Thursday, July 31, 2014

Daily Easter Egg #7: Super Mario RPG Nintendo Character Cameos

Samus resting up for her battle with Mother Brain
Link, the Hero of Hyrule taking a well deserved nap

In the 1996 SNES game Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars, two notable Nintendo characters make an appearance. Everyone's favorite sword swinging, no pants wearing hero can be seen sleeping in the Rose Town Inn. After playing with Gaz, the player gets the chance to stay at the inn for free. The next morning, Link can be seen taking a snooze in one of the beds.
The next Nintendo character that makes an appearance is none other than Samus Aranand she appears twice! Between the Star Hill and Nimbus levels, Samus can be seen sleeping in the castle's guest room in the Mushroom Kingdom. The next time Samus makes an appearance is in the final room of Bowser's Tower. A box of dolls can be seen on the floor, and there is indeed a Samus doll in the box!

Samus is in the left hand corner of the box
This game is full of many other secrets as well. I'll eventually post them all so stay tuned!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Princess Ruto is a Playable Character in Hyrule Warriors!

She'll break her enemies' resolve with guilt and insults.

I realize that this is kind of old news by now, but I wanted to make a post anyways because I'm super excited. The Zoras are my favorite race in The Legend of Zelda, and Ruto is my favorite character  in Ocarina of Time, so I'm so stoked she'll be making an appearance in Hyrule Warriors and representing the Zoras. She will fight alongside a slew of other characters from The Legend of Zelda series including Midna (another one of my favorites), Fi, Darunia, Sheik, Impa, and of course, Link and Zelda.  She is also yet another female character that has been added to the roster, something that I'm also very excited about. I'm sure all these ladies will be kicking butt and taking names when the game releases on September 26th, 2014 for North America, August 16th for Japan (lucky ducks), September 19th for Europe, and September 20th for Australia.
In the trailer released that features Ruto, she uses various water themed attacks, including trapping her foes in a bubble of water which she then enters and brings the pain. She gets her power from the blue orb on her right wrist called the "Zora Scale". She is also shown being carried into battle, which is a reference to Ocarina of Time, of course, where she is carried around by Link in the dungeon called Jabu-Jabu's Belly.
I can't wait to see what other characters will be added to this game's already amazing roster. Even more, I can't wait to play it this September!

Watch Princess Ruto's trailer here!

Daily Easter Egg #6: The Meaning of Ooccoo's Strange Name

Ooccoo and her nightmare fuel son, Ooccoo Jr. from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

This pair may look frightening, but they're actually super useful (but seriously, are those claw nipples?!). In Twilight Princess, they can be used to warp in and out of dungeons/temples, allowing the player to resume where they left off if they need to leave in order to buy yet another wooden shield after theirs got burnt in the Goron Mine for the 1000th time or to get whatever else they may need. Their strange names might make a little more sense after one learns that they're actually color values! It used to be thought that 00CC00 was the hexadecimal color value for Link's tunic in the original Legend of Zelda, but it turns out that 00CC00 is the color value for his tunic in Ocarina of Time's concept art. The latter makes more sense considering Twilight Princess is greatly influenced by Ocarina of Time.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions Concert Tour Announced!

Seriously, how adorable is this? I'd love to go!
So, as it turns out, I'm a huge fan of orchestrated and classical music, especially that which comes from video games. So I was especially hyped to hear that a concert tour featuring music from the Pokémon franchise is starting up! So far, there have been only 2 dates announced: August 15th in D.C. (which is when the Pokémon World Championships will be going on), and September 19th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. More dates are to be announced soon, but I also heard that they will only be touring further if turnout at the first two events is good. So, if you're going to be in D.C. for the Pokémon World Championships or if you live around Philly, you should totally go! This may be a once in a lifetime experience, so don't miss out! They'll people cosplaying, trading cards, bringing their 3DS' and copies of X and Y; it'll be a good time and a good chance to meet members of the Pokémon community. This concert is a lot like The Symphony of The Goddesses show that featured music from The Legend of Zelda universe and I think it's produced by the same people, so it'll be a fantastic experience for sure! Each generation will be represented musically, and gameplay footage will be shown to accompany the music. It's a really immersive concert experience that I'm dying to see, so I thought I'd help get the word out. Some YouTubers have gotten a hold of music samples that will be played at the concerts, and it all sounds great. These samples (so far) include:

I personally hope they'll do the surfing theme from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, as it's one of my favorite songs from Pokémon. I also hope these concerts will be a success so then it'll come to more cities, and have a chance to show everyone how magical the Pokémon universe is.

