5 easy beef dishes everyone can make this Eid

It is that time of the year again when our fridges are hopefully stocked with months’ worth of beef. This means many daily meals of the lovely ‘bhuna mangsho’. For breakfast, lunch, dinner and for afternoon snacks. Some say that there cannot be too much of a good thing, however, after 10 days of traditional beef stew and bhuna, one can’t help but wish for other ways to eat beef.

Explore other cuisines and amaze your family and friends with your culinary creativity. So, here are some simple yet thoughtful dishes you can make with all that beef/mutton and earn some points with those snarky relatives you try so hard to avoid.

1. Chilli Beef

This is a foolproof dish for the main course any day! 

Prep time: 5 mins; Cooking time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

  • Beef: 400 gms
  • Soy sauce: 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder: 1 tsp
  • Tomato sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Crushed pepper: 3/4 tsp
  • Onions: 2, cubed
  • Capsicum: half, cubed
  • Ginger: 1/2 inch, sliced
  • Garlic: 6 cloves, sliced
  • Water: 1/2 cup
  • Cornflour: 1 tsp
  • Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Salt and extra pepper to taste
  • Chopped green onions are optional (for garnish)

Instructions:

Cut the beef into thin strips. Add oil in the pan and brown the beef with some salt and pepper and then add 1 tbsp soy sauce.

Heat a wok or a pan with 1 tbsp oil and add in sliced garlic, ginger, green chillies, and onions. Stir fry for two mins and transfer to a plate. Then stir fry the cubed capsicum for a min or two. Add in a fat pinch of salt and pepper and then toss it around and transfer to a plate.

Add in 1 tbsp oil and then add in the cooked beef. Once the beef is heated through, stir fry for a minute and then push the beef to a side. Into the oil, add in 1 tsp chilli powder, mix it well and allow it to get roasted lightly so that the raw flavour diminishes. Remember to put the flame on low.

Add in the tomato sauce, the remaining soy sauce, and 3/4 tsp crushed pepper. Then add in the stir-fried onions and capsicum; sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Make a corn slurry by mixing the cornflour with water and Add it to the curry, it’ll take a minute to thicken up. Allow it to simmer for a minute and then garnish with chopped spring onions and switch off the flame.

2. Spaghetti Bolognese

A classic Italian dish we all love getting at restaurants these days. It’s actually not that hard to make and tastes even better made at home, with love. 

Prep time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 400g beef mince
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp of ginger paste
  • 1 tsp of crushed black pepper
  • One medium-sized carrot, grated
  • About 6 chopped tomatoes
  • 1.5 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (oregano, basil)
  • 400ml stock or water 
  • 400g spaghetti
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and once hot add the beef mince and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook the mince until well browned and transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the saucepan you browned the mince in and turn the heat to medium. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and fry gently for 5-6 minutes, or until softened and translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the grated carrot then pour the mince and any juices in the bowl back into the saucepan. Add the Italian herbs and black pepper.

Add the tomatoes to the pan. Pour in the stock/water, bring to a simmer and then reduce the temperature to simmer gently for 45 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and rich. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

When ready to cook the spaghetti, heat a large saucepan of water and add a generous helping of salt and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Once the spaghetti is cooked through, drain and add to the pan with the Bolognese sauce. Mix well and serve.

3. Seekh Kebab

Make this if you don’t want the usual ‘pulao-gost’ but still want to keep things traditional.

Prep time: 10 mins; Cooking time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 500 Grams Minced Meat Beef/mutton
  • 4 Green Chilis 
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Coriander Chopped
  • 1 Medium Size Onion
  • 1 Tbsp Ginger and Garlic Paste
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • ½ Tsp Black Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Chilli Flakes
  • ½ Tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • ½ Tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • ½ Tsp Cumin Powder
  • ½ Tsp Coriander Powder

Instructions:

Add green chillies, fresh coriander and minced beef to a food processor/blender and process until just combined (don’t turn it into a very smooth paste). Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

Grate one medium-size onion, then squeeze the water out completely (otherwise there will be too much moisture in your beef and they will fall off the skewethen add it to your beef.

