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Game

SNK is making its first new Fatal Fury game in 23 years

Many classic fighting game series have a reasonably consistent stream of sequels, but not Fatal Fury — the last title (Garou: Mark of the Wolves) made its appearance on the Neo Geo in 1999. SNK is ready to make amends after 23 years, however. The developer has confirmed work on a new Fatal Fury game. The teaser trailer below reveals nothing about the gameplay, plot, platform support or release date, but the company claimed the sequel would represent a “new turning point” in fighters — don’t expect much humility, then. 

The franchise played an important role in SNK’s history, and by extension fighting games as a whole. The first game, 1991’s Fatal Fury: King of Fighters, made a splash at a time when Street Fighter II dominated the genre. It was designed by the original Street Fighter‘s Takashi Nishiyama, and focused more on story and special moves than SF2‘s combos. It showed that there was room for multiple games in the upper pantheon of fighting games, and ultimately spawned the still-active King of Fighters series.

The challenge, of course, is persuading gamers to revisit Fatal Fury. The fighting game world has evolved considerably in the past two decades, ranging from 3D series like Tekken through to many-character extravaganzas like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s a crowded arena, and there’s no certainty that nostalgia will give SNK an edge.

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Game

Lego celebrates 50 years of Atari with an elaborate 2600 set

The Atari brand recently turned 50 and the latest way that its current owner, Atari Interactive, is marking the occasion is with a Lego kit for its most popular console. The Atari 2600 set will be available on August 1st and it costs $240/€240.

The Atari 2600 debuted in 1977 as the Atari Video Computer System (the name was changed in 1982). The Lego kit is based on a four-switch version that arrived in 1980. The set has 2,532 pieces. It includes a moveable joystick that Lego says feels like the original. 

Atari 2066 Lego set

Lego

There are cartridges for Asteroids, Adventure and Centipede that you can slot into the main body. There’s a matching buildable mini model for each game and the cartridges can be stored in a holder. Sliding open the front panel reveals a pop-up scene of an ’80s gaming room, which is a fun detail.

Atari is celebrating its milestone in other ways. For one thing, it teamed up with Cariuma for a sneaker collection. This fall, it will release a collection of 90 games from the Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, ST, Jaguar and Lynx on the Atari VCS mini PC, modern consoles, Steam and the Epic Games Store.

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Computing

MacOS Ventura’s best feature is 16 years in the making

Apple unveiled the upcoming Stage Manager as part of MacOS Ventura during WWDC 2022. The feature, created to improve productivity and make it easier to switch between groups of apps, certainly seems like it could become a staple.

Although Stage Manager seems to be all-new, it seems that its concept has been around for much longer than we thought. According to an ex-Apple developer, Stage Manager was first created all the way back in 2006. How much has it changed since then?

The surprising peek into the past comes from TechReflect, a blogger with over 30 years of experience working in tech, and nearly 20 at Apple. The blog post sends us on a trip down memory lane, back to 2006, when a team of devs worked together on a project that went by the funny code name of “shrinkydink,” also referred to as “always-on exposé.”

The project was ultimately axed, much to the dismay of the developer, who continued to use it until it ultimately stopped working alongside new software upgrades. Even though “always-on exposé” was abandoned back then, it seems that Apple didn’t give up on the idea, seeing as it resurfaced in 2022, 16 years after it was first created.

As a quick reminder, Stage Manager is a productivity and window-management tool. We tried it out for ourselves, and even in its early beta version, it managed to impress us. It lets you group various windows together and have them sit on the left side of your screen, making it easy to switch not just between tabs in an individual app, but also entire groups of apps put together. More importantly, you can split the open windows of an app into different groups, such as using one Safari window in one group and another in a different group. Productivity-wise, it sounds like it could become a real game-changer once it makes it to the live version of MacOS.

As described by the developer who worked on the feature in 2006, “it was a radical new way to manage apps and windows and effectively made the existing Exposé irrelevant, as well as the Dock, as a way of managing running apps and windows.” This, word-for-word, sounds like a description of what the Stage Manager is capable of. This leads us to wonder just how closely related these two features are, and the answer is — they’re pretty close. Think siblings, not cousins, kind of close.

Let’s start with the similarities. Both Stage Manager and its much older sibling take over the positioning and size of all windows, making window management a lot simpler. Both of them also show groups of apps on the left side of the screen, and both let you view multiple apps all at once.

The prototype of Apple's Stage Manager.
TechReflect

However, there are some changes, too. With Stage Manager, Apple got rid of something that “shrinkydink” provided — it displayed windows on the right side of the screen. Those windows weren’t the foremost in a grou,p but were still part of it. As such, you could easily swap between groups and windows within a certain group.

