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Gaming History You Should Know – The Super Mario Adventures Comic Series July 30, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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Apologies for not resuming our regular schedule of Gaming History You Should Know since we returned from E3 2017, but I’m happy to announce we have started a backlog of new articles to get released every Sunday for the next month!  So with that housekeeping out of the way, what do you say we take a look at today’s feature?

Back in the early 90s, Nintendo ruled the gaming world with an iron fist and almost everyone my age had a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The console’s mascot, a red overall-wearing plumber named Mario, became an international legend, but most attempts to put Mario into mediums outside of his games have been met with disappointment. Well, except for one, the Super Mario Adventures Comic.

Super Mario Adventures was a comic series printed in the pages of Nintendo Power Magazine.  It was written as a serial, continuing the story with a new part each month.  However, unlike Mario’s outrageous film adaptation, the Super Mario comic was written by a great group of people who not only loved the source material, they truly understood the characters they were writing.

I only read a few issues of Nintendo Power back in the very early 90s, and I’m sad to say I wasn’t familiar with the Super Mario Adventures comic series until a man named Doug Walker, the host of the Nostalgia Critic on Channel Awesome, did a fantastic video review of it. Without further ado, I’ll let him tell you all about it!

If you would like to take a closer look at the comic, the guys over at the YouTube Channel Tatoo Pedigree posted it online with a full voice over. The actors they chose to perform each part were perfectly cast and if you’ve read the original comic or not, I can’t recommend it enough!

If you liked the review and the motion comic, I’m happy to say that the entire series is back in print and you could buy a collected edition from retailers like NintendoNYC for a price of about $15 US.  I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Gaming History You Should Know.  We’ve got a lot more planned for release throughout August, please stay tuned!

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You Will Be Missed – Xbox One QR Codes July 30, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, You Will Be Missed.
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Every day I read a tweet lamenting the fact users can’t use a digital camera to scan the lengthy codes they got as a bonus with their game preorder, these players must never have used the Xbox One at launch. By the end of 2013, the Kinect was included with every single Xbox One console.  While a vocal group resented its inclusion with the console, I was in the opposing camp that actually liked the Kinect and preferred using it.  The Kinect actually enhanced a lot of the console’s functions, and I like it so much I still keep it plugged into my Xbox One to this day.

Many Day One and Collector’s Editions of games can come bundled with exclusive DLC. Traditionally, games that offer extra DLC will bundle one-time use codes players can manually input to get their content. If you’ve never done it before, it works similar to using a gift card online, except instead of store credit you get the item you wanted free of charge.

However, this process of code input is quite antiquated in today’s day and age. Xbox codes are twenty-five characters long and can take forever to input on a controller.  If and that was if you input the code correctly. It could take much longer if you made a mistake mistyping a letter, since you would need to go back into what you typed and double check every single letter to the printed code.  Code redemption was actually the reason I purchased an Xbox 360 controller chat pad back in the day, It was supposed to be for sending messages to friends.

When the first wave of Xbox One games were released alongside the console, the leaflets bundled with those games included more than just DLC codes, they were each printed with a unique QR code.  According to the instructions, by simply saying “Xbox, redeem a code” and holding up the QR code, the Kinect could automatically scan and redeem the code without the need for user input.  The first time I saw one, I was very happy.  Using this method, the entire scan and redeem process took mere moments, and it was such a convenience.

Sadly, this exceptionally useful feature seems to have gone away.  The last time I personally saw a QR code included with a retail Xbox One game was in the Day One Edition of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. That was a third-party published game, and I was grateful to use it to unlock the Final Fantasy XV demo.  However, a QR code was not included with the Day One Edition of Final Fantasy XV, giving me the feeling that this feature may be well and truly dead.

So when did this feature die and what killed it?  No QR Code was included with the premium editions of Halo 5: Guardians back in 2015, and given the fact H5 was Microsoft’s highest profile first-party game of that year, this could have been the tipping point to tell gamers Microsoft was done with the feature.  Let’s face it, the Kinect is no longer bundled with new Xbox One consoles.  The Xbox One S and Xbox One X consoles don’t even have a Kinect port, and it is possible Microsoft doesn’t see the point in providing further support for the device that gets a smaller and smaller install base every day.

It looks like Microsoft is now focusing their efforts on improving the Xbox One’s controller interface. They’ve already redesigned the Xbox One OS several times, and while many new features have been added it feels like every new feature makes the Kinect more and more pointless.  Still, I’m sad to see all the useful improvements the little camera brought fall to the waist side.

Farewell, QR Code reader, you will be missed.