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Team up with amiibo in Mario Tennis

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Nintendo will be releasing Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for the Wii U. In addition to court competition, the game will offer users the ability to team up with amiibo figurines.

Coming exclusively to Wii U in Europe and South Africa on November 20, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash offers fun for court competitors, including the ability to team up with amiibo. Supported amiibo can be a partner in online doubles matches, or join players to battle strong computer-controlled opponents in the offline Knockout Challenge mode. The more matches an amiibo plays, the more experience it’ll gain, becoming a powerful team-mate as its abilities increase over time.

New faces like Rosalina also hit the courts, along with returning characters like Luigi, Waluigi, Boo and more for tennis with a distinct Mushroom Kingdom twist. On top of standard shots like topspin, lobs, slices and more, the new Ultra Smash move sees characters leap high into the air and smash the ball down to devastating effect. Adept tennis tacticians can also gain the advantage by hitting the right shot while standing in the coloured Chance Areas that occasionally appear, unleashing super-strong smashes or bamboozling slices to flummox adversaries on the other side of the net.

Using a combination of controllers including the Wii U GamePad, Wii Remote, Wii U Pro Controller and Classic Controller Pro, up to four players can get together in supported modes for lively tennis battles. And with a choice of camera angles, there’ll be no more defeats blamed on having to play on the far side of the court – the TV and GamePad screen can each show a different end of the court, so both teams will always have the perfect view.

According to Nintendo,an array of gameplay modes offer “plenty of opportunities for tennis tomfoolery”:

  • Knockout Challenge: Tense tiebreak matches against increasingly difficult computer-controlled opponents await in this single-player mode. If the going gets too tough, you can call in a supported amiibo as your doubles partner.
  • Mega Battle: Your character grows to gigantic proportions after grabbing a Mega Mushroom, dominating the court with their increased power and range. When rivals on both sides of the net are giant-sized, anything can happen!
  • Classic Tennis: For those who prefer their tennis a little more traditional, Classic Tennis offers two variations: Standard mode features Chance Shots and Jump Shots but no Mega Mushrooms, while Simple puts competitors between the tramlines with no Chance Shots or power-ups – a real test of tennis prowess.
  • Online multiplayer: Go up against distant adversaries from all over the world in competitive ranked play in either Mega Battle or Classic Tennis modes, or quickly jump into more casual matches. Two players on the same console can team up to take on all-comers, or a supported amiibo can join you on as your doubles partner on the online courts.

As a limited launch offer, anyone who purchases Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash from Nintendo eShop in its first four weeks on sale will receive a download code for the Nintendo 64 game Mario Tennis on Wii U Virtual Console. This N64 title not only kick-started Mario’s tennis career, it also introduced the world to Waluigi for the very first time.

Compete to see who’s the top seed in your household, train up a compatible amiibo as a powerful doubles partner and match up against online opponents in Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, coming to Wii U in Europe and South Africa on November 20th. Two colourful new controller designs – Wii Remote Plus Toad and Wii Remote Plus Bowser – will also be available on the same day. To get a taste of the tennis action, check out the Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash trailer on YouTube.

Arts and Entertainment

SA rises as Spotify turns 10

October 2018 marks 10 years since Spotify officially launched its music streaming platform and to celebrate this milestone, Spotify has taken a look at some of its biggest discoveries in music.

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Spotify provided the following information:

The service only launched in South Africa in March this year, so this country is not included in the retrospective, but Spotify supplied Gadget with the following local streaming landmarks:

·         Most streamed South African artist – Jeremy Loops

·         Most streamed female South African artist – Shekhinah

·         Highest first-day streaming record – AKA’s Beyonce

Since launch Spotify now sits at 180 million monthly active listeners across 65 countries. These Spotify users can enjoy a music library of over 40 million songs and podcasts, and over 3 billion-plus user-created playlists. As of 31 August 2018, Spotify has also paid over 10 billion euros to rights holders since launch.

To date, over 2 000 genres of music have been identified on Spotify, among them Wonky (electronic music characterised by synths with unusual time signatures), Shimmer Pop (a Swedish cousin of indie pop and indietronica), and British Blues (the blues…with a British flavour).

Spotify has also done an assessment of “listening diversity,” – the number of artists the average user streams per month – which has risen on Spotify over the past 10 years, at an average of about 8% per year. In the past three years alone, listening diversity increased about 40% on the strength of new personalised and editorial playlists – meaning people are listening to an increased number of artists on a regular basis.

An official Decade of Discovery playlist features the most-streamed songs over the past  decade, including favourites like Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.,” Rihanna’s “Work,” Sia’s “Chandelier,” Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” and the star-studded “Despacito Remix”.

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Festival taps into source code of African identity

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival enters its final week from 24 to 29 September with a special focus on gaming and beats. With the theme of “Tap Your Afro Source Code”, this year celebrates technology, creativity and innovation from across the African continent.

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Dr Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director, says that the theme centres on African visions of technology by tapping into the sources of African tradition and culture alongside technology, creativity and innovation: “This year we are exploring how local culture can move and change the future of technology. How would you understand and unpack the source code of your African identity?”

In its final week, the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival explores music culture via the annual Beats Programme curated by WeHeartBeat, which will descend on the Tshimologong Precinct with a six-day takeover of Braamfontein’s tech hub. The program comprising of workshops, experiences and performances, facilitates the meeting of mind and spirit in an environment geared around the festival’s theme, “Tap Your Afro Source Code”.

The Fak’ugesi Beats Lab, running from the 24th to the 28th of September will host international electronic artists and explore the connection between music, technology and culture with local and international artists. The outcome from these sessions will result in an EP release, a short documentary and a live showcase performance at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party on the 29th. The artists featured in the 2018 Beats Lab are S.Fidelity (Switzerland), Zikomo (USA), Morena Leraba (Lesotho) and South African artists Bonj Mpanza  and Hlasko.

In partnership with Ballantines Whisky and Business Arts South Africa, the programme includes panels on: ‘The Future of Music’ facilitated by Tefo Mohapi from iAfrikan.com and featuring guest panellists Riky Rick and Thibaut Mullings; ‘Managing Health Amongst Creatives’ featuring psychologist Thembi Mashigo and panel guests Ayanda Seoka, Mx Blouse and more. The day will include a Masterclass with Black Milk (USA), The Art of Remixing with Zikomo(USA) and close with a ‘Power of Collaborations’ session featuring Zikomo, S.Fidelity , Morena Leraba and Bonj Mpanza.

The last week of Fak’ugesi Festival also hosts a special session on the Future of African Gaming on the 28th and 29th of September. A full day on gaming, this will take place in collaboration with Red Bull Basement and focus on the theme of Tech for Good. The programme includes an Indie Games Arcade; a ‘Games for Good’ workshop focused games that address issues in South African urban environment.

The workshop will be followed by a “Futures and Networking” session, inviting the gaming community in the Southern Africa region to contribute to an understanding of what and how the Fak’ugesi Festival can develop and better support African games. This invitation comes after Fak’ugesi Festival in 2018 says farewell to A MAZE. / Johannesburg, which has supported its program since 2013 as the gaming partner.

A MAZE, under the leadership of its creative director, Thorsten S. Wiedemann, linked the Johannesburg gaming scene to an international network of indie developers for six years from 2012 until 2017. The two-way bridge between A MAZE. / Berlin and A MAZE. / Johannesburg inspired other projects like Super Friendship Arcade in Cape Town and Glitch Face in Johannesburg and was a huge impetus in the development of the Game Design programme in the Wits School of Arts. When the Fak’ugesi Festival was established in 2013, A MAZE fell under Fak’ugesi Festival support as the gaming partner. Weidemann added: “It’s been amazing meeting, working and learning from the local and national game and playful media community.  We definitely made history together.”

The week’s activities culminate in a celebration at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party   on Saturday 29 September. This event will reignite the energy and spirit created at the inaugural party in a union of performance, music, technology and digital innovation. The Bloc Party aims to showcase the best in underground talent, both local and international – etching its name in the cultural textbooks as an inspiration to future generations of creators, producers and innovators. The second instalment of this ground-breaking event will host performances from the Beats Lab participants, as well as Black Milk and a strong local contingent including Langa Mavuso, Mx Blouse, Symatics + Ramz, and Micr.Pluto.

Tickets for Thursday 27 September are R50 per session and can be purchased via WeHeartBeat. There will be a limited run of R200 student tickets available for Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party, upon presentation of a valid student ID. Workshop and student tickets can be purchased throughout the week at the reception of the Tshimologong Precinct.

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