The excess of Petrov

Why are actors playing in popular Russian films the same? Klim Shipenko explains

Reading time 6 minutes

On February 6, the famous Russian singer and composer Yuri Loza made an ironic post on his Facebook account, in which he noted Alexander Petrov’s over-popularity in contemporary Russian cinema. The musician considered it unfair that thousands of talented actors graduate from Russian film schools every year, each of them is waiting for new chance, but the producers prefer to give all the potential box office roles to Petrov.

Юрий Лоза поднял актуальную для многих российских кинозрителей тему
Yuri Loza asked a question that is relevant for many Russian moviegoers …

Although Yuri’s post was written in a rather humorous style, it provoked a discussion around the current situation with Russian actors. One of the participants of the discussion was Klim Shipenko, a successful film director. In 2019, two of his films were released at once: a criminal-dramatic psychological thriller “Text” (with Petrov playing the main role) and a comedy “The Serf”. The first film, according to the Kinopoisk online portal, was warmly received by both viewers (rating 7.0) and critics (85% of reviews were positive). This was also emphasized by the box office of 850 million rubles. With a budget of 75 it achieved excellent results at the main Golden Eagle film contest in Russia. “Text” received awards for the best film, best male roles of the first and second plans (Petrov and Ivan Yankovsky, respectively), as well as for the best editing (Tim Pavelko). Shipenko himself was awarded a nomination for best directing, and composer Nikolai Rostov was awarded for best music. “Serf”, with a similar rating of 7.0 at “Kinopoisk”, became the most profitable Russian film in the history of Russian distribution, collecting for the first time more than 3 billion rubles and breaking the “Upward” record.

А Клим Шипенко дал ответ на этот вопрос
… and Klim Shipenko answered this question

The director said that in terms of perception of actors, Russian viewers are very different from Western ones: there is still a distrust in the quality of domestic cinema, so producers prefer to screen more popular characters in order to increase the chances of success. And Petrov in this sense is not the first: Sergey Bezrukov followed the same path after the role of Sasha Bely in the crime series “The Brigade”, Konstantin Khabensky after the role of Anton Gorodetsky in the fantasy “Night Watch” and Danil Kozlovsky after the role of hockey player Valery Kharlamov in sports drama “Legend number 17”. Petrov gained popularity in the second half of the 2010s after the series “Policeman from Rublevka”, where he played Grigory Izmailov, a police captain.

Один из предшественников Петрова Данила Козловский в фильме "Легенда №17" (в центре)
One of Petrov’s predecessors, Danila Kozlovsky, in the film “Legend No. 17” (center)

Shipenko also noted that even Russian stars of the first echelon are not success guarantors at the box office, in contrast with Western ones. And the director definitely knew what he was talking about: despite the impressive final fees of “Text”, the adaptation of the novel by Dmitry Glukhovsky had an almost failed first weekend. During the first week, the box office amounted to only 92 million rubles. This figure slightly exceeded the budget of the film and took 4th place at the end of the week. It lost to the “Joker” (Todd Philips), who had already been in the box office for a month. In the future, word of mouth saved the situation: firstly, positive reviews began to come about the quality of the film, and secondly, the scandal around the overly frank bed scene with Christina Asmus and Ivan Yankovsky played a big role. Many viewers went to the cinema to find out what was special about this scene.

По этому фото не скажешь, но именно сцена с участием этих двоих сделала "Текст" таким популярным в прокате
You can’t tell from the photo, but it was the scene with the participation of these two that made “Text” so popular at the box office

As a result, the director described a vicious circle: it is more difficult for unknown actors to get into potentially stellar roles, and the famous ones are becoming even more popular, so they bother the audience.

Borderless education

How Russian students take part in international mobility

Reading time 5 minutes

According to RBC data, in 2015 more than 50 thousand Russians studied abroad. This is about 1.5% of all international students. Statistics have shown that students prefer to travel to the United States and European countries although China is becoming more and more popular.

The cost of education in Europe universities according to the data of state agencies
The cost of education in Europe universities according to the data of state agencies

Any student can build an independent educational trajectory of education abroad or participate in international academic mobility programs with the help of home-university. RNU HSE is among those universities that offer such exchange programs. It has more than 74 arrangements with institutes in 27 countries.

