September 22nd, 2022
Today is the 7th anniversary of the site. That's crazy!
Today's first topic is Splatoon! I'll first go through my experience with the Splatfest demo and then talk about the main game.
For the Americas, August 27th was the Splatfest. Rock vs. Paper vs. Scissors! The Splatfest lasted for 12 hours. I picked Rock for this Splatfest. When the demo was ready to play, you couldn't do much aside from walk around Splatsville, vote, and post a message. You couldn't even test out the weapons either. That sucked.
When the Splatfest demo for Splatoon 2 came out, did anyone else download all the regional variants so they could play Splatoon 2 all day? I did! I woke up extremely early to start. Everytime I hear Ebb & Flow, I can't help but think of that time. I wish I could show pictures of it, but I lost all my Switch screenshots from before November 2017. I think they were all on that laptop hard drive that failed.
I like the Splatfest music that played. The solo music in Splatsville wasn't anything too memorable to me, but Anarchy Rainbow was great. Of course, there is exclusive Splatfest music that played during the matches. There were only two, but they're so good.
Anyways, I played for nearly 10 hours straight. Initally, I was playing solo, but I was killing it when I got some friends along! 6 hours into the event, halftime kicked in!
The Americas' halftime results! Tricolor Battle becomes accessible from this point on.
New to Splatoon 3 is Tricolor Battle! They're a new 2v2v4 battle that pits two players from both of the losing teams with four from the leading team! The goal for the losing teams is to get enough turf than the four-person team. The goal for the four-person team is to protect the Ultra Signal and have the most turf, which is easier said than done.
Though once halftime happened, I played mostly with a friend on Tricolor queue. We smashed the competition! We were popping off in our voice chat. It's like we just breathe and we win. The Tricolor Battles were a bit tough, but we managed. I knew we had this in the bag, there was NO way Rock could've lost. Haha!
All good things must come to an end, Splatfest was over. Results wouldn't be published until Japan had finished their demo, which wouldn't be for another 10 hours.
The results for the Americas! Rock wins the popularity vote and gets the highest clout rate in Normal battles! Paper got the highest clout rate in Pro battles. Scissors doesn't win anything.
I won! Scissors was on top in halftime, now it wasn't!? How!? Whatever, we won! Not just in the Americas either, we won worldwide! I was popping off on Twitter! Since this is a demo, no Super Sea Snails or other bonuses were distributed and the demo ended right after Deep Cut signed off.
Here were my final stats. 736,000 in Normal Clout, around 30,000 in Pro Clout, and Rock Ruler +3. I won two 100x battles, a lot of 10x battles, and a couple of Tricolor Battles. Since I won a 100x battle, I got a crown over my name too. Last time I checked, my battle history said I had a 7:3 ratio on victories and losses. Those are some pretty good numbers. I still have the Splatoon skill in me.
It was a very fun day. All my Splatoon friends were extremely active in our chatrooms. It really felt like the early days of Splatoon 2. It might've been 5 years ago, but it was very nostalgic. I can't wait for release to have it happen all over again!
Overall, the game was very fun. I thought the quality of life enhancements like the new lobby were perfect! Tricolor battles were so cool! Imagine if they made a mode with multiple teams instead of 2! I loved playing this demo! A lot of other people didn't have the same thoughts though...
While Rock did not lead in the halftime results, I can understand why some people though Tricolor battles were unfair. People who were Scissors were forced to play these matches and were constantly sharked from both sides. The fact that Scissors was robbed of any points whatsoever made a lot of people upset too. I have a giant feeling that Nintendo may revamp this mode entirely later in the game's life.
Once it was over, sadness overtook me. Now what? Do I go back to Splatoon 2? The demo ends here and won't go past the title screen. I couldn't even go around the new square if I wanted to. It was going to be a long 2 weeks before the game drops. In a meantime, I guess Splatoon 2 is the only option.
I'll say, Inkopolis Square was very depressing. All the posts were no longer just random drawings or memes, but people just anxiously waiting for Splatoon 3. People wanting to go back, art of the new idols, all those "Welcome Home CHEATER" posts... So many cheater posts... I'm trying to get my mind off Splatoon 3, guys!
I can confirm these accusations are correct, I did play Splatoon 3 after all.
Anyways, after 2 loooong weeks of waiting, it came out!
Before the game starts, you can import Splatoon 2 save data to get some special bonuses. The bonuses aren't game-changing, they just make it faster to get weapons so you can get used to them in Splatoon 3 quicker. I almost reached one thousand hours!
