Final Fantasy VII Remake review – a classic game reaches new heights | Games – Blog – 10 minute

Modern remakes of classic films inevitably disappoint – but the opposite has tended to be true of video games. The technology behind them improves each year, so at the very least, old games can benefit from having spectacular new visuals applied to them. This remake of 1997’s Final Fantasy VII – often hailed as one of the greatest games ever made – goes way beyond a mere graphical makeover. Nearly a decade in the making, it expands and completely reimagines the original game, but crucially without losing its essence.
The opening mission, featuring ex-soldier Cloud Strife teaming up with eco-activist organisation Avalanche, is pretty much the only part of Final Fantasy VII Remake that is a scene-by-scene update of the original. Even that sequence showcases a much-improved battle system, which is uncharacteristically action-based for a Japanese RPG, but remains underpinned by the original’s turn-based system and supports the tactical depth for which the genre is known. You still have to wait for a recharge before using special abilities and items or casting spells, but you can always employ standard attacks, and dodge or block incoming strikes.

Final Fantasy VII Remake features a redesigned combat system that adds real-time action elements to its turn-based predecessor. Photograph: Square Enix
As the game progresses, the combat acquires extra layers, including so-called Limit Break attacks perfect for finishing off the more dangerous foes, and the ability to summon demons. The original game’s Materia system, which lets you attach different elemental traits to slots in your equipment, is more or less unchanged and brings a wealth of magic attacks and new special abilities.
Final Fantasy VII’s storyline was what elevated it to classic status and in the remake, Square Enix has greatly expanded this aspect. Narrative moments that were originally short sequences involving moving from one place to another have now taken on a more quest-like feel, which helps the game’s general coherence and improves the ebb and flow of the plot.
The original game’s eco-warrior theme felt progressive in 1997 and is more relatable now. The evil Shinra corporation is bleeding the planet dry of its lifeblood, called “mako”, and the rather naive Avalanche embarks on a campaign that involves blowing up its mako reactors, only to encounter a welter of plot twists before another villain emerges.

The universe of Final Fantasy VII has been fleshed out with open-world areas and new side missions. Photograph: Square Enix
Some super-fans have griped that expanding the story has caused the remake to become bloated, but the original story was often delivered in a rushed, breathless manner, and it now has time to unfold in a more detailed way, and the overarching story arc has been preserved.
Another major addition to the remake are the periods of open-world gameplay, in which Cloud and his sidekicks take on side missions in the slums of the mega-city of Midgar, after performing their main-story raids. As with any collection of side missions, they vary wildly in theme and quality, from the ridiculous to the worthwhile, but the opportunities they provide to embark on intimate explorations of previously unseen parts of the game world prove welcome.
As the game unfolds, Cloud assembles a shifting band of allies, many of whom join him in battle. They have complementary skills to the sword-wielding protagonist: Barret, for example, is a tank-like character armed with a machine-gun; Tifa a hand-to-hand combat specialist; and Aerith a staff-wielding mage. In combat, you can only control one character at a time, but you can switch between them, and even instruct characters you aren’t directly controlling to launch special attacks or use items on party members. Learning such techniques is vital to prevailing in the satisfyingly epic boss-battles.

Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer
As with other Final Fantasy games, a certain amount of cheesiness occasionally creeps in to the narrative. Some of the peripheral characters prove annoyingly one-dimensional, and too many of the villains are characterised by cartoonish evil laughs.
That said, Final Fantasy VII Remake elevates the original to new heights. It looks spectacularly good, but, more importantly, its gameplay has acquired a modern sheen without losing what made the game distinct in the first place. The insertion of new action sequences and the expansion of existing ones adds welcome variation, and it’s very meaty, too, with over 30 hours of gameplay on offer.
What you get here is only the first half of the original game – a second, concluding instalment will arrive at a time as yet unspecified by Square Enix. Remaking a universally acclaimed classic was always a fearful responsibility, but like its own sword-wielding heroes, Square Enix has risen to the challenge spectacularly.

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Be your own Italian masterpiece: how people are recreating classic artworks in coronavirus quarantine | Culture- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

What is an art enthusiast to do, now galleries and museums around the world have closed their doors? The Getty museum, based in Los Angeles, has a suggestion: recreate famous works of art using household items.
The institution issued the challenge to its Twitter followers on Thursday last week: choose your favourite artwork, recreate it using three items lying around your house and share it with the world on social media.

