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Monday, August 3, 2020

KoopaTV's July 2020 Review Newsletter

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Awful month, so we're making big site changes.

It is a popular sentiment that 2020 is a cursed year. Well, I think that July 2020 has been the most cursed month of all. Up until the end of July 2020, I've tried to avoid having KoopaTV be a mirror of that suck. Good, humourous, wholesome KoopaTV content.

...Well, there were some subversions there, sure. But that's part of the experience and keeps it interesting.

That said, I have some sitewide changes I'd like to announce. Before I start, I should announce that Google redesigned the Blogger content management system back-end that KoopaTV runs on. Like most user interface changes in the modern era, it's for the worse. I don't like it. That said, it's not as bad as some other site changes on other popular platforms. (Like DeviantArt Eclipse, the Twitter redesign of 2019, the beta Facebook redesign of 2020...)

Some of those updates are going to influence KoopaTV's changes. Here:

Site Layout and Comments Changes


I don't want to do this, but I think it's worth experimenting on to see what happens.

KoopaTV prides itself on trying to have as low a bar for you to express comments as possible. However, this has the side-effect of opening KoopaTV up to receiving spammy crap like this:

Blogger blogspot comment spam cash for scrap cars
This all happened in very quick succession on the very important KoopaTV article about the Cars vs. Planes Splatfest.

We're therefore going to turn on comment moderation (requiring staff approval for a comment to appear on articles older than 60 days) and CAPTCHAs. I could also force people to have a Google Account in order to comment on KoopaTV (as opposed to being anonymous), but the spammers pretty clearly have Google Accounts, so that wouldn't do anything.

I'm fine removing spam comments every day, but I'm wondering if it actively harms the KoopaTV experience. If people click on the subscribe to new comments link on any article (which is the ideal way to get notifications when you want to have an on-going conversation in the comments section), and some spammer comes in and floods the comments section, even if I delete it you'll still get notifications. For spam. That's bad.

Similarly, because of bot spam, the right-hand most popular articles sidebar (if you're on desktop KoopaTV, which you...should be) has been inaccurate from... well, its inception, really. It's not going based off Google Analytics. I'm not sure what it's going based off of. But it was an automatic ten listed articles, and since it doesn't really reflect what's actually popular, I'm removing it. In its place there will be more random articles (from two to four), as well as a section for the most recent KoopaTV newsletter. All newsletters, as readers know (and new readers will know this too if they look a few lines down), include five additional, claw-picked top-recommended articles from the prior month. Those are really the ones that should be highlighted.

If I'm really skilled, I'll put the top five recommended experiences on the sidebar, too. Not skilled yet, though.

I'm not trying to be like social media platforms and trying to curate “trends” while actually faking what's actually going on. Those popular posts were fake. ...I mean, they're worth it, for sure, but not because bots were faking traffic to it. And those posts might be the same ones for months or even years. Not good.

KoopaTV's Top Five Recommended Experiences of July 2020


I mentioned at the start of this newsletter that I've tried to insulate KoopaTV from most of the crap that affected most of July 2020, so these five KoopaTV articles should hopefully reflect that.

It was actually incredibly hard to pick only five of these. To be frank, July 2020 pwned June 2020. It was definitely an overpowered month. Here's my chronologically ordered attempt:

  1. KoopaTV Advocates for Hong Kong Independence (香港独立) — KoopaTV wants to unequivocally make sure the universe knows our position on Hong Kong and China. This is important for one of the sections later in this newsletter, but it also ties in other things too, such as Pokémon UNITE and a suspicious guest article that is quite positive about it and the Chinese company behind it published the day before this one. The timing couldn't be more... interesting.
  2. Ludwig Got the Wooloo Plushie! — This is our feel-good story of the month. Includes Wooloo photographs. Several photographs, actually. I'm in three of them.
  3. Tear Down the Statues—Replace With Bowser Statues Instead! — Ludwig has been way ahead of the social justice/progressive culture curve by seven years (referring back to an action item from one of KoopaTV's very first articles). Here's his response to American current events with the destruction of statues and monuments, and his idea for what to replace them with.
  4. I Played in the Mario Tennis Aces North American Open July 2020. Here's What Happened — July 2020 announced and conducted the biggest Mario Tennis Aces tournament ever held, and I remembered what a pleasure the game is. So I participated in the tournament, and beat everyone's expectations. Check out the amazing write-up I did.
  5. Rest in Peace, Herman Cain — This is definitely where me trying to make July 2020 a happy time falls apart. The day this was written, it was announced that Herman Cain had died, and he's the reason this site exists. And probably the reason I'm around, period. This article is a mood whiplash compared to the content normally on KoopaTV, since I get very personal about myself...

Best Three Comments and One Worst Comment of July 2020


I'm hoping making the comments marginally more difficult to make won't impact the flow of quality comments. Though it should dissuade crappy comments.
  1.  “If the like to dislike ratio on the reveal video is anything to go by, I don't think too many people are excited for this game and that's putting it lightly. Anything that Tencet is involved in will elicit strong emotions. Chinese owned companies, such as TikTok, have been derided for both privacy and security issues and many fear it will only continue to get worse unless we pass an internet bill of rights. ” — Kody B.
  2. “I'm playing the first Deadly Premonition on the Switch right now and enjoying it a lot! People tend to describe it online in a "so bad it's good" way, but (unlike the game I'll be reviewing on my blog today, which I do feel fits into that category), that's not how I feel about it so far. It's a good game with a weird sense of humor that occasionally has some technical issues.

    Now, I don't know if I'd compare it to Ace Attorney, and I haven't played No More Heroes yet to make a comparison there (still hoping for a port). I've been describing it as a bizarre blend of Silent Hill and Shenmue: a dark mystery with some horror elements and combat against disturbing enemies, interspersed with a slower-paced investigation where you'll explore a town and talk to people who all have their own schedules they follow each day.

    And mixed in with all of that is a bizarre sense of humor and surreal tone because some of the characters and aspects of gameplay are just weird. For example, there's a gas station attendant who will give out information in exchange for "Ben Franklins." This isn't an ordinary bribe scene, because once you pay him, he turns away and has a loud conversation with "Benjamin" (yes, he's talking to the money) that includes a hint of a side quest you can do. York himself comes across as very eccentric, bringing up movie references in the middle of murder investigations and frequently talking to some unseen person calle "Zach" (who appears to be the player, and I'm not sure if this means York is crazy or if Zach really is someone).

    I'm not sure if you'd enjoy it, mainly because I don't know how you'd like the horror aspects, but once I finish it, I'll write a full review on my blog!” — Samantha Lienhard
  3. “Well, I DID get the digital copy (I didn't want to a) wait to pay for it b) swap out its card for other things) and I look forward to showing my impressions once you've shown yours. For now, I think that the whole "preconceived notions" thing is spot-on. People are bashing Origami King for what amounts to superficial resemblance to Sticker Star.

    One person on Twitter, whom I otherwise greatly respect, dismissed the possibility of it having good storytelling out of hand just because of one major detail they spoilered. Frankly, it's outright dismaying. But I think once the anti-hype is allowed to die down, Origami King will be vindicated as a genuinely great game.” — Lheticus Videre

Kody B. gets lots of credit for predicting, very early in July 2020, that TikTok would be the next big Chinese thing in the news by the end of July 2020 (and when this newsletter is being written). I'm impressed, though I don't know what an Internet bill of rights would look like. (Dude just needs to spell Tencent right.)

Just to plug it on her behalf, Samantha Lienhard's full review of Deadly Premonition (the first one) can be found here. Through an extended and quality conversation, we ended up concluding that I probably shouldn't be getting Deadly Premonition.

As for Paper Mario: The Origami King, I'm in the process of playing it. I'm currently at the Shogun Studios location. I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I'm also replaying through Paper Mario: Sticker Star, sort of at the same time. The two games are absolutely nothing alike. They're very different in gameplay loop, combat, dialogue, tone, and many more things. Anyone who says it's like Sticker Star doesn't know what they're talking about. So Lheticus is right on calling that out.


The worst comment of July 2020 was one of the very last comments of July 2020, but it's just so atrocious I had to include it:
  1. “Hey lhedicus fuck you trashcan idiot what kinda dogshit name is lhedicus holy shit lmao ur parents were on crack when they made that one mr. Videre yikes embarassing dude !!” — Sam
Alright, so Sam is coming into the emotional and raw article about Herman Cain dying, and he's writing not very thoughtful things there. Lheticus Videre commented something that could've been slightly more thoughtful, given the mood of the article. But then Sam writes this awful comment that has all sorts of issues. For one, it ain't “lhedicus”. If you're gonna typo it that way, I sorta expected him to just go as far as “lhedickus”. Like, lead-dick-us. Anyway, totally unacceptable conduct on an article that's supposed to be a tribute to a great, constantly positive guy (who was above name-calling) who just died that day.

KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program Round 33 Mid-Round Leaderboard


You want your ordered list of standings as of publishing? Here, take it. If you're number one on the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program by the end of August 31, you'll get 10 dollars in Amazon gift card credit.
  1. Lheticus Videre—52 points
  2. Samantha Lienhard—27 points
  3. Kody B.—21 points
There are a lot of other entrants, but they're not in double digits, so I'm not gonna bother. However, if those other entrants include you, you may wish to bother trying to get to that #1 spot. It's absolutely possible...and even kind of easy.

Corrections Corner; July 2020


There were no on-site corrections made during the month of July 2020. I'm on a good streak here. We're not fake news, that I can tell you. (Or if we are, no one can see through it or is willing to challenge it.)

KoopaTV VS. China; July 2020


During July, I went ahead and asked a Chinese guy on the dead Pokémon battle simulator Pokémon Online (well, he approached me) if he could access KoopaTV.org. Here's how that went:
(21:57) Shadow_gaming: hi bro
(21:57) Prince LudwigVKoopa: Do I know you?
(21:58) Shadow_gaming: no
(21:58) Prince LudwigVKoopa: I'm not your "bro".
(21:58) Shadow_gaming: I just want say hi
(21:58) Prince LudwigVKoopa: Are you from China?
(21:58) Shadow_gaming: :D
(21:58) Shadow_gaming: Yaeh
(21:58) Prince LudwigVKoopa: Given your Chinese message in Tohjo Falls.
(21:58) Prince LudwigVKoopa: Alright, then I have a big question for ya.
(21:59) Shadow_gaming: ???
(21:59) Prince LudwigVKoopa: Are you on a VPN?
(21:59) Shadow_gaming: No ima new
(21:59) Prince LudwigVKoopa: I run a website, and I want to know if it's blocked by China or not.
(21:59) Prince LudwigVKoopa: Can you help? :o
(21:59) Shadow_gaming: Shure!
(22:00) Prince LudwigVKoopa: https://www.koopatv.org/
(22:00) Prince LudwigVKoopa: Can you access this?
(22:01) Shadow_gaming: No it’s not blocked by China but I don’t know witch country blocked it
(22:01) Prince LudwigVKoopa: Erm, I'm not saying it's blocked by any particular country.
(22:01) Prince LudwigVKoopa: But thanks for confirming that about China.
(22:03) Shadow_gaming: Ur wellcome
These results match up with Comparitech's and GreatFire.org's tools: We're not blocked by China. Not yet. Even with that fantastic Hong Kong article that I've publicised multiple times, AND in Simplified Chinese! (By the way, Traditional Chinese kicks Simplified Chinese's figurative ass. Simplified Chinese is just the communist version of the language, but presumably it's the one that the Chinese censors are looking for.)

Also, don't call me “bro” (only Larry, Lemmy, Iggy, Morton, Roy, and sometimes Bowser Jr. get to do that) and certainly don't call me “bruh”. This destruction of the English vernacular by English-speaking people is getting people in China to talk like idiots when they're trying to learn how to talk in English. There are WORLDWIDE IMPLICATIONS to this.



If you have feedback on the KoopaTV site changes, you should wait for the next KoopaTV Feedback Form coming out in the August 2020 Review Newsletter. Yes, it'll return. Confirmed. Anyway, this newsletter will stay on the right sidebar for the month of August. Still, you should share the letter or KoopaTV in general to other people! Just not spam bots.


Last month's June 2020 newsletter is located here.
Next month's August 2020 newsletter is here, with an update on the comment moderation, as well as the new feedback form.
Last year's July 2020 newsletter can be found this way. It was happier.

12 comments :

  1. Thanks for linking to my review! And for the record, I got answers to my question about Zach by the end of the game.

    I've also gotten positive reviews of Origami King from fellow Sticker Star haters.

    ReplyDelete
  2. congratulation mr sam on ur valiant achievement, you're the only reason I come to this site anymore after it went downhill :))

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm not just a procrastinator but a prognosticator as well. In fact, I knew I was going to misspell Tencent when I posted the comment. It's not like the name is even hard to remember. Just think about how much their games should cost, remove the 's', and put the two together and you get Tencent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could've known you were going to misspell it before you clicked the Publish button. >.>;

      Delete
  4. I've just noticed, there doesn't seem to be a quiz and feedback form up for the current period?

    ReplyDelete

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