Vincent Acovino | New Hampshire Public Radio

Vincent Acovino

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

President Trump is throwing a big wrench into the massive COVID relief bill that Congress overwhelmingly passed last night. In a video this evening, he calls the bill a disgrace.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It's taken forever. However, the bill they are now planning to send back to my desk is much different than anticipated. It really is a disgrace.

SHAPIRO: NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith is here with more.

Hi, Tam.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Hello.

The next generation of video game consoles is now here.

Both Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Sony's Playstation 5 hit stores this week — the newest chapter in an ongoing face-off between Microsoft and Sony.

If Found... is a visual novel that begins like an interesting, albeit familiar, sci-fi story. Our protagonist, flying blissfully through the cosmos in a dinky space vessel, accidentally wades into a black-hole tearing through the universe.

But this is a game that surprises, thrills, and delights at every turn — and to call If Found... a classic sci-fi tale would be misleading. On the other side of that black hole is a story of mostly Earthly concerns, about being young and at odds with the forces and figures around you.

In early 2019, game developer and Youtuber Infernoplus had an idea — what if he took a classic video game and gave it a contemporary twist?

At the turn of the '90s, the attention of the video game industry was locked onto two major companies battling for the lion's share of a growing industry. One was Nintendo, whose ubiquitous Italian plumber was a household name.

The other was SEGA, a brand known for its spiky hedgehog, sure, but also for signaling a specific kind of '90s cool that set itself against other video games of the time. While Nintendo stuck to their family friendly "games-for-all" aesthetic, SEGA put out video games that were thematically riskier and more mature.

Thomas E. Lo is an anesthesiologist who works at Montefiore Nyack Hospital in New York. Since the coronavirus outbreak, his job has gotten dangerous.

"The exposure risk as an anesthesiologist is extremely high because when we intubate a patient, we are literally less than a foot away from the patient, who is in distress, and we're right by their airway, which is where the virus is," Lo tells All Things Considered.

And that exposure risk is made worse by widespread shortages of crucial personal protective equipment, or PPE, like masks, gowns and gloves.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The video game designer Keita Takahashi is best known for Katamari Damacy, released in 2004. It's about a god named the "King of All Cosmos" who, while drunk, accidentally destroys the stars in the sky. His son "The Prince" is left to clean up his mess by rolling up objects on Earth into sticky masses that grow so large they become new stars.

In the world of cinema, we're led to believe that a given film lives or dies by the creative decisions of a single, all-powerful hand: the director. In the world of video games, things are (usually) different.

Instead, game players and critics tend to celebrate (or condemn) the work of studios and development teams. This focus on a collective group of individuals as opposed to a monolithic auteur feels more honest. After all, video games are made by hundreds — sometimes thousands — of hardworking creatives.

Ask people which episode of Invader Zim they most remember, and it won't take long before someone brings up "Dark Harvest." In it, Zim — a green alien intent on destroying the human race — sets out to harvest his classmates' organs.