Getty (@GettyMuseum)
We challenge you to recreate a work of art with objects (and people) in your home.
🥇 Choose your favorite artwork🥈 Find three things lying around your house⠀🥉 Recreate the artwork with those items
And share with us. pic.twitter.com/9BNq35HY2V
March 25, 2020

The responses have ranged from the hilarious to the impressive, with recreated artworks including classics such as Master of Saint Cecilia’s Madonna and Child, the anonymously created Virgin, Saint Elizabeth, and the Infants John the Baptist and Christ; as well as modern works such as Helen Frankenthaler’s Mirabelle – now featuring strategic but perhaps inadvisable use of that precious commodity, toilet paper.

Getty (@GettyMuseum)
Madonna and child.https://t.co/ZbnVeToUPE pic.twitter.com/7Vkl91CF6D
March 25, 2020

Getty (@GettyMuseum)
The Virgin, Saint Elizabeth, and the Infants John the Baptist and Christ, but now with more unicorns…https://t.co/EUDgg7362Y pic.twitter.com/uSqoPFGF2d
March 26, 2020

Linda G. Hatton (@LindaGHatton)
@GettyMuseum – Mirabelle (1990) by Helen Frankenthaler pic.twitter.com/YvFzGa3TxH
March 29, 2020

The Getty museum is not the first to suggest whiling away self-isolation with ad hoc art experiments.
Its tweet was predated by a few days by an Instagram account, @covidclassics, created by “four roommates who love art … and are indefinitely quarantined”.
Over the course of a week, the roommates, based in the US, have been recreating classic works of art and sharing them on social media.

The recreations, which began with Jacques-Louis David’s The Death of Marat, have become progressively more detailed and adventurous.

The most recent post at the time of writing was a version of the surrealist work The Son of Man by René Magritte, including a behind-the-scenes look at how they managed to get an apple to appear as if it was floating in front of model Sam Haller’s face.

“If you ever need a model for the soft face of a Dutch peasant girl, I’m your man,” said Haller when he shared the pictures on Facebook last week, including one of him as Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.
If you have uploaded your own creation to social media, please feel free to share in the comments below.

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Classic Halifax mascot Howard Brown changes allegiance to RBS in playful stunt- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

In an interesting turn of events, Halifax’s famous frontman, Howard Brown, has switched his allegiance and opened an account with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to promote its £175 switcher offer.
Brown first appeared on screens back in 2000, where he moved desks from his job as a Halifax customer services representative to the singing and dancing face of the bank.
He is famous for a series of adverts that modified the lyrics of hit songs to deliver the banks ‘extra’ promise in a catchy way. Tom Jones’ ‘Sex Bomb’ became ‘Extra! Extra! (I know you want more) while Baha Men’s ‘Who Let The Dogs Out?’ became ‘Who Give You Extra?’

His tenure as the face of Halifax’s ads ended in 2008 when he took on a role in its public relations department. However, he left the bank that made him a household name in 2011 when Halifax hired Adam&Eve as its ad agency and decided his face no longer fitted the brand.
Marking his first return to the world of advertising, since he made a cameo in an advert for Hotels.com, to emphasise how easy it is to switch banks, RBS has got Brown to do so, in a public way.

Opting to open accounts with the RBS, Brown was spotted at its St. Andrew Square brand in Edinburgh, and its Gordon St. branch in Glasgow.
Bruno Genovese, head of Royal Bank of Scotland current accounts, said: “Switching bank accounts couldn’t be easier and we hope our highest ever guaranteed switcher offer will give an added incentive for those who have been thinking about switching banks – it clearly has for Howard.”

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How Final Fantasy 7 Remake will expand on the original classic | Games – Blog – 10 minute

When Final Fantasy VII hit the PlayStation in 1997, the role-playing adventure genre was changed for ever. Abandoning the stereotypical castles, creatures and grizzled beardy wizards of high fantasy, the game took place in a quasi-futuristic world the likes of which had never been seen in this style of game before. The revolutionary 3D modelled characters, the sci-fi stylings and detailed, often cinematic visuals, led critics and fans to declare it one of the greatest video games of all time.
This April, the Final Fantasy VII Remake promises to redefine the genre again, and developer Square Enix has been keen to point out that this is no shot-for-shot remake. Much will be familiar – the opening cinematic, with Cloud Strife, the game’s iconic, big-haired, big-sworded mercenary hero, arriving at the train station – has been lovingly updated, and the game’s first chapter, of which a demo has been made available this week, takes players on a beautifully re-created version of the original’s Mako reactor bombing mission.

The retro-futuristic architecture of the Shinra building typifies the look of Final Fantasy 7. Photograph: Square Enix
But Final Fantasy VII Remake expands greatly on that world, and will be released in multiple episodes, each providing a unique experience. In the opening release arriving in April, the whole adventure will be set in the slums of Midgar, a sprawling metropolis that is home to the mighty Shinra corporation, which was only seen for a couple of hours in the original. According to the development team, this expansion will “fill in the blanks” from the original, adding depth and detail that wasn’t possible 23 years ago.
“The philosophy behind the remake wasn’t to do something completely new,” explains the remake’s co-director, Naoki Hamaguchi, who has worked on the Final Fantasy series since 2003. “The original game was grounded in the technology of the day. And because of that, there was a lot of storytelling that the player had to fill in with their imagination. In the original, for example, when you travelled between areas, the screen would fade to black; players didn’t see the journey.
“The story would have moved on and what actually happened in the meantime would be left to your imagination. We approached this by thinking, what is actually supposed to be happening here? What are the gaps it doesn’t show you, and how do we fill those in to make what was being implied actually shown? [In the original] there’d be hundreds of things happening in that one night. It feels very weird. We had to find a more realistic way of arranging that story.”

While staying faithful to the original narrative and locations, Final Fantasy VII Remake will add intricate environmental detail. Midgar now feels like a living, breathing city with fascinating new elements to discover. Take the posters on the train platform in that first mission: “We thought, who comes to this platform? What kind of information would they want? Who’d want to put up posters here? I really hope players see how deeply we’ve gone into the world,” says Hamaguchi. Elsewhere, the game’s second chapter introduces us to deadly villain Sephiroth, and plants the seeds of the history between him and Cloud, which the game will contextualise.
Some additions are more nuanced. In the first chapter of the game, as in the original, your team are on an eco-terrorist bombing mission to take down Mako Reactor 1, which is being used by the nefarious Shinra Electric Power Company to exploit the planet’s essential natural Lifestream and threatening life itself in the process.
“In the original, the character performances had to be very over-the-top,” explains Hamaguchi. Now, we get a subtle picture of what your team are thinking, breaking down the motivations of returning fan-favourite character Barret. “You don’t just see his gung-ho attitude. After they blow up the reactor, he has doubts and internal conflict. He obviously believes in his cause, but he’s wondering if he did the right thing.”
Together with the extra storytelling time, refined voice acting performances will add to the authenticity of the world. Battles, too, are faithful to the original’s gameplay – but more dynamic. And importantly, more fun, employing a hybrid of the original’s complex Active Time Battle system with real-time combat. It’s a clever combination that is both fast-paced and strategic.
In line with the classic ATB setup, you must wait for your character’s gauge to build up in order to use magic and to heal, but can use real-time battling to thrash your other weapons at enemies in the meantime. You must switch wisely between those in your party to use their move specialities against appropriate boss weak-spots, too. Cloud’s huge sword is as satisfying as weapons come for close-quarters melee attacks, while Barret’s machine gun (handily also part of his arm) is best used for long-range attacks; Tifa employs martial arts skills, and Aerith uses support-style magic to aid her allies. It’s a lot to think about in the heat of a boss fight, but the complexities make battling rewarding.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake overhauls the original game’s Active Time Battle system with real-time elements. Photograph: Square Enix
“We really did look at what made the original Final Fantasy VII what it was: all the characters, the story, the mini games.” says Hamaguchi. “We’ve definitely got mini games …” Considering the remake is all about nuance and naturalism, it is surprising to hear that mini games will return: it’s difficult to imagine the retro, old-school hangover of this convention being part of the industrial, gritty, highly-defined Midgar world. And yet, some of the most abiding memories of the original game are tapping buttons in a specific order to do squats in the gym at the Wall Market, slicing left and right on your motorcycle in the G Bike game, or tapping furiously to arm-wrestle a sumo warrior in the Wonder Square. And who can resist a Chocobo race?
“They’re all in there,” confirms Hamaguchi. “We didn’t just reproduce the ones from the original game; there really are a lot of different mini games there.”
Now that the first episode of Final Fantasy VII Remake is almost here, the team is working on its sequel, which will take us further into the world beyond Midgar. There’s no word yet on how many more instalments there will be beyond that, but the developers have been open about the saga continuing for not years, but decades, with producer Yoshinori Kitase, another Final Fantasy veteran, announcing that he plans to work on it for the rest of his career. And there is certainly rich enough material to carry it on for as long. It is clear, once again, that there is nothing at all final about this fantasy.
• Final Fantasy VII Remake is released on PS4 on 10 April.

