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Lucky 13th for Nintendo fans

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This Friday the 13th, Nintendo is aiming on overturning the superstition and misfortune that comes with it by announcing a range of new hardware and software releases.

While Friday 13th is considered by many to be a day shrouded in superstition and misfortune, Nintendo is aiming to overturn this notion and bring good fortune to South Africa’s handheld gaming fans this coming Friday. It has named the day #Nintendo3DSDay, and is marking it with a slew of new hardware and software releases.

At a time when the Nintendo 3DS family of systems has now sold over 50 million hardware units globally, the latest additions to the family, New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL, make their South African debut on Friday 13th alongside two major software releases: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and Capcom‘s Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Both titles are playable on all Nintendo 3DS systems, but feature added functionality when experienced on New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL, such as more stable 3D and enhanced camera controls using the C Stick. Two limited edition hardware bundles, New Nintendo 3DS XL Majora’s Mask 3D Edition and New Nintendo 3DS XL Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Edition will also launch on Friday to celebrate these highly-anticipated titles.

Meanwhile, exclusively on Nintendo eShop, IronFall: Invasion, an intense single-player and six-person local & online multiplayer action-shooter from three talented developers, launches alongside familiar faces in Kirby Fighters Deluxe and Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe. In addition, a free video-on-demand streaming service named Nintendo Anime Channel becomes available for download from Nintendo eShop, with anime series from the likes of Kirby, Pokémon, and Inazuma Eleven.

“We are delighted to be releasing such an extensive Nintendo 3DS hardware and software line-up, and hope this offering demonstrates our commitment to providing the best and most varied gameplay experiences possible for handheld gaming fans,” said Laurent Fischer, Managing Director, European Marketing & PR at Nintendo of Europe.

Nintendo’s releases for #Nintendo3DSDay, Friday 13th February, in full:

New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL: The latest additions to the Nintendo 3DS family feature new control options, face-tracking 3D technology, built-in amiibo functionality, and enhanced processing power. New Nintendo 3DS is compact and light, with a screen 1.2 times bigger than the original Nintendo 3DS and has the option of extra customisation using replaceable cover plates. New Nintendo 3DS XL boasts a luxury look and a 4.88 inch screen for even more dynamic and immersive gameplay. A free update will also be released on 10th February for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS  that will enable amiibo from the Super Smash Bros. Collection to be used with the new systems.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D: The handheld remake of the beloved, dark and twisted Nintendo 64 game launches exclusively for Nintendo 3DS family of systems.

New Nintendo 3DS XL Majora’s Mask 3D Edition: A limited edition hardware bundle that includes a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and a New Nintendo 3DS XL system covered in artwork inspired by the game.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D Special Edition:  A limited edition software offering which includes a copy of the game in its standalone packaging, a specially-designed SteelBook, a pin badge and a double-sided poster.

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: As players explore the world of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, they will face off against many ferocious enemies with up to three other friends locally or, for the first time on Nintendo 3DS, online using a wireless broadband Internet connection. Ahead of launch day fans should check out Nintendo eShop and get their hands on the demo, to brush up their skills ready for the battle ahead.

New Nintendo 3DS XL Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Edition: A limited edition hardware bundle that includes a copy of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and a New Nintendo 3DS XL system with an iconic emblem from the game on its cover.

IronFall: Invasion: A three-year project by independent developers VD-DEV, IronFall: Invasion brings fast-paced single-player and six-person local & online multiplayer shooting action, with the gameplay perfectly suited for using the C Stick of New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL.

Kirby Fighters Deluxe: Based on the popular battle mode in Kirby: Triple Deluxe, this standalone 4-player battle action game contains expanded gameplay, new arenas and the ability to play as a team.

Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe: Bounce to the beat of catchy Kirby tunes playing as Kirby’s long-time rival King Dedede. This standalone rhythm action game includes content not found in Kirby: Triple Deluxe including all-new stages and new obstacles.

Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy +: Play as the legendary pilot Phoenix and control fighter jets that exist in real-life. The game includes compatibility with the New Nintendo 3DS system’s C Stick and ZR/ZL buttons for total control, while certain amiibo unlock aircraft skins themed after characters like Captain Falcon, Samus, Bowser and more.

Nintendo Anime Channel: A new video-on-demand service offering fans the chance to stream anime series from the likes of Pokémon, Kirby, and Inazuma Eleven, with new content being added regularly. Access to the service is granted simply by downloading a free application from Nintendo eShop.

New Themes for Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu: Fans looking to spruce up their HOME Menu with a new theme are in luck! New Basic and Simple Colour Set themes can be downloaded for free from the Theme Shop which can be accessed through the HOME Menu settings on your Nintendo 3DS system. Those purchasing either The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate or Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+  will receive a free bonus theme download if purchased from Nintendo eShop, with additional themes available for purchase.

The fun doesn’t end on when the sun sets on Friday 13th #Nintendo3DSDay though. More high-profile handheld games for Nintendo 3DS family of systems are scheduled for release in the coming weeks and months. These include: Pokémon Shuffle (launching in February), Cooking Mama: Bon Appétit! (6th March), Gardening Mama: Forest Friends(6th March), Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (20th March), Inazuma Eleven GO Chrono Stones: Wildfire and Inazuma Eleven GO Chrono Stones: Thunderflash, (27th March) Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, (2nd April) Code Name S.T.E.A.M. (15th May), and Puzzle & Dragons Z and Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition (May).

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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