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Friday, May 29, 2020

Xenoblade Chronicles: A Modern Classic

By HEAVY LOBSTER - The Legacy of Xenoblade Chronicles, 10 Years Later.

Ten years ago, on June 10th, 2010, an obscure JRPG called Xenoblade Chronicles was released in Japan, and while the game garnered critical praise, there were no plans for the game to release in North America. The game was localized for Europe in 2011, but it took until 2012 after a fan campaign for it and 2 other JRPGs known as Operation Rainfall gained traction for it to finally release in the US, though it did so as a limited run GameStop exclusive that was notoriously hard to find. While the game sold through its limited run, it still languished in obscurity as the Wii had long been forgotten by that time. But over time, the game gradually got more attention via word-of-mouth, was spotlighted by Chuggaconroy's Let's Play, culminating eventually in Shulk appearing in Smash, followed soon after by a New 3DS-exclusive port of the game, and was later followed by Xenoblade Chronicles X and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The game is now considered by many to be the best JRPG of the 7th generation.

So what is it about this game that allowed it to leave such a lasting impact in spite of its inauspicious beginnings? In part it's because of when the game came out, as at the time many Japanese developers were moving away from home consoles towards handhelds, and Final Fantasy 13 was notorious for its excessive linearity, which gave Xenoblade a chance to stand out with its vast open areas to explore. In spite of the Wii's graphical limitations, the game's art direction and unique setting allowed for some awe-inspiring vistas. The game's memorable cast of characters and gripping story likewise captured players, and the unique battle system served to blend elements of action and turn-based RPGs. It set a standard for modern JRPGs and in many respects it represents a transition between early 3D JRPGs and more recent entries in the genre. The world manages to balance openness and exploration with traditional linear storytelling, as while you travel through each new area in a linear progression, these areas are so vast and open and rich with content that it has a distinct open-world feel while still retaining a strong narrative and sense of direction. It manages to balance so many elements so well to create an unforgettable package.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Oh. Sonic the Hedgehog Movie Is Getting a Sequel

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Who could've seen this coming? Well...

Let's quote what I wrote in February about the Sonic the Hedgehog movie:
“Both of the last scenes set up for a sequel hook, and I'm not sure that it's a good thing for a movie that the most-discussed thing is the possibility of a future movie. Like, is the first one not good enough to stand on its own?”

Turns out I'm probably right. Well, the possibility of a future movie is a surety now, since Paramount Pictures confirmed today that “they have commenced development on a sequel” but “decisions have not been made yet regarding casting or a production start date.” (I suppose it's not a surety that it won't get cancelled or something.)

And that's pretty much all we know. Well, we know who is producing, directing, and executive producing, but since I don't know who these people are, what do I care to repeat their names to you?

I'll now dedicate the rest of this article to a short rant about the Sonic the Hedgehog movie.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mega Man Franchise Sale...and Zero's a constantly dying robot

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Zero's death-defying privilege, seen in games with big discounts now.

Alright, I'm not quite over the whole robots died en masse thing I wrote about for Memorial Day. And I finally have my KoopaTV account back, as you can see. Sorry that you all had to go through that ridiculous mocking squid jerk yesterday.

I don't think I'll be able to write a “go buy Ace Attorney on sale” article this month (...well, I already did, but I mean on Nintendo eShop and not Steam). Instead, CAPCOM is granting us a Mega Man Franchise Sale on Nintendo eShop and... apparently on the Xbox store, too. It features Mega Man Legacy Collection and Mega Man Legacy Collection 2; as well as Mega Man X Legacy Collection and Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2; plus Mega Man 11. Those are all 50% off except for Mega Man Legacy Collection, which is weirdly only 34% off.

But there's one more thing. For the first time ever, Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection is discounted by 25% off, for a total price of $22.49. (You may remember I wrote a review of Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection's... Music Player.)

These sales last until May 31 at 11:59 PM Pacific, or 2:59 AM Eastern on June 1.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Team Ketchup WON the Splatfest? What timeline are we in?!

Squidwig KoopaTV avatar By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Oh no... Inkopolis is doomed.

Hey. Ludwig's busy crying over some dead robots from 12 years ago. Whatever. It gives me an opportunity to take over this blog. Squidwig here. 

Last weekend in Inkopolis Square, there was a huge event. For the first time ever, Inkopolis Square had a Splatfest! Between Team Mayonnaise (supported by Off the Hook superstar Pearl) and Team Ketchup (supported by the Off the Hook member, Marina). After a close 48-hour bout, Team Ketchup came up on top. Ketchup dominated the Popularity (55.25% to 44.75%) ranking, and closely won the Splatfest Battle Pro category (50.38% to 49.62%). Mayonnaise prevailed in the friend-involving Splatfest Battle Normal category (51.71% to 48.29%).

Ketchup is now legally superior to Mayonnaise within Inkopolis Square. All of the condiment stands—such as Crusty Sean's popular Crust Bucket food truck—are having mostly ketchup options now, with a much smaller supply of mayonnaise than before. That's the will of the people.

But if I look at KoopaTV (which I don't do often since it's full of irrelevant and boring nonsense)... something about this Splatfest is really strange.

That sobbing Koopa wrote last week that this is an “encore” Splatfest and that it already happened. The first time, Team Mayonnaise won, and the condiment baskets were filled with mayonnaise packets and the ketchup disappeared. But... how can that be?

Splatoon 2 Splatfest Team Ketchup wins mayo playing catch-up whole time Marina
But if Team Mayo already won... how could it be playing “catch-up” the whole time?
It's Team Ketchup that was playing catch-up!

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial to the Fallen Robotic Operating Buddies

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Robots can die too. And did die. In big numbers.

You know who doesn't get attention, even over a decade later? All of the robots from the Isle of Ancients. You may remember them from Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary story mode. They put in a lot of work, opening up Subspace Bombs and engulfing the universe one area at a time, until it's all subsumed into Subspace.

Lord Bowser happened to be part of that mission, and, I mean, for the most part he succeeded. The robots played a big role in that, because once they detonated the Subspace Bombs and they blew up... they weren't gonna be around anymore. Better them than Koopa Troopas.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl Subspace Emissary robots opening activate bomb ROB
Two robots looking at their off-screen boss, the Ancient Minister, as they're gonna disappear in three minutes.

Friday, May 22, 2020

World Turtle Day: Rescuing Fire-Attacked Turtles (from MARIO!)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Don't light shells on fire!

As a reminder, May 23 is World Turtle Day. It's a day dedicated to savings turtles and tortoises on Earth, sponsored by the American Turtle Rescue. It's a fine demonstration of the good things that happen from American leadership on Earth. But for this year's World Turtle Day article, I would like to direct your attention to events that took place in Brazil in mid-2016. A turtle got its shell burned from a fire, and doctors had to save it by 3D-printing a shell.

There is this whole weird angle in The Mirror's reporting of this story that make out the human veterinarians to be akin to Marvel's Avengers, and quite frankly, I don't care about the humans here. I care about the turtle, which is named Freddy (but named by the humans, so they probably weren't BORN as a Freddy). Freddy's shell is described as being “destroyed” in a “bush fire”, which Americans may know better as a “wildfire.”

Now, what may have caused that to happen?

KoopaTV lacks the Earth-based resources to formally investigate this, but I do have two theories.

Either Mario did it, or someone influenced by Mario did it.

Here's why they both make total sense.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Check out the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open May 2020!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The majority of it doesn't actually occur in May...

It seems like Nintendo is being defiant. Defiant of people's expectations. Defiant of life's situations. And defiant of their own communications.

They are once again teaming up with eSports tournament platform Battlefy to bring you the latest in the North American Online Open series... The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open May 2020! (Register there. It's free, but there are prizes.)

They just announced a May tournament? Today? Ah hah, well, you see, here are the dates: 

(Essentially, the East Coast goes on May 30, and then as you go further west, it's pushed out throughout June.)

It's not much of a May 2020 tournament then if 3/4 of the dates are in June, even if Regions 7 and 8 are the biggest regions. You may remember the previous tournament, the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open Spring 2020, was named such because it occurred on February 29 and March 1, so it wouldn't be fitting to name it after one month. ...At least, those were the standards three months ago. Those have changed.

You may note the bit about Sunday finals and livestreaming. This contradicts what I wrote just last week about how Nintendo no longer livestreams their Online Open tournaments because the last time they did, during the February–March 2019 season, it was a visibly laggy disaster. (Receipts are in the hyperlink in this paragraph.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

LEGO Mario Gets Four Costume Packs and It's Not Even Out Yet

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - But they're acting like it is. Or they're shameless.

You may remember that I was very critical of the Nintendo-LEGO company collaboration that there would be a Super Mario LEGO set, with several subsequent expansion sets to follow. The first sets are supposed to come out August 1, 2020. I was critical due to the bad values that it would instill in kids.

Today Nintendo (and LEGO) put out this video revealing “NEW LEGO Super Mario Power-Up Packs!” I mean, just the thumbnail is terrifying enough:

There is little information on this besides what appears on the YouTube video. It's not up on the LEGO Super Mario campaign website or Nintendo's site, though LEGO does have this press release. It's the physical equivalent of DLC costume packs, with each suit being $10. In other words, you're literally paying $10 just for this:

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Nintendo Investor Q&A: COVID-19 Edition

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Ludwig is spot-on, you know.

I have a personal passion of covering Nintendo's investor question & answer sessions for their financial results briefings. Their fiscal year just ended March 2020, and we just got their financial report that I wrote about here. A key theme in that was the break-out success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, coupled with the massive increase in digital distribution adoption. Shuntaro Furukawa, Nintendo's president, answered nine questions. I'll comment on a few of the more interesting question/answer pairs in this article, but the majority were related to COVID-19 (Chinese Communist Party coronavirus of 2019). Well, one was directly about China itself.

Just for your amusement, you may remember the last Q&A session article from six months ago where the heading was “Plus, scary China stuff.” Guess I had no idea what was coming. Since I'm obsessed with it so far, let's talk about the China question (#7, asking for actual sales results and plans for the fiscal year ending 2021) first.

If you're reading KoopaTV regularly, you know just a week-ish ago I told you that there are only three games available on the Nintendo Switch in China, as officially distributed by Tencent. Nintendo's answer is basically that China's contribution is immaterial and not worth giving specific detail on, and they don't expect anything different for the new year either. This whole China thing is for nothing, but investors have been excited about the China market opening for years and years. Stupid business fantasy that's ruining Earth, that I can tell you.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Ketchup vs. Mayo? Again? Encore Splatfest!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - We have a decision to make... And not between Ketchup and Mayonnaise.

I really miss articles like Condiment Conflict: Mayonnaise vs. Ketchup Splatfest! Not only is the headline cool, but it's about the Splatoon 2 Splatfests, which we have covered very extensively on KoopaTV, all the way back to the beginnings of the first Splatoon on Wii U.

The Splatfests have been done with for a year now, and major Splatoon 2 content updates as well. (Though there still are sporadic balance/bug fixes.)

But Nintendo made a recent push with a free demo of Splatoon 2 at the end of April 2020, and as part of that push, there will be an encore Splatfest this weekend of Mayonnaise versus Ketchup. If you want to know why I'm siding with Team Ketchup, check out that Condiment Conflict article. My reasoning remains the same.

Splatoon 2 Splatfest Mayonnaise vs. Ketchup encore rerun introduction Pearl Marina show
Something else remains the same as well...

I'm not writing this article to relitigate Mayonnaise versus Ketchup (even though Team Ketchup lost back in 2017, and you better believe that I'm going to play Splatoon 2 this weekend to get revenge). I'm writing it to complain, and to give a warning and a question to you all.