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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Monster Hunter Rise and Monster Hunter Stories 2 Roadmaps Completed

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - That's a wrap.

Okay, with one big exception that won't happen for a while (Monster Hunter Rise is getting a big paid expansion called Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak... in summer 2022, which is so far away it's hard to imagine), the free update roadmaps for highly successful CAPCOM titles Monster Hunter Rise and Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin are done. All five CAPCOM Collabs complete for Monster Hunter Rise, and CAPCOM delivered the Free Title Update #5 in October 2021 for Monster Hunter Stories 2 as promised on release. There's not much to get into for that unless you're invested in the game, which... I'm not, yet, though I do own an unopened physical copy! As for Monster Hunter Rise, the completed updates are in time for its January 2022 release on the Steam platform, previously being a Switch exclusive.

What was the final CAPCOM Collab wasn't actually the final collaboration (and I'll get to that) in general, but let's look at it:

(I wanted the fifth collab to be Ghost Trick, but at least Ghosts 'n Goblins has...ghost... in the name...?) After completing the event quest Night in Shattered Armor which requires you to hunt down the targeted monsters (Volvidon, Basarios and then a Rathalos) to the Ghost 'n Goblins Resurrection Execution Grounds music, you get access to Arthur-themed layered armour, which will also transform throwing kunai to Arthur's lances.

Since that's... underwhelming, what was the real final collab (at least, as of publishing this in case they decide to go back and do some other unannounced content)? Well, it's out now, and not of another CAPCOM property:

Monday, November 29, 2021

I Got and Started Pokémon Shining Pearl!

Turtwig Von Koopa avatarBy TURTWIG VON KOOPA - Plus, I got the keychain plush.

Last week, I was upset over The Pokémon Center delaying its shipment of Pokémon Shining Pearl to me by a week. Fortunately, it wasn't delayed any further. I'm now a proud owner of Pokémon Shining Pearl... and a Piplup keychain plush.

Pokémon Shining Pearl inside Nintendo Switch box art Sinnoh Grand Underground Piplup keychain plush plushie
I think the inside of the boxart depicts the Grand Underground of the Sinnoh region.
Getting a Piplup plush isn't stopping me from picking Turtwig.

I did say I'm a proud owner, so that means I have a favourable first impression, right? ...Yes, yes I do. I'll tell you all about that throughout this article! But first, I'm doing an on-going Shining Pearl adventure blog on KoopaTV's Intranet forum, Planet Koopa. So if you want updates on how I'm doing trekking through Sinnoh, look there. That's just a tradition I've been doing since Pokémon SoulSilver, so I don't quite have a Sinnoh-to-Sinnoh comparison, but... It's something. I'm putting that content there and not on KoopaTV because KoopaTV isn't supposed to be my personal blog. (...The Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Logs are... totally different.)

Friday, November 26, 2021

Habit-Forming Game Comparison: Ring Fit Adventure vs. Pokémon Smile

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Both these games want you to do pro-healthy things. But they have very different approaches.

More and more games want to instill good habits in users. Healthy habits. Games as a source for good. That's explicitly the goal for games like Ring Fit Adventure on the Nintendo Switch (even the antagonist says as much) for exercise and Pokémon Smile on mobile devices for brushing teeth, as well as Pikmin Bloom for walking.

Habits take time to form, and they need certain elements. According to author Nir Eyal—who has worked in the videogame industry helping companies motivate and manipulate their players—and his book Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products, designers can build lasting habits in customers with a four step “desire engine” (that you can learn about in significant more detail at this talk he gave with several gaming references) that he abbreviates as A TARI:
  1. Trigger—gets you to act. Can be external or internal.
  2. Action—when doing something is easier than thinking about it. Fast decisions where the brain doesn't have to think. To get an action, you need to be motivated and have the ability to do it (and have the trigger).
  3. Reward—habit-forming tend to be “variable rewards”, where every time you do the action, you don't know if you'll get something out of it. Your dopamine system spikes when you're searching for a reward, in anticipation for it.
  4. Investment—users think about future rewards that make the next (or repeat) action more likely.

Nir believes through proper design, designers can make a certain behaviour—started by someone trying to seek pleasure—into a habit. That means you feel pained (or stressed) when you don't do it. You can use that design for good or for evil. For this article, I'm going to review and compare Ring Fit Adventure and Pokémon Smile and see if they have this proper desire engine design. Did Ring Fit Adventure and/or Pokémon Smile succeed in their core design elements to build habits in their users’ lives?

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Nintendo Switch Black Friday/Cyber Deals 2021

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Take your pick!

