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Is PC Gaming Set For a Comeback? 495

An anonymous reader writes "A combination of factors like console penetration, piracy, and the huge inherent variability in PC hardware setups have made the PC a third-class citizen for many gaming genres, especially the kind of high-adrenaline action games that were once the PC's bread and butter. Epic is a company that has been vocal in its shift toward consoles, with many controversial statements dropped over the years in reference to piracy being the reason. So it was with some surprise that we noted Epic's VP, Mark Rein, pointing out recently that the PC is as important as ever. Why the turnaround? This article suggests that the extended length of the current console generation will drive some developers back to the PC as new games push up against hardware limits."
The Military

A Look Back At Bombing the Van Allen Belts 237

An anonymous reader points out a recent story at NPR describing one of the greatest lightshows in history — a US hydrogen bomb test 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean in 1962. The mission came about after James Van Allen confirmed the existence of radiation belts around the earth that now bear his name. As it turns out, the same day Van Allen announced his findings at a press conference, he "agreed with the military to get involved with a project to set off atomic bombs in the magnetosphere to see if they could disrupt it." According to NPR, "The plan was to send rockets hundreds of miles up, higher than the Earth's atmosphere, and then detonate nuclear weapons to see: a) If a bomb's radiation would make it harder to see what was up there (like incoming Russian missiles!); b) If an explosion would do any damage to objects nearby; c) If the Van Allen belts would move a blast down the bands to an earthly target (Moscow! for example); and — most peculiar — d) if a man-made explosion might 'alter' the natural shape of the belts." The article is accompanied by a podcast and a video with recently declassified views of the test. They also explain how the different colors of light in the sky were produced.

What Gamers Have In Common With Top Athletes 201

nk497 writes "It's no surprise that professional gamers aren't quite as fit as elite athletes, but they do have something in common. According to a British academic, top-level players show similar psychological attributes as top athletes, such as the ability to manage anxiety, and have reaction times on par with fighter pilots. Dr. Micklewright said, 'When I first got asked to do [the study], my initial reaction was "don't be ridiculous, gaming is nothing like sport." But the more I thought about it, the more similarities [became clear], and I became more and more convinced that it was close in many ways to sport.' While sitting in front of a screen might not have the same physical demands as running a marathon, neither do playing snooker or darts. Still, while gamers show good reflexes, their health was worse than expected, with one 20-something professional player showing the same aerobic health as a 60-year-old smoker." This story is based on a BBC radio report which you can currently hear, although that link seems to say that it won't last.
PlayStation (Games)

Valve's Newell Thinks PS3 Needs To Be "Open Like a Mac" 348

Eraesr writes "Apparently Valve boss Gabe Newell thinks the PS3 needs to be more of an open platform, drawing a comparison to Apple's Mac platform. In an interview with 5BY5.TV, he said he would like to see the PS3 be 'open like a Mac' instead of being 'more closed like a Gamecube.' 'Platform investments, like the Mac, are difficult because you have to be aware of what direction that platform is moving,' Newell said, referring to the firm's recent move onto Macs with its titles and distribution service Steam. 'We need to target platforms that do a better job of looking like where we want to be in a few years.'"
Classic Games (Games)

A Playable PAC-MAN On Google Doodle 286

Kilrah_il and several other readers made sure we noted Google's tribute to PAC-MAN on its 30th anniversary — a playable game implemented in JavaScript. "'To play the game, go to during the next 48 hours (because it's too cool to keep for just one day) and either press the "Insert Coin" button or just wait for a few seconds.' There is also an Easter egg for those who want to recall one of the first multi-player games, but you'll have to RTFA to find it." This doodle may overshadow the Official PAC-MAN 30th Anniversary Destination.

You don't have to know how the computer works, just how to work the computer.