Looking Ahead: Super Mario Odyssey

I’m trying not to get to excited, I’m really trying. But come on, have you guys seen the trailer for Super Mario Odyssey? It’s insane. The last 3D Mario world we played, Super Mario 3D Land, felt really stale. It played just like every other Mario game, and while it’s fun doing new puzzles and games on each updated system, Mario looked like it was simmering out after this one.

That’s why as soon as I heard about Nintendo’s new console, 3DMario was the first thing I thought about. Nintendo knew that with Super Mario 3D Land’s stagnant gameplay, it was time tothrow something completely new out there.

History Repeats

If you’ve ever played Super Mario Sunshine, you probably loved it. It was pretty much unanimously considered one of the best games to come to Gamecube. When I watched the trailer for Super Mario Odyssey, I was overcome with nostalgia from the Gamecube hit. I’m excited to see fast, acrobatic 3D action again with 2017’s technological power behind the scenes.

What Do We Know?

Unfortunately, we don’t know much. The game looks like it will be set in a NYC style metropolis. It seems Mario has a new companion in the two eyes on his hat. We can assume that with the “Odyssey” theme, this companion will probably take Mario all over the world to save the princess. From gameplay videos, we can see Mario exploring a desert, a forest, a theme park, and even a polygonal world made of fruit; what’s not to love? Odyssey’s release date is set for the holiday season later this year. For those of us who can’t wait that long, we’ll be playing Super Mario Sunshine ported on the Wii U until Nintendo throws us more reasons to get excited about Odyssey.

What’s New With Mario Kart?

Mario Kart for the Nintendo Switch came out almost a month ago, so we’ve had some time to assess its value compared to its earlier release for the Wii U. While technically it’s the same game, the Switch claims “Mario Kart 8: Deluxe Edition.” Overall, the new game is pretty similar but there are a few key features.

Double Items

The biggest change is the ability to hold two items at once. While this feature has been included in previous Mario Karts, I have to point out the distinction that in Double Dash, you could switch between your items. For example, in Double Dash you could use the second item you picked up first. Now, the items must be used in the order that you grab them, but I think this just adds an even more interesting element to the game. With two items in a locked order, sometimes you have to waste that first item (i.e. banana) to get to that second item you need (red shell). Also, you’ll sometimes catch yourself with a coin or another relatively useless item in your second spot, and you’ll have to dump your first item before you can get rid of it.

Extra Boost

If you played the Wii U version, you might remember drifting for what felt like forever, and maxing out your drift boost halfway through the curve. Well now, with ultra mini-turbo, there is an extra level of speed boost you can get for drifting, denoted by purple sparks coming from the wheels. This subtle difference can make things way more interesting if you’re good at drifting.

Breakneck Speeds

200cc is new to the game, and I gotta say, it’s fun. It’s also really hard though, and to be honest, it feels like Nintendo didn’t work out all of its kinks. When you’re going light speed, braking and turning are crucial, but it’s very frustrating to consistently fly off the map at the same spot, or have to run through the slow grass to get back on course. I find myself doing both of these a lot in 200cc races. While we can expect it to be harder, some tracks just feel terrible when played on 200cc. I get the feeling that Nintendo only tested out a few before greenlighting the new race mode.

Even with 200cc’s difficulties, the new Mario Kart is a blast to play. Playing it on the Nintendo Switch makes it even more fun. My wish for Nintendo is that they would look into some of the tracks’ compatibility with 200cc, but as you may know, Nintendo doesn’t have the best track record of listening to its playerbase. For the double items and 200cc mode, I give Mario Kart 8: Deluxe Edition a 8/10, would buy.

Bitcoin and Ethereum Soar, LiteCoin Lags

If you’re not already investing in P2P currency exchanges, you definitely want to read up on it. Bitcoin’s rise in popularity in 2009 showed people that there is a trading hub with comparable reliability to the stock markets. The value of the Bitcoin rose and fell back down for a while, but it’s been steadily climbing as of late.

Like any currency, the value of P2P currencies is largely affected by the value of government-regulated currencies, and as you may know, the US dollar has been weak. Unlike the dollar, however, Bitcoin has steadily rising.

