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    Godzilla roars his way onto Apple TV+ in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters teaser / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 21:53 · 1 minute

Apple TV+'s new original series, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters , picks up where 2014's Godzilla left off.

Major film franchises expanding into streaming television is officially a trend: Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Universe, and now Legendary Entertainment's MonsterVerse , which brought together Godzilla, King Kong, and various other monsters ( kaiju ) created by Toho Co., Ltd into the same fold. There have been four feature films thus far, with a fifth slated for a 2024 release, plus the animated series Skull Island , which debuted on Netflix earlier this year.  And now we've got the first teaser for Apple TV+'s Monarch: Legacy of Monsters , which picks up where the 2014 film Godzilla left off.

Set 15 years after a nuclear disaster in Japan, the 2014 Godzilla reimagined the classic monster's origins and featured the titular beast battling giant winged parasitic creatures called MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) that feed off nuclear energy and waste (and also warheads). San Francisco suffered quite a bit of major property damage as a result. That film also introduced us to Project Monarch, a secret organization established in the 1950s to study Godzilla and other kaiju —after attempts to kill Godzilla with nuclear weapons failed.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters will further explore the history and aftermath of those events. Per the official premise:

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    Record-breaking Super Mario Bros. speedrun approaches robotic perfection / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 20:17

Niftski making it look easy.

In 2021, when speedrunner Niftski became the first person to complete Super Mario Bros. in under 4 minutes, 55 seconds, we used the four-minute mile as a metaphor for the difficulty and importance of the achievement. But now that Niftski has pushed that time even lower—setting a new world record of 4:54.631 for a live, human-controlled full game run —we're left grasping for metaphors that accurately capture the performance.

Niftski's new record perfectly matches a "perfect" TAS of the game (i.e., a "tool-assisted speedrun" that uses frame-by-frame input recordings using an emulator) through seven of the run's eight levels. His best time is now running ahead of the "theory limit" of 4:54.798 that runner Bismuth set back in 2018 as the ideal human performance standard.

In the battle of man versus machine, Niftski is now just 0.35 seconds away from standing up, John Henry-style, against the standard of machine-made automation. Hey, I guess I did come up with a good metaphor after all.

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    Judge issues legal permaban, $500K judgment against serial Destiny 2 cheater / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 15:57 · 1 minute

Artist's conception of the judge getting ready to legally blast the defendant into <em>Destiny 2</em>'s version of non-existence.

Enlarge / Artist's conception of the judge getting ready to legally blast the defendant into Destiny 2 's version of non-existence. (credit: Bungie)

Just over a year ago, Bungie went to court to try to stop a serial Destiny 2 cheater who had evaded multiple account bans and started publicly threatening Bungie employees. Now, that player has been ordered to pay $500,000 in copyright-based damages and cannot buy, play, or stream Bungie games in the future.

In a consent judgment that has apparently been agreed to by both ides of the lawsuit (as dug up by TorrentFreak ), district court judge Richard Jones agrees with Bungie's claim that defendant Luca Leone's use of cheat software constitutes "copyright infringement" of Destiny 2 . Specifically, the cheat software's "graphical overlay" and use of "inject[ed] code" creates an "unauthorized derivative work" that violates federal copyright law. The judgment imposes damages of $150,000 for violations on each of two infringed works (seemingly encompassing Destiny 2 and its expansions)

Leone also created new accounts to get around multiple ban attempts by Bungie and tried to "opt out" of the game's license agreement as a minor in an attempt to do a legal end run around Bungie's multiple account bans. This made each of Leone's subsequent Destiny 2 logins unlicensed violation of Bungie's copyright, according to the judge's order, which tacks on $2,000 in damages for each of "at least 100" such logins.

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    Ars system mini-guide: Summer GPU refresh edition, aka “can it run Starfield”? / ArsTechnica · Friday, 8 September - 14:38

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT, 7800 XT, and 7600.

Enlarge / The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT, 7800 XT, and 7600. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Two big things have happened since we last updated our PC build guide in the spring . First, we got a batch of late-spring and summer midrange GPU launches, including AMD's Radeon RX 7600 , 7700 XT, and 7800 XT , plus Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4060 and 4060 Ti . Second, Bethesda's Starfield finally dropped , prompting a whole bunch of people to ask "can my PC run Starfield ?"

Starfield isn't an exceptionally demanding PC game, at least not by the standards set by buggy PC ports like The Last of Us . But it will give any PC more than 3 or 4 years old a serious workout, and it should serve as a decent yardstick for building a PC that can run this console generation's games fairly well.

This guide will focus on just minor tweaks to our spring PC builds, since other component pricing hasn't changed much and there haven't been major CPU introductions since then (Intel's don't-call-them-14th-generation Core processors may be out within a few months, but on the desktop they'll be a mild refresh of 13th-gen, which was already a mild refresh of 12th-gen).

