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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

RIP CAPCOM Store; Ransomware Update (Blame the American IT Department)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Double dose of CAPCOM...failure.

Two updates to earlier CAPCOM stories for ya, coming on the same day.

Remember when CAPCOM got pwned by that ransomware attack? According to a press release from today, the cause was that a relatively old and insecure Virtual Private Network (VPN) device in the California office was targeted and used to access CAPCOM's global files. CAPCOM's Information Technology (IT) Department had already been deprecating those old devices for new ones, but due to the Chinese Communist Party Virus (the one that makes people sick, not one that corrupts computers), they couldn't fully replace all of the supply so they kept the old insecure device around for a back-up. CAPCOM's other network security measures were being reviewed by IT but not implemented across the organisation... again, due to the CCP Virus messing up priorities. (IT probably was busy making sure every employee could work remotely with minimal business operation disruption, which can be a herculean task depending on their starting point, and could easily and understandably derail security implementation efforts.)

Through third-party consulting companies, CAPCOM is obviously now taking information security far more seriously and prioritising it after the fact to try to rebound from an international and public embarrassment, installing several measures to make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again.

Smart companies will take their information technology seriously with real investment. In my article on working conditions to avoid when looking for a job, I mentioned if a company won't invest in dual monitors for employees, that's bad. What I didn't mention? If they're using unsupported/very old hardware/software. Like, if anyone is still using Windows XP—and many healthcare companies do so—that's a bad sign and it's a major security risk, as well as a poor employee experience. The bare minimum your IT department should be doing is actively replacing the old, vulnerable stuff and removing them from circulation.

Monday, April 12, 2021

E3 2021 Begins June 12, 2021

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - My thoughts on the “new” E3... at least, what we know so far.

In two months... we'll have the Electronic Entertainment Expo again! E3 2021 is the world's premier event for videogame products, and it will begin June 12 (Saturday) until June 15 (Tuesday), so if you have school or work or whatever then, be sure to schedule time off now. True to its name, it'll be entirely digital this time—an all-virtual event. We'll see live press conferences on a four-day video stream, and the show's organiser, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), may wish to test this format to gauge E3's future, even after pandemics end. (Reminder that E3 2020 got cancelled entirely.) In fact, the ESA believes that “in 2022 [...] E3 will encompass a full 360 degree interactive digital and in-person event.” (What does 360 degree mean? Many camera angles? A return to the Xbox 360?)

Big videogame company names will include Nintendo, Microsoft, and CAPCOM. They're excluding perennially awful E3 performers like Electronic Arts and Sony, which is fine by me. (Well, to be more accurate, those companies excluded themselves. I'm sure E3 would've rather had them, even if I'd rather not watch them.)

KoopaTV will provide our signature E3 coverage during the livestreams, and as far as I'm concerned, the digital format is a good thing, because coming to E3 in-person is pretty bad. Last time I physically went to E3, I got detained by the police and sat in a jail cell.

There's a pre-event media...thing that's supposed to happen from June 7 to June 11. They haven't yet defined who constitutes as media and haven't started asking for media applications... but I get the feeling that they wouldn't consider KoopaTV to be media. According to the ESA, approved media “will have unique opportunities to connect with our exhibitors and sponsors.”

...Meh, I've had enough unique opportunities to connect with Nintendo in just the past two weeks to last me the whole year. Or more. Probably best to participate as a normal fan. ...With excellent insight, mind you. That's what we do at KoopaTV!

You'll want to stay tuned to KoopaTV during E3 2021, as well as the two months leading up to it, as the companies will likely disclose what their plans will be, which KoopaTV will cover since all of that will constitute as commentary-worthy events.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 34: Three Houses

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Choose your trial!

Two weeks ago I gave you my 33rd week of KoopaTV's Fitness Fridays. What's with the gap? Well, last week was... a very special week, and because I knew that early in the week, I just took a break from all forms of physical exercise, just so I wouldn't miss a beat in telling you all the details of my personal fitness. ...Yeah, that doesn't read like a very smart thing I did.

Because I took a break (and read this for how the break ended), when I started up Ring Fit Adventure on Sunday night, I lowered the difficulty level from max (30) to one less (29). Just to help get back into things easier. We're at World 34: Extra Fitness Lv. 217. Since this is based off World 11: Valley of Wishes (covered in Week 10 and concluded in Week 11) we encounter the spotty Fortune Teller, who says we must pass FOUR TRIALS. I gotta admit, I totally forgot this world had a Fortune Teller—he charged us 100 coins for a fortune at the time. All I remember are Allegra, Armando, and Abdonis posing as my friends, but the Fortune Teller did mumble that they passed by here. He also knows we saved the world.

Ring Fit Adventure World 34 Extra Fitness Lv. 217 Fortune Teller survive four trials
Survival is pretty easy. My defence stat is way too high for enemies to kill me off.

The first level is Rumbling Road, which I noted before has some cool level design in how the special movement features of the level (including Squat Hold jump pads and Overhead Ring Pull pulleys) interacts with a barrage of spiked rolling logs, and how you need to time your platforming and movement appropriately so you don't get hit by them. (Getting hit makes you lose 10 coins, which is a far worse and permanent consequence compared to losing hearts.) There is a Treasure Chest with one Deep Purple Smoothie at the end of the level. Clearing the road got me access to the Dreadmill (Advanced) Game Gym, which then gave me one Topaz item for completion. It also got me access to the Town and General Store Number 30! They're selling the Sky Jogger II (set bonus being slightly increased item vacuum range) and the Sunset Runner II (for easier jogging and knee lifts). You need four total Topaz to buy the new items... which is more than I got. Perhaps I'll find a Topaz in the next level, Sunset Road?

Thursday, April 8, 2021

KoopaTV's March 2021 Review Newsletter


You may be wondering what this newsletter is doing here, as opposed to not existing. Let's... get right into that discussion. Just remember there is also the rest of the newsletter that follows this opening discussion, and you'll definitely want to read that content. Especially the worst comment of the month discussion.

KoopaTV Lives Past March 31, 2021!

You should already be familiar with my March 31, 2021 article about the many things that Nintendo sunset starting April 1. I then wrote that Nintendo put KoopaTV on that list because Koopas share the same 35-year anniversary that Mario does, so Mario and Koopas are linked in terms of (not) being able to remain past that date. (Nevermind that KoopaTV is totally disconnected from the anniversary celebration, since we've existed since 2013.)

After that article, I and the rest of the staff (though without a legal team... with team defined as one or more people actually versed in law) have been arguing with Nintendo people for almost a week that their logic is bad and KoopaTV should continue to exist. We were getting nowhere with them until Nintendo's in-game events had these two happenings: first, a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Spirit Event themed after Bowser's Fury from Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury, featuring the Fury Bowser Spirit; and second, Mario Kart Tour has the new Ninja Tour. The Ninja Tour specifically calls out Koopa Troopa as a gift.

How can Nintendo maintain that Koopas are cancelled because the anniversary is over when these Koopas—Fury Bowser and Koopa Troopa—are being featured post-anniversary? They can't. And they knew they can't maintain that.

As a result, KoopaTV is coming back! Unfortunately, that means Mario is as well. But we'll continue to oppose him and eventually reach a world where we're around and he isn't.

Now, let's look at KoopaTV's March 2021 content, which also includes that kind of anti-Mario opposition content I'm promising more of.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The March 31, 2021 Sunset List: Adding!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - We didn't sign up to be part of this!

To help you keep track, here is what's disappearing by Nintendo's doing as of April 1, 2021 at 2:59 Eastern (or 23:59 Pacific on March 31, 2021):
Super Mario 3D All-Stars
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light
Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros. system
Super Mario Bros. 35
Super Mario Maker course uploading and bookmarking website

End-of-Sale means that, if you've already bought it, you can keep using/playing it, but you won't be able to buy/access it if you haven't already. (You can still re-download those games to your Nintendo Switch if it's deleted later for digital versions, and if you happen to have an unused download code after April 1, you can use that too.) End-of-Life means that you won't be able to access it anymore and it'll be gone.

But here's some BREAKING NEWS. Nintendo has reached out to KoopaTV and said that, because Koopas share the 35-year anniversary with Mario, and Mario is going away afterwards, WE need to be end-of-sale'd, too! That would mean no more new KoopaTV articles, but you can still play with existing ones.

This is obviously absurd, since KoopaTV has been around since 2013, and we're not a limited time fear-of-missing-out trick to boost Nintendo's fiscal year ending March 2021. As someone who has never appreciated anniversaries, I sure didn't sign up for this. So we're gonna fight Nintendo's decision, especially in light of everything we just wrote yesterday about being the successor to the just-this-month end-of-sale'd The Cain Gang. They can't keep Koopas down! ...Which probably also means they can't keep Mario the plumber down, either. ...So be it!

You can still comment on KoopaTV articles, but don't expect a reply back after 2:59 Eastern on April 1, because that would constitute as new content. You also shouldn't expect those comments to be recognised in the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program, since comment-grading would also count as new content. This also extends to the “general” KoopaTV social media presences.

KoopaTV was out for... a week, but has returned! Check out the story here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Posthumous "The Cain Gang" Has Disbanded

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - We're living past our inspiration. Are we the successor?

Remember when former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died due to the Chinese Communist Party Virus? That was a very impactful moment for KoopaTV and me personally. After dropping out of the race, Herman Cain created a goofy content website, CainTV, in 2012. This was the genesis for the creation of KoopaTV in 2013.

After their boss's untimely death, the CainTV group (which had long since rebranded to, which included Herman's daughter, rebranded to The Cain Gang. This primarily relied on content syndicated by The Western Journal, which is a media outlet I don't respect, but Herman had been working with them for years before his death. Very shortly after The Cain Gang was established, CainTV mainstay contributor Robert Laurie left it, citing that using the guy's brand after the death didn't sit well with him.

Indeed, the vibe totally changed, and it didn't help that Herman's Twitter account—his content on Facebook by comparison was always more favourably received due to the Boomer conservative audience—was auto-posting stuff from The Western Journal. It repeatedly tweeted out ironic things, like “This is exactly what happens if you're a minority and you dare disagree with the leftists. You're dead to them.” (Herman Cain was a minority and also dared to disagree with the leftists... except when he tweeted that, he wasn't figuratively dead just to the leftists, but he was literally dead to everyone.) The account also tweeted, “Humanity has survived far, far worse than what 2020 has thrown at us.” (Herman Cain died in 2020.) And perhaps its most infamous tweet was, “It's time for the obsessive mask-wearing to wear off.” (Mask-wearing is widely considered by health professionals to help prevent catching the Chinese Communist Party Virus that Herman Cain died from.)

I guess there is only so much humiliation Herman Cain's estate could take until they realised that this is not a good way to honour the legacy of Herman Cain, so two weeks ago, Dan Calabrese (CainTV's editor in chief) announced that The Cain Gang would be coming to a close.

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Yuji Naka BALAN WONDERWORLD Astroturf Cult

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - There's a contingent of fans trying to rewrite reality. Warning: This article spoils one of the story reveals of the game to demonstrate the point.

You might not have realised it, but BALAN WONDERWORLD is out on all the major platforms right now for $60. You know, the game I wrote was everything bad about 3D platformers based on its demo. I think that demo totally broke MOST people's hopes for the game. You can see that the Nintendo of America Twitter account tweeted multiple times at whatever opportunity prior to the game's release... but not on the launch day itself, preferring instead to promote the significantly more promising Monster Hunter Rise, as well as an update on their non-genocidal Super Mario Bros 35 3rd World Count Challenge. (By comparison, Sony and SQUARE ENIX promoted the game on release a whole bunch, so people in the PlayStation ecosystem probably know it's out. Microsoft instead promoted significantly better SQUARE ENIX game Octopath Traveler, now available on Xbox Game Pass.)

Now, I said most people, because there are still a few people that will stand by BALAN WONDERWORLD, and more accurately, anything associated with Yuji Naka. BALAN WONDERWORLD is directed by Yuji Naka, but he's better known for when he was a member of SEGA, programming/producing the Sonic the Hedgehog series and NiGHTS into Dreams. This was in the 1990s/early 2000s. He worked with Naoto Ohshima, character designer for Sonic the Hedgehog, and later founder of Artoon (known for the terrible Yoshi's Island DS) and then Arzest (known for the terrible Yoshi's New Island). Because Yuji Naka wanted to work with Naoto Ohshima again—it's been decades—Arzest and their team are the co-developers of BALAN WONDERWORLD with SQUARE ENIX.

That was a dense few paragraphs full of names. But the point is that the game is out... and there isn't that much organic coverage of it—besides a report that the base version of the game (without the day 1 patch) will induce seizures, even in people not normally prone to epilepsy. Most people, like myself, played the demo and were repulsed by it. Nintendo and Microsoft read the room and considered the game dead on arrival. SQUARE ENIX, despite their social media, seems to privately consider BALAN WONDERWORLD dead on arrival as well, having not sent most reviewers review codes until the game released, which is leaving the review aggregators very empty as media outlets are scrambling to torture themselves on who can get through the game the fastest to get reviews out. Right now, there's just very few reviews and not much activity for people actually playing the game, which probably means everyone's scared of buying it. Or they're too busy reading the $10 280-page novel that SQUARE ENIX published explaining the game's story, since apparently the game itself doesn't have dialogue and doesn't try to explain all of what's going on. (And to be fair, there are a lot of really neat ideas with the game world/environments and story and lore if you browse through the chapters on the official website, which unfortunately performs as poorly as the game does so it may take several refreshes. Those ideas just don't manifest well in-game.)

Well... they are either busy with the book (or the game, I guess), or they're making fake reviews on Metacritic.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 33: Older and Stronger

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Getting new Game Gym minigame high scores and ranks.

This week on KoopaTV's Fitness Friday series, I've logged my experiences with World 33: Extra Fitness Lv. 211 in Ring Fit Adventure. This retreads World 10: Grandminion Gauntlet, which is basically a big compilation of Ring Fit Adventure's minigames.

I'm mentioning this upfront because the reason I'm doing this training is to compete in the formerly Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games (it's officially still called Tokyo 2020, but let's be real, it's Tokyo 2021) for Team Koopa. You may remember Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as a (bad) minigame compilation. Assuming that the Tokyo 2021 Olympics are most like a minigame compilation, then doing the world based on a minigame compilation seems to be the most effective test of my skills. Therefore, I'm cranking it up from difficulty level 29 to difficulty level 30! That's the highest one! (...Note that the game's difficulty level doesn't impact the minigames in any way.)

On Sunday, the first thing I did was run to General Store Number 29 to buy the Game Machine II, which has the set bonus of increasing experience point gains by 5%. This replaces the much weaker Galactic Jogger set I've been making my go-to outfit for that same set bonus. Or... I tried to buy it, but I need four total Topaz stones and I only have three. (The store also offers the Shadow Jogger II outfit, which requires another Topaz, but it has no set bonus and has the same stats as the Game Machine II, so why would you ever wear it? ...Well, it does have neat aesthetics.) The second thing I did was not start World 33, but run back to World 15: Quizton, to pick up the Persimmon Smoothie recipe I missed on the North Road level. How did I know it's there? ...I looked it up. The Persimmon Smoothie doubles your experience points in a fight when you drink it. It takes four Persimmons to make, and there's no other use for the ingredient in Ring Fit Adventure. (Incidentally, there are Persimmons available to collect in North Road.)

I embedded above how to get to the chest. The reason I missed it to begin with is because of bad game design. Sometimes I compliment Ring Fit Adventure's game design, but in this case, if you skip the blue hook and keep going, you'll go to an orange hook with an alternate path. Only the blue hook has the chest. Games often reward you for being patient and going for the second option, but in this case, you're rewarded for jumping off and going for the very first option presented. Of course, you have absolutely no way of knowing what's behind the other option unless you replay the level, and you have no way of knowing it was something important like a missed smoothie recipe and not just something trifling like money. Bad.

Alright, time to tackle the Game Gyms. First is Gluting Gallery (Advanced), which has a Topaz! And I got in splendid S rank fashion, which I already had. I should note that one of the Grandminions, which are little kids that Guru Andma takes care of (Armie, Gutso, C-C-Calvin, Buttercup, Abigail, and Armanda), are upset that the standards for clearing the Game Gyms are higher in Extra Fitness than Adventure Mode (reflecting they require an A rank for a bonus instead of a mere B rank), which is a nice gameplay-story integration addressing the increased difficulty.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Super Mario Bros. 35's Last World Count Challenge ISN'T a Genocide. Just Hyperinflation

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Though Nintendo is finding other ways to promote Goomba genocide.

After a dual-article intense “NEVER AGAIN” lobbying campaign from KoopaTV (and you)—specifically the article condemning the general genocidal Super Mario Bros. 35 1st World Count Challenge (that disproportionately affected Goombas) and the article condemning the genocidal Super Mario Bros. 35 2nd World Count Challenge (that specifically targeted Goombas), Nintendo's third and final World Count Challenge is...for players to cumulatively collect 350 million Coins to win 350 My Nintendo Platinum Points by March 30, 2:59 Eastern. In other words, the goal isn't murder. It's just inflating the Mushroom Kingdom's currency to general uselessness on a scale far more than the millions of coins that Mario was tasked with creating for New Super Mario Bros. 2.

Quite frankly, the very poor monetary policies of the Mushroom Kingdom government doesn't bother me anywhere near genocide does, given how life is of greater importance than international economics. Yes, it makes it extremely difficult for them to be a viable trading partner, despite their abundance of natural resources. One of the reasons why Koopa Kingdom finds it desirable to... borrow land ownership of areas of the Mushroom Kingdom is to be able to access those resources without the nearly impossible trade issues due to how awful the gold coin's value is.

(Mushroom Kingdom currency being worthless would make stable Koopa Kingdom coin currency quite desirable to the Mushroom Kingdom people... except it's not considered legal tender and the exchange rates are ridiculous enough that no one's gonna exchange it.)

I was supposed to write a detailed article on the Mushroom Kingdom's inflation woes many years ago and still haven't done so, but this isn't that article. This article is just happy about the lack of widespread incentivised genocide.

Well... that's speaking too soon. Look at this video Nintendo uploaded today:

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Our Virtual Tour of Super Nintendo World, Now Open!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - #We Aren't Mario.

Once upon a time, the Nintendo-Universal Studios collaboration theme park Super Nintendo World was supposed to open February 4, 2021. That didn't happen. But, hey, it's open now! (And has been for the past week.) If you got 7,800 yen (after tax) (about $72) lying around for a one-day stay, you can check it out. It's about $141 for a two-day stay. Not my sort of thing, honestly. But I am willing to go on a virtual tour of the place courtesy of the website. At least that's free.

There are a few details we didn't already get from Shigeru Miyamoto's trespassing of Lord Bowser's domain in Super Nintendo World back in 2020. Not only was he trespassing, it turns out that Shigeru Miyamoto vandalised some expensive artwork of the King of Koopas himself. Apparently in the spirit of vandalising Koopa property, the theme park website boldly declares, “#WE ARE MARIO!!” (By the way, hashtags break when you put a space. Dunno if they know that.) But let's look at what's in the park...