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All-Time Classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Released on Mobile | Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sourced from Konami

Video game and entertainment juggernaut Konami just released a mobile version of genre-defining side-scrolling action-RPG classic Castlevania: Symphony of the Night without no announcement of warning, reports The Verge.
The game is currently available on both iOS and Android and costs $2.99 and includes zero in-app purchases – it’s the full game.
The mobile version seems to be based on the PS4 and PSP versions of the game rather than the original that released on PlayStation in 1997. The game feature support for external controllers, achievements and a “new continue feature.” It is also available in 6 languages, including English and Japanese.
Symphony of the Night was the first Castlevania game from video game luminary Koji Igarashi, switching the series’ focus from an action game to Metroid-style exploration and adventure. The game would release to massive critical and commercial success and influence countless subsequent games in its style with the genre tag line of “Metroidvanias” – named after the two-game series that inspired Symphony of the Night. Latest and greatest was last year’s excellent spiritual reimagining Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
It’s probable that the release of the mobile version of the game was timed with the release of the 3rd season of Netflix’s incredible Castlevania series, which is landing on 5 March.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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Marshall Monitor II ANC review: classic headphones gain noise cancelling | Technology – Blog – 10 minute

Marshall’s second iteration of its top Monitor wireless headphones add active noise cancellation and up to 45 hours of battery life while keeping their classic looks.
Marshall brand headphones combine powerful, distinctive sound with a classic look reminiscent of the company’s guitar amps. The £280 Monitor II ANC are no exception.
The headphones fully enclose your ear with medium-sized cups, comfortable pads and a firm but evenly distributed grip on your head. The headband is lined with leatherette-covered foam and does a good job of staying put without too much pressure on your skull.

Marshall’s little control joystick is simply a pleasure to use, making changing the volume, switching tracks or pausing the music a painless affair. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Despite being Marshall’s largest headphones, the Monitor II are comparatively small and discreet with a relatively low profile on your head that’s very welcome. The ear cups are held by sturdy-feeling metal arms with a full range of articulation that slide in and out of the headband, clicking into place for a comfortable fit.
They fold up in a number of different ways, making them some of the most compact and easy to pack full-size headphones for travelling.
Marshall’s best-in-class control joystick returns. Press it in for pause/play, up and down for volume, or left and right for track skip. Why others don’t copy this brilliant method of controls on headphones I have no idea.
Two buttons on the back hinges of the ear cups take care of noise-cancelling modes and switching the equaliser between three user-selectable pre-sets. Press the noise-cancelling button to switch between active noise cancelling (ANC) and ambient sound modes or press and hold to turn it off.
Specifications

Weight: 320g

Drivers: 40mm

Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C charging, 3.5mm headphones socket

Bluetooth codecs: SBC only

Battery life: 30 hours with ANC, 45 hours without

Connectivity

The USB-C port takes care of charging the headphones, while the standard 3.5mm headphones socket gives you the option to use the included cable either powered or when the battery runs out. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
The headphones have a traditional 3.5mm socket and ship with a detachable cable that can be used with or without the power on.
The Bluetooth connection to an iPhone 11 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and OnePlus 7 Pro 5G was strong and skip-free. But Marshall has taken a backward step, only supporting the most basic SBC Bluetooth audio codec.
All Apple, Android and Windows devices support the improved AAC codec, while the latter pair also support aptX: a more advanced codec Marshall used in previous headphones. The better the Bluetooth audio codec, the higher the quality of audio. Thankfully, I saw no lip-sync problems with any of the common video-playing apps across Android, iOS and even YouTube in Microsoft’s Edge browser on Windows 10.
Call quality was good. The recipient’s voice came through clear and loud in the headphones, while my voice was audible with a good amount of sidetone. The other end of the call said my voice was loud, clear and crisp, even if a little background noise seeped in intermittently.
Active noise cancelling

