Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered detailed – PlayStation.Blog

Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered detailed by James Stevenson for the PlayStation Blog

Public confusion about upgrade paths and access aside; Holy cow! Taking a two year old game and slapping a new *code* of paint on it is yielding incredible results. I am so flipping stoked to see ray tracing on my own TV and games. I am curious what the final resolution will be for both the “Performance Mode” with its 60fps and the normal 30fps mode.

The other big news is the entirely new face of Peter Parker. Like, Insomniac cast an entirely different face. It’s wild.

This does bring us to one of the bigger changes. In order to bring the best performances to players with our next-generation Marvel’s Spider-Man games, we have recast the face of Peter Parker. We loved working with John Bubniak on the original game; however, to get a better match to Peter Parker/Spider-Man actor Yuri Lowenthal’s facial capture, we have cast Ben Jordan to be the face model for Peter Parker on the PS5 console. He looks incredible in-game, and Yuri’s moving performances take on a new life.

The technical reasoning makes sense. It’s hardly a secret that Insomniac is working on a proper Marvel’s Spider-Man sequel. Building this next-gen model of Peter is the right call for the development process, especially if Peter makes an appearance in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It’s just strange that Peter now looks younger than Miles. Sure, the comparison shots in that particular tweet show Miles one year after the events of Marvel’s Spider-Man, but it’s not like Miles was a spring chicken in that game either. I wonder if they tweaked other main characters like Mary Jane or Miles. Heck, did Aunt May get the younger treatment?

Cutting the Hair: The History of Neil Druckmann’s Hair during the PS4 Era

A silver-foxed lining of staying at home in 2020 is that folks around the world are growing out their hair in pursuit of the “man bun.” While the idea of having a man bun is a fantasy for some, one man in the video game industry has been in leveling up his hair stat for over seven years: Neil Druckmann.

Continue reading “Cutting the Hair: The History of Neil Druckmann’s Hair during the PS4 Era”

Amazon announces new cloud gaming service called Luna – The Verge

Amazon announces new cloud gaming service called Luna by Andrew Webster for The Verge

It’s not clear when Luna will launch widely, but it will initially be available on PC, Mac, Fire TV, and iPhone and iPad (via web apps), with an Android version planned for after launch. Amazon says that interested users in the US can request early access to the service starting today. There’s no word on international availability.

The service will be available for an “introductory price” of $5.99 a month during its early access phase, which gives subscribers the ability to play Luna Plus channel games across two devices simultaneously and offers 4K / 60fps resolution for “select titles.” Naturally, it will be powered by AWS, Amazon’s ubiquitous web platform.

I wonder which company will kill their game streaming service first; Google or Amazon?

Next-Gen SSD Storage Options and Pricing

Best Buy went ahead and listed the custom 1TB SSD memory card for the Xbox Series consoles for pre-order at $219.99. The hardcore gamers will have to pay nearly half the console’s price (or nearly the whole console if buying a Xbox Series S) to double their storage. It’s a steep price to pay to manage your solid state drive less often.

Expanding the PS5 SSD storage is a different story. Mark Cerny revealed that users could expand the storage themselves with NVMe SSDs. The catch was, they’d have to wait until consumer NVMe SSDs caught up with the speed of the PS5’s own SSD. Cerny said that Sony would provide a list of recommended drives when they become available.

It sounds like Samsung’s NVMe M.2 drive that uses PCIe 4.0 has the speed, according to The Verge back in September 2020, with read/write speeds of 7,000MB/s and 5,000MB/s. Those particular drives have 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB (the 2TB model is supposed to release later this year). Those are currently priced at $89.99, $149.99, $229.99, and the 2TB doesn’t have a price yet.

Leaving upgrades to the user definitely gives them more options, but can lead to confusion, especially if the installation is tricky. Swapping the PS4 or PS4 Pro hard drive was simple, but we have no idea how easy that will be on PS5. Xbox users can use traditional hard drives, if they are USB 3.1 or USB 3.2, but they will only run and play older games. Xbox Series console games and features require the custom SSD.

It reminds me of SD cards for cameras or the Nintendo Switch. I buy the size I want for the price I am willing to spend. 1TB SD cards run roughly $350~, but a 128GB micro SD card is roughly $20~ and is perfect for my Switch.

I could also see the cost of the NVMe drives going down sooner, since they serve a wider market. More competition to drive the prices down. The Xbox 1TB drive is currently made solely by Seagate and is a proprietary drive, which could lead to it keeping its current price for longer. Either way, upgrading the storage on these next-gen consoles is going to be a tough pill to swallow for the first year or two.

Inside Microsoft’s design of the new Xbox Series S and X – Fast Company

Inside Microsoft’s design of the new Xbox Series S and X by Mark Wilson for Fast Company

“We think about our console as part of the environment you live in as our customer,” says Phil Spencer, executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft. “While there’s an opening of the box and you want that to be fantastic, once you put that console wherever you put it, we hope you never have to touch it again, hope you never have to hear from it again, and it just plays great games. . . . It’s not the center of attention.”

As if to prove this point, Spencer conducted an interview in July, from his home office, before the Xbox Series S design was made public. Look into the background, and you can see the S peeking out between a stack of books. And no one noticed until Microsoft revealed the ruse last week.

I love interviews exploring hardware design and Mark Wilson delivers for the two new Xbox consoles. It’s easy to look at the new Xbox systems and forget their look, which is precisely what Xbox wants. They clearly went function over form, while still sprinkling in some flourishes. My favorite touch is on the Xbox Series X with its green plastic beneath the upper ventilation holes. Gives just the right amount of that iconic Xbox shade of green. Reminds me of the Xbox goo that was apart of the origianl Xbox console’s OS.

On the flipside with the PS5, Sony definitely put more flare out there. It’s unclear the form vs function ratio going on with the PS5, but it certainly does not fade from memory. It is very Sony in its design, which is a positive point to me.

I do enjoy the PS5’s look more than the Xbox Series consoles. I am also excited that we got such widely different looks to pair with the different approach the consoles all seem to be taking technically. Makes for a far more exciting launch and generation than similar specs inside similar boxes.

Will the Xbox Series S hold back next-gen gaming? – The Verge

Will the Xbox Series S hold back next-gen gaming? by Tom Warren for The Verge

Ever since the official announcement of the Xbox Series S, I have been trying to comprehend how it will limit developers and consumers going forward into the next console generation. Tom Warren of The Verge seemed to have the same thoughts.

Microsoft revealed its Xbox Series S console last week, aiming to offer more budget-friendly next-gen gaming for $299. The console is specifically targeted at 1440p resolution rather than 4K, leading to some lingering questions and confusion around just how well it will play next-gen games. There are concerns around the GPU performance, memory, and whether the Series S could hold back next-gen gaming. I got a chance to speak with Jason Ronald, Microsoft’s director of Xbox program management, to dig into what’s really going on with the Xbox Series S.


Billy Khan, a lead engine programmer at id Software, shared Gneiting’s concerns. “The memory situation is a big issue on the S,” said Khan in another deleted tweet. “The much lower amount of memory and the split memory banks with drastically slower speeds will be a major issue. Aggressively lowering the render resolutions will marginally help but will not completely counteract the deficiencies.”

Sasan Sepehr, a senior technical producer at Remedy Entertainment, also shared a brief concern. “As a consumer, I love this,” said Sepher on Twitter. “As a Technical Producer, I see trouble.”

It is ironic that some of the quotes from this article were from id Software developers, which were just purchased by Microsoft this week. These concerns don’t seem to phase Microsoft though, at least on the surface.

“We did a lot of analysis of what it would really mean to run a game at 4K with 60fps and then to scale that down to 1440p at 60fps,” says Jason Ronald, Microsoft’s director of Xbox program management, in an interview with The Verge. “The reality is you don’t need as much memory bandwidth because you’re not loading the highest level MIP levels into memory. You don’t need the same amount of memory as well.”

While thinking about all the differences between the two new Xbox consoles, I kept switching tabs and sources to figure it all out. So to spare you the same fate, I whipped up a table below with all the specs for both the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X officially from their product pages on Xbox’s website. I also threw in the PlayStation 5 specs to put it all in one place.

Xbox Series SXbox Series XPlayStation 5
Processor – CPU8X Cores @ 3.6 GHz (3.4 GHz w/SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU8X Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.66 GHz w/SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPUx86-64-AMD Ryzen Zen 2
8 Cores / 16 Threads
Variable frequency, up to 3.5 GHz
Processor – GPU4 TFLOPS, 20 CUs @1.565 GHz12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU10.3 TFLOPS,
Variable frequency, up to 2.23 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
System on a Chip (SOC) Size197.05 mm360.45 mm
Process7nm Enhanced
Memory (RAM)10GB GDDR6 128 bit-wide bus16GB GDDR6 w/320 bit-wide bus16GB GDDR6 w/256 bit¹
Memory Bandwidth8GB @ 224 GB/s, 2GB @ 56 GB/s10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s448GB/s Bandwidth
Internal Storage512GB Custom NVME SSD1TB Custom NVME SSD825GB Custom SSD
I/O Throughput2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)5.5GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)²
Video Resolution1440p2160p (4K)2160p (4K)
FramerateUp to 120fpsUp to 120fpsUp to 120fps
1 & 2 – Taken from Eurogamer‘s report on PS5’s specs

I won’t pretend to know how each one of these differences measures up in game development. I’ll leave that to the people that actually make games. As someone with their ear to the ground regarding this industry though, I have a hard time hearing and believing the idea that native 4K gaming is a difference of 8 TFLOPS, 6 GB of RAM at significantly lower bandwidth. Xbox One X, which is both more and less powerful than the Xbox Series S, was capable of 4K gaming, a point Xbox used regularly in their marketing. Numbers don’t paint the whole picture, but I feel like they present a clear outline.

The Xbox Series S is the lowest common denominator for third party titles now. Not only do Xbox Game Studios have two SKUs to worry about, but third party developers like Activision and Ubisoft have to reign in their games for Xbox Series X and PS5 to make sure that the games run well on Xbox Series S. Maybe developers will build for the Xbox Series X and PS5, then figure out how to scale down to Xbox Series S, but that jeopardizes that lower-end version’s performance; both technically and possibly commercially.

We won’t really know how hamstrung design and development will be until we actually see the fruits of labor. Even then, it won’t necessarily be this year, especially with third party developers make cross-generational games, thus making the Xbox Series S actually a higher tier version of whatever game. We may get a taste of the restrictions, but probably won’t get a full, juicy comparison until a year or two into the generation. We are only 50 odd days out from the launch of the next-gen consoles, but I can’t help but feel like Xbox is already putting an arrow in the knee of next-gen development.

The Cross-Generational Bottleneck

In the bloody confusing aftermath of the PlayStation 5 stream, Sony confirmed that Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Horizon Forbidden West are also launching on PS4. After believing in generations it seems that Sony also believes in its PS4 install base.

It’s no secret that I have voiced concerns about Xbox’s own public promise to support cross generational support for its Xbox consoles. The wider the range of supported hardware, the more work it is for the developers and the more it can limit the upward potential of the game. Now Sony has promised three major first party titles are cross generational.

This is great (just like it is for Xbox) for those consumers that don’y want to or can’t upgrade to the next gen consoles. You aren’t left behind. Nintendo has done this before with popular Zelda titles. It is definitely a win for consumers.

My concern stems from the development process. I may not know the ins and outs of making a video game, but I do know hardware is the determining factor in how far a game can go technically. When Xbox says that Halo Infinite will be playable across six different Xbox-focused platforms and then the practically infinite (heh) possibilities with PC, there has to be restrictions in the game’s design to make it work. It’s been like this in PC gaming forever.

Sony touted a belief in generations and making experiences only possible on new hardware. This gives devs the highest possible ceiling to shoot towards. Then after the PS5 price reveal, Sony announced that some of their new PS5 games would also be launching on PS4. I can just hear the cassette tape rewinding.

It would be entirely foolish for Sony to ignore their install base of 125+ million PS4 consoles. They never were just going to flip a switch and stop supporting their second best selling console when the PS5 launched. It’s the same as Nintendo with the DS, Wii, and 3DS.

Are these new games built on PS4 and crammed with PS5 enhancements or built PS5 and then scaled down for the PS4? It feels like to me that these have to be scaled up from the PS4 based off loading specifications of the PS5 SSD. The PS4 physically cannot match the performance there, creating a huge limitation.

Spider-Man makes sense to me. As I’ve previously pointed out, Insomniac and Spider-Man in particular have had a long lead time with the PS5 and its technology. It does strike me as odd to not announce this compatibility back when Miles Morales was announced. Either way, it’s a slight blow to the list of reasons to snag a PS5 at launch.

Sackboy also makes sense. I can’t imagine this cute platformer is really pegging the PS5 hardware for all it’s worth.

Horizon Forbidden West on the other hand; what a total surprise! I think this reveals quite a bit about Aloy’s next adventure. Right off the bat, I think that Forbidden West is a Spring 2021 game. Pair that with God of War in Holiday 2021 and Sony has a strong first year of PS5 titles. This also indicates that Forbidden West does not have game design and/or mechanics that require the PS5 hardware like a game like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and its instant world traveling mechanics.

This doesn’t mean Forbidden West is not goingn to take advantage of the PS5’s SSD or ridiculous I/O speeds or the 3D Audio Tempest Engine. I’m sure the game will run at 4K (possibly 60fps since it will be on PS4 too?). It’ll look and play great.

What it does mean is that Guerrilla is developing three versions (PS4, PS4 Pro, and PS5). They are automatically shackled by the restrictions of the eight-year-old PS4 in how far they can push their design. It also means more time for testing, optimization, and fixing bugs. They have to pour their time, energy, and focus into three versions instead of one. That is a developmental hurdle.

It still is a good transitional move for consumers, if the PS4 versions run and perform well. It would be a real mess if they PS4 versions ran poorly and weren’t even worth players’ time, but I highly doubt that’ll happen.

A key difference between Xbox and PlayStation here is the longevity of this cross-generational support. Xbox flat out promised first-party titles for two years. Sony has promised three launch window games. This gives Sony a blank check to fill in, either with more cross-gen titles or full-blown PS5 exclusives. God of War is a good option for the semi-near future. What check will they write Kratos?

Xbox could and probably will back out of this two year promise with some games. It’s already had questions pop up around it. Frankly, I think Xbox needs to cut ties with hardware support for Xbox One and somehow transition those consoles (Xbox One S and One X specifically) to xCloud boxes. Then, their hardware cap is mostly removed freeing up developers.

At some point, this bottleneck will naturally close. The PS4 will look at the rabbits by the river while the PS5 stands behind it and talks about the great farm where all the PlayStation consoles go. The same will happen for Xbox and the console cycles will go on. Heading into the next generation though, I’m not as confident of a shift transition as I was earlier this year. It was much easier when Cell architecture was involved.

PS5 Release Date, Pricing, and Launch Line-Up Revealed

The PS5 will launch on November 12, 2020 at $499.99 and the Digital PS5 will launch at $399.99. Pre-orders are live at certain retailers as of this writing (this has been sitting on my desktop for a few days). Here is the launch line-up from Sony:

  • Astro’s Playroom (Japan Studio) – pre-installed on PS5
  • Demon’s Souls (Bluepoint Games / Japan Studio) – US$69.99/¥7,900/€79.99 (RRP)
  • Destruction All Stars (Lucid Games / XDEV) – US$69.99/¥7,900/€79.99 (RRP)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales (Insomniac Games) – US$49.99/¥5,900/€59.99 (RRP)
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man: Mile Morales Ultimate Edition (Insomniac Games) – US$69.99/¥7,900/€79.99 (RRP)
  • Sackboy A Big Adventure (Sumo Digital / XDEV) – US$59.99/¥6,900/€69.99 (RRP)


Now with that sigh out of the way and it being replaced by the stress of waiting to see how preorders shake out, I want to explore the date and pricing options, because this generation is spicy.

The fact that the launch day being just two days after the Xbox Series X and S is a hoot. I believe this is the closest PlayStation and Xbox have launched new hardware to one another and it makes for an expensive week for the hardcore consumer.

As for the launch games, I am glad that Spider-Man is day one. I was surprised to see Demon’s Souls also make day one, but am stoked for my friends that love the Souls games. I can see myself snagging Sackboy since I’ll be wrapped up in the new console hype, but we shall see.

The pricing is far more intriguing. Sony hit the right price point by match Xbox at $500 for both PS5 Disc-Based and Series X. The real juicy bits come from the disc-less PS5 (aka Digital PS5) and the Xbox Series S. The digital PS5 is identical to the PS5, minus the disc drive (hence the name), but it comes in at $100 less. This allows Sony to technically undercut Xbox’s high-end offering. Sony may be eating the loss upfront, but over the course of the digital PS5, they will make more money since more, if not all sales, will go through their own store, earning them a larger cut.

The Xbox Series S on the other hand comes in at a cool $300, but has performance setbacks, mainly limiting its visuals to 1440p and Xbox One S levels of backward compatibility. There is a different amount of RAM and both a slightly less powerful CPU and GPU. Plays the same games, but not as well and for who knows how long. It’s like Xbox is launching a “phat” first gen console and the slim at the same time.

The other piece to the financial puzzle is Xbox’s installment plans (dubbed “Xbox All Access”) for the new consoles. For $25/month for the Series S and $35/month for the Series X, consumers can get the the latest console plus Game Pass, which includes all Xbox first party games and plenty of third party options. There is no up front cost and 0% APR. In two years, the console is theirs and they can chose whether or not to keep the Game Pass subscription, currently $15/month.

On store shelves, this makes for an unprecedented launch. Next gen consoles have a range of $200 from day one. Right out of the gate, consumers have four options with varying features. Not to mention the range in game prices. 4K is practically standard in all TVs these days. I’m not sure how the adoption rate compares to the jump from standard definition CRT televisions to flat-panel HDTVs, but I feel like 4K is more widely common since television prices can be dirt cheap.

Even if consumers have a 4K capable TV, do they care if their TV shows, movies, and games are in 4K? I’m not sure, millions were content with using a Wii for Netflix for years. If that’s how the mass market feels about 4K gaming, I can easily see the Series S dominating average consumer demand. On the flip-flop, Xbox actively advertises Game Pass, which now comes with xCloud. Over the next couple years, I imagine xCloud will be widely available on TVs, phones, etc. So will the average consumer simply opt for the monthly subscription service and just stream their Xbox games? Will this push people toward buying a PS5 as their dedicated gaming hardware?

The price range and slew of choices for consumers going into this console generation is unprecedented. Holiday sales may give a quick glimpse of longer term sales/market share, but I imagine supply will be low and demand high, just like it usually is for hot, new consoles.

Remembering Super Mario 64 DS

A great Super Mario 64 port already exists, on the Nintendo DS by Ana Diaz for Polygon

True fans have been asking for the King to return. The impending release of the Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection has had me walking down memory lane back to the summer after the release of Nintendogs in April 2004. I was getting ready to get my own DS and was extremely excited. One day after church, my Dad took me around town in his truck looking for an Electric Blue Nintendo DS just like my friend had gotten for his birthday. The plan was to buy the Electric Blue DS bundled with Super Mario 64 DS and snag a copy of Nintendogs too.

Unfortunately, the Electric Blue DS was a hot commodity in the summer of 2004 and every store we stopped at was sold out. Our last stop was a Walmart and they too were sold out, but they did have a Titanium Silver DS bundled with the Metroid Prime Hunters: First Hunt demo. I decided to buy that system instead of waiting to find the Electric Blue. This decision did force me to chose between Super Mario 64 DS and Nintendogs thought; two games I was incredibly eager to play. I ended up choosing Super Mario 64 DS and would end up getting Nintendogs later on.

I had played Super Mario 64 before at neighbor kids’ houses, but I never owned it myself (and wouldn’t until I bought it in college for $15). This portable remaster/upgrade was my first real introduction to the game. I must have played over 100 hours between the main game and all the multiplayer minigames with my friends. I absolutely loved this game growing up.

After the announcement of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, I decided to download a copy of Super Mario 64 DS on my Wii U. You read that right. The Wii U has a nicely curated selection of Nintendo DS games for $9.99 or less. I was fiddling around with the game, capturing some footage, and I realized how much this portable version actually changed from the N64 original. Ana Diaz puts highlights the changes in the linked post:

Mario 64 DS wasn’t just a carbon copy of the Nintendo 64 game. It added a plethora of new content. This included a whopping 30 new stars, entirely new areas, and secret stars. It brought in Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario as playable characters. It also boasted a catalog of 36 touchscreen-based minigames. Those are just some of the highlights.

I’m not here to say that more content is inherently better. What made this port work was that the new content enhanced and improved on the experience of the original game.

This strikes me as the kinda of remake in the same vein as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. When remaking Metal Gear Solid for the GameCube, Silicon Knights decided to fuse the gameplay from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty with the original game’s setting and plot. While not necessarily a graphical powerhouse upgrade over the original, Super Mario 64 DS does add new gameplay elements and modernizes some of the original game while keeping its spirit. The one star per level structure was always a perfect format for portable play and Peach’s Castle shined on the DS.

It really is a bummer that Super Mario 64 DS really has never been properly acknowledged after its initial release. Maybe if Nintendo ever decides to truly remake Super Mario 64 (maybe with the Super Mario Odyssey engine), they’ll turn to the DS version instead as their foundation.

Connected #311: The Rickies (September 2020) – Relay FM

Connected #311: The Rickies (September 2020) – Relay FM

If you’ve never listened to Connected before, this would be a great time to try the show out. The Rickies are a prediction-focused episode before Apple events. With Apple’s September event just around the corner, there’s no better time to get in on all the shenanigans and japes than right now. This show is one of my must-listen podcasts every week.

They are also raising money for St. Jude all month long, so it would also be a great time to donate

Xbox Series S Officially Announced at 3 AM

It seems that leaking the actual console design, price point, and release date was the leak that broke the dam. After Windows Central reported that the Xbox Series X and S would release on November 10 at $500 and $300, respectively Xbox decided to confirm the Series S’ existence, design, and $300 price tag. They have remained mum on the Series X pricing and the release date.

The Series S is all-digital, supports raytracing, 1440p up to 120fps, 4K upscaling for games, 4K media playback, and has a 512GB SSD. No other specs were officially revealed, but since the Series S has been one of, if not the, worst kept secret for this upcoming generation, I think it is safe to bet on the previously leaked specs.

The key differences between the Series X and S lie in the GPU, RAM, output, and storage. The GPU is reported as having less than half the compute units (20 CUs vs the Series X’s 52 CUs) and only a third of the teraflops with 4TF instead of 12TF. The RAM is reportedly only 10GBs of GDDR6 instead of the Series X’s 16 GB. The Series X does have an interesting combination of RAM though, with 10 GB at a speed of 560 GB/s and the remaining 6 GB at 336 GB/s. I wonder if the Series S’ RAM will be at 560 GB/s or 336 GB/s.

I find the more interesting comparison for the Series S is between it and the Xbox One X. While the CPU and GPU are less powerful on the One X, its GPU does have 40 CUs and 6TF. The One X has 12 GB of GDDR5 RAM at 326 GB/s. It also outputs full 4K gameplay, instead of upscaling it and comes with a disc drive. Unfortunately, the Xbox One X was discontinued in July 2020.

The $300 price tag is going to grab a lot of people’s attention. It will definitely look better on the shelf next to both the PS5 and the Series X, especially when an electronics department employee is giving a weak pitch. Parents and kids will snag these up quickly. I am curious how the different specs will impact performance and development. Microsoft has promised cross-generational support for many of their games. This adds one more combination of hardware to the mix. Despite all the hemming and hawing surrounding the PS5’s price and date, Sony does have clearing messaging between its two PS5 variants: One has a disc drive, the other does not, otherwise the two boxes are identical. While this won’t lead to a price gap like the Series X and S have, it does make for a cleaner message.

On the flip side, having a price tag of $300 is a much louder message.

Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct – Nintendo

Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct from Nintendo

Sometimes, having hope pans out.

Nintendo sure is acting like Nintendo with some of these Mario 35th anniversary announcements. A Super Mario Bros. 35-player battle royale, Tetris 99 style? Great idea! Let’s only allow people play until March 2021. So Nintendo.

Let’s take three iconic 3D Super Mario games and put them in a single collection for Switch. Swell plan! Let’s also only offer it both physically and digitally until March 2021! Why not?

It would not surprise me if after this March 2021 deadline if Nintendo sells these ports individually and digitally only. Maybe sometime next summer there will be some sort of N64 or GameCube or even Wii virtual console for Switch?

This may also help paint a picture for Nintendo’s plans for The Legend of Zelda and Metroid’s 35th anniversaries, both of which are next year (but who am I kidding, Metroid will get bupkis). There have been rumors of a port of Skyward Sword for Switch for quite a while now. During the Wii U generation, both Wind Waker and Twilight Princess got full HD ports, so I doubt there is a triple pack with those games. Maybe the sequel to Breath of the Wild will release, possibly alongside a new, more powerful Switch?

Speculation and confusion aside, it is great to see Super Mario 3D All-Stars in action and to be able to play in just two weeks! I think this quick turnaround from official announcement to release is a blast. It is a shame we have to wait until February 2021 for Super Mario 3D World+ though.

DF Retro EX: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 – Digital Foundry

DF Retro EX: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 – A Brilliant Remake of a Classic Gaming Series! by John Linneman for Digital Foundry

This is a stellar look at the actual history of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and its sequel. I never knew there were so many ports! I grew up solely on the N64 port of the first game: I still have my blue cartridge that my Dad bought at a garage sale in the neighborhood. I would find tricks and cheat codes on GameFAQs and play for hours in front of our tiny CRT in the basement. I’m stoked to pick up these remakes down the line.

Two is One and One is None

I come to you today to warn you about hard drive corruption. Backup your data. Save yourself the headache, heartache, and wallet-ache that comes with trying to save corrupt data.

Back in April-May, I bought a 5TB external drive and began recording most all of my gameplay. I’ve wanted to build a collection of footage I could use for video projects and reference. After years of capturing guide footage and having to delete it for space, I really wanted to try and start keeping it.

I captured all of my Death Stranding play time and all of The Last of Us Part II. I had some Call of Duty matches, Persona 5, and test footage from my Super NT and GameCube. So far, this had amounted to between 2.5-3 TBs of footage.

Then last weekend I was brainstorming a video idea. I plugged the drive in to transfer new footage and everything was gone. This happened to another drive of mine roughly two months ago, an external SSD, but I had a backup of it through Backblaze. I did not have a backup of the game footage because of its size. I knew the upload would take ages. I completely regret that logic.

I tried using First Aid in Disk Utility on my Macbook. It found out there was corruption. I booted into recovery mode like Disk Utility recommended, but it wasn’t running recovery on the drive. I couldn’t solve it. So I turned to third party software.

I picked Wondershare Recoverit that would scan for free and then I could chose to pay $80 to recover if it found anything. After 12 hours of scanning, it found 2.13 TB of data. I went to preview a file and it prompted for payment with no option to just back out and keep looking at what it actually found. The payment screen showed three tiers, which I was not aware of. There was the basic tier for with the $80 price tag I was expecting. Then there was the top tier that included “advanced video recovery” for $160 lifetime license. I talked to Abby and we decided it’d be okay to go for. After seven hours of moving the data to another drive, everything should have been saved.

Unfortunately, almost every single file was still corrupt. The bits were there, but unplayable in video software. Advanced video recovery required a completely different scan of the drive.

After 28 more hours of scanning and copying to another drive, the software found 12 “recoverable” video files. Once again, unplayable. The “advanced video recovery” seems to just have the files capable of being recovered. Don’t worry, Wondershare sells video recovery software just for that purpose. It was here when I finally gave up. I kept the functioning files (plus all of the footage from The Last of Us Part II, just in case).

I’ve (mostly) accepted my loss. I have definitely learned my lesson. I immediately backed up some essential work video files to four different locations. And now I have begun the long process of backing up my gameplay footage. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Always have a backup.