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Fast & Furious 9 trailer: The only 4 minutes of the film you’ll need to watch



Vin Diesel returns as Dominic Toretto in Fast & Furious 9, directed by Justin Lin.

Universal Pictures has dropped the first full trailer for Fast and Furious 9, the latest installment in its multibillion-dollar franchise. It’s nearly four full minutes of all the ridiculously over-the-top mayhem we’ve come to expect from Domininc Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his merry band of badass misfits. And no wonder: Director Justin Lin is back on board, who helmed 2006’s Tokyo Drift and the next three installments before passing the baton to James Wan for Furious 7.

Fast and Furious 9 is the sequel to 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, in which Dom is coerced into following the orders of a cyberterrorist named Cipher (Charlize Theron). Over the course of a very convoluted plot, Dom discovers that his former lover, DSS agent Elena Neves (Elsa Pataky) bore him a son. Elena doesn’t survive the film, but the boy does. And of course, Dom and company end up saving the day.

News of a planned ninth and 10th film to complete the franchise broke back in 2016, with F&F9 initially slated for an April 2019 release. It was rescheduled for this year to make room for the 2019 spinoff film, Hobbs and Shaw, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Stratham in the title roles. There were already rumors of tension between Johnson and Diesel on the set of The Fate of the Furious, and the delay on the ninth film prompted a bitter outburst on Instagram by co-star Tyrese Gibson, who plays team member Roman Pearce in the franchise.

This ninth installment pits Dom and his crew against a master thief, assassin, and high-performance driver who just happens to be Dom’s younger brother, Jakob (John Cena). As the trailer opens, we see Dom living a quiet, bucolic existence, raising his son Brian with his wife Letty’s (Michelle Rodriguez) help. “I used to live my life a quarter mile at a time,” he says in a voiceover. “But things change. I’m a father now.” Alas, things are not going to remain peaceful for long: “No matter how fast you are, no one outruns their past. And mine just caught up to me.”

And who is egging Jakob on? None other than F&F8‘s criminal mastermind Cipher. She wants revenge after Dom foiled her original plans and assures Jakob that he is smarter and stronger than Dom—although she wonders if Jakob could ever bring himself to kill his older brother, which she, of course, is more than willing to do. We get a glimpse of Magdalene Shaw (Helen Mirren), mother to Deckard and Owen, who offers some pearls of wisdom. “There’s nothing more powerful than the love of family,” she says. “But you turn that into anger and there’s nothing more dangerous.”

Naturally, there is all manner of property damage, fisticuffs, and death-defying leaps as well as plenty of high-speed car chases and explosions, because that’s what this franchise is ultimately all about: the characters and the amazing stunts. We also get a Pontiac Fiero outfitted with a rocket engine and a “magnet plane” piloted by Cipher. As one last surprise, we see Han Lue (Sung Kang) greet his former colleagues. He was supposedly killed by Shaw in Tokyo Drift. [Clarification: Han Lue did appear in subsequent films: 2009’s Fast & Furious, Fast Five (2011), and Fast & Furious 6 (2013), all of which were set chronologically before Tokyo Drift. 2015’s Furious 7 picks up where Tokyo Drift left off and depicts Han’s funeral. From a chronological standpoint within the franchise timeline, Han has been presumed dead since then.]

Let’s face it: plot has never been the franchise’s strong suit. F&F9 will probably make about as much sense as its predecessors—in other words, not much sense at all. And fans wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fast and Furious 9 hits theaters May 22, 2020. A 10th and final film is planned for the franchise, for release on April 2, 2021.

Listing image by Universal Pictures

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Arcade1Up pinball cabinet review: Fine for families, interesting for modders



Enlarge / Say hello to the Arcade1Up Attack From Mars physical pinball cabinet. The chassis is physical; its games are all virtual. Read below to understand what the heck that means.

Sam Machkovech

If you’re of a certain generation, chances are you have imagined (or, at this point in your adulthood, built) your own home arcade that resembles something out of the golden ’80s era. One useful path to making this a reality, especially in tighter quarters, is the “multicade,” an invention that squishes multiple games into a single cabinet.

But what if your old-school gaming dreams revolve around something bigger and bulkier, particularly pinball? Until recently, your options were either buying a bunch of original pinball cabinets or building your own ground-up emulation solution. And the latter is complicated by the realities of how pinball plays and feels.

I’ve wondered how long it would take for that to change in the gaming-nostalgia market, especially as companies like Arcade1Up produce and sell more multicade cabinets for home use. The time for change is now, evidently, thanks to a handful of manufacturers producing pinball multicades. Arcade1Up in particular launched three distinct pinball emulation cabinets this year, each revolving around a different license.

Thanks to Arcade1Up, I’ve gone hands-on with arguably the most interesting product in its 2021 pinball line: a collection of 10 classic tables, all created by Williams during its arcade heyday but emulated for more convenient home play. What exactly does $600 get you in terms of emulation and build quality?

