Why are games fun? In part, because they challenge our ability to think. Even simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe, Nim and Kalah, or puzzles like the Eights Puzzle, are challenging to children. More complex games like checkers, chess, bridge, and Go are difficult enough that it takes years for gifted adults to master them. Nearly all games require seeing patterns, making plans, searching combinations, judging alternative moves, and learning from experience, all being skills which are also involved in many daily tasks.
It's no surprise that Alan Turing proposed chess playing as a good project for studying computers' ability to reason. In many ways, games have provided simple proving grounds for many of AI's powerful ideas.
For the first-timers here, "A Thief's End" is the award-winning final act of Nathan Drake's story. I'll tip-toe around the plot details and just write that in the beginning of the game, which originally released in 2016, Drake is cajoled out of retirement to go on one last hunt for a long-dead pirate's treasure. "The Lost Legacy," which Naughty Dog released a year later, follows Chloe Fraizer and Nadine Ross -- two of the most compelling characters in the series -- on their own adventure through the Western Ghats, a mountain range on the southwest coast of India. Neither of these games is going to spoil whatever happens in Tom Holland's adventure as Nathan Drake. Sony has said that the movie "took inspiration from the games" but the story line is "completely unique."
He loved the thrill of waiting for a rare bug, and the rush of excitement when he found one. The anticipation building before he struck, hoping to catch it. As his collection grew, so did his sense of pride. This cycle was the foundation for one of Nintendo's most massive franchises in its history. Pokémon's very existence is a love letter to this cycle, something Masuda and the developers at Game Freak hoped to replicate for players.
Microsoft Corp. threw down the gauntlet last week with its biggest-ever acquisition, agreeing to purchase Activision Blizzard Inc. for a whopping $68.7 billion (¥7.8 trillion) in a deal that could preclude major shakeups in the lucrative video game industry. But where that leaves Japan's top gaming firms, from Sony to top third-party developers like Capcom and Square Enix, remains to be seen. As hype over the so-called metaverse reaches a fever pitch, a slew of video game developers will likely seek partners to team up with or get absorbed by global tech titans to get ahead of the competition. If that comes to fruition, long-established Japanese game-makers may be left out in the cold, as those firms are unlikely to make such decisions in an agile or flexible manner due to their traditional and conservative mindset, analysts said. Microsoft's move this time is "literally the beginning of the race" among tech behemoths to acquire firms that will give them a competitive edge going forward, said Satoshi Kurihara, senior analyst at the Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.
Microsoft beat market expectations Tuesday with strong quarterly performance in cloud computing and software, still benefitting from the pandemic's online shifting of work, play, shopping and learning. The US tech colossus, which announced last week a blockbuster deal to buy gaming giant Activision Blizzard, said profit jumped to $18.8 billion in the final three months of last year. "Digital technology is the most malleable resource at the world's disposal to overcome constraints and reimagine everyday work and life," CEO Satya Nadella said, in announcing revenue of $51.7 billion. Microsoft investments include pouring money into the booming video game market and by extension the metaverse, the virtual reality vision for the internet's future. On an earnings call, Nadella pointed to the tens of millions of people playing games such as Forza, Halo and Minecraft, many investing in "avatar" proxies for online worlds, saying that the metaverse is a natural extension.
Both the meeting with quality assurance testers and an ensuing five-minute studio-wide meeting were led by studio head Brian Raffel, who did not mention unionization. John Obligato, human resources partner at Activision and Raven's primary human resources contact, sat in on both meetings, chiming in at times and saying "some testers may excel" and "we want to make sure we're developing career development paths." Activision Blizzard did not return a request for comment about the two meetings.
While details on the three new games remain sparse, EA did offer some personnel info. Development on the new "Jedi" game will be headed by Stig Asmussen, who helmed the previous entry and, before that, Sony's "God of War III." The new first-person shooter, meanwhile, will be directed by Peter Hirschmann, who previously worked on numerous Star Wars games including "Star Wars: Battlefront" and "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed." The strategy game will be designed by a new studio formed by Greg Foertsch, a developer on the revered XCOM series of turn-based, sci-fi strategy games. Respawn Entertainment, creator of Titanfall and "Apex Legends," will lead development on the "Jedi" sequel and the shooter while handling production for the strategy game.
Welcome to Pushing Buttons, the Guardian's gaming newsletter. If you'd like to receive it in your inbox every week, just pop your email in below – and check your inbox (and spam) for the confirmation email. There's only one thing I was going to be talking about in this week's Pushing Buttons, isn't there? Since Microsoft very inconsiderately announced the biggest acquisition in gaming history just after last week's edition went out, the entire games industry has been in a flap. The $69bn deal to buy Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Overwatch publisher Activision Blizzard absolutely dwarfs the $7.5bn that the house of Xbox paid for Zenimax/Bethesda in 2020, which already had me feeling slightly uneasy about the amount of cash being thrown around by giant corporations (see also Tencent, whose run of acquisitions shows no sign of slowing down.)
Modern chess is the culmination of centuries of experience, as well as an evolutionary sequence of rule adjustments from its inception in the 6th century to the modern rules we know today.17 While classical chess still captivates the minds of millions of players worldwide, the game is anything but static. Many variants have been proposed and played over the years by enthusiasts and theorists.8,20 They continue the evolutionary cycle by altering the board, piece placement, or the rules--offering players "something subtle, sparkling, or amusing which cannot be done in ordinary chess."1 Technological progress is the new driver of the evolutionary cycle. Chess engines increase in strength, and players have access to millions of computer games and volumes of opening theory.
The Sapphire Pulse delivers a whisper-quiet spin on AMD's affordable Radeon RX 6500 XT, with the company's Trixx Boost software giving performance a helping hand. It's a good option for newcomers to PC gaming as long as you operate within limits imposed by the unusual technical configuration of AMD's GPU. AMD's Radeon RX 6500 XT is a humble graphics card built to bring 1080p gaming to the masses at a time when the masses haven't had an affordable GPU option for years. Sapphire's popular "Pulse" brand relentlessly focuses on delivering solid gaming experiences without cost-adding frills you may not want. On paper, it sounds like a peanut butter and jelly-type situation. But does the Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 6500 XT, which retails for AMD's $199 suggested price, hold up in practice?
I have spent large portions of my life in virtual worlds. I've played video games since I was six; as a millennial, I've lived online since adolescence; and I've been reporting on games and gaming culture for 16 years. I have been to Iceland for an annual gathering of the players of EVE Online, an online spaceship game whose virtual politics, friendships and rivalries are as real as anything that exists outside its digital universe. I've seen companies make millions, then billions from selling virtual clothes and items to players eager to decorate their virtual selves. I've encountered people who met in digital worlds and got married in the real one, who have formed some of their most significant relationships and had meaningful life experiences in, well … people used to call it cyberspace, but the current buzzword is "the metaverse".