The game is finally here, Splatoon 3!
My head was absolutely filled with emotions. I didn't know where to start... Do I want to play multiplayer? Did I want to play ranked? What about Turf War? I also should finish the story mode first. I also want to play Salmon Run, I need the highest rank there! I couldn't possibly do all of that in a day!
Just to get started, I ran to the multiplayer lobby. I was forced to play my first battle with a Splattershot Jr. I wasn't allowed to change my name yet either, so I was thrown into the game as Player.
Everyone else had the same fate too.
My first Turf War match! It's our first Turf War match. A Turf War match in a map that isn't even new! Wahoo World was a map from Splatoon 2. As of writing this, I forgot a lot of the details of the match, but I know one important thing:
It was a win! I can finally sleep peacefully knowing I didn't lose my first match.
After the first match, you can finally make your own name. Unlike Splatoon 2, your name is seperate of what you call your Switch's profile name. I chose 1-800-GOAT because I like goats and it was a name I thought of days prior. Some people probably have high expecations for me because of the usage of goats though. Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not that good!
Since I got Splatoon 2 save data imported, I could play Anarchy Battle immediately. It was Clam Blitz! The ranked mode that I hate but I still play a lot. Whatever, I got on. What could go wrong? All I hope was to win my first Anarchy match.
I won again! To be honest, my teammates probably carried me. All my medals I earned were silver. I'm a little upset I didn't do much. I'll just tell everyone we would've lost if it weren't for me. That'll make me feel better.
To prevent this page from getting too long, I put my opinions on specific things in the game under these spoilers. Click on the title and they'll open right up. If you don't want to look, scroll ahead. There's no more Splatoon after this!
Splatoon 3 - Online Multiplayer
Splatoon 3 has a more intense focus on online than the previous entries.
Ranks and ranked modes have been reworked to fit the seasonal theme of the game. There is a points system for ranks now, where you will rank up when you reach a threshold. At the end of every season (roughly 3 months), every player goes down one rank tier, which is the only way to rank down in the game. I think it's a nice change.
Ranked modes (now called Anarchy) have been split into two, with more coming in future updates. There is the Series mode, where you can put down some of your Anarchy points and, depending on your performance in the next few games, can gain a lot of points. There is also Open, which is the more casual mode and runs on a seperate rotation than Series does. In Open, you don't risk a lot of points, which makes it way less stressful. You can also play Open with friends of any rank level too!
My favorite part of the online multiplayer is that your performance is graded aswell. In Splatoon 2, if you were the only one that did any of the work and lost, you'd still get penalized. In Splatoon 3, you get medals based on key tactics you did. If you were the only one to throw clams in Clam Blitz, you'd get a gold medal for it, and you won't lose as many points if you were to lose the match.
I know that this game came out, but the network issues are aplenty. There's so many disconnects, matchmaking failures, and unexplained errors. Nintendo even released a patch to fix these issues, but it only made them worse.
One thing that seriously annoys the hell outta me is this. This pops up when somebody in the match disconnects within the first minute of battle. After the message above shows up, everybody gets kicked out. It doesn't matter who's in the lead, everyone has to go. Were you in the lead and someone on the other team ragequit? Too bad, no points for you. Were you about to take the lead? Boo-hoo, better luck next time. It's really, really annoying. It's common to see people have a squid party mid-match once someone disconnects during the timeframe.
Look at this match I won. In the middle of it, the rival team starts to act funny and then all but one person disconnects. Near the end, you could see the last person just give up. That's only when it was in my favor, there's plenty of times I get kicked from matchmaking, or even my teammates getting disconnected mid-match because of the errors. It's completely ridiculous.
Of course, this is the launch period. This game is the flagship title using Nintendo's new NPLN networking library, which has only been previously used for Monster Hunter Rise. They'll fix it soon... hopefully.
Splatoon 3 - Salmon Run: Next Wave
An upgraded version of Salmon Run comes to Splatoon 3! In this iteration, they have introduced new maps, new bosses, and new waves. In addition to those, they also made the mode avaliable 24/7. In Splatoon 2, the mode was only avaliable periodically.
There's 2 new wave types. There's the Tornado wave, which requires everyone to pass along eggs from low-tide to the basket in high-tide, and Mudmouths, which requires everyone to throw bombs into a new Mudmouth enemy to farm eggs from them. Both of these waves are pretty easy, even in the highest Salmon Run rank. Other than that, there is a new wave called Xtrawave!