Buy tickets here for the D.C. show, and here for the Philadelphia show.


Daily Easter Egg #5: Pikachu Hates PlayStation!

Who knew that such a cute little creature could harbor so much console-related rage?

Hey You, Pikachu! is a game that was released on November 6, 2000 for the Nintendo 64 where the player gets to raise a wild Pikachu by talking it through various mini games and other tasks. Pikachu responds to your voice in various ways depending on what you say. If the player says the word "PlayStation" to Pikachu, it will get angry and do a thunderbolt attack! This is a reference to the fierce competition Nintendo had with Sony at the time, one of their greatest rivals. Sony is to Nintendo what Blue is to Red, one could say. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Many Reasons Why I'll Always Be a Nintendo Fan

Nintendo was pretty much top dog (or should I say top Nintendog?) back when gaming was in its infancy, and their only real competition at the time was Sega. Nowadays, the market is more divided, and they’ve got the likes of Sony, Microsoft, and even the PC gaming market to worry about. The fanbases for each system are just as divided. When I tell people that I am a Nintendo fan, the reactions tend to be as random as the mini game selection in Mario Party. On one hand, there are people who grew up with it like I did, and they tend to agree with me. On the other hand, there are people who think Nintendo is for babies and gamers who like rehashes of the same games year after year. My brother is one of the latter, and he often asks why I remain a fan even though I’m not a kid anymore. Well, the answer to that question is both simple and complex—much like Nintendo games themselves.
Take Pokémon for example; it appeals to players both young and old, casual and hardcore alike. Games like these grow up with you because they remain relevant and playable no matter what age you are. When you were young, much akin to one Youngster Joey, romping through the tall grass in your super comfy shorts, you probably played through the main storyline of Pokémon, trained a decent team, and beat the Elite Four and that was it. The core gameplay of Pokémon is simple enough for younger players to enjoy. But when you go back and play Pokémon again as an adult (and you're more Cool Trainer than Youngster) you find that there's elements to the game that are geared towards more mature players.  EV training, IV breeding, competitive battling, and shiny hunting are more complex aspects Pokémon that are challenging enough to keep even the most hardcore Pokémon masters entertained.  The reason why Pokémon is loved by so many people is because it was designed with a large, multi-generational audience in mind—much like many other Nintendo games.
Pokémon appeals to all ages, no matter how weird your friends think you are for playing it.
I love how Nintendo games are often bigger than themselves and bridge the generational gap. It's a prime example of excellent game design when the game can remain relevant and enjoyable no matter what age you are. It becomes less about sales and doing what's mainstream and more about gameplay; that's how they stay afloat as a company and continue to have much success. In fact, Eiji Aonuma, producer of The Legend of Zelda series, says that he doesn't pay attention to sales when creating a new Zelda game; he'd rather focus on memorable gameplay. The same rings true for the design of many other Nintendo games too. Whether you're playing with puppies, saving Princess Peach for the 1000th time, giving a hand in the toilet some paper in exchange for a questionable heart piece, or saving the galaxy by committing mass genocide, you're having the time of your life doing it because it's a Nintendo game and that means awesome gameplay. Many people criticize the company saying that they don't invest enough in next gen graphics or more mature gameplay. However, Nintendo argues that the graphical styles and gameplay mechanics they choose set them apart from other companies, and I think that's true. Look at how people criticized The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker when it first came out for looking so childish. Now, 10 years after its release, even the normal, non HD version cell-shaded graphics for the Gamecube still look excellent. That was a smart move on the developers' part; not many games from 2003 look as good as The Wind Waker.  In terms of gameplay, Nintendo games usually aren't on the violent side, which is why some people say their games are for babies. I disagree—a game doesn't have to be violent to be fun. I've had more fun playing Animal Crossing than Grand Theft Auto. Many may criticize the Nintendo formula, but there's no doubt that it works. Part of the reason why it works so well is because of the amazing team of developers, directors, and presidents that Nintendo has.

