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Nintendo now lets you pick your own Switch color combo

Nintendo just launched new options for online Switch customers, allowing them to customize the color of their Joy-Con and accompanying straps — up to a point.

The page is on Nintendo’s Japanese store, and hence is in Japanese. I apologize for any translation errors — I’m relying on Google for the information.

Each of the Joy-Con and straps come in the color of your specification, as long as it’s a color the company has already produced. Want to mix and match Splatoon Pink with Neon Yellow? Now you can (if you want to blind yourself).

Your options are also somewhat limited — for example, Splatoon Green doesn’t appear to be an option for right controllers, but it does for left. The opposite is true for pink. This aligns with how the colors are laid out on the Splatoon 2 version of the console.

Still, it’s a nice concession to customization from a company that hasn’t really offered much in the way of options up until now. It’s not quite as good as a Scarborough Fair Xbox Controller, but it’s a start.

At the moment, this is only available for Japanese customers, but there’s always a chance it will roll out to other regions as well. Hopefully the recent legal dispute over the Joy-Con doesn’t get in the way.

Nintendo unveils new option that will let users customize their Joy-Con and Joy-Con straps on Neowin

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Gadgets

Hacker group manages to run Linux on a Nintendo Switch


Hacker group fail0verflow shared a photo of a Nintendo Switch running Debian, a distribution of Linux (via Nintendo Life). The group claims that Nintendo can’t fix the vulnerability with future firmware patches.

According to fail0verflow, there’s a flaw in the boot ROM in Nvidia’s Tegra X1 system-on-a-chip. when your console starts, it reads and executes a piece of code stored in a read-only memory (hence the name ROM). This code contains instructions about the booting process.

It means that the boot ROM is stored on the chip when Nvidia manufactures it and it can’t be altered in any way after that. Even if Nintendo issues a software update, this software update won’t affect the boot ROM. And as the console loads the boot ROM immediately after pressing the power button, there’s no way to bypass it.

The only way to fix it would be to manufacture new Nvidia Tegra X1 chips. So it’s possible that Nintendo asks Nvidia to fix the issue so that new consoles don’t have this vulnerability.

fail0verflow also says that you don’t need to install a modification chip to bypass the boot ROM. On the photo, it looks like they plugged something on the right side of the device, where the right Joy-Con is supposed to be.

If fail0verflow decides to share the exploit, it could open up many possibilities when it comes to homebrew software and, yes, pirated games. It could have some financial implications for Nintendo.
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Entertainment

Play SNES classics in the HD resolution of memory with the Super Nt


When it comes to the art and science of retro gaming, Analogue has no equal. The small company that first brought us the Analogue Nt, then the Nt mini, is back again with the Super Nt – a lovingly engineered and built modern SNES/Super Famicom console.

Wait but what? A ‘modern SNES’? What does that entail? If you know Analogue’s past work, you know it essentially means building a custom FPGA processor that can play actual original SNES and SFC cartridges as they were intended to be played – not using emulation, the typical means these days of recreating classic gaming experiences on modern hardware.

Analogue’s approach means no weird emulation bugs, no lag and games that play just like you remember them, but with enhanced 1080p full HD graphics, and terrific color rendering for modern televisions. I tried it on both a 4K HDR 43″ LG LED TV, and on Sony’s latest 65″ Bravia 4K HDR OLED TV, and the resulting picture quality was amazing.

As for the game library, it’s as broad as your childhood collection, or as big as the one you can get at your local gaming store or via online sales of old cartridges. Luckily, I have a tall stack of SNES games that has somehow survived multiple moves and general possession culls, so I was ready to roll with NBA Live 95, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, Super Mario World, Mario Kart, Killer Instinct, and many more. I also got a chance to play iam8bit’s limited Street Fighter II 30th anniversary edition cartridge re-release, which was amazing.

Even if you have no games to hand, you can still enjoy the Super Nt out of the box: Analogue has included a soft copy of both the never-released Super Turrican: Director’s Cut, as well as Super Turrican 2 coded into the console itself. If you love bullet hell shooters, you’ll have a great time with both of these classics, including the Director’s Cut that restores the developer’s original vision of the game without some of the technical limitations placed on the retail original due to shipping requirements and cartridge sizes.

The Super Nt comes in a range of colorways, but the retro Super Nintendo inspired version was most appealing to my eye. Analogue also includes an 8bitdo SN30 controller in the box, along with a wireless Retro Receiver adapter for lag-free play. Of course, the console also supports original wired SNES/SFC controllers, if you’d prefer.

It connects to your TV via HDMI, and has a number of simulated scanline and other image adjustments you can tweak to make sure the visual output to your TV most closely resembles whatever setup you had growing up playing SNES. There’s an HDMI cable in the box, too.