Just an upfront disclaimer: This article isn't going to be an exhaustive list of every interesting game on sale right now. If there's a game you think you're interested in... just look around the store listings. It's probably on sale. Unless it's something like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. But there are a number of first party Nintendo games on sale right now! Along with third party. So many of those. Including from Activision Blizzard, despite that company being deserving of a boycott.

Anyway, Nintendo put out a Cyber Deals news release with a video showcasing the games they REALLY want you to know are on sale right now until December 1 at 2:59 AM Eastern. Remember, this is their Cyber Deals list, so it's Nintendo eShop and digital downloads. There are many additional games not on sale on the eShop but are pretty universally on sale at retailers that will sell you physical copies of games, and I'll get into that as well in this article. But back to the Cyber Deals... while this article won't exhaustively list every game on sale, I will, for posterity, list the games in Nintendo's sales video that I don't think I can embed but it's just a montage of game footage so you're not missing much:

  • Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity—30% off ($60→$42)
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe—30% off ($60→$42)
  • MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: The Black Order—30% off ($60→$42)
  • Persona 5 Strikers—50% off ($60→$30)

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Big Three Console Manufacturers’ Responses to Activision Blizzard's Misdeeds

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - How do they compare?

You may have read my reaction to the Wall Street Journal investigation that Activision Blizzard's CEO, Bobby Kotick, knew about on-going sexual harassment in the workplace for years... and in some cases, directly contributed to it. Since then, many others have also reacted (though focused on... different aspects of it than I was), and many people, including current Activision Blizzard employees, are calling for Bobby Kotick to resign. In response, Activision Blizzard's board of directors created a “Workplace Responsibility Committee”, still fully confident that the company's current leadership can turn its toxic culture around with an extra committee laying around.

It turns out that, one way or another, the big three console manufacturers (Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft) have reacted to the story. Let's review what those reactions have been up to this point.

How Nintendo Has Reacted to Activision Blizzard

Nintendo of America has not put out a public statement, but someone from within did leak an internal email dated November 19 from president Doug Bowser to all employees to media outlet Fanbyte. This leak was later confirmed to be authentic by Nintendo to multiple outlets, though Nintendo declined to make any further public statement.

In that once-private message, President Bowser expressed that what's going on at Activision Blizzard is “disturbing” and against Nintendo's values, but fell short of promising any particular, specific action. However, Nintendo is in contact with their Activision counterparts, as well as the gaming lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association, which every company in this KoopaTV article is a part of. What those conversations look like is private and not leaked. But it seems like Nintendo wants to raise the standards of every big gaming company in America. The ESA hasn't made any public comment about the situation

While Activision Blizzard's videogames aren't a featured part of the current Black Friday deals on the Nintendo eShop (which I'll write a dedicated article about very soon), many of them are on sale right now if you choose to look for them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

The Pokémon Center's Brilliant Diamond/Shining Pearl Shipping Delay

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Alternatively, why I haven't written an article about the release of Pokémon Shining Pearl/Pokémon Brilliant Diamond yet.

You must already know that Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl released on the Nintendo Switch on November 19, 2021. I've been discussing it on KoopaTV in optimistic terms because the Sinnoh region and Generation 4 are in my top three things I'm a total fanboy of. It turns out I haven't played a mainline Pokémon RPG since Pokémon Moon, which released five years ago. I've skipped everything else out of apathy (Pokémon Ultra Moon) or active dislike and distaste for its game design (Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! and Pokémon Shield).

So a game that goes back to the good times before GAME FREAK decided to stop being interested in good game design practices (with some... possibly non-minor unfaithful tweaks) is the type of Pokémon game I should be happy with. And so I pre-ordered Pokémon Shining Pearl from the official store ran by The Pokémon Company International, the Pokémon Center:

Pokémon Shining Pearl Pokémon Center store online pre-order starters plush keychain
You'll receive a bonus plush key chain of a randomly selected starter with your pre-order!
(While supplies last.)

Generation 4 is a rare generation where I'd be quite happy receiving any one of those random plush keychains (another being Generation 3) because I like the designs for Turtwig, Chimchar, AND Piplup. Obviously, Turtwig is my most favourite, but I'd like to have any of these. So the store expects the game to be shipped for arrival on the day of release... and to this day, I still don't have the game. What happened? Well, over the weekend, there wasn't any communication for what was going on. Then on Monday, the Pokémon Center Support site published this article and put it as a support-wide announcement bar, explaining that they are aware of a shipping delay and there are shipping constraints that will result in a new expected delivery date of November 26. I was one of the first few people to have looked at the article because I was... constantly refreshing their support throughout Monday. Perhaps the problem has to do with the greater shipping problems affecting other industries as well. (We can get into the politics of that in the comments if you want?) I dunno. But they are promising to expedite the orders.

