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GAMING LIFE

I’ve been a gamer since 1984, but getting GOLD everything in Mario Kart 8 was the pinnacle of my gaming journey.

My life was perfect as a young kid. Everyone felt sorry for me being a bastard so it was like having many dads. My grandfather, I called him Granddad, was the best though. He was a fighter pilot in Vietnam and after retiring from the Air Force he opened his own general aviation airport in Spearfish, South Dakota. He was my first best friend. He would take me everywhere with him. He taught me how to fly when I was just two years old. I have so many fond memories of him teaching me about avionics, flying the pipeline, and proper radio etiquette.atari.jpg

My stupid-ass mom and step-dad forced me to move to shithole Seattle with them in 1984. I remember kicking and screaming and being forced into the truck for the two-day journey west on I-90. I still hate her for it. (I joined the US Army when I was 17 just to get away from her.) My dog and Granddad died when we were there. I fucking hate Seattle. All it does is rain. I would slit my wrists before I ever went back there again. If it got wiped out by a nuclear bomb I’d be so happy.

I remember my step-dad asking me how old I was on the way. I told him, then asked him how old he was. Nineteen was his answer. I remember thinking that was a really big number compared to my four. I also remember going to his uncle’s house on the way and getting bullied for the first time by his kids. It wasn’t that bad. They just said that the sucker they were eating was my soon-to-be-born baby sister. I knew they were joking, but I kind of wished it was true. If it weren’t for her, we’d still be in South Dakota with Granddad and my dog. They didn’t let me play, but I remember they had an Atari 2600. It may look lame today, but it was like a magical box then. They must’ve gotten a newer console because we brought that one with us. I remember playing Pong and some crappy racing game. They were really fun, but when the Nintendo Entertainment System came out, everyone had or wanted one. It was so amazing. I remember playing Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt for years. I didn’t clear Mario until 1989, but by then everyone was like, “Who cares?”

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I’ve had every Nintendo system over the years, even the Virtual BoyNintendo never had the most powerful system (except for the Nintendo 64), that thing was on another level, but they always seemed to make the best games. Mario Kart is by far the best game franchise to have ever been made in my opinion. I’ve been playing it since the Super Nintendo days.

When I was a teacher in Bangkok I had it made. I owned my condo free and clear, had zero transportation costs because I rode a BMX everywhere, and seemed to have money and pussy falling from the sky. I was a single dad but didn’t start work until 5 pm, so I would bring my son with me to work every day after he got out of school. My teenage students would take him shopping and to restaurants while I was teaching. I also had a Nintendo Wii U and a Playstation 4. I earned the nickname “GTA Teacher” from my students because we had so much fun killing cops as Michael, Trevor, or Franklin. I would invite fellow teachers over to my crib after work and we’d BBQ, smoke weed, and drink lots of beer. We’d play a bit of the new PS4 games, but everyone always wanted to play Mario Kart 8 together. My two buddies, Danie, Jim, and I played it online so much that we memorized every track and were probably in the top thousandth players in the world at the time. We had a technique that would help us defeat the A.I. too. We would play two players against the A.I. and had a rule, whoever won first place on the first track was king. The second player would serve as a bodyguard and this was enough to overwhelm the A.I. even though it loved to cheat with the “Blue Shell of Death” on almost every track. If the bodyguard had it, they would only fire it if the king fell back from first place.

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Living in Bangkok was wild. We would go to strip clubs and see hundreds of beautiful naked women on stage, go dancing all night long, or just enjoy the best food and vacations, but to this day we all still smile whenever anyone mentions Mario Kart 8. It took a few months of grinding through all the tracks to get perfect runs, but we eventually earned the golden wheels, then the golden hang glider, and eventually golden everything. It really was a superior vehicle. My son recently got the game on his Nintendo Switch and I had one question for him, “Have you earned the golden kart yet?”

Image Resources:

http://cognizantgamer.com/?p=143

http://www.soicowboy-bangkok.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_2600

https://www.usgamer.net/articles/18-12-2017-mario-kart-8-deluxe-how-to-unlock-gold-mario-and-stop-blue-shells

Categories
GAMING

SUPER MARIO 64: Smash Bowser with your Browser

I’ve been emulating this game as soon as I knew it was possible to do so back in the late 1990s. Nothing will ever beat playing the real thing with that awkward alien-looking controller, but this in-browser port works beautifully. It’s smooth. You can save your game and the sound works too.

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After reading this post by Nintendo Life, I thought I’d give it a try…

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The instructions pop up when you start the game. It’s a good layout if you’re using a keyboard. You should be able to play this on your Android phone if you have a keyboard. I tried loading this with the Brave browser first. I could play the game smoothly, but could not hear any sound or save, so I tried again with Google Chrome

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It was too hard for me to jump on the log to free Chain Chop (the big attacking ball) so I hiked to the top again. Hopefully it saves my game this time…

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Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy this online-in-browser-port as much as I do. Now let’s kick Bowser’s ass!