Just a hand in the toilet, nothing to see here.
Seriously, who could not love the likes of Shigeru Miyamoto, Reggie Fils-Aime, Satoru Iwata, and Masahiro Sakurai (to name a few)? I love how involved these guys get with the fans. You can really tell that they love what they're doing, and how passionate they are about their work. They're also the kind of people who listen to what their fans want as well. Heck, it even says so on the Nintendo of America twitter page that they listen to the fans. Because these guys are so present in the public eye, it really makes you feel as if you're part of the Nintendo family and that you know these guys personally (or that you'd really like to)! I love how that because the higher ups at Nintendo are larger than life, it really gives the impression that they love the the games and the company as much as you do and that provides to the fans a real sense of involvement in the company itself. It's just nice to know that they care as much as the fans do. You get the whole experience with Nintendo, and there's nothing else like it in the world.
Shigeru Miyamoto, Satoru Iwata, Reggie Fils-Aime, and Masahiro Sakurai, everyone

To me, both Nintendo as a company and the games they produce are just so magical (although I don't know how it gets very much more magical than the picture above). Who could ever forget the first time they heard the iconic Mario Bros theme song, or when they received their very first Pokémon, or when they stepped foot into Hyrule for the first time? Nintendo games are all about the overall experience, and their games more often than not have a lasting impression on all who play them. Takashi Tezuka, one of the developers of the upcoming Wii U title, Yoshi's Wooly World, said something that really struck me. He said in a developer diary that he wanted to create a game that brings a smile to your face just by owning it. That to me is just so wholesome, and I don't think there are many other gaming companies who take as much pride in their games as Nintendo does. And the fans are the same way—we proudly stand by Mario, Yoshi, Samus, Link, and even Wario—and he smells like garlic and B.O. It's a great time to be a Nintendo fan right now, even though people have been quick to start predicting its demise (Amiibo Apocalypse anyone?). Fans stick by the company in the good times and the bad—just as they were there to cheer us up when we were down as kids and even as adults. No, Nintendo isn't going anywhere soon, and as they displayed at E3, effectively winning and stealing the show, they have a lot in store for the future. I guess maybe the biggest reason why I'll always be a Nintendo fan is because they're always moving forwards, never giving up, always innovating, and continuously proving people wrong.

Daily Easter Egg #4: Super Mario Sunshine Sirena Beach Gamecube Controller

The Sirena Beach area in Super Mario Sunshine, my favorite area from the game! Photo courtesy of

This is one of those easter eggs that when you hear about it, it doesn't really make sense, but when you see it you go "Oh! I see it now!"
Sirena Beach is an area you gain access to towards the end of the game that is partially shaped like a Gamecube controller! The two big circles make up the upper part of the controller, while the left of these circles has the A, B, X, and Y buttons, and the right being the control stick. Below that are the two small huts that represent the D-pad and C-stick. A torch marks where the start button would be, and beach chairs are located where on the controller says "Nintendo Gamecube". The whole thing is shaped as if the bottom of the controller would be pointing away from you, and the hotel isn't a part of the controller.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Daily Easter Egg #3: Bella Goth Sims 2 Mystery/Easter Eggs

Keeping up with appearances: How Bella Goth has looked in every Sims game so far.
The Sims is a series that is very near and dear to my heart (yes, I love games besides those published  by Nintendo, believe it or not). I've played every version since the very first one, and I have become very familiar with a certain Sim named Bella Goth. She has appeared in every Sims game so far, and will make an appearance in the newest game in the franchise, The Sims 4, set to release soon. However, in the second installment of the game, The Sims 2, she is shrouded in mystery.
In the base version of the game, there are 3 towns to choose from: Pleasantview, Strangetown, and Veronaville. In Pleasantview, Bella is considered to be a missing person, and can be seen on the backs of milk cartons. According to the story told in Pleasantview, Bella was abducted by aliens, and many members of her family have memories of this event. In fact, if a Sim uses a fingerprint scanner on some items in the Goth household, it will show that she touched much of the furniture. In the game, her icon isn't grayed out when displayed in memories, which means she's not dead, but the only way to have this version of Bella present and playable in Pleasantview is by a cheating device.  Switch over to Strangetown, and a slightly different Bella can be found there with no memories of her family in Pleasantview. This whole Bella fiasco is one big easter egg because it revolves around a classic and iconic character from the series, and seeing her face on the milk carton as a kid really intrigued me and made me want to solve the mystery. However, the Bella Goth easter eggs don't end there.
She can supposedly be found floating around in a hot air balloon with her brother Michael in The Sims 2, and many speculated that was where she disappeared to.
Bella and Michael in the hot air ballon. These figures look more like their  Sims 1 counterparts.
Also in The Sims 2, there is a portrait of Bella Goth you can buy and hang in your Sims' home called "Bella Squared". If you place this painting in a Sims' home in Strangetown, this will cause Bella Goth to appear, much like how the Tragic Clown would appear in Sims' houses in The Sims 1 when his painting was hung on the wall, except less creepy.
The "Bella Squared" portrait.
There are also Bella easter eggs to be found in The Sims 3 (strap yourselves in kids because there's a ton). There is a children's book called "Where's Bella?" that young Sims can read. This is both a reference to Bella's plight in The Sims 2 and "Where's Waldo?".
Moving on from books to bookcases, a picture of Bella Goth from the Sims 2 era can be seen displayed on one of the bookcases you can place in your Sims' home.
If your Sim is a private investigator, when they are searching for evidence they'll occasionally say, "This reminds me of when Bella went missing... I need to keep looking.": yet another reference to Bella going missing in The Sims 2.
Your Sims will occasionally sketch and paint Bella and her daughter, Cassandra on either an easel or drafting table if their skill is high enough.
Yet another Bella painting was available for download from The Sims 3 store in a pack called "The Dawn of The Sims" along with one of the Tragic Clown from the original Sims game.
When The Sims 3: Generations is installed, a new wallpaper called "Bella Gothic Wallpaper" can be bought in game.
Space rocks called "Unusual Bellacite" can be found by Sims.
Your Sims can donate to the "Bella Beneficiary" charity.
And finally, a stage backdrop in The Sims 3: Showtime is said to be based on Bella's nightmares.

Can you tell that EA/Maxis is a little obsessed with this character? Creepy obsessions aside, I'm glad they put all these little goodies in the game for fans to find and speculate about (I didn't even cover all of them, just the ones I thought were the most interesting). The Sims is probably one of the most easter egg laden franchises out there, and they have a lot more to offer than just Bella Goth easter eggs. I can't wait to share the other little surprises these games have to offer, as well as discover what the upcoming game has in store in terms of easter egg goodness.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Daily Easter Egg #2: Totaka's Song

This simple song can be found in many games that Kazumi Totaka composed music for

The first time I heard this little tune was in the original Animal Crossing. It appears as K.K. Song in every Animal Crossing title, and everyone's favorite musical doggie K.K. Slider (or Totakeke, his Japanese name) is named after Kazumi Totaka himself. As it turns out, this song doesn't only appear in Animal Crossing games, but in a slew of other titles as well. It can be heard in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Mario Paint, Luigi's Mansion, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Pikmin 2, Yoshi's Story, and in many other games too. It is still being determined whether or not this song is in more recent titles Totaka has worked on. Usually the song is pretty well hidden within certain areas of the game and will only play after a certain amount of time has passed.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Daily Easter Egg #1: Majora's Mask in Link's House in A Link Between Worlds

Majora's Mask can be seen on the right wall in Link's house. You can even merge with the wall to "wear" it! Photo credit:
Today's easter egg comes from a fairly new game, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. The interesting thing about this easter egg is not necessarily that it's there, but the connotation it apparently has. According to an interview done on Facebook, Eiji Aonuma (one of the producers of The Legend of Zelda) said that this easter egg shows that Nintendo hasn't forgotten about Link's adventures in Termina, and fans should play A Link Between Worlds to see what he means. Therefore many fans have assumed that this means that a 3DS remake is on the way. Of course, Aonuma said all that before the game was released, so he may have just been building up hype for the game so more people would buy it. As of now, after E3, no announcement of a remake has been made to much disappointment, but speculation still exists. Many still have faith that a remake will be released; hopefully we won't meet with a terrible fate and eventually get one.


UPDATE! In a Nintendo Direct, it was announced that Majora's Mask 3D will be coming to the 3DS in Spring 2015. Looks like Aonuma was listening after all! See my 5 hopes for the game here