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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Stop Begging For Pokémon Sword and Shield News

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Unless you enjoyed the pre-release spoiling of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.

Around this time three years ago, The Pokémon Company International (TPCI) decided it would be a great idea to begin their pre-release hype for Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. After the E3 2016 showcase, they basically slow-walked all of the new Alolan Pokémon and features every other week (sometimes more often than that) for the whole summer, and then up to the November release. By November's release, we basically knew everything about the game and there weren't any surprises left for the in-game experience.

KoopaTV covered it all, on the philosophy that it's not a real spoiler if it's part of the game publisher's own marketing. They want us to know this stuff. It's purposeful knowledge going into the game purchase and pre-release value. As opposed to spoilers, which are involuntary and not part of the marketing department's carefully-crafted knowledge drop schedules. The summer of 2016 will forever be known as the summer where KoopaTV subsisted on commentating on official Pokémon Sun, Pokémon Moon, and Paper Mario: Color Splash announcements and videos. Sometimes there was also commentary about the 2016 presidential election, but that was pretty much the website. I consider it a not-so-great time in our history, but maybe you enjoyed it. More power to you if you did.

And if you did enjoy it, you're probably one of those people begging for a repeat performance, this time with Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield instead.

Why? Why would you want that?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Phil Spencer and Games as a Unifying Force

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Some reactionaries are upset that Microsoft wants Xbox to be safe.

Yesterday, Microsoft published an op-ed in Xbox head Phil Spencer's name, entitled “Video games: A unifying force for the world”. The post outlines Microsoft's commitment to “building a safe and inclusive gaming space for everyone”. I don't really know what the impetus of the post is—Microsoft updated their Code of Conduct over a year ago and it was no big deal (contrary to reactionary hysteria). I guess I can't judge ‘em, since KoopaTV is untimely all the time.

Perhaps it was spurred by the ESA's recently released 2019 Essential Facts survey, since Microsoft indirectly cites their high-level (and misleading, especially given that Xbox doesn't have casual smartphone-player demographics) conclusions about gender and game playing. Maybe Phil Spencer got really excited about how Microsoft collaborated with the Special Olympics, especially when he wrote that, in terms of games, disabled people stand on equal footing with non-disabled people. (Sincerest good luck to the disabled in trying to play complicated games.)

The op-ed boils down to these three action items:
  1. The Xbox Safety team will moderate the Xbox ecosystem, per the code of conduct/community standards
  2. Club community managers and parents will be able to curate member/children experiences
  3. Microsoft will share safety, security, and privacy best practices with other game industry companies
None of that is objectionable and it's really standard stuff. But some people are certainly taking it the wrong way...

Monday, May 20, 2019

Democrats on Fox News Town Halls: Buttigieg vs. Warren

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - False narrative from a fraud.

A KoopaTV exclusive: what I did on Sunday, and my thoughts on those activities:
  1. Woke up in time to watch the 10 AM live news broadcast anchored by Off the Hook for the Splatoon 2 Time Travel vs. Teleportation Splatfest results. Very pleased that Team Teleportation won 0–3. Proceeded to gloat to everyone
    • Teleportation had 58.66% of the popularity vote, no doubt because of KoopaTV's lobbying for it. Supposedly, Nintendo fans are supposed to be accustomed to being time travelers, so KoopaTV's arguments must have shifted quite a big percentage change!
  2. Watched the Super Smash Bros. Melee top 8 for Get On My Level 2019 (GOML 2019), a premier Super Smash Bros. tournament taking place in Canada
    • Axe had an amazing run with his Pikachu up-airs. Very hype
    • Hungrybox hasn't been the same since the crab incident
  3. Watched three Fox News Channel specials
    1. Democrat 2020 presidential candidate (and mayor of South Bend, Indiana) Pete Buttigieg's town hall, hosted by Fox News host Chris Wallace
      • I still don't know what his specific policies are; a lot of it was vague platitudes or Buttigieg recognising something is a problem but not quite identifying a solution for it yet
      • At least he said that Democrats shouldn't shy away from suggesting how to pay for their proposals, though his suggestions seem economically dangerous
      • At least I can see him as more than the “vote for me because I'm gay” meme. There's a bit more depth than that
    2. Alice Johnson's story and prison reform in the United States under President Donald John Trump
      • What are the chances of people having their prison sentences addressed in a fair and equitable way without having a mega-celebrity like Kim Kardashian have a personal meeting with the President of the United States about one specific person?
      • Does the FIRST STEP Act take measures to standardise this process? If not, is anyone working on taking a second step? It's not reform if it's a one-off
    3. Interview with President Donald John Trump with The Next Revolution's Steve Hilton 
      • If President Donald John Trump is willing to call out the “military-industrial complex” and express his dismay at the foreign policy establishment's desire to have perpetual pointless overseas warfare, why did he appoint John Bolton (Iraq War mastermind) as his National Security Advisor to begin with? 

Then I slept. When I woke up, I figured I'd write about the Pete Buttigieg town hall—specifically his willingness to do the event—and contrast that with another Democrat 2020 presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren, and her utter refusal to ever appear on Fox News.

As well as Elizabeth Warren's refusal to provide any statement to KoopaTV.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Why There Are Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'll leave it to your personal finances and judgment to decide if you should buy the vouchers, but I'll tell you why they exist.

Buried at the end of Wednesday's Super Mario Maker 2 Direct was a tangentially-related announcement: the creation and availability of the Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers. 

Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers are a time-limited offer (ending July 31st of this year) where you can buy up to eight in pairs of two for $100 for one pair. These can be redeemed for a variety of Nintendo-published Switch titles both present and future.

Nintendo Switch Game Vouchers
Unfortunately, these aren't physical tickets.
They're digital vouchers for digital games.

Everything here is digital. That's the point. See, you need an ongoing subscription to Nintendo Switch Online (or hitch a ride on KoopaTV's staff and join our Family Group, which has rapidly dwindling open seats remaining) in order to be able to buy the Vouchers—AND you gotta still be a Nintendo Switch Online member when you redeem the Voucher. Vouchers have a life of one year, by the way.

Funny how all of that works put together...

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Ace Attorney Isn't an RPG, but You Can Buy It at 50–70% off for CAPCOM Publisher Sale 2019!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Cannibalisation isn't a problem at all, apparently. Neither is advertising an accurate genre.

Are you perhaps concerned about CAPCOM's pricing tactics for their Nintendo platform presence? Do you think prices are too high for ports? Well, I'm concerned about their pricing tactics because at times, they're too low and don't make any sense. I'm citing the CAPCOM Publisher Sale happening from today to next week.

Capcom Publisher Sale Nintendo Switch News May 2019
Save up to 50% on select games during the Capcom Publisher Sale!
(It's over 50% for titles on the 3DS and Wii U.)

As it applies to the Ace Attorney series, the discounts are the same set from the October 2018 Ace Attorney Franchise Sale, which is where the discounts have been over the past year in general. 70% off Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies ($9 from $30), 60% off Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice ($12 from $30), 50% off Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney ($10 from $20) and 60% off Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy for Nintendo 3DS ($12 from $30). It's this last one I want to freak out about.

CAPCOM Publisher Sale May 2019 Nintendo Switch 3DS Wii U discounts deals Mega Man Ace Attorney
These Ace Attorney games, Ōkami HD, Mega Man titles, and many more are on sale!
Hey, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is at a huge 50% ($30) off!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

KoopaTV's Live Reactions to the Super Mario Maker 2 Direct!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Let's see what they really want to get out of the way before E3 2019.

Bit of a preamble so you know my mindset before going into watching this Direct: I don't really like the first Super Mario Maker because I don't like the physics of 2D Mario games. My enthusiasm for Super Mario Maker 2 for the Nintendo Switch is similarly non-existent. But I know a lot of you reading this may think otherwise, and I get that there's a pretty good chance that people who read a website with “Koopa” in the name actually like these games and love the opportunity to make your own levels.

