Friday Favorites: Beaches in Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

Being June, it’s supposed to be warmer, the perfect weather for a day at the beach. Considering where I am is kind of lackluster at the moment, with the weather ranging from the fifties to the eighties in Fahrenheit degrees rather than being consistent “summer” temperature, I’m going to visit some in-game beaches and pretend I’m there.

double jump | video games | nintendo | beaches | summer

 

Lurelin Village from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Breath of the Wild boasts a gorgeous open world for you to explore while on your quest to save Hyrule from Calamity Ganon. One of my favorite places to go was Lurelin Village, a small town near the southern end of Hyrule with plenty of spots to watch the ocean water reflect the sunset. It also had a pretty decent shrine puzzle that was fun to figure out!

Harvest Moon Beaches

The Harvest Moon games that I’ve played tended to have nice beach areas. Back when More Friends of Mineral Town was the main installment I played, I always enjoyed the shift in the music and the ocean sound effects whenever I visited the beach. I’ve been playing Light of Hope on the Switch recently and I’m enjoying that beach area as well. It’s great to dig up shells for easy cash!

Seaside Town from Super Mario RPG

Not exactly a “beach,” per se, but Seaside Town was the place right next to the ocean, right before you dove underwater to confront a pirate on a sunken ship for a Star Piece. The town is first filled with impostors who spout out ridiculous lines and reveal themselves to be a challenging boss after you resurface from the pirate ship.  The music is also one of my favorite tunes from the game, too!

Slateport City from the Pokemon Gen. 3

The Hoenn region of the Pokemon games is one of my favorites generation-wise with the Pokemon and locations. The beach at Slateport City was great when I first encountered it, finding the soda pop shop a cute idea and enjoying the battles on the beach. Running around and leaving footprints in the sand always amused me as well.

What are your favorite beaches in video games?

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Game Within a Game

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday! Is everyone ready for the summer?

Here on the east coast in North America, we’ve been getting… interesting weather. Nothing too fancy, just the temperatures going up and down like a roller coaster lately instead of the warmer weather that so many people like about the summer. Summer also generally means vacations and breaks from everyday life. Some video games do something similar where they put a “game within a game.”

Double Jump | Video Games | Super Mario | Mini Game
Beetle Mania from Super Mario RPG

There are plenty of video games out there with little mini games or “games within the game” to help break up the monotony of the story line or actions of the main game. Some mini games have relevance to the original game at hand — such as Final Fantasy’s VII chocobo racing — but others are there just as Easter Eggs or for fun.

One such game is Beetle Mania in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. For five hundred coins after the Marrymore section of the game, Mario can buy a Game Boy from a Toad child at the Mushroom Kingdom Inn. The game is simple enough in which you control a little beetle at the bottom of the screen and shoot little stars at falling red koopa shells. The koopa shells explode for points and, if they are near other koopa shells, may start a chain reaction for higher points.

Beetle Mania has absolutely no relevance to the plot of Super Mario RPG, but it’s a fun break from chasing after Star Pieces.

The original Animal Crossing also had a bunch of classic NES games that you could decorate your house with and play, such as Balloon Fighter and Donkey Kong Jr. Math. New Leaf also included a couple of new games, such as one based off of Panel de Pon titled Puzzle League. Likewise, the popular Stardew Valley also has a couple of arcade games that one can play while hanging out in the Saloon.

What other “games within a game” can you think of? Any favorites?

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Friday Favorites: Fire Levels

Double Jump Kris MiiHey, it’s June!

A little while ago, I did a Friday Favorites dedicated to video game levels that reminded me of or were set in winter. To celebrate the coming warmer months, this time around my Friday Favorites post is dedicated to summery or hot levels.

frifavesfirelevels

Cinnabar Island from Pokemon

In the Kanto region of Pokemon, the seventh gym badge is one you earn from the Fire-type gym on Cinnabar Island. The island is tiny, but I remember from the original Pokemon Yellow the red palette of the pixels, the abandoned mansion filled with lore and Fire-type Pokemon, the riddles from the gym… I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the Let’s Go titles!

Mt. Lavalava from Paper Mario

Let’s be real, the original Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64 was the best title in that series. Mt. Lavalava, the volcano dungeon that you explore after meeting all the Yoshis, was not only a fun area to traverse, but you also had Kolorado hanging out with you. Kolorado was an archaeologist only following you for treasure, but his hilarious dialogue and mannerisms make him one of my favorite NPCs to date.

