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Thursday, December 31, 2020

RIP 2020, and RIP Adobe Flash Player and AIR

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - You're supposed to uninstall it already.

The final casualty of 2020 is Adobe Flash Player, which Adobe has announced the End of Life timeline of back in 2017. The official End of Life date is December 31, 2020, which means Adobe will no longer ship or support Adobe Flash Player, opening it up to security vulnerabilities and bad stuff. This also applies to the Adobe AIR runtime. Adobe will actively block Flash Player from working as of January 12, 2021, so they recommend you just uninstall it right now.

A significant part of Internet history was created using Flash, including videogame culture (as well as videogames) and whole websites (such as the Kirby Super Star Ultra Japanese website documenting Friend Bounce). (There's an excellent talk here about the history of Flash websites and the movement that drove their popularity.) Websites that care about preservation—and have the resources to do so—have been working for years on creating alternatives. It helps that they've at least had years of warning about the upcoming calamity, unlike the Chinese Communist Party Virus which swept Earth without warning. These alternatives include converting their Flash content to HTML5 or other formats, or creating Flash Player emulators, such as ruffle. Adobe has also allowed technology partner HARMAN to service corporate clients that have built some of their critical internal or customer-facing systems in Flash and Adobe AIR, so they can keep those running. HARMAN will actually bring it to version 33!

There are also websites that are incompetent, like KoopaTV, and maintained by a guy who made Flash games but doesn't have skills in other areas and doesn't have the time or motivation to learn them. That means not only are our games not preserved/properly converted to non-Flash formats, but we haven't made any new games since Soviet Missile Run in 2017 (which was an amazing game).

I should probably go uninstall Adobe Flash Player. All the browsers already put you through a bunch of warnings when trying to use it, and it'll be gone in two weeks anyway.

Uninstall Program Control Panel Windows 10 Adobe Flash Player AIR version 32
Inexplicably, despite taking this screenshot, Ludwig hasn't actually gone and uninstalled anything as of publishing.
Maybe he will right after?
Version 32 is the very last version to be published by Adobe.

KoopaTV at least survived 2020, but slightly more on that self-evident observation on KoopaTV's next newsletter release, scheduled for January 1, 2021.

A year later and KoopaTV's games still aren't preserved.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Game Trial on Nintendo Switch... if you can drive past the legal docs

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - ...I personally couldn't.

Starting today, Nintendo Switch Online subscribers can play a Game Trial, or full version of a game, of Activision's Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. For a limited time only. (Until January 6 2021, 2:59 AM Eastern.)

You may have thought yesterday's KoopaTV article about the legal environment stopping kart racing was just filler content, but it topically is a shortcut to get in the mood for today's article. You see, in order to be able to start playing Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, you need to drive through a 42-page legal document:

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Activision Software License Service Agreement terms of use
Meet the 42-page Activision Software License and Service Agreement.

You can't just press the A button and start playing. You have to scroll through every one of those 42 pages. You can't just hold down the R button or the rightward direction on your stick either and auto-scroll. It's operated semi-automatically. This is all to a really annoying and short music loop, by the way.

Alright, sure, we can do that and eventually accept the Activision Software License and Service Agreement. Okay, let's start Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, a game that I've heard so much about...

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

MariCAR Inc: Double-Fail!! Legal Battle Mode

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - They probably won't have a business anymore.

Once upon a time, the Japanese street-karting company now known as Street Kart was known as MariCAR Inc.. Nintendo sued them out of concern for the Mario Kart brand being associated with a public safety menace. Nintendo won, and MariCAR was ordered to pay 10 million yen in compensation. That's where KoopaTV's involvement in commenting on the story ended. But... that was only in 2018.

Stuff has happened since. Court appeals occurred. Basically, MariCAR lost those, but wanted to keep fighting, and their fine was quintupled to 50 million yen. Apparently, the appeals have gone all the way to Japan's Supreme Court, which has rejected and dismissed MariCAR. That should leave them no further legal avenues to delay Nintendo, and the videogame company is all too happy to celebrate.

Struggling to survive because much of their money is put into vs. Nintendo litigation, along with their business not getting much revenue due to their business model of catering towards foreigners that haven't been coming to Japan due to Chinese Communist Party Virus travel restrictions, Street Kart has had little choice but to appeal to crowdfunding to “SAVE THE STREET KART.” They achieved 0% of their goal, perhaps because their business caters to those foreigners, but their crowdfunding page was only in Japanese.

