The U.S. Air Force Created a Supercomputer Out of 1,760 PS3′s

PS3-Supercomputer-Cluster

In Rome, New York located in the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) resides the world’s 33rd largest supercomputer.  Created to enhance radar, pattern recognition, satellite imagery processing and artificial intelligence research, the supercomputer (known as the “Condor Cluster”) is able to perform 500 trillion floating point operations per second (TFLOPS).  This speed allows it to analyze ultra-high-resolution images at a rate of billions of pixels a minute.  What’s even more remarkable than the speed of the Condor Cluster is the fact that it’s core is made up of 1,760 PlayStation 3 systems.

The Condor Cluster project began in 2006 when PS3s sold for $400; comparable technology at the time would have cost close to $10,000 per unit.  In the end the total cost of the core reached around $2 million which is about 5-10% of the overall cost of a similar supercomputer built with off the shelf computer parts.  Lower cost isn’t the only advantage the Condor Cluster has, it also uses 90% less energy than other equivalent supercomputers.

 

Kratos’ Actions in God of War III Were Meant to Usher in the Age of Monotheism

Game Director of God of War and Creative Director of GoW II, David Jaffe, had very different plans for God of War III.  According to an interview with GameTrailers, Jaffe revealed that he had intended for GoW III to end with Kratos’ actions leading to the birth of monotheism.

Jaffe explains that he wanted Kratos to square off against Zeus right off the bat; the death of Zeus would then cause an imbalance of power between the Greek pantheon and gods from other religions.  This event would set up a power struggle between the Greek gods and the gods from Norse and Egyptian mythology.  In addition to this, Jaffe wanted Kratos to meet his Norse and Egyptian counterparts who would help him defeat the gods from their respective religions.

In the end, after defeating all the gods that come his way, Kratos would then take his life in order to join his dead family.  In the final scene, the player would then take control of the three wise men who are following the north star.

 

The Design of the PS4 was Influenced by the Games Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls

While appearing on the PlayStation Blogcast, Shuhei Yoshida (president of SCE Worldwide Studios) mentioned that certain features within the two games Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls helped influence the ultimate design of the PS4.

“Lots of things Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls did, like leaving the message to other people asynchronously – so if you were connected, but not connected at the same time – all these things inspired us when we were designing the system features for PS4…  The sharing features, I enjoy so much watching people playing Dark Souls on YouTube.  This game is perfect to learn from other players how to attack the same situations with very different strategy.”  – Shuhei Yoshida

Presumably, Yoshida is referring to the integrated Twitch, game capture and image sharing features present in the PS4.

 

Microsoft Included Hidden Mini-Games in Their Programs Until 2002

In the past Microsoft would include easter eggs in many of it’s programs, some of these easter eggs would include interesting mini games.  These games included a doom like hidden minigame called Hall of tortured souls found in Excel 95, a pinball game found in word 97,  a flight simulator in excel 97, and a 3-d game similar to spy hunter called dev hunter in excel 2000.  Microsoft formally stopped including Easter eggs in its programs as part of its Trustworthy Computing Initiative in 2002.

 

The “Get Blue Spheres” Message in Sonic 3 Originally Said “Get Blue Balls”

In Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 & Knuckles, there is an Easter egg game called Blue Sphere.  Blue Sphere is a collection of special stages where players can collect Chaos Emeralds and Super Emeralds.  These special stages take place on a giant globe littered with different color spheres; the player’s goal is to collect as many blue spheres as possible.  As the stage begins the line “Get Blue Spheres” will appear on the screen.  Originally, during development the line read “Get Blue Balls” until it was found out that the phrase had sexual connotations, the wording was changed in the final cut.

 

The Inventor of the Game Boy was Originally a Janitor for Nintendo

Gunpei Yokoi was a graduate of Doshisha University with a degree in electronics.  In 1965 he began a career with Nintendo – which at the time was primarily a hanafuda card manufacturer – as a janitor and assembly line maintenance worker.  On one fateful day the president of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi, visited the factory and noticed Yokoi on break playing around with an extending arm toy Yokoi had built in his spare time.  Yamauchi saw the toy and wanted Yokoi to further develop the toy so it could be sold before the Christmas rush.

Yokoi’s toy (named the Ultra Hand) became a big success and off of that success Yokoi was asked to work on other toys for Nintendo.  When Nintendo broke into the video game industry in 1974, he became one of Nintendo’s first game designers.  Yokoi went on to create the Game Boy, the Game & Watch and produce a number of hit games including Metroid and Kid Icarus.

 

The Triangle, Square, Circle and Cross on the PlayStation Controller Originally had Specific Meanings

There’s no doubt that the triangle, square, circle, and cross buttons on the PlayStation controller are an established trademark that has become synonymous with the PlayStation brand, but did you know that these symbols actually had specific meanings?

Teiyu Goto, designer of the original PlayStation controller, explained in an interview that the PS controller used symbols instead of letters or numbers because it was expected that the console would use controls based on those meanings.  According to Goto, the circle and cross stood for “yes” and “no” respectively; the triangle represents point of view and the square was meant to symbolize a map that you could access menus with.

 

There Were Two Unused Items Hidden in the Code of Shadow of the Colossus

Discarded items

Many people have scoured every nook and cranny of Shadow of the Colossus in order to find the mythical 17th colossus as well as any other possible secrets the game has to offer.  Unfortunately no one has found a 17th colossus, but some people have had luck finding hidden secrets including hidden locales, structures and two unused items that were actually tucked away inside the game’s code. These two items are called the Mask of the Titans and the Eye of the Colossus.

In Shadow of the Colossus you can unlock new weapons and items by beating the game then completing time attack challenges.  Normally out of all the items you can unlock there are only three masks you can obtain by completing these challenges – the Mask of Strength, the Mask of Power, and the Shaman’s Mask –  but there is a fourth that for some reason was never used called the Mask of the Titans.  This particular mask would allow the player to increase the amount of damage Wander can inflict on colossi.  The mask’s ability is similar to the Mask of Power and Strength but would deal more damage.

The second unused item, the Eye of the Colossus, is a little more interesting.  The eye is a semi-functional item that was removed from the final game.  The eye, which can only be activated when Wander is close to a colossus, would let players see the world through the colossus’ eyes.  It also lets the player see what the colossus sees before it’s activated, as it comes to life and while it dies.

 

The Blocks in Super Mario Bros. Are People

When you think about the Mushroom Kingdom you’re probably are reminded of a lighthearted, cartoonish world and you would be right to think that, that is if it wasn’t for the dark secret it hides.  According to the instruction booklet for Super Mario Bros., the Koopas turned the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom into brick blocks when they first invaded.  Remember that the next time you go around the Kingdom busting blocks.

 

Mamu and Wart Are the Same Villain

wart mamu

Anybody that has played Zelda: Link’s Awakening may have noticed that there are a lot of Mario references within the game.  The Yoshi doll, Goombas and Chain Chomp pets for example.  But one reference you may have overlooked is the appearance of Wart, the antagonist of Super Mario Bros. 2.  However, there is more of a connection between these two than just a simple passing nod.

In Japan, Wart is known as Mamu which happens to be the same name as the villain in Link’s Awakening.  Another interesting tidbit worth noting  is that both games take place in dream worlds and Mamu apparently lives in both.  In Link’s Awakening you are a part of a world that was dreamed up by the Wind Fish and in Super Mario Bros. 2 you’re in the land of Subcon (short for “subconscious”), a world found within a dream Mario once had.

 

 

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