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Close Encounters of the Third Kind Is Still Amazing

WIRED

In Steven Spielberg's classic 1977 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, an ordinary man gets caught up in momentous events involving alien visitors. TV writer Andrea Kail says the film continues to fill her with awe. "It stands up better than most movies I've ever seen, including the special effects," Kail says in Episode 498 of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. "It's shocking how well it's done. It doesn't look dated in any way. I think it's a stunning movie."


Galloping Ghost Gives Arcade Gaming an Extra Life

WIRED

Arcades occupy a unique place in video game history. In the late 1970s and 1980s, a string of hits like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong ushered in new gameplay mechanics and bright, crispy pixel graphics. The 1990s featured the fighting game boom with Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, and Virtua Fighter demonstrating cutting-edge graphics and gameplay. It was the place to be, a time when the cutting edge in video games, from texture-mapped polygonal graphics to peripheral control inputs (including steering wheels, light guns, and dance-mats), could only be found crammed into immaculately designed cabinets, complete with their showy bezels and marquees. Arcades dodged hardware limitations largely due to their ability to optimize the hardware specifically to play one single game.


Arcade 2.0 has actual playable instruments and an AI-powered sample processor

Engadget

Output first made a name for itself with meticulously sampled software instruments like Analog Brass & Winds and Exhale, that made use of Native Instruments' Kontakt Player. The company even got into the furniture game with what is possibly the sexiest studio desk for under $1,000. But its undeniable flagship is Arcade, a subscription-based sample mangler that's constantly serving up new sounds to mess with. Today the company is launching version 2.0 that includes a number of upgrades, but the biggest is the addition of "Note Kits" -- which are simply playable chromatic instruments. In the original version of Arcade you had what are now called Sampler Kits.


With Madden NFL 22 arriving, these are the best football video games ever made

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Are you ready for some football? On Friday, fans of the National Football League can jump in the digital gridiron with the launch of Madden NFL 22. The release of the pro football video game from Electronic Arts not only drums up excitement for the upcoming NFL season, but the annual launch of Madden has served as an unofficial marker for the beginning of the holiday video game season, the most important time of year for the industry. Football at all levels has had a rich history in the video game space, dating back to days of the arcade. Here's a look at the best football video games ever made: Fortnite meets Among Us?:New Impostors mode rolling out This classic started in the arcades in the 1980s before making the leap to the Nintendo Entertainment System.


Pac-Man 99 Is a Battle Royale Game That's Actually Accessible

WIRED

It looks like the original Pac-Man, and plays an awful lot like it too, but once you see the titular yellow hero chow down on a line of ghosts 33 deep like some kind of insatiable, eyeless animal, it's clear the classic formula has been juiced a bit. It's Pac-Man 99, Nintendo Switch's new 99-player online battle royale, and I've been low-key obsessed since it came out in April. My first encounter with Pac-Man was pretty typical for the 1990s. It was a lonely vintage game in the corner at my local Aladdin's Castle arcade at Countryside Mall, a quiet machine in the glory days of TMNT, Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter II. I tended to play it because there was never a wait (it was already considered a relic in 1992) and unlike the fighting games, I could actually survive for more than a couple of minutes at a time.


The 15 greatest video games of the 80s – ranked!

The Guardian

The 1980s were crammed with wonderful adventure games – The Hobbit, King's Quest, Leather Goddesses of Phobos – but the first point-and-click title to be designed by comic genius Ron Gilbert using the SCUMM scripting language is the classic that busted out of the genre ghetto. Filled with great jokes and B-movie cliches, the game made brilliant use of its accessible and intuitive interface, as well as seamlessly integrating cutscenes and non-sequential puzzles. Among the formative home computer platformers of the 80s – the likes of Lode Runner, Chuckie Egg and Pitfall – Jet Set Willy stands out for its surreal sense of humour and genuinely disturbing atmosphere. Like that other 8-bit pioneer Jeff Minter, Matthew Smith created his own idiosyncratic dream worlds with distinct rules and twisted logic, and as you battled through the bizarre house with its haunted wine cellars, priest holes and watchtowers, you had to contend with truly monstrous visions, from spinning razor blades to giant demon heads. Smith only made a handful of games, but with Jet Set Willy, he combined Monty Python and Hammer House of Horror to unforgettable effect.


ARCADe: A Rapid Continual Anomaly Detector

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Although continual learning and anomaly detection have separately been well-studied in previous works, their intersection remains rather unexplored. The present work addresses a learning scenario where a model has to incrementally learn a sequence of anomaly detection tasks, i.e. tasks from which only examples from the normal (majority) class are available for training. We define this novel learning problem of continual anomaly detection (CAD) and formulate it as a meta-learning problem. Moreover, we propose A Rapid Continual Anomaly Detector (ARCADe), an approach to train neural networks to be robust against the major challenges of this new learning problem, namely catastrophic forgetting and overfitting to the majority class. The results of our experiments on three datasets show that, in the CAD problem setting, ARCADe substantially outperforms baselines from the continual learning and anomaly detection literature. Finally, we provide deeper insights into the learning strategy yielded by the proposed meta-learning algorithm.


Cooper FX Arcades review: Plumbing the depths of lo-fi guitar effects

Engadget

Let's get one thing out of the way right up front: Yes, the main conceit of the $329 Cooper FX Arcades is a little gimmicky. It's a guitar pedal into which you stick cards to apply different effects, kinda like a game console. But while the somewhat novel approach to building a multi-effects unit may have helped Arcades garner attention, this pedal is no mere gimmick. A post shared by Tom Majeski (@cooper.fx) Tom Majeski of Cooper FX is not the first person to take this approach. Line 6 had its ToneCore line of pedals in the mid'aughts, Elta had the Console and TipTop Audio sells the Z-DSP. But Z-DSP is a eurorack module, not a guitar pedal.


'The Last of Us,' 'Left Behind,' and seeing yourself for the first time in games

Mashable

Though my parents initially forbade me from playing video games as a little girl (for being generally violent or otherwise unladylike), I found ways to smuggle games into my life anyway. Whether it was through the N64 at my dentist's waiting room or in the rare occasions when a friend's brother let us use his Gamecube, all my early gaming experiences were stolen moments -- precious, blissful, forbidden, and far too fleeting. As the weirdo obsessed with games among my four sisters -- but not weird enough to be welcomed to play with the boys at school who had consoles -- I could only love games in secret. Later on, I self-funded my love of gaming through babysitting, buying my own consoles and even vowing to get a career in the industry as a grown-up. Despite my lifelong commitment to games, though, it wasn't until college in 2014 that I actually saw myself reflected in one for the first time ever.


Cooper FX's multi-effect guitar pedal uses tiny cartridges

Engadget

Cooper FX has just announced Arcades, a guitar pedal that changes its tune with SD card-sized swapable cartridges. Inspired by vintage video game consoles (hence the name) Arcades aims to negate some of the cost involved in traditional pedals -- the bulk of which comes from hardware such as knobs and switches -- by giving musicians a brand new effect for a lower price. Just pay for the cartridge, which will cost from $30 (around £24), depending on which one you go for. The pedal itself costs $330 (about £265). In a blog post, Cooper FX explains that getting Arcades to fruition has "been a real uphill battle," not least because manufacturing is situated in Wuhan -- the center of the coronavirus outbreak.