Then add the garlic-ginger paste and all the seasonings to the meat and mix everything using your hand until well incorporated. Cover and refrigerate the meat mixture for at least 1-2 hours to marinate.

To form the kebabs, first, wet your hand with water so the mixture doesn’t stick to your hand, then scoop out a medium size ball of the meat mixture and pierce it through a wooden skewer, then spread the meat on the skewer with your hand. Starting from the top push down on the meat, press your middle finger in a diagonal angle down the beef skewer to make the signature grooves on the kebab. Repeat the process on both sides until you get the desired shape.

Heat your pan/skillet over medium heat, then brush the pan with a little cooking oil.

Add the kebabs to the pan and cook, flipping them to brown all around. (3-4 minutes on each side). Also, brush the kebabs with oil while cooking, if necessary. You can cook 4-5 kebabs at a time, depending on the size of your pan.

Serve them with naan/paratha. This recipe makes 8-10 medium-sized kebabs.

4. Beef Poutine

Canadians have ruined French fries and we love it! Poutine is essentially fries with gravy and cheese curds and if made right at home, you won’t have to go and buy those peasant cheese fries that restaurants try to pass off as poutine these days.

Prep time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: Around 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 to 1.5 pounds boneless beef, chopped to bite-sized pieces
  • 2.5 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup diced onions 
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce 
  • 4 cups of water
  • Half a cup of cheese curds or shredded cheese
  • Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and paprika to taste

Instructions:

Add a pan over high heat and add oil. Add the chopped meat and cook until browned. 

Add butter, onions, salt, pepper and paprika to taste and cook until onions are golden brown. Add the flour and cook it off for a few minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. 

Add water and Worcestershire sauce and cook on medium-high heat until meat is tender and gravy is thick. 

Make your standard fries or go buy a pack of frozen fries (we won’t judge). Since cheese curds are almost impossible to find in Bangladesh, some shredded mozzarella or paneer works just fine in this recipe. Spread cheese over the fries and slather everything in the luxurious beef gravy you just made.

5. Keema Samosa

Make this classic afternoon snack for your family this eid. They will like you more.

Ingredients:

  • Oil 1-2 tbs
  • Beef/mutton mince 250 gm
  • Ginger garlic paste) 1 & ½ tbs
  • Green chillies, chopped 3-4
  • Coriander powder ½ tbs
  • Red chilli powder, 1 tsp or to taste
  • Chilli flakes crushed ½ tbs
  • Crushed cumin seeds, ½ tbs
  • Fresh coriander, chopped ½ Cup
  • Onion, chopped 200 gms
  • All-purpose flour, 2 tbs
  • Water 1 tbs or as required
  • Samosa wrappers (frozen)

Instructions:

In a pan over medium-high heat, add oil, minced meat and mix well until changes color.

Add ginger-garlic paste, and all seasoning powders and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add fresh coriander, onions and cook for 2 minutes. Let it cool down.

In a small bowl, add all-purpose flour, water and mix well to make a smooth paste & set aside.

Take samosa wrappers and make triangular pockets, add filling in the center and roll into the shape of samosa and seal corners with all-purpose flour & water paste. Repeat to make 15-16 samosas and fry until golden brown. Serve with ketchup or chutney.

Experiment, explore and use this free time learning how to cook these simple but delicious recipes of different cuisines so that you can eat more! Eid is the time to come together as a family and appreciate the gifts. Eid Mubarak!

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary

Days up to Alita’s release has been surprisingly underhyped considering that it’s an adaptation from a manga classic. Mangas such as Death Note and Ghost in the Shell, that has previously received live-action adaptations were huge disappointments. So, when media moguls James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez announced that they’re going to be giving it a book to film adaptation, maybe not everyone was budged. However, Alita did not really disappoint and watching it on the big screen at Star Cineplex was a worthwhile experience.

