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REI is listing used outdoor gear on its website at substantial discounts

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Why it matters to you

Customers will not only save a substantial amount of money by buying used gear on REI’s website, they’ll also prevent it from ending up in a landfill somewhere.

Recently, outdoor gear manufacturer Patagonia announced a new program called Worn Wear that gives customers a chance to trade in their used gear for credit toward buying new products. The equipment that is turned in is then cleaned up, repaired, and resold online at a discount. This has the dual effect of saving customers money on Patagonia products, while also keeping more items from ending up in a landfill somewhere. Now, Recreational Equipment Inc. (aka REI), has launched a section on its website to sell used gear as well.

So how does REI’s program work exactly? For decades the retailer has been known for its liberal return policy, which allows customers to bring back any piece of gear that they weren’t 100 percent satisfied with. This has led to a large stockpile of used items, some of which would be sold off in an individual store’s semi-annual garage sale. Those events have proven so popular that it was not unheard of for outdoor enthusiasts to begin lining up outside a store hours before it opened just to score killer deals on equipment that was seeking a second life.

Now, REI is bring the concept of the garage sale online with its newly added Used Gear section. Visitors to the site will find options for women’s clothing, men’s clothing, and outdoor gear, which is where shoppers will find tents, backpacks, stoves, and other items. Because these are products that others have returned, there are limited quantities and sizes. But if you do find something you do want to purchase, it can typically be had for 20-25 percent off its normal retail price.

REI used outdoor gear

Examples of products that are available on the site include a down parka from Outdoor Research that typically sells for $196, which can be had for just $137. Similarly, a hydration pack from Osprey that normally retails for $59 can be purchased for $44. REI describes all of the gear as “gently used” and it is sold “as is.” Even so, all of the products come with a 30-day guarantee rather than the company’s normal overly generous warranty policy.

For now, the REI used gear site is listed as being in “beta,” so it’s still being tested. Presumably at some point it will become a permanent fixture on the website. Like Patagonia, the company is helping customers to save quite a bit of money, while reducing waste, too.

***This post originally published on Digital Trends***

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‘Metro: Exodus’: News, rumors, and everything we know

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Four years have passed since we last visited the post-nuclear war wasteland of the Metro series from 4A Games. But like the Dmitry Glukhovsky book trilogy that Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light were based on, a third game is on the horizon. 4A Games revealed Metro: Exodus, the first in the series to be properly developed for current generation consoles, at E3 2017 with an exciting gameplay trailer. The atmospheric tension and dire conditions that made the first two games in the series stand out was on display in full force. Exodus made another appearance at The Game Awards, allowing us to further unravel what to expect from the upcoming first-person shooter. Here’s everything we know about Metro: Exodus ahead of its 2018 launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

A story of hope?

Metro: Exodus takes place in 2036, two years after the events of Metro: Last Light, specifically after the game’s “enlightened” ending. Players will once again step into the shoes of Artyom, a Ranger living in the ruins of Moscow’s underground Metro system after a devastating nuclear war. His goal is to leave Moscow and find a better life to the east. According to the game’s Steam description, Artyom will take the helm of a group of Spartan Rangers throughout the year-long journey. Each of the four seasons will be represented throughout Artyom’s quest.

In an interview with PC Gamer, executive producer Jon Bloch hinted that this third entry may be more optimistic than its predecessors. He said, “Let’s go see what’s out there and hopefully we’ll find something that’s new and interesting and a good place to live.”

We know from the first gameplay trailer that Anna, Artyom’s partner, will return and play a key role in the narrative. After Exodus‘ E3 showing, Bloch teased that other familiar characters would make appearances as well.

A mix of sandbox and classic Metro

The first two Metro games took place in the tunnels of Moscow, leading to confined, largely linear levels. Exodus, due to the scope of its story, will give players more of an open sandbox. “There’s still story within those levels that will guide you through the places you should go, but it supports being able to go where you want and do what you want,” Bloch told PC Gamer.

In other words, there will be a mix of linear objectives and non-linear opportunities for exploration. All of the missions will tie into the overall story, but there will be room to go off the beaten path. As shown in trailers, Artyom’s time above ground will see him scouring sprawling cities and wildernesses. The profound effects of the nuclear war are made more clear at surface level by the sheer amount of wreckage on screen, from rundown buildings to piles of vehicles that have become mere scrap metal.

It’s not clear how many different areas outside of Moscow will be in the game, but the first two trailers each showed a train on what would seem to be the Trans-Siberian Railway, suggesting you’ll cover a lot of distance. So far, we’ve seen the snowy terrain of Moscow and a hilltop town surrounded by forestry.

