Celebrating the Music of Video Games as an Art Form

Celebrating the Music of Video Games as an Art Form

The electronic bleeps and squawks of Tetris, Donkey Kong and other generation-shaping games that you may never have thought of as musical are increasingly likely to be playing at a philharmonic concert hall near you.

From the “ping … ping” of Atari’s 1972 ground-breaking paddle game Pong, the sounds, infectious ditties and, with time, fully-formed orchestral scores that are an essential part of the sensory thrill for gamers have formed a musical universe. With its own culture, sub-cultures and fans, game music now thrives alone, free from the consoles from which it came.

When audiences pack the Philharmonie de Paris’ concert halls this weekend to soak in the sounds of a chamber orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra performing game music and an homage to one of the industry’s stars, Final Fantasy Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu, they will have no buttons to play with, no characters to control.

They’re coming for the music and the nostalgia it triggers: of fun-filled hours spent on sofas with a Game Boy, Sonic the Hedgehog and the evergreen Mario.

“When you’re playing a game you are living that music every day and it just gets into your DNA,” says Eimear Noone, the conductor of Friday’s opening two-hour show of 17 titles, including Zelda, Tomb Raider, Medal of Honor and other favorites from the 1980s onward.

“When people hear those themes they are right back there. And people get really emotional about it. I mean REALLY emotional. It’s incredible.”

Dating the birth of game music depends on how one defines music. Game music scholars – yes, they exist – point to key milestones on the path to the surround-sound extravaganzas of games today.

The heartbeat-like bass thump of Taito’s Space Invaders in 1978, which got ever faster as the aliens descended,caused sweaty palms and was habit-forming.

Namco’s Pac-Man, two years later, whetted appetites with an opening musical chirp . For fun, check out the 2013 remix by Dweezil Zappa, son of Frank, and game music composer Tommy Tallarico. Their take on the tune speaks to the sub-culture of remixing game music, with thousands of redos uploaded by fans to sites like ocremix.org – dedicated, it says, “to the appreciation and promotion of video game music as an art form.”

Based on the Russian folk song Korobeiniki, the music of the 1984 game Tetris has similarly undergone umpteen remixes – including Tetris Meets Metal, with more than 2.2 million views on YouTube.

By 1985, the can’t-not-tap-along-to-this theme of Super Mario Bros., the classic adventure of plumber Mario and his brother Luigi, was bringing fame for composer Koji Kondo, also known for his work on Legend of Zelda. Both are on the bill for the Retrogaming concert in Paris. Kondo was the first person Nintendo hired specifically to compose music for its games, according to the 2013 book, Music and Game.

Noone, known herself for musical work on World of Warcraft, Overwatch and other games, says the technological limitations of early consoles – tiny memories, rudimentary chips, crude sounds – forced composers “to distill their melodies down to the absolute kernels of what melodic content can be, because they had to program it note by note.”

But simple often also means memorable. Think “da-da-da-duh” – the opening of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.

“That is part of the reason why this music has a place in people’s hearts and has survived,” Noone says of game tunes. “It speaks to people.”

She says game music is where movie music was 15 years ago: well on its way to being completely accepted.

“I predict that in 15 years’ time it will be a main staple of the orchestral season,” she says. “This is crazy to think of: Today, more young people are listening to orchestral music through the medium of their video game consoles than have ever listened to orchestral music.”

She still sometimes encounters snobbism from orchestras: “They saw ‘Pong’ once and that’s video game music to them, you know?”

But “halfway through the first rehearsal, their attitude has changed,” she adds. “And then when they walk out on stage and the audience treats them like they’re The Rolling Stones.”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first game-music concert: The Tokyo Strings Ensemble performed Dragon Quest at Tokyo’s Suntory Hall in August 1987. Now there are six touring shows of symphonic game music, Noone says.

“This is just the best way, the most fun way to introduce kids to the instruments of the orchestra,” she adds. “It may be the first time ever they are that close to a cellist, and that’s really exciting for me.”

 

 

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Nokia 3, Nokia 5 Android Phone Pre-Orders Open in the UK

Nokia 3, Nokia 5 Android Phone Pre-Orders Open in the UK

After being launched in India, HMD Global is expanding the availability of Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 Android smartphones. Both the phones will be going on sale in the UK starting next month.

