March 28th, 2023

It's already March. I'm already in the middle of my current semester. Weird. A lot has happened this month though, so get ready for a long post!

Round1 time! I went to a Round1 recently.

Sound the alarm! This isn't just a regular Round1 time though! It's the special location test edition! It's true! Bandai Namco has provided a Taiko no Tatsujin location test at several arcades and I went to go play it! I played specifically at Fox Valley Mall Round1.

Taiko used to be a favorite rhythm game when I was really young. I modded my Wii to play the Taiko games on there before I got into some other series. I never played on an actual Taiko controller and it's been a decade since I last played Taiko, so this was going to be a real challenge.

In this location, it was around 10 credits for 2 songs. This price is higher compared to other rhythm games, which are usually just 7 credits for 3 songs. I hope it's this high because the Round1 could profit from this high-demand game while it's being tested.

By the time I visited, someone managed to get a line on the screen.

My thoughts on the game are pretty great. I like the feeling of the sticks and the drum feels nice to hit. The songlist is pretty good too, I haven't listened to Taiko original music that much up until this point. I don't like going through the menus though, I'm not a big fan of constantly hitting the rim to go through the song list rather slowly. I wish they added something akin to GITADORA where the menu is controlled by directional buttons.

For this test, you couldn't use any sort of arcade IC cards such as e-amusement or Banapassport to save game data. I hope that it'll be activated if it ever comes out here, seeing that a lot of Bandai Namco's other games do support the cards in America. If you remember, SEGA made Chunithm offline-only in America which caused quite a stir in the community.

Here's a few scores I got. I'd say I did pretty OK for someone who's not that great at this game. I have updated the Other Rhythm Games page to add scores from this location test.

There was a lot of other players in the arcade wanting to get on Taiko, so I did other stuff to burn my time waiting for another turn.

They had Rhythm Tengoku just out in the open. Very cool thing to flex on my Rhythm Tengoku friends. If I can't own a BEMANI cab, I wish to own atleast this. It's just a Sega NAOMI, isn't it? I should've bought a Sega NAOMI before the world came crashing down...

Couple of perfects and superbs! Yes, I had a few where I screwed up at the final note! So sad...

I got to the high score table, but judging from the names, it was just the default scores.

It was fun. I liked playing on this more than the GBA.

I also played a tiny bit of IIDX at the establishment. I'd hate to say it, but the cabinet here feels nicer. The turntable is much more lighter on this cabinet then at my Round1, even when the weight settings is set low!

Konami had a new IIDX event. I wasn't too interested in spending more money on it this time though. I was more focused on the new licenses that had released! One of the songs is Matsuken Samba II which is a really, REALLY, HUGELY popular song in Japan. It plays in celebrations, commercials, practically everywhere 30 years after it came out.

The new Matsuken Samba II is done by Ryu and is remixed in the style of Second Heaven. It's pretty great! Here's a video from someone playing the chart I played.

While I didn't play GITADORA, they did have much bigger setups then what my Round1 has. Look at this! My Round1 has the same type of cabinets, but they stripped the larger speakers of the Guitarfreaks cabinet and removed the railings of the Drummania cabinet.

That's it for this special edition of Round1 time. See you next time when my area is chosen to location test Ongeki or some other series again. Hopefully it's soon.

It's been a while since I last played Pop'n Lively, yet I'm still paying for it. What made me get back on was the inclusion of a song that was one of the first Pop'n Music songs I ever listened to.

This month marks the first month of Splatoon 3's Fresh Season 2023! Brand new update with new weapons, new stages, a new Boss Salmonid, and support for the first wave of the new DLC.

The update adds support for the first wave of the new DLC, announced back in Feburary. The first wave of the DLC adds the original Inkopolis Square from Splatoon 1 as a lobby. It was pretty nice seeing the old lobby that I'm extremely familar with. It's much more smaller than Splatsville and way more prettier actually.

In addition to the new lobby, you get to see new shopkeepers for the stores located in Booyah Base. The goods store does not have a location in the Inkopolis Plaza. Instead, the minigame arcade machine was repurposed as a phone booth that calls in to the goods store. Despite being in different locations, the stores carry the same things across both areas.

