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.

Evolving the Google Identity
by Alex Cook, Jonathan Jarvis and Jonathan Lee
Google Design

Google grabbed the internet's attention earlier this week with a brand-new logo. With a design that's quite a departure from the previous mark, the company has its eye on the future in more ways than one. Here's a look behind the scenes at the finer details of the new logotype.

HaloFest for Xbox One

Developer Bungie's former in-house composer Marty O'Donnell had his day in court and it's time for Bungie to pay the piper. In addition to the initial payout of $142,500 he's owed as a profit-sharing program, O'Donnell also gets to hold onto what VentureBeat describes as a "considerable" amount of stock in the company responsible first for Halo and now Destiny. As part of the terms, apparently unless O'Donnell gets permission he can't publish any music from Destiny as his own without Bungie's blessing. In June, O'Donnell revealed that he was starting a new studio with other game-industry vets, Highwire Games.

[Image credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP]

Wondering what to do with your three day weekend? Turtle Rock Studios is hoping you'll (re)visit its co-op shooter Evolve, courtesy of a few days of free access on Xbox One and PC. Even if you already own it, it may be time to knock the dust off because besides the flood of players, it's unlocking all the DLC for you to try, and just permanently unlocked a new monster, the Meteor Goliath. Thanks to its 4-on-1, primarily multiplayer setup, having a strong base of online players is key, and this is one way to try and refresh the ranks. The free preview is already under way, wrapping up on the 7th, at 11:59PM PT on Xbox One, and at 10AM PT on PC.

War Child, a London-based charity that aims to improve the lives of children affected by war, is collaborating with influential developers to create a collection of games titled HELP: Real War is Not a Game. Participating developers include 343 Industries (Halo 5: Guardians), Bossa Studios (Surgeon Simulator), Creative Assembly (Alien: Isolation), Team 17 (Worms) and Hinterland (The Long Dark), all of which will participate in a six-day game jam organized by War Child. This means the studios will have just six days to create the games for HELP, and the full compilation will be sold digitally in late March 2016. Proceeds will go toward funding War Child's efforts in global conflict zones.

Here's a tough choice: would you rather play a game about a gardening robot that experiments with new methods of character animation, or a ridiculous time-travel action game that throws paradoxical caution to the wind? Lucky you -- you don't have to decide at all. On today's Engadget Playdate, we're playing both: Ubisoft's procedurally animated Grow Home and absurdly silly Super Time Force Ultra. Both are new to PlayStation 4 owners this month and free for subscribers of PS Plus. Are they worth the monthly dues? Join me and Tim Seppala at 6PM ET (3PM PT) right here, on the Engadget gaming homepage or at Twitch.tv/Joystiq to find out.

The dark, freezing woods of Sweden are the perfect breeding ground for terrifying tales of naughty children who get what they deserve. This week, Simogo -- the developer of beautifully macabre game Year Walk, and mysterious narrative experiences Device 6 and The Sailor's Dream -- released a free, illustrated ebook collecting a handful of five re-tooled, scary Swedish folk tales. It's called Year Walk Bedtime Stories for Awful Children, and it's available in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. "We think obnoxious children all over the world deserve dark nightmares," Simogo writes.

OSVR headset

The Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) headset will get a significant upgrade soon. Gaming peripheral company Razer announced the OSVR program back in January, but the first prototype headset was an underwhelming affair with uncomfortable ergonomics and a so-so display. That wasn't really the point, though. Rather than a single company aiming to dominate the VR market, OSVR is a loose band of hardware and software companies hoping to do for virtual reality "what Android did for mobile." Since then, OSVR has continued to work on improving the system, adding features like positional tracking and, aptly, Android support. The idea is to perfect the basics, open-source the hardware and software, and let anyone build on and improve it.

Batman: Arkham Knight was supposed to be the perfect swansong for Rocksteady's Dark Knight trilogy. While the game was received positively on PS4 and Xbox One, the PC version was a mess -- so bad, in fact, that Warner Bros. eventually pulled it completely. That was in June and only now, 10 weeks later, are PC players getting a patch that should fix the most glaring issues. The new update claims to solve the game's fluctuating frame rate, while also improving its overall performance on all GPUs. Warner Bros. says it'll also remedy any low resolution textures and add a deeper set of in-game settings for you to play with. If you were hoping to buy the game now that's in a better state, bad news -- Arkham Knight is still unavailable to purchase on Steam. Perhaps that's an indication of where the game now stands -- better than before, but still a little way from what PC players deserve.

Even if you spent $399 on the ultra-crazy edition of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection there was a pretty gaping hole in it. No, I'm not talking about what that purchase did to your bank account, I mean the anthology's distinct lack of the series' first game. Well, for Xbox One owners that's changing because the Vault Hunters' first trip to Pandora was recently added to the list of Xbox 360 games playable on Microsoft's newest console -- something that was teased back at E3 this year. Folks in the Dashboard Preview Program can start playing right now, of course, but everyone else who got stuck on Dr. Ned's zombie island (Microsoft says all save files, add-on content and achievements will transfer over) have to wait until the feature launches to the public this November. You still had a few lunar side-quests left to finish for Handsome Jack in the meantime anyhow, right?

Back to school. Those three words can strike fear in even the hardiest of kids. We're celebrating the beginning of the semester a little differently, because, well, that's what we do on Playdate. Rather than spend the afternoon quoting Billy Madison, we're going to be playing through No PIneapple Left Behind, a game that skewers the politics of the American education system. And who better to talk about it than Seth Alter, the former teacher who developed the game? No one, that's who. So join us here at 6 pm ET / 3 pm PT as Sean Buckley and myself walk through these pineapple-filled halls for two hours on Twitch. You can tune in here on this post, Twitch.tv/joystiq or even the Engadget Gaming homepage. And no, there's no need to bring an apple for us -- just being a good sport in chat is reward enough.

Today we got our first glimpse of the BBC's upcoming Grand Theft Auto docudrama, which examines the game's development and public scrutiny in 2002. The Gamechangers, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Rockstar president Sam Houser, covers the franchise's growth in the PlayStation 2 era and the criticism that followed regarding its portrayal of violence. Bill Paxton is playing Jack Thompson, a former attorney that famously campaigned against the series, and based on this new trailer it's clear their thorny relationship is the centerpiece of the show. In May, Rockstar said it would be filing a lawsuit against the BBC over trademark infringement -- the developer said it's had "no involvement" with the project and seemingly disapproves of it altogether. The broadcaster appears unfazed by the legal action though, as it's scheduled to air on September 15th, at 9pm on BBC Two in the UK. If you live elsewhere, however, there's no word just yet on an international release.

There was a brief period when Bandai Namco was trying a free-to-play model for its bigger franchises like the venerable Soul Calibur fighting series and its arcadey Ridge Racer. The latter shut down in 2014, and the former will suffer a similar fate pretty soon. Come November 30th, the PlayStation 3 exclusive Soul Calibur Lost Swords closes its virtual doors while sales of in-game items stop about a month prior on October 27th, according to GamesIndustry.biz. From September 16th to September 30th though, Bandai Namco is hosting some commemorative "ranking quests" to mark the occasion. Are you among the game's over two million players and are already mourning its passing? Let us know in the comments. And hey, who knows, this could point toward a Soul Calibur hitting modern consoles sometime soon -- possible silver lining and all that.