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Friday, April 29, 2022

(Don't join the) NintendoVS Challenge Cup May 2022!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Too bad there's not much interesting stuff to add here.

Today, for everyone like me who isn't into Nintendo Switch Sports, Nintendo of America announced the NintendoVS Challenge Cup May 2022, which they are positioning as a “tournament” even though it shouldn't be defined as that.

I already wrote an article back in February about why you shouldn't join the NintendoVS Challenge Cup February 2022... and I could really just copy-paste that whole article for this time but change February to May. That is, after all, what Nintendo did with their own ruleset, which is exactly the same despite poor player reception.

NintendoVS Challenge Cup May 2022 banner
They DID change the colour scheme on the logo from red and black to dark blue and light blue, though.

Here's a summary of what you'll get into if you decide to join. The NintendoVS Challenge Cup is an entirely in-game affair, accessed by going into Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's Online section to the notice on the top right and registering to the Challenge Cup while agreeing to terms. For the three hours on May 7, 2022, you will participate in a Quick Play-esque scenario where you can choose your character and get match-made with someone with a similar Tourney Score as you. You start with 15,000 Tourney Score. If you win, it goes up by an arbitrary amount. If you lose, it goes down by an arbitrary amount. Then you can go back to the Character Selection Screen and pick a different character, or keep using that character. Your Tourney Score is per user, not per character, so it's the same Score even if you change characters. You won't get to immediately rematch the person you just fought, though you may be match-made against them again later. There is no way of knowing how your Tourney Score compares to others’ during the event, so you won't know if you're in the Top 8 scores necessary to win a prize. (You needed over 29,000 for February's. The winners include competitive, professional players, several of which streamed their runs for content.)

The actual matches are two-stock five-minute matches with Final Smash metre and certain items turned on. In practice, this means that it's really a one-stock game with the Final Smash deleting the second stock (even though metre-induced Final Smashes are weaker than Smash Ball-induced Final Smashes, some Final Smashes are so powerful that it doesn't really matter and they can KO extremely early—so the metagame would be a bit different than the Fighter Usage Stats I just published earlier this week because that wasn't based on Final Smashes being in play), and that one stock is heavily influenced by the unpredictable appearance of items. Since competitive players tend to be the ones who win the prizes from these anyway, it's not totally RNG-based from a macro-level, but on an individual micro match-to-match level, RNG is a large factor. That can be very frustrating, especially because it's in our nature to remember the more unfortunate incidents where you might lose due to circumstances beyond your control than remembering epic wins. Actually remembering what happens is hard, because saving Replays is disabled during this event.

Prizes include a backpack, a trophy, a jacket, a carrying case, and My Nintendo Gold Points ($100, $75, or $50 depending on your placing). Same as before. Whatever.

If you wanted actual competitive rules from a Nintendo-sponsored tournament, you should've joined the NintendoVS North American Open April 2022. Ludwig took his own advice and didn't join the February Challenge Cup. If he's a wise Koopaling, he won't join the May 2022 Challenge Cup either and will be doing something better with his time than being frustrated.

The Challenge Cup returns with the NintendoVS Challenge Cup June 2023, now with stage hazards on.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Don't Fall for Yuji Naka Trying to Redeem Himself or BALAN WONDERWORLD

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Don't fall for it.

Earlier today Yuji Naka went on a rant on Twitter, providing a tell-some story to the world now that his trial (as in, through a court) with SQUARE ENIX is over (...and apparently he had one of those) and he can talk freely about it and the troubled development of BALAN WONDERWORLD, which is an infamously awful 3D platformer that released last year. There is a presumably competently English-translated version here, since using machine translations on Yuji Naka's Japanese text comes out to incoherent gibberish.

Basically, Yuji Naka was removed as the director of BALAN WONDERWORLD half a year before its release, so he filed a lawsuit. This removal was done by Square Enix's “producer, head of marketing, head of sound, managing director, and [Human Resources].” Essentially, no one wanted Yuji Naka around. He cited two reasons: Number one, something about the game's soundtrack. I'm not entirely sure what he's talking about when he mentions the YouTuber and an arranged soundtrack, but Yuji Naka wanted the game's original soundtrack released. And SQUARE ENIX hasn't done so—although they haven't taken down unofficial uploads of the soundtrack on YouTube despite those being around pretty much since the game's release, like this uncredited “homage” of a theme from Ghostbusters. I guess, to be fair, it does sound pretty nice. (But if this is an issue, I can see why the game's sound head would want him out.)

Number two, Yuji Naka was jeopardising Square Enix's relationship with developer Arzest by complaining about Arzest submitting builds of BALAN WONDERWORLD to Square Enix that were buggy and awful. Arzest founder and Yuji Naka's best buddy from the Sonic the Hedgehog days, Naoto Ohshima, apparently complained to BALAN WONDERWORLD's producer, a Square Enix man by the name of Noriyoshi Fujimoto. Quite frankly, I don't know why anyone would value their relationship with Arzest or how Arzest is even still in business when every game they've worked on has ranged from aggressively bad to mediocre. That's an important point I'll get to a little later.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Yes, Maya Fey Did Say Phoenix Wright is an Attention Whore

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It's real news. ...Plus, some actual real news. (And a sale.)

Some people on Twitter—and this isn't the first time—were wondering if this quote where Maya Fey uses the term “attention whore” is real.

And, yes, Maya Fey did say something to this effect on October 13, 2018. KoopaTV didn't cover that trial because... I mean, it wasn't an important one and it was a very local story featuring an up-and-coming treasure-stealing thief named Mask☆DeMasque. But here's... some evidence—in two different angles to demonstrate its credibility and lack of being falsified (like Phoenix Wright would later be known for half a year later)—of Maya Fey saying this:

Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney typical attention whore Maya Fey Trials and Tribulations Mask☆DeMasque Stolen Turnabout
No one's gonna be able to fake the same text in TWO transparency filters.

KoopaTV looked into the Court Record and also found this VIDEO evidence of Maya Fey saying attention whore out loud. It also has the context.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate April 2022 Fighter Usage Stats!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - For North America.

Did you join the NintendoVS North American Open April 2022? This Nintendo of America officially sponsored competitive Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament was free-to-enter and exclusively online for residents in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. ...And Koopa Kingdom sneaked in there. Or at least I did. I got 13th place in my region. My personal best is 9th; I think my bracket was set up that I had very winnable matches with people around my skill but I blew it.

If you're interested in watching the finals stream, you can do so at the following embedded video. Congratulations to Vendetta (Ken, Region 6), Vargoose (RO.B., Region 8), MegahogX (Mega Man, Region 5), Joshathan (R.O.B., Region 7), Many (Alex, Region 4), Pokelam (Ike, Region 1), Shoe (Region 3, Zero Suit Samus), and Fletchling (Robin, Region 2) for getting the grand prize or the first prize. For who won which prize, watch the video. (So you don't complain I spoiled the outcome to you.)

The neat thing about this tournament is that they ask participants to report the characters they used in the matches, which lets me go and add up all of the stats across the eight regions to figure out how many times each character was used. I consider this data to be representative of the online Super Smash Bros. Ultimate landscape, since the free-to-enter requirement and Nintendo's endorsement (and advertisement) means that the broadest and most representative group of players will join and participate—not just those that are highly competitive (even if the ruleset is a competitive one).

And by the way, compared to the US-only NintendoVS tournaments that happened in October 2021 (there were two), this tournament had more registrants... and WAY more people who actually showed up on the day of to play. 1538 players registered, and 1052 of those played at least one match in the ladder round that my stats in this article reflect. That's a 68.40% participation rate, which is the highest that I've recorded since I've been doing these stats where it's low-mid-50%s. (Possibly attributable to actually sending out emails to people when the tournament was starting to remind them to show up, which wasn't a practice done before.) And that's with the ladder being delayed by 30 minutes when the tournament began (the matchmaking button didn't work due to an error on the part of Battlefy, the eSports platform the tournament was hosted on). The results below represent 23,786 character interactions (divide that by two for the number of games). There were no character reporting issues—no new DLC characters means everything was ready to go before it started, unlike some past tournaments where someone forgot to make that tournament's newest DLC character available from the character picker in the site.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character fighter choice usage stats online wifi April 2022 NintendoVS

Monday, April 25, 2022

In a WEIRD (but real) Tweet, Miyamoto/Illumination Delay the Super Mario Bros. Film to Spring 2023

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Let's...break down that tweet.

In a strange message that was just posted on Twitter (a company and service that still exists regardless of today's actual biggest news), Nintendo, under the guise of Shigeru Miyamoto himself, delayed the Super Mario Bros. film to Spring 2023:

You know how there is a small army of fake Nintendo Twitter accounts? They might have a slight alteration in the handle to look real, like “@NlntendoAmerica”. They like to make fake Nintendo Direct announcements to get foolish people to retweet those and get the fake stuff viral. Anyway, this tweet reads like it's one of those fake accounts producing FAKE NEWS... but it is, in fact, the authentic and official Nintendo account. The same message is on Nintendo's @Nintendo Japanese Twitter account, too.

Anyway, so it's a real tweet and a real announcement, even if it doesn't read like it is. Let's break it down line by line:

Friday, April 22, 2022

Splatoon 3 for September 9, 2022 Release (Still Summer)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I'm not putting a shoes pun in this article's headline, too.

