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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Yes In My Backyard: Dilapidated Houses in the City Trial

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Regretting your policies around affordable housing, eh King Dedede?

Time to tackle an issue that's vexed me for over a decade now: On what basis are those crap-mounds in Kirby Air Ride's City Trial mode supposed to be houses? Yes, they're referred to as “dilapidated houses” (meaning the houses have all fallen into disrepair), but how were these supposed to be houses to begin with?

Kirby Air Ride City Trial dilapidated houses mud metal bricks
Kirby observing these crappy houses (and standing on one) about two Kirby in height.
There's no doors, though apparently the circles are windows.
One wonders how these were so haphazardly constructed, with all of the different materials seemingly stitched together.
What are these made of and how would anyone live in them?

These houses were constructed, a few dozen of them, right outside of the main part of the City. The common objection existing residents have to building low-income/affordable housing units is that, while the folks in the municipality mean well, they just don't want them in their backyard. The people already living in the city or owning property there are commonly worried that development of these buildings will lower the value of the existing property, and real-estate is a large part of people's wealth. (Hence why a wealth tax to be paid on a cash basis is stupid.) They're also concerned that affordable housing will bring in a lot of riff-raff into the area. Crime and stuff. Sort of the same reason that building gambling establishments like casinos and horse-tracks in municipalities get objected to. 

Governments put together all kinds of rules and regulations to mess up the housing market and create an artificial scarcity in housing, thus increasing the value of the existing homes and contributing to a supply-demand in-balance. That results in either homelessness or poor people trying to live elsewhere that's more accommodating to building houses. Regulations may include superfluous environmental impact studies, zoning laws, impossible building codes (grandfathering in existing places), arbitrary permitting processes, and more. This obviously raises the cost of development far past the actual construction, so it doesn't get built.

As for the City, King Dedede apparently waived the concerns of the two paragraphs above. ...But I guess the houses are so awful and then not maintained that no one is living in them, so they're just a blight on the City, as the not-in-my-backyarders said would happen. Thus they've tasked Kirby with their destruction.

Monday, October 21, 2019

I'm Extremely Impressed With The Dragon Quest XI S Demo

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Free, high-quality entertainment lasting as long as many whole games.

I admit, with all of the fantastic gaming experiences on the Nintendo Switch lately—with more to come—I can't and don't play everything I write about. That includes some of the not-so fantastic experiences.

That means when I come across something amazing—even belatedly so—I should write about that. Of course, the game I have in mind isn't a secret—and not just because you're fully capable of reading the article title, but also because it's fairly-well publicised.

During October, I played the 10–11 hour Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition demo, which is a ridiculously long title. We've had very advance notice of Dragon Quest XI coming to the Switch, all the way back in 2015 when it was called the Nintendo NX. And in August 2019, Square Enix released an eShop demo, which transfers your save file to the full version, released September 2019.

One of the biggest features the game has to offer is the ability to play the game in 3D, HD graphics... or 2D, 16-bit style. Unfortunately, the demo forces you to play it in 3D, despite trolling you with the 2D option: 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Start Your Marathon: Ring Fit Adventure Released!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - There's just something so ensnaring about this ring...

I still dispute the characterisation that this is a 180-degree turnaround, but back in the beginning of September last month when Nintendo had that really weird teaser trailer, I had no idea that I'd devote so much coverage to whatever it turned out to be, especially in such a short period of time. But when Nintendo properly revealed the game as Ring Fit Adventure, I instantly became stoked about the concept. Gimmicky exercise controller + proper RPG experience? This is a game that can be both intrinsically fun and extrinsically beneficial! It just needed to get that intrinsic part down, which, based on Ring Fit Adventure's presence of traditional Japanese roleplaying game tropes like towns and skills and a story, looks like they're getting right. Plus, a villain in Dragaux we can all support.

Now, unlike some other very-recently released games on the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo isn't ignoring the game on arrival. Here's the launch trailer.

That second half of the trailer is awesome. I'm just loving the personality and cool music that Dragaux exudes, and I'm pleased that I made a great choice in dedicating a whole article to the bodybuilding dragon NAMED DRAGAUX. Just look at this:

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Did You Know Little Town Hero Released? Here's Some Gigantamax Pokémon Instead

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - This wasn't even a joke.

