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Gaming, Games, Puzzles

In Arts & Entertainment….

The Free Press WV

►  Candy Crush addicts get new outlet as video game comes to TV

Candy Crush addicts, and you know who you are, put down your mobile device immediately. Then you can watch “Candy Crush,” the TV game show.

Expect breezy, energetic fun from the CBS series debuting 9 p.m. EDT Sunday with host Mario Lopez, said executive producer Matt Kunitz, whose credits include “Wipeout” and “Fear Factor.”

Nearly 200 billion game rounds were played in the Candy Crush Saga last year, according to its maker, King. To entice people to watch it on TV, “Candy Crush” supersizes the visuals and the action.

Two specially designed video walls, each made up of 55 monitors and measuring more than 20-by-25 feet, require contestants to physically scramble as they compete for the weekly $100,000 prize.

One wall is placed horizontally on the stage floor, the other is perpendicular to it, and players in safety harnesses scoot across and up and down the screens. They make candy matches by, natch, swiping squares a la the mobile game.

The stunt team that handled Lady Gaga’s rig during her airborne entrance to this year’s Super Bowl halftime show did the same for “Candy Crush,” with the same injury-free success, Kunitz and CBS said. Taping is completed.

When the show was pitched to the network, Kunitz said, they asked CBS executives to imagine “if you were playing on your phone and got sucked through and were in a Candy Crush arena.”

The video walls were key, he said.

Their surfaces needed to withstand running, jumping and sliding and respond only to the swipe of contestants’ hands. Producers ended up going with a company, MultiTaction, that had created a 44-monitor wall for the Australia’s Queensland University of Technology.

That was the world’s biggest, Kunitz said, until “Candy Crush” came along — and he points to a Guinness World Records citation attesting to that. Each monitor has 32 cameras to record the flurry of hand swipes.

Many video games have been translated to the movie screen, from “Super Mario Brothers” to “Tomb Raider” to “The Angry Birds Movie,” but it’s rare, if not unprecedented, for a game to come to television, said Sebastian Knutsson, a King executive who helped develop Candy Crush.

The game’s simplicity “actually translates very well” to TV, he said, and the audience’s perspective allows them to see opportunities more readily than the contestants who are so close to the oversized boards.

How protective did he feel of his baby during its TV adaptation?

“It’s been very important to us that this stay true to the core of how you play the game, and that it wouldn’t break what we think of as the core rules of Candy Crush,” Knutsson said from Stockholm.

That doesn’t mean the TV show had carte blanche.

King shared a Candy Crush style guide with details on the color and size of each candy character, Kunitz said. It was so precise that it dictated the dimension of the line around each character and their size in relation to each other.

It was understood that some things might change slightly on TV, Kunitz said, and, in turn, he appreciated what was at stake.

“There’s a huge expectation from the audience of what this show should be, because hundreds of millions of people play the game,” he said. “I wanted to make it bigger and more spectacular and prime-time. That’s a fine balance. You don’t want to mess up the brand. And it is a brand, a massive brand.”

Nearly two-dozen different challenges for players help make each episode feel unique, he said.

While great effort went into the production, Kunitz said he hopes that viewers will be unaware of all the work and simply enjoy the show.

“It’s just fun. That’s all it is,” he said. “We’re not grossing anyone out, no one’s wiping out, no one’s 300 feet in the air hanging from a helicopter. It’s just pure summer fun.”


►  Kendall and Kylie Jenner sued over Tupac Shakur T-shirts

A commercial photographer has sued Kendall and Kylie Jenner over the use of two of his images of late rapper Tupac Shakur that were used on T-shirts the sisters briefly sold for $125 apiece.

Michael Miller sued the Jenner sisters in a Los Angeles federal court on Friday for copyright infringement over the “vintage” T-shirts that featured their likeness or designs superimposed over photos of famous musicians. Miller’s suit states the Jenners never sought permission to use his photos.

The sisters’ brand Kendall + Kylie stopped selling the shirts last month after Ozzy Osbourne’s wife and the mother of the late rapper Notorious B.I.G, criticized them.

