Our exclusive editorials about the 3DS and its games, as well as Nintendo as a whole.
A couple of months back, I posted about an interesting project that aimed to add online multiplayer to Breath of the Wild. It appeared to be an impressive mod, and at the time I thought it was the start of a whole scene for the game.
Alas, the mod turned out to be fake.
But while that was the case with the MMORPG thing, that’s certainly not the case for Zelda Breath of the Wild mods in general! Oh no, in the last few days, the modding scene for the game has absolutely exploded into life.
Which means there are now numerous mods to change Link into every character you can imagine. For example, have you ever wished to play the game as Steve Minecraft?
No, me neither. But quite a few people probably have, and with this interesting mod that’s now completely possible:
And old Steve is only the tip of the iceberg here. Maybe Toy Story is more your thing? If so, here’s Woody complete with a Buzz Lightyear shaped paraglider!
Goku from Dragonball is entirely possible as a model swap too. Here’s a mod for that one:
As well as a mod which replaces Link with the main character from Grand Theft San Andreas. That certainly looks unusual in the world of Hyrule, doesn’t it?
Yeah, I definitely think so there. However, the crowning achievement for character mods isn’t any of those.
Nope, it’s Waluigi! Yup, everyone’s favourite purple clad trickster is now available as a character for the game too:
The memes almost write themselves there. Especially when you add the neat little Wario shield you can get him to use in the latest update:
Other interesting choices include such faces as Jon Snow (yes, the one from Game of Thrones) and even Kratos from God of War! All of them add their own… neat touches to the experience.
However, it’s not just character mods we’re seeing here. Nope, there are also mods for horses and weapons too! Most amusingly, Thomas the Tank Engine as a replacement for the Giant Horse:
Yeah, it’s not quite Spirit Tracks by any means. But it’s pure bliss for social media fanatics none the less, and an amusing way to make it seem like Link’s driving a sentient train across the world of Hyrule. What more can you want from the internet?
Eh, maybe Shrek. In which case, knock yourself out. Someone else managed to make a mod which replaces the Hinox enemies with Shrek. Yes, it’s as funny as it sounds:
If you’ve ever read a story about Super Mario World online, you’ve probably seen this picture. A depiction of Mario jumping on a Goomba in a grassy plains level, it’s been used for pretty much everything from a Kotaku article on speedrunning to a Gamnesia article about a 40-level made in ‘Super Mario Maker’. It’s almost a symbol of the game itself.
Which is kind of strangewhen you think about it. Why?
Because the picture doesn’t actually show Super Mario World at all. Indeed, everything from the level design to the enemy graphics and object placements are completely off here. So why is it used so much?
Where did it come from in the first place?
Well, you’re not going to believe this, but the answer is DeviantArt.
Yup, it’s a piece of fan art. Indeed, the original picture is by a user called PolkaDotStudio on the site and can be found at the following address:
And seeing the full version doesn’t exactly put journalists or YouTubers in a positive light. I mean, there’s a giant watermark on the bottom right they clearly cropped out to hide its origin. Pretty low if you ask me.
But that aside, why is this image so common? Where did all these random people find it?
That’s actually a really good question.
Cause if you look up Super Mario World in Google Images, this particular picture doesn’t actually start showing up until 2013, despite being posted online all the way back in 2011. Until then, the results are purely a mix of ROM hacks and original game footage.
So, we did a bit of digging. And thanks to a service called TinEye, identified what may be the first ‘unauthorised’ use of this image.
A Crave Online article from November 2013. Yep, their article about the ‘Top 10 Best Console Launch Games of All Time’ seems to be the first example of this image being used to illustrate an article. Of course, they don’t credit the artist for the image, nor mention where they got it from. It’s just there to ‘illustrate’ a game it doesn’t really depict at all.
After that, well it just seems the image gradually moved up the Google Image Search results, and more and more lazy writers and video creators just used it for Mario related articles without actually thinking about it.
A few days ago, a very interesting Mario Party game was announced during a Nintendo Direct. This title (called Mario Party the Top 100) is a collection of the best mini games from the series, along with a board map mode seemingly styled after the original games.
It’s a great idea, and despite a poor choice of platform, one I suspect will do.
But it also makes me wonder something. Namely, where could Mario Party go from here?
Cause let’s face it, Mario Party has been in a real mire this last decade or so. It’s being accused of rehashing itself over and over, it’s been seen as increasingly generic and New Super Mario Bros styled in its ideas and well, let’s not even get into what fans think of the car idea. Put simply, it was at death’s door prior to the top 100 game being announced.
