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Monark is a new Japanese role-playing game by ex-developers of Atlus’ cult classic Shin Megami Tensei series. Teased last week, the new title now has a trailer and tons more details released. An early 2022 release is confirmed via the release trailer and the official site.

The game follows a nameless protagonist in a mysterious school, Shin Mikado Academy, separated from the rest of the world by a barrier. There are various obstacles around the school, like the madness-inducing mist, cryptic phone calls from the “Otherworld,” and seven “Pactbearers” wielding Daemonic Authority ruled by Egos.

To survive, players use their Daemonic power, Authority of Vanity, to control ego and madness. If this all sounds confusing then that means the SMT style is working.

The gameplay seems to be standard Shin Megami Tensei affair. Ego is an experience system in the game, used to strengthen “sense of self” through a level-up map. Players can edit their attributes and their Fiends/Daemonic beings, which are similar to Persona or Demons in the Persona and Shin Megami Tensei series.

The battle system is moving from SMT and Persona’s usual standard turn-based JRPG formula to a strategy RPG style, similar to games like Fire Emblem. It features a “free movement system” that allows players to move anywhere on the battlefield without being limited to certain spaces.

Players won’t be able to freely use their Daemonic power of their Authority, as each use increases your madness rate. To win players will; need to strategically choose when to use their party members’ abilities.

The exploration side of the game sends players through Shin Mikado Academy, where they’ll search for phone calls that connect them to the Outworld and solve puzzles.

The game features four companion characters that players can increase their bond with, ala Persona. Like Shin Megami Tensei’s “Reason” characters, bonds with these various characters will lead to different endings.

The game definitely doesn’t try to hide its Shin Megami Tensei inspiration in the tone and mechanics at all. With Shin Megami Tensei 5 apparently releasing soon it seems that fans of the series have a lot to look forward to.

Monark is set to release in early 2022.

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Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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E-Games

Super Mario World Is Now Playable In Widescreen

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Gif: Super Mario World Widescreen

Software engineer and SNES ROM hacker Vitor Vilela has led a team which has created and released Super Mario World Widescreen, a download that lets you play Nintendo’s Super Mario World—first released in 1990—on modern widescreen displays.

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Crucially SMWW keeps the game’s original 8:7 pixel aspect ratio, meaning that no matter how wide you stretch the display, “the screen you will see is like how would you see on a real TV screen connected to the SNES, except expanded to the widescreen resolution!”

Super Mario World is now available in widescreen

Left: playing SMW using a regular widescreen mod | Right: playing SMW on this custom widescreen release
Screenshot: Kotaku

While standard 16:9 and 16:10 monitor resolutions are supported, Vilela is also working on some other, funkier aspect ratios, like 2:1 and even 21:9 for anyone with an ultrawide monitor.

It’s available here, but before you go rushing to download it, there’s some stuff you need to know. Firstly, the download link is just for SMWW, and doesn’t contain a ROM of Super Mario World itself. You’ll have to find that…elsewhere.

And secondly, you’ll also need to download the emulator bsnes_hd, since the only way SMWW was made possible was because bsnes_hd allowed Vilela to increase the game’s horizontal resolution by 96 pixels, from 256×224 to 352×224. bsnes also allows many other SNES games to run in widescreen as well, though not to the same level of tailored perfection as we’re seeing here (as you can see in the comparison screenshot above, simply running SMW in bsnes has some framing issues).

You can check out a trailer below:

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Technology

Get free AirPods with Apple’s 2021 Back to School sale

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School is just now ending in many states around the country, but that didn’t stop Apple from kicking off its back-to-school sale this week. If you’re in the market for a new device ahead of the coming school year, Apple is giving away a free pair of AirPods with your purchase of any eligible computer or tablet. This includes the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, 24-inch iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, iPad Pro, and iPad Air, which leaves you with plenty of options.

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If you decide to take advantage of the promotion, all that you need to do is head to Apple’s Back to School landing page, select your Mac or iPad of choice, and proceed with the checkout process. After you’ve decided which model you’re going to choose, you’ll reach a page where you can add AirPods with a charging case (normally $159.99) to your order free of charge.

If you’d prefer to have a wireless charging case, you can upgrade for $40, and you’d rather get a pair of AirPods Pro, it’s going to cost you $90. You can also opt not to take the free AirPods at all, but even if you don’t need the wireless headphones, they’d probably make a solid gift.

In addition to the AirPods offer, Apple is also giving current and newly accepted college students and their parents, as well as teachers and staff, 20% off AppleCare+ for the products they buy.

It’s also worth noting that all new Apple devices come with three-month free trials to both Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. For quite some time, Apple was giving consumers a free year of Apple TV+, but as we learned earlier this week, the company actually wants people to start paying for the streaming service at some point. Therefore, all of the initial free trials from 2019 that have been extended multiple times will finally be ending in July. Furthermore, eligible devices activated July 1st, 2021 or later will qualify for offers of 3 months free Apple TV+, so if you want a full year (as well as some free AirPods), you might want to place your order soon.

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Everyone’s binge-watching this raunchy new Netflix comedy right now

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For anyone in the US who’s been going through Schitt’s Creek withdrawals and could use a hilarious new comedy from our neighbor to the north, especially as an antidote of sorts to the pandemic and all kinds of other negative news in the world right now, rejoice — Netflix has you covered, in the form of a raunchy sitcom from Catherine Reitman.

Season 5 of her show Workin’ Moms just got added to Netflix in the US a few days ago, and already it’s one of the most-watched Netflix shows, having rocketed up the streamer’s ranks of what’s popular across the service at any given moment. Reitman, the daughter of famed Hollywood director Ivan Reitman, not only stars in the series but she always writes and directs, and as of the time of this writing the series is currently the #4 most-viewed TV show on Netflix in the US. Originally broadcast in Canada via the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), this comedy is built around the following, according to Netflix’s summary: “Maternity leave is over, and it’s time for these four moms to return to work while navigating kids, bosses, love, and life in modern-day Toronto.”

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Reitman will already be familiar to American audiences thanks to acting in such productions as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Friends With Benefits, and Knocked Up. Her Workin’ Moms cast also includes Dani Kind, Juno Rinaldo, and Jessalyn Wanlim.

As far as how much of the show is available on Netflix right now, subscribers can stream all five available seasons of the show. Reitman recently took to Instagram to confirm that Season 6 of the show is a go, it having been renewed by CBC. In terms of when that means we can expect it to make its way to Netflix — don’t expect it before 2022, probably mid-year.

Check back here this weekend, meanwhile, for our latest complete rundown on what’s hot and being binged the most right now across all the major streaming services, from Netflix to Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and more. Our list comes, as always, from the team at the streaming search engine service Reelgood, which regularly shares with a BGR a snapshot of what shows and movies are the most popular on a weekly as well as monthly basis among its millions of users.

Reelgood, by the way, is a great service to be aware of, if you’re not already and if you’re a streaming power-user. It aims to be a one-stop-shop that makes finding shows and movies to watch convenient, especially since it gets a little hard to keep track of which service has this or that new TV show — and since they’re all constantly adding and removing content pretty regularly.

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