Time to get Mad and Medieval

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Game Boy Advance game gets split-screen multiplayer through new FPGA core



Developer Robert Peip shows off some split-screen Game Boy Advance multiplayer gaming through his new FPGA core.

Here at Ars, we’re big fans of situations where emulation creates a classic gaming experience that’s actually better than what you could get with original hardware in some way or another. In the past, that has meant upsampling rotated sprites in SNES’ “Mode 7” games or adding “widescreen” support to NES games or mitigating the controller lag that was built into certain older consoles or overclocking an emulated SNES to remove slowdown without ruining gameplay timing.

The latest emulation-powered retro-gaming upgrade to cross our paths greatly simplifies an oft-overlooked capability built in to many Game Boy Advance titles. Namely, it adds the ability to play multiplayer titles in split screen on a single display.

This upgrade is the work of Robert Peip, a developer who’s spent years working on field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). These days, Peip works primarily on the MiSTer FPGA an open source project that recreates classic gaming hardware extremely accurately through emulation “cores” that replicate every single logic gate involved in the schematics of the original system (most of Analogue’s high-end retro hardware is similarly powered by FPGA cores). Such cores are currently available for consoles ranging from the Odyssey 2 through the Neo Geo era and more.

Peip’s new “special version” of the Game Boy Advance FPGA core works relatively simply, running two GBA cores in a single MiSTer. As Peip explains, “you get 2 raw GBA cores, one connected to SDRAM, one connected to DDR3, communicating directly inside the FPGA. Sound is used from Core 1 only.”

Thus, games originally designed to be played on two consoles connected via link cable can now be played in split screen on a single MiSTer with a single connected display, as shown in this demonstration video. Peip says that “most multiplayer games should be supported,” a statement that presumably includes original Game Boy games (which work on a GBA link-cable through a supported secondary mode).

Playing these multiplayer GBA games on original hardware required two separate consoles, two copies of the game, and a GBA link cable, ensuring most casual players probably never even bothered (some GBA games offered limited multiplayer with just one cartridge). And while previous GBA emulators have offered link-cable support, even that required a LAN or Internet connection between two separate machines with two separate displays. While some RetroPie users have done a bit of finagling to get multiplayer games for the original Game Boy working via split screen, we’ve never seen a similar one-machine, one-display solution for Game Boy Advance multiplayer games before this.

Peip’s turnkey test core for multiplayer GBA emulation is currently only available by supporting his Patreon, and it is currently missing features like savestates, fast forward, and visual filters available on other GBA cores. Still, we’re excited to have a new, easier-to-use method to try the oft-ignored multiplayer modes in some classic portable titles. Now if we could only get split-screen support for those four-player GBA titles…

Listing image by Nintendo

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Peter Jackson’s 6-hour Beatles documentary confirmed for Disney+ this November



Peter Jackson’s next six-hour epic is finally coming out this year—and in a first for the acclaimed director, the film will launch directly to a streaming service. It will also be broken up into episodes.

The Beatles: Get Back, an expansive documentary originally announced for a theatrical run this August, has had its release strategy tweaked. On Thursday, Jackson and Disney confirmed that the entire project will launch exclusively on Disney+ during this year’s American Thanksgiving holiday. Each third of the documentary will launch on the streaming service on November 25, 26, and 27. As of press time, Disney hasn’t said how the film will reach audiences outside of Disney+’s supported territories. Neither Jackson nor Disney clarified how the original theatrical run might have worked or whether the global pandemic forced anyone’s hand.

Today’s news confirms that Jackson had an abundance of footage to work with. Roughly three years ago, the remaining Beatles handed him access to a musical holy grail: over 60 hours of previously unseen video recordings, mostly capturing the Beatles working on the album Let It Be and rehearsing for, and then performing, the band’s legendary 1969 rooftop concert in London.

Jackson stitched the footage together with access to what Disney calls “over 150 hours of unheard, restored audio”—meaning yes, somehow Apple Corps. still has some tapes in hiding after this many Beatles special edition albums, anthologies, video games, and Cirque du Soleil collaborations. For further context on the Let It Be recording sessions, the film will be paired with a physical book full of photos and original interviews, now delayed to an October launch.

Jackson’s comments in today’s news, as provided by Disney to members of the press, imply that he indeed sought to release a long documentary: “I’m very grateful to the Beatles, Apple Corps., and Disney for allowing me to present this story in exactly the way it should be told.” He also commented on the original documentary footage, filmed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, as something that is “not nostalgia—it’s raw, honest, and human.”

The Beatles: Get Back will launch on a Thursday, thus breaking Disney+’s latest initiative of launching new series episodes on Wednesdays instead of Fridays. If anyone can break a newly sacrosanct Disney+ rule, it has to be the Beatles.

Listing image by The Walt Disney Company / Apple Corps / Wingnut Films

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