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Monday, October 18, 2021

The Last Look at the Pre-Sora Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Online Fighter Usage Stats

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Everything changed tonight... So here's the last data point before then.

Every so often, KoopaTV will publish a look into the online metagame of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in the form of character usage statistics. It has been a long time since the last edition, being last year's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate October 2020 Fighter Usage Stats... because there hasn't been another Nintendo-sponsored tournament event to take data from. Until last weekend with the NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021 Event 1. Here were the finals of that, if you're interested:

Congratulations to Grand Prize winners Colmar (PAC-MAN of Region 7), Emolord (Samus of Region 6), Middy (PAC-MAN of Region 1), and Toonfink (Inkling of Region 2)!

There will be an Event 2 happening October 29 (click the hyperlink above to learn more about the tournament and how to register—maybe I'll be congratulating YOU in a couple of weeks, but only if you join). You may note that Event 2 is happening after the release of Sora, the very last DLC character added to the game as of tonight. That makes Event 1 basically the last Super Smash Bros. Ultimate online tournament with easy-to-access character usage stats before Sora's release, which means it'll be a historical baseline for how much Sora (and any other balance changes coming with version 13.0.0) will shake up the online metagame and players’ preferences.

Here are the aggregate results across the entire United States. I do believe the tournament was fairly representative of the average online player due to its Nintendo-sponsored push. Searchable text list follows, along with my discussion (and several caveats to the data):

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021 Pre-Sora October Ladder Round Fighter Choice Stats

Friday, October 15, 2021

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 48: Fake nods and cream puffs

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'm desperately trying to make this worth your read.

Are these still going to be called KoopaTV Fitness Fridays? I suppose. This is no longer about training for the Olympics (the prior one is done and the coming one is being boycotted) but trying to have a general sense of fitness instead of being a sedentary Koopaling. That's a good thing to strive toward even without a specific goal. So I'm playing Ring Fit Adventure for a third time through... this time on the last unlockable mode, FITNESS MASTER (and on difficulty level 30 the whole playthrough). You can see Week 47 for a quick explanation on what Fitness Master is.

This week, we're going through World 48: Fitness Master Lv. 287, which is based off World 25: Extra Fitness Lv. 182. The only dialogue that Ring had to offer when I walked into the world is that we have a lot of Fit Skills that we can potentially use, and I should be mindful of what I'm exercising with. That... gives me very low hopes for how interesting this Fitness Master playthrough will be, since I'm personally motivated by Ring Fit Adventure's world-building and levity. Hopefully I can make it somewhat interesting for you to read this.

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Master balance Fit Skill regimen dialogue World 48
Did Ring Fit Adventure's designers assume that I never updated my Fit Skills after
TWO entire playthroughs?

One application of what Ring is talking about is that, while you're running through a level, you can change your Fit Skills at any time except once you're in a battle. So if you see that the first group of enemies will have two enemies, which was the case in Nightcloak Pass, you can equip Fit Skills appropriately. When I was fighting Dragaux at the end of World 47, I changed all of my Fit Skills to one-range Fit Skills. To prepare for the two-enemy group, I swapped out an Overhead Press (one-range) for a Front Press (three-range) so I could fight effectively. You can also make and drink smoothies in-between fights during a level, but you can't change clothing. That can only be done from the overworld map.

Just like in World 25, the Treasure Chest above Nightcloak Pass contained a Citrine stone. Unlike World 25, I've been collecting those things for a whole adventure, so I have thirteen in my inventory as opposed to zero. And then I collected another one from an enemy group in Dashalong Tower where I could spam three-range Hinge Poses (not because I like Hinge Pose, but because I want to get its Title) without any cooldown. ...Ugh, they should've done a cooldown of one turn instead of zero.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Liberal Gaming Forum ResetEra Bought by MOBA Network

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - That's... unfortunate. For them.

Notorious gaming forum ResetEra (the successor to notorious gaming forum NeoGAF, which is technically still around) has been around for four years now. The forum, which proclaims itself to be an independent liberal and progressive (and occasionally leftist) gaming forum, manages to trick videogame journalists into thinking that they're a source of verified information on a somewhat regular basis. As an example of their way of thinking, they think Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai has a long and on-going racist streak. And while I do believe that Sakurai harbours unwarranted and undeserved hatred of certain other people (such as myself), I don't think that's a reasonable interpretation of things Sakurai has done. But reasonable takes isn't what ResetEra is known for. They ban people who have dissenting views from far left of centre (and how far minimum left you gotta be to stay around is always a moving target), and this is enforced throughout the forum, including what should be normal gaming discussion.