Emails sent to the Jenners’ publicists were not immediately returned Friday.

Miller is seeking at least $150,000 apiece for the use of his photos.


►  American gored at Pamplona bull run promises to run again

One of the two Americans gored Saturday during this year’s second running of the bulls in the Spanish city of Pamplona is swearing that he will run again before the festival is over.

Bill Hillmann, a 35-year-old writer who also was gored three years ago at the San Fermin festival, was in stable condition. The bull that led the pack thrust its horn into Hillmann’s buttocks before flipping him onto the street.

“In a split second he was on me. I tried to jump, but he hit me in the butt,” Hillmann told The Associated Press by telephone from a hospital in Pamplona.

“I flew up in the air and landed on my back. I didn’t know I was gored at first. Then people started telling me I was gored and pulled me over to the medics. I pulled down my pants and there was blood. The bull had pulled down my pants before he pierced my underpants.”

Hillmann said his love hasn’t wavered for the chaotic and treacherous spectacle.

“I am probably going to run tomorrow or the next day, sure at this festival,” he said. “I am already walking. The first time, I wasn’t walking for a week.”

Hillmann’s wound was less severe than those of a 22-year-old American that the regional government of Navarra identified with the initials J.C., who was in serious condition after his left arm was impaled and he was dragged for several meters (yards) before the bull flung him off and stormed over him.

Three other Americans, two Frenchmen and three Spaniards — all men — needed hospital treatment for injures received during the frantic and crowded run of thrill-seekers.

The gorings took the total through two days to five, after two Americans and a Spaniard were gored on Friday’s first run.

Hillmann was in Pamplona for a 12th consecutive year to brave the bulls and ran on Friday.

He was gored in the early stages of the run, when the bulls from the ranch of Jose Escolar confirmed their reputation as being unpredictable.

The bulls completed the 930-yard (850-meter) cobbled-street course in just over four minutes — well over the average of three minutes — because one bull broke away from the rest and turned around.

The other five plowed into the slower-moving crowds, knocking many runners down as they maneuvered through the narrow streets and wooden barricades.

Hillmann described this second goring as “just a tick” compared to his first one in 2014, which produced two thigh wounds he called “traumatic.”

Hillmann, like scores of foreigners, discovered the San Fermin festival thanks to Nobel Literature laureate Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises.”

“It changed my life. It made me want to be a writer, to run the bulls, to come to Spain,” he said. “When I got here everything in the book was still here, but a thousand times more. And it just keeps getting more interesting. People think this is just crazy people running. There is real art. If you pay attention, you can see it.”

Hillmann claims to have participated in over 300 bull runs across Spain at traditional summer festivals. He has written a guide on bull running, along with a novel, and was back in Pamplona to make a documentary featuring him as a bull runner.

“The thing is that when you run, you always have doubts because you are taking a decision that can end your life,” he said. “There is a shadow that follows you. Sometimes I don’t run because I don’t feel right. I usually get premonitions. Not today. I felt good today, but it didn’t go my way.”


►  Missing teen daughter of actor Donal Logue found safe

The teenage daughter of actor Donal Logue has been found safe nearly two weeks after she went missing in New York City.

The New York Police Department says 16-year-old Jade Logue was found Saturday.

Logue had posted appeals to help find Jade on Facebook and Twitter after she disappeared on June 26.

He wrote on Facebook that the “net had been flung far and wide.“

Jade is transgender and was previously known as Arlo Logue. Police provided no details about how or where she was found.

Donal Logue stars as Detective Harvey Bullock on “Gotham.“ He also had a recurring role as Lt. Declan Murphy on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.“

In Arts & Entertainment….

The Free Press WV

►  2 HBO Shows Are Getting Renewed

Jon Stewart’s animated shorts are out, but Veep and Silicon Valley are still in at HBO. The network has announced both Emmy-winning shows will be renewed for another season, with new episodes airing in 2018, reports Variety. All original cast members will return for Veep’s seventh season, per Deadline, having received major raises. However, TJ Miller (the scene-stealing Erlich Bachman) will not return for Silicon Valley’s fifth season, reports USA Today. The current seasons of both Sunday comedies wrap on June 25.


