You are probably surrounded by more computers than you know what to do with, whether it's the phone in your pocket, the old clunker at home, or the sleek little ultraportable you got from work. And while they are more than enough for everyday tasks, when it comes to real graphics prowess, I'm talking about serious gaming, 3D design, or photo/video editing, most systems don't have the guts -- or the space to accommodate the kind of silicon you'd need to push pixels around.
Here's a fact rarely discussed outside of super nerdy gaming circles. The guts of your video game console actually matter. Once upon a time games were designed to run the same on every console and, in some cases (like the massive multiplayer first person shooter Destiny 2), games are still designed that way. But most games have what is called a "dynamic resolution" with the resolution shifting on a spectrum from as 720p to 4K depending on the scene.
Thus the more powerful the console the higher and more consistent the resolution of the game you are playing will be. Want something close to consistent 4K without spending a grand on a PC gaming rig? You need a powerful console.
The success of any AR game depends entirely on immersion: whether the player's having so much they forget how massively dorky they look with a cafeteria tray stuck to their their face. Disney's Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, a $399 standalone AR machine made in collaboration with Lenovo, succeeds at this in fits and spurts. Going toe-to-toe with Darth Maul in melee combat or commanding ground troops to retake ships is thrilling, but the package's clunky, cluttered setup presentation wastes too much time in drawing in players.
Lord of the Rings -- not even in its cinematic, action-heavy form -- doesn't really lend itself to the power fantasy of video games. That's not stopped people from trying for years, including the latest game, the hack-n'-slash-meets-orc-dating-sim Middle-Earth: Shadow of War. But Shadow of War fails to understand Lord of the Rings in some pretty fundamental ways.
The recently-released Super Nintendo Classic Edition is a fantastic way to replay 21 of your favourite 16-bit SNES games -- but what about all the other classics that Nintendo excluded? If you've still got a stack of old Super Nintendo carts at home, the Analogue Super Nt should let you enjoy them on the fancy hi-def TV you upgraded to years ago.
I was about an hour into zombie horror board game Dead of Winter when I gave up all hope of ever being happy again. My players were surrounded by the undead, I was nearly out of supplies, and my heart was beating like a jack-hammer. It took all my courage not to flip over my brother-in-law's table and scream: "Screw it, let the zombies eat my face! I don't even care anymore."
The smartphone in your pocket can perfectly emulate any video game from the '80s, but not the experience of crowding around a cabinet at an arcade, waiting to try the latest hit game. Fortunately, if you're a nostalgic gamer striving for the most authentic retro experience, you can now squeeze an actual arcade onto your desk -- without having to keep a pile of quarters on hand.
Forza 7 opens with a demo that takes you through a sand-swept track in Dubai, with the new Porsche 911 GT2 -- a car announced at E3 -- sliding around from corner to corner under your control. It's fun. It's fun without being too hard, it's fun without being too easy. The driving dynamics are a little bit arcade, a little bit sim. And that's the newest Forza game in a nutshell -- not too cold, not too hot. Just right.