Some theories on Super Mario Odyssey design influences

The Electronic Entertainment Expo – E3 –  united millions of video game developers and fans this week. Nintendo’s efforts stood-out from the crowd. Their new game, titled Mario Odyssey, received some attention. We finally had a chance to see the game play.

I want to dig a bit deeper into some of the ideas and inspirations behind Nintendo’s new Sand Kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey. The Kingdom introduces a rusty red, cold and dry desert level.

Eagle-eyed gaming and theory enthusiasts might notice several cultural facts and references from myths influencing the design when Mario arrives in Tostarena Town.

In this post, I wanted to touch on what some of these influences are.

Samantha Robertson, Assistant Manager of Product marketing at Nintendo Treehouse, interviewed Nintendo’s developers. Robertson’s interviews reveal some of the main design influences:

  • The game play foundations stem from the dense but fascinating spaces Nintendo created in Super Mario 64, and Super Mario Sunshine.
  • The concept “Hakoniwa”, which translates into “Miniature Garden”, inspired the overall game design.

Nintendo have created a set of miniature gardens to play in.

They want to invite their fans to explore a miniature version of the real world, and it is likely their aim is to invite their fans to see the familiar world in a new, playful way.

Some Super Mario Odyssey character designs callback to past Nintendo titles. Specifically, the “Moe-aye”, inspired by