In fact, Bitcoin just hit an all-time high at ~2,190/coin. This faith could be due in part to Japan’s recent decision to allow Bitcoin as a legal payment method in the country. Peach, a Japanese airline now accepts payments in Bitcoin; and Russia’s largest online retailer, Ulmart, has announced that they will begin exploring it in 2018.

In 2017 so far, Bitcoin has gained 125% of its value. Assuming it stays strong, Bitcoin will finish the year as the top-performing currency for the seventh year of its 8 year life.

Ethereum is the relative newcomer in the field. Its release in 2015 hailed it as the first programmable P2P currency. Earlier this year, Ethereum started climbing. At the beginning of May, it was hovering right around $80/coin. Just 3 weeks later, it’s at about $180 right now. People like Ethereum and its ability to automatically exchange when certain parameters are met. New investors like Toyota and Merck have just joined in, and things keep looking up. Some experts even think that ETH can surpass $500 by the end of the year. That’s a tall order, but with this new boom in crypto-currencies, anything is possible. ethereum

Now is an interesting time to buy Ethereum. It’s certainly growing, but in such a competitive market, it could level out, or even crash at any time. As for Bitcoin at an all-time high, it’s probably time to sell. Of course, it could continue to rise, but as we’ve seen with Bitcoin before, it’ll level out before long.

If you haven’t been following LiteCoin, this might be your window. LTC has the 5th biggest share in the crypto-currency market. After blowing up at the end of 2013, Litecoin almost disappeared, sitting around $2-3, until recently. In March, it made a comeback, and since then, its been a rollercoaster bouncing around the mid 20s. If you have faith in LTC like some people, you might want to buy before it jumps again. Some, however, say that this cheap cyber-currency is already pushing its limits. All e-currencies have been on the rise recently, so do your research and get in on this while you can.

cryptocurrency

Top 4 Songs by The Killers

After their start in 2001, The Killers helped shaped contemporary alternative rock music into what it is today. In 2004, their debut studio album “Hot Fuss” was released, and it included several tracks that we still listen to today. Since then, The Killers have experimented with some psychedelic sounds, but they’ve still been the British alternative rock band we love to sing along with.the killers

4. When You Were Young – Sam’s Town

Sam’s Town was somewhat surprising to music fans everywhere. Hot Fuss had an unpolished, indie rock/punk feel to it that made listeners fall in love. But instead of continuing down that path, The Killers cleaned up the songs in the studio, and released the most influential heartland rock album since Bruce Springsteen. “When You Were Young” is the musical epitome of the album, crescendoing into a distorted guitar solo, and then a full chorus complete with strings and bells.

3. Smile Like You Mean It – Hot Fuss

Number 4 on the list is one
of my personal favorites. The melodic verses dance off your tongue while you scream along, and the somber, pessimistic chorus is so simple that you can’t help but to hum the melody. This track is a slowed-down version of their other hits, but it shows that they can convey more than one emotion in their music.

2. All These Things That I’ve Done – Hot Fusshot fuss

This song is a work of art. The high piano notes at the beginning alone can get my generation singing “When there’s nowhere else to run…” On top of that, there’s nothing quite as satisfying in the world as singing along “yeah, oh don’t you put me on the back burner, you know you gotta help me out.” Like “Smile Like You Mean It,” this track showcases The Killers ability to slow things down and still evict powerful emotions. The famous bridge, where Flowers and a Church choir sing “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier” takes things to a whole other level. The build brings the whole song to a thunderous and resounding peak before fading to silence.

1. Mr. Brightsidemr brightside – Hot Fuss

I’m sure no one is surprised with The Killers’ number one song. Just hearing “I’m coming out of my cage, and I been doing just fine” is enough to get anyone on their feet and rowdy. Since its release in 2003,
Mr. Brightside has never gone a year without appearing on the UK top 100 at least once. Interestingly enough, it’s also the most streamed song from the 2000’s. People really like this one, and I can’t blame them. The emotional rollercoaster this song puts you through comes out every time you hear it at a party. This truly is The Killers’ best work.