Resources:

https://froggi.es/mario/

https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2021/04/you_can_play_super_mario_64_in_your_browser

Categories
GAMING

SUPER MARIO 64: Finally to Yoshi with 120 ⭐️ – Part III

I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d have the patience to clear this with annoying touch screen controls, but as you can see from my screenshots, it is possible. Super Mario 64 emulates well even on very old Android phones. I got it to work fine on a jailbroke iPhone 5 a long time ago, so I’m sure it works well today too. Do people still jailbreak iPhones? If you want to play this on a phone, I highly recommend using a bluetooth controller, but I got pretty good at controlling Mario and even doing multiple wall jumps by the end of the game using the touchscreen. I wonder how long it is until our VR headsets can just read our thoughts and our gameplay will be seamlessly linked with our intentions.


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I don’t think there was ever a bigger jump in quality gameplay then when Nintendo added the 3rd dimension with this classic gem. If I could travel back in time and meet my teenage self, it’d be fun showing myself how good I am at this game now. I’m sure I’d ask my future self about my favorite game and GTA would be the answer. I would explain how fun GTA is, but my past self would be shocked that the same game lasted over seven years and spanned three gaming generations. I’m 40 years old now. Does that mean GTA 6 VR Online with an Oasis account will be the final version for my lifetime? After talking about video games, I’d advice my young self to still join the army, but not the navy. That my 30s will be better than my 20s. To buy lot’s of Google and Amazon stock as well as 2 million Bitcoins. One to shadow Satoshi’s original million and one million BTC to play around with and enjoy life. That everything will be fine, just look out for the year 2020!


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Dear Nintendo,

I sent an email to you when I found out about the Wii U. It was a failed system because most people confused it with the original. In my email, I suggested calling the new machine: Super Wii. My suggestion still stands. It would be a marketing home run of a name especially if it were back compatible with old Wii games and used that fancy new AI that makes old games look 4K. Anyways Nintendo, I love you and am a fanboy for life. Thanks for all the great memories.

The Tortuous and the Mario

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When you first have to race the big turtle it’s a piece of cake, but he was the hardest star for me to get this time. I slowed down time, saved state cheated and long jumped like crazy until I beat him.

Conclusion

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It took me 17 days of relentless gameplay to clear all 120 stars the first time in 1996.
I posted Part 1 of this post over a month ago and Part II two weeks ago. I had Youtube, save cheats, and the ability to slow down time, so it wasn’t the same as doing it blind 24 years ago, but it was still a fun experience.


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Here are the N64 games I like playing using Mupen64Plus. Do you think I forgot any that can also be emulated and controlled well using a phone and touchscreen? I feel Super Mario 64 is the best game on the list. I think I will search for any fan made Super Mario 64ROMs to play next. Do you know of any? Thank you for going on this old Mario adventure with me again. All of the photos in the post were captured while playing on my Android phone. Has anyone else cleared Super Mario 64 on their phone?

Categories
GAMING

SUPER MARIO 64: Midway to Yoshi with touchscreen controls – Part II

While the rest of the gaming world is all stoked about the new PlayStation and Xbox, I am stuck in Laos and in 1996 via the N64 emulator, Mupen64, on my Android phone. My last post made it to about 14 stars. I made it to 66 stars this time. Even though 66 is more than half way to 120, it doesn’t feel that way due to the difficulty of the final stars.

The Controls +

I know there are good bluetooth controllers that would make this a whole lot easier, but I don’t have one. I’m in Laos. It’s not like I can drop by Wal-Mart or order it on Amazon and the local shops all say I need to ride down to the capital city, a twelve hour drive, to find one. It took over a year for my son’s 2019 Christmas gift to arrive from Florida. I would still like to read any suggestions on controllers in the comments though.

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The only thing that is difficult to do with the Z button at the top left is long-jumping. It’s still possible, but you’ll mess up if the pressure’s on or you haven’t gotten used to it. My last phone couldn’t process more than one touch on the left side at the same time, so I had to learn how to play without long-jumping at all. The D-pad is missing which isn’t a big deal unless you’re playing Starfox 64 which needs it for certain moves. For most N64 games, it isn’t used at all or does the same thing as the analog stick.

Slow Motion –

One of the ways I dealt with the frustration of touchscreen controls not being as responsive to the real thing was by cheating. I would try to beat the penguin without cheating, but he’s a really sticky AI. If you thrash down at full speed, he’ll catch up and if you let him have a head-start, he’ll slow way down for you to catch up. I found 40% game speed was best for beating slides.

Slide for 100 ⭐️

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I wasn’t looking to beat Mr. Penguin this time. I was on the quest to find 100 coins in the level. The star appeared near the end of the race. I couldn’t long-jump to it so I went down again. When I came back down, the star wasn’t there. I should’ve collected coins from the slide first then scavenged the left overs to 100 around the mountain. Now I have to do it all over again. The save game cheat can’t help in this situation.

Random Path

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I’m sure world record speed runners have determined the most efficient path for clearing Super Mario 64, but I just went around and collected whichever star I felt like at the time. I was surprised that I had forgotten a few stars and that there were warp points that I’d never known about until now.


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Thanks for reading about my painful journey to find all the stars. Do you think I’ll make it all the way to 120 stars and see Yoshi or will there be a spot which is impossible to pass using touchscreen? I’m afraid any spots requiring multiple wall jumps will be my final roadblock, but it should still be possible to do with the touchscreen if time is slowed down. Has anyone else attempted this frustrating way of clearing Super Mario 64?

Categories
GAMING

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit


Nintendo just released a real-world kart with a camera to play in your home. It costs $99 and comes with a USB chargeable Mario or Luigi and four gates to create your own courses. If you have a huge house and are willing to drop $400 on four karts and already have the Nintendo Switch then you can have some seriously fun game parties because the game supports up to four physical karts.

Creativity

Creating a Mario level has always been a fun experience, but now that it will be a mix of reality and game obstacles, it will be fun on a new level. I created Conversation Gaming to bring quality education to the gaming world and will surely use this game for events with my students in the future.

Xbox, Playstation, or a Mario Kart?

Many people are going to choose this $99 kart over a $500 system. Nintendo has always gone up againts more powerful hardware coming out on top and it looks like they’ve found a very creative way to do it this year.

Cats and Dogs

I’m looking forward to all the YouTube videos creative players are going to produce with this game. There will surely be funny moments where dogs and cats freak out seeing Mario and Luigi navigate the courses in THEIR living rooms.

Developer Interview

The guys who made this compare it to the jump from when Mario went from 2D to 3D. I honestly don’t think it’s that big of a deal, but mixed reality gaming is pretty cool.

EVIL MARIO: He kills turtles, mushrooms, and dinosaurs.

What if everything we learned about since we were kids was wrong? What if our hero was really the villian? How many mushrooms have you ever stomped on? Have you ever used fire to kill a dinosaur? Why would you murder a turtle? Maybe Mario is actually the bad guy…

Tools

A4 paper
pencil
eraser
ruler
cardboard
technical pen
iPad
Procreate

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Mario is easy to draw. He’s just a bunch of circles.

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Now let’s add his victims. He has stomped on countless mushrooms. He is obsessed with a princess half his age and he has tried to kill the last remaining dinosaur countless times.

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Pencil is nice, but ink always gives drawings a more defined touch.

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See?

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I’m still new to Procreate on the iPad, but it’s a great tool. I may look like a noob doing the background over the ink then redwawing over it, but I enjoyed doing so. If HIVE actually has non-whale interaction and real feedback, I would like to get some tips on how to do this faster.

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After using bucket fill, blur tool, airbrush, and the digital technical pen, this drawing started to look OK.

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I’m actually a Nintendo fanboy for life, but would still like to encourage critical thinking. Have you ever had a hero that turned out the be the bad guy?

Super Mario 64

Nothing has ever been a bigger deal or more revolutionary for gaming than adding truly 3-D graphics like Nintendo did a quarter of a century ago. There were some very crude 3D games like Wolfenstein and Doom, but they were just turn left or right mazes with 2D sprites. Going from Super Nintendo to the N64 was like upgrading from a PSP to a PS4. It was magical. Nothing has ever been more exciting or fresh since.

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I rode my bike very far to the “Super Mall” in 1996 to get my hands on a new Nintendo 64 and had to purchase the Mario 64 cartridge separately. They were giving the game away for free if you could slide down the Princess’s Secret Slide in under 21 seconds, but they only gave you one try. The graphics may seem crude today, but it felt like something from the future back then. On a funny side note, my son saw me playing it on an emulator which he imagined was a Chinese ripoff and laughed at what he thought was a pathetic attempt to copy what he was used to on the Switch.

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I didn’t go to swimming practice or Karate and even played hooky a few times in our 17 day marathon of collecting all 120 stars. I was kind of a late bloomer. I was 16 in 1996 and while my best friend was busy mackin’ on babes, me and his younger brother escaped reality completely and hooked my N64 up to his giant (at the time) 50 inch screen TV. People who weren’t even into gaming were blown away by it’s awesomeness. I remember feeling proud that I had a processor way more powerful than any of my school’s computers. I didn’t want my mom to know I had spent over $300 on everything, so I hid it in a bottom drawer and drilled holes in the back for the power and AV cables.

Emulators

I would love to hook up an original Nintendo 64 to an old TV along with a Super Nintendo an Sega Genesis while I rap that when I was dead broke that I could never picture this, but emulators are what most of us have now. I was super happy when I was able to get it to work on my PSP back in the day. Thanks to Project 64, it looks great on PC and if you have a Bluetooth controller, you can play it on your phone too. I’ve had some problems with Linux. They have Mupen64 Plus which is inferior to Project 64, so I ran Project 64 through Wine which slowed down the PC making it unplayable. Good job Nintendo! You made the game so different that it can still be difficult to emulate even today. I fully expect to play this game in VR in future versions. Some people have redone some levels in Unreal Engine. You can see one example here:

Thank you for reminiscing about MARIO 64 with me today. I’m going to ask my mammamia for some spaghetti now. Have a great day. If you want to emulate N64, check out Project 64:
https://www.pj64-emu.com/