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Exclusive: Business is booming for crypto scammers

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Business is booming for crypto scammers

#Business #booming #crypto #scammers

The crypto crash isn’t the only way the decentralized currency can lose its holders a lot of real money. According to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), cryptocurrency is increasingly used as part of scams, either as an integral part of the scam itself or just the way scammers want to be paid.

The FTC says 46,000 people reported losing more than $1 billion worth of crypto in scams between January 2021 and March 2022, noting that this number is only the people who reported their losses to the FTC. It’s likely that the actual number of people scammed and crypto lost is much higher, as most victims don’t report their losses to the FTC.

Even though that $1 billion figure might not be reflective of the true amount of money lost, it does indicate just how much crypto scams have increased: Reported losses were nearly 60 times higher in 2021 than they were in 2018. And in the first quarter of 2022 alone, losses were already about half of what they were in all of 2021. A quarter of the money lost in reported scams is now in crypto.

Crypto already has a not-great reputation as a playground for illegal purchases, hacker ransoms, and money laundering. Its increasing role in old-fashioned scams won’t help enthusiasts make the case that virtual currency should play a larger role in legitimate financial markets and banks. While President Biden signed an executive order last March to come up with cryptocurrency regulations, it’s not known what those regulations will be, when they’ll be put in place, or if they’ll do anything to prevent scams.

Fraud experts say the trajectory is alarming, and will likely only get worse.

“When criminals latch onto a new way of stealing people’s money, others follow,” Kathy Stokes, director of fraud prevention at AARP, which has its own crypto scam-related resources, told Recode. “Combine this with the ‘legitimizing’ forces of pro-crypto ads and the move of 401(k) plan service providers to add this unregulated, highly speculative investment as an option for their plan participants, there’s no telling how many people will lose a lot of money — which they won’t likely get back.”

More than half of that $1 billion came from investment-related scams: people promising they can invest victims’ money into crypto for big returns. That type of scam isn’t new even if the type of currency used in it is, but the once-booming crypto market likely made it an easier sell to victims. It certainly helped that, until recently, people regularly reported making huge amounts of money as crypto prices exploded. Combine that with the fact that most people don’t know much about crypto in the first place and you have the perfect recipe for scams.

The second-highest losses came from romance scams, which seem to be related to investment scams. Typically, someone gains the victim’s trust through a relationship, then gets them to give their money to an investment scam or to the “keyboard Casanova,” as the FTC colorfully refers to them. The scammer then promises to invest the funds — only for the scammer to disappear with the money.

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Coming in third was business and government impersonation scams that demand payment in crypto. Typically, someone will get a text, email, or call about a purchase they made or money they owe to a government agency. While the victim never made that purchase and doesn’t owe that money, they’re told that they have to pay up in order to make the problem go away. Increasingly, they’re told to make those payments in crypto, thanks to the widespread availability of crypto ATMs that make it quick and easy for victims to make those payments and difficult for investigators to trace them.

Younger people (aged 20 to 49) were three times more likely to be scammed this way than other age groups, but the average amount of money lost to scams increased with age. This is generally true of non-crypto scams, too: While the stereotype is that only older people fall for online scams, young people are actually more likely to be victims. Their losses, however, aren’t as devastating, as it’s usually less money, and it might be easier for them to recover financially.

Another reflection of the times and the medium: Almost half of people who reported being scammed said it originated on social media — mostly Instagram and Facebook. It’s worth noting that the FTC is a US agency, and platforms like Telegram and WhatsApp (where crypto scams also proliferate) are much more popular in other countries. That’s more than four times higher than the number of crypto scams that began on social media in 2018. Overall, social media-based scams (as in, those including all forms of currency, not just crypto) have ballooned in recent years.

This report is far from the only one to highlight how scammers are taking advantage of a loosely regulated and difficult-to-trace decentralized virtual currency landscape. That might make it a harder sell to consumers and regulators that crypto can be a legitimate and useful finance tool. While many crypto enthusiasts point to the benefits of currency that isn’t controlled by banks and governments, that lack of control makes it easy for bad actors to take advantage. And it should make consumers more wary of putting money into crypto, especially when even legitimate investments are losing money.

The FTC recommends staying away from investments that promise big returns, anything that requires payment in crypto, and not to mix online dating with investment advice. It also has a dedicated site for crypto-related fraud.

