Gaming Post 34: Xenoblade Chronicles (3DS)

The random number generator has chosen a very good game for me to write about, but it’s a very long game that some people may intend to play eventually, so I’ll try not to spoil too much about the story.

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The game I’m going to be writing about this time is Xenoblade Chronicles 3D for the New Nintendo 3DS. It was originally released for the Nintendo Wii. If you’re scrolling through Zelgerath.com, everything after this paragraph is concealed behind a “Continue reading” tag, but if you’ve clicked straight into this article, there is no such protection from minor spoilers.

Continue reading

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Gaming Post 29: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3

The random number generator has determined that the next game I should write about is Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3.

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Wario Land is an interesting game in that it continued an existing series by transforming it. It is the last game in the Mario Land series as well as the first in the Wario Land one. You play as Wario, who was the main antagonist in the previous game, Super Mario Land 2.

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I bought this game from the 3DS Nintendo eshop when I was bored, along with Mario Land 1, Wario Land 2 and Wario Land 3. I already had Mario Land 2 from an eshop sale.

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After finishing Mario Land 2, PAX East 2014 happened. I didn’t have a Ticket for the Friday, but I did meet my friend Absol from the Internet outside the venue that day. I then sat for a few hours and streetpassed with people who were in line to get in. This campaign finally ended when my 3DS ran out of battery power and I decided to take the train home.

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When I got home, I was experiencing gaming withdrawal. Though it was true that I had been playing the Mii Plaza games Puzzle Swap and Warrior’s Way, I had only played them so intently that day because PAX East presented me with an opportunity to progress faster in those games than I usually could. That said, you can only play the street pass games for so long before they stop being fun.

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That afternoon, I played through the entirety of Super Mario Land 1 and then started Super Wario Land.

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“Best adventure yet”? More like “Shortest adventure yet”!

Super Wario Land is pretty easy, even without Restore Points, but I did use them for the sake of convenience. I ran into a problem early on in the game that taught me to be careful with restore points. I had accidentally created a restore point at a moment in the game when Wario was healthy, but there was no possible way to survive to the end of the level (there was a moving platform I was supposed to have jumped off of). This taught me that there are dangers to using restore points, and one should always be careful in their use.

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Wario Land 1 plays similarly to regular Super Mario games. Wario can obtain power ups like the Dragon, Bull or Jet to traverse levels differently or attack enemies more easily. If you get hit by an enemy, just like in Super Mario, you lose your power up, and if hit again, you become “Tiny Wario”. If Tiny Wario gets hit, it’s a death.

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Following Wario’s defeat in Mario Land 2, Wario wants to build a new castle. To pay for it, he decides to steal treasure from pirates.

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He eventually duels with Captain Syrup, the leader of the pirates, and her genie.

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After he wins, the genie builds Wario a new castle. Depending on how well you do collecting treasure, you get ranked at the end by how big the castle is.

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The genie built me a birdhouse.

Wario is a character defined by his flaws. In that way, he’s a much more believable character than his doppelgänger Mario. This game introduced his greed, and other games would feature his sloth and gluttony. Greed is his primary personality trait, because that’s what motivates him to get off the couch once in a while.

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The only Wario Land game that I haven’t beaten yet is the one they made immediately after this one, which was for the Nintendo Virtual Boy gaming system. The process of writing this article incited me to bite the bullet and order a Virtual Boy gaming system online along with the Wario Land title for it. I’ll hopefully play it soon.

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Even 9-Volt has a Virtual Boy. I wonder if he has Wario Land.

Through the process of writing this article, it can be said that my life has been slightly affected by a random number generator. Thanks for Reading! I Appreciate it!

“NO SAIL ZELDA WIND WAKER CHALLENGE”

Hello readers! My friends convinced me to start working on recording Let’sPlays this year and so we have recently started up doing a challenge that has been on my quest list for some time.