HSE stusents on the international mobility program
HSE stusents on the international mobility program

HSE advises to divide the participation into the international academic mobility program into several stages:

  1. Make sure that you meet all the criteria that apply to exchange candidates.
  2. Calculate your budget: you will not have to pay for the education but both visa and transport, insurance and accommodation, food and unexpected expenses are covered by the student. In case of difficulties with calculations, you can use the site.
  3. Submit an online application form to participate in the competition: for autumn mobility it is held in February-April and for spring one in August-October.
  4. Check your email address to find out the selection results. They are announced one month after the end of the application process.
  5. If the application is approved, get ready to go: check the list of things and study the recommendations for traveling abroad on the website of the Russian foreign Ministry.

To make sure that the student is ready to study, the host country may ask to confirm the level of English fluency. The tip: programs that require international certificates have lower competition. Therefore, if you confirm your knowledge of the language with an international exam certificate in advance, it will significantly increase your chances of learning abroad. To do this, you should pass IELTS or TOEFL but not lower than the level B2 according to the CEFR classification.

The stages of fluency in foreign languages according to classifications of CEFR and British Council
The stages of fluency in foreign languages according to classifications of CEFR and British Council

According to the experience of students who have studied abroad, you should learn ahead as much as possible about the country you are going to and study the course program. Also, you should know in advance how you will be evaluated and whether you will be able to recalculate the received grades on the return. The clearer and more extensive your understanding of life in the host country, the less likely you are to suffer from culture shock or homesickness. To do this, you can monitor the media platforms of the host country, correspond with locals or analyze the experience of your predecessors. No one can guarantee that you will be 100% comfortable in your new place but careful preparation will help make the experience more enjoyable.

Do you want to drop everything? This is not laziness, this is procrastination!

Why do we put things off until later, and how can we overcome our reluctance to work?

Reading time 5 minutes

Why do students often postpone difficult cases? Study Mode conducted a survey of 1,300 students, and found out: 87% of respondents always delay in completing a task, leaving it for later. Psychologists call this phenomenon procrastination. Sometimes this phenomenon is called a manifestation of weakness and laziness, but in fact, procrastination has deeper roots.

Why do we procrastinate?

Procrastinator brain

Brain is to blame for the fact that man procrastinates. This conclusion was made by researchers from the Ruhr University. They used 264 volunteers, examined them with an MRI. Then the participants filled out a questionnaire in which they appreciated how they can control their emotions. Research has shown that some people have a much larger amygdala than others. This gland is responsible for controlling emotions. It means that it is difficult for a person to cope with his feelings.

In addition, this part of the brain of procrastinators has a weak connection with the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, which chooses what we should do. Normally, the interaction of the tonsil and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex helps us to complete our tasks and enjoy the process at the same time. Each action of procrastinators is the result of a struggle between these two parts of the brain.

Vicious circle procrastinator

One of the most unpleasant features of procrastination is a constant feeling of guilt and dissatisfaction with yourself. Deferred cases are done in a hurry – these actions affect the result and our well-being. There is a reluctance to take on new things. It turns out a vicious circle, and getting out of it is not so easy. 

 

How to overcome procrastination?

At first glance, it is impossible to overcome procrastination, because for this it is necessary to correct those parts of the brain that are responsible for it. You can’t change the brain, but you can cheat it.

  • Understand your task. We put things on a back burner, because the task seems to us simply incomprehensible. Students, for example, are afraid of a blank sheet. In fact, the task only seems so impracticable. It is enough to single out the purpose of the task, divide it into components and solve it in parts.
  • Work for periods. A common problem of procrastinators is the inability to think for a long time. As soon as we begin to perform tasks, we immediately get tired. It is necessary to set a timer and work, for example, 25 minutes. The main thing is not to make indulgences and not to finish the work earlier.
  • Minimize distractions. Put your phone in flight mode so that you will not be disturbed by calls and messages. Work in a place where no one will disturb you, and concentrate fully on the task.
  • Kindle your interest. Obviously, to perform tasks that are beyond your interests is difficult. But the brain can be deceived: it is enough to spend a few minutes writing a script in which this experience will definitely come in handy in the future. In addition, you can encourage yourself for work. When you solve a problem, watch a movie or go for a walk with friends.

