Online ‘Expansion Pack’ brings N64 and Genesis games to Nintendo Switch

Nintendo is rolling out a new membership plan for Switch Online, and it'll unlock a library of classic Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis titles. The Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription tier will go live in October. Nintendo has not shared pricing details yet, but the company says more information is coming soon.

Games in the Online Expansion Pack include Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Starfox 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Tennis, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Ecco the Dolphin, Phantasy Star IV, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Streets of Rage 2, among other iconic titles. Additional N64 games will be added to the lineup over time, including Pokemon Snap, Banjo-Kazooie, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and Paper Mario. See a complete list of Expansion Pack titles at the end of the article.

The Expansion Pack tier grants members all of the perks of a traditional Switch Online subscription, and it takes some classic games online for the first time. Mario Kart 64, for instance, will be playable online for up to four players.

Nintendo
Nintendo

Alongside the new (old) games and the fresh Online tier, Nintendo is rolling out wireless N64 and Genesis gamepads just for the Switch, and only for Online subscribers. The controllers are $50 each and will require a Switch Online membership to purchase.

Switch owners have been anxiously waiting for N64 games to hit the system since it launched in 2017, and the inclusion of Genesis titles is the cherry on top of today's news. The surprising part is how the games will be distributed, via a new form of subscription DLC.

Nintendo provided the following list of old-school games included in the Online Expansion Pack:

Launch Lineup of Nintendo 64 Games

  • Super Mario 64

  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

  • Mario Kart 64

  • Star Fox 64

  • Sin and Punishment

  • Dr. Mario 64

  • Mario Tennis 64

  • WinBack

  • Yoshi’s Story

Upcoming Nintendo 64 Games (With More To Come!)

  • Banjo-Kazooie

  • Pokémon Snap

  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

  • Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards

  • Mario Golf

  • Paper Mario

  • F-Zero X

Launch Lineup of SEGA Genesis Games

  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2

  • Streets of Rage 2

  • Ecco the Dolphin

  • Castlevania: Bloodlines

  • Contra: Hard Corps

  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

  • Golden Axe

  • Gunstar Heroes

  • M.U.S.H.A.

  • Phantasy Star IV

  • Ristar

  • Shining Force

  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master

  • Strider

Gadzooks! This fully functional antique cash register has a sliding drawer and is made from over 2000 LEGO bricks!

Built to absolute stunning detail, the LEGO Ideas Antique Cash Register models itself directly on the National Cash Register Model 452 – a popular cashier’s machine from the 19th Century, designed and developed in Ohio at the start of the era of retail businesses. The LEGO variant, however, is the brainchild of a Master Builder who goes by the name of dimexart, and uses a whopping 2055 pieces to come together. Once assembled, dimexart says that the model will be entirely operational, with pushable buttons, a working swing arm, and a slide-out cash drawer with actual LEGO coins in it too!

The Antique Cash Register looks phenomenally like the original. It comes in gold and brown, and sports ornate brass detail-work on the sides and the front. From the looks of it, it’s almost the same size too! Now all it really needs is the signature ‘ka-ching’ sound when you crank the arm on the side to get the drawer to slide out!

Just like all LEGO Ideas projects, dimexart’s Antique Cash Register is currently gathering votes on the LEGO Ideas forum. If the project gathers over 10,000 votes from the LEGO community, LEGO will turn the fan-project into a commercially available box-set that people can then buy and build on their own! You can go cast your vote on the LEGO Ideas site by clicking here.

Designer: Dimexart

‘Kirby and the Forgotten Land’ heads to Nintendo Switch in spring 2022

After a leak earlier in the day spoiled the surprise, Nintendo announced Kirby and the Forgotten Land at its latest Direct presentation. Set to arrive on Switch in the spring of next year, the title will mark the first mainline Kirby game since Nintendo released Kirby Star Allies in 2018. The company shared a trailer that shows Kirby navigating the overgrown remains of a long-forgotten city. 

As in past games, Kirby can inhale enemies to gain their abilities. At one point in the trailer, we see him become a swordsman, complete with a green cap and what looks like a Master Sword. Other stolen abilities allow him to freeze his enemies and breathe fire on them. All in all, it looks an adorable adventure that should make Kirby fans happy.    

Google adds one-button group chats for Calendar meetings

Ever wish you could quickly share notes before a Google Calendar meeting, or follow up afterward? You can now. Google is trotting out updates to Workspace and G Suite users that let you easily create a group chat with everyone from your organization attending a given meeting. You just have to tap a button near the guest list to start the conversation directly from the event, whether you're on the web or your phone.

This won't work with people outside your organization. You may also have to be patient. Web users on a rapid release track are in the midst of a 15-day rollout that quietly began on September 20th, while mobile users and more cautious companies will have to wait until October 4th.

It's a welcome move, if also an expected one. Google is increasingly unifying its Workspace web apps, including Gmail's growing role as a hub for office conversation. The Calendar expansion is a logical extension — it could make Google's chat service an easy choice for meeting organizers who want to message colleagues.

American Nest Hub and Hub Max smart displays can now show Spanish text

Starting today, Google is rolling out more robust Spanish language support to Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max devices in the US. With the update, the company has translated the entirety of the user interface on those devices into Spanish. Additionally, it has added additional commands that weren’t supported previously.

For instance, you can say, “Hey Google, llama a mamá,” to tell your Nest Hub to connect you to your mom over Google Duo. Another new voice command allows you to add groceries and other items to a centralized shopping list. One other new feature make it possible to stream music from both free and paid streaming services. If you’re a YouTube TV subscriber, you can also stream Univision on your smart display. You can switch your Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max to Spanish by navigating to the languages section of the Assistant settings menu in the Google Home app.

Watch September’s Nintendo Direct here at 6PM ET

The third Nintendo Direct stream of 2021 takes place today. Nintendo is promising around 40 minutes of news and updates. The focus will be on games coming to Nintendo Switch this winter, but we might just get a look at some titles that are a little further away.

Metroid Dread, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Pokémon Legends: Arceus and Mario Party Superstars all have scheduled release dates in the next few months, so they could be featured on the stream. Then there are the games we know are in development, like Splatoon 3 and the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, both of which are scheduled to debut in 2022.

We have our fingers and toes crossed for a Hollow Knight: Silksong appearance as well as some other surprises. Rumors abound that Nintendo has a new Kirby game in the pipeline and that it will add Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles to the Switch Online library. FCC filings suggest the company is working on a new controller, perhaps a Nintendo 64-style one, so we could learn about that during the stream too.

The Nintendo Direct starts at 6PM ET. You can watch the virtual event below.

This adorable little tea-infuser looks exactly like the Piranha Plant from Super Mario!

When you’re not using it to brew tea, you could turn it into a prop for your Lego Mario set.

OTOTO‘s Tea Trap puts a fun spin on the art of brewing tea. Unlike those boring metal infusers, the Tea Trap models itself on a carnivorous plant that chomps down on your tea leaves. Once the Tea Trap’s stomach (or mouth) is full, just dunk it in a cup of hot water, and the tea begins infusing through the perforations on the sides of the infuser. Use the Tea Trap’s elongated handle to stir it around till your tea reaches the right color, and when you’re done, the Tea Trap will very kindly spit out the tea-leaves into the waste-bin, because nobody likes eating tea leaves… not even carnivorous plants!

Designer: OTOTO

The Tea Trap is made from stainless steel along with BPA-free silicone. It’s 100% food-safe and dishwasher-safe too.

The original Surface Duo will get Android 11 by the end of this year

If you're the early adopter sort who bought the original Surface Duo, you'll soon get an Android update — if not the one you'd expect in late 2021. Microsoft told The Verge in a statement that it expected to upgrade the first Duo to Android 11 "before the end of this year." The company didn't say what to expect with the update, although it wouldn't be surprising if some Surface Duo 2 features carried over to the older dual-screen phone.

Android 11 on the Duo 2 refines the multitasking experience, such as prioritizing the right-hand screen. Google's OS also includes generally improved support for dual-screen devices, potentially improving support for third-party apps. You might also see Microsoft iron out the Duo's still-buggy software, although that's not guaranteed.

The issue, as you might guess, is the timing. Microsoft is delivering Android 11 right as Google is close to releasing Android 12. Surface Duo owners will still be roughly a year behind their counterparts with conventional phones. That's understandable given the challenges of supporting a dual-screen device, but it won't be much consolation to Duo users wanting to try the latest Android features.

Clubhouse’s Wave feature makes it easier for users to create private rooms

Well, that didn’t take long. Less than a week after developer Jane Manchun Wong discovered Clubhouse was working on a new feature called Wave, that functionality is now available to all users on both Android and iOS. Wave allows you to invite your friends to a private audio room. You can start using the feature by expanding the Hallway sidebar and tapping the wave emoji next to someone’s name.

Once you tap the icon, Clubhouse will send your friends a notification they can use to tell you whether they’re ready to join a conversation. You can invite as many people as you want, and once everyone is ready to chat, Clubhouse will create a private room for your group. You can open the space at any time to more people if you want to expand the conversation. If you push the app to the background, the app will pause your invites so that you don’t get pulled into a conversation without realizing it. Now that it’s here, we can’t wait for Facebook and Twitter to copy Wave, much like they did Clubhouse itself.

UK appeals court rules AI cannot be listed as a patent inventor

Add the United Kingdom to the list of countries that says an artificial intelligence can’t be legally credited as an inventor. Per the BBC, the UK Court of Appeal recently ruled against Dr. Stephen Thaler in a case involving the country’s Intellectual Property Office. In 2018, Thaler filed two patent applications in which he didn’t list himself as the creator of the inventions mentioned in the documents. Instead, he put down his AI DABUS and said the patent should go to him “by ownership of the creativity machine.”

The Intellectual Property Office told Thaler he had to list a real person on the application. When he didn’t do that, the agency decided he had withdrawn from the process. Thaler took the case to the UK’s High Court. The body ruled against him, leading to the eventual appeal. "Only a person can have rights. A machine cannot," Lady Justice Elisabeth Laing of the Appeal Court wrote in her judgment. "A patent is a statutory right and it can only be granted to a person."

Thaler has filed similar legal challenges in other countries, and the results so far have been mixed. In August, a judge in Australia ruled inventions created by an AI can qualify for a patent. However, only earlier this month, US District Judge Leonie M Brinkema upheld a decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office that said “only natural persons may be named as an inventor in a patent application." Judge Brinkema said there may eventually be a time when AI becomes sophisticated enough to satisfy the accepted definitions of inventorship, but noted, “that time has not yet arrived, and, if it does, it will be up to Congress to decide how, if at all, it wants to expand the scope of patent law.”