►  In Monopoly’s Origins: a Warning About Landlords

You might think of Monopoly as a board game version of Capitalism 101, but its origins are rooted in anti-landlord sentiment, worries about wealth inequality, and an obscure economist. In the late 1800s, Henry George argued in favor of a tax on “land value” that would prevent landowners from getting rich for doing nothing, eliminate the need for all other taxes, and promote income equality. Writing for Vice, Tristan Donovan traces the story back to George devotee Elizabeth Magie, who in 1902 designed The Landlord’s Game, which she wrote showed “how the landlord gets his money and keeps it,“ a power grab that would teach kids to “see clearly the gross injustice of our present land system.“ Magie began making copies of the game, and offered it to Parker Brothers, which said no thanks—“It’s too political and too complex, they told her,“ writes Donovan. The game lapsed into obscurity.

Except not quite: Handmade copies got passed around university economics departments and living rooms, acquiring names like Monopoly and Finance, and eventually going home with a Quaker schoolteacher in Atlantic City, who modeled the squares after places in her city. Eventually, down-on-his-luck father Charles Darrow swiped a copy of Monopoly from a friend, added illustrations, copyrighted it, and offered it to Parker Brothers. Nope, too complicated, they said. But Darrow’s game started selling. Parker Brothers noticed, and in 1935 bought the game, which quickly became a juggernaut that sold a quarter-million copies that year. Parker Brothers also struck a deal with Magie to publish The Landlord’s Game, which flopped. “All that was left was Monopoly,“ writes Donovan, “the Frankenstein’s monster she had inadvertently created.“ His full piece is worth a read.


►  Baywatch Sinks Like the Rock

It was smooth sailing to the top spot at the box office for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, but the waters were choppier for the much-derided Dwayne Johnson comedy Baywatch. Studio estimates on Sunday say the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise commandeered $62.2 million in its first three days in theaters. The Johnny Depp-starring flick is projected to take in $76.6 million over the four-day holiday weekend, reports the AP. Despite its top spot, however, the latest is showing what Variety calls “a serious case of franchise fatigue.“ To wit, it’s the lowest finish for a Pirates movie since the original; Dead Man’s Chest was the peak with $135.6 million.

The R-rated Baywatch, meanwhile, is sinking like a rock. The critically derided update of the 1990s TV show earned only $18.1 million over the weekend against a nearly $70 million price tag. Even Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 did better in its third weekend. The space opera added $19.1 million. Rounding out the top five, per Box Office Mojo, were Alien: Covenant with $10.5 million and Everything, Everything with $6.2 million.


►  Shia LaBeouf Is Being Sued for $5M by a Bartender

An April incident that already got Shia LaBeouf bad press may also get him in legal trouble. On April 5, the actor and his wife, Mia Goth, were at Jerry’s Famous Deli in Los Angeles when LaBeouf allegedly screamed at a bartender after he refused to serve drinks to the couple (they were allegedly already too drunk). TMZ published video of the incident last month in which LaBeouf can be heard yelling that bartender David Bernstein is a “f—-ing racist #####.“ Now, Bernstein is suing the actor for $5 million, People reports.

Bernstein’s lawsuit says LaBeouf entered an employee-only area of the restaurant and slammed his fist on the bar, and “appeared ready to physically confront” Bernstein after being refused service. Bernstein was forced to use a Grey Goose vodka bottle in self-defense since he feared LaBeouf was about to attack him, the lawsuit says, per the Hollywood Reporter. The defamation and assault suit goes on to claim Bernstein has suffered “significant emotional distress, anxiety, and fear,“ and that he’s been ridiculed since the video appeared online. LaBeouf’s lawyer says the lawsuit is “baseless” and they will seek to have it dismissed.


►  Pelley out, Mason temporarily in as CBS News anchor

CBS’ effort to brand itself as the home of hard-edged newscasts has been a success in the morning, not so much in the evening — and “CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley paid the price for it with his job.

