Monthly Archives: June 2017

Trigger other classic gaming machines to appear in mini form

Today there’s a scramble to grab a SNES Classic before they inevitably sell out. And such was the demand for the NES Classic last year that Nintendo is set to re-release it next summer. But it won’t be the only new mini retro gaming machine available in 2018. Retro Games is set to release a tiny version of the Commodore 64 complete with 64 games.

The C64 Mini as it is called, will take the form of a 50 percent scale replica of the original 1982 computer complete with “accurate C64 operation.” Unlike the original, though, the C64 Mini will connect to a TV via HDMI and includes a joystick connected via USB.

Retro Games is promising sharp, CRT, and scanline emulation pixel filters as well as a “pixel perfect graphics” mode. 64 games will be available to play including a save game function, with the full list of available titles available on the official website.

According to Eurogamer, there’s no release date beyond 2018 right now and the price is set at £69.99 ($95). For that, you get the C64 Mini, one joystick, a HDMI cable, and a manual. Two USB ports are available, suggesting that the joystick will also be available separately for two-player gaming. You can also plug in a USB keyboard for some reason.

The Commodore 64 was a big deal for its time, with the C64 Mini website pointing out it was “the world’s best-selling single computer model.” I doubt it will end up selling anywhere near as well as the NES or SNES Classic, but it’s sure to be popular if Retro Games have put together a high quality package.

 

Best Metal Gear Bosses

One of the most prolific and influential video game series comes to an assumed end next week. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain promises to shed light on Big Boss’s transformation from war hero to mythic shadow militia leader. The long and complex story has spanned consoles and generations, each game compelling and effective in their on respects. Taken as a whole, the series’ consistent high points have always been the incredibly thorough boss encounters that punctuate the narrative.

 

Metal Gear bosses are a different breed of crazy. They often challenge players in ways the game proper hasn’t before and serve as platforms for to showcase the games stranger antagonists, with the best among them creating a ludonarrative nugget of gaming excellence. These are the best of those. Warning: There will be spoilers.

This Brazilian-born swordsman was met with tragedy at a young age and would be pulled into the world of blood and revenge early. Sam saw Raiden as a sort of parallel of one another after their first encounter, and he spent the remainder of their combative relationship attempting to goad Raiden into embracing his inner killing machine. Raiden eventually gives in, and despite their final encounter being a straight-forward slug fest, the emotional resonance was palpable.

For the most part, Metal Gear Solid 4’s bosses were more homages to boss fights passed than wholly new experiences in and of themselves. What makes the return to Shadow Moses so fufilling then, is how the end of that chapter takes concepts from the past and breathes new and exciting life into them. Up until this point, Metal Gears were bipedal monstrosities who only served as targets for your Nikita missiles. This fight had you at the helm of your very own device of militaristic overabundance, as you finally got to square off with Liquid Ocelot – in his own Metal Gear, of course. The rock-em, sock-em laser fest that ensues is the perfect encapsulation of everything MGS stands for.

What made the second coming of Vulcan Raven such a dangerous fight was how completely indomitable he was in open combat. If you didn’t stick to cover, he would destroy you without much effort. In a game where you spent most of the time being out-gunned and out-manned, Raven found a way to make you even more vulnerable. By the skin of your teeth – and with a Dollar Menu of explosives – is the only way to take down this juggernaut of both body and spirit.

What’s worse than one Metal Gear? Many Metal Gears. There’s already a great deal of pressure when if comes to fighting the newer, more agile, amphibious Metal Gear RAY, who moves faster and is more accurate than its dense and stocky counterpart. When they attack in a seemingly endless string, the stress turns into nervous break down. Say what your want about pre-bionic Raiden, but he earned his keep in this fight.

 

OpenAI Bot Beats Pro Dota 2 Player

Artificial intelligence developed by the Elon Musk-backed OpenAI bested human players this weekend at The International, an annual Dota 2 championship.

While that might not sound too impressive on its face—we’ve seen Google-developed AI beat Go players—Dota 2 is “vastly more complex than traditional board games like chess & Go,” Musk tweeted.

“Dota’s a great testbed for artificial intelligence; it’s a very complicated game with a large competitive scene,” OpenAI co-founder and CTO Greg Brockman said in a video explaining the project (below). “The rules of Dota are so complicated [that] if you just think really hard about how the game works and try to write those rules down, you’re not even going to be able to reach the performance of a reasonable player.”

OpenAI has been hard at work on a bot capable of beating top professional players at Dota 1v1. On Friday, it was showcased at The International, a huge event hosted by Valve that draws 20,000 fans and players competing for $24 million in prizes.

The OpenAI bot went up against Danylo “Dendi” Ishutin in rather dramatic fashion, and handily beat the pro player twice before Ishutin bowed out.

“Bot is really fun and challenging to play against 🙂 I am sure it is possible to beat it. But it [has] no room for even slight mistakes,” Ishutin tweeted after the match. “Need much more tries for that 🙂 I think first few levels are most important to keep the lead. Still was amazing fun to play on stage!”

Ishutin added that it’s “awesome what awaits us in future with all those technologies. Excited!!!”

According to Brockman, OpenAI “trained entirely through self play. It starts out completely random with no knowledge of the world and simply plays against a copy of themself, which means it always has an evenly matched opponent. And it climbs this ladder of skill level until it’s able to the reach the performance of the best professional players in the world.”

OpenAI then invited pro players to try out the OpenAI bot. “Many pros wanted to keep playing the bot and talked about using it as part of their training routine,” Brockman said, though “amateur players enjoyed playing the bot as well.”

On Twitter, Musk thanked Microsoft “for use of their Azure cloud computing platform. This required massive processing power.” OpenAI and Microsoft announced a partnership in November.

The International was OpenAI “introducing our Dota product to the world and see if they can reach the world of the top human professionals,” Brockman said.

Going forward, OpenAI wants to “mix AIs and humans on a single team and reach a level of performance that neither of them can reach on their own,” according to Brockman. “AI can be extremely beneficial to humanity and it’s going to require fundamental advances to see what it’s really capable of.”