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Computing

Alienware gaming laptops and PCs are super cheap during this Dell sale

Alienware is well-known for its gaming gear, and while you may want to pick one up, you may be a bit put off by the higher price. Luckily, Dell has some great Alienware deals, so let’s take a look!

Alienware x15 Gaming Laptop — $1,500, was $2,300

For starters, we have one of their better gaming laptop deals with the Alienware X15 gaming with a relatively powerful RTX 3060, more than enough to power most games, especially since the 15.6-inch screen runs at FHD, meaning it can push the framerates to the 165Ghz cap that it comes with. Paired with that is an 11th gen Intel i7-11800H, a higher-end CPU that should easily handle simulation and strategy games if that’s your thing. Finally, you have 512GB of SSD to work with, which should be fine with some good storage management, as well as 16GBs of RAM, meaning you don’t have to constantly close down your game to do something quickly on another app.

Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition — $1,000, was $1,400

Alienware Aurora R10 gaming desktop ryzen edition on white background.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a desktop experience, then one of Alienware’s gaming PC deals may do, especially with this Ryzen edition that helps keep costs down. Running a GTX 1660 Ti, it’s not the best GPU out there, but it should be enough to power at least one or two monitors from our gaming monitor deals list, even if there’s going to be a slight sacrifice to graphics settings. The CPU is a Ryzen 5 5600X, a mid-tier CPU that may not be as powerful as the i7 but should also do an adequate job with simulation and strategy games, assuming you don’t push it too much. As for storage, you get a beefy 1TB HDD, which should be more than enough for most of your gaming and general usage, and 8GBs of RAM, which is the bare minimum we’d expect for a gaming PC. While this listing doesn’t reflect the best specs out there, it’s a great mid-tier gaming PC sitting at just the $1,000 mark, so it’s well worth it; plus, you can always do some upgrades down the line if you want some better specs.

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Game

Super Nintendo World opens at Universal Studios Hollywood in early 2023

Universal Studios Hollywood is aiming to open Super Nintendo World sometime in early 2023, the theme park today. The Nintendo-themed amusement park is currently being built inside the existing Universal Studios theme park in California, and will feature rides, games and an immersive environment modeled after the Super Mario video game franchise. According to Disney Parks news site , construction is currently underway on Bowser’s Castle and other areas of the park.

The theme park also released a of its signature ride, Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge, where riders will collect coins and throw shells in order to defeat Team Bowser. Riders will don Mario hats and special AR goggles while aboard a four-seat Mario Kart-style vehicle. The same ride is also a part of , which opened last year.

“Ready to experience Mario Kart like never before? Put on the special goggles and battle Team Bowser on iconic Mario Kart courses alongside Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach,” says a of the ride on the theme park’s website.

It’s unclear whether the US-based Nintendo parks (an is planned for 2024) will be inspired by the Japan park or a carbon copy. If they follow Japan’s lead, US fans of Donkey Kong could be in for a treat in a few years. According to , Super Nintendo World Japan is currently building a Donkey Kong-themed area that will include a roller coaster and branded merchandise and food.

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Computing

Nvidia Confirms RTX 2060 Super, Arriving Next Week

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Nvidia announced a 12GB variant of its RTX 2060 graphics card, and it should arrive on December 7. The announcement follows months of rumors and speculation that Nvidia could revitalize its popular last-gen card to ease the burden of the GPU shortage. It brings with it a significant memory upgrade.

The announcement didn’t come at a big tech event or closed-door press briefing. Instead, Nvidia revealed the card through the patch notes of GeForce driver 497.09. Originally, this seemed like a mistake. Nvidia didn’t acknowledge the card through a blog post about the driver, instead burying in on the fourth page of the patch notes (direct PDF link).

Dan Baker/Digital Trends

It looks like this silent announcement was Nvidia’s plan all along. You can find the 12GB RTX 2060 alongside the standard 6GB RTX 2060 on Nvidia’s product page. The updated version includes twice the amount of video memory as the base model, as well as some boosts to core count and clock speed.