The company probably won't stay around. To this day, they still don't understand how search engines work, so they're too dumb to live:

Monday, December 28, 2020

Shigeru Miyamoto's Created Cruel Koopa-Killing World

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Shigeru Miyamoto's doublespeak.

There was a recent and extensive interview by publication The New Yorker (not a videogame-focused publication, of course) with Nintendo Creative Fellow Shigeru Miyamoto. Deep-dive interviews like that are relatively rare for him to do. It got a fair bit of attention from Nintendo fans and fan sites when it was published a week ago, and KoopaTV's gonna join in on that today, too!

However, the reason the interview got attention from other people was around Shigeru Miyamoto's remarks on shooting and game design (that shooting mechanics are overcentralising what's popular in games and more designers should come up with alternate ways of fun), as well as his remarks that his videogames are meant to create warm feelings among its players, as opposed to other games on the market (including many others from Nintendo-affiliated studios) putting more attention on exploring sadness, loss, and grief.

While I'm happy with folks reading things Miyamoto says and thinking he's out-of-touch and ought to retire (and for Miyamoto's part, he said Nintendo has basically transitioned a younger generation of directors to work on the games instead of him, while he goes works on theme parks and movies, which WAS something KoopaTV requested some years back), the fans (and to be fair, consistently awful media outlet Nintendo Everything consistently has misleading headlines) have a bit of trouble with reading comprehension. Which will result in said fans having trouble reading any stories with sadness, loss, or grief themes, should they ever encounter them. If they have trouble with those stories due to having trouble reading, that would defeat the point of them mocking Miyamoto's answer in a context that he never addressed, because the question was about him personally, not Nintendo as a whole.

Anyway, I want to address the bit where Shigeru Miyamoto was addressing the idea that it's not okay “to simply kill all monsters.” That's underplayed on other sites. His full quote being:

Friday, December 25, 2020

The Invitees to the "Dark Reunion" Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Event Tourney

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Yet another Christmas party I'm not invited to...

As I foreshadowed a couple of days ago with Sephiroth's release article, starting today (Christmas day) and continuing throughout the weekend is an event online tourney in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Dark Reunion. The event says.. “Muwah hah hah... This time-limited tourney exclusively features fighters who have embraced the darkness.”

Dark Reunion event online tourney Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Sephiroth
Sephiroth is the main attraction and attention-grabber here.
It's never said where these dark dudes all have met before. (That's what a reunion implies.)
Not in any other game, that's for sure. Not even in a GameFAQs character battle.

The nine invited darkness-embracers are Sephiroth, Dark Samus, Dark Pit, Ridley, Ganondorf, Wolf, Bayonetta, Joker, and Meta Knight. What do all of these characters have in common? It doesn't have to do with their morality. Perhaps their edgy aesthetic? They're all affiliated with Dharkon in the World of Light mode. But... what does embracing the darkness mean? Why are a number of characters not invited that you'd think would be? Let's ponder on that together.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

CD Projekt Has Possible Class Action Lawsuit Its Way For Deceiving Investors Regarding Cyberpunk 2077

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Good. Lying bastards.

I think I've established on KoopaTV that I don't like frivolous lawsuits filed against gaming companies, like complaining that your kids are addicted to Fortnite and their lives are ruined.

But today, The Rosen Law Firm has filed a lawsuit that they hope to be certified as a class-action lawsuit on behalf of investors against CD Projekt, over their lies and materially false information/FAKE NEWS they've been providing to investors throughout 2020 on the progress of Cyberpunk 2077.

If you haven't heard, that game is a “virtually unplayable” buggy disaster on current-generation consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which is what millions of people are trying to play the game on. You can't buy it anymore off the PlayStation store (it's not listed), while Microsoft's has a big warning label that the game has severe performance issues, or, “Users may experience performance issues when playing this game on Xbox One consoles until this game is updated.” CD Projekt was facilitating refunds for a week, which doesn't seem like enough time.

CD Projekt would have to have known about the game's performance issues when they were getting it tested to be certified by Sony and Microsoft, and just because you test games when you develop them on consoles. However, according to the lawsuit, CD Projekt and the company leadership repeatedly made statements in investor calls and financial documents saying that any game performance issues would be minor, with major ones already fixed (they fielded the questions during the game's many delays, the frequency of which concerned investors), and there are no problems with it and nothing wrong. Nothing to worry about. The financial community believed those statements to be true, and inflated CD Projekt's stock prices based on expectations of the game's glory (which I personally never understood). Then the game came out, the problems became immediately known, and the stock collapsed. With it, investors’ fortunes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Version 10.1 Thoughts, and Challenge Cup December 2020 Results

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'm featured in the results, so of course I'll brag about those.

