Nintendo finally unveiled the long-rumored Nintendo Switch Lite. Besides the compact size, the biggest difference is a classic D-pad control. Due out in September, it will retail for $200. From The Verge:
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Nintendo says the Lite features “slightly” improved battery life — the company wouldn’t get any more specific than that — due to a more power-efficient chip layout, as well as the lack of additional batteries in the built-in controllers. The Switch Lite also does away with the device’s controversial kickstand...
The Lite comes in multiple colors at launch — yellow, grey, and turquoise — as well as a special light grey Pokémon Sword and Shield edition, and they all have a pleasant matte texture that feels great to hold....
The new device has a 5.5-inch touch display, compared to 6.2-inch for its predecessor. If you take a single Joy-Con off of an original Switch, you’ll have a good idea of the size of the new version.
Putting Android on things has become the new putting Linux on things.
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The Nintendo Switch was never meant to run Android. It’s a portable game console with a 6.2-inch 720p display powered by the Tegra X1 chipset (which is also found in the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV), 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and a 4,310 mAh battery. It runs games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe. Those specifications make for a pretty beefy handheld games console, but imagine an Android tablet with those specifications? That’s effectively what we’ve got here thanks to ByLaws and fellow developers, and while it’s certainly not perfect yet, it’s already pretty powerful.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Switch is the fact that it is a hybrid console. When you put it in the Switch dock and detach the controllers on the sides, it becomes a full-fledged console with 1080p output via HDMI and higher CPU and GPU clock rates. When you’re done, just re-attach the controllers, take the Switch out of the dock, and use it wherever. A similar idea was employed by the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet, an Android gaming tablet that could output to a TV at up to 8K resolution. Android on the Switch works in the same way as it once did on the NVIDIA SHIELD Tablet. Dock your Switch and it will output the display via HDMI, where you can continue to use it as normal on a bigger screen.
Rob Landes shows how to play the Mario theme as in noob, amateur, hardcore, and elite levels. Read the rest
These cheap grips make playing Mario Kart against my kid easier.
For less than $12 delivered these have improved my Switch experience. JoyCons firmly pop into these ABS grips, and while the firmness of the buttons takes a game or two to get used to, these fit my hand far better than the stand-alone JoyCon.
The button tops also help my CTS prone hands from tiring as quickly.
I find JoyCons miserably small, these grips help.
Raf Grassetti, the Sony Art Director behind God of War's look, is painting realistic portraits of characters from Smash Bros. Ultimate. Some are charming, such as Princess Peach. One the other hand, there's always Sonic...
Eric Bradly says:
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An unopened copy of Super Mario Bros., the classic video game released by Nintendo in 1985, set a world record for a graded game when it recently sold for $100,150.
“Beyond the artistic and historical significance of this game is its supreme state of preservation,” says Kenneth Thrower, co-founder and chief grader of Wata Games.
Due to its popularity, Nintendo reprinted Super Mario Bros. from 1985 to 1994 numerous times, resulting in 11 different box variations (according to this visual guide). The first two variations are “sticker sealed” copies that were only available in the New York and L.A. test market launch of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985 and 1986. Of all the sealed copies of Super Mario Bros., this is the only known “sticker sealed” copy and was certified by Wata Games with a Near Mint grade of 9.4 and a “Seal Rating” of A++.
“Not only are all of NES sticker sealed games extremely rare, but by their nature of not being sealed in shrink wrap they usually exhibit significant wear after more than 30 years,” Thrower said. “This game may be the condition census of all sticker sealed NES games known to exist.”
A group of collectors joined forces Feb. 6 to purchase the game, including some of the biggest names in video games and collectibles as a whole. The buyers include Jim Halperin, Founder and Co-Chairman of Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas; Zac Gieg, owner of Just Press Play Video Games in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Rich Lecce, renowned coin dealer, pioneering video game collector, and owner of Robert B.
June Chikuma is the Japanese composer behind the beloved soundtracks to Nintendo’s Bomberman series and countless other videogame, TV, and film scores. Now, Chikuma's 1986 album "Divertimento" has been expanded into a new edition titled Les Archives, available from the Freedom To Spend label. The vinyl edition of Les Archives also includes a limited 7" with tunes from the era that didn't make the original Divertimento release. The above video, "June Rebuilds," was directed by Amanda Kramer and features the track "Broadcast Profanity Delay" from Les Archives. From the release announcement:
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While Freedom To Spend’s reinvented edition bares little visual evidence of its origins in the composer’s name, title, or sleeve design, the album, a whooping gonzo of synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, and a mysterious string quartet, remains as vibrant now as it did when released on Toru Hatano’s Picture Label as Divertimento in 1986. In fact, the music of Les Archives now glows with a different purpose; one that revises the past while maintaining, and finally elevating, its hidden influence.
A woman of multiple disciplines and identities, June Chikuma (竹間 淳, Chikuma Jun) has composed for TV, film, and video games over the past thirty plus years. Her proto-techno and drum and bass soundtracks for Nintendo’s Bomberman franchise in the 80s and 90s is an oeuvre unto itself. In more recent years her musical focus has turned toward classic Arabic and Egyptian music. Chikuma studies Arabic nay, playing and performing with Le Club Bachraf ensemble. In a melding of June’s contrasting, colorful worlds, Le Club Bachraf composed part of the original score for the 2007 video game Sonic and The Secret Rings.
Classic games, computers and gaming consoles are a source of joy for those who came of age when the titles and hardware were cutting edge commodities. Few things can transport you back to your youth faster than playing with what made you happy back in the day. For some people, playing with the games of yore includes tinkering to make something new and wonderful.
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Modder Kaze Emanuar has taken the 2D level design of that older game and crammed it into the engine of Super Mario 64. Judging from the video that announced the mod, this allows the player to do all the leaping, hopping, and air flipping that a modern Mario can do while still enjoying the “classic” feel of the levels.
There are few things finer in 2018 than being able to hunker down with a few friends, in person or online, and beat the living crap out of each other over the course of an hour playing Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. For those without a Nintendo Switch, this live action video featuring professional stunt actors beating each other down Super Smash style is the next best thing. Read the rest
"Katamari" is the Japanese word for "clod" or "lump," and people familiar with the Katamari Damacy video game franchise know that the object is to created a giant clod of stuff by rolling it around like a snowball, picking up increasingly larger objects over time.
Reroll is a new Katamari Damacy game for the Nintendo Switch and it looks like fun. I'm going to get it and I'll let you know what I think.
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In the mid-1990s, Nintendo released Satellaview, a satellite modem for Nintendo's Super Famicom (SNES) only available in Japan. Just for kicks, Bertrand Fan hacked an SNES and Satellaview to run Slack. Bertrand has an intimate knowledge of Slack because he's one of the engineers building that platform. From Bert:
If you can beam satellite signals to a SNES, you can probably run Slack on it...
Most SNES games are closed systems. When you play a game like Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus, an educational game about dinosaurs with asthma that teaches you how to use an inhaler, the content is fixed on the cartridge.
But the game that comes with the Satellaview, BS-X: The Story of The Town Whose Name Was Stolen (BS-X それは名前を盗まれた街の物語), is different. It looks like a lot of Japanese RPGs but has one key difference: it can receive content beamed from the sky and that content gets integrated into the game....
Using a tool called SatellaWave, you can generate your own Satellaview Broadcast binary files.
Slack on a SNES (Bert.org)
I played Wasteland 2 when it made its debut, four years ago. Despite my Love for Brian Fargo's work on Fallout 1 and 2, I never did manage to finish it. There's something about working in front of a computer, seven days a week, that keeps me from wanting to sit in front of my laptop during my downtime.
However, in the weeks since I was given a review copy of it for the Nintendo Switch, I've been enjoying the holy hell out of it.
If you're not familiar with the franchise, its premise is pretty simple. You and your squad mates are new recruits to the Desert Rangers: the only real peacekeeping force in post-apocalyptic Arizona. It's your job to range out and aid the folks under your protection. You'll kill bandits, attempt to negotiate peace between warring factions and uncover insidious threats. The game lets you choose whether you want to start with a squad of four pre-made rangers, each with different skills and strengths, or role your own. This time around, I chose the latter. As I accidentally created a pretty strong team, it's worked out pretty well so far. That's all I'll say about the game, plot-wise. Wasteland 2 might not be new to many of us, but there are some first-timers that might be reading this. I don't want to blow the story for them.
I will however, talk about game play.
All of the interactions you'll have with NPCs are text-based. Given the small size of the Switch's display, the game's development team could have blown it by making the text too small for older eyes, like mine, to read. Read the rest