The Switch’s First Vacation

Each year we go on vacation by a lake with our family. We both bring up plenty of video games to kick back and relax with.

When we were younger we would always bring our Nintendo 64 or the Nintendo Gamecube along with us. As we got older, and our father would tell us not to pack the whole house, we settled on bringing our Nintendo 3DSes and that’s it.

But now we have the Switch. It’s small, portable, and we bought a nifty little Zelda carrying case for it. It’s only big enough to carry the screen, four Joy-Con, and it came with two little packs that hold four games each, but it was enough. Rachel packed that while Kris packed the dock and the wires.

We share a cottage with our cousins and they don’t have a Switch so we wanted to be able to hook it up to the TV there.

It was a fun-filled week. Kris played Pokemon Moon and Y while Rachel worked her way through a Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game. We played a lot of board games and, of course, the Switch.

Most of our nights ended with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Our 15- and 13-year-old cousins would play with us and we had a blast with the battle modes, namely Renegade Roundup, Shine Thief, and Bom-omb Blast. We were loud and laughing the whole time. Our Uncle, their father, played with us a few times as well.

We’re sad the week is over, but in a strange way, we’re ready to get back to “reality.” We’re looking forward to playing some more Breath of the Wild and hopefully defeating Ganon soon!

Where have you taken your Switch? Let us know in the comments below!

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Of Battle Modes

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe brought battle modes with it, and for the first time since probably the original Mario Kart on the SNES, we gave the Battle Mode a thorough try. Honestly, we weren’t disappointed!

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There are five different battle modes, we tried each and every one of them, and had a blast while doing so. We went in order, first playing Balloon Battle. I wasn’t very good at that one, yet I believe it’s the simplest of all the modes. Each character starts with five balloons and you try to pop as many balloons from your opponents as you can. If you lose all five of your balloons, you’ll be brought back with three more balloons, but it takes three off of your “kill” list so you have to be careful.

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The Balloon Battle was the original battle mode when the battle mode was first introduced to the franchise. I’ll admit, the Balloon Battle was probably my least favorite out of the other more inventive battle modes. The next mode was Renegade Roundup, where the racers were split up into teams for a high-speed game of cops and robbers. One side had Pirahna Plants to aid them as cops, racing around to catch the “outlaws” on the other team to lock them up. Those dodging the law needed to not only avoid getting caught by a Pirahna Plant but to also keep an eye out and free any teammates that had gotten locked up. If the cops caught all the outlaws, the cops won, but if there was an outlaw still free when time runs out, then the outlaws won the battle. This mode was probably my favorite with the high-speed antics and extra tension that came with trying not to get caught!

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Next was Bob-omb Blast, which was similar to the Balloon Battle. Each item block contained a bob-omb and the more item blocks you got, the more bob-ombs you got. Though the maximum was only 10, sometimes that was all you needed. Each character has balloons and you have to try to blow people up. It was fun to drop bob-ombs everywhere, though I did find it be difficult at times, especially depending on the track we were playing on. Still, it was a lot of fun.

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I had tons of fun tossing the bob-ombs everywhere! The next mode Rachel did really well at, considering it was Coin Runners where the main objective is to collect as many coins as possible. Rachel loves treasure hunting games! This mode’s premise is simple, with racers doing their best to collect the coins that appear on the map while also attacking others to make said others lose their coins.

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I just kept cruising along collecting coins and no one really even touched me because I was keeping to myself. The final battle mode was Shine Thief, which was another fun one. A Shine stands in the middle of the track and you have to get to it before anyone else. You or your team have to collectively hold onto it for 30 seconds in order to win. People try to throw things and crash into you in order to get their hands on the Shine. It’s a fun game of keepaway.

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The battle modes were definitely a lot of fun! My favorites in order were Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, Shine Thief, Coin Runner, and then Balloon Battle. I tend to prefer the ones that have a bit of a fight to them, ones that can get chaotic with everyone dashing around.

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I loved, in order, Renegade Roundup, Shine Thief, Coin Runner, Bob-omb Blast, then Balloon Battle. I love a good chase whether it’s keepaway or running from the law, but certainly when it gets chaotic. Overall, the battle modes were a lot of fun and I’m sure we’ll be playing them just as much as we play the regular kart races.