 

The cult series “Game of Thrones” comes to an end

What is the secret of the phenomenal success of the fantastic saga?

Reading time 4 minutes

The HBO television company has launched the final season of the top-rated series “Game of Thrones”. Usually the next season had to wait no more than 12 months. However, this time it took two years to shoot the eighth season. It was risky, but the creators calculated everything exactly: interest in the series only increased.

The eighth season came out on April 14 and has already set two absolute records. In the USA, the premiere of the new season was watched by 17.4 million viewers. And they did not forget to write about it: on Twitter, the first series became the most mentioned, about 5 million tweets were dedicated to the “Games”.

Shot from the series.

“Game of Thrones” is a historical series with elements of fantasy and exciting drama. The legendary saga tells about the struggle for power over the fictional continent of Västerås. This place resembles Western Europe in the Middle Ages. Three dynasties encroach upon the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms: Starkey, Targaryen, and Lannister. However, they are prevented by the risen dead under the leadership of the King of Night. Only by combining all the forces, people will be able to overcome the absolute evil. Or will not be able to overcome – this is what we will see in the final season.

The storyline of the series is very saturated, but this is not the reason for the success of the saga. On the one hand, this is a mix of cruelty, intrigue and explicit scenes. But on the other hand, the main trump card of the “Game of Thrones” remains its dramaturgy. In the “Game of Thrones” more than 1000 heroes, and there is not a single central or strictly positive. Empathy and interest are heroes, despite the immoral acts. We also never know who will be killed this time – the authors have removed more than half of the cast in seven seasons. In Australia there is a cemetery where the graves of the fallen heroes are located.

“Come and pay homage to the Grave of Thrones,” wrote the Foxtel team in the Instagram account, the company that created the cemetery.

According to the associate professor of the Higher School of Economics Pavel Rodkin, the series has become a significant cultural phenomenon. The authors of the saga skillfully use images that live in the consciousness and in the subconscious of the modern viewer.

“The reason for the popularity of the “Game of Thrones”, in my opinion, is that it collects all genres in some post-modern way: history, political intrigue, fantasy, and also collects all the archetypes that are significant for modern society,” says Pavel Rodkin.

The global phenomenon of the “Game of Thrones” has a multi-million dollar fandom and is well received in wide circles. Critics also appreciate it: in 2015, an Emmy series won in 12 out of 24 nominations. And this is not all the titles of this saga. “Game of Thrones” was the most watched TV series channel HBO and the most expensive project on modern television (last season cost more than $ 100 million). Finally, this is the most popular pirated content. This record is even listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

Exposure, shutter speed, aperture, ISO: how to deal with it

Cheat notes for a beginning photographer

Reading time 6 minutes

The cherished dream has finally come true: you are holding a new camera and ready to click everything. There is only one problem – you see one thing, and the camera – quite another, it ruthlessly spoils the whole picture! In this case, however, it is not the camera, it is the ability to work with it. And there is not enough knowledge about what a matrix and what a lens, will have to study a few more concepts.

Exposition

The first term that any user who has picked up a professional camera faces is exposure. In simple words, the exposure is the amount of light that falls on the matrix of the camera at the time of shooting. Thus, it is responsible for the saturation of the photo, so first of all you should learn how to work with the exposure.

To determine the exposure parameters, it is necessary to deal with the exposure meter – a scale on the screen that shows how accurately the exposure is built. If the runner leaves plus – there is a lot of light, if the negative – few. If the slider is near zero, the exposure is correct.

The secret of correct exposure is that to configure it you need two parameters aperture and shutter speed together – expopair. In the following table you can easily identify the cases in which the ratio of the aperture and shutter speed matched right: cells of the same color located in one diagonal indicate the correct exposure value.

Aperture

The hole in the lens through which light enters the camera body is called the aperture. It adjusts the brightness of the picture, it can be used to take light pictures even in a dimly lit room and Vice versa. There are 13 aperture values, the higher this value – the more the aperture is closed, in the picture it is shown as follows:

Advises

  • the two most popular types of photography are landscape and portrait. To shoot a landscape, it is better to use a closed aperture (from f/8), then it will be clear, for shooting a portrait, an open aperture (f/1,4 – 3,5) will be more suitable, it will help to make the background more blurred and create the famous bokeh effect;
  • if you’re shooting a pair, the ideal aperture value would be f/5.6, and for a group of people – f/8, however, in poor lighting, you should use an additional flash light;
  • in poor lighting conditions suitable aperture value f/2,8, in bright light at f/16.
Shutter speed

Another term – shutter speed – means the time during which the camera shutter is open, and the light hits the matrix. Shutter speed is measured in fractions of a second, long shutter speed is used for static images, and short shutter speed is used for dynamic images. However, there is an interesting technique: shooting fast motion with long exposure creates the effect of a blurred trail behind the object.

The use of long exposure is justified in two cases: in poor lighting or to create a motion effect (for example, it is better to shoot a waterfall jet at a long exposure). In other cases, it is better to use a short exposure.

ISO

Light sensitivity (or ISO) is the speed at which the matrix records information about the amount of light. But the faster the light is fixed, the more graphic information it will lose. The light sensitivity setting is useful if you need certain shutter speed and aperture values in low light. Increasing the ISO in this case will give the necessary exposure, but the fee for increasing the sensitivity will increase the grain of the frame.

Tip: even if you shoot in the dark, you should set the light sensitivity not higher than 200-400 to reduce the amount of grain, and if in a well-lit room – you should bring the ISO to a minimum.

The ability to work with the basic settings of the camera significantly improve the result of shooting. And with experience, knowledge of settings for specific situations and understanding of the features of your camera will appear.

Turn the screen into black and white mode

How to overcome the dependence on the smartphone without getting rid of it

Reading time 4 minutes

Dependence on smartphones is a disease, and users themselves began to understand it. According to Google statistics, the query “smartphone addiction” and similar became very popular last year.

Analysts attribute this to the desire of people to cope with dependence on smartphones. Recently, as SKY News reported, sales of push-button phones without Internet access have increased in the world. According to the data presented on the website, sales increased by 5%.

However, there is another way to deal with smartphone addiction. American psychologist Martin Sinclair, the author of the bestseller “Care for busy people” proposed to transfer smartphones in monochrome. All application icons and their interface will become black and white. According to him, looking at the screen without colorful pictures and notifications can block emotional attachment – a key element of addiction.

It’s not a secret that app and website developers deliberately use techniques that cause addiction. Bright colors and colorful pictures – one of them. This was told by Tristan Harris, former head of design ethics at Google. He is the founder of the non-profit organisation Time Well Spent, where users are told about manipulation of their attention and how not to fall for the tricks of developers.

Instruction for use

If the smartphone has already become an integral part of the hand, and life without it seems impossible, it’s time to ask yourself: have I become addicted? The positive answer is an excuse to put your phone in monochrome mode. This can be done in a few clicks.

For Android

  1. Go to system settings and select the category «about phone»;
  2. Several times in a row click on the build number, it will open access to advanced editing;
  3. In the system find window «for developers»;
  4. In the section «hardware visualization acceleration» find the item «Simulate anomaly» and choose the monochrome mode.

For iOS

  1. Go to basic settings;
  2. Find the «Quick access» section and select «Filters»;
  3. After that, a triple press on the «Home» button will allow you to quickly change modes from black and white to color.

And the main recommendation: remember that the world around is much brighter than the screen of your smartphone!

Swedish truant was nominated for the Nobel Prize

Greta Thunberg's sitting pickets gave impetus to the environmental protest children's movement

Reading time 5 minutes

School strikes for climate, Fridays for the Future, Youth for Climate, Youth Strike 4 Climate – variations of movements of teenagers who want to prevent climatic and environmental disasters. They organize school strikes, trying to convey the idea that knowledge makes no sense if there is no world in which they can be applied.

Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.
Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.