As shown by the screenshot provided by TechReflect, the visuals of both apps are very similar. Of course, MacOS Ventura from 2022 looks a lot more streamlined and softer than its older sibling, but the concept hasn’t changed all too much over the years, though Apple’s designs and aesthetic choices have evolved. The lack of windows on the right side of the screen marks the main difference between the two apps.

TechReflect’s blog post marks an interesting discovery and gives us an unexpected peek into how Apple works. Although 16 years have passed, Stage Manager finally saw the light of day — and it looks to be every bit as exciting as it could have been in 2006.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Titanfall 2 Is Still an Unrivaled Shooter Five Years Later

This year was supposed to be a landmark one for first-person shooters. With Call of Duty: Vanguard, Battlefield 2042, and Halo Infinite all launching in the same season, fans of the genre would have their work cut out for them.

Not everything went according to plan, though. While Halo Infinite has lived up to expectations in its beta, the other two haven’t quite turned heads. We love Battlefield 2042, but it’s been widely panned by players for missing features and stability issues. Call of Duty: Vanguard was underwhelming too, delivering more of the same. The closest 2021 got to changing the shooter landscape was in the excellent Splitgate, though interest in the game waned after some initial praise.

The fact is that no shooter this year has managed to topple the reigning champion of the genre: Titanfall 2.

Send in the bots

Titanfall 2 has become something of a cult classic, despite being a big-budget, EA-published title. Originally released in 2016, the sequel had to contend with an unfortunate release date. It was sandwiched right in between Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. With its potential player base cannibalized by much bigger fish, the shooter just didn’t stand a chance. Developer Respawn Entertainment would instead shift its focus to Apex Legends, making Titanfall 3 seem unlikely (though EA and Respawn have hinted otherwise recently).

It was a shame, because Titanfall 2 is still the most innovative shooter to come out in the past five years, both in its single and multiplayer content. First, there’s the game’s main hook. Players run around battlefields shooting one another in PvP, but the twist was that they could call in gigantic titans during battle. These mechs could completely turn the tide of battle, squishing players with ease. Of course, the opposing team could summon titans of their own, leading to monster clashes that gave the game a constantly shifting sense of scale.

Even when players weren’t in mechs, the basic mobility was still a game-changer. Movement was fast and fluid, with players sprinting at high speeds, running on walls, and sliding around. Many of its features went on to become templates for other popular games. One could argue that Halo Infinite’s standout Grappleshot might not exist without Titanfall 2’s grappling hook.

The single-player campaign was just as innovative and should be a blueprint for any multiplayer game that includes solo content. The story mode isn’t a throwaway tutorial that preps players for PvP. It’s a wildly creative adventure that finds ways to twist the mechanics. Its standout mission, Effect and Cause, has players seamlessly swapping between past and present, with the entire world changing with the click of a button. Moments like that still make it memorable half a decade later.

Titanfall 2 is a perfect example of how games can strive to push the industry forwards, rather than churn out more of the same. To this day, the game remains a wholly unique experience that no one has been able to fully replicate. Even so, its DNA can be felt in many of today’s best shooters. That’s especially true of Respawn’s mega-popular Apex Legends, which built on Titanfall 2’s ideas and led to the best battle royale game on the market today. Innovation breeds innovation.

A titan shoots flames in Titanfall 2.
Titanfall 2

Time hasn’t been kind to Titanfall 2. The game has been taken over by hackers recently, rendering it almost unplayable. Respawn even discontinued the original Titanfall this week, which may have been related to that ongoing issue. It seems like Titanfall 2 could suffer a similar fate down the line, spoiling what should be a pristine legacy.

Even with the misfortune, I haven’t stopped thinking about Titanfall 2 since I first played it five years ago. It’s become the gold standard I measure other multiplayer shooters by. When I play something like Halo Infinite, I find myself searching for those genre-defining features that will influence other games for years to come. I’m finding them harder to come by in big-budget games these days, which seem content to prioritize reliability over experimentation. Titanfall 2 made no such compromises and I wish more games were confident enough to follow its lead.

Editors’ Choice




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Security

Russian ‘King of Fraud’ sentenced to 10 years in prison for Methbot digital ad scheme

A Russian man convicted on wire fraud and money laundering charges for his role in the Methbot digital advertising scheme was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday.

The Department of Justice said between September 2014 and December 2016, Aleksandr Zhukov, 41, and several co-conspirators made deals with ad networks to place online ads but used a bot farm and rented servers to simulate users visiting spoofed versions of websites like the New York Times and the New York Daily News. The ads were never shown to human users, but Zhukov raked in $7 million running the fake traffic scam (which became known as “Methbot,” after the name of his phony ad network Media Methane), according to the DOJ.

“Sitting at his computer keyboard in Bulgaria and Russia, Zhukov boldly devised and carried out an elaborate multi-million-dollar fraud against the digital advertising industry, and victimized thousands of companies across the United States,” US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

As part of the elaborate plan, Zhukov recruited programmers and others to help build the infrastructure that made the scheme possible. Authorities said he referred to the recruits as his developers and to himself as “the king of fraud.”

In May, a jury convicted Zhukov of wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering. In addition to the 10-year prison term, Zhukov was ordered to pay $3.8 million in forfeiture.

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Computing

AMD Now Controls Its Largest CPU Market Share In 15 Years

It’s official: AMD has secured its second-highest CPU market share since 2006. It’s been an excellent last few years for AMD, and the latest reports prepared by analyst firm Mercury Research show just how far the rival to Intel has come.

The reports were first shared by HardwareTimes, and according to the market analysis, AMD continues its climb in terms of overall x86 market share, increasing by 2.1 points quarter-over-quarter. This adds up to a total 24.6% market share compared to Intel’s 75.4%. That’s inching closer to beating its own market share record.

AMD

Aside from the success that AMD has seen on the overall x86 market, it also continues making gains on the notebook x86 unit share. AMD has hit 22% in this sector, a new all-time high and an improvement of 1.8% over the previous year.

The increase in laptop market share comes along with a new sales record. In the third quarter of 2021, AMD achieved a 16.2% revenue share when it comes to the notebook x86 sector. This is a jump both in quarterly and yearly sales — 1.3 share points quarter-over-quarter and 3.9 share points year-over-year.

The x86 processor market continues to be a two-horse race, so a gain for AMD means a loss for Intel. Seeing Team red make gains on Team Blue is not surprising, as AMD has definitely released some of the best processors in recent years. After a definite lull forAMD and total domination for Intel, AMD is now almost back at its highest point ever, with considerable gains over the last years.

AMD’s highest overall x86 result was all the way back in the fourth quarter of 2006 with a 25.3% share. This puts the company just 0.7% shy of beating its all-time record, and with the sales continuing to grow quarter-over-quarter, AMD just might hit that number soon.

Render of an AMD Ryzen chip.

Intel is likely to see some gains due to the recent release of its next generation of processors, Alder Lake. The new 12th-gen Intel processors have been performing excellently, beating both Intel and AMD predecessors by miles. On the other hand, AMD is rumored to follow up Intel’s success with the launch of Zen4 CPUs in 2022, which will undoubtedly propel it further up the list in terms of CPU market share.

While the release of Zen4 is unlikely to happen before the second half of 2022, AMD is not resting on its laurels until then. The company is rumored to release Zen 3 processors with 3D V-Cache technology, new Rembrandt APUs, and Milan-X server chips in 2022.

Editors’ Choice




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AI

Rembrandt’s Night Watch uncropped by AI 300 years after it was trimmed

A mixture of artificial intelligence and painstaking research has allowed researchers to restore Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Night Watch to its original size, the Associated Press reports, centuries after it was trimmed down to fit in a smaller wall. The work was conducted as part of the Operation Night Watch project, and the results are being exhibited in the Honor Gallery in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, which sees the original painting flanked by printed strips filling in the lost sections.

The Night Watch was originally completed in 1642, after which it was hung in the club house of the civil militia it was based on. But 70 years later it was moved to a new location, where there wasn’t space for the whole painting and it was unceremoniously cropped to fit. A significant portion was removed from its left-hand side, along with slivers of its top, bottom, and right.

The painting, with its missing sides restored.
Image: Rijksmuseum

Although the missing pieces of canvas have never been recovered, AP reports that researchers were able to reconstruct them thanks to a smaller copy of the original painted at the time by Gerrit Lundens. Over the course of nearly two years, scans, X-rays and 528 digital exposures were taken of Rembrandt’s original painting to train an AI model to imitate Rembrandt’s style and fill in the blanks based on Lundens’ copy. “Rembrandt would have definitely done it more beautifully, but this comes very close,” museum director Taco Dibbits said.

It means that when visitors are able to view the restored painting over the coming months at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, they’ll be able to see new details in the margins of the painting. There are two new faces present on its left, where there’s also a small child which can be seen leaning on a railing, rather than simply running out of frame. The work sheds new light on the painting, over three hundreds years after the Dutch masterpiece was unceremoniously mangled.