What do you think of the battle modes? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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Throwback Thursday: Mario Kart Wii

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday and Happy June!

I can’t believe another month has come and gone… time flies and between that and our Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review yesterday, I started thinking back on some other Mario Kart games.

 

Throwback Thursday: Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart Wii was my favorite Mario Kart game. I have to say that 8 Deluxe is my new favorite, but I will always have fond memories of the Wii version.

It was the first Mario Kart game with the tilt motion controls and I absolutely loved using the steering wheel. I was much better at using the motion controls than I was using the regular joy-stick controls. I was better than Kris too, which was even more fun.

Mario Kart Wii came out in April 2008. That was the year Kris graduated from high school and she had a large group of friends. I remember she would have the group over from time to time and they would hang out in the basement, play video games, gossip, whatever. Me, being the little sister, usually tagged along with them, and they gladly let me.

Mario Kart was always a big game for them to play. I used to love watching them go head to head in tournaments with one another even though they weren’t big “gamers” it was still all good fun for everyone.

I remember laughing hysterically watching them all play because there were certain people who were good at it and certain others who were not.

Of course, everyone went to off to college, moved to other places, and some are even married now. Still, we keep in touch with a few of them and our closest ones have a Nintendo Switch of their own. I can’t wait to challenge them in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

That’s one thing I love most about Nintendo and video games. It brings people together and we all genuinely have a good time.

Do you have any fond memories of old Mario Kart games? Let me know in the comments below!

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Game Review

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe | Video Game Review

Title: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Company: Nintendo
Console: 
Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 
April 2017
How we got the game: 
We pre-ordered it

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a souped-up version of the original Mario Kart 8 that had been released for the Wii U in 2014. The Deluxe version included all of the original DLC that had been available for an extra cost for the Wii U version, along with the Battle Mode.

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At first, we were iffy on getting the game because while it would look nice on the Switch, we had the game for the Wii U. Then we found out it included all the DLC, which we never bought, so we decided to go for it. And we weren’t disappointed.

gameplay

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Like the previous Mario Kart games, the gameplay of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe includes the player controlling his/her/their character of choice while driving around recklessly on extremely dangerous tracks with items that make said dangerous tracks even more dangerous. It’s tons of fun and so satisfying to speed by or pelt your opponents in order to climb the ranks!

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You can play using the Joy-Con as one controller (or the pro-controller) or you can play using one Joy-Con on its side like a steering wheel using the tilt motion controls. I prefer the motion controls while Kris prefers to move using the regular controls. In addition to that, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also has smart steering. You can turn that on and your kart or bike will keep you on the road. This is more for younger kids playing the game, but we had ours on for a while because we had no idea what it was or how to turn it off. It’s a cool feature, but I do enjoy the challenge and getting frustrated when I fall off a track.

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For the most part, we had the smart steering off since we’ve been around the tracks before. Surely we knew what we were doing, right? Of course, for the 200cc races, the smart steering helped a bit, but it’s so much fun to do without! The 200cc speed is insane!

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We definitely had the most fun doing the 200cc races, I think. I enjoyed having the smart steering on because it gave me a shot, but I liked the challenge of trying to steer and brake myself. Once we finished all the races, we tried our hand at the battle modes. The battle modes were never something we typically played, but we tried them out anyway.

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The battle modes were a lot of fun! Instead of competing in races, you’re going against each other in set rules, such as popping your opponents’ balloons, collecting the most coins, or seeing how many other racers you can blow up with Bob-ombs. Runaway Renagades was like Cops and Robbers, with one side being the police and the other “dodging the law,” and Shine Thief was a game of keepaway with a Shine Sprite from the Super Mario Sunshine game.

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All modes were a lot of fun and we enjoyed ourselves more than we thought. We actually ended up getting a little more competetive than we thought. Then again, that’s what Mario Kart does to you…

graphics-music

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With the game being on the Nintendo Switch, the graphics are wonderful. There hasn’t been an instance in playing Switch games where the graphics haven’t been well done, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has been no exception. Despite the fast pace the races move, the graphics are always smooth and it’s a delight to see the characters’ expressions so clearly.

