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Moonshot AR app lets you command Apollo 11; huge WoW expansion; Wii’s last dance

By Benjamin Bullard
Moonshot mobile app recreates the Apollo 11 moon landing

A new AR experience that borrows designs, footage, and mission objectives from the historic 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing may not be able to take players all the way to the moon — but it may be the next best thing.

Just in time for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first steps on a celestial body that isn’t Earth, the JFK Library has revealed Moonshot, an augmented-reality mobile app that takes a documentary approach to letting would-be astronauts play out key moments from the Apollo 11 mission.

Via Variety, the Moonshot app “combines AR technology with both location and a real-time component,” allowing players to project a digital image of the Saturn V rocket, test-fire its boosters, and even play a series of mission-based mini-games that “include landing the spacecraft on the surface of the moon” while using some of the same training methods as the original Apollo 11 crew.

The app’s centerpiece, though, is the central role it’ll play in taking players through a moment-by-moment recreation of the entire mission, timed to coincide exactly with the original astronauts’ launch, orbit, landing, and return. On July 16 at precisely 9:32 a.m. ET, the virtual Saturn V will take off 50 years after its real-world predecessor.  “And just like the real mission 50 years ago,” reports Variety, the real-time recreation “will last more than 120 hours.”

Commissioned by the JFK Library and made by branding agency Digitas to highlight President John F. Kennedy’s stewardship of the Apollo program, Moonshot is available for free for both Android and iOS devices.

Blizzard is getting set to release a World of Warcraft expansion it’s touting as the biggest in the entire history of the venerable MMORPG. The new Rise of Azshara patch (technically Patch 8.2) arrives next week debuting two new map areas, new raids and dungeon, and the introduction of a new storyline that tasks players with joining the fight to topple Queen Azarsha, a villain who’s been part of WoW lore in the past but is finally getting the spotlight to herself.

As the latest (if not the newest) threat to Azaroth, Azshara’s power will force the Alliance and the Horde to work together as they traverse the new sunken city of Nazjatar and explore the mecha-gnome homeland of Mechagon.

Dispatching the Queen of Tides (as Azshara’s also known in WoW parlance) won’t come without some incentives to help you power up first, and Blizzard says its update will come chock-full of upgrades, including “the addition of Essences to the Heart of Azeroth system … Heritage Armor for tauren and gnomes; new Benthic gear; a raid that takes players into the depths of Azshara’s Eternal Palace; and much more.”

Slated to release on June 25, Rise of Azshara is available for World of Warcraft on PC and macOS.

Finally, it’s hard to believe that the original Wii is turning 13 this year — and perhaps even harder to believe that developers have continued to churn out cross-platform game titles for Nintendo’s innovative motion-sensing console this far into the Switch era. But later this year, Ubisoft will help Nintendo close the final chapter once and for all on the Wii by releasing Just Dance 2020 — the very last new game that’ll ever debut on the system.

Even though the Wii was discontinued in 2013 and replaced by the short-lived Wii U (now also discontinued), Ubisoft took the console’s lingering popularity with casual gamers into account as a good reason to make Just Dance 2020 (which will also arrive for Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and Stadia) a Wii-playable game. “We are the last game on the Wii and we are happy about that as there still a lot of fans wanting to play on it,” Ubisoft’s Alain Corre recently told The Telegraph.

The Wii’s last dance arrives this fall, when Just Dance 2020 sashays onto platforms starting Nov. 5.