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    ZAP! Atari acquires beloved retro homebrew vendor AtariAge / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September - 19:19

An Atari logo on top of Atari arcade cabinet graphics

Enlarge (credit: Atari / Benj Edwards)

On Thursday, Atari announced that it will acquire AtariAge , a popular online community for the Atari enthusiasts over two decades. AtariAge is best-known for selling Atari 2600, 5200, and 7800 console homebrews in high-quality cartridge form, as well as games, for the Atari line of computers and other retro systems.

"Atari is now taking its retro-related IP seriously and is creating a wide array of hardware and software based on that IP, while also creating new, original content," wrote AtariAge founder Albert Yarusso in a statement posted on the AtariAge forums.

Yarusso says he will take on a full-time role with Atari and continue to run AtariAge as usual but will have more time to focus on fixing up the site's games database, which he feels needs updating. Still, AtariAge is showing no signs of slowing down on the homebrew front, planning to publish 20 new games on a variety of retro platforms in time for the upcoming Portland Retro Gaming Expo in October.

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    Nintendo reportedly showing devs “Switch 2” with upscaled Breath of the Wild / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September - 16:22

This shot of <em>Breath of the Wild</em>, upscaled to 4K via PC emulator, could give some vague idea of the planned power of the Switch 2.

Enlarge / This shot of Breath of the Wild , upscaled to 4K via PC emulator, could give some vague idea of the planned power of the Switch 2. (credit: Reddit )

After years of persistent rumors about Nintendo's inevitable follow-up to the wildly successful Switch, new reports suggest the company is using an upscaled Breath of the Wild and other tech demos to show off the hardware's potential power to select third-party developers.

A new Eurogamer report asserts vaguely that the outlet "understands" demos of a "Switch 2" were shown to developers behind closed doors at last month's Gamescom convention in Germany. The demo reportedly highlighted a "souped up" version of Switch hit Breath of the Wild running on hardware at the same general power level Nintendo is targeting for its next console (though Eurogamer is quick to tamp down any expectations that any such remastered Breath of the Wild is actually planned for release).

VGC followed up with its own report saying that it could "corroborate [Eurogamer's information] via our own sources," including details of a Breath of the Wild demo with "higher framerate and resolution."

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    Demeo is one of the first “immersive” games announced for Apple Vision Pro / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 7 September - 15:00 · 1 minute

Is this the new face of the tabletop RPG player? <em>Demeo</em> maker Resolution Games thinks it might be.

Enlarge / Is this the new face of the tabletop RPG player? Demeo maker Resolution Games thinks it might be.

Resolution Games today announced that a version of Demeo —the developer's popular virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) tabletop RPG simulator—is in "active development" for the Apple Vision Pro headset. The title is among the first VR/MR games to be officially confirmed for Apple's highly anticipated $3,500 wearable computing device , which is expected early next year.

After Demeo 's launch in 2021 , Resolution Games added a Mixed Reality update late last year that places in-game objects on top of a view of the real world (via passthrough cameras on compatible headsets like Meta's Quest 2 and Quest Pro and the upcoming Quest 3 ). A "Mixed Reality 2.0" update for the game, launching today, adds support for controller-free hand-tracking as well as "co-location" of mixed reality items, which can now appear in the same place for multiple users in the same physical room.

Those kinds of MR features will be useful on the Apple Vision Pro, which doesn't use handheld controllers and is primarily focused on MR apps that can be layered over a view of the real world. But Resolution Games says Vision Pro will also support a "fully virtual" version of the game that doesn't integrate passthrough images.

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    Yes, you can play Starfield on Steam Deck, but really, you shouldn’t / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 6 September - 20:09

Character in Starfield addressing the player head-on

Enlarge / Playing Starfield on the Steam Deck does not feel like reveling in mankind's great capacity for wonder and discovery. (credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

Starfield , Bethesda's epic planet-hopping first-person RPG , is now widely available, and that includes on handheld gaming PCs. Both Valve's Steam Deck and the Asus ROG Ally picked up recent system updates that made it possible to play the game without crashes.

I can confirm the game runs on both systems, having experienced early access crashes and now a bit of normal gameplay today. But I don't think there's much point to playing locally on either system. Streaming remotely with Game Pass, or locally with Moonlight or Xbox Remote Play , is a better option, presuming you can do so without much input lag.

If you do try to force Starfield to load on your handheld, the graphics and frame rates will range from muddy to just acceptable, the battery life will be quite bad, and your experience with perhaps the best part of Bethesda RPGs—the sense of wonder and discovery in wide-open spaces—will be severely limited.

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