Then today, I got an email finally saying my package has shipped and I should expect it to arrive November 26. I'm left wondering if I'll get the plush keychain after all or if they'll consider it a job well done just to get the game. Because if it was a matter of the latter, I could've gotten it by shopping elsewhere. Or via digital download but... I'd rather not do that. Still, it's annoying to get it after Thanksgiving and not before.

I'm also wondering if I should get that life-sized Lucario from the Pokémon Center. That's a pre-order, too. I dunno with these pre-orders... I already got this Delibird Holiday Express Moomoo Milk & Cookies Tank Car Figure and that shipped without any issue whatsoever. You can guess why I bought it. The quality is great, I gotta say.

If you wanted to keep track, the top three things Ludwig is a fanboy of are, in no particular order, the Ace Attorney series, the two Tellius Fire Emblem games, and Generation 4 (Sinnoh) of the Pokémon franchise. He's quite biased about them, but you would be too if you experienced them. Ludwig is eagerly anticipating to re-experience Sinnoh, and he will publish an article when he actually receives the game... and/or the plush keychain.

Ludwig finally got the game and wrote about his start with it.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Expanding my Brain in the Limited Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain Demo

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - My brain's BIG-LEAGUE. I don't need this academy, clearly.

This is apparently a “Ludwig brags about high scores he got in a game demo.” article. Anyway, Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain releases this December 3, 2021 exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. To remind people that the game exists (and the enormous social good it does for a fractured Earth), Nintendo released a demo last week. It's very quick, so I recommend you download it and let me know how you did.

First, you go through some very limited avatar creation, customising your looks and a quote. And then you can play three activities out of the... twenty that it seems are available in the full game. Only in practice mode. The full game has a test mode that will chain them together and give you a holistic brain score across five categories, in addition to ghost-data-based online multiplayer. The demo also had local multiplayer available, but I didn't check that out.

The three available games (and my high scores) are...

Friday, November 19, 2021

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 53: Allegra's Top to Bottom Switch

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Deep breathing... of the wild!

Hello, and thanks for coming to the this edition of KoopaTV's Fitness Fridays series. In this fitness logs, I talk about my fitness journey for that week. Mainly through Ring Fit Adventure, though last week had a number of extra items to it!

Following the events of week 52, each of the Four Masters now get their own story arc. This week we're in World 53: Fitness Master Lv. 304, which is based on World 30: Extra Fitness Lv. 198. Allegra takes the stage here. ...Well, theoretically. Ring said that I'm already left in her dust, which is why she didn't appear in the world's intro, and I better catch up to her. Some story arc that is.

Ring Fit Adventure World 53 Allegra keep sprinting forward leave you in the dust
Why do Allegra's story arcs keep involving me chasing down a fleeing woman?

Starting on Sunday, I stopped by the Town at the beginning of World 53 to buy some outfits with the very limited number of Onyx stones (and money) that I have, and went north to clear Gluting Gallery (Novice) for 5 Peaches. Despite the game being based off the potentially problematic Overhead Side Bend motion, I got a perfect score on it. This was also aided by me getting a haircut last week so I could actually see in front of me.

And then we very quickly got to the problematic part of this entire world, right up-front: The Fitness Gym's Glutes Set. I should mention now that I play Fitness Master mode on the maximum difficulty level, 30, which means the following rep counts are the highest they can get since they scale based on that difficulty number. Behold what I have to go through:

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Panda and Nintendo to Start Officially Licensed Super Smash Bros. Circuit in 2022

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - With both Super Smash Bros. Ultimate AND Super Smash Bros. Melee!

While Nintendo of America has yet to publish a press release on this—a tweet doesn't count—today Nintendo and eSports organisation Panda Global has announced “Panda and Nintendo Partner for the First Officially Licensed Super Smash Bros.™ Circuit!” Their goal is to create a welcoming and fun space for Super Smash Bros. players, while also promoting competition... with cash prizes! Which is quite unusual for Nintendo, a company that has been sponsoring competitive online Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournaments but pays out in non-cash-redeemable eShop money and merchandise. The exact prizes and many of the details are unknown.

Panda Global Nintendo of America Super Smash Bros. Melee Ultimate official circuit invitation letter
I bet they wanted to have a Super Smash Bros. newcomer-style envelope/letter but got this instead.

We do know they described the circuit as a “short series” that leads to one single championship. Once large-scale events return and aren't cancelled by the Chinese Communist Party Virus, there will be in-person qualifying rounds for both Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Smash Bros. Melee, as well as online qualifying rounds for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Unofficial fan-made modifications to Super Smash Bros. Melee that allow one to play online through unauthorised emulations are, of course, not a part of this event.