The DLC's changes were all merely cosmetics and didn't change all that, but it's fine. I like seeing Inkopolis Plaza. I think this wave was a setup for Side Order. I have a feeling that after you beat Side Order, you will unlock Inkopolis Square as a new lobby too. My theory is held up because files pertaining to Inkopolis Plaza have Fsodr in the name, which could be short for "For Side OrDeR." It's too early to tell though, so we're just gonna have to wait.

Two new stages have hit the scene! First is Um'Ami Ruins and Manta Maria!

Um'Ami Ruins is this season's brand new stage. The stage was teased in the Splatoon 3 Direct from August 2022 without a release date, and people have been clamoring for it ever since. It's a pretty great stage! With my Blaster, it's pretty easy to get a great start and a wipeout!

Manta Maria from Splatoon 2 is this season's revival. The stage has stayed largely the same since Splatoon 2, but the section before middle has been widened. I haven't played on this stage too much since release since it's literally just the same map otherwise.

With this new update, it has finally introduced new specials to the game. The Kraken Royale and the Super Chumps. Both of these specials can only be found on the new weapons.

The Kraken Royale brings back the invincible Kraken from the first game with some changes. The special's jump attack now requires two hits for it to kill, with a new additional attack letting you charge up an attack and kill someone in one hit! The Kraken was feared that it was going to be a broken weapon at launch... and it is!

As it turns out, it can be broken. In Clam Blitz, it's possible for a teammate to turn into a Kraken, swim towards the enemy goal and teammates can superjump to the Kraken and throw in a power clam or two! In Tower Control, it's also possible for a Kraken to camp the tower, making for some easy distance. How lame! I think it might be one of the first things nerfed.

The Super Chumps are a different deal entirely. They are similar to Tenta Missles, but you instead point at a general area and you shoot little balloons out there. They mark the floor like a Super Jump landing point and paint the floor if they aren't taken down quickly enough. A single chump can deal up to 60.0 damage, so being surrounded by a group could take you out quickly. Luckily, you are able to take them out by shooting at them, and they don't have a lot of health.

I think the Super Chump is really good as a support special. If someone is trying to hide, a Super Chump can make them panic. They can shoot it down and expose themselves, or ignore it and be exposed from the enemy ink and possibly killed. It's also beneficial if the enemy team has a lot of slow weapons, such as chargers or blasters. You could also think of the special as an easy way to build special.

You can also finally play Tableturf Battle online, after being noted in the Direct long ago. This feature allows you to only play against friends and mutuals online, there is no random matchmaking. Despite that, you still get experience points for challenging others to the game.

I'm not really into Tableturf that much.

One of the long awaited updates is the Salmon Run update! Salmon Run only recieved a stage revival in Chill Season, which was very disappointing. However, this new update has finally given us new rewards and a brand new King Salmonid to fight! We were able to fight the new King Salmonid in the new Big Run at Inkblot Academy!

Horrorboros flies around the center of the stage. It's main attack is a Booyah Bomb that takes a few seconds to charge. If you want to take it down quick, you'll need to attack the Booyah Bomb that charges in his mouth before he throws it. Once you do enough damage to the bomb, you deal an amazing 5000 damage! It's because of this strat that many people have tagged Horrorboros great for scale farming and way easier than Cohozuna.

Anyways, Big Run happened too! That's where we met Horrorboros for the first time! The map was Inkblot Art Academy. This map was really weird and not suited for Salmon Run.

High-tide takes place on where you would normally spawn in multiplayer versus matches, while mid-tide and low-tide takes place in the center of the stage. The mid and low tide are very small, so it's very easy to get overwhelmed. They are also both very similar, so I find myself accidentally throwing eggs to where the mid-tide basket would be only to find out that it's low-tide.

In the end, I only was able to get a silver trophy. I tried my best but I blame it all on the map.