The network announced Wednesday that Pelley will return full-time to “60 Minutes,“ the flagship newsmagazine where he divided his time in the six years since he replaced Katie Couric as evening news anchor. Twenty-year CBS veteran Anthony Mason will fill in on the evening news until a permanent successor is choSenator

The transition has already been a little messy: CBS had intended to announce it next week, but when workers began packing Pelley’s belongings at his evening news office into boxes Tuesday night, word of his departure spread.

With its influence diminished at the turn of the decade, CBS News sought to mold its newscasts in the meatier image of “60 Minutes.“ It named the newsmagazine’s most influential correspondent, Pelley, as evening anchor and installed the team of Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell at the newly named “CBS This Morning.“

The strategy has worked beyond the network’s dreams in the morning. Once invisible, CBS is now competitive with ABC’s “Good Morning America” and NBC’s “Today” show — still third but gaining fast. Pelley won respect and some early ratings success in the evening. But he was never truly competitive with ABC and NBC, and lately has slid further behind.

Pelley’s onscreen demeanor — “strict and steeling, disavowing both charm and irony” — was appropriate for the nation’s mood in the wake of last decade’s financial crisis, said news consultant Andrew Tyndall, who studies the content of evening newscasts. But it has proven less so for the Trump era. Despite a heightened interest in news that has propelled cable personalities like Rachel Maddow to new heights in recent months, the evening newscasts haven’t benefited. Collectively, the three networks reach 24.2 million each night, down 4 percent from last year, the Nielsen company said.

In recent months, Pelley has attracted attention, and some anger from the president’s supporters, for blunt assessments of Donald Trump’s moves.

CBS gave no public reason for removing Pelley from the evening news either in Wednesday’s announcement or in a conference call with employees. In such situations, ratings usually tell the story.

But its executives stressed the importance of having Pelley full-time at “60 Minutes” as the newsmagazine.

“The milestone 50th season of 60 MINUTES requires Scott’s full contribution, and we look forward to important reporting from him for many years to come,“ CBS News President David Rhodes said.

Pelley, 59, was on assignment overseas Wednesday. He’ll be back at the “CBS Evening News” Monday for a short period before Mason takes over. In a statement, Pelley said of his evening news colleagues that “I find my heart filled with gratitude for the opportunity to know you, humility in light of your sacrifices, and hope for the future of journalism because of the standards you live by. CBS has been great to me for nearly 30 years. I’m glad to accept this assignment with continuing gratitude.“

There have been behind-the-scenes signals that a shift was coming. As he heads into a job where his day-to-day presence in the office is less important, Pelley has recently bought a ranch in Texas and put a house in Connecticut on the market.

It’s not clear whether Mason will be a candidate for the full-time job. His colleagues on Wednesday’s conference call were told he’d committed to the interim job through the end of the year if no one is named earlier, said a staff member on the call who requested anonymity because the person was not authorized to talk about it.

Potential candidates include CBS’ Jeff Glor and CNN’s Jake Tapper or Anderson Cooper. But in a reflection of television news’ changed circumstances, other CBS personalities like O’Donnell or “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson are not expected to be candidates. The role of evening news anchor was once clearly the top job in broadcast journalism but now has less influence; CBS would be loath to break up its morning team because that’s where it makes more money.

“It would be a mistake to take from this that people don’t want a solid news program,“ said Lee Kamlet, a former ABC News producer and dean of the communications school at Quinnipiac University. “But they are more inclined to want it in the morning, when they haven’t been on their news and social media feeds throughout the night.“

For all the attention Maddow and other cable personalities get, however, Pelley routinely reached twice as many people each night.

Pelley’s newscast had more international news and a tougher tone than its rivals, but it wasn’t necessarily breaking news-dependent, Tyndall said. It was more dependent on its own video than special effects; in short, it looked more like “60 Minutes,“he said.

“The Trump Presidency does certainly not represent normal times for political journalism,“ Tyndall said. “Yet, perhaps, censoriousness is too narrow a tone to adopt in response to it. Perhaps that journalistic response should be leavened with bemusement and irony.“


►  CNN sacks Kathy Griffin over Trump video as backlash builds

Kathy Griffin has lost a decade-long gig ringing in the new year for CNN as a backlash builds over her video displaying a likeness of Donald Trump’s severed head.

