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Tetris Effect is a glorious love letter to Tetris

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Tetris is a game that has followed me for my entire life. It’s the first video game I ever played on the NES, while the Game Boy iteration was the first portable experience I couldn’t put down. Since then, I’ve played it on nearly every device I’ve owned — from terrible mobile adaptations to freeware PC takes on the game. But despite being one of the most beloved and popular video games of all time, the current state of Tetris is rather dire. There are a handful of neat spinoffs, like Puyo Puyo Tetris, but most modern iterations are either gimmicky or just plain bad. It’s hard to find something that’s as good as the pure experience of the original.

That’s what makes Tetris Effect so special: it’s a spectacular, strange ode to everything that’s so great about the block-falling puzzle game. It made me fall in love all over again.

When you first boot up the game and play its “journey” mode, you’re immediately presented with a description that sounds absurd. The mode is billed as “a voyage of emotion and discovery.” Is this really Tetris we’re talking about here? But it actually starts to make sense when you play the game. This is all the more remarkable because, at its core, Tetris Effect is pretty pure Tetris. In the main mode, you’re doing the same things you’ve always done: matching up tetrominoes to clear away lines while more and more rain down. It’s a game about planning and reflexes, and it’s as good as it’s ever been. The rush of topping your high score never gets old.

The difference here is the audiovisual experience. The first thing you’ll probably notice is that the actual playfield is incredibly tiny, a small rectangle in the center of your television. It feels strange at first, all that wasted space. But it’s not wasted for long. Each stage in Tetris Effect has a particular theme. There are some that send you to outer space, others where kaleidoscopic dolphins or turtles swim around. There’s even a stage devoted to Leonardo da Vinci and one where it’s like you’re playing piano at a jazz club.

When you start, things are fairly bare-bones. There might be a wireframe animal lurking around, and a slow, steady bass line humming along quietly. But as you clear lines and increase your score, the level evolves. The visuals flesh themselves out. They’ll move or pulsate each time you get a tetris. The music will become louder or more intense. Each level has a slightly different vibe: some are calm and relaxing, others have a heart-pounding intensity. At times, the falling blocks will speed up to go along with the vibe of the rest of the level. It is, as advertised, “a voyage of emotion and discovery.”


It sounds distracting, but these things happen on the periphery. You’ll see the jumping dolphins or pulsating jellyfish out of the corner of your eye. Instead of being the focus of the game, the spectacular visuals and soundtrack are meant to increase your focus on actually playing Tetris. It’s hard to put into words, but if you’ve played any of Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s previous games, like Rez or Lumines, you’ll understand. The sights and sounds put you in that very particular zone needed for a game like Tetris. The effect is even more pronounced in VR when all of your senses are focused entirely on this experience. (The tiny playfield also feels much larger with a headset strapped to your face.)

The journey mode lasts a few quick hours, though you can play through on different difficulty levels, and there’s always the appeal of chasing your high scores. Outside of that, though, Tetris Effect also has a number of really great modes to play through. Fittingly, they’re organized by mood. In addition to “classic” modes like marathon, they’re bundled under groups called “relax,” “focus,” and “adventurous.”

The focus modes, for instance, distill the game into intense bouts that last just a few minutes, while the relaxing modes don’t punish you for failure, letting you soak in the atmosphere. My favorite mode is called mystery — it’s an “adventurous” one — and it throws a range of weird, random status effects at you. One minute, the entire game is upside down, and the next, you’re dealing with giant blocks or tetrominoes made up of just three pieces.

It’s a robust package that does Tetris justice. Unlike many modern interpretations, Tetris Effect doesn’t mess with what made the original game so loved. Instead, it augments it, making it feel modern, beautiful, and surprisingly emotional. After nearly three decades, I’ve finally found a replacement for my favorite NES game.

Tetris Effect is available today on the PS4, with support for PSVR.

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Google Says All Android Pie Phones Support Project Treble; Pie Will Be on More Devices in 2018 Than Oreo in 2017

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Just a few days after its Android Developer Summit, Google has announced that all devices launching with Android 9 Pie or later will be Project Treble-complaint. To recall, the tech giant had launched Project Treble last year with an aim to reduce the delay of updates by OEM partners to Android devices. A major issue with the Android version adoption is the slow rollout of customised versions from manufacturers to their handsets. Thanks to Project Treble, Google believes Android 9 Pie will hit more devices by the end of 2018 than the number of handsets with Android Oreo in 2017.

In a new post on Android Developers Blog, Google has provided an update on the developments in Project Treble. As mentioned, Google says all future devices launching with Android 9 Pie or later will be Treble-compliant and take “full advantage of the Treble architecture” to deliver quicker upgrades. Iliyan Malchev, Project Treble Architect, in the blog says, “Thanks to Treble, we expect to see more devices from OEMs running Android 9 Pie at the end of 2018 as compared to the number of devices that were running Android Oreo at the end of 2017.”

While Google’s expectations could work in Project Treble’s benefit, it is interesting to note that not many smartphones have adopted the latest Android build yet. As per Google’s monthly Android distribution chart for October 2018, the share of Android smartphones running Android Pie was still less than 0.1 percent. To recall, the total share of Android Oreo in January 2018 stood at 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent in December 2017.

At the recently concluded Android Developer Summit, Google demonstrated the benefits of Project Treble by showing the same Generic System Image (GSI) running on devices from different manufacturers. GSI is essentially a pure and unmodified build of Android from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), devoid of any device maker or carrier customisations. In the latest blog, the company says that the GSI is built from the latest available AOSP source code, including the latest bug fixes contributed by OEMs.

“We’re continuing to work on making GSI even more accessible and useful for app developers. For example, the GSI could enable early access to future Android platform builds that you can run on a Treble-compliant Android 9 device, so you could start app development and validation before the AOSP release,” Malchev further added.

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Galaxy S10's notched design further teased by new patent

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Galaxy S10’s notched design further teased by new patent

Black Friday Deals 2018 – Best UK Sales Now Started

Galaxy X looks simply stunning in new Samsung foldable phone images

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Nokia's December 5 Event Announced, Three Phones Teased

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HMD Global’s Chief Product Officer, Juho Sarvikas, has just announced a press event for December 5. The company’s Chief Product Officer made this announcement via its official Twitter page, and in the image that he published, he announced that the press conference will be held in Dubai, and in the provided image, we can actually see three smartphones, barely. This probably indicates that HMD Global plans to announce three Nokia-branded handsets in Dubai next month, though Mr. Sarvikas did not really release any additional information, of course. Now, if rumors are to be believed, Nokia will introduce the Nokia 8.1, Nokia 2.1 Plus, and the Nokia 9 during this event, and we’re not entirely sure that will happen, as it’s more likely that HMD Global will announce the Nokia 9 during a separate event next year, but we’ll talk more about that down below. The Nokia 8.1 and Nokia 2.1 Plus are both options, though, but if the Nokia 9 will not make an appearance, what is the third phone that HMD Global plans to announce? We can only speculate at this point, as nothing has been confirmed in general, we’re not really sure that the Nokia 8.1 and 2.1 Plus will make an appearance.

Background: The Nokia 8.1 is actually rumored to become official soon, and it will probably be announced at this event in Dubai. The Nokia 8.1 is actually the Nokia X7 which was announced in China a while back, so we pretty much know what to expect out of that phone. The phone will be made out of metal and glass, it will sport two cameras on the back, and a rear-facing fingerprint scanner. The Nokia 8.1 will include a display notch, and a ‘chin’ below the display, where the company’s logo will be imprinted. The Snapdragon 710 64-bit octa-core processor will fuel the device, while the phone will feature a 6.18-inch fullHD+ (2280 x 1080) display. The phone will include 4GB or 6GB of RAM (maybe it arrives in both variants), and 64GB / 128GB of expandable storage. 12 and 13-megapixel cameras will be included on the back of the device, while a single 20-megapixel camera will be a part of the offering as well. This phone will include two SIM card slots, and a 3,500mAh battery, along with 18W fast charging. As you can see, the Nokia 8.1 will be a mid-range smartphone, and there’s a good chance it will become official during this event.

As far as the Nokia 2.1 Plus is concerned, not much is known about this smartphone, aside from the fact that it’s expected to sport a display notch. The Nokia 2.1 got announced back in August this year, and that is the company’s entry-level smartphone, so the Nokia 2.1 Plus probably won’t be much more powerful than the Nokia 2.1, which means that you can expect it to be an entry-level phone as well. The phone will probably ship with a processor from the Snapdragon 400 series of chips, and its display will be smaller than 6 inches. The phone will include 1GB of RAM, most probably, and stock Android will come pre-installed on it, and it will probably ship with Android Go version of Android (Android 8.1 Oreo). An 8-megapixel camera will probably be included on its back, while a 5-megapixel shooter will be placed on the front, same as on the Nokia 2.1.

The Nokia 9 is, needless to say, the company’s upcoming flagship smartphone, and even though a rumor suggested it will launch on December 5, it probably will not. The Nokia 9’s story is quite a long one, as the phone was expected to arrive months ago, but it got postponed by the company, as the company’s Chief Product Officer did not think it’s ready for the market just yet. It was rumored to be postponed until the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019, but a recent rumor said that HMD Global actually plans to announce it sooner than that. Most people automatically assumed that it will arrive in January, but there’s a slight chance it may launch during this December 5 event. If the Nokia 9 launches on December 5 or January next year, it will be fueled by the Snapdragon 845, which means that it will soon become a flagship with a processor that is not latest and greatest, as the Snapdragon 8150 is expected to start fueling devices early next year, first smartphones will probably sport it in February or March. HMD Global managed to acquire rights to use the PureView brand from Microsoft as well, in the meantime, after the Nokia 9 got postponed, so it remains to be seen if HMD Global actually managed to implement some of that technology in the Nokia 9, though it’s highly unlikely considering how little time they had to do it, which may be yet another reason why this phone will not become official in December.

The Nokia 9 aka Nokia 9 PureView, it remains to be seen what will the company call it in the end, is expected to ship with five cameras on the back, and a number of CAD-based renders already surfaced, showing off its design. The device will be made out of metal and glass, and it will not sport a display notch. The Nokia 9 will include some bezels above and below the display, though, and in addition to shipping with the Snapdragon 845, it’s also expected to include at least 6GB of RAM, and it will be a part of Google’s Android One project, but it remains to be seen if it will arrive with Android 8.1 Oreo or Android 9 Pie.

Impact: It seems pretty certain that HMD Global plans to introduce three smartphones during this event in Dubai, but the Nokia 9 probably won’t be one of them, contrary to what rumors are saying. The Nokia 9 is the company’s upcoming flagship, and if it ends up sporting five cameras as leaks are saying, and quite possibly even the PureView technology, HMD Global would want all eyes on that phone, and will probably make that a sole announcement of one of its events. That’s just a guess, though, anything is possible at this point, so we’ll just have to wait for December 5 in order to find out what exactly is HMD Global planning.

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