Atari games are coming to Teslas via software update

Here’s some unexpected fun, courtesy of the man himself. Elon Musk announced via Twitter today, that Teslas will be getting a handful of classic Atari titles in the next four weeks, courtesy of a software update.

Along with already announced self-driving features, Version 9.0 of the electric vehicles’ software update will include “some of the best” old games as an “Easter Egg.” The eccentric CEO appears to be soliciting suggestion via social media at the moment, including Pole Position, Tempest and Missile command, among others.

Tesla has relied pretty heavily on software updates to help push features. Sure, this one is in good fun, but an update arriving late last year brought the fairly necessary addition of FM radio and a tripometer to the Model 3 — both pretty glaring omissions.

Can Electronauts help make VR more social?

Virtual reality is an isolating experience. You power it up, strap the headset on and just sort of drift off into your own world. But maybe that doesn’t have to be the case. Maybe there’s a way to slip into a virtual world and still interact with your surroundings.

Electronauts presents an interesting example. Survios sees the title as a party game — something akin to what Guitar Hero/Rock Band was at the height of their collective powers, when people would set them up in their living room and invite friends over to play.

The new title has one decided advantage over those older games, however: It’s impossible to hit a wrong note. That’s kind of the whole point, in fact. Unlike the gamification of Guitar Hero/Rock Band, Electronauts is more experiential, designed to create remixes of songs on the fly.

I played a near final version of the title

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Discord’s Jason Citron to chat it up at Disrupt SF

In September of 2013, Jason Citron hopped on to the Disrupt Startup Battlefield stage to pitch Fates Forever, a multiplayer online battle arena game for the iPad. Now, five years later, Citron is gearing up to join us once again on the Disrupt stage to discuss the stellar growth of Discord. Though Fates Forever had all the components to be a great mobile game, users simply never took much interest. The company struggled to monetize, and like any good startup, the team began to reassess its own situation. The conversation turned to communication, where the space contained a few players with lack-luster products. “Can we make a 10X project?,” said CMO Eros Resmini, relaying the tale of the company’s pivot to TechCrunch. “Low-friction usage, no renting servers, beautiful design we took from mobile.” That’s how Discord was born. The platform launched in 2016, and has since grown
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EA launches premium subscription with latest Battlefield and Fifa

Video game company EA is slowly switching its business model to recurring subscriptions. The company just launched Origin Access Premier for $15 per month or $100 per year. This subscription is only available on PC. This isn’t EA’s first subscription. The company first launched EA Access on the Xbox One. For $5 per month or $30 per year, you can download a play old EA games as part of your subscription. EA Access doesn’t include the most recent games. But you can play the latest Fifa, Madden and Battlefield games a few months after their initial releases. Usually, EA Access games don’t include any DLC or extra content. In addition to full games, EA Access lets you try new EA games for 10 hours. You also get 10 percent off on EA digital purchases. In 2016, EA launched a similar service on PC for the same price. In addition to
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Nintendo’s profit jumps 88% as it nears 20 million Switch sales

Nintendo released its latest earnings report today and the headline is that the company has now sold nearly 20 million Switch consoles. The actual number is 19.67 million as of the end of June, so add July sales and the 20 million milestone is likely to have already been hit. Either way, it has easily surpassed its predecessor, the much-maligned Wii U. Overall, the business recorded a 30.5 billion JPY ($275 million) operating profit, up 88 percent year-on-year, as revenue grew 9 percent to reach 168 billion JPY, or $1.5 billion. The Japanese firm sold 1.88 million Switches in the most recent quarter, which is actually down from 1.97 million one year ago, although this quarter tends to be a slow one ahead of the holiday season. That slip was made up for on the software side as sales of Switch games jumped from
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Cult classic indie game La-Mulana finally gets a proper sequel

The sequel to the legendary, and legendarily difficult, indie sleeper hit La-Mulana has finally been released, and all gamers with a penchant for retro-style platforming and a broad masochistic streak are encouraged to descend into its depths. If there were a gaming achievement hall of fame, surely one of the rarest feats would be beating La-Mulana. The original game was a contemporary of the revered and influential Cave Story; both were wonderful free games made with charming retro pixel art, but beyond that the stories diverged. While Cave Story was a relatively accessible action-adventure that took seven or eight hours to complete, La-Mulana’s tale of an archaeologist delving into the titular ruin was so deep, complex, obscure, and difficult that only the truly dedicated were able to survive even the first few hours, let alone the dozens to come.