Barrel Volcano from Super Mario RPG

My favorite aspect of Barrel Volcano is the music, if I’m being honest. Super Mario RPG had fantastic level designs to begin with, and Barrel Volcano is no exception. Challenging bosses — both mini and the main bosses — were found here along with an amusing shopkeeper doing business in the middle of the volcano. The Axem Rangers, spoofs of the Power Rangers, were also some of my favorite bosses in this game.

Dodongo’s Cavern from Ocarina of Time

Dodongo’s Cavern was probably one of my first “fire levels” in my gaming history. Ocarina of Time, being one of the first games that I’ve played on my own, was an amazing experience and I remember being in awe at the idea of exploring the cavern. That, and the bombs that you received around the same time was awesome!

What are your favorite fire-based or summer levels in video games?

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Super Mario RPG Barrel Volcano — Crazy Group Trio

Crazy Group Trio was discovered via Spotify when the music streaming service recommended the artist due to the covers and remixes of video game music that the artist creates. Super Mario RPG covers were included, something that was exciting to us!

Crazy Group Trio’s YouTube channel is fairly active, with music being uploaded a couple of times a week. The music ranges from several games, including Final Fantasy, Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, and Banjo-Kazooie. The piano arrangements give familiar video game music a fun, new twist.

Below is the YouTube video that shows off the piano arrangement for Barrel Volcano from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

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Super Mario RPG [Game Review]

Super Mario RPG

Title: Super Mario RPG
Developer: Nintendo, Square
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 
Nintendo SNES
Category: 
Role-playing
Release Date: 
Mario 9, 1996
How we got the game: 
We got it on the SNES Classic and also have it on the Wii virtual console, as well as the original SNES cartridge

krismii
Prepare to just have me absolutely gushing about this game. It’s one of my absolute favorites and it will never get old!

rachmii
Super Mario RPG is an old classic. We were super excited when we found it was on the SNES Classic. We have the game on the Wii virtual console if we ever wanted to try playing it again, but it’s cool to play with the old controllers again.

gameplay

krismii
Super Mario RPG features classic RPG elements in a Super Mario game. The story is linear with a large map to follow and explore, with battles following the typical RPG formula with attacks and party members.

rachmii
You, of course, play as Mario, as you go through your journey trying to save Toadstool and then the rest of the world. As you journey further you meet new people who join your party. You end up with five members total with three being able to battle at once.

 krismii
Battles allow all party members to gain experience, even those who aren’t actively battling. Members level up when they gain enough experience, increasing their HP, attack, defense, and special stats. The further you move along in the story, the stronger weapons and armor are available to you, along with accessories to ward off status ailments or increase stats as long as the character wears them.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s easy to allow your team to work together in any given group of three since they all level up together whether they’re active in battle or not. Mallow and Toadstool were great at healing the other members of the team, so they weren’t used together much. Still, the team possibilities were pretty good.

krismii
Toadstool and Mallow were both great with magic power, yes, but Mallow could also be geared toward more fighting with his magic while Toadstool had more healing capabilities. Mario was the classic, balanced-all-around character, and Bowser was the tank with his high defense. Geno had the highest attack power, but wasn’t so great with the defense stat. It’s always interesting trying to figure out which characters to use for which boss battles. I kind of wish that all five could be used in battles together, but I suppose that would be overkill.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’d be cool if it was like Pokemon and you were able to swap out characters if one died. Still, the system worked and we didn’t die too many times anyway.

graphics-music

krismii
Even as a kid, I had always enjoyed this game’s graphics and music. The world was always vibrant, with each area having its own unique style, and the character models were great. Even though they were mere pixels, the character sprites had some surprisingly distinct and accurate facial expressions. Mario especially was wonderful, considering he was the silent protagonist!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I agree each area was vivid and unique from other areas. The monsters as well as the inhabitants of the world had cool styles and were nothing like anything from Mario games today (aside from the toads, goombas, etc). Mario, as silent as he is, is a sassy fellow in this game. He tells a good amount of stories in this game and it’s always amusing.

krismii
Yes, just seeing him and the other party members mime out parts of the story when explaining key points to NPCs was always great to see. There’s even a running joke in the game with the characters falling on their faces, similar to when we would “facepalm.” The music is fantastic as well, with each pieces matching the mood of the area we were in. It was composed and arranged by Yoko Shimomura, who notably worked on the Mario & Luigi series as well as composing tracks for Super Smash Bros. for the 3DS and Wii U.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The music, like most video games, are songs that just get stuck in your head. They’re fun to hum along with and upbeat. The battle music was fantastic as was the music for when a battle was won. Every time we won a battle, both Kris and I immediately started singing the song each and every time.
story

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Bowser is at it again! He has kidnapped Princess Toadstool and it’s up to Mario to save her. But that’s only the beginning of the story. Mario defeats Bowser pretty quickly but then his castle is taken over by Smithy. Mario teams up with two new friends, Mallow and Geno, as well as Bowser and Toadstool to defeat Smithy and save Star Road, thus saving the world.

krismii
The storyline itself is a little cliche, but it works. Smithy, in his plot for domination over Mario’s world, destroys Star Road, the place where wishes on shooting stars were granted. With the Star Road destroyed and its Star Pieces scattered over Mario’s world, wishes are unable to come true anymore. Geno, a star spirit, has been tasked with finding the Star Pieces and repairing the Star Road. Mallow is a young “frog” who is searching for his true home, finding his place both in the world and with the team of heroes. Mario and Bowser form a truce for the first time and Toadstool, before she was known as Peach, proves how formidable she is on the front lines.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
…That about sums it up. You explained it much better than I ever could.

replay-value

krismii
Yes, the story and gameplay are rather linear, and there’s not much of a variety in terms of switching out party members, but this game is one that I can replay over and over without getting bored. The graphics and music are wonderful, the writing is fantastic, and the characters are amazing. I can’t gush about this game enough!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
This is the definition of a classic. There’s nothing too special about it, but the overall game is just so much fun and upbeat. We’ll be playing this one again in due time again… and again.

Super Mario RPG 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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Character Spotlight: Bowser

Happy Tuesday and Happy Halloween!

It’s time for another Character Spotlight, a character we all know and love.

 

Bowser, originally known as King Koopa, is everyone’s beloved villain from the Mario Bros. franchise. He originally appeared in the Super Mario Bros. game for the NES in 1985. He’s an old man… his most recent appearance has been in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions for the Nintendo 3DS in 2017.

He has been in countless games from main Mario games to side Mario games such as the Mario Party series, various Mario Sports games, and the Paper Mario series. Not to mention he’s included in Super Smash Brothers and has made cameo appearances in games such as The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and the Skylanders series as well as the movie, Wreck-It Ralph.

Bowser is one popular Koopa!

Bowser is one of my favorite villains because he’s not always a villain. He has a fun personality. There are some games where he’s a pain and straight up mean – Mario Party 10… – but there are other games such as Paper Mario where he has bad intentions, but he has such a great personality and funny comic relief that he doesn’t seem like a bad guy.

Then there are games such as Super Mario RPG where he actually joins Mario in a fight against a separate villain. I think my favorite versions of Bowser is from Super Mario RPG and the Paper Mario series.

Also, I love Bowser’s design. Koopas are cute, but Bowser is just a beast.

What are your thoughts on Bowser? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

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Connections

connections

krismii
It’s not much of a secret that Rachel’s favorite video game is Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64 while mine is Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars for the SNES. Both of those games are dear to us, considering they’re both probably the games that we each picked up on our own when we were old enough to hold onto the controllers and read the stories.

rachmii
While this has been known to both of us for quite some time, we were talking about it the other night and realized how… funny? Coincidental? I don’t know… How weird it is that those two games happen to be our favorites.

krismii
We both grew up with video games, taking on the mantel of gamer when our uncles, father, and older sister stopped picking up controllers. I had watched our relatives play games on the original NES before picking up games myself on the next generation console. Rachel did the same, having watched me play the SNES before playing on her own on the Nintendo 64. We were amused at how we each started playing a console generation apart.

rachmii
Meanwhile, the first game Kris played and beat on her own was Super Mario RPG while for me it was Paper Mario. Both games are similar to each other as Paper Mario isn’t a “sequel” exactly, but it’s still a successor of RPG.

krismii
I believe, originally, Paper Mario was going to be a sequel to RPG, but there was a bit of an issue on some character copyrights. Still, I consider them to be in the same series, if you will, as both promote the role-playing elements of party members, overworlds, and — of course — the aspect of collecting seven stars.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I’ve always loved watching Kris play Super Mario RPG, too. Then when Paper Mario came out… I still watched her play it first (I think) because I love just watching, but I fell in love and decided to try it for myself. And fell in love again. It’s funny how we love similar games, just one generation/console apart. If that doesn’t say “player one” and “player two,” then I don’t know what does.

Did you find this as fascinating as we did? What’s your all-time favorite game and/or the first game you ever completed on your own? Let us know in the comments below!

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