Remember Little Town Hero by GAME FREAK? I don't think Nintendo did. There's no word from them about it. It's out, with no release trailer love or anything, and the game has sub-standard scores from reviewers who find it too confusing and mysterious and don't understand and don't want to understand the battle system. I don't either, but I also haven't played or really gone much into the game since my last article about Little Town Hero. I haven't given it a try. Maybe we'll get a demo.

With any luck, the battle system is complicated but also immensely satisfying, much like GAME FREAK's masterpiece, Pocket Card Jockey. Little Town Hero is a short pseudo-RPG that is meant to be replayed over and over, much like how Pocket Card Jockey is supposed to be replayed over and over.

You know what we're also seeing over and over? GAME FREAK glorifying Charizard. Take a look at this new Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield trailer featuring Gigantamaxing, again:

You don't see it in the thumbnail, but one of the five Gigantamax-compatible Pokémon in that trailer is Charizard, obtainable through rare Max Raid battles. The others are Pikachu (obtainable if you own Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu!), Eevee (obtainable if you own Pokémon Let's Go, Eevee!, Meowth (obtainable if you own the game early enough and use Mystery Gift), and Butterfree (also obtainable through Max Raid Battles).

Here's what I wrote back in July when they announced Gigantamaxing:

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

October 15 2019 Democrat Presidential Primary Debate 4 ANALYSIS!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'd like to ask Senator Warren what her experience and background is to serve as commander-in-chief.

Time for everyone's least favourite time of the month—the recap of last night's Democratic presidential primary debate! This time, we have two FAKE NEWS giants, CNN and the New York Times, with a whopping TWELVE presidential candidates! From left-to-right on the podiums, we have...
  1. Tulsi Gabbard
  2. Tom Steyer
  3. Cory Booker
  4. Kamala Harris
  5. Bernie Sanders
  6. Joe Biden
  7. Elizabeth Warren
  8. Pete Buttigieg
  9. Andrew Yang
  10. Beto O'Rourke
  11. Amy Klobuchar
  12. Julián Castro 

If that massive list of names scares you and you don't know who these people are, KoopaTV has been keeping track of them at our 2020 Presidential Debate Coverage Index, which also features links to all of the debate coverage for this season.

I'm definitely not going to go name-by-name in this article and tell you how everyone did with great detail. The debate lasted three hours and most of it isn't interesting to talk about since a lot of that time was retreading. I'll give you my top three topics and then some AWARDS. But first, NPR's talk-time count:

Replace the graphic's title of “Who Dominated This Debate?” with “Who Does The Mainstream Media Want To Win?”
(And for the first time EVER, Andrew Yang isn't dead last in talking time!)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Time For Fun With Typhoons: Nintendo Live 2019!?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Well, thanks for taking my article to heart, sort of? Might've missed the point, though.

A year ago, there was supposed to be a Nintendo Direct on September 6, 2018. It got delayed for one week due to a natural disaster, the 2018 Hokkaido earthquake, which ended up killing four-dozen or so people.

In a take that's pretty characteristic of me, I criticised Nintendo for the delay of the Direct due to the disaster, which didn't personally impact Nintendo folks and wouldn't stop the production of the Direct since it's pre-recorded. Meanwhile, they rescheduled it during a natural disaster that was affecting the Americas, being Hurricane Florence.

This year, you may remember from the article about the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open August 2019 that the grand prize was ultimately being part of the North America team for the mid-October Nintendo Live 2019 international tournament taking place in Kyoto, Japan. Right at Nintendo's doorstep. That ultimately ended up with the formation of the North American team after hard-fought Super Smash Bros. Ultimate matches, and they were all set to participate— Epic_Gabriel, YoseFu, Wrath, and UnderDoc substituting for substitute Heeew.

Then came Typhoon No. 19, or Typhoon Hagibis. Devastating natural disaster ripping through Japan that is still going on as of writing. It's already killed six-dozen or so people and that's going up, so it's more fatal than last year's earthquake. Lots of cancelled flights and emergency declarations.

That includes the whole North America team. They weren't able to make it to Japan and attend Nintendo Live. ...Yes, that means the tournament still occurred over the past few days, during the typhoon. Oddly enough, they assembled an invitational “Dream Team” of Nairo, Mr. R, and Mkleo, and two of those come from North America and somehow were able to show up to Japan. ...How's that work? Well, I don't have an answer to that. I also don't know how Team Europe managed to fly to Japan.

