Microsoft Flight Simulator: 1 million pilots so far, flying 1 billion miles

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Microsoft Flight Simulator: 1 million pilots so far, flying 1 billion miles

Microsoft Flight Simulator is the biggest launch in the franchise’s 38-year history, and the biggest launch ever for its Xbox Game Pass for PC subscription program, Microsoft said Thursday.

The raw numbers: more than 1 million unique players have piloted 26 million flights so far, flying for more than 1.18 billion miles. (You can see more details in Microsoft’s infographic below.) A billion miles is also five round trips to the sun from Earth, which should get you a free business-class upgrade on your next flight.

Cat Mario and Cat Peach amiibo coming next year

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Cat Mario and Cat Peach amiibo coming next year

Nintendo announced on Thursday a bevy of Mario-related games coming to the Nintendo Switch between now and early 2021 to mark the Super Mario franchise’s 35th anniversary. The company also revealed two new amiibo that are coming soon.

Cat Mario and Cat Peach — both from Super Mario 3D World — are the latest amiibo subjects. When Nintendo launches Super Mario 3D World and the Bowser’s Fury addition on Feb. 12, 2021, players will be able to pick up these new amiibo as companions.

Super Mario Bros. 35 is a ... battle royale version of the original game

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Super Mario Bros. 35 is a ... battle royale version of the original game

Nintendo’s latest twist on Super Mario Bros., the NES game that kicked off the Super Mario franchise in 1985, is a 35-player Nintendo Switch battle royale game called Super Mario Bros. 35, the company announced Thursday.

Rounds of Super Mario Bros. 35 will feature 35 people playing through the same Super Mario Bros. level simultaneously. Enemies that you defeat will show up in other players’ courses (and vice versa, naturally). And power-ups will be available to give you a boost. In a brief trailer Nintendo published Thursday, the interface appears to be similar to the one in another unexpected battle royale take on a classic franchise, 2019’s Tetris 99.

Mario gets a new Game & Watch for his 35th anniversary

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Mario gets a new Game & Watch for his 35th anniversary

On Thursday, Nintendo published a new Nintendo Direct for Mario’s 35th Anniversary. Nintendo announced the long-rumored Super Mario 3D All-Stars, alongside a few other surprise products. Namely, Mario will get his own Game & Watch system later this year.

On Nov. 13, Nintendo will launch a new piece of Game & Watch hardware — those plastic handheld systems from the 1980s. With Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros., players can play through the original Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, use a Mario-themed clock mode to tell time, or relive one of the original Game & Watch classics: Ball, re-themed around everyone’s favorite Italian plumber.

Watch a new Nintendo Direct celebrating 35 years of Super Mario

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Watch a new Nintendo Direct celebrating 35 years of Super Mario

A surprise Nintendo Direct, celebrating the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros.1985 launch, premiered this morning. You can see every announcement in the 15-minute presentation above.

Leading the celebration is Super Mario 3D All-Stars, an anthology of optimized versions of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy for Nintendo Switch. There will be a limited run of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, starting with its Sept. 18 launch and ending March 31, 2021.

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is Mario Kart for the real world — and Nintendo Switch

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Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is Mario Kart for the real world — and Nintendo Switch

During a surprise Nintendo Direct published on Thursday, Nintendo announced a new Mario Kart game, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit. And it’s not your ordinary Mario Kart game — it’s part toy, part video game, allowing players to pilot a physical Kart that’s racing opponents in-game.

Players will have to set up courses, using special gates, inside their homes (or wherever else, really) to create the race world. Local multiplayer is available for up to four players, but you can also race Koopalings, according to Nintendo. To play in multiplayer mode, however, you’ll need “additional games, systems and karts,” Nintendo said.

Nintendo bringing Super Mario 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy to Switch

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Nintendo bringing Super Mario 64, Sunshine, and Galaxy to Switch

Nintendo is bringing a slew of Super Mario games to Nintendo Switch, including re-releases of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario 3D World. The re-releases for Switch are part of Nintendo’s 35th anniversary celebration for its iconic mascot and the Super Mario Bros. series.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars for Nintendo Switch will include optimized versions of Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy in one package. Nintendo promises higher resolutions and an optimized gameplay experience on Switch. Super Mario 3D All-Stars launches on Sept. 18 and will be available until approximately March 31, 2021, Nintendo said in a news release.

Crusader Kings 3 lets you upend the sexual and religious norms of the feudal world

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Crusader Kings 3 lets you upend the sexual and religious norms of the feudal world

Epic grand strategy role-playing game Crusader Kings 3 is one of the best PC games in a generation. In our review, we described it as an elastic storytelling engine — one that rewards improvisation, while also heaving in a hefty amount of randomness. But, at its core, the game is a simulation custom-made to allow players to explore alternate histories. That includes letting them tinker with the sexual and religious norms common to the feudal world.

Crusader Kings 3 features dozens of pre-generated starting characters spread all across the world, with timelines that kick off in either the ninth or the 11th century. If none of those strike your fancy, you can head off on your own by plucking an obscure regent from literally anywhere on the map. But, there’s also a list of starting conditions — toggles that you can flip to change how the game itself actually works.

The business of selling Animal Crossing’s irresistible vibes

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The business of selling Animal Crossing’s irresistible vibes

A good Animal Crossing: New Horizons screenshot is much like a postcard. You see it, and you sigh wistfully: If only you could teleport to the nostalgic scenery teased within. Wish you were here, indeed.

That yearning is partially accomplished through deft decorating skills, knowing what to place and where. But getting the right vibe in a screenshot is a more nebulous practice, more of an art than it is a science. New Horizons’ built-in photography tools have a few different filters, but compared to an actual image processing program, the options are limited. This might explain why many take to Adobe’s Lightroom software, a photo editing tool that helps people sort and alter images.