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Exclusive: Skyrim online co-op mod reaches full release this week – TalkOfNews.com

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Skyrim online co-op mod reaches full release this week

#Skyrim #online #coop #mod #reaches #full #release #week

Something to look forward to: Skyrim’s famous mod scene is still thriving after over a decade. This week, a mod bringing online co-op to the game will emerge from closed beta after years of development and significant setbacks. Players can now complete quests together with almost all gameplay features synced.

The mod team behind Skyrim Together Reborn has set the project’s full release for Friday, July 8 (noon EST). The online co-op mod allows for groups of two-to-eight players, synching quest completion, experience points, NPCs, items, difficulty, and other features. Players can also manually enable PvP, but the modders don’t recommend it, as that wasn’t their main design goal.

The Skyrim Together team has been developing a co-op mode for Bethesda’s single player mega-hit since 2016, completely scrapping it and beginning a rewrite in 2019.

The team warns that the full release will be quite buggy since it bolts online multiplayer onto a complex single player RPG, but development will continue post-launch. A similar mod for Fallout 4 is also in development, but it likely won’t appear for a while.

Skyrim Together Reborn is only compatible with the Steam version of Skyrim Special Edition 1.6. It doesn’t support Skyrim VR, Legendary Edition, or the Microsoft Store version. Players will be able to start their own servers or use servers from places like playtogether.gg. The mod will be open-source once it’s available on Nexus Mods.

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Exclusive: Best Graphics Card for Gamers and Creatives in 2022 – CNET – TalkOfNews.com

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Best Graphics Card for Gamers and Creatives in 2022     - CNET

#Graphics #Card #Gamers #Creatives #CNET

Most people use graphics cards that are several years old, which is a shame because there have been some big leaps in tech over the last couple of years. Because of that, graphics cards that are only a couple years old can feel like antiques. Whether you’re a hardcore PC gamer, a video editor, an animator or anything in between, you need the power of modern graphics cards. They utilize technologies, such as smart resolution upscaling, ray-tracing and a whole lot more. Everything has become much more demanding, and your PC deserves to meet those tasks confidently.

Even if you only need the basics for streaming video or surfing the web, a modern graphics card can make your system feel snappier overall compared to an equivalent older model. The best graphics card options will improve video decoding acceleration, redraw your screens faster and give better performance to any of a plethora of processing tasks that you don’t think about. 

But this is still a bad time to shop for a new video card. They’re actually a lot easier to find than they were a year ago, but some continue to be in the LOL-try-to-get-one-for-a-rational-price phase. Prices for anything you can find remain out of control, and while they’re not nearly as high as they were eight months ago, they remain substantially higher than the manufacturers’ fantasy launch-target prices: Some casual calculations I made showed a range of about +30% to +130% difference between the press-release prices and the cheapest recommendable card I could find for a given current-generation chip.

Still, if you’re ready to throw down some cash for a new graphics card now, we hope this can offer some guidance on the best graphics card options around. Learn what to look for and which GPUs make sense for your budget and needs. While you can make some judgments based on specs like the manufacturer, graphics chip, amount of video memory, memory and gaming clock speeds, power requirements and other factors, they’re imperfect predictors of how any particular model will perform in your games or creative applications.

Zotac

If you’ve got an old desktop with integrated graphics that don’t support the current versions of graphics programming interfaces such as DirectX 12 or Vulkan, or you have a game that won’t run unless it detects dedicated graphics memory (these have 2GB) or if you just want to make your Windows experience feel a little more snappy or smooth, a GT 1030-based card can help. It’s designed with lower power requirements than most other discrete GPUs, so it can fit in systems with small power supplies and compact designs. Unlike most gaming graphics cards, 1030-based cards can be low-profile and take up just a single slot for connectivity, and are quieter because they only require a single fan.

Don’t expect to game with the GeForce GT at 1080p — 720p at best, unless a game is very lightweight. But Fortnite, CS:GO, League of Legends and other popular multiplayer games generally fall under the “can play on a potato” umbrella, so you don’t need to worry as much if they’re your go-tos. In some cases, games may simply go from unplayable to a little less unplayable. If you do want to play games, though, spring for versions with DDR5 memory, not DDR4; it can make a noticeable difference. That’s why you’ll see some offerings for less than $130. For a simple speedup, the cheapest decent one I’ve seen was $115, though prices can fluctuate.

Asus

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Since much basic photo editing still isn’t very GPU-intensive, a fast, high-core-count CPU still gives you a lot more performance value for the money than a higher-powered graphics card. The GPU does matter for the experience and smooth display rendering, but for smallish images and single-screen editing you shouldn’t have any issues.