The new rewards in this update have arrived too! There's new banners, stickers, and decorations. There's also a new category for old Salmon Run rewards from Splatoon 2! What I'm really interested is the new uniforms! The new uniforms are the old Splatoon 2 outfits!

It seems like a lot of people are rather unhappy with the prices of Salmon Run rewards, saying that the percentages of scale rates are really low and getting any of the new Splatoon 2 gear takes forever. I can actually sort of agree with that. While I think the prices for the banners and uniforms are alright, the prices for the Splatoon 2 gear is just insane. It's 800 bronze scales for a face mask and 30 gold scales for a parka. To put that into perspective, you can only get up to 13 scales every time you get a Boss Salmonid and you have less than a 2% chance of obtaining a gold scale. People say it's like this to emulate a real job, but we're not getting paid scales from Mr. Grizz, we're harvesting these things from the Salmonid itself. I think, at the very least, the prices should be adjusted.

One of the minor season updates is the jukebox. With a 100G charge, you can temporarily change the music in your lobby to be any song in the game or a battle track from the previous Splatoon games. If you play in a private lobby, you can change the song and everybody in the lobby will hear it too. If you really wanted to, you can change the music to Frantic Waters and then camp on the jukebox menu so nobody can change it. It's really funny!

I still long for battle playlists, but I doubt it'll be added. If the one thing they should've added to the current jukebox, it would probably be a queue. I feel really bad changing the music cause then it feels like whoever requested it only requested it just seconds ago!

Nintendo has announced in the 3.0 patch notes that the balancing update will not happen during mid-season, but rather will be released around the end of March or first half of April. Later, they announced a new Splatfest for March 31st. Since it happens pretty early, I'll write about them for next month.

New J-pop CD drop! I found a small artist from a commercial compilation last month and I wanted her music! Unfortunately, she was not on any streaming services, none of my torrent trackers, and the videos on YouTube were low-quality. I took it upon myself to buy her music and it snowballed into buying some other music.

First up is the artist that started this month's snag! It's ABYSS! Her stage name is ABYSS, but her real name is Kobayashi Yumi. She had her solo debut in 1997 as part of a television program project and created a short-lived musical career.

First is her debut single, LOOP.

Second is the follow-up single: Mirage.

They are both really great songs. It's a shame she wasn't able to continue her career. It's also more unfortuante that she apparently got really popular starting with her final single, which is the only one to hit streaming services. Outside of that one song, it's like she doesn't even exist. Her music is on Karaoke Joysound, but it's only Loop, Mirage, a remix of Love is Love, and WHY. That's not even her entire discography.

If you can get the chance, please watch this music video compilation. Her music is fantastic and the videos are gorgeous. Please excuse the low quality though, but this is apparently sourced from a VHS tape that I can't even find a sold listing of. Please note that this compilation also doesn't have all her music either.

Next up is Dreams Come True's 1999 single: Asa ga mata kuru. Dreams Come True is well-known for having a beatmania game made based off of them and also a Dancing Stage game! This song is really great! It's so carefree and relaxing.

Next is a four-pack I got from one auction. It's PUFFY! You may know them because they both appeared in a Kirin commercial! They were a pretty popular duo.

The listing I bought from had 3 PUFFY singles and a solo single.

If the cover art seems familar, it's because it was drawn by Rodney Alan Greenblat! You may know him as the person who designed a handful of FamilyMart commercials! He used to draw the art for PUFFY's singles.

The final CD single is Kohmi Hirose's promise! Kohmi Hirose was a really popular artist in the 90s. You may even recognize this song being used in Alpen commercials! Who am I kidding? You most definitely know because of this! I don't blame you, it's still kind of funny.

I like Promise, but I also want to catch Romance no Kamisama, which is her #1 single.

If you're wondering why Promise has it's own plastic case but my other singles don't, it's because the previous owner bought a case for Promise themselves. CD singles didn't come with plastic cases, instead you had to buy them seperately. The cases can only be imported from Japan which sucks. I don't think it's worth it putting down a lot of money for a couple of plastic cases.