I'm on the look-out for any Koopalings making an appearance in Super Mario Maker 2, but I also figure that if I get in, I'm going to be miscoloured in the Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World level flavours. I don't like that.

If you don't like my negative preamble, then fortunately for you the other attendees on this live reaction log (Rawk, Witch Princess, Kamek, non-staffer friend Ryu) are much more enthusiastic about it than I am, so here's the embed... and keep scrolling for the reaction log!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Super Silly Superpower Splatfest: Time Travel vs. Teleportation!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I already have a large body of work on KoopaTV about the horrors of time travel, so...

I really just want to defer to my many already-published time-related articles for this question posed by Splatoon 2 for the Splatfest taking place this Saturday, May 18:

Splatoon 2 Splatfest superpower time travel vs teleportation
“What superpower would you rather have? Time travel or teleportation?”

If you put the word “superpower” into KoopaTV's search bar, you'll get a pretty similar Splatoon 2 Splatfest from 2017 that asked “Which superpower would you choose? The power of flight? Or the power of invisibility?”

If you put the phrase “time travel” into KoopaTV's search bar, you'll get a Splatoon Splatfest from 2016 that asked, “Where would you go [between the Past and the Future] if you could travel through time?”

I'm not saying Nintendo is running out of ideas, but, you know. Eh, it's better than asking about pulp in orange juice.

Anyway, I'll go ahead and first say why time travel is a terrible idea, and then briefly give the virtues of teleportation. However, just the fact that time travel is so bad should be enough for anyone to just anti-vote it, no matter what its opponent actually is.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

KoopaTV's Crabby Six-Year Anniversary

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - “Crabby KoopaTV” is redundant, which will be explained in detail in this article.

Welcome to KoopaTV! Despite the doubters and haters, today (May 12) we have turned six years old! In fact, we opened on Sunday, May 12, 2013. Now it's Sunday, May 12, 2019.

I'll be up-front about this article rather than keeping it at the end in the footer: Every year, we celebrate our anniversary in a fun, unique way. We're bad at coming up with ideas well in advance for this, partly stemming from my natural hatred of anniversaries.

RawkHawk2010 wanted me to write about crabs for the sole purpose of plugging his viral Hungrybox crab video made from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It's one of the most popular videos of all time in the Shared Content section online, with OVER NINE THOUSAND Yeahs! More about it at the end of the article. Obviously, that wouldn't make sense as an anniversary article all by itself, so I'm going to do what I always do on KoopaTV: go into incredible detail about the topic (crabs and Koopas) and convince you that this was well-planned from the very beginning!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Millennial Males Only Demographic Where Majority Play Non-Casual Console Games

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Guess that's KoopaTV's target demographic.

Everyone's favourite videogame lobby group, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), released their newest demographic report on the United States game industry: 2019 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry. (It's available for free!) To clarify, the essential facts are dated for the year 2019. There aren't 2019 essential facts in it. It's only 20 pages long, after all, and most of the information is presented in infographic-style pictures.

As the ESA has been doing for many years, their number one priority is to spin their demographic data to try and break the stereotype that gamers are mostly young males. Their number two priority is to demonstrate that parents know what their kids are doing when they play and that they have the kids under control. And their number three priority appears to be showing that gamers are well-adjusted individuals and not just locked in their room staring at a monitor all day and night.

So their top-line executive summary figures are that there's a 54–46% male–female split, 90% of parents pay attention to their kids’ play, and gamers are slightly more likely than the average American to have a creative hobby, such as writing.

But then you dig into the details of those numbers and it's clear that they continue to have a much broader definition of gamer than what the general people associate with being a gamer... and the stereotype is still true if you exclude casual smartphone play.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Nintendo's E3 2019 Plans; featuring warp pipes

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - ...(They're not literally warp pipes. I think.)

