Why Introspection Is Important

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We know emotional intelligence is important. It helps us empathize with other people so we communicate better and fight less. It helps us understand our own actions so we can be more productive and less reactionary. It’s not always easy, though, and this video from the School of Life explains how it can go wrong.

Using the Androcles and the Lion fable, the video makes a really powerful point about reacting vs. responding. To sum it up, it’s easy to get angry, act like an ass, and take our stress out on other people without realizing the root of our problem (the proverbial thorn). We go on reacting like this instead of actually addressing the problem. Or we know there’s a problem but make one of the following mistakes:

  • We diagnosis incorrectly: Instead of getting to the root of the problem, you blame something (or someone) else.
  • We ignore the pain: We tell ourselves it’s really not that big of a deal so we “suck it up” and ignore it.
  • We come up with the wrong solution: As they put it “we might come up with unfounded, confused schemes to solve problems we don’t understand.”

For a long time, I ignored my issues with depression, for example, because I thought the best solution was to just suck it up and ignore the pain. This only made things much worse. Or, I’d tell myself it was something else because I was afraid of the stigma. When I pinpointed and admitted the actual problem, I could figure out how to work with it, which was a lot more productive than pretending it didn’t exist. You can probably think of a few of your own personal examples in each category. This is where introspection comes in. Here’s how they put it (emphasis ours):

“Fortunately there’s almost always information about what is really wrong. Our stream-of-consciousness contains a reservoir of muddled hints about our woes which need to be gathered and decoded. The art of living is to a large measure dependent on an ability to locate our thorns accurately and in good time so that we will not forever be condemned to suffer our symptoms and terrify strangers with our roars.”

It’s easier to ignore the problem, but introspection is crucial to our emotional intelligence, our relationships, and our productivity.

Why Introspection Matters | The School of Life

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OUR HEALTHY FUTURE: How technology and public health efforts will transform and extend people’s lives in the next ten years

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An elderly man swimsAl Bello/Getty Images

One of the great stories of the 20th Century was the dramatic extension of the human lifespan.

Advances in medical technology, disease eradication, and improved living conditions made it far more common and normal for people to live into old age. In 1900, global life expectancy was 31. In 1950 it was 48. In 2010 it was 70.

So the question is: What’s next?

Some people claim that the trend will continue apace, and that people will soon live to be 150, 200, even 1,000. More sober analysis suggests there’s an upper limit to the human lifespan, and we’re getting close.

The challenge, then, is to help more people reach the full extent of their lives, and do so more healthily and more comfortable in their own bodies and minds than medical science currently allows. Already, there are projects on the table that show tremendous promise — and others that are unlikely but fascinating to think about.

Welcome to the next 10 years of human longevity.

First of all, what’s the difference between research into longevity versus other kinds of medicine?

The hardest patient to treat is the patient who’s already sick.

Longevity research happens almost entirely in the domain of public health — figuring out how to prevent people from getting sick, and connecting people who do get sick with the best possible treatments as quickly as possible.

Most doctors and policy experts agree that this is the sector of medicine with the most potential to save and extend lives. But it can be hard to get funding; a terminal patient in need of a new drug is a much more tangible motivator than five hundred everyday people who don’t get sick in the first place and have no idea they were ever in danger.

Efforts to extend a few people’s lives to 200 or 1,000 years may get lots of media attention, but the most exciting research seeks to help 50-year-olds live into their 70s.

This kind of research can save millions of lives. Just look at lung cancer.

When some people think about longevity research, their thoughts might turn toward science fiction: rewritten genes, bubbling tubes of anti-aging juice, full-body transplants, the singularity.

But one of the single-most successful longevity efforts in living memory was much more straightforward, and it began in 1964.

US Surgeon General Luther Terry published a report finding that cigarettes — the 20th Century’s blockbuster luxury good — cause cancer. The following five decades saw an unprecedented public policy and awareness effort to curb smoking.

The result? Eight million lives saved from premature death over 50 years, while 20 million people still died early as a result of tobacco. The average person reached by tobacco control efforts gained 20 years of life.

There’s a long road still left to travel on the way to a tobacco-free society, but that’s what a massively successful longevity effort looks like.

So the question is: What will the big advances in longevity look like in the next ten years? Let’s look at the options.

If you want to extend lives, think about changing the way people live.

If turning around people’s smoking habits saved millions of lives in the 20th Century, it seems likely that a similar lifestyle-changing effort might pay dividends in the 21st.

One big target for such an effort is sugar.

Lots of research has shown that the sweet crystal is by far the most dangerous elements of the average American diet, ravaging bodies, inducing diabetes and shortening lifespans. And there’s evidence the American sugar industry deliberately misled the public about these dangers, gaslighting us all with lies about oils and weight gain — a close parallel to how the tobacco industry lied about cigarettes.

