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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Super Mario's LEGO Debut: Teaching Kids to Murder

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I remember when LEGO used to instill family-friendly values, like pizza beats jail cells.

I thought of several different angles this article could take. One is complaining that LEGO sets are more expensive and technologically complicated than they used to be, but on the cost front, that's debunked with statistics. As for the technology, from what I can tell, this may be the most technologically advanced LEGO set ever, combining the LCD screens from the LEGO alarm clocks and the colour sensors from the LEGO MINDSTORMS STEM-education series. Meet the collaboration between Nintendo and LEGO, big enough for a press release, with the product releasing August 1, 2020:

For $60, you can purchase the starter set, and then for an additional $30 and/or another $100, you can get the Piranha Plant Power Slide Expansion Set and the Bowser's Castle Boss Battle Expansion Set, respectively. There are plans for additional future expansions, such as the Monty Mole & Super Mushroom Expansion Set.

Here's the angle I am going to take in this article: It's blatantly encouraging evil activity. Like, what's going on here:

Monday, April 6, 2020

Punch-Out!!'s Unfair Music Treatment vs. What ARMS Will Get in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The whole Punch-Out!! series got robbed. What will ARMS do?

You may remember my live reaction to the announcement that the next new DLC character for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be from ARMS. It was somewhere along the lines of “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”. I also dislike the concept of yet another long-range-based fighter.

But there might be one positive to ARMS representation. There will likely be an ARMS-based stage with a lot of ARMS-based music. Much of the music from the ARMS soundtrack is around different character-based remixes to the main ARMS theme, which is a fine one. Nintendo's composers who worked on ARMS, Yasuaki Iwata and Atsuko Asahi, did a good job.

This is similar to how Next Level Games and their composers (Darren Radtke, Chad York, and Mike Peacock) approached Punch-Out!! Wii. As I wrote in my Punch-Out!! Wii review: “Sakurai should take notes. This is how you remix the same main theme over a dozen times in your game without backlash.” (That's referencing Super Smash Bros. Brawl.) Every opponent in the game (over 12) has their own variation, and they're pretty awesome.

But what happened with the music from Punch-Out!! as it relates to the Super Smash Bros. games? Well, here's all the music in the Boxing Ring stage in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate:

Friday, April 3, 2020

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 21: The Gunsho Temple Loophole

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Inside Hades is a tribute to the Second Amendment?

I originally declared that KoopaTV's Fitness Friday series exists as my training for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Then they got delayed to 2021. At this point, I'm almost done with Ring Fit Adventure's Adventure Mode, and I've already spent several months so far, so I might as well see it to the end. This article continues off last week (week 20).

I already exhausted myself (mostly my arms) playing Ring Fit Adventure on Sunday night before even starting Adventure Mode, because I was testing out the new Rhythm Game feature for Monday's article. None of the time spent on that is recorded in the Adventure Mode timer and there is no Rhythm Gym or anything in the Adventure Mode. There is, however, the Fitness Gym (which does have a main menu equivalent), and that's where I'm tortuously starting this fitness log. Specifically, on difficulty level 30 in World 21: Between Land. It's the Core Set, and the reward is one measly Diamond:
  1. Bow Pull (x40)—This is the worst damn Fit Skill you can start with, especially since I just did a lot of pushing and pulling with my arms over the Rhythm Game mode. You're supposed to pretend the Ring-Con is like a bow and pull it like you would a bow (because everyone playing Ring Fit Adventure has archery experience?), but if you're unethical, the game is only measuring that the Ring-Con is being pulled. How you pull it is up to you.
  2. Overhead Lunge Twist (x40)—At least this one is much easier. Hold the Ring-Con above you, and twist your upper body left or right, making sure to rotate the Ring-Con with you.
  3. Pendulum Bend (x30)—Bend down and move the Ring-Con like a swinging pendulum, except it floats at the left-most/right-most points for longer than an actual pendulum would. You won't be looking at the screen for this. If you're a bad person, you can just stand (or even sit) and just revolve the Ring-Con. But they're not hard to do correctly...
  4. Seated Ring Raise (x60)—Sit down and raise the Ring-Con above your head and then lower it down in front of you. Repeat.
  5. Plank (x30)—Damn right I'm going to cheat on this. You can trick the game by starting in the Plank position. Then stand up. Bend your knee to complete a rep. It'll HOLD while your leg is straight.
  6. Warrior III Pose (x28)—Warrior III is too good to cheat, and there's no point since all Yoga poses are overly-generous in scoring anyway. Stand on one leg and make a T-pose by bending forward while extending your held-up leg back.
My reward for being an unethical cheater (and I realise that's a turn-off for anyone casually coming across this article) is an overworld chest containing Warrior III Pose Lv.3, which is a great Fit Skill (along with being generous to perform correctly).