We now fully know Nintendo's plans for E3 2019 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo—gaming's biggest annual trade show—taking place in the year 2019), and if you assumed that it'd be similar to Nintendo's plans for E3 2018, then you'd be correct. With all of the stuff I could write about tonight, I chose this topic, if only to remind people that E3 2019 is in a month from now.

June 8, 2019, around 2 PM Eastern to 5 PM Eastern: The Splatoon 2 World Championship, featuring America, Japan, Europe, and Oceania once again splatting it out.
June 8 2018, whenever the Splatoon 2 tournament ends (around 5 PM?): The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate World Championship 2019 3v3, which features the North American Southeast team that won the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North America Open 2019, along with Japan, Europe, and Oceania teams.
June 11 2019, 12 PM Eastern: Nintendo's pre-recorded E3 2019 Nintendo Direct, which will focus entirely on software releasing in 2019.
June 11–13 2019, for hours on end: Nintendo Treehouse: Live, featuring Nintendo employees playing games on the show floor while sometimes having guests with them, like the game's developers. 

Last year had tournaments for those same games (the format of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament is quite different, though), a pre-recorded Direct, and Nintendo Treehouse Live.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Shuntaro Furukawa Is Avoiding Answering Nintendo Investors

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Why even take questions if you won't answer them?

A lot of the time, I write about investor question & answer sessions that follow Nintendo's quarterly financial disclosures just for laughs. They rarely contain useful information, but historically, investors ask bizarre questions and there's entertainment value in that.

This time, in the Q&A going over the whole year ending March 2019 (we wrote about the annual financial disclosure here), the investors asked largely relevant questions to Nintendo global president Shuntaro Furukawa. He gave evasive non-answers, much like his predecessors.

A lot of people wanted to know about China. There is a huge opportunity there to make a lot of money and get a lot of Chinese in China playing Nintendo stuff beyond the lame iQue (with Furukawa deemed as not “a great success.”), but Nintendo refused to provide any kind of details, be it timing, products, strategy, or what. They implied they don't know these things because they're still talking with Tencent, but I think even if they did know they wouldn't say.

Any questions asking for specifics beyond the limited information in the annual financial report were rebuffed with circular logic or saying “we plan to release more games people want to play without saying what those are.” They must have some kind of institutional executive-level coaching at Nintendo that's been there across presidents, giving everyone the same instructions. It's beyond frustrating as someone invested in Nintendo. Unlike a lot of, say, American companies that actually have their executives prepare for investor Q&A in advance and give details and thoughtful answers, Nintendo doesn't seem to value investor relations.

There was one particularly interesting question, however. Question 21, which asked,

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Brief Battles, An Ass Game

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Their marketing. Not mine.

So I ask fellow KoopaTV staffer Rawk what I should write about today, and he said he doesn't know what happened today in news. As if KoopaTV can only publish about what happened on just that very day. I can go on and on about timeless game development philosophies and very thinly-veiled uncompensated Ace Attorney advertisements.

But then Rawk remembered this weird indie game called Brief Battles from Australian developer Juicy Cupcake that released today and he told me to write about it. It's an underwear-based 2.5D arena party fighter where you collect underpants to gain powers. I'll try to let this launch trailer explain it:

This is the kind of indie game that I wouldn't buy unless I was drunk. Which I happen to be right now as of writing. Very uncharacteristic, but life circumstances lead me to this. Anyway, fortunately, I can't go make a drunken $15 purchase tonight because...

Monday, May 6, 2019

Devil May Cry Coming to Nintendo Switch This Summer

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Summer blockbuster? (This WAS around when Blockbuster existed...!)

Back in the very early 2000s, Devil May Cry from CAPCOM was the reason you just had to buy a PlayStation 2. The game, directed by now-Platinum Games head Hideki Kamiya, revolutionised the action game genre with stylish, aerial combo-based combat. In fact, CAPCOM calls the genre “stylish action.” You played as Dante, a half-human/half-demon badass who is one of the most popular characters in gaming history.