The Nintendo Switch: 3 Reasons to Get Excited About Arms

Nintendo has announced it’s next brawler, “Arms,” and people have been sleeping on it. Just yesterday, Nintendo released more details about the game, and assured us that it’s going to be one to remember. Here are 5 reasons for why you should get excited about Arms.

3. Return of the Arena Brawler

Let’s face it, the last good brawler was the most recent Smash Bros, and it’s been out for 5 years now. Unlike the 2-dimensional fights in Smash Bros, Arms will bring the whole arena into play. If you’ve ever played Tekken, you might have realized how fun it can be to chase someone-or even be chased-around a circle, rather than just running at each other in straight lines. Unlike Tekken however, Arms looks to be more of a casual game.

2. Creativity

Be honest with yourself, have you ever seen any game that looks like arms? Sure, it’s not the first arena brawler, but the extending and retractable arms makes for a fun gameplay mechanic that we’ve never seen before. You can already tell that this is going to be an entertaining multiplayer experience.

1. Nintendo’s Recent History

The last new series Nintendo published was Splatoon, way back in 2015. I don’t know if you’ve gotten the chance to play it, but if you haven’t yet, you’re missing out. A totally new take on the first person shooter, Splatoon takes cartoons with paint brushes and makes it feel like a fast-paced battle simulator. As good as Splatoon was in its own right, the reason it gets me excited about Arms is because of how polished it was. Right from launch, people hailed it as the best first person shooter in 5 years. It’s creativity gave it a huge fan base, which still grows today as th
e sequel release approaches. This should give you an idea to what Arms is going to be like. If they do it like Splatoon, we can assume a few things: 1. It will be quick, action-packed fun. 2. It will gather a large fan base. 3. It will have a lot of DLC.

Of course, these predictions about Arms are merely speculation based on Nintendo’s previous releases. Boom or bust, I am definitely excited to try out such a novel idea for a game.
Arms drops on June 16th this year.

Skateboarding Tricks: The Shove-It

If you’re still working on your ollie, you might be relieved to hear that there are a few tricks you can actually learn before you’ve mastered it. The shove-it (or shove) happens when the board rotates 180 degrees under your feet. This basic trick is a building block for variations like varial flips and ollie 180s, and it’s the precursor to the much more impressive 360 shove-it, and the 360 flip.

Stance Disclaimer: Doing a shove from regular position takes a lot of back leg power. For this reason, new skaters often find it easier to learn shove-its in a position on the nose (fakie or nollie). Be sure to try it in all the positions to find what works best for you.

Which Way Should the Board Spin?: Before you even set up your feet, you’re gonna want to visualize the trick. Since this article is for beginners, I’m only going to talk about standard backside shove-its. Frontside shove-its are a little more advanced and often require a little more pop like an ollie. For a regular shove-it, if you’re a regular skater, your right foot on the tail should kick the board behind you, spinning it 180 degrees clockwise. Goofy skaters do just the opposite, using the left foot to kick the board 180 degrees counter-clockwise.

Foot Placement: For a regular skater doing a regular shove, the right foot should be on the tail, but on the right side of the board, in order to spin it more quickly. The left foot should stay in its normal position, and can be used to guide the board as it spins around.

The New Pop: It’s more of a scoop, actually, and that’s what everyone calls it. When you’re spinning the board like a blade on a fan, your popping foot, rather than popping off of the ground, should lift the other side of the board’s wheels off the ground, quickly rotate it, and catch the other side of the board when it comes around. This scoop will evolve as you skate more, and you’ll find yourself popping your scoops and getting more air on your tricks.

 

Skateboarding Tricks: The Ollie

The ollie is the most basic skateboarding trick you can learn, and it’s by far the most useful. Ollieing (yes that’s how it’s spelled) can get you over curbs and gaps, but it’s also the foundation for every trick you’ll learn after it. So practice, practice, practice your ollies, and you’ll see improvement in your skating as a whole. This will probably be the first trick you learn, so take note on the 3 major variables when doing tricks: foot placement, pop, and flick.

