Posts tagged “Mario”

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

For Your Wednesday Listening Pleasure: Break Free (Lead the Way)

Did y’all know that Nintendo (specifically Naoto Kubo and Nobuyoshi Suzuki) wrote two complete songs with vocals for Super Mario Odyssey? The first one you might have heard, the jazzy “Jump Up, Super Star.” But there’s also this less-well-known song that appears during the climactic final stage of the game (and ending cutscene). This is the English version, with English lyrics by Rob Tunstall and Rob Heiret and vocals by pianist/singer/actress Kate Higgins:

It just so happens that this is in one of my all-time favorite musical genres, the female-vocaled power-pop/rock that emerged from the mid 90s with bands like Letters to Cleo, Veruca Salt, The Breeders, and Dressy Bessy. My four-year-old daughter absolutely loves this song, too.

P.S. If you’re fans of Naruto, you might recognize Kate Higgins as the voice of Sakura in the official English dub!

Categories: Music, Video Games, Wednesday Listening Pleasure.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

“Of the Month” January 2018

Video Game of the Month:

Super Mario Odyssey

Yes, it is very, very good. No, it isn’t nearly as revolutionary as Breath of the Wild, but it is exceedingly clever in how it gets you to just keep playing it. Instead of scattering a handful of goals across its dozen levels (or “Kingdoms” as they’re called in this game), Odyssey has a veritable bounty of goals, almost over-saturating each area (and later in the game you can unlock even more). After you collect a “Power Moon,” you’re almost certainly likely to see something that will make you think, “I bet if I do this I’ll get another one…” and so on and so on, organically getting you to explore every single nook and cranny of this rather large game. Also, it harkens back to the Galaxy-style of play rather than the more recent 3D-World series of games, and as such it feels much broader and more open. The new “possession” mechanic is a lot of fun, and opens up even more possibilities. Much like Breath of the Wild, this is a Mario game where it seems like you can do just about anything, and almost all of it is a lot of fun.

Book of the Month:

Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

Many years ago, there was an excellent television show called Veronica Mars about a teenage sleuth. It was cancelled after its fourth season, but then many years later most of the people involved got together and did a Kickstarter to make a movie that took place after the series. Well, now we have a novel that takes place after the movie, continuing the adventures of the now all-grown-up titular private detective. Do you like Veronica Mars and wish that you could experience more of her adventures? Here you go! Oh, and if you want to know what happens after this novel, don’t worry; Rob Thomas has already written another one.

Tabletop Game of the Month:


A fun bidding/collection game: The entire game consists of cards with monsters on them, numbered one through five. A card is turned face-up in the center of the players and then everyone secretly chooses a card in their hand and puts it face-down in front of them. Everyone reveals their bidding cards at the same time, and whoever played the highest number wins the center card and gets to add it and the card they bid with into their collection (then they draw a new card). If you manage to collect three of the same cards, you win that round. Also, some cards have diamond icons on them, and if you get five of those diamond icons in your collection then you win the round. The trick is, if two or more players bid with the same number, they have to put their bidding card back into their hand and whichever of the remaining players has bid with the highest number wins the center card. What I really like about this game is that it scales very well. You could play an epic game that lasts until a singer player wins seven rounds, or you could play a single round in just a couple of minutes. Also, the fact that if you win a bid you place the bidding card into your collection and then have to draw a random card to replace it means that you can’t rely on having any particular number in your hand at any given time. In fact, you could end up with a hand full of twos and threes for example. It’s fun and fast-paced.

Categories: Of the Month.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Sometimes Good Things Happen: Shigeru Miyamoto & the Roots

Dun-dun-dun dun-dun DUN, dun...

Dun-dun-dun dun-dun DUN, dun…

President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aimé appeared in all of his awkward glory on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last week, ostensibly to debut the new IOS-only (for now) Super Mario Game, Super Mario Run. You can watch the whole segment here if you like. It looks like a fun game, even though I’ll have to wait for the Android version before I can play it myself. But there were two great surprises during the segment. The first was Reggie brought out the upcoming Nintendo Switch console and let Jimmy play the new Legend of Zelda game on it. The other (and better) surprise was the creator of Mario & Zelda himself, Shigero Miyamoto, was a surprise guest in the audience:

Miyamoto-san is so happy to be here!

Miyamoto-san is so happy to be here!

But the best surprise was yet to come: Shigeru Miyamoto himself sat in with The Roots and they all played the Super Mario Bros. overworld theme song together! It was something to behold—you can behold it right here!

Sometimes good things happen. Isn’t that right, Miyamoto-san?


“That’s right, Chris!”

Categories: TV, Video Games, Videos.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

“Of the Month” February 2012

Link of the Month:
Don Hertzfeldt's Bitter Films Don Hertzfeldt’s
Does the name Don Hertzfeldt sound familiar to you? It probably should. By the time he was 23 he’d already been nominated for an Academy Award and been included in the top 100 most influential animators of all time, and at 33 (just a couple of years ago) he’d won a lifetime achievement award. His deceptively simple stick-figure-animation films are shockingly funny and disturbing and profound. And they’re only available through him personally. I urge you to watch as many of them as you can (or can stomach).

DVD & Game of the Month:
Super Mario 3D Land
This 3D Mario game eschews the more open-world, mission-based gameplay of previous 3D Mario games like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy. Instead, it takes a simple pose: what if you took the straight-ahead, level-based gameplay of New Super Mario Bros., but made it 3D? The result is a fascinating and very fun.

TV Show of the Month:
Stephen Fry in America
In 2008 Stephen Fry took a tiny, black, British taxi and drove it through all 48 lower states (then flew to Alaska and Hawaii). It is a very charming, witty, dry, and lovely travelogue in six hour-long episodes from the perspective of a very charming, witty, dry, and lovely British gentleman. True, some states get a bit of a short shrift (Ohio and Idaho come instantly to mind), and Florida doesn’t come out so well. But Mr. Fry stops in some delightfully unexpected places as well. In the end it seems a delightful but somehow all too brief visit from our darling neighbor from across the pond.

Categories: Of the Month.