Press the ANC button on the hinge to turn noise cancelling on, off or activate ambient sound passthrough. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
ANC uses inverse sound waves to cancel out unwanted noise before it hits your eardrum and has become bare minimum for high-end wireless headphones.
By default, ANC is turned up to maximum on the headphones but you can turn it down in the Marshall app if you want more awareness of your surroundings. It works fine for cancelling out the rumble of an engine, and fairly well on road noise, but it is not very good at dealing with speech, meaning they are not the best for simply concentrating in an office or blocking out noisy commuters.
The headphones also struggle to deal with wind noise, making listening to music in a gusty environment difficult. Turning off noise cancelling was the best option.
Overall, Bose, B&W and Sony have nothing to fear here, so if super-effective noise cancelling is your primary driver, best to look elsewhere.
Sound

The headphones default to Marshall’s sound signature but there’s a full equaliser should you wish to tweak the audio profile. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Marshall’s headphones have a particular sound that people love. Often they are best suited to rock, with a raw, grungy sound that’s exciting and full of energy. The Monitor II headphones also have that sound but are better at dealing with other genres of music, too, sounding almost as good with driving electronica or background lounge, while giving large orchestral scores a good go.
The “Marshall sound” equaliser is active by default, which produces their best sound with an overall warm tone, fairly controlled bass and full-blooded mids, while highs are a little muted in places. The soundscape is surprisingly wide, giving a good immersive listening experience for big pieces, while there is a good amount of separation between instruments and tones keeping things clear when tracks get a bit intense.
They do not quite rival the very best, such as B&W’s PX7, but if you like Marshall’s warm, rock-focused sound, you will love the Monitor II.
Battery life

The headphones fold up either completely flat or with the cups together making for a compact package. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Battery life is so long you may forget you ever have to charge them. The Monitor II headphones are designed to last up to 30 hours with noise cancelling active and 45 hours with it off, which seemed a little conservative in my testing.
That is easily enough to cover any flight or most weekly commutes without needing to charge. They take two hours to fully charge via USB-C but a 15-minute top-up will add about five hours playback if you do happen to forget to charge them.
You cannot use the USB-C port for audio but you can charge them and listen to them at the same time.
It is worth noting that the battery is rated for 500 charge cycles, which Marshall says is about eight years of average use, after which the battery will be limited to below 80%. The battery is not replaceable but the headphones are broadly repairable, with replacement ear cups, cables and filters that can be bought from Marshall.
The headphones are not made from any recycled material but are made from responsibly sourced materials.

Marshall’s characteristic black vinyl and white logo are different but not ostentatious. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Price
The Marshall Monitor II cost £279.99.
For comparison, the Major III Voice cost £149.99, the MID ANC £239.99, the Bose QC 35 II £249.95, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 £349.95, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 £349.99, the Sony WH-1000XM3 £329, and the Beats Studio 3 Wireless £299.95.
Verdict
The Marshall Monitor II ANC are a set of rocking headphones that look every bit the part.
Despite being full-sized headphones, they are fairly slimline, with classic styling that sets them apart. They are robust, fold up to be much more compact than rivals and are far more comfortable than many – if you want to rock out for hours on end, they have the fit to make sure you can last as long as their 30 to 45-hour battery will.
They have a sound that is slightly more refined than previous Marshall headphones, making them sound good for a wider range of genres, but the warm sound is still best with a trashing guitar packing plenty of punch and raw energy.
They are not perfect, though. The active noise cancellation works for general drone but struggles with voices. They only support the standard SBC Bluetooth audio standard, not higher quality codecs practically every device is capable of using such as AAC or aptX, which is a backward step for the brand.
They are certainly not cheap, and you can get a similar Marshall experience from the brand’s excellent Major III series of headphones for about half the price, but the Monitor II ANC are a warm, inviting listen that’s hard to put down.
Pros: look great, fold down really compact, comfortable for very long listening sessions, long battery life, brilliant controls, great sound, decent noise cancelling, headphone socket, stable Bluetooth connection
Cons: only SBC, expensive, noise cancelling struggles with wind and voices

The ear cups are well padded and replaceable. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
Other reviews
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Sprite turns to young creators to ‘drop’ Sprite Ginger and reinvent a classic taste- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Sprite has a long history in the hip-hop space, starting with a 1986 commercial that featured Kurtis Blowto, to the iconic ‘I Love the Sprite in You’ ad, starring popular artists like LL Cool J and Kris Kross.
The brand has now returned to hip-hop culture as it releases a new product – Sprite Ginger ,a gingery twist on the original lemon-lime soft drink
But rather than going for a big hip-hop star to help launch it, Sprite is looking to young creators to collaborate on a Sprite Ginger Collection of products, which it’s dropping in New York City today (12 February).
To help launch the Sprite Ginger Collection, Sprite has partnered with legendary streetwear designer Jeff Staple, founder of Staple Design and Staple Pigeon – a celebration of young, up-and-coming creators from across the artistic spectrum.

