossible in a new video on the outlet’s YouTube channel: contextualizes Call of Duty within the U.S. military industrial complex. Over 27 minutes, Gill manages to flawlessly articulate what countless members of gaming media have tried to explain time and again over the years: How did Call of Duty become the shooter series, and what does it say about games as a business and a culture? It's a really fine achievement in explanatory journalism rich in media history, and I suggest anyone who’s ever struggled with the nature of the shooter genre give it a watch.

'Barry' is back

The dark comedy from actor and writer Bill Hader entered its third season last month, and it’s starting to get very dark. “Barry” is at its best when it’s juggling the serious depravity and depressive depths of its main character, a disgraced military vet and assassin-turned-aspiring actor, with the borderline surreal subplots and larger-than-life criminal associates acting as comic relief. And in Season Three, Hader is taking Barry into new territory as he starts to evolve from a likable but compromised underdog into a truly irredeemable antihero in a delightfully horrific twist on the now-classic “Breaking Bad” narrative arc.

The introspective 'Drive My Car'

This Japanese drama from director Ryusuke Hamaguchi, based on a Haruki Murakami short story of the same name, is an epic, three-hour-long exploration of grief that manages, remarkably, to be one of the most life-affirming films I’ve watched in a long time. Though actor and theater director Yūsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima) is still mourning the death of his wife, the film centers on a unique relationship between him and his personal driver (Tôko Miura), and how they process complex feelings of loss in different ways.

Sink into Salt and Sacrifice

If you’re fresh off Elden Ring and looking for another punishing RPG, the sequel to Ska Studios’ Salt and Sanctuary released on PlayStation and PC last week. It still features many of the Soulslike and Metroidvania influences of the most popular action indie games of the last few years wrapped up in a 2D side scroller. But this time, there’s a Monster Hunter-esque hunt system that introduces a fair amount of replayability, alongside a co-op system for playing with friends that helps make the repetition feel more manageable.

A version of this story also appeared in today’s Entertainment newsletter; subscribe here.


Niantic is building an AR map of the world

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VPS will allow developers to build location-based AR experiences for tens of thousands of public spaces.

Image: Niantic

Pokémon Go maker Niantic has quietly been building a 3D AR map of the world. Now, the company is getting ready to share the fruits of its labor with third-party developers: Niantic announced the launch of its Lightship Visual Positioning System at its developer summit in San Francisco on Tuesday. VPS will allow developers to build location-based AR experiences for tens of thousands of public spaces, Niantic said.

Niantic also announced a new service called Campfire that adds a social discovery layer to AR, starting with Niantic’s own games. Both announcements show that Niantic wants to be much more than a game developer with just one or two hit apps (and a couple of flops). Instead, it aims to play a key role in the future of AR — and it’s relying on millions of Ingress and Pokémon Go players to help build that future.

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Janko Roettgers

Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.

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