I was very committed to publishing something entirely different today, but, no, Nintendo is pulling this “Release Date Revealed” stunt again for the second time this week:

After a full three-minute Turf War match revealing new weapons and special weapons, the end of the video says that Splatoon 3 will become available on September 9, 2022. This is in-line with what Nintendo said in the February 2022 Nintendo Direct, which declared the release date to be Summer 2022. September 9 counts as the summertime. Sure, it's after Labor Day and the kids will be in school and not on vacation. But summer ends over a week later. Who cares about the school kids? People who work JOBS are working even in the summer anyway. Unless they're in Europe and just take a vacation in the whole July and August. Then, yeah, I figure September 9 is a bit inconvenient. Oh well.

If you want something to do until Splatoon 3 releases in four and a half months, and you for some reason are a subscriber to Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack (which we're not at KoopaTV), then today Nintendo also made Splatoon 2's excellent single-player story-based Octo Expansion included in your subscription. That doesn't help if you don't already own Splatoon 2, and if you don't have that yet... I wouldn't recommend it now. Just wait for Splatoon 3.

I think the coolest thing of the gameplay trailer was the Octobrush user's grappling Special at 1:33 that lets them zip around, even behind entrenched Charger lines, go behind them, splat them, and then retreat back when the timer is up. That whole sequence was really cool to me. And it looks like everyone gets a Discord tag now or something, with customisable (?) name tags and identifiers. The animations and movements and style is above even Splatoon 2's, and I'm curious how the new gameplay changes will affect the metagame that developed throughout Splatoon 2's lifetime. Even the act of spawning is a bit different now.

...Though what I'm most curious about are the things not shown in this trailer... like the story mode and lore and such. Ah well. We'll experience that for ourselves starting September 9...

The release date isn't faster or slower than what was promised, so Ludwig won't go around talking about Swim Speed-Up sneakers or anything. Let him know if you want to play Splatoon 2 sometime soon. He still thinks it's quite fun.

Also on or before September 9 will be Splatoon 3-themed Pro Controllers, Carrying Cases, and an (OLED model) skin.
Ludwig bought Splatoon 3 on launch day.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Censorship? Contrived Chrono Cross Controversy

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - ...Well, MOST of that headline is actual alliteration.

Ever since Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition was announced at the February 2022 Nintendo Direct, I've wanted to hear more about it. For... a very long time now, I've only read bad things about Chrono Cross—though I've heard very good things about it because its music is fantastic. But I don't know how much of the bad things are because Chrono Cross deserves it and has real flaws, and how much of the bad stuff that's said about it is because of perpetually triggered Chrono Trigger fans complaining because Chrono Cross is not a real sequel.

I see Chrono Cross as in a similar situation to the likes of Paper Mario: Color Splash and Paper Mario: The Origami King—polarising games with fantastic soundtracks but iffy gameplay and relatively-pointless-to-enter, slow combat that are demonised by fans of the earlier game in the series (Chrono Trigger or Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door) that won't give it a chance for being something different.

I'll probably get Chrono Cross when it's on sale (which I'm sure will happen at least once this calendar year); though it's already only $20. The remaster adds “cheats” that serve as potential quality-of-life features... plus RADICAL DREAMERS - Le Trésor Interdit - exists. There are upscaled graphics, and the frame rates are very similar (or worse) to what they were on the original PlayStation... which isn't a good thing, but not the absolute worst thing for a turn-based RPG.

But that's not actually the worst thing about this Chrono Cross remaster. Not according to “anti-censorship” critics. The worst thing is that the nine-year old diva character Marcy has slightly longer underpants beneath her tutu. Critics consider this “censorship” and claim that they won't buy the game because of it. While I find the screenshot comparison a tad distasteful in that hyperlinked source (and that whole source, Sankaku Complex, is distasteful), I will supply this related image instead:

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

No More Heroes 3 Coming to Non-Switch Platforms Fall 2022

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - ...Punks. (Though that's thematically fitting.)

Last week, XSEED Games, a component of games publisher Marvelous, announced that No More Heroes 3 (also known as No More Heroes III will be released on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, the Xbox Series, and PC (Steam and Windows Store) this autumn. By the time it releases on those systems, it will have been a Nintendo Switch-exclusive for slightly over one year. And if you asked SUDA51 in September 2021, he'd say there are “no plans at the moment” to port the Nintendo Switch exclusive to other systems. ...And then Grasshopper Manufacture got acquired by NetEase Games a month after that and everything changes, I suppose.

No More Heroes 3 Sonic Juice young gamers sorry for making you wait
Non-Nintendo gamers really didn't have to wait long for SUDA51 to create plans!

XSEED promises this port will have “improved HD visuals, framerates, and faster loading times”... of course, it already has HD visuals, although the frame rate and the loading times on the Switch version do leave a lot to be desired. All three of the visuals, frame rates, and probably loading times were improved for the Switch version right before release, as well as in a day 1 patch and a day...40-ish patch. ...But, yes, they could be improved a lot more.

The improved port will release at $60, just like the Switch version. There will also be a limited-time “Day 1 Edition” that's physical with an art book, a CD with “select songs from the soundtrack”, and a licence plate. My biggest question about all of this is if that CD with select songs (read: not all of them) will be the same ~56-minute selection of twenty songs that Marvelous made available on YouTube for only four months before taking it down. I was at first wondering if they'd re-upload that altogether for the benefit of the expanded audience, but I can totally see it now being an “exclusive” physical bonus that you won't ever see again after the promotion period is over. To this day, lots of the soundtrack isn't available ANYWHERE.

No sign of No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle being ported to PlayStation and Xbox too. ...But they probably will. I mean, they suddenly got on the Switch, so...

Ludwig would recommend the mainline series! He doesn't regret it. (Though he does think that Day 1 Edition would probably be a bad idea.) Maybe they'll be even better on stronger platforms? Let KoopaTV know what you think in the comments section.

That Day 1 Edition is available as a Digital Deluxe edition with a 22-song soundtrack that is different than the 20-song soundtrack, but still omits most of the soundtrack.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Post-Easter Ester Shoes Accessory Brings Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Release Date CLOSER

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I didn't see that coming. Neither did you!

In a very surprising move to make sure your post-Easter experience isn't totally ruined, Nintendo dropped this bombshell to the universe:

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is releasing on July 29, 2022. You may remember that Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was announced in the February 2022 Nintendo Direct for a September 2022 release. July 29, 2022 is a month or two before then, which is crazy. Companies tend to delay games, not push them earlier. (Hopefully it's not a rush job.)

It's an especially interesting contrast when you look at the likes of Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp, Metroid Prime 4, and the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild that all have been significantly delayed! Clearly, the MONOLITHSOFT folks working on Xenoblade Chronicles 3 put on the Ester Shoes from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, because their Agility is a lot higher than promised and expected! (No confirmation on if Ester Shoes will be in the new title.)

Monday, April 18, 2022

The IRS doesn't scale up well... and can be abolished

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - The system was designed by politicians and lobbyists, not system planners or economists.

Gross. You Americans gotta deal with TAX DAY today. I know that even at this late hour, SOME people are STILL filing their taxes to the last minute, drowning under the byzantine maze of forms. It's a miserable experience—and that's because it's not designed to be anything but. Taxes are supposed to raise the needed revenue to the government to fund essential services that constituents agree are essential.

But the American tax code is purposefully complicated both as an agent of social engineering—politicians shape your behaviour by taxing some activities (perhaps more heavily than others) or giving credits to other activities to incentivise you—and because the tax preparation industry has lobbied for it to be that way. The government, if you work for an employer or do investments, could just tell you how much money you owe it and you pay them because the counterparty sends them files anyway. But... no, it's gotta be more complicated than that. Part of the reason is reportedly also because some anti-tax conservative activists WANT paying taxes to be difficult. That way, you'll resent paying taxes, and that gets you into the “get your first paycheck to Republican voter” pipeline. I'm not sure why states demand that you pay the government in order to send your tax form in, though. That's bonkers.

A big issue with republics is that politicians and interest groups run on identifying problems... and don't actually solve them, because if the problem gets fixed, then their job is done, and then there isn't a reason to re-elect them because they've served their purpose. But if a problem gets to exist forever, and you get to blame someone else as the reason for that, then you can keep running on that issue forever. Tax system broken? Keep it broken so people can vote on your single issue and you can get yummy contributions towards that. As someone who is part of a monarchy, I don't like that.

Anyway, this is all gonna get worse.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Hey you! Get off of my cloud!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It's still not his cloud.

If you are lucky, you won't remember that article from a month ago featuring LEGO-ified me. But at the end of that discussion, I said that my set comes with me standing on a very low cloud less than one Mario-length off the ground. I wrote that you could swap me for Lemmy, because the next LEGO Super Mario release also includes a LEGO Lemmy Koopa alongside LEGO Ludwig (...I really don't want to say LEGO me!) and LEGO figures are designed to have the same feet as one another allowing them to stand on interchangeable surfaces. Like the cloud. Therefore, you can recreate the Hotel Mario scene where that menace invades Lemmy Koopa's High-ate Regency Hotel, kicks Lemmy out, and then demands that Lemmy get off Mario's cloud. Even though it was Lemmy's before.