CNN, which had called the images “disgusting and offensive” after Griffin posted the video on Tuesday, announced Wednesday it would not invite her back this year for the Times Square live New Year’s Eve special she had co-hosted annually since 2007 with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

A New Mexico casino has also canceled a performance by Griffin, who was scheduled to perform at Route 66 Casino, operated by Laguna Pueblo, on July 22.

And a commercial endorsement deal was canceled just weeks after she landed it. Squatty Potty, a Utah-based company whose products include toilet stools and other bathroom accessories, said it was suspending an ad campaign that featured Griffin.

“We were shocked and disappointed” by the video, said Bobby Edwards, the company’s CEO. “It was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for.“

“I am a true supporter of free speech, but feel Kathy crossed the line,“ Edwards added. “I regret having to make these decisions, but have no choice.“

Griffin’s video made Trump seethe. Tweeting Wednesday morning, he said Griffin “should be ashamed of herself” for creating the video. “My children, especially my 11-year-old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!“

First lady Melania Trump issued a statement of her own: “As a mother, a wife, and a human being, that photo is very disturbing. When you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it.“

Griffin, a comic known for her abrasive style of humor, had apologized on Tuesday, conceding that the brief video, which she originally described as an “artsy-fartsy statement” mocking the commander in chief, was “too disturbing” and wasn’t funny.

“I went too far,“ she says in her contrite follow-up video. “I sincerely apologize.“

But it was too late.

Griffin’s comedy approach trades on a self-deprecating streak (she brands herself as mired on the “D List” of show biz) while she targets celebs who are higher up the food chain. And while she may never have riled a celeb of the magnitude of Trump, the 56-year-old comic has gotten into trouble with her wisecracks.

In 2005 she was fired from her job as an E! network red-carpet commentator after joking at the Golden Globe Awards that child actress Dakota Fanning had checked into rehab.

Two years later, while accepting an Emmy for her Bravo reality series, “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List,“ she declared that “a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.“

Then she held up her trophy and said, “Suck it, Jesus. THIS is my God now!“

Her appearance was during the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony, which wasn’t aired live but instead was taped for later broadcast by E! Her remarks were therefore edited. But reports of what she said drew fire from many, including Catholic League President Bill Donohue, who called it a “vulgar, in-your-face brand of hate speech.“

Griffin remained unrepentant.

“I have a no-apology policy,“ she told CBS News in 2012. “No apologies for jokes. I apologize in my real life all the time. I say ridiculous things, I make mistakes constantly. But when I’m onstage, I’m at a microphone ... it’s a joke!“

She said the fallout from her Emmy stunt was “heaven” for her: “I mean, it was comedy gold.“

In Arts & Entertainment….

The Free Press WV

►  Howard Stern Fans Worry About Their ‘Hero’ as Show Goes Dark

Conspiracy theories, buzzing Reddit threads, and an outpouring of concern this week over … Howard Stern taking a day off. Page Six reports that the SiriusXM radio host abruptly dropped off the airwaves this week when he unexpectedly took a “personal day” Wednesday, per the on-air message explaining his absence (he didn’t return Thursday or Friday, either, adding to the worry). Longtime fans who know his work ethic, and apparently his attendance record, expressed their concern for his sudden disappearance. “I am very concerned,“ tweeted one fan who says he’s been a listener since the ‘80s and “NEVER” recalled the host cancelling a show, while another sent “peace and love” to his “hero.“

Per Page Six and Campus News, some of the speculations about Howard’s whereabouts include co-host Robin Quivers being “gravely ill”; his wife, Beth Ostrosky, being angry with him; and the IRS being after him for airing a confidential agency call. One Reddit user made an even more uneasy observation: “Just this year Howard said the only way he’d cancel a show is if a parent died.“ But Radar says it touched base with Stern’s mom, Ray, on Thursday, and she insists her husband, Ben, who’s been reported as being seriously ill, is OK (Ray noted he wasn’t home when Radar rang). Some fans say Stern was in a down mood on Monday’s show and are trying to connect the dots from there. Page Six notes there’s been no word from SiriusXM, though Stern is expected to be back behind the mic on Monday.


►  Thieves Make Off With Harry Potter Prequel

Police in Britain are asking Harry Potter fans worldwide to be on the lookout for a one-of-a-kind Harry Potter prequel. The untitled 800-word story, handwritten on a card, was stolen during a burglary in Birmingham last month, and police say they are going public in the hope that “the appeal goes far and wide among Harry Potter fans throughout the world,“ the BBC reports. JK Rowling wrote the story for a 2008 charity auction, where it sold for $49,000.

The story is set three years before the young wizard Potter was born and describes how father James Potter and godfather Sirius Black make their escape after tangling with muggle police officers, the AP reports. Rowling retweeted the police appeal for information, urging fans not to buy the story if they are offered it. She noted its owner helped support writers’ freedoms by buying the story at the auction, which benefited the English PEN organization.


►  Blogger Played Pokemon Go in Church, Is Convicted for It

A Russian blogger was convicted Thursday of inciting religious hatred for playing Pokemon Go in a church and given a 3.5-year suspended sentence. Ruslan Sokolovsky’s offense is the same one that sent two women from ##### Riot to prison in 2012. Sokolovsky posted a video on his blog last year showing him playing the smartphone game in a church built on the supposed spot where the last Russian czar and his family were killed. He has been in detention since October. Sokolovsky’s behavior and his anti-religious videos manifested his “disrespect for society,“ said Judge Yekaterina Shoponyak, who added that Sokolovsky “intended to offend religious sentiments,“ the AP reports. Once an officially atheist state, Russia has made a stunning turnaround since the fall of the Soviet Union, with the majority of Russians now identifying as Orthodox Christians.

Shoponyak said the 22-year-old video blogger was also on trial for posting videos that offended believers, listing “mockery of the Immaculate Conception,“ ‘'denial of the existence of Jesus and Prophet Muhammad,“ and “giving an offensive description of Patriarch Kirill,“ the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Although most Russians aren’t observant, the Kremlin has been eager to harness faith to promote its own agenda. Many prominent figures expressed outrage. “I was born and grew up in the Soviet Union, where 98% of citizens were atheists,“ opposition leader Alexey Navalny tweeted. “And now I’m listening to a verdict where a man has been convicted for atheism.“ After the verdict, Sokolovsky thanked the media for raising the alarm on the trial: “I would probably have been sent to prison if it wasn’t for the journalists’ support.“


►  Rumors of Downton Abbey Film Are Picking Up Steam

Downton Abbey is coming back! Maybe! The Sun—admittedly not the most trustworthy of sources—reports a film version of the highly popular British television show about rich people and their staff has a script and budget and is set to start filming in September. “It would take something big to stop the project from happening now,“ an unnamed source tells the Sun. Downton Abbey was nominated for 69 Emmys, winning 15, before wrapping up two years ago, according to the New York Daily News. It was watched by millions of Americans. But there’s one person who may not be excited to hear the news of a movie. Star Dame Maggie Smith says the show had run out of plot and gotten “too meandering” by the time it ended after 52 episodes.

In Arts & Entertainment….

The Free Press WV

►  ‘Pokemon Go’ or no? Fans glad Niantic addressing complaints

Few games have enjoyed both the meteoric rise — and subsequent fall — in popularity as “Pokemon Go.“

But the game remains profitable, and people are still playing even if they aren’t the same masses that roamed parks last summer with eyes glued to smartphones, looking for elusive virtual monsters from their childhood to appear right in front of them.

“It kind of brings people together to have a conversation about these little cartoon characters that we’re all in love with,“ said Brian Swain, a sales representative for Rockstar energy drink who has stuck with “Pokemon Go” since it launched last July.

While past its heyday last summer, when some small businesses and landmarks had complained of disruptive crowds, the game has seen renewed interest after last month’s addition of 80 Pokemon and in-game events set around holidays like Halloween and soon, Easter.