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The challenge is to play through The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker without using a sail at any point and with only using the warp song the minimum possible amount of times and still finish the game. My friend Bryan will play through the land content and I’ll do all the ocean content. We’ll also be in a room full of commentators. We’ll commentate throughout the whole thing.

Here's Dave and Bryan...
Here’s Dave and Bryan…
Cam and Dave...
Cam and Dave…
Harlan and Nick...
Harlan and Nick…
And me, Zelgerath.
And me, Zelgerath.

People used to say that the Wind Waker overworld was too big and empty, but I didn’t mind very much, which is why I came up with this plan. Keep in mind that the Wii U version that we’re using has an increased speed both in sailing and cruising and there is also slightly less sailing to do in the game, but the original plan was for us to play through the GameCube version. I just couldn’t get my recording method working in time, but this should be good I think.

EDIT: We have completed the entire quest. You can watch them all in the following playlist if you want, although I must warn you not to give it your full attention as it gets arguably pretty boring at times.

The audio mix for the first 8 Episodes was a little rough, but we steadily improved as we went on. The playlist continues into the remainder of the series with better audio.

Our next Let’sPlay will be the obscure title, “Learn with Pokémon: Typing Adventure” For the Nintendo DS, imported from Europe.

I hope you enjoyed if you decided to watch. We’ll keep at it!

Gaming Post 20: Super Mario Galaxy 2

The random number generator has chosen my favorite single player game OF ALL TIME!!! The game is Super Mario Galaxy 2. It came out in early 2010 at the end of my Senior Year of High School. At the time, I still didn’t have a Wii, but that’s beside the point.

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I remember that Nintendo used their YouTube channel really well to hype this game up. They uploaded trailers in the form of purposefully glitchy videos with upside down video titles as if they were sent through space. Here’s a sample of a trailer that was re-uploaded by a fan and was thus preserved.

I remember that I really kept up with these trailers. I don’t usually pay attention to games much until they come out but Super Mario Galaxy 2 was an exception firstly because the game looked so good and secondly because the trailers were so fun.

That was my favorite trailer of them all because it showed us a huge reference to the Mario game that started my 3D Mario adventure; Throwback Galaxy AKA Thwomp’s Fortress from Super Mario 64. At the time, my favorite single player game of all time was Super Mario Galaxy 1, but in basically every way Super Mario Galaxy 2 was better. It was almost like DLC for Galaxy 1, as there was no overlap in the two experiences. It was just the addition of some really awesome levels. Sure, you may fight a boss again in Galaxy 2 that you already fought in Galaxy 1, but you’re using a different power up, so it’s a different strategy involved.

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There was a countdown on Nintendo’s web page for Super Mario Galaxy 2’s release date, but after it reached zero, it started going up. I recorded this video of peoples’ reactions.

I actually had a bit of trouble securing a system to play this game on. As it turned out, my friend Jonah had become fed up with me borrowing his Wii System for so long a period of time, so I couldn’t actually use his anymore. For some reason, my friend Nick’s Wii wouldn’t work with the game either. For a while, my only solution was bringing Galaxy 2 and an SD card around with me wherever I went, playing whenever I could use someone’s Wii. This process was ridiculously slow, so after getting about 70 stars this way, I realized that I really needed my own Wii to fully complete the game. Around this time, a new edition of the Wii surfaced.

Oh yeah!
The (second) best Wii System ever
The actual best Wii System ever, owned by the Queen of England
The best Wii System ever is actually the Royal Wii, which is owned by the Queen of England.

I had held myself back from asking for a Wii system for a long time, but it felt like the time was right to ask for one for Christmas. Not only did I want it to play Galaxy 2 but also to play the Zelda game for Wii that would be coming out (Skyward Sword). I had just finished the existing Zelda Series that summer while my Galaxy 2 progress was in a halted state. So, I asked my mom for the Black Wii System, and the first Christmas I came back from College, it was under the tree. I was worried that my dad wouldn’t be too happy about it, but he didn’t mind. In fact, that Christmas break, along with furiously playing through Galaxy 2 from scratch (I decided to start the game over), I taught him how to use Netflix. He was very impressed.

