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RetroArch will be Steam’s biggest emulation launch yet, coming July 30

Ars Technica - July 13, 2019 - 2:30pm

Coming to Steam on July 30. (credit: Libretro)

RetroArch is coming to Steam as a free download on July 30, marking what appears to be the largest non-commercial emulation launch ever on Valve's digital download storefront. The news came on Friday via an announcement from Libretro, the open source development collective that maintains the RetroArch launcher app for a massive range of operating systems.

In an email interview with Ars Technica, Libretro's Daniel De Matteis claimed that the software's impending launch did not require any conversations with Steam over the storefront's rules about emulation. However, there does appear to be a fuzzy dance going on with this launch, as Friday's announcement includes the following curious claim: "While there is nothing particularly [sic] about RetroArch or the Libretro API that has anything to do with emulators, most do... use it for this purpose." We're not sure what other use case is enabled by RetroArch, honestly. Its menu system revolves around finding, downloading, updating, and booting "cores" that are dedicated to emulating classic video game consoles, and by default, it leads users to cores that advertise compatibility with games from popular consoles made by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and others.

Valve doesn't appear to have any public-facing rules about whether emulators are allowed on Steam, and poking around Steam reveals a few limited emulator apps. A pair of announcements about rules for Steam's discussion boards, meanwhile, make patently clear that discussions about emulators are expressly forbidden—and are classified as a "piracy" topic. Valve representatives did not immediately answer our questions about RetroArch.

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Atari 2600 rarity Extra Terrestrials goes on sale for $90,000

Ars Technica - July 13, 2019 - 1:30pm

Got $90,000 burning a hole in your pocket? If so, you seemingly have a rare opportunity to purchase one of the rarest Atari 2600 games in existence.

Extra Terrestrials (not to be confused with the notorious movie-licensed Atari 2600 flop E.T.) was an actual Atari 2600 game sold near the tail end of the 2600's commercial existence in early 1984. But the cartridge was almost completely unknown, even among the Atari collecting community, until October of 2011. That's when a copy turned up as a contribution to Canada's Personal Computer Museum in Brantford, Ontario.

With a bit of research, curators at the museum were able to determine that the game's maker, Skill Screen Games, was centered around the Banting family of Burlington, Ontario (making this the only Canadian-produced Atari 2600 game, to boot). The Bantings, hoping to cash in on the Atari craze and the continuing hype around the E.T. movie, hired a programmer named Herman Quast to write a simple two-player maze game for the Atari 2600, with plans to sell that game through distributors for the 1983 holiday season.

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Stranger Things 3, eps. 1-4: Hawkins, Indiana, will never be the same

Ars Technica - July 13, 2019 - 12:30pm

Enlarge / Perhaps teen romance can split 'em up temporarily, but you can't keep the gang apart for long if evil lurks around Hawkins. (credit: Netflix)

Warning: This story contains some spoilers for episodes 1-4 of Stranger Things' third season. You can read our non-spoiler preview of the new season here, or catch up on what's come before with past Ars stories on season one and season two.

Russians. It always had to be Russians.

Maybe it should be called Gorbachev's Law, but put any kind of get-the-gang-together action story into the 1980s, and eventually modern democracy's favorite villain must rear its head. And in Stranger Things 3, the show wastes no time—this go-around may be once again centered in Hawkins, but S3's very first scene shows there's no going back after the events of the show's first two seasons. The scope and scale of evil facing our favorite now-teenage heroes grows simultaneously as they do.

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Norfolk village celebrates first transatlantic flight, 100 years on

BBC Technology News - July 13, 2019 - 11:30am
The village of Pulham made history when it welcomed an airship's heroic crew.

Facebook 'to be fined $5bn over Cambridge Analytica scandal'

BBC Technology News - July 13, 2019 - 7:22am
US regulators are said to have approved a penalty against Facebook over a data protection scandal.

Congress is Bad at Rocket League

Slashdot - July 13, 2019 - 4:15am
Categories: Geek, Opinion

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