jdodson1

Joined 01/23/2012

Partner to Francesca and father to Finley. I'm an Engineer and built the video game site Cheerful Ghost.

2408 Posts

Marques Brownlee is one of the best tech reviewers on YouTube. His focus is the latest smartphones, headphones and at times AV gear. He just released a new video in a series he calls Retro Tech where he takes a look at old tech and reviews it and in the first episode he looks at the classic Gameboy. The Gameboy has been reviewed before but Marques video is interesting because he reviews it from an entirely fresh perspective as he's never actually played one before. Along the way he interviews a lot of people in tech that have history with the Gameboy and looks at some of the peripherals of the system and its legendary indestructibility.

"The Game Boy is the most popular handheld gaming console ever. It allowed us to take games like Tetris, Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda with us on-the-go, changing the gaming industry and our free time forever. On the 30th anniversary of its release, Marques Brownlee unboxes and explores how the Game Boy came to be, it's impact on society, and why it's leaving us feeling so nostalgic."


Capcom is looking to get into the retro-system nostalgia movement with a very unique offering called the Capcom Home Arcade. It features some of the best Capcom arcade titles and is a dual arcade stick lapboard emulation device meant to be played with a friend. Priced at $260 it looks to be a fairly premium device for the 16 pack in titles it comes with, that said if the hardware is top notch this could be a pretty good value. The Capcom Home Arcade features 1944: The Loop Master Alien vs. Predator, Armored Warriors, Capcom Sports Club, Captain Commando, Cyberbots: Full Metal Madness, Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, Eco Fighters, Final Fight, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts, Gigawing, Mega Man: The Power Battle, Progear. Street Fighter 2: Hyper Fighting, Strider & Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo which is enough to keep you and your friends busy.

Besides looking incredibly pretty, the home arcade boasts that it will support wifi to allow leaderboards of the games featured on the system. Looks like the system is powered over USB and requires an HDMI connection so both cables must run along to the television. I wonder if the price tag is to cover the extremely long HDMI and USB cables that need to be included for this thing to work?

It would have been awesome to get some of Capcoms Marvel licensed games but I imagine licensing that might have been prohibitive. Capcom Home Arcade will Haduken its way to your living room on October 25th.

http://www.capcomhomearcade.com/home


If you love retro games and want a pristine HD experience usually you can buy a clone system that emulates the games well but can introduce latency or emulation artifacts you might not want. Typically Speedrunners and folk that prefer playing on original hardware play retro games as they were originally intended but those retro systems are limited to analog video, something that doesn't look great on modern displays. Analogue decided to solve this problem by not emulating the original video game hardware in software but by creating chips that recreate the original systems bit for bit. To-date Analogue has released a version of the original NES, Super Nintendo and now Sega Genesis that runs the original games in crisp 1080p and with zero input lag. DF Retro has a new video up that compares the Mega Sg to the original Sega hardware and it looks like the Mega does really well and even surpasses the original system in many ways.

Metal Jesus also has a good review of the system too, so if you need more metal in the review, this is a good one to watch too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufhJ89wAYrs

https://www.analogue.co/mega-sg/


Star Wars Celebration is upon us and during the Episode IX panel Lucasfilm unveiled the new teaser for Star Wars Episode IX titled "Rise of Skywalker." One of my friends is waiting to watch the teaser until we see Endgame in the theater so I'm not going to spoil any of the teaser details in this post but we can in the comments.

After this teaser I'm more excited for The Rise of Skywalker than Endgame or any other movie this year. It's the end of the Skywalker Saga but not quite end of the Star Wars franchise. I've heard news from Lucasfilm and Disney that after this movie they are going to take a break from making films and focus on TV shows on the new Disney+ streaming service. I like the idea of great Star Wars shows but had hoped they'd have figured out how to roll out a new film each year.

That said, let me know what you think of The Rise of Skywalker teaser and i'll put my spoilery thoughts in the comments.


