Thursday, September 10, 2015

Snowboard Kids (N64, PAL) Save File

As if Mario Kart 8 and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed weren't enough kart racers for one year, I also played all the way through Snowboard Kids for the N64 last Summer - a fun little racer that, despite having controls took me a while to get used to, I thought totally lived up to the cult status it had back in the day. Having finished it though and unlocked all the courses, given my chequered history with N64 memory cards, I wondered if there wasn't some way I could copy my save off the damn card before it inevitable failed on me (Yeah, I don't know why I don't just stick to N64 emulators at this point either).

So, some poking around the internet brought me to this thing:

A DexDrive, which some guy was still selling a large quantity of new units of on eBay. This thing, you hooked up to your PC, allowing you to copy saves off of and onto your memory cards. Just the thing I needed, you might imagine, but being a US device from 1998...




...there proved to be a few issues getting it up and running. :D But finally I did and...... nothing. Of course, the DexDrive wouldn't recognise the third party N64 controller pak I had as valid, no matter what I did. But hey, at least it came with a pretty rad promotional booklet:

InterAct 1998 Booklet

In the end, after wasting what must have been like €50 on a DexDrive, a step-down converter and a freakin' serial to USB cable (which I'm sure is going to see a lot of future use), I discovered that the Retrode (and N64 adapter) I'd already bought a few months earlier could have done the same job the whole damn time.

Which is a pretty long-winded way of saying here's a completed PAL save for Snowboard Kids:

Download from MediaFire

You could transfer it to a N64 memory card with a DexDrive. I'd advise against it though. :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nintendo Digital Event 2015: Not-so-live Impressions

Goodness knows why, but I've given all the main Nintendo Directs the not-so-live treatment so far this year. Here comes the big one though and I think a few predictions are in order first. Given the frankly ridiculous amount of time I've spent mulling these over this time round, I'm feeling pretty confident about my picks this year:
  1. Boom! Animal Crossing! I think the leaked amiibos make this pretty much a slam dunk, but still.
  2. A Mario 3D World sequel. I'm leaning more towards Wii U than 3DS with this one, but either way I think they'll put one more of these out this gen before they put this sub franchise to bed. A Wii U one makes more sense because it's in more dire need of games, and they should be able to turn around a Mario Galaxy 2 style sequel relatively quickly.
  3. Pre-made levels for Mario Maker. I think they're going to be providing some pre-made, playable levels for Mario Maker. Probably some on-disc and downloadable ones after that. Possibly some made by some game design celebrities.
  4. A Zelda surprise teaser. there's no way they're going to let E3 pass without showing the Wii U Zelda in some form, right?
  5. Lego Dimensions - Nintendo have a rare opportunity to showcase a new 3rd party Wii U game here, one that should crossover with their audience quite nicely. I'd imagine here's where we'll see the big Lego Dimensions showcase and I bet they'll have some exclusive amiibo based content for the Wii U.
  6. I'm going to say that we'll see Retro's next project here. I'm not necessarily expecting Metroid. It could well be be Star Fox.
  7. Starfox amiibos, of course. I'm guessing one for each team member and an arwing.
  8. And speaking of Star Fox, I hate to be a downer here, but I'm predicting they'll have made some major mistake with that game that will end up spoiling everything.
  9. While I'm on a negative tip, I really don't think we'll see any more 3DS games specifically for the New 3DS here. New 3DS owners can't be making up a very big segment of the market right now and I can't remember Nintendo making any great effort to support the DSi with retail exclusives. (DSiware was slightly different case).
  10. Another Kirby game for the 3DS. It feels about time. 
  11. And finally, some kind of Mario sports game, besides the Olympics one they've already announced. After the success they've almost certainly been having selling DLC for Smash and Mario Kart, I expect a new Mario Tennis or Golf if only as a venue to sell some more.
      I'll be bummed if all they do is fulfil my predictions here, so hopefully they have a few surprises up their sleeves. I doubt they can outdo Sony conference, but hey, here's hoping.