Every few matches, your team will face off a King Salmonid in an extra fourth round. As of launch, there is only 1 King Salmonid, it being Cohozuna. You'll have to throw golden eggs that spawn from the normal Boss Salmonid. Clearing the Xtrawave will land you some fish scales and bonus points.
Grizzco now has their own store. Using the Fish Scales you earn from King Salmonids, you can buy work suits, locker decorations, and banners. I like buying a bunch of these things, I want to decorate my locker so people know I like the little salmonids! It's hard to buy anything though, the scales are so scarce.
If you clear a Boss Salmonids, you get a few scales. The numbers are so low, that you would have to play for a while to afford even one of the banners. I heard it gets easier to get scales in the later difficulties, but I've seen videos of people clearing the Xtrawave in the highest difficulty... and they still get really low numbers. That kinda sucks.
One thing I don't like is that there are no more checkpoints in the highest rank anymore. If you were at a high rank like Eggsecutive VP 200, you'll drop to VP 40 in the next rotation. This causes issues because some of the players around that skill level really don't play that well. I end up having some very embarrasing losses. Some people really do just work against me in a co-op mode.
Splatoon 3 - Alterna Story Mode
I'll say, this story mode is way, WAY better than Splatoon 2. It almost can rival Octo Expansion. While it may seem rather lazy, lifting elements from Octo Expansion really made this story mode worth playing. I wouldn't even bother with this if it were the same old gameplay we've been playing for 7 years.
The story mode has you go through six big islands and retrieve parts along the way. You choose how much of each island you want to clear. You can speed through an island quickly or take your time. I like this approach way more, as the previous games had you go through levels that all felt the same.
Of course, you have your little Smallfry! He's a funny little dude who can be used to toggle switches, defeat enemies, and be used as bait. If you love abusing baby fish, this is the best game to play.
A lot of the levels are not just a run to the finish, they all have different unique goals. One has you go through a maze to collect every egg in it, one has you try to get to the end without touching any enemy ink and only let's you use a limited amount of ink... it's all so fun!
If this is what the base story mode is... then I can't wait for the large-scale DLC they teased!
Splatoon 3 - Final Boss/Ending
The final level in Splatoon 3 takes notes from Octo Expansion: instead of a boss, it's multiple phases before the boss. I think they didn't really do a good job for these phases though.
Personally, I think the way the phases are handled here wasn't as cool as Octo Expansion. In Octo Expansion, the build up was from you escaping to the surface with the threat from other enemies increasing, there was a sense of danger. After the first phase, it felt like everybody around you was trying to get you. In Splatoon 3, the phases really just felt like general levels you would play outside of the final boss. It just didn't hit as hard.
It might've been because the phases themselves weren't as exciting. The additional BGM with Deep Cut appears in the phases, but they happen in phases that are over so quick. It's hard to feel any sense of immediate danger if the stages are short. In Octo Expansion, Off the Hook's extra BGM in the final phases played in phases that usually took more than 6 minutes to beat.
Maybe I should say something positive? My favorite phase was the Alterna Space Center Hangar. You get a lot of canned specials to take down specific groups of enemies. The best part of it is that a lot of it are specials from Splatoon 2 that did not come back for Splatoon 3's multiplayer.
The first phase of the boss was pretty fun. I thought incorporating Smallfry's ability to eat the fuzzy ooze was neat. Even doing some damage to the boss felt envigorating. Too bad it was all... too short.
The second phase of the boss wasn't all that either. It really was just using an Ink Vac on certain spots for a few seconds and then you're done. The phase wasn't too fun and it was over within a minute. How upsetting. I will say, the remix of Calamari Inkantation that plauges the final boss ever since the first game still rocks.
I think the main issue is that you are really not involved in this part. In Octo Expansion, you had to climb all over the NILS Statue and ink specially-marked bombs to cover the statue in ink, which takes up majority of the time alloted. Here, there's not much to do, and I think that's the issue. 3 and a half minutes to point at some blobs and maybe shoot a couple of enemies is too little for that amount of time.
Of course, I think it was short and simple was because it's the base game's boss. Splatoon 2's final boss was known to be really easy and boring, but look at me, praising Octo Expansion. I think the DLC's final boss will be way more involved than this fight was.
Well, after all that, the credits soon roll. If the trailer was correct, this is the final part of the story that branched the series thus far. If they're going to make a new story mode, it might not even have the Squid Sisters... or Cap'n Cuddlefish either! That might be weird to think about.
