Gaming & Culture

This 3D-printed soft robotic hand beat the first level of Super Mario Bros.

A team led by University of Maryland mechanical engineering Professor Ryan Sochol has created a soft robotic hand agile enough to manipulate a game controller. A team of engineers at the University of Maryland has built a three-fingered soft robotic hand that is sufficiently agile to be able to manipulate the buttons and directional pad …

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Putting the PS5’s 10 million sales in context

Fig. 1: The PS5 is among the quickest consoles ever to reach 10 million worldwide sales. Fig. 2: Consoles have generally hit 10 million sales more quickly as time has passed and the worldwide player base has increased (though there are exceptions). Fig. 3: The sales paces of the PS5 and PS4 are nearly identical …

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How Final Fantasy VII radicalized a generation of climate warriors

I mean, all the packaging required for a game spanning three CDs might help inspire some environmental mindfulness on its own. In September of 1997, Final Fantasy VII was released for the original Playstation in North America. The watershed game swapped the series’ swords-and-sorcery-and-sun-dappled-forests motif for bombs and machine guns in a dark, rainy futuristic …

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MS Flight Simulator on consoles: Finally, a next-gen game for Xbox Series X/S

“Discovery” flights, a brand-new MSFS feature in its console version, begin in mid-air in scenic locales with pre-populated weather and lighting settings. All of them are a visual treat. The following gallery was captured in real-time on Xbox Series X. Each Discovery trip includes various landmark icons to guide your path, but some of the …

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Zombies rise, terrorize a town in trailer for SyFy’s Day of the Dead series

At this year’s [email protected], SyFy dropped the first trailer for its new series, Day of the Dead—the ultimate love letter to the godfather of zombies, George A. Romero. Somehow I missed the news last February that SyFy had greenlit a TV reboot of George A. Romero’s classic 1985 zombie horror film, Day of the Dead—just …

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Dread Pirate Roberts escaped development hell: Making Silk Road work as a film

Trailer for Silk Road. In the last decade or so of Ars, two pre-COVID news stories stand out to me as the “biggest”—the kind of stuff that captivates a general audience in the moment and will attract the eyes of Hollywood eventually. The first one happened back in 2013, when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden …

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Review: Old is a mostly solid film undermined by jarring twist ending

A family on a tropical holiday discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly in Old, a new thriller from M. Night Shyamalan. Director M. Night Shyamalan has a well-known fondness for his signature surprise twist endings. When those twists work organically, we get …

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Star Trek: Lower Decks S2 trailer promises more scrappy underdog adventures

Our favorite ensigns are back with more wacky hijinks in the second season of Star Trek: Lower Decks. The animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks was one of our favorite TV shows of 2020, so we’ve been looking forward to its second season. We won’t have long to wait. S2 drops next month on Paramount+, and …

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Snake Eyes film review: More like “G.I. No”

Henry Golding, seen here doing one of many unnecessary combat-adjacent poses in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins. Tommy (Andrew Koji) grimaces in the rain. Snake starts out fighting random heavies for no reason. He’s asked to kill Tommy early in the film for seemingly unclear reasons. Eventually, he trades fight clubs for finely tempered swords. …

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