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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — More than 40 years after blazing a trail for female video game characters, Ms. Pac-Man was inducted Thursday into the World Video Game Hall of Fame, along with Dance Dance Revolution, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Sid Meier’s Civilization.

The Hall of Fame considers electronic games of all types each year — arcade, console, computer, handheld and mobile. Inductees are recognized for their popularity and influence on the video game industry or pop culture over time.

The Ms. Pac-Man arcade game was released in 1981 as Midway’s follow-up to Pac-Man, which entered the hall as part of the inaugural class in 2015. The Pac-Man sequel reimagined the main character to acknowledge the original game’s female fans, according to the hall. After selling 125,000 cabinets within the first five years, it became one of the best-selling arcade games of all time.

There was nothing inherently gendered about early video games, said Julia Novakovic, senior archivist at the hall. But “by offering the first widely recognized female video game character,” she said, “Ms. Pac-Man represented a turn in the cultural conversation about women’s place in the arcade, as well as in society at large.”

The Class of 2022 was chosen from a field of finalists that also included Assassin’s Creed, Candy Crush Saga, Minesweeper, NBA Jam, PaRappa the Rapper, Resident Evil, Rogue, and Words with Friends. It is the eighth class to be inducted since the World Video Game Hall of Fame was established at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

If it ain’t broke, maybe you should fix it anyway.

That’s the message consumer advocates and insurance experts want you to hear about your home’s hidden dangers. Too often, they say, people put off relatively inexpensive repairs or improvements that could prevent significant damage, injuries or even death. While you can’t eliminate every potential hazard, some small moves can have a huge impact on home safety.

The following fixes typically cost $200 or less.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When Manu Ginobili reflects on the odds of a kid from Argentina growing up to win four NBA titles and Olympic gold, he sounds in awe that that is in fact the story of his athletic life.

“It’s one in tens of millions,” Ginobili said Saturday after an official announcement that he has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “The odds are very, very slim and it just happened to me. I don’t know what happened, but I was the one.

“I happen to be an important part of two very iconic teams of those couple decades of both FIBA and with the NBA. Incredibly lucky and fortunate to be a part of those two.”

Ginobili, five-time All-Star Tim Hardaway and decorated former coach George Karl were the household NBA names in the 2022 class of inductees announced in New Orleans at the site of the NCAA Final Four.

Also selected this year were former WNBA champion and two-time college national champion Swin Cash; long-time college coach Bob Huggins, WNBA champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsay Whalen; NCAA national championship coach and former WNBA Coach of the Year Marianne Stanley, and former NBA official Hugh Evans.

The class will be enshrined in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Sept. 10.

WATERVILLE (AP) — The nation’s first small liberal arts college to create an institute devoted to artificial intelligence now has a director.

Amanda Stent will lead the newly formed Davis Institute for Artificial Intelligence at Colby College, officials said.

Stent has authored or co-authored more than 100 papers and is a regular speaker on the subject of natural language, which gives computers the ability to understand human text and spoken words.

She most recently served as the natural language processing architect at Bloomberg L.P., where she led the People and Language AI Team.

The institute was created through a $30 million gift from the Davis family and charitable foundation trustee Andrew Davis.

Davis said previously that complex questions surrounding AI “requires a holistic analysis and response that can only come from a broad liberal arts perspective.”

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans have become obsessed with collectibles, bidding up prices for trading cards, video games and other mementos of their youth. The frenzy has brought small fortunes to some, but a deep frustration for those who still love to play games or trade cards as a hobby.

Among the items most sought after — and even fought over — are the relics of millennials’ childhoods. These include copies of trading cards such as Pokemon’s Charizard and Magic: The Gathering’s Black Lotus as well as Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. game cartridges. Some cards are selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars and an unopened Super Mario game recently sold for an astonishing $2 million.

This is more than a case of opportunistic collectors looking to cash in on a burst of nostalgia triggered by the pandemic. Everyone seemingly is angling for a piece of the pie.