The updates addressed complaints about a lack of updates that contributed to a drop in monthly active users, according to app market analyst Apptopia.

“Over time, the enthusiasm has waned, but there’s still quite a bit of people playing it,“ said Joost van Dreunen, the CEO and founder of SuperData Research in New York. “It raises the question: Was it a fad, a thing we only did one time for one game, or is it going to hold people’s attention longer?“

The game had generated $1 billion in revenue as of January, and Niantic CEO John Hanke insists “Pokemon Go” is no passing fad.

The game — whose servers had difficulty handling traffic last summer — will fulfill long-promised additions of sought-after “legendary” Pokemon and the ability for players to battle and trade with each other, he said.

“What happened last summer was really kind of strange, where ‘Pokemon Go’ spiraled out of control to this level of cultural awareness that nobody expected, certainly not us,“ Hanke said. The “extremely successful” game now has usage “at a more normal level,“ he said.

The hard-to-replicate game still has an enviable following in Japan, China, Korea as well as North America, Dreunen said.

Since the game’s release, Dreunen said, the $40.6 billion worldwide mobile game industry has become flooded, and investment may shift to mobile games that rely on well-loved characters and provide frequent updates.

As spring approaches, there are signs of new life. Milwaukee County has prepared for “Pokemon Go” and future augmented-reality games by requiring game developers to obtain a permit to get players into parks.

In Maine, members of the “Pokemon Go” 207 Facebook group have noticed more screenshots from players taking up the game again.

Nick Fournier, a 21-year-old media studies student at the University of Southern Maine, said he’s glad the company has finally begun listening to players’ complaints. He described last summer as a phenomenon brought on by the game’s nostalgia and the technology’s novelty that he doesn’t expect to see again.

Erin Morrison, a 23-year-old schoolteacher living in Greene, Maine, said she has kept playing through a dreary winter by driving to places she knew had multiple spots to catch Pokemon.

“With the new update, it’s been so awesome,“ she said. “I’m seeing so many people coming back out.“


►  Ivana Trump writing memoir about her children with Donald

Ivana Trump, the first wife of Donald Trump, is writing a memoir that will focus on the couple’s three children.

“Raising Trump” will be published September 12, Gallery Books told The Associated Press on Wednesday. According to Gallery, Ivana Trump is writing a story of “motherhood, strength and resilience” and also will reflect on her “childhood in communist Czechoslovakia, her escape from the regime and relocation to New York, her whirlwind romance, and her great success as a businesswoman.“

“As her former husband takes his place as the 45th president of the United States, his children have also been thrust into the media spotlight — but it is Ivana who raised them and proudly instilled in them what she believes to be the most important life lessons: loyalty, honesty, integrity and drive,“ the statement reads.

Donald and Ivana Trump divorced in 1992 amid revelations that Donald Trump had been having an affair with Marla Maples, who became his second wife. (They divorced in 1999 and six years later Donald Trump married Melania Knauss.) Gallery is calling the book “non-political,“ and it’s also unlikely to be critical of the president, whose candidacy Ivana Trump supported. Her divorce from him included a nondisclosure agreement, and her children with him — Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric — are close to their father and are contributing memories to the book.

The three younger Trumps said in a statement that they were “excited” about “Raising Trump” and called Ivana an “amazing mom, teacher and inspiration to all of us.“ Ivana Trump said in a statement that “Raising Trump” was in part a response to compliments she receives about her children.

“I was a tough and loving mother who taught them the value of a dollar, not to lie, cheat or steal, respect for others, and other life lessons that I’ll share now in ‘Raising Trump,‘ along with unfiltered personal stories about Don, Eric, and Ivanka from their early childhood to becoming the ‘first sons and daughter,‘“ she said.

Ivana Trump has written books before, including “The Best Is Yet to Come: Coping with Divorce and Enjoying Life Again” and the novel “For Love Alone,“ which led to a legal battle with her ex-husband. In 1992, Donald Trump sued Ivana for $25 million, claiming the novel was based on their marriage and violated the nondisclosure portion of the divorce decree. Ivana Trump countersued over other parts of the divorce agreement and, in 1993, the two settled their differences.