      Let's get started!

      • 00:00 - Well, this looks like the right video. (Trawling through YouTube in the thick of E3 while trying to avoid spoilers is a perilous affair.) Here goes!
      • 00:14 - Wait, is that a muppet?
      • 00:17 - If not, Disney are furiously pounding out a cease and desist notice as we speak.
      • 00:25 - Muppet Iwata. What the fuck

      • 00:34 - Yep.

      • 01:00 - I was expecting the Reggie puppet to be terrifying. This doesn't disappoint. :D
      • 01:01 - Ugh.
      • 01:23 - Oh no! Where's Miyamoto?
      • 01:24 - There he is! Oh hey, just noticed the Starfox shirt. Please be good, please be good...
      • 01:28 - Just letting the bizarre wash over me. 

      • 01:35 - Is it just me, or is there something about the way they twist their heads as they move that makes these things creepy as shit. 

      •  02:05 - And speaking of creepy, Now I'm imagining Miyamoto in a fur suit. Wow, that's... that's a disturbing image.

      • 02:47 - Thank goodness! Our Nintendo executive fur pile nightmare is over. Now these guys I can get behind. (Not like that though.)
      • 03:03 - I really want plush Peppy and Falco amiibos now. I'm sorry! I can't help it any more!
      • 03:13 - Here we go!

      • 03:29 - Looks nice. This looks like Star Fox 64 Corneria though. Hopefully this isn't just a remake of Star Fox 64 though.
      • 03:52 - Ooh, some Starfox 2 stuff. Liking the music a lot too.
      • 04:10 - I really hope all this gamepad stuff is optional though. Holding it up and moving it around to aim was what I took from last year. I don't see how that wouldn't be awful.
      • 04:30 - No sign of on-foot missions yet thank goodness. Maybe this is finally it: the Starfox 64 sequel; the game that was all anyone ever wanted.
      • 04:37 - Star Fox Zero. Holiday 2015. Colour me cautiously optimistic. I wonder who's developing though.

      • 04:53 - It's Shiggy. Huh. I wonder if this being developed in-house after all.
      • 05:07 - Whoah. So Starfox was inspired by Thunderbirds. Crazy.
      • 05:26 - Yeah Pigma! Again, this looks really nice.
      • 06:15 - Man, Miyamoto just dropping revelations here. I would have never guessed the in-game arches were inspired by a Japanese shrine.
      • 08:21 - Oh shit! A wild Starfox 2 mention appears. Any chance of VC revival, I wonder? Got to say, I not liking all this talk of the gamepad screen. If you end up having to spend a bunch of time looking at that rather than at the TV, that's going to be a real let down.
      • 08:29 - Heh. "Didn't make it out" is an interesting way of putting things. :D Yeah, doesn't look like Star Fox 2 is due for the Earthbound Beginnings type treatment any time soon.
      • 08:37 - Landmaster! (Damn you, Sakurai!) Yeah, I don't mind the Landmaster. (At least in Star Fox) The submarine I could probably do without though.

      • 08:46 - The gyro wing, which totally isn't a drone.
      • 08:54 - What!? Was that a ROB coming out of the gyro wing?

      • 08:58 - That's a cool-looking boss.
      • 09:16 - "Not a remake" Thank you, based Miyamoto.
      • 09:53 - That logo does look cool. Kind of Street Fighter-ish.
      • 10:09 - Oh, hey Reggie. Say, what's that blue feather doing on your jacket?

      • 10:15 - Ha! We do like to have fun here at NOA.
      • 10:17 - Yeah, that opening was deeply distressing.
      • 10:27 - That theme was.. hot sweaty yiffing.
      • 11:27 - Guess we're ramping up Mario Maker here. Yeesh, the Wii U NES emulator looks horrible.
      • 11:58 - "Who knows. Maybe even I'll be playing." But no, seriously, I definitely won't be playing.
      • 12:12 - New amiibo. HYPE! HYPE! HYPE! HYPE!
      • 12:27 - Calling it: here's the full-blown amiibo Skylanders-type  game I predicted last year. :D
      • 12:37 - Wha? Vicarious Visions. Googlekata suggests they're the Skylanders devs. Are they doing an amiibo tie-in with this year's one?

      • 13:14 - Yep. Donkey Kong coming to Skylanders this year. Looks more like a Skylanders figure than an amiibo though. Haven't messed with any kind of Skylanders yet. I'll probablly pick up a bunch of stuff once Activision runs the franchise into the ground and the firesales start. Just like Guitar Hero. :D
      • 13:47 - This is some late Gamecube EA-style business here. (An unprecedented partnership, if you will.) I imagine it'll have a similar effect on the sales of Skylanders as it did on the sales of SSX: On Tour and NBA Street V3 on GC: not much.
      • 14:14 - Oh, the figures are amiibos too. Nah, no sale; not into these ones.
      • 15:38 - Weird that they didn't have some kind of Starfox tie-in though if vehicles are the big thing in this year's Skylanders. Anyway...
      • 15:47 - This puppet stuff isn't doing it for me at all this year. It's certainly no Iwata/Reggie smash brawl. Than again, wasn't last year the Robot Chicken stuff too? Ugh.

      • 15:56 - Huh? I guess they're adding Zelda stuff to Mario Maker. Makes sense, I guess.
      • 16:04 - Or not. Zelda Triforce Heroes.
      • 16:08 - Sounds like a Four Swords follow-up maybe.

      • 16:12 - Yep, looks like it. On 3DS.
      • 16:15 - There are totally going to be DLC outfits in this, aren't there.
      • 17:37 - For a second there I thought this was going to be New 3DS exclusive. My prediction stands!
      • 18:51 - Yeah, I'm never going to play this. I can't really say I ever found the ea of multiplayer Zelda especially appealing. Plus, local handheld multiplayer: just not happening.

      • 20:10 - They're really leaning into the outfit stuff here. No way they're not pushing DLC for this one. DeNaaaaaaaaaaa!
      • 20:37 - Oh, there is online multiplayer. Still not for me, I think.
      • 21:19 - Ah, the 3DS Hyrule Warriors.

      • 21:43 - That King of Red Lions attack looks rad! I'll bet it's no fun to use though. Looks like the crappy spinner lunge forward attack. (Stupid spinner. Man, what a complete disappointment that was. :D)
      • 22:20 - Wait, are we getting another Wii U Hyrule Warriors here?
      • 22:31 - Nope. More Hyrule Warriors Legends. Disappointing to see that this is (mostly) just a downport with a few new bits of content. Was anyone really crying out for this?
      • 23:36 - Well, we're at about the halfway point now. Starting to get the impression tat this point hat this year's going to be a bit of a let down.
      • 23:55 - Another 3DS game. (Come on, guys. Where's the Wii U love?)

      • 24:03 - What?! This is a Metroid Prime game? Oh boy, judging by teh kiddy look of those galactic federation guys, I sense people on the internet are going to be pissssssed at this. :D
      • 24:07 - Another 3DS multiplayer game. No, after eight years of no Metroid Prime, this is exactly the type of revival I was hoping for. Thanks Nintendo. Now I'm pissed at this. :D
      • 24:33 - So was that Blast Ball thing they showed at the Nintendo World Championships just a prototype for the Blast Ball mode in this? Available 2016. Yeah, hmm. I don't know about this one.

      Monday, May 4, 2015

      Cooking: Fruit Scones & Buttermilk Pudding


      Now that I think about it, it was this great scone I had in a coffee shop about a year ago that kicked it off: a quest spanning several months to find a really good, reliable fruit scone recipe on the internet. After a few decent but unremarkable batches, I finally tried out this one by Mary Berry. I did make a little modification, replacing the sultanas with the same weight of mixed fruit, including cherries, raisins, sultanas and mixed peel. The resulting scones were fully legit; soft, sweet and with a slight crunchy outside crust. Finally, the recipe I'd been looking for. I've made a ton of these since, usually making a big batch so I can use up a full 1 litre bottle of buttermilk and freezing most of them, and they freeze pretty well too.

      Though I did also found a good recipe for using up a lot of excess buttermilk if you've got it hanging around afterwards. What you see above is a buttermilk pudding. A traditional South African desert, apparently, I found a recipe for it here. As it says on the site, the measurements are a bit strange, but the pudding is quite good. It's not too far off from a sponge cake in terms of texture and flavour, though it's a little denser. I found it significantly easier to make than sponge cake though, which has always turned out gritty and flat any time I've attempted it. The pudding above I threw a bunch of leftover lemon syrup over while it was hot , giving it a nice lemony flavour too.

      Thursday, April 2, 2015

      Nintendo Direct (UK) 01.04.15: Not-so-live Impressions

      It's Thursday, April 02. It's well after midnight. Let's see how far I can get into this before I fall asleep, hopefully not from boredom. :D

      • 00:00 - Ooh, Pegi 18? What they could be showing off now to warrant that? Devil's Third maybe. 
      • 00:11 - Straight into Smash Bros. So, I've seen something about DLC after glancing at GAF by accident. Before they announce it, I'm busting out my heavily Mario Kart 8 inspired, but rock-solid prediction of two DLC packs, each with one new character and about three new/returning stages. And one of the characters is the Ice Climbers. Boom!
      • 00:15 - That looks like Lucario.

      • 00:16 - No, it's Mewtwo. Man, if this is the only DLC they're showing off here, I'm going to be disappointed. Already have a code for him (her?) on the way after buying both versions of the game just to get the soundtrack. (Damn it, Nintendo).
      • 00:46 - I have to say though: I don't get the appeal of Mewtwo at all. Granted, I've seen very little of the show and none of the movies, but just look at how dumb that thing looks.
      • 01:33 - I don't know, Iwata. I'm having a hard time believing that this took that long to rehash a character from from Melee and Brawl.

      • 01:41 - Wait, €3.99 for just a character. That's a fair bit of an escalation from the DLC pricing we've from Nintendo up to now. (DeNA's toxic influence already seeping in. The end is nigh!!!!)
      • 02:22 - Yeesh, they're going in and rebalancing Smash Bros.. I don't think you realise the wrath you may end up unleashing on message boards across the Internet, Nintendo. I think you have no idea. And could you really not share custom stages up until now? I don't know why I'm surprised. :D

      • 02:37 - Cat costumes in Smash Bros. Finally.
      • 02:38 - Zelda costumes in Smash Bros. Finally.
      • 02:44 - Oh, these are for Miis. Well, like I keep saying: fuck Miis. :D (I know. The hypocrisy level's off the charts. :D)

      • 02:55 - Smash Bros. for Wii U: your exclusive home for Mega Man content in 2015.

      • 02:59 - Wait! Fucking what?! These aren't free? DeNAaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!! 
      • 03:11 - Okay, more new content: single use items. Maxim tomatoes only ten cents. Bumpers forty-nine cents a pair.

      • 03:38 - No, it's Lucas. Wait, was Lucas not in already? As you can can tell, I've played both versions of Smash Bros. extensively. (Yeah, I don't know. Smash Bros. has always been more appealing to me for the fan service than the gameplay. With the story mode gone and the amount of stuff returning from the previous games this time, I think I might be done after this one.)
      • 04:48 - We've heard the request and decided to offer Lucas... for the low, low price of €3.99.
      • 04:58 - Well, that sure wasn't a "for free". :D I wonder if people are going to go for these at four euros a pop. Man, this really isn't the type of DLC offering I was hoping for for Smash Bros.. Not too surprised that the characters are already established ones, but I really expected them to throw in a few old stages at least and offer a nice, value pack of content like the did with MK8. I guess they're still trying things out.