The corporations who own franchises such as Pokemon are rolling out new editions as quickly as they can print them; internet personalities are hawking the products and raking in advertising money; companies that tell collectors how much their possessions are worth are doing unprecedented businesses — and in at least one case getting financial backing from a prominent private equity firm looking to get in on the action.

But while some collectors and investors see dollar signs, others complain about the breakdown of their tight-knit communities. Players looking to play in-person again after the pandemic are unable to find the game pieces they want; if the pieces are available, prices have gone up astronomically. Critics of rising prices have become targets of harassment by those who now consider trading cards, comics and video games no different than a stock portfolio.

SCARBOROUGH (AP) — Greg Wilfert remembers being enamored during his first teenage visit to Scarborough Beach State Park.

He never lost that loving feeling. He’s working his 50th consecutive season as a lifeguard on the same stretch of beach.

“When I came down and saw the beach and, I guess, what do you call it, your first love? There it is. I found a way to make it work,” Wilfert, who’s 66, told WMTW-TV.

Tuesday, 01 June 2021 10:18

Home sales surge, prices climb in Maine

PORTLAND (AP) — Home sales in Maine have continued to surge in spring.

Maine home sales increased by more than a third in April compared to a year ago, the Portland Press Herald reported. The median sales price also increased by more than a sixth, the paper reported.

The median sale price in the state was $276,000 for the month. Sales figures are also higher than pre-pandemic levels, said Aaron Bolster, a real estate broker and the president of the Maine Association of Realtors.

The trends in Maine were in line with national sales developments. Home sales around the U.S. increased nearly 30% in April from a year earlier, and prices also climbed about a fifth, the National Association of Realtors said.

One after another, quarterbacks once believed to be franchise cornerstones after being top five draft picks changed addresses this offseason in staggering succession.

Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff switched teams in a swap of former No. 1 overall picks. Carson Wentz and Sam Darnold were traded away by teams that had recently tried to build around those passers. Mitchell Trubisky had to settle for a backup contract deal after flaming out in Chicago.

Those were part of a growing pattern around the league as teams have never been more willing to use high draft picks on quarterbacks, and never been quicker to cut ties when those investments don’t pay off.

The cycle will continue later this month when quarterbacks are expected to be drafted with the top three picks and a chance that a record five could go in the top 10 as the lure of a top passer on an affordable rookie deal is too enticing to pass up.

Spring in the vegetable or flower garden is a carefully orchestrated series of events. The goal is to keep things moving forward with the warming season, taking into account weather predictions and, because those are just predictions, average spring warming trends where you garden.

Many gardeners use Memorial Day as a turning point in their gardening calendar. But Memorial Day weather in San Diego is very different from Memorial Day weather in Concord, New Hampshire.

SAN RAMON, Calif. (AP) — As the U.S. economy rebounds from its pandemic slump, a vital cog is in short supply: the computer chips that power a wide range of products that connect, transport and entertain us in a world increasingly dependent on technology.

The shortage has already been rippling through various markets since last summer. It has made it difficult for schools to buy enough laptops for students f orced to learn from home, delayed the release of popular products such as the iPhone 12 and created mad scrambles to find the latest video game consoles such as the PlayStation 5.

But things have been getting even worse in recent weeks, particularly in the auto industry, where factories are shutting down because there aren’t enough chips to finish building vehicles that are starting to look like computers on wheels. The problem was recently compounded by a grounded container ship that blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week, choking off chips headed from Asia to Europe.

On Thursday, General Motors and Ford said they would further cut production at their North American factories as the global shortage of semiconductors appears to be growing tighter.

These snags are likely to frustrate consumers who can’t find the vehicle they want and sometimes find themselves settling for a lower-end models without as many fancy electronic features. And it threatens to leave a big dent in the auto industry, which by some estimates stands to lose $60 billion in sales during the first half of his year.

“We have been hit by the perfect storm, and it’s not going away any time soon,” said Baird technology analyst Ted Mortonson, who said he has never seen such a serious shortage in nearly 30 years tracking the chip industry.

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