Staying true to the source content

Most commonly the complaint from loyal fanbases after a book to film (or manga to film) adaptations starts from the story not being true to the real canon. In this case, the film’s producer and co-writer James Cameron is actually and fan of the original manga created by Yukito Kishiro. Cameron has planned to create an adaptation of Alita for over a decade so it only makes sense that he stayed true to the original content.

Outstanding visuals

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary, but here’s why you should watch it 1

Since the protagonist of this film is a female cyborg, it called for extremely polished and high-tech CGI. This meant that they had to spend a staggering 200 million dollars just to make the movie. This did not leave much to spend behind actually promoting it. The visual representation of the character Alita is extremely realistic, sans her eyes. Those were left exceptionally large to stay true to the manga.

The manga actually provides an explanation for why her eyes are so huge in proportion to the rest of her face but since the movie takes on so much story and condenses it into a two-hour show, it is understandable that it didn’t explore much of her origins.

The action

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary, but here’s why you should watch it 5

The action sequences of sci-fi films can be turned legendary if put in the right hands. James Cameron has explored such aspects in his previous works such as The Terminator. Much of the action in Alita: Battle Angel is surrounding a sport they play called Motorball. It’s kind of an amalgam of roller derby and rugby that is mainly played by the cyborg inhabitants of their fictional world.

The fluid action sequences and incredible motion capture could’ve only been possible with a significant budget.

Alita moves through the air with ease, and many of the cyborgs fell organic to the proceedings.

Motorball becomes one of the more thrilling elements of the film. Among many action-packed scenes, the one in which Alita encounters Nyssiana stands out.

Nyssiana is a cyborg assassin who ruthlessly pursues Alita in the film. She is a film-original character and resembles a minor antagonist who appeared in the first volume of the manga.

The Plot

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary, but here’s why you should watch it 4

The whole movie is essentially a buildup to a much bigger battle of sorts. The movie begins with cybernetics physician Dyson Ido(Christoph Waltz) finding the remnants of a cyborg under a fabled floating city called Zalem. Ido rebuilds the cyborg and gives her the name Alita. Alita is amnesiac at first but like all movies that feature characters with memory loss, certain situations trigger flashbacks.

Since, Alita: Battle Angel movie is only based on the first four volumes of the manga, so several plot lines and characters were not adapted for the film. Dr. Ido’s story differs a bit in the movie because he is not the main character in every arc of the manga. The name of his manga counterpart is Daisuke Ido. Rosa Salazar characterizes Alita as someone who is just discovering a magical world, but who also has a lot of command over her life. She’s innocent but not afraid. And when the time comes to protect those that she loves, she is ready. The only element in the plot that didn’t play out that well, was the romantic element. Character dialogues and moments of climax had scopes of improvement too.

Complexity in character building

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary, but here’s why you should watch it 3

Once Alita begins to unlock her potential as a Battle Angel, the movie has an awful lot to juggle. Not only the origin of her advance-tech heart (so powerful it could power the whole city for a year!) but the people who seek to steal it for nefarious purposes, including Ido’s ex-wife Chiren (Jennifer Connelly), another cybernetics doctor who works with Vector (Mahershala Ali) to create superpowered cyberathletes to compete in Motorball.

Alita and her romantic counterpart Hugo have an instant connection with one another and that plays a vital role in the story up to the very end. The revelation of Desty Nova in Alita: Battle Angel was one of the biggest surprises in the film. Desty Nova is a mysterious figure who is central to the final arc of the Alita: Battle Angel film. He possesses several bodies during the film and appears to Alita in flashbacks.  Nova is also a major figure in the manga, and he becomes the main antagonist of the story.

The verdict

Alita: Battle Angel is exemplary, not revolutionary

Whether you think the storyline of Alita: Battle Angel is special or not, the movie in its entirety keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Despite its long duration of run time, It doesn’t drag and leaves you wanting more.