And unless Nintendo thinks of something new… well it could still end up in the same situation. So, let’s think about the series’ future a moment, shall we?
Let’s think about where Mario Party could go to become a great video game franchise again!
Returning to what Worked
Starting with the most obvious thing in the world:
The car system needs to go. Now.
Really, it doesn’t work. The whole idea is just horrible in a board game, and completely kills much of the strategy involved in such. For example, could you imagine a world where say, Monopoly has four players travelling around the board together in a car?
How about any other really old-fashioned board game like Snakes and Ladders?
It just wouldn’t work. Players moving on their own is what makes things interesting in a game like this.
So, let’s boot out the car idea. It was an interesting way to liven things up after eight games, but it outstayed its welcome almost immediately after its debut.
And I think we should also get back to the non-linear board set up too.
Yes, I know it’ll make the game slower. But at the same, it’ll also make the game much more strategic too.
Again, think about it for a minute. What was the appeal of the board game aspect of the Mario Party series?
It was trying to outwit your opponents and use your dice rolls to your advantage. You weren’t just seeing who could roll the highest number every turn while avoiding landing on trap spaces. That’s Candyland or Snakes and Ladders. You know, the games most people get bored of playing after the age of five or so.
Mario Party (as luck based as it is) was different. You had to decide how you went for the star, weighing up the spaces in front of you, the number of coins you had/were likely to get and any traps people had laid down. You could interfere with other players, by using items/orbs/capsules to booby trap spaces that people might need to traverse. And with things with board events, random changes (like extra Bowser spaces being added/blue spaces changed to red ones) and systems like the day and night ones, there was a certain level of strategy you could take advantage of here. Mario Party wasn’t purely mindless luck, it was a mix of mindless luck and tactics.
Mario Party 9 onwards (minus Star Rush) has no tactics. It’s literally Snakes and Ladders, Mario edition. Or perhaps, Snakes and Ladders, Mario edition complete with an awkward car mechanic shoehorned in to take even more control away from individual players. Whereas old Mario Party is luck with some tactics, new Mario Party is pretty much 100% luck without anything else.
So, for Mario Party to get back to being good, it needs to scrap the cars and linearity.
But that’s not the only change it needs to make…
Bring Back the Mini Games
It also needs to bring back the mini games at the end of every turn. Why?
Cause let’s face it, mini games are one of the best aspects of the whole franchise. They’re the most enjoyable part of it for at least 80% of the series’ audience.
Which is why it’s so baffling that Mario Party 9 suddenly decided they’d be less common. I mean, why would you make that change?
Over the last few years, PewDiePie has become an increasingly controversial presence in the world of gaming. As one of the most popular YouTubers in history, he’s always been a polarising figure, but his recent actions have sparked off quite a bit of offense across the board. Like when he hired people on Fiverr to say ‘death to Jews’ to ‘test’ what desperate lengths people would go to make money. Or for generally using slurs and offensive language in his videos.
So, when PewDiePie was caught using the n word on stream, Firewatch developers Campo Santo had decided they’d had enough. They said they were annoyed PewDiePie was making money off their game, deciding to then DMCA strike his videos on the game in retaliation. Here’s their tweets confirming it:
As well as PewDiePie’s response video to the situation:
It’s certainly an interesting solution to the ‘problem’ of PewDiePie making money from Firewatch videos.
But at the same time, it’s also an horrific one that should terrify YouTube creators and journalists.
Why? Because it basically says a game’s developers can wreck your YouTube channel based on nothing more than a personal grudge.
And that should absolutely horrify anyone working in the world of video game journalism. Sure, PewDiePie may have crossed a line here. He may have said some words he shouldn’t have, or made videos with anti-Semitic themes. It’s understandable to be angry there.
But copyright strikes against his videos are not the answer. The way the Firewatch devs have responded opens the door to far worse abuse. It opens the way to abuse by sleazy or immoral game developers worldwide.
Think about it. While Campo Santo may have objected to PewDiePie’s actions relating to racial slurs, other developers may instead object to creators merely attacking them on social media. Or perhaps having different political views. Being fans of different consoles.
In other words, they’ve just told everyone that “hey, now you can take down a Let’s Play/video based on purely on a personal dislike of its creator”.
And well, can you imagine what it’d be like if this became the norm?
Imagine if a developer decided they don’t like Democrats or Republicans and would copyright strike any Let’s Play of their game by someone with said political views. Would that be okay?
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