December 30th, 2023

It's already been a year? Damn, I spent so much time playing Splatoon, this year felt like a blur.

Splatoon 3 finally got a good update. The past 2 seasons I though weren't great, mostly because the stages were pretty lame and the weapons weren't fun either.

The new stages are pretty sweet. We got the new Robo ROM-en and Bluefin Depot.

Robo ROM-en is a stage that takes place in a ramen shop. It's a cool stage with a gimmick that sets it apart from other new stages. The map, while not the first, has a upper and lower level floor, with some overlap.

It sounds pretty stupid but it can be used to get into the enemy's flank pretty easily. A lot of players don't monitor both areas at once, so it's simple to slip on by and enter the enemy base from the side. It's very important for Clam Blitz!

The revival of this update is Bluefin Depot. The stage went through a minor redesign to make the spawn less of a spawncamp pushover, but the seperate areas are still there and it's easy to switch between them.

The side flank still exists in some ranked modes, and there are elevators to go up instead of inkable walls in front of the base dropoffs.

One unique thing about this stage is that it is the first map in Splatoon 3 to use a taller tower.

The new season has also introduced some new specials. There's now a total of 19 specials usable in multiplayer. It's a lot of specials, nearly double of Splatoon 2's count.

First new special is Splattercolor Screen. Popping this special will give you a bomb. When the bomb is thrown, it will expand to a giant wall. Enemies that go through the screen will have their colors muted and sound blocked.

One thing I think is weird is that screen is randomly effective. With some combinations, the colors are easily distinguishable, but some are a little harder to tell apart. I think the contrast between both colors should be very similar, so the special could have a better effect.

Another important thing to note was the original Splattercolor Screen effect. In version 6.0.0, the brightness was very high, nearly white. This gave some people headaches and eye irritation, so it was tuned down in version 6.0.2. I feel like the brightness being turned down in the patch actually helped the effectiveness of the special more.

The other new special is Triple Splashdown. Like Splatoon 2, popping this special will make you stomp an ink explosion. The special now has two fists that expand the radius of the explosion. The new Custom Blaster and Enperry Dualies have the new special.

It's possible to cancel any part of the Splashdown. If you shoot at the opponent or their fists, it'll take out that part of the splashdown. If you get splatted early enough, you can activate the Splashdown, and your fists will still fire and you still save some special charge. It's better with cooler active.

Honestly, Triple Splashdown might be considered garbage. I might be biased because Blaster and Inkbrush both had it in Splatoon 2, and those were my mains near the end of that game.

Overall, this season is way better than the previous two seasons. The maps and special weapons are all pretty fun! We're going to hit the mid-point of the season soon and I'm still having fun with this update.

Big Run has happened again on Barnacle & Dime. It was pretty big on low-tide, but easy to mess up on medium or high-tide. It's alright.

Along with the new season, Big Run rewards are distributed differently now. Previously, the gold, silver and bronze rewards depended on the top 5%, 15%, and 50% players. This update changes the threshold to preset values. I skipped out on the last couple of Big Runs so I decided to take a shot at it. I reached gold with 153 eggs and called it a day.

You can see "Big Run Complete" on the top left during the transition!

After Big Run, the results were announced. Well, it was supposed to be announced, but my game skipped the results when it was supposed to pop up! Maybe next rotation will change something?

Next rotation forced the news to pop up again. I can't skip them but nothing on Big Run rewards until the end when it gave me a... silver reward? My high score was 153, so I should've gotten the gold reward...

As it turns out, they forced the game to give out rewards based on the old system, so I got silver. Nintendo later announced that an update would be released that fixed the issue and give the right reward.

Version 6.0.1 came out and nothing changed. The news never replayed the results and I was left stuck with my silver reward. As it turns out, this update didn't work for a majority of players. Nintendo then announced another update will come out that'll fix this issue.

2 weeks later, version 6.0.2 was released. They gave the proper reward after logging into the lobby. Nintendo didn't take away the misawarded reward, giving two rewards for one Big Run. It's odd that they don't normally give the lesser rewards to those who got higher rankings.

Time for this month's imports! I don't actually have a lot due to the holiday craze. I'm still sending things out over surface and I don't want to ship things in fear of them getting lost amongst other packages. The post office must be insane right now. I only imported 1 quick package this month.

While looking through systems on Yahoo Auctions, I found a Sega Mega Drive on sale for a few and bid on it thinking I wouldn't win. If you ever go on Yahoo Auctions with this mindset, please reconsider. I won the system with no competitors. Sega Mega Drive systems are pretty light systems, so it didn't cost much for it to arrive over Airmail.

It arrived peacefully and didn't take too long in customs. I already have a Sega Genesis, so I didn't need to buy any controllers or cables. I didn't buy any cartridges as I have a flash cart which has its mold to fit with the Mega Drive's cartridge lock.

Plug in my AC adapter and the video cable and switch ON!

Yeah, it works. Good riddance too, the outer shell of the console is way better than my beat up Genesis. I haven't opened the system to check the motherboard, I used some motherboard images to check the area around the cartridge slot to check, this looks to be a VA4.

