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Friday, October 2, 2015

Catch Up and Super Mario Maker!

Hey there everyone! I'm sorry I've been gone for so long. Work and other things have kept me from blogging for over a month. Each time I wanted to give an update, I got waylaid by something else.

But, I have been doing hobby work. I finished doing that commissioned work from the Deathstorm box for my friend's friend's store. If you recall, I did a bunch of Tyranids earlier in the year. Well, the guy's store is about to open and he wanted to display them in the store. So I did 5 terminators, 1 dreadnought, and 5 Death Company. I've never done Blood Angels before, and it was an educational experience, no doubt. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to take pictures of them. Perhaps when they are on display I'll be able to get a couple of pics.

 I also took my friend Brian to play a tournament at my local store. This was his first tournament, so it was exciting for him. He took Ultramarines and an Imperial Knight ally. For my part, I took my Khorne Daemonkin horde. My first game saw me battling Nick, my last opponent in the previous tournament. Our last game was close fought, and even though I lost, Nick was a great opponent and I had a blast. This game was no different, though I swore revenge. It was again an even and close fought game (this time he had his Grey Knights). He beat me again, though by only one Victory Point. My second game was against James' Terminator heavy Dark Angels with some regular SMs and Devastators in support. Much to my chagrin, I found that DAs shooting overwatch at FULL ballistic skill is waaaayy too much for my close combat army. I didn't make it easy, but he wiped the floor with me. My third opponent was Grey Knights (again). But my last two losses made me aggressive- he had never played against Daemonkin before, and I wanted blood. I won the match, though he put up a stronger fight at the end of the game.

Overall, out of 12 players, I came in 6th. Right in the meaty part of the curve. But- Brian the "novice" placed 4th! Wow! He really is a good player- I have taught him well. We are both eagerly looking forward to the next tournament.

Meanwhile, I've been helping my friend Joe with his table (which used to be my table before I moved). He has decided to do a "Hoth"-like ice world table, complete with a frozen river bisecting the board. After Pete carved the foam pieces, Joe and I used texture paint to cover the blue undercoat. The effect is striking- it really looks like ice and snow. This week, we used water effects to fill up the frozen lake area. So far, we have used 4 bottles! However, it is looking quite good. Joe is particularly thrilled with its reflective quality. The board isn't done yet- but it will look great when its done. Can't wait to game on it.

At any rate, besides all that, I have found a "new" obsession. As long time readers know, I have loved video games ever since I was a kid. Though I play games less now than I used to, I am still a fan (at one time I could have been considered hardcore; but now I'm more casual, though I can't wait for Fallout 4). Though I had an Atari 2600, it was Super Mario Brothers and Nintendo that really ignited my passion for video games. The first SMB is such a classic, and in my eyes it is what games are all about. I love all types, but Mario is the grail, as far as I'm concerned.

With that in mind, it was a no-brainer for me to get Super Mario Maker for the Wii U. Making my own levels? Playing the levels of others from around the world? What's not to like?

The "game" is revolutionary. Using the Wii U pad, building levels is very intuitive and a breeze to use. Indeed, this is THE game for the Wii U- taking FULL advantage of the touch screen. Building a SMB level without it would be so much harder. But with the pad- wow. Its so simple. You could create a Mario level very quickly and efficiently, thanks to the pad and a solid interface.

Of course, creating GOOD Mario levels is easier said than done. As we are not game developers, it is easy to lose one's way, making things too tough, adding too many enemies, too many blind jumps, etc. Even I have fallen into this trap once and again. Making the balance that is the hallmark of the Mario series is where the true challenge lies. I have been working hard at this- even though I can "do it"- I have to say that I have an even greater appreciation for what Miyamoto and company accomplished 3 decades ago because of Super Mario Maker.

It is also a lot of fun playing the levels of people from around the world. Sure, there are plenty of cheap/instant deaths, levels where you don't have to move, etc. However, I have played a bunch that could well have been real levels in the old games. What I love is that this game allows you to play new SMB levels- new for as long as people create them. That's just amazing- and unthinkable to an old NES player. An unending supply of new SMB levels. Wow.

The only downside is that it is tough to find creators and levels that are on your skill level. Further, Nintendo has chosen to show off those with the highest ratings (each course can be starred as "excellent" by a player). Sadly, this means only the highest games are easily accessed. Otherwise you can play the 100 Mario challenge, which randomly loads up levels you can play. Its great, though I think Nintendo could work on this aspect more.

That not withstanding, Super Mario Maker is nothing short of phenomenal. Truly, it allows me to fulfill a childhood fantasy of creating my own Nintendo games. It is that darn good, But I'm not satisfied. Come on Nintendo- give me Zelda Maker. Metroid Maker. Mario Kart Maker. It CAN be done Nintendo- you just proved it!!

So, at any rate, I'm going to leave some of the course IDs for a few of my levels, if you happen to have Super Mario Maker. I hope you enjoy them:

2DD8-0000-005F-40BE  ("Building Castles in the Sky")
9BF7-0000-003E-C171   ("March of the Bob-ombs")
51E9-0000-0037-F01B    ("A Mushroom Too Far")
6CC2-0000-0034-5E83    ("The Shell Game")
13CD-0000-004B-D599   ("Return of da Goomba")
93A7-0000-0078-7C16     ("Koopenstein Castle")
CB9A-0000-0082-0DD0   ("Bullet Bills at 20 Paces")
C9BA-0000-004B-D027   ("Liz's Ghost House" - which I made for my wife, lol)

Oh, if you want, you could put your course ID's in my comment section, and I'll be glad to play them. 

Until Next Time...


  1. I have been gaming as long and maybe even longer than you have (back in my days Pong was revolutionary LOL) and I'm looking forward to Fallout 4 too although I never found the time to complete Fallout 3. As much as I love all genres i.e. strategy, FPS, RPG, etc, the best game I have ever played so far is The Last of Us (PS3 and PS4). It wasn't just the gameplay, it was the story too.

    1. I am really excited for Fallout 4- can't wait for that (I loved 3 and New Vegas).

      I like most types of games too, though I never played Last of Us, as I don't own a PS3 or 4.