While Sephiroth has been available to any paying customer for several days now if they've completed the Sephiroth Challenge (and my personal best Very Hard record is 11.85 seconds with King Bowser by forward-airing Sephiroth multiple times off stage, though I'm well aware one can do it much faster with the likes of Mii Brawler, Mr. Game & Watch, and Hero), yesterday night marked the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate version 10.1.0, which made Sephiroth available to all paying customers without having to do anything for it, along with a few fighter adjustments that mostly fixed multi-hit moves (the Captain Olimar part is also a bug fix, even though it reads like a whole new move was added), an update that fixed a music selection issue that was the subject of a KoopaTV investigation (and as far as I know, we broke the news first), and a new DLC Spirit Board featuring Final Fantasy VII characters.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate FINAL FANTASY VII DLC Spirit Board Chocobo Moogle Ifrit Bahamut Shiva
Moogle is a cute little White Kirby.
While Bahamut ZERO is a Giant Ridley. (As opposed to the standard TOO BIG Ridley.)

As for Sephiroth himself, he isn't for beginners to the game. Sephiroth isn't a gimmicky character like Min Min or Steve. You need to have a firm grasp of the fundamentals, which includes appropriate spacing and using safe moves, only taking calculated risks. While his Masamune sword is huge and can cover a big space and keep foes out, it's slow to swing around, and slow to do follow-up actions. Same goes with his Flare (neutral B) projectile. Sephiroth's fast moves are his jab, his neutral-air finger snap, and his down-tilt slide move. A good Sephiroth player will try to condition their opponent to making a mistake or a miscalculation, like thinking it's safe to hold down shield (such as to block a Shadow Flare) when the Sephiroth can break the shield with a Down Smash, or run in for a grab.

Eventually, people will learn whether or not it's safe to try to edge-guard Sephiroth. Blade Slash/Octaslash can take a while to charge up, but you don't want to be in a situation where you get hit by Octaslash, since it's quite damaging. (But if Sephiroth lands on the stage or against someone's shield, they're basically stuck in cooldown lag for a whole second, which is an eternity.) We'll eventually also figure out if Sephiroth's hard-to-use nature will pay big rewards, or if he's just not worth it.

Even though I'm pretty good at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (and I'm going to offer evidence of that in a moment), I find Sephiroth quite difficult to use for myself, since he's so unlike the characters I'd normally use. It took a lot more effort than I was budgeting for to get him into Elite Smash.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Simon Blackquill Convicted of Murder of Metis Cykes

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - In unrelated news, the Ace Attorney games are on sale again.

(Los Angeles, California) Rising star prosecutor Simon Blackquill, 21, found himself on the defendant's chair of a Los Angeles courtroom, accused of the October murder of psychologist and mentor Metis Cykes, who worked at the Cosmos Space Center. Mr. Blackquill pled guilty to the murder. There are still unresolved questions, like what caused the HAT-1 Rocket's problems, but those are being investigated separately. Metis's daughter, Athena Cykes, 11, pleaded with the court not to convict Mr. Blackquill, but her courtroom outbursts were disregarded in favour of photographic evidence of Mr. Blackquill's misdeeds, coupled with his confession.

The judge in the Blackquill-Cykes case.
(Courtroom illustration. His identity can't be ascertained from the picture.)

Simon Blackquill was found guilty by the presiding judge and sentenced to death. His actual execution likely won't occur for years to come given options for appeal.

The public seems to be devastated in their reactions to the conviction. Prosecutor Blackquill's conviction follows a series of other prosecutorial and law enforcement misconduct, as well as the disbarment of defence attorney Phoenix Wright earlier in 2019, along with political corruption. Trust in public institutions, especially in the criminal justice system and the legal system, are at an all-time low. It could even be characterised as a dark age of the law.

In unrelated news, over 1500 videogames are on sale on the Nintendo eShop, including CAPCOM's Ace Attorney series. These include $21 off Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies on the Nintendo 3DS, which CAPCOM created based off the real-life events depicted above. (Very quick game development from them.) There are also other games on sale based off other Los Angeles legal matters, like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy that is $15 off on the Nintendo Switch. (Based on Phoenix Wright's career prior to being disbarred.)

The CAPCOM sales end on January 5, 2021, at 2:59 AM Eastern.

You should play/buy those Ace Attorney games. The KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program Round 35 is ending soon, and soon is before the CAPCOM sale ends, so you can fund your next purchase(s) using funds from KoopaTV if you make an effort and win.

CAPCOM put their games on sale at the same discounts for winter 2019, though Ace Attorney Trilogy is $5 more off now than then.
Miss the December 2020 sale? How about the January 2021 sale?
There is another CAPCOM Holiday Sale (and eShop sale in general) for the end of December to the start of January in 2021!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Super Mario 35-Year Anniversary "Celebration", and Interview Styles of Reggie Fils-Aime vs. Doug Bowser

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The celebration line is stupid, but that's not unique to Doug Bowser's interview style.

I have been seeing a lot of (bad) comments on social media (and even on KoopaTV's comments section) about Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser, and how it looks like he's been doing nothing for the company and is even a malevolent force. These folks miss the point of what presidents do (they're chosen/hired to make decisions, as opposed to being a fountain of memes) with their time. By their very nature, you don't know what they do to run the company unless you work for the company, since companies keep these things secret.

Anyway, there was a very recent Polygon interview with Doug Bowser, where they discussed a variety of topics. The one that's gotten the most attention is the question on why there are so many games and experiences that will disappear on March 31, 2021, including all versions of Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light. Doug Bowser said these are limited to create a sense of “celebration”, which everyone can recognise is a stupid answer that isn't applied to any other anniversary going on, including ones previously done by Nintendo, and parallel anniversaries like the 30th anniversary of the SaGa series with COLLECTION of SaGa FINAL FANTASY LEGEND from Square Enix. When pressed by the Polygon interviewer (and props for the follow-up question), Mr. Bowser said the decision was made and he can't speak more about it.

Now, that's different than saying he personally made the decision (he didn't), but he's just responding to the interview with the messaging that he's been given. You'd have to go to Nintendo's Japanese executives to have a chance to figure out the real reason.

However, litigating why things are disappearing on March 31, 2021 is not the real purpose of this article. (It's a dumb policy, and I'll maintain the purpose of it is to create a fear-of-missing-out effect, or you could call it a time-limited offer, that not-coincidentally ends when Nintendo's fiscal year ends, to financially soften their lack of a holiday blockbuster.) I want to combat the people (and they exist, this isn't a strawman) who are all “if former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime was interviewing, or if Reggie was in charge, none of these things we don't like would happen!” Or, “at least Reggie is putting on a good public face. What has Doug Bowser done? He's so awkward.” Let's go back to some of Reggie's interviews, which I found looking through time-bound search engines for Reggie Fils-Aime interviews, without looking for any specific moment. In other words, this is randomly representative:

Friday, December 18, 2020

KoopaTV's Live Reactions to the Super Nintendo World Direct!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Featuring tour guide Shigeru Miyamoto.

A few weeks ago, KoopaTV reported that Nintendo's theme park—built and operated by Universal Parks and Resorts—would be opening in Japan on February 4, 2021. We discussed some of the sights you'd see there, along with the precautions that the park operators and you (if you'd visit the park) would take when it comes to sight-seeing during a pandemic.

Nintendo obviously wants us to talk about this even more, so they set up a special Super Nintendo World Direct, hosted by Shigeru Miyamoto (Nintendo's head Creative Fellow and a man that we're not on friendly terms with). They promised no game announcements. Just the theme park. Alright, we'll do that. We'll play by those rules, and live-react to the Direct. Just a warning, though, by Nintendo, they mean one specific place. We'd want it called Super Koopa World, but some plumbers show up...

Thursday, December 17, 2020

KoopaTV's Live Reactions to Mr. Sakurai Presents "Sephiroth"

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Estuans interius ira vehementi estuans interius ira vehementi... Sephiroth. Sephiroth!

There were only very few things that wasn't a snoozefest at The Game Awards 2020 last week, and Sephiroth being the next downloadable content character to be added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was at the top of the list of good things. ...It's a very short list, but still, he's at the top.

One week after that, and series director Masahiro Sakurai is back in the studio and wishes to give us probably the best presentation he's ever delivered... at least for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC. Take a watch, and check out our live reactions:

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Steam and GOG (Valve and CD Projekt) Are Pawns of the Chinese Communist Party

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - So are many other members of the gaming industry, by the way.