Foot Placement: Naturally, the easiest way to do an ollie is in regular position, so that’s how I’ll describe it. First, square up your shoulders. They should be parallel with the direction you’re moving. When you place your feet, both should be perpendicular to the line you’re riding on. Your back foot (right foot if you’re regular, left if you’re goofy) should be on the tail, with the ball of your foot on the board near the center of the tail. Your right foot should be pulled back just a little from the front bolts, ready to swipe up and level the board out after you pop. You can start trying ollies while moving or standing still, whichever feels most natural.

Pop: The pop is an important part of skating, and something you must practice if you want to do advanced tricks. Different tricks require different pops, but it’s all the same basic idea: stomp the board straight down, and then jump off of that foot. It’s tricky at first, but the timing is important. You have to stomp the board hard enough so that it will pop in the air, then you have to jump off of the ground to give the board a chance to rise up from under your foot.

Flick: Once you’ve popped the board in the air, it’s probably going to be pretty hard to land on. With just a pop, skaters can do what’s sometimes called a “rocket ollie,” which is where the board jumps vertically in the air, and never levels out flat. But to do a proper ollie, you have to flick hard. The top part of your front foot’s shoe should show distress from sliding across the griptape (skaters always have holes in their shoes).  The biggest problem I see beginners struggling with is not flicking hard enough. This problem can be solved by practicing the timing, and making a conscious effort to flatten the board out in the air.

Practicing the ollie will lead to better balance on the board, and a new world of possibilities for tricks once you’ve gotten it down.

What’s Next for the Nintendo Switch?

Nintendo’s newest console has been out for about a month and a half now, and people still haven’t made up their minds. On one hand, the new device offers power and portability previously unseen coming from Nintendo; but on the other, a weak release day lineup hints that maybe there could have been some better planning.switch

At launch, the console had 12 games available to play, only 3 of which were produced by mainstream studios. Despite this, game stores across the world were selling out of them. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one for $300, but I’ve heard of people paying $700 for the Switch, even a month after its release. This high demand is something that the Switch’s precursor, the Wii U did not bring with it.

So where is the appeal? The console is slick, I mean, really slick. While it’s insanely accessory-based, the joycons feel nice in your hands, and very satisfyingly lock into place on either side of the screen, or in a controller grip. The new controllers, about half the size of the old Wii remotes, ditched most of the motion focus that the Wii remotes were so infamously known for. While they still can be used like a Wii remote, the joycons feel natural to use just as a controller too, unlike Nintendo’s previous controllers.

Why should you buy a Switch?

The biggest reason to get the Nintendo Switch relies on a lot of trust. Sure, there’s Zelda, Breath of the Wild to get excited about, and even Mario Kart 8 Deluxe addition, but Nintendo announced even before the Switch was released some of the most exciting news for video game fans: major third party developers.

In the past, Nintendo consoles were not good for making money. As a result, the store was flooded with either simple, repetitive games, or huge expensive games published by Nintendo themselves. With specs that actually give it some clout within the gaming community, many third-party publishers now believe that the machine can run games that we’ve been enjoying on other systems. For example, Minecraft was added to the store recently. Additionally, Skyrim is set to be released sometime this fall, and NBA 2k18 is expected in September. So if you’ve held out on getting a Nintendo console ’til now for it’s limited library, or its clunky hardware, this might be the break you’ve been looking for.

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/all-the-nintendo-switch-games-confirmed/1100-6448556/
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Nintendo Switch 2017 Release Lineup (from Gamespot)

The Very Basics of Skateboarding: Picking Up Speed

After you’ve gotten comfortable standing on a skateboard and rolling around, there are a few intermediate techniques you’ll find yourself doing without needing to be taught.

Turning-

Carving Turns: A carving turn is most of the turning you’ve probably been doing. Leaning forward or backward on the board points turns the wheels, and the harder you lean the faster you’ll turn. Be careful not to lean too hard, or you’ll get wheel bite, which is where the wheels grind against the board. Wheel bite makes your board stop moving, so it can ruin a trick or even just a turn.

Kickturns: A kickturn is where you put the ball of your back foot on the tail, and shift your weight back, lifting the front wheels off of the ground, and then placing them back on the ground in the direction you’re turning. It sounds complicated, but it is an essential skill to learn so that you can turn sharply. 