Like Analogue’s other products, this one has a very particular appeal. I hesitate to call it ‘niche,’ however, in part because the team have reduced their pricing from past products and are selling this one for $189.99. It’s also just incredibly fun, and the games have lost none of their charm, so it’s definitely a compelling gaming experience for old and new SNES players alike.

Yes, you could pick up an SNES Classic mini from Nintendo (if you can find one) for a lot less, but Analogue’s version is actually a more accurate and faithful reproduction of the original, and it’s built to last, too. If you’re at all inclined to pick one up, I’d do it – it’s those decades of fun you remember, ready to be re-experienced all over again.
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Gadgets

This is the ultimate Super Bowl smart home setup


Do you like to watch football? How about the biggest game of the year — which happens on February 4 (aka this Sunday)? If yes to either of these, then you’re in luck: I can tell you how to get the most out of the experience via connected smart home tech, gadgets and AV equipment. Set “indulge” mode to MAX.

The TV

There are plenty of TV options out there for your viewing pleasure, but the one that takes the cake in my opinion is the Sony Bravia A1E 65-inch 4K OLED HDR Smart TV. Why? Because it’s the smartest television around, in terms of how it makes use of tech, and that goes way beyond its Android TV-based OS (though that’s nice, too).

Part of the smarts come from Sony’s X1 chip, which is a dedicated image processor in the television that’s responsible for its unbeatable upscaling prowess. I immediately noticed that no matter the source resolution of the content I was playing on the Sony TV, the picture looked far, far better than it did anywhere else. Sony says this is because it’s using the chip to rebuild the image pixel-by-pixel, and using a reference library of thousands of 4K images taken from Sony’s extensive library of film and TV studio content to do that rebuilding intelligently, instead of just having to take a guess based on surrounding pixels, as other TV makers do.

The X1 also helps out with the unique in-panel speaker that Sony uses on this television, which literally turns the entire surface of the TV into an audio output device. It helps positionally track faces on the screen, so that when people speak, including from your favorite sideline commentators, their voices actually seem to be coming from their mouths. It’s so good, you might want to opt for that instead of your surround system, but more on that below.

Ultimately, this isn’t the cheapest TV out there (even among OLED models) but its picture quality is unmatched thanks to Sony’s tech, especially if you’re using a streaming signal (like the free one NBC is making available this year for watching the game).

The remote

A good setup needs a good remote, and the Logitech Harmony Companion paired with the Harmony Hub is pretty much exactly what you need for smart home control, including AV equipment like the TV above, as well as various smart devices like those listed below.

Logitech’s whole Harmony lineup is good for this, but the Harmony Companion + Hub bundle has the advantage of being full-featured and capable, while also not breaking the bank. The Hub is key for making sure all your smart home devices can be controlled (including via Google Assistant through Android running on the Sony TV, or also via Alexa), and the Companion remote is an uncomplicated affair, without the power draw of an integrated display, but with a bunch of flexibility thanks to being able to assign different activities to long and short presses of the various activity buttons.

It ships with not only the Hub, but also two IR extenders in the box, which make it easy to establish setups for both open- and closed-cabin AV stack installations. Setup of the software and app is also super easy, and can be done entirely on your smartphone — which becomes another controller using the app, too.

The lights

Philips Hue is still the smart light brand to beat, in my opinion, and they work great with Google Assistant, as well as Alexa and the Harmony remote. You can easily brighten the room with a voice command for when you’re taking a break for wings or nachos, and then darken the room again when halftime’s over and the main show is once again the focus of everyone’s attention.

Using stuff like IFTTT, or even preset smart device scenes with Google Assistant, you can trigger different lighting for different events — like color-coded touchdowns, for instance.

The speakers

As mentioned above, the Sony Bravia OLED TV has speakers integrated into its screen surface that sound amazing, and work great with things like sports and commentary, but if you want to add a little more connected magic to the mix, there are a couple of good options in this category.

Sonos speakers are a great addition to a home theater, especially if you’re already invested in the system. You can craft a home theater sound setup using their Playbase and Playbar, and add a subwoofer for bass, too. But if you’re already super committed to Google Assistant and Chromecast (which is built-in to the TV), you can also pick up Riva’s Festival and Arena speakers, which have Chromecast features built in.

The benefit of that is that you can set them up in group and have the game-day audio broadcast around the house: That way, even in the kitchen or the bathroom, you’re still going to be able to hear all the action as it goes down. And again, you can control all this using voice commands with your TV remote or smartphone.

The post-game game

Once the game is done, or if you’re not interested in watching Justin Timberlake perform at halftime, the best way to occupy that time is to virtually experience your own Super Bowl at home by firing up Madden 18 on the big screen. The Xbox One X version is fully set for 4K HDR displays, so it’s the perfect pairing if you’re using the TV above or another one with those resolution and quality capabilities.
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