Nintendo hit on a winning formula when it launched the NES Classic in 2016. Gamers clamored to get their hands on this plug-and-play gateway to gaming history. The SNES Classic followed, and then Sony tried its hand at mini consoles with the disappointing Playstation Classic. Sega’s effort has taken longer, but it’s almost ready for release, and it’s shaping up better than the PlayStation. Early reviews are universally positive — perhaps even more so than they were for the NES Classic.
The Genesis Mini, known as the Mega Drive Mini outside the US, uses the familiar mini console formula. It looks like a shrunken-down version of the 90s hardware. Instead of plugging game cartridges into the Genesis Mini, it has 42 classic games preloaded on the internal storage. That’s twice as many included games as other miniature game consoles. It also comes with two retro-style Sega controllers (the three-button version), so you can do multiplayer without any additional purchases.
This is not the first retro Sega console. In fact, there have been many attempts to capitalize on the Genesis game library over the years, probably because Sega dropped out of the console market nearly 20 years ago. These devices usually suffered from a mediocre game selection, poor emulation performance, or both. The Genesis Mini software comes from a developer called M2, which specializes in emulation. The results, by all accounts, are superb. Playing on the Genesis Mini feels like playing games on the original hardware. It connects to your TV via HDMI, and you can choose between original 4:3 and 16:9 ratios. There’s even the option to add in CRT-style scanlines.
Sega didn’t skimp on the game selection for the Genesis Mini. It’s got all the hits, as well as some lesser-known classics. There’s Sonic the Hedgehog, of course, but also Golden Axe, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Altered Beast, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Streets of Rage 2, Earthworm Jim, and many more. It even includes Darius and Tetris, two games that never launched on the Genesis in the US. That’s not as cool as the unreleased Star Fox 2 debuting on the SNES Classic, but it’s still a nice bonus.
The Sega Genesis Mini is available for pre-order via Amazon, Best Buy, and more. It launches on September 19th. It’ll run you $ 79.99, the same price as the NES Classic at launch. There’s an officially licensed 6-button version of the controller also available for another $ 20.
Mini is targeting urban performance over exurban range with the 2020 Mini Cooper SE. And performance is exceptional. Battery life will be better suited for urban/suburban driving than vacation treks. Mini says the SE travels 235-270 km (146-168 miles) based on European testing. Some reports say EPA range will be as little as 114 miles per charge, while US pricing is likely to start around $ 35,000-$ 38,000 based on European pricing, although euro-to-dollar conversions can be simplistic.
Some of the tradeoffs stem from the car’s provenance: The three-door hatchback body is based on a Mini design that dates to 2014. The drivetrain is based on the first-generation BMW i3 that goes back to 2013. They’re likely to be upgraded in the next two years, and the electric Mini should follow.
Crisp Handling, One-Pedal Driving at the Track
Mini used the occasion of the Formula E race in Brooklyn to invite a dozen auto writers and editors to sample the new car on the 1.5-mile track. (After the professionals were done racing for the day.) Flat-out driving wasn’t possible on the tight track. What was clear was how quick the car accelerated at the kinds of speeds you’d experience building up steam entering a highway on-ramp or getting through a stoplight that just turned yellow. There is very little lean even at the track’s 180-degree hairpin turn.
Most significantly, when you flip a button on the console for max regeneration, the resistance provided by the generator charging the battery effectively takes over the braking chores. Driving in a tightly bunched wave of five similar Minis, lifting off the throttle immediately slowed my car significantly for the next turn. I only needed to feather the brakes a couple of times on a 15-turn track, typically when the pre-collision alert indicator flashed in the head-up display. (The PCS warning provides ample advance notice.)
If you’ve ever been karting, this is the same one-pedal sensation: The moment you lift off the throttle, you’re effectively braking. If you haven’t karted, it’s like being aboard a riding mower when you lift. (If you haven’t been aboard a riding mower, well, it’s exciting for 15 minutes.) For drivers who find max regen unsettling, at least at first, you can flip the switch for more minimal brake regeneration.
Night Rider, Too
To round out the sporty urban-car experience, Mini offered night drives during the race weekend. In this case, the cars were driven by company pros, because it was hard enough making it to the 6 PM lapping experience without a drink (the FIA race sponsoring body has a 0.0 percent BAC rule for anyone going on the track) and impossible to get to 10 PM without a cocktail or two.
