Entertainment

Facebook acquires Oculus VR

On Tuesday Facebook announced that it has completed an agreement to acquire the immersive virtual-reality tech company Oculus VR for $2 billion. Oculus VR is known for the Oculus Rift, a high-definition headset with motion-tracking capabilities and 3D display, which has been reaching record popularity in the game-development scene. The company recently came to GDC 2014 to showcase the second iteration of its Oculus development kit.

"Mobile is the platform of today, and now we're also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow," said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "Oculus has the chance to create … Read more

2048 starts easy; gets hard. Here's how to make it easy again

Like the popular iOS and Android puzzler Threes, from which it borrows its core concept, 2048 is a game as much about numbers as it is about space.

You have a limited number of free squares, and each move introduces another tile into the mix. But combine like numbers into their sum and you've opened up the board for the new tile and simultaneously progressed a little further toward your goal of making a magic 2048 tile, a feat accomplished by combining two 128s into a 256 and two 256s into a 512 and so on.

The HTML5 game, … Read more

Dolby to put Atmos surround sound on tablets, smartphones

SAN FRANCISCO -- Anyone who has seen the movie "Gravity" in a Dolby Atmos theater can understand what it's like to truly experience surround-sound.

The viewer becomes completely immersed in booms, echoes, smashes, and whispers -- space debris zooms overhead, loudly crashes into the International Space Station, and then there's total silence with just the faint murmur of Sandra Bullock's panicked breathing.

There's a reason why two of the movie's seven Academy awards were for sound.

Now Dolby is bringing this same experience to mobile. That's right, it's like a movie … Read more

Flame-breathing RC dragon flies for only $60,000

Lately, with the number of us who are obsessed with "Game of Thrones" and Dragon Age: Inquisition, I can comfortably say that dragons are once again "on fire" without having to worry that I'll be fired for making such a geektastic pun. I think it's safe to say that even Madonna would approve.

So it makes sense, then, that this would a good moment in history for Hammacher Schlemmer to begin a selling an actual flying, propane-flame-breathing, remote-controlled dragon for a mere $60,000 per beast.… Read more

GDC 2014's virtual-reality highlights

Eddie Cho looks at the latest developments in immersive gameplay, including the second version of the Oculus Rift dev kit, Project Morpheus, and the Virtuix Omni controller.

Also check out the IGF winners from GDC.

Not so fast: Environmental concerns halt Atari 'E.T.' cartridge dig

New Mexico environmental regulators have put the kibosh on the excavation of millions of Atari "E.T." game cartridges from a garbage dump there.

According to The Guardian, the New Mexico Environment Department has said that filmmakers planning a documentary about the burial of the cartridges in 1983 owing to catastrophic sales must first acquire a waste excavation plan.

At South by Southwest earlier this month, filmmakers from Lightbox and Fuel Entertainment said they were almost ready to start digging into the garbage dump in Alamogordo, N.M., to look for the cartridges. Their research had led them … Read more

The 404 1,450: Where we play by ear (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- That story of the marooned woman on a Hawaiian island getting saved thanks to Google Earth is totally fake.

- Chordify makes it easy to cover any song by transcribing sheet music from YouTube and Soundcloud links.

- Funk band games the Spotify system to fund upcoming nationwide tour.

- Virtual screaming babies squirm their way into teenage cellphones in new pregnancy campaign.… Read more

Billy Joel, Jimmy Fallon sing with an iPad app (No, it's really good)

Billy Joel didn't seem too sure at first.

One imagines he's a man of the old school: the dusty piano stool, the fool sitting in the corner talking into his beer.

He may be slightly less of a man for gizmos and apps.

Somehow, Jimmy Fallon, ever the boyish enthusiast, talked him into singing along with an iPad app called Loopy. This allows you to layer one track over another, so that you, too, can make like "Bohemian Rhapsody" (say).

Instead of "Bohemian Rhapsody," Fallon chose the "Boeem-a-weh" song. Yes, "The … Read more

Restaurant uses parachutes, PayPal to deliver sandwiches

Waiters are so last century. These days, sushi is flown to your table via a quadcopter and beer is dropped out of the sky from an octocopter. Now, a new pop-up restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, has added another, albeit less high-tech, method of food delivery: sandwiches that parachute several stories down to customers waiting on the street.

The novel nosh drop is the brainchild of David McDonald and Adam Grant, who make the toasted sandwiches, called "jaffles," after people order and pay for them via PayPal on their Web site. The customers then stand on an "X" on the sidewalk and wait for their meal to drop down like mana from heaven. The locations change, and customers are kept up to date via Facebook. The company is fittingly called Jafflechutes.… Read more

Papers, Please dominates IGF Awards at GDC 2014

Many great indie games and AAA titles featured at GDC 2014 were collaborative efforts from highly talented individuals. But Papers, Please proves that there is still room in the gamers' hearts for lone-wolf developers. With an usual narrative, Papers, Please captures the emotional toll of working as an immigration officer in a fictional dystopian country. Using detective skills and powers of observation, players can allow or deny refuge for immigrants trying to get into the nation of Arstotzka.

Lucas Pope drew from personal experience as an American living abroad and applied the skills he acquired at Naughty Dog working on … Read more