The movement started in 2015, when an independent group of pupils and students urged students around the world to skip classes on the first day of COP 21, the Climate Conference, which was held in Paris. Over fifty thousand students from more than a hundred countries took part in the strike on November 30. The movement had three basic requirements: the ubiquitous transition to clean energy, the non-withdrawal of minerals from the earth, the assistance to climate refugees.

Greta Thunberg.
Greta Thunberg.

In 2018, instead of studying, Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg began a single picket in front of the Swedish parliament. She sat in silence, and next was a banner with a slogan, which later became one of the names of the activist movement – “Skolstrejk för klimatet” or “School strikes for climate” in the English version. Its main requirement for the government was a gradual decrease in the emission of harmful substances into the atmosphere.

In the interview, Greta said that the idea of ​​strikes for climate came to her after talking about skipping classes because of shooting in US schools. After that, the journalists had a question: can it be possible to skip classes to draw attention to climate problems? She found this idea viable, and she began to implement it. At first, no one responded to her proposal, but after a couple of days, someone kept her company, someone began to bring food to her. She attracted the attention of the media and some members of parliament.

Later, Greta still forced to return to classes. But on Fridays, she still continued to sit in front of Parliament with the same banner. The rumor about her actions went beyond Sweden. Soon, schoolchildren and students all over the world followed her example.

“I do it because no one else takes it. It is my duty to do what I can,” said Greta. “If several children can get into the headlines all over the world just skipping school, just imagine what people can do if they combine their efforts”.

In November 2018, three months after the start of the strike, she was invited to become one of the speakers at TEDxStockholm. At the conference, she spoke about the inconsistency of modern consumer culture, about ignorance, about silence and about the possibility of people starting to change the world for the better. March 14, 2019, Greta was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.
Members of the School Strikes 4 Climate.

On the next Friday, March 15, students and schoolchildren organized an international strike. Tens of thousands of teenagers in different countries appealed to governments and large companies to take a more responsible attitude towards the environment. Young people called it the beginning of active actions to preserve the world in which they are to live.

Greta Tunberg talks about protest marches around the world on her Twitter account.

 

Cardboard reality in the big game

Nintendo Switch will get VR support, but that's not what you think

Reading time 5 minutes

Since the announcement of Nintendo Switch in the network there is information that the console will receive support for virtual reality . The idea seemed crazy, but now it is known that VR will appear on the Nintendo console. Well, almost reliably…

Do it yourself!

New information about «VR from Nintendo» appeared like a bolt from the blue. Nintendo of America in his Twitter-account announced a new set of a series of cardboard designers Lego — Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 04: VR Kit. The set will give you the opportunity to assemble from cardboard VR-accessories for Nintendo Switch, as well as provide players with related games.

Two new Labo VR kits: Starter (left) and Full (right)
Two new Labo VR kits: Starter (left) and Full (right)

The method of implementing Nintendo picked up from Google Cardboard, which is also a cardboard mask with lenses. In this case, the Nintendo Switch is used as the screen, the image of which is divided for each eye, creating the illusion of immersion and volume.

This time there are several options for buying cardboard peripherals: «Starter kit» with glasses and «Blaster» for $39 (~2800 rubles.) with the possibility of separate purchase of other accessories and «Full set», which also contains «Camera», «Elephant», «Bird» and «air pedal» for $79 (~5600 rubles).

If you do not want to buy everything at once, it is possible to purchase only interesting Toy-Cons
If you do not want to buy everything at once, it is possible to purchase only interesting Toy-Cons

Not my VR

However, the announcement of the cartons from Nintendo was ambiguous. Many age-old fans of “big N” were not very happy that beyond the designers of Labo, focused on children, VR will not apply.

One of the problems associated with Labo products is the lack of tangible depth of built-in games, and Toy-Con themselves are no more than interactive toys.

But there is still hope for a bright future. For example, some of the previous designers received support in the «serious» games of the company. In particular, it is worth noting the «Motorcycle», which can be used to control the Mario Kart 8: Deluxe.

Promotional art collaborations Nintendo Land and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe
Promotional art collaborations Nintendo Land and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe

For the first time rumors about Nintendo’s entry into the virtual reality market appeared with the discovery of the company’s patent, vaguely reminiscent of VR-glasses.

This interesting patent has been discovered for the first time in 2016. He gave rise to further speculation about the VR Switch on the Nintendo.
This interesting patent has been discovered for the first time in 2016. He gave rise to further speculation about the VR Switch on the Nintendo.

It is also worth noting that this is not the first attempt of «big N» to enter the VR market. Back in 1995, the company released the Virtual Boy console, which is a helmet similar to modern «head displays». The experiment was not successful: after prolonged use, the helmet could cause headaches and pain in the eyes, and the project itself is still considered one of the biggest failures of the company.

Must plays of March 2019

The best games of the spring season

Reading time 10 minutes

Along with spring, thaw and sunny weather in March, begins the gaming season. Usually, spring is not as fruitful for big games as autumn or Christmas holidays, but here is the list of the most exciting releases of March.

Dead or Alive 6 — 1st of March

Dead or Alive 6, the newest part of a popular Japanese fighting game, opens up the first month of spring.

Всего в Dead or Alive 6 26 персонажей. Ещё больше контента будет доступно в виде DLC.Всего в Dead or Alive 6 26 персонажей. Ещё больше контента будет доступно в виде DLC.
Overall, there are 26 characters in Dead or Alive 6. there will be more content available in DLC.

This time, the creators decided to shift slightly the vector of the game by dressing up immodest heroins (however, the chest physiology stayed the same) and making the game more accessible and appealing for new players. Besides, there will be a full customization of characters, which can be seen in Soul Calibur VI, Tekken 7, and other modern Japanese fighting games. In addition, the game has extremely realistic visuals of clothes and faces of characters, which there are 26.

If you miss these quality Japanese fisticuffs — and Tekken 7 and Soul Calibur VI already drive you crazy — you definitely should check out Dead or Alive 6.

The Occupation — 5th of March

Also in the first week of March will be released a new project by an independent British company White Paper Games — The Occupation.

The Occupation - один из самых интересных квестов последнего времени.
The Occupation – one of the most interesting quests of the last years.

The setting is Great Britain in the 1980s, where happened a disastrous terrorist attack that has taken lives of 26 people. In the role of a journalist, the player will have to understand what happened and prevent a looming political scandal. To finish the game, the player has 4 real hours, which means that it can be ended without any player’s interactions, so solving all mysteries of the narrative is not easy.

For those who love fascinating stories and intrigues, The Occupation will be a perfect match.

Devil May Cry V — 8th of March

This year’s international women’s day will bring joy to fans of the Devil May Cry series, slash action shooter games.

Главные герои DMC 5 (справа налево): Данте, Неро и V
The main characters of DMC 5 (from right to left): Dante, Nero and V

After 11 years, if not taking into account a remake in 2013, the Devil May Cry series returns with the complete sequelae — Devil May Cry V. The player still needs to exterminate hordes of demons in the roles of Dante, Nero, and mysterious V saving Red Grave City from awful hell-creatures. Everything the series is popular for stayed the same —  powerful combos, considerable arsenal, and pinch of magic will not leave indifferent both veterans of the series and beginners.

There is no point of saying anything else — you have to see it for yourself. In case you are not ready to purchase the game, there is a demo version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 — 15th of March

In the middle of March will be released a project that can possibly become one of the best games for the next couple of years — Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, a loot shooter by UbiSoft.

Explicitly recreated ruined Washington is one of the main features of The Division

This time, as an agent of The Division the player will visit Washington, specially recreated on a one-to-one scale. Like in the first part, the main activity will be helping citizens, neutralizing local gangs, recapturing their territory and, of course, the production of new weapons and armor in industrial volumes. There is also a PvP mode in the form of Dark Zones.

This time, as an agent of the «Division» the player will visit Washington, specially recreated on a one-to-one scale. Like in the first part, the main activity will be helping citizens, neutralizing local gangs, recapturing their territory and, of course, the production of new weapons and armor in industrial volumes. There is also a PvP mode in the form of Dark Zones.

You can play the game either by yourself or in the company of three friends, so whether you look for a game for a couple of evenings or even months, you will definitely enjoy Tom Clancy’s The Division 2.