Anyway, they're independent of any company influencing them, though companies apparently aren't independent of being influenced by them. Though they should be. But that's all about to change, since a Swedish company called MOBA Network just acquired ResetEra for 4.55 million in USD. Apparently, ResetEra itself made $700,000 in revenue in the past twelve months, and with a healthy 80% earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, or amortisation margin... which is quite high. This is based off ads placed on the site, along with users trying to support the forum with lame things like an ads-less version called Era Clear for $40 a year. (Note their FAQ asks what happens to the subscription if you get banned; forums and organisations with normal moderation policies and subscriptions don't have that as a frequently asked question.) They bought that because they always thought ResetEra was on the verge of financial collapse and they wanted to keep their safe space open—but the opposite was true.

Interestingly, ResetEra's owner, an uninvolved nobody named Cerium, seems to be the sole recipient of the payout. ResetEra's heavy-handed moderator force was always on a volunteer basis and never got paid... and still won't. As Cerium explains, the moderators will still be volunteers, and “the tech team [...] will be making their own arrangements” with the new corporate owners if they want to stay along. Allegedly, MOBA Network will not be selling users’ data and their data will continue to be protected. That's of particular interest to the users because in order to join the forum, you need a paid email address instead of a free one, so you'd need something like a work or school email. As a result, ResetEra has quite an interesting amount of personally identifiable information on its userbase!

So who is MOBA Network?

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Pokémon Shining Pearl and Brilliant Diamond Casualised “Quality of Life” Changes

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The net effect is a frownie face. Plus, a psychological experiment design for anyone to set up.

From what I can gather, today Nintendo branches across Earth have gone on calls with select media outlets (excluding KoopaTV, since there's no Nintendo of Koopa Kingdom office) to preview Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl. Those outlets have all written articles chronicling what they have learned about the anticipated Pokémon games releasing at the end of next month. Note that there wasn't a corresponding The Pokémon Company International news release to go with these previews, though they do clear up some lingering questions from this video published some weeks ago:

I wrote before that I was excited about the “faithfully reproduced” and “carefully preserved” initial marketing, but it seems like there are a number of changes, as implied by their later change to calling the game “revitalised.” For this article, I'll be mostly drawing from the previews provided by GameSpot and Australian outlet Vooks. Their points can be summarised as:

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Ace Attorney 20th Anniversary Sale!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Now's a good opportunity...

Did you know (and did you care) that October 12, 2001 is the twenty-year anniversary of Gyakuten Saiban on the Game Boy Advance... also known as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney? That makes the Ace Attorney franchise—KoopaTV's collective favourite—twenty years old now. And while I don't care much about anniversaries, developer CAPCOM is going hard on it. At least... in Japan.

Over in Japan, they have a note from the development team appreciating that there are many supportive fans of the Ace Attorney series, and that CAPCOM will continue to support the series. The page then talks about many events happening, like some kind of art display at whatever a PARCO FACTORY is; art pieces that they're going to be selling; LINE stickers; a franchise game sale; an Ace Attorney event at CAPCOM's cafe; an Ace Attorney prize package you can win with some kind of luck-based event; and an Ace Attorney virtual reality event at a mall where CAPCOM has a presence.

So what happens outside of Japan? Well... one of the above things, and that's the franchise game sale. And to be fair, CAPCOM hasn't had one of those for Ace Attorney in four months, which is really restrained by their standards:

Nintendo eShop Ace Attorney 20th Anniversary Sale Phoenix Wright Apollo Justice Trilogy
“Don’t miss your chance to play various Ace Attorney games for up to 70% off.”

The broadest sale is on the Nintendo eShop (collectively the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS), with very familiar discounts:

Monday, October 11, 2021

Kotaku Promoting Piracy of Just-Released Metroid Dread—and doubled down on it

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - They're big fans of cyberspace pirates.