Borderlands is one of the best shooters I've ever played. The story, loot and gameplay are fantastic and started a new wave of looter-shooters that continued with Borderlands 2, Destiny and The Division. I was elated to learn that Gearbox was going to release a new 4K remaster of the original Borderlands and the best part is that Gearbox has added new features and quality of life enhancements making it even better.

I'm gonna clip out some new features that Gearbox brought to Borderlands to make it easy to see all the new stuff:

"* A Borderlands 2-style mini-map, which you can toggle on and off, has been added to complement the original compass
* Substantial improvements to the inventory system—such as allowing you to “lock” weapons or mark them as “junk”—simplify item management
* Items like ammo, money, and health now auto-pick up from the ground
* Rewards Ready: With the addition of the SHiFT player rewards program, you can now use Golden Keys to unlock special in-game items and rewards. Returning SHiFT users who’ve played Borderlands 2 or The Pre-Sequel on PC will receive 75 free Golden Keys, as well as two randomly selected all-new weapons, for their first newly-created Vault Hunter.
* Added Firepower: A new set of six named, custom-skinned Legendary weapons make the base game’s arsenal even deeper. Beat bosses or gather Golden Keys for a chance to collect ‘em all.
* Badder Boss Battle: In direct response to fan feedback, the campaign’s final boss encounter has been adjusted to be more engaging, challenging, and rewarding.
* Cosmetic Customization: For the first time, you will be able to customize your Vault Hunter beyond simply selecting a color scheme. Each of the four available characters has five brand new cosmetic heads unlocked and equippable right from the start of the game.
"

After the new Borderlands released for free to everyone that had the original on Steam, I installed it and transferred over my original Borderlands characters. I decided to start fresh with a new character and I'm glad I did because I forgot how great the start of Borderlands is. Right away the Borderlands 2 style mini-map and auto-pickup of items is just what Doctor Zed ordered and makes the game feel so much better. Truth be told the original mechanics weren't bad, but these enhancements just make the game that much nicer. There is also a huge golden key chest in the middle of town and with 75 keys to start, you have a lot of options for some great weapon finds. That said, I don't typically use the golden keys as I've found they make the game a bit too easy, that said they are here now which is a nice addition. Gearbox is also tweeting golden keys for Borderlands often so if you want more, you can get them.

The 4K visuals are stunning and the new build of the game makes Borderlands feel like a brand new game. The addition of character skins is also really neat and already I've customized my character a bit to make the game a bit more fun. It's not something I found essential in Borderlands 2 but it's a nice way to look a bit different to friends in multiplayer.

Whenever I came back to Borderlands on PC I never felt like that version gave the game the credit it deserved and it seemed like more attention was put into the PS3 and XBox 360 versions. Borderlands 2 changed this as the PC version was first class and now, the original Borderlands is just as incredible. And frankly with all the Epic store exclusive business, maybe returning to the original adventure through is the best choice?

https://steamcommunity.com/games/8980/announcements/detail/1767008477036180317


Recently Bethesda celebrated 25 years of The Elder Scrolls franchise and released this retrospective documentary as a companion piece. Sorry I was a bit late to get this to you, but I've been working on the upcoming Cheerful Ghost game that will launch this summer.

"Join us as we reminisce some of the unforgettable moments, stories and even real-world relationships that both the developers and community have made in Tamriel. Here’s to the countless more tales remaining to be told in Tamriel!"


https://i.imgur.com/onoNQbF.png
Bethesda released The Elder Scrolls Blades to early access a couple weeks ago and recently let anyone with a Bethesda.net account access to it after the initial beta period. When I saw the game enter early access on iOS I rushed to download it only to have a quick intro fight and have the servers tell me I wasn't allowed in the beta quite yet. After sending a request to join I was let in the next day and was really excited to give the latest Elder Scrolls game a try.

