First Impressions: Kingdom Hearts RE: Chain of Memories

As a long time fan of the game (having beaten the first game on PS2, PS3 and more recently PS4) I have wanted to play through all of the games, and with the release of the Kingdom Hearts All in One package for the PS4, I have the opportunity to do just that.

I’ve already experienced Kingdom Hearts 1,2 and the “cut-scene only” games (the oddly named Re:Coded and 358/2 Days) as they have been previously released on the PS3 as the “Final Mix” but I never got around to playing Chain of Memories until today.

I have some thoughts.

The gameplay so far is nearly the same: go to an area (in this case rooms) filled with Heartless, whack ’em with the keyblade and move on.

What doesn’t make sense is you aren’t just running around madly pressing “X” like the first Kingdom Hearts. In this game you have a deck of cards that you use and cycle through to deal out damage (you see what I did there? I’m hilarious).

The card mechanic is… well interesting. I still haven’t figured out how the hell it’s actually supposed to work other than you target an enemy, they deal their card and you’re supposed to throw out a higher numbered card (like playing War). At least that’s what I’ve gathered so far.

What doesn’t makes sense about this game mechanic is that the enemies are still running around like the previous Kingdom Hearts game while I’m moving around AND messing with the card mechanic.

So I just end up pressing “X” like crazy anyway, and running through my hand of cards, then healing because it’s my last card in the hand, then focusing to get a new hand.

All while heartless are still moving around and hitting me.

Personal opinion but I think the card mechanic would work better in a turn-based fight, rather than the hack and slash style I’m used to having played Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 before.

I can already tell that this game is going to be more of a chore to grind if I have to find specific cards to unlock doors (a problem I’ve already run into less than an hour into the game). So we’ll see if this is one I finish or if I’m just going to skip to the next game and just try to figure out the storyline through a YouTube video.

Today in History: Orson Wells broadcasts “Fake News” Martian Invasion

Happy Halloween from all of us a Myfreakinworld.com!

As we near the end of this year’s “Spoopy Season,” I’d like to share with you the curious tale of how Orson Wells and a radio group with a large imagination, some sound effects and rather convincing storytelling caused a panic nearly worldwide.

Orson Wells had been working with a group called the Mercury Theatre On Air, which was a low budget radio program that had specialized in doing adaptions of well known stories.

With Halloween coming up, the team hatched a plan to broadcast the “War of the Worlds” story as a real life breaking news segment that covered a Martian Invasion in New Jersey.

“I had conceived the idea of doing a radio broadcast in such a manner that a crisis would actually seem to be happening,” [Wells] said, “and would be broadcast in such a dramatized form as to appear to be a real event taking place at that time, rather than a mere radio play.”

To hear the broadcast in its entirety as well as read more about it, check out the SmithsonianMagazine.com write up of this famous broadcast

Apple Live Event Today!

The Apple Live Streaming event is on for today, October 13! With the Apple homepage getting a slick new logo touting “Fast Approaching,” the rumor mill has been churning out tons of new theories. Is the new iphone going to be announced today?

Macrumors.com pointed out that there was an Apple event last month that was focused on the new iPad and Apple Watch models, so this announcement is likely to be about the new iPhone model. One capable of 5G speeds, even though news outlets are reporting that even with the new iPhone, carriers won’t be able to provide 5G speeds.

Other sources are hoping for new iPhone sizes to compete with the nearly tablet size phones that are starting to be sold, over the ear Airpods, a new Apple Home, the release date of the new iPad Air, and much more

Find out live from Apple Park, Cupertino at 1pm EST!

Live stream to be hosted on Apple’s Youtube page and also at Apple.com

Mario 64 on Super Mario 3D All Stars: First Impression

I’ve been slowly working through the new Nintendo Switch release of the Mario 3D All Stars collection (which includes a Remaster of Mario 64, Mario Sunshine and Mario Galaxy) since its release last Friday and so far it’s been a walk down memory lane!

I’ve been able to complete most of the stars in the levels without having to consult any sort of guide, even though this is really the first time I’ve played this game since the days of the original Nintendo 64 release. Well, actually I played and completed the DS version, but that also added some things here and there so I don’t really consider that a true remaster. More of a remake.

Anyway, it’s been a blast to jump back into Peach’s castle walls and relive the nostalgia of running, jumping, climbing, swimming and backflipping my way to 120 stars and three Bowser defeats to complete the castle and release Peach from captivity!

That being said, I do have some notes:

Maybe it’s me or I am mis-remembering my original playthrough of the game, since I was in middle school at the time of the original release in the late 90’s… but it just feels like the Joycon controls aren’t always as quick to take inputs as the original N64 controller.

