Wherein I discuss terrible new web design, the new Mario World, raking in them Bells, a scientific two-fer, and even more mobile trigger happy havoc.
As should come as no surprise considering how much of an oddball degenerate I am, I have been visiting DeviantArt on a daily basis for… 12 years or so— almost the majority of my life— and recently they announced that they are doing away with the classic view and will be forcing everybody to use their new Eclipse layout, which was designed to make the website more mobile-friendly, and is… kind of terrible. It not only commits the cardinal sin of website revisions: changing around everything so the website is no longer immediately recognizable, but it also comprises general useability even on the most basic levels.
To illustrate this point, let’s look at something I do every day, going through new posts from artists I follow, looking at them, and removing them from my notifications/feed. With Eclipse, you cannot delete images from your watch list while you are viewing them. You cannot select multiple images to delete them. You can no longer enlarge images to fully see them without fading out every other UI element of the site, and even then it only fills your screen. If you are reading, say, a vertical comic page, that means it takes two clicks to view the comic in its full resolution instead of just one, and in doing so it blocks out everything else on the page, so you need to close out of the comic and then scroll down.
Website design is all about minimizing the number of clicks from the user, and you took this rudimentary action, tripled the number of clicks, and for what? Something that looks nicer on mobile? If the idea is to have a mobile-friendly site… then just make a mobile version of your gosh darn website, don’t muddle up the horizontal desktop version with this vertical scrolling design.
There is a reason why Nigma Box still looks like a website cobbled together back in 2012. Because it works! Because I have all the elements I want to have, and everything is clearly laid out. Logo, categories, scrolling series of posts, and quick access to the things I want to highlight. Do I want to change things? Absolutely. But it costs money to make substantial changes to WordPress themes, and I do not want to pay over $200 a year on something I don’t make a dime off of. Meaning that I need to rely on themes, and while some of the more modern themes are close to what I want, such as the Shawburn theme, the closest is the theme you see today, Twenty Eleven. Which sucks, but now I am just ranting about something completely unrelated when I should be talking about video game news.
This week was pretty lax from my perspective, with the only things that particularly caught my eyes being more incremental updates to things I either personally or tangentially care about, as everything has been canceled/delayed, and most publishers are not aching to make announcements at the moment.
Continuing Nintendo’s much-appreciated policy of offering their marquee titles significant free updates after launch, Super Mario Maker 2 has received its final major update, which brought with it a bevy of new tools and abilities to play with. This includes a power-up that gives Mario the sprite and abilities seen in Super Mario Bros. 2/Doki Doki Panic/Super Mario Bros. USA. An upgraded frog suit with an impressive degree of mobility. Inflation Mario who can poot his way through the sky. Wearable blocks that allow for entirely different genres to be introduced into this game. The Koopalings, the little robots that Bowser threw in Mario World, and even Phanto the terrifying mask.
This all rounds out the game with just about everything one could ask for from a Mario level creator, but Nintendo also threw in a feature people wanted, but never thought would happen, as you can now string together up to 8 worlds and 40 levels into your own custom Mario game, complete with a customizable map using the themes and tiles from Super Mario World. It really does beg the question of how Nintendo ever plans on succeeding this game by creating their own new 2D Mario title, and further makes Super Mario Marker 2 one of the best value purchases considering the breadth of content people were and are making for it.
Though, it arguably has nothing next to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a life-consuming game that has been selling preposterously well. It overtook Pokémon Sword and Shield’s lifetime physical sales in Japan. It sold an estimated 5 million digital units within a month, a figure that surpasses any other console game in history. And according to the US-based NPD figures, the game’s launch sales surpassed that of any Mario or Zelda game. It is a spectacular performance that goes against even the loftiest of expectations, and it will likely continue to sell well as Nintendo is still supporting the game by introducing new events, holidays, and features to keep the game part of players’ rotation.
Admittedly, a significant chunk of this success has to do with COVID-19 and how people wanted an escapist and procedural video game to binge out on while under quarantine, but if anything that role makes the game’s success more commendable, as it was helping people get through dark and dreary times by mingling out ways to abuse Sow Joan’s Stalk Market instead of looking at their IRAs and 401Ks plummet.
Moving onto non-Nintendo news, back during Anime Expo 2019, Spike Chunsoft announced that they were localizing Robotics;Notes: Elite and its sequel, Robotics;Notes: DaSH, claiming that both titles would release in 2020. We’re well into the year now, and rather than just announce release dates for these titles, it was revealed that they will instead be released as a $60 double pack for PS4, Switch, and PC on October 13th. While I do find the idea of releasing games in the same series on the same day to be a curious concept, the fact that they are being bundled together avoids the confusion that would come with the unknowing consumer trying to distinguish between Elite and DaSH, and instead, it serves as a please price-conscious dual pack of titles that could have each gone for $60 without question, as both are full-length visual novels that have never been released in English before. I’d say that, as a fan of the Science Adventure series, I plan on checking them out upon release, but knowing me it will be two years before I get to the first game.
However, this was not the only announcement by Spike Chunsoft this week, as the developer is currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of Danganronpa, and have kicked things off by announcing that Danganronpa 1, 2, and V3— the only officially localized pieces of Danganronpa media worth checking out— will all receive mobile ports in an effort to introduce this series of eccentric death games to a new audience. While I am a bit irked that the games are only coming to iOS and Android, as I think this series, and the Zero Escape trilogy for that matter, would be excellent on Switch, due to how people are eager to buy games for the Switch yet are not so eager when it comes to buying phone games. Also, unlike most mobile ports, these ones are actually being released in English, fancy that.
Is that all? …Yeah, I think so. Goodbye and good night… or good morning, I suppose, since I post everything at the godless hour of 6 AM.