The RX 6500 XT kind of wins here by default; it hits the basics and its price is much lower than step-up cards, which seem to run upward of $400. That’s partly because the markup over its $199 manufacturer-recommended price is the least of any cards I looked at, leaving it in the sub-$300 range. You’ll find it in two-fan and three-fan configurations (the latter is usually overclocked).

Lori Grunin/CNET

Once again, this becomes my pick somewhat by default because AMD’s real prices are far less out of whack than Nvidia’s; its performance falls between the RTX 3060 and RTX 3060 Ti, where its manufacturer’s price sits, but its actual price is lower overall than the RTX 3060, and far lower than the 3060 Ti, which would normally be my pick here. If you can find a decent model of the latter for between $600 and $700, then you might want to go with it.

Read Asus ROG Strix RX 6600 XT OC review.

 

Lori Grunin/CNET

Originally $900, such a steep price felt like an awful lot to pay for this card, but it was already a lot better than the $1,100-plus the RTX 3070 Ti. Its performance weaves below and above the RTX 3070 Ti, but the extra memory, 12GB vs. 8GB, can make a big difference in game quality choices and video editing performance, making it a good option. The RTX 3070 Ti is $950 now, but at $638, that only makes this offer even more appealing.

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Read AMD RX 6700 XT review.

 

Lori Grunin/CNET

The RTX 3070 Ti is generally a better GPU than the 3070 (but not worlds better) and the prices currently overlap significantly — they’re roughly the same as the closest AMD competitors — making it a toss-up. You can find individually cheaper RTX 3070 cards, though. The RTX 3070 Ti has higher memory bandwidth, which can impact video editing fluidity and some workstation graphics applications, so you might want to lean that way if you need to. I still think that $1,000-plus is a lot to pay for either of these cards, which were originally targeted to cost within the $500 to $600 range. 

Read our RTX 3070 hands-on.

 

Lori Grunin/CNET

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As with the step-down price segment, the RX 6800 XT generally outperforms the RTX 3080, though it can be roughly the same as the RTX 3080 Ti, especially at higher resolutions and in professional graphics applications, thanks to the better memory bandwidth and more video memory. And this is one case where the AMD cards are just as overpriced as their Nvidia equivalents, costing upward of $1,500. But if you use workstation or video-editing software that takes advantage of Nvidia CUDA acceleration, the 3080 Ti is your best bet.

Read our Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti review.

 

Graphics Card FAQs

What’s important to consider when shopping for a graphics card?

  • Power requirements: Always check the power needs of a card against your power supply’s output. Don’t forget to take the other cards and devices in your system into account concerning power usage.
  • The most powerful GPU on the planet won’t make a difference if your CPU is the bottleneck (and vice versa) — think overkill.
  • You’ll see a lot of price variation across cards using the same GPU. That’s for features such as overclocking, better cooling systems or flashy (literally) designs. 
  • Dual-card setups are usually more of a pain than they’re worth. Video editing is usually the exception, depending upon application support.
  • If you want a card for content creation, game benchmarks aren’t usually representative. To research those, start by running a search on “workstation GPUs” or, for example, “best GPU for Premiere.” It’s important to match the GPU to the application, because, for instance, Nvidia RTX A-series GPUs (the workstation GPUs formerly known as Quadro) are generally more powerful than their AMD Radeon Pro or WX series equivalents, but application developers who are tight with Apple — which doesn’t support Nvidia GPUs — optimize their applications for AMD GPUs. The biggest example of this is Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve video editor.
  • For photo editing, it may no longer suffice to use a low-end or middling graphics card, though it depends on your software. With the latest generations of Photoshop and Lightroom, Adobe has begun to expand its use of AI-related technologies in meaningful ways. For instance, Photoshop’s new Replace Sky and Neural Filters can take advantage of GPU hardware designed to accelerate AI to speed them up, such as the Tensor cores in Nvidia’s RTX cards. But if you don’t have at least 32GB of memory, graphics applications may get a bigger boost from upgrading that before the GPU, unless the graphics card is really old. 
  • For video editing, the amount of memory on the card can have a big impact on real-time performance as you work with higher-resolution video (4K and up). 
  • Running games at 4K requires significantly more video memory than 1440p or lower, at least 8GB.

Does Nvidia G-Sync or AMD FreeSync make a difference?

