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Ant McPartlin Will Not Return To I’m A Celeb

Ant McPartlin has confirmed he will not be returning to host the next series of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here. Furthermore, it’s been agreed next year’s Saturday Night Takeaway will be postponed until 2020. This year has been a particularly troubling time for the prime time television host. He has been

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Ant McPartlin has confirmed he will not be returning to host the next series of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.

Furthermore, it’s been agreed next year’s Saturday Night Takeaway will be postponed until 2020. This year has been a particularly troubling time for the prime time television host.

He has been undergoing rehabilitation since March this year after relapsing into an alcohol addiction which culminated in drink driving incident involving another family.

Questions were raised when McPartlin would be back on our screens following a turbulent year, many fans were hoping he would reunite with his long-time friend and co-presenter Declan Donnelly in time for the next series of I’m A Celebrity….

However, in a statement to The Sun McPartlin confirmed he would be taking an extended leave of absence – at least until 2019. This rules him out of any filming commitments for this year and the next series of Saturday Night Takeway.

The 42-year-old, who rose to fame on BBC’s Byker Grove with Donnelly, stated:

My recovery is going very well and for that to continue having spoken to Dec and ITV, I have made the decision to take the rest of the year off.

I’d like to thank both Dec and ITV for their continued support and I look forward to getting back to work in the new year.

More to follow…

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Town In Alaska Won’t See Sunlight Until January 23rd

Alaska town dark 2The winter nights have well and truly rolled in and are here to stay, meaning we can say goodbye to any sunlight from approximately 4pm onwards. Fortunately though, we’re not completely in the dark and still get around eight hours of sun (or most likely, rain) throughout the day. Which is more than one town

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The winter nights have well and truly rolled in and are here to stay, meaning we can say goodbye to any sunlight from approximately 4pm onwards.

Fortunately though, we’re not completely in the dark and still get around eight hours of sun (or most likely, rain) throughout the day.

Which is more than one town in Alaska can say, who won’t see any sunlight until early next year, on January 23. Talk about January blues!

Utqiaġvik, in northern Alaska, had its last sunrise on Sunday, November 18 and has now descended into 65 days of darkness.

Previously known as Barrow, the town now won’t see any sunlight until January 23 due to the so-called ‘polar night’.

This is because of its close proximity to the Arctic Circle; according to The Weather Channel, the sun doesn’t rise north of the Arctic Circle from mid-November through late January, due to the tilt of the Earth away from the Sun.

They posted to their Twitter account to mark the start of the darkness:

Because of the tilt of the Earth, areas north of the Arctic Circle – which are situated close to the North Pole – go for more than two months with the sun never ascending above the horizon. Yikes.

It’s not all bad though, as the town will not be completely dark throughout this time period. Although there will be no sunlight, there will be sufficient light to see objects outside.

I mean, it’s still not great and considering I struggle to see at the best of times, I don’t think I’ll be moving to Alaska anytime soon.

Amazingly though, the opposite happens in the summer months as the residents of the town do not get to witness a sunset from May until August.

Yep, you heard me right. For more than two months every year, the sun does not set. Again, because of its close proximity to the Arctic Circle.

I’m sorry, is this confusing anyone other than me?! How do people get their heads around having first no sunlight for two months, then no sunset? Mind = blown.

Utqiaġvik, though, is home to more than 4,400 residents so they mustn’t be too perturbed by this yearly change in weather.

According to CBS, around 61 per cent of the city’s population is Iñupiat Eskimo and many still hunt and fish for much of their food.

The town’s name was changed from Barrow, the name of nearby Point Barrow, in 2016. It originally got its name as it was chosen by a Royal Navy officer in the 19th century.

However, as reported by Atlas Obscura, residents voted to permanently change the town’s name to honour indigenous peoples and the area’s roots.

Hence, Utqiaġvik, which refers to a place for gathering wild roots – staying true to the hunting nature of the town’s residents.

Hopefully the lack of sunlight won’t have any impact on their daily routines and the residents of the town can continue doing what they do best.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to stories@unilad.co.uk.

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The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time Voted Greatest Video Game Ever

ootwebAs The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time celebrates 20 years since release, it remains the finest, most beloved, and influential video game of all time to gamers all over the world, even two decades later.  The N64 classic is a generation-defining work of art, a game that informed and inspired the industry for decades after

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As The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time celebrates 20 years since release, it remains the finest, most beloved, and influential video game of all time to gamers all over the world, even two decades later. 

The N64 classic is a generation-defining work of art, a game that informed and inspired the industry for decades after its release, and that rarest of all things – something that all gamers can actually agree on.