Revamped weapons system

The freeing nature of exploration will also translate to new mechanics and systems. Exodus will feature more weapon customization than previous entries. We saw a glimpse of this in the gameplay trailer when Artyom modified his shotgun with a revolver chamber. In terms of confirmed weapons, we’ve seen a shotgun, revolver, crossbow, and Artyom’s knife.

Judging by the monstrous mutated beasts littered throughout the nuclear wasteland, you’ll need to make good use of the customization system to survive.

Bloch claimed “a lot of features” haven’t been revealed yet, but it sounds as if the move to a true open world will also shift gameplay in a substantial way.

When can you return and escape from Moscow?

Metro: Exodus launches in fall 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. In the meantime, you can replay the first two games in Metro Redux on PS4 and Xbox One.

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Good news: ‘Super Mario 64’ could help save your brain from Alzheimer’s

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Do you want some good news? Researchers may have found a drug-free way to help keep brains healthy and free from Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia. Do you want some even better news? It involves playing video games — and, potentially, one classic Nintendo 64 game more than others.

In a new study carried out by researchers from the University of Montreal, scientists examined the link between 3D-platform games and growth in different brains areas among older people. They were particularly interested in the gray matter in a part of the brain called the hippocampus, since this is used for memory building. The loss of gray matter in the hippocampus is associated with neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

The researchers gathered a group of 33 people between the ages of 55 and 75. These participants were divided into three groups; one which did nothing, one which learned to play piano on a computer, and one tasked with working through the classic N64 launch title Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes per day over six months. All 33 members of the group had brain scans before and after the half-year study to see how their brain changed during that time. The results showed that the most positive gains were experienced by those who had played Mario 64.

“What we found was that the Super Mario 64 training led to increased gray matter in the hippocampus, along with another structure called the cerebellum, which is important for motor control and balance,” Gregory West, a professor in the department of psychology, told Digital Trends.

The piano-playing group also benefited from their practice, although they didn’t experience the same gains of gray matter in the hippocampus.

But does our future brain health rely specifically on playing Mario 64? Yes and no. While it doesn’t have to be that game exclusively, the genre of 3D platformers turns out to be more beneficial than, say, first-person shooters — which previous research from the university shows can actually lower gray matter in the hippocampus.

“It has to do with the design of the game and what it asks gamers to do,” West said. “We hypothesize that 3D platformers are good because they ask people to explore a new environment, and to memorize it. When people do that, they form a cognitive map, meaning an internal representation of the environment, which they can then use to navigate. We know from past research involving both humans and rodents that this promotes activity in the hippocampus.”

A paper describing the work was recently published in the journal PLOS One.

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‘Daredevil’ and ‘The West Wing’ writer is developing Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’

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In May, Netflix announced plans to adapt The Witcher, a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. Now, it’s been confirmed that the task of bringing the novels to the streaming service will fall to Lauren Schmidt Hissrich.

Hissrich has a longstanding relationship with Netflix, having served as an executive producer on both Daredevil and The Defenders. She also received writing credits for episodes of those two shows, as well as Power, Private Practice, and The West Wing, the series that helped her start her career in writing for television.

Not much is known about plans for Netflix’s take on The Witcher, save for the fact that it has been given a multiple-series order. Hissrich is set to serve as both an executive producer and the showrunner, according to Variety.

The Witcher is best known to audiences outside of Europe as a series of hit role-playing games developed by CD Projekt Red. However, these titles are set after the series of novels and don’t serve as a direct adaptation of Sapkowski’s work.

Indeed, the author has expressed some disdain for CD Projekt Red’s output, as critically acclaimed as it has proven to be. Sapkowski made no secret of his opinion of both the titles themselves – and the medium of video games as a whole – in an interview with Waypoint published earlier this year.

Still, the Netflix series is set to serve as something of a collaboration between the talent that made both the books and the games so compelling for fantasy fans. Sapkowski will serve as a creative consultant, while the director of the computer-generated intros for the CD Projekt Red adaptations, Tomasz Baginski, will direct at least one episode in each season.

It’s difficult to imagine just how Netflix’s The Witcher will play out — the success of Game of Thrones has proven that there’s an audience out there for epic fantasy, but The Witcher has a much greater emphasis on monsters from the outset than the early seasons of HBO’s hit series did. It remains to be seen whether the masses will catch on, but fans of the books and the games alike have plenty of reason to be excited.

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