Minecraft for Nintendo Switch is having a $24 pre-sale

Now that I've killed Calamity Gannon in Zelda: Breath of the Wild (it took 4 months of playing everyday and I loved it), I'm ready to try something else on the Nintendo Switch. Any suggestions? I'm thinking of Minecraft for the Nintendo Switch. It's been available as a downloadable game for a while, but I prefer cartridges. It's going to be released on Thursday and prime members can get it for $24. It's currently the top-selling Switch title. Read the rest

Unreal Tournament for Atari 2600

Unreal Tournament was the multiplayer 3D shooter that stole Quake's candy, and now it's been demade to run on a toaster. Gone is the expansive virtual enrivonment and motion sickness; still in play is the cyberpunk corporate-sponsored deathmatch vibe and merciless sense of chaos and speed.

UT2600 provides fast paced arcade action for a minimum of two players (where teams of up to six players are supported).

You can use a free emulator program such as Stella to play the game, though you can also play it directly in your web browser.

UT2600 is currently in open beta and can benefit from your feedback.

You can play online! Read the rest

Commodore 256 under construction

Commodore made the world's most successful 8-bit personal computer, the C64, and its most iconic 16-bit one, the Commodore Amiga. But the latter was a weird, complicated, two-faced beast, dooming a badly-managed company to a dead end of its own making. What if it had instead made a simple but powerful monster machine more like its earler models? Meet the C256.

Stefany Allaire is building the Commodore 256, what she believes should have been the successor to the Commodore 64 and 128, the best-selling computer line in history. Stefany – who has designed hardware for $60 billion companies, startups, and everything in between – also shared insights into her design process, including the PCB design tools she uses, and how she integrates electronics and mechanical design.

It has a 65C816 Western Digital CPU, 256 colors and up to a megabyte of RAM. And SID chips, supply permitting. The project's homepage is c256foenix.com.

I believe that restriction is the mother of creativity, so I’m trying to restrict myself to keep it limited to what would have been available back then.

Commodore did attempt something vaguely similar to this, the Commodore 65, but they waited until the 1990s, pitching it as budget upgrade for C64 users, and it was so obviously late to the party it never got past prototyping. A more relevant comparison might be the Sinclair QL, a poor mangled beast (albeit a 16-bit one) rushed out in 1984 to beat Apple, Atari and Commodore to the shelf. Read the rest

Obscure video games reviewed

The Obscuritory offers in-depth reviews of games "unplayed and unknown," lost to the rapid technological changes of the 80s and 90s and the countless mutually-incompatible platforms that came and went as the years rolled by. My favorite pick, though, is Knights of the Crystallion, the wonderfully weird and impenetrable magnum opus of legendary game designer Bill Williams, which baffled Amiga owners in 1989 or so. Psygnosis turned it down because it was too weird for them. I sometimes want to organize a modern sequel to this unfinished epic, but Bennett Foddy rightfully pointed out an Alley Cat remake would get a bigger audience. Read the rest

Surprisingly attractive laptop for playing computer games

Most "gaming" laptops look like props from cheap 1990s sci-fi: greebled plastic carbuncles, all edgy red LEDs and bloated bezels, whirring like drones in a tiled bathroom as soon as gameplay begins. The new Razer Blade 15, though, is not only as sleek as an ultrabook, but looks beautiful: like a 2001: Space Odyssey monolith with a luminous Pride flag in it.

It comes with a matte 1080-line display (optionally with a 144Hz refresh rate) or a glossy 4k one, both 15.6" across, a GTX 1060 or 1070 Max-Q video card, up to 32GB of RAM and an 8th-generation i7-8750H CPU. It's 14" wide, 9.3" deep and just under .7" thick, and weighs about 4.6 pounds, going an ounce either way depending on options.

Prices start at $1900 for the entry-level model (HD, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, GTX 1060 GPU), up to $2900 [Amazon] with all the upgrades.

It comes with softare to make the rainbow backlighting any color you please, and it is my tragedy and shame to be that "minimalist" guy who just makes it plain white.

Full specs and prices after the jump.

Specifications: 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8750H Processor (6 Cores/12 Threads, 2.2 GHz/4.1 GHz) 15.6-inch IPS Full HD (1920 x 1080) matte up to 144Hz, individually color calibrated 15.6-inch IPS 4K (3840 x 2160) capacitive multi-touch, individually color calibrated NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 Max-Q Design NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 Max-Q Design 16GB Dual-Channel system memory (DDR4, 2667MHz), 32GB maximum support Up to 512GB PCIe SSD, 2TB maximum support Windows® 10 (64-bit) Intel® Wireless-AC 9260 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 5 Thunderbolt™ 3 (USB-C) x 1 USB 3.1 port x 3 (SuperSpeed) Mini Display Port 1.4 x 1 Anti-ghosting keyboard powered by Razer Chroma™ Razer Synapse 3 compatible HDMI 2.0b audio and video output Built-in front firing stereo speakers 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo port Built-in webcam (1MP/720P) with array microphone Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) security chip embedded Compact 200W/230W power adapter Built-in 80 Wh rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery, NVIDIA® Optimus™ support [GeForce GTX 1060] 0.66 in.

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Kickstarting Dream Askew and Dream Apart, no-dice, no-GM RPGs about radical justice, queers and Jewish shtetl life

Dream Askew and Dream Apart are "no-dice, no masters" RPGs where players collaborate to tell stories together without dice or dungeon masters: Dream Askew uses the system to create campaigns in "a queer enclave enduring the collapse of civilization" and Dream Apart is set in "a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe." Read the rest

Zelda propaganda posters

Counter the creeping resurgence of genuine, non-metaphorical Naziism in gamer culture with Fernando Reza's kick-ass WWII style Zelda propaganda posters! $40 each, 18" x 24", printed on archival paper. Read the rest

The paleocomputing miracle of the 76477 Space Invaders sound effects chip

In 1978, the 76477 Complex Sound Generation chip was foundational to creating the sound effects in many popular games, notably Space Invaders; it was also popular with hobbyists who could buy the chip at Radio Shack -- it could do minor miracles, tweaking a white noise generator to produce everything from drums to explosions, using an integrated digital mixer to layer and sequence these sounds. Read the rest

New XBox and Windows game controller for people with disabilities

Microsoft's new accessible game controller has a retro vibe, enormous buttons, and a range of attachments tailored to specific disabilities.

The new Xbox Adaptive Controller, which will be available later this year, can be connected to external buttons, switches, joysticks and mounts, giving gamers with a wide range of physical disabilities the ability to customize their setups. The most flexible adaptive controller made by a major gaming company, the device can be used to play Xbox One and Windows 10 PC games and supports Xbox Wireless Controller features such as button remapping.

Reminds me of the original arcade Street Fighter "punchable" buttons (see the photo from Ars Technica, below). There's a certain irony here, because (in their primitive 80s form) they were unreliable and made the game too difficult, leading arcade operators to replace them with normal buttons. Because the punch-plates were pressure sensitive, though, the game required six normal buttons to play properly, kicking off the myriads-of-buttons era in which games became markedly less accessible.

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What's inside one of those magic chess boards?

Square Off is a crowdfunded chess board that uses a computer and magnets to move pieces physically while playing a human opponent. YouTuber What's Inside? does a teardown to see how it works. Read the rest

Secrets from games that you can't find by playing them

The Cutting Room Floor is a wiki collecting programming secrets from old games: messages hidden in the code, levels and characters that never show up in-game, and anything else unused or left on the editing room floor. Unused Zelda cutscenes. An impossible-to-find spell in Planescape: Torment. Some too-secret levels in Bionic Commando. The unusued Duke Nukem 3D sample "DUKE_PASSWIND". Read the rest

Procedurally-generated Space Invaders

Kjetil Golid wrote code that generates high-definition space invaders for all imaginary Earth-defense needs. The javascript library p5.js is part of the magic. Read the rest

Nintendo bringing back the NES Classic

Withdrawn from sale to promote the 16-bit SNES Classic, Nintendo's NES Classic is finally coming back. Pulling it from shelves at the height of its popularity was a canny move by the Japanese game giant, but one that enraged fans and left industry-watchers scratching their heads. All that anguish and pontification is now wiped from the high score chart of history with one fell, swooping press release.

Don't pay $200 for old stock on Amazon's official-looking NES Classic page; the real thing will be $60 when it is out again on June 29th.

Pictured here is "Shaved Mario" by November17 on Twitter. Read the rest

A puzzle expert shows off some of his favorites

Tim at Grand Illusions chose several of his favorite "photogenic" puzzles to share. Some of them he has not solved yet, and even some that he's solved are still quite challenging to replicate. Read the rest

Atari "VCS" delayed to 2019

Atari's retro game console, annoyingly given the same name as the 1977 original, won't be showing up until 2019, reports Andrew Tarantola. But you'll be able to pre-order it soon anyway.

We're also finally getting a hint at the system's capabilities. Atari announced on Monday that it has partnered with AMD for the console's processor. The VCS will support 4K resolutions, HDR and 60fps gameplay. It will offer both internal and external storage, built-in WiFi, USB 3 and Bluetooth 5 capabilities.

The company is still tight-lipped as to what you'll actually be able to do with the VCS, however.

Charming as it is, the high price demands 21st century performance. Another benefit of a good video chip will be mining Ataricoin. Read the rest

A handheld version of Oregon Trail!

The Oregon Trail Handheld Game is a Target exclusive at $25, but for $29.20 you can get resold/new ones with Prime -- it's a straight port of the Apple ][+ game with a specialized keypad, about the size of a G1 Gameboy. (via Red Ferret) Read the rest

Kickstarting a playable version of the CIA's previously secret training card-game

When Freedom of Information Act enthusiast Douglas Palmer used public records requests to explore the games that the CIA uses to train its analysts, he laid the groundwork for republishing these games for general use. Read the rest

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