But besides recreating it with LEGO, you can also recreate that scene with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as I did:

It's totally off-screen in the video, but Lemmy actually gets on top of the cloud platform by footstool jumping off of Cloud Strife: putting another meaning to “get off of my cloud!” (As well as another meaning to how many clouds Mario claims to possess.)

In the decade since Paper Mario: Sticker Star released, I haven't seen anyone equate the TOTALLY RANDOM BIGGEST FAN THAT APPEARS OUT OF NOWHERE in Hotel Mario to the TOTALLY RANDOM BIGGEST FAN THAT APPEARS OUT OF NOWHERE in Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Which then made subsequent appearances in Paper Mario: Color Splash as a Thing, and even Paper Mario: The Origami King as a very random cameo on Bonehead Island. I'm not saying I'm the first person to ever think of it, but... I haven't seen anyone else. The Fan in Hotel Mario is EXACTLY like the running gag from the past Paper Mario games. They're both big. They both blow things away like clouds or fog. Especially in the Paper Mario stage in Super Smash Bros., where it blows away the cloud platform and anyone on it.

Sucks this happens to Lemmy Koopa a lot!

It's probably not a coincidence that there are big haters of every game the fan appears in. Ludwig at least liked Paper Mario: Color Splash and Paper Mario: The Origami King, though he has an overall unfavourable opinion of Paper Mario: Sticker Star and Hotel Mario. He considers it canon they are the same fan. Do you?

Thursday, April 14, 2022

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Has Sold Half a Million Copies Worldwide!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Are YOU one of those? ...You should be.

Tonight... exciting news! CAPCOM announced that The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles2021's Game of THAT Year—has sold OVER 500,000 COPIES! I'm assuming that the number also includes Ace Attorney Turnabout Collection. (Which should count as a +1 for both The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles and a +1 for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy, as a bundle of both.)

Obviously, that's not over 500,000 copies at 40 USD (its normal price) per sale. Who knows how many of those sales were discounted, given how relatively quickly CAPCOM started putting The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles at 25% off... and most recently, 37% off a few weeks ago.

As for the image in the embedded tweet, I'd like to note that prosecutor Barok van Zieks is holding up a physical PlayStation 4 copy of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, while street urchin Gina Lestrade is holding up a physical Nintendo Switch copy of The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles... though I doubt her's came with a HelloFresh code like my did. And I still have my code, by the way, unused. But it's hard to push it when it requires an auto-renewing subscription for the fourteen free meals it offers. Ah... and even that “YES!” in the text is a reference to Ryunosuke's YES.

Yes speech bubble The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles Ryunosuke
Common reaction to hearing good news about Ace Attorney.

By the way, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is 50% off on the PlayStation store right now. Why? Dunno. Buy that too. PUMP ANY ACE ATTORNEY NUMBERS YOU CAN! The series has a franchise total of 8.9 million copies sold per as-of-December-2021 numbers. Can't wait for CAPCOM's next financials update to see if that goes up any higher!

What is keeping YOU from buying The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles? If you want it on Steam, it's also available there. If you want it on Xbox... oh well. Ludwig dangerously promises it's better than anything else in your backlog or what you're playing right now. Make it a million seller!

CAPCOM apparently considered The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles and its sales numbers immaterial to investors.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

UK's Competition & Markets Authority Completes Investigation into Nintendo Switch Online


Three years ago, I wrote how the United Kingdom's Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) launched an investigation into the major console holders and their subscription services to see if they are predatory. I've always held that they are predatory, especially auto-renewal practices (especially given the absence of manual renewal!). Other people didn't tell me that they WEREN'T predatory; they just told me that it's normal. An injustice being widespread doesn't make it acceptable. That makes it all the more important for it to be identified and corrected.

Finally, after three years, the CMA has concluded their investigation. Yes. They're predatory and weren't legal... AND they have compelled all three of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft to make changes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

No Hopes for a guy named Shez

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I can't quite put my claw on it, but that name really bothers me.

Time for another night of Nintendo putting out a game trailer and me talking about it. This time for Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. I really almost wrote Houses. ...And I almost forgot to write Warriors. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is the game that I was about to be excited about when there was a new Fire Emblem game to be announced at the February 2022 Nintendo Direct, only for it to be a Warriors game. Anyway, there's a mysterious mercenary here:

Shez is the mysterious purple-haired person. Are they the mercenary? ...Or is Byleth the mysterious mercenary? I mean, Byleth literally is a mercenary. And they ARE mysterious. The Ashen Demon. It seems like Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has Byleth as an antagonist that almost killed off this Shez guy (like Byleth has canonically slain several other people prior to the events of Fire Emblem: Three Homes without any emotion)... but Shez survives somehow (it looks like Shez was on the ground and Byleth was about to finish them off... so why is Shez still alive?), got to Garreg Mach Monastery, and all of a sudden the timeline has changed because Shez is impactful for some reason.