The Dream Team managed to defeat Japan's chosen ones (Europe failed, obviously, and the American team was replaced by question marks), and were rewarded with a photo opportunity with Super Smash Bros. series producer, Masahiro Sakurai. I did write in my August Online Open article, “Super Smash Bros. series producer Masahiro Sakurai is also known to attend that tournament in the past, so players may meet him.” I was criticised for getting people's hopes up, but... Sakurai was there. He watched the whole thing. You can watch it too, here, if you really want.

Nintendo Live 2019 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Nairo Dream Team Brinstar Palutena vs Japan
Well I hope no one expected a super-substantial prize in a tournament with...
Squad Strike, Final Smash Meter, Smash Balls, Assist Trophy, Stage Morph, and Brinstar.
And this was the final stock of the entire tournament. Nairo won by breaking open that Smash Ball.
(He later said in his victory interview that he loves items, and he made no mention of Hong Kong.)

But America's hopes did get up for nothing... but not because of me. It's because of that typhoon, and Nintendo apparently learning from their mistake a year ago to not postpone or cancel pre-scheduled events due to natural disasters.

I don't think that's the lesson Nintendo was supposed to learn, though. It was not to discriminate between the lives of Americans vs. Japanese people. Not airing a pre-made Nintendo Direct during a Japanese disaster but airing it during an American disaster that causes massive power outages and destruction instead is discrimination.

Having a live tournament occur in Japan during a typhoon ravaging Japan is just stupid and a safety risk. The act of airing a Nintendo Direct isn't putting anyone in physical danger. The act of hosting a tournament is putting people in physical danger.

Sort of a substantial difference and that's the line I'm drawing.

Do you think Ludwig has a point here, or is he trying to have it both ways? By the way, a typhoon is just a Japanese hurricane. He should note that the hurricane didn't really go after Kyoto but instead it ravaged Tokyo—though the tournament organisers didn't know that was going to happen and they were constantly sharing that they were keeping an eye out on the typhoon until the last moment up until the event actually began. Do you feel bad for the winners of the North American Online Open that their prize was essentially negated?

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Mid-October China Tariff Cease-Fire Helps Farmers, Not Gamers

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I suppose gamers like eating, but...

A reminder that you should care about United States-China trade issues—a topic that there's news on—because of the August 2019 KoopaTV article about the tariffs that the Administration is waging against electronics manufactured in China, including videogame consoles.

Do understand that it's a serious enough concern that Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft all co-wrote/signed a letter to the Office of the United States Trade Representative proclaiming that prices on consoles will go up with the tariffs in place, and it will have tremendous ripple effects on the whole gaming industry—beyond the console makers and to software developers (and indies), retailers of all sizes, accessories-makers, etc. The article gave a very temporary and contingent congratulations to President Donald John Trump for delaying those tariffs to December 15, 2019 to avoid a big negative impact on the industry in its most important quarter, the winter holidays quarter. (All the retail inventory is already accumulated by December 15, even if you're doing irresponsible Christmas Eve shopping.)

But the tariffs are still there... as negotiation leverage. That's reasoning that even the dishonest Democrats realise and will use for their own benefit even though they decry their existence. But this is a Gaming Commentary article, and not a politics rant.

Anyway, as I was saying, over the weekend there's new developments. The Wall Street Journal reports it as a “trade truce.” The stock market went up. Business Insider reports that nothing is actually written or has happened and any action is still far off, though President Donald John Trump has tweeted that this is “the greatest and biggest deal ever made for our Great Patriot Farmers in the history of our Country.” He then tweeted, in old-school passionate message board posting style, “CHINA HAS ALREADY BEGUN AGRICULTURAL PURCHASES FROM OUR GREAT PATRIOT FARMERS & RANCHERS!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Attention Ring Fit Adventure Marketing: His Name is DRAGAUX

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - He has a name, dammit.

Alright, I don't like how Nintendo is marketing Ring Fit Adventure, so I have to type out about it because I'm cautiously optimistic about the game.

His name isn't “this bodybuilding dragon in Ring Fit Adventure.” His name is Dragaux. The closed captions on Nintendo's reveal trailer already misnamed him as Drago and he hasn't been name-dropped in the marketing ever since.

