Friday Favorites: Mario Party Boards

Double Jump Kris MiiYay for Friday!

Despite having the Switch and Xbox One, Rachel and I have been turning our Wii back on to play Mario Party 2 on they system’s Virtual Console. After the disappointing Top 100 3DS game, going back to one of the best Mario Party games was natural. Playing Mario Party 2 and its boards reminded me of some of the best boards from the series as a whole.

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Space Land (Mario Party 2)

Space Land is one of my top choices in Mario Party 2. The space aesthetics are fun, and the Bowser junction in the middle of the board can really mess up the standings. Once the countdown in the middle reaches zero, Bowser launches his Coin Beam to steal every coin from whoever may be caught in the crossfire.

Yoshi’s Tropical Island (Mario Party)

Yoshi was always a favorite character from the Mario franchise, and we always enjoyed his board from the original Mario Party game. Going back and forth between two islands for the star, there was always the chance that someone could land on a Happening space and make Bowser and the star switch places.

Goomba’s Greedy Gala (Mario Party 4)

This casino-based board is all about chances and gambling (of course). Yes, it easily got frustrating if you were never able to go the way you wanted based on the roulette wheel in the middle of the board. It was fun, though, to let chance that much control over who could reach the star space.

King Boo’s Haunted Hideaway (Mario Party 8)

Mario Party 8 is not my favorite Mario Party game due to the motion controls — I was never thrilled with them. This board was always fun, though. The night scenery and the fact that the board changed every time you played or were looking for the next star was a cool concept.

What are your favorite Mario Party boards? Which Mario Party game do you enjoy the most?

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Super Mario Kart [Game Review]

Super Mario Kart | Game Review | Nintendo | SNES Classic Edition | DoublexJump.com

Title: Super Mario Kart
Developer: Nintendo, Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform:
Nintendo SNES (SNES Classic Mini Edition)
Category:
Racing
Release Date:
1992 (2017 for the SNES Classic) 
How we got the game:
We bought the SNES Classic

krismii
I felt so old booting up this game. Super Mario Kart was one of my first introductions to the gaming world when I was first able to pick up a controller. It was amazing to play this game again and be able to actively compare it to the latest installment of the Mario Kart series, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which was the most prominent game we played this past summer.

rachmii
This game was familiar to me when we turned it on. The music especially caught my attention, though I’ll admit I barely remember playing it. I wasn’t even born when the game was originally released. In fact, I think the only reason I recognized any of the levels was because Nintendo remakes them from newer Mario Kart games.

gameplay

krismii
Super Mario Kart is a simple racing game. You use the D-pad to steer and the buttons to either accelerate, brake, or throw items at opponents in an attempt to sabotage them. Super Mario Kart was also the installment that enabled you to “hop” rather than drift around corners.

rachmii
You make it sound so easy. While I didn’t find myself steering the controller itself, I wished I was able to. The controls are simple enough, but I couldn’t drive straight to save my life. I gave up on hopping quickly after I jumped right off the stage a couple of times. Most of the levels have a lot of twists and turns to them as well making it hard to remain on the pathway.

 krismii
This game was definitely harder than I remember it being, but then I began to wonder if it’s because the newer Mario Kart games became easier. Super Mario Kart has limited control options while the newer installments are customizable to fit a player’s preference. Not only that, but it seemed as if the computer opponents were more difficult. There were multiple times where an NPC Yoshi would be chucking eggs at us on the course when eggs weren’t an available item to us from the item blocks. Yoshi seemed to have an endless supply of them, as well (which, for the character, makes a little sense, but it seemed like cheating for a race!).