While the final boss and it's execution really soured me, I will say that it's the best final boss in the base game ever. I liked it, it just tried to be Octo Expansion a little bit too much.
Anyways, there was a Nintendo Direct earlier this month. I didn't personally care for it. They did announce the new Splatfest in that broadcast though, for whatever reason. I guess to pad out the direct with stuff people actually care about, since it seems a lot of people thought majority of the Direct was bland. Whatever, new Splatfest!
It was soon announced in the game later in the week.
It takes place this weekend. I'll write about it in the next post.
After 10 days, the Switch would finally drop my playtime. 110 hours! That's roughly 10% of time I put into Splatoon 2. I don't think I'll be burnt out on the game anytime soon either. I can't wait to see more of what this game's future holds.
As usual with the blog, it's time for the pop'n music Lively stuff!
This month's free bonus song is ☆shining☆ by Ryu & Noria. The song sounds exactly like the bonus song from July, so it's rather disappointing.
This month's new quest song is ポップミュージック続論 by ギラギラメガネ楽団 feat.MAKI. This is what I'm looking for! It's a remix of ポップミュージック論. I love it, I love it! Unfortunately, I was too engaged in Splatoon 3 to unlock it in time for the post. Maybe next month.
This month's new ticket song is SHION by DJ Yoshitaka. The song sounds very similar to other DJ Yoshitaka songs in a good way. I'll think about it.
That's it for this month. I wish we got more than 2 songs a month. Next month is going to have the last ticket song for me.
In other pop'n music news, a new pop'n music game for arcades was announced. It's pop'n music UniLab. The theme is science! With Mimi and Nyami wearing lab coats and the game having flasks everywhere. In the usual pop'n music fashion, it was announced days before release with no location test in advance.
They added a remix of THE SAFARI from beatmania IIDX 5th style! It's THE SAFARI - NEETs ver. -! The song was only avaliable for listening for a while before being added to the GITADORA games and then UniLab! I wish I could play it but I probably won't be able to. I don't expect it to be added to Lively until UniLab is over, who knows how long that's gonna take?
That's all I want to talk about UniLab. I wish I could play it, but my Round1 doesn't have a pop'n music cabinet. I hope in the future, they'll consider adding one to their library.
In the June 1st, 2021 post, I mentioned that I had purchased a Panasonic NV-DM1 miniDV deck. The unit was broken, the tape transport system had a broken gear and it's rather out of my league to fix it. Despite that, I used it as a capture device, as it output all input signals through it's FireWire port.
For years now, I wanted to buy a DV deck. One that actually worked. I went online to check for DV decks and I came across the Sony WV series. While it's not exclusive to DV, the Sony WV decks usually have two decks, one for VHS and another for some other video tape format. There was one that utilized DV. I wanted it. The prices for one were pretty high though. So I forgot about it.
Then when I was browsing Yahoo Auctions. I found a listing. One Sony WV-DR5 starting at 1,000 yen. It was tested too! I put in my max bid of around $90. I knew I wasn't gonna win, but wouldn't hurt to try. There was a slight chance that I could have the deck I really wanted.
The final day came around. The final moments was at 8 in the morning for me. I woke up with only 20 minutes remaining, I was still in the lead. The minutes trickled down to the last 3 minutes. By that point, people had put sniper bids to try and knock me down without success. The time would soon run out, the listing would finally end. Next thing you know, my proxy service notifies me of a winning auction. I was floored, I won!?
Soon, the VCR would ship to my proxy and then would ship to my house! International shipping wasn't cheap, I'll tell you that much. It was mine, all mine. I hooked up the enourmous box into my TV and I finally owned a DV deck that actually WORKED!
This thing is pretty huge.
This is the Sony WV-DR5. As mentioned, it's a late DV+VHS combo unit. It's part of a series of WV-DR units, this one being the cheaper model, which only allows S-VHS playback. The other decks in the WV-DR series allow S-VHS recordings, but cost significantly more. I doubt that there's any sort of benefit using S-VHS to record, especially when the DV deck is the exact same across all models.
The device comes with two S-video/composite I/O ports, a multitude of tuners that don't work in America, and one i.Link connector. It's a bit less than what my old DV deck had. Unlike the older deck, it has a whole slew of controls accessible from the front panel that flips down. There's buttons for practically everything there. I'll get to them when I touch upon their respective topic.