Gallery is part of Simon & Schuster, which under its Threshold Editions imprint published Donald Trump’s campaign book “Crippled America,“ released in paperback as “Great Again.“


►  Beast Roars in Monster Debut

Disney’s live-action Beauty was a beast at the box office, opening with an estimated $170 million in North American ticket sales and setting a new high mark for family movies, reports the AP. Beauty and the Beast dominated globally, notes the Hollywood Reporter, pulling in another $180 million from screens around the world. According to studio estimates Sunday, Beauty and the Beast blew past the previous record-holder for G- or PG-rated releases. Last year, Disney’s Finding Dory debuted with $135 million. Perhaps an even bigger feather for Beauty: It garnered the seventh biggest domestic start ever, notes the Reporter.

Beauty and the Beast, made for about $160 million, is the latest effort by Disney to re-create one of its animated classics with live action and digital effects. It follows previous remakes such as Cinderella, Maleficent and last year’s The Jungle Book. This Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon, found widespread acclaim and some backlash for including what Condon called Disney’s first openly gay character.


►  Ex-‘Most Interesting Man’ Picks Most Interesting Beard

The man who once pitched Dos Equis beer as the “most interesting man in the world” turned his attention from his favorite beer to his favorite beard by judging a Saturday competition called Vermont Beardies. Jonathan Goldsmith, who lives in Manchester and sports a closely cropped white beard that he maintains with a lice comb given to him by a veterinarian, was one of four judges who chose the contest’s winner. This year’s honors went to Bryan Sturge, who hasn’t cut his beard in almost two years. The event benefits Make-a-Wish Vermont, and organizers said Saturday they’d raised nearly $30,000. The competition was judged in three categories: urban beard, freestyle, and backwoods. Each contestant also had to tell an interesting story about his beard. Out of more than 100 original entrants, the top 30 were invited to the in-person finals.

      Sturge entered the backwoods competition as a tribute to his 11-year-old daughter Zoey, who died of cancer in 2013 before her Make-a-Wish request to go to Disney World and swim with dolphins could be granted. When Zoey was sick, Sturge promised Zoey he wouldn’t shave until she got better. He said he entered the contest to give back to Make-a-Wish so that other kids could be granted wishes that Zoey never got to experience. Goldsmith tells the AP there are a few things he’s looking for in a winning beard. “The character of the beard, how it brings forth something indigenous to the individual, something personal.“ While the contest’s premise is humorous, the reason for it can be heart-wrenching. “It’s a promise that we made. It’s love. It’s a memory. It’s how she last saw me, with a beard,“ Sturge says. “I offered to shave for her so she could see me without it. She said ‘no, that’s not the deal.‘“


►  Judd Apatow Not Giving Up on Artie Lange After Arrest

Judd Apatow promised he “would never give up” on Artie Lange after the comedian was arrested on drug charges this week, Entertainment Weekly reports. According to TMZ, Lange was arrested in the parking garage of his apartment building in New Jersey last Sunday after police allegedly found heroin and cocaine on him. TMZ characterized it as “several bags of drugs.“ Lange was booked and released and afterward thanked the police for their professionalism, NJ.com reports. News of Lange’s arrest didn’t break until Friday.

In a series of tweets after TMZ reported his arrest, Lange said he’s “doing great” and has “never wanted to live more.“ The comedian—who’s currently appearing on HBO’s Crashing, executive produced by Apatow—also added “If HBO has to let me go Its my bad! Judd, Pete & u. Thx!“ In response, Apatow tweeted: “We would never give up on Artie or anyone struggling with addiction.“ Crashing, in which Lange plays a version of himself, addresses his drug and alcohol addiction. It was just renewed for a second season. Earlier in the week, before news of his arrest, Lange tweeted at Apatow that he’s been “amazing” to him, but “like most bright ppl he knows I ain’t gonna make it.“ Lange was hospitalized in 2010 following an apparent suicide attempt.

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