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The NPC characters were brutal, I agree. Though I can’t complain because it made for a nice challenge. What shocked me was that you have lives in the game. If you get below fourth place, you lose a life. After you lose three, you’re out of the game. There were quite a few times Kris had to finish the cup for us because I kept getting a game over. It made for some good laughs if anything else.

graphics-music

krismii
The graphics and music are such throwbacks to the past! Compared to games nowadays, the graphics aren’t up to par, but I think the game aged rather well. The graphics are enough to paint the scene and let you follow the road well enough to keep going with the race.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The game is very bright and colorful. The sprites are hilarious to look at. The characters look as though they were stuffed into karts that are ten-times too small for them. Still, it works.

krismii
The music was very nostalgic as well, but there obviously wasn’t a different tune for every race nor a variety of instruments, if you will, due to the computer-generated tunes. Still, the music did it’s job as always, making you raring to go as a race started up.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
That music will stay with me forever. No, there wasn’t much of a variety, but it was still catchy. It’s the kind of music that I could hear randomly and say, “That’s from Mario Kart.”

replay-value

krismii
Like the rest of the series, Super Mario Kart has several cups for the grand prix races as well as a handful of different characters for players to try out. It’s a good challenge to best your high scores and win the gold trophy in every match of races, giving the game decent replay value.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I have to play this game again. I need some serious practice.

Super Mario Kart gets…
4-lives
4 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: Winter Levels

Double Jump Kris MiiWe made it to the first Friday of 2018! How are your resolutions holding up?

I’m typing this out as a snowstorm blankets my part of the world. It’s been predicted that we could get blizzard-like conditions, prompting my day job to have a very rare snow day. In honor of the snow, today’s Friday Favorites is dedicated to all of those winter levels in video games. If you’re getting snow where you are, be safe and warm!

frifaveswinterlevels

Gorilla Glacier from Donkey Kong Country

The winter world in Donkey Kong Country from the SNES was one of my favorites. The levels tended to have some of my favorite music and the aesthetically-pleasing sparkle of snow and ice, such as Slipslide Ride, Ice Age Valley, and Croctopus Chase.

Cool, Cool Mountain from Super Mario 64

Baby penguins, ice slide races, a giant snowman… What more could you want in a level? Super Mario 64 was revolutionary at its time and is still one of the most popular Mario games. Cool, Cool Mountain was one of the earlier levels and gave the player a taste of 3D snow worlds. With its design and music, it’s one of the most nostalgic-inducing levels for me.

 

Ice Ice Outpost from Mario Kart 8

One of the main factors that helped Rachel and me decide to buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch was due to the fact that it had all of the DLC from the original game. With the DLC came the Triforce Cup, and one of the race tracks from that cup is Ice Ice Outpost. The twists and multiple paths surrounded by sheets of ice make this a favorite of mine, even if it is not my best course, haha!

Snowpeak Ruins from Twilight Princess

In the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, you’re introduced to Snowpeak Ruins after snow-surfing toward a Yeti couple’s home. This particular dungeon blends the night, crackling fires, and snow flurries together to create a scene that can be deceptively warm on a winter’s evening. Snowpeak Ruins is a more puzzle-oriented dungeon while you chat and try to help the Yeti husband make a soup for his beloved wife. The boss fight is one of my favorites from the game as well!

 

What are your favorite winter and snowy levels in video games?

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Flashback Friday: Nintendo Cereal

Double Jump Kris MiiWe’re doing things a little differently for this month’s Flashback Friday. In honor of the Super Mario cereal, I did a bit of research on some older cereal that had been made in honor of Nintendo and their work.

I wasn’t disappointed at what I found!

Did you know that there’s a Cereal Graveyard Wiki?

Aside from being fascinated by the dedication some people have to discontinued cereals, I found it interesting how there have been other Nintendo-branded cereals to grace supermarket shelves before the Super Mario cereal (not that the Super Mario cereal is being sold near us — darn it, Kellog’s, where’s our marshmallow one-ups and hidden blocks?).

donkykongThe first cereal I had found was simply called Donkey Kong. There really isn’t much information on it, other than the cereal pieces were barrel-shaped to correspond with the original Donkey Kong arcade game. This particular cereal was introduced in 1982, after Donkey Kong became more popular than Pac-Man (which, in turn, led to Pac-Man cereal in 1983), and was discontinued in 1989.

During the Donkey Kong cereal’s lifetime, there was another cereal called the Nintendo Cereal System. It had two cereals in the one box, one that represented the Super Mario series and the other representing the Legend of Zelda franchise. The cereal lasted from only from 1986 to 1989.

These cereal boxes have since become memorabilia for collectors, with them being sold on eBay for a couple of hundred dollars each. In 2010, the Nintendo Cereal System box was sold for $200!