VHS quality is way better than my old VCR. The result of S-video and better heads.
Playback works fine. Japanese VHS tapes use the NTSC standard, so all my tapes work. DV tapes also playback fine and look really good. There's some features that, on other VCRs, only on the remote that most people lose. Things like pause, frame advance, tracking adjust, and the like. It's really helpful, as I don't have the remote for it.
The system has a really fast rewinder, only taking 3 seconds to rewind 10 minutes of tape. It's amazing, but it's also REALLY loud. There's also some feature called the Reality Generator, which is supposed to make the video from VHS tapes look better. I do see a difference, but I can't say it looks any good.
Recording works on both the DV and VHS end. Unlike my previous VCR, this actually has a button to switch from SP to LP. VHS SP recordings look pretty good, better than what my old VCR could produce. The real question is... does DV recording work? Of course it does! It looks superb! Since I can use tapes now, I might buy a whole bunch of them later.
There is one issue I have with this deck. The S-video input in the back of the VCR doesn't work. It sucks bad! Despite that, I could just plug in my S-video consoles to the front of the VCR. The composite on the back still works just fine, so I can hook up a console that's composite only. No biggie!
As with many other DV devices, this unit has i.Link support. It outputs all video except the VHS signal, which was possibly done to mitigate any piracy issues. Despite this, I actually found a way to record VHS footage to a computer without needing to record to a DV tape! A DV tape is still required for the procedure though.
When you setup a transfer process, but not actually start it, the VHS signal is displayed on the DV output and, by extension, output through the FireWire cable. This only works if the tape is accepted by the super-ultimate-monster copy-protection system.
By copy-protection, I mean that the VCR just checks if the write tab is still intact. If it isn't, then the tape will be ejected. Simply put tape over where this tab would be and the VCR will let you copy it just fine. Now I can sell bootleg copies of Robin Hood on DV!
All in all, this was a really cool purchase I made. Add with the fact that one of my local Goodwills have been stocking on VHS tapes, it makes it all worthwhile. I might buy some import VHS tapes for the heck of it.
In the process of writing the WV-DR5 section, I was going to record me playing a Famicom game as a test and upload it here. I went to get a blank VHS tape for the job. I pulled out a nice Sony T-120 premium tape, I must've got this thing a few years back. It looked unused: there were no labels on the tape, the tape was completely rewound, and the tape and case was clean. The only sign of any sort of use was the label sheet. I popped it in and then...
The film, Mary and Rhoda, started to play midway through. For the longest time, I thought this tape was blank. All the signs pointed to it. I didn't know the time period this was recorded, so I went through the tape. My VCR states that this tape was recorded in EP mode, which let's the tape record up to 6 hours of footage, so I hoped that the previous owner utilized that fully.
A news broadcast! The news had started to talk about a water break that happened in Schaumburg, Illinois. Thanks to this information, I managed to date this recording to Feburary 8th, 2000, in the very early morning. Strange for someone to just start recording right after midnight. Why would you want to see this?
After an hour of the news, the news had cut to a commercial break. After watching a car commercial for a few seconds, my VCR freaked out as it tried to auto-track to the new recording. The ABC recording was overwriting a program from the 1999. No idea what channel it is. I thought it might be CBS, but I don't have definitive proof that it is.
For a long period after the cut, the recording was unwatchable. The image is very snowy and keeps jumping up and down. It's not until almost an hour later that the picture begins to clear up.
While a bit jittery and snowy, the picture is rather alright. The audio is very buzzy though.
The rest of the tape seems to be recordings of an entertainment news program. The program shows actors promoting their upcoming movies, trailers, and other promotions. There's also segments of some show that reviews recent movies. Thanks to some commercials that were advertising local events, I could minimize the date to around October to November 1999.
After that, the tape cuts to a golfing TV show. I don't know what it's called and I don't know when this part was recorded, as the program did not cut to any commercials. My only guess is that it was recorded around the same time as the entertainment news programs. The tape ends shortly after.
Due to how long the tape is, I'll probably get to capturing commercials later. Once that happens, I'll upload it here. For now, have this small collage of screenshots from the tape. I hope to get some of the tape captured for the next blog post, but this is a 6 hour tape we're talking about, so it might take a while.
Anyways, thanks for reading! I had a lot of stuff written for the Splatoon segment, but I had to shrink it. I think the page was around 50KB before I removed paragraphs of stuff. It now sits at 30KB. Oops.