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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Try the Splatoon 2 Special Demo 2020!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - ...Well... it might be a bit vicious.

After the free ARMS trial that ended at the start of April, Nintendo is continuing their online multiplayer game demo + free Nintendo Switch Online trial combos into May, with a slightly less-than one-week demo for Splatoon 2. (Specifically ending the morning of May 6.) This one is called the Splatoon 2 Special Demo 2020, as explained in this press release. While there isn't a tournament accompanying this, there is a 30% discount on Splatoon 2, making it $42. That's bigger than when they did this exact thing a year ago, but they only offered a 20% discount.

The demo gives you access to Turf War, Salmon Run, and ranked battle. It starts you off at level 1, but if you choose to buy the game, you'll be able to transfer your demo progress over to the real game. Unfortunately, it does not give you access to the single-player mode, which is what actually lets you understand how the game mechanics (particularly movement) work.

I don't recommend people who already have Splatoon 2 to play Salmon Run or ranked mode while the demo is a thing (unless it's with friends), because inexperienced players can make those experiences go poorly very easily, and that will ruin your rank. Turf War is pretty safe and low-stakes. I had a few matches today, and, uh, it was tough out there.

Splatoon 2 Special Demo 2020 smurfing new users
Somehow, I don't think sqjr is a legitimate new player who just started playing, despite what Level 7 may imply.
(He has 385 hours or more play time!)
I wonder how many other people who already have experience in Splatoon 2 are masquerading as new players to smurf?

The way that match-making works now, you probably won't be able to reliably bully new players. Splatoon 2 is just as likely to match you up with bad, new players as it is with experienced, competent players. ...But I guess people try to be vicious to the new blood anyway.

If Splatoon 2 isn't your thing, and maybe the Nintendo Switch in general isn't, may I interest you in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, which is 50% off on... the PlayStation 4, until May 8? Or 50% on Steam until May 6?

Ludwig wonders if there will be a similar demo for Mario Tennis Aces coming up. Remember that game? ...Anyone? There's going to be another Splatoon 2 article coming in May. Stay tuned for what that will involve. Ludwig rarely plays Splatoon 2 nowadays, mostly around once a week for Salmon Run.

Missed that Steam sale? How about until May 15?
Off the demo, there is a rerun Splatfest closer to the end of May.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Game Review: Calculation Castle: Greco's Ghostly Challenges

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Are these math games a treasure?

Let's say you're a parent, and you're going through hard times right now. The schools aren't taking your children in during the day, so you need to stay home with them, possibly in addition to you having to work from home. The school district is trying to implement some kind of learn-from-home virtual classroom, but it's pretty shoddy. You need your children to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. You can learn the first two on the Internet pretty easily (for example, on KoopaTV, you can read articles and write comments—though KoopaTV is outside the age range of “children”), but the math part might be difficult.

Fortunately, there are a variety of math products geared towards elementary-school students. Some of them are even videogames. For example, there's Donkey Kong Jr. Math, a Nintendo Entertainment System classic. Unfortunately, it's hard to come by, and it's not even included in your Nintendo Switch Online subscription. However, in Donkey Kong Jr.'s footprints, there is a mathematically-gifted demon boy named Greco, followed by a squadron of like-minded ghost henchmen, holed up in his castle of treasure.

Does Greco's four games, the Calculation Castle: Greco's Ghostly Challenge series, live up to its edutainment ancestors? I played through Calculation Castle: Greco's Ghostly Challenge "Division" (since division is my favourite math topic) to find out my answer and write a review on it, although my review on the Division title will also cover the other subjects/games as well.

This review will spoil the game's contents, but given the nature of the game, I don't think my spoilers will end up harming your experience.

Fast Facts

Calculation Castle: Greco's Ghostly Challenge "Division"
Calculation Castle: Greco's Ghostly Challenge "Addition"
Calculation Castle: Greco's Ghostly Challenge "Subtraction"
Calculation Castle: Greco's Ghostly Challenge "Multiplication"
Nintendo Switch
media5 corporation
Education, Math
Space Required
Approximately 450 MB each
ESRB rating
Number of Players
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price
9.99 USD per game

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Human Doctors Are Getting Laid Off; Dr. Mario Hires Dr. Goomba Tower

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Just a contrast to think about. And many questions.