In crowded Brooklyn and Manhattan, this was a perfect car for moving about at night, plenty quick, with zero tailpipe emissions. It’s a good car for two, although this two-door has seatbelts for five. At 152 inches long (12-plus feet) it’s easy to find openings in traffic and then at the curb.
Mini Cooper SE Specs
The Mini Cooper SE (US name) / Mini Electric (Europe name) is a front-motor, front-drive car. The 32.6-kWh lithium-ion battery forms a T that runs between the front seats and under the back seats. The electric motor is rated at 135 kW or 181 US hp, and 270 Nm (199 pound-feet) torque. It’s a transplant from the carbon-fiber BMW i3 city vehicle, or as Mini puts it, “[The] drive technology comes from the BMW Group competence centers for electro mobility in Dingolfing and Landshut [Germany].” Production is in Oxford, England.
The battery/motor combination is good for 7.3 second 0-100 kph runs (0-62 mph). It feels especially strong getting to 30 mph. The low position of the battery packs lowers the car’s center of gravity by 30 mm (1.2 inches). You’ll have to work to roll this Mini. It weighs in at 3,010 pounds (1,365 kg), 320 pounds (145 kg) more than the gas-engine Cooper S with an automatic gearbox. Top speed is 93 mph. Charging is possible from a 12-volt socket, a wall-mounted home charger, or public charging stations, including DC fast charging at 50 kW. At 50 kW, you get an 80 percent charge in 35 minutes.
Electronics include Apple CarPlay, a 5.5-inch multi-information display in the instrument panel, and a 6.5-inch LCD in a big circle at the top of the center stack.
How Successful Will a $ 35K Short-Ranger Be?
The car is half a year from shipping in the US. But judgments are being formed. Some of the early press/analyst reports say it’s a lot of money for a car that gets as little as 114 miles in the US. (AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim says it’s a good price/performance point for a 2015 EV.) US pricing is likely to be in the mid-thirties for a Mini. It’s a little better price/performance ratio at 140-150 miles (the European WLPT estimate). BMW execs said they didn’t want to burden the Mini Cooper SE with a higher price tag. Our $ 35,000-$ 39,000 USA starting-price estimate is a simple conversion of UK pricing, £27,900, or Europe pricing, €34,400. There will be three trim lines: Signature, Signature Plus, and Iconic.
At a weekend press conference at the Formula E race in Brooklyn, Pieter Nota, BMW board member for customer-brands-sales, got roughed up by the media who noted that a short-range EV is more of an urban than a suburban car, yet most urban areas, especially New York City, have precious few charging stations. (BMW and Mini have a relationship with the ChargePoint network.) And, said writers and editors who live in the Big Apple, when you go to a parking garage that claims to offer EV charging, it may be the wrong kind, it’s not working, or there are no free charging spaces. This is not a BMW-Mini problem, though.
The real BMW-Mini-specific problem is where Mini’s future lies: It’s primarily a sedan/coupe brand at a time when SUVs dominate. Electrification may boost Mini’s sales, which peaked at 66,502 in the US in 2013 and had led Mini to say they’d sell 100,000 vehicles a year in 2020. Instead, they fell to just 43,684 last year and may be as low as 36,000 this year, based on June year-to-date sales of less than 18,000. Mini’s woes may be one reason chairman Harald Krueger opted not to seek an extension of his contract that expires next year.
Our take is that the range — say it’s 140 miles — is a little disappointing relative to the price. But Mini needed to get an EV into the market. It had a prototype out in 2008 that was made available to 400 enthusiasts, and Mini had plenty of time to digest their comments. (One was that they didn’t like batteries replacing the back seat, which shows how far technology has come. Now the back seat is back.) It should have been out already. We’re assuming the Mini Cooper SE will live for 2-3 years and then we’ll see a much-improved version using newer BMW-Mini technology. BMW will ship the iX3 — a battery-electric X3 — in a year or so, reportedly with a 300-hp motor and battery good for 250 miles on a charge. The next electric Mini likely will use a scaled-down version of that motor.
Meantime, for the price of what the Mini Cooper SE likely costs, you can get a Tesla Model 3, Kira Niro EV, Chevrolet Bolt, or Nissan Leaf Plus with 226 to 258 miles or range. Only the Tesla matches Mini as a perceived premium brand, which may justify some of the pricing. Or for $ 30,000 you could get a 150-mile Nissan Leaf. Mini must be counting on the fun factor to woo buyers. That it is: fun, and fast.
Engineers at MIT have created a plethora of robots in recent years from machines that see with their feet to a cheetah automaton that can run through the grass. Now, MIT has developed a new version of the cheetah robot that’s smaller, more agile, and can even do a backflip. Plus, it can right itself if knocked over by a clumsy or malicious human. Creating a nigh-unstoppable robot seems like a mistake, but luckily the new cheetah is small and (currently) harmless. The new mini cheetah is a scaled-down version of the Cheetah 3 that we previously saw prancing around the MIT campus. The four-legged robot weighs just 20 pounds and can run at 2.45 meters per second (5.48 miles per hour). It’s not the fastest quadruped robot in the world — the Cheetah 3 was about ten times faster, but the mini cheetah is shorter in stature and focuses on other things. Like doing a backflip. You can see the mini cheetah putting its acrobatic skills to the test in the video below, launching itself in the air for a perfect backflip. That’s something the old Cheetah 3 could never hope to accomplish. It even remains standing when nudged and tripped with an almost Boston Dynamics-level of balance. The operative word being almost. The mini cheetah does topple over, but it has a subroutine that flips it right back over with a kick of the legs. See? Unstoppable. The MIT team stresses that the mini cheetah isn’t just a shrunken version of its predecessor. The hardware has been redesigned from the ground up to be more modular. With Cheetah 3, if you wanted to change anything you had to re-engineer a large part of the robot. Each of the mini cheetah’s four legs has three motors, and you could add more limbs easily by bolting on more of these same motors. These are commercially available components used in drones. While the robot’s current top speed is a little over 5 mph, the team believes it could move about twice as fast if they cranked the motors up to maximum. It’s a little early for that, though. Right now, everyone is focused on improving the robot’s finesse, and backflips are only the start. Mini cheetah can also dance in circles and bound across smooth surfaces. In the future, they want the mini cheetah to be able to land on its feet if you give it a toss. MIT is building ten more mini cheetah robots, which it will loan out to other teams that want to collaborate on research. Now read:
Engineers at MIT have created a plethora of robots in recent years from machines that see with their feet to a cheetah automaton that can run through the grass. Now, MIT has developed a new version of the cheetah robot that’s smaller, more agile, and can even do a backflip. Plus, it can right itself if knocked over by a clumsy or malicious human. Creating a nigh-unstoppable robot seems like a mistake, but luckily the new cheetah is small and (currently) harmless.
The new mini cheetah is a scaled-down version of the Cheetah 3 that we previously saw prancing around the MIT campus. The four-legged robot weighs just 20 pounds and can run at 2.45 meters per second (5.48 miles per hour). It’s not the fastest quadruped robot in the world — the Cheetah 3 was about ten times faster, but the mini cheetah is shorter in stature and focuses on other things. Like doing a backflip.
You can see the mini cheetah putting its acrobatic skills to the test in the video below, launching itself in the air for a perfect backflip. That’s something the old Cheetah 3 could never hope to accomplish. It even remains standing when nudged and tripped with an almost Boston Dynamics-level of balance. The operative word being almost. The mini cheetah does topple over, but it has a subroutine that flips it right back over with a kick of the legs. See? Unstoppable.
The MIT team stresses that the mini cheetah isn’t just a shrunken version of its predecessor. The hardware has been redesigned from the ground up to be more modular. With Cheetah 3, if you wanted to change anything you had to re-engineer a large part of the robot. Each of the mini cheetah’s four legs has three motors, and you could add more limbs easily by bolting on more of these same motors. These are commercially available components used in drones.
While the robot’s current top speed is a little over 5 mph, the team believes it could move about twice as fast if they cranked the motors up to maximum. It’s a little early for that, though. Right now, everyone is focused on improving the robot’s finesse, and backflips are only the start. Mini cheetah can also dance in circles and bound across smooth surfaces. In the future, they want the mini cheetah to be able to land on its feet if you give it a toss. MIT is building ten more mini cheetah robots, which it will loan out to other teams that want to collaborate on research.
Katie Holmes is all about women supporting other women!
The 39-year-old actress opened up to ET at the Through Her Lens: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program Luncheon on Tuesday about her female influences and the importance of that support when it comes to raising her 12-year-old daughter, Suri.
“I feel very fortunate to have had a lot of women influence me in my career and take care of me and protect me and inspire me,” she said. “When I was a new actor, I was lucky to work with Jane Adams when I was young, who taught me a lot.”
Holmes co-starred with Adams in the 2000 film Wonder Boys. She also praised the career and work of actress Jodie Foster, saying, “I remember watching Jodie Foster’s career about how she made that wonderful transition.”
The urge to build up other women is something that Holmes tries to incorporate into her everyday life with Suri.
“That’s the way I grew up — women supporting women,” she explained. “I went to an all-girls high school and so I got very used to that female support system. That’s definitely something that is celebrated in my house, and you can see the benefits.”
Holmes worked with some great women on Dawson’s Creek and talked to ET about the possibility of being a guest on her former co-star Busy Philipps’ upcoming talk show.
“I would love to do anything with Busy,” Holmes said. “Yeah, she’s great.”
Holmes attended the luncheon looking chic in a cream-colored blazer jacket and fitted black pants. She also posed with another top lady in the industry — Friends star Courteney Cox.
For more from the actress, watch the clip below:
The C64 Mini — a half-sized Commodore 64 replica with 64 pre-installed games and a BASIC interpreter — will arrive on store shelves this fall. This latest attempt to cash in on hardware-fueled nostalgia is another B-list effort, at best — though at least it’ll avoid some of the problems associated with Commodore 64 peripherals that made the platform less than a joy to use (owners of 1541 disk drives know exactly what I’m talking about).
I don’t want to make it sound like there aren’t any good games included in the list of 64 titles, because that’s not the case. Armalyte, Boulder Dash, Impossible Mission, Summer Games, and Winter Games are all highly regarded C64 titles. I’m also curious about another game, Destroyer — while I never played it, I did play its cousin from the same developer (Epyx), Sub Battle Simulator. It was my first naval combat simulator and I’ve got a soft spot for it to this day. I don’t know if Destroyer measures up, but I’m curious to find out.
But there are a lot of games that aren’t on this list, too. No Pirates!, one of the all-time best games for the platform. No Bard’s Tale, Defender of the Crown, Elite, Lemmings, Lode Runner, Maniac Mansion, Pool of Radiance, Prince of Persia, Spy vs. Spy, any of the games in the Ultima series, Wasteland, or Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. Check any list of top Commodore 64 games, in fact, and it’s telling how many titles on those lists won’t be included with this console.
So far, of all the companies to announce this kind of deal, Nintendo has offered by far the best-curated list of its own titles. While the NES Classic included a few snoozers that I wouldn’t really fire up, it also packed Super Mario Brothers 3, Legend of Zelda, Mega Man 2, Castlevania, Final Fantasy, and Ninja Gaiden — some of the most iconic and excellent titles of its own console generation. The SNES Classic has a similarly strong loadout. Despite packing twice the number of games and a few strong titles of its own, the C64 Mini feels like it’s missing its most iconic titles. Obviously, YMMV.
The system will support USB thumb drives up to 64GB and can apparently run third-party (and undoubtedly legally obtained) C64 software. Just name the drive THEC64-drive8.d64 and use the LOAD “NAME” command followed by — you guessed it — ,8,1 to load titles you’ve acquired through alternate means. But you can only load one game at a time on the drive, apparently, because every game uses the same name format for loading it. This might duplicate the old C64 load experience where “*” ,8,1 was typically used, but it’s not a duplication anybody was likely wanting.
The machine will come with one joystick, while another can be purchased. The keyboard isn’t functional, so you’ll have to hook up a USB keyboard if you want to actually make use of the BASIC interpreter. A full-sized version with a working keyboard is supposedly coming later this year. The HDMI port outputs in 720p with support for 4:3 aspect ratios and optional CRT filters.
The system has launched in Europe at €79.99, while the US launch is scheduled for October. Engadget’s review, published earlier this year, says the C64 Mini is fairly lackluster and we can’t say we’d recommend the system as it stands. Much like the retro Atari VCS, there’s not nearly enough oomph behind this nostalgia push for us to feel comfortable recommending it.
Kaley Cuoco is back upright and took time on Thursday to gallivant in the yard with her dog and two mini horses, Shmooshy and Blanca.
Cuoco, 32, had been down for the count for a several days after having surgery on her shoulder, just days after her wedding to professional equestrian Karl Cook. Cuoco has documented several days of misery after the surgery, which, despite its crummy honeymoon timing, had been pre-planned after she had injured her shoulder last year.
“I brilliantly planned it five days after our wedding. Right, babe?” she quipped about the timing on her Instagram Story last friday.
In a series of videos posted on Thursday, Cuoco can be seen walking out and about with her pets.
“Hehe back with the kiddos!” she captioned one video.
Cuoco, who bonded with her husband over their extreme enthusiasm for animals, has struggled over the past few days with recovery, bemoaning the fact that ice had become her “best friend.”
“Day three in the same shirt, braids are hanging in. Karl might have to redo them. Could write a sitcom around his hairstyles,” she said last week in a black-and-white video, as she iced her shoulder and wrote, “Ice is my best friend.”
Here’s to hoping she gets a little less time with ice and a little more time with Shmooshy and Blanca.
For more on Cuoco’s recent nuptials, watch the video below.
Sega announced this weekend that it’s prepping a new Mega Drive Mini to take advantage of the recent craze for retro hardware. The question of who is building it, however, is somewhat less clear — and that matters, given how the company handled its last micro console.
Last year, AT Games, a business partner of Sega’s and longtime manufacturer of Sega retro consoles announced its Sega Genesis Flashback. The “console” — I use the term loosely — was panned by virtually every single reviewer. Kotaku called it “hot garbage,” while Polygon concluded, “The sad thing about the Sega Genesis Flashback is that, while it may be enough to satisfy the under-the-tree urge in the absence of alternatives, every unit purchased represents a lost future customer for a good Genesis throwback console.” (emphasis original).
— セガ公式アカウント (@SEGA_OFFICIAL) April 14, 2018
Sega’s Mega Drive Mini was announced without any hint of a manufacturer until ATGames announced it would be doing the manufacturing… only to delete the announcement shortly thereafter. Whether this means that the company jumped the gun on the announcement or somehow factually announced the wrong thing is unclear. The Mega Drive Mini is being launched to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the console, so hopefully Sega will put some effort behind it this time.
What is clear is that ATGames is going to have improve its game substantially if it wants to hit the quality bar Nintendo has been setting in this field. The NES Classic and SNES Classic may not be perfect, and plenty of people will prefer to roll their own emulator around something like a Raspberry Pi, but the games Nintendo ships work flawlessly out of the box. The ATGames Sega Genesis, in contrast, was hammered for poor wireless controllers, frame rate drops, audio issues (though this was still much improved from previous ATGames consoles), and mostly shipping a dumpster worth of games as opposed to focusing on a smaller number of high quality titles.
Sega, meanwhile, isn’t betting solely on newfound consumer appreciation for 1990s hardware. The company is also bringing a range of its games to the Switch, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star, and Thunder Force 4. Studio M2 is behind the work, which is good news given generally positive reactions to the company’s previous ports of 8-bit and 16-bit titles. Sega has also launched a new retro game push into smartphones, with a new Sega Forever app for iOS and Android. Polygon has the details there, for the curious.
On the whole, it’s not surprising to see Sega mining its back catalog for hits to bring to new platforms — the Switch is certainly popular and we can understand grabbing a few retro titles for quick game sessions or to introduce kids to the way we gamed when we were their age (cue: “My first monitor was actually a rock, and I was glad to get one! Rocks were expensive back then!”). But if Sega actually cares about this new console, it needs to put it the hands of a company that’ll do a better job than ATGames — or require its partner to build a console worth buying in the first place.
Kourtney Kardashian is serving up major sass!
The 38-year-old reality star was spotted out and about in Los Angeles on Wednesday, turning heads in a seriously sexy ensemble.
The mother of three wore a high-neck sheer top over a lacy bra, which she paired with a black mini skirt, stylish shades and knee-high booties.
She completed the look by keeping her tresses pulled back into a chic ponytail.