There will be times that I want to do a quick trick to jump up to a higher platform, so I will run and then immediately about-face while hitting jump, expecting Mario to side-flip up to where I want him to go, but instead he’ll just about face run then jump up regularly.

This also makes walking along thin platforms that are suspended high up above the ground more challenging as it seems like the joycon joystick wants to make Mario run when you want him to walk or even tip toe. So I fell more than once. Another time I noticed the joycon seemed a little overzealous in the movement was when I was aiming the canon. It’s hard to make small adjustments to the angle when your joycon thinks you want to move further than you do.

Other than some joycon issues, I’m enjoying playing through the original Mario 64 on the Switch! It’s nice to be able to go back and relive my experience playing through the game, exploring the castle and trying to remember where everything is without having to consult a guide!

I, like most others that have been talking about this game are hoping that the limited run of the 3D All Stars lays the groundwork for “new” titles to be released on the Nintendo Online apps alongside the existing catalogue of NES and SNES games. Is a N64 app in the works? I hope so!

Super Mario Bros is 35 today!

Editor’s note: Originally written September 13, 2010, updated to current year 2020

Super Mario Bros for the NES was released today, 35 years ago! It’s hard saying that one of your favorite video games is actually older than you are, but here’s to you (Jumpman!) Mario!

While it is true that this isn’t the first game that starred Mario (That title goes to Donkey Kong on the arcade, but he was called Jump-man), this is the one that really brought Mario into most gamer’s homes, helping boost sales of the Nintendo Entertainment System and eventually going on the being the best selling video game of all time (second to Wii Sports).

This game is so famous in fact, that even the music is famous! I’m not kidding, just go find one person who has never played the game. Then play some of the music from the game. They’ll probably recognize the music (even if they’ve never played the game).

But anyway: Here’s to you Super Mario Bros. The game that started it all, lead to many many many spin-offs and sequals, made the NES famous and gave Nintendo a franchise that could be put on any and all future game systems.

So in celebration, you should dig out your NES, blow into the bottom of the game cartridge (because that’s the catch-all way to fix any game error) (Don’t do that, it actually makes the connectors corrode faster) and play Super Mario Bros. for old time’s sake.

(Editor’s Note: Addendum written in 2020)

To celebrate Mario’s 35th Anniversary, Nintendo is releasing several games! Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES app on the Switch is free to download for Nintendo Online subscribers! The game will feature the SNES version of Super Mario All-Stars, which includes Mario 1, 2 and 3 as well as the Lost Levels!

Mario 3D All-Stars will be a limited release from September 2020-March 2021 and will feature Super Mario 64, Mario Sunshine and Mario Galaxy on the switch, available in both physical game and digital download! All games will be optimized and enhanced for the switch!

Mario Kart Live Home Circuit will be coming out later this year and will allow you to make your own courses in your home that you and your friends can race, with a physical kart for both Mario and Luigi!

The original Super Mario will be coming out on the classic Game + Watch console, alongside Mario the lost levels and an updated version of “ball!” The Game and Watch bundle will be a limited release coming later in 2020

Super Mario 35 will be Nintendo’s version of the online Battle Royale game! You can race alongside 34 other players in classic Mario Bros levels, affecting their gameplay as you race to the finish flag! The game will be free to download for a limited time!

Full 35th Anniversary Nintendo Direct information can be found here

Re-Runs: (Blog) The One Where I Discover Ubuntu

(Editor’s note: This article was originally written… I’d say around 2007 or so. I was very frustrated with my gaming PC at the time, particularly Windows, and was looking for a free alternative OS.
-Mike)

Since I discovered the beauty that is computer gaming, I had been a pretty big fan of running around blowing the bejeezus out of my enemies. Whether it was in Unreal Tournament, Quake, or later Counter-Strike Source, I had always enjoyed the feel of a mouse and keyboard while leaving my ho-hum world to go on a fantastical adventure that I would never be able to do in real life.

Along with that I became more of a Windows fanatic. This was because Windows (as I would later find out in a failed experiment with gaming on Ubuntu Linux) is pretty much the only Operating System that will be stable enough to run said games. And though I became more and more frustrated with Windows over the years because of all the tedious scans, virus definitions, tweaks and plugins I had to run to get the game going, as well as more and more failed ventures into trying to build a personal computer (which would lead to multiple trips back and forth between the local Fry’s Electronics during one Spring Break as well as a massive drain on my bank account), I would get tired of having to use the “necessary evil” that was Windows.