Even now, as I write this, coronavirus continues to ravage Earth. The threat of contracting the highly infectious COVID-19 is on people's minds, and where's an easy place to get it? Hospitals and nursing homes, where you're basically entering a lair of sickness and disease. People are putting off their doctor's appointments for another day. As a result, many Earth hospitals and medical practices are furloughing or laying off their healthcare workers, such as nurses and doctors.

Of course, coronavirus is an Earth phenomenon started by China. It's not a problem for the non-Earthly Koopa Kingdom or the Mushroom Kingdom, which is where fake doctor Dr. Mario has his practice. Since our 2019 investigation into his misdeeds, the dude has been on a non-stop hiring spree. He's even hired alternate forms of himself, including Dr. Baby Mario.

Just take a look at this recent recruitment video:

I guess it's fitting the video begins with “Please help, ANYBODY.” Because literally anybody is being hired as a doctor. In this case, somehow three Goombas stacked together counts as a doctor. One Goomba by itself is merely considered an assistant.

Monday, April 27, 2020

160,000 Hacked Nintendo Accounts and NNID Sign-Ins Disabled. Overreaction?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Plus, my thoughts on two-factor authentication.

At the start of last week, there were some murmurs of Nintendo Accounts being hacked. It's a topic I care about (and why I'm steadfastly against attaching credit card numbers to your Nintendo eShop account, and why I've shamed the Nintendo Switch Online trial process for forcing you to do so), but, eh, whatever, these kinds of hacks happen all the time (but you can take steps to protect yourself). It wasn't worth writing an article about.

Well, that is, until Nintendo announced their response: 160,000 Nintendo Network IDs (NNIDs) were hacked (which is a small fraction of the total, but...), and as part of their investigation, they are “discontinuing the ability to use a Nintendo Network ID to sign in to a Nintendo Account.” All other methods continue to exist, but those methods generally involve signing in via third-party platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. The NNID was the “log-in with” method that didn't involve having to also register with an untrustworthy California big tech company.

Quick, personal anecdote that illustrates my point: I once used the “log-in with Facebook” option for my Capcom Unity account. (Capcom Unity happens to be going away, as I wrote about last week, but this was back when it still kinda existed.) Then I got banned from Facebook (not because of behaviour issues but because they didn't think my real name is Ludwig Von Koopa). Guess what happened after that? I could no longer log-in to Capcom Unity! I had to go through a whole, very avoidable process with CAPCOM's tech support to get that resolved.

You don't want one set of services to be dependent on another. But that's what Nintendo is mandating because... SOME NNIDs got hacked. Not all of them. Mine wasn't. At least, I don't think it was!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Future Fitness Logs: Ring Fit Adventure's Extra Fitness Mode

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - How KoopaTV's Fitness Friday series will progress, and why.

Last week I completed the story mode of Ring Fit Adventure by 100%-ing all 23 worlds over the span of 23 weeks. It's been a long journey that I've dedicated a whole KoopaTV category to, and colloquially deemed it KoopaTV Fitness Fridays.

Rather than the game ending, I unlocked Extra Fitness mode. It's not a traditional new game+ mode in that you're still using your same file, but there's now an option in the Select World menu selection to go to the Extra worlds instead of the Main worlds. (You can switch between both, but obviously there's no new content in Main after 100%-ing it.)

Ring Fit Adventure Extra Fitness instructions explanation select world

Here is the crucial bit: I'm doing all of this fitness and exercise because I'm participating in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as a member of Team Koopa. Unfortunately, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has just been delayed to sometime in 2021.

Logically, I should delay playing through Extra Fitness until 2021. In 2021, I can use Extra Fitness as my second chance at getting in Olympic-quality shape. The very existence of this second mode basically predicted that the Olympics would get delayed into a second year.

I don't know for sure, but from what I can tell, Extra Fitness has two key differences from the main game. One, there doesn't seem to be any town requests. I mean, look at the screenshot above. Do you see any? No. That basically makes worlds take half as long to complete, since you're doing everything once and not twice. And two, the dialogue is rewritten.

Ring Fit Adventure Dragaux friends now Extra Fitness first world
Dragaux now talks about how we're friends!
Which genuinely makes me wonder how they'll rewrite the dialogue for all of the other words.
Will we get further characterisation on the main characters? Then it's a must-play!

This is the first week in five or so months that Ludwig didn't work out at all. He physically feels like crap. He doesn't know exactly when in 2021 he'll start replaying Ring Fit Adventure, or what the fitness logs will actually look like by then since most of the interesting content has already been covered. This means that KoopaTV will have normal articles on Fridays again.

Three months later from not playing Ring Fit Adventure, and Ludwig's body is rapidly decaying. He hires a chiropractor to tell him to try Quick Play mode for Core exercises.
Ludwig regrets taking the time off, but come 2021, he is going to go through with Extra Fitness.
The first Extra Fitness playing of 2021 comes in Week 25 of KoopaTV's Fitness Fridays.
You've learned about Extra Fitness... but what about Fitness Master? Fitness Master is the THIRD playthrough to Extra Fitness's second playthrough, and it too has some unique aspects.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Scarcity of Wooloo Plushies

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - One Koopa's quest to get a Wooloo... hasn't ended yet.

At the start of this week, I wrote an important article mentioning how the shipping industry has gotten pwned, and Nintendo has closed their online store. However, that's not reflective of every such online store we care about. For example, The Pokémon Company International's Pokémon Center online store is still open. In fact, they're offering free shipping on all orders... not only to the continental United States, but to Hawaii and Alaska, too! (Just don't have high expectations about getting your shipment in a timely manner.)

Once upon a time, near the end of 2019, they introduced a Wooloo plushie. It's 7.5 x 6.3 x 6.3 inches and $16. It sold out very quickly and hasn't been replenished. I've stated that I wanted one. I've also stated that Wooloo is my favourite Generation 8 Galar Pokémon. I still want it. The people who do have the Wooloo plushie have left reviews such as, “very fluffy! nice to cuddle. my favorite part is how he is shaped like a best friend”.

This reminds me of the mad demand for amiibo during the height of that craze, as well as the Wii console. People were accusing Nintendo of purposefully and artificially under-supplying amiibo or Wiis, in order to make them look like rare must-haves. And there's some evidence of this... 

Behold, a new product, introduced just last week. Meet Wooloo Squishy Plush! This Wooloo is 14.25 x 10 x 10.5 inches and $42.

The cheaper Wooloo is still out of stock, but don't worry, you can still get a Wooloo for around 262% more money! (And, to be fair, it's 5x the Wooloo if you treat Wooloo like a rectangular prism. Which you shouldn't. For Wooloo is ROUND.)

Oh, wait, you can't? The bigger, squishy Wooloo sold out immediately?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Koopalings Are In Super Mario Maker 2

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - But... Uh... It's kinda awkward, you know?

The last time Super Mario Maker 2 got a big update, Nintendo added the Master Sword power-up to have a crossover with The Legend of Zelda. I thought that we'd be seeing more of those kinds of crossovers for Super Mario Maker 2's future.

Not only am I wrong about that, but this “final major update” (Super Mario Maker 2 version 3.0.0) puts ME into the game. That's being wrong in the most personal way possible. Oh, and all of my siblings, too. And the Mechakoopa. And many other course elements, as well as an overworld map feature where you can put many (up to forty) courses in one to eight maps, with warp pipes and diverging paths and everything. Pretty cool. But let's focus on the Koopalings, and specifically, me.

Super Mario Maker 2 compatibility chart Koopalings Mechakoopa game mode type Bros. World 3D U
I forgot Super Mario Maker 2 had a Super Mario 3D World style.
In return, it forgot about me, so I'm not accessible in it.
(Mechakoopa has the same deal.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

CAPCOM Spring Sale 2020; RIP Capcom Unity

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Monthly sale, yippeee.

I have a big list of people that I need to personally alert to the fact that there is a new CAPCOM sale going on in the Nintendo eShop. And while it feels like this just happened (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy was on sale last week on the Xbox One for the CAPCOM Summer Savings; and it was on sale last month for the Ace Attorney Franchise Sale; not to mention the also-in-March CAPCOM Greatest Hits Sale; and the CAPCOM Publisher Sale of February 2020), I've searched KoopaTV's archives as well as other people's websites for the truth.

There apparently hasn't been something specifically called a CAPCOM Spring Sale before. Ever. First time it's happening. Personally, I don't believe it, but that's what the data is telling me.

CAPCOM Spring Sale 2020 Nintendo eShop Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy
The Spring Sale lasts from today to April 29, 2020 2:59 AM Eastern time.

Of course, “the” Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is here at 50% off (or $15). But other fan favourite games, like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy for 3DS (60% off), Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice for 3DS (60% off), Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney for 3DS (50% off), and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies for 3DS (70% off) are also on sale! Those links will take you to a page where you can buy them from your browser and they'll start downloading to your system.

...As are many games that aren't Ace Attorney, such as Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Mega Man. (But not Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection. Not yet.)

Seems like all good news? Well, there's some sadness in CAPCOM land...

Monday, April 20, 2020

Two Years Later, We Won. You Are Avoiding Cardboard!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Glory to KoopaTV. We killed the Labo and changed your mind.

It was exactly two years ago (April 20, 2018) that the Nintendo Labo made its commercial release and attacked the world. It was also two years ago that KoopaTV declared war on the Nintendo Labo, due to a cardboard TROJAN BOWSER coming in and attempting to conquer and convert KoopaTV into its likeness. We likened it to many other current and then-defeated enemies.

I think now is an appropriate time to declare victory on our Labo war. There hasn't been a new Labo kit in over a year (with the Nintendo Labo VR Kit). The existence of the Labo-incompatible Nintendo Switch Lite has severely degraded the Labo's capabilities to control gamers.

The Labo is completely “sold out” now on Nintendo's store, including replacement parts. Any obliterated Labo won't be able to respawn. They're finite and depleting.

I've discussed before how the shipping industry is allied with the Labo by transporting around cardboard boxes (that are really Labo in disguise, ready to spread their insidiousness). I also wrote last week that spending on the shipping industry is down, and I said I'd talk more about that this week.

Shipping industry spending down coronavirus 2020
Source: The New York Times, citing Earnest Research.

So here we are. Let's go!

Friday, April 17, 2020

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 23: Finalia

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The final showdown...

What will the future of KoopaTV Fitness Fridays bring? ...Let's wonder about that later. For now, we're playing in the FINAL world of Ring Fit Adventure, appropriately named Finalia. This is World 23. We're continuing where Week 22 ended. I'm on a personal difficulty level of 30, which is the highest one. I am READY for a week of intense, productive work-outs.

Hopefully you're ready to read them. 

I'm starting on Sunday night, and, uh, despite me just writing that I'm ready, my tailbone is in pain from my poor writer’s posture. Well, and gamer’s posture. I spent most of today playing Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Claude's paralogue is kinda impossible on Maddening, so I'll just make that the last thing I do and proceed through the story as normal.

Erm, I'm supposed to be writing about Ring Fit Adventure's story. Well, after the page break. Warning... END-OF-GAME SPOILERS ARE AHEAD.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Boycott the Hamburger Button on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Those monsters...!

There are various ways I can write about the news surrounding the PlayStation 5 controller reveal. I could try to claim it's ugly with its two-toned colour scheme, but it's nearly a guarantee that Sony will release other colour schemes through its lifetime, or even at launch. I could try to claim it's uncomfortable for whatever reason, but I really can't claim much about how it feels without actually holding one and using it during a game.

What can I write that won't be easily shot down by common sense or a “you need to wait and see” approach? How about a criticism of a key design decision that will be unlikely to change unless there is a large uprising against it?

The PlayStation 5's DualSense controller is continuing the Xbox One's travesty of being a dedicated game controller with a hamburger button.

Xbox Series X Wireless Controller menu button PlayStation 5 DualSense hamburger
Left: Xbox Series X controller, revealed in March 2020.
Right: PlayStation 5 DualSense controller, revealed in April 2020.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

An Industry Solution: ESRB To Provide Loot Box Warning

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Let's hope people read it.

Once upon a time, the gaming media made a huge deal about Republican Senator Josh Hawley's proposed legislation for the United States government to federally regulate loot box mechanics in videogames. What they haven't told you since is that the bill has gone absolutely nowhere and has died in committee. It's forgotten about by both the media and by Congress. Senator Hawley, along with his two Democrat co-sponsors Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal, have since gone on to focus on many other things, most of which are also similarly doomed.

And yet loot boxes haven't gone away as a hot topic among the gaming industry. That's why the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has just introduced a new rating disclosure: In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items).

I suggested back last year that the ESRB included that in-game purchases are in games to arm parents with information. This is an expansion of that. There's “In-Game Purchases” for normal DLC (including things like expansion passes where you don't know what you're actually getting at the time of purchase), and now “In-Game Purchases (Includes Random Items)”, which features loot boxes and also encompasses things similar to loot boxes.

The ESRB cites unspecified research saying that parents wish to know that a game has In-Game Purchases and they don't care if they're random or casino-like. I assume that, to them, it doesn't matter why a kid is stealing their credit card to buy some in-game item, just that they are stealing their credit card. The ESRB states that this new descriptor is a factor of gamer demand (and not necessarily parents). The ESRB went with it on a “more, specific information is good” basis.

Here are the ESRB's exact descriptions: 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Gaming is the Entertainment of Choice During Coronavirus

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Best form of entertainment or what?

According to the New York Times (which is normally an untrustworthy FAKE NEWS outlet, but they're citing data from Earnest Research), there are many changes rippling throughout the United States economy due to social distancing and the coronavirus. That's obvious, but it's fun to put some data to it and see the specifics of that and what it means for videogames:

Coronavirus media entertainment consumer spending United States economy gaming videogame streaming
On their all-industries chart, gaming is just under Online Grocers as earning the biggest “more spending” percentage.

I'd say that the trends already favoured gaming growth pre-pandemic, with gaming rising to surpass the other forms of media & entertainment in a much faster time already. Videogames are ideal, though regrettably that's due to digital distribution unless you already have the games purchased before the pandemic. The data also suggests all brick-and-mortar retailers have massive declines, including electronics stores like Best Buy. I mean, I haven't gone there in a while. I don't know if they're even still open. (...Looking at their website... they're not.) The shipping industry is down as well, but maybe that makes sense, and maybe I'll write about that next week.

The fitness industry is down dramatically. Ring Fit Adventure isn't included in that, but it's also sold out everywhere and has been for quite some time now. In fact, the Nintendo Switch in general is sold out. (Screw the Lite.) You can buy games digitally all you want, but everything that requires a physical presence (hardware, peripheral-based games) seem to be facing severe shortages.

Lastly, the cruise industry is almost 90% down from 2019. I wonder why. The KoopaTV Loyalty Cruiser will majestically set sail—somewhere, even if the United States government will try to stop us—in a month, and all of the people who aren't doing the cruising scene are gonna be SO jealous of your great opportunity.

If you are still looking to clinch your ticket, just win the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program for the round ending at the end of April 2020. Not that hard. You're a gamer, getting all of this additional time and opportunity to hone your gaming skills. You can easily game the system and win.

Kamek promised a month ago that “[c]oming up soon, KoopaTV's staff members are collaborating on a special article on what you can do during your voluntary or government-mandated social distancing!” There hasn't been any such behind-the-scenes collaboration so far, but based on these stats, they'll probably involve a lot of videogames, and perhaps some music/video streaming. ...If that special article even ever happens.

Ludwig writes more about the implications of the shipping industry being down over here.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy—A Year Old, Achievement Playrates, and 50% off on Xbox One

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It's a trilogy... play all of the games.

I don't like to call attention to anniversaries since they lend themselves to pointless filler articles. That written, CAPCOM decided to honour the April 9, 2019 one-year anniversary of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy by putting it at 50% off on... just the Xbox One. The sale, deemed the “CAPCOM Spring Savings”, ends in mere hours, but if you miss it, it's worth buying at full price. It's three games (that were originally MSRP'd at $30 each) in one $30 compilation (temporarily $15). Trilogy. Three games.

I'm putting emphasis on that part because, thanks to game achievements being used as a data collection tool on the Xbox One, we can see how many people have gone through each part of the game. Note all of these statistics only represent Xbox One owners of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy. Also note that people can start Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright: Justice For All and/or Phoenix Wright: Trials & Tribulations in any order, but the episodes within those have to be done sequentially:
  1. 85.37% of people who own Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy have started playing it. I assume the rest have bought it (perhaps on sale) and never touched it. Touch it!
  2. 78.95% of gamers have cleared Episode 1 (The First Turnabout) of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. This only takes about half an hour of game time to do.
  3. 25.23% of gamers have cleared Episode 5 (Rise from the Ashes) of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, which is the final episode. 
  4. 25.84% of gamers have cleared Episode 1 (The Lost Turnabout) of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All. It's also pretty quick.
  5. 14.68% of gamers have cleared Episode 4 (Farewell, My Turnabout) of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All. It's considered the best case in the several opinions. It's the last episode of that game.
  6. 15.11% of gamers have cleared Episode 1 (Turnabout Memories) of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations. It's lengthier—and better—than the other games’ Episode 1s.
  7. 9.58% of gamers have cleared Episode 5 (Bridge to the Turnabout) of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials & Tribulations. This is the last episode of the whole trilogy.
  8. 9.05% of gamers have cleared every episode contained in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy.
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy Xbox One achievement lawyer only cries once it's all over completion
I guarantee the 89.95% of gamers who haven't unlocked this will enjoy themselves if they do unlock it.
(And cry when it's all over.)

Come on, you're in quarantine now. What else are you doing? Play through the games. You already bought them. (And if you haven't, buy them now. On any platform, quite frankly.)

There's a larger discussion about how many gamers actually ever finish the games they're playing (and across other games, it is a small percentage) and the implications on that for game design and discussing spoilers in fan communities. I won't have that discussion here, since I just wanted to advertise the sale.

Maybe it would be interesting to come back in a year and see if these stats have budged at all. It might also be interesting to see how much they vary across the different platforms (with the hypothesis that the Switch version would have the best play rates), but not all platforms supply this kind of data.

The most recent time Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy was 50% off was on the Switch, in March. It's never been that low on Xbox One before.
Sometimes CAPCOM also puts their other games on sale on the Switch, too, including other Ace Attorney games. Also in March 2020.
The Switch also gets a whole CAPCOM Spring Sale a week after this.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 22: Personal Weakness

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It's always risky to admit my weaknesses to the Internet, but Ring Fit Adventure is on-the-snout...

This may be the second-to-last edition of the KoopaTV Fitness Log series—KoopaTV Fitness Fridays. At least, for a while. But maybe not. I'm supposed to be playing Ring Fit Adventure every week and telling you all about it as a source of motivation and evidence that I'm taking my physical fitness seriously. Some folks take it as a walkthrough of Adventure Mode, which is... fine, I suppose.

I'm going through this on difficulty level 30, which has a big impact on the time it takes to go through these worlds. Last week, for Fitness Log Week 21, I completed World 21 and made progress for the initial stages of World 22: Land of Hades, where I'm continuing after completing the training sections managed by Allegra (who has troubles with jealousy) and Armando (who has troubles with getting a girlfriend). Next, I have two paths, which are surely controlled by the remaining two of the Four Masters: Abdonis and Guru Andma.

Ring Fit Adventure World 22 Land of Hades Summary spirit Armando get a girlfriend
This is the game's way of telling us what happened in Week 21.
(Note that “get a girlfriend” is given the significant text colour.)

The upper path's story level is Six-Peak Temple, featuring Abdonis. (It's a pun off, you know, six-pack.) He laments that the only things he can trust are his abdominals. Even his mother abandoned him. (He abandoned her, technically, but whatever.) He's tasking me to get to the goal with select Yellow Fit Skills, which are the best Fit Skills in this game, so I'm not worried. At my disposal are Leg Scissors Lv.2 (three-range), Overhead Lunge Twist Lv.2 (one-range), Seated Ring Raise Lv.2 (one-range), Leg Raise Lv.2 (one-range), and Pendulum Bend Lv.2 (three-range). These exclude the five-range Abs Fit Skills I love and adore, but they also exclude gross stuff like Planks, so, oh well. 