There are two main ways that multinational corporations can display their weakness and lack of meaningful values: Manufacture their goods/source their supply chain from mainland China (where enslaved ethnic minorities produce the products), and sell their goods in mainland China, subject to the censorship demands from the Chinese Communist Party. Mixed in this is working directly with Chinese companies and perhaps being bought out by them.

The videogame industry is increasingly doing all of the above (to either reduce costs or increase revenues), and it's incredibly important for gamers to oppose this growing trend and try to reverse it. While some of your idiot politicians on Earth may be distracting you by making it seem like Russia is the planet's local boogeyperson, it's really China. Only China has the unique combination of expansionist goals, a murderous ideology that they want to spread, total disregard for human rights, and other nations actually bending over backwards to accommodate them because of their fast-growing economy (fueled by the innovations of other nations that the Chinese are stealing without consequence).

Which brings us to Devotion, the horror game made by Taiwanese game developer Red Candle Games, also known for horror game Detention (also on the Switch). I'm not into horror stuff, so I can't speak to the quality of the games, but people who do like the horror genre (like Samantha Lienhard, who reviewed Detention here) think those games are great.

But you won't be able to try Devotion right now, specifically, because it was removed from Valve's Steam platform back in early 2019 over a massive outcry from upset Chinese thugs over a reference to Chinese Communist Party authoritarian Xi Jinping. Take a look at an image we won't censor, even if a mob of Chinese communists swarms KoopaTV:

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Nintendo's Faux Shared Commitment to Safer Online Gaming

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'm calling out some blatant falsehoods.

At the beginning of this week, Nintendo rolled out their “Shared Commitment to Safer Gaming” principles, with their press release making it seem like a big unifying moment between them and Sony and Microsoft. While I'm not too familiar with what Sony has to say, Microsoft was ahead of Nintendo by over a year and a half on this.

Reading through their statement, Nintendo is saying a lot of general, vague platitudes that aren't surprising to anyone. They are, in fact, so general and broad and company-agnostic, that when one thinks of their own Nintendo Switch experience, one will realise that Nintendo's principles aren't actually being done in practice. Specifically, their responsibility section.

In terms of the claim that Nintendo “ensure[s] that players who have been reported understand the requirements for continued engagement with our platforms”, Nintendo doesn't properly communicate to players why stuff disappears, or why Nintendo takes the moderation actions they do. And just based on Miiverse's moderation bungles (most obviously censoring discussion on Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney's Turnabout Trump case, though I'd say the two bans I got weren't deserved), it's hard to say that Nintendo had “skilled human oversight” at work there. But maybe things have changed in the years following?

The biggest problem is when Nintendo repeatedly says things like, “We partner with our community to promote safe gaming behavior and encourage the use of reporting tools to call out bad actors.” and “We make it easy for players to report violations of our code of conduct[.]” It's actually really hard to report someone online for Nintendo games. While Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has an in-game reporting system, Splatoon 2 does not. While you can report posts made in the square, you can't report people from there.

Can you report people from looking at their Nintendo Switch system profile, say, by finding them via Search for Users You Played With?

Monday, December 14, 2020

KoopaTV's Murder by Numbers Game Review

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Solving murder mysteries with evidence obtained by solving Picross puzzles.

I used to look at Picross-based games (otherwise known as nonograms or paint by numbers) like Murder by Numbers with derision. Then I played Mario's Super Picross thanks to the Nintendo Switch Online SNES app, and really enjoyed it, but I thought that a game that's JUST a bunch of consecutive Picross puzzles could be improved by adding other game elements to it, like a story.

Murder by Numbers, by British developer Mediatonic (you may know them from developing Fall Guys, though I didn't realise they did that until writing this review; they also developed the Hatoful Boyfriend remake), seeks to combine the thrills of Picross with the classic adventure game trappings of murder mystery. I'll review how well they did that, and minimise any spoilers, since the game has a story it wants to tell and you won't want to know the details of that story before playing it for yourself.

Fast Facts

Murder by Numbers
Nintendo Switch—note, this review is of the Switch version
Developer and Publisher
Mediatonic and Irregular Corporation
Puzzle (Picross), Adventure
Space Required
Approximately 1.1 GB
ESRB rating
T, including depictions of tobacco use, blood, violence, and some language
Number of Players
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price

Friday, December 11, 2020

Ludwig Von Koopa's Holiday at the Moomoo Milk Bar

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It was a delightful experience.

At the start of November 2020, the official Pokémon Center store put these two items up for sale: Moomoo Milk Pokémon Holiday & Home Bottle & Plate Set (4-Piece) for $15, and Moomoo Milk Pokémon Holiday & Home Sign for $20. At the same time, they were giving away a free Pikachu Pokémon Holiday & Home Brass Ornament with people's orders. As a self-professed Moomoo Milk fan, I feel like I had to order these items. It's like they were made just for me!

I've actually had these at my palace for over a month now (but I never received the Pikachu brass ornament, despite the Pokémon Center claiming it was part of my order). I should note that the package the plates/bottles/sign came in was absolutely stuffed with cushy shipping protection, since the bottles are glass. Everything arrived in-tact.

You know, this weekend is gonna be miserable (my birthday), and yesterday was overall pretty bad (not counting Chanukkah), so now seems to be a good time to get some happiness. So I finally used the Moomoo Milk Pokémon Holiday & Home items for something and visited the bar. With pictures:

Thursday, December 10, 2020

KoopaTV's Live Reactions to The Game Awards 2020

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Or, Ludwig reacts to Sephiroth, and mind-numbingly says The Last of Us Part II won awards for hours after.

Every year, charlatan Geoff Keighley somehow tricks millions of gamers into thinking that The Game Awards is something worth watching. This awards show goes on for hours and hours with weird skits and commercials and world premieres, and gaming companies are fine with supporting it, since it's a great advertisement opportunity.

KoopaTV hates The Game Awards, but we still have some kind of token reaction to it every year because we want to be part of the conversation, and the industry sort of forces The Game Awards to be the conversation at the start of December every year. Still, you should treat this article as us doing you a favour if you haven't watched it yourself, since it's a miserable 200-minute slog.

To complicate matters, Nintendo told everyone to watch The Game Awards 2020 because the identity of the next downloadable content character coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate would be announced. Based on The Game Awards 2018 where Joker was announced as DLC for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, we would have to wait until the very end to get the announcement. We expected this year that the character would be something that panders directly to the sort of lowest common denominator that The Game Awards appeals to.

Things were different in 2020. And here are the reactions, mostly from myself, but also Heavy Lobster briefly chiming in at the start until it quit:

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Staying Safe from Ransomware Attacks in 2020

By JACK WARNER - In the event of an attack, many businesses are faced with the dilemma; to pay the ransom or not to pay?

Fuelled by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, cybercrime has soared to previously undiscovered heights in 2020. We’ve seen an explosion of ransomware attacks, in particular, targeting all types of organizations. Gaming companies have not been spared. One of the most recent victims of a ransomware attack is Japanese game maker Capcom. The company was hit by the Ragnar Locker ransomware in early November, forcing the game maker to shut down its network.

Data Compromised During the Capcom Attack

In an earlier statement, the company had said that there was no indication that customer information was compromised. However, it turns out that some personal and corporate information was indeed stolen during the November 2 incident. In an update, the game maker behind franchises such as Street Fighter and Resident Evil revealed that hackers might have stolen information belonging to as many as 350,000 customers.

The potentially compromised data includes names and addresses, contact information, photos, shareholder numbers, birthdays, and more. However, customers can rest assured that their credit card information is safe. According to Capcom officials, no customer financial data such as credit card information was stolen. The company does not maintain any such information internally as a third-party service provider handles all online transactions.

How Ransomware Works

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Developers Can Now Apply to Apple's App Store Small Business Program

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Some quick clarifications. ...They don't resolve the problems.

Last month, I wrote an article about Apple launching the App Store Small Business Program, which cuts Apple's fee in half to 15% on App Store transactions, as opposed to 30%, provided you make a small enough amount of money off the App Store. My argument was that this is actually a fairly bad situation, because as explained by Apple at the time, it introduced a large economic disincentive for App Store developers to get bigger.

I wrote at the time that we had limited information on the App Store Small Business Program, and that Apple would release full details in December. ...Since we're now in December and Apple has opened up applications and a few details, let's see if I was right and if I need to clarify things.

Monday, December 7, 2020

What is "gaslighting"? See: Jelly-Filled Doughnuts vs. Riceballs

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - We illustrate what gaslighting means via a Pokémon example.

If you are like KoopaTV's staff, you've been wondering for a few years what the heck “gaslighting” means. Usage of the term has increased dramatically in this post-truth era (after the 2016 United States presidential election), with more and more people engaging in it. These include, but are not limited to, sleazy politicians, deflective customer service representatives, ex-boy/girlfriends, and as this article will demonstrate, Kantonian Pokémon gym leaders.

use of the term gaslighting Google Trends 2004 to 2020 presidential election
There is a local maximum taking place right after the 2016 United States presidential election.
And throughout the President Donald John Trump presidency, the term gaslighting has only skyrocketed in usage.

Just try looking at the definitions of “gaslighting” and try not to be confused or puzzled:

  • Wiktionary: the act of manipulating someone psychologically such that they question their own memory, perception, and sanity, thereby evoking in them cognitive dissonance and low self-esteem.
  • to cause (a person) to doubt his or her sanity through the use of psychological manipulation
  • Urban Dictionary: an increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information to, the victim - having the gradual effect of making them anxious, confused, and less able to trust their own memory and perception.

Psychological manipulation to get one to question their very sanity? That sounds incredibly niche and specific, yet the term gaslighting is used everywhere. Has everyone in society suddenly become a psychological genius to pull this technique off? Probably not. But I think people are just referring to any semi-elaborate lying as an intricate conspiracy. People generally don't want to make you doubt your sanity, they just want to cover up for their own faults and failures.

However, in the case of Brock and Misty—the gym leaders of the Pewter City Gym and Cerulean City Gym in the Kanto region, respectively—they're definitely gaslighting (in the proper use) Ash (and Team Rocket) when it comes to referring to the rice ball food item as a doughnut. Check out this compilation of clips, documented from the episode Primeape Goes Bananas, as we discuss what gaslighting looks like in action:

Friday, December 4, 2020

Xboxers, PlayStationers, and PCers: Buy Dragon Quest XI S: Definitive Edition

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It was Game of THAT Year 2019. Better than most or all of 2020, too.

In one of the forgettable “hey, look, a bunch of games I like are on sale!” articles from this year, I mentioned that Square Enix announced Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam. (And it turns out Epic Games Store too.) Previously, Dragon Quest XI was on PlayStation 4, and then it got a definitive edition for the Nintendo Switch, which added new storylines, modes, and music. Nintendo marketed it a lot, since Nintendo published the Switch version. This included a phenomenal ~10-hour demo that allows you to transfer your progress to the real game.

Dragon Quest XI S on non-Switch consoles is an exact port of the Switch version, although Square Enix says there may be performance differences due to the superior hardware it's now on. Since it's a turn-based roleplaying game and not a super tense action or fighter, those performance differences are pretty negligible in terms of impact, though it's apparently inferior to the original PlayStation 4 version. There is no way to transfer save progress or trophies or anything from the old PlayStation 4 version to the new one.

Dragon Quest XI S Definitive Edition Nintendo Switch PlayStation 4 Xbox One PC Epic Games
Do you think Nintendo is going to edit their website to remove the references to this “only” being on Nintendo Switch?

There is also no way to get a discount on the new version if you have the old one, but why would you need one? Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition is $40 on every platform that it released on today. Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition is still $60 on the Nintendo Switch. Why is that?

As I wrote before, Nintendo published the Nintendo Switch version. That means they control the pricing. When other Square Enix-published games go on sale on the Nintendo eShop, for example, Dragon Quest XI S does not join them. It's part of the Nintendo-published sales and discount patterns, which is to say, “almost never goes on sale and will never get a price cut.” (Sure, some first-party Nintendo games went on sale last week, but only some. Certainly didn't include Dragon Quest XI S.)

That said, if Nintendo cares about market forces and competition, they should lower the price to match the other consoles. And maybe do something with the fact that the game comes with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on the Xbox ecosystem. Everyone who buys into that ought to pick it up.

Ludwig obviously endorses this game. It's worth spending OVER $60 on, so $40 as the normal price is just great, too. Have a nice weekend, be it playing this, reading KoopaTV articles, or doing other things! The same free demo that was on the Switch version is now also on the other platforms as well.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

NintendoVS Challenge Cup December 2020: Mushroom Kingdom Edition

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - There are a number of oddities and exclusions here.

As the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct from three months ago said would happen, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is having a special in-game NintendoVS Challenge Cup event this December (December 12, 6 PM to 9 PM Eastern). You may remember NintendoVS Challenge Cups from the September one, which I criticised heavily when it was done. This one has the same Tourney Score system that I was critical of.

This time, however, there are two stocks instead of four, and character selection is quite limited, as are the stages that will be picked and the items that may appear. There are still Stage Hazards and Final Smash metre remains on, which means that Peach and Daisy will be completely overpowered in this tournament thanks to their sleep-inducing Final Smash having disproportionate impact when there are only two stocks, and you're basically guaranteed to get a Final Smash to happen.

But let's talk about the characters and stages and items, because they are all supposed to be from the Super Mario series.

By the way, just to make a quick tangent and get this important message before the page break, the prize for winning (defined as Top 35) is a Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Coin valued at $10. As of publishing, Nintendo STILL hasn't paid out the Gold Points (or physical trophies) to the people that won their Super Smash Bros. Ultimate North American Online Open October 2020 over a month ago. Maybe Nintendo feels like they're more capable of shipping out cheap physical coins, and that's why they won't offer Gold Points for this tournament. (That doesn't make any sense, but...)

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Handshakes? Out. Shoulder Bashes? The New Greeting

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - You should never shake hands again.

When President Donald John Trump has described the American practice of handshaking as “disgusting” or “barbaric” or “one of the curses of American society”, he's absolutely correct. And I came to that conclusion long before I've heard President Donald John Trump's opinion on the matter. It shouldn't be a partisan issue, really. You don't know what the hell is going on with someone else's hand.

Unfortunately, the lessons from Ebola have largely been forgotten, though my very negative Ebola experience with the CDC is still on my mind. There are Ebola-era studies around how fist bumps spread less germs than high-fives, which spread less germs than the disastrous handshake.

Basically, when you shake someone's hand with your own, you're spreading germs and all kinds of nasties from your body to the other person's, and vice-versa, in a very elongated, intimate fashion. (After all, people value STRONG handshakes, which press your germ-y diseased flesh forcibly upon another person's.) Meanwhile, alternative physical greetings reduce the amount of surface area involved, which reduces the amount of microbial spread.

The best greeting is one that involves no contact at all. What's wrong with the hand wave?

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Zelda down taunt Hilda joyful hand wave
A socially distanced (at least 6 feet) waving of hands is a perfectly viable way to exchange pleasantries and greetings.

However, in case you simply must touch someone (because there are neurological benefits to physical contact, including the brain releasing the stress-relieving oxytocin), I suggest the mutual shoulder bash:

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

KoopaTV's November 2020 Review Newsletter

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Yeah... a big event happened, but...

I opened up last month's newsletter by saying that October set up for November. Now that November is over and I'm supposed to be reviewing how the month went... I kind of don't want to talk about it. It didn't go well.

That said, I think I ranted about that very minimally on the website. November 2020 also went by very fast, because it feels like a very short amount of time has actually passed since the beginning of November. Suddenly, it's the first day of December. I hate December, by the way. Loathe it. But in terms of KoopaTV stuff, November was good. I'll provide evidence of that. Here:

KoopaTV's Top Five Recommended Experiences of November 2020

KoopaTV's articles are awesome and you should read all of them. Here are the top five from November 2020, in chronological order, as decided by... me!
  1. Are the "Hiding Your True Self" Spirits Wearing Masks Properly? — This is a very creative, entertaining, and informative art piece looking at all of the mask-wearers from the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Spirit Event "Hiding Your True Self" and seeing if they're complying with the CDC's mask-wearing guidelines.
  2. Republicans Need to Get Rid of MIKE LINDELL — I've heard many more MyPillow commercials since I wrote this article, and hearing Mike Lindell talk makes me think about this article. You should think about it too, because this guy is horrible and needs to be excommunicated from Republican politics. The article provides the reasoning why. This article was also the extent of election-related ranting.
  3. LEGO Super Mario Announces: Master Your Adventure Maker Set... with LARRY KOOPA?!!? — KoopaTV is covering the newest set announcements for LEGO Super Mario, and the author's brother, Larry, is a prominent component of it. ...But it doesn't end well for Larry.
  4. Nintendo “News” Outlets Proclaim Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a 3-Million Seller Because Random ResetEra Guy Said So — I might've had a trend of writing verbose titles in November. Anyway, here is yet another example of why the gaming media is awful. By the way, I edited Fire Emblem: Three Houses's Wikipedia page so it no longer includes reference to it selling over three million copies, because Wikipedia is about reliable sources, and anyone using a random ResetEra post as a source is not reliable.
  5. Is Using Game Elements Provided to Every Player Problematic “Cultural Appropriation”? — I not only provide my take on people freely using hair styles in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but I also interviewed and cited multiple people to make sure my opinion was informed.