News

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Regularly updated news on all topics relevant to Armchair Arcade.
Matt Barton's picture

Alien Life Discovered on Mars

It belongs to us!It belongs to us!Is it a secret military base? A Martian condo? The set of Total Recall? A Wal-Mart? See it for yourself. Scientists are calling it a "linear streak artifact" caused by a cosmic ray. Aw, come on, we all know that thing is jammed full of space demons!

Bill Loguidice's picture

The PlayStation Network (PSN) is now 100% back in the US and Wizardry returns!

 Labyrinth of Lost Time (PS3)Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Time (PS3)As you've all no doubt already heard, PSN is 100% back in many parts of the world, including right here in the US. This of course means that the Welcome Back Program is now available to download all the free goodies to your PS3. I'll be getting to that tonight, though I'm not sure what I'll ultimately pick. In any case, I'll report back in the comments what I ultimately chose. In related news, Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is now available on PSN, marking the return of a series that has received continuous, but sporadic, releases since the Apple II original in 1981, though some of those were only in Japan. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls looks to be a definite return to the series' roots, albeit with a love-it-or-leave-it anime style. I'm firmly in the "leave it" camp, but being able to play classic-style Wizardry again might trump any misgivings over the visuals.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Microsoft's Xbox 360 bucking the sales trend of the typical console lifecycle...

Today, Microsoft announced that "by extending the capabilities of the Xbox platform with Kinect and Xbox LIVE, Microsoft has 'changed the tail' of the typical console lifecycle, showing dramatic gains in the fifth and sixth years of this generation." In addition, they’ve released the following data points:

  • Microsoft has now sold 55 million Xbox 360 consoles across 38 countries and sales are accelerating.
  • Xbox 360 maintains its lead in the U.S. as the top selling console in 2011, and ten of the past eleven months.
  • In the first four months of 2011, Xbox 360 has seen a 29 percent year over year increase in sales, which is more than triple the growth of PlayStation 3 and the largest growth of any console on the market.
  • There are now nearly 35 million active Xbox LIVE members worldwide spending an average of almost 60 hours a month on the service.
    Cumulatively Xbox LIVE members are now logging 2.1 billion entertainment hours a month.
Bill Loguidice's picture

Electronic Arts and Bioware Release Ultima IV for Free! More to follow?

Hot on the heels of the launch of the new Ultima Forever Website, Bioware and Electronic Arts have made the PC version of Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, available for free download (the original Apple II version was released in 1985). All you need to supply is DOSbox to be able to play it. Hopefully additional games in the Ultima series will follow (and more platforms!). Also hoped for is that this is just the beginning of a proper resurrection of the moribund Ultima franchise. Certainly Bioware and Electronic Arts have the necessary talents and resources to do so, and this is certainly a great start.

Matt Barton's picture

The Web Writing Style Guilde

I thought some folks here might be interested in the just-released Web Writing Style Guide. It was produced by an "unconference" of professors and instructors by a "writing sprint," a sort of ad hoc collaboration project. It turned out well in my opinion, so head over and see if you might learn something.

Matt Barton's picture

Real-Life Superheroes

I have been and always shall be...your kickass grandpa.I have been and always shall be...your kickass grandpa.Shazam! There's lots of cool stories in the queue this morning. First off, there's a stun-glove that lets sheriffs punch perps with the added benefit of 300,000 volts. It even has a flashlight and video camera built in for instant replays. In the words of a certain movie, "It's so bad."

But wait...that's not all! There's also this cool Jetpack for those still hankering to free their own inner Willy.

Matt Barton's picture

Brains, Brains, Brains! (and epic Atari stash)

Brains!!! Oh, yes, brains. Are you an idiot? Well, fret no more, now there's a brain exercise that really works. The key is Dual N-Back Tasks, which looks about as fun as it sounds. Still, with just a few hours ago, you won't be doing stupid stuff like virginity checks! Hurry; new people are signing up every minute!

Matt Barton's picture

Brain in Vat Happy to Test All Day

Introducing the PS4.Introducing the PS4.It's Friday! Let's see what's in the queue.

Not so good news for Sony fans. Apparently, Sony will be slashing budgets for its next-gen PlayStation. Did they really invest that much in the PS3? Hm. So what do you call a half-step between generations? An upgrade? Maybe they're releasing some type of add-on expansion type thing instead of a standalone console? Perhaps this isn't really a headline at all, and it's a very slow news day? Speculation!

Now this is cool: Test chamber music: Valve offers free Portal 2 soundtrack downloads. Go ahead and grab it. I played Portal 2 a few weeks ago, and man, was it awesome! The music is great, too. Hm. What the hell is that orange goo gushing from my speakers???

Matt Barton's picture

Skip School, Go Directly to WoW, Collect $100,000

 Actual in-game screenshotActual in-game screenshotYou thought it was bad that American prisoners get to watch TV in prison. If you go to jail in China, though, you're forced to play WOW. Notice I said "forced." 300 inmates working 12-hour shifts...Any prisoners who fall out of their chairs are intimidated by threats of having to go outside and "experience the day."

You know what I hate about WOW? If you kill nagas, you end up with tons and tons of useless fish oil. How clever of Blizzard. They must have known that Fish Oil May Have Positive Effects on Mood and Alcohol Craving. Of course, you're skeptical. Will this really help you kick the halibut? Help you stay in school? Don't you wish you could slap me with a salmon right about now? Oh, that's right, you can only afford Ramen...

Speaking of Ramen, are you really stupid enough to be in college? Talk to Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal. He's giving people $100,000 to skip college. Oh, it's not without a hitch. You have to start a company. Yeah, I'm sure these companies are going to do just great. You lack the discipline to shag hundreds of babes, quaff gallons of booze standing on your head, and snore and text your way through a few years in an auditorium, but you somehow have what it takes to run a business? Can you name even one successful dropout? I mean, besides Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg...uhm.

Matt Barton's picture

If Only Spirit Had Attended More Quilting Bees

Phone Home, Damnit!Pick up, you Nickel-plated Nincompoop!It's Wednesday, May 25th, 2011. A day that will promptly be forgotten and wasted. I imagine when you're old, infirm, and rotting away in a nursing home tended by a robot who's stopped responding to your cries for help, you'd gladly give it all for just one more day like you're going to have today. To be young, healthy, and free, just (gasp) one more day! And on that note, news.

First off, something really neat: Depixelizing Pixel Art: Upscaling Retro 8-bit Games. It took me a little while to figure out what's going on here, but it amounts to a new algorithm that turns blocky pixel images into smooth vector images. The actual article is pretty technical, but also includes lots more cool transformations. I can see tech like this being used to "update" old games, perhaps even on-the-fly. The researchers really seem to get what they're doing, too, and believe they've "managed to capture some of the charm of the original" from the 8-bit "masterpieces." Can't wait to see what Samantha Fox will look like.

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