People who cut sugar out of their lives tend to dramatically outlive those who consume it regularly.

Major efforts to control sugar consumption are already underway. Taxes on sugary drinks have arrived in places like Philadelphia and Mexico — where there’s some early evidence they’ll be successful in saving lives. San Francisco and three other cities voted for similar measures on Election Day.

A radical reduction in sugar consumption will likely take more than a hike on the cost of Coca Cola. But political momentum for such an effort seems to be building. Sugar control even has its own billionaire backer, former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg.

Of all the longevity efforts we’ve described, the war on sugar likely holds the most promise for extending lives in the United States, where obesity and diabetes are major challenges.

In the next ten years, results will come in on those efforts already underway to fight sugar consumption. And more experiments in sugar control will likely launch.

Down the road, expect the battle against sugar consumption to transform and extend people’s lives in the next five decades as significantly as the fight with the tobacco industry did in the last five.

On a population level, disease eradication can make the difference between life and death for millions.

Genetically modified male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are pictured at Oxitec factory in PiracicabaThomson Reuters

Many of the most significant developments in longevity in the last century have come from concerted efforts to take on and reduce — or even wipe out — diseases that kill millions every year.

Smallpox and polio are probably the most famous examples of killers beaten back through massive public health and vaccination efforts. (Polio still infects people in some parts of the world, but its impact is much more limited than 100 years ago.)

More recently, the non-fatal but horrible-to-live with Guinea Worm has neared extinction — largely through the efforts of the Carter Foundation.

One big target for disease eradication in the 21st Century? Malaria.

The human war on malaria has gone on for centuries, all over the world. And it’s amazing how many places where mosquito’s once carried the disease are now malaria-free, and treatment efforts continue to improve. Deaths from the parasite have declined 60% since 2000 as a result.

Major donors like Bill Gates are funding projects to beat the disease back even further and fight drug-resistant strains. There are also projects to release genetically-modified infertile or malaria-resistant mosquitos into the wild, and disrupt malaria’s global vector.

If good malaria infection trend lines continue for the next ten years, that will be very good news for the world.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan want to ‘cure all disease.’

Silicon Valley is actively involved in efforts to extend the human lifespan, both by funding research and by pursuing technological and engineering solutions. (Billionaire Peter Thiel, for example has expressed interest in companies working on human parabiosis — that is, injecting old people with the blood of young people.)

It’s not surprising that some of those projects make more sense than others.

Back in September — and more within the realm of normalcy — Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan pledged $3 billion to a plan to cure all disease by the end of the century.

It’s both a staggering sum of money and a pile of cash so tiny compared to annual research funding in the US that you’d be forgiven for finding the goal a bit lofty. After all, the National Institutes of Health spends ten times that amount in a single year.

But here’s the case for the project:

Zuckerberg and Chan, through their foundation, aren’t just dumping money into the existing medical research pipeline. Instead, they’re setting up a system of investment and reward for projects that break the mold. They’re funding longer-term, higher-risk projects, basic science, and collaborations between doctors and engineers. The goal isn’t to just improve on existing methods and medicines. Rather, they want to come up with whole new approaches to fighting disease.

If the project sees successes, they will be the product of a rethinking about the direction of medical science. And it will be part of a wider story. There’s a fast-developing body of research into not just addressing illness once it develops, but fighting it at the cause. The goal is to help people live longer, healthier, safer lives.

The potential promise of active bloodstream monitoring

Zuckerberg and Chan, in their announcement, highlighted their interest in active bloodstream monitoring. That is, technology that would allow for high-reliability, general-purpose blood tests conducted automatically and regularly — perhaps by a patch or an implant — over the course of a person’s life.

The idea: to detect diseases from infections to cancers the moment they arise, hopefully when they’re easiest to treat.

There are challenges to this kind of technology.

First of all, a spate of false positives could impose massive costs on the healthcare system, so it would have to be very accurate before rolling out in a big way.

Second, we’ve seen that cheap, painless blood tests are not at all easy to do well.

But as far as transformative longevity technologies go, this is one of the more plausible ideas we could see the beginnings of in the near future.

Another technology that’s in the middle of a boom? Gene editing.

Many of the factors that cut short people’s lives have their roots in genetics — including evidence that changes in genetic structure over the course of a lifetime are a key driver of aging.

CRISPR, a cheap and effective tool to line-editing genomes, is revolutionizing biology. Research into genetic therapy protocols is already well underway — and the first human CRISPR trial began in China this year.

It’s likely that in the next ten years we’ll begin to see the first glimmers of results from efforts to extend people’s lives with altered genes, though we’re still probably a long way from widely-available treatments.

Unity Biotechnology wants to clear your body of aging cells — and just got a $116 million investment.

Unity Biotechnology is a startup with a plan to help human beings age more healthily.