None of the available Fit Skills are inherently awful exercises I want to avoid, it's just... It takes almost three and a half minutes of in-game exercise time to do 48 repetitions of Overhead Lunge Twist, and that only does half a health bar of a Dark Stepper enemy. By comparison, 60 repetitions of the Seated Ring Raise has slightly less power, but only takes a minute to go through.

Also a factor in long, forced-fights? Six-Peak Temple has a monster group with four monsters, but I can only hit three at a time, at most. Ha... Hm. At least my limited hits can be very impactful, especially with smoothie-boosting.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Watch Fugitive Wendy O. Koopa's Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX Stream

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Arguably deserved for killing her Geodude. (And unaffiliated Tauros.)

Tonight Wendy O. Koopa returned to her streaming fun, with Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX. It's a game we all endorse at KoopaTV, especially if you haven't played the original Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red Rescue Team or Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Blue Rescue Team. (Though she has played the original.)

Tonight she climbed through Great Canyon, fled through Lapis Cave, and attempted to climb Mt. Blaze, as an Eevee named Chika with a Chikorita at her side. ...Strange naming, but...

The channel is intended for mature audiences 'cause she swears a lot. It's fine. I watched through it and chatted!

Watch So I'm just going to blow up. :)))) from Capt_Murasa on

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Red Rescue Team DX fugitive forest fire background
Good call back to the Alberta fires that Koopa Kingdom was responsible for.
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX Chikorita tickle Xatu Great Canyon
Wendy notes that Chikorita's tickles would be far more effective if she used her leaf and not her... head?

Ludwig by-lined this because he wrote this little write-up while Wendy is playing, but obviously the content is Wendy's work! As of publishing this, she's struggling to even reach Moltres. Will she be able to beat it? She thinks she's “so screwed. So screwed!” ...And if she manages to beat Moltres... can she beat Articuno, too?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

ARMS North American Online Open April 2020 Recap

By HEAVY LOBSTER - I entered the largest competitive ARMS tournament in history. How did I do?

Recently, Nintendo has been working to bring their 2017 fighting game IP, ARMS, back into the limelight. An ARMS character has been announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Nintendo’s offered a free trial of ARMS for everyone with Nintendo Switch Online, and during said trial period they held a North American ARMS Online Open. This helped attract the largest turnout for any ARMS event in the game’s history with 880 entrants. I was one of them. For this tournament, the build I largely relied on was Ninjara with Slapamander/Hydra/Roaster, a loadout favoring faster fire-element ARMS to match Ninjara’s speed and elusiveness. Hydra is there to serve as a fast, light poking tool and anti-aerial; Slapamander is there as a fast curved arm effective at going around larger ARMS and catching side dashes; and Roaster is there as a fast and versatile glove for situations where an ARM with more weight/better horizontal tracking is preferred over Hydra.

Like many fighting games, ARMS has a best-of-3 round format, and on top of that this tournament, like most others, has a best-of-3 games format, at least up until top 8. Unfortunately, the tournament was also single-elimination until top 8, with completely random seeding. This might have been a necessary compromise given the size of the tourney, but it could still be rough on anyone who got paired with a top player in their first match. The stagelist was a bit liberal compared to what the competitive community normally uses, but it still at least got rid of Snake Park/[NAME REDACTED]/Cinema Deux, which are generally considered the worst offenders for competitive purposes. The stages were randomly selected, another compromise to avoid taking extra time with stage striking, but it added another element of luck into the mix.

My first three matches were fairly straightforward, with two Mechanicas and a Helix, and in general I dealt with them without much trouble, considering fire ARMS cut right through Mechanica’s armor and Hydra/Slapamander is pretty effective at forcing Helix out of tower mode and punishing his jumps. Match 4 was when the difficulty started picking up.

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: