Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Games-Nintendo-Shigeru Miyamoto

How Video Games Influenced Popular Music
by Hua Hsu
The New Yorker

Andrew Schartmann's new book, Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack, discusses how Nintendo's first dedicated sound designer completely changed music in games. Kondo's iconic music for that title not only provided some of the most memorable tunes of the era, but also influenced gaming and music for many years after. The New Yorker offers a brief glimpse at the book, explaining how Kondo's work changed video game development, too. "As a result of the collaboration behind Super Mario, during which graphics and audio were developed in tandem, games became more of an all-sensory experience," notes Hua Hsu.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

The people behind Minecraft just kicked off Minecon 2015 with a bang. At the fan convention's opening ceremony, Mojang's Lydia Winters debuted the first trailer for Minecraft: Story Mode, an upcoming title from Telltale Games. Yep, the same developer behind the point-and-click games The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. As you might expect, Story Mode combines the game's blocky aesthetic with a branching, narrative-based adventure. Players take control of Jesse, who has to find the fabled "Order of the Stone" with his friends to save the world from destruction. There's a panel later today with the Mojang and Telltale folks, so we suspect we'll hear a lot more details then.

0 Comments

It might seem crazy today, but in the early '90s Nintendo and Sony were working together on a video game accessory that'd add CD capabilities to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. There would also be a separate Sony console that'd play SNES cartridge games and titles for the SNES CD system dubbed the PlayStation. As legend tells it, the deal went sour when Nintendo instead announced a partnership with Sony's competitor Philips for the optical add-on at the same CES that Sony unveiled its Nintendo-centric PlayStation. The rest is history. What you see above might as well be a unicorn, then.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

Calif. state Sen. Leland Yee indicted

Oh, the irony. Disgraced former senator Leland Yee has pleaded guilty to charges of taking bribes in exchange for votes, racketeering and promising to smuggle guns into the US from the Philippines. Of course, like so many beautiful twists of fate, Yee was a prominent moral crusader who led a campaign against violent video games. The senator authored AB-1179, legislation that would have outlawed the sale of said titles to California's teens, which was defeated by the Supreme Court. Way to keep our kids safe, Leels.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

N64 Controller

Microsoft has an exorbitant $150 controller coming this year that it hopes will make up for the Xbox One's middling gamepad, but that won't make the upcoming Rare Replay feel any more authentic when you play. The folks at Hyperkin -- makers of the Retron 5 console -- know this and set forth a challenge: mod a Nintendo 64 controller to work with Microsoft's latest game console. And they succeeded. Mostly. As you'll see in the video below, the three-pronged paddle can navigate the console's dashboard and select apps, but, since there's only one analog stick, that rules out it playing nicely with a vast majority of modern games. The wiring is a bit wonky and certain inputs trigger at random, but, from the sounds of it, the project is far from over.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

A Pong cabinet at Supercade

We hope you aren't curious about Nolan Bushnell's game development history... you may find yourself sucked into a time sink. Microsoft has quietly added an option to play Pong in Bing (Bing Pong, get it?) if you search for the digital table tennis classic in your browser. It's not a novel concept, and it certainly isn't the most advanced -- Google's Cube Slam experiment is on another level. It's surprisingly addictive, however, and might offer just the right amount of '70s gaming nostalgia to tide you over when you're stuck at work.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

Drugs, check. Dystopia, check. An alternative 1960s English town with a terrifying history, check. We Happy Few ticks a lot of my boxes in its premise alone, plus the art direction seems spot-on and the characters already feel real. Take Uncle Jack for example: He's a talk-show host with a permanent smile fixed on his painted face, and he says things like, "Of course, none of us had to do anything terrible when the Germans were here. No, no. At least, I can't remember anything. Can you?" And then he laughs in a way that suggests, yes, everyone in this small English town definitely did something awful. One thing remains unclear about We Happy Few so far: How it plays. We're going to find out today live on Twitch with a super-early, pre-alpha build of the game. Even though Compulsion still has to add more AI behaviors, world-building elements, combat mechanics and other features, they've given us the go-ahead to show off the early world of Wellington Wells. Join us at 3:30PM ET / 12:30PM PT right here, on the Engadget Gaming homepage or at Twitch.tv/Joystiq.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

At long last, you can play one of the best Legend of Zelda games (often considered the best) on your Wii U. Nintendo has released a Virtual Console version of Ocarina of Time for its latest TV console on the eShop, giving you an easy way to relive Link's classic time-traveling adventure without taking your dusty old Nintendo 64 (or original Wii) out of storage. You might not relish the thought of plunking down $10 for a 17-year-old game, especially if you've already bought it twice, but it beats watching a groundbreaking title fade from memory.

0 Comments

The BlueStacks Android emulator, which already has around 90 million Windows users, has finally arrived on OSX after an extended beta testing phase. The free emulator runs both x86 and ARM-based apps as well as provides full keyboard and mouse support. It even allows for gesture controls like pinch to zoom with a trackpad and takes advantage of your Mac's Retina display. Users can sync files and data from their mobile devices or pull new apps from Google Play directly to their Mac. You can download the program directly from the BlueStacks website.

0 Comments

Amazon Announces Set Top Video Device

Amazon is now offering game discounts in yet another effort to call seduce you to a $99 Prime membership. If you're thinking "what game discounts?", that's because the company rolled them out with little fanfare and is offering them in a rather sneaky fashion. When searching, all titles still show the regular prices for everybody. However, if Prime members carry a purchase through to the checkout page, they'll finally see the discount. And it's not just nickle and dime reductions on obscure games, as Destructoid discovered. You can find significant savings like $7 off the brand new Splatoon and a similar deal for Halo 5, which hasn't even been released yet.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

Back in February, Anki gave us a sneak peek at Anki Overdrive, the second generation version of its robotic race cars. It's introducing new toy vehicles, new gameplay mechanics, a new app and new modular race tracks that let players design their own custom race circuits. Today, Anki has announced that Overdrive will start shipping to retailers on September 20th in the US, UK, Germany and Canada. It also offered more details about the new cars and revealed two more game modes called Time Trial and King of the Hill. I had a chance to play around with Anki Overdrive at the company's office in San Francisco, and while I can't say it's perfect, I was impressed at how much simple toy cars could give me the feeling of being in a video game.

Read the Full Story 0 Comments

The first all-electric Formula E season may have just ended in real life, but the racers will keep going when Forza Motorsport 6 arrives. Microsoft announced today that after including a single car from the series as a DLC option for Forza 5, the sequel will include ten versions of the Renault Spark SRT_01E racecar representing each team. Other cars announced today include the 1988 Lamborghini Jalpa, 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 S/C and 1985 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT Apex. The full list of cars announced so far (117 of 450 or so) is available on the official site, but we'll have to get closer to its September 15th release to see the rest.

0 Comments