If you’re sensitive to screen artifacts caused by a disconnect between the rate at which your monitor updates and the frame rate at which you’re playing, or you’re interested in proprietary technologies like Nvidia’s Latency Analyzer to help improve your gameplay by reducing lag, then you should definitely at least look into what each of them offers. Otherwise, get the appropriate GPU for your needs and work with what you get.

Read What are Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync and Which Do I Need?.

 

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Relative performance of recent GPUs

Far Cry 5 (1080p)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6500 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

iBuyPower Element CL (RTX 3070)

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MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

Intel NUC 11 Extreme Kit (RTX 3060)

MSI MEG Trident X (RTX 2070 Super)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

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Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Far Cry 5 (4K)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

iBuyPower Element CL (RTX 3070)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

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Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (fps)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming test (1080p)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6500 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

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Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming test (1440p)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

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MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider gaming test (4K)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

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MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 with DLSS)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti with DLSS)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

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Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

3DMark Time Spy

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6500 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI MEG Trident X (RTX 2070 Super)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

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MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 2080 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

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MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6500 XT)

MSI MEG Trident X (RTX 2070 Super)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

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MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 2080 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

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Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark DXR (DirectX ray tracing)

MSI Aegis RX (RX 6500 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

iBuyPower Element CL (RTX 3070)

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MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 3080)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

SpecViewPerf 2020 SolidWorks (4K)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT)

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MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti)

Maingear Turbo (RTX 3080)

MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

Configurations

Maingear Turbo (RTX 2080 Ti) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2004); 3.8GHz Ryzen 9 3900XT; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,600; 11GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti; 1TB SSD + 4TB HDD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3050) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 8GB EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Black ; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060 Ti) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2004); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3060) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2H20); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 12GB EVGA GeForce RTX 3060 XC Black Gaming; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 FE) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3070 Ti) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti ; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RTX 3080 Ti) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 12GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti ; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6500 XT) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 4GB Gigabyte Eagle 4G Radeon RX 6500 XT; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6600 XT) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (21H1); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 8GB Asus ROG Strix Radeon RX 6600 XT OC; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6700 XT) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2H20); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 12GB AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800 XT) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 16GB AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT; 1TB SSD
MSI Aegis RS (RX 6800) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,000; 16GB AMD Radeon RX 6800; 1TB SSD
MSI Trident X (RTX 2070 Super) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (1909); (oc) 3.8GHz Intel Core i7-10700K; 32GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,932; 8GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super; 1TB SSD
Origin PC Chronos (RTX 3080) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (2004); Intel Core i9-10900K; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 3,200; 10GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (EVGA); 1TB SSD + 500GB SSD

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Exclusive: This vault of SNES manuals is an amazing resource for fans of gaming history – TalkOfNews.com

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This vault of SNES manuals is an amazing resource for fans of gaming history

#vault #SNES #manuals #amazing #resource #fans #gaming #history

They might often be an afterthought nowadays, but in the console generations of yesteryear, game manuals were often essential reading. Compared to the scant pack-ins that come with games today, those vintage instruction manuals were on a completely different level in terms of the care and detail that went into them — and the page count was much higher, too.

Now, as noted by Kotaku, a community project led by led by streamer Peebs has successfully scanned and uploaded every last English-language game manual for the Super Nintendo. You can check out the entire collection here. Peebs was motivated to assemble one central resource for manuals during an eight-year quest to play and beat every SNES game for his Twitch viewers.

Perusing through random instruction booklets can be a fun dose of nostalgia for 30-somethings like myself, but this can also be a helpful resource for any gamers working through the various SNES titles that are available with a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online.

Nintendo provides online manuals for each game included with its NES Classic and SNES Classic consoles, but this is a far more comprehensive vault of gaming history. Take a look at the manual for something like Chrono Trigger as just one example of how extensive they could be in the 16-bit era. Similar archives are available for Nintendo 64 and Virtual Boy titles.

The SNES manual project was a collaborative effort, with owners of rare or difficult-to-find titles contributing scans to the archive. Nearly 100 people rose to the occasion, according to Peebs. But if anyone out there happens to posess the PAL manual for the German release of Daze Before Christmas, you can help fill in the last remaining piece of the puzzle. I’ll just be over here skimming through old favorites like Saturday Night Slam Masters and a Home Improvement game that I never even knew existed. In-game tutorials just aren’t quite the same as a physical manual with a notes section at the end.


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