Entertainment

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Voice assistants are still dumb computers programmed to provide you answers to questions and control your Spotify playlist. But just once, I'd love my Google Home to help me out with a joke or two when my brother comes over. After all, what's the use of a voice assistant if it can't help you roast your friends? With the help of IFTTT (If This Then That), make your voice assistant say whatever you want (within reason) and pull a few pranks on unsuspecting friends and family. Or, if you're me, get it to deliver some choice insults to the people you love most.

Shared from Kotaku

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Every generation of consoles has its ‘default’.

Sometimes that default is difficult to define, other times it’s clear as day.

PlayStation 2: default. Obviously.

Super Nintendo? Probably default. A close run race. Plenty had Mega Drives. Blood in the playgrounds that one. A dark time for the empire.

PlayStation 1. Default.

Xbox 360. Default.

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You might be unfortunate enough to have an annoying coworker in your vicinity. You know, the one that talks about how much he loves eating quiche for breakfast. Let's call him Chad. While you (probably) can't put Chad's headphones in jello to get back at him for pinning last week's soccer loss on your bum knee, you can slowly drive Chad mad where it hurts the most: in his precious YouTube goofing-off time.

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Inspired by games from the 2016 Self-Care Jam (which Kotaku mined for favourites), MetaFilter users recently named their favourite calming video games. Some will be familiar, but others are deep cuts by independent developers. Most aren't for winning or losing, just exploring, interacting and existing. None of them force you to battle other players in a tense show-down. Try these out if you're too stressed out for Overwatch or Plague Inc.

Shared from Kotaku

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Winning isn't everything. You don't have to be competitive to enjoy your time spent playing board games. However if you are, it helps to have a flexible plan of attack to apply to games that can help you get the upper hand.

Here are a handful of helpful tips to get you on the right path when it comes to crushing your foes under heel or simply avoiding languishing at the back of the score track.

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Video: If you've ever tried to win that super big stuffed animal for your sweetheart at the ring toss and just ended up embarrassing yourself, it's possible that you've long suspected that carnival games are rigged. It won't win you any prizes, but this video explains the mechanics of exactly how you're taken for a ride.

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Like it or loathe it, Halloween has permanently plonked itself on the Aussie calendar and continues to gain mainstream popularity with every passing year. While it's easy to ignore sprogs knocking on your door, dodging Halloween parties is slightly more difficult; especially if you work in a "zany" office that loves an excuse to dress up.

If you've been invited to a Halloween do and have left your costume to the last minute, here are ten impressive looking outfits that don't require much money or effort.

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So this is interesting: In my Facebook parents' group, I asked for suggestions for kids' books that were just a little disturbing. I got nearly 300 responses -- from a group that usually supplies maybe nine or 10 answers to the average child-rearing question. (Q: Why won't she eat? A: Maybe she's not hungry. Q: Why won't she go to sleep? A: Because she's demon spawn.)

Shared from Kotaku

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For Mario, 3D used to mean freedom. In 1996, Super Mario 64 broke Nintendo's mascot from the shackles of having to run in a straight line, letting the player choose their own path. But for quite some time now -- no matter how 3D the graphics may have been -- Mario's adventures have reverted back to running on a straight line.

With Super Mario Odyssey, that changes once more, and it's a glorious thing.

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Speculative fiction is the literature of change and discovery. But every now and then, a book comes along that changes the rules of science fiction for everybody. Certain great books inspire scores of authors to create something new. Here are 21 of the most influential science fiction and fantasy books.