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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Nindies Showcase Spring 2019 Live Reactions!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Live in the sense that we're reacting to it hours after it aired. Still new to us!

We were just thinking, after publishing the guest post about Lord Winklebottom Investigates (which has 6 days left on its Kickstarter campaign), KoopaTV really should engage the indie gaming community more. Well, then Nintendo announced that they'd be showing a Nindies showcase today. Let's try it out by reacting to its contents as they happen! (Or as we watch them after the fact. 12 PM is a bad time.)

Here's the 25-minute Nindies (Nintendo Indies) Showcase of Spring 2019. Live-reacting to it are myself and Rawk. Wendy gets an emoji's worth of commentary at the end.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Splatoon 2: Free Demo, second Nintendo Switch Online trial, 20% off

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It's a special demo... it's not a test!

Right now until the 25th of March, Nintendo is offering an incredible and free offer that you can convert into a purchase-worthy discount: Splatoon 2 has a free, non-barebones demo of Turf War, Ranked Match, and the most important mode of all, Salmon Run. If you don't have Nintendo Switch Online, it comes with its own 7-day trial of it—independent of the already-existing 7–9-day free trial of Nintendo Switch Online.

Why is Nintendo offering this? 
  1. Only one in four Nintendo Switch owners own Splatoon 2, but it was 1 in ~2.7 Wii U owners who owned Splatoon. There's definitely more potential for people to buy Splatoon 2
  2. Nintendo is on a quest to have more people subscribe to Nintendo Switch Online. That's a strategic goal for them
  3. This isn't anything new. They did a way-post-launch demo of Splatoon before on the Wii U, though they still called that a Testfire Demo. (That also predicted that Donald Trump would beat Hillary Clinton in the upcoming election)
Splatoon 2 Special Demo Nintendo Switch March 2019 ink Inkling free
The game is better than the official promotional art implies.

I encourage you to take advantage of this limited-time opportunity. A few tips and caveats...
Enjoy Splatoon 2 for free while you can! (And if you really like it, you can buy it for 20% off during the week the demo is available.) I'll be trying to get anti-Splatoon grouch RawkHawk2010 to give Salmon Run a try after he disliked the Turf War-only Splatoon 2 Global Testfire so much.

While you shouldn't expect much in the way of more updates to Splatoon 2 if you're just now buying it, the game already has more than $60 worth of content. Certainly more than $48. And it's even better if you use the savings to also buy the Octo Expansion! Ludwig hasn't actually downloaded the demo for the purposes of confirming assumptions made in this article, since he already owns the full game and administers the KoopaTV Family Group for Nintendo Switch Online.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Fire Emblem Support System and the Inhumanity of Networking

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Just how much do you truly value your network of people?

I was reading Peggy Noonan's latest DECLARATIONS column in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, about the college admissions scandal going on in the news. (You can read it for yourself behind this paywall.) 

One of the morals of the column ended up being that you should strive to make friends, as opposed to just “networking”. Networking is a term that Ms. Noonan doesn't define, but it's commonly understood to mean that you're making shallow, quantity-based connections with random people you meet at events or gatherings, with the purpose of possibly being able to use them “as commodities” (her words) for your personal benefit later. (Such as getting a new job.)

How do you connect this to games? That's the whole philosophy of the Support mechanic in the Fire Emblem franchise! Supports have evolved over time and are appealing to the fans for a variety of reasons, which I'll cover in this article. How well does each Fire Emblem Support structure hew to the friends-not-networks philosophy?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Fortnite EULA Update: You Don't Need an Ace Attorney to Understand It

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - You just need a parent, basic reading comprehension, or KoopaTV!

Back in the days last year when you could use the Nintendo Switch's Video Capture on Epic Games's Fortnite, I wrote a scathing article about how much I dislike Fortnite. Topping the article was a Video Captured 30-second YouTube clip of the end-user license agreement and how bad it was visually presented. I didn't think that video would get any views outside of that article. And until today, I was right. But now this video has nearly 6,000 views and counting.

I'm not asking you to watch that video. There's nothing interesting there. What is interesting is the comments section of that video, which now has over 100 comments on it. If that was on KoopaTV's comments section, all of them would be in the running for our monthly “worst comment of the month” award in our newsletters. 

I'll get to why the video suddenly has views and comments in a moment, and explain what is really going on in case you're concerned for your Fortnite existence (scroll down for a summary of the game's EULA written in plain English!), but among the worst comments that represent the fear in people's hearts:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hawking and Vortex: The Pi Day Parting

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Rip in Pisces.

I haven't looked for any, but I haven't come across any tributes to Stephen Hawking, the famed British theoretical physicist, who died a year ago on March 14, 2018. And I definitely haven't seen any tributes to former British KoopaTV staffer Vortexica, who we last saw on March 14, 2018. Coincidence? Well, here were his last words last year on this date, never-before revealed in public:
“Oh hey, looks like I've got fans on KoopaTV. How nice.
Also, RIP Stephen Hawking. :vul_cry:
I never did finish reading his book...” 

The second-to-last time any of us had heard from him was his last public appearance, KoopaTV's live reactions to the March 8, 2018 Nintendo Direct. Yeah, he had a week absence there, only to appear after Stephen Hawking die, only to never appear again.

As for why Vortexica said he had fans on KoopaTV, I was telling him the results of the KoopaTV Feedback Form Part XV, where Charssie said that Vortex was his favourite staffer as a person and as a writer, and Nandin said Vortex was his favourite staffer as a writer. Vortex was touched by that... and yet we still never saw him again.

Since then, Brexit has been a complete disaster, and I'm saying that as someone who didn't believe the United Kingdom leaving the European Union was inevitably always a bad idea. Brexit itself made Vortexica feel “apprehensive” but also “hopeful for the future.” Not hopeful enough to stick around with us.

I wrote an article on behalf of the staff about Vortexica being decommissioned, which is when we considered him legally deceased. Since then, we've learned absolutely nothing about his whereabouts, if he has any, or if he was actually killed. I proposed it might've been the work of Cappy (who hasn't gotten a mention in 2019 yet?!), and the whole “Vortex is in danger!” story arc of early 2018 was based around Cappy being interested in the United Kingdom, and then infiltrating it during the royal wedding.

As for Stephen Hawking, I wonder if there's a Rawk Hawk pun somewhere there. What would've been more appropriate: Vortex leaving because Mr. Hawking is British, or Rawk leaving because the Hawk King is gone?

...Well, that's not a good question to ask if I want to retain staff. I'll ask this instead: which of Stephen Hawking's many books do you think Vortexica never finished reading?

Ludwig mentioned the Feedback Form series in this article, so he's pleased to announce that you can now fill out KoopaTV Feedback Form Part XVIII and KoopaTV Quiz Part XVIII! Just go here for the links! This will probably be the last RIP Vortex article on KoopaTV, so don't enjoy it. Because that's sad.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Dropping Your Keys

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Literal, physical keys. Not Steam keys or anything like that.

Remember that tangential concluding paragraph at the end of my oh-crap-I-still-have-Wii-Points end of the Wii Shop Channel article? Nah, you probably didn't read it or get that far, because who cares about the Wii Shop Channel?

Well, the point there is my bit about my Wii U lanyard and how I'm discontinuing it as the last vestige of my Wii U usage. That was a bad idea. Since then, I went and lost my car key. Since I'm not an evil scumbag, I won't go buy a Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit and get one of those Toy-Con master keys to hijack any vehicle possible. Let's just say, to satisfy the KoopaTV vehicle philosophy quota of the month, that planes not having keys to lose is still a great advantage of why planes are better than cars.

My car key was just a single key not attached to anything, since I de-attached the Wii U lanyard. No key ring or anything. I don't carry around other keys since I have nothing else that is kept locked. That makes it really easy to lose because it lacks a distinct and noticeable physical presence.

I'm not the only guy who has key-losing problems. Check out this Team Rocket Grunt in Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen who is supposed to be guarding the LIFT KEY that opens the elevator leading to Giovanni's office in Team Rocket's Hideout.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Splatfest: Would you rather be a KNIGHT or a WIZARD?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - My answer may surprise you, and my reasoning may convince you.

This may seem like a question of fantasy to you, but it's real for me. And personal.

This month's Splatoon 2 Splatfest, taking place this weekend on a worldwide basis, asks...

Splatoon 2 Splatfest Off the Hook news announcement knight vs. wizard
“Which would you rather be? A knight or a wizard?”

It's important to note that it's not asking which of knight or wizard you currently are, but which you would rather be. The use of the word “rather” indicates that, if given the opportunity to change your life, which option would you pick to do so?

You may note that the fact I emphasised that probably hints my choice. Before I get to that, I really did just want to make the question clear. This article isn't just about my opinion—but you may find it useful as well.

...I also suppose that my opening sentence is inherently wrong, because “rather” questions are fantasy and not reality, by definition.

Monday, March 11, 2019

President Donald John Trump Finally Takes Daylight Savings Time Position

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - This has happened only because we at KoopaTV first asked him! Forever ago.

In the footer of yesterday's annual Daylight Savings Time article (which is a must-read if you want to know how Mario, of Mario's Time Machine fame, gave the dreaded inspiration of Daylight Savings Time to Founding Father Benjamin Franklin), I implied there wouldn't be an article today. But something magical happened today that I had to write about it.

President Donald John Trump, after not responding for two years (and not responding to the follow-up, either), has finally replied to KoopaTV, and the world, on his Daylight Savings Time position! 

“Making Daylight Saving Time permanent is O.K. with me!” he tweeted on Monday morning. Now, we asked him in our letters to demonstrate leadership in Congress to get Daylight Savings Time abolished, as opposed to made permanent, but that's at least still better than the status quo of changing the clocks twice a year and engaging in biannual time travel.

That said, his tweet is just a tweet. There's no policy push behind it yet. President Donald John Trump writes inane tweets all the time and most go absolutely nowhere. 

Fortunately, there is hope coming from more reliable places. Meet Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. He has a lot of policy proposals that I'm sure we'll talk about later this year when the debates happen. Among them is also a call to make Daylight Savings Time permanent, for the express purpose of preventing more time-switching:

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Origins of Daylight Savings Time: Mario's Time Machine

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - A KoopaTV Daylight Savings Time article published on the Sunday it actually happens?

I'm declaring it now: Sunday March 10 is and will remain the worst day of the year 2019. Let me list the calamities on this day, each of which alone warrants it being a very bad day:
  1. In most of the United States, it's Daylight Savings Time, a practice where the government is somehow in control of time, and you must change all of your clocks by an hour ahead (so you lose an hour of sleep)
  2. It's MAR10 Day, or “Mario Day”, a horrific and once-unofficial acknowledgement of a pun that now has big sales and official recognition behind it in celebration of Mario, the Koopa-killing plumber
  3. I have to get a haircut today. It's just a trim, they say... 

I'll refrain from talking about my hair for this article (articles about my aesthetic personal problems are weird) and I'll just talk about the connection between Daylight Savings and Mario.

...And yes, there IS a connection. After years of sleuthing, I can finally combine my passions of hating Daylight Savings Time and hating Mario into one article. (See related DST and MAR10 articles below the footer for background.)

Friday, March 8, 2019

Support Lord Winklebottom Investigations

By SHINYGIRAFARIG - You Can Play As A Giraffe.

I made a guest post a long time ago about how fiction influences and how giraffes are barely represented in media which leads to little exposure and therefore not many know they are now a critically endangered species. 

Walton The Adventure Pals love cupcakes giraffes loser
I find The Adventure Pals very relatable. I also love giraffes.

Well Charlotte Sutherland is working on making a point and click adventure game with the vast majority done on her own and she is planning to release for the Switch alongside PC, Mac and Linex. She is a registered Switch developer so hopefully we can trust that she will put it on Switch if the Kickstarter gets funded.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Nintendo Labo Entering Virtual Reality

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Nintendo really is entering virtual reality after all.

Normally, if a KoopaTV article has the name “Nintendo Labo” in the title, you may expect hysteria on my part. However, I'm going to reserve that for a future article, and just deal with virtual reality discussion.

With that said, Nintendo has just announced the fourth Nintendo Labo Toy-Con kit: The Nintendo Labo VR Kit. That's VR for Virtual Reality, a hot technology in general that is seeing its way into a lot of non-gaming settings. Virtual Reality really started getting its popularity as a gaming technology, but I don't think gamers really care about it anymore.

Interestingly enough, I've already made at least two references to Nintendo and Virtual Reality on KoopaTV, and both are extremely on-topic to this new Labo announcement.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Two Right Ways and One Wrong Way To Present Information In-Game Through NPCs

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - And of course, I go into detail about the wrong way.

Suppose you are a game developer. You're aware of the (lamentable) trend that instruction manuals are a fading memory, and players don't want to read those anyway. They want in-context information presented at least somewhat naturally, not in an out-of-game experience. And so, you want to present them that kind of information in an accessible-at-any-time format that they can optionally check out whenever by using the protagonist's talk/interact-with-the-environment button.

You have three options with the usage of dedicated non-playable characters (NPCs), which can also take non-character forms (like an in-game book shelf):
  1. Upon starting a conversation, the NPC prompts the player to select from a menu of topics they'd like to hear about. They pick one, hear the topic, and the conversation ends. The player could talk to the NPC again and select a different topic if they wish.
  2. There are several NPCs that the player can interact with, with each having a different topic to cover. Talking to the NPC again will make them repeat their topic.
  3. Have one NPC that cycles through topics each time you talk to them. Sometimes at random and sometimes in a set order.
Options #1 and #2 are perfectly acceptable. #1 is advisable if you want to promote a specific character as a great resource for the protagonist character, like a mentor or a know-it-all. #2 is fine if you don't want your helpful NPCs to have much characterisation. Maybe a set of colour-coded triplets who are each an expert on a different subject.

Option #3, an NPC that cycles through topics in a non-player-determined order, is awful, and that's the subject of this article. Take a look at this disastrous scenario from Team Kirby Clash Deluxe:

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Difficulty Modes and Unlocking Story Content

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - What kind of rewards do you like?

A month ago on the Requests page I got this request from ShinyGirafarig, relating to her newfound Advance Wars-esque darling, Wargroove from Chucklefish:
In the Wargroove fanbase, people are divided about earning one star only if played in easy mode compared to earning 3 stars if players did well enough in normal mode. Chucklefish is even asking for feedback about it here

For those who want to earn 3 stars in easy mode, they explain that there are unlockables behind earning enough stars that they won't be able to get if they get one star per map. They also say people who struggle with TBS games would just look at a day by day walkthrough, making it a chore to earn 3 stars per map. Those who only want three stars to be tied to difficulty say that stars should be earned for good play.

My request is how should games handle unlockable rewards for casual players vs hardcore gamers?” 

(Of note is that Chucklefish's development blog doesn't have a comments section on it.)

I just want to note that I haven't played Wargroove before and I'm taking this request anyway. Therefore, I'm making a lot of assumptions to write this article. Please correct me if any of them are wrong.

Regardless, tomorrow morning (March 6—I picked a great time to do this request) Chucklefish will be taking actions to address this exact issue in a 1.2.0 patch of Wargroove. Here's their new system they're planning to implement, and how I think it makes sense compared to the unlockables philosophy I outline later in the article:

Monday, March 4, 2019

Don't Let Sakurai Die

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Yet another “Sakurai overworks himself and you don't care.” article.

I've been a consistent advocate for Super Smash Bros. series director Masahiro Sakurai's personal health. Ranging from “A Sonnet for Sakurai” that starts off hoping he doesn't die while developing Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, to writing that he deserves a day off following the release of Super Smash Bros. For Wii U.

And it turns out that hoping he gets a day off wasn't at all facetious on my part, according to this Nintendo Dream interview with Sakurai translated by Nintendo Everything

Check out this ridiculous quote from Sakurai about that topic:

Friday, March 1, 2019

KoopaTV's February 2019 Review Newsletter

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It's time for a return to a (temporarily-retired) KoopaTV feature!

Did you know February is the shortest month of the year? ...You did? Yeah, everyone knows that. But did you know that despite that, KoopaTV in February 2019 didn't get the short end of the stick? Surprisingly decent month.

February was actually a fun microcosm of what makes KoopaTV a unique site, from that first week dedicated to Pancakes vs. Waffles, to an Enlightenment Movement article, and even some activism. Plus, caring about stuff that no one else does. Really hard to say that KoopaTV is like any other site you see out there. More on all of that throughout this newsletter!

Top Five Recommended KoopaTV Experiences of February 2019

There's no KoopaTV being a premium videogame commentary story without great experiences happening on a consistent basis! And that happened. Here's my evidence: the top five recommended KoopaTV experiences of February 2019.

(Everything on KoopaTV, whether or not it's on this list, is worth your time.)