The 12GB RTX 2060 matches the specs of the RTX 2060 Super, but note that Nvidia isn’t using the Super branding on the new card. The 12GB model includes 2,176 CUDA cores, a base clock speed of 1,470MHz, and a boost clock speed of 1,470MHz — the same specs as the RTX 2060 Super.

The lack of Super branding is important. Nvidia hasn’t announced the pricing of the card yet, but the company says that the price will reflect that the 12GB model is a premium version of the $349 RTX 2060. The RTX 2060 Super launched for $399, so hopefully this 12GB model will be below that mark.

Originally, we viewed a 12GB RTX 2060 as nothing but hot air. At the beginning of 2021, Nvidia introduced some additional RTX 2060 Super supply into the market. The company didn’t make a fuss about it publicly, idly letting the cards bolster supply while it focused on manufacturing additional RTX 30-series cards.

Since then, rumors of a 12GB RTX 2060 variant have run amok. There wasn’t much to lend creditability to these rumors outside of the murmurs from Twitter and YouTube leakers. That was until Gigabyte, one of Nvidia’s desktop graphics card partners, filed several listings for 12GB RTX 2060 graphics cards.

We should see various 12GB RTX 2060 models next week. It seems Nvidia is intentionally launching the card under the radar, perhaps in a bid to deter scalpers and bots from snatching up the cards when they launch.

That could be why Nvidia hasn’t revealed the pricing. Given the shortages of components, the list prices set by Nvidia and AMD are unrealistic at best and inaccurate at worst. That’s something we saw with the RX 6600 XT, where some models launched for $200 more than the price set by AMD. No official pricing from Nvidia means that board partners are free to set a reasonable price based on the cost of components.

Although these are positive efforts, we’re not sure how much they’ll help alleviate the GPU shortage. Even the base RTX 2060 has been subject to price increases, so we’ll be waiting to see if this new 12GB model changes that.

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Game

Sega partners with Microsoft on its ‘Super Game’ project

Sega is to use the company’s Azure cloud platform to produce “large-scale, global games” as part of its recently announced Super Game project. The publisher first this past May during an investor event. At the time, the company said it would become available sometime during its fiscal 2026 year. In this latest announcement, Sega said the project is integral to its mid to long-term strategy and will see it creating games with a global online component.

“This proposed alliance represents SEGA looking ahead, and by working with Microsoft to anticipate such trends as they accelerate further in future, the goal is to optimise development processes and continue to bring high-quality experiences to players using Azure cloud technologies,” the company said. At this point, we wouldn’t read too much into the fact that Sega and Microsoft are partnering on the project. Plenty of companies, , depend on Microsoft for their cloud infrastructure, in part because they want to avoid building an online backend from scratch. 

“We look forward to working together as they explore new ways to create unique gaming experiences for the future using Microsoft cloud technologies,” Microsoft’s Sarah Bond said of the alliance. “Together we will reimagine how games get built, hosted, and operated, with a goal of adding more value to players and Sega alike.”

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Game

Sega’s “Super Game” gets ready for something huge

Sega and Microsoft kicked off November by making a big announcement, revealing that they are considering entering a “strategic alliance.” While the details of this partnership are somewhat vague at this early stage, it seems like it could have significant implications for this new generation of consoles. Sega also uses the words “Super Game” at one point in this announcement, so you know that whatever the two companies are plotting, at least they consider it to be big.

Azure at the center of proposed Microsoft-Sega partnership

In the announcement of this potential partnership, published today to Sega’s corporate website, Sega says that it will enable the company to explore ways it can “produce large-scale, global games in a next-generation development environment built on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.” While a lot of that statement is vague, the key there is the Azure name drop. Whatever Sega winds up making, it will use Microsoft’s popular cloud computing service.

Sega says that this partnership will be important to its “mid to long-term strategy” involving a new project called “Super Game.” Lacking any other details about Super Game, Sega says that it will focus on four key concepts: “Global, Online, Community, and IP utilization.” We should also point out that this partnership isn’t technically official yet, as the two companies say they have “agreed in principal” and are “considering” such an alliance.

The rest of the announcement is rather vague PR speak, but it’s worth noting that Sega does call out 5G and cloud computing specifically later on in the press release. That, in turn, suggests that Sega envisions “Super Game” as one that can be played on various platforms, likely thanks to Azure. At first blush, it almost seems like Sega is describing an MMO or a live service title with a focus on community and cloud-based gameplay.

Live service or something different?

If Sega were to make a live service title that taps Azure so it can be played on phones, consoles, PCs, or any device with an internet connection, it wouldn’t be a shocking revelation. Live service games are very popular with major publishers these days, as successful ones keep players playing and keep players spending money.

That is assuming, of course, that the live service game in question actually becomes popular. Games like Apex Legends and Destiny 2 seem to rake in cash year-over-year, while the future of live service games that fail to attract a consistent audience – Marvel’s Avengers or BioWare’s Anthem come to mind – is constantly in question.

This isn’t the first time Sega has mentioned “Super Game,” either. During a financial presentation earlier this year, Sega told investors that Super Game is a long play, anticipating that it would launch within the next five years. While we didn’t learn much else at the time, Sega did confirm that it would introduce a new IP, so if you read the words “IP utilization” earlier in the article and immediately assumed that Super Game would be a Sega mash-up that included many of its existing characters, you may not want to get your hopes up on that front.

Sega’s statements during that financial presentation in May tell us that regardless of what Super Game is, we probably aren’t going to find out more about it for some time to come. If Sega’s goal is to launch this title in the next five years, we could still be very far out from a full reveal. Indeed, Sega’s own admission is that this partnership with Microsoft “represents Sega looking ahead,” so it’s safe to assume that we’ll be well into the new console generation by the time Super Game is on shelves.

What I think is coming

Obviously, with so few concrete details about Super Game, it’s hard to say what it is with any kind of confidence. However, I think it’s probably fair to expect that Super Game will wind up being a live service title that emphasizes always-online gameplay, long-term player engagement, and monetization through microtransactions and in-game purchases.

That seems like the most logical choice simply because live service games are the current hot thing with developers large enough to build them and publishers large enough to fund them. Live service games have stepped into the space MMOs used to occupy, giving players reasons to return to the game often through frequent content updates while providing developers and publishers with consistent income.

While that consistent income may have been monthly subscriptions during the height of the MMO craze, these days they’re more often in-game purchases like skins and other cosmetic items or battle passes – reward tracks that are purchased upfront and then progressed by playing the game. Those battle passes give players reason to keep playing and induce the fear of missing out when they put the game down for a significant period of time, which is partly why live service games are controversial with some gamers.

Of course, there’s always the potential for Sega to turn Super Game into something vastly different and maybe even novel, but we’ll have to wait until we have more details about the project before we make that call one way or another.

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Game

Lego adds ‘Luigi’s Mansion’ sets to its Super Mario World collection

Now that Luigi is part of Lego Super Mario, the toymaker is ready to show the other heroic plumber a little more respect. Lego has introduced a trio of Luigi’s Mansion expansion sets that give its namesake star more to do in a game designed with him in mind.

The $30 Lab and Poltergust set helps you get started with Luigi’s ghost vacuum, while a $40 Entryway set introduces you to the mansion proper as well as Polterpup and the game series’ Boo ghosts. Splurge on the $80 Haunt-and-Seek kit and you can create a full-fledged level, complete with hidden gems and rotating hallways. As you’d expect, you can combine the sets or mix them with other Lego Super Mario packs.

The timing is off. Lego may be announcing the Luigi’s Mansion sets on Halloween, but they won’t be available until January 1st, 2022. It’s a missed opportunity, then, but you might not mind if you or or your kids enjoy the existing Super Mario collections and want more variety. If nothing else, this will provide fond memories for anyone who remembers collecting ghosts in Luigi’s games.

