Trends with Benefits: Rio fever, retro gaming, and that bizarro Chinese bus

On today’s show, we’re joined by a special guest! Andrew Mayer is a 25-year game development veteran, who has some fantastic insight into today’s topics. He regularly contributes to Digital Trends and you can check out his page at Level Up Design.

The Olympics get started on Friday, and there is a lot more than the Zika virus to grab your attention. Comcast has promised 6,000 hours of footage with its X1 streaming service, but does anybody have the patience to watch that much? For those that don’t, the Gold Zone will cut to the chase.

Virtual reality will also play a huge part in Rio for the first time. Samsung partnered with NBC Sports to provide VR from the opening and closing ceremonies, basketball games, and a number of other events. Will VR bring you into the fold enough to watch more of the games?

Facebook just opened a 22,000-square-foot facility in Menlo Park, called “Area 404,” where it will pursue VR, drones, and other technologies. A number of internal groups will use it, including Oculus, and a secret (and menacing) R&D group called Building 8, headed by former DARPA director Regina Dugan. What the hell are they working on in there?

Microsoft’s Xbox One S only gives gamers some modest improvements, but it turns out it’s a great 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray player. Ultimately, Microsoft seems bent on aligning PC gaming with console gaming. The crew discusses what that means, and what’s next in the console wars.

Speaking of which: Nintendo is preparing to release the NX system before the end of this year. This system seems to straddle the line between console and mobile gaming, but how it will all work is left to a bit of speculation. With Nintendo being the “wildcard” of gaming systems, it might just pull it off. The initial releases for the system will be new versions of Mario, Zelda and Pokémon.

On the retro-gaming front, the Nintendo Classic will clearly be a hit this winter, with 30 classic games packed into a plug-and-play box. Disney also made a partnership with GOG to bring Aladdin, The Lion King and The Jungle Book 16-bit games to PCs, priced at $10 a pop. Will the nostalgia factor be enough for you to download one?

Finally, we take a look at a … Chinese bus! However, it’s no ordinary bus. Looking more like something straight out of Blade Runner, the bus is designed to carry 1,400 passengers over regular traffic. It straddles two lanes of a road, towering at 7 feet tall to allow traffic to pass underneath. Sure it looks insane, but do you think this is actually feasible as a solution to traffic woes?

Today’s episode features Andrew Mayer, Nick Mokey, Rick Stella and Greg Nibler. Please subscribe and share Trends with Benefits, and send questions to We also broadcast the show live on YouTube every Thursday at 2:30 pm PST. Don’t forget to check out our other live-streamed shows, Between the Streams and Close to the Metal.

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