This is the first time there is an officially licensed Super Smash Bros. circuit for both Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, though up to this point, Nintendo in Europe has had something similar for just the latter... though it got cancelled (or postponed indefinitely) because of the Chinese Communist Party Virus.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Riot Expands League of Legends Lore with Indie-Developed Spin-offs

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I like this conceptually! And I'd like other publishers to do this too for certain franchises.

There is no gaming community worse than the League of Legends fanbase. That said, I'll point out something cool when it pops up, so here's information about Riot Forge and the games they're publishing—they're a publishing arm of Riot Games, League of Legends's developer, that is publishing games in the League of Legends universe (known as Runeterra) developed by indie partners:

I suppose you don't want to watch that whole video (though more than half of it are two fireside chats) so I'll give you the gist. Given that League of Legends is a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) without a Player vs. Environment mode, it's not too conducive to story-telling, despite hundreds of Champions and potential for lots of lore and story.

The video mentioned the following games:
  • Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story by Tequila Works (known for Deadlight and Rime), about a child named Nunu looking for his mother. It's a single player narrative adventure with Willump, a protector for Nunu that is some kind of benevolent monster, taking place in the frigid Freljord. Nunu and Willump grow close to each other throughout this adventure and become great friends, with the game releasing in 2022.
  • Hextech Mayhem: A League of Legends Story by Choice Provisions (known for developing the Bit.Trip games, which were all the rage back on WiiWare), about an unhinged weirdo named Ziggs who likes blowing things up, and a more cautious old man named Heimerdinger. It's a side-scrolling platformer rhythm game (or auto-run rhythm game... or music game where your inputs are playing along to the music) taking place in Piltover. There are scripted prompts and also... unscripted prompts to the music that will create even more explosions that you need to activate for full completion. It's available right now for $10.
  • CONV/RGENCE: A League of Legends Story by Double Stallion (their only other console game is Speed Brawl), about a teenage inventor named Ekko going through the polluted city of Zaun, filled with organised crime. Ekko invented the Zero Drive, enabling time travel. It's a 2D action platformer, developing the character of Ekko and the story of the city. The time control factors into the gameplay and you can rewind it if you make mistakes or want to do something more optimal. It's also releasing in 2022.
  • Ruined King: A League of Legends Story by Airship Syndicate (known for Battle Chasers: Nightwar and Darksiders Genesis), about several Champions, including: Miss Fortune, a pirate captain; Illaoi, a Kraken prophetess that can fight with unattached tentacles; Braum, a big (but positive) Freljord brawler; Yasuo and Ahri who are mysterious... people; and Pyke, a crazy swordsman. They converge in the crime-ridden Bilgewater and the Shadow Isles. It's a turn-based roleplaying game with puzzle-solving exploration. It's not a totally generic turn-based RPG... there's thinking and strategy with the Lane Initiative System, which can have you choose trade-offs between turn speed and power (but there are also hazards on those lanes you might want to think about). It's available now for $30.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Yeah, Activision is Dumb for Having In-Office Alcoholic Drinks

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - They're still dumb to this day.

The only dedicated article KoopaTV has on the Activision Blizzard sexual misconduct story was mocking Rosen Law Firm's class action lawsuit... less on the merits on the case and more that it's filed by a joke legal company that files class action suits en masse (in ambulance chasing style) that don't seem to go anywhere. And they ignore my repeated requests for information.

Since then, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has attempted to settle with the American videogame company for $18 million... which was OBJECTED to by the original government party seeking action against Activision, which is California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Apparently, that federal agreement would have allowed for Activision to deny wrongdoing and weasel out of the other lawsuits, like California's gender discrimination one. The EEOC then had its own OBJECTION, saying that the DFEH's lawyers have a conflict of interest against Activision, and of course Activision will agree with the EEOC and asked for the whole Californian lawsuit to be thrown out. Apparently, those DFEH lawyers worked for the EEOC in an earlier time when they were investigating Activision for prior misdeeds... so it looks like they're just out for revenge, or something. It sounds like a decent Ace Attorney plot, actually, especially since it even takes place in California. At least in this case, it seems like the Californian prosecutors are the good guys and the feds are the bad guys, which is the opposite of what was going on back when Kamala Harris was a Californian prosecutor and not a member of the federal executive branch. (Obviously, everywhere she goes turns bad. That's a really nice plot.)

Anyway, today there was yet another new development that makes Activision look bad, this time from the Wall Street Journal, that implicates CEO Bobby Kotick as knowledgeable of many transgressions and apparently approving of wrongdoing. He's described as quashing internal allegations and discipline, and not informing the board of directors. For their part, the board of directors, as a response to the article, put out a short statement expressing their confidence in Bobby Kotick. That statement is short enough I'll quote it in full before getting to the real point of this article as foretold in the title:

Monday, November 15, 2021

GQ Magazine's Phil Spencer Xbox 20-Year Anniversary Interview

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I think it's fascinating. And answers some questions I posed a year ago.

