Predator -- the Invisible Eviscerator; the Brutalizer in the Brush -- creeps into Mortal Kombat X tomorrow, July 7th, for anyone who owns the $30 Kombat Pack as well as the full game. For everyone else, the Dreadlocked Destroyer will be available to buy as a standalone character on July 14th. The Terror of the Trees enters Mortal Kombat X as part of the Predator Bundle, which includes three additional character skins: Commando Johnny, Infrared Scorpion and Carl Weathers as Jax. Predator joins fellow movie murderer Jason Voorhees as a DLC character in Mortal Kombat X -- and the two face off in the following trailer. Spoiler: It doesn't end well for Jason.

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Gotham, get ready. The first bit of DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight stars Batgirl, and it's due to hit PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on July 14th for $7 in North America (£5.80 in the UK). This is a story-based expansion called Batgirl: A Matter of Family, Gamespot reports, and it puts players in Batgirl's badass boots with new missions, side quests, a fresh hacking feature and Dual Play with Robin. A Matter of Family is the first installment in Arkham Knight's bulk-DLC season pass program, so anyone who purchased that will get the add-on at no additional charge.

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Nintendo's 'Project H.A.M.M.E.R'

Nintendo has had a number of high-profile flops (Virtual Boy, anyone?). However, one of its biggest failures may have been one you heard almost nothing about -- at least, until now. Unseen64 has published a documentary detailing the largely unknown story of Project H.A.M.M.E.R (aka MachineX), a Wii game from Nintendo Software Technology that died after nearly six years of painful development that began in 2003. The hammer-swinging sci-fi brawler was supposed to be mostly finished by the time it was first acknowledged in 2005, but a culture clash between the Japanese management and American staff all but killed progress. The two sides had differing ideas about what would fix the mediocre gameplay. The top brass thought better environments would improve things, for example, while the rank-and-file wanted to overhaul the core gameplay mechanics.

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Concept art for 'Red Ash' the game

Mighty No. 9 might not even be out the door, but Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune is already looking for your help with a new project -- and this one is considerably more ambitious. His studio has launched crowdfunding for Red Ash, a project that combines both an open world action game (The Indelible Legend) and an anime movie from Studio4ºC (Magicicada). While both will share familiar characters and the theme of treasure hunting in a robot apocalypse, they'll otherwise be set in "parallel worlds" where the producers are free to tell whatever stories they want.

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You can now get a physical PS4 copy of 'Shenmue 3' on Kickstarter

It's safe to say people are excited about Shenmue 3: Just 48 hours after legendary developer Yu Suzuki launched a crowdfunding campaign, the game smashed its $2 million fundraising goal, pulling in more than $4 million, and setting a couple Kickstarter records in the process. So it's clear fans of the series are already happy. But just in case you needed another reason to commit, Suzuki's studio YS Net just posted an update on Kickstarter saying that backers will now have the option of choosing a physical PS4 copy of the game. Previously, the options were: digital copies for PS4 or Windows for $29, or a physical Windows copy for $60. So, PlayStation fans will now also have the option of playing off a disc; there, too, the price will be sixty bucks. If that's the only reason you were previously holding off on backing, you can still do so: The campaign is open through the evening of July 17th, with the game set to arrive in December 2017.

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'Minecraft' for Windows 10

Microsoft and Mojang don't just have a story-based Minecraft game to show at Minecon 2015 -- they're also revealing a beta version of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition. This release will ditch the less than ideal Java code of desktop versions in favor of native Windows code, and shares some roots with the Pocket Edition you typically find on phones. You'll even get to build worlds with those mobile players through an update that should hit "soon" after the beta arrives. And to no one's surprise, the construction title will do a lot to take advantage of Windows 10's many Xbox tie-ins, such as 8-way multiplayer (both locally and on Xbox Live) and game video recording. The beta will be ready on July 29th, and it'll be free if you already have the existing PC version. If you're new to all this, it'll cost $10 to get in during the test phase.

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Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Games-Nintendo-Shigeru Miyamoto

How Video Games Influenced Popular Music
by Hua Hsu
The New Yorker

Andrew Schartmann's new book, Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack, discusses how Nintendo's first dedicated sound designer completely changed music in games. Kondo's iconic music for that title not only provided some of the most memorable tunes of the era, but also influenced gaming and music for many years after. The New Yorker offers a brief glimpse at the book, explaining how Kondo's work changed video game development, too. "As a result of the collaboration behind Super Mario, during which graphics and audio were developed in tandem, games became more of an all-sensory experience," notes Hua Hsu.

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The people behind Minecraft just kicked off Minecon 2015 with a bang. At the fan convention's opening ceremony, Mojang's Lydia Winters debuted the first trailer for Minecraft: Story Mode, an upcoming title from Telltale Games. Yep, the same developer that created video game tie-ins for Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. As you might expect, Minecraft: Story Mode combines the game's blocky aesthetic with a branching, narrative-based adventure. Players will take control of Jesse, who has to find the fabled "Order of the Stone" with his friends to save the world from destruction. There's a panel later today with the Mojang and Telltale folks, so we're expecting to hear a lot more then.

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It might seem crazy today, but in the early '90s Nintendo and Sony were working together on a video game accessory that'd add CD capabilities to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. There would also be a separate Sony console that'd play SNES cartridge games and titles for the SNES CD system dubbed the PlayStation. As legend tells it, the deal went sour when Nintendo instead announced a partnership with Sony's competitor Philips for the optical add-on at the same CES that Sony unveiled its Nintendo-centric PlayStation. The rest is history. What you see above might as well be a unicorn, then.

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Calif. state Sen. Leland Yee indicted

Oh, the irony. Disgraced former senator Leland Yee has pleaded guilty to charges of taking bribes in exchange for votes, racketeering and promising to smuggle guns into the US from the Philippines. Of course, like so many beautiful twists of fate, Yee was a prominent moral crusader who led a campaign against violent video games. The senator authored AB-1179, legislation that would have outlawed the sale of said titles to California's teens, which was defeated by the Supreme Court. Way to keep our kids safe, Leels.

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N64 Controller

Microsoft has an exorbitant $150 controller coming this year that it hopes will make up for the Xbox One's middling gamepad, but that won't make the upcoming Rare Replay feel any more authentic when you play. The folks at Hyperkin -- makers of the Retron 5 console -- know this and set forth a challenge: mod a Nintendo 64 controller to work with Microsoft's latest game console. And they succeeded. Mostly. As you'll see in the video below, the three-pronged paddle can navigate the console's dashboard and select apps, but, since there's only one analog stick, that rules out it playing nicely with a vast majority of modern games. The wiring is a bit wonky and certain inputs trigger at random, but, from the sounds of it, the project is far from over.

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A Pong cabinet at Supercade

We hope you aren't curious about Nolan Bushnell's game development history... you may find yourself sucked into a time sink. Microsoft has quietly added an option to play Pong in Bing (Bing Pong, get it?) if you search for the digital table tennis classic in your browser. It's not a novel concept, and it certainly isn't the most advanced -- Google's Cube Slam experiment is on another level. It's surprisingly addictive, however, and might offer just the right amount of '70s gaming nostalgia to tide you over when you're stuck at work.

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