Blades has been one of my most anticipated games on 2019 because Bethesda did such a great job with Fallout Shelter I figured Blades would be just as incredible. After playing blades off and on for a few weeks now I can say that it's a fun enough game but some of it's free to play trapping are annoying and the game as it is doesn't hold my attention very long.

Make No Mistake, Elder Scrolls Blades is Pay To Win & Advance

I don't have a problem with games rife with micro-transactions as long as they don't get in the way of the game being fun. I've played quite a few free to play games and haven't spent money on them such as Hearthstone, Fallout Shelter, Fortnight and Heroes of the Storm. Again, if the base game is fun, I don't typically need to buy cosmetics or the like, it's just not that big of a deal to me. That said, unlike games where you simply pay to buy cosmetics, Blades is a game where you can pay to advance and get very powerful items. For instance, one of the best legendary swords in the game is for sale called the Bloodthirst that does 93 damage with 214 DPS and restores your health while reducing the health of the enemy. It's an incredible weapon that can be purchased for 1,000 gems one of the premium currencies in Blades you can buy for about $10. If you want more gems you can buy many gem packs the biggest being 14,000 gems for $100! There are a lot of things you can spend gems on including loot chests as well as pay to win in game jobs. Right now you can't pay gems to win storyline quests, but you can complete any job (random quests) with gems if you don't have time to beat them normally.

Another way to spend gems is on opening chests. You find chests as quest rewards or in a dungeon. Each chest takes time to open starting from a few seconds for a wooden chest, to hours for a silver chest to six hours for a golden chest. The better the chest the bigger reward but if you don't want to wait to open them, you can pay gems to do it right now. Waiting to open chests is ultra-annoying but it does offer something to do in the game while you aren't playing it. That said, you are limited in the amount of chests you can have and you need... gems to increase you maximum chest holding capacity.

The good news is you can find gems in the game the bad news is you don't find that many so if you want a lot of them you better get out your wallet.

Blades Is A Great Start To A Fun Dungeon Crawler

When you start in blades you village has been destroyed and your are set to fix it back to it's former glory. You dungeon crawl your way to fight and loot enough to rebuild your town while finding better armor and weapons to crawl even deeper. I really like the rebuilding the town aspect of the game and appreciate the time they put into the story, even if a bit simple it works well on mobile. That said, the random job quests get very tedious and they only have a few tile-sets and dungeon configurations making playing the game feel very bland after a bit. Frankly Fallout Shelter suffered the same fate but over time they added a ton of content making the base game incredibly deep and much more rewarding that when it launched giving me hope Blades will get even better.

One point of note is that Blades diverges from Fallout Shelter in that it requires you to have a Bethesda.net account and be online to play it. Makes sense as it syncs you character for hot cloud backups between devices but you're not gonna be able to play this on an airplane unless you buy Internet access.

Crawling The Dungeons with Sam

Currently Sam is my character and she is a level 9 Breton that focuses mainly on swords and dodge attacks. Blades lets you pick skills in any tree and when you level up you can focus on Magic or Stamina giving you more ability in whichever you select. The games difficultly ramps up pretty quick but as I play quite a bit of the easier quests before taking on a story mission and make sure my gear is fully maxed, I haven't run into any difficulty wall. That said, I'm still also only level 9.

Blades looks and sounds incredible on my iPhone XS Max and if you have a recently modern smartphone it looks like you can play it. It's not a perfect game and falls out of attention after I play it for a bit but Bethesda has a good base foundation for a great game and if Fallout Shelter is a guide, Blades should get even better.

https://elderscrolls.bethesda.net/en/blades


At this point many of you know Super Mario Bros. 2 released in the USA wasn't the version they had in Japan. The original Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 was later included in Super Mario All Stars on the SNES in the USA as The Lost Levels and has seen a few re-releases on the Game Boy Color and Wii Virtual Console. Nintendo recently let word drop that The Lost Levels is coming to the Nintendo Switch Online alongside Punch Out!! featuring Mr. Dream and Star Soldier.

