Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Stream Special Guest!

Tomorrow night is the end cap to my month-long stream to race on every track in the Mario Kart franchise to help raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital alongside Relay FM. I’ve tackled everything from the SNES to the GameCube to the 3DS. Soon it will be time to beat Mario Kart 8 Deluxe from top to bottom; and this time, I won’t be entirely alone.

My pal Casey Liss will be joining me around 8:00 PM EST for one cup. Casey is a host over at Relay on the show Analog(ue), he is one of the three hosts of the Accidental Tech Podcast, and he’s appeared on The Max Frequency Podcast a couple of times. You can see Casey’s post about it here.

I’m real eager to play alongside someone, even if it is just for one cup. The set will look a little different to accommodate this. It’s going to be a fun night of Mario Kart chaos and raising money for St. Jude. I hope you will stop by, hang out, and donate!

Chapter Select: Season 4, Episode 13 – Fast X

Photo and design by Max Roberts

Never accept a finale when episodes are owed. Retroactively-CGI’d Max Roberts and Logan “Nobody” Moore used the power of Peacock to watch Fast X. Is the family too large for its own good these days or is there room for more?

Download (51MB) – Episode Transcript

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Fast X

Rotten Tomatoes – 56% critic and 85% viewers

This episode was originally recorded on September 22, 2023.


Max’s Twitter @MaxRoberts143

Logan’s Twitter @MooreMan12

Researcher, Editor, and Producer – Max Roberts

Hosted by Logan Moore & Max Roberts

Photo and Art designed by Max Roberts.

Where Are All the Good iPhone 15 Pro Max Leather Cases?

I have ended up with a new iPhone,1 and with a new phone comes a new case.2 My de facto case for years has been Apple’s leather case. This year, that’s impossible.

To further reduce impact on the planet, Apple will no longer use leather in any new Apple products, including iPhone accessories.

I’m sure leather case makers threw a party during this year’s keynote. I wager business is booming for those them. When I decided to get a case, I went straight to John Siracusa’s recommendations from ATP 501: Torsional Rigidity Check. Ryan London’s page doesn’t seem to exist and I don’t care for the look of the 14 Pro Max iteration. I looked at Bullstrap and was deterred by the near $100 price tag and the apparent lack of a metal button for the Action Button.

Then, while promoting some Chapter Select stuff on Twitter, I saw Quinn Nelson ask about leather cases. I went down the reply rabbit hole and looked at Andar, Nomad, and Bellroy.

I had a Bellroy case for my Pixel 73, but never liked the overall feel. No Bellroy for me.

Next up was Andar. They have this slick red leather case (and other colors), but there’s a cutout for the Action Button. No metal button like power and volume. This would make the Action Button difficult, if not impossible, to press quickly to, you know, take action. No Andar for me.

Nomad has a plastic-y looking bumper and a leather back. I don’t want a plastic/rubber/silicone case. I want to feel leather in my hand. No Nomad for me.

Now I was left with the Amazon searching and SEO, clickbait articles. None of these stood out. I took a brief look at Mujjo. It has metal buttons all around, but there weren’t enough reviews on the cases over time for me to be satisfied with a $60 purchase. I also wasn’t a fan of the word “MUJJO” stamped across the backside in hideous font.

With all this searching, I came away baffled that case makers seemed unprepared for the departure of the mute switch. That seems impossible to me, since case makers get these specs ahead of time to, you know, make cases. Often, case makers are a prime source for leaks on the design of the new iPhones. Why is no one making a full-blown leather case with four metal buttons. It seems like a simple design task.

I go to reddit for recommendations and the champion is Bullstrap. Scrolling the comments, one person claims they reached out to Bullstrap support. The claim is that Bullstrap will be using a metal button instead of a cutout and that the photos are just of the 14 Pro Max case. The reply right beneath that says that support told them “no confirmed info yet on the 15.” So I took a gamble on the Bullstrap case. I’ll find out come November.

1. Hopefully more on that soon with an exit review.
2. I was going to try and go caseless, but the phone felt a little too slippery on the back. Plus, I have a one-year-old daughter and I miss the feel of leather.
3. I still have that case somewhere…

Thursday Night Stream – Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7 for St. Jude

Tonight we continue our journey through all the Mario Kart games with the motion-control sensation Mario Kart Wii and the Diddy Kong Racing clone that is Mario Kart 7. I’ll also be wrapping up the retro cups from Mario Kart DS. Have to clear the slate for next week’s Mario Kart 8 Deluxe finale stream!

The stream will be a smidge delayed. Had a personal scheduling conflict. I’ll be starting sometime between 7:00 PM EST and 8:00PM EST. My apologies!

And all of this is for the fine folks over at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. September is childhood cancer awareness month. The fine folks at Relay FM partner up with them every year to raise money. This year, I decided to do more than just donate. You can read some more about it here.

There is still some of September left! We had a major donation happen over the weekend! Any amount helps with kids. You can donate in the polls I set up to help pick the speed I race at in each game! I no longer have my original Mario Kart Wii save data, so we are actually going to be unlocking everything we need live! It’s going to be a blast tonight. Hope you’ll tune in and consider donating!

Chapter Select: Season 6, Episode 3 – Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver

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

Pokémania has reached its peak! Rivals Max Roberts and Logan Moore are joined by League Champion Peter Spezia to explore Johto and beyond in Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver! Did the rush for a sequel impede innovation or did Pokémon evolve into its best form 20 years ago?

Download (51MB) – 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 HeartGold and SoulSilver

Metacritic – 87/100

This episode was originally recorded on November 12, 2022.


Max’s Twitter @MaxRoberts143

Logan’s Twitter @MooreMan12

Peter’s Twitter @PeteSpeakEasy

Researcher, Editor, and Producer – Max Roberts

Hosted by Logan Moore & Max Roberts

Art designed by Max Roberts.

Thursday Night Stream – Mario Kart Double Dash!! and DS for St. Jude

Tonight we continue our journey through all the Mario Kart games with my childhood favorites—Double Dash!! and DS. I haven’t played though these games in years, but I have no doubt I spent the most time with them. The double driver and special items of Double Dash!! still reign supreme in my eyes. I am absolutely thrilled to come back to these!

And all of this is for the fine folks over at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. September is childhood cancer awareness month. The fine folks at Relay FM partner up with them every year to raise money. This year, I decided to do more than just donate. You can read some more about it here.

There is still so much of September left! You can donate in the polls I set up to help pick the speed I race at in each game! Tonight’s slate includes Mirror Mode in both games, if you really want to contribute to breaking my childhood brain. We also reached the milestone to tackle the All Cup in Double Dash!! as well, so we are getting a double dose of the definitive title. I’ll also be making up last week’s bonus with Mario Kart 64: Amped Up!. I’m feeling much better this week. ☺️ It’s going to be a jammed packed night of classic Mario Kart shenanigans and, more importantly, donations to help the kids. Hope you’ll tune in and consider donating!

A New Game Room and Studio Tour – 2023 Edition

About four months ago, my family and I moved into our first home. With all this new space, I have my own room again. I’ve made a new game room/studio tour video to share with you all. I hope you enjoy.

The video also acts as a time capsule for myself. In building out this space, I’ve been watching tons of tours to get ideas and inspiration. I even went back to 15-year-old YouTube videos to see some of my original setups. My mind would have been blown to know the entertainment center I have today.

I struggled figuring out this project though. It bounced back and forth between a written post and a video. I tried the vlogger video style, but found the design not inline with my current tastes. Creativity flows. I felt far more energized to style my own tour video after My Life in Gaming and Game Sack.1

I decided to put my DSLR camera and fancy lens to work too. It made for a nice crash course back into the world of big cameras. I think the autofocus was a bit jittery and the harsh (i.e. stupid bright) overhead LEDs gave the auto settings a bit of a challenge. I was tempted to just use my iPhone a few times, but I found enjoyment in using my “real” gear.

It was fun to come up with the shots. I wrote a script and wrote out shot ideas. My favorite (and most nerve-racking) was the spinning shot near the beginning . I mounted the camera on the tripod and placed it on my spinning chair.2 I jerry-rigged my own slider by using a coffee table and some boxes to even out my camera. This was a good creative challenge.

I feel good finally producing this video. It feels like a creative barrier has been lifted. I filmed a pickups video awhile ago, but just didn’t feel good about it without this coming out first. Maybe I’ll re-shoot that entire project now. 🤷🏼‍♂️ For now, back to my month-long Mario Kart marathon for the kids at St. Jude and making more podcasts!

1. This makes a whole lot of sense considering my recent guest/s on MFP.
2. This was a direct homage to Coury’s spinning shot in My Life in Gaming’s RGB102. I still wonder how he got himself in the frame. Maybe just did three takes with the camera on the same track. That way he can slice in post?

Switching Things Up – Extron Crosspoint Thoughts & Impressions

A cornerstone of the new studio space was to have all my consoles hooked up and ready to rock at a moment’s notice. That’s not so tricky with the HDMI consoles, but the analog ones have required specialized equipment. Thanks to years of research and watching My Life in Gaming, I’ve acquired the requisite slew of component cables and bought my RetroTINK 5X Pro last year.

My solution was to hot-swap the component cables when needed. In no time this became cumbersome. I also couldn’t route one console to both my OLED and CRT, leaving the set-up feeling segmented. It felt like patch work.1 I’ve long eyed the gcomp Switch, but I struggled with the near $300 price tag. I dug back into researching options and was reminded about these rackmount matrix switches from a company called Extron. The prices on eBay seem to hover around $70~100 these days, but I figured this would be the best option for me for a few reasons.

  1. I could buy an option with more than eight inputs.2
  2. The Extron can output to multiple devices at once.
  3. It’s cheaper than the gcomp.

With the RetroTINK 4K on the horizon, I’ve been preparing the way for it and a new streamlined flow for all my consoles, TVs, and capture gear. I know I just wired all this up, but one’s setup can always be better! So I took the dive on the Extron and wanted to write a bit about my experience with it so far.

First off, I found a great deal on a resale site called Reverb. It seems to be a site dedicated to selling instruments and audio gear. I was able to snag an Extron Crosspoint 843 for just $40.4 Now, the pictures on the listing were just the front and the back of the switch. I confirmed there was a power cable, but I didn’t ask for anything else. When it showed up the following week, I was surprised to see it in an original Extron box. Neat! Inside, there was a smaller box with all the original documentation, parts, and software—on two floppy disks for Windows NT. I go to nab the power cable and it has never been opened. This unit has never been used before.

The Extron switches use BNC connectors. Thankfully, BNC to RCA adapters are readily available and cheap. I bought two 20 packs for $10 off Amazon. I also nabbed three HDRetrovision male-to-male component cables (one to the CRT, one to the Tink 5X and one for the Tink 4K). You just lock in the BNC adapters and then insert your component cables like normal.

The catch is that the audio is not BNC. Extron uses something called Phoenix. There are adapters that can be bought online. I landed on this listing on eBay. You have to get different boards for input and output, but the price isn’t bad either way. The odd bit is how the fit of these isn’t flush.

While waiting for the delivery, I was watching videos to learn more about the switch. One video said you’d need to sand down these adapters so they fit. Of course, the individual didn’t show this process or even say where to sand, but that tidbit stuck in my mind. When I sat down to put everything together, I figured sanding the top would be necessary. Having a smaller switch, the BNC hookups are close to the Phoenix ports. This makes the tops of these adapters brush up against them. Then I tried plugging in multiple adapters and they started shifting out of place. It’s too tight of a fit. So I sanded down the sides of the audio adapters as well. I find it really odd that these aren’t better sized horizontally.

Once you’ve got all your adapters in place, you just start plugging stuff in! You toggle which input you want via the buttons on the front and pick which outputs to send the signal too. You can send it to all of them!! I could run the same 240p or 480i signal to all three devices and not lose one bit of visual quality/information. It’s a bit mind blowing to finally have a multiout switch solution.

My vision with all this is not only to solve my hot-swapping problem, but to allow me to send my console output to the Tink 4K to play on my TV5, the Tink 5X for streaming crispy pixels, and the CRT. I even have plans drawn out to capture to both my iMac and my standalone card. It’s this beautiful daisy chain of video signals that removes any barrier to playing how I want and capturing what I need.

1. I suppose it is technically patch work.
2. I didn’t this time, but expansion is an easy option.
3. 84 meaning 8 inputs and 4 outputs.
4. And $30 in shipping, but whose counting?
5. With BFI, scanlines, and HDR 🤤

Chapter Select: Season 6, Episode 2 – Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

Art inspired by Pokémon Violet start screen, designed Max Roberts

It is time for us to go back to the future of Pokémon! Students Max Roberts and Logan Moore study open world experimentation alongside Professor Chris Compendio. Can a mainline Pokémon adventure let players do anything or has Game Freak cooked up a paradox of a game?

Download (42MB) – 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 Scarlet and Violet

Metacritic – 72/100

This episode was originally recorded on December 30, 2022.


Max’s Twitter @MaxRoberts143

Logan’s Twitter @MooreMan12

Chris’ Twitter @Compenderizer

Researcher, Editor, and Producer – Max Roberts

Hosted by Logan Moore & Max Roberts

Art designed by Max Roberts.

How ChatGPT Came to My Rescue

The other day I was editing one of the Super Chapter Select bonus Pokémon battle videos and I wanted to incorporate a gag. The premise was simple; just track a video clip over the face of one of us for comedic effect. Final Cut Pro has a tracker built in and I’ve used it before, but this time I wanted the clip doing the tracking to rotate and scale with the base clip beneath. I could not get it to work.

I was banging my head against the problem, searching around Google and YouTube, but coming up with barebones basics. I reached out in a Discord and even messaged one of my video editor friends. I could not solve my problem. Then the idea to use ChatGPT hit me.

My biggest hurdle in my search quest was wordsmithing my question down to something that Google would spit back the solution I needed. With ChatGPT, I didn’t need to do that at all. I explained my problem in six sentences. I was as clear as I felt I needed to be. In seconds, ChatGPT had spit out a six step process that it thought would solve my issue. You can read the entire conversation here. I’ve also saved it as a PDF, in case the link goes away some day.

Now, ChatGPT’s steps didn’t work for me. The key bit of information was the term “Match Motion.” This was a term I had not come across before. With this new pair of words, I immediately found a video that helped me use the application Motion, not Final Cut Pro. Within the hour, I had the exact gag I wanted to create.

This experience felt like a technological revelation. I was able to write/speak in a candid manner to a computer and get useful information. While the tool itself did not solve the problem directly, the I still arrived at the solution thanks to what it told me. Between AI generated transcripts for my podcasts, the generated art for Chapter Select Season 5 – Resident Evil, and now this, I have come to value what these tools can provide me. They aren’t replacing my work. They are enhancing my ability to make better things.

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.