Casual Games, Casual No More

Games for the masses are on tap at the annual convention, Casual Connect.

1 min read

"Casual" games is industry shorthand for puzzle and parlor games, from Bejeweled to chess.   For years, these were considered fringe fare, secondary to blockbuster console titles - shooters, sports, and role playing games.  

But then a funny thing happened - the Web.  Sites like Yahoo Games, Pogo, and MSN Games became the default homepage for middle-aged and graying gamers. Casual game are accessible, addictive, and often free.  So much fo the steretype of the pimply teenage boy in the basement.  Grandpa could frag him anytime. 

This week in Seattle, casual game makers are gathering at the annual Casual Connect conference. The big talk - the iPhone, which is quickly becoming a fave gaming device.  Developers are said to be gushing over the iPhone's performance and delivery.   Edge quotes one coder boasting, "we set out ot get a million users in a year, and we got a million users in ten days."

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
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Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford
Blue

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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