The straw that broke the figurative camel’s back would be when the Orange Box (a game I would later go on to beat on multiple consoles) came out and I was ready to install the game on my PC and get to the First-Person Awesomeness that was the epic of Dr. Gordon Freeman, which would be thwarted by the fact that I had zero high speed Internet connection in the small Southern Indiana town where I attended college, and a random breakdown of the “gaming computer” that I had assembled from all those trips to Fry’s.

I had picked up The Orange Box around the time that it came out, wanting to waste no time waiting to dive back into the HEV suit and picking up the trusty crowbar that I had used in the previous Half Life 2 games. So as soon as I was able, I immediately sought out to install and play the shiny new addition to my modest collection of Steam games. But I was hit with yet another roadblock (which didn’t surprise me in the least, as I have horrible luck with turning a simple task into a very long and tiresome chore.

For whatever reason (along with the magical disappearing guitar, and many more unexplained occurrences in my life) my PC wasn’t taking the install. I knew that it was possibly because I was trying to install it on a computer that wasn’t connected to the Internet, or that I may have entered something wrong when I was installing because I was too excited and overlooked something simple.

But it wasn’t as easy as plugging in an ethernet cord, activating the code on Steam and then downloading the content. No no, I had to pack up my entire PC (monitors, cables, keyboard and all) and try and lug it to the campus (which I happened to live about a mile away from) and hope that I can try to “borrow” someone’s connection.

So I talked one of the teachers into letting me use her office, which was easy because she had taken a liking to me during my stint as the ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge’s only “friend” in my first college play, A Christmas Carol. She happened to be leaving for the day so her only request was that I lock up when I was done. Simple enough.

So I took everything over there, plugged in (and after a trip or two back home to pick up any little piece that I left because I thought it was insignificant at the time but later proved otherwise), I was ready to install.

While I did I thought about perhaps researching an alternative to the Windows OS, because I figured there had to be some sort of other way to play my favorite games without having to put up with the crap that is XP.

Author’s note: Yes, I was just complaining about XP not working, but that is because I thought I knew what I was doing at the time, but really didn’t. I was just as bad as any other “computer expert” that uses Windows.

So I started looking around the Internet for any sort of alternative to Windows that could possibly get me to finishing the story of Gordon Freeman’s quest to rid the world of the Combine.

So while I waited I started researching this little OS that I had read about in the newspaper earlier: Ubuntu Linux. It seemed like an article that I had found on purpose, like someone was placing it there for me to see because some higher power knew I was frustrated with Windows and perhaps this would be the answer I was looking for.

Nope, not quite.

Though I did spend a very long time researching this new OS I had never heard of before, I was still skeptical to switch over. I wanted to make sure that this would be a good OS and alternative to what I was already putting up with. I wanted something that wasn’t going to make me Bill Gate’s slave, throwing away money to be unhappy with the end result, and not feeling like I was getting my money’s worth.

I liked the price tag for Ubuntu Linux. It was free, which was a great alternative to the Windows XP upgrade I had purchased that I thought was a ridiculous price. I liked that it offered a program called “WINE” which would pretty much emulate Windows, but be something new. I liked that it seemed to be a virus free alternative as well. I was sold, and since Episode 2 would still NOT WORK DESPITE ALL MY NERD RAGE AND EFFORT TO GET IT GOING (this was an install process that sucked up most of my afternoon and evening at this point), it seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for the reason why I should get Ubuntu Linux.

Next Time: “The Fresh Install,” or “Wait what’s this line of code going to do when I actually put it in console?”

Apple Event 2020

Greg Joswiak (Apple Senior VP of Marketing posted on twitter today, “See you in 7 Days!,” hinting at an “Apple Event” that will be live-streamed on September 15th, 2020, with a repeating GIF showing the Apple Logo, that twists into “9.15” in front of an Apple Park building in Cupertino.

Typically the new iOS updates, apps and software updates are announced in the Spring, so I am personally guessing we are going to perhaps see a new iPhone 12, Macbook Pro 2020 or Desktop computer.

Or does this perhaps maybe mean a new iPad Pro, Air Pods Pro are coming in the future? I personally can’t wait to find out!

The Live Stream will take place on Apple.com Live from Apple Park on September 15, 2020 at 10am PDT (1pm EST)

Photo from Apple.com

Mike goes to the movies

For the last few years I’ve been on a mission to watch as many new movies as I possibly could. With the re-re-re-re-re-launch of the website, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to write reviews of the movies I’ve been watching.

Enjoy!