I haven't played a lot of The Lost Levels but I do plan on playing this when it comes out on April 10th and maybe I'll be able to get my Cheerful Ghost Radio co-hosts to do a special episode about it. We've recently been reviewing the Mario games on NES and our Mario 3 review is coming out soon to wrap up the trilogy!

Super Mario Bros. CG Radio Review: https://cheerfulghost.com/Travis/posts/4035/cheerful-ghost-radio-episode-50-super-mario-bros

Super Mario Bros 2. CG Radio Review: https://cheerfulghost.com/Travis/posts/4049/cheerful-ghost-radio-episode-52-super-mario-bros-2


Today Gearbox unleashed the release date for Borderlands 3 on PC, XBox One and PS4 of September 13th to some fairly unhappy PC fans. Typically Borderlands PC fans are a happy bunch as the game has quite a few benefits to the PC port in increased FOV sliders and detail options but publisher 2K has decided to go with a six months PC Epic Store exclusive meaning that you can't buy Borderlands 3 on PC via Steam at launch. This has led many PC fans to be quite upset and has tanked the review scores of Borderlands 2 as some are venting their frustration in Steam reviews.

All told I'm not too surprised Borderlands 3 is an Epic Store exclusive but it does give me pause as to when I might buy it. I don't mind playing PC games on different storefronts but this year will be rich with other game releases and that coupled with the Epic lock in makes me give Borderlands 3 on PC a second thought.

All that said, there are quite a few versions you can buy including the standard edition, deluxe edition, super deluxe edition, collectors edition and season pass. The super deluxe digital edition is $99.99 and comes with all the deluxe edition DLC plus the entire season pass. That said, if Borderlands 2 is a guide that won't be all the DLC for the game but a hundred dollars will get you a pretty large chunk of it.

Curious if you're going to get Borderlands 3 on launch and if so what system?

https://borderlands.com/en-US/welcome/


Ever since I’ve been into speedrunning GrandPOObear has been one of the most exciting runners to watch. His ability at speedrunning Mario is legend and that sportsmanship landed him a recent sponsorship by Red Bull seeing him join a roster of incredible athletes. GrandPOObear is also one of the runners in the Games Done Quick charity speedrun, which is the premier speedrunning community event that now happens three times a year. Recently GrandPOObear announced Speedrun Sessions which is a unique event coming to Portland April 4th at Ground Kontrol. Along with GrandPOObear the other runners at the event are Oatsngoats speedrunning Super Metroid and Andy speedrunning Link to the Past. Veteran GDQ MC and speedrunner spikevegeta with host the evening while GrandPOObear will close the event with a run of GrandPOOWorld 2. It’s going to be an incredible night and to help hype the event I reached out to GrandPOObear to ask him a few questions about speedrunning and his first Speedrun Sessions event.

jdodson: What got you into speedrunning?

GrandPOObear: It’s pretty well known I got into streaming due to an injury that made me have to end my career snowboarding, which eventually led me to speedrunning. I had been obsessed with GDQs since I discovered them, and a run by Dram55 of Super Kaizo world inspired me to pick up the hobby. I started with Mario 3 because it was my fav game of all time, and quickly transitioned to the Mario World Romhack scene soon after. Since then I have been lucky to run in many events live and get to do a ton of good for charities I support.

jdodson: When you were putting the Speedrun Sessions roster together did you have an idea of what kinds of runs you had in mind and did you have any discussions with Oats, Andy or Spike about what they were interested in showcasing?

GrandPOObear: Well one thing I want to do with Speedrun Sessions is highlight a ton of different runs from a ton of different communities and runners. I have different players in minds for each stop, but I bet you will see Andy, Oats, and Spike at others (if they would like that is ;). I really wanted to work with these guys for the first one as I know them and trust them, and beyond that I am just a big fan of all 3. They are all hall of fame worthy runners. I did ask for specific categories as I wanted Andy to show off how broken Zelda ALTTP can be while having Oats run a category with really no glitches at all. I will say though each stop will feature different runs and hosts alongside with me so we can try and highlight how awesome so many parts of the speedrun community are.

jdodson: Nintendo is going to launch Super Mario Maker 2 on June 10th and everyone on Cheerful Ghost is pretty excited about it. As someone that ran Super Mario Maker extensively, what things are you hoping Nintendo brings to the second release?