      • 05:10 - Fucking Paper Mario!! Put Paper Mario in the game damn it!
      • 05:39 - :D Oh, Iwata, you're loving that *directly* thing more and more as time goes on. Welp, definitely voting for Paper Mario, but I expect it'll do about as much good as me asking for Ash songs in the Rock Band. This ballot's going to be nothing but an endless stream of Ridley and freakin' Geno.
      • 05:59 - If anyone legitimately votes for Cat Mario, know this: I will hunt you down.
      • 06:27 - I'm actually legitimately excited for amiibos now. I know. I have a sickness. (Damn you, scalpers. Still looking for Toad at a reasonable price. Why didn't I pre-order? Gah!)

      • 06:34 - Nah, nothing for me either this time. I'd like a Gannondorf one, not the Smash Bros. version though.

      • 06:40 - Ooh, Olimar. Yeah! Gimme, gimmee!
      • 06:58 - Touch & Play - this is the amiibo demo thing that surfaced a few weeks ago.

      • 08:01 - Please tell me Iwata didn't just reference Forest Gump. :D This is kind of an odd system though tbh. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the amiibo unlock a game from the series it belongs to? Then again, Pinball and stuff don't have amiibos, I guess. Yet.

      • 08:34 - That may have been the coolest Nintendo logo treatment ever. So, I guess this is Mario Maker?
      • 09:23 - Yep. That was pretty awesome. No Mario 2 tile set though by the looks of things.
      • 10:45 - "...but why would anyone want to switch to that" Okay, NSMBU had probably the best art direction of that series, but still...
      • 11:30 - "Please look forward to the Super Mario All-stars rom, now on a Wii U disc!"
      • 11:56 - Shibata now. Looks like it's Yoshi Wolly World time. Oh yeah!

      • 12:22 - Squeeeeeeeee!

      • 13:18 - Oh my god! This wolly Yoshi amiibo may be all I've ever wanted out of life.
      • 14:05 - June 06. Damn it. I need that bundle. I need that bundle now!
      • 14:08 - Welp, on to Splatoon.

      • 14:50 - Been sold on this since E3 so I'm kind of zoning out here. interested to try out the single player too though.

      • 16:02 - Meh, not feeling these amiibos. I think the Splatoon characters look neat in-game, but these look like licensed figures for some crappy early 00's-ish cartoon.
      • 16:53 - That squid one though...
      Okay, I'm checking out here for the night here. Really want to keep going, I'm riding on a Yoshi amiibo high, but I guess I better get at least a few hours sleep. Society demands it!

      And I'm back! I'd like to say I was dreaming wollen Yoshis last night, Actually, I was in sort of horror movie where everyone was getting killed off by this 2D red and white guy with a wheezy laugh, which I guess makes me the last girl.  Anyway...


      • 17:24 - Affordable Space Adventures. Looks decidedly indie, not sure if it's new or not. The name has a familiar ring to it at least.
      • 17:34 - Stealth? Managing systems? Yeah, I think I'm out. :D
      • 18:21 - Oh, Swords & Soldiers II. I should probably get around to playing the original at some point.
      • 19:02 - Man, Shibata's seems to be having a hard time with the script today. Well, more than usual any way.

      • 19:19 - Boom! Finally some N64 and DS Virtual Console games.
      • 19:27 - Okay, I'll probably pony up some cash for Mario Kart DS. Haven't played it, but it's pretty good apparently. Wonder how it's going to look blown up on a big screen though. Can't imagine they're doing any kind of upscaling, *sigh* as usual.

      • 19:42 - Wow! :D Yeah, that's not how I'll be playing them any way. Come on, could we at least have a DS Lite border?
      • 19:56 - "The leader of the bunch." - Ugh, Garry Glitter? No, wait. It's Donkey Kong.