It also said VA5 systems have reduced rainbow banding, but I'm not sure if I'm lucky. Oh well!

As of now, I don't have any import cartridges. I will like to get some in the future. I'm not really stingy about collecting cartridge games, I'm happy with getting loose cartridges since they're pretty durable.

I will say now that I'm not getting a Sega CD or 32X unless the planets align cause they are so damn expensive. They're always around $100 for an add-on, eBay or Yahoo Auctions. It sucks cause I really want one! I might buy some Mega CD software, even if I don't have the add-on anyways.

This one is a little odd. Happy Boogie CD, a theme song to a sitcom that I don't watch.

I was trying to find Koi no Boogie Woogie Train on YouTube and got recommended the show Happy Boogie was used in. I listened to it and it was so good. I listened it to the TV size version a lot and waited for a CD release in November. I wasn't paying $15 for a new copy, so I waited a bit longer for a second-hand listing. After two weeks, I found a listing for only $6 and bought it.

If you watched the intro, you should also watch the interview with the production company that produced the marionette too. I slightly thought the entire intro was made with CGI, but I guess not.

Soon after the CD arrived, there was an announcement for an original soundtrack album, with two variations of Happy Boogie on it. I'll listen to it on streaming if possible before looking into buying it. I don't follow this drama, so I don't have much interest outside of the intro.

I also bought this ampm strap. The character on it was ampm's mascot, designed by (i forgot the name). Same group that does the work for Famitsu magazines. I like him. He goes onto the KYF39.

With the ampm strap and a Salmon Run strap a friend gifted me, the strap reaches roughly 10.5 inches.

At this point, I have no idea what else to import. I feel like I have everything now! As I said, my warehouse is being cleaned out for surface shipments. Everything should be here by March, but I'll talk about everything as it comes. Thank you for reading my blog posts. Especially since they kinda devolved into me playing the auction game a lot. I will continue importing stuff, but I really don't know what else I want.

Christmas came and went. As usual, there wasn't that much snow in Illinois for the holiday. It might come next month or so. Lame.

Anyhow, I did celebrate the holiday with my family. It was nice. I had to be in a pretty cramped apartment.

I gifted my brother a poster and a CD for Project Steal. It's an original Xbox game that he's been obsessed with and these were on sale on Japanese marketplaces. Nobody really cares for the game since it was pretty common game, so I bought them.

The poster was really expensive to ship out. It was only around 400 yen, but shipping was like $40 for it only. He liked it a lot and hung it up the next day, so I guess it was worth it. I really want a poster but I'm not willing to pay the shipping prices for them.

The CD also appeared to be a pre-order bonus. He was telling me how "rare" it was until I found it on Suruga-ya for 500 yen. Before I gave it, I ripped it, as usual.

As for me? My brother knew about my importing and decided to get some imports.

First is some boxed N64 games.

It's my first batch. The games have the instruction manual and the game, no tray though. I haven't bothered with N64 importing because some sellers have some high shipping prices for them. These boxes are pretty big, almost as tall as a DVD case and an inch thick.

Despite sharing the same key as Japanese games, European games have a different authentication chip, so they won't start at all.

Like the Super Famicom, these games are keyed. There are two holes on the bottom of the cartridge that differ on cartridges from America and elsewhere. The system is supposed to have a few pillars in the same place as the holes so the cartridge fits. Foreign cartridges would hit the pillars and block the connection. I don't have a Japanese N64 (and not planning on getting one unless I get a cool color) but I do have a flashcart.

I'm hoping this doesn't make me want to buy more boxed games, especially with the size, but it's winning...

I also got some AKB48 CDs and DVDs. The singles, Manatsu no Sounds Good and Heart Ireki, are both limited editions, so they come with their own DVD. There is also the AKB48 documentary and a live performance DVD along with one of the AKB1/149 bonus DVDs. They're all region-locked, but that's nothing for good ol' VLC.

Here's the shelf for music CDs. As you can see, it's almost full! If my surface packages arrive, I'm sure this shelf will be full. It'd be cool to look at.

He also gave me this AKB48 Bearbrick thing. I see these things advertised on my proxy service, but never bought them. It appears to be designed by Ayaka Kikuchi.

When I get the time, I'm going to add shelves above and below the center shelf. I'll add one with enough space for DVDs and another with enough for more CDs. That'll give me a lot of space for more games. I'm hoping I don't run out, I don't have space for another shelf.

Last item is some PS2 memory cards and a PS1 memory card. The red and blue cards are new colors I didn't have up to this point. Soon after, I dumped the cards and took a peek at them.

You can see the unique naming of the save files from the previous owner.

The PS1 card had only three deleted saves. I don't have any of these games to check where they left off.

The PS2 memory cards surprisingly have nothing deleted, or maybe they were just corrupted beyond recognition. They do have a DVD player install, version 2.14U, which were usually bundled with DVD remotes. Of course, I'll drop the list of all the games that were on the card, with save files or on the history log.

