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June 15 2017


Microsoft Maluuba AI Dominates Atari 2600 Ms. Pac-Man

I had an Atari 2600 back in the day, and one of the game I played a whole a lot of was Ms. Pac-Man. I sucked at it. I got devoured by ghosts constantly, and never racked up much of a high score. Microsoft’s Maluuba AI on the other hand is a dominating Ms. Pac-Man player.

Maluuba taught its AI how to play the Atari VCS version of the game using multiple reinforcement learning algorithms, and the system was able to get the highest score possible in the game of 999,990. I have no idea why that is the highest score possible in the game. You’d think you could keep going if you wanted to.

Ms. Pac-Man is much harder to play than original Pac-Man, and is apparently not as predictable as the original game, making paths to victory more complex. Watch the video for more details, this is one serious arcade gaming AI.

[via Hot Hardware]

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This Papercraft Penguin Assembles Itself When Dropped

The Penguin Bomb is a DIY origami sculpture that arrives as a flat package, but when you drop it on a hard surface, it turns itself into a fat little penguin. Hence the name.

This cleverly-designed toy was created by paper artist Haruki Nakamura. Just drop it on a table, and it forms itself as it bounces up in an almost playful way, as if it is saying hello.

Sadly, this penguin is only available in Japan, but if you’re feeling skilled with an X-acto and construction paper, you might be able to approximate the design shown in the how-to video:

There’s also an awesome wooden model shown in the video below:

[via Rocketnews24 via Laughing Squid]

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June 14 2017

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DIY Working Mini Apple II Computer

Do you love the classic Apple II computer? Video game engineer Chris Larkin recently met up with the folks at Tested to show how he built a working miniature Apple II replica. This mini version of the classic computer emulates the full size one, but you can hold this one in the palm of your hand.

The tiny computer is based on a $9 CHIP card, and has a teensy LCD TFT screen, sound support, and is powered by a drone battery. It’s controlled wirelessly via a full-size Bluetooth keyboard, though it currently doesn’t have joystick support, so playing some games is a bit of a challenge. If you want to try making your own, Chris shared the files and instructions here on GitHub.

It’s probably been a long time since you used an Apple II, but I bet you have never used one as small as this. Even if you don’t play it, it’s a pretty adorable little replica that you will want to put on your desk.

[via Laughing Squid]


This Millennium Falcon Violin Does the William Tell Overture in 12 Parsecs

You gave a concert in that? You’re braver than I thought. This Millennium Falcon Violin sadly, has no strings, so you can’t play it, but you can hang it on your wall and admire it.

Artist Richard Symons created this cool sculpture around a real violin. The engines light up with blue LEDs, which makes up for it’s lack of strings. So this is basically what the Falcon would look like if something went horribly wrong and it got all stretched out in hyperspace.

If it did work, you would still need a Wookiee co-pilot holding down the strings to help you play it. It will cost you $700 to hang this on your wall.

[via Scifidesign]


Mario Kart VR is Only Landing in Japan… And that’s BS

Bandai Namco is doing something super awesome and super annoying at the same time. It’s opening a VR arcade that will have VR version of Mario Kart complete with little karts you can sit in. The crappy part is that the arcade will only be in Shinjuku Tokyo, leaving out most of the world from enjoying it.

The Mario Kart VR game will seat players behind a standard racing wheel and fits them with sensors allowing them to virtually throw weapons like shells and banana peels using HTC Vive virtual reality goggles and trackers.

The VR Zone Shinjuku arcade will open on July 14. In addition to Mario Kart visitors will also get to play VR content based on Ghost in the Shell, Evangelion, Dragon Ball and more. I wish these cool VR arcade games would come to the US as well. I want to play Mario Kart VR badly.

[via Polygon]

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