If you’re not able to make it to Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum to view the work in person, the museum recently put out a high-resolution scan of the (cropped) painting, which is detailed enough that you can see its individual brushstrokes and cracks.

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Computing

Check Out This Cool Track Featuring 45 Years of Apple Sounds

Apple kicked off Monday’s keynote with a brilliant music track (below) made up entirely of sounds from its diverse range of gadgets released since the company’s launch in 1976.

Created by artist-producer A.G. Cook (no relation to Apple boss Tim Cook, as far as we know), the 100-second composition will have Apple fans fizzing with joy as they try to match the sounds to gadgets released by the tech company over the past 45 years.

To add to the fun, Apple set the accompanying video inside a garage that’s clearly supposed to remind us of 2066 Crist Drive in Los Altos, California, the childhood home of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and where, so the story goes, he and his buddy Steve Wozniak knocked together the very first Apple computer (actually Wozniak has since claimed that it didn’t happen quite like that).

Start Up, as the track is called, kicks off with the chime familiar to every owner of a Mac computer, and then slowly builds as other iconic sounds are added to the mix.

The nostalgia trip includes not only the sounds, but the actual gadgets, too, so have a listen and take a look and see how many you recognize.

To help you out, here’s the full list of sounds used in Start Up:

iMac G3 startup, MacBook Pro startup, AirPods case closing, iOS alert, HomePod minimum volume, iPod click wheel, Note alert, email whoosh, MagSafe charger, Night Owl ringtone, HomePod nope, HomePod PingPong, Mac 2020 alert, empty trash, message sent, message received, HomePod device identify, iPhone keyboard, Airdrop invite, Mac “sosumi” alert, Apple Pay

Apple’s Unleashed event took place on Monday, October 18. During the online presentation, the company announced a number of upgraded products, including the redesigned MacBook Pro (complete with notch!) powered by new M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, and the third generation of its AirPods earbuds. It also added new color choices for the HomePod Mini, and announced a new Voice Plan for Apple Music, which combines Apple Music with Siri.

Editors’ Choice




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Game

Joe & Mac is being remade 30 years after it originally launched

It’s been a long time since we last heard from the Joe & Mac series, but it’s about to make a comeback. Today, Microids announced that it will be acting as the publisher on a remake of Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja, known in some regions as simply Caveman Ninja or just Joe & Mac. The remake will be launching next year, though at this point, details are relatively slim.

While details might be few and far between, Microids did offer a look at two screenshots from the remake today, and they look pretty good. Obviously, a couple of screenshots are no replacement for seeing the game in action, but sadly, we’re going to have to wait to see the first trailer for this Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja remake.

In its announcement today, Microids confirmed that Mr. Nutz Studio will be handling the development duties. That’s the same studio behind Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All, which is a brand new entry in the classic series. From the screenshots for Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja, we can see it has the same hand-drawn aesthetic found in Asterix & Obelix: Slap Them All.

It sounds like Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja will be an enhanced remake of the original game’s arcade version, with Microids promising “a handful of new features such as an original adventure mode containing brand new levels.” Beyond that, Microids is keeping the specifics under wraps for now.

Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninja will be launching on consoles and PC in 2022, though we don’t get to know which consoles it’ll be available for yet. We’ll let you know when new information is revealed, so stay tuned for more.

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Game

‘Monument Valley 2’ gets a new chapter four years after its debut

Four years after Monument Valley 2 hit and , Ustwo Games has added a new chapter. The developer “The Lost Forest” as its contribution to Playing for the Planet’s Green Game Jam, which promotes tree conservation.

The chapter includes “four intimate scenes” and Ustwo hopes that by playing through them, people will be inspired to sign to show their interest in protecting forests. Play4Forests is an initiative run by the United Nations’ climate and forest partnership and the Playing for the Planet Alliance. The goal is to work with major names in gaming to highlight the “importance of conserving and restoring forests.”

“Our forests, one of our best allies in fighting the climate emergency, are facing mounting threats,” the Play4Forests website reads. “Your voice can help secure a better future for forests and humans.”

It might initially seem unusual to bring extra content to a game like Monument Valley 2 four years later, but there’s an admirable reason in this particular case. Tiny Wings, a popular iOS title from a decade ago, , so such a long gap between a mobile game’s release and more content isn’t exactly unheard of.

As for the future of the series, Ustwo announced in 2019 , but there’s no word of a release date as yet.

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