Today marks the 20-year anniversary of Microsoft's videogame console, the original Xbox. That means a bit more to Microsoft than 20 years of stepladder jokes, at least. By itself, it's not article-worthy, but it comes with GQ Magazine having an extensive interview with Xbox head Phil Spencer and some of his other reports. I found it interesting to read through and you might, too.

It's a lot more interesting to read and think about Xbox's future visions than Nintendo's. Throughout the interview, Phil and his team are referring to interesting investments in cloud gaming and the Xbox Game Pass and buying out ZeniMax Media. Phil is all about fundamental changes and big moves for new markets, like how xCloud can increase the Xbox addressable market by an order of magnitude by going into areas with high brand recognition but low access to high-end gaming devices, like Africa, which does have access to a number of low-cost open platforms. Meanwhile, Nintendo is planning to expand by... building out theme parks, merchandising more, and working on movies with weak Nintendo Account tie-ins. That's their whole strategy they've been repeating for years.

It's obvious which company has the deeper, more engaging plotline, though Xbox has the advantage of being able to pull from Microsoft's pool of money. I outright was wondering a year ago what the conversation was like between Phil and Microsoft's board of directors when they bought out ZeniMax, and in the GQ interview, Phil Spencer actually addressed my wonder and characterised it as:

Friday, November 12, 2021

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 52: Fighting Super Pet Contest Rejects

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - If I actually played every week consecutively, I'd be doing a one-year anniversary now.

Welcome to the 52nd KoopaTV Fitness Friday! (I suppose to be fair, not every Fitness Friday ended up being published on Friday, but I'll call it that anyway.) Being at good fitness and wellness is important to general life happiness, which is why I want to reiterate this week's earlier bemoaning of Daylight Saving Time and clock-switching. That puts your body in a funk. It's not good for your health. It turns out I have other problems going on as well...

This week I'm playing Ring Fit Adventure's World 52: Extra Fitness Lv. 301 on the max difficulty of 30. This world is based on World 29: Extra Fitness Lv. 195, and it's supposed to be a miniboss rush of the Four Masters’ pets. In the normal story, we'd see all four of the Four Masters as they introduce their pets and themselves. Last week, we only saw one of the Four Masters, Armando... since we had to fight the guy. I'm very interested in what twists, if any, World 52 will bring. ...And having no story or characterisation whatsoever isn't the kind of twist I want to see.

Fortunately, all four of the Four Masters were in World 52's dialogue intro. Allegra didn't think I'd show up, though she didn't give an explanation as to why she thinks that. Abdonis knew I'd come. Armando said it'll only get harder from here, so I better be prepared. Lastly, Guru Andma likes the opportunity for us to train together... provided we clear the miniboss rush of everyone's pets.

Ring Fit Adventure Guru Andma warm up with my pets minibosses World 52
There's been a Pokémon Super Pet Contest held. None of the miniboss pets here got to become a finalist.
(Though none of the pets that I advocated for did, either. Will they become monsters, too?)

Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Evolution of the Fire Emblem Soldier

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - From LOL GBA Soldier to a respectable class.

The Fire Emblem series has seen many Soldiers employed throughout its history... and they've had a very spotty reputation that is only relatively recently being repaired. They were so bad that they were mocked for years among Fire Emblem players... which isn't very nice. This article will examine the Soldier class throughout history and the pressures they have to deal with... and how they eventually became seen as equals.

The Role of the Soldier

Depending on how cynical you are, you'll either define the role of Soldiers as defending their country and its way of life from threats... or you'll define it like how this Grado Soldier did to a new Recruit:

Fire Emblem Sacred Stones Grado lot of a soldier pawns games kings emperors
Koopa Kingdom's Troopas aren't pawns in our games!
They're patriots and we're committed to their development.

I'll get to this later in the article, but Soldiers are what happens when an army needs a lot of warm bodies to accomplish something and at relatively low cost. They're Lance wielders, which are cheap and can be effective and even simple to lethally poke people with. Soldiers won't be the boss or head of any army, and it'd be wrong to really call them critical to success. They often have abusive superiors that want to kill them when they screw up. They're the epitome of quantity over quality. As Fire Emblem games get past midway and beyond, Soldiers stop appearing. Perhaps they died out, leaving only the elite troops behind.

Despite all of this dismal talk about them, Soldiers have gotten better over time, too. Let's explore in detail.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Ramanas Park: Sinnoh's New Legendary Pokémon Gathering Place

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Why does this keep happening?