GrandPOObear: June 10th? I hadn’t heard that yet! Honestly just more items, and support the game with post release content (even more items). The cool part about Maker is even one item can change the meta in a drastic way, so it Nintendo can give us a solid drip of items for years to come, the players are going to deliver incredible stages forever. Beyond that a robust search system and parameters for things like 100 man would be great, but anything they don’t add in the way of search The company Warp World (which I am a co-owner of) will for sure make up for it.

jdodson: *looks up SMM2 release info* Ok so apparently Nintendo has said June, not sure where I got June 10th from.

jdodson: Has life changed now that you are a father in regard to your streaming schedule or any speedrun events you take part in?

GrandPOObear: I mean to a certain point, but generally not. I’m lucky in that this is my full time job and I dedicate full time hours to it. I couldn’t do it without my wife. Mostly I’ve lost the late night smash and fortnite sessions with my friends more then anything speedrun related.

jdodson: What's your favorite game to speedrun?

GrandPOObear: Currently Grandpoo World 2 is my fav but it constantly changes. Too many games to just play one forever. I like to add a new non Mario speedrun to the quiver every few months as well.

jdodson: How many Speedrun Sessions are you thinking about dropping this year? I’ve heard you mention DC, Detroit and possibly Denver are there any other locations in discussion?

GrandPOObear: This year, hopefully between 5-8. I have some other speedrun live events coming as well, along with MMC 3, so the schedule is already very full for me personally. If the events all go well this year we are for sure going to expand the scope of it next year. Hopefully we will be dropping details on the next city very soon after Portland’s event:)

jdodson: What video game releases you are most hyped for in 2019? Any films?

GrandPOObear: It was Sekiro, now Mario Maker 2. For sure Last of Us 2. Spelunky 2 is going to take over my life. I love Derek Yu’s approach to game design. For films, Of course Avengers endgame but I am also one of the people who is hyped on the Disney live action movies, especially Lion King. Donald Glover as Simba is perfect casting.

jdodson: To-date what is the hardest Kaizo Mario or Super Mario Maker level you’ve played? With that, what’s your process for looking at new runs and how to do you approach practice to run them as quickly as possible?

GrandPOObear: Well the one that took me the longest was Vals Airspace right when Maker first came out, but I have cleared many levels that I deem harder then that one since. Honestly the skill level of the whole community has just skyrocketed the last two years with the influx of players that Kaizo games being in GDQ brings, and their ability to push the limits has in turned pushed my own skills far beyond what I thought they could be 3 years ago. It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with all the cool tech that gets discovered in the 3 different versions of Mario I enjoy running (3, world, Maker)

jdodson: SGDQ is coming up soon, any ideas for runs you’d like to submit or anything you’ve talked to the GDQ team about already?

GrandPOObear: Games list is out already! But I get no special treatment, I have to submit just like anyone else. Luckily I got two games in this year, both races, which is great as I love getting to share the time with players I admire and respect.

https://gamesdonequick.com/submission/games-list

jdodson: As Poo said he is doing two SGDQ runs this year one being Super Mario 3 All Forts and Mario World Blind Romhack Race! Should be a fun set of runs to watch. I want to thank GrandPOObear for doing this interview and hope you can all make it out April 4th for Speedrun Sessions!

If you are interested in watching Speedrun Sessions at Ground Kontrol live in Portland on April 4th it’s from 6pm - 10pm and as it's free entry space is limited so make sure to arrive early. You can also sign up on the Red Bull website below.

https://community.redbull.com/events/details/red-bull-red-bull-gaming-presents-grandpoobears-speedrun-sessions/#/


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