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Messages - David

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1
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: MARIO & LUIGI: PAPER JAM
« on: August 12, 2020, 01:59:56 PM »
It's Mario & Mario & Green Mario in ...

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam

The first (and only) crossover between the two Mario RPG series, Paper Jam featured Paper Mario teaming up with Mario & Luigi.  The excuse for this was that Luigi knocked over a magic book containing the paper Mario characters, resulting in Paper Bowser escaping and joining up with Bowser.  The two Koopa Kings then kidnap Peach (and Paper Peach), leaving it to Mario, Luigi, and Paper Mario to save the day.

Paper Jam was developed by AlphaDream, the same folks who developed the rest of the Mario & Luigi titles.  The idea to add Paper Mario the game came when the team was trying to figure out how to change the basic gameplay -- Mario & Luigi games have always focused on the use of two primary attack buttons in battles, representing the brothers.  They wanted to use a third button, and while brainstorming ideas for which character to add to the team, the Paper Mario idea was suggested.  Paper Jam made use of a three button battle interface, allowing control of all three Mario brothers.  Paper Mario had some paper-themed attacks and moves, team up with the others for Trio Attacks, and the ability to attack using copies of himself.  Giant papercraft versions of characters were used in some special battles.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam was released on the 3DS in late 2015 in Japan and Europe, and early 2016 in North America.


2
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: NES REMIX 2
« on: August 11, 2020, 01:00:46 PM »
Mario & Luigi & Link & Samus & Kirby & more get together to play in ...

NES Remix 2

In April 2014, a little over four months after the release of NES Remix, a sequel was released -- NES Remix 2, featuring a new selection of NES titles.  Complete challenges "remixed" from classic NES games: beat a level quickly, get a high score in 60 seconds, play through a familiar game segment with a twist (in the dark, backwards), or even help Princess Peach save herself from Bowser!

The challenge "remixes" were spread across twelve games.  The Mario related titles included Dr. Mario, NES Open Tournament Golf, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, and Wario's Woods -- the remaining games were Ice Hockey, Kid Icarus, Kirby's Adventure, Metroid, Punch-Out!! (featuring a Mario cameo), and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.

NES Remix 2 featured a few additional bonus modes.  Super Luigi Bros. was a Super Mario Bros., but with Luigi as the main character instead of Mario, and all the levels reversed.  Play through the game backwards, with Luigi's higher jumps and skidding landings!  If the first NES Remix was installed on the same Wii U, a special Championship Mode was unlocked in NES Remix 2.  In Championship Mode, players were tasked with completing a a three game challenge across Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, and Dr. Mario, reminiscent of the 1990 Nintendo World Championships challenge cartridge.

Overall, many gamers might enjoy this collection more than the first, given that this collection focuses more on the later, more complex NES titles.  The game was released in a physical bundle with NES Remix as NES Remix Pack, which was also later released on the 3DS Ultimate NES Remix.


3
Almost a year ago, Ars Technica published a short story about Gary Kitchen's port of Donkey Kong to the Atari 2600.  The story is excerpted from the book Arcade Perfect: How Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat, and Other Coin-Op Classics Invaded the Living Room by David L. Craddock, and provides an interesting look at the struggles of adapting an arcade game to the 2600's limited specs.  Read more over at https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/09/how-a-basement-hacker-transformed-donkey-kong-for-the-atari-2600/.

4
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: NES REMIX
« on: August 10, 2020, 02:55:22 PM »
Party like it's 1985 in ...

NES Remix

Play through remixed bits & pieces of classic NES titles in NES Remix for the Wii U.  This game was announced and released on the same day, December 18th 2013, and features "remixed" segments of a variety of different NES games.  Beat a level as quickly as possible, get the highest score in 60 seconds, or have Link save Pauline from Donkey Kong -- more than 200 challenges between 16 different NES games await.

Of the sixteen games, six are Mario related: Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong 3, Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros., and Wrecking CrewPinball is known for the cameo appearance of Mario and Pauline, Tennis features Mario as a referee, and Golf's main character is often mistaken for Mario.  The remaining games include Balloon Fight, Baseball, Clu Clu Land, Excitebike, Ice Climber, The Legend of Zelda, and Urban Champion.

The was later released in a physical bundle with NES Remix 2 as NES Remix Pack, which later saw a 3DS release as Ultimate NES Remix.


5
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: MARIO KART 8
« on: August 07, 2020, 02:38:29 PM »
Sliding around corners with Mario & friends in ...

Mario Kart 8

In 2014, Mario Kart 8 was released on the Wii U.  The biggest change in the game was the introduction of anti-gravity segments, in which bumping into other players actually gave the racer a speed boost.  Gliders, underwater segments, and customization returned from Mario Kart 7, while the Lucky 7 item was replaced with the Crazy Eight.  New items included the Boomerang, Piranha Plant, and Super Horn -- an item capable of destroying an attacking blue Spiny shell!

One of the biggest changes to the game was the virtual elimination of standard battle mode tracks.  Instead, all battles took place on standard race tracks, which made the battles a bit longer and less fun.

As part of a promotion, free DLC for three Mercedes-Benz cars were added to the game, allowing the racers to compete in oddly-realistic vehicles.

This was the first Mario Kart title to received paid DLC, in the form of additional race courses.  Two paid packs were available: "The Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8" and "Animal Crossing x Mario Kart 8."  The Legend of Zelda pack added two new racing cups (including tracks based on The Legend of Zelda and Excitebike), additional kart parts, and three new racers: Link, Tanooki Mario, and Cat Peach.  The Animal Crossing pack included two new racing cups (including tracks based on Animal Crossing and F-Zero), kart pieces, and the racers Dry Bowser, Isabelle, and Villager (from Animal Crossing).

In 2017, the game was released on the Nintendo Switch as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, with all DLC included and the addition of racers and tracks based on the Splatoon games.


6
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: DONKEY KONG COUNTRY: TROPICAL FREEZE
« on: August 06, 2020, 01:21:53 PM »
Take it to the fridge with Cranky in ...


Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

After the success of Donkey Kong Country Returns, Retro studios was tasked with creating a new Donkey Kong platformer.  In 2014, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze hit the Wii U.  Once again, terrible things are afoot on Donkey Kong Island -- in this case, the Snowmads, who have covered everything with a layer of snow and ice.  Donkey Kong must save the day once again, by generally beating everything back into shape.

Donkey & Diddy Kong are the only heroes this time -- Dixie Kong and Cranky Kong are playable characters as well.  Cranky even gets to hop around on his cane, as if it were a pogostick!

Whereas Donkey Kong Country Returns used updated arrangements and covers of music from the original Donkey Kong Country, Tropical Freeze features all-new music by series composer David Wise.

In 2018, the game was ported to the Switch, with Funky Kong added as a playable character.


7
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. U
« on: August 05, 2020, 01:14:53 PM »
Mario & Luigi get squirrelly in ...

New Super Mario Bros. U

Bowser has kidnapped the princess again, and the Mario Bros. are back to save the day.  Up to four players can play together using Mario, Luigi, Blue Toad and Yellow Toad.  Boost Mode allows one player to use the Wii U Gamepad to add platforms and give the players small boosts as they play.

New Super Mario Bros. U has some notable changes and improvements from the prior games in the series.  A new power-up item, the Super Acorn, activates the Squirrel Suit, which allows characters to float across the stage or swoop up into the air.  Baby Yoshis return, this time offering a unique power based on their color (spitting bubbles, swelling up like hot air balloon, and more).  The game overworld map is one large map, akin to the one found in Super Mario World.  A new Challenge Mode gives the player a list of small challenges to complete for reward coins -- can you stomp all the enemies in a stage without touching the ground?  The fat, round Goombas from Super Mario World are back -- but now they have a unique name, "Galoomba."  Speaking of Goombas, Goombrats are introduced in this game -- small, Goomba-like stompable enemies that rather resemble persimmons.

Oh, did we mention that the main musical theme for the game is new?  Yes, it's a New Super Mario Bros. game that doesn't reuse the same "waah waah" theme!

Another notable aspect to the game is that it is the second Mario platformer to receive paid DLC.  While New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the 3DS received additional packs of courses, New Super Mario Bros. U received an entire "second quest" in the form of New Super Luigi U, a $20 set of replacement levels for the entire game.

New Super Mario Bros. U was released on the Wii U in 2012.  In 2019, it was updated and released on the Switch as New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.


8
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: DIDDY KONG RACING DS
« on: August 04, 2020, 12:26:10 PM »
It's our first summer of Mario title to not include Mario at all!  It's ...

Diddy Kong Racing DS

Help Diddy Kong and his friends save the island from the nasty Wizpig -- by racing in karts, planes, and hovercraft!  Collect rare Rare coins, shoot rockets, compete online, and free the island from the tyranny of the evil magic spacepig guy.

Released in 2007, this remake of the original N64 Diddy Kong Racing offers a few new features, but much of the core content remains the same.  Changes include four new tracks, two newly playable racers (Taj and Wizpig), tweaked races and music, and redone graphics.  In addition, two Rare cameo racers from the original have been replaced -- Banjo & Conker no longer appear, with Tiny Kong and Dixie Kong taking their places.  Online racing was available, and there is even a level of customization, with the player able to create some racing tracks using the touchscreen and recording sound effects for the races.


9
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: MARIO VS. DONKEY KONG: MINI-LAND MAYHEM!
« on: August 03, 2020, 02:05:18 PM »
The creepy little Mario robots are back in...

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!

This is the second "Minis" game, and the third game in the "Mario vs. Donkey Kong" series.  Once again, you must help the minis navigate each level as they wander about in a Lemmings-like fashion.  Collect items, reach the exit, and occasionally face off against a boss.

What makes this game radically different from the first minis game (MvDK: March of the Minis) is that you have no direct control over the minis.  In MvDK: March of the Minis you could stop and start the minis, change their direction, make them jump, and so forth -- in this game (and in every following Minis title) the Minis march along automatically once you start them.  Instead of controlling the minis, you need to manipulate the environment as they mindlessly march along like... well, lemmings.  Create bridges and stairs, or lock off enemies behind walls.  The editing mode returns, allowing you to create and share your own levels.

While a unique game, the successors to Mini-land Mayhem didn't deviate much from the formula established here.  The game has shifted over from an action/platform/puzzler to a strategy-puzzle game, and the later titles kept to most of the gameplay established here.  While still fun, there's little to distinguish it from MvDK Tipping Stars, Minis March Again, or even Mini Mario & Friends: amiibo Challenge


10
Game Blog / A Real-Life Spiny (with pattern!)
« on: July 31, 2020, 01:51:28 PM »
You folks might have seen this before, but this is the first time I've seen a turtle wearing a crocheted Spiny shell sweater.

https://www.instagram.com/p/5FsAJ2P3t0/

The video clip is from Melissa Quartarone, based on an original Bowser sweater pattern designed by Jennifer Olivarez.

Link: Make It! Challenge #5: Crochet Bowser Sweater for a Turtle (pattern by Jennifer Olivarez)
Link: Turtle crawling around in a spiny outfit, courtesy of Melissa Quartarone

11
There is currently a Paper Mario: The Origami King Maximus Cup taking place in Tetris 99.  Play the game, earn points, and you can unlock a Paper Mario: The Origami King theme for your copy of Tetris 99!  You need to earn 100 points between now and August 3rd at midnight Pacific time.

12
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: MARIO VS. DONKEY KONG: TIPPING STARS
« on: July 31, 2020, 12:36:02 PM »
Hey, it's that Lemmings game with Mario characters...

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (Wii U) & Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (3DS)

It's another Mario vs. Donkey Kong game by Nintendo Software Technology!  There's not much new this time -- the game offered an online component in which you could earn stars in the game and "tip" them to the creators of other levels, and a few new minis -- Mini Luigi and a "Cursed" Mini  Mario (with a monkey on his head).  The big new innovation is that the same game was released on both the 3DS and Wii U -- buy one, and you get a free download code for the other version.

The gameplay is essentially the same as in most the other Mario vs. Donkey Kong -- guide mini-Marios to the exit of the level, avoiding obstacles and collecting items.  You don't directly control the minis, instead stopping them and manipulating the environment to get them to the end.  A full level editor is included -- the "tipping" mechanic allows you to reward fellow gamers for their creations by gifting them the stars you've earned -- earning stars in this way helps unlock bonuses.

The game itself was developed using the "Nintendo Web Framework," which was supposed to make it easier for game developers to create new Wii U and 3DS titles using standardized, web-based technology.  The game also featured Miiverse support and stamps (no longer accessible due to the shutdown of the Miiverse).


13
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: CAPTAIN TOAD: TREASURE TRACKER
« on: July 30, 2020, 09:58:23 AM »
Die, die, die, don't jump in ...

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Super Mario Galaxy introduced the Toad Brigade and its captain.  Captain Toad returned in Super Mario 3D World, where he was the playable character in a series of bonus game challenges, notable for his complete inability to jump.  Instead, the player had to move Captain Toad through a variety of obstacles and challenges, searching for hidden stars.

In late 2014, a year after the release of Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad had his own game released on the Wii U -- Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.  The game use the same basic mechanics as the minigame, requiring players to send Captain Toad walking through compact stages on a quest for Stars.  Captain Toad was accompanied by Captain Toadette, who was just as unable to hop, skip, or jump.  The game's antagonist was Wingo, a large bird with a penchant for stealing stars.

While there were some short use powerups and items in the game (pickaxes that work rather like the hammers in Donkey Kong, and turnips that could be plucked & tossed like those in Super Mario Bros. 2), most of the game's challenges required walking through levels, solving puzzles to find hidden stars and gems.  Many of the levels were like 3D puzzle boxes, requiring the player to turn the camera and Captain Toad walks in and out of passageways.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was released in late 2014 as a budget title, retailing at $39.99 instead of the more typical $59.99 price.  It's a fun little game, and was later ported to the more successful 3DS and Switch platforms.  The latter two ports removed some Super Mario 3D World themed stages, replacing them with stages themed after areas from Super Mario Odyssey. Try it out!


14
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: MARIO KART 7
« on: July 29, 2020, 11:37:04 AM »
Mario & company drive karts in 3D, while trying not to snake in ...

Mario Kart 7

The first "true" 3D Mario Kart game, Mario Kart 7 introduced several new gameplay elements to the Mario Kart series.  Karts now come with gliders, allowing players to coast through the sky after large jumps; they can also drive underwater!  In addition, karts are now customized -- players unlock components (wheels, bodies, gliders), and can mix and match the components to adjust the performance of their kart.  Coins return to the series -- collecting them in a race boosts your top speed!  New items include the Super Leaf (spin and knock out your opponents with a Tanooki tail), Fire Flower (hurl fireballs at your opponents), and the Lucky Seven -- the Lucky Seven gives the racer seven items to use, spinning around the kart in a ring.

Another change is the introduction of longer courses: three of the tracks don't loop -- instead, the racers must complete multiple segments of one, long course.  Rainbow Road is one such course; the other two longer courses are derived from Wii Sports Resort's map -- Maka Wuhu and Wuhu Loop.

Trick boosting returns from <a href="https://themushroomkingdom.net/games/mkwii>Mario Kart Wii, but "snaking" (as popularized in <a href="https://themushroomkingdom.net/games/mkds>Mario Kart DS[/url] is gone.

Overall, Mario Kart 7 is a very solid entry in the series, offering traditional racing with Mario power-ups, a full battle mode, and online gameplay.  Developed by EAD, the game received a worldwide 2005 release on the 3DS.



15
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: SUPER MARIO MAKER
« on: July 28, 2020, 01:23:02 PM »
The Mario madness never ends in ...

Super Mario Maker

Make your own "Super Mario" levels, and play through levels designed by others, in Super Mario Maker.  Using a Mario Paint-inspired interface, drag and drop blocks, bricks, Goombas, and more to create the ultimate Super Mario Bros. challenge -- or try playing with power-ups and graphics from Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, or even New Super Mario Bros. U!  Once levels are published, they can be individually downloaded, or players can challenge them in the 100 Mario mode -- try to clear as many levels possible with just 100 lives!

While players can always play through the stages as Mario, the game features special support for amiibo figures.  While creating a course, amiibo figures can be scanned to put special Mystery Mushrooms into stages (although only while using the classic Super Mario Bros. theme).  Mystery Mushrooms transform Mario into different characters -- changing sound effects, background music, and the graphics, but retaining Mario's standard running and jumping powers.  Still, it's fun to play as Peach, Luigi, Bowser, Goombas, a ? Block, the spring/trampoline object, Toad, Bowser Jr., Silver or Gold Mario, the Super Mario Maker builder outfitted Mario, Yoshi, a Shy Guy, Wario, Rosalina, Sidestepper, Shellcreeper, Mario from Mario Bros., Dr. Mario, Mario in a kart from Super Mario Kart, Waluigi, Yarn Yoshis (green, pink, light blue, or "Mega"), Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Ashley, Fighter Fly, Cat Mario, Cat Peach, Frog Mario, the "Mario Trio" from Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Mario in Sky Pop from Super Mario Land, Captain Toad, Birdo, Daisy, E. Gadd, Statue Mario (from Super Mario Bros. 3), Toadette, Nabbit, Baby Mario, the Undodog, or many, many, many others (including Mega Man, Pac-Man, and Link.)  Mystery mushrooms can be unlocked through normal gameplay, and some Mystery Mushrooms can't be unlocked by amiibo figures at all -- you'll have to get them by beating the different difficulties of the 100 Mario challenge.

Super Mario Maker was one of the Wii U's best titles, and was later ported to the 3DS as Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS.  The 3DS ported lost the Mystery Mushrooms and online level sharing, but gained a special 100 level challenge consisting of stages made by Nintendo staff.



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