Shez's name also can and should be changed. It bothers me.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Kingdom Hearts IV is a thing; Darkside comes back

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It predates Gigantamax Grimmsnarl!

The folks at SQUARE ENIX (and Disney I guess) had a Kingdom Hearts 20th anniversary announcement trailer over the weekend. I set the below embed to start four minutes in so you can skip the mobile trash portion. That said, the presence and start of said mobile trash did set people's expectations very low. But like the last Pokémon Presents a month and a half ago (which was for... some anniversary or another), which started with lame mobile trash news and ended with a mainline RPG announcement... Well, the same thing happened here with Kingdom Hearts:

It looks like Kingdom Hearts IV takes place with a Sora that looks so “realistic” and like a Japanese male pop-star that I actually thought was another character entirely (because Kingdom Hearts games are totally fine with having Sora-like protagonists that aren't Sora... well, kind of are, but, eh, I dunno, it's complicated). And then at the end with Donald Duck and Goofy looking for what seems to be Sora just made me think that guy WASN'T Sora. And it totally made sense to me that Sora ditched Donald Duck and Goofy and nearly every Disney reference when going to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which is why they are looking for him while non-Sora with normal feet and proportions is off fighting that Darkside. ...But, no, apparently that actually is Sora, and Goofy and Donald Duck just don't know he's out still being a hero and literally running towards danger.

Friday, April 8, 2022

When Employees PROTEST Vaccine FREEDOM of Choice?!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - You WANT to not have autonomy?

With the Chinese Communist Party Virus (CCP Virus) becoming less of a problem as time goes on (barring new mutated variants that will turn out to be more deadly), employers are feeling much more comfortable demanding that their workforce come back and work out of their physical office real estate. They say it's because they wish to foster collaboration and company culture and they want to see everyone's smiling faces again. If I were you, I'd doubt all of that and think it's a mixture of the real estate lobby and managers wanting to exert control over employees.

Gaming industry villain Activision Blizzard (which has a bad company culture and it's fine to protest THAT) is one such company that is calling for employees to return back to the office. However, unlike many other employers that say that if you don't get hit by the Poison Jab you will get fired, Activision Blizzard is saying that, due to the trajectory the CCP Virus has taken, you will not have to submit proof of vaccination to return to the office, which is what they want to see out of their employees in June. (Although Activision still would like employees to report if they are vaccinated or not just to have the data to make future decisions.)

As a response, the Activision Blizzard King ABK Workers Alliance, a faux union, organised a walkout (of a virtual variety, which... I guess just means an extended lunch break away from the computer?) demanding that Activision Blizzard MUST require all employees to be vaccinated. They also demand that employees should be able to choose, indefinitely, whether to work remotely or in the office. While I'm totally in favour of that latter demand, the insistence that your fellow employees must be vaccinated is stupid. You should celebrate that corporations are ceasing in their slimy takeover of your personal bodily autonomy, not demand that they bring that back! Anyway, Activision Blizzard clarified that they are putting the power into individual studios at the company to decide office and vaccine requirements and policies instead of implementing it entirely top-down. Blizzard, for example, is allegedly saying all of them still gotta have the vaccine mandate.

It's unclear if Activision Blizzard's June time-table is still a voluntary suggestion or what, but their statement suggests that employees can work with their manager for individual working arrangements. Whether or not that's actually true is also unclear, but at least it sounds softer than when other companies say that the only way you get to keep working from home is if you have a religious or medical exemption. (And they have you fill out a complicated privacy-violating form to demonstrate that.) It's also unclear if employers that went and previously fired people for not being vaccinated will go and rehire those people when they've ended their vaccine mandates...though those people probably no longer want to work for such a stupid company. Vaccine hesitancy is a valid position to have, especially with these very old vaccines that are so far separated and out-of-date from the current virus strain. You gotta wonder if these employers are doing it to give Big Pharma a favour.

I do see some people say that the protestors should suck it up and come back to the office and focus on making good videogames. That's a stupid bit of commentary from people who I don't think actually work and haven't learned any lessons for the past couple of years. You don't need to be in-person in an office with other people to do things, especially a lot of the tasks that come with videogame development. Online/virtual collaboration and communication is a thing. Documentation, programming, design, etc. is just as workable in your home as in the office, if not better because you don't have hours sucked away every day commuting or going out for lunch because there isn't a viable in-office cafeteria and you don't want to starve during the day. At home, you can just use the fridge. Really, as long as your equipment at home is strong enough (and your company should provide you the equipment) and you have a carved out space for it and a quality home Internet connection, I'd say working from home is more productive and far better. You likely also have much better toilet paper at home, among other office hygiene concerns. It's a good idea to empower middle managers to allow their employees to make the case that they are more productive to work from home and actually grant them that ability, rather than not being able to do that because of some top-level idiotic corporate declaration.