The Sinking City — 21st of March

A week later, the world will see a new project by Ukranian Frogwares, which is famous for its games about Sherlock Holmes. This time, they were inspired by works of Howard Lovecraft.

You cannot miss The Sinking City if you are a Lovecraft fan

The game’s setting is a fictional American town called Oakmont in in the 1920s. Our protagonist is an investigator Charles W. Reed who decided to visit Oakmont, which turned into a half-flooded wasteland with a couple of people that did not leave the town after the flood. What has happened in this town? What does Reed has to do with it? Carefully exploring the city and communicating with witnesses, the player will find answers to these and many other questions.

For those who was not impressed by the recent Call of Cthulhu and those who love mysteries and puzzles, The Sinking City is mandatory for familiarization.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice — 22nd of March

A day later, on the store shelves will appear the most sadistic project of the month or even of the year — a new game by From Software, the authors of Dark Souls and Bloodbourne.

В Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice даже протезы несут смерть и разрушение
In Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice even prosthesis can be used as a deadly weapon

Instead of Gothic of the middle ages you will experience Japan in late 1500s, a Sengoku period. Under the control of the player is the warrior Sekiro, who seeks revenge on the Ashina clan for the loss of his master and a hand, which he now replaces with the mechanical prosthesis. With the help of his new mechanical limb, Sekiro will be able to use the hook and other useful fixtures which can be switched in a moment. As for the combat system, it will be based on blocks and parrying.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice promises the same furious action and brand-name complexity of From Software. If you want to tickle your nerves the game will intrigue you as well.

Yoshi’s Crafted World — 29th of March

At the very end of the month will be released Youshi’s Crafted World — infinitely cute 2.5D platformer about the dragon Yoshi by Nintendo.

Yoshi’s Crafted World is definitely one of the cutest projects of this year

The new adventure of Yoshi is created in a handmade aesthetics. The dragon will have to work his way through DIY obstacles made of paper, fabric and other everyday materials in an unusual appearance. The main feature of the game is a reverse mode which turns the world around enabling to look behind the facade of homemade obstacles. The game can be played by two players as well.

Youshi’s Crafted World is a mandatory purchase for everyone who misses classic platformers, but looks for something fresh, and also for those who likes relaxing and colorful games. If you are not sure about buying you can try the demo version.  

Stress and the city

How different urban objects affect the human condition

Reading time 4 minutes

Experts at the University of Bristol decided to explore which urban landscapes have the greatest impact on stress levels.

Three objects were chosen for the study: parks, cafes and shops. Modern neuroimaging technologies have made it possible to obtain data directly from the brain, not just from surveys. The experiment involved 40 people. Their stress levels were measured using portable electroencephalogram sensors – not in laboratories, but directly in the city.

How does it work

Studies of encephalogram allow to determine different States of brain activity, its dependence on the level of stress and concentration of a person. Experts paid special attention to two types of activity: alpha rhythm and beta rhythm. The first occurs in a state of calm, the second – in the solution of any problem, when you need the maximum concentration. Watching these rhythms, you can assess the level of stress or the opposite indicator – the level of meditativeness.

The level of meditativeness of the urban landscape (cafe, supermarket, park)

The first point of the study was to determine the level of meditativeness-that is, the relaxation of a person in a particular place. Experts assumed that the highest level of stress will be observed in shops, and the lowest – in parks. Their hypothesis was confirmed: the diagram clearly shows that a person is more calm in parks or cafes than in supermarkets, where the level of meditativeness is much lower.

The second point of the study is the preparation of a heat map, where red is an indicator of the maximum level of stress, and blue is the minimum. Indicators in cafes and parks are about the same, the only difference is that in a cafe the stress level is sometimes very high. This is due to the fact that there people can face unpleasant situations for the brain: an irritable waiter, a long wait for the order, etc.

Heat map: the level of stress in cafes, parks and shops

It is obvious that supermarkets are an emotional test for our brain. The researchers note that there are people who rest while shopping, but they should be careful: it is unknown at what point the brain will start to get annoyed and stop perceiving shopping as a vacation.