Nintendo's website for Ring Fit Adventure refers to Dragaux as “a bodybuilding dragon” and features a .gif of said bodybuilding. The file name on that? “character.gif

Dragaux bodybuilding dragon lifting weights barbells Ring Fit Adventure
How about my file name for it,

If the story is going to matter in Ring Fit Adventure like I'm hoping it does, Nintendo better start calling Dragaux by his name. Spelled correctly. You don't see them treating Mario like that, though I'll gladly call him “fat red-hatted plumber” instead of his name.

According to André Segers of GameXplain, Dragaux is fought throughout Ring Fit Adventure, which explains why his boss fight appears in this commercial for Ring Fit Adventure that labels him in the description as, you guessed it, just “a bodybuilding dragon”.

Ring Fit Adventure Dragaux Mountain Climber boss fight leg muscles
At least his HP bar is labeled “Dragaux” and not “A Bodybuilding Dragon”.
(Note Dragaux's different colouration than the .gif. I wonder if that means something.)

I'm personally pleased that Dragaux is acting in-character and is actually going to be ACTIVE during the adventure, unlike some big bad bosses that just sit in their end-game castle and get out-of-shape.

(Note that Lord Bowser is similar to Dragaux in that he's often encountered by Mario throughout his adventures instead of just the end.)

Ring Fit Adventure releases next week on the Nintendo Switch for $80. Ludwig still hasn't figured out if he's actually going to buy it, and if he will, how he'll get the space for it. More on that next week, then? In the meantime, do take care to call Dragaux by his name. Ludwig will note that nothing else in Ring Fit Adventure appears to be named.

Next week, Ring Fit Adventure releases, and Dragaux is totally showing off.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Activision Blizzard and the Hearthstone Hong Kong Liberation Controversy

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - They knew exactly what they were doing.

Around Sunday October 6, Activision Blizzard's Blizzard half (in Taiwan) was hosting a Hearthstone competition—at the Grandmasters level, which is apparently a big deal. Blizzard says it's the highest level of Hearthstone eSports, and it's invitation-only. Personally, it's not something I know about, since I've been boycotting Activision for 18 years. More on that later.

A fellow from Hong Kong, named Ng Wai Chung (gamer name Blitzchung), declared in his victory interview on Blizzard's Taiwan stream, “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times.” (Except in Chinese.) The interviewing casters (named Mr. Yee and Virtual, which sound like auto-generated computer player names) hid under the table like weirdo cowards, and Blizzard cut the stream. Then they announced the banishment of Blitzchung for one year from Grandmasters tournaments, as well as forfeiting the cash he's won up to that point, under the basis of this rule in their rulebook:
“Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.”
Update October 11: Blizzard has put out a statement from their president, J. Allen Brack, apparently announcing that the casters will be reinstated after six months, Blitzchung's ban will be reduced to six months, and he'll get his prize money. That doesn't substantively change the jive of the rest of the article, however. /end update

I suppose the mainland Chinese, whom Hong Kong wants liberation from, would be offended, yes. The big question is whether or not Blizzard would make the same decision if someone went on stream and took the opposite position against Hong Kong's freedom. I think they would make the same basic decision, but they went extra for this.  For a reason.

Let me go into some... background about China and Hong Kong, in case you're just really unaware of this stuff. (Even I, all the way from Koopa Kingdom, know about it, but maybe you're not so well-read.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Pokémon Shield: Meet Galarian Ponyta! The EVIL Ponyta!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Bonus question: What's the deal with Impidimp?

My claws and body are cold because I didn't eat or really move much between last night and this night. I could use some FIRE. (And nourishment. ...Curry excluded.)

Today, The Pokémon Company International formally announced Galarian Ponyta, after it was unclearly seen during a few very brief moments in their 24-hour Glimwood Tangle livestream.

Unfortunately for me, it's not a Fire type like the regular (Kantonian) Fire Horse Ponyta. 

No, Galarian Ponyta is the Unique Horn Pokémon, and is a Psychic type. 

Galarian Ponyta is exclusive to Pokémon Shield, to contrast with Sirfetch'd being exclusive to Pokémon Sword. Despite me being a Shield kind of fellow in terms of personality and walking around with a shell on my back, I'd say Sword wins out on having the better exclusive. Galarian Ponyta is clearly FAKE NEWS.