The Nokia 3 will be going on sale in the UK from July 12, and will be available unlocked at GBP 129.99 (roughly Rs. 10,600). The Nokia 5, on the other hand, will be going on sale sale on July 19 and will be priced at GBP 179.99 (roughly Rs. 15,000). Currently, interested consumers in the UK can pre-order the Nokia 3 or Nokia 5 via Amazon or Clove e-commerce websites.

Notably, Clove also mentions that July 12 and 19 are official launch dates for the Nokia 3 and Nokia 5 respectively. Surprisingly, there’s no availability detail on the Nokia 6, which completes the trio of new Android smartphones from HMD Global.

 

The company unveiled the trio of Android smartphones in India earlier this month. The Nokia 5 price in India is Rs. 12,899, and will be available for pre-booking starting July 7 through offline channels. Nokia 3, is the cheapest of the three, has been priced at Rs. 9,499, and is now on sale in India. The Nokia 6 has been launched in India at Rs. 14,999. The Nokia 6 registrations for the first sale will start on July 14, but the company has not announced when the smartphone will go on sale.

The Nokia 5 features a 5.2-inch HD display and runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. It is powered by the Snapdragon 430 SoC coupled with 2GB of RAM. It comes with 16GB inbuilt storage and also supports expandable storage via microSD card (up to 128GB). Nokia 5 packs a 13-megapixel sensor on the back and an 8-megapixel sensor at the front. The handset features a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button and it houses a 3000mAh non-removable battery.

The Nokia 3 is targeted at those who are looking for a premium-looking handset at a budget and features a 5-inch HD display, Android 7.0 Nougat, and 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek 6737 SoC. It comes with 16GB of inbuilt storage, which is expandable up to 128GB via microSD card support. Optics include an 8-megapixel camera on both the front and back. The N

[Source”pcworld”]

Why Atari’s New Console Could Be Just What The Gaming Industry Needs

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Yesterday, I reported on the recent GamesBeat interview with Atari CEO Fred Chesnais, a chat that confirmed the existence of an upcoming Atari console. The news came as a bit of a surprise, and since that break, speculation has been running wild. Forbes’ own Paul Tassi posted an interesting take on the whole situation, and honestly, I think he makes a great point—the market is indeed full, and introducing a brand new platform, especially one potentially poised to take on those of industry giants like Sony and Microsoft, may be an exercise in overzealous futility. And yet I can’t sit still, so break out the one-button joysticks and dusty Combat cartridges—we’re going to play devil’s advocate.

Even with everything seemingly stacked against such a machine (and there’s a lot, believe me), I still can’t manage to shake my naive excitement. I’ve been gaming for a long time, since the late 80s if I’m counting right, so the prospect of a legitimate Atari revival has set my imagination on fire. I know they’re not even close to the same company that released the 2600 and the Jaguar (or the criminally underappreciated Lynx handheld), but I feel like the potential for something compelling lay not only within this recent hardware announcement, but also amongst the remnant echos of Atari’s yesteryear 8-bit greatness. Before the infamous video game market crash of 1983, they all but owned the digital entertainment market, so who’s to say that they can’t stage a screaming comeback?

The deck is, without a doubt, stacked against such an impromptu market breach. Why? Because as it stands, Sony and Microsoft are in a constant and incredibly expensive battle for console market dominance. And while Nintendo occupies some strange, PG-rated corner of said market, one filled with jovial plumbers, wacky hardware innovation and awful online implementation, they absolutely dominate that space with consistently good first-party titles and an insane degree of consumer loyalty. When paring out the market shares, precious space for an additional dedicated gaming hardware option shrinks to almost nothing. And for the most part, it’s been this way since Sega bowed out of the race back in 2001 with its legendary Dreamcast. So beyond mobile devices and PC, we have three major options for gaming platforms. But what if people want more? What if they’re eager to try something different but lack the opportunity to jump ship?

Believe it or not, there was a time in gaming history when we did have more options. Way more, in fact. Back in the 1990s, all over the span of roughly ten years, the gaming market saw the introduction of a crazy amount of original, completely unique home consoles. Some were weird. Others ludicrously bizarre. Many were quirky experiments that only lasted several months before disappearing forever. Huge mainstream successes like the SNES and N64 were simply the machines that bubbled to the top. For every PlayStation sold there was an Apple Pippin left to forlornly rot on a lonely Circuit City shelf, ignored and forgotten by the gaming masses.

There was Panasonic’s 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, which introduced Gex—and an insane MSRP—to the world. Sega released the Sega CD and 32X, the bulky combination of which made for quite the conversation piece (and a heavy means by which you could defend your house from lions and swooping pterodactyls). And oh God, the Virtual Boy, which didn’t even last a full year before Nintendo pulled the plug. Still, that’s just the tip of the hardware iceberg: CD-i, Amiga CD32, Saturn, and Neo Geo CD are all among the onslaught of consoles that ran the gamut from world-changing to painfully obscure. The failure rate was high, though through all the pricey risks, gamers had choices. Sure, many of them weren’t the best and absolutely didn’t pan out in the long-term, but we weren’t strictly relegated to two or three major sources for our gaming needs. There was a power in that pool of options, and if we wanted to game on a Pioneer LaserActive, we could (though we might cry about it during, after and later).

If Atari’s new product ends up being a proper console with properly powerful innards, it could bring back that sense of choice, something that’s sorely missing from today’s market. Just imagine if they were able to entice several AAA developers and secure a handful of compelling exclusives; Ataribox-only titles you couldn’t find on Xbox, PlayStation or Switch. At the very least, it would make for an interesting 2018 E3, or at least one more exciting than this year’s ho-hum showing.

Oftentimes I’m struck by how homogeneous the gaming industry has become, so I think a gutsy newcomer (in the form of a wise old-timer) would do well to stir up the pot. We need something less, shall we say, predictable. And if the product is solid enough, if it bucks enough trends and pushes the right boundaries, customers may shock analysts and wander outside the comfortable camps that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo have set up.

It’s all just speculation at this stage, of course, but it’s fun to wonder. I just hope it’s nothing like the Ouya, bless its tiny Android heart.

[Source”GSmerena”]

Samsung might tease the Galaxy S8 in a short video at MWC

As already reported, the Galaxy S8 won’t be announced at Mobile World Congress 2017, as it will be released a bit later than usual this year. However, it looks like Samsung may have decided to still give us a glimpse of the upcoming flagship during its event in Barcelona.

According to a report from The Korea Herald, the tech giant will tease the Galaxy S8 in a one minute trailer at MWC. The video will be played at a press event on February 26, where Samsung will announce the Galaxy Tab S3. Hopefully, the short video will give us more info about the device, which will likely be released in mid-April.

As with every year, there have been tons of rumors going around about Samsung’s new flagship devices. The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are expected to be the first smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 835 processor and will come with Samsung’s own digital assistant called Bixby.

They will both sport much thinner bezels around the screen and ditch the home button. This means that the fingerprint scanner will be moved to the back of the devices, which can be seen on the recent images that have leaked.

There are plenty of other interesting rumors regarding the smartphones. To learn more, check out our Galaxy S8 rumors post.

 

[Source:- androidauthority]

 

 

Meet the man behind Comic Sans

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We’ve all seen Comic Sans; the typeface that’s both loathed and (secretly) admired—some people have even dedicated a website to educating people about the very limited use cases of comic sans! It’s made a huge global impact in the decades since its original use-case, Microsoft’s Bob program.

By 1996, it was popular enough to be preinstalled on every Macintosh computer that rolled off the assembly line, but how exactly did this font come to be? What mind was behind this ultra-kiddy font?

Check out this video and meet Vincent Connare, for all intents and purposes, the father of Comic Sans. When he came up with the idea for the font, he looked through stacks and stacks of comic books, which is probably unsurprising. In particular, he leafed through DC Comics’ Batman and Watchmen stories…and he was inspired!

Commissioned by Microsoft to create a font, Connare came up with a font that resembled the comic lettering he’d noticed in the stories’ speech and thought bubbles.

Unfortunately for Connare, his boss at the time, one Robert Norton, disliked his comic-inspired typeface. Norton thought the face ought to be more “typographic” and had something against its overall quirkiness and weirdness. Connare persisted and defended Comic Sans’ ability to stand out, as it looked markedly different than anything people would look at in their school textbooks. Even so, Comic Sans didn’t make it into Bob’s final release, but ultimately, Connare had the last laugh.

Today, comic sans is freely viewable all over the world! While the font is definitely overexposed, Connare does nonetheless get a huge amount of gratification from all the places he’s seen the font when he travels. Whether it’s in neon signs for small businesses or on war memorials and packages of bread, Connare is vindicated.

he has no regrets surrounding the font

To hear Connare put it, he has no regrets surrounding the font. On the contrary, while he freely admits that comic sans definitely isn’t one of the better forms of art, it is still, conceptually, the very best thing that he’s ever accomplished in his career, in all likelihood.

All told, not a bad outcome for a guy who worked as a typographic engineer at Microsoft and, arguably, whose most famous font never saw the light of day in the original Microsoft program for which it was intended. Interestingly, Connare was also a contributor for other famous faces such as Trebuchet.

To understand why he came up with comic sans in the first place, we have to understand his philosophy on art. Good art was art that was noticed while bad art was art that no one noticed and, therefore, was a failure.

 

 

 

[Source:- webdesignerdepot]

Google search now has card-based suggestions for all the best recipes

It seems Google search is getting smarter and smarter; it certainly is getting more convenient for mobile devices. Ever since Google introduced its card-based UI, things look more organized and are easier to spot. And the search giant is bringing a slew of recipes in that format. Now when you search on the Google app for a particular recipe, “you’ll see a carousel of tappable suggestions to make sure you catch the best recipe.”

For instance, if you type in “Chicken wing recipes,” not only will Google gather various recipes from the web with scrumptious pictures, it will also give you suggestions for more specific types such as “Buffalo,” “Honey,” “Spicy,” or “Slow cooker.” If you tap on one of those keywords, Google will show you a list of cards, each from a different website, along with a preview of ingredients, reviews, calories, and how long it’d take to cook. Pretty neat, eh?

Google will show you a list of cards, each from a different website, along with a preview of ingredients, reviews, calories, and how long it’d take to cook.

So whether you are preparing for a party, in need of some inspiration, or just salivating at 2AM looking for some food porn, Google wants to be the place to go to for easy step-by-step recipes. If you haven’t done so already, give it a try – ranging from simple appetizers to full-blown Korean dishes, it should have a thing or two that pleases you.

 

[Source:- androidauthority]

 

Windows 10 enterprise updating explained – branches, rings, and the OS as a service

win10 6

Are you an admin or power user who feels slightly confused by the detail underpinning Microsoft’s Windows 10 updating and patching plans? If so, that’s not surprising. Microsoft has at times been less than clear about the ins and outs of the new Windows 10 updating branches and ‘rings’ which is some respects are similar to the regime pre-dating Windows 10 but dressed up in a new and confusing terminology.

Here we try to piece together what’s what with updating and Windows 10. There are certainly some things to watch out for. What is clear is that this new world is more complex, necessarily so. Today, Windows 10 is still an operating system but at some point it will resemble more of a service. This is the fate for all ‘big’ operating systems.

The mental map to understanding what’s going in are the different updating ‘branches’ and, within each of those, the deployment ‘rings’. A second important issue is to understand the difference between ‘updates’ (additional feature and services) and patches/fixes (security updates). The first of these is described in detail below while the second will happen as and when they deigned necessary by Microsoft.

For a specific primer on Windows 10’s main Security features see Windows 10 – the top 7 enterprise security features

Windows 10 updating: Current Branch (CB) – Windows 10 Home

This is plainly just the old Windows Update (WU) that home users have grown used to since its appearance in 2003 with Patch Tuesday but there are some important subtleties. Instead of the current monthly patching cycle, some updates will be applied on an ongoing basis, including Defender updates and what would once have been called ‘out of band’ security patches. Bigger updates covering new features will happen every four months, nudging Windows evolution along more rapidly than in the past.

In short, security fixes might coincide with CB updates but are, at a deeper level, independent of them and can happen on any timescale Microsoft chooses.

[Source:- Techworld]

The Moly X1 with Windows 10 Mobile is just $179 via Indiegogo

Image result for The Moly X1 with Windows 10 Mobile is just $179 via Indiegogo

The Moly X1 is an attractive phone running Windows 10 Mobile. The phone came out earlier this year but cost around $300 at the time. Now, the company is evidently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds and get the phone in more hands for a lower price.

The campaign has the phone with either US/Canada or Europe/Australia 4G LTE variants starting at just $179. From there the price goes up to $190 with a case and all the way up to $229 when the lower tiers run out.

The Moly X1 is a decent, low-cost phone especially for $179. While the camera is lacking the rest of the phone has a very elegant design as noted in our unboxing.

Here are the rest of the phone’s details:

Coship Moly X1 specifications

  • 5.5-inch HD or Full HD display with Gorilla Glass
  • 4G LTE support
  • 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB internal storage with microSD expansion (14.5GB available)
  • micro-USB charging
  • 13MP rear camera with dual-LED flash
  • 5MP front camera
  • 2600mAh battery
  • Bluetooth 4.0 A2DP/HFP/OPP
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4/5.0GHz
  • Sensors: G-sensor, Proximity sensor, Ambient Light sensor
  • Dimensions: 154.8 x 78.6 x 6.9mm
  • Weight 4.9 oz (139 grams)

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

New firmware for the HP Lap Dock improves Elite x3 touchpad experience

Image result for New firmware for the HP Lap Dock improves Elite x3 touchpad experience

HP has pushed out a small firmware update for the Elite x3’s Lap Dock, which I coincidentally reviewed this morning. The update was first spotted in our forums by Christian_1 who did the update last night.

Since the Lap Dock is so new and part of its update infrastructure is just coming online, I’ll explain how to go about checking and installing the firmware.

First, let’s cover what is new with the Lap Dock’s update.

HP Lap Dock Firmware Revision: T0057

  • Touchpad Support for touchpad physical click, drag and drop
  • Keyboard backlight is on by default and turns off after 15 seconds of no keyboard activity

Obviously, not a huge update, but an important one. The first change refers to how the touchpad relied on single taps to do tasks in Continuum. Now, you can do that and press down to click the touchpad (before, nothing happened with this action). This behavior now mimics how most Windows laptop touchpads operate.

The second piece is important for conserving battery life and is self-explanatory.

How to check and upgrade firmware

HP are building out a very vital ecosystem for the Elite x3. One of the pieces to that puzzle is the HP Device Hub, which is an app that comes pre-installed on the Elite x3 to manage your device, warranty, and regulatory information as well as send feedback directly to HP about your Elite x3. There is also a User Guide and contact support for assistance.

HP are also initiating a push notification service to let the user know of new firmware availability.

 

 

[Source:- Windowscentral]

 

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 M1 – the workhorse Xeon server for SMEs on a budget

Image result for Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 M1 - the workhorse Xeon server for SMEs on a budget

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 Specs

  • Fujitsu PRIMERGY TX1310 E3-1200 3.3GHz Xeon v3 supporting ECC memory – Up to 32 GB ECC memory (2 DIMMs) – 4 x 3.5 inch storage bays with RAID controller (not hot pluggable)
  • screwless chassis with easy rails
  • bay for backup drive
  • 4 PCIe slots – Dual Gigabit LAN ports
  • 8 x USB (4 x USB 3.0)
  • integrated graphics or optional Fujitsu VGA card

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 Price

RRP: £499 (£349 on special, inc VAT)

Fujitsu Primergy TX1310 M1 – the workhorse Xeon server for SMEs on a budget

Can any more be said about small business servers these days? Normally we’d say not, but Fujitsu’s Xeon E3-1226-equipped Primergy dumped itself on our testing desk with a startling price tag of only £499 (£349 on promotion at eBuyer inc VAT) piquing our interest.

On the face of it, a small business is getting a lot for its CAPEX budget with this system, even once the cost of support and a volume OS license is added to the final bill. Within Fujitsu’s extensive line-up of tower servers, the TX100 series is the entry-level system, with the TX1310 occupying the middle of three tiers within that.

The TX1310 system supplied had 8GB of DDR3 1600HMz RAM in a single module (the Fujitsu site specifies 2 x 4GB for some reason), with a single spare slot on the motherboard, the maximum being 32GB. Frankly, this need to be doubled unless it’s being used for a basic tasks such as a print server, although the cost mentioned above includes that spec.

Fixed storage was in the form of 2 x 500GB SATA 6GB drives configured for RAID 1 mirroring and a DVD-RW drive, eight USB sockets, four being USB 3.0, two of which were at the front of the unit. Again, upping this to 2 x 1TB drives would be advisable (also included in the above price), which offers 1TB of capacity with RAID. Other features include the Intel I350-T2 Ethernet LAN card with dual Gigabit ports and on/off switches on the front and rear of the case.

The system ships with Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard pre-installed with Fujitsu ServerView Suite.

 

[Source:- Techworld]