I realized the history.old folder holds extended information from the history file. I probably forgot about it cause I stuck the dump into a hex editor and looked at it instead of getting a proper file listing. For these dumps, I included the history.old with the table.

These are the stats on the blue PS2 card.

SLUS_205.14Activision Anthology
SLUS_209.46Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
SCUS_971.30Hot Shots Golf 3
SLUS_206.24The Simpsons: Hit & Run
SLUS_205.04Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4
SLUS_205.79007 Nightfire
SLUS_207.27ESPN NFL Football
SLUS_209.41Incredible Hulk - The Ultimate Destruction
SLUS_205.08Indiana Jones & The Emperor's Tomb
SLUS_204.74NFL Blitz 2003
SLUS_206.19Starsky & Hutch
SLUS_207.36Cabela's Dangerous Hunts
SLUS_207.53Medal of Honor - Rising Sun
SLUS_205.52Grand Theft Auto - Vice City
SLUS_203.69Knockout Kings 2002
SLUS_203.97Tenchu - Wrath of Heaven
SLUS_203.74Silent Assassin
SLUS_008.60Tony Hawk S Pro Skater
SCUS_971.04ATV Offroad Fury
SCUS_946.44Who Wants To Be A Millionare (3rd Edition)
SCUS_971.02Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec
PBPX_952.23DVD Player Version 2.14 (Update Disc)
SLUS_203.05The Simpsons - Road Rage
SCUS_971.04ATV Offroad Fury
SLUS_208.82Hitman - Contracts
SLUS_203.68Medal of Honor - Frontline
SLUS_201.14The Simpsons Skateboarding
SLUS_211.99Medal Of Honor - European Assault
SLUS_006.83Wheel Of Fortune
SLUS_206.56X-Men Legends
SLUS_212.82007 - From Russia With Love
SLUS_203.56TransWorld Surf
SLUS_202.26Batman Vengeance
SLUS_204.42Red Faction II

Next is the red card. In North America, the blue and red cards usually came in a bundle. This list is truncated to remove any duplicate listings, as I assume they came from the same owner since there's a lot of similarities.

SLUS_201.59Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2
SLUS_206.52Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
SLUS_200.18Onimusha - Warloads
SLUS_208.64The Punisher
SCUS_971.33The Getaway
SLUS_204.00Mission Impossible - Operation Surma
SLUS_206.70The Great Escape
SLUS_205.14Silent Scope 3

The last table is for the black card. This card had a last modified date of June 11th, 2017.

SLUS_207.76Spider-Man 2
SLUS_209.46Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
SLUS_212.42Burnout Revenge
SLUS_208.11Need for Speed - Underground
SLUS_207.55NBA Live 2004
SCUS_971.08Cool Boarders 2001
SLUS_203.11All-Star Baseball
SLUS_203.03NBA Live 2002
SLUS_206.43Soul Calibur II
SLUS_202.63Madden NFL 2002
SCUS_975.71SingStar Rocks!
SLUS_200.62Grand Theft Auto III
SLUS_206.49Crash Nitro Kart
SLUS_207.52Madden NFL 2004
SLUS_210.25Madden NFL 2005 - Collector's Edition
SLUS_203.05The Simpsons - Road Rage
SLUS_205.41NBA Ballers
SLUS_205.52Grand Theft Auto - Vice City
SLUS_203.32NCAA March Madness 2002
SLUS_206.48NBA Jam 2004
SLUS_205.50True Crime - Streets of L.A.
SLUS_201.15Super Bust-A-Move

My hands hurt writing all of that.

I saved the best for last. If you knew anything about this site before I realized how stupid I was, you'd remember this one. Super Galdelic Hour on PS2! This is a pretty expensive game, usually going around $30+ on Yahoo Auctions. I'm not willing to spend that much for a PS2 game so I didn't think of ever getting it.

Click here for a speedrun from years ago if you're curious. I might do one again later.

I hope everyone else had a nice holiday.

I passed my finals for this semester. It was too easy. The major I take require me to take some PC building and Linux class, both of which were a bore. The final for the PC building class was to... build a PC and I did just fine. I took my Linux class final which was just... make a single Samba share on CentOS. Yawn.

I think since I'm laying off the importing for now, I should get a new video card. I've been using a GTX 1660 since 2019 and it's starting to show its age. Games are starting to dip in frame rates and processing videos takes a while. When I was trying to digitize the commercials from that one tape I found back in September of last year, I rendered the commercials in one large video but it was just an unwatchable mess. I need a new card.

I'm not an avid PC gamer. I don't care for anything higher than 1080p or anything smoother than 60fps. PC building gets expensive quickly, so I'd like to shy away from stuff like that. I think a 4060 would be fine. I feel like anything is better than my dying 1660 at this point.

Speaking of PC parts, M.2 SSDs are getting cheaper. My motherboard has a M.2 slot that I would like to make use of. I already have a 2.5" SSD, but the M.2 slot is the only unused storage port in my PC. I need to use it. I use my SSD for game data, so I'll like to use the M.2 for that aswell. My big slow hard drives are all used for torrenting which is...

Well.. anything for some free Japanese music. I need to get my ratio up, I suppose.