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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

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

2048 is the new Flappy Bird in so many ways

Have you been feeling just a little bit too productive since Flappy Bird got pulled from the Google Play and Apple App stores?

Never fear, there's a new simple but addictive gaming sensation to fill that massive time-wasting vacuum until Flappy Bird's anticipated return.

2048, the creation of a 19-year-old Italian programmer named Gabriele Cirulli, showed up free and fully open-sourced on Github earlier this month. The game is Web-based, although a mobile site is also available, and plenty of unofficial ports for Android and other platforms have begun to pop up.

2048 could be loosely described as … Read more

Bear Simulator: Take the world in your paw

There's a class that's seriously under-represented when it comes to video games, always the mob, never the protagonist. We are, of course, referring to the magnificent, noble bear. While the bear occasionally gets a look-in -- World of Warcraft and Enviro-Bear being two notable examples -- more often than not, the poor misunderstood bear is treated as an enemy to be punched.

Luckily, one brave game is attempting to redress the balance -- by combining it with one of our favourite genres ever, the simulation.… Read more

Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 now on sale for $350

Oculus' vision of virtual-reality gaming took another step closer to reality on Wednesday with the public availability of its second Rift Developer's Kit (DK2).

Game makers can purchase the headset for $350 today from the Oculus Web site, with an expected ship date sometime in July.

Oculus said many of the headset's features are ready for the average gamer. These include "key technical breakthroughs" such as "low-persistence, high-definition display and precise, low-latency positional head tracking."

The DK2 takes cues from Oculus' Crystal Cove prototype, including a low-persistence OLED to tamp down on simulator sickness … Read more

Titanfall for Xbox 360 pushed back to April 8

Xbox 360 owners will need to wait a couple more weeks before they can get their hands on Titanfall.

Titanfall will now launch on the Xbox 360 on April 8 in North America and April 11 in Europe, the game's publisher, Electronic Arts, announced on Wednesday. The title was expected to launch March 25 on the console, but EA said its development team needs a little more time to work out some kinks. Like the Xbox One and PC versions that launched last week, the Xbox 360 offering will include 6-vs-6 gameplay and feature all the same maps, modes, … Read more

Rejoice! SimCity's offline mode has landed

The long-awaited offline mode for Maxis' city-building game SimCity is rolling out Tuesday around the world. Maxis began the rollout at 6 a.m. PT and the developer warned players that some servers will be unavailable for the first few hours.

Of course, you'll need an Internet connection to download the offline mode, included with Update 10, but after your download is done you can play offline to your heart's content.

SimCity's offline mode is entirely optional. Access to multiplayer, SimCity World, and Online Save Games is entirely unaffected by the arrival of the offline mode. In addition, all of your previously downloaded content is available in single-player and multiplayer. … Read more

Lego robot sets new Rubik's Cube world record

Solving a Rubik's Cube is no easy feat, especially in less than 5 seconds, but that's exactly what Lego Mindstorms robot CubeStormer 3 did this week, with seconds to spare. The CubeStormer 3 impressed spectators at Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, England, with its new world record of 3.253 seconds.

Designed by inventors Mike Dobson and David Gilday, the ARM-powered CubeStormer 3 uses a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone. The phone analyzes the cube squares using a custom app to calculate the correct number of moves to solve the puzzle. The ARM processors move the Lego Mindstorms EV3 bricks, which execute the motor sequencing. … Read more

GamePop regroups for spring, signs Ubisoft, Warners

You might've thought the game console world was settled territory, but GamePop is hoping to change that perception.

BlueStacks' microgaming GamePop console, announced last year, has been delayed until late in the second quarter, according to a company representative. But at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, they've got what they hope is enough to keep players enticed: the big guns, major game makers.

Warner Brothers, UbiSoft, and GREE have signed on to distribute existing games, and perhaps new ones, on the Android-powered console that lets you play mobile games on your TV, joining smaller game vendors … Read more

May the 'Star Wars' March Madness be with you!

Yoda triumphed last year as the most popular "Star Wars" character, but who will win this year's geekiest bracket tournament in the galaxy? Darth Vader, R2-D2, Admiral Ackbar, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Yoda, and other fan favorites compete for fan votes in This is Madness: The Star Wars Character Tournament 2014, which started earlier this month and runs through April 7.

Upgrades to this year's online competition include real-time voting results, social-media sharing functionality, and new character divisions such as Rebels, Jedi, Scoundrels, Republic, Empire & Separatists, Sith, Bounty Hunters, and Underworld. There's also an "Attack of the Play-Ins" round, which allows four wild cards to enter the main tournament. … Read more