Pretty sure my favorite thing about finding out these cereals were some of the commercials that I found for them on YouTube. Below is the commercial for Donkey Kong Jr. Cereal that came out in 1983:

Anyone remember these cereals? Any other Nintendo or video game related snacks that you remember?

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Super Mario Symphony

rachmii
Kris and I recently had the chance to see Symphony of the Goddesses, a Legend of Zelda symphony. It was absolutely amazing and we can’t wait until they come around again. There’s also a Pokemon symphony as well that we hope to see someday. While we keep our eye out for that one, we recently found out that the producer of Symphony of the Goddesses, Jason Michael Paul, has proposed a Super Mario symphony tour. He’s not sure if it will get approved, but we hope it is!

krismii
We found the article through Gamnesia, where Paul was quoted speaking of his hope to have a Super Mario Symphony. Considering how serious Nintendo is about proposals such as this, I suppose we’re very lucky to have the Legend of Zelda symphony! While I’d rather be in Hyrule than the Mushroom Kingdom, the music is one of my favorite aspects of the Mario games. I would adore hearing old tunes, such as music from Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, from a full orchestra. Star Hill, Forest Maze, the Smithy boss fight… All epic music that would be amazing to hear from an orchestra!

rachmii
Anything live with a full orchestra is amazing, let’s be real here… Mario music is awesome, but Paper Mario? Paper Mario is the best. I get those songs stuck in my head all the time and I would love to hear that live!

krismii
Paper Mario does have some great tunes, yes. And then Super Mario Odyssey? The music was my favorite part of the game! They’d have so much material at their disposal for a symphony. The article mentioned that Paul also was thinking of a Super Smash Symphony, but even he admitted that it would be a bit too much. He’s thinking of doing Elder Scrolls, and I’m thinking I would love a Fire Emblem Symphony.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Odyssey would be great. Even just hearing the old school Mario music would be so nostalgic. I would love a Smash symphony as well as Fire Emblem. I’m not too familiar with Elder Scrolls, but music in video games tend not to disappoint. If anything, I would love a Nintendo symphony where they have mixed music from all sorts of games and series.

krismii
A concert with mixed music sounds similar to what a Super Smash Symphony would be. There are a few artists on Spotify — Braxton Burks, Eric Buchholz, String Player Gamer — who have put out some fantastic orchestral tracks for Pokemon, Legend of Zelda, and Super Smash Bros., to name a few franchises, but it would be even better to see and hear the music live on stage!

What other symphonies would you like to see? Do you hope they add a Mario one? Let us know in the comments below!

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Friday (Least) Favorites: Mario Party Mini Games

Double Jump Kris MiiSo Rachel and I have Mario Party Top 100 and it’s…. Eh. We’ll probably talk more about the game a little later. It’s nice for nostalgic reasons, I suppose, but there was so much more that the game could have been, you know?

To cope with how the Top 100 was not all we were hoping for it to be, here is a least of my least favorite Mario Party mini games!

frifavesleastmariopartyminigames

Paddle Battle

This one-versus-three mini game in the original Mario Party was such a pain if you were the solo player. Honestly, many of the one-versus-three mini games back then were usually skewed in favor of the team with three players, but you could really tell the game didn’t like the solo player as much whenever Paddle Battle was picked to play! It was also one of the those games where you had to rotate the control stick rapidly and completely — anyone else here old enough to remember getting palm blisters from those kind of games?

Three Throw

A 4-player game in Mario Party 4, Three Throw was one of those games that I was lukewarm about. The mini games based off of sports I was never that fond of, and Three Throw was at the bottom of the list. Instead of standing in one spot and trying to find a rhythm to make the perfect shots (before another character claimed the basket, of course), I think I would have preferred to battle it out on the court with the characters, punching opponents away from the baskets in order to score some points.

Button Mashers

Button Mashers is a duel mini game from Mario Party 5. Depending on how well both your opponent and you do in the game, it can get difficult. The game makes the players catch blocks from the sky, and each block has a corresponding button on it. To avoid getting crushed by the block, one must continuously mash the button. The longer the players stay standing, the more blocks fall and the more buttons the players must mash simultaneously. It’s a bit of an annoying stretch trying to mash more than two or even three buttons at once!

 

Any Microphone Games

I really didn’t understand why this mechanic existed. It was annoying to have the extra “controller” that was the microphone, and there was a collective groaning all around. I was less than thrilled to find a game or two that has to use the microphone in Top 100…

What are your least favorite Mario Party mini games? Which ones were you disappointed to see in Mario Party Top 100?

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Friday Favorites: Mario Party Mini Games

Double Jump Kris MiiMario Party is one of those series that really tests friendships, like Monopoly. Most of the earlier installments of the series were much better, in my opinion, with mini games and the boards that you travel around for stars. With Mario Party Top 100 out today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Mario Party Mini Games. It’ll be interesting to see which ones make it into Top 100!

frifavesmariopartyminigames

Mushroom Mix-Up/Hexagon Heat

Mushroom Mix-Up from the first Mario Party (and its Mario Party 2 counterpart, Hexagon Heat) was a classic. Following the colors of Toad’s flag, players had to scramble to be on top of the correct mushroom before all of the other colors fell into the water or lava or whatever danger was below the mushrooms. While you could ground-pound on your opponents, the easiest way to prevent them from reaching the last mushroom standing was to just position yourself right at the edge of the correct color — if time was on your side, then your opponents wouldn’t have any room to jump over you to safety.

Fowl Play

Fowl Play was a duel mini game in Mario Party 3. It was a silly game where you had to catch the chicken before your opponent. It was a quick little bugger that left footprints for you to try to follow if you lost sight of it. The chicken also resembled a Cucco from the Legend of Zelda series, and I always thought that the mini game was a nod to the times when Link has to catch chickens in his games.

Team Treasure Trek

Two-versus-two mini games were always fun when Rachel and I were on the same team. In Mario Party 4, Team Treasure Trek was always a favorite. Starting off in a maze, one partner would need to find a key while the other finds the corresponding treasure chest before the two needed to meet up with each other. It was an exciting race against the clock kind of game where we always hoped that our opponents would get most lost than we did!

Dungeon Duos

Another two-versus-two mini game from Mario Party 4, Dungeon Duos was an awesome obstacle course where you needed to work together with a partner to escape the dungeon it took place in. Timing was key, both with speed and precision when it came to completing the game. Not falling into the chasms helped too.

Chomp Romp

Despite usually trying to eat you, I always liked the Chain Chomp characters in Mario games, especially when they’re portrayed as almost dog-like. In Chomp Romp, you appear to be leading your “pet” Chain Chomp through a park. Your whistle brings the Chomp charging in a straight line to you (very eager to greet you, I suppose) and you need to skillfully direct your buddy through the obstacles in the park to reach a safe place to play.

What are your favorite Mario Party mini games? Which ones are you hoping are in Mario Party Top 100?

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Top Tuesday: Favorite Levels In Super Mario 64

Happy Tuesday!

With so much hype for Super Mario Odyssey, I’ve been thinking about Super Mario 64. The two games are similar, yet vastly different. I enjoy both games, but I do miss playing Super Mario 64.

 

Top Tuesday, Super Mario 64 Levels

5. Bob-omb Battlefield

I think this level is one of my favorites by default. It’s the first level of the game and can be considered the easiest, but I think it has a mixture of easy and hard. Flying with the wing cap can be difficult, yet getting the star behind Chain Chomp can take two seconds. Or an hour depending on how well you can get Mario to land that ground-pound.

4. Whomp’s Fortress

This is another level that’s well designed. I especially love this one though merely for the fact that it hands out a lot of coins. I love collecting coins.

3. Tick Tock Clock

This is a very well crafted level. It can be tricky with so many high places to jump up to, but I think it’s awesome that they have the cogs work at a certain speed depending on what time you jump into the clock to enter the level.

2. Lethal Lava Land

Um, there’s fire and a volcano. So it’s cool.

1. Big Boo’s Haunt

I always love the Boo mansions in any of the Mario games. They’re tricky with twists and turns and I just find the levels to overall be well designed because they’re supposed to be spooky and hard. While this particular level in Super Mario 64 isn’t that difficult, I still enjoy the design and the music.

What are some of your favorite levels? Let me know in the comments below!

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First Impressions: Super Mario Odyssey

Double Jump Kris MiiLike the rest of the gaming world, Rachel and I have been playing Super Mario Odyssey since it arrived at our house! And my opinion on it thus far is probably in the minority…

supermarioodyssey1

 

We’ve had Super Mario Odyssey on pre-order for a while so we would have the game delivered to our house the day it was released. The majority of the gaming world was going crazy for the newest 3D Super Mario game, and with good reason. So far, it plays wonderfully, even if the controls took a little getting used to with the Joy-Con, and the levels remind us of the classic Super Mario 64 — different worlds that you can hop in and out of with collectible items to help power up your ship to reach even new worlds.

I like the game, from what we’ve played so far. However, unlike many other Nintendo fans, I find the 3D Mario games as just okay. Don’t get me wrong, Super Mario 64 was revolutionary for its time and it’s a fun game, but it was never a game that I would willingly turn on to play by myself. Likewise, Sunshine and the Galaxy pair were not my cup of tea. Sunshine just didn’t hold my attention at all and the first Galaxy game made me feel dizzy. It turned me off from playing the second Galaxy.

So when Odyssey was announced, I figured it would be a decent game. The Switch is a fantastic console and the mechanics from Odyssey’s trailer looked different enough to keep me interested. I was mostly impressed with Mayor Pauline singing the theme song! The music is entertaining!

After playing through the first few levels of Odyssey, I’m not completely on board with it. Not yet, anyway. I’ll finish the main story with Rachel, but I’m not invested in finding every Power Moon like I was with every shrine in Breath of the Wild. At this moment, I’m more interested in continuing Fire Emblem Warriors or even going back to the DLC for Breath of the Wild.

Super Mario Odyssey is being praised as one of the best games to be released, but I’m not seeing it just yet. It’s a good game, sure, but probably not one of my top favorites.

How are you liking Super Mario Odyssey so far?

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SM64O Take Down

Double Jump Kris MiiVideo games bring some of the best art out of the woodwork, be they fanfictions, fan art, music covers and renditions, or mods for the games themselves. Kaze Emanuar is a talented modder, being brilliant with programming new challenges and twists into video games, most notably for Nintendo’s Super Mario games. Nintendo, however, doesn’t seem to appreciate the mods as much as the fans do…

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Not too long ago, Rachel and I mentioned how there was a new mod going around for the emulated version of Super Mario 64. This particular mod gave friends the ability to set up servers to play Super Mario 64 online together in a multiplayer mode. Predictably, Nintendo heard about the mod and got the YouTube videos regarding it shut down on the grounds of copyright. Rachel and I were able to snag the download (and follow the instructional video) before they were taken down.

You can still get the mod by the Super Mario 64 Online site and forum, of course, but beware if you try to upload any videos on it.

While it was only a matter of time as to when Nintendo would strike a copyright issue regarding the mod, we were really surprised when we heard that not only were the modder’s videos on YouTube taken down, but also his Patreon. Considering that we personally haven’t been on his Patreon, we can’t say for certain that the SM64O links were also available there or what sort of art the modder offered to those that pledged to his Patreon.

Rachel and I know plenty of creators whose Patreons are their source of income as they share their gifts with those who appreciate the art enough to pledge to the creators. We were a bit shocked to find out that the modder’s Patreon was shut down — either temporarily or permanently, we’re unsure — due to this situation.

It’s a bit of a strange situation. On one hand, we all knew that Nintendo would want to strike down the mod, as they are wont to do in these sorts of situations. On the other, however, one could argue that mods generate more interest in the video game, which could be good publicity for the developer. It’s understandable that Nintendo doesn’t wish for any modders to make money off of their video games, such as rewards on Patreon, but I have heard that the modder’s Patreon had nothing to do with SM64O. Why would the modder offer it on his Patreon if it was free for all on YouTube and the created forum for it?

What do you all think? Did Nintendo go a little too far in targeting the modder’s Patreon, or is the game company merely defending what is rightfully theirs?

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