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Game

You Can Now Replay PS3 Classics With AMD Super Resolution

AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) isn’t exclusive to individual games, it seems. RPCS3 — the go-to emulator for PlayStation 3 on PC — added support for the feature over the weekend, and it’s the first emulator to do so. Hopefully, it’ll kick off a stream of support from other emulators, too.

The latest RPCS3 build supports FSR, so all you need to do is install the latest version or update the version you have, and you’ll be able to use FSR with your favorite PS3 games. To enable the feature, follow Configuration > GPU in the app, tick the Enable FSR Upscaling box, and set the strength of the sharpening filter.

RPCS3 is now the first game console emulator to support FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR)

Update to the latest RPCS3 build and try it out!

— RPCS3 (@rpcs3) August 6, 2021

RPCS3 is an open-source emulator that’s in active development. The team describes new builds as “highly experimental” as the developers continue to support emerging tools like FSR. As is the case with a lot of emulators, you need a PS3 BIOS file to use RPCS3, as well as game files dumped from the original disk.

Performance may not be what you’re expecting from a console that’s 15 years old, either. The PS3’s Cell processor was notoriously difficult to develop for, so running PS3 games on PC, especially through an emulator, is no easy task. RPCS3’s database says about 62% of games are “playable,” though many of the best PS3 games, including The Last of Us and Metal Gear Solid 4, have an “in-game” rating instead.

With FSR now available, players can push their output resolution much higher than they’d normally be able to without pushing the game beyond its limits. However, it may not work well in all games. With the CPU at the heart of the PS3, many of its titles don’t stress the graphics card as much as a normal game would. FSR can’t always help in those cases.

Similarly, older games use older anti-aliasing methods, if they use them at all. Scaling up an image will scale up jagged edges, too, which may not be the result you’re looking for. In proper implementations, FSR comes after anti-aliasing, leading to a much smoother end result, as we found in our FidelityFX Super Resolution review.

Wikipedia

RPCS3 is the first emulator to add FSR support, but the feature has steamrolled its way into several GitHub repositories and modding projects since it launched. Even before launch, a modder was able to patch FSR into Grand Theft Auto Vand since launch, tools have emerged to allow you to add FSR to basically any game.

Magpie, for example, allows you to apply upscaling to almost any PC game, and Valve has added it to its Proton compatibility layer for Linux ahead of the Steam Deck’s launch.

FSR is largely based on the Lanczos resampling algorithm, which has been around for several decades. AMD’s implementation simply takes more care to add it at the proper stage during rendering and cleans up the image with a sharpening pass. Although more games, game engines, and emulators will likely support it in the future, they may not all produce the same results.

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Game

Here’s another sealed copy of Super Mario Bros that sold for way too much

In the past month, we’ve seen a string of classic video games sell for ridiculous prices. First was a sealed copy of The Legend of Zelda that sold for $870,000 at auction. Then, a short time later, a sealed copy of Super Mario 64 broke that record to sell for $1.5 million. Now we’ve seen that record broken once again, with a sealed copy of the original Super Mario Bros. selling for a whopping $2 million.

Unlike the copies of The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario 64 that came before it, this copy of Super Mario Bros. wasn’t sold at auction. Instead, it was sold by a collectibles site called Rally, which has a more unique way of selling classic games. Rather than host it at an auction, The New York Times reports that Rally first obtained the Wata 9.8-rated sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. for $140,000 and then invited others to invest in shares of the game.

When Rally gets an offer to purchase the game, those who have invested money get to approve or deny the offer. The New York Times reports that investors in this copy of Super Mario Bros. turned down a $300,000 offer to buy it last year, and it’s a good thing they did because now a private collector who is “making big bets in the video game space” has purchased it for $2 million.

Rally co-founder Rob Petrozzo told The New York Times that the deal gained the approval of 75% of the game’s investors, so it seems that some were holding out for an even larger offer. Petrozzo thinks that this is just the start, too, a sentiment that suggests that we could see sealed classic games net even more money in the future.

We’d be tempted to disagree with him, but considering that these classic games keep fetching higher and higher sale prices, it probably wouldn’t be very long before we ate our words. We’ll see if anything can top this in the future, and we’ll let you know if something manages to.

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Game

A sealed copy of ‘Super Mario Bros.’ has sold for a record-breaking $2 million

An unopened copy of Super Mario Bros. has sold for $2 million, shattering the previous record set by a video game sale set just last month when a collector paid $1.56 million to obtain a mint version of Super Mario 64. Per an image shared by Rally, the company that sold the game, the copy had a 9.8 A+ rating on the Wata Scale, meaning it was in “exceptional” condition.

Once you get past the insane price, what makes this sale interesting is that it didn’t involve an auction. Instead, Rally positions itself as an “alternative asset investment” platform. Per The New York Times, the firm buys physical collectibles and holds “initial offerings” where people can buy shares in that item. When a collector wants to acquire something from Rally, the company takes their offer to everyone who has a stake, and they then vote on the matter.

In the case of this recent Super Mario Bros. sale, Rally bought the copy for approximately $140,000 in April 2020. That same year, investors rejected a $300,000 offer for the game. Even with $2 million on the line, some didn’t want to part with the game just yet, with a quarter of those with a stake in the collectible voting to reject the offer.

If you’ve been following the market, you probably have a good idea of why some wanted to hold onto the copy for a while longer. Days before the previous record was set, a boxed version of The Legend of Zelda sold for $870,000 at auction. With no signs of the market cooling down anytime soon and only so many mint video games in existence, it seems it’s only a matter of time before another record is set.

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Security

Microsoft’s ‘Super Duper Secure Mode’ for Edge trades speed for better security

Microsoft’s browser vulnerability research team is working on a mode to make the Edge browser more secure, and it’s given it an incredible name: “Super Duper Secure Mode” (via The Record). The mode is currently very experimental, but could help make it harder for attackers trying to exploit bugs in Microsoft’s browser by turning off certain optimizations.

To make the browser “super duper secure,” the mode turns off a feature of Edge’s JavaScript engine that’s meant to make a website’s code run faster. The technology is called Just-In-Time compilation (or JIT), and while it can help improve performance, it’s also fiendishly complex. This makes it easy for bugs to slip in, which can lead to security exploits — Microsoft points to analysis by Mozilla that showed that over half of the real-world Chrome exploits since 2018 were related to JIT.

(If you’ve got some programming knowledge, this video provides an interesting overview of how Just-In-Time works for JavaScript.)

Of course, there are concerns that turning off technology meant to make a huge part of modern websites run faster could hurt performance. The blog post notes that disabling JIT can lead to significantly lower JavaScript benchmark scores, but the team says that, in the real world, people didn’t usually notice much of a difference.

I can at least somewhat back that up — I turned on Super Duper Secure Mode for myself (if you’re running a test version of Edge, you can enable the mode using a flag), and haven’t noticed any sites feeling particularly sluggish. Of course, everyone’s web use is different, so it’s possible that you’d notice a difference if you spend your days in complex webapps. The Microsoft team does note, though, that it’s looking into making the mode smart by having it turn protections on and off based on the risk a website may pose, or how resource intensive it may be.

The experimental mode still seems to be in its very early stages — there are things the team wants to enable but hasn’t, it doesn’t work on all the platforms that Edge supports, and the team says there are “quite a few technical challenges to overcome” before the feature launches. It is, however, exciting work being done — since Edge is now based on Chromium, it uses the same JavaScript engine that Chrome does. This makes it conceivable that the feature could end up being adopted by other browsers if it’s successful on Edge.

As for the Tesla-esque name, vulnerability research lead Johnathan Norman says that at some point it will have to change, in part because explaining how secure something described as “super duper secure” is to lawyers would be challenging. Still, if there’s any way that Microsoft can make it happen without incurring extra liability (people may understandably be upset if they fell victim to an exploit in Super Duper Secure Mode), it would bring some welcome whimsy to the browser alongside the additional protection.



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