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How gaming went mainstream

In part 1 of a three-part series on the changing face of gaming, we uncover the startling statistics of gaming’s entry into the mainstream.

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Stream of the Day

Chernobyl – Now on Showmax

Chernobyl, the acclaimed five-part miniseries about the world’s most catastrophic nuclear disaster, is now available to stream on Showmax.

Click below to watch the trailer and read about the show.

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The five-part HBO series dramatises the story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and of the brave men and women who made incredible sacrifices to save not just the Soviet Union, but the whole of Europe, from unimaginable disaster.

Directed by Johan Renck (Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead), Chernobyl stars Emmy nominee Jared Harris (The Crown, Mad Men) as nuclear physicist Valery Legasov; People’s Choice nominee Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia, Good Will Hunting) as deputy prime minister Boris Shcherbina; Oscar nominee Emily Watson (Hilary and Jackie, Breaking the Waves) as nuclear physicist Ulana Khomyuk, and 2019 British Actress of the Year Jessie Buckley (Taboo, The Last Post) as Lyudmilla Ignatenko, the wife of one of the first firefighters to respond.  

Rotten Tomatoes recently hailed Chernobyl as “TV’s most scary offering in years… where history and reality are more terrifying than zombies.”

The Chernobyl explosion was the result of a routine safety test gone wrong, but the series makes it clear the catastrophe was caused less by individual human error and more by the broader culture of fear within the Soviet Union at the time, where a culture of denialism and blame-shifting had become entrenched, and where, as executive producer Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch) puts it, “Everyone was afraid of the system.” 

“When you start to look at all the different causes of this accident to happen, it’s an accumulation of that kind of a mentality, which is that it’s more convenient to believe comfortable truths and comfortable facts, than it is to face difficult choices and difficult realities,” says Jared Harris. 

Or as his character Valery Legasov says in a key scene, “That is how a RBMK reactor core explodes – lies.”

But while South Africans may find some chilling parallels watching Chernobyl, they’ll also be inspired by the story of its heroic clean-up. 

“The Soviets and particularly the people of Ukraine and Russia and Belarus threw themselves at this task in a way that is shocking and beautiful and terrifying and heart-breaking,” says writer and executive producer Craig Mazin, Chernobyl’s writer/executive producer. “We’re talking about 700 000 people sent to clean up this impossibly contaminated area.”

Many of these heroes did not receive a hero’s welcome. “These were scientists trying to solve a mystery within a system that did not want them to solve the mystery,” says Mazin of his lead characters. “They were put on trial. Scientists involved in this were threatened. Their families were threatened. But yet they did it anyway, because they understood as scientists that the truth was something that could no longer be hidden away.”

As he says about some of the other heroes at Chernobyl, “There was no expectation that they would survive. But they did it nonetheless.” 

The show is now available to stream on Showmax.

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Product of the Day

Nokia 1 gets slice of Android 9 Pie

Keeping to its promise of a smartphone experience that keeps getting better, says Nokia phone maker HMD Global, it has announced that Nokia 1 can now upgrade to Android 9 Pie (Go edition).


Click below to read about the upgrade.

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Nokia 1 is the final phone in the Nokia smartphone portfolio to receive an upgrade to Android 9 Pie, which means that the entire range now has an option running the latest Android OS from Google.

“For too long consumers have had to accept older OS versions as the norm on entry-level smartphones,” says Shaun Durandt, general manager at HMD South Africa. “We are living our promise to deliver a phone that can keep getting better over time through the latest experiences and always being up-to-date. And with the Nokia 1 upgrade to Google’s latest OS, fans can get up-to-the-minute software experiences and innovations from Google in the most affordable segment.”

Over the past two years, Nokia phones have received over 300 security updates and have successfully upgraded handsets to the latest OS twice as fast as competitors, says HMD. This means that users always potentially receive a “just-out-of-the-box-fresh” feeling throughout the phone’s lifecycle. 

Android 9 Pie (Go edition) comes with a new range of apps from Google designed to run faster while consuming less data. Optimised to be smooth and fast, these include Google Go – a web search app, Google Maps Go, YouTube Go and Google Assistant for Android (Go edition), to send messages, make calls and set alarms by using voice.

With fewer pre-installed and much lighter apps, users are promised get two times more available storage compared to standard Android version. 

Availability

The Nokia 1 is available at major retail and network operator stores in red and blue, starting from R799.

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