Monthly Archives: March 2014

Freemium Gaming: Too Smart or Too Greedy?

Freemium Gaming: Too Smart or Too Greedy?

One of the most popular ways to play video games today involves the use of mobile devices. When I say mobile device, I’m not referring to handheld gaming like the Nintendo DS, 3DS, or even the Playstation Vita. I’m talking about iPads, touchpads, iPhones, phonepads, touchphones….basically any device that has a screen, a touch pad of some kind, and a million other apps that come along with it. These days, it’s almost a rule that every family member must have a device of this caliber, and if you don’t have one, I applaud you for not allowing the greedy hands of technology take you to their underworld.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with these devices. I wish they would stop upgrading to a new device every month, or at the very least, I wish all of these companies would join together on one front to just release one brand so we could cut the need to offer several choices of a very expensive device that is no different from any other one, but that is very unrealistic thinking. I think it’s great that mobile devices have come such a long way from what used to be the cell phone, and with the inclusion of games, the Internet, touch technology, and a variety of other programs and functionalities, the technology is quite impressive considering. The only reason why I do not own any of these devices though is the simple fact that; I already have a perfectly working cell phone, laptop computer, and a variety of different video game systems. Perhaps I could see the need after the very unlikely scenario that I would happen to lose all the aforementioned devices at once, but even more than that, I’m an individual that does better when functions are distributed to specific platforms and not all on the same one.

However, because this is a gaming website, I would like to focus on the games that are on these devices. And you want to know something, I think a lot of these games are really, really good. My favorite mobile game would have to be Plants vs. Zombies. I know the game initially came out for the PC and not mobile devices, but I think it’s a perfect example for what these mobile games are striving for. It’s the type of game that allows you to pick it up, play a few a levels and get a decent amount of enjoyment out of it, and easily put it down when you’ve had your fill. I’d much rather play this game on the PC or my Xbox 360, but I can see how and why it makes good, mobile entertainment. In fact, the sequel to Plants vs. Zombies was also only released for mobile devices, a move that actually made me very sad at first, until I found out about specific content in regards to the game. A lot of these games also fit into the puzzling genre, with games like Bejeweled, Peggle, a variety of different Tetris clones, and most famously (or should I say notoriously) Candy Crush Saga.

If you have a mobile device, or at the very least, an account on Facebook, you’ve probably heard a variety of things about Candy Crush. You may remember such classic lines like, “Your friend Tommy has beat Level 32,” “Tina has created a striped candy,” or “Mark needs some help in accessing the next level!” If you’ve seen these lines and have no idea what they mean, you have a friend that is addicted, or has been addicted, to Candy Crush Saga.

For those who are unaware, Candy Crush Saga is a puzzle game, developed by the indie gaming distributor King, that works pretty similarly to the game Bejeweled. You are given a grid with several blocks, or in this case, candy, and your goal is to achieve the mission objective by swapping/switching candy. Whenever there are three candies that are adjacent to each other (vertically or horizontally), the candies will disappear and any candies above the match will fall further down the board. You also can’t switch any candies unless they make a a match, requiring you to deal only with the moves you are given from the get-go, and not allowing for a lot of strategy in between. The mission objectives vary from stage to stage. For some stages, you need to get a certain amount of points before you run out of moves or get a certain amount of points before your time runs out. Other stages will require you to bring down specific items from the top of the board to the very bottom, or in other cases, collecting a set number of each color of candy before you run out of moves. Then there are my least favorite levels, the jelly levels, where you have to clear out all of the jelly on the board by making matches on all of the spaces that have the jelly markings on them. The game seems simple enough in concept, especially once you see it in action, but the recipe for difficulty is one that will throw you through a loop, particularly when you first leave the tutorial levels.

The fact of the matter is, every level is completely random in terms of what blocks you will get and what blocks will appear on screen once you have made a match. This means that you don’t necessarily have control over what happens after every move. There are some scenarios where you can look ahead and think, “Ok, well, I need to make a 5 candy match of purples, but I have to move this other purple candy over first so I can place it in the middle of these two sets of 2 purples,” and that’s all nice and dandy, but while you are moving the purple candy over, you run the risk of another match happening while you are setting the combo up, effectively ruining your progress. Plus, because you only have a specific amount of moves (or time) for each stage, every time you move one candy to set up a combo, you are effectively running the risk of your game getting cut short, and depending on a match, that may or may not give you enough resources/points to actually win. The game is based on luck so much that there are times where the game just prematurely ends because there are no more possible moves you can make, when you are right in the middle of an extremely good run. I see what the developers were going for, and honestly, it was a good marketing strategy for the casual crowd of gamers as it meant anyone could clear the levels without having to rely on huge Tetris Attack styled combos. However, this gimmick is also one of the most annoying aspects of the game for everybody in general, because it makes the later stages of the game almost impossible to complete and introduces the most controversial feature of these types of games, the fact that Candy Crush is a “freemium” game.

What is a freemium game, you may be asking? A freemium game is a game that is free to purchase and play, but only allows you limited content. However, in order to experience other aspects of the game, you need to pay money to actually use these features. In most cases, including Candy Crush, the entire game can be played without having to purchase anything, but you can use your own money to purchase items that can make the game easier. You could almost compare this to the “Super Guide” feature in newer Nintendo games, but there aren’t any negative implications to using the items. Sometimes though, the items may not be able to help you finish the level at all, requiring you to waste even more money to get more or finally manning up and cutting your losses before you spend every cent you own.