By the way, before I keep going, note that this article obviously has story spoilers.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

KoopaTV's March 2020 Review Newsletter

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - You humans are so... fragile!

March 2020 was a very eventful month on KoopaTV, and I'll get to why shortly, because many things happened and they deserve their own headings. I do need to write a paragraph or two before the headings start, however.

I'm pleased with how we're doing. We includes both the staff, and we includes you, the readers! (And some of you are even players... in our free loyalty game.) But you are so skittish just because of some deadly pandemic on Earth? Pft. Koopa Kingdom doesn't have to deal with such things, but I'll also discuss that throughout the newsletter.

For now, let's talk about what happened on KoopaTV in March 2020:

KoopaTV's Top Five Recommended Experiences of March 2020

Even if an article is not on this list, we consider it still worth checking out. That said, we have special information to pass on in March, and we did so, and you better catch up if you missed it:
  1. Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection Music Player ReviewMega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is out and the combined series’ music is still as awesome as it was on the DS. But is the in-game delivery mechanism awesome? It's a review of the music player!
  2. Mario Celebrates MAR10 With Over 10 Simultaneous Mario Forms — KoopaTV has a very severe animosity towards Mario. But what happens when there are over 10 Marios? How did there get to be so many?
  3. What Does the Return of the XFL Mean For Gaming, and What Could Gaming Mean to the XFL? — You may not think that sport monopoly shake-ups can affect the gaming industry, but you would be... incorrect. Best to read this article and get set straight.
  4. On the Ground News: Coronavirus Emergency Edition — A whole slew of news (packing truth and levity) coming your way, all about the coronavirus. Because some people only use KoopaTV as their information source, perhaps it's best to be to you.
  5. Owning and Playing Games (like Animal Crossing) as a Social Status Symbol — Ludwig provides a sob story as an excuse for why he won't be buying and playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, even as everyone else is doing this and it seems like you won't be considered “in” if you don't.

Quite frankly, there's actually really important stuff that I didn't even get to include in those five articles, so, yeah, March 2020 was a big deal for our future. Your future, too. Speaking about you...

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Mark Your Calendar: Are YOU Invited to The KoopaTV Loyalty Cruise Program?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - And if you're not invited, you have a chance through April to be!

You know about the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program, right? It's ONLY advertised on every page on the site via the site-wide header.

On May 12, 2020 (that's a Tuesday, and KoopaTV's seven-year anniversary) KoopaTV will be hosting the KoopaTV Loyalty Cruise, on the new KoopaTV Loyalty Cruiser that we got! It's an all-day cruise, with many amenities and fun! The whole KoopaTV staff will be there.

KoopaTV cruise ship Daisy Cruiser Mario Kart Double Dash
...We, uh, built this ourselves. Totally didn't steal it from Princess Daisy or anything.

Who else gets to come to the KoopaTV Loyalty Cruise? This list of previous KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program winners going all the way back to early 2015:

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Pray Away the Distance Demons From Super Smash Bros.

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Way too many long hitboxes.

Once upon a time, characters with short ranges dominated the tier lists and metagames of Super Smash Bros. games. Part of the reason for that is that long-ranged characters didn't really exist. There's Samus's Grapple Beam, sure. You had Marth, sort of, in Super Smash Bros. Melee, but his grab range was more imposing than his Falchion. In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, there was a major problem with Snake's Up-Tilt being way too good and having a hitbox that goes far past where his leg actually goes.

Then the character design philosophy began to change a lot in Super Smash Bros. 4. Everyone was competing for the longest forward-smash. There's Shulk. Then Corrin came along. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Simon Belmont and Richter Belmont came with their massive whips. There's the most recent addition, “distance demon” Byleth.

Monday, March 30, 2020

What's in the Rhythm Game in Ring Fit Adventure?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'm not very groovy, but maybe you are?

Last week, Nintendo unveiled a same-day Ring Fit Adventure update (version 1.2.0—full patch notes over here) that added several new things to the game experience, with the biggest one being a 17-track rhythm game mode called Rhythm Game. Simple enough...

Rhythm Game has two modes to it: Arms + Legs, and Core + Legs. Like many other rhythm games, it involves listening to a song and “catching” beats flowing from the screen's top/background to the bottom/foreground. Instead of an instrument peripheral like some other games, you're using the special Ring Fit Adventure peripherals, being the Ring-Con and Leg Strap. 

In Arms + Legs, you're standing up straight and pushing/pulling the Ring-Con while shifting your body to the left or right, or you stay neutral/in the centre. Sometimes there are beats where you have to hold a push or pull for an extended period of time, or push/pull repeatedly. You may also have to squat (or stand back up). For Core + Legs, you have the Ring-Con rotated left on your stomach and push it in the entire time, while doing the left/right up/down shifts. That means Arms + Legs has double the variety (push & pull) versus Core + Legs (you're pushing the entire duration of the song), and as a result, Arms + Legs has multiple difficulty levels and is really where the developers’ focus went into.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 20: The Ultimate Balance... And More!?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - An unexpected game update put ME off-balance!

Why do KoopaTV Fitness Fridays exist? Why is so much effort on KoopaTV being put into Ring Fit Adventure? Well, it's not as much about Ring Fit Adventure as it is about... me, and my efforts to be physically prepared for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. ...Though they got postponed, and the implications of that are currently still a mystery to me.

(But to the extent that this is about Ring Fit Adventure, note that these fitness logs, especially this one, have massive amounts of story spoilers.)

This whole coronavirus thing is a major concern for me, so I actually skipped playing Ring Fit Adventure on Sunday night in favour of watching multiple late-night Fox News specials on it. This was a big mistake, and those specials were useless. They're never going to advance past “social distancing” and “wash your hands”, and they're really just hoping decision-makers watch the show and end the economic shutdown so everyone can go get sick but keep the economy moving.

Whatever, I got to keep my progress in Ring Fit Adventure moving. We last left off by starting World 20: The City of Open Eyes on difficulty level 30 (maximum), named as such because Dragaux is making a loud ruckus as HE'S training. ...I don't think he's going for an Olympic title, though. We defeated the master of balance, Guru Andma, and completed the grueling Trapezius Set in the Fitness Gym. Twice. Now we have an overworld map looking like this:

Thursday, March 26, 2020

KoopaTV's Live Reactions to Nintendo Direct Mini March 26, 2020

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Stop begging for these in comments sections.

According to very dumb people (who liken themselves to wise theorists and gurus), we've had the longest drought between two “real” Nintendo Directs, with the last one in September 2019. Oh, we've had plenty of other Nintendo-based presentations and news drops since then, but apparently all that matters is the Nintendo Direct.

Per those theorists, the Nintendo Direct Mini phenomenon isn't a Nintendo Direct. In that case, the drought continues. (What that means and why it's supposed to be significant, of course, is unknown.)

That's because today, Nintendo suddenly and without warning dumped this nearly half-hour Nintendo Direct Mini on us:

It's hard to suddenly coordinate a KoopaTV crew to live react to something published pre-noon without warning, so this reaction log is just between me (and I'm petty and negative) and Heavy Lobster (who is grateful and positive). Check it out:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

GameFAQs Game of the Decade (2010s) Favouritism Bracket

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - If I was the only voter in the world...

There's a big contest beginning March 26 that's going to last for over a month: The GameFAQs Game of the Decade (2010s) contest! users got to nominate up to ten games that released between the beginning of 2010 until the end of 2019. The top 128 have been entered into a bracket, which is reproduced below (after the page break, because it's lengthy).

I actually participated in that nomination process. If you want to know MY top ten games of the 2010s, here is my list in order of release date. As you might expect, it's heavy on things published by Nintendo or CAPCOM:
  1. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (2011, Nintendo DS)
  2. Kid Icarus: Uprising (2012, Nintendo 3DS)
  3. Pokémon Conquest (2012, Nintendo DS)
  4. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (2012, Nintendo 3DS)
  5. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies (2013, Nintendo 3DS)
  6. Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon (2015, Nintendo 3DS)
  7. Pocket Card Jockey (2016, Nintendo 3DS)
  8. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice (2016, Nintendo 3DS... it's 60% off as of publishing, by the way, but that won't be for long)
  9. Splatoon 2 (2017, Nintendo Switch)
  10. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (2018, Nintendo Switch)
I didn't expect that I'd be so heavy on the DS and 3DS, though. And the Wii U got nothing. Whoops.

Only four of those games made it into the top 128, and it turns out that I've only played 19 of that top 128. In the interest of not subjecting you to repeated instances of me pretending to have played games so I look cultured, for this year's GameFAQs contest I'm not going to follow it round-by-round on KoopaTV. Feel free to vote for whatever you want, as long as it's not a game I loathe. The polls are up each day on the GameFAQs home page.

In previous years’ contests (check them out at the bottom of this article's footer), I dedicated an article for each contest's round, but the way this bracket is constructed that's just going to be very repetitive and boring. Instead, you get a super-long article where I go through round-by-round as if I'm the only voter, and what the contest would look like in that case. Sometimes I write why I would vote the way I would. Most times I just have no comment. Quite frankly, some of these games I've just never heard of, so I don't have much of anything interesting to say.

Oh, I set up a table of contents, because navigation might help: