Thursday Night Stream – Finishing Paper Mario: TTYD – Hero Mode

Picking up from last week, let’s finish the Hero Mode demo for The Thousand-Year Door before my month long quest to race in every single Mario Kart game for Relay FM and St. Jude in September. You can read more about that marathon and check out the schedule here. The campaign has targets for adding more tracks through Mario Kart 64: Amped Up! and adding the All Cup in Double Dash!! You can donate right now!

If we have some extra time, I may just check out the latest N64 core for the MiSTer project…🤔

“Born to Test This Stuff” with Marc “Try4ce” Duddleson

Marc “Try4ce” Duddleson from My Life in Gaming opens up about his passion-fueled creation process before we both just marvel at how the FPGA is powering retro gaming today. Yes, we talk about the RetroTINK 4K. 🤡

Download (77MB) – Episode Transcript

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Continue reading ““Born to Test This Stuff” with Marc “Try4ce” Duddleson”

Streaming Every Single Mario Kart for St. Jude and Relay FM

Every September is childhood cancer awareness month. And since 2019, podcast network Relay FM has raised $2.2 million with their community. For the past three years, I’ve shared and donated, but for 2023 I wanted to do more.

I’ll be streaming myself racing in every track in every single Mario Kart game.12 Every Thursday evening during September from 7:00 PM EST to whenever I beat that night’s slate of games, I’ll be burning rubber and raising money.

You can donate right now!

Here is the schedule:

September 7, 2023 — Race Day #1 Stream Link

  • Super Mario Kart (1992, Super Nintendo, 20 Tracks)
  • Mario Kart 64 (1996, Nintendo 64, 16 Tracks)
  • Mario Kart: Super Circuit (2001, Game Boy Advance, 16 Tracks)

September 14, 2023 — Race Day #2 Stream Link

  • Mario Kart: Double Dash (2003, GameCube, 16 Tracks)
  • Mario Kart DS (2005, Nintendo DS, 32 Tracks)

September 21, 2023 — Race Day #3 Stream Link

  • Mario Kart Wii (2008, Nintendo Wii, 32 Tracks)
  • Mario Kart 7 (2011, Nintendo 3DS, 32 Tracks)

September 28, 2023 — Race Day #4 Stream Link

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017, Nintendo Switch, 96* Tracks)

Total Track Count = 260*

So what’s up with the asterisk? Well, MK8D’s 96 tracks includes all the Booster Course DLC pack, which has one more wave of tracks to drop before the end of 2023. I’m not sure that will release by the end of September, but you never know!

BUT! There is a way you can add more tracks to this month-long race. Thanks to the campaign tools, I can set incentives and such. One tier is to add the All Cup Tour to my Double Dash session, making me play Double Dash twice. Another is to add the fan modded Mario Kart 64: Amped Up, which houses 16 tracks of its own!

Those aren’t the only incentives either. Want to pick which speed I play at? Am I racing in Mirror Mode? Those are the ones I feel like I can safely figure out how to offer. Maybe throughout the month I’ll find ways to let folks pay to pick my racer or kart or controller? I don’t promise any of those three though. 😅

When Relay FM and St. Jude launched the community fundraiser tools last year, my mind began spinning about what I could do this year. I’ve been thinking about this marathon since then. I’m excited to try and raise money the best way I know how. I hope you’ll hang out with me this month, but more importantly, I hope you will donate and help the kids.

1. Okay, I don’t have an arcade machine for Mario Kart Arcade GP. Or those remote controlled, build-your-own track RC cars. I do hear Casey Liss owns those RC cars though.

2. I also won’t be playing vanilla Mario Kart 8 on Wii U. I was torn on this, but the Switch port is the same game with better performance and new racers. The tracks and functionality are identical though.

The Untold Origins of the Metal Gear Mythology – The Escapist

The Untold Origins of the Metal Gear Mythology | Metal Gear Legend by Javed Sterritt for The Escapist

Always love seeing Javed make new videos. This is that Good Blood style I love, but interestingly, published on The Escapist YouTube channel. Happy they hired Javed and let him do his thing. Curious to see where the series goes from here.

Semi-related: When checking back to my chat with Javed earlier this year, I caught a typo in his name. It’s been like that for almost nine months. I am so sorry Javed and readers.

RetroRGB Breaks Down the RetroTINK 4K

Introducing the RetroTINK 4K by Bob for RetroRGB

Here’s a direct link to Bob’s video as well.

With the RetroTINK 4K coming out of an almost year-long private beta and now being publicly tested by some of the best people in retro, I felt it was time to do a proper introduction video. I tried to concentrate on things I felt I could add to the conversation, while also promoting upcoming videos from Digital Foundry, My Life In Gaming, GameSack and Wobbling Pixels; I figured I’d stick to what I’m good at and let them post great example footage. Please consider supporting if you liked what you saw:

I would like to buy a ticket for first class please.

Xbox and Larian Co-Op Solution is to Drop Co-Op

Baldur’s Gate 3 will be coming to Xbox this year, with split-screen removed for Series S by Chris Scullion for VGC

“Super happy to confirm that after meeting Phil Spencer yesterday, we’ve found a solution that allows us to bring Baldur’s Gate 3 to Xbox players this year still, something we’ve been working towards for quite some time. All improvements will be there, with split-screen co-op on Series X. Series S will not feature split-screen co-op, but will also include cross-save progression between Steam and Xbox Series.”

Said solution mentioned yesterday was to remove functionality. I’m sure the Venn diagram of Xbox Series S owners who want to play Baldur’s Gate 3 with local split-screen doesn’t exist. I wonder if this is a green light for devs to just drop gameplay to support Series S better or if this is a case by case situation.

Phil Spencer, Founder of the Modern Day Mid-Gen Refresh, Thinks Mid-Gen Refreshes Cause “A Bunch of Issues”

The definitive Xbox Gamescom interview by Tom Phillips for Eurogamer via VGC

“As soon as you start doing mid-gen refreshes, you’ve got a bunch of issues in front of developers, on what platform they target…”

I’m sure that isn’t an issue now with Series S and X…

From IGN in February:

In a statement to IGN, Larian Studios clarified the situation, saying the studio is “planning to release Baldur’s Gate 3 for PC, Mac, GeForce NOW and PS5.” An Xbox version is in development, but Larian Studios has struggled to get splitscreen co-op working on Xbox Series X|S, causing it to delay an official announcement.

Credit where it is due though, Phil does address Baldur’s Gate 3.

On S, specifically, we designed the box with similarities to X, and clear places where we’re targeting a different performance. And we’re taking feedback from devs including Larian, I met with them today to talk about it and I’m confident we’re going to find a good solution and we’re going to learn.

I don’t see a world where we drop S. In terms of parity, I don’t think you’ve heard from us or Larian, that this was about parity. I think that’s more that the community is talking about it.

Microsoft wants to have their ecosystem on servers and in the cloud. Then this parity issue goes away. Except for the parity of internet connections, screens played on, control interfaces… 🤔

Phil Spencer Wonders how Xbox can Preserve Digital-Only 360 Games After Announcing Closure of 360 Digital Store

The definitive Xbox Gamescom interview by Tom Phillips for Eurogamer via VGC

There’s a list of, what 220 games that are not back compat, and I have that list and I’ve got it stapled on my forehead, and like, how can we make sure [you can play them still?] How many of those are on PC? That’s one thing, because it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be able to play it on the existing hardware that you bought 15 years ago, but preservation is front and centre when all these decisions are made. I will say for us that preservation that’s linked to only one piece of hardware is a challenge. Because there can be hardware love as well – people who love and want this device to do this forever – but mechanical things will break over time. But that’s why we gave people with this decision a year. Let’s say ‘hey, if you want to go buy things in the 360 store, we’re going to give you a year headstart, and you can go get those things’. And just know that the list of the 220 games is something that we see, and we would love to find solutions for those games to continue to play.

Xbox 360 Digital Store Shutting Down Next Summer

The Xbox 360 Store Will Close July 2024, But You Can Keep Playing Your Favorite Games by Dave McCarthy, CVP Xbox Player Services, for Xbox Wire via VGC

On July 29, 2024, Xbox will stop supporting the ability to purchase new games, DLC, and other entertainment content from the Xbox 360 Store on the console and the Xbox 360 Marketplace (

I just bought Castlevania: Mirror of Fate HD the other week so I could play it at 4K for Chapter Select. So many games will become inaccessible to new players. I wish Xbox would flip a sitch and just enable backward compatibility for all physical games, but that will never happen. Xbox stopped adding to the program two years ago.

For as much as Xbox touts accessibility of titles through xCloud, they are done making sure digital games from 360 are up for grabs. I get that maintaining these servers have a cost and add to security vulnerabilities–it’s why Sony wanted to nix the PS3 and Vita shops in 2021, but they reversed that decision. The Wii U and 3DS weren’t so lucky.

But this is Microsoft we are talking about. The company that still has elements of Windows 3.1 in Windows 11. That’s 30-year-old software.

Semi-related side note: Why the heck can’t owners of the physical version of Rare Replay download and use the new port of GoldenEye 007? Totally ridiculous. They use discs as keys for backward compatibility. Why can’t the same be done here?

Chapter Select: Season 6, Episode 1 – Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen

Art inspired by the Pokémon Blue start screen, designed by Max Roberts

We want to be the very best; like no podcast ever was! Welcome to Season 6 of Chapter Select! It is time for us to catch them all as we tackle Pokémon. Hosts Max Roberts and Logan Moore go back to the original 151 to explore what kicked off this multi-billion dollar franchise. Is catching Pocket Monsters today as compelling as it was in 1998?

Download (38MB) – Episode Transcript

Super Chapter Select is a premium version of the show that provides access to longer and exclusive episodes, as well as bonus videos. Sign up for $2.50/month or $20/year to gain access to everything!

Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen

  • Developer – Game Freak
  • Platforms – Game Boy (Game Boy Advance and Nintendo Switch)
  • Release Date – September 28, 1998 (Red and Blue)
    • September 9, 2004 (FireRed and LeafGreen)
    • November 16, 2018 (Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!)
  • Game Directors – Satoshi Tajiri (R/B/Y) and Junichi Masuda (FR/LG/Let’s Go)
  • Producers – Shigeru Miyamoto, Takashi Kawaguchi, Tsunekazu Ishihara (R/B/Y)
    • Hiroyuki Jinnai, Takehiro Izushi, Hiroaki Tsuru (FR/LG)
    • Shigeru Ohmori, Hitoshi Yamagami, Akira Kinashi (Let’s Go)
  • Composer – Junichi Masuda

Metacritic – 81/100 (FireRed and LeafGreen) and 80/100 (Let’s Go)

This episode was originally recorded on May 30, 2022.


Max’s Twitter @MaxRoberts143

Logan’s Twitter @MooreMan12

Researcher, Editor, and Producer – Max Roberts

Hosted by Logan Moore & Max Roberts

Art designed by Max Roberts.

Streaming Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door – Hero Mode

The YouTube algorithm informed me of the existence of a difficult Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door mod dubbed “Hero Mode.” It’s playable on real hardware and with my fancy new modded Spice Orange GameCube1, I figured there would be no better time to try the demo.

The demo apparently goes up to the start of Chapter 2 in the game and if it is as tough as I fear, then it should be a lot of fun. I haven’t seen too much of it, so it will all be a surprise to me! I hope you’ll hang out with me tomorrow night (8/23/23) at 7:00 PM EST.

1. That I streamed modding last week.

New Membership Tier for Super Chapter Select

Hello everybody! Chapter Select Season 6 –Pokémon starts off tomorrow. We’ve already got seven episodes in the bag and cannot wait to share them all with you. The same goes for the Super Chapter Select exclusive battles! It’s been a blast to hunker down and try to learn the ways of competitive Pokémon.

If you would like to watch these battles, as well as listen to longer and exclusive episodes, you just need to sign up for Super Chapter Select, which now has two tiers of membership. There’s the $20/year plan we launched with and now a $2.50/month option as well.

So why offer a much cheaper tier only a month after launch? A few reasons, so let me explain.

The biggest reason we launched with one plan was I wanted simplicity. No muddying the waters with tiers and varying access. I wanted to keep it simple and clean. A factor in that was the way members accessed their exclusive content. I was having trouble figuring out how to use Memberful to verify membership, so I resorted to a password protected page.

Well, I hunkered down and got the Memberful integration sorted out. Now the page is protected by active, verified memberships. This means I can have multiple tiers, that way someone couldn’t pay for one month and then just reuse the password to the page all year long.

This may seem unfair to launch a cheaper plan after folks paid for a $20 one. I promise there will be no backlash, because no one has signed up yet. 😅 While a bit disheartening, I’m still excited and proud of the work. It can live here and be ready for whenever someone wants to support the show. I believe with an active season like Pokémon will help encourage membership.

Thank you all for your support and understanding. I hope you enjoy the launch of Season 6 tomorrow!

Hot, Fresh Homebrewed Consoles

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I moved recently.1 A big component of that has been setting up my new office/studio/game room.2 While a proper tour of the space is needed, I wanted to write about all the console upgrading I have been up to as a part of plugging in all the consoles.

I have all of my consoles plugged in and ready to go at a moment’s notice.3 It’s been a dream for many years. A handful of these consoles have been modified with homebrew software. I’ve done this to digitize physical games, unlock better visuals, and play games in new ways. While setting everything up and powering on these consoles, I figured it would be time to upgrade/update them. This turned into quite the homebrewing adventure.

The consoles on deck are my PS TV and my Wii U. My Wii also has homebrew software, but I haven’t ventured down the digitized library route there yet. My GameCube is up next andI’ll be modding that this Thursday.4 Back to the Wii U and PS TV…

Wii U and Tiramisu

Last March or so, when Logan and I picked Pokémon to be Season 6 of Chapter Select, I started researching how to best capture those DS only titles for the show. That took me down the Wii U homebrew rabbit hole, so I could load my own Nintendo DS ROMs onto the Wii U and tap into Nintendo’s official emulator. Turns out that A) Pokémon games don’t run too well on Wii U and B) that a new method of homebrew installation has hit the scene since then. Dubbed “Tiramisu,” this is the hotness on the Wii U. I figured I would go ahead and modernize my console.

Switching over from Haxchi to Tiramisu wasn’t tough at all. This runs way better, right at boot, without needing to take over (ironically) some DS game.5 My problems came from wanting to install DS games to the Wii U Menu.

Previously, I’d use some software called Loadiine to boot my DS games. There was always a level of jank to that approach that I never enjoyed. Homebrew may improve functionality, but that doesn’t always mean it is the prettiest.

To install them directly on the Wii U, I needed to take one of my DS Virtual Console games and bring the files over to my computer. To do that, I needed to copy the games over to an external hard drive. To read the drive, I needed a backup of my Wii U’s NAND.

Getting that backup with Tiramisu proved to be buggy on my particular setup. I actually had to uninstall Tiramisu and set up an even older method of homebrew just to backup the NAND. Back on Tiramisu, installing my DS ROMs was straightforward, albeit tedious. The biggest hassle was installing my own DS saves. I had to perform this magic dance of booting the game, powering down the console, then loading homebrew software to swap the saves. This dance stops the console from making an automatic save state. This process took so long that I only swapped a handful of saves. I’ll have to tackle the rest some other time.

Then I read about the RetroTINK 4K and My Life in Gaming’s stream of the new scaler. I learned about installing new and better screen layouts for the DS. Given the whole drive behind modifying my Wii U, I had to have these layouts.

Given the encrypted nature of the Wii U drive, the only way to swap these files was to FTP into the Wii U. This was rough. My FTP app of choice, Transmit, kept connecting to the Wii U and maxing out the console’s five client limit. I switched over to Filezilla and had no problem. I did misread the install instructions though. I was deleting the “content” folder on the console and replacing it with the new one. I needed to just merge and overwrite the files instead.

In the end, it worked though! I have the layouts across all my games, important saves where they matter, and a solid setup for Nintendo’s misunderstood darling. I even learned a few new things about the console, like how it only outputs in the limited color range and most of its library renders at 720p. Given this new knowledge, I switched the console’s output to 720p over HD Retrovision component cables and put it into my RetroTINK 5X Pro to upscale to 2160p.

Death to the PS TV, Long Live the PS TV

I came across two options; something called the SD2Vita and a USB mass storage route. The SD2Vita is an adapter that goes into the game card slot and uses an SD card. Hack the system and voilà, you have extra storage. I’m not a fan of this though since it takes up the game slot, not the memory card slot, thus taking my physical games out of play.This left me with the USB mass storage route, which was both easier and more frustrating than I expected.

Yours truly, two years ago. Now I have a SD2Vita adapter. How’d I get here?

I was sick and tired of plugging and unplugging my USB drive at the start of every boot to get all my games to work. I also couldn’t sync a controller to the console, since the USB drive was taken. I only have two physical Vita games. Going down the route of collecting those now is outrageous, so I switched to the logical choice and went all digital via a SD card. This was not as cumbersome as my Wii U journey.

The first step was to make backups of said two physical Vita games. That way, I could load them onto the new storage and still play them. This may have been the easiest task of them all. I just copied the files over via FTP right to my iMac.

Swapping to using the SD2Vita was also fairly easy. I followed Blaine Locklair’s tutorial and was golden. There was a moment of panic though, when I booted up after swapping storage devices: all my homebrew software was gone. 😬 I rebooted and it all came back.

The biggest struggle was copying over all my games from the USB drive to the new SD card. Both devices couldn’t be mounted at the same time. I tried using FTP, but the games were flagged as hidden files on the USB drive and I couldn’t transfer them that way. I ended up plugging in the SD card and my drive into my iMac. From there I was allowed to copy everything over. The only games that didn’t work this way, were those physical backups. So I FTP’d those and they worked right away.

I can’t describe how good it felt to boot up my PS TV and have it all just work. Right away. No fuss. It’s like the console isn’t modded at all. I love having access to my Vita and PSP library in glorious HD. I run this through the RetroTINK too. PSP games look especially great with the LCD mask. Long live the Vita!

Cubes Really are the Best Shape

Since writing the above, I did stream my ultimate GameCube upgrade build process. I swapped the shells, upgraded the fan, and (most importantly) swapped a dead disc drive for an optical disc emulator (ODE); the GC Loader.

I had a grand ol’ time taking both GameCube consoles apart. It was filled with the thrill of success, the frustration of defeat, and the fear of possibly needing to replace 22-year-old thermal paste (I didn’t have to). It’s a full blown insight into my mind during problem solving and focusing on a single-ish task. It’s technical writing and journalism disguised as working on my favorite console.

The biggest hurdle was that SanDisk SD cards aren’t playing nice with the new GC Loader. Thankfully, I was prepared with a backup Samsung card. I just had to wait the 35 minutes or so for everything to copy over. I won’t lie. I am bummed that my physical GameCube collection isn’t usable on either one of my GameCube consoles. The Wii is the only option I have for now. It’s really highlighted a question/thought I’ve had while preparing to play Castlevania for Chapter Select: what matters more (to me); authenticity or accuracy?

The authentic choice would be having the game cartridge or disc and playing on real hardware. The accurate choice would be to play on the consoles or even use FPGA based hardware, like the MiSTer or an Analogue console.6 Then you get into this spiraling rabbit hole of the accuracy of hardware versus software emulation, community or official emulation, etc., etc.

Back when I first wrote about the MiSTer, I talked about this same dance.

I never bought in before for two primary reasons:

  • I do prefer using carts/discs when possible. There is something about the tangibility of media that makes it feel more real. I know this has been embedded in my brain by growing up in the final, physical-only years of gaming, but I can’t shake it…

    …I changed my tune recently thanks to my journey to digitize and preserve my own game collection. Specifically, having my entire SNES and GBA collections–save data and all–available at my fingertips has bridged the physical-first mentality I have had my entire life. With enough searching, you could find any game online, whether you own it or not. That’s been a fact of life for a long, long time. But digitizing my copies of my games has tricked my brain into being happy with that. I’m not out here downloading any and everything; I am keeping the access at my disposal focused.

Turns out I am still struggling with this notion. It feels emotional with the GameCube. Having time wear down the disc drive, thus removing the ability to play the discs, reminds me of how old I am becoming. Things are changing. The way I’d spend hours upon hours with friends playing Melee or how I’d get lost in the fantastical world of Paper Mario. The disc themselves just harbor the code for the game. My save data is backed up and safe: The ones and zeroes representing my memories are still here.

I think, in the end, what matters most to me is the feeling. It’s why I opted for a reproduction cartridge of Legacy of Darkness as opposed to the real thing or emulating it on my Wii. There’s a feeling popping in a N64 cart and using that three pronged majestic controller. I’ve sort of lost a small part of that with the GameCube. I won’t be handling those cute, unique little discs as often. But I’ll still to watch the perfect boot sequence. I still get to use my favorite controller. And if I really want to pop in a disc, I can use my Wii or buy a third GameCube 👀

There is special about homebrew software. The way it unlocks the true potential of a console sparks excitement. It fuels my love to tinker and teaches me new stuff every time I venture down its path. Even though set up can be frustrating or tricky, I thrive off a good technical challenge. It makes me appreciate my consoles and the community more.

1. I’m sorry for the constant stating of this fact, but I had no clue how all consuming moving into a home would be. My brain just feels wracked by it.

2. I really need a better name.

3. Just don’t look at my cable management behind it all. 🫣

4. Turns out I didn’t publish this in time. The stream happened. And the GameCube mod was successful!

5. Sorry Dr. Kawashima.

6. I understand that FPGA consoles are not 100% accurate, but those differences are far too small for me to care.

Metroid Dread Surpasses 3 Million in Sales

MercurySteam CEO talks Metroid Dread success and allegations of ‘chaotic’ production by Jordan Middler for VGC

“We were also very hungry for leaving our own mark on the franchise. And we never ceased to suggest and propose ideas. Many of them ended up in the final product. So, we are very proud of the collaboration between us and Nintendo. And, yeah, as I said, one of the best development experiences we could possibly dream of.”

In 2021 it was alleged that the development of the game was “chaotic,” however, in response to this, Álvarez has pointed to the game’s success as a rebuttal.

“I don’t think the development was chaotic. Chaotic development doesn’t end with one of the best games in the franchise. It doesn’t end with a game that has sold over three point-something million copies. It doesn’t end with a game that won TGA awards. That’s all I have to say about it.”

Not only is Metroid Dread the best selling Metroid game, but it seems to be Mercury Steam’s best selling title as well. Dread is a great game. I beat it at the start of last year and had this to say,

I wrapped 2021 by starting Dread and finished it just a few days into the new year. A stellar game from top to bottom. Mercury Steam put forward such slick design. Samus has never been so fluid and dynamic.

This sounds like it is roughly double their previous best seller, Lords of Shadow, which I will get to experience before too long as a part of Chapter Select Season 8 – Castlevania.

Building My Dream GameCube

Even though we moved three months ago now, I still feel like I am playing catch up.1 So much I want to write, film, record, and do. Well, now we can cross off my return to streaming.

This Thursday I’ll be tackling my dream GameCube build. Seems that during the move, my GameCube disc drive bit the dust.2 This discovery timed perfectly with the restock of the GC Loader, a optical disc emulator for the GameCube. So a bunch of kit and one business trip later, it’s time to put the whole thing together. This may be as close as I ever get to building my own PC.

I’ll be streaming this Thursday, August 17, 2023 at 7:00 PM EST. My plan is to not only install the GC Loader, but also swap shells with my Japanese Spice Orange GameCube, and plop in a brand new, quieter fan. 🤞🏻 it all goes well.

1. I need to show off the new office/studio/game room in a video and brain dump an article about all the new upgrades.

2. R.I.P. Laser 2001-2023 🪦💿