Positions-

Once you’ve figured out your stance-goofy or regular, and you’ve gotten comfortable riding around in the regular foot position, it’s time to start practicing other variations. For this guide, I’m going to explain the positions from the perspective of a regular skater; for goofy skaters, just switch “right” and “left.” Also, for each stance, try to push with your back foot. Even if it’s your weak foot, it’s a safe habit to get into, and will provide better balance on the board.

Regular- With your left foot on the front bolts, and your right foot on the tail, you’re ready to pop with your best foot off the tail. This stance is the easiest way to do ollie (in the air) tricks for most people.

Fakie- Fakie is the exact same as regular, except you’re rolling in the opposite direction. Your right foot is in front, on the nose this time, and your left foot sits on the back bolts. It can be hard to get accustomed to rolling on the nose, and with your right foot forward instead of your left. When you get comfortable with it, however, you’ll find that it is easy to do shove (board spinning) tricks with your best foot popping, and your momentum going into the nose.

Switch- Exactly what you think. It’s just the opposite feet of regular. Put your right foot on the front bolts, and your left foot on the tail. You’ll probably have a hard time with this at first, but it comes with practice. This is what it’s like to be a goofy skater! Switching stances entirely is the hardest and most impressive way to do tricks, hands down.

Nollie- Nollie is the opposite of fakie, and could redundantly be called fakie switch. Your left foot is on the nose, ready to pop, and your right foot is on the back bolts. This feels a lot like riding the board normally, but you have to be careful to keep your feet under you, because your weight is shifted so far forward. Like fakie, nollie lends itself to shove tricks, because the momentum going into the nose, but it’s done with your weak foot. Strangely enough, a lot of people are better at nollie tricks than fakie, even though it requires you pop with your off foot. Practice rolling in all of the positions and you’ll be ready for tricks in no time.

The Very Basics of Skateboarding: Rolling and Regular Stances

Skateboards are scary, especially if you’ve never ridden one; but most of the problems people have with learning how to ride are entirely mental. Here are a few tips to help you learn and get your confidence up on a skateboard.

The Most Dangerous Speed  at Which to Ride a Skateboard

You’d think fast speeds are the biggest problem for beginners, but you’d be wrong. When the board is standing still, it can be very hard for a new skater to keep their balance. Because you’re not moving, you haven’t established a forward direction, so however you distribute your weight will affect how you roll on the ground. I find that the easiest way to build confidence on the board is just to take a slow step with your pushing foot and start slowly rolling. With a little practice, you’ll be bombing hills in no time.

Pushing and Stances

No matter what stance you’re in, proper technique is to push with your back foot, while your front foot remains on the board. Pushing with your front foot is called pushing “mongo” and is a telltale sign of a new skater. While it can work, it’s much harder to keep your balance this way.

There are two stance styles of skating that you can have: regular and goofy. Some say you choose the first time you step on the board, others say it’s genetic. Either way, they’re both legitimate ways to skate, and neither is superior over the other, so choose whichever feels most comfortable for you.

Regular typically feels most natural for right handed (and right footed) skaters. In the regular stance, the left (front) foot is placed on the bolts neares
t to the front (skinnier side) of the board, and the right (back) foot is used to push, and placed on the tail of the board when not pushing.

Goofy skating is just the opposite. Despite the name, there’s nothing wrong or bad about this stance. You can think of it as being a left-handed skater. The right (front) foot goes on the front bolts, and the left (back) foot pushes, and rests on the tail when not pushing.

Whichever way feels most comfortable, stick with it. Before long it’ll feel as natural as walking. After you’ve gotten comfortable riding in regular position, take a look at different positions and start practicing riding in them.

NOTE: The description of the stances describes the regular position in both regular and goofy stances. The difference between a position and stance is that a skater’s stance never changes. Goofy stance skaters always feel most natural with their right foot forward, and regular stance skaters feel best with their left foot forward. Positions change based on how the skater wants to set up their feet before the trick, i.e. pop with which foot, and off of the nose or tail.