Now, for gamers who think it is stupid to pay money to get a small advantage that may or may not help you, let me remind you that it is completely optional to do so. Like I said before, the entire game can be completed without purchasing a single power-up, or spending a few extra bucks on getting some more moves. However, like I also pointed out, this game is incredibly difficult and luck-based, so for those who are passionate about reaching the end of the road, the idea of spending some of your hard-earned cash may not be so one-sided. Just imagine reaching the end of a very difficult level, a level you’ve spent days trying to beat, and the only thing standing in your way is one more match. However, you have just ran out of turns and it may be a long time before you even make it to this point again. This makes the decision to spend money a lot harder, but I feel like people are more prone to actually spending the money just to get it over with. They feel like, “I’ve been doing this level forever and chances are, I’ll never get hung up on a level like this again,” so the decision seems easy.

This just so happens to be King’s marketing strategy though, and to be honest, it’s quite good as it allows them to use that kind of thinking to their advantage and possibly end up making more money than they would if they put the game on retail. One aspect I forgot to mention is that there are more than 500 levels in Candy Crush Saga, and it’s a number that continues to grow as they make new levels and redesign old levels to be put into the “Dream World” mode of the game (which consists of level repeats from the main game with a new gimmick in play). Due to the luck aspect of the game, there really isn’t much of a difficulty curve. Whenever you start a new world, the first few levels are generally pretty easy because they introduce a new gimmick and want to make sure you understand how it works. After those introductory levels though, you are on your own, so you better be ready for action…those stages aren’t going to mess around. When I played Candy Crush, I got stuck around Level 80 for the longest time, but once I made it past that level, I didn’t really have any issues with a level until I was in the 300 and 400s, and even then, I wouldn’t say the levels have been much different in difficulty.

I guess I should also mention the fact that in order to progress to the next world, you must do either one of two things. The first thing you can do is get three of your friends to allow you access by asking for their permission. The next time they play the game, they will be given a notification that you are trying to unlock the next world, and if they aren’t jerks, they can give you a ticket. When you have 3 tickets, the next world will unlock and you can continue to play. The second thing you can do is pay money to get to the next world. Honestly, considering how many people play Candy Crush, you should never be in a position to pay money, so do not even consider that option. Just ask your friends…chances are, they have probably already done the same thing. Another gimmick is the fact that there is a system of “lives” for the game. If you fail a mission, you lose a life. If you lose all of your lives, you either have to wait until you get a life refill (every 25-30 minutes, the game gives you an extra life), or pay to get five extra lives. Once again, because chances are that you will be failing on the same level over and over again, there is no need to purchase lives. At some point, your lives will grow back and if you ever spend money on an extra life, and you lose that life, it’s the same as throwing actual money down the drain.

King has done this type of game design with a large variety of their games and safe to say, they’ve probably made more money than what the government of the United States even has at their disposal. Although I think the actual plan is evil and greedy, I can respect a good marketing strategy, and right now, this strategy is kicking ass and taking names. It tempts their consumers in wanting to see more of the game and because of how cheap it seems (you can essentially buy 5 extra moves in one level for $1), people will do it just for the sake of moving on and accomplishing a hard-fought goal. As gamers though, we need to watch out and be aware of what we are giving them in return. It may not seem like you are spending a lot when you do it the first few times, but that is what catches you off-guard and I can imagine people forgetting that the game is taking actual money in. For example, imagine spending $1 on every world of the game; after you get through all of the worlds, that one dollar per world can end up being the price of a Nintendo DS game, and that would just be a best-case scenario. There are packages that can cost up to $20, $30, or even $50 dollars, and at that point, people may just start using their power-ups just for the sake of getting rid of them. This is why we need to be careful. Candy can be an addiction for people, but so can Candy Crush.

As far as the actual game is concerned, I like Candy Crush Saga. It’s fun, it’s very addictive, there is “some” aspect of puzzle-solving, and it’s a game I wish would be more available on different platforms. Not going to lie though, if they do offer it, or a game like it, I would hope that the freemium stuff would not be included just for the sake of being able to play a game without the added desire to spend money when we think we need it. In fact, I think the game would still be a success even if it was in retail and with the freemium stuff removed. They could make the levels a bit easier (and a little less based on luck) and still offer a full-retail price. However, with how many people buying their daily addictions of Candy Crush power-ups, I think King is sitting comfy at where they are now and all of their employees must have some pretty nice beach homes.

King is not the only company making use of the freemium logic in their games, but they are definitely the “kingpins” of this new lane of gaming. In fact, Plants vs. Zombies 2 and the Facebook iteration of the PvZ series have also used this logic in getting gamers to spend no money on the game itself, but lots of money on all of the other bells and whistles. Is this logic just a phase or will it become a new gaming standard? I for one hope it’s only the former though because I feel this strategy actually devalues the actual game itself, showing that the game cannot stand on its own feet and relies on the power of purchasing for a gamer to have any fun with it, or in some cases, actually complete it. I also feel like King has gone a little “mad with power” due to the success of Candy Crush Saga, but that is a topic I would like to discuss another day. For now, I’ve said my piece, and now I am curious to what you guys think about freemium gaming.