The final two are not CD singles, instead being normal 12cm discs. It's Namie Amuro albums! Since I listened to How To Be A Girl from 1997, I checked out her music and I heard her later songs when she switched genres and I was FLOORED.

This is Best Fiction! It's a best compilation of Namie's recent work from the time. It's very good.

What wasn't so good was that I tricked myself into thinking that the seller duped me for a second. When I opened the album, the DVD fell out and I thought the seller just completely forgot about it.

Next is PLAY. I bought this for Hide & Seek, which a live performance got on my YouTube recommended and it was soo crazy. I love it. Here's another performance. I'm still so upset that Namie Amuro has no music videos at all aside from clips.

Here's the current lineup. It started to get too tight, so I've moved some boxes on the right to free up some space. I have only a handful of CD space left until I have to start moving stuff again. I already bought something that comes out next month, so I might just buy a couple of more CDs to fill in that void.

I went to Goodwill again recently. I found a 4K UHD Blu-ray player! It's an LG UBK80. I thought these things would end up at ShopGoodwill, which is Goodwill's official online store, where high-demand and recent items usually go. It was only $10. If it worked, then that's a huge save from what these players usually go for. If it was broken, oh well.

I hooked up the player to my TV and it shows the LG logo and then... nothing. There wasn't any 'No Signal' message, just black. It seemed as if the firmware was broken or the video out is kaput. Is it broken!? I decided to hook it up to my PC monitor and the menu actually showed up. I went to the settings, changed to a 1080p video output and then moved to my TV. It's not broken! I think the staff member who tested this unit out had the same issue but didn't look into it, which is why it didn't end up on the online store.

DVDs played fine, Blu-ray discs have no issue, and 4K Blu-ray discs play fine! 4K Blu-ray is a relatively new thing, so these decks go for a hundred dollars! What a score! Probably one of the best things I got out of Goodwill yet! Too bad my TV is only 1080p, so I can't really use 4K on it. Oops.

Of course, this unit has region locking. It only reads region 1 DVDs, so my Japanese DVDs are out of the question. Though, Japan and US share the same Blu-ray region code, so I'm good if I ever buy a Japanese Blu-ray. 4K Blu-ray discs don't have any region locking, which is nice, but what took them so long!?

Recently, a lot of Japanese singles have been including music videos in Blu-rays rather than DVDs now, sometimes with more content than the DVDs. I might buy a single to check out these new fangled Blu-ray discs. I'm so surprised that it took this long for such a change to happen, but I guess it depended on manufactoring costs. Even then, some groups are still selling limited editions with DVDs, even if the same content on the disc is in higher quality on YouTube. I still don't get that.

One annoyance I have is that the player doesn't have any meaningful networking support. It has an ethernet port, but only for system updates. There's no streaming at all, so it's impossible to watch something from my media server. I hate trying to use my PS4 for such tasks since it's so picky on codecs. Well, it can't be helped. It's only $10.

Recently, you may have heard that many Wii U systems are dying of old age, only to be found out that the systems that used a specific manufacturer for it's internal storage was the cause. This manufacturer is Hynix, a lot of people who have failing systems used this brand. I checked my Wii U to find out that my console did indeed utilize Hynix storage. I wasn't surprised, as I was trying to check for my memory details, my Wii U froze while going back to the menu.

That's not to mention the fact that the most popular online communities, Splatoon and Mario Kart 8, have been down for maintainence since March 2nd. An online exploit was discovered and they were both taken down for a patch but it hasn't come out yet. Splatoon is a weird case: The stores are open, the stage rotation data is avaliable, but the game doesn't let you in the lobby.

Not only that, the eShop closes in a week! That's weird, it feels like yesterday that they had closed the Wii Shop Channel. I don't really care though. As corny as it sounds, I already modded my Wii U ages ago and my 3DS was banned from accessing Nintendo Network ever since the Pokemon Sun banwave. If I tried going on the eShop on my 3DS, it'll just tell me I can't access Nintendo Network services and tell me to close the app.

This month has been a month for sure. I've been going through some stuff, but this post made me realize that a lot of stuff made me smile.