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As stated earlier, we didn’t but the Wii U DLC for this game. So, a lot of the tracks are new for us. For example, we were amazed by Hyrule Circuit because the graphics were so well done. It was cool that there were rupees instead of coins and the layout of the track is awesome. Not to mention the music brings you right back to Hyrule.

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Hyrule Circuit is one of my favorite tracks! It was also awesome to play as Link — the poor guy deserves a break from adventuring to join a go-kart race! I greatly enjoyed the music for all the tracks, to be honest. The majority of them were fun and fast-paced to match the races.

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For most of the tracks, I find myself humming along with the music. I blink and before I know it, the race is over. Though sometimes, I’ll admit, that I get distracted by trying to sing along with the music and dancing so I end up steering my character right off the edge of the track or get behind a tree or something.

replay-value

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With all the different modes, race courses, characters and karts, and online capabilities, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has tons of replay value. Not only do Rachel and I have each other as gaming buddies, but the online mode allows us to play with friends around the world, and it’s pretty damn amazing.

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This is also a great game to get a group of friends together and compete against one another in real life. Ruining friendships is fun when you’re playing a Mario game. It’s also fun to play alone too. The challenge of going against the CPUs are fun as well as trying to train before you play against your friends.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe gets…
5 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Friday Favorites: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Tracks

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

While I’m not the best racer out there, I’m still having fun playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Rachel did a Top Tuesday of her favorite tracks a couple of weeks ago, and today I’ll be sharing mine.

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Holy sugar, the sheer speed of this course is amazing! It gets insane the higher the CC level you pick, and it’s just tons of fun trying to ram into the other racers. The music itself just keeps you pumped up throughout the race.

mario_kart_baby_parkBaby Park

Baby Park was originally in Double Dash, one of my favorite installments of the Mario Kart franchise. The course itself my look like a simple oval, but it showcases the pure chaos that is the Mario Kart series with everyone lapping or being lapped on the course. It’s always hysterical and crazy with all the items flying everywhere, so much so that it often gets difficult to tell what place you’re in until you cross the finish line.

mqdefaultCloudtop Cruise

This course brought a real sense of adventure, soaring among clouds and sky ships, dodging lightning bolts while trying to reach the speed boosts, and carefully maneuvering around the giant vine-like road. It always reminded me of the battleships from the original Mario games as well as the Rainbow Ride level of Super Mario 64.

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Being such a huge fan of the Legend of Zelda franchise, I was so excited to hear that Link and a track of his own would be joining the Mario Kart scene. While we never bought the DLC for the original Mario Kart 8 game, he’s quickly become one of my favorite racers in the Deluxe version, as has his track. The music, the backgrounds, the use of keese and deku babas in place of bats and pirahna plants, rupees instead of coins — the course is chock-full of indulgent Zelda references.

 

mount20wario-noscaleMount Wario

This track is just pure adventure and adrenaline rush. Immediately you start at the top of a snowy mountain and traverse through ice, woodlands, and downward hills. It combines speed and technique, allowing every racer to bring their best strategies to the course.

What are your favorite or least favorite tracks in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?

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Throwback Thursday: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle

Rachel Mii Double JumpHappy Thursday!

I haven’t done a throwback in a while and there’s a certain game that I’ve been thinking about a lot…

 

Throwback Thursday: Sonic Adventure 2 Battle

Sonic Adventure 2 Battle originally came out in June 2001 for the Nintendo Gamecube. 2001… that’s a long time ago.

Every once in a while, I think of this game. It’s not a great game by any means, but Kris and I absolutely loved playing it at the time it came out.

The game had two story modes, Hero and Dark. Both modes were the same story but through the different points of view of the hero characters, Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, and the dark characters, Shadow, Eggman, and Rouge. It was fun to play as both the heroes and the villains in their own unique levels going along the same storyline.

Sonic and Shadow had speed levels while Tails and Eggman were in some sort of machine for their levels, and Knuckles and Rouge had treasure hunting levels searching for pieces of the broken Master Emerald.

Each character could find a Chao key in their levels that would allow them to go to Chao world. There you could hatch Chao, put them in Kindergarten, feed them and level them up, throw them in combat tournaments and races. Then you could have them make baby Chao together. It was a lot of fun and honestly, I think that was my favorite part of the whole game.

My other favorite part of the game was the 2-player where you competed against one another in races, battles, and treasure hunting. Kris and I would compete all the time and after we beat the game once, I think we mainly just played with our Chao (we each had about ten or so Chao on our accounts) and then competed against each other.

It was a lot of fun and I remember I recorded ourselves competing and put a few videos on Facebook.

I know the game isn’t too good. It was great when we were kids, but I would love to play this again just for the nostalgic purposes. The main reason I thought of writing about this game was mostly because of the music.

While playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, I always start singing “City Escape” by Ted Poley whenever we’re racing on the Toad Harbor track. Sonic Adventure 2 Battle did have great music if nothing else.

Have you played Sonic Adventure 2 Battle? How much did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments below!

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Pick Your Racer

Pick Your Racer | Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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How’s everyone enjoying Mario Kart 8 Deluxe? Have you picked your favorite racer yet? Rachel and I have been spending tons of time on that game, having forgotten how much fun Mario Kart has been since we last dabbled with the Wii U version. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has all the DLC and unlocked characters that we had never gotten in the Wii U version, so it’s been fun testing out all the racers. We did, however, notice that since there are so many characters, we’re finding that we miss the simpler list of characters.

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In Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 8, I had a personal vendetta against Baby Peach. I don’t know why, but every time she was in a race with me she would always be tailgating me throwing the worst items she could. In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there’s not much of that. The character roster is so big that we’ve noticed that most of the computer players aren’t even from the Mario universe. Or, they’re Metal Mario, Gold Peach, or Cat Peach… Still, we miss seeing the original Mario, Peach, Luigi, and Bowser running around.

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Yes, we’ve noticed that there’s more “copycat” characters, if you will, in Mario Kart 8. Characters like Legend of Zelda’s Link or Animal Crossing’s Isabelle are unique additions, but having three different Marios or all seven Koopalings is a bit excessive in our opinions. They’re interesting aesthetics-wise, but Rachel and I miss seeing the original characters racing around with our characters. Out of the plethora of Grand Prix we’ve done, we’ve seen the original Mario in one, maybe two, of those Grand Prix.

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It’s definitely cool that they’ve added characters from other games, very similar to Smash Brothers. But it’s still Mario Kart and I personally think it would have been cool if they added a Goomba. I mean, if King Boo can drive without legs I think a Goomba could make it work without arms. Kamek also would have been a cool addition as well.

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The additional characters from games other than Super Mario have made many people wonder if this will be the last Mario Kart… A better name for future installments may be Nintendo Kart or something along those lines. If we do want to stick to Super Mario characters, why not re-add Birdo to the roster? Or perhaps Diddy Kong to replace one of the half a dozen baby characters for more variety? Professor E. Gadd, known mostly from Luigi’s Mansion but mentioned in many others, would have been a unique addition.

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Oh, I would love to have Professor E. Gadd there! I’m sticking with my “villains” though. I wouldn’t mind having Thwomp or King Bomb-omb or Wiggler. These are pretty far-fetched, I know, but I think they’d be cool either way. Or Nabbit. He’s a bit weird, but he’d be someone different.

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It’s strange that some of your favorites in this racing game seems to be the villains, like King Boo. I miss seeing you being Yoshi all the time, haha! I don’t know what it means when you’ve gone to being the cute, innocent character to one that’s always seen as a villain. As for me, I’m all for having Link in the game. He’s my main when I used to be little Koopa or Rosalina. They’re all different characters, and I wish the entire roster was just as unique.

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I’ve always liked Boo in general. I always got excited at the boo mansions in the games. Luigi is another favorite of mine and I think that’s why I love Luigi’s Mansion so much. I still, of course, have a soft spot for Yoshi, and he is one of my favorites. I decided to Switch (this joke will get old, but I don’t care) it up a bit. I was Luigi for one or two races, but I was drawn to King Boo. I love his laugh and the way his “tail” wags. Which, is similar to Yoshi, if you think about it.

What other characters do you think they should add? Who’s your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

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