Even in 2018, Ocarina of Time still easily comes out on top as the best video game ever made. A ranking of the 100 greatest games of all time – compiled by regular gamers – has Nintendo’s adventure comfortably in first place, nearly 1,000 votes ahead of Skyrim. 

You only need to take a look at reviews aggregator Metacritic for further confirmation of Ocarina’s greatness. The game sits proudly in the number one spot with an incredible 99, ahead of classics like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, GTA V, and Super Mario Galaxy.

In other words, it is objectively the best reviewed game in history. That is an indisputable fact. As sure as you can’t actually fly off of a building with a cuckoo above your head, Ocarina of Time is the most well received video game for as long as video games have been a thing.

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I guess it shouldn’t really be that surprising. I don’t know many whose formative gaming careers weren’t spent exploring the fields, deserts, and lakes of this 3D Hyrule.

I don’t know anyone who wasn’t blown away when they discovered the Master Sword for the first time, or choked back tears as the credits rolled over a world that was finally safe from evil. A world that we’d spent dozens upon dozens of hours deeply invested in, thanks in no small part to the masterful way in which Nintendo essentially divided the game’s story into two chunks – something that works beautifully from both a design and story standpoint.

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One of the things that’s always struck me about Ocarina of Time is the genius of the game’s first few hours, in which we play as a younger version of Link. This is the ‘first chapter’ of Ocarina of Time, if you will.

Not only does this first chapter serve as a way of sending Link on his journey to collect three spiritual stones to defeat the evil Ganon, it also gently eases the player into the rules of the game by presenting three smaller, easier to manage dungeons, and offers a brief tour of what Hryule has to offer while still teasing out a larger world.

Beyond that, it manages to endear you to the characters that inhabit this Hyrule during your initial tour of the land, making the shocking twist at the end of your journey as young Link all the more affecting.

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I’m aware that this game is 20 years old, but if you don’t want to be spoiled I wouldn’t read on any further.

Once young Link has collected the three spiritual stones (which in itself feels like the end of an epic quest), players are faced with the Master Sword – a legendary blade, and a fine reward for your trials.

But in what I would maintain is still one of the greatest video game twists of all time, it turns out we’d played directly into the evil Ganon’s hands, giving him exactly what he wanted. Link wakes up seven years later, no longer a child but an adult, and chapter two of Ocarina of Time begins.

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At this point, it becomes the player’s goal to explore this dark and twisted future version of Hyrule and undo everything Ganon has done in the seven years Link has been asleep. The game becomes more complex, opens up considerably, and throws out much more challenging, labyrinthian dungeons, and terrifyingly twisted bosses.

To my mind, this was an inspired move, one made all the better by the hours we’d spent as a younger Link in a version of Hyrule that wasn’t in ruin. That time we’d spent getting to know all of the characters – from the Zora Princess Ruto to the bizarre but loveable inhabitants of Hyrule Castle Town – gave us a reason to care about taking down Ganon and restoring the world.

At least personally, I wasn’t just interested in putting Hyrule back to normal because it’s what the game said I had to do, but because I’d been charmed by young Link’s peaceful, funny, and colourful Hyrule, and I felt a very real desire to fix things.

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As I explored Hyrule as adult Link and saw everything Ganon had done, like destroying Castle Town, freezing Zora’s Domain, and locking up the Gorons, I was driven further and further to get to the end so I could stick the Master Sword right through Ganon’s head. When you finally get to do just that after one of the most epic boss battles in gaming it’s nothing short of sublime.

Of course, the fact that you could travel back in time by returning the Master Sword to its resting place, switching between young and adult Link to solve puzzles and explore two worlds that were near identical, but still wildly different from one another, only made the game even more astounding in scope and scale.

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When Ocarina of Time released in 1998, the world had never seen anything quite like it. You can argue that all Nintendo did was take the Zelda ‘formula’ that they’d refined with the Super Nintendo classic A Link to the Past and translate it to a 3D environment, but consider what a huge technical and creative achievement that was at a time when nobody had done anything like that before.

Nintendo

Of course, Nintendo had had no small measure of success in bringing their other famous franchise to N64 two years earlier. Super Mario 64 was (and is) a classic that took the concept of 2D platforming and skilfully manoeuvred it to 3D, surgically removing or tweaking any aspects that didn’t work anymore.

But the Zelda games have always been more complex beasts than anything in the Super Mario series, and the idea of bringing Link, with his interconnecting overworld and puzzle-filled dungeons, to 3D must have been hugely daunting.

Lesser developers might well have scrapped the ‘open world’ of 2D Zelda games in favour of something that would be easier to work with in 3D. In fact, Nintendo very nearly did.

Nintendo

Shigeru Miyamoto – the creator of both Mario and Zelda – previously revealed in an old edition of Iwata Asks that he wasn’t sure if the N64 could handle an ‘open world’ like the Hyrule Field we eventually got.

Miyamoto’s original plan was to create a Zelda game more in line with Super Mario 64 – using Ganon’s castle as a hub world, Link would travel to different dungeons and levels via a series of paintings around the castle. In the “worst case”, Miyamoto said, “Link wouldn’t have been able to go outside the castle.”

In the end, the decision to go for it and create a proper 3D overworld came from Miyamoto’s desire to have Link ride a horse – something that he obviously couldn’t have done in a linear castle setting, not without running into walls and getting horse muck everywhere, anyway.

Nintendo

Miyamoto explained:

Making a broad landform that you could ride a horse across weighed down the processing, so we took it out for a while. And after a while I returned to work with the production team and launched a huge campaign to regain the grassland! We started by testing whether we could have two horses out at once. We thought if we could do that, then we could make other forms of play for that grassland. It went well, so we made a demo video with two horses. We showed that at Nintendo Space World7, and I was like, “Now that we’ve shown this, there’s no backing out!”

The end result was iconic, of course. Who can think of Ocarina of Time without recalling the first time they thundered across the field on Epona, Link’s trusty steed? These days riding a horse in a fantasy video game is pretty standard, but this was just another game-changer from Nintendo, and it made the world feel that much more massive.

The fact is, even if Ocarina of Time had been a more linear affair, in line with the kind of structure we saw in Super Mario 64, it still would have been incredible. But Nintendo pushed the development team and the N64 hardware to its absolute limits to create something truly groundbreaking, making the dungeons, bosses, and characters that much more immersive.

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I should also point out that Nintendo basically invented the first workable concept for 3D combat in a video game too. Miyamoto and his team felt that the best way to deal with enemies in a 3D space was to be able to ‘lock on to’ them, a feature that’s now standard in pretty much every action adventure game around.

The ability to ‘Z-target’ an enemy suddenly meant that Link could lock into tense one-on-one duels. Our hero could strafe, backflip, block, roll, and jump from side to side as he fought enemies who would often have specific weak points or openings, turning every battle into a deadly game of chess.

Again, it’s a feature that hasn’t aged brilliantly and has clearly been perfected in the years since, but this massive innovation was born out of Nintendo’s drive to make Ocarina of Time the very best game it could be.

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So that’s Nintendo’s first 3D Zelda, more or less. A towering technical achievement, and a staggeringly ambitious game that consistently innovated, surprised, and delighted. It has more than earned the high scores and praise it received – and continues to receive.

Quite honestly, I can’t think of any gamer that hasn’t been touched by some aspect of Ocarina of Time, be it the majestic score by Koji Kondo, the memorable bosses, or simply striking out across Hyrule field for the first time.

But I’m sure we can all agree that this bloody owl can do one.

Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda is widely loved and respected by fans and critics everywhere, but Ocarina of Time is the title that took a near-perfect franchise, and made it truly legendary.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via stories@unilad.co.uk

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The Inbetweeners To Reunite For Special Anniversary Show

inbetweeners_aThe cast of The Inbetweeners are reuniting for a special anniversary episode so 2018’s not all that bad after all. The likely lads – Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison – will look back on their time as salacious sixth formers for a new Channel 4 programme being shot next month. It

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The cast of The Inbetweeners are reuniting for a special anniversary episode so 2018’s not all that bad after all.

The likely lads – Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrison – will look back on their time as salacious sixth formers for a new Channel 4 programme being shot next month.

It will celebrate the show’s three seasons and two films, featuring behind the scenes stories and unseen footage.

Emily Atack, who played Charlotte Hinchcliffe, will feature despite heading into the I’m A Celeb jungle this Sunday.

Producer Will MacDonald said, as per the Sun:

The love for The Inbetweeners is huge, the kind of love that Jay would boast he’s had many times — big celebrities, millions of viewers and loving fans across the globe. And it’s so exciting the boys will be back together to feel that love from all those people and enjoy it first-hand. What could possibly go wrong?”

The first series aired on E4 in May 2008, before Channel 4 broadcast it in November that year. The second series began in the UK on 2 April 2009 and finished on 7 May 2009.

A third series was commissioned by E4, starting on 13 September 2010 and ending on 18 October 2010, the first episode of which had the highest-ever audience for an E4 original commission. The cast and crew subsequently indicated that there would be no fourth.

The show was nominated for Best Situation Comedy at BAFTA twice, in 2009 and 2010. It won the Audience Award at the British Academy Television Awards 2010, and later in the year won the Best Sitcom award at the British Comedy Awards. In the 2011 British Comedy Awards, the gang bagged an award for Outstanding Contribution to British Comedy.

A welcome return for the lads I imagine.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via stories@unilad.co.uk

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