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The Morning After: Friday December 23, 2016

Written by Mat Smith

Before you take off for the holiday, we’re looking back at this year’s best games and gadgets, and fearing the worst when it comes to next year’s weather.

Play this. Also: Don’t play this.
The best (and worst) games of 2016

Because of this year’s never-ending cycle of unease, video games have been more important to a lot of us at Engadget this year. Of course, they’re always a form of escapism, but in the last 12 months they’ve had to function as a kind of digital cocoon. Here’s our pick of 2016’s top forms of gaming escape — as well as those best avoided.

Because everyone has an old ThinkPad laying around
Now Raspberry Pi’s Pixel OS can run on regular PCs

A Linux-based operating system that can run on a cheap Raspberry Pi computer could also breathe life into some old laptops. At least, it can now that the Pixel OS is ready to run on both Windows and OS X computers. It’s still in the experimental stages, but interested users can grab a bootable image and try it out right away.

Less is more when it comes to microtransactions
‘RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic’ rides again on Android and iOS

Atari’s new game for mobile is actually a mashup of two old ones, as RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic pulls from RCT 1 and 2. Overall it’s a simpler take on ride design and park management than later games in the series, and unlike previous mobile releases, it’s very light on the in-app purchases. The game costs $6, there are two expansion packs, and the ability to import/export saved parks costs extra, but that’s it.

Including every VR headset
The best gadgets of 2016

The year is almost over, so now it’s time to run down some of the most impressive electronics we’ve seen. VR hardware topped the list, but that’s not all. Dell and HP delivered impressive laptops (even when Apple didn’t) and the best phones were the ones that didn’t explode.

No Pixel watch, for nowAndroid Wear 2.0 will launch on third-party smartwatches

Android Wear product manager Jeff Chang confirmed in an interview with The Verge that version 2.0 of the platform will arrive first on a pair of flagship smartwatches. The surprising news, however, is that despite Google’s push to build more hardware of its own, its name won’t be on either of them.

It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this… graph paper.
Peek at the drawings used to design the original ‘Zelda’

To celebrate The Legend of Zelda‘s 30th anniversary, Nintendo has released a handful of drawings that were used to design the first game in the franchise. They’re essentially graph paper, with shaded boxes to represent walls and bottomless pits. Greatness often starts small and simple.

Storm’s coming.
What can we expect in 2017? More volatile weather

Due to our slow progress in addressing climate change, there’s going to be a lot less ice in the Arctic next year. Scientists are observing peak high temperatures in the Arctic circle that’s likely to lead to record low levels of ice coverage in 2017. Long story short, we’re currently melting the wall that’s helped stop the seas boiling for all of these years. The knock-on effect is that when summer rolls around next, there’ll be less of the frozen stuff to reflect the solar energy back, further warming the planet beyond its capacity to cope

But wait, there’s more…

  • The world’s first “solar road” opened Wednesday in France
  • Faraday Future could be out of business by February
  • Obama administration dismantles registry used to track Muslims and Arabs

About the author

Mat Smith

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