The Week in Tech

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The Retro VGS brings retro gaming into the modern age

Even though we live in an age where modern games are genuinely beginning to approach photo realism, the retro gaming market has never been more popular. Whether this is down to simple nostalgia, or the fact that some of us simply don't have 100 hours to invest in the latest sandbox extravaganzas is irrelevant, but for me personally, I'm a retro gamer because there's something so satisfying about plugging a cartridge in, switching on the console and launching right into a game without any drawn out cut-scenes or loading screens. Enough people obviously agree with me, as the company behind the RETRO Video Game Magazine have managed to build a significant amount of interest in a brand new, independently produced cartridge-based games console called the RETRO VGS.

The company behind the RETRO Video Game Magazine have created a brand new, independently produced cartridge-based games console

The idea is to not only produce brand new, retro-styled games for the system, but to build backwards compatibility into it, so that with a series of accessories, you'll be able to play everything from your original Nintendo games to your Sega Mega Drive games and everything in-between on it, all in full HD! The design of the console is very interesting indeed. Gaming historians might recognise the shell design as the same used for the ill-fated Atari Jaguar console, which marketed itself as the first 64-bit games console, but was in fact an under-powered, over-priced disaster. Atari's loss was the Retro teams gain though, as the company was able to buy the original Atari Jaguar moulds for next to nothing, cutting down spectacularly on production costs. The result is a striking design that is surprisingly familiar and boldly attractive. The console is currently being funded by an Indiegogo campaign, and whilst the asking price of just under £200 might seem a big ask, I'm seriously considering it!

Amazon Fire follows Apple TV into the world of gaming


Amazon announced a new Fire TV Gaming Edition, a gaming-focused bundle that arrives just a week after Apple announced it was going to focus its competing Apple TV range more on the gaming market. The bundle contains the new Amazon Fire TV, a new game controller, a 32GB micro SD card, and two games: Shovel Knight and Duck Tales. It has 75% more processing power and twice the GPU performance, making it a step up from the original, and it also ships with a Fire TV game controller. According to VP of Amazon Devices Peter Larsen, the Fire TV currently has more games than any other streaming media player, with over half of those games costing under a quid. It's also got the Amazon name behind it and will undoubtedly cost a lot less than Apple's box, so I wouldn't count out the new Fire being a success amongst younger gamers especially.

Facebook finally gets a dislike button


In a move that will have millions of Facebook users across the world asking “Why has it taken them so damn long?” Facebook has finally started to seriously consider implementing a “Dislike” button, which is perhaps the most common user request. Indeed, anyone who has ever accidentally liked a friend's post about a dead pet or a sick relative will no doubt take this news as blessed relief. Whether or not this is a good thing or just opens up the potential for online passive-aggression and cyber-bullying very much remains to be seen, but at least they're finally getting around to implementing a feature the users have been asking for almost since day one!

Facebook has finally started to seriously consider implementing a “Dislike” button

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said: “People have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years, and probably hundreds of people have asked about this, and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it. Not every moment is a good moment. We need to figure out the right way to do it so it ends up being a force for good, not a force for bad. Everyone feels like they can just push the Like button, and that's an important way to sympathise or empathise with someone. But there are times when you may want the simplicity of a one-click response but a like doesn't feel appropriate.”

Man receives the first 3D printed titanium chest

In yet another example of science fiction become reality, a Spanish cancer patient has had their sternum and rib cage replaced with 3D printed titanium. The 54-year-old patient was suffering from a chest wall sarcoma, which is a type of cancerous tumour that can grow around bone, and due to the complexity that comes with recreating a prosthetic capable of acting as both a sternum and rib cage, the doctors involved decided to enlist the help of Melbourne-based medical device company called Anatomics to fill in the gaps. The team utilised a $1.3 million Arcam printer to build the implant layer-by-layer with its electron beam, and once completed, the implant was then flown from Australia to Spain and fitted successfully into the patient’s chest. After 12 days recovering, the patient has since been discharged. And no, his name wasn't Steve Austin.

Is the Circle Line about to be replaced by a travelator?


Architectural firm NBBJ has proposed an idea which would see London’s Circle Line Tube trains replaced by a series of travelator walk ways. The Circle Line carries 114 million people along 17 miles of track and can carry eight trains at once, travelling at up to 20 miles per hour. NBBJ design director Christian Coop and architectural assistant James Pinkerton’s concept was inspired by the moving pavement that was first proposed at the Paris Expo in 1900. Commuters would join the travelator (the moving walk ways found at almost every major airport) at 3mph and increase their speed by stepping onto an adjacent walkway, before reaching a top speed of 15 mph between stations. In theory, by walking down the fast lane of the conveyor belt, passengers would increase their speed to more than that of the current Tube. In fact, according to Coop, even by standing still in the fast lane will be more efficient than the current alternative as it involves no waiting time.

Architectural firm NBBJ has proposed an idea which would see London’s Circle Line Tube trains replaced by a series of travelator walk ways

While the journey is continuous, each lane would be made up of a series of segments which speed up and slow down. This means passengers could step off and on easily from a standstill when passing through a station. Whilst Coop concedes that details would need to be ironed out if the idea were to be taken any further, he said it’s proven technology, and it’s reliable and safe so it could be deployed and tested. He would welcome discussions with Transport for London, other transport networks or anyone else that might be able to help develop the idea, but whilst it seems incredible, it's probably more of a pipe dream right now.

Playstation VR takes on Oculus

Sony's upcoming virtual reality headset has officially been named the PlayStation VR, and according to Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House, instead of being seen as a simple accessory, it will be marketing and priced as a brand new gaming platform. Speaking at the 2015 Tokyo Game Show this week, he said: VR rewrites the rule book on how you can create games. You’re seeing a large amount of interest and work happening among smaller teams, because it’s possible to create something in VR that is very simple but still very magical.” House also confirmed prior reports that PlayStation VR is on track for release within the first half of 2016, putting it right on course with the heavily hyped Oculus Rift. He also said it plans to deliver over 10 titles for the device throughout the course of next year.

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK.


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