What to watch, play and read this weekend

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

What to watch, play and read this weekend
Image: Image: WarnerMedia, Devolver Digital, Microsoft

This week we're playing a new indie game that's already getting some high praise; watching HBO's "Suicide Squad" spinoff; and learning about a new point-and-click adventure game set in an oil town — but it's more beautiful than it sounds.

Activision Blizzard: What it means for the devs

Making sense of Microsoft’s purchase of one of the world’s largest third-party publishers isn’t an easy task, given just how far-reaching the impact of the deal will be on the future of the industry. But GameDiscoverCo’s Simon Carless breaks down the larger forces at play in this excellent analysis for Polygon. Reading it will help you understand why it’s a big deal and how it speaks to the major industry shifts of the last few years.

Norco: A beautiful new indie game

New Yorker staff writer Julian Lucas wrote this week about the transfixing pixel art landscapes of indie game Norco. The title, made by the five-person team at Geography of Robots, is an ambitious upcoming work in a growing line of environmentally conscious video game narratives. It tells the story of a refinery town based on the real-world Louisiana location of the same name, which is home to a major Shell Oil Company site.

'Peacemaker': New episodes out now

HBO’s new “Suicide Squad” spinoff from director James Gunn features the delightfully dumb wannabe superhero played by John Cena, back for a second act after his role as a misguided villain in the 2021 DC reboot. The first four episodes are on HBO Max now and feature some of Gunn’s signature dark comedy and witty writing, with a series run through Feb. 17.

Inscryption: Out now on Steam

This roguelike deck-building game is almost impossible to describe without ruining some part of its central narrative thrust. But the indie game from developer Daniel Mullins Games is one of the most creative and unorthodox video game storytelling exercises in recent memory. It’s nominated for a host of awards at the upcoming Independent Game Festival, including game of the year. For $20 on Steam, it’s worth seeing why everyone has been talking about it endlessly for the past three months.

'Gangs of London': A second season is coming out soon

From the mind of “The Raid” creator Gareth Evans, “Gangs of London” is a modern-day crime drama about the chaotic and violent aftermath of the London underworld’s power vacuum following the murder of a central mob boss. It features some of the most jaw-dropping action scene choreography on television, though the squeamish should stay away as it’s about as disturbing as a horror film. The series, originally from Sky, has since landed at AMC+ with a second season in the works.

Nobody Saves the World: Out now on Xbox Game Pass

Indie developer Drinkbox Studios, known for the Guacamelee series, released its first new game since 2018 this week, and it’s already amassing rave reviews. The game is a procedurally generated dungeon crawler featuring Zelda-like elements, but with a Final Fantasy-inspired job system that lets your character, Nobody, transform into one of 15 forms. It’s out on Xbox Game Pass, meaning you have no reason not to give it a try.

This list of recommendations originally appeared in the Entertainment newsletter. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.


This carbon capture startup wants to clean up the worst polluters

The founder and CEO of point-source carbon capture company Carbon Clean discusses what the startup has learned, the future of carbon capture technology, as well as the role of companies like his in battling the climate crisis.

Carbon Clean CEO Aniruddha Sharma told Protocol that fossil fuels are necessary, at least in the near term, to lift the living standards of those who don’t have access to cars and electricity.

Photo: Carbon Clean

Carbon capture and storage has taken on increasing importance as companies with stubborn emissions look for new ways to meet their net zero goals. For hard-to-abate industries like cement and steel production, it’s one of the few options that exist to help them get there.

Yet it’s proven incredibly challenging to scale the technology, which captures carbon pollution at the source. U.K.-based company Carbon Clean is leading the charge to bring down costs. This year, it raised a $150 million series C round, which the startup said is the largest-ever funding round for a point-source carbon capture company.

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Michelle Ma

Michelle Ma (@himichellema) is a reporter at Protocol covering climate. Previously, she was a news editor of live journalism and special coverage for The Wall Street Journal. Prior to that, she worked as a staff writer at Wirecutter. She can be reached at mma@protocol.com.

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Great products are built on strong patents

Experts say robust intellectual property protection is essential to ensure the long-term R&D required to innovate and maintain America's technology leadership.

Every great tech product that you rely on each day, from the smartphone in your pocket to your music streaming service and navigational system in the car, shares one important thing: part of its innovative design is protected by intellectual property (IP) laws.

From 5G to artificial intelligence, IP protection offers a powerful incentive for researchers to create ground-breaking products, and governmental leaders say its protection is an essential part of maintaining US technology leadership. To quote Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: "intellectual property protection is vital for American innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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James Daly
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.

Why companies cut staff after raising millions

Are tech firms blowing millions in funding just weeks after getting it? Experts say it's more complicated than that.

Bolt, Trade Republic, HomeLight, and Stord all drew attention from funding announcements that happened just weeks or days before layoffs.

Photo: Pulp Photography/Getty Images

Fintech startup Bolt was one of the first tech companies to slash jobs, cutting 250 employees, or a third of its staff, in May. For some workers, the pain of layoffs was a shock not only because they were the first, but also because the cuts came just four months after Bolt had announced a $355 million series E funding round and achieved a peak valuation of $11 billion.

“Bolt employees were blind sided because the CEO was saying just weeks ago how everything is fine,” an anonymous user wrote on the message board Blind. “It has been an extremely rough day for 1/3 of Bolt employees,” another user posted. “Sadly, I was one of them who was let go after getting a pay-raise just a couple of weeks ago.”

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Nat Rubio-Licht

Nat Rubio-Licht is a Los Angeles-based news writer at Protocol. They graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper and online journalism in May 2020. Prior to joining the team, they worked at the Los Angeles Business Journal as a technology and aerospace reporter.


The fight to define the carbon offset market's future

The world’s largest carbon offset issuer is fighting a voluntary effort to standardize the industry. And the fate of the climate could hang in the balance.

It has become increasingly clear that scaling the credit market will first require clear standards and transparency.

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

There’s a major fight brewing over what kind of standards will govern the carbon offset market.

A group of independent experts looking to clean up the market’s checkered record and the biggest carbon credit issuer on the voluntary market is trying to influence efforts to define what counts as a quality credit. The outcome could make or break an industry increasingly central to tech companies meeting their net zero goals.

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Lisa Martine Jenkins

Lisa Martine Jenkins is a senior reporter at Protocol covering climate. Lisa previously wrote for Morning Consult, Chemical Watch and the Associated Press. Lisa is currently based in Brooklyn, and is originally from the Bay Area. Find her on Twitter ( @l_m_j_) or reach out via email (ljenkins@protocol.com).


White House AI Bill of Rights lacks specific guidance for AI rules

The document unveiled today by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is long on tech guidance, but short on restrictions for AI.

While the document provides extensive suggestions for how to incorporate AI rights in technical design, it does not include any recommendations for restrictions on the use of controversial forms of AI.

Photo: Ana Lanza/Unsplash

It was a year in the making, but people eagerly anticipating the White House Bill of Rights for AI will have to continue waiting for concrete recommendations for future AI policy or restrictions.

Instead, the document unveiled today by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is legally non-binding and intended to be used as a handbook and a “guide for society” that could someday inform government AI legislation or regulations.

Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights features a list of five guidelines for protecting people in relation to AI use:

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Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

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