It sounds like Ludwig might have some personal experience or know people with personal experience, given the passion in his writing on this topic. Ludwig thinks demanding people get vaccinated is idiotic and anti-employee, but also forcing people to come to the office is idiotic and anti-employee. Maximise choice and comfort, treat your employees like the adults they are, and you'll get good results. KoopaTV itself is a remote-only work environment, too, if you're interested in looking into working for the site that brings you this article and many more!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

8-Bit Big Band's "Meta Knight's Revenge" won 64th Grammy Award for Best Arrangement


In contrast to whatever was going on at the Academy Awards (otherwise known as the Oscars), the 64th Grammy Awards for music seemed to be a decent affair that I still didn't watch (neither did most people based on its almost record-breaking low ratings). However, it did feature something very good: the 8-Bit Big Band's rendition of Meta Knight's Revenge (from Kirby Super Star, which you can play on Nintendo Switch Online) was nominated for “Best Arrangement - Instrumental or A Capella” (as opposed to best arrangement with lyrics, a different category) as the only videogame music-based song... and ended up winning. Surely you wish to listen to it:

As far as I can tell, this is the first time a videogame-based arrangement has won this award. And that's great for videogame music (though it's not the first videogame-related music to win any Grammy period; that was Civilization IV's Baba Yetu for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists). 8-Bit Big Band specifically wants to do things with the videogame music canon like other arrangers do with movies or television soundtracks. The band also has substantially more production value than an average game arranger on YouTube. Its founder, Charlie Rosen, was a Broadway guy. Here they are awkwardly running up to accept the award:

But I'm most excited for the fact that the above music video is probably going to get a lot more attention this week and beyond, and it opens up with the best character in all of Kirby: Captain Vul! This is great exposure for him.

8-Bit Big Band Meta Knight's Revenge Kirby Super Star Captain Vul Sailor Waddle Dee
Captain Vul, by virtue of being by far the tallest member of the Meta-Knights, also gets the most screen space here.

Captain Vul is a great character. Though it's Meta Knight's award (and any outlet claiming Kirby won the award is FAKE NEWS). But here was Captain Vul's reaction upon hearing that this song actually won a Grammy award:

Kirby Super Star Captain Vul holy cow what happened Nintendo Switch Online
Captain Vul loves cows, just like me!

I'd really like to know how this song actually got nominated to begin with. And if it's apparently easy enough to get nominated and win, then we should be seeing a lot more of these nominations way more often in the future. And I think that's good!

Ludwig personally prefers Super Smash Bros. Brawl's jazzy rendition of Meta Knight's Revenge more. That screenshot at the end was a result of Ludwig and fellow KoopaTV staffer Witch Princess playing Kirby Super Star via Nintendo Switch Online right before this article was published. Ludwig took a screenshot every single time Captain Vul talked. You can also see that KoopaTV staffer Heavy Lobster was in the music video.

This might be a more impressive musical accomplishment than the upcoming 30th Anniversary Music Fest!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Humour Under Assault and Battery

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Not only for making jokes, but laughing at them, too!

Yes, this is a take related to the Academy Awards (otherwise known as the Oscars), which is a ceremony that I and most people don't actually care about. However, as you likely know, an event happened at the most recent 94th Academy Awards of 2022 where actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock in the face because Chris Rock made a G.I. Jane joke about Will Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

The details are unusually above the family-friendly atmosphere that KoopaTV coincidentally has, including liberal usage of a four-letter swear word. ...I'll use it in this article. But conservatively, you see. ...Alright, maybe a bit more.

Will Smith then won an award after the slap and was never arrested (though Chris Rock didn't want him to be), though he did resign from the Academy after. There is an upcoming meeting among members on what to do with Will Smith and his award and his future career, but that's not that important now. What's important is the mindset that makes you think it's okay to walk up to someone and assault them for telling a joke. Some call it toxic masculinity. Others say it's a man defending his wife's honour. But I think it's the same intolerance for humour that is sweeping the whole planet Earth.

But before that, I will say that humour is far from dead, even if it's been beaten up. There are many memes people made of the event. A lot of them videogame related! Here are some of my favourites:

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Ace Attorney Trilogy HD Mobile Getting Replaced (everywhere else)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Also, it's coming to Android outside of Japan for the first time!

A week ago, I wrote about CAPCOM's announcement that the crappy Ace Attorney Trilogy HD on iOS and Android devices in Japan are being discontinued on June 9, 2022, and will be replaced by a mobile port of the superior Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy 2019 version in the summer. Note that it isn't released for Android outside of Japan.

However, that was just Japan-only news. While some other media outlets extrapolated that this would be a global change, CAPCOM at the time only spoke of Japan. And then today happened and the discontinuation of the current iOS version (on June 9), and the pending release of the superior port (in the summer), was announced for elsewhere. As of today, CAPCOM has pages for this announcement in American English and Korean. I don't think the current mobile title is even available in Europe, so that makes it simple.

Like in Japan, you won't be able to download the crappy mobile app anymore or spend money on getting new episodes. You can still play it. I mean, it's still Ace Attorney. Even if it's in a terrible mobile version with bugs and audio issues. Ownership of the old Trilogy won't transfer to the new Trilogy.

But the important part here is that CAPCOM has promised to release the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy on iOS AND Android devices in English (and Korean). That means... new platform for Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy identified for English speakers!

No word yet on if the languages patch that was in the 2019 version of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy will be included. I would love to see Benjamin Hunter on other platforms.

Though, of course, we're talking about mobile trash. So I wouldn't love to see it, because I have no respect for that. Maybe some weird mobile-only “gamer” would.

Ludwig can't help but feel aggressive whenever mobile gaming is brought up. He knows that Ace Attorney fans would like to see news involving the seventh mainline Ace Attorney game, or a second trilogy of the fourth-to-sixth games for consoles now that the eShop is going away. But the Trilogy needs to compete with Skyrim for number of versions and ports it gets, and since it's the first three games, it gets first dibs on attention. Once it's ported everywhere possible, then CAPCOM will focus on the others.

The replacement happened... June 10, 2022. And the pricing is different between the Google Play and App Store versions.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Join the SSBU NintendoVS North American Open April 2022!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - After... eight or so months, it's back!

I'm pretty happy about this news: Today, Nintendo of America, in collaboration with eSports platform Battlefy, have launched the NintendoVS North American Open April 2022! This tournament takes place on FRIDAY, April 22, 2022, into Saturday, April 23. That fits the structure of the very recent Splatoon 2 North American Open March 2022, which also had a ladder on Friday into a Saturday bracket and then livestreamed final round, also on Saturday.

NintendoVS North American Open April 2022 Battlefy banner art Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Nintendo's graphic designers gave up on making unique banners for these.

Also taken from that Splatoon 2 event? It's a North American Open. The last time there was a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament on the Battlefy platform sponsored by Nintendo of America, it was exclusive to the United States—meaning it excluded Mexico and Canada. Fortunately, that means the regions have reverted back to how they were in 2019 and 2020 back when the whole of North America was included in those. I dunno why Nintendo went on a United States-only streak for a bit last year but I'm glad it's over. ...Of course, the regions weren't really balanced back then, either.

Anyway, rather than explaining in words how the tournament is structured, I decided to produce this picture that should get the concept across much faster:

Friday, April 1, 2022

KoopaTV's March 2022 Review Newsletter

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Several announcements and a first for KoopaTV!

Today's March 2022 newsletter marks the first time in KoopaTV's entire history that we've been doing March newsletters (going back to 2014) where the March newsletter is published on April 1. Our monthly newsletters are SUPPOSED to be the first thing published in the month following the month that's being reviewed in the newsletter, but something's always come up that's either pushed that to later, or pulled it to be earlier, like being on the last day of March instead of the first day of April.

BUT that's not even the main reason why this year's March newsletter is cool. Nah, we got some breaking news:

KoopaTV introduces koopatv.eth, our first step into Web3!

KoopaTV now has a presence on Web3 technology, which will set Koopa Kingdom up for a future where this is the dominant generation of the Internet. KoopaTV staffer Kamek is the one in charge of this and really the expert behind what this means. He described it as “like the first pike hammered into the mountain on a climb... metaphorically, of course. Like claiming a land for your country. With a flag! An end-of-the-stage flag, even!”

I'm not really able to answer any questions about this technology or what it actually does, but Kamek will have an article coming in the near future, inspired by the request we got about writing an article about NFTs. koopatv.eth, according to Kamek, is itself a non-fungible token.

koopatv.eth is also an address that you can use to donate money to us with cryptocurrency, as “the official KoopaTV crypto wallet” (another Kamek quote). Rather than remembering the actual wallet address (0x9241089cf848cb30c6020ee25cd6a2b28c626744), koopatv.eth is a customised wallet address router. If you want to know how to acquire cryptocurrency and how to actually send currency from yourself to us, um... ask Kamek. Maybe he'll cover it in his article. Regardless of how complicated it is, this is actually the first real way you can donate to KoopaTV. Our continued existence doesn't depend on your support (it depends on King Bowser Koopa being willing to fund us), but we would appreciate it.

Ah, but that's not the only good news announcement to share in this newsletter: