Gaming Post 50: Donkey Kong 1994

I am blown away by how convenient the Random Number Generator can be sometimes. It has decided that the next video game I should talk about is “Donkey Kong” for the Game Boy, sometimes known as “Donkey Kong 1994”. I think it’s one of the most important games when it comes to the lore of the Mario series. What surprises me is that I just mentioned this game in the previous article.

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Super Mario isn’t supposed to have a timeline. That said, they already confirmed the official order of the Zelda Timeline, so it isn’t fun talking about that one anymore. Here’s basically what I know about Mario. I consider every piece of Super Mario media to be canon because none of this matters.

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In the Yoshi’s Island series. Mario and Luigi are born, but really they are delivered by a stork. They are brought to their parents, but we only see part of their profiles.

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Who were their parents and where did they live? The architecture of their house as seen in Yoshi’s New Island implies that the Mario Brothers lived in the Mushroom Land at the time of their birth, but clearly they must have moved to Brooklyn shortly after.

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Mushroom architecture is more common in the Mushroom World than it is on Earth.

In the live action segments of the Super Mario Super Show, Mario and Luigi don’t mention having been to the Mushroom Kingdom at all, which makes me think that they have been living on Earth for many years and they probably don’t remember the Yoshis and all the Kart Racing they did when they were babies (don’t think about it too hard).

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On the other hand, in the Basketball game NBA Streets Volume 3, we’re told specifically that Luigi was “born and raised in the Mushroom Kingdom!” but whether or not he was really raised there is open to interpretation.

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Before he and Luigi started their plumbing business, Mario became a carpenter and started doing construction work.

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Some of you might be wondering if Super Mario could be considered a literary Christ figure. After all, you know that Mario was originally a carpenter, and he also has the power to come back from the dead if he eats a green mushroom. Like Neo from the Matrix, is Super Mario a literary Christ figure?

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No. He is not. You’re overthinking this.

One day when Mario was doing his carpentry job at a construction site, a gorilla named Donkey Kong escaped from a nearby circus and captured Mario’s girlfriend Pauline. This sets the stage for the famous arcade game Donkey Kong, where Mario has to jump over barrels and climb ladders on his way to rescue his girlfriend.

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The arcade game is three stages long and then repeats until you get a game over. In “Donkey Kong 1994”, we learn that this conflict dragged out for an additional 97 stages.

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The first 3% is a remake of the arcade game.

The chase is a long one, and as Mario keeps going, he learns additional moves which help him overcome more varied obstacles. I imagine that at the beginning of the game Mario thinks that he is a regular human, but he chases this Gorilla for a very long time, managing to keep up with it. Because of this, by the game’s conclusion, some doubts arise in Mario’s mind about who he really is. Gorillas are much stronger and agile than humans, so the fact that Mario is able to keep up means that either his heritage is not exclusively from Earth, or that he and his brother simply have an unnatural amount of strength. Mario and Luigi may have abilities that are supernatural. You could call them superhuman, although most people call them the Super Mario Brothers.

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I played “Donkey Kong 1994” on the 3DS Virtual Console using official Restore Points. This game is relatively difficult like most of the games from its era. I have a habit of using way too many Restore Points, but I find it efficient and interesting. With all that said, I can say that this is a game that I completed but not necessarily beat.

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Some head-canon that I have is that the events of “Donkey Kong 1994” resulted in Mario discovering his particular talents which he would later need in order to defeat Bowser.

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After the events of “Donkey Kong 1994”, Mario and Pauline capture Donkey Kong and start working for the Circus that Donkey Kong was an act of. Then Donkey Kong’s son (Donkey Kong Junior) rescues the imprisoned Donkey Kong from Mario in the arcade game Donkey Kong Jr.

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On a different occasion, Mario recaptures Donkey Kong and then Donkey Kong escapes again, but this time, it appears to be for good. A series of events, or episodes if you will, follow the antics of one Mario and Pauline who repetitively try and fail to recapture the escaped circus gorilla.

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Separately, Donkey Kong Junior befriends a guy named Bones. With the help of Bone’s motorcycle, the two of them start driving around looking for Donkey Kong in order to reunite the gorilla family.

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Both of these cartoon series are part of an old TV show called “Saturday Supercade”. Sadly, many segments of Saturday Supercade have been lost to time. Even sadder, there may be Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior episodes that are missing and have possibly been destroyed.

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The website lostmediawiki.com claims that every episode of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior has been rediscovered. I’m not so sure that this is true, because even after having dabbled on eBay, I still can’t find the Donkey Kong episodes called “Little Orphan Apey”, “Apey and the Snowbeast”, “Private Donkey Kong”, “Sir Donkey Kong” and “The Pale Whale”. Of the Donkey Kong Junior episodes, I can’t find “The Jungle Boy Ploy” and I have only been able to watch “The Ventriloquist Caper” and “The Great Seal Steal” in Galician. If anyone finds any of these, I would love to know how to watch them. You can contact me most easily on Twitter @Zelgerath.

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The underlying assumption is that Mario never captures Donkey Kong again, and Donkey Kong starts living on the Island of Kongo Bongo, but that’s another story.

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He becomes cranky.

Although we don’t know what happened to Donkey Kong Junior, Dixie Kong is aware of his signature fighting technique “Monkey Muscle”.

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Mario and his brother later start a plumbing business, and on a fateful job, they both get sucked into a pipe that leads them to the Mushroom Kingdom.

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When did this happen? It’s hard to say. We know Mario fought in the Vietnam War thanks to the Game & Watch game “Mario’s Bombs Away”, so most of the Mario series probably takes place after 1955.

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We have a continuity problem though. In the Super Mario Super Show, Mario and Luigi are depicted as old dudes, while Princess Toadstool is only 16.

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However, we learned in Yoshi’s Island DS that Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong III (The Future Ruler of Kongo Bongo), Wario, Bowser and Princess Peach were all babies at the same time.

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One way this can be explained is that the warp-zone between Brooklyn and the Mushroom Kingdom functions like the wardrobe to Narnia. Time goes by faster on Earth, but after Mario and Luigi found the Mushroom Kingdom, they spent most of their time there, which is why they were able to attend several Olympic Events since 2008 without aging between them.

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They also somehow attended the 2020 Olympics which didn’t actually occur on Earth in our timeline. This fact confirms that Mario’s Earth is in fact different than ours.

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So in conclusion, “Donkey Kong 1994” is pretty good. Thanks for reading! =)

Gaming Post 49: Mario vs. Donkey Kong

The random number generator has determined that the next video game I should talk about is the original Mario vs. Donkey Kong for the Game Boy Advanced.

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The only reason I played this game was because I’m a completionist. It’s a part of the Mario Series as well as the Donkey Kong series, and by gum, I’m supposed to finish both of those. I have to, because both Mario and Donkey Kong are playable characters in Super Smash Bros.

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I’m honestly kind of scared of how many Super Mario games I haven’t beaten yet.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong is the first in a series of games featuring Mario, Donkey Kong, and mechanical toys depicting various characters in the Super Mario Universe. I have only completed this first game in this series, but there are six more I can play when I feel like it (or when I force myself to).

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The premise of Mario vs Donkey Kong is that Mario has become pretty famous in the Mushroom Kingdom, and he starts selling toys of himself. The Toys are so popular that supply can’t keep up with demand, and there are product shortages. This is very similar to what happened years later when there were shortages of Nintendo’s Amiibo toys-to-life products.

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Donkey Kong goes to the store, wanting to buy a Mario toy. They are sold out, so he can’t. He goes across the street to a factory belonging to the Mario Toy Company, and he steals a giant bag of the toys. Mario chases after him to try to get the toys back (thus protecting his intellectual property), and the game begins.

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The game is pretty fun. You control Mario with the directional pad and buttons, stepping on switches, climbing ladders, throwing objects and hitting things with hammers. It’s similar in some ways to the original Donkey Kong arcade game, mostly in its antagonistic view of said character. He hadn’t really been a bad guy since “Donkey Kong 1994”, which came out almost 10 years earlier.

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Ever since November of 1994 he’d been a protagonist in the Donkey Kong Country series.

After some plot, Mario chases Donkey Kong to the roof of a skyscraper. A fight happens, and when Donkey Kong is defeated and dangling from some scaffolding, some Toads stomp on his hand. Donkey Kong appears to fall to his death, and the credits roll.

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Toads are jerks.

Once the credits are over, we find out that Donkey Kong is okay because he landed on a truck. Also the truck is full of more Mario toys, which he steals again in order to double the length of the game.

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Eventually, Mario has to defeat a giant robot that Donkey Kong has for some reason.

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Once Mario wins, Donkey Kong shows remorse and Mario forgives him. Mario then gives Donkey Kong a Mario toy, and the real credits roll.

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Although it took a while to convince myself to give it a try, I liked the game when I played it. I am however worried about the sequels, because they are probably going to be trickier to play than this one. In those games, the toys are the protagonists. There’s a higher emphasis on their movement, and unlike in this game where you control Mario directly, you have less control over the movements of the Mario toys. I’ve played a bit of the second game, and to me, it doesn’t feel as satisfying as the original, but I might feel differently once I get into it.

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Thanks for reading! =)

Gaming Post 48: Portal

The random number generator has decided that the next game I should talk about is Portal for the PC.

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When I was living at college, I was in the process of rapidly expanding my horizons. I didn’t play a lot of video games during that time, but I did watch a lot of TV shows and movies.

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That’s when I first caught up to the Pokémon Anime, because why not?

One notable exception to my not playing video games is when a friend of mine introduced me to Portal, which is a game available on Steam.

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There are games on computers now.

Now, I am not a PC gamer. I consider my first video game experience to be Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64. That said, I have retroactively added some of the more substantial computer games from before that time to my list of completed games.

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Jump Start 3rd Grade is a treasure.

So I installed Steam and my friend gifted to me an extra copy of Portal he had. I started playing it and solved a series of puzzle rooms. At first, the puzzles were only about how portals work. Then I received a device that could create portals of one color, while portals of the other color were placed in set locations of each room. Eventually, that device was upgraded to be able to shoot two different colors of portals that connected to one another. This resulted in more interesting puzzles becoming available.

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When I ate dinner that night at the dining hall, my friend wanted to know how far I was through the game.“I’m still in the tutorial level” I said. He was surprised because I’m sure he noticed how long I had been playing the game. He explained to me that I was actually pretty far into the game, Portal being a rather short experience. I was confused, and asked him “When do I get to start using it [the portal device] in the field?” My friend explained to me that Aperture Science (the fictional company that developed the portal gun) was in the business of performing science for science’s sake. As far as they were concerned, there was no fieldwork to be done. This was a bit disappointing to me, but I kept playing the game. In the sequel, you eventually get to shoot a portal outside of the facility, but for the entirety of the first game, you are confined to the strange labyrinths of the Aperture Science test chambers.

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I just found out there’s Portal content in Lego Dimensions. I’ll look into it.

Accompanying the entire experience is the voice of the Artificial Intelligence named GLaDOS. She’s responsible for most of the jokes in the game. At the end, I burned her in a fire.

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When I reached the credits, a song began playing. Then it hit me. I had heard this song before.

I don’t really know how it got into my brain, but the song “Still Alive” from Portal was already there. I didn’t know where it came from, but I had previously went as far as make a Parody song of it using its melody. This was a very risky move, because the song could have come from anywhere and might have been from something embarrassing. The song I made was about how I misunderstood the release date for the WiiWare title Pokémon Ranch.

After I played Portal, I played its sequel when it went on sale for $5. I haven’t played much on Steam since. I have been playing Chex Quest HD on it, so there’s that.

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I’m from Chex Mix Squadron, and I volunteer!

I’m aware that a fully optimized PC is technically the most powerful machine on which you can play games. That said, I don’t have a fully optimized PC. I have a relatively crappy PC. Say what you will about consoles, but in my experience, it’s a rare thing when a game on them crashes.

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But this one crashes quite often, I must say.

Thanks for reading! =)

Gaming Post 47: Pokémon Colosseum

The random number generator has determined that the next game I should talk about is Pokémon Colosseum. It’s a Pokémon game for the Gamecube, but it’s also a masterful work of art.

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I want to say that Pokémon Colosseum is my favorite Pokémon game of all time, but I’m not sure if that would be completely accurate. Each Pokémon game has a different flavor, and depending on my mood, I might think that Colosseum is my favorite, or Black Version, or HeartGold, or Pokémon Yellow.

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A very respectable favorite.

The flavor of Pokémon Colosseum is danger. There is no Pokémon League in the Orre Region, and so the story is entirely focused on fighting against the enemy teams. There are two games set in Orre, and I would say that I like Colosseum a bit more between the two. Colosseum features a refreshing change from Pokémon’s formula, which is that you don’t play as a beginning trainer. Not only do you begin the game wielding two Level 30 Pokémon, but your character is also an ex-criminal. The opening cutscene of the game features your betrayal of Team Snagem. We’re never explicitly told of the main character’s reasons for joining or leaving Team Snagem, but we see him steal their only portable Snag Machine, and plant explosives in their base, detonating them while riding away into the desert on his futuristic motorcycle.

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Compared to the standard Pokémon Regions (Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and the like) the Orre region is a lawless territory much like the Wild West. There’s a good reason for this. The game is said to take place on the landmass surrounding Phoenix Arizona. There’s a town called Phenac City which was founded in the same manner as Phoenix was. The founding of both cities involved moving fresh water through canals so that people could live in the middle of the desert.

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This is Phenac City. Cities are smaller in the Pokémon World when compared to reality. That’s true in every game.

Since the regions of the main series are based on real world locations, I was prepared to accept Arizona as the real world location of Orre, but the in-game evidence was minimal, since there was no coastline on the map in Pokémon Colosseum. In its sequel, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, there is a coastline, but when I saw it, I thought that its placement was evidence against it taking place in Arizona. I recently realized that the map in XD does actually fit the Phoenix area if one rotates the real map so that the Gulf of California is placed on the bottom left corner. I can’t tell if this was the intention or not, but it works out pretty well.

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Some of the details do seem intentional. (Note the similarities between the rivers)

If true, this means that Pokémon Colosseum was the first game to take place in the Pokémon World’s version of the United States (although seemingly some of it takes place in Mexico). Orre predates both Unova and Alola.

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We’re almost on par with Japan in terms of number of Pokémon Regions! Europe needs to catch up though.

The main character (whose default name is Wes) rescues a red haired girl a few minutes into the story. Her default name is Rui, and she has the ability to see the auras of Shadow Pokémon. Shadow Pokémon are Pokémon which have undergone some kind of advanced brainwashing to prevent them from showing mercy in battle. She appears to be the only person who is able to see those auras. She decides to follow the main character and identify Shadow Pokémon for him in order to help him steal those Pokémon from the trainers that use them. After stealing them, they find a way to undo each Pokémon’s brainwashing through a technique called purification.

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She can SEE the auras.

My head-canon explanation for Rui’s ability to see the auras of Shadow Pokémon is that she has Functional Tetrachromacy, which is a very rare medical condition that only people with two X chromosomes can have. Having this condition means that she has four working types of cone cells in her eyes instead of three. She can see degrees of Red, Blue and Green like people normally can, but the extra fourth type of cone cell lets her also see degrees of some unnamed (and unimaginable by me) color, which Shadow Pokémon auras happen to be. Furthermore, my head-canon continues with the theory that after the events of Pokémon Colosseum, she was essential to the development of the Aura Reader that Michael uses in XD: Gale of Darkness.

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One cultural anomaly in the Orre Region is that everyone seems to prefer double battles. Most battles in these games are double battles, which in my opinion makes them much more interesting to play than other Pokémon games. It’s interesting to me that after double battles were added to the series, triple battles were added, and then triple battles were removed. As little as I know about Pokémon battling, it seems that double battles have the perfect amount of complexity. Triple battles had too much, and single battles don’t have enough.

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The Rocket Trio invented double battles in 1997.

This game is hard to categorize. It’s clear that Pokémon Colosseum and its sequel are not main series titles, but the mechanics are so similar to them that they might as well be. You can trade Pokémon with the main series Game Boy Advanced titles using a wire that connects a GBA to one of the Gamecube controller slots. You and your friends could connect multiple GBA systems to the Gamecube and battle each other in full 3D (which was a big deal at the time) and my group of friends did it on many occasions. (The video below contains some examples of battles from that era)

The music of the game is amazing. It has a very different feel to the music available in the mainline series, so I can’t really say that one style is better than the other. I will say though that songs like Pyrite Town and Battle Mountain feel more adventurous and full of danger than the music typically found in the mainline series. Below is my favorite remix video of all time for any video game music (It also deserves way more views than it has). It features most if not all of the songs in Pokémon Colosseum.

There was a pre-order bonus for this game called the Jirachi Bonus Disc. It let you send a free Mythical Pokémon Jirachi to any file of Pokémon Ruby or Sapphire that didn’t already receive one. It’s possible to receive a Shiny Jirachi from the disc but it would be difficult to pull off on purpose, given the amount of time it takes to download Jirachi once.

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Someone did it by accident before.

Since there are no wild Pokémon in Pokémon Colosseum, you can only catch the finite amount of Shadow Pokémon in the game. Because of this, you can typically only have up to 52 Pokémon. The game only gives you 3 boxes (space for 90 Pokémon) along with your party of up to 6 Pokémon. That said, the save file for Pokémon Colosseum takes up a whopping 48 blocks of the 59 available blocks on a standard memory card. Since playing the game normally will result in 44 empty spaces in your PC system (almost half of it) this is a waste of blocks! I undertook a solution to this problem using 44 Nincadas to fill the PC system in one of my Pokémon Colosseum files. Below is a video about this undertaking.

I want to play the Japanese version of Pokémon Colosseum in order to catch 3 Shadow Pokémon that are exclusive to the e-reader function that was absent from the international versions of the game. I’m going to need to learn how to make fake e-reader cards.

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I’m not bluffing. I already have this, a Japanese Wii and the advanced e-reader+.

Shadow Pokémon were a piece of lore that seemed to have been forgotten for a long time. That was until the release of Pokkén Tournement for Wii U where a mysterious Mewtwo appeared. Similar in color scheme to Shadow Lugia from Gale of Darkness, they called this antagonistic Mewtwo Shadow Mewtwo.

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XD002?

Shadow Pokémon were then added into Pokémon GO in 2019. This was a clearer reference to the Gamecube Pokémon games than Shadow Mewtwo had been. That said, our war against Team GO Rocket (the users of those Shadow Pokémon) isn’t doing so well. If I’ve learned anything from the Pokémon games, it’s that some kid should be able to stop an evil organization in a matter of days to weeks. It’s been a year, and there’s no sign of that happening yet. It looks like Team Rocket can’t be stopped this time, which concerns me greatly.

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They’re going to get away with it.

Thanks for reading! =)

Gaming Post 46: Guitar Hero II

The random number generator has determined that the next game I should talk about is Guitar Hero II.

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Guitar Hero was a craze that occurred in the 2000s. Pretty much all of my friends played it. It’s a series of rhythm games that use a guitar shaped controller to give players the sense that they’re good at playing guitar, even though they might not be.

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The controller has 5 fret buttons and a strum bar. A right handed person will use their right hand to operate the strum bar, clicking it for each note. Their left hand attempts to press down the correct combination of frets, indicated by the scrolling note-chart on the screen.

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There are a number of difficulty modes. The easiest one is called Easy Mode, which only uses 3 of the fret buttons. Medium Mode is the next level of difficulty, and it only uses 4 of the fret buttons. Hard and Expert Modes use all 5 of the fret buttons. If a person is holding the guitar normally, in those modes, they must move at least some of their fingers to reach the correct fret buttons. My friends mostly played Hard and Expert, but I mainly stuck to Easy and Medium.

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At one point, I decided that although I am able to pass some of the easier songs in Expert Mode, I would rather work on hitting absolutely every note correctly in the Easy Mode version of every song.

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I did this for every song available on the Wii Version of Guitar Hero III, and then I did this for every song in the North American version of Guitar Hero II for the PlayStation 2.

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I may be biased, but I think that this is the best game in the series.

Although I didn’t own the game, I played Guitar Hero II at my friend Josh’s house for several days. My friend group used to spend many weekends at his house when we were in High School, and I remember those occasions fondly.

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Here’s my friend Tom playing an actual guitar during that era.

As a person who is lacking a lot of knowledge of popular culture outside of video games, I mostly listen to video game music. It’s easy for me to look up particular tracks from games, which is fine in its own way, but there are some pretty good songs that aren’t in video games or anime. The Guitar Hero series is one way that I can become aware of those songs. (The song below is from a video game.)

There were a lot of songs that resonated with me in Guitar Hero III. There were less of them in Guitar Hero II, but some did. I liked “Message in a Bottle”. I remember my friends always playing the song “Jordan” probably because it was difficult. My favorite song from Guitar Hero II is called “Less Talk More Rokk” and in a self-referential way, the contents of the song kind of remind me of the times my friends played Guitar Hero every weekend.

I impulsively bought the entire series on PS2 after it was clear that it had been discontinued. I’m looking forward to one day going back to some of those games.

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Here’s my progress.

Thanks for reading! =)

Gaming Post 45: Paper Mario: Color Splash

The random number generator has determined that the next game I should talk about is Paper Mario: Color Splash.

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I like Paper Mario. He’s like Mario, but paper. I also like Mario. He’s like Paper Mario, but meat.

Color Splash was the worst selling Paper Mario game, and I know why. One reason it did poorly is that it was only available for the Wii U, which fewer people bought than the 3DS and Wii. Another reason Color Splash didn’t sell a lot of copies is that it was the Paper Mario game following Sticker Star, and it was clear from the trailers that this sequel to Sticker Star would keep the major aspects of that installment that people didn’t like.

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The card battling system in Color Splash is just the sticker battling system from Sticker Star but with extra steps.

When it came to Sticker Star, a lot of people complained that there was no leveling system in it. People were sad that there were no buddy characters like there were in the original Paper Mario and its followup, The Thousand Year Door. It was also annoying that all attacks (even basic ones) expended resources, so there really was no incentive to battle enemies.

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I think a lot of people can agree on two things about Color Splash. The first thing is that the battle mechanics are just as annoying as they were in Sticker Star. The second thing is that the writing in the game is amazing. The jokes in this game made me smile on many occasions.

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It’s true that most of the characters in this game are Toads that are not visually distinct from one another. But they all have a lot of personality, and they seem to assume that you can tell the difference between them and every other Toad, despite their complete lack of physical individuality.

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Like Sticker Star, the game-world is separated into stages instead of taking place in an interconnected world. This time, with an objective of collecting the Paint Stars. Many of the minor Paint Stars are optional, but I made sure to get all of them, because they were all enjoyable to collect.

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Each chapter ends with the rescue of a Big Paint Star, which paints a large area of the drained world, letting you progress.

Bowser’s minions are using straws to drink all the paint in the world (which is explained to be the lifeblood of the Paper Mario’s biological inhabitants). You befriend a can of paint named Huey (a perfect name for a paint can), and he enchants your hammer so you can use it to repaint the previously drained people, objects and environments. Each level has a certain finite amount of missing paint, and it was very satisfying to find all the blank spots and hit them with my paint hammer.

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You can see objects drained of color even on the title screen.

A slightly different ending is unlocked if you finish the final sequence of the game after completing a few specific objectives, one of which is repainting 100% of the blank spots in every level. I did it just because it was fun, but the secret ending was a nice bonus too.

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Another good joke.

I played the beginning of this game in 2016 when it came out, but finished it much later in early 2020. I’m eager to catch up to the Mario series, but that’s much easier said than done.

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Paper Mario: The Origami King was recently announced and its release date is fast approaching. I’m eager to play it to completion as soon as it comes out.

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It seems spooky.

I know that some people yearn for Paper Mario’s original game mechanics. A lot of people want the partner system to come back to the series. Being able to befriend mushroom kingdom denizens who had unique looks names and personalities improved the lore of the Mario world and made it feel more like a real place.

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Giving Goombas distinguishing features makes them more relatable.

I do consider the removal of the old features to be losses for the series, but I don’t mind the changes as much as other people do. Hopefully Nintendo will make a game more similar to the original two Paper Mario games, but I just want whatever they make to be fun, regardless of whatever style gets chosen. Speaking of Mario RPG games, I wonder if there’s a Mario & Luigi installment in the works for the Nintendo Switch.

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Thanks for reading! =)

Gaming Post 44: Final Fantasy XV: Assassin’s Festival

The random number generator has determined that the next game I should talk about is Final Fantasy XV: Assassin’s Festival. It was a free DLC for Final Fantasy XV and one of the two pieces of crossover content between Final Fantasy XV and Assassin’s Creed Origins. It’s not very long, but it has end credits so I count it as a game.

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I’m a relatively avid fan of the game series Assassin’s Creed, so it was a delight to find out that the game I was in the middle of playing (Final Fantasy XV) was given Assassin’s Creed related crossover content. The premise in Assassin’s Festival is that one of the towns in the game (Lestallum) is celebrating a local legend who may or may not have existed, and the protagonists drive into town right in time to take part in the festivities.

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Apparently, the Assassin’s Creed series exists in the universe of Final Fantasy XV, and so Noctis and Prompto are stoked to dress up as Assassins from their favorite game. This is a little weird, but then again, this game has a side-quest based on Nissin Cup Noodles.

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Some plot occurs, limiting Noctis’s magical abilities, forcing him to sneak around on rooftops and use fighting tactics reminiscent of those used in the Assassin’s Creed games.

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At the end, you get to keep Bayak’s Robes, but I went further and exchanged an egg for Altaïr’s robes, since he is the most iconic Assassin in my opinion.

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This is Altaïr Ibn-La’Ahad pumping gas.

Assassin’s Creed Origins had a small side-quest added in which a character from Final Fantasy XV appears to be universe hopping and ends up in Ptolemaic Egypt. These crossover events are more jarring in Assassin’s Creed Origins, because the Assassin’s Creed universe is notably secular. Supernatural occurrences in Assassin’s Creed are usually portrayed as the results of people playing around with the mechanical doodads of humanity’s mortal creators, the Isu race (the ones who came before). Looking into the official explanation, it looks like Layla hacked her own Animus to add in Final Fantasy stuff.

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In Assassin’s Creed Origins, I got something called the Ultima Blade, the shield Ziedrich, and a camel mount that looks a lot like a Chocobo.

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I plan to catch up in both the Assassin’s Creed and Final Fantasy series, so I’ll be sure to stock up on Nissin Cup Noodles, so I can have the get-up and go, to do all the pathetic stuff I have to do.

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Thanks for reading! =)

Gaming Post 43: Animal Crossing: Wild World

The random number generator has determined that the next game I should talk about is Animal Crossing: Wild World. It’s a life simulation game for the Nintendo DS.

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This was the second Animal Crossing game to come out in America, but I later found out that it was also the fourth Animal Forest game to come out in Japan.

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It’s complicated.

This was the first game of the series in which the ground your character walks on is noticeably curved. This perspective gives the impression that your Animal Crossing town exists on a small globe (more like on an odd cylindrical planet). I think this perspective was used in order to not have to load too many objects on one screen at the same time, since the Nintendo DS was less powerful than the Gamecube.

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Animal Crossing: Horizons

This perspective was kept in future installments of the series, and the original flat ground perspective was only recently brought back as an option in the latest and greatest Animal Crossing (New Horizons) for the Nintendo Switch.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Wild World was one of the first games to utilize an online service called Nintendo Wi-fi. People could play online with their friends, visiting each other’s towns, as long as they all had wireless Internet. Back when this game came out, wireless Internet was nowhere near as common as it is today, so they sold a USB dongle that your Nintendo DS could connect to and would let it use the Internet connection of whatever device the USB was connected to.

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I wonder if these work for Nintendo Switch.

There weren’t a lot of new features in this game that I remember vividly, but one of them was the ability to make constellations. At night, the top screen would show the stars. You could talk to Blather’s sister Celeste and she would let you draw straight lines between stars and name your own constellations. I was always disappointed by the sameness of angles and distances each star had in relation to the others, because it didn’t let me chart any interesting shapes.

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I remember playing this game when I was in eighth grade. I would play every morning on the bus to school, and unfortunately, that was always too early in the day for Nook’s shop to be open. So I would systematically drop whatever I had to sell outside of the shop, and after school I would boot up the game again to sell them.

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One of my bus-mates pointed out to me that I could more easily just change the time on my Nintendo DS in order to ensure that the shop was open when it was convenient for me. However, I refused to time travel in that particular game. I had of course time traveled when I played the original Animal Crossing. I have fond memories of Summer days when I would time travel to when it was raining so I could spend all day catching Coelacanths, Barred Knifejaws and Red Snappers (throwing all the Sea Basses back). I would sell them all to Nook in order to try to pay off my loans.

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I still got it!

At some point, I lost interest in this Nintendo DS game and stopped playing it. This always happens with games that are technically endless. In those cases, it’s impossible to stop playing due to a sense of victory, and must therefore settle for a situation in which you stop playing due to a sense of boredom. The only way to truly win Animal Crossing is to define for yourself what winning means.

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In 2015 I completed the Punch-Out!! and Kid Icarus trilogies and wanted to take that momentum into playing another series. I remembered that The Villager from Animal Crossing had been added to Super Smash Bros, and so I decided to resume my progress in Wild World. I chose to start with Wild World because I thought it was the first game in the series that I hadn’t finished paying my house loans in. I had previously erased from my mind the fact that I had never finished upgrading my house in the original Animal Crossing, but I would discover that later.

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So I came back to my old town in Wild World. It was filled with weeds and passive aggressive villagers who were mad that my character had abruptly gone to sleep for nine years. I vowed to fully upgrade my house and pay off all the loans.

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To do this, I planted peaches. I don’t remember how I got one, but it was probably from one of my friend’s towns. I started by planting it and growing a peach tree. Then I planted more peach trees, and the farm grew exponentially. I used Microsoft Excel to determine the exact day in which selling all the fruit would cover the entire cost of paying off the final loan, and until then, I only used peaches to plant new trees.

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I decorated my house in the game with all kinds of stuff. My favorite part of the house is the room where I have a computer server set next to a bed that runs on electricity. That is my Animus room.

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Thanks for reading! =)

Gaming Post 42: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky

The random number generator has determined that the next game I should talk about is Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky.

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It is the enhanced version of the games Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness, all three having an identical main story, with added storyline content in Explorers of Sky.

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When it came out in 2009, I was not accustomed to playing the spin-off Pokémon Games. The few I had played were enjoyable, but at the time of Explorers of Sky’s release, I was very focused on catching all 493 extant Pokémon in the main series as my one and only goal.

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This is video evidence proving that I was at least aware of this game via a set of stickers given away during the Toys “R” Us Arceus Distribution Event.

Years later, I went about completing many of the Pokémon Spinoff titles, which brought me into contact with the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. I had previously played part of Red Rescue Team, and so I started over and played through its entire story. I did the same for Blue Rescue Team, Explorers of Time, Explorers of Darkness and eventually Explorers of Sky. When considering what post-story content I should play, I decided that since most of those games are identical to each other, I would try to defeat all the “Picture Bosses” in only Red Rescue Team and Explorers of Sky.

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These are what I call “Picture Bosses”, and my god, even using the Internet, it was hard to figure out which ones existed.

Right after completing The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon WiiWare Trilogy in 2018, I went about trying to finish the final “Picture Bosses” in Explorers of Sky. Thankfully, all of the dungeons that you need to complete in order to meet that goal are ones in which you get to keep the level of your Pokémon when going into them. This is not the case in the Rescue Team series. I still need to play through the dungeon called “Purity Forest” in order to meet Celebi in Red Rescue Team, but I’m dreading it. You always have to start that dungeon with your Pokémon reset to level 1, and the whole thing is 99 floors long. It can take a person hours to complete, but at any moment, you can randomly have bad luck and fail, and have to start the dungeon all over again.

The last “Picture Boss” in Explorers of Sky is actually a seven part sidequest in which you have to fight seven different Legendary Pokémon at the end of particular dungeons. The secret to defeating them is to slowly level up while trying to complete each dungeon, becoming stronger after each attempt. Also, each time you try to complete a mystery dungeon, there’s a chance that the layout of the dungeon is particularly easy (having the player spawn near the stairs more often than not). Warp Scarves are amazing items to use as well when you have them.

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These are all the “Picture Bosses” from Explorers of Sky. Pretend that I edited this more competently. I don’t have a picture of my finished save file on hand.

There is extra content available in Explorers of Sky that was unavailable in Explorers of Time and Darkness. Most of that content is subtle, but some of it is not. There are Special Episodes, which are standalone playable short stories that add lore to the characters and events in the game’s world. There’s also a new place that can be explored after the end credits called Shaymin Village, where a lot of Shaymin live. Back when Explorers of Time and Darkness came out, we weren’t even supposed to know that Shaymin existed, so it may be possible that the village couldn’t be in the game for logistical reasons. The real reason they added Shaymin Village into Explorers of Sky is probably in order to be able to sell the game all over again. I have to admit that it is a shady practice, but I’m used to Pokémon doing this sort of thing (they’ve done it since the very beginning). It seems that I’ve become desensitized to when Pokémon sells the same game over and over again, and yet not when Nintendo tries to pull it off (See Hyrule Warriors).

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These are all basically the same game.

Like most Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, Explorers of Sky has a well written story, and I highly recommend it. I still have a few more games to finish in order to catch up to the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, but I feel like it could happen one of these years.

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Thanks for reading! =)

Gaming Post 41: The Perplexing Orb

The random number generator has determined that the next game I should talk about is The Perplexing Orb. It’s certainly a perplexing game.

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The Perplexing Orb is an indie game that was only available on the Wii U eshop but then was eventually ported to the PS4. It was made by Treefall Studios, a video game developer that tries their best.

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When I happened upon “The Perplexing Orb”, I had previously already played another game from that studio called “Maze”. Back in the days when Miiverse still existed, whenever you booted up your Wii U, you would see several Miiverse communities represented alongside the crowds of Miis on the TV screen. The communities that were featured each day usually included the newest games that came out.

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Here’s how it looked like at the beginning. Note the launch titles appearing on the screen.

On one occasion, I saw a Miiverse community for a game simply called “Maze”, and it intrigued me. It sounded like a short and simple game that would be easy to complete, and I was right, although it did take me a few meditative hours. I was in the mood to play something relaxing and short like that and so I bought it and played through the entire thing.

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I started 2016 by completing lots of games at a rate of almost one game per day. After a while, I lost momentum and decided to play Final Fantasy VII on my PlayStation Vita. Final Fantasy VII is not a game that you can complete in a day, and so for a while, my rate for completing games slowed down significantly.

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It’s a good game though. The Remake is good too, but you have to play it after the original.

After I finished all the available games in the Final Fantasy VII universe, I wanted to make some rapid progress on my beaten games list. I’m not sure if I was depressed or something, but I ended up spending a day beating six obscure indie games on the Wii U. One of those games was called The Perplexing Orb, and it was a pretty interesting experience.

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Look at this man.

The Perplexing Orb is framed as some kind of mysterious adventure, but it’s basically a game in the genre of Super Monkey Ball made by a small team of beginning game developers. You are a ball which rolls around on floating islands, trying to reach an often precariously placed goal pole while trying not to fall off.

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To be honest, I feel as if I could have made this game. I’ve made games of only slightly lesser quality in Unity with a small team of students in one of my college courses. But guess what? I’ve never made a game in such a way that it could be sold by Nintendo on the Wii U. I didn’t put the work in to seriously go through with that process. For that, I applaud TreeFall studios for actually doing it. It’s exciting, and in the end, I think it was worth me playing some of their games.

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The reason The Perplexing Orb caught my attention is that I’m a big fan of Super Monkey Ball. Though I haven’t actually completed the series, it’s been close to my heart ever since I played it on the Gamecube. It seems as if a Monkey Ball game similar to the originals is in development. Thanks to the YouTuber Nick Robinson, we have uncovered its probable existence along with its possible title: “Super Monkey Ball Retro”. Below is his video detailing the discovery.

 

If it’s real, I will buy the game in order to support it.

Thanks for reading!