If you follow any Nintendo marketing you'd know that on Friday they released both Metroid Dread (the first brand-new 2D Metroid game in almost two decades!) and the Nintendo Switch (OLED model). The latter is something that some journalists seem to despise, since they like to make up stories about other consoles that they'd rather have exist besides that one. Interestingly, mainstream videogame media outlet Kotaku not only apparently isn't one of those outlets, but they've also helped debunk some of those FAKE NEWS stories written by those other outlets. I've had a very negative opinion of Kotaku for many years, but perhaps they're becoming better over the past year or so...?

Which leads back to Metroid Dread and the answer to that question. Nintendo really, really wants you to buy Metroid Dread, unlike some of their other games that they release but then forget to market. Personally, I have more than enough to play already, and Metroid Dread isn't the kind of game I'd like to spend $60 on, especially when I'm used to playing its prequels at significantly lower prices on the Wii (U) Virtual Console. Still, in deciding not to purchase Metroid Dread, that also means I'm deciding not to play Metroid Dread. I'm not entitled to still play the game. That shouldn't be an astounding statement, but I figure I gotta go slow, because Kotaku seems to disagree. Their weekend editor, Zack Zwiezen, wrote and published this atrocious article headlined, Metroid Dread Is Already Running Great On Switch Emulators.

That article informs readers that popular Nintendo Switch emulators (Zwiezen namedrops two of them with instructions on downloading them) can play Metroid Dread. The emulator resources instruct people to look for a Metroid Dread ROM on their own in order to play it on their emulator. The article doesn't instruct people to purchase Metroid Dread, and in fact, advocates for people to steal the game in their opening and ending paragraphs, with quotes like,

Friday, October 8, 2021

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 47: Beginning FITNESS MASTER Mode

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Here is what Fitness Master is about.

As I promised last week, this week I'm playing Ring Fit Adventure again after not having done so since July 9th. I do need to get back into it—my endurance is slipping, based on how less proficient I am at performing tasks like vacuum cleaning the castle rooms. I did stop because on July 9, I finished Ring Fit Adventure's Extra Fitness mode and proceeded to go off to the Tokyo 2021 Olympics held later that month.

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Master ultimate challenge select world
Well, nothing in World 47 is an ultimate challenge.
Perhaps that'll change?
Also the image implies World 47 has Lv. 295 in the name, but it's Lv. 286.

When I turned Ring Fit Adventure back on on Wednesday and went to Adventure, Tipp was happy that I finally came back and said I've unlocked another whole world with even stronger enemies: Fitness Master. There, at World 47: Fitness Master Lv. 286, Dragaux and the Four Masters were inspired by my drive to become even stronger, so they, too, want to become stronger. And then Dragaux wanted to change how things worked and gave me Level 4 versions of every Fit Skill, which then prompted a message saying I've unlocked every Fit Skill in the game.

Ring Fit Adventure Dragaux gives level 4 Fit Skills dialogue
Ring... One could always use whichever Fit Skills in Fit Battles.
Moves just had cooldown so you'd have to vary them, and some Fit Skills were blatantly better than others.
If Fitness Master truly wanted to be difficult, they'd force you to use pre-determined skills for every single level.

The gimmick of Level 4 Fit Skills, and really the entire Fitness Master playthrough, is that all skills now have equivalent stats. All five-range skills have 655 base power; all three-range skills have 745 base power; and all one-range skills have 1000 base power. Perhaps even more importantly, they now all have 0 recharge, meaning you can use the same skill consecutively for an entire match. This means which Fit Skill to use is determined entirely by what the player wants (and Titles to collect—which are based on using a certain Fit Skill for thousands of repetitions on a save file) as opposed to game design... which I'm not sure I like.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Dragon Quest Composer Koichi Sugiyama Dies of Septic Shock

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - That's upsetting!

World-famous and allegedly planetary crisis-causing Dragon Quest series composer, Koichi Sugiyama, died at 90 years old in Japan of a septic shock on September 30, as announced earlier today by Square Enix. It was apparently kept a secret for a week so the family and close friends could hold a private funeral and farewell ceremony. A company-wide event will happen later on, but Sugiyama's family would like for people to leave them alone, pretty much, and not send them anything, including condolences. So KoopaTV will refrain from that.

I would note, however, that sometime after June 10, 2016 and by June 27, 2016, Sugiyama's website already made him out to be looking dead with this black-and-white photo banner that wasn't there before then, so I think he was prepared for his death years in advance:

Sugiyama Koichi Dragon Quest composer black and white grayscale photo
That September 29, 2001 references something else. I believe it's how long his site's been around.
It's a coincidence he died pretty much exactly 20 years later.

I strongly believe that the only time you should use a greyscale photo in this age of colour photography is if you're dead or eliminated from something... or if you're printing something, such as in a newspaper and don't want to pay for colour ink. And Sugiyama has experience with that (black-and-white printing in a newspaper) in the past, though shame on him for having it be in the FAKE NEWS Washington Post and giving them money at all. (I don't think he was a direct funder of the advertisement, however.)

Anyway, even at 90 years old, he was still living an active lifestyle. He was earning awards (the 2020 Person of Cultural Merit award in Japan), was working on the soundtrack for Dragon Quest XII (and we have no idea how far he got with that before getting a game over), and got what's probably the biggest honour of his life by having his music featured at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Opening Ceremony—even if FAKE NEWS hit piece writers make that out to be some awful international scandal.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Sora was the True Super Smash Fighter Ballot Winner... Let's recap how it was RIGGED

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - This isn't a paranoid rambling. It really was rigged.

Yesterday (though it already feels like such a long time ago!) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate director Masahiro Sakurai revealed that Sora is Fighter Pass character 11... and the ultimate winner of the 2015 Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot. That ballot was a highly controversial web form that Nintendo set up for half a year. In that hyperlinked article, I had an interview with a Nintendo employee who assured me that the ballot truly was limited to one vote per person, but they would not reveal their security measures to enforce this. You can find many people admitting they voted in this ballot several times. Did the security measures block those attempts? We can't know for sure.

Sora winner Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot
There's a fair number of problems with this that I've already documented in other KoopaTV articles.
So I'll recap it in this article.

At the end of 2015, Masahiro Sakurai revealed that the “1st Worldwide*” winner of the Smash Bros. Fighter Ballot was Bayonetta. The asterisk then explained, “Among realizable characters.” The fact that Masahiro Sakurai is now revealing that Sora was the real winner means that he was one of those non-realizable characters, most likely due to his difficult rights management situation with Disney. While Sakurai didn't use that term again in his presentation, it's possible that Sora still lost out to a non-realizable character. We won't know.

Nintendo won't publish the results or allow any auditing. However, like pretty much every election process, there is huge potential for fraud and rigging, including processes that Nintendo has administered before. I will personally admit to having voted for myself hundreds of times in their Which Koopaling is the biggest troublemaker? poll, but Lemmy Koopa keeps getting ahead of me. Who keeps voting for Lemmy? Individual one-off fans? Lemmy himself? Someone who knows a secret side to Lemmy that I don't know? But I digress.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

The Final "Mr. Sakurai Presents" revealing the last DLC character of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate... and KoopaTV Live Reacts!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Spoiler alert: It wasn't Phoenix Wright.

It is finally time for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character development to close, as mentioned in the September 2021 Nintendo Direct. The Mii costumes and final character revealed in the following presentation, as reacted to by myself and Heavy Lobster, are releasing October 18. That means it won't impact the October 15 Super Smash Bros. NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021, but it will impact the October 29 one. Follow along to see if I'm looking forward to the release or not.

Oh, nevermind, the embedded thumbnail spoils who the reveal is, so... I might as well not try to keep it a secret. Whatever!

[9:55 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa:
[9:55 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Well I'll be right back... I'm really thirsty. >.<
[9:56 AM] HeavyLobster: I don't care who it is as long as it isn't a character I really don't want.
[9:59 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Pain avoidance is more important than potential gain, yes.
[9:59 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: SNAP
[9:59 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: IT SNAPPED
[9:59 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: IT'S NOT EVEN 10 AM
[10:00 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: Montage of all the characters...
[10:00 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: FINAL PRESENTATION
[10:00 AM] Ludwig Von Koopa: KONICHIWA

Monday, October 4, 2021

Tencent's Got ≥25 million Nintendo Switch + Mobile suckers with Pokémon UNITE

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - And some third party estimates are way higher. They're stuffing the Pokémon Bank for sure.

When I wrote “Tencent's Got ≥9 million Nintendo Switch suckers with Pokémon UNITE” two and a half weeks ago, I really didn't expect that 9 million to increase so dramatically so quickly. The mobile version wasn't out yet—just the Switch version. But now it is. And now the official count is at over 25 million Pokémon UNITE downloads across all platforms:

Why, why people? There were five million mobile pre-registrations, but it seems like many times more mobile gamers downloaded Pokémon UNITE than just the pre-registrants. And if mobile data firm Sensor Tower is to be believed, the game has been downloaded on mobile over 30 million times, which makes the total at least over 39 million. That also makes it the most popular mobile MOBA launch in the genre's history. Obviously, Tencent's strategy of preying on Pokémon-loving children (outside of China, since they're restricted within China) is working very well. KoopaTV is powerless to stop this, unfortunately. I wish it weren't so.

So what is Tencent doing with that? Well, check out this cosmetic (not pay-to-win) item:

Friday, October 1, 2021

KoopaTV's September 2021 Review Newsletter

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I thought it was pretty good, but it ended fast...

Welcome to the September 2021 edition of KoopaTV's monthly newsletter series, where we review what happened in the month right after it ends. I'll take you through KoopaTV's content in addition to your involvement, since the audience is important to us!

I think Google forgot they said they'd kill FeedBurner

I think this headline is a running gag by now. Google said they would dismantle FeedBurner, KoopaTV's original email subscription service, on July 2021. They revised that to say it'd disappear mid-August. It's been well over a month since mid-August, so perhaps they just forgot.

In the meantime, KoopaTV has migrated existing email-based subscribers to You yourself can sign up for that to get new KoopaTV articles to your email inbox. That way, you won't miss a thing here. ...And as the next headline shows, you won't WANT to miss a thing here.

...But seriously, I really have no idea when Google will actually cut the FeedBurner plug. There hasn't been any communication. I think I'm able to turn off the FeedBurner for everyone still receiving the emails, but no one has actually asked me to. So I haven't. (And I've been giving ample opportunity, which is why I keep making this section the very first one in the newsletter so it'd show up on the email subscription.)

Top Five Recommended Experiences of September 2021

My gosh, I really outdid myself this month. KoopaTV published some really, really good content in September 2021. (Which is why an email subscription so you don't miss any of that very-worth-reading content is a superb idea.) That makes picking only the best five of 21 options quite difficult (I could have picked a completely different set of five), but here's my attempt (in chronological order of publish date):
  1. Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain Trailer—Structural Racism SOLVED! — After you read this article, you'll have a better understanding of how to respond in conversations about structural racism (besides not responding at all)—because Nintendo solved it with Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain, according to trailer analysis you'll only find on KoopaTV.
  2. Summary of Masahiro Sakurai's Katsuhiro Harada's Bar AppearancesSuper Smash Bros. series director Masahiro Sakurai was invited on Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada's web series, Harada's Bar, in four episodes. Portrayed as mysterious, KoopaTV summarised almost two hours of content for you.
  3. Latios and Latias aren't INCLUSIVE enough. Meet Latixs — Did you know it's still Eon Heritage Month? Many are celebrating with Latios for males and Latias for women... but what about those who are outside of binary gender classification? In that case, KoopaTV would like to inform you about Latixs!
  4. Super Kirby Clash Online Etiquette Guide — This etiquette guide is an excellent GUEST ARTICLE about doing well in Super Kirby Clash while playing online. It's not only informative, but written in a very entertaining way.
  5. FAKE NEWS Bloomberg Writes FAKE NEWS about a Nintendo Switch 4K that doesn't exist — This was the angriest I got all September, even moreso than a certain story from the week before that was directly about me that I didn't put into this top five but easily could have. It goes against all notions of justice and goodness in the world that noted FAKE NEWS business publication, Bloomberg, continues to publish factually untrue garbage about the Nintendo Switch... and they're still taken seriously by others. (Like, Nintendo's stock fell 5% today because of Bloomberg's FAKE NEWS.)

KoopaTV published significant, quality truth and levity content in September. And all for free! ...Which won't segue into announcing a paid premium KoopaTV offering, but instead to...