Today was a really bizarre news day for Pokémon Shining Pearl and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond. First, we learned about the existence of Ramanas Park:

Next, we learned that those games are getting a massive 3 GB update tomorrow—Version 1.1.0. ...Keep in mind that the games release on the 19th. (However, some people do have it already. Like certain videogame journalists... along with a few people who aren't supposed to have the game yet.) Both of these news items got their own separate Nintendo press release!

Let's talk about that update first. For one, it enables things for after the Hall of Fame, such as Ramanas Park. It will also add communication features for places like the Union Room and the Underground, as well as Mystery Gift, which makes sense if you... really want to restrict pre-release copies. But it also adds the opening animation movie to the game. Why isn't that shipping on the physical game card in Version 1.0? Like, if I'm playing the game for the first time on a plane ride or something and haven't updated it to 1.1.0, I'm just going to get a title screen and no opening animation? Because the original games—and not just Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl but the very first games in the franchise—had an opening cinematic, too. Even if it involved a Nidorino or Jigglypuff trying to use what's surely a Normal-typed attack against a Gengar but they did this cliffhanger kind of cutaway on the surely anti-climactic result. Even notoriously rushed Super Smash Bros. Melee had one. And it's beautiful to this day. And 3 GB? That's bigger than some entire other games. What the heck happened in the development of this?

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

September 30, 2021 Nintendo Quarterly Financial Update

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Plus, a couple of sales notes about a third-party company's games.

In the last week, Nintendo released financial disclosures and a lengthy presentation for the first six months of the fiscal year (April 1 2021 to September 30 2021). Today, they released a six-question Question and Answer session that I don't find important or interesting enough to warrant its own article.

In terms of financial highlights, the total number of Nintendo Switch hardware units is at 92.87 million, and software has climbed to 681.00 million. Compare that to a quarter prior when it was at 89.04 million and 632.40 million, respectively. However, Nintendo has cut their annual Nintendo Switch hardware forecast by 1.5 million consoles to a total of 24 million consoles to be sold by March 31, 2022, due to the semiconductor shortage. (However, they have projected they'll sell 10 million more games from 190 million to 200 million, retaining their overall net sales forecast of 1.6 trillion yen.) They've also revised their exchange rate for Euros to yen to be from 1 Euro = 120 yen to 1 Euro = 125 yen. I'm mentioning these things because people at the 81st Annual General Meeting of Shareholders were questioning why Nintendo assumed that Euro exchange rate to begin with when other Japanese companies assumed differently (and more accurately), and in earlier Question & Answer sessions they wondered why Nintendo was pretending there wasn't a semiconductor shortage.

All of the year-to-year numbers are way down because of how much Nintendo outperformed in the second quarter last year, back when everyone was buying tons of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and staying at home playing a lot of videogames was considered socially acceptable and was generally normalised due to Chinese Communist Party Virus-induced lockdowns. By late 2021, that's considered weird again. That's perhaps a reason why Nintendo is doing a bunch of out-of-the-home initiatives, like planning to open a new Nintendo Store in Osaka, Japan by the end of 2022. Super Nintendo World will have a Donkey Kong area sometime in 2024, and the next theme park will open in Hollywood in... an undisclosed year. And maybe to go along with being outside the home, Pikmin Bloom exists. ...No one has explained how it makes walking more fun, however.

September 30 2021 Nintendo Switch software game titles million sellers
I re-added New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe to this just to laugh at how Ring Fit Adventure surpassed it.
That said, Ring Fit Adventure is literally in the top 10 now, so it's not below-top-tier anymore. That makes this chart even more misleading.
Though I'm sure (unfortunately) it'll be kicked out of the top ten by the next financial disclosure with the new Pokémon titles.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Daylight Saving Time 2021 Update

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Priorities...

Back in March of this year, KoopaTV published an article that was a detailed contact list for members of Congress who could get the Sunshine Protection Act of 2021 passed through Committee. If this legislation would pass, it would keep the United States on permanent Daylight Saving(s) Time, and end biannual clock switching. While my personal preference would be constant Standard Time (and I got jumped by a bunch of Standard Time activists on Twitter for promoting the Sunshine Protection Act), I'm willing to advocate for constant Daylight Saving Time since that would also achieve my goal.

Time switching is terrible. Adjusting all the clocks is a pain. The effect on sleep is loathsome and unhealthy. Trying to coordinate events and things at specific times is confusing. Did you know that timezones actually change their name? Eastern Standard Time (EST) turns into Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), for example. It gets particularly messy when working with people from other countries. This includes things like livestreams, as noted by Fire Emblem YouTuber Mekkah who had to put out this post because lots of people were confused:

“If you're seeing my videos or streams go live an hour earlier than usual, that might be because Europe ended Daylight Savings Time this weekend while your part of the world did not! Two times a year, timezone math between Europeans and Americans especially becomes more complex than it already is because these two continents start and end Daylight savings time a week apart.”

I've listened to stories from friends and fellow KoopaTV staffers about how the change has personally affected them. Staffer Witch Princess says that she didn't bother fixing clocks from a Saturday power outage because they'd have to be changed again on Sunday anyway, so she didn't know what time it was. (Probably why she doesn't come to any of our reaction logs anymore because she keeps missing them from time differences.) I've had another friend describe how Dragon Quest Tact screwed over their stamina because Daylight Saving Time ended and free-to-play games have time-based stamina systems that act like you're trying to manipulate the system when the system clock changes.

Anyway, there are updates to the Sunshine Protection Act. Well... the process of getting it into law. Since March 15.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Ring Fit Adventure Fitness Log Week 51: Ring Ringsplains Dragaux

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Armando takes the stage.

Welcome to another KoopaTV Fitness Friday featuring Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch! I've been playing through this game for a long time now, and this is the 51st week—that's enough to be on my third playthrough of the game, which is officially known as “Fitness Master” mode. Unfortunately, Nintendo's designers have put in very little effort so far, resulting in my pretty short Week 50 log about how bored I was because of the lack of in-game dialogue and events.

For this week, I'm playing World 51: Fitness Master Lv. 298, which is based off World 28: Extra Fitness Lv. 192. That Fitness Log was very notable because this world features all four of the Four Masters in some capacity at various points in the world, plus a Dragaux boss fight. You can look at the length of that article and see that... it's quite long. It's because it featured so many important characters who had dialogue and interesting things happen. That means I'm... really interested to see if Fitness Master just sucks all of that away or if some of it is retained so I can not only be personally interested in this game, but I can write interesting things for you to read.

At least the world opened up on Sunday by saying that Armando really wants to help train us, and I better head to the Arms-Race Gym for that. Ring was fired up about it. First, we crossed Exertion River, which reintroduced the Naughtylus enemy type. I could ORKO it by hitting it super-effectively with a super-effective one-range Fit Skill with reps to spare. But a Mountain Climber (five-range Fit Skill) barely didn't have the needed power. More level ups needed. Or a smoothie. Or an attack-boosting outfit. And I don't mean a Strength Drink, which was in a Treasure Chest in the level. Because that only increased my Attack stat by one point... up to 1905 points.

Ring Fit Adventure World 51 let's head to Arms-Race Gym Armando
Ring is all fired up. You can see it in his eyes.

After the river, I headed to Fitness Master's first Fitness Gym: the Leg Set. If I get an A rank (above 90 points), I'll clear it and get a Citrine (which I'll sell for money). The difficulty of the Leg Set is directly connected to my chosen difficulty level being 30 (the max). This involves:

Thursday, November 4, 2021

What is the NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - A miserable, horrible experience. Coming twice!

It's approaching: the Nintendo-sponsored NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021! Happening in two events: Event #1 is this Saturday, November 6, from 6 PM Eastern to 9 PM Eastern. Event #2 is two weeks later on November 20, also from 6 PM Eastern to 9 PM Eastern. So... what is it? It is an entirely in-game anti-competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate event open to Americans. Unlike in previous events, you can only register starting now, as opposed to much earlier before it occurs. Unlike the last time they had this in December 2020, there are no character restrictions.

The in-game rules are two stocks and a five minute time limit... with the Final Smash Meter on, and Low Items featuring the Smash Ball, Container, Star Rod, Home-Run Bat, Fire Bar, Killing Edge, Ray Gun, Drill, Bob-omb, Green Shell, Mr. Saturn, Pitfall, Banana Peel, Unira, Boomerang, and Screw Attack items. Any stage's Omega or Battlefield forms can be randomly selected.

NintendoVS US Challenge Cup Fall 2021 items
Extremely dangerous items include the Screw Attack, Drill, Bob-omb, Home-Run Bat, and of course, Smash Ball.
The Hammer should not be highlighted, but Green Shell should be.

Players will repeatedly match-make themselves in the temporary in-game mode to acquire Tourney Score, an anti-transparent and awful system because you have no idea what your score means or where you stand in relation to other people.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Pokémon's Super Pet Contest: Who to vote for, and following the rules

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I have some unused votes, you know...

