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Sunday, 11 March 2018

Mario Day

Hello and welcome back to this month of Mario, and as we've just had Mario Day (Mar10) what better than to give up some of my ideas for the Brothers.  Our timing couldn't have been better, either, as there's an new Nintendo direct out focusing on Smash Brothers and a new Mario Tennis amongst others.

We of course are not looking at those gaems, as described last week, we are looking at remaking collections of Nintendo games from the earliest days with the following rules.

1. Graphics should be sprites either inspired for the NES or SNES or a more modern style like on the GBA, definitely no Mii avatars or polygons.

2. No lazy virtual console emulation, these are all new games not ROMS.

3. Do not charge full price and do not have in app purchases, these are budget games using obscure or unloved titles and should be priced as such.

Currently Nintendo would break rule two here as they would just reissue Super Mario Allstars for  the umpteenth time.  Look at the much maligned Wii release for the 25th anniversary of Mario and say that you wouldn't like something much better, or at least not a SNES rom and emulator for Wii.

Here's my switch ideas.

 Mario Brothers.
The first game has always been a bit of an oddity, if you treat it like the modern Mario games you'll fail as everything is fatal to the touch. You have to whack  them from below instead of jumping on them.  I'd love to see them do a release where they are brought right up to date like Donkey Kong for  Game Boy, had the first four levels then did its own thing.  A few more monsters from the various Mario games and bosses to fight all on a single screen and power ups too.  Maybe add more players in (4 player), or add a few side modes from the PC88 games such as Punch ball Mario.

Super Mario Brothers.

Nothing too drastic here, as everyone loves this.  Don't just  slap a NES rom on the cart and be done, but rather port across some of the more obscure variants of SMB.  Give us a port of the Arcade version (Kotaku cancer alert) or yet again another of the Hudson Soft conversions with Super Mario Special a flick screen conversion from the PC88.  Failing that remake it in Mario Maker.

Super Mario Brothers 2.

 Of all the games I'd love to see a return to Subcon.  Not the data disk add on for the Famicom Disk System but the reskin of Doki Doki Panic that we got instead.  Either a full blown remake of the GBA game complete with super egg unlockables and new bosses or a single screen game akin to Bubble Bobble.  

I had the idea for a single screen veg flinging game a while ago.  The fan game Cookout had the basics right, but what I really want is a single screen game, where you need to clear enemies with thrown veg and blocks, when its cleared you have to grab the key and go through a door to the next level.  Take too long and Phanto will chase you down.  There would be blocks and all the other power  ups from the original and maybe the return of some long neglected bosses such as Birdo, Mouser and Clawgrip too.

That Fruit Machine from the between stages of Mario 2
Failing that give us Toad's house from Mario 3 where we can play the match up game, the slot machine from Mario 2, the pairs game from 3 as well as a few other bits and bobs, such as a sound test.  You could even throw in the mini games from New SMB on the DS version too.  Call it Mario Box and we would be happy.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Month Of Mario PT1

I suppose you are familiar with the biscuit selection box you get at Christmas.  A veritable smorgasbord of treats in a commemorative box, even if half of them are pink wafers and proto Oreos that are included but no one likes.  Sort of based on Nintendo Land for the Wii U but much more like the old Game and Watch compilations that were for Gameboy and Gameboy Colour. 

I had the idea while out at work, for Nintendo to go to indie companies to make game compilations based on what was originally the earliest NES games (mainly the sports ones).  There would be strict rules for these comps mind.

1. Graphics should be sprites either inspired for the NES or SNES or a more modern style like on the GBA, definitely no Mii avatars or polygons.

2. No lazy virtual console emulation, these are all new games not ROMS.

3. Do not charge full price and do not have in app purchases, these are budget games using obscure or unloved titles and should be priced as such.

With the rules laid down I propose my first compilation pack is to be based on Donkey Kong.

Give me a Switch updates and reworks to the original Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jnr, Donkey Kong 3,and a re imagined versions of  Donkey Kong Maths and the unreleased Donkey Kong No Ongaku Asobi.

Donkey Kong.
You all know this by now, Jumpman has to get back Pauline from the clutches of Kong spread over 4 stages.  Give us a choice of characters from the Mario roster, make it gender neutral for once and have Luigi be rescued by Princess Peach for once.  No real extra levels or such but if this was made real as an unlockable bonus I'd be happy.

Donkey Kong Junior.

This is another game I'd like to see remade if only to finally put Wario in place of Mario as the bad guy.  I'd like a few more levels with this too as it doesn't get much love.

Donkey Kong 3

There is a PC6001 version of Donkey Kong 3 which has been recently preserved that should be the kind of level of obscurity I'm looking for to be as part of this collection. Along with Stanley himself who has languished far too long in obscurity. I'd love to see him come back in some  form. (Fun fact this is the only version I've not played as I had the originals under the Donkey Kong Classics range).
Give him a shooter all his own and an expanded game to play through which would  be nice.

Donkey Kong Maths.

Part of the original edutainment range of NES originals this taught you basic maths such as Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  This could be greatly expanded on with bits from the original and sequels too.  Love to see him pull on a series of puzzles that make maths fun.  The original was a vs game to see who could make the sum that Kong held up on a board, I'd love to see that expanded upon and given the full game treatment.

Donkey Kong Ongaku no Asobi.

The final unreleased gem,  supposedly to teach you music and such with a music quiz and a band to jam with.  It sounds like a weird version of a sound test, so lets go full Mario Paint maker for one half and allow you to jam along to a good selection of Nintendo tunes in 8 /16 bit style with various unlocks for how well you do on the other games on the collection and that would be the best thing ever.  

Oh and the final edutainment title involved Popeye teaching you English which is quite frankly bizarre.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Funeral for a Neighbour.

Here is an odd one. My neighbour passed away in January and I took some time off work to attend his funeral. He outlived his spouse and his cat who he gifted to us back at the start of last year, when he moved into sheltered housing (which I used to clean, when it was part of my job back in the day).

He used to fight like a bastard with her and for those social justice types it was not all one way traffic, she gave as good as she got.  His nickname for her was crab I found out which is really funny.  He also used to give us stuff he'd either grown in his garden or got at the pub, which was nice of him.

As we were passing out I noticed a headstone to my old tutor on the side of the road. Its just a side thing and I didn't get many details just the name was enough. She was tough on me and taught me  how to touch type as part of a secretarial NVQ course.  I learned two things there most of the women there were bitches and how to touch type. 

Maybe a trip is in order just to see if I can find it again and get more details on when she passed on and pay respects.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Reading List and an announcement.

Finally dug through the reading list at the side and updated a few links to things that aren't there no more. We had to remove *Kimimi's Blog which I found had closed down (seriously I'm a Jonah for good works) and have replaced it with Back Of the Cereal Box which is my kind of idiotic humour.

Furthermore, I've found some good stuff online to read about today so will present to you a reading list of things to well, read.

Like reading about big cats, have news of some strange feline hybrids here. Were talking about a Lion / Leopard / Jaguar hybrid baby.

There is a big interview with Derrick May which I've gotten to the halfway mark of, about the origins of techno and such.  Probably some nostalgia for Detroit people of a certain age too.

Oh and Cookout from Cruise Elroy that is super relevant to my announcement (see below). It looks like its made by Nintendo circa 1984 for one of their arcade games.  We found this on twitter of all places. EDIT now with video.


Next month I'm going to be blogging about Nintendo all month long.  Unless something good comes up then you'll probably get two blogs a week from me.  Its going to tie in to the very English idea of the Christmas biscuit assortment of the type Rover put out. Namely a selection of games based around a theme and done by indie devs for current gen consoles.
See you soon.

*thankfully not gone for good as she still has up her excellent twitter feed on Japanese curiosities and that.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Slide scanner and snes.

First up  here is some news about an undumped commercial SNES game that for all intents an purposes got missed out on.  Its not especially good mind but it is in Swedish so there's that if you will. 

The game is Tintin In Tibet a crappy late era platformer that got about 40% in Superplay back in the day (they did a list of all the worst things you could get attacked by, which includes such things as bells and a pacifist Buddhist monks) and as noted before it had an official if undumped Swedish translation.

Been reading through Byuu's twitter updates as he has been dumping out obscure SNES and Super Famicom games for preservation and he casually mentioned it was part of a collection he was rom dumping.  Not earth shattering but thought it worthwhile sharing here.

Also have an Ion Slide scanner now so I can make headway on the backlog of slides and negatives we have indoors.  Will be backing up everything to disc and external HD just in case it all goes to hell. 

So far its not a bad device you'll get most of the negative in shot when scanning and it has basic image manipulation properties.  Mac owners are going to be disappointed that the last version it supports is 10.7 which is Lion, but other than that its good at what it does.  (don't ask about linux  I haven't tried it and you'd need WINE to get the program disc installed).

You can have this picture as proof of concept.

Echinocacti at Los Christianos

Sunday, 11 February 2018

We Wuz Cheddar Man

There's a excellent article in the Grauniad (no seriously) where scientists have resequenced the DNA of one of the first inhabitants of the British Isles, and its proven some food for thought.  Previously thought to be white, Cheddar man, as he is known, has the markers for blue eyes and dark or black skin. 

Of course there will be people saying that its not like that, and there's me working out, that if Cheddar man is black then what kind of modern day tribe would he have come from.

Other questions arise such as, when did whiteness arise as such in the UK population?, were the Neanderthals white? seeing as they had a good 300,000 years on Homo Sapiens, and why does he look like a town drunk.

I had a cursory look for Berber's on Image search, due to notion that they were Africans with blue eyes, and there is quite some variation in skin tone, there.  True most of it is through mixing races and such but I can't shake off that his skin looks like Mahogany and would love to see what he would look like if he had more of a natural skin tone.  

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Childhood books.

So Ursula Le Guin died recently and its set up a few things in my mind that never were. Namely she wrote a book about a girl that could turn into a bear and that.  Can remember it so well, as a child it was one of the books that we were read to in class by our teacher (possibly by Miss James or a Miss Grealey) along with the Lion The Witch and  The Wardrobe.

Sadly after a few hours fruitless searching it turned out it was a false memory and what I  was actually remembering was the book Ursula Bear by Sheila Lavelle.  A girl called Ramona (Not the same one from Ramona and Beavis) finds a book of spells in a library that can turn her into a bear.  By repeating I'm a Bear she could change and by reversing it and saying Raeb am I she changed back. 

With this aced I decided to look for another book or series of books we had at school (Mid 80's this would be, complete with school milk and full on Garbage Pail Kid craze to boot).  This was a series of books featuring a dog called Shorty which were I suppose for less capable readers.  I  read these while I was supposed to be paying attention to the teacher (this time a Mr Bissett, he could play the piano and was cool). This was actually much easier to find as they had a picture of a scruffy mutt on the cover which after all these years I could pick out on Google Images.

Written by James Webster  they were a series of books starring this dog along with other stories too.  Its been ages since I've read them, and the artwork alone is enough for some serious nostalgia trip for me. 

This is the sort of thing we read.