Jeff Staple and Sprite Ginger creators

Sprite calls the new product and collection a “reinvention” of sorts. “The reason we think it’s about reinvention is because the trend of cross-segment blurring is definitely at the forefront of what consumers are wanting. With Sprite Ginger we feel we can give our fans what they know and love about Sprite, in terms of it being cool and crisp with lemon-lime and caffeine-free but with a little bit of reinvention with that hit of ginger flavor,” Aaliyah Shafiq, brand group director, Sprite, told Tempemail.
Added Sam Beresford, senior manager, Sprite, of the collection: “What we did was take that concept of reinvention and we are using that to tap into a network of emerging, young creators. It plays in that hip-hop music and hip-hop cultural space. Sprite as a brand has such a rich heritage of that, of being a part of hip-hop culture and leaning into that and putting on hip-hop artists over the years. So, this idea of reinvention is a really interesting way for us to push that forward.”
The campaign began with an out-of-home and social teaser push. For the last few weeks in New York City the brand has put up billboards that show the Sprite can with tear-aways at the top showing the gold accents in the new can. They were strategically placed in lower Manhattan in neighborhoods where the brand knows its audience and the culture they follow is active.

Sprite OOH

“We did these cool, cryptic billboards which flipped and revealed the product. That generated a lot of cool conversations on social media,” said Beresford.
The ‘Drop’
Sprite is treating the release of its product and Ginger Collection like a ‘drop’, a staple in modern hip-hop culture where hype is teased and built and the product (albums, clothing collections, movies) is suddenly dropped, like a midnight Beyoncé album.
“We thought, with that spirit of reinvention, it would be really cool to be the first beverage brand to ‘drop’ a new product in that way,” Beresford said.
The TV spot at the center of the campaign, by Wieden+Kennedy, should help that. In it, a young man leads viewers through a mix of old and new school hip-hop culture as it pertains to Sprite, showing “new new” concepts along with the “oh so familiar”, meaning new ginger flavor meshing with traditional Sprite. It ends with the statement “It’s not limited edition, but it should be.”

The drop also encompasses the Ginger Collection, which drops at hip streetwear shop Extra Butter in New York with a collection of clothing, art and other items by nine up-and-coming creators, like designer Bluboy, artist Barbara Rego and design collaborative Banana Papaya, all mentored by Staples.
“They are taking that idea of reinvention and putting a hit of something new to all the amazing work that they’re already producing. So, we think it’s a really strong tie between what the product actually is and how we are going to tell that story,” said Beresford.
Around the time of the campaign launch, Sprite will reveal what the collection is, and it includes jewelry, art, clothing and even a skateboard deck. The brand will spend the next eight to 10 weeks telling the story of each item in the collection about how they were collaborated with and how they were mentored by Staple. The brand is helping the creators manufacture and distribute the items.

Elan Watson and his skateboard deck

“A lot of the story we’ll be telling through social will be the stories of these individual creators and their items and actually dropping them in the same way a streetwear brand might announce a collection or season, and week by week drop pieces of that collection,” Beresford explained.
This is the first time Sprite has launched a product under its brand platform, ‘Thirst for Yours’ which started in 2019 to spotlight tastemakers and innovators – musicians, designers, artists, photographers and more – who are shaping the future of hip-hop culture.
“The drop and the Ginger Collection is really the first time underneath that new brand platform to do this. We think it’s a great representation of launching a new product, but doing it in a way that puts young, creative people who are contributing to hip-hop culture and pushing it forward, putting them on and giving them a chance for us to help them elevate their voice and execute their vision,” said Beresford.
See elements of the campaign by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

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YouTube’s classic desktop interface will be gone for good next month – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: Whether you like it or not, Google is phasing out the classic web interface for YouTube in March. The company also noted you’ll need an up-to-date browser to make sure you don’t miss out on all the features it’s added over the last few years.
Google introduced a new look for YouTube in 2017 for desktop browsers, which polarized its audience who either hated or loved the new experience. The company went on to make numerous tweaks, the last of which made video thumbnails a bit too large for comfort, prompting a wave of outrage from users all over the world.
However, the search giant has so far let users opt out of the new web interface and use the classic one instead. That changes next month, as Google says it will retire the older web interface, which means that you’ll soon have to get used to the dreaded Material revamp, which is the de facto UI for YouTube moving forward.
Those of you using older browsers (but why?) may also get a less than ideal experience, so you’ll have to update that to get the new UI to work correctly.

Google says the older web interface lacks many of the new features and design improvements introduced over the last three years, including a dark theme, picture-in-picture mode, and “top requests based on your feedback.” It seems the company is confident that users want larger thumbnails, longer video titles, and manually combing through videos to train the algorithm to stop recommending things that don’t match your interests.
The good news is that the transition won’t be abrupt, so if you’re still using the classic UI you’ll start seeing a notification that asks you to “Switch to the new YouTube.” The comments on YouTube’s support forum show that a lot of users are dissatisfied with how the new UI works on their desktops, so we’ll have to wait and see if Google decides to take that feedback into consideration.
To put things in perspective, Google is pushing the new YouTube because it’s trying to graduate it into a profitable business. Expect to see more notifications to sign up for YouTube Music and YouTube Premium, which have 20 million paying subscribers as of writing. Ad revenue for 2019 was $15.15 billion, but despite it being a strong 36.5 percent jump compared to 2018, the profit Google makes from that after covering costs is still nebulous for investors.
In the meantime, Google will continue tweaking the web interface, so let’s hope it will add a way to adjust the size of those thumbnails for those of us who want to make more efficient use of our screen real estate.

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Sensible Soccer mod adds a fresh coat of paint to the classic footballer – Blog – 10 minute

Through the looking glass: Sensible Soccer is one of those rare sports video games like Baseball, NBA Jam and NHL 94 that’s just flat out fun to play regardless of its technical limitations. And now, it’s getting a fresh coat of paint.
The Sensible World of Soccer 2020 mod adds updated rosters, new team names, modern colors and customizable commentary to the already fantastic footballer. Best yet, you can scale the graphics all the way up to 4K quality – all without impacting the original gameplay mechanics.

Just imagine how many more classics could be enjoyed by a younger generation if developers were willing to implement meaningful visual tweaks like these in remasters without totally destroying a game’s core look and feel. Just slap a fresh coat of paint on Super Mario 64 or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and I’d gladly play through those titles again.
Those interested in giving Sensible World of Soccer a shot can grab a retail copy over on GOG.com. You can pick up the mod for your platform of choice by clicking here.
What other games can you think of that could use some sprucing up with modern visuals? Perhaps GoldenEye 007? Maybe the original Need for Speed? Road Rash? Feel free to share in the comments section below!

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The UK celebrates its classic video games by putting them on stamps – Blog – 10 minute

In a nutshell: While you’re unlikely to use traditional mail over email these days, those living in the UK will soon have a good reason to opt for physical letters: a set of postage stamps that celebrate classic titles from the British video game industry.
Royal Mail has announced the set of 12 stamps, which feature games going back to the 1980s. Four of these are from the Tomb Raider series, which was created by Core Design. The images show the original Tomb Raider from 1996, Adventures of Lara Croft (1998), Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000), and the Tomb Raider reboot from 2013.
The other eight stamps feature space sim Elite, egg-loving platform/puzzler Dizzy, early strategy title Populous, puzzle game Lemmings, top-down racer Micro Machines, the much-loved Sensible Soccer, futuristic racing classic Wipeout, and probably the world’s best-known artillery tactics title: Worms.

“The UK has been at the forefront of the video games industry for decades,” said Royal Mail spokesman Philip Parker. “In the 1980s and 90s young designers grappled with coding on the new microcomputers and set the template for the industry with iconic games. We celebrate some of their landmark creations on stamps.”
Royal Mail selected the 12 games with help from industry trade body UKIE, veteran video game journalist Julian Rignall—who worked on famous gaming magazines of yesteryear—and Sam Dyer, creative director of retro games specialist Bitmap Books.
The stamps go on sale this January 21 and cost £14.25 ( $18.70) for the presentation pack. They also come with information on the games.

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