Saturday, August 2, 2014

Goodbye Jim Frederick: Writer, Editor, Mentor, Friend

Goodbye Jim Frederick: Writer, Editor, Mentor, Friend

Goodbye Jim Frederick: Writer, Editor, Mentor, Friend

Posted: 02 Aug 2014 10:46 AM PDT

When a writer dies young—and Jim Frederick, who died Thursday in Oakland at 42, was very young—we mourn the work that will never be. As a writer and editor at Money and TIME magazine, Jim produced penetrating stories about whatever caught his attention. While TIME’s Tokyo bureau chief in 2005, he co-wrote the autobiography of Charles Jenkins, an American solider who wandered across the de-militarized zone during the Korean War, and who was held captive for half a century. It was the story every reporter in Japan wanted to get—filling in for him in Tokyo while he wrote the book, I used to field calls from Japanese TV networks desperate to interview him—and Jim had it. He always did.

As a writer he'll be remembered for his masterpiece, the Iraq war book Black Hearts. The Guardian called it the best book to come out of the conflict, no small feat as bookshelves groan from volumes of memoir, reportage and fiction gleaned from those years and that place. Black Hearts stands apart, and as time passes its stature will only grow—particularly, I think, among those who fought in Iraq. My younger brother, an Army officer and Ranger who served in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, called Black Hearts the truest thing to come out of that war. Despite the fact that the book detailed some of the blackest deeds done by American soldiers in Iraq, veterans thought highly of Black Hearts, a fact that I know Jim was rightly proud of.

Black Hearts Excerpt: Crimes in Iraq’s “Triangle of Death”

Some of the mental states that the men described are well documented by psychologists studying the effect of combat on soldiers. The men talked about desensitization, how numbed they were to the violence. They passed around short, graphic, computer-video compilations of collected combat kills and corpses found in Iraq. Iraqis were not seen as humans. Many soldiers actively cultivated the dehumanization of locals as a secret to survival. “You can’t think of these people as people,” opined Sergeant Tony Yribe, another member of 1st Platoon. “If I see this old lady and say, ‘Ah, she reminds me of grandmother,’ but then she pulls out a f___ing bomb, I’m not going to react right.” Children were considered insurgents or future insurgents, and women were little more than insurgent factories.

But for those who knew Jim, the loss of the work is secondary. Even more than his prodigious abilities as a reporter, a writer and an editor, Jim had an enormous talent for friendship, which is why so many people, in so many places, are bereft today. It was hard enough—impossible, really—to replace Jim as a journalist when I succeeded him as TIME’s Tokyo bureau chief in 2006, when he moved to London to work as an editor for the magazine. But as a person—forget it. Jim was a born connector, the life of the party in all the best ways. If any friend or colleague passed through the city Jim was living in—London, Tokyo, New York—it was an occasion to be celebrated. He made sure it was big, and he made sure it was fun.

Black Hearts Excerpt: The Downward Spiral of Private Steven Green

Twenty-one-year-old Steven Green was one of the weirdest men in the company. He was an okay soldier when he wanted to be, but the oddest thing about him was that he never stopped talking. And the stuff that came out of his mouth was some of the most outrageous, racist invective many of the men had ever heard. Green could discourse on any number of topics, but they usually involved hate in some way, including how Hitler should be admired, how “white culture” was under threat in multi-ethnic America, and how much he wanted to kill every last Iraqi on the planet. He would go on and on and on like this until somebody literally would have to order him to shut up.

For younger colleagues, like myself, Jim was a big brother. Not long after he moved to Hong Kong to work as a writer for TIME in 2002, Jim took me out to lunch, something that at the time utterly baffled me. I was an awkwardly introverted 24-year-old reporter who'd been at the magazine for less than a year; I knew next to nothing about anything. But Jim asked me about what I thought, why I'd gotten into journalism, what I wanted to do with my career—things, looking back, that no one in my life had ever really asked me. In Tokyo, in London, and in New York, where Jim would return after writing Black Hearts, he would do the same for countless others journalists, serving as a mentor and as a role model. When Jim took over as the international editor of TIME in 2011, I asked for a transfer to that side of the magazine, almost solely for the chance to work with Jim. I'm glad I did.

Special Ops: The Hidden World of America’s Toughest Warriors Excerpt: How Mavericks Reinvented the Military

The first time most Americans heard the name Stanley McChrystal was in mid-2009, when President Obama promoted him to four-star general and commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan. The appointment took many in Washington by surprise too: Stanley who? McChrystal was not a man accustomed to the schmoozing rituals of the Beltway. But national security cognoscenti knew exactly who he was: a killer. Having just completed a five-year stint as the chief of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees America’s most secret military units, like SEAL Team 6 and Delta Force, Stan McChrystal was the quintessential black-ops warrior. McChrystal was one of a new generation of military leaders who became top commanders in the post-9/11 era and completed the transition from a military run by Cold Warriors like Norman Schwarzkopf, Tommy Franks, and Colin Powell to one focused on terrorism and the so-called small wars that prevail today.

It wasn't easy being a journalist of Jim's generation, coming at a time when staffs were far and large, and then seeing it all change. But he was never daunted. I remember being in Austin with Jim in 2013, shortly after he had decided to leave TIME. He talked about his desire to try something new, to take advantage of the changes happening to our profession. He and his wife Charlotte, whom he met in London when both were TIME editors, were putting that plan into action when they settled in San Francisco, where they launched Hybrid Vigor Media. I regret that I won't get to see the next phase of Jim's amazing career, to see his next step. But I'll miss him more.

More by Jim Frederick: A Lone Madman or a Broken System?

Israel Says ‘No Point’ in Negotiating Gaza Truce

Posted: 02 Aug 2014 09:59 AM PDT

(JERUSALEM) — An Israeli Cabinet minister says there is “no point” in trying to reach a Gaza truce with Hamas and that Israel won’t send a delegation to planned cease-fire talks in Cairo.

The minister, Yuval Steinitz, spoke Saturday on Israel’s Channel 10 television station.

His comments suggests that Israel plans to end the current round of fighting with Hamas on its own terms, rather than getting entangled in indirect negotiations with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Steinitz alleged that Hamas has repeatedly violated previous cease-fire deals and that this “leads us to the conclusion that with this organization there is no point speaking” about a deal.

He says Israel won’t be sending a delegation to Cairo for the time being.

Toledo: Water Warning Issued After Toxin Tests

Posted: 02 Aug 2014 09:38 AM PDT

Residents of Toledo, Ohio and surrounding areas were instructed not to drink their tap water Saturday after tests showed the presence of a toxin that may have come from an algae bloom on Lake Erie.

Roughly 400,000 people were also told to avoid brushing their teeth and barred from boiling water, which would increase the toxin’s concentration. Baths and showers, however, are not a problem, the Associated Press reports. Ingestion of microsystin could cause diarrhea, vomiting and other health issues.

Mayor D. Michael Collins did not know how long the warning, which arrived after midnight, would stay in place, but in a Saturday press conference, he called upon residents to stay calm. Police officers were sent to stores as residents stocked up on water in a scene one local said “looked like Black Friday.”

While the city runs more tests, the Environmental Protection Agency office in Cincinnati will also investigate water samples from the lake.

Though water plants along Lake Erie, which provides hydration for 11 million people, treat the water to combat algae, plant operators have grown concerned with threats from toxins in the past few years. A similar warning was in place for a small Ohio township roughly one year ago.


Ebola Patient Arrives in U.S. for Treatment

Posted: 02 Aug 2014 08:05 AM PDT

Updated 12:22 p.m. ET

An American doctor who contracted the deadly Ebola virus while working with a charity in Liberia has arrived in the U.S. for treatment, a United States Air Force spokesman said Saturday.

Dr. Kent Brantly, the first Ebola patient to be transported to the U.S., arrived at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta shortly after landing, the Associated Press reports. Brantly is in serious condition.

Emory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have designed an isolation unit to treat Brantly, whose plane was also specially modified for his condition.

The State Department is currently trying to evacuate another American Ebola patient in Liberia, Nancy Writebol, a missionary who is in stable condition, according to the Christian organization that works with her.

The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has infected more than 1,300 people and killed 729, the CDC reports.


Remembering Dick Smith, the Godfather of Movie Makeup

Posted: 02 Aug 2014 08:01 AM PDT

On Thursday’s The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert gave a reluctant Wag of the Finger to Satan — for reportedly sending mobile-phone messages to the priest who had tried to exorcise a Polish girl. The host condemned the Devil “for literally phoning it in. … Is possessing someone face-t0-face just too much effort for today’s millennial demons? … In my day, this is what possession was.” Cut to the moment from The Exorcist in which the evil spirit possessing little Regan (Linda Blair) spewed a stream of vomit at a priest (Jason Miller). “What are you gonna do,” Colbert asked Beelzebub, “send an emoji for projectile vomits?”

The Colbert segment served as an apt, if unaccredited, tribute to makeup artist Dick Smith, who not only designed the demon’s hideous visage but also found ways (tubes) to propel the vomit (pea soup) out of the mouth of the child (actually Blair’s stunt double, Eileen Dietz). Like so many Smith effects, the ones from The Exorcist fulfilled the requirements of movie art through subtle mechanics: horrifyingly persuasive and dramatically correct. More than 40 years after the film was released, and well into the age of CGI wizardry for horror and fantasy effects, Smith’s handcrafted work retains its power to shock and delight.

(FIND: The Exorcist on the all-TIME Top 25 Horror Movies list)

Smith’s death, Wednesday night at 92 in Los Angeles, was announced by his protégé, seven-time Oscar winner Rick Baker.

“The master is gone,” Baker posted. “My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same.”

He meant the movie world, a significant part of which Smith had brought to life — and near-death. Though Hollywood stars spend fortunes on looking artificially young, Smith’s specialty was aging them into their centennial years: Dustin Hoffman into a 121-year-old in Little Big Man; F. Murray Abraham as the old Salieri in Amadeus; Jack Lemmon in Dad; David Bowie, six stages, from a 30-year-old man to a 150-year-old vampire in The Hunger. His makeover of Marlon Brando’s face into don Corleone’s, with a receding hairline and cotton balls in his cheeks, earned Smith the nickname “the Godfather of Makeup.”

Makeup artist, that is. J.J. Abrams, the movie and TV producer who admired Smith from his teens, said that Smith “created iconic images using human faces as his canvas” — a painter using layers of foam latex to achieve the most startling and realistic effects. One might say a painter and a surgeon. Born in Larchmont, N.Y., in 1922, Smith took pre-med at Yale, with the plan of becoming a dentist, until a book about theatrical makeup changed his career. For the rest of his life he would operate on false teeth and false faces.

He joined the NBC television network in its infancy, in 1945, and stayed through the 1950s, devising makeup that would look natural or, if needed, dreadful under the harsh lights. In 1959, for a TV movie of W. Somerset Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence, he altered the dashing Laurence Olivier into a victim of leprosy.

"When I finished the makeup,” Smith recalled, “he looked in the mirror and said, 'Dick, it does the acting for me.'”

In 1967 Smith won an Emmy for turning the 44-year-old Hal Holbrook into the ancient Samuel Clemens in Mark Twain Tonight. He also worked on Broadway, finding a dozen disguises for Fritz Weaver as Sherlock Holmes in the 1965 musical Baker Street, and hiding Robert Duvall under various wigs as the menacing Harry Groat Jr. in the 1966 Wait Until Dark.

(READ: Why Laurence Olivier was the actor of the century)

But film was Smith’s medium: its extreme closeups demanded the most scrupulous artistry. In his first feature film, the 1962 Requiem for a Heavyweight, he showed the punishment on the face of the has-been boxer Anthony Quinn; bloody and bloated, it was its own sonnet of pulp poetry. Smith sculpted Robert De Niro’s mad Mohawk look in Taxi Driver, as well as the makeup effects for the torture-cage sequence in The Deer Hunter. For The Godfather he created the horse’s head in the movie executive’s bed and the bullet holes punctuating Sonny Corleone’s tollbooth demise. The exploding head in David Cronenberg’s Scanners, the crawling tumors under William Hurt’s skin in Altered States, the crumbling ghoul confronting Fred Astaire in Ghost Story: all Smith’s.

(READ: A tribute to Godfather cinematographer Gordon Willis)

Unlike some horror-movie makeup artists, protective of their secrets, Smith generously shared his knowledge with anyone who asked. That’s how Baker, then a teenager, met the master. Abrams, at 15, wrote Smith a fan letter and promptly received a box with the note: “Here’s an old but clean tongue from The Exorcist.” At a Smith testimonial, Abrams recalled that, soon after getting the tongue package, he was in a New York City airport and thought he spotted his hero at the baggage carousel.

“How could I be sure? A-ha. I remembered that Mr. Smith had four fingers on his left hand. It was like a Ludlum novel. I slowly walked around the carousel, trying to get a glimpse of his left hand. And there, I saw it. I was never happier to see a missing digit in my life.”

In the audience, Smith smiled and held up his left hand. Only four fingers. No special makeup required; nature accomplished that special effect.

Budding practitioners could also learn from the 1965 tell-all volume, Dick Smith's Do-It-Yourself Monster Make-Up Handbook, with its "instructions for transforming your face into 15 monsters using makeup and other materials." Among the eminences who learned from him, first- or second-hand, were Stan Winston (who with Rick Baker won an Emmy for Cicely Tyson’s old-age makeup in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman), Mike Westmore (Mask) and John Caglione Jr. (Dick Tracy). To Smith, these were not competitors; they were fellow students of an evolving art.

(READ: Stan Winston, the monster-maker of Alien)

Smith won just one Academy Award, for Amadeus, but is the only makeup artist to have earned an honorary Oscar, in 2011, when he was 89. When he stood up to say a few words, he confessed that his memory was starting to fail him — and that, as he watched filmed snippets of his accomplishments, “I kept thinking, ‘Gosh, that fellow had a great career!'”

He did indeed — as an artist, a shockmeister and a teacher. The glory of this most decent man will live on through their genius as well as his own. And here is the sweetest, most poignant sentence for any Dick Smith remembrance: He is survived by Jocelyn deRosa, his wife of 70 years.

Syria Rebels Raid Lebanese Town, Capture Soldiers

Posted: 02 Aug 2014 07:42 AM PDT

(BEIRUT) — A Lebanese army general says Syrian rebels have crossed into Lebanon, raided a border town and captured several soldiers.

The general tells The Associated Press that the gunmen attacked army positions near the town of Arsal and troops returned fire.

Saturday’s attacks came hours after the army said troops have detained Syrian citizen Imad Ahmad Jomaa, who identified himself as a member of Syria’s al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front.

The general, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, said gunmen took a number soldiers and police officers from their homes in Arsal, as well as two soldiers who were driving an army tanker truck.

Arsal is home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees and rebels enjoy wide support among its population.

These Are the 9 Best Android Phones of 2014

Posted: 02 Aug 2014 07:32 AM PDT

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This post is in partnership with Trusted Reviews. The article below was originally published at Trusted


The “big four” high-end Android smartphones are the HTC One M8, the Samsung Galaxy S5 the Sony Xperia Z2 and the LG G3. But then there's a whole host of cheaper, smaller and, in fact, bigger alternatives too, and they come from all manner of different manufacturers. It seems like everyone is making a Google-running phone these days, which makes the selection process even more of a headache.

If you are happy to spend big on a monthly contract or buy a high-end Android smartphone outright, then you’ve plenty of options and you'll get the hardware that pushes the operating system to its limits. Think lightning-fast quad-core processors, huge HD touchscreens and the kind of camera that means you can finally ditch the compact. Some of these handsets are even waterproof now.

At the other end of the spectrum, you can save yourself several hundred pounds and still get a great Android phone – one that is a more pocket-friendly size and runs on a slightly older version of Android. Crucially though, it will still let you play games, watch YouTube videos, check Facebook and browse the web.

The Android operating system has been praised for letting you truly customize your phone. It has for some time though lacked the polished, good looks of Apple's iOS. Google has upped its game recently, though, and in Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and more recently Android 4.4 KitKat we have the cleanest and most user-friendly version of the operating system since it was released back in 2008.

If you really don't fancy owning an iPhone 5S or a Windows Phone 8 phone, then maybe it's time to go Google. Hunting out the top rated high end and mid-range handsets, we've selected the 10 best Android phones to buy right now.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Originally reviewed by 27 September 2013

Best Big Android Phone

Key features:

  • 5.7-inch 1080p Full HD screen
  • 13-megapixel main camera with LED flash
  • Best stylus experience on a phone
  • 32GB of storage with microSD card support

The big phone that keeps on getting better, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is once again equipped with the excellent S-Pen stylus and is laden with features to make it a tech head’s dream.

Featuring a 5.7-inch 1080p Super AMOLED screen, the Note 3 is powered by a Snapdragon 800 2.3GHz CPU and has 32GB and 3GB of RAM to take care of multitasking. The key design change from the Note 2 is the leather-effect battery cover which is purely cosmetic. There's a 13-megapixel main camera to shoot photos and 1080p video, putting it on par with the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The S Pen is once again the star of the show and has more apps to utilize its stylus powers. If you are after a big screen Android phone to get creative with, the Galaxy Note 3 is the best to go for.

Google Nexus 5

Originally reviewed by 04 November 2013

Best Google Experience Phone

Key features:

  • 5-inch full HD 1080p screen
  • 8-megapixel camera with decent low-light camera performance
  • Runs on Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Powerful enough to run apps smoothly

The Google Nexus 5 is the current Google-branded phone that replaced the Nexus 4. It's cheaper SIM-free than all the other Android big hitters like the HTC One M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5. It's an excellent performer overall, has a smart design and is undoubtedly one of the best Android phones you can buy, even if it is getting a little old now.

Designed by LG, the Nexus 5 is just 8.6mm thick and has a super-slim bezel making it far from a chunky affair. The screen is exceptionally sharp and viewing angles are perfect making it primed for movie-watching.

It runs on the latest Android 4.4 KitKat operating system and will always be the first to get the latest updates, while users of other Androids may have to wait months for the latest software to arrive.

It will give you around a day's battery life, which isn’t quite up there with the best, and the camera doesn’t quite compete either but it still has everything to make it a high-end Android phone bargain.

For the rest of the list, please go to



Here’s How Apple Saves the World Every Day

Posted: 02 Aug 2014 07:06 AM PDT

Apple’s “You’re more powerful than you think” ad campaign shows how the company’s products are employed around the world to do various tasks beyond the basics like email and web browsing. The latest, titled “Dreams,” shows the myriad ways iPhones are used in humanitarian endeavors. The ad is set to Jennifer O’Connor’s “When I Grow Up.” For a full list of the apps used in the spot check out, 9to5Mac’s round-up.


Guardians of the Galaxy: Theaters Show Wrong Guardians Movie

Posted: 02 Aug 2014 07:06 AM PDT

All they wanted was Chris Pratt and a talking raccoon. Instead, they got these guys.

A Regal Cinemas theater in Richmond, Va., accidentally showed moviegoers the 2012 animated film Rise of the Guardians instead of Guardians of the Galaxy on Thursday due to an alleged system mix-up.

The theater tried to restart the screening and the show the correct film three different times before the remaining movie-goers left to get their money back, according to The Hollywood Reporter. A girl in New Jersey also tweeted that her Regal theater in Turnersville made the same mistake.

A source familiar with movie theater film distribution told Variety that Rise of the Guardians was not supposed to have been on the theaters’ servers. Both theaters, however, run a summer movie series for children that included Rise, which explains how it ended up in the system and how it may have been mislabeled.

Regal did not respond to THR‘s or Variety‘s requests for comments but did apologize in a tweet to a customer.


The Only Guide to PS4 vs Xbox One You’ll Ever Need

Posted: 02 Aug 2014 07:04 AM PDT

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This post is in partnership with Trusted Reviews. The article below was originally published at

By Larry Kim

Both the Xbox One and PS4 have been around for enough time to give us a solid grounding for the strengths and weaknesses of each. Whether you go for the people’s favourite, the PS4, or opt for the potentially more well-rounded Xbox will be decided on your preferences. The decision is not clear cut. To help you work out which console is right for you we’ve compared each aspect so you can safely decide between the PS4 or Xbox One.

As well as covering all the hardware angles we’ll also checking out the games that are already out and the games coming to the two consoles thanks to E3 2014.

Xbox One vs PS4 – Price and Release Date

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In a suprising, but honestly refreshing, turn of events Microsoft has made some major changes to the way it has been marketing the Xbox One. There were a few new things to note If you were looking to buy a PS4 or Xbox One a while back.

Most shocking of all is that the Kinect is no longer tied to the Xbox One – Microsoft has announced its plan to release a Kinect-free console for $399. That's the same price as the PS4 without any games.

Whereas before the cost factor was a major issue when choosing between the two consoles, now they have reached parity.

Some of the restrictions that seemed to penalise Xbox One owners have also been restricted. You don’t have to purchase and Xbox Live Gold membership to access things like Netflix, which is a big bonus for those looking to make their console act as a home entertainment unit.

The Xbox One is now a lot more like the PS4. And in this case, that's a good thing.

The Xbox One’s original 'RRP' was $499, where the PS4 has sold for $399 since it launched November.

However, we have already seen a bit of Xbox One price erosion, where most places still seem to sell the PS4 at its original price. Amazon currently sells the Xbox with Kinect for $499, just a little more than the proposed price of the console without Kinect. We’d probably take the Kinect for just $50.

Of course, most of you will likely want to buy a console along with a game, and that changes things significantly. Here are the current bundles you can order with the consoles:

Prices are based on what we could find from reputable retailers at the time of writing

Lots of the launch bundles are becoming scarce as they are replaced with newer games. The logic is pretty obvious – once a game's price drops a few months after launch, it loses its bundle appeal.

The most up-to-date of the game bundles are the Titanfall Xbox One package and the Watch Dogs PS4 deal. Until recently the Xbox Titanfall package (which includes Kinect) was available for $499, but most of those deals have dried up.

SEE ALSO: Best Games of 2014 Round-up

Xbox One vs PS4 – Best Current and Future Games

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The most important factor with any game console is games. Forget graphical fidelity and looks, above all else, you should go with the console that has the games you want to play.

Many of this generation's games will be available on both consoles which makes choosing between them that much trickier. This was true with the last generation too, but the Xbox One and PS4 make it easier than ever for developers to produce games cross-platform.

Let's have a look at the top games that are already available, and those that are coming out for each console.

Best Future Xbox One Exclusives
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Halo 5: Guardians
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PS4 games 4What is it? Halo, naturally
Release date: 2015

At the moment we know very little about Halo 5: Guardians, aside from the name and that it’s coming to Xbox One next year. It’ll serve as the sequel to Halo 4, and be one of the leading Xbox One games for 2015.

The story is largely a mystery, but you can expect to see the same sort of fast first-person action seen in all the previous core Halo games. Are we excited? Yes. Do we need to know more about Halo 5? Definitely. We’ll be back with more details soon.

Halo: The Master Chief CollectionBlue line

Halo collectionWhat is it? Old Halo, made new
Release date: November 2014

As a way to bridge the gap between now and the release of Halo 5, we have Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It's a pack of the four previous 'core' Halo games, all revved up for the Xbox One with 1080p, 60fps visuals.

The multiplayer has been reinstated too, including absolutely reams of maps from all four games. As part of the collection, you'll get beta access to Halo 5: Guardians too, making it a must for Halo die-hards.

Forza Horizon 2Blue line

PS4 games 5What is it? Open-world racer
Release date: September 30 2014

The Forza series has split into two halves. There are the core Forza Motorsport titles and the rather less serious Horizon games, which have a free-roaming element.

Forza Horizon 2 takes place in Southern Europe, letting you roam in the area around a music festival, taking part in the usual dazzling array of races. This should prove to be a good visual showcase of what racers should look like on Xbox One, more so than the early Forza Motorsport 5.

Project SparkBlue line

PS4 games 6What is it? Game-creation tool
Release date: TBC

Project Spark is an intriguing game creation tool that will let you make full games, by the looks of it. Think of it as Xbox One's alternative to Little Big Planet 3 and you won't be too far off the mark.

It appears to let you make 3D adventures, 2D platformers, racers and puzzle games. But will it give you real scope? Will it be too difficult and time-consuming? Either way, we're looking forward to finding out. While an Xbox One console exclusive, Project Spark will also be available on Windows 8.1.

Sunset OverdriveBlue line

PS4 games 8What is it? An OTT action game
Release date: TBC

People have been turned into mutants, thanks to an evil energy drink. The city is in chaos. And you are the hero who has to sort it all about.

Sunset Overdrive is a bit like Infamous, but with a sense of humour and a proper colour palette. This game could be bags of fun, especially if you're after a game whose focus is pure fun, but that isn't just aimed at kids.

Best Future PS4 Exclusives
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Little Big Planet 3
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PS4 gamesWhat is it? A platformer and game creation tool
Release Date: November 2014

Little Big Planet has become one of the defining series of the modern PlayStation era. And while it no longer attracts as much attention as something like Uncharted, it attracts kids and adults like almost nothing else.

It's a cutesy platformer, but also a full game creation tool. You can really let your creativity rip with this Little Big Planet 3, and make games with no real knowledge of coding. To an extent it's more of the same, and LBP3 is compatible with levels already in the LBP universe – of which there are more than 8.5 million

Uncharted 4: A Thief's EndBlue line

PS4 games 1What is it? The PS4's lead adventure title
Release Date: 2015

A Thief's End is the first Uncharted game to come to PS4, and once again it's a Nathan Drake Adventure. The Uncharted series offers some of the most cinematic experiences in gaming, and Uncharted 4 is no different.

It's a "globe-trotting" adventure in which you're looking to uncover a "historical conspiracy". We don't know a great deal about Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Yet. But we expect great things. Sony says it'll have more to tell us in the coming months.

BloodborneBlue line

PS4 games 2What is it? A game from the makers of Dark Souls
Release Date: 2015

We don't know much about Bloodborne yet, but there's a reason to be excited already – it comes from the man behind the Dark Souls and Demon's Souls games – Hidetaka Miyazaki.

As you'd expect from the creator of those grim classics, Bloodborne is not a barrel of laughs. It's about a virus transmitted through the blood, something that turns people and creatures into horrific things. And it is horror, rather than fantasy, that is the theme this time around. For many, this will be one of the most exciting games of the next 12 months.

The Order 1886Blue line

PS4 games 3What is it? Action-adventure set in London
Release Date: 20 February 2015

It's not often we get to see games set in London that aren't racing titles. The Order 1886 is set here, and it's an action adventure where you play a knight who is part of an order tasked with taking down a horrible breed of werewolf-like creatures.

Expect bad English accents, lots of moody, foggy environments and loads of shooty action. It's getting pretty positive previews at present, although as a new IP we'll have to wait to see if this is the real deal.

Best Current Xbox One games
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PS4 and Xbox One games 8
Available: NOW

The most exciting early Xbox One console exclusive is Titanfall. It is a sci-fi shooter, and it's not afraid to be grim and serious, with a darker tone than the cross-platform Destiny.

Unusually, there's no single-player mode in Titanfall, but there will be single player-style story elements weaved into the action to give play more meaning than the average multiplayer blast-fest. It sold 700,000 copies in its first week, but some have criticised it saying it looks like a last-gen game.

9/10 – Read our Titanfall review

PS4 and Xbox One games 1
Dead Rising 3
Available: NOW

Like the previous Dead Rising games, Dead Rising 3 is a third-person action game set around a zombie invasion. Its world is much larger than that of the last two games, though, based in a city rather than a specific location within a city.

It's not the best showcase for next-gen graphics and it doesn't have quite the spark of inventiveness seen in the former games. But it's a launch line-up highlight, and something a little different.

– Read the full Dead Rising 3 review

PS4 and Xbox One games 3
Forza Motorsport 5
Available: NOW

The game that marks the Xbox One as the racer's favourite at present, Forza Motorsport 5 is a semi-serious racing game that looks and feels great. Match it with something like the Mad Catz Pro Racing wheel and you'll be in heaven.

However, it's not the ultimate racing game, lacking some of the structural brilliance of the last game in the series, Forza 4. Still, for now it's the best next-gen racer if you don't want a pure arcade experience.

8/10 – Read the full Forza 5 review

SEE ALSO: Best Xbox One Games


Best current PS4 games
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PS4 and Xbox One games 6
Killzone: Shadowfall
Available: NOW
The single notable 'gamer's game' that the PS4 had over the Xbox One at launch was Killzone: Shadowfall. It's a grim first-person shooter set in the future, and a pretty good way to see what your shiny new console is capable of, compared to the PS3.

It's not a shooter you're likely to have fond memories of for years to come, but it's a good job the PS4 had it to rely on given how many of the console's other games were pushed back into 2014.

7/10 – Read our full Killzone: Shadow Fall review

PS4 and Xbox One games 5
Infamous: Second Son
Available: NOW
Infamous is a superhero game that's not tied to a superhero license, and that's a good thing in this case. You're not tied to a famous character's intentions, letting you play the good guy, or the bad guy. And your actions dictate the sort of powers you develop.

In style, it's similar to the previous Infamous games, giving you an 'open world' city in which you can wreak havoc. This is the first major 2014 PS4 exclusive, and it has us a good deal more excited than Killzone: Shadow Fall.

9/10 - Read our full InFamous: Second Son review

SEE ALSO: Best PS4 Games

Best cross-platform games
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PS4 and Xbox One games
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Available: Now

One of the most-anticipated recent games is Call of Duty: Ghosts. It's a first-person shooter, just like the other games in the series.

If you don't like the genre, or have been unimpressed with the previous CoD games, it's unlikely you'll get on with this one. However, for fans of the series it's a treat. It's just not a particularly inventive or dynamic entry in the Call of Duty line. The 'ghosts' of the title are a special band of US forces who have to combat a group of terrorists trying to use a galactic superweapon to try and take down the US. It's also the first Call of Duty game to feature a dog as part of your squad.

7/10 – Read the full Call of Duty: Ghosts review

PS4 and Xbox One games 7
Need for Speed: Rivals
Available: Now

The Need for Speed series has some serious ups and downs, but we're happy – and surprised – to report that Need for Speed: Rivals is a highlight. As with the other games in the series, it's an arcade racer rather than one that tries to be in any way realistic.

Its world is open, and it blends multiplayer and single player modes into a single environment for a seamless feel. It's bags of fun, and the game that ensured neither console was without a good racer at launch.

9/10 – Read the full Need for Speed: Rivals review

PS4 and Xbox One games 2
Available: September 2014

Destiny is a 'new IP', a game not based on an existing series. People are still extremely excited about it, though, because it's made by Bungie, the development studio behind the first Halo games.

It's a science fiction shooter that merges multiplayer and single player play styles – something we're likely to see an awful lot of this year. What's getting us more excited, though, is that it looks fantastic and offers grand vistas to explore. This game will come to previous-generation consoles as well as the new guard.

Read more about Destiny

Games – Conclusions

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At present, the Xbox One has a slightly better game line-up, and in the near future it has more significant exclusives. However, the series that came to define console exclusives in the PS3/360 era will remain the same. So if Uncharted means way more to you than Halo ever will, think carefully before dismissing the PS4.

We’ll find out a lot more about the future games coming out for these consoles during E3, which takes place in June.

Further on this feature we’ll look into every bit of each console in depth, but if you want a quicker read, here are the top reasons to buy each console.

There’s a lot more to making this decision. For the rest, go to


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