Later Star Warriors!

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Twitch Plays A Meme-a-thon!

Twitch Plays A Meme-a-thon!

The Internet has exploded with lots and lots of new gaming trends, most of which consist of the newest hit games. However, there are some trends that are very unique and focus on older classics games. Today I am going to be talking about one of the newest trends, and unless you are a gamer who has been living under a rock, the chances are that you have probably heard something in regards to the streaming channel known as “Twitch Plays Pokémon.”

Here is a little bit of background for those who do not know a whole lot about this phenomenon. Twitch Plays Pokémon was started about a month ago when the channel was first created for the purpose of a social experiment. The idea was to create program a bot that would play through the game Pokémon Red, taking in movement directions and button presses from the stream users who were chatting while the stream is live. The idea was to see how well the stream users would work together and how long it would take them to get to the very end of the game. At first, the results were very successful considering the small amount of traffic and popularity the stream would have at that point, but over time it would get to the point where there would be almost 100 button inputs per second. Safe to say, this led to a lot of situations where the main character would either go way further than intended, or spend up to 10 minutes looking through the item menu. This also led to numerous controversies and hardships; like buying the wrong evolution stone when having very limited funds, or perhaps the most damaging, releasing a decently leveled-up starter Pokémon into the wild, amongst several others.

A lot of these hardships and decisions were warmly welcomed by the viewing public though, looking at the events as less of a crutch but more of a meme or trend of some kind. One of the most prominent jokes is the “Praise Helix” meme, where the main character, while battling or getting through a particular area, would just randomly go into the item menu and try to use the “Helix Fossil” item, an item which cannot be used directly in that fashion, nor can it be thrown away. In fact, another meme would be the evolutionary stone incident I spoke of a little bit earlier. The original plan was to obtain a Vaporeon by evolving an Eevee with a Water Stone. However, because the audience had a hard time actually purchasing the Water Stone, they ended up with a Fire Stone instead, prompting Eevee’s evolution into Flareon instead. As a result, when the group tried to release or deposit Flareon into the PC storage system, they ended up releasing several Pokémon, including their starter and another Pokémon that had been with them for a very long time. Because of this, Flareon was given the nickname “The False Prophet.” This has also prompted a variety of other nicknames, like Pidgeot who is more commonly known as “Bird Jesus” during the playthrough; given the name due to its extremely high level (from being around since the beginning of the game) and being one of the biggest factors in many of the game’s big battles.

Despite all the difficulty, after about 2 weeks of live streaming, Twitch Plays Pokémon Red was completed, a feat that was actually quite impressive considering the circumstances. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am aware that the game can be completed in speed run fashion (without glitches) in about a few hours, however, you have to realize that with the way this was set-up and organized, an extremely long playtime was unavoidable. For one, Twitch already has a very noticeable and recognizable delay in streamer-chat interaction. So as a result, the audience who is watching and participating is at least 15 seconds behind what is actually going on. Second, we can’t be ignorant of the existence of trolls, or people who exist for the sole purpose of throwing a wrench into the works. I think one of the clearest examples of this mindset is when the main character is in a very unfortunate position where there is only a one-square line in between a wall and a ledge that the hero can fall off of. If they fall off the ledge, they have to restart the entire walk and do it over again. And let’s be real here; there will always be that one guy who wants to postpone progress for his own hilarity. Twitch Plays did actually interfere a few times and implemented a few different features to help the game move along, but the features are still pretty damn exploitable and easy to manipulate and mess up. So when it’s all said and done, I’m impressed that that it actually took them half the amount of time I expected them to finish with.

Now, before I get into how I feel about all of this, I will say that I did not watch very much of the stream, nor did I actually get into it. I was introduced to the stream by one of my closest friends who had wondered if I heard anything about it yet. This was at the very start of the second week and they were at the Safari Zone, trying to obtain the necessary items to progress the plot. I wondered if this feat was even possible, considering you have a very limited amount of spaces you can move before you are thrown out of the place completely. After watching about ten minutes of the affair, I clicked away and went back to whatever I was doing before that. It turns out that they did beat the Safari Zone, not long after I clicked away, but I still never had the desire to watch. I guess you could compare it to the “Observant Gamer Complex,” a condition where you are watching one of your favorite games being played, but feel almost irritated that it’s not being done in the way you are used to, or just in a very inefficient manner. You rememember whenever your best friend would come over to play Mario games with you, but you sometimes wish you could just take the controller out of his hand and do it your way? That’s what this stream kind of felt like for me and just didn’t seem like a very good use for my time. Every morning after I woke up and every night before I would go to sleep, I did check in to see how the game was progressing, and most of the time, I was actually really surprised at the results. Most of the time, I did walk in to a major trouble spot, usually the character trying to battle the evil “ledge” or even trying to get out of a Pokémon Center, but whenever I left and came back, usually that part was accomplished or finished in some way, so progress was definitely being made. I was just never around for it, nor did I really have an interest to be around for it.

When it’s all said and done though, I have to give Twitch Plays Pokémon credit where the credit is due. For a social experiment, it has definitely done an amazing job. I wouldn’t say it brought this world together, nor did it achieve anything worth a Nobel prize, but it accomplished what it set out to do, probably in ways that nobody expected. There were definitely a lot of changes and implementations that strayed away from what the original design of the project was, but I don’t feel like it affected the teamwork atmosphere. Various sites and Google documents were created just for the sole purpose of this streaming channel in coordinating with other players, gamers, and participants to nail down a concrete plan of attack for every single situation. When the “False Prophet” controversy happened, everybody was already working on the next plan of attack. When an HM move Pokémon was released, like clockwork, people came up with a Plan B and were ready to aim for a different Pokémon to incorporate into the team. Not only in long-term planning, but strategies were also created in order to control the vast number of inputs being made all at once, making use of the 15-second delay and a nifty “Start” button trick that would allow the character not to move in the wrong direction if it seemed like there would be a case of that.

I also think that Twitch Plays Pokémon did a lot of good in the creativity department as well. Although many of the jokes and memes are silly and were created for the sole purpose of humor, I can appreciate the way that the community tried to embrace it. Pictures and art were created, stories and fanfics were made…it turned a two-week session (of what should be a 50-hour (very, very rough estimate) normal game playthrough) of running into walls and checking out helix fossils into a entity of its own, almost a movie or narrative of some kind, and that’s something I can really respect and appreciate, even if it’s not something I am terribly interested in.

One day after the completion of Pokémon Red, it was to no surprise that Twitch Plays Pokémon started working on another Pokémon game, this time Pokémon Crystal. As of the moment I am writing this post, they are currently in the Kanto portion of the game (the shorter “2nd half” of the game after the Elite Four), so they have made a pretty good amount of progress for being this far into the game after only eleven days, especially considering that the second generation Pokémon games are easily twice as long as the first generation. I’m not sure if this means that the viewers are becoming more in-tune with how the channel or trolls work, or if they have just gotten incredibly lucky with the entire journey so far, but you can’t argue with results and progress.

I should also mention that since the creation of Twitch Plays Pokémon, there have been a variety of other channels created for the sole purpose of trying this experiment with other games. I am not surprised by this development, but from the look of things, nothing is as popular as Twitch Plays Pokémon.

That’s all I want to say about the matter. If you guys are interested in the Twitch Plays Pokémon action, check out the live stream located here. If you are like me and not really interested in watching Red/Silver walk into a wall for several hours, consider checking out the Google Docs page which does a great job of covering all of the essential information, including what the current “goal” is, and a link to a page which keeps a very detailed and live status report on everything that happens throughout the day and is updated quite regularly (so that it never feels like more than 30, 20, or even 10 minutes to get an update).

Thanks for reading today folks and I will see you Star Warriors next time!

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New Super Mario Bros. U

New Super Mario Bros. U

Game: New Super Mario Bros. U
Start Date: March 11th, 2014
Runtime: 6 hours
Videos: 18

It’s time for another party day at Peach’s Castle, but once again, before the group can even taste the delicious cake in the oven, Bowser attacks and takes over Peach’s Castle, tossing our heroes to the other side of the world. It’s a whole new world for our heroes to explore and this time the adventure will feature all new power-ups and game mechanics. I hope you guys are ready to fly through the newest installment of the New Super Mario Bros. series!

Figuring out what my next project was going to be was kind of difficult. I wanted to cover a game that was more modernized, yet recognizable, and I didn’t have very many choices. I ended up staring at my Nintendo Wii U system for awhile before I realized that the system hadn’t gotten much play time from me, despite having a very good launch game. I put two and two together and decided to cover my very first Nintendo Wii U game (in both inside and outside of LP projects), New Super Mario Bros. U!

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Banjo-Tooie

Banjo-Tooie

Game: Banjo Tooie
Start Date: March 10th, 2014
Runtime: 13 hours
Videos: 39

Gruntilda the Witch had met with a very unfortunate end after the events of Banjo-Kazooie, being trapped under a boulder in the ground. However, after two years of being trapped under Banjo and Kaoozie’s victory, Grunty breaks free and is out for revenge, and will do everything necessary to make sure she wins again! Banjo and Kazooie will have to extend to greater heights to beat the witch this time, learning new moves, exploring new areas, and possibly splitting up to achieve greater success.

I really enjoyed the Banjo-Kazooie playthrough from last year and was very much looking forward to starting this LP as soon as possible. It wasn’t until 2014 that I could get this going, but whenever you start a playthrough of a really good Rareware game, expect to hit the ground running and taking it all the way to the end!

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Question Corner #1 – 3/8/2014

Question Corner #1 - 3/8/2014

Hey guys, SlimKirby here and welcome to my first edition of the Question Corner! As I explained on the main page, this section will be updated from time to time with questions that you guys have asked me via the Contact Form. The contact form actually got a lot of activity the first few days it was up and as a result, I have a lot of questions to answer.

Now, normally I will not answer every single question I will get. In fact, some of the type of questions I will be answering in this session would not be answered in other sessions. This is especially true of questions like, “Do you plan on doing an LP of this game?” In this session I am a little more open about those questions, just for the sake of getting started with this series. In the future, please try to avoid such questions, if possible, because chances are, there will not be a lot of variety to those answers, therefore I will not have a need to answer them.

I answered almost every single question I’ve gotten so far except a very select few of them. One of the questions was about my recording equipment, which is stuff covered in the “SlimKirby Workshop.” And anything else was either just a repeat, didn’t fit the criteria I mentioned on the main page, or just too personal for me to talk about.

For the future, please look at the guidelines posted here, and if the question has anything to do with how to record/make videos or about the website in general, check the Workshop and the Introduction respectively. Also, if at all possible, try to avoid the “Will you LP this game?” comments unless you are truly that curious. I will not be angry or punish anyone for not doing this, but just keep in mind that I will probably not answer the questions if that happens.

 

Q: “SlimKirby, what would your reaction be in a future Pikmin game if Beady Long Legs dropped down from the sky, gave you you usual “heart attack,” and after you got the HP down to 0, you find out he is a nice and friendly spider that will help you?”
A: I would still feel no remorse! If he is as nice and friendly as you say he is, he should still learn how to knock!

Q: “What is the font do you use, when you create your custom thumbnails? I mean, what font do you use, when you write “Part 8”, “Extras” etc. texts into thumbnails? It fits really well!”
A: The font I use for that particular instance is called VAGRounded BT. I really like the font as well because it’s very neutral in style and looks neat. I’m not sure how common the font is, but it’s a default font on the version of Photoshop (6.0) I have.

Q: “I watch some of your videos on YouTube on the weekends and I also saw you love gaming a lot, one thing I like is podcasts, there are many gaming podcasts such as giant bomb and rooster teeth. But I was wondering if you and fiyah kitty would do a gaming podcast. You two are always together, so why not do a gaming podcast together and upload them on this site like a DVD extra thing?”
A: Podcasts are definitely something you can expect more of from me in the future. I have pretty much done an E3 podcast every year so far for the last 3 or 4 years and is definitely something I will do again this year. If the demand is high and if there are a lot of things to talk about, we can possibly arrange more!

Q: “What video game consoles do you own?”
A: From the Nintendo line, I own a Super Nintendo (SNES), a Nintendo 64, a Nintendo Gamecube, a Nintendo Wii and a Nintendo Wii U. I also have a Sony Playstation 2 and a Microsoft Xbox 360. If you are interested in handhelds, I have a Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, and a Nintendo 3DS.

Q: “When will your banjo-tooie LP come out?”
A: Funny that you ask that. Why? Well….it may be sooner than you think *whistles*.

Q: “You feel like n64 graphics looked better when you were young?”
A: I’d say that is definitely a given. N64 graphics looked so amazing back in the day, but now they look so freaking primitive. It’s insane how much better these developers can make their games look.

Q: “What ever happened to CSS?”
A: The Shadow Queen was defeated and the crystal stars were no longer needed. But in all seriousness, in regards to my cooperative channel, CrystalStarStudio, the channel has been retired. All of us lost interest in operating a cooperative group channel and have since moved on.

Q: “What’s your opinion on how Nintendo’s shutting down Nintendo Wifi for Wii and DS games? Will you still play those games that are well known for their online play like Smash Brothers Brawl and Mario Kart Wii?”
A: Honestly, it was a long time coming. I feel like it was a bit premature, considering that so many people play those games online still, but Nintendo needs that server space to get ready for other games like Super Smash Bros. 4 and Mario Kart 8. As for playing those games, I actually played the games solo more than I did online, so I’m not too beaten up about it and will probably still play them without the online play.

Q: “Two questions when are you doing thousand year door and is Mario party advance one twice a weekend?”
A: Probably not til the end of this year or beginning of next year is when I will start Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. As for Mario Party Advance, only once a week for these first two weeks. After these weeks, I am going to try for twice a week on the weekends.

Q: “What the likelihood of a Yoshi’s Island DS LP be?”
A: About as likely as me doing a Let’s Play of New Super Mario Bros. and Kirby Squeak Squad, and I did both of those games so…probably very likely!

Q: “Why don’t you do a minecraft let’s play?”
A: As I’ve stated in the Terraria showcase, I am not a big fan of Minecraft. I don’t really like the interface and the graphics disorient me. I know there is a way to lessen the graphical power, but that doesn’t really change the problem of the interface for me.

Q: “Will you ever be doing a pikmin 3 lets play?”
A: I actually just now started playing the game for the first time, so not anytime soon! It is something I would like to attempt though as I love the Pikmin series and it has always been a staple on my channel.

Q: “What is your favorite N64 game?”
A: It’s a tough decision between Paper Mario and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Both games were just such innovative concepts that turned into amazing games. I would give a slight edge to Paper Mario though, in my own opinion.

Q: “How do you manage to handle three projects at a time while handling a day job and still manage to find time to visit FiyahKitteh in Germany?”
A: Well, first off, I do not have a day job. My job is, in a sense, the work I do on Youtube through the ads on my videos. Believe it or not, I can actually make a decent living on what I earn, especially due to my high views and amount of content on my channel and that is what I’ve essentially been doing. I will be looking for an actual job soon, but I have been comfy and satisfied with doing the Youtube thing, plus I don’t need to spend a lot either. As for the Germany trip, a lot of money saving. And when I say, “a lot,” I mean a lot.

Q: “What did you major in when you were in college?”
A: I majored in Computer Science and computer programming. I wouldn’t say I am a great computer programmer, by any means, but I had a lot of fun with it and I look forward to what I will be able to accomplish with it at a later date and time. I also plan to use this website as a means for showing any future creations off.

Q: “Do you have a favorite anime?”
A: My favorite anime, or at least the anime I grew up watching, would be Digimon: Digital Monsters. I loved the first 3 seasons, hated anything that followed, but overall it’s never been a problem for me. It is definitely my favorite anime hands down. I also watched Pokemon and the Kirby anime, and started watching Sailor Moon with my girlfriend, but the selection still goes to Digimon for me.

Q: “For the True Arena in Kirby Super Star Ultra, what is your recommended power up ?”
A: Easiest would probably be stone. The stone power-up gives you immunity for pretty much everything that could hurt you. It’s also a good way to help you observe the patterns for the bosses without actually being penalized by getting hurt.

Q: “How old would I have to be to go to PAX East, and what do you think is essential to take to pax?”
A: I don’t think age matters for PAX as long as you have tickets for the event. If you are under-age though, make sure you are attending the event with a parent. Unfortunately, getting tickets for this event is out of the question now because they sell very quickly and you can only find them if you find someone who is willing to sell tickets that they bought. As for what to take, take comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot. Bring your camera so you can take pictures of the cool things you see. If you have a Nintendo 3DS, bring it, turn it on, and close it as you walk around because there will be MANY Street Passers and you will be able to do some cool things in the Mii Plaza with the people you tag. Bring money, but make sure you can put it in a place where it will be safe and people won’t be tempted to take something. Do that for all of your valuables too, especially if you have a backpack with you. In that case, hide the items under something that is not as important (like a sweatshirt or something) and put that in your backpack, just in case.

Q: “Who or what inspired you to make Let’s Play and other gaming videos?”
A: I wouldn’t say anybody directly inspired me, but the idea of LPing definitely did. I had always wanted to make video game walkthroughs to help people out with specific games and over time, Let’s Play videos seemed like a great direction to fulfill those desires, so I went for it!

Q: “What are your thoughts on the game new super Mario bros u?”
A: It was a great addition to the New Super Mario Bros. series and an amazing launch title for the Nintendo Wii U. It’s presentation is incredible and the unique traits added to this particular game were top-notch and the flying squirrel power-up was so much fun to use. I actually don’t really have anything bad to say about it.

Q: “Will you ever do Super Mario Galaxy?”
A: Yes I will. I want to do Super Mario Sunshine first though.

Q: “Can you make a section where we could see what your opinion of any game is?
A: That is actually a really good idea and is similar to an idea I already had planned for the site. Stick around and I will probably have some information about that later.

Q: “When will our LP of Pokemon Gold/Silver come out?”
A: First off, wouldn’t it be MY Let’s Play? =P Nah, just joking! Anyway, the plan is to tackle 2nd gen at the end of the year or beginning of next year. With how things have been going though, it looks like it may get and continue to be postponed for a bit just because there are so many games I want to play right now.

Q: “Why are you so awesome?”
A: My guess would be the sunglasses.

Q: “If you are going to do a WindWaker Let’s Play, are you going to do the GameCube version or the HD WiiU version?”
A: I would probably aim for the Gamecube version. I just don’t have a reason for getting the Wii U version anytime soon.

Q:”What is your Youtube name, SlimKirby?”
A: MayoPicklesLover64….clearly. Seriously though, it’s just SlimKirby. =P

If you would like to submit a question to the Question Corner, you can submit questions here. Remember to select “Question Corner” on the drop-down box though.

 

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Are We Sexist Enough Yet?

Are We Sexist Enough Yet?

It seems that over the last ten years, gaming has taken quite the turn from the days of Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and even the Playstation 2. Games have become more casual and have given people of different age groups and skill sets the chance to pick up a controller and not be utterly confused as a result. I’ve seen people who have never even played video games before, and those who had no interest in the field, get somewhat enamored with this technology after playing just one round of Wii Sports Bowling. It’s a field that continues to grow in popularity, and with the ever-growing accessibility of this medium, especially with the inclusion of social media and mobile technology with gaming, I don’t see an end to it anytime soon.

I could go into a giant discussion over the casualization of video gaming, but I think that is a talk I will save for another day. My focus for this post is a a very specific, but also a very large, group of people that have become quite prominent during this particular gaming age. I am, of course, talking about the “Gamer Girls,” or to be more specific, any female that plays video games.

Before I go any further, I should probably call attention to the fact that I am aware that the prospect of a “female gamer” is nothing new. I’ve known female gamers to exist back when I was only two or three years old. My aunt is the reason I fell in love with Super Mario World (and thus got introduced into gaming), my grandmother played Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with me whenever I came to visit her, and a friend of mine’s mom helped me beat The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening when I had no idea how to obtain the Nightmare Key in Level 2. Even my mom, who has trouble learning how to operate any of the electronics in our living room, played Zombies Ate My Neighbors with me when I was a kid and apparently got really into it. For me, this isn’t really anything new. This only seems like it is such a new thing because it has become so accessible now, and not to mention the age-old stereotype that unless sewing, cooking, or jewelry is involved, a girl would have no interest in being a part of it.

This stereotype is extremely short-sighted and narrow-minded, but despite the few examples I gave, I will admit that compared to the gamers I grew up around back then, female gamers are definitely more vocal about their gaming hobbies now. Is it solely because gaming is so much more mainstream these days? I suppose that could be a reason, but unfortunately I cannot say for certain. As a fellow gamer myself, I am glad that female gamers are being more vocal about their gaming passions. I don’t think there should be any restrictions when it comes to gaming and who can play games. However, I do feel like there are some issues to how this identity is being perceived and utilized.

A very current example of this would be the Nintendo Girl’s Club, an organization started by Nintendo UK to focus on the female demographic of gamers. The establishment of this channel has met with quite a bit of controversy though, and while I feel like Nintendo UK didn’t have any malicious or wrong intentions, I have to say that I agree with the masses. I watched a couple of their videos and I felt a little uneasy, and I am pretty sure the reason isn’t because I am not a girl. First off, they were speaking in a way where it felt like their audience knew nothing about video games, and for a channel that has a pre-determined audience they are making content for, it makes the statement that girls know next-to-nothing about video games. They could make the argument that they are trying to get girls into gaming, but on a medium like Youtube, I don’t feel like non-gamer females, or non-gamers in general, would be browsing those sites unless they already had an intention in getting into gaming (which I think is a small percentage already). Secondly, the content posted on the channel is very specific in nature, as there are not very many games covered, and the ones that are shown are games directed for a more casual crowd. Many videos are guides for small aspects of Animal Crossing: New Leaf (a game that is very safe and neutral in its target audience), or videos for games like New Art Academy and New Style Boutique. With these decisions, it doesn’t really feel they have an idea of what games female want to play and are going with a very safe approach instead.

When it comes to gaming, I don’t really think anyone is truly unaware of what is going on. You grab and hold a controller, you press some buttons, you learn what they do, and if something doesn’t work out, you try something else. That’s the simple logic of how video gaming works. While I was watching the videos, it seemed like they were under the impression that females can’t comprehend anything and need to have every little step explained to them. Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter what gender you are, but I’d imagine that being one of the biggest peeves of all time; being told how/what to do when the instructions are pretty damn clear. Hell, even if they aren’t completely obvious to everyone, it could always be one of those natural reactions of curiosity and discovery for the individual. Who is to say they want, or need for that to be explained?

There was indeed a time where women, in general, didn’t have a lot of rights and were seen as the cook, cleaner, and/or child raiser. However, those times are ages past and I would like to think we have evolved past that stage now. I guess to be fair, for videogames it’s not much of a sexist issue, as girls were never restricted from playing videogames, rather they just didn’t play them as often as males. However, in that notion lies another problem. I almost feel like this whole thing is being looked at as a sexist subject when it really shouldn’t be. I can understand that entities, like the Nintendo Girl’s Club, don’t exactly help with the matter, considering that they undermine the intelligence and experience that females may have with gaming. As a result, I can see why female gamers, especially those who have been gamers for a long time now, are insulted by the Girl’s Club. However, can we really call this sexist, or would it fall under being misinformed? Honestly, I think it is more of the latter.

I see a lot of girl gamers who are almost up in arms about these groups, disliking how there seems to be a divide in the gaming world and how females are looked at as inferior gamers. Again, I can understand and respect these feelings of dissatisfaction, but at the same time, I am one of those individuals who feels that the only way to fix an inequality is to achieve an overall sense of equality amongst everybody. These female gamers don’t seem to be leveling the playing field, and if anything, they are just reinforcing the notion that they are different. Isn’t that normally how sexism gets started? Isn’t that how the Nintendo Girl’s Club even got started? I’ve seen these girl gamers go to extreme lengths to defend their identity as a gamer girl, and if they are passionate about gaming that’s great for them, but in that case, being a girl would and should not be a factor of that passion. Guys don’t identify themselves as “Gamer Guys,” so why should women have to be called Gamer Girls?

I could turn this into a cliché rant about how we need a neutral term like “Gamer Person,” or something like that, but honestly there is no need to because we already have one. United, we are Gamers. Race, age and ethnic backgrounds do not matter and have never mattered in the slightest and neither should gender. The sooner that companies like Nintendo UK start to see this, the sooner that groups like the Nintendo Girl’s Club will cease to exist, or perhaps to more neutral extent, they will redefine and alter their mission and their target demographic to appeal to a wider audience, in a more beneficial way.

I do remember the days where it was such an attraction for male gamers whenever they met a girl who was also into videogames. For me, it was never because they played games, but moreso because they had a passion with them that was similar to mine. In a way, you could almost say the same about people of the same gender as well. There probably wouldn’t be any “attraction” so to speak (unless you are into that kinda thing *wink*), but you would feel like you could connect with that person on a common level or subject. Over time, now that females are becoming more prominent with the gaming lifestyle, I think that is going to be way more common, and is perhaps what we need in order to achieve the equality I spoke of before.

In conclusion, I think we need to remove the “Girl” from the “Gamer Girl” name and just unite as Gamers once and for all. Being a female, as far as I know from my personal research, doesn’t really change anything on the gaming front. My girlfriend still likes hacking and slashing demons while playing Devil May Cry just as much as I do, my grandmother still enjoys playing Tetris on her old gray-brick colored Game Boy, and every single day on my Youtube channel, I see female Star Warriors participating in discussion just as much (if not more) than my male audiences. I’m sure there will always be female gaming groups out there who feel entitled to showcase their identity as females, and I’m not saying that they are wrong by doing so. Over time though, as this continues to become a more mainstream hobby, there just won’t be a need for that identity. Basically, this is not a post against them, rather a post in favor of breaking the boundaries now and finally uniting as one. After all, wasn’t that the goal to begin with?

And I think that is going to do it for my opinion on this topic. If you want to share your thoughts, feel free to leave a comment on this post. If you want to read another opinion on this topic, my partner in crime FiyahKitteh made a blurb about this too (particularly in response to the Nintendo Girl’s Club stuff), so check it out if you want to see another person’s perspective.

Farewell gamers and fellow Star Warriors!
– SlimKirby

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Insert C0in Community Forum

Insert C0in Community Forum

Hey guys!

Do not worry, this is not my first “actual” post, but I will have an article/writing up later today about some things that have been on my mind. In the meantime though, I do want to make a quick update to say that I have added a new section under the “Community” tab. This section is called “Forum” and it links to the “Insert C0in” community forum. This forum was created by FiyahKitteh, and I helped develop and create a few different modules and graphics for the site. I also happen to be a moderator at the place as well.

As of now, I have no plans to make a forum or chat room for this site, and considering that this website alone is quite a new endeavor for me, it’s not something I see anytime soon either. Until that time comes though (if it ever does), I would like to invite you to “Insert C0in,” to talk with other Star Warriors and gamers alike. The forum is still relatively new as well (created around Christmas time), so don’t expect a huge amount of traffic right off the bat, but there are plenty of threads and discussions though with the sure possibility of more down the road.

For now though, here is the link! Hope you like what you see and enjoy participating if you decide to sign up!

Thanks for your time, and I think that is all I have to say for now! See you Star Warriors later!

 

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Mario Party Advance

Mario Party Advance

Game: Mario Party Advance
Start Date: March 2nd, 2014
Runtime: 6 hours
Videos: 16

Mario Party had been a clear success on consoles, but after awhile, the developers at Hudsonsoft wanted to take the series and move it on to the Game Boy Advance, which had been a huge financial success at the time. The results were quite…different, to say the least. Anyway, Shroom City has been attacked by Bowser and he has taken all of the world’s minigames and “gaddgets.” It’s up to Mario and his three closest friends to help solve the troubles of Shroom City.

With all of the console Mario Parties being completed at this point, I knew that at some time I would need to take a trip to the handheld games, and after almost a year of no Mario Party action on the channel, I decided to give Mario Party Advance a try. Although it’s very different from the traditional Mario Party formula, even moreso than Mario Party 9, it does have its own charm and I wanted to share it with you guys.

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Hello Everybody, SlimKirby Here!

Hello Everybody, SlimKirby Here!

Welcome to slimkirby.net!

This was the secret project I was working on, as mentioned in the Christmas 2013 update, and has been a long endeavor in its creation. I wanted to have a website, not just in dedication to my Youtube channel, but also to host other projects I’ve been working on (and want to work on in the future) and to just bring you guys as much content and information as I can.

Gaming is and has always been a big thing for me; professionally, recreationally, socially, and in many other ways. Now that I have a platform to voice and share my passion (in the establishment of my Youtube channel), it’s time to go big, and in a very big way. This is why this website has been born!

Every week, I will be posting one or two articles on this site. These articles can range from opinionated standpoints on how I feel about specific topics (on the gaming front of course), a review on a game I’ve played (or have been playing), or even a look forward on what’s happening on my Youtube channel (or a look back on something else). This site will also feature an archive of all of my Youtube projects (past and present), a section where you guys can submit fan-art and/or questions, or see what is coming up and/or information about events I will be participating in.

To find out what each section is about, click on the tabs above this post and let the magic of “slimkirby.net” fill you with all kinds of fuzziness! I hope you all enjoy, my fellow star warriors!

-SlimKirby

NOTE: Some of the sections may seem “emptier” than others. This new website is, quite literally, a “NEW” website, so many of the sections will be flushed out over time. I’m going to try and fill this up with as much content as possible during the site’s first month of being up and running, so there will be more updates than usual. 

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Mario Kart 64

Mario Kart 64

Game: Mario Kart 64
Start Date: February 1st, 2014
Runtime: 2:09 hours
Videos: 8

Mario and his friends sure love to have a good race, and after the success of Super Mario Kart on the SNES, Nintendo was happy to keep the engines going on their next console. Mario Kart 64 brought some new and really innovative tracks and reworked a classic arcade racer into a multiplayer fun-fest. I hope you guys are ready to race, because lakitu is about to wave that checkered flag.

Although Super Mario Kart was my entrance into the Mario Kart series, I feel like this title is what completely sealed myself into loving it. Because of this, how could I not do it? Now if you will excuse me, I think Princess Peach just threw a red shell at me and now I need to knock her off the Wario Stadium jump.

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