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I think it's pretty funny that this disc ever existed.
I found this image, and I think it’s pretty funny that such a disc ever existed. Most people just downloaded the channel for free from the Wii Shop.

The first thing I did upon getting the Wii was boot up the Shop Channel. I had a 1000 Nintendo points card prepared for this moment, and so I redeemed it and bought PacMan. I then briefly played PacMan. This was done purely for the irony.

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Gotta save some quarters

Over winter break, as I said, I furiously played through Galaxy 2. I think I was exposed to BBC Radio for the first time during quite a bit of my play-through, as my dad had it playing loudly on the computer in the TV room. Mario isn’t a story driven game, so it can be enjoyable while multitasking, consuming two different types of entertainment at the same time. I played so much of this game that I got all 120 stars in the main story and started the Green Star second story.

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Essentially, there are 120 green stars hidden throughout 40 stages in the game, 3 per stage. It’s similar to how they would later appear in Super Mario 3D World, except that obtaining one in Galaxy 2 takes you out of the level immediately to save the fact that you got it, just like a regular star in the game. They’re hidden, but you can try to listen for the sound the stars make as you travel through each level, and use the number given to each star you obtain as a hint for what part of the level you should look for the other stars in. It always goes in order; 1 is first, 2 is second and 3 is third. If you find Star 1, all the other stars are after the part of the level you found it in, and so on.

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It seems that I played about 45 hours of Galaxy 2 that week, but that wasn’t quite enough to finish the game, just because of the final level.

Now, I should probably mention that I beat this game entirely as Mario rather than Luigi. Maybe I have an excuse to revisit this game some day as Luigi. I’m still afraid of that final level though. The tool assisted speed run you just watched may have made it look like it was easy, but it was not.

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According to the calender in the data of my Wii, I played the game on March 15th during a vacation after returning to college on January 2nd. I played for hours trying to beat the final level, but it wasn’t until March 16th that I finally cleared it. Throughout the entire game I tried not to be nervous, because I knew that being nervous can cause one to make mistakes, but in the final seconds of the final level my heart started beating intensely of its own accord, and yet I still succeeded! It was a thrilling moment for me.

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Super Mario Galaxy 2 is now available to purchase on the Wii U eshop for $19.99. If you have time to play the game, I highly recommend it.

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As always, Thanks for Reading! =)

Gaming Post 19: New Super Luigi U

The random number generator has chosen for me to write about the Downloadable Content (DLC) for New Super Mario Bros. U called New Super Luigi U. This was the first DLC that I counted on my list as a full game, as it really felt like a full game. The truth of the matter is that although it started as DLC, it was released again on its own disc without the regular content of New Super Mario Bros. U. This happens to be one of the 26 games set within the Mario Universe that I beat within a year.

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New Super Luigi U is a New Super Mario Bros. game with a few twists thrown in. It’s for the Wii U gaming system and includes the usual features of the New Super Mario Bros. series. Basically, you can only save whenever you want after you beat the story, and the objective for completing the game 100% is collecting all of the Star Coins. As usual, there are 3 in each stage and you keep the star coins you obtain within the stage only if you make it safely to the flag at the end.

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There are as many stages in New Super Luigi U as there are in New Super Mario Bros. U, because the over world is exactly the same. The stages, however, are more difficult, and yet shorter. Though the stages are full of death traps, you are only given 100 seconds on the timer to make it to the end of the course. There are no check points, and it might even be impossible to obtain all 3 star coins in one go for certain stages. I cannot confirm if this is actually true or not, because there are some truly super players out there. It’s possible to play the game as a character called Nabbit, who is immune to enemies, but because that makes the game too easy, I only played as Luigi. I know that I’m a hypocrite because I use Restore Points in some virtual console games and yet think playing as Nabbit is cheap.

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I might have downloaded this DLC before my copy of New Super Mario Bros. U arrived in the mail, but I didn’t try the game out until I got stuck in a level in Mario U. Like always, the trick to working on New Super Mario Bros. games is to find your way to the end of the story so that you can save your progress more frequently.

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This time, even moving through the campaign was something of a trial. Luigi can save after every beaten Tower and Castle, so the idea was to beat a tower or castle before using up all of Luigi’s lives. I got as far as the tower in Soda Jungle before I really got stuck and tried my luck again with Mario U.

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Eventually, Luigi U was the last New Super Mario Bros. game left for me to 100%, and so I took a pretty significant shortcut so that I could get quickly to the end of the story. The inflatable pink baby Yoshi was very helpful in clearing many of the stages in this game.

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The infinite lives trick takes a bit of skill to perform in Luigi U. This video shows someone who is very good at performing it. Even though I never got as many as 99 lives in the level per attempt, I still made a profit of lives.

Towards the end of my completion of this game, I spent a lot of time listening to audio books from the Sherlock Holmes series. I’m a big fan of the BBC’s modern adaptation of the stories, so I’ve been listening to the originals now and then ever since.

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I was super stoked to finally complete New Super Luigi U, but the sense of accomplishment I had, while still strong even today, also gave way to a sort of emptiness. When I first heard of it, I thought the New Super Mario Bros series wouldn’t be fun because it was two dimensional, but after I had beaten the 3D Mario games, I looked to New Super Mario Bros to tide me over until the next 3D Mario game. What happened after my completion of New Super Mario Bros is that I had to find something else to fill the gap it had been filling before. I would fill that gap with the Paper Mario series, but that’s another story.

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Thanks for reading! =)

Gaming Post 17: Super Mario 3D World

I had a good feeling about the number the random number generator gave me, and sure enough, my next post will be about the game Super Mario 3D World. This was the game that started what I like to call my “Year of Mario” in which I beat 26 games set within the Mario Universe in 365 days.

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If you have a Wii U, this is a game that you should get. It’s pretty great. It’s the continuation of the 3D Mario series, and I was really happy to be able to play this game when it came out. There was actually a midnight release for this game, because it came out the same day that the Xbox One came out. Super Mario 3D World and Zelda: A Link Between Worlds both got this benefit. I picked up both games at midnight, went home and immediately booted up 3D World.

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Don’t forget to find this Easter Egg!

Now, I am sometimes known as being a big fan of the Zelda Series, so it might be surprising to some that I started with 3D World over A Link Between Worlds, but there is a logical explanation. My interest in Super Mario predates my interest in The Legend of Zelda. At one time I believed that Super Mario 64 was the most important video game in the world.

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The main objective in the story of Super Mario 3D World is to save pixie princesses from Bowser and his minions. Each stage has 3 Green Stars and a MiiVerse Stamp to collect, and in order to 100% the game, this must be done for every stage. Towards the end of the 100%ing process, every stage must have been cleared at least once by every playable character. These playable characters are Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad, Peach, and Rosalina (who gets unlocked at some point after the story I think). The four characters you start with are the same as the characters in (and have the same physicality rules set by) America’s Super Mario 2 (Super Mario USA in Japan).

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Of course, like always, there’s a new power up. Mario can now have all the powers of a Cat.

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This is the first 3D Mario game in which multiple people can play at the same time, so all the levels were designed to be relatively flat with that in mind. It’s also the first 3D Mario game to be rendered in HD graphics.

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The music in this game is on par with what we’ve heard in the Super Mario Galaxy series. I particularly like the moment in the game when you discover World Bowser. This is my favorite song in the whole game.

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I like this song a lot too.

Mario 3D World fully integrates MiiVerse. What that means is that you see MiiVerse posts all over the place, some of which can be pretty entertaining, if only for how ridiculous they can be.

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Now, I loved the Super Mario Galaxy series both for its gameplay and for the fact that it was a continuation of Mario’s Power Star collecting journey. Super Mario 3D world is a great game, but in my opinion, it wasn’t quite on par with the Super Mario Galaxy series. I think that because 3D World was designed for multiplayer, the levels were in some ways held back from reaching the epicness of Mario Galaxy.

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But just because I personally want a Super Mario Galaxy 3 or Sunshine 2, it doesn’t make 3D World any less of a game. In fact, 3D World introduced a new type of Mario level in the form of Captain Toad’s Adventures. The thing about Captain Toad is that his backpack is heavy, so he can’t jump. To get him through each of his stages, you must solve how to get through them like a puzzle.

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These Captain Toad levels inspired a spinoff title the following year called Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. I liked that game too, but I’ll tell you more about that another day.

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Thanks for Reading! =)

Gaming Post 11: Super Mario Galaxy

Oh boyo boy! The random number generator wants me to write about the wonderful wonderful game Super Mario Galaxy!

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I have to admit that I’m a little bit biased toward Super Mario games. I grew up considering Super Mario 64 to be the most important video game in the world, so whenever there was a game like Super Mario Sunshine or Super Mario 64 DS, I strived to complete them more than any other game (except for Pokémon games). That said, I wasn’t very good at those games, and I only really got good at 3D Mario games by late middle school and early High School.

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The crazy thing is that, without knowing what Super Mario Galaxy was, I finally finished beating the three 3D Mario games I had strived to beat for basically my entire life the week before Super Mario Galaxy came out. After finding the last blue coin and getting my 120th Shine Sprite in Super Mario Sunshine, I noticed an e-mail from Nintendo mentioning Super Mario Galaxy. Upon further research, I found out that it was the next game in the 3D Mario Series, and it was a return to Mario’s classic Power Star collecting journey. This was a welcome and timely surprise. I was sort of blown away by the coincidence of timing.

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Now, I didn’t technically own a Wii back then, but I was already borrowing the one that belonged to my friend Jonah (having used it to beat Super Mario 64 on the Wii Virtual Console). So, without owning a Wii, I bought Super Mario Galaxy for my enjoyment.

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And enjoyed it, I did. Super Mario Galaxy is an amazing game. The objective is to obtain 120 Power Stars as Mario, 120 of the same Power Stars in a second play-through as Luigi, and then 2 really easy bonus stars (one as Mario and one as Luigi) after 240 stars have been obtained.

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This can take a long time to do, and it gets pretty challenging, but I was determined by the fact that I had 100% beaten the 3D Mario series up until then and that the game was brand new. I also was aware that Jonah would eventually be fed up with me borrowing his Wii System all the time, so I had to play through the thing relatively quickly.

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As for the game itself, a lot of it had to do with gravity. The controls were pretty easy to learn, and the music was also amazing because it was orchestrated. Here’s a trailer for the game.

(Interestingly, they changed a lot of things between this trailer and the final game, including orchestrating the music)

(Final version of the music you just heard)

I highly recommend playing this game. In fact, its sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2, is even better and available for download for Wii U. At the time of this post, it is available at half price ($10 instead of $20) but either of those prices are good deals.

You can probably find Super Mario Galaxy for $20, and Nintendo might even add it to the available downloadable games on the Wii U.
You can probably find Super Mario Galaxy for $20, and Nintendo might also eventually add it to the available downloadable games on the Wii U.

I bought a digital copy of Galaxy 2 even though I still have my original disc. I figure that it might come in handy in a party situation. My only warning is that if you start with Galaxy 2, you might become bored with Galaxy 1, but this is perhaps not true. I feel that I should mention that the levels are generally harder in Galaxy 2, as they were made for people who already played Galaxy 1.

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Enjoy the Super Mario Galaxy series if you think you might like it, and as always, Thanks for Reading! =D