And now you can play as Dante again, or for the first time, in his original game... for a Nintendo console! It's Devil May Cry for Nintendo Switch, releasing this year in summer as a digital download (download-only in the United States and Japan, and the rest of the world).

Devil May Cry Nintendo Switch coming this summer digital download only official website CAPCOM
From the Devil May Cry website. Japanese version says the same thing.

Along with being on a Nintendo platform for the first time ever, it's also the first time Devil May Cry has been on a reputable, dedicated portable gaming system. (Screw you, Devil May Cry 4 refrain.) This joins an ever-growing ensemble of once non-Nintendo all-star games finally making their way to Switch, such as Final Fantasy VII. And like those Final Fantasy games, they're coming in some kind of high-definition format that doesn't look as great as a modern game would look, but I don't think that's any kind of deal-breaker, especially on Nintendo Switch.

Devil May Cry Nintendo Switch release screenshots gameplay Dante Trish
The game looks like this on the Switch, according to the Devil May Cry site.

It looks very similar to the Devil May Cry HD Collection that was brought to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2012, and then again in 2018 to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (and Steam). Except with one game and not three. The Devil May Cry HD Collection is $30 for 1–3, so hopefully just the first Devil May Cry by itself isn't the same price, or somehow higher.

If you're wondering if it still holds up to modern standards and then you look at review scores of the HD Collection and are concerned they're low, just know that Devil May Cry 2 is not well-received for critics. Its presence brings the score of the whole compilation lower. Reviewers also don't like the same thing being re-released over and over without new additions, but we know CAPCOM loves doing that.

This has nothing to do with Hideki Kamiya wanting to remake Devil May Cry, so if you ever think CAPCOM will allow him to do that in the future, perhaps you want to wait for that. I... don't think that'll happen, at least not within the next decade. For now, you may want to take advantage of this opportunity this summer, especially if you're waiting for Bayonetta 3 and are interested in that franchise's stylistic precursor.

Are you interested in Devil May Cry for the Switch? Do you have an impulse to write “Devil Mary Cry” for some reason like Ludwig? Or are you one of those people that just want to turn this into a story about Super Smash Bros. downloadable content speculation? Because that's a low-grade comment, which you're allowed to make in KoopaTV's free and open comments section, but it'll probably get you a poor point amount in the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program. High points through the program can get you the eShop money you'll need to buy Devil May Cry and its digital-only existence!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Oculus & Nintendo Switch Online Apps: Android 5.0 and Up

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Screwing backwards compatibility and on-console services!

Earlier in April, Nintendo released Version 3.0.0 of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and put Smash World, a new sub-section of their Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app, into operation. Smash World allows users to watch videos and download stages and Miis that other users have shared. Previously, the Nintendo Switch Online app only existed for random voice chat no one used, and Splatnet 2.0 for Splatoon 2. Splatnet 2.0 notably gave players a lot of fun statistics on their past matches (and Salmon Run shifts) and Splatfests, as well as having a store that synced up to Splatoon 2 that allowed you to buy gear with alternative abilities than what they'd sell in Inkopolis Square.

Those features are exclusive to the app on the non-Nintendo-hardware smartphone, as opposed to being available for smartphone-less users who only own a Nintendo Switch.

Before the April update, the Nintendo Switch Online app was available for Android 4.4.2-version users. Now it requires 5.0 and up. Even if you never step a single cyber-foot into the new Smash World section, the whole rest of the previously-compatible app is now unavailable.

Nintendo Switch Online Android app update available error code 2817-0600
An update is required to use this app.
Where does one even look for Error Code: 2817-0600?
Is that a Nintendo-provided error or a Google-provided error?

It's even worse elsewhere. If you're interested in a virtual reality experience that isn't associated with ruining the world, maybe you're looking at Oculus's Oculus Quest. The Oculus Quest is a virtual reality headset that has all of its processing power in the headset, so you don't need a giant wire connecting you to a computer. It releases May 21, but reviews are already coming in, as well as the help documentation.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Sonic's Getting Redesigned for the Sonic The Hedgehog 2019 Movie

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Because of widespread negative reception.

Only two days ago, I wrote about the Sonic The Hedgehog movie's official trailer, made in collaboration with Paramount Pictures and SEGA. Unfortunately, basically everything I wrote in that article is now obsolete with today's news.

You know, I can word the headline in very different ways depending on whatever bias I might have. I could say, “Loud, Angry Internet Mob Forces Paramount Pictures and SEGA to Redesign Sonic in Awful Movie” or “The Free Market Has Spoken: Sonic Getting Redesigned Before Movie Releases”.

Here's how the source for this story, the director Jeff Fowler, put it: 

Understand this: Sonic The Hedgehog (the movie) is supposed to release on November 8, 2019. If they have to go back and redo the graphics for the whole full-length film, plus all of the marketing material, do you think the movie is going to have the same release date as before? Probably not, no matter how many hashtags you put in about fixing it fast.

Though I suppose if it's already done and they're purposefully not releasing it until the holidays, that's another situation altogether.

In my previous article, I acknowledged that I never saw Sonic's design because he was simply way too fast in the trailer, so I didn't know what everyone was talking about. However, in writing this story, I was finally able to see just what got everyone's attention. And quite frankly, I'd rather keep the design the way it is. This is kinda handsome (warning: the design everyone complained about incoming):

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

KoopaTV's April 2019 Review Newsletter

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - A long month with a story arc. I'd say that's pretty good. More to come!

When KoopaTV historians look back at KoopaTV's April 2019, I would think the stand-out thing they would be fixated on is one franchise: Ace Attorney. You might as well have called this past month “Ace Attorney April.” For a solid three weeks, every article mentioned Ace Attorney in either passing or as the primary topic, and you'll see why in the following section about the top articles of the month.

And despite the way the Ace Attorney volume of content ultimately had to end due to real life news, I don't regret any of my editorial focus on it. I'd do it again.

Let's start the newsletter's review:

The Top 5 Recommended KoopaTV Experiences of April 2019

Part of me wants to fill the top five with just the articles focused on Ace Attorney, but there were more than five of those, so I might as well diversify this anyway. Besides, the site and April 2019 is still great if you're not an Ace Attorney fan, though I have no idea why you're not.

  1. TAKE THAT! Phoenix Wright Revealed For Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighter Pass DLC!Ace Attorney April started on the first day of the month with the very exciting news about Phoenix Wright being announced as the second Challenger in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighter Pass. I dissect his trailer, among other celebratory activity.
  2. Spring Fest Splatfest: Hare vs. Tortoise: The Rematch! Who Wins? — Also in April, Splatoon 2 asks who would win in a rematch: The hare, or the tortoise? Looking at games, politics, and religion, along with common sense, KoopaTV chose Team Tortoise. (Hare ultimately won the Splatfest.)
  3. FAKE NEWS on Nintendo Directs... and Stage Builder? — KoopaTV addressed the rash of bad journalism that went into the idea that there'd be a Nintendo Direct on April 10, 2019. Plus, journalists don't know the difference between a leak and a confirmation.
  4. The Nintendo Labo VR Kit In Comatose Cappy Capturing Cahoots — With the Nintendo Labo VR Kit's release, Ludwig explores the connection and alliance between the Labo and Cappy in great detail.
  5. Genius Prosecutor Reveals Crooked Attorney — Phoenix Wright's legal career (and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate presence) comes to a grinding halt as he's disbarred for presenting forged evidence in court. 

There's a lot of fantastic content that you should read—you should read EVERYTHING on the site, even if that'll take you a long time—that didn't make this top five list. Speaks to the quality. Now for your contributions: