Category: Culture

Gaze closely upon the ‘LeSportsac x Nintendo’ Goods

Gaze closely upon the 'LeSportsac x Nintendo' Goods

Everyone’s already posted about the ‘LeSportsac x Nintendo’ goods coming to Japan in July (and the Western world this Fall); basically, it’s another cross promotional deal for Nintendo to rake in cash and good will. But the one thing nobody seems to have posted are big pics of the designs. There’s a lot of little details and I wanted a closer look.

Fortunately, LeSportsac put out some gigantic images which you can check out, in full, in the gallery at the bottom of the page. If that’s too much bandwidth for you, here are a few smaller sized closeups and some of the original press release with the details.

 

PRESS RELEASE COPY: REDMOND, Wash., June 21, 2017 – Holding a treasured place in the hearts of millions, Mario’s adventures have brought him to many strange places, including the far corners of the Mushroom Kingdom and galaxies beyond. Working with Nintendo, LeSportsac took Mario’s passion for exploration and translated it into the brand’s best-selling, on-the-go styles. These include crossbodies, totes, backpacks and weekenders, as well as small cosmetics and accessories that even the Mushroom Kingdom’s most celebrated hero can run away with on his many adventures.

Power-Up Burst is a colorful homage to Mario’s iconic power-up items and classic foes, including Fire Flowers, Super Mushrooms, 1-Up Mushrooms, Super Stars, coins, Goombas and Koopas.

Mario Travel print portrays playful Mushroom Kingdom-inspired travel memorabilia, such as luggage tags, passport stamps and postcards on a bright red background.

Complementing the collection are five additional items, including an authentic pouch shaped like the Game Boy system, a round Piranha Plant pouch, and a Super Mario Bros. cosmetic. All styles will showcase a custom Super Mario coin zipper pull. The LeSportsac X Nintendo collection launches in Japan on July 19 and will be available in other countries, including the United States, this fall.

The Giant Gallery Awaits (click the ‘View Full Size’ links too) !

Is Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo’s response to annoying Mario canon questions?

This scene couldn't be any more Japanese

Everything in Super Mario Odyssey seems designed to rattle even the most absurd head-canon that fans have crafted for themselves over the decades of loosely connected Mario games. It started with the debut trailer back in January with Mario running around in the human-sized New Donk City and it’s only gotten stranger with this week’s E3 reveal.

Pauline, Mario’s original heroine from Donkey Kong, is the mayor of New Donk City and its streets are named after members of the DK clan. We’d seen Bowser in a white tuxedo before with Peach at his side in a matching wedding dress but now we see that Mario is also dressed for “the big day”. So who is crashing whose wedding and does Peach have any say in this nuptial knockout? Finally, just who is singing the vocal track heard in the new trailer with lines like “I’ll be your 1UP girl”? The camera sure lingers on that saucy singer at the New Donk City Festival, doesn’t it? Could this be the end for Mario and Peach?

Is Mario butting in on a harmonious union?

Things are just as extraordinary on the gameplay end of things. Mario’s traditional powerups are nowhere to be seen and he instead utilizes the sentient, mind-controlling tophat we now know as Cappy. With Cappy, Mario can do typical video game things like boomerang his hat around to hit enemies or grab coins. What was revealed at E3, though, is a completely surprising mechanic that lets Cappy possess most enemies and suck Mario into them, slapping the red cap on their heads and a mustache on their face.

Goombas, Hammer Bros. and Bullet Bills are all commandeered by Mario as well as totally unexpected objects like taxi cabs, tanks, frogs, Rapa Nui statues and rocket ships that look straight out of Super Mario Bros. 2. Then there are the scenes where Mario is squashed flat a la Link Between Worlds and things get decidedly old school.

Between this and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle I’ve never been more excited for new Mario games and there’s surely more bizarre stuff to be seen from both; at E3 and in the months leading up to their releases. Bring it on Nintendo, the weirder the better!

In Memoriam: The Fur Babies of Gameluv

archeage2

My fiance and I were sitting in the veterinarian’s waiting room filling out paperwork for our cat. He was a stray, and I had no idea what kind of cat he was, let alone his actual date of birth. Still, we had to jot something down on the line.

“When did Super Mario Galaxy 2 come out?” I asked him. He shrugged.

“Uh, 2008? 2009, I think?” He replied.

“No, that doesn’t sound right.” I said as I quickly googled the answer. He looked at me like I was crazy for even thinking about a  video game at a time like this, but it was relevant to me.

“Ah, May 2010. I thought so!” I said and jotted down the date onto the paper.

I adopted my cat, Mocha, around the same time Super Mario Galaxy 2 came out and it’s the only way I was able to remember his date of birth. This may seem like a small, insignificant thing to everyone else but to me it meant something. I was so busy taking care of my new kitten that the release of a game I had been anticipating didn’t seem important. I never did get around to playing it. Mocha proved to be too much of a fun distraction.

archeage1

 

Years later, when it was time to make a logo for the Gameluv sail in the MMORPG Archeage, it seemed like an obvious choice to display our cats. Why wouldn’t we? Our precious pets were an integral part of our lives. They watched us game, they purred on our laps while we held our controllers. They meowed loudly for attention when we didn’t want to be interrupted, because that’s how cats roll. I’m glad that we paid homage to them on that sail, especially now when a few of them have taken the trip over the rainbow bridge.

I didn’t get enough time with my Mocha, he was only seven. That vet trip was his last, and what I thought was a “better safe than sorry” check up turned out to be our worst nightmare. He took the same trip Molly did recently, and I remember how painful it was to watch Shawn and Katy grieve her. She was a good kitty, too. If there is a special place where cats go after death, I really hope that Mocha and Molly can hang out with one another to compare notes on their gaming parents and how they are now immortalized forever in our hearts and on the Gameluv sail.

Rest in peace, fur babies. We’ll miss you.

Also pictured and deceased: The adorable orange kitty in the sail, who belongs to Gameluv’s Shane! Katy recalls its name being Maus. For some reason, I thought it was Tank. Perhaps Shane could let us know which beloved kitty is on the sail, but they also have a spot in our heart.

Marvel Games Retrospective 3: X-Men by Konami

This is the third in my series of reminiscing on Marvel games of the past and present (although almost three years late!), and we’re going to revisit the mighty mutants of Marvel, the Uncanny X-Men, in their first arcade game! [Read Part 1 and Part 2 here]

X-Men was a unique title in that it had three cabinets available for play: there was a two player cabinet, a four player cabinet, and a massive six player, two screen behemoth. While multiple screen arcade games weren’t new, as Darius and The Ninja Warriors had multiple screens, X-Men’s six player count was definitely something that hadn’t quite been tried before and wasn’t quite duplicated afterwards. The game was released in 1992 and was an instant hit in the arcades, a time in which arcades in the US had been revitalized thanks to the success of Street Fighter II.

Wolverine is pretty sure this place is gonna get real crowded real soon.

Panorama!!!

The source of the arcade game was inspired by the 1989 animated pilot titled “Pryde of the X-Men,” wherein Kitty Pryde is introduced to the team in quite a hit-the-ground-running kind of fashion. It featured Cyclops, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Dazzler, and of course, Wolverine, against the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants led by Magneto, taking the fight all the way to Asteroid M. Now, retrospectively, “Pryde of the X-Men” isn’t very good. There’s a lot wrong with it. And for some bizarre reason, Wolverine is given an Australian accent, which may or may not have foretold the future where Hugh Jackman was to faithfully take the claws for about 17 years. But if you’re a Marvel loving kid waking up in the wee hours of the morning in 1989 to watch the Marvel Action Universe, a syndicated block of cartoons featuring reruns of old Spider-Man (And sometimes His Amazing Friends) episodes and, for some reason, Robocop, seeing that was a very pleasant and very welcome surprise.

A couple years before that whole Adamantium snafu....

Wolverine against Magneto??? That’s crazy talk!!!

The art style in the game is very much influenced by that pilot, although with a slight anime touch, and it looked great as a result. Time has worn that away a little, but it still looks pretty good even if a bit sparse. The screen fills with enemies, explosions, and fire and it still keeps up with all the action. It was a step up from the 1989 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game in every way.

The gameplay is simple. Like TMNT, you fight in a wide plane in all eight directions. You get three buttons: attack, jump, and mutant power. You can combine attack and jump, but the mutant power is a little tricky. You get a limited number of them, which only refill by one at the end of a stage, and on top of that, using one will drain your health by four points. And that’s the kicker: this game is hard, designed to do nothing but suck down your quarters like nobody’s business, and unless you’re bringing a full posse, you are inevitably going to spend a few dollars on this game. Forget about going it alone, too. Shawn and I did beat it in the arcade once, with a random third player, and I’m pretty sure by the end of it we were all tapped out of money. The Japanese version is a little more forgiving, with the insertion of health packs and bonus items, but not by much.

Kitty's going to be fine. It's the Master Mold who should be worried!

The game even features some characters not featured in “Pryde of the X-Men,” like Mystique, the Wendigo, the Master Mold, and Bonebreaker of the Reavers.

Of all the characters, Wolverine was of course the best melee character and Colossus had the best mutant power, so people went to play those two first. Cyclops and Nightcrawler were average, and Storm was fine in a pinch, but why does she have to fight with a staff? Nobody wanted to be Dazzler though. Dazzler was lame, they said. Why play as Dazzler? Well, I’m going to shock everyone here and say that Dazzler is an OK character. Sure, she started out as a rollerskating disco queen, and sure, she was basically thrown away after the 1991 X-Men comic reboot, but there is nothing wrong with Dazzler. In fact, in the game, she even has a neat flip throw that gets her out of some situations and her mutant power is not bad when used efficiently. Would the world have preferred Jean Grey, Rogue, or Psylocke? Sure, but they weren’t in “Pryde of the X-Men.” Dazzler is fine.

Alison Blaire is blowing up the charts, her new single is fire

Dazzler’s power is to turn sound into hard light. She can handle herself.

Another thing that I should mention is the sound. Not just the music, which was really good arcade style music, but the voice samples throughout the game are pretty much legendary. The game starts off with a short narration and then after Charles Xavier asks you to “Go and SAVE the CITY!” we are off! Now, it is highly doubtful that any of the voice talent from the “Pryde of the X-Men” were available for the game in the same way that some of the X-Men animated series cast was used for Capcom’s later X-Men: Children of the Atom arcade game, but the voices are pretty great. One of the more fun things to do in the game is to interrupt the level boss as they make their introductory speech. Memories of “Pyro will—ugh!” and “Nothing moves the—” are pretty fresh in my mind and always fun to replicate. Of course, everyone remembers Magneto’s “Welcome to die!” and it always gives us reason to laugh while we punch him in his face. Or, better yet, use Colossus’ mutant power and get him to yell a very satisfying roar. This game was very loud, and since arcade operators were not shy to turn the volume up on the cabinet, all the explosions and yells drove home how epic this game felt.

"Welcome to die?" How about I welcome my fist to your nose, buddy?!

“Welcome to die?” How about I welcome my fist to your nose, buddy?!

X-Men was released at the height of the battle between the Genesis and the SNES and everyone at the time wondered why it never came to consoles. Turtles In Time made a very nice SNES game, so you could imagine that a little work on Konami’s part might make for a decent translation, right? While that could have been possible, the problem came down to the same situation that has mucked up a lot of Marvel’s properties throughout the years: licensing. The X-Men were already licensed for home consoles by Acclaim through its LJN—yes, the same LJN that produced the execrable Marvel’s X-Men on the NES—and Flying Edge labels, and they had just released a terrible game called Spider-Man and the X-Men In Arcade’s Revenge; the next year would see the really good Genesis X-Men game by Sega, and in 1994, Capcom’s X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse would appear on the SNES, leaving no room for Konami to port their title.

As time went on, people took it as a given that the only way to play Konami’s X-Men was to emulate it through MAME, but in the unlikely year of 2010, it finally reached home consoles via the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. It even saw a release on the iOS and Android! Ported by Backbone Entertainment, the game featured internet multiplayer (only four players though!), the usual graphical options for emulation, and the inclusion of the Japanese version just in case you wanted to experience some of those power-ups they took out of the American version. It was pretty good, but by 2010, gamers who had decided action fighters were long past their sell-by date wrote it off (and many of these same people wax nostalgic about the Simpsons arcade game, also made by Konami, which is something I don’t understand at all). At some point, between Konami’s retreat from the gaming sphere and Marvel’s insane licensing situations, it was delisted from all services, and as of 2017 it leaves MAME, once again, as the only place to play it.

You left Jean Grey for who???

Ten years after this game, these two would hook up.

Is Konami’s X-Men dated? Yes, of course. But is it still fun? Yes, there’s lots of fun you can have with it. Bring some friends together; it’s not actually a terribly long game and you’ll be immensely satisfied once you beat the stuffing out of Magneto. Or better yet, find a young kid who’s just getting into superheroes and have them experience it. They’ll love it.

And stop hating on Dazzler.

Shawn’s Note: Sure enough, it still pleased the nephews back at Christmas. It’s colorful and kinetic enough that even without knowing who the X-Men are they were having fun. At one point they unexpectedly got into a fight over who could put in the most credits though. Explaining arcade games might be the hardest part about playing it with them.

Capcom Cashes in on My Childhood with The Disney Afternoon Collection

Capcom Cashes in on My Childhood with The Disney Afternoon Collection

It honestly doesn’t even matter what The Disney Afternoon Collection is because, for me, it starts and stops with this artwork right here. The wavy shapes, the day-glo colors, some of my favorite childhood characters and that font on “Collection”. It’s too perfectly 90’s. This is practically a cover of Disney Adventures magazine, another childhood memory I cradle in the warmest cockles of my heart.

The collection itself could never compete with that kind of nostalgia but it’s a good bundle nonetheless. Ducktales 1 and 2, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 1 and 2, Darkwing Duck and TaleSpin are getting the Mega Man Legacy treatment for $20 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam. And it’s out this Saturday the 18th! I don’t have a lot of time to write more so I’ll leave it with the press release text and a few final thoughts:

“All six games are new and improved HD versions of the originals and feature a number of filtering options that replicate a classic retro look and feel. This collection also offers new ways to play with Boss Rush and Time Attack modes for each game. In Boss Rush mode, players battle through challenging boss encounters consecutively, while Time Attack mode encourages time-based gameplay and provides online leaderboards that track the fastest times for each game.

A new “Rewind” feature makes these challenging titles more accessible for newcomers, with the option to rewind time and enjoy a swift recovery from blunders. Additionally, the in-game Disney Museum will provide history buffs with a wealth of content to celebrate the era of the original releases, such as concept art, advertisements, character art, and music – all preserved in their original glory.”

  • Yes, this is being handled by Digital Eclipse and should hold the same esteem for the source material as their previous Mega Man Legacy Collection.
  • Yes, I think Capcom may be running that Ducktales license dangerously close to the ground between this and 2013’s remastered treatment.
  • No, these wouldn’t be my personal six favorite Capcom/Disney titles but I can’t argue with the package and its appeal.
  • Finally, no, I’m probably not ever going to buy this… but I sure am glad it resulted in that artwork up there!