Recent Doctor Who Episode References Mario Series

A while ago, we mentioned an interesting Doctor Who reference in the recent Christmas special. But now it seems that’s not the end of the video game references in the series!

Oh no, in the latest episode of series 10 (Extremis), the Doctor is trying to explain why people are killing themselves in the illusion the episode is set in. He says that once they figured out reality is fake, they ‘rebel’ by ending their own lives, as a way to screw up the simulation.

And guess what he uses to illustrate this? Yep, none other than our favourite plumber Mario! Here’s a video showing the scene in action:

As well as the Doctor’s comment in the episode:

It’s like Super Mario realising he’s not real, and deleting himself from the game. Because he’s sick of dying.

As you can tell, it’s a pretty vague reference. Nothing quite as obvious as ‘flooding downstairs with Pokemon’ like in The Return of Doctor Mysterio.

But it’s an interesting one none the less. What would Mario do if he realised he wouldn’t real? I mean, on the one hand life isn’t that bad for him in the games. He doesn’t die anyone near as often in current era Mario platformers, and the party life must be quite fun.

So in that sense, I guess he would want to keep going. Why stop with the kart races and parties?

At the same time though, you then have the hellish bonus levels and extra modes. Super Mario Maker’s 100 Mario challenge is brutal, especially on Super Expert Mode. Heck, imagine being the poor soul having to die tens of times going through this virtual meat grinder:

It must be like what the Doctor himself went through in Heaven Sent. Either way, it’s an interesting little shout out, and one of a fair few in the episode itself. Definitely an episode to watch if you haven’t seen it yet.

Still, what do you think about it? Did you find it amusing? Or did you prefer the more blatant Pokemon GO one from the Christmas special?

Post your thoughts here, on social media or on the Gaming Latest forums today!

Who’s The Mystery Man in the New ARMS Trailer?

Yesterday, Nintendo released a Nintendo Direct for ARMS, where they stated that the ten characters announced were the entire cast list for the game. There would be others coming in updates sure. But for now, the ten characters shown in the videos were the playable characters you’d get. End of.

However, it seems like Nintendo may have been lying here. Or at least, leaving out an interesting other opponent not yet mentioned by the company. Why? Because the very trailer for ARMS seems to show another character in the game. A mystery man we’ve never seen before!

Here he is the first time around:

ARMS Final Boss Appearance 1

Plus his second appearance a tad later in the video:

ARMS Final Boss Appearance 2

As you can see, he’s clearly marked out as the final boss. But what’s he actually like as a character?

Well, that’s the big question really. On the one hand, it’s pretty clear he’s got a superhero design motif going on, what with the spandex type clothing you can see in his first trailer appearance. He’s also got fire powers, which are shown being used to crush Spring Man pretty handily.

ARMS Final Boss fire powers

He also may have an affinity for this demonic mask, which gives a character suspiciously like him six arms to use in battle.

Demonic Mask

Six Armed Fighter

But that’s all we know so far. This in turn raises the following two questions:

1. Is he playable? I’m going to say yes based on his humanoid design and mostly normal abilities, but Nintendo could easily surprise us by keeping him as a non playable boss. Like say, Akuma in the early Street Fighter games. Or Shang Tsung and Shao Khan from Mortal Kombat.

2. If he is playable, how is he unlocked? Because to be honest, I’m going to go on a limb and say he’s not in the game’s starting roster. Maybe I’m wrong there, maybe not. But he doesn’t look like a normal character in the game, and hence I get the impression he could be a secret one instead.

There’s also the related question of how exactly the evil mask relates to him. Is he just some phantom the mask itself conjured up? Is he possessed? Are the two entirely different characters?

All of these possibilities are entirely plausible here. And the game really gives me no one hypothesis to believe over the other yet.

But either way, it seems there’s a mystery challenger hidden away in ARMS. One who may indeed turn out to be the eleventh main member of the cast list…

New Unused Boss Attacks and Content Found in Wario Land 1

Over the last few years this site’s been running, we’ve covered a lot of unused content in video games.
We’ve mentioned the unused Mario model in Pikmin, which implied the plumber may have been a boss at one point in time. We’ve gone into great detail about beta content in the Mario and Zelda franchises, to the point whole articles were written on this subject alone.

And as far as Wario is concerned… we’ve taken a few looks at the unused content there too. Like the weirdly removed fish enemy from the Game Boy Color version of Wario Land II. Or the dead seagull found in the code for Wario Land 4.

But one game we haven’t seen much of (as far as unused content is concerned) is Wario Land Super Mario Land 3. Released in 1994 as the first in its series, no one really knows much about the game’s development. I mean there’s a bit of stuff on TCRF wiki yes, and the debug mode is common knowledge by now. But that’s it. The game’s just kind of been ignored compared to the rest of the series.

Until now. Because as the title suggests, some very interesting unused content has been found in the source of the original game. Content that suggests that quite a few of the bosses were once more complex than people think.

Like this guy, Funfun. A giant head fought at the end of Stove Canyon, he never really did all that much in the game proper. He broke the floor by licking it, shot out the odd snot ball as a projectile… and well, that’s basically it really. He went down in about 30 seconds like every other opponent in the game.

Funfun Artwork

However, if sprite ripper ShyGuyXXL is to be believed, that wasn’t all he was meant to do. Oh no, he actually has frames for moving his tongue around in game, plus a related one of Wario dying in an unusual way.

In other words, he was actually meant to eat Wario as an attack at one point. This would presumably have killed Wario instantly, and would have hence made the fight significantly than it is in the final game. Here’s the frames of animation for those who havent seen them:

Unused frames

As well as a mockup showing how they could have worked in game:

Funfun Mock-up

And it doesn’t end there. Oh no, other bosses have some interesting unused data in game too. Like the ghost from Parsley Woods.

In the game proper, he has two attacks: generating ghost duck heads to kill you, and freezing Wario in place so he can be hit by the ducks.

Yet in the data, he actually has another one. Namely, the ability to throw coins from his purse. This would presumably act as a projectile attack for the character, and again make the fight a tad more difficult than it is at the moment.

So here’s a mockup showing that attack in action:

ghost throwing coins

Plus sprites of the purse itself. As suggested in the forum thread, it’s likely the purse wasn’t meant to flicker along with the ghost in development.

purse sprite

Finally, there’s also an interesting situation with Bobo, the crow like boss fought on the SS Teacup. In game, his sprites are (quite weirdly) always cut off:

Yet in the data, the same graphics exist in the right setup. So with a bit more time and attention, it’s likely Nintendo would have fixed the bug and made them display correctly. Again, compare this (cut off):

Bobo Cutoff

To this mock-up (fixed) to see the difference:

Bobo sprite Fixed

Either way, the existence of these sprites (plus a completely different Bobo boss battle in the game’s data) implies the title was significantly changed in development. And perhaps, outright rushed to get things done by the release date. The ‘beta’ here was clearly going to be more ambitious than the finished product.

So yeah, an interesting set of findings all round. But what do you think about them? Do the unused animations and tiles make you wonder what the original Wario Land 1 could have been like?

If so, post your thoughts over at the Wario Forums topic today!


More Unused Wario Land 1 Sprites (Wario Forums)

Seven Fan Game Developers Who Turned Pro

In recent times, fan game development has become a bit more difficult than usual. It’s been under fire from lawyers and internet sites, with claims going around that it’s of questionable legality. It’s seen an increase in take downs from paranoid companies (like Nintendo and Konami). And with the recent track record of projects released to classics like Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time, many developers are now looking for an alternative.

And in most cases, that means turning to indie game development. Or just rebranding their projects so they’re not based on an existing IP.

So here are some examples of this. Here are some examples of fan game creators becoming professional game developers, starting with a small company you may not have heard about yet…

7. Fusion Gameworks

Despite actually knowing the fan games they’ve developed. Why? Because the folks at Fusion Gameworks were responsible for Mushroom Kingdom Fusion, Super Mario Fusion Revival and Mega Man Day in the Limelight. Yes, that Mushroom Kingdom Fusion:

The one where Mario (and a bunch of other characters) save the multiverse from the forces of evil in an absolutely gigantic mega crossover. That was these guys’ first (and most well known) project.

Since then though, they’ve slowly gotten tired of the fan game world, eventually culminating in their recent decision to stop making them altogether. That’s in part because of Nintendo’s recent fan project shut downs, and the team deciding Super Mario Fusion Revival (their most recent project) was too risky to continue in that form.

So they quit fan game development for the time being, and are working on a bunch of indie games with a similar gameplay style to their fan projects. I can’t say more than that yet, but they do look really good none the less.

And hey, talking of crossover fan game devs, they’re not the only ones to have moved to the indie scene…

6. Exploding Rabbit (Glitch Strikers)

Oh no, their ‘rivals’ in crossover fan game development are doing likewise. That’s because Exploding Rabbit are the creators of a game called Super Mario Bros Crossover, and they’ve also decided to move into the realm of indie games.

They’ve done this with a game called Glitch Strikers, a 2D platformer mixing various gameplay styles from the eight bit era. This project (previously titled Super Retro Squad) was announced back in 2012 and had a successful Kickstarter campaign to go with it, raising over $50,000 from more than 1,800 backers.

Unfortunately, that’s where the story kind of goes a bit wrong. Why? Because it turned out that $50,000 isn’t really all that much in the greater scheme of things, and the title’s development eventually collapsed on itself. This was not taken well by certain people online. Nor by certain gaming blogs, who accused them of ‘spending the money on a house’ or funding it with Super Mario Bros Crossover revenue.

Still, it’s back in development now, with a new trailer:

And more updates on their official site and YouTube channel. Hopefully this revitalised attempt at making the game will work out a bit better than their first one.

5. Runouw (Last Legacy)

Either way, onto a slightly more experienced example of fan game dev turned pro now. Why more experienced?
Well, because they’ve actually made multiple games. Two full titles in a series called Last Legacy, and without having to raise any funding for either on Kickstarter.

But this wasn’t where they started off. Oh no, they started off with some fairly well known fan game projects beforehand, and those were what they build their name on. Said projects were a Super Mario 64 demake called Super Mario Sunshine 64:

Plus a more advanced one called Super Mario 63:

Both were damn impressive works in general, and their indie works were arguably just as good. So yeah, it seems making the move from fan games to indie games can be done successfully.

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