Here’s how it works: The cells in your body have a system — my colleague Lydia Ramsey compares it to emergency brakes — for stopping themselves in their tracks if they get too stressed out.

Your body doesn’t want genetic mutations or other damage to spread, so the stressed-out cell stops dividing. Cells like this are called “senescent,” and you build up more of them as you age. This protects you against cancer, but also may contribute to the various diseases of aging.

In mice Unity has found that treatments to clear out senescent cells can extend “healthy lifespans” — that is, the period of the creature’s life when it is able to move through the world like it did in its youth.

Unity has been, unlike some other longevity startups, rigorous and specific. They make it clear that they’re not trying to abnormally extend lives, just to make old age healthier. Their published research has been promising.

Human trials begin, they say, in the next year and a half.

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Review: The NES Classic Edition and all 30 games on it

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Nintendo is courting nostalgia for the holidays this year, like pretty much every year — but the NES Classic Edition, a palm-size recreation of the original console with 30 games built-in, rates highly on the nostalgia scale even for a company whose heart is stuck in the 1980s. It’s already a highly coveted item for millions of 30-something gamers, and make no mistake: This is a love letter to Nintendo’s oldest fans.

At a glance

  • 30 games built-in
  • HDMI out
  • USB powered
  • One controller in box; extras $10
  • $60; available November 11

Retro love

Nintendo Classic Edition

First of all, we have to talk about the device itself: It’s tiny. Like, fits in your palm tiny. And while it’s a great reproduction of the original, it’s clear that it’s just for looks. There’s no cartridge slot to put an SD card full of games, no old-school video out on the back, just HDMI. The controller ports aren’t as satisfyingly analog-feeling as the old ones, but that’s really not a big deal.

The NES turns on instantly; you’ll be prompted the first time to set up your language, but thereafter you’ll be sent directly to the game selection screen. Enjoy the jaunty NES-style menu theme — I want it for my phone. The menu really shows lovely attention to detail; Nintendo could have phoned it in, but instead took great care, and whole experience is better for it.

Hitting Up on the controller brings you to the settings menu, where you’ll find display options (more on this later), language, a couple of miscellaneous tweaks like demo/screen saver mode and auto shutdown, some legal information and a decidedly unhelpful link to download manuals to your phone.

Nintendo Classic Edition

Not as familiar looking from this side.

That really is one of the big disappointments of the NES Classic for the old-school fan: It would have been so satisfying to have the original manual for each game available. Of course, the manuals would have taken up orders of magnitude more space than the games themselves — an NES ROM is on the order of 40-256 kilobytes, while a single manual might be 5-10 megabytes when scanned at a reasonable resolution. Still, it’s a shame.

Hitting Down brings you to the Suspend menu, which we’ll come to later. Left and Right navigate through the list of games, and although it isn’t exactly efficient, it’s quick enough you won’t mind not having a more compact view.

The Power button, which has the familiar two-step click from the original NES, controls power, obviously. The reset button is used to return to the menu; the game is automatically suspended when you do this.

Nintendo Classic Edition

Having played NES games since small times, I know the feel pretty well, and this gets the feel 95 percent right. The controllers are highly accurate replicas, and while the buttons feel identical, the d-pad seems stiffer. That could simply be because it’s brand new, though.

That said, the cord for the controller is way too short. Well shorter than three feet, which doesn’t help when you want to pass it to the next person on the couch. You can buy extenders, or even a wireless controller, but still, the short cord is a pain.

This actually makes it look longer than it is. Believe me, it’s too short.

Between this and the necessity of pressing the Reset button on the console itself to save the game, it’s clear Nintendo wants the NES to sit near you on the coffee table or whatnot, but that means running a cord across the living room — not ideal. If you’ve got a nice, tucked-away A/V setup, the NES Classic isn’t going to fit into it.

On the plus side, it makes the console very portable. You can unplug it, wrap the cords up and take it to a friend’s house super-easily, and pick up a game where you left off. No cloud saves or accounts here — it’s all on the device itself.

Setting the bar for NES emulation

I’ve never been a fan of the Virtual Console — I liked the idea, but it never was executed quite right, whether it was the controls, the display style or something else. This time, Nintendo got everything right.

Controls are as responsive as they ever were, with no appreciable lag or other weirdness. It’s nice to be playing on the NES-style controller, too.

I saw a couple of small graphical glitches in the hours I played, but they were very much the kind you’d see when playing the originals: some graphical corruption that disappears when you walk backwards and forwards again, and the like.

Nintendo also has not attempted to improve on the original by doing frame interpolation, removing the 8-sprite-per-line limit or anything like that. This is very much going after the original experience, complete with flickering, well-known bugs in games and so on.

Freeze frame

Unlike the original NES, of course, this one lets you save your progress in a game at any time. You do this by hitting the Reset button, which puts you back at the menu and shows a winged screenshot floating there, waiting to be resumed, saved or deleted.

The interface here is a bit obtuse, though it gets more intuitive with time. Once you hit Reset, you hit down to go to the Suspend menu. There are four slots there, and if they’re empty, you press A to drop the save in there. If a save is already there, you hold A for about half a second and it pushes the previous one out of the way with a cute little animation.

The idea is it makes it unlikely you’ll accidentally overwrite another save, but it takes a bit of skill to operate with any speed and confidence. You can also lock saves so they can’t be overwritten by simply pressing down again while in the save state menu.

suspend

Each game gets its own four slots, which is generally more than enough. One thing to note is that using Suspend overwrites any in-game battery save, like the ones in Zelda or SMB3. To prevent confusion, just use one or the other, or you’ll end up accidentally deleting your game.

It’s a bit cumbersome if you use the feature a lot, like saving before each level. You have to hit Restart, then Down, then either A (to save) or Down again (to select a previous save), then A again. It’s like putting in a cheat code! I accidentally saved or loaded more than once when I meant to do the other, but I suspect muscle memory will eventually take care of that.

Presumably Nintendo didn’t want people using this every second, which would be the case if there was a save/load button on the controller itself. I respect that decision, but it’s still kind of annoying.

That Nintendo look

Nintendo was generous with the display modes — I went into detail on this when they first announced it, so I’ll just repeat what I said then by way of review:

The NES was almost certainly played on a 4:3 CRT television over something like an RF adapter or possibly RCA. The output of the NES, however, was not quite 4:3 (~256x240px), so the pixels would be stretched — that is, not quite square, the way they are on the screen you’re looking at. This, combined with the poor video signal carried by cables at the time and the naturally analog look of CRT phosphors, gave NES games a very distinct and recognizable look.

nesmini-screen-modes

The NES Mini has three display modes (click above for a bigger version):

  • Pixel perfect, which displays the graphics with square pixels, exactly as the NES outputs them. In some ways this is the ideal format, but in others totally foreign to many players. Because it’s narrower, distances will appear shorter and movement slower — believe me, people notice these things.
  • 4:3, which stretches the image to the proportions you’d be familiar with from an old-school TV. This in itself will blur the image somewhat, it’s worth noting.
  • CRT filter, which adds an overlay simulating the visual artifacts you’d see on a CRT TV over an analog connection.

Which you use is really a matter of taste. It might look better to send the pixel-perfect signal and stretch it on your TV rather than in the box.

The pixel-perfect and 4:3 modes are bright, colorful and look fantastic — much better than the previous Virtual Console versions. This is a great way to experience these games.

Personally, I found the CRT filter to be a bit heavy, darkening the image considerably. Not to my taste, but it’s nice to have the option. People who like this sort of thing will find it the sort of thing they like, and so on.

Should you buy it?

Before I get to the games themselves, let me just say: Yes, buy it. I think this is a fantastic value. You’re paying $2 per game, plus the well-made hardware and convenience of the save state system. It’s a bargain in a lot of ways.

nes-controller-box

Since controllers are only 10 bucks, it’s easy to recommend buying one first thing.

That said, you really should spring for a second controller — many of the games in this first batch are better two-player. $10 isn’t much to ask — but you might consider waiting and buying a wireless or extended-cord version from a third-party for convenience.

I say “this first batch” because it’s inconceivable to me that Nintendo would not put out a few more of these over the next couple of years. The Classic Edition has the early hits and main Nintendo franchises. A Sports Edition comes with Ice Hockey, Double Dribble, Track and Field and all those. The Action Edition comes with original Contra, Rush ‘n Attack, Strider and that stuff. Puzzle edition, RPG edition, etc.

It makes too much sense to do this, and too little sense to stop now. Licensing issues may be a problem but Nintendo will make it work if they can sell these games to you for the third or fourth time now.

But as those are still theoretical and this one has such a solid selection, you should go ahead and give them your money as soon as possible.

The games

The game selection is a mixed bag — it seems like Nintendo was trying to hit as many types of player as possible without specializing in any one genre. The result is, in my opinion, a few too many arcade games, not enough Contra and an appalling lack of Bionic Commando.

Because not everyone was around to play these the first time they came out, here’s a quick rundown of the games you get, what they’re like and which modes they’ve got. (Note: Many of these screenshots are from the Wii U Virtual Console versions; they’ll look much better on the NES Classic Edition.)

Balloon Fight

balloon-fight

  • One or two players (simultaneous)
  • Floating, monster-avoiding action

This Joust-alike was one of the first games to come out on the NES, and it’s pretty basic even for the 8-bit era. It is, however, a joy to control once you get the hang of it. It’s simple enough for kids to play, but watch out, it gets difficult real fast in adventure mode.

Bubble Bobble

bubble-bobble

  • One or two players (simultaneous)
  • Bubble bobbling, skeleshark dodging action

Dinosaurs that blow bubbles and turn monsters into fruit and candy? Just go with it. Best played with two players, and suitable for all ages, although, again, difficulty ramps up quickly. If you don’t have the theme song stuck in your head after a few levels, you’re stronger than I.

Castlevania

castlevania

  • One player
  • Vampire-hunting action

One of the all-time classics, Castlevania holds up surprisingly well in terms of art and conception — pay attention and it really seems like you’re infiltrating a haunted castle, not just doing level 1-2 and 3-1 and so on. Focus on mastering the stilted jumping and learn the enemies’ patterns, and don’t be afraid to look online for the ridiculously well-hidden secret hams. Pro tip: Boomerang and holy water are the best for bosses.

Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

castlevania-2

  • One player
  • Vampire-hunting action RPG

This game may not be as well-remembered as the classic original or groundbreaking third entry, but consult a guide to get you past a few of the more opaque puzzles and I think you’ll find this really is a very innovative and well-crafted action RPG. Plus, how cool is that fire whip?

Donkey Kong

dk

  • One or two players (sequential)
  • Arcade barrel-jumping action

Everyone can beat the first few levels of DK, sure. But then it starts getting pretty hairy. Watch King of Kong and then see how you match up to world champs.

Donkey Kong Jr.

dkjr

  • One or two players (sequential)
  • Arcade vine-climbing action

An arcade crossover like this always means you will need to practice the fundamental movements and situational awareness that, in bygone days, would have saved you a quarter. The levels are designed to trip you up, so pay close attention.

Double Dragon II: The Revenge

doubledragoniitherevenge-screenshot

  • One or two players (simultaneous)
  • Beat-em-up in the streets action

The original may be the one we remember, but if we’re honest, it was kind of a clunky game. The sequel is faster, less obtuse and supports two players at the same time in the story. It’s nowhere near as good as River City Rampage, but then again, what is? Pro tip: “Mode B” turns on friendly fire if you want to fight.

Dr. Mario

dr-mario

  • One or two players (simultaneous)
  • Match-3 medical puzzler

Fever or Chill? Choose your soundtrack, find a partner and get ready to rage at each other as each fills the other’s flask with bacteria, or viruses or whatever those things are. Like Tetris, this game is extremely easy to learn but difficult to master.

Excitebike

excitebike

  • One or two players (sequential)
  • Side-scrolling motorbike racing

One of the all-time NES greats, Excitebike is still a ton of fun. Get a friend, design some outlandish courses and revel in the satisfyingly responsive controls and tricky strategies for winning. Pro tip: Never let up on the turbo.

Final Fantasy

finalfantasy-screenshot

The original, with its many pleasures and many, many pains. RPGs have evolved a lot since the first Final Fantasy, but the fact is all the critical pieces are here: a grandiose story line, stats and gear to obsess over, gold pieces, fantastical creatures and — if you’re smart — a lot of grinding for gold and XP. Remasters on other systems actually improved this game a lot, so unless you want the full experience, seek out one of those. Pro tip: Save really often.

Galaga

galaga

  • One player
  • Arcade space bug shoot-em-up

Another arcade port. Galaga is a great game, and this is a good way to hone your skills so you can impress your friends at the arcade (you still go, right?). Practice your timing, remember the bonus wave orders and don’t be afraid to let your ship get captured. Pro tip: Tapping fire is faster and more precise than holding it down.

Ghosts ‘n Goblins

ghostsngoblins-screenshot

  • One player
  • Controller-throwing action

This is one of the games that lent weight to the term “Nintendo Hard.” It’s not as bad as Battletoads, but unlike the arcade Ghost ‘n Goblins, you can’t keep pumping quarters in to keep going. You have to defeat Satan with the lives you get, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll have bite marks on your controller long before that happens. Pro tip: Prepare to die.

Gradius

gradius

  • One or two players (sequential)
  • Konami shoot-em-up

Gradius still plays extremely well, though it’s far less frantic as modern shmups. This is less about twitch skills and more about knowing and preempting the unique threats posed in every level. It’s still incredibly hard, by the way — I checked. Pro tip: Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, b, a, start.

Ice Climber

ice-climber

  • One or two players (simultaneous)
  • Climb-em-up

Another of the early arcade-style NES games, this one has simple controls that may strike you as restrictive. Play through the first couple of mountains and you’ll see how devious it gets. Don’t play this with anyone you’re not willing to leave behind if they can’t make the jumps.

Kid Icarus

15_kidicarus-screenshot

  • One player
  • Mythological action RPG

One of my favorite games of all time, Kid Icarus is a long and difficult, but very rewarding, adventure that controls beautifully and hides quite a bit of gameplay depth. Keep a FAQ around to help you out with the hidden scoring mechanisms and pot-dwelling Gods of Poverty in the treasure rooms. Pro tip: Fear the Eggplant Wizard!

Kirby’s Adventure

kirby

  • One player
  • Brutal enemy-devouring action

This was one of the later and most advanced games on the console; inhale your enemies and wield their own power against them. Great graphics and controls, plus smart and cute level design. Don’t let the puffy looks fool you, though, this is a challenging title.

Mario Bros.

mario-bros

  • One or two players
  • Turtle-kicking sewer action

Here’s one to pull out to settle grudge matches. You can work together or sabotage each other — just don’t waste that POW block. That is inexcusable.

Mega Man 2

mega-man-2

  • One player
  • Robot-mastering action

This was the correct Mega Man to include: the first was rough around the edges and the ones after this weren’t quite as laser-focused on the core gameplay. It’s got great music, solid controls and it’s just the right level of “Nintendo Hard.” Pro tip: Do Metal Man first and then wreck everything with his weapon. Even himself.

Metroid

metroid

  • One player
  • Subterranean exploration action RPG

It’s truly amazing how advanced the original Metroid was. Not only does it control well and have a huge, labyrinthine map to explore at your own pace, but the music and mood are amazing, too. If you’ve never played through Metroid, you’ve got a treat ahead of you — but be prepared for a serious challenge. Having save states is immensely helpful with this game. Pro tip: Rather than look up a map, get some graph paper and make your own — it’s more fun that way.

Ninja Gaiden

ninja-gaiden

  • One player
  • Cinematic ninja action

This game and its sequel really pushed the storytelling on the NES to new heights, with narrative-driven levels and detailed cut scenes in between. I happen to like the sequel better, but the original is great (and punishing). Pro tip: Pay close attention to the actual size and duration of your sword slash.

Pac-Man

pacman

  • One or two players (sequential)
  • Dot-munching arcade action

I really don’t have to review Pac-Man, right? I guess it’s worth saying that the NES version is a decent port of the original, though you will miss having a joystick.

Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream

punch-out

  • One player
  • Navel-punching action

Notice something about the title? Yeah, it isn’t Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! The game is exactly the same, but you fight a palette-swapped Tyson at the end — they made him white and changed his name to Mr. Dream. Sad, really, but how often did you even get that far? Turns out this is a great party game.

StarTropics

startropics

An underappreciated gem, StarTropics combines interesting action with puzzles and a full RPG overworld and story. Thinking of playing through Zelda or Rygar again? Why not try this instead? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Super C

super-c

  • One or two players (simultaneous)
  • Run-and-gun action

It’s incomprehensible to me that Nintendo chose to put this one instead of the classic Contra on this thing — a major disappointment, really. But Super C is still a good game, even if it isn’t as iconic as the previous one. Pro tip: Fire is actually good in this one.

Super Mario Bros.

mario-1

  • One or two players (sequential)
  • Mushroom-clambering platform action

This one definitely doesn’t need any introduction. It’s just as good as it always was. Looking for an extra challenge? Watch a few speedruns and see how you stack up.

Super Mario Bros. 2

mario-2

  • One or two players (sequential)
  • Inexplicable egg-riding action

Do yourself a favor and replay this one — all the way through. It’s deeply weird, super fun and has great level design that’s totally different from the other Mario games. Probably because it’s just an asset swap with a game where you play an Indian family going through a book of stories. Pro tip: Toad rules in digging levels.

Super Mario Bros. 3

mario-3

  • One or two players (sequential, mostly)
  • Genre-defining platform action

Still one of the best games of all time, and always worth playing again. Take advantage of the game save ability and get past World 4 for once! Bring a friend, it’s basically twice the lives and you can learn from each other’s mistakes. Pro tip: Watch “The Wizard.”

Tecmo Bowl

tecmo-bowl

  • One or two players (simultaneous)
  • Extremely realistic football action

It may not be quite as detailed as Madden 2017, but schooling your friends is just as fun. Pro tip: Pit computer players against each other to simulate (and predict) the post season.

The Legend of Zelda

zelda-secret

  • One player
  • Triangle-collecting action RPG

Never heard of this one. Doesn’t look very good IMHO.

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

zelda-ii

  • One player
  • Underappreciated action RPG

So, back in the 1980s they weren’t sure how video game sequels should work, so they basically made the second Zelda a completely different game. It’s not what Zelda fans wanted, but the truth is it’s actually a really good game! The translation is weird and some of the puzzles are random, but with a FAQ handy I think you’ll find Zelda II is a lot of fun if you just pretend it isn’t a Zelda game at all. That shouldn’t be hard, because it really, really doesn’t resemble one. Pro tip: I am Error.


Wow! That was a long review.

In case you scrolled down here to get the gist, it’s this: If you love NES games, buy this thing. It’s a great value, it has a few (though not nearly all) of the best games available for the system and it plays like a dream — apart from some minor gripes regarding the save system. There will probably be more, with different selections, but this is easily good enough to recommend. Buy a second controller (possibly a wireless one) and go to town.

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Xiaomi’s powerful air pollution beating face mask comes with a tiny air purifier

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Xiaomi’s just launched a product that is everything India needs right now, but is unlikely to come here anytime soon. 

Continuing its spree of product launches, Xiaomi has now unveiled an air mask in China. You can easily tell this air mask from others as Xiaomi’s carries a small air purifier attached to the mask. The launch comes at a time when Indians are increasingly purchasing air purifiers and masks in the light of severe air quality at many places. 

The mask is made of high-fibre textile with a hand-woven finish. There’s a detachable air filter that can capture PM2.5 particulates and also has a tiny fan to regulate the airflow. The filter’s battery (to run the fan) can be recharged over a USB connection.   

The company also launched the Piston Pro in-ear earphones. The Piston 3 Pro comes with a "diamond-cut aluminum sound chamber", and its earbuds have been bent to 45-degree for improved fit. The company says the Piston Pro sounds more natural thanks to the including of something called double coils and a moving piston. 

The Piston Pro earphones are priced at 149 Yuan ($21), whereas the mask costs 89 Yuan ($13). Both of them will be available to purchase on China’s big Singles’ day online sale on Nov. 11. Over the past two weeks, Xiaomi has launched a range of products including the Mi Portable Mouse, a Lego-like toy robot, and an air purifier

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‘Ultimate Overland Camper’ Is A Full-Custom Jaw-Dropper

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As aftermarket as it gets, this juiced-up overland pickup made waves at one of the world’s largest auto trade shows.

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Insanely custom Nissan Titan XD camper by Hellwig

If you’re looking for a practical, budget-friendly camper upgrade for your trusty 1978 Datsun, just turn back now. There’s nothing for you here.

This beastly four-wheel-drive mod is as formidable as it is gorgeous. Affectionately dubbed the “Rule Breaker,” this trail-ready Nissan doesn’t look like it’s meant for family getaways. It looks like it’s designed to weather the apocalypse… in style.

SEMA-Build Nissan Titan XD

The off-road behemoth debuted last week at the international SEMA trade show in Las Vegas.

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Yes, the Hellwig Titan XD camper does like dirt

Hellwig Suspension Products presented the truck, a 2016 Nissan Titan XD, at its booth. Besides turning heads as a potential Optimus Prime stand-in, the Rule Breaker showed off Hellwig’s beefy 2,800-lb. capacity air springs.

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Inside a sample Lance 650 truck camper

Squatting atop those springs is a 1,800-pound Lance 650 camper with a very custom bumblebee paint scheme. We didn’t get a look inside the “Rule Breaker,” but Lance campers are definitely glamp-worthy.

Big Muscle, Big Bucks

Before you start Googling “Hellwig Super Camper,” you should know the Rule Breaker is not for sale.

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Inside the Lance camper, you’d never know you were driving the world’s meanest truck

“Hellwig is planning to do a lot with the camper, including taking it to all of its off-road and overland show appearances next year, and using it as a press vehicle,” Jon Barrett, a representative for Hellwig, told us. “As of this time there are no plans to sell it.”

Don’t feel bad, you probably couldn’t afford it anyway. The retail price of all the individual components, including the truck itself, is over $118,000 — considerably more than a tow-behind and a KOA stay.

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No, the mother ship has not landed. That’s the TItan XD camper at dusk

Even if you could buy this whip, 100 grand just gets that rolling mountain into your driveway. The Rule Breaker weighs more than five tons. Even with the 310-hp diesel engine, the gang at Hellwig only managed 11 mpg on the highway drive back from the show.

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Aftermarket winch with custom LED running lights, spared no expense

I’m no math whiz, but with current fuel prices that comes out to around $4 million for a trip to Yellowstone (GearJunkie not responsible for calculation errors).

Not sure we’ll be able to get this bad boy in for testing, but if The Rapture devastates the earth and this thing drops 99 percent off MSRP, we just may have to buy one.

The post ‘Ultimate Overland Camper’ Is A Full-Custom Jaw-Dropper appeared first on GearJunkie.

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Surfing and BASE Jumping Off a Zip Line Is Something I’ve Never Seen Before

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I’ve thought I’ve seen it all when it comes to BASE jumping and then I just watched the Flying Frenchies surf down a zip line at over 45 mph and then jump off in the middle of the line from nearly 2000 feet in the air in the Vercors mountain range. It is totally nuts and yet somehow manages to look natural because these guys look like they’re having so much fun doing it.

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This Chick’s Uber Driver Was The Guy With The ’You’ve Got Mail’ Voice From AOL!!!

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I haven’t thought about the ‘You’ve Got Mail’ voice for quite some time, but when I heard this Uber driver speak it all came flooding back to my memory. In the clip above, a girl is getting picked up her Uber driver and she recognizes that face. As it turns out, he is THE VOICE behind AOL’s infamous ‘You’ve Got Mail’ sound, a voice so popular it was even the title of a Tom Hanks movie back in 1998.

The man behind AOL’s ‘You’ve Got Mail’ voice is Elwood Edwards, which is a pretty fanfuckingtastic name if you ask me. I’ve never actually me tan Elwood in person, but maybe it’s a generational thing.

Anyways, Elwood Edwards is still alive and kicking, and these days he’s driving and Uber around the great state of Ohio. This clip surfaced when a woman by the name of Brandee Barker realized who was behind the wheel and sent out a tweet of Elwood saying his famous catchphrase:

Kind of bums you out that one of the most famous voices in Internet history is forced to spend his retirement driving an Uber. I guess those royalty checks from AOL never kicked in. Actually, I’m now wondering if AOL even exists anymore because I haven’t seen an @AOL email address and/or an AOL article in years. Do I care enough to go to wwwdotAOLdotcom and see what it’s like? Absolutely not.

…(h/t Fox News)…

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16 Years Ago ‘The Simpsons’ Predicted Donald Trump Would Become President, But Their Message Was Dark

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The Simpsons

The Simpsons

At this point, The Simpsons have pretty much predicted anything and everything that will happen in the future but given that Donald Trump became the President Elect last night it’s worth nothing one sixteen-year-old prediction in particular.

In ‘Bart to the Future’, an episode of The Simpsons which aired on March 19, 2000, the show predicted that Trump would one day become President of the United States of America, but the reasoning the show runners gave for that prediction is somewhat alarming. via the Hollywood Reporter:

“It was a warning to America,” writer Dan Greaney tells The Hollywood Reporter.
He adds: “And that just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom. It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane.”

This was pre-9/11. It was during the Bush administration. Obama wouldn’t become President for nearly a decade. This was during a time when the GOP ruled the country, but The Simpsons still couldn’t imagine more of a ‘rock bottom’ scenario than Donald Trump becoming President one day, and a Trump Presidency was indicative of the country going insane back then. Say what you want about The Simpsons, but this sketch was written at a time when the idea of a reality star ruling the country was completely unfathomable and is completely unaffected by all of the emotion surrounding this election.

(h/t THR)

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Stephen Colbert powerfully addresses nation: ‘How did our politics get so poisonous?’

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"We are more divided than ever, as a nation," a visibly shaken Stephen Colbert said on the night of the 2016 election, citing one clear fact that resonates around the world.

The results weren’t definitive when Colbert concluded his Showtime special Democracy’s Series Finale: Who’s Going To Clean Up This Sh*t?, but the late night host seems to know what’s coming as he addressed his audience.

"How did our politics get so poisonous?" he added.

Colbert gets personal in the video, speaking of his family and his mother who passed away before casting the vote she had already assigned to Hillary Clinton.

"Everybody’s gonna be saying ‘Has America lost its mind?’" Colbert said, when the election was still too close to call. He ended the segment with an admittedly silly list of things Americans don’t fight about — because laughter is the best medicine.

"You cannot laugh and be afraid at the same time," Colbert said. "And the devil cannot stand mockery."

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Kayaker Fends For Safety While Being Charged By Enormous Sharks In Tense AF Encounter

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Sharks Frenzy Ascension Island

Instagram

Ascension Island is a little slice of paradise found in the South Atlantic Ocean, and it’s home to some of the best fishing in the world. Late last November the fishing world actually saw a crazy world record broken in Ascension Island when a woman caught the 4th largest Blue Marlin ever, and the largest ever caught by a woman.

This story is a horse of a different color, and it’s spooky as hell. In this clip below, we see a man in a kayak being repeatedly charged by a school of crazed sharks…Not just one shark, multiple sharks in some sort of a frenzy:

It’s hard to tell exactly where this clip originated because that one above and this one below were both uploaded to Instagram at roughly the same time but in this one, the caption is speaking in the first person, though the clip above has more views:

Sharky paddle. After freediving with these amazing creatures all day they followed our boat in.

A video posted by Max Mironov (@maxmironov) on

What’s interesting is that if you check the comments in the above clip you’ll see a bunch of conservationists talking about how wrong it is to hit a shark with a kayak paddle and completely ignoring the fact that this dude was being swarmed by a school of gigantic sharks worked up into a dangerous frenzy. Sharks aren’t EVER going out of their way to attack humans, it’s just not in their nature, but they get worked up into a frenzy the same way a boxer does and in that moment they have the capacity to become very dangerous…It’s lucky that this kayaker was able to get out of there unschathed.

Big shout out to Rob at Outdoors360 for tracking down this clip!

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