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Fever for mini consoles | Technology

The videogame sector is an industry that constantly looks to the future, to what is to come; However, there is a segment of the market that demands what was part of the players' daily lives 20 or 30 years ago. Nintendo was the first company to respond to that stimulus back in 2016 with Nintendo Classic Mini: NES, also known as NES Mini. The figures have proved them right (10 million units sold worldwide) and, now, there are few veteran companies that have not joined this fever by miniature consoles.

The first thing to keep in mind is what they are, what they are looking for and what they offer exactly. These are small-sized versions of classic systems, the first to reach western homes in a more massive way: NES, SNES, PlayStation, Mega Drive, Neo Geo … Names that sound in the minds of those who are now parents but who , in their day, they held those little plastic knobs as their suckers do now.

Nostalgia is an element that sells, that companies know well; Therefore, all these small consoles are miniature recreations that respect, with great accuracy, the physical construction of the chassis of the originals to which they refer. Details such as buttons (Power, Reset…), the color, the relief or the silkscreens make them look like collection models designed to be displayed in a showcase. Inside there is a very modest hardware with which to run a limited and non-expandable selection of videogames from their respective catalogs, while the price, seen as seen, is between 60 and 100 euros. Let's know the main options available in Spain.

Nintendo Classic Mini: NES and SNES

In the middle of summer 2016, when Nintendo had not even revealed its current hybrid console, Nintendo Switch, announced that for that Christmas campaign it was in its plans the return of its 8-bit miniature console, NES Mini, with a built-in controller and a catalog of thirty classic video games like Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda or Metroid, The originals. A recreation for about 60 euros that also introduced rewind functions, suspension points for immediate games or other details such as visual filters that recreate the appearance of tube TVs. Recall the old days at home through an HDMI port to play in high definition, at 60 Hz, and only a USB port for power; It can be connected directly to the TV. Easy, light, fast. As before. A demand exceeding the supply forced the "sold out" sign to be sold in stores around the world, including Spain.

SNES Mini was inevitable. The successor, Nintendo's home console in the 16-bit era, did the same in September 2017 with a catalog of twenty-one games (one of them unpublished, Star Fox 2, which never went on the market, plus others who did not see the light in Europe at the time) as Super Mario World, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario Kart Y Super metroid, two controls incorporated instead of one, and a price around 80 euros.

Image of the Nintendo Classic Mini: SNES.


Image of the Nintendo Classic Mini: SNES.

According to Manuel Curdi, brand manager in Nintendo Ibérica, in statements to EL PAÍS, “the first thing you can think of is that they are products created as fan service for the nostalgic people who played with those platforms decades ago. But between the two they have sold in Spain almost 350,000 copies; so, in reality, the target audience is much broader. ” Not only the public from before, also that of now: to make some discover the unknown while, at the same time, others recall what they grew up with.

"The truth is that the games that come with them continue to work very well because they are fun regardless of the age or user experience with video games," he adds Curdi, with faces recognizable by public yesterday and today. "In addition, its protagonists are very lively characters today such as Mario, Link, Donkey Kong or Kirby," he concludes.

As it became known after the meeting with the Nintendo shareholder group held on October 31, 2018 (Q2 / FY2019), up to that date, more than 10 million units of combined NES Mini and SNES Mini had been sold worldwide , figures that the company based in Kyoto qualifies as a success; In fact, the first one was discontinued but returned to the production factories due to its high international demand.

PlayStation Classic, the return of “la play”

We take a leap back in time, but this time away from Nintendo. Sony, another of the giants of the sector, could not put aside an evidence: its audience wanted a mini version of the first PlayStation, one of the greatest historical successes of the video game sector in Spain. In December 2018, PlayStation Classic, a miniature version of the original (45% smaller) with a total of two controls – the version are joysticks – and a catalog of twenty classic titles like Final Fantasy VII, Tekken 3, Gran Turismo Y Metal gear solid.

These are small-sized versions of classic systems, the first to reach western homes in a more massive way

As in the offer of its competitor, connectivity is via HDMI plus a micro USB power cable. For the rest, a very reliable recreation of the original model in buttons and physical construction plus different emulation options on the screen. Its price, in this case, was initially around 100 euros, although over time it officially fell from price to 59.99 euros, thus equating direct competition.

Mega Drive Mini, the most successful SEGA console

In countries like Spain, you had SNES or you had Mega Drive. The 16-bit console of the also Japanese SEGA was the company's greatest success in terms of consoles, with titles that are part of the history books of the medium as Sonic the Hedgehog, Gunstar Heroes, Altered Beast or Alex Kidd. All of them are present in Mega Drive Mini, whose presentation leaves no doubt: a miniature version (55% smaller) that respects all aspects of the original. In this case, the newcomer to the stores offers forty-two mythical videogames from his original library pre-installed without the possibility of expansion with two controls, HDMI cable (to play in HD at 60 Hz) and USB power. It is the largest number of games included of all the options available so far.

According to specialized media analysis, the amount of detail is, in this case, especially high, with even a sound theme by the renowned composer Yuzo Koshiro to set the main selection menu; or others like being able to toggle the covers of the menu depending on the region. Its price, in this case, is 79.95 euros.

Carolina Moreno, spokesman for the Mega Drive Mini distributor, Koch Media, assures this newspaper that the console "obviously appeals to the nostalgic," those who had a Mega Drive at the time; "They will be able to remember the moments they spent playing with the console and also appeals to players who want to be interested and know what video games were like 25 years ago," he adds. The vision is repeated: reach as many players as possible.

None of them are exempt from criticism. The resignation to bring certain games in Spanish when some did originally, a debatable selection of some of the titles included or the total amount of them – for certain players less than what they should – are the fringes of imperfect but undoubtedly respectful products, aesthetic care and also in the gaming experience at the controls. Whether they deserve or not the penalty for the price they have are subjective aspects that depend on the use that will be given, but their commercial success shows that, at least for now, miniature consoles are here to stay.

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Brexit: Johnson threatens to withdraw the bill from Parliament

The future still seems particularly uncertain for the Brexit while the deputies and Boris Johnson seem caught in a real showdown. After the parliament speaker's refusal to hold a second vote on the agreement negotiated between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Union, we now have to wait for the study of the more complex application texts to find out if the British Parliament will give the green light to the law. Two votes are expected Tuesday at the end of the day. One is to provide first support for the text that translates the withdrawal agreement into UK law. The other is the timing of his review.

"If the Parliament refuses to let the Brexit be done and decides to postpone everything to June or even later (…), the text will have to be withdrawn and we will have to go to early elections", declared the British Prime Minister in front of the Parliament . Boris Johnson, however, needs a vote of no confidence from the opposition to call early elections, which the opposition refuses him.

Read also United Kingdom – Dominic Cummings, the sorcerer of Boris Johnson

The pound sterling

New elections would be synonymous with "a return of political uncertainty in the short term," Arkira analyst Viraj Patel told Agence France-Presse, while the pound temporarily increased its losses. A hypothesis "not as bad" as a Brexit without agreement, the scenario nightmare of the business community, but likely to limit the rise in the pound observed in recent days, according to Viraj Patel.

But even if the agreement is not ratified by the Parliament, with the prospect of new elections, "a sweeter Brexit and even a continuation (of the United Kingdom in the European Union) are back on the table", which is positive for the pound, had observed earlier in the day Craig Erlam, analyst for Oanda. If Paris reiterated that an "additional delay" would "not be in anyone's interest", no analyst seems to be considering the prospect of the European Union rejecting the request for postponement.

Read also Nicolas Baverez – The autumn of populists

Pilatus PC-24: jet set on the Wiesn

Zu Beginning of the development of his first business jet more than ten years ago, it was clear to Swiss aircraft manufacturer Pilatus that this dual-jet engine had to offer more than its competitors. After all, they have been established on the market for light business jets for around eight passengers for decades and have a global service network. The top dogs are the American company Textron with the Citation jets of its subsidiary Cessna.

But the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer is also successful with its Phenom jets of the 100 and 300 series. For many years, the 300 was the best-selling business jet in the world for many years. So the small Swiss Pilatus factories had to develop a unique selling proposition in order to be able to survive in the future against the two main competitors and other competitors with their aircraft.

They succeeded. Because the PC-24 is currently the only business jet in the world, the approval for unpaved slopes, ie gravel, sand and probably from the end of the year for grass tracks, has. Starting price: $ 10 million. The machine is also available as an ambulance jet. In Australia, at the Royal Flying Doctors Service, which has ordered several PC-24, the jet must be able to take off and land on the Rough Fields. The Swedish Municipal Association for Ambulance Flight also ordered six PC-24 ambulance jets in August. The Scandinavians also see it as an advantage that the new aircraft do not require asphalted runways for medical emergencies.

Higher final speed around 800 km / h

Of course, it is no coincidence that the PC-24 can operate from unpaved runways. With the smaller PC-12 Pilatus already has a propeller-Reisemaschine in the model range. The land also on gravel, grass or sand, also has a large cargo door and shines through versatility. However, the PC-12 is only about 500 km / h fast and has only one propeller turbine. Customer surveys showed, however, that many owners want a second engine and a higher top speed of 800 km / h for greater safety. This flowed into the specifications of the PC-24.

The configuration of the cab can be changed quickly by easily removing the seats in favor of more cargo. The large loading door in the rear offers the owner more flexibility because bulky items can also be loaded into the cargo hold. At the same time, this door also serves to gently take patients on board if the PC-24 is operated as an ambulance jet.

The autopilot reduces the workload

Their single-pilot certification requires only one pilot to fly. That's why the PC-24 also targets the businessman who controls himself and does not need a team. The pilot's job is made easy by an ergonomic working environment, as a test flight from Buochs ​​airfield to Mollis shows. So he checks before starting the turbines and the start with electronic checklist, whether all systems are working properly. Four screens display in this visual flight in 9500 feet, converted almost 2900 meters altitude, all important data such as attitude, speed, altitude and navigation. In addition, the positions of other aircraft and, where appropriate, warnings of them are displayed on a display by the anti-collision system. The autopilot also reduces the workload.

A special feature is the Synthetic Vision representation of the terrain. Anyone heading for an airfield in the mountains in bad weather, such as the Austrian city of Innsbruck or the Swiss Samedan, or flying in difficult visibility conditions, is happy that the terrain display is virtually reflected in the display. The pilot recognizes where mountains or obstacles threaten, even if he is in clouds.

The PC-24 reaches a maximum speed of 815 km / h. Although it is just under 20 km / h below the direct competitor Cessna Citation CJ4 and Embraer Phenom 300E, the Swiss scores with her larger cabin. In terms of maximum altitude, all three competitors have the same value at 13 716 meters. As engines, the PC-24 and Cessna CJ4 even use identical turbines. They are each FJ-44-4A from Williams.

Like many SUVs never drive off-road, some PC-24's will never have gravel, sand or grass under their landing gear, but always paved runways. But the operation on unpaved slopes is at least possible.

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Trump administration says that Obamacare premiums fall

Announces signal on Obamacare insurance store in San Ysidro, San Diego, California, U., October 26, 2017. REUTERS / Mike Blake / File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Monthly premiums for average health insurance plan Obamacare 2020 drop around 4 percent this year, according to a report issued by the Trump administration Tuesday, which tried to remove the program.

The administration of the Trump has reduced funding for the health insurance program, which President Barack Obama created as part of the Affordable Care Act and is often called Obamacare, and has tried to abolish it in Congress and legal courts. . Obamacare provides needs-based subsidies to help people on low income buy health insurance.

The administration removed the mandate that Americans have health insurance or pay a fee. It enabled insurers to start selling insurance that is less beneficial to the Obamacare plans, which guarantee a certain level of coverage.

The average monthly premium for a 27-year-old who buys the benchmark “money” plan is $ 388 a month, down from $ 406 in 2019, the government said in its annual report on the program.

Among the biggest refusals are 20 percent in Delaware, 15 percent in North Dakota and falling 14 percent in Oklahoma. Wyoming is always the most expensive state, with a premium of $ 723 a month and New Mexico is the holiday at $ 282 per month, for a 27 year old person.

The total number of issuers will rise to 175 from 155 this year and two states will have a single issuer in 2020, a reduction from five in 2019 and 10 in 2018.

The premium data relates to the 39 states that use the HealthCare.gov website which is run federally, where registration is between November 1 and December 15. The other states run and Washington D.C. their own online sites for these plans.

Caroline Humer reporting in New York and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Edited by Chizu Nomiyama

Our Standards:The principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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