Since the movie ends on kind of a cliffhanger, we can only hope that the directors and producers will come up with a sequel. In the meantime, you should watch this one while it’s still running in the theatres because it’s a sensational experience whether you love futuristic sci-fi or not. Get your tickets from here.

Gillette commercial and the chronically offended

For 30 years, Gillette has been using the slogan “The best a man can get.” Gillette is an American company that principally caters to men by manufacturing grooming products such as razors. Their slogan might have been a bit vague but it certainly isn’t controversial.  “The best a man can get” shouldn’t be a controversial proposition: The best a man can be is kind instead of cruel, generous instead of petty, protective instead of predatory. After the launch of their new commercial however, people did not seem to see it that way anymore because ever since it surfaced, this has been all the internet seems to be talking about.

What’s so wrong with the advert?

The Gillette advert takes on some of the most pressing social problems, bullying and sexual harassment and misogyny in the media. The advert begins by showing a boy getting cyber bullied and called a “sissy,”a group of entertained audience laughing along as a man on a sitcom set grabs at a woman’s behind, a businessman in a corporate boardroom mansplaining to a female employee – while a voice over notes that men keep on “making the same old excuses”: Boys will be boys. I haven’t only seen random strangers on the internet saying it, but at my own home by my own family. We have been excusing bad behavior by men for generations. 

The advert then transitions into men stepping up and being the better version of themselves. Intervening against sexual harassment, a man teaching self-love to his daughter, promoting peace over violence, all while little boys watch and absorb. “It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more,” the ad concludes, “that we can be our best.” Throughout the short film, Gillette tries to tell men that they can be kind and nurturing for their future generations but this simple straightforward message seems to have triggered a huge response among people. The video has generated only 527K likes but over a million dislikes. Even considering the fact that lifeless trolls has opened multiple accounts just for the reason that they can add to the number of dislikes, the numbers are staggering. While the commercial was inspiring and asked men to not only to treat women better, but to treat other men better as well. But the fact of the matter is that,you can always find a way to be offended if you are determined enough.

Corporate giants and social stance

Corporations have been jumping on the social activism train for some time now. We have seen in from Pantene, Dove and Nike. I am sure we haven’t forgotten about Nike’s commercial featuring Colin Kaepernick. We had witnessed almost the same kind of backlash from a certain community. One pattern I have always noticed is that any righteous message delivered to a mass population always gets similar reactions as long as it does not cater to every demand of the privileged. The privileged be someone belonging to the racial or ethnic majority, it might be because someone holds a patriarchal mindset which is often considered “cool” in our patriarchal society or a religious majority.

A billboard featuring former San Francisco 49ers quaterback Colin Kaepernick is displayed on the roof of the Nike Store on September 5, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

On the contrary, being sensitive and showing empathy towards other human beings is considered emasculating. When I was explaining to someone about why the backlash was due to fragile masculinity, a random guy asked me how I would define “fragile masculinity”. This term is closely relevant to another term called “toxic masculinity”. Toxic masculinity refers to the idea that cruel and predatory behavior is part of men’s natural makeup. There’s a stereotype that feminists hate men, but the opposite seems to be true: Anti-feminists who claim to be defending men are the ones who actually seem to have a fairly low opinion of themselves. Thus, when a man does not meet their criteria of manliness, they are bullied and mocked. These particular men have their masculinity held up like a house of cards and the slightest bit of murmur about them being imperfect crashes it and this is referred to as fragile masculinity and that is when these men feel emasculated.

Gillette ain’t no saint

Obviously, Gillette was not promoting equality out of the goodness of their hearts. None of the bold advertising we’ve seen in recent times has been but it does not have to be either. Gillette needs to sell their products and as the saying goes, “No such thing as bad publicity”.The commercial generated all the buzz they needed and they indeed needed it. In the past decade, more men have started to opt for the “ragged” look instead of the cleanly shaven kind. Their profits have also been undercut by more affordable brands of grooming products. So even though the Piers Morgans of the world have threatened to boycott Gillette, that might end up generating more publicity. Feminist men and women might buy more Gillette products to counteract the loud and angry men. 

I mean come on, large companies like Gillette don’t advertise on concepts they think will tank their profits. This is why so many advertisements have been so sexist for so long.

Buying consumer goods will not bring on gender-equality, but that does not mean that the commercial is bad. These are definitely pleasant changes from seeing misogyny serve as a tool for capitalism. If corporations use their platforms to stand up while also benefitting from the advertisement, it’s a win-win. This is why Nike’s commercial was a success. People tend to put a higher value on brands they think has a better moral compass.

The Gillette commercial was inspiring and motivating, not controversial. But if you are like Piers Morgan and think that the proper reaction to it is tweeting about an imaginary “war on masculinity”,then sadly Gillette was wrong. You are petty and this is as good as you’re ever going to get.

Narcos: Mexico – There’s a beginning, there’s no end

We lingered on one particular scene of Narcos after the brutal finale of Narcos season 3. That scene foreshadowed the next installment to Colombia’s bigger cousin, Mexico. That is where Narcos: Mexico begins the next chapter in the drug war.

An origin story

This Netflix spin-off/prequel is essentially a full-fledged origins story. The premise is the beginnings of the Mexican war on drugs. Of course, the agency that rose up to combat narcotics; Drug Enforcement Administration (or DEA), features heavily.  Two primary characters are at the center of this story. One is Félix Gallardo, a small-town cop with ambitions to reach to the top of the drug empire. Kiki Camarena is the other  DEA agent, transferred from Fresno, California to Guadalajara.

Both officials go up against the corruption embedded in their daily work.  They take strikingly different approaches to the drug war. One official takes advantage of his position, while the other fights against the grain with aspirations towards justice.

Narcos: Mexico has the violence that we have come to expect from the original series but in much more measured quantities.  Also, similar to the predecessor, the show explores the dualities and contradictions of human nature.

The Mexican brandishing to textbook Narcos

The returning cast of the original Narcos makes appearances, adding consistency to the overall premise and Columbian plotline.

Mexico is slow at first, but it speeds up around the halfway point. Expectedly, Narcos: Mexico is a show with high stakes with rivalries between newly formed cartels and of course, substantial family drama.  I enjoyed the high-quality production value, the spectacular cinematography, good musical queues, and pacing. It was a delight to watch A-list actors, especially Michael Peña as Kik, delivering immaculate performances.

That being said, Narcos: Mexico left something to be desired, especially in comparison to the awesome original series. It does, however, manage to forge its own identity while establishing continuity to the Narcos plot thread. I will be watching future episodes for that, and the grim cliffhanger ending that alludes to much more Narcos style drama to come.

Want to start reading again? Here are 7 bookstores in Dhaka

Every so often, I hear my friends say, ‘I really wish I read’ or ‘I want to start reading again’. Lament no more, a great place to start is a walk around these lovely bookstores. For seasoned readers,  tablets and e-readers will never suffice. We still prefer to read physical copies of books, flipping through the pages and taking in the scent of new (or old) books. Going to these bookstores has the plus of exploring reading with booksellers who are consummate bibliophiles who take joy in the matching reader to writer. And that human component is an important part of the literary experience. We may not have a Waterstones or a Barnes and Noble store in Bangladesh, but we have these lovely nooks to get lost in.

Here’s a list of places in Dhaka where you can buy your next novel or add the latest to your collection:

1. Book Gallery

7 bookstores in Dhaka-HiFi Public

This is a little shop in New Market where I’ve been going since I was 12. Back then, it used to be called Book Web. This little bookstore offers a decent collection of originals at a reasonable price and hence my frequent visits without burning draining every bit of my small childhood allowance. Their space is much larger and more organized now than it used to be. Their collection has largely improved as well and they also have a Facebook page where they post updates on their collection!

Address: Enter through Gate 1 of New Market and take a left down the row of bookstores. It is at the end of the cul de sac, next to ABC Stationery.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bookgallerydhaka/

2. Pathak Shamabesh

7 bookstores in Dhaka-HiFi Public

Our capital’s Shahbag can be considered as our very own book district because of the numerous independent bookstores in the area and a handful at Aziz Super Market. This is a must–visit for every bookworm in Dhaka. This 30+ year old bookstore houses a huge collection of both English and Bangla literature. What makes Pathak Shamabesh particularly stand out are their occasional book fair and festivals hosted in collaboration with publishers. Authors often visit and hold book signing events.

Address: Pathak Shamabesh Center  is situated in the annex building of the National Museum
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PscltdDhaka

3. Charcha

7 bookstores in Dhaka-HiFi Public

This is a relatively newfound gem. Though their classics collection is a bit disappointing, they boast by far the best collection of contemporaries I have found in Bangladesh. They have many new releases and many shortlisted books for the Man Booker Prize. They also have a rich collection of Bangla literature. I appreciated the detour from the mainstream Dan Brown and Lee Child collections that ususally populate Bangladeshi bookstores. My favourite part, you don’t have to buy the books to read. So, pick up a book, grab a seat, and read until the store closes (at 8pm).

Address: 107 Sher Shah Shuri Road, Mohammadpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh 1207
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/charchabooks/

4. Baatighar

7 bookstores in Dhaka-HiFi Public

This bookstore/library is originally from Chittagong. They have started their operations in Dhaka only last year. They have an exemplary collection of Bangla literature! Their most unique display is a little kids corner with many children’s books and comic books. You can comfortably release your inner Chacha Chowdhury fangirl! Baatighar is open from 10 am to 10 pm and they have a coffee corner. There is also a rooftop café on the Bishyo Shahittya Bhaban where you can get some snacks if you’re hungry after a long day of feeding your soul.

Address: Their Dhaka branch is situated in the already familiar Bishyo Shahittya Kendra building in Banglamotor. 17 Mymensingh Road, Bangla Motor (3.29 mi), Dhaka, Bangladesh 1000 .
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BaatigharDHK/

5. Bengal Boi

7 bookstores in Dhaka-HiFi Public

With the slogan of ‘Boiyer Majhe Doob’ (Dive into Books), Bengal Boi–an initiative of Bengal Foundation was opened in November 2017.  The ground floor has a rich collection of old books, which cannot be purchased, but each book can be exchanged with two old books. There is a stock of both English and Bangla books by local and international writers. There is a reading space, an open space on the ground floor and an indoor space to have coffee and snacks while indulging in the latest bestseller or art book.

Address: 1/3 Block D, Lalmatia, Dhaka, Bangladesh 1209
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bengalboidhaka/

6. Bookworm

7 bookstores in Dhaka-HiFi Public

Every bibliophile has that one bookstore they have a personal connection with. I remember going to Bookworm ever since I can remember. They were one of the very few bookstores that used to release Harry Potter books on their release day. Potterheads like me would flock to their then only outlet on Old Airport road on chilly winter mornings, just to get our hands on that fresh new and long awaited sequel. While other bookstores like Words and Pages have terminated their operations, Bookworm has only expanded. Now they have opened another outlet in Dhanmondi in collaboration with North End Coffee Roasters!

For a friendly, cosy reading and buying experience, head to this little corner. The English collection is extensive and the storekeepers are very helpful.

Address: Twin Peaks Complex, Old Airport Road, Tejgoan. Under the MIG 21 Fighter Jet & Eagle Statue. Or opposite Falcon Hall. (1.88 mi), Dhaka, Bangladesh 1215

3rd Floor, Kazi &Kazi Tower, Dhanmondi. Inside North End Coffee Roasters.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bookwormbangladesh/

7. Boi Bochitra

This is a household name in Bangladesh. In addition to original paperbacks and hardcovers, they also offer a splendid variety of stationery supplies such as notebooks, journals, washi tapes, sticky notes and model papers, meeting our arts and crafts needs while we were growing up. Boi Bichitra has an edge over other bookstores in Bangladesh because of their many branches. There is a store in almost every area in the capital. So if you are suddenly hankering to buy some new life to put on your bookshelves find out the one nearest to you and head over!

Address:  Some of the branches are:

at  ADC Empire Plaza 183, Satmasjid Road, Dhanmondi, Dhaka

House No. 40, Main Road No: 01, Section No-10, Mirpur, Dhaka-1212

Rupayan 141, Road No. 12, Block-E Banani, Dhaka-1209

 Golden Age, Shop# 19,25,26 (Ground floor) Plot No 6, Block# C.W.N.(C) 99, Road No. 37 Gulshan Avenue, Dhaka-1212

Enjoy the significantly lower prices and an exponentially greater book inventory that you can enjoy in Bangladesh. So let’s peruse the aisles, experience the scent of new books, feel the pages and support our local indie bookstores. Even if all else fails, you can always head over to Nilkhet!

You can now play Assassin’s Creed on Chrome, no high-end PC required

Since February this year, there have been rumors of Google developing a gaming console for 2 years. The project was called “Yeti” and would use Google’s powerful server capabilities to help buffer game data during playtime, without the need for expensive dedicated hardware.

The Reveal

Odessey: The least Assassins Creed Assassins Creed game ever

Now as of recently, Google has transitioned to only software-based services under the title “Project Stream”. The service will offer the same streaming services as TVs, Movies, and Music, with the only requirement of 25Mbps of stable internet connection.

To demonstrate the service, Ubisoft has partnered with Google to release a demo of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey playable from Google Chrome browser. This is a US only project so the demo will have limited availability.

Not getting ahead of ourselves

Credit: The Verge/Ubisoft/Project Stream

This is an indication of Google’s increasing its presence in the gaming market from their Play Store services.  However, this service has been tried for many years by previous ventures like OnLive and Ouya, neither enjoyed widespread success. Currently, Sony is testing the waters for full-fledged streaming on its PlayStation Now services. Microsoft is also developing a streaming service for their next-gen Scarlett system.

Most streaming play experiences have been glitchy because of poor streaming quality, data loss, and input lag. Google’s resources and global presence might be enough to deliver a satisfactory product and reverse the existing negative mindset around game streaming services as a whole. This remains to be seen.

Will this move affect the dedicated consoles market including the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch? I doubt it, it’ll take years, maybe more than a decade before the ecosystem is built so that it is possible for services to be adopted by a majority of consumers. Constant internet access is a huge requirement for many of those users.  Dedicated systems may have its setbacks but gamers may resist moving away from the advantages like physical game copies or playing games offline.

What about the Desi Gamers?

Unless you’re in the US, not much

To be quite frank, our ISPs aren’t the most helpful bunch. They do not consistently provide quality services and network disconnections and lag is still common. Broadband is still expensive relative to other neighbor countries. So, there are reasons to believe that adoption in less technologically advanced world countries will take much longer time.

I still stand by the opinion, that even if this is a cheaper option, it will not be a fluently playable one. But who knows, maybe the premise of easier access is more of a compelling reason that any other factors. It will be interesting to see how these services work together with the anticipated mainstream integration of VR-games and software. Only the future will tell.

Harry Potter game trailer leaked

A new trailer of the Harry Potter game has been leaked, supposedly from an inside source. The video looks recorded from a handheld with no direct captured footage, and Warner Brothers managed to halt the original upload. Many outlets including VG247 has found mirrors that have the video uploaded. Close inspection of the video indicates that it will be a AAA Role-Playing Game or intense Action-Adventure game.

Past attempts at HP games were mediocre at best

Gaming giant EA held the rights to the Harry Potter gaming franchise for the longest time, bringing out a game for every book in the series alongside the movies, starting with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 2001 and wrapping up with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in 2011.

While the books and movies were critically acclaimed, the games were a series of duds – across multiple platforms of PC, Xbox, PlayStation (1, 2, PSP, 3), Gamecube and Gameboy, not a single game registered more than a blip on gamers’ radar. Most of them were clunky, unimaginative and, beyond a few mini-games in the earlier instalments, largely bland.

What’s different this time?

There are no official relation or continuity with the main characters of the book written by J.K Rowling – the game could be setting up new characters or new story branches. The video shows glimpses of spell-casting, set-piece scenes, lots of action and battles, accompanied by high-quality visuals and effects.

The reaction to the leak was positive. Fans are clamouring for the immediate release of the original trailer.  Surely a second by second breakdown and investigation into every detail awaits. One could say that they already spellbound.

Without an official announcement, there are plenty of guesses as to what the name might be. The game is being developed by Avalanche Software (not to be confused with Avalanche Studios).

Do we need another Harry Potter game?

After EA’s botched attempts at releasing licensed games, Warner Brothers took the license in an attempt at releasing their own titles. There haven’t been any major video game releases. This revelation sparks hope in the fans that the franchise will get a new series that’ll live up to expectations.  The clock is ticking, the ball is in WB’s court to officially release the trailer. We will let you know when we know.

EA and 2K aren’t keen on complying with Belgium’s law against Lootbox

It felt like yesterday when the huge revelation came upon the video game industry and its publishers: lootbox microtransactions has gone way too far. The controversy stirred by Battlefront II, Need For Speed Payback and NBA 2K18 has riled everyone up. They’ve been riled up for a year now.

Chris Lee, a Hawaii representative, noticed such commotion. He has expressed his opinions about predatory practices from EA. He has also spoken against other games from multiple publishers and platforms including Android and iOS. Belgium followed this example. Thus they’ve made it clear since April this year that video game lootboxes are to be strictly regarded as illegal gambling.

The defiant ones

Much to their hubris, EA and 2K seem defiant against Belgium’s new law, with 2K suggesting people in Belgium contact their representatives for a repeal somehow.

EA, on the other hand, considers themselves clean since they’ve stated they have done nothing wrong to elicit their game’s lootbox system being illegal. They are now currently under investigation for criminal charges by the Belgium government.

Plausible deniability or not, Netherlands have also followed suit and are thus setting a bigger example for other countries to follow. Blizzard and Valve have fully complied with both Belgium and Netherlands.

Need a second opinion?

Today’s gaming industry has reached a far greater market than movies and television combined. However, we’re still not sure if this was the best outcome. Especially since most of the finances of big companies come from treating games as services.

Lootbox gambling has been on the rise since 2017, starting all from Counter-Strike Go, Overwatch to now Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. It wasn’t over a year ago since CS Go Lotto controversy made the FTC in the US file major complains before Valve reached a settlement. Though in irony, Valve actually had the knowledge of the gambling fiasco before it reached public eyes.

Even though games are expensive to make nowadays, The Witcher 3 was one of the bestselling RPGs with the developers being opposed to monetary services. Games like Titanfall 2 were also praised for their DLC system. Players in-game weren’t purchasing any convoluted means to have in-game advantages that could seem invasive.

So the bottom line is…

It’s bad enough that mobile games are far egregious with these practices making it unbearable for enjoying quality content from app stores, let alone games. AAA titles the likes of Shadow of War which is a single-player game also had a microtransaction system of its own. Contrary to where multi-player ones are rife with such an integration.

A Reddit user by the name Kensgold revealed that he has spent 10,000 USD on in-app purchases including CS: GO. Before that, there have been multiple instances where children used their parent’s credit cards to purchase digital goods where they’ve had to later asked the publisher for refunds as it wasn’t to their consent. Including most of the games from EA.

So what should it take to make these two juggernauts of publishers to give in among others, as they’ve bitten more than they should chew? Should we keep living under the umbrella of this silver lining?