One of gaming's musical maestros just released his first solo album – The Verge

Hirokazu Tanaka has a history most game composers can only dream of. As a young sound designer working at Nintendo in the 1980s, he crafted the soundtracks to classics like Metroid, Earthbound, Dr. Mario, and Tetris. Later on, he would write songs for the original Pokémon anime. Now, a few decades later, he’s releasing his first proper solo album, a collection called Django that fuses chiptunes with techno and reggae.

Tanaka — who is releasing the album under his stage name “Chip Tanaka” — describes the new collection as “the culmination of my harder side, the kind of game music you hear in EarthBoundʼs battle tracks.” The 13 songs jump around from genre to genre. The opening track, “Ringing Dub,” starts out as a thumping electronic track, before easing in some 8-bit bloops and a more breezy reggae sound. For the most part, the album is lighthearted; it can be loud and powerful, but it never feels dark or depressing. It’s part modern pop, part tribute to classic video games.

The infusion of reggae shouldn’t be too surprising for Tanaka’s fans: the genre has been a steady influence on him throughout his career. At live shows he’s been known to mash up dub sounds with game classics like Balloon Fight. “During my 20s and 30s, I was a total reggae-head,” he told The Japan Times. “I had to cut down after a while, as I realized if I was only listening to reggae, I wouldn’t be able to make other kinds of music.”

With Django, Tanaka joins a growing list of Japanese game composers branching out into solo work. In 2015 Ninja Gaiden composer Keiji Yamagishi released the first half of his chiptune odyssey Retro-active, while Red Bull has hosted an ongoing radio series called “Diggin’ in the Carts” about

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Black Friday 2017: All the best gaming deals to shop now – Polygon

We’re six days away from Black Friday (Nov. 24) and the biggest shopping holiday of the year has already begun at several online retailers. Below, we’ve rounded up our favorite gaming deals including early access Black Friday sales at Microsoft and the PlayStation store. Target is also running a big board game sale for today only (Saturday, Nov. 18).

Big sales will launch throughout the week, many starting on Thanksgiving, so make sure to check back here. We will be bringing you the best deals on consoles, accessories, games, and more. Happy shopping!

Hardware & Accessories Newegg Early Black Friday sale: As reported yesterday, Newegg is running early deals through Sunday, Nov. 19. Highlights include Intel Core i7-7700 Kaby Lake Quad-Core 3.6 GHz desktop processor for $284.99 (usually $314.99, use promo code EMCBBBH23), Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 SDRAM desktop memory for $154.99 ( usually $216.99, use promo code EMCBBBH26), and Acer Predator XB271HU 27″ WQHD IPS monitor with NVIDIA G-Sync for $599.99 (usually $799.99, use promo code EMCBBBH32). Xbox One S Halo Bundle with Battlefront 2 and choice of free game: Walmart has a great 500GB bundle which comes with the first 5 Halo games, Star Wars Battlefront II, and your choice between Cod WW2, Fifa 18 limited edition, or Madden NFL 18 limited edition for $249, saving you up to $120. Microsoft Xbox GamePass: Get your first month of Xbox Game Pass for just $1 (usually $10) during the Xbox Black Friday sale. Includes unlimited access to over 100 games, with new games added every month. DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4: Down to $39 on Amazon (usually $59.99) in the green camouflage color. HORI Nintendo Switch Splatoon 2 Splat & Chat Headset: Down to $17 on Amazon, saving you about $13. Logitech MX

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The best gaming headphones – Polygon

I’ll never forget my first pair of dedicated gaming headphones, the venerable Triton AX360. They completely changed my perception of playing games on a console.

At the time, I was hooked on Gears of War. Every Friday I’d get together with some friends for an evening of private multiplayer matches, and the AX360 gave me a distinct advantage. Having true surround sound was like having a kind of superpower. With positional audio, I could actually hear the other players sneaking up behind me, or track their movements around the map. After that, there was no going back.

Since then, I’ve become a bit of a connoisseur of gaming headphones. I’m not an audiophile by any stretch, but I know what I like. That’s why I’ve been tapped to refresh Polygon’s list of the best gaming headphones for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. Our Ben Kuchera is also on hand to talk about options for the Nintendo Switch.

After more than a month of rigorous testing, with samples provided by a dozen leading brands, here are our top picks for each platform.

Winner Astro A50

The Astro A50 is, hands down, the gold standard for wireless gaming audio. There may be better sounding wired headphones out there, but if your controller is already wireless shouldn’t your headset be as well?

The Astro A50 for PlayStation 4 and PC features metallic blue highlights. It’s available on Amazon. Astro

The A50 is plug-and-play compatible with the PS4, and features Dolby 7.1 audio. The soundstage is big, and the multiple channels are clear and distinct all across the spectrum. Aside from rock-solid audio quality, the A50 has a number of excellent quality-of-life features. The included base station features wireless charging. Just plunk them down and they’re ready to go the

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Pennsylvania gaming expansion should not impact Atlantic City casinos – Press of Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY — The resort’s gaming industry, which has been weakened by out-of-state competition during the last decade, should be spared during the next round of casino gaming expansion in Pennsylvania.

As part of the sweeping gaming expansion, casino-style gambling would be allowed at Pennsylvania truck stops, online portals and airports, and as many as 10 new mini-casinos would be permitted to open in a state that already has a dozen casinos operating.

But high tax rates and restrictions on where new the new mini-casinos could be built might lessen the impact the neighboring expansion could have on the city’s gaming market.

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Colin Mansfield, a director at Fitch Ratings and a lead analyst in the gaming, said the fact that Philadelphia suburbs are excluded from having the mini-casinos will benefit Atlantic City’s gaming market.

“Honestly, it’s hard to lose the same revenue twice,” Mansfield said.

Pennsylvania lawmakers hope to squeeze an additional $200 million per year or more from casino license fees and taxes on higher gambling losses. New gambling cash would also flow to decade-old property tax rebates and local government treasuries, institutions and development projects, often controlled by lawmakers.

The high operator fees and tax rate will scary away some casino owners from getting involved in online gaming, said Steve Norton, who runs a consulting company, Norton Management LLC.

“Table game tax rates are very similar, but when considering that 90 percent of New Jersey’s online gaming is from slots, I’m not sure how many Pennsylvania online operators will be interested in applying for a license,” Norton said.

A recent

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Sports betting challenge could shake up Texas gaming – Weatherford Democrat

AUSTIN — A lawsuit slated for oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court in early December could change the face of legal gambling, not just in Texas but across the nation.

In a SCOTUSblog.com post, Amy Howe wrote that “the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act makes it illegal for states to authorize a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based on one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate,” except in Delaware, Montana, Nevada and Oregon, which already had sports gambling and were grandfathered in.

Now, 25 years after the federal law banned full-fledged sports betting in most of the U.S., attorneys general from about 20 states, including Texas, where tribal casinos, charitable bingo, pari-mutuel facilities and the state-run lottery are legal, are joining New Jersey’s challenge, arguing that they are constitutionally entitled to govern gambling as they see fit.

“Frankly, there’s not a lot of opposition” to overturning the PASPA said Steven Doty, media relations director for the American Gaming Association, which represents the casino industry. “We’re being cautiously optimistic.”

But the legal challenge has thus far lost in lower-level federal courts, and there is opposition from those who contend that the costs of sports betting outweigh any potential benefits.

The Southern Baptist Convention in June condemned gambling in “all its forms”; urged “leaders at all levels of government to end state-sponsored gambling … and to address its harmful effects through policy and legislation”; and encouraged “fellow Southern Baptists and all other followers of Christ not to participate in the sin of gambling.”

And, critics say, opening the door to sports betting means children will be using the Internet to bet on whether the next play in a football game will be a run or a pass.

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