Nintendo’s new Labo Vehicle Kit looks like a buggy full of fun

Nintendo has just announced the latest in its Labo series of whimsical cardboard accessories for the Switch gaming console, and this one looks like a must-have. Called the Vehicle Kit for obvious reasons, the flat-pack, assemble-it-yourself add-ons include a steering wheel, gas pedal, “keys” that activate different vehicles, all of which work inside a cool-looking game that comes with. Frankly this just looks like a humongous bargain. Perhaps the most humongous of all time. $70 gets you a whole fold-up steering assembly with shifters on the sides; a pedal that I really hope stands up to some serious stomping; a joystick for piloting a plane, a weird thing that controls a submarine; and a “key” that your Joy-Con fits into, which itself slots into the various other setups to activate them. They’re all meant to be used in a game that, despite not having a name, looks insanely cool. It
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You can buy the NES Classic and SNES Classic on Amazon now

If you missed the first few rounds of excitement about Nintendo’s mini nostalgia machines, you’ve got another shot at paying a normal price. Nintendo’s NES and SNES Classic consoles aren’t always easy to find, but they’re now available from Amazon for $59.99 (NES Classic) and $79.99 (SNES Classic). You can place an order for either right now, though be aware that the NES Classic won’t ship until it’s back in stock on August 12 and the SNES Classic looks like it’ll be back on August 3 — a pretty reasonable wait for a sure thing. Update: It looks like Amazon’s stock of the NES Classic may have already run out in the course of the last few minutes, though the SNES version is still available at its normal retail price of $79.99 (and let’s be real, it was the best console). They seem to be dropping
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Chat app Line gets serious about gaming with its latest acquisition

Line, the company best-known for its popular Asian messaging app, is doubling down on games after it acquired a controlling stake in Korean studio NextFloor for an undisclosed amount. NextFloor, which has produced titles like Dragon Flight and Destiny Child, will be merged with Line’s games division to form the Line Games subsidiary. Dragon Flight has racked up 14 million users since its 2012 launch — it clocked $1 million in daily revenue at peak. Destiny Child, a newer release in 2016, topped the charts in Korea and has been popular in Japan, North America and beyond. Line’s own games are focused on its messaging app, which gives them access to social features such as friend graphs, and they have helped the company become a revenue generation machine. Alongside income from its booming sticker business, in-app purchases within games made Line Japan’s highest-earning non-game app publisher last year, according
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Valve’s answer to Discord is now live for everyone

Just a month ago, Valve announced Steam Chat — an overhaul to its aging chat system, and the company’s answer to rapidly growing competition from apps like Discord. At the time, it was a beta limited only to those who were granted access. Today it’s opening up to all. As Devin put it when the beta features rolled out, the previous chat system “may as well be ICQ.” It was useful for a quick chats, but it felt much too limited for anything beyond that. The new Steam Chat, meanwhile, takes a huge step toward being a modern chat offering. It groups contacts by the game they’re playing, shows whether or not they’re currently in-game or in a match, offers easy access to your “favorite” contacts and allows for big group chats and persistent channels. It supports inline media (GIFs! SoundCloud! YouTube!), encrypted voice chat and has
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Epic hid an Easter egg in Fortnite to acknowledge the game’s greatest failed rescue

For being in charge of what is probably the biggest game in the world right now and all the responsibilities that come with that, Epic is proving itself quite capable of changing things up on the fly. Case in point: Last week, a video went viral showing one player making a valiant effort to save another player — a competitor, no less! — who had found themselves in a more or less inescapable section of the map… only to have things go wonderfully, hilariously wrong at the last second. Today, a tombstone marking the mishap appeared in-game. Here’s the video of the original rescue mission, as streamed by would-be hero Muselk (wait for the end):

The whole thing is like an unintentional lesson in comedic

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Twitch launches a ‘how-to’ site for streamers, Twitch Creator Camp

Twitch wants more people to stream, so it’s going to begin teaching them how. The video game streaming site today announced the launch of Twitch Creator Camp, a new educational resource that helps newcomers learn the basics of streaming, as well as how to build up a channel, connect with fans, and earn rewards. The launch of the how-to site comes about a week after an article by The Verge detailed the long tail of Twitch streamers, with a focus on those who spend years broadcasting to no one in the hopes of one day gaining a following. The article raised the question that, in the age of live streaming, where every major social company – including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube – today offers easy streaming tools, there many not be enough of an audience for all the content creators are producing. Twitch, apparently, believes the issue is one
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Microsoft is building low-cost, streaming-only Xbox, says report

It was revealed at E3 last month that Microsoft was building a cloud gaming system. A report today calls that system Scarlett Cloud and it’s only part of Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox strategy. And it makes a lot of sense, too. According to Thurrott.com, noted site for all things Microsoft, the next Xbox will come in two flavors. One will be a traditional gaming console where games are processed locally. You know, like how it works on game systems right now. The other system will be a lower-powered system that will stream games from the cloud — most likely, Microsoft’s Azure cloud. This streaming system will still have some processing power, which is in part to counter latency traditionally associated with streaming games. Apparently part of the game will run locally while the rest is streamed to the system. The streaming Xbox will likely be available at a much lower
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Pokémon GO gets ‘Lucky’ Pokémon obtainable only by trading

Pokémon GO just got a little surprise update, complete with a curious new feature: “Lucky” Pokémon. Most things in Pokémon GO are adapted from things that already exist in the Pokémon universe. Items like incense, lucky eggs and the like all exist in the main Pokémon series (though what these items actually do tends to be a bit different in GO). Lucky Pokémon, as far as I know, is a new concept altogether. So what are they? And how are they different from existing Shiny Pokémon? Shiny Pokémon are rare variations of existing Pokémon with colors that differ from the standard. You might tap on your 398th Dratini, for example, only to find that it’s bright pink instead of the standard blue. You might randomly tap a Minun to find that it has green ears instead of blue, or an Aron with red eyes instead of blue. It’s a fun
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Indie gem Stardew Valley will get multiplayer on August 1st

Stardew Valley, the popular indie farming simulator (it’s more fun than “farming simulator” makes it sound, I promise) is quite possibly the chillest game of all time. But, without any multiplayer aspect, it can get … a bit lonely. From farming, to fishing, to exploring mines, it’s always felt like a game that would be better with friends. We’ll soon find out if that’s true. After about year of work has been put into the feature, the game will get cooperative multiplayer starting on August 1st. There’s a slight catch: multiplayer will be limited to PC/Mac/Linux, at first. The trailer (below) says support will roll out to Nintendo Switch/PS4/Xbox One “soon,” but doesn’t get into specifics. Multiplayer Stardew Valley will support up to four (4) players on the same farm, with all players sharing the same money and farmland. According to this page on the Stardew Valley fan wiki,
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What should competitive Fortnite look like?

Last weekend, Epic Games put forth its first true effort at official competitive Fortnite Battle Royale. It was a disaster. The private hosts used for the tournament were about as laggy as could be, with pro players getting eliminated simply because they couldn’t move. This tournament was for a total prize of $250K. That’s big money, and big frustration for pro players who were essentially eliminated by the whims of the server gods. But on top of the lag, the whole thing was, well, boring. A cardinal sin in any sport. The fact is that when you put 100 pro players in a lobby together and tell them that the last man standing wins, most of them will simply sit in a fort and stay safe as long as possible. This does not generate a whole lot of action. And when there is action on the map, there was no
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Now this… this is an ultra-wide monitor

I’ve been working with an ugly but functional lopsided two-monitor setup for years, and while it has served me well, I can’t say the new generation of ultra-wide monitors hasn’t tempted me. But the truth is they just aren’t wide enough. Or rather, they weren’t. Samsung has just blown my mind with a monitor so wide it will serve as a ramp that you can trick off of in the summer. It’s so wide that when it puts on a pair of BVDs they read BOULEVARD. It’s so wide that the Bayeux Tapestry got jealous. Actually it’s a little less wide than a couple of the monitors Samsung announced at CES — but those had two problems. First, they were 3840×1080. And I just need more vertical pixels than that. Second, they were 49 inches wide. That’s a BIG monitor! Not just big, but with those pixels spread out that
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Now you’re journaling with power! (with this Mario-branded Moleskine gear)

Although this isn’t a stationery news site (how I should like that!), the latest collection from Moleskine is Mario-related, so technically I can write about it. There’s even a phone case and a rolltop backpack! It’s pretty much exactly what you expect: the usual solid Moleskine notebooks with a Nintendo flourish. They’re all Mario -related, but have different styles: a cartridge and Game Boy for the pocket-size notebooks, and stylized NES graphics on the larger ones. Unfortunately there’s no planner (hint hint, Moleskine). “It’s a newstalgic mixture of contemporary technology and timeless paper,” reads the press release. “Nostalgic” already implies both new and old so there’s no need for a portmanteau, and a Game Boy isn’t exactly “contemporary,” but they got the paper thing right. Actually, the notebooks have some pretty dope detailing. The small ones are embossed with cartridge ridges and Game Boy controls. All of them
🔥
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Roblox responds to the hack that allowed a child’s avatar to be raped in its game

There’s a special place in hell for people who think it’s funny to rape a 7-year-old girl’s avatar in an online virtual world designed for children. Yes, that happened. Roblox, a hugely popular online game for kids, was hacked by an individual who subverted the game’s protection systems in order to have customized animations appear. This allowed two male avatars to gang rape a young girl’s avatar on a playground in one of the Roblox games. The company has now issued an apology to the victim and its community, and says it has determined how the hacker was able to infiltrate its system so it can prevent future incidents. The mother of the child, whose avatar was the victim of the in-game sexual assault, was nearby when the incident took place. She says her child showed her what was happening on the screen and she took the device away, fortunately
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Fortnite maker Epic Games beefs up its Unreal game engine in new update

After a wildly successful last few months thanks to Fortnite, Epic Games is delivering some substantial new updates to its Unreal game engine, which supports a variety of cross-platform titles and experiences. Some features like smoother compatibility on mobile and better support for Switch come directly from the fact that they’ve had to iterate so quickly on building such a massively successful cross-platform title. “Our engine is as good as it is because we ship games,” Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri told TechCrunch. “How many clicks an artist has to do to be able to change the color of something or adjust the look of something is all highly optimized because the artists scream at us day-in and day-out on the engine team if it’s not efficient.” The engine enables indie developers to gain access to a system for environment building and rendering that is on-par with the major
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