In order to build up some kind of excitement around Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl without actually talking about the game itself, The Pokémon Company International two weeks ago opened up the Pokémon Presents Super Pet Contest, where people submit their pets (or “bestie”) to three categories inspired by Sinnoh's Super Contests. To enter the contest, pick one of three categories (Clever—for talented or genius animals; Cool—for stylistic animals or Cute—for being adorable... omitting Tough and Beauty from what Sinnoh has), upload your photo and make sure it follows the guidelines (although the Terms and Conditions call them Rules and not mere guidelines), fill out a form with your information and your pet's information, and acknowledge that only residents of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France can win a prize. (Prizes include a copy of Pokémon Shining Pearl, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond, a plushie, and a Nintendo Switch Lite Dialga & Palkia Edition.)

You can only have one pet per photo (no humans allowed, and no human pets either), the photos should avoid doxxing anyone and avoid obscene things or portray danger to the pet, as well as not having pets resemble Pokémon characters or any other branding. If you happened to have named your pet after a Pokémon, that is also ineligible. You are allegedly only allowed to enter one photo per pet. Photos are vetted by contest admins before they can appear on the site, but they obviously don't do a good job.

Pokémon Super Contest repeat entries Remington Remmy Remy dog
Perhaps the admins believe that Remy, Remmy, and Remington are all different animals?
And Dinah & Reagan are conjoined twins and are one animal?

Anyway, people can vote for their favourite entrants, and get up to 10 votes per day. Here are the pets that I'm personally voting for:

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Post-Sora October 2021 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Online Fighter Usage Stats

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Did Sora clinch it?

Just two weeks ago, KoopaTV published the very last possible look at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's online metagame BEFORE the last downloadable content character, Sora, was added. Sora, with his... unique playstyle (along with version 13.0.0's other balance changes), would no doubt change the metagame and which characters people would use.

But how can that change be measured? Well, Nintendo provided the opportunity: their NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021 tournament was divided into two events: one on October 15–16 right before Sora released, and the second on October 29–30 right after Sora released. By comparing the character usage stats collected from the tournament before and after, we could gauge the effect that Sora—and the other balance patch changes—had on the metagame.

By the way, the finals were streamed. No one used Sora in those, though there were plenty of other DLC characters:

While all eight of the players featured on that stream are getting some kind of prize, congratulations are in order for the four GRAND PRIZE winners: Jake (Enderman / Mario) of Region 8, Xerzal of Region 6 (Min Min), MarkSDKing (R.O.B.) of Region 1, and Avarice (Ridley) of Region 3. Nintendo promises to mail out your prizes within sixteen weeks.

As a result of the thousands of games and hundreds of players for the tournament, I have aggregated the fighter usage stats for Event 2 of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate NintendoVS US Fall Open 2021. Below is a chart, along with a text-based list and my commentary—commentary on both the stats and the tournament itself (which is also commentary on the flaws of the data):

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

Monday, November 1, 2021

KoopaTV's October 2021 Review Newsletter

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Now with a different complaint at the top!

Welcome to November. Only two months left in the year. Let's kick it off by reviewing how our October 2021 did!

We'll write about the October's articles, your comments, updates on the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program... and to start, a complaint that has a big impact on KoopaTV:

Google is screwing over KoopaTV's image searchability

For the past several months, I've had my Google grievance at the top of the newsletter be that they promised to murder the FeedBurner RSS to email subscription thing a while ago now, yet it's still going long after their drop-dead timeline. There's been no communication, so as far as I know, Google just isn't aware that they never turned it off.

But my problem now with Google is significantly more important: They basically ruined how images are uploaded and stored with their Blogger content management system that KoopaTV uses. Starting after late September 2021, they went from uploaded images retaining their file name stored to to being some gibberish that doesn't even end in .png or .jpg or .gif or anything stored to This isn't just a KoopaTV thing but has impacted everyone who uses their content management system. There are a couple of threads on the Google Product Support community about it. As I noted there, Google's own Best Practices guide notes that their bot helps judge images by their file name, and so my-new-black-kitten.jpg is better than gibberish like IMG00023.JPG. (It's not the only factor, but it is important enough to have been noted.) And yet that's what KoopaTV is stuck with throughout October and beyond.

There are actual implications to being sub-optimal. According to Google Search Console, we had several articles published in September 2021 with thousands of impressions when people do Google Images searches. But when I looked for Images-based impressions for articles published in October 2021, nothing even shows up. For normal Search-based impressions, yeah, there isn't a change there because that's looking at text on the page. But Images published under Google's new system have been dealt a bad hand. Imagery has been an area that KoopaTV has actually excelled in (ironically, I'm not putting any images in this newsletter), so this is a very bad, ominous thing. Like, enough for me to say screw Google and move to WordPress or something like the rest of the world.

Top Five Recommended Experiences of October 2021

KoopaTV articles definitely deserve to be widely found by people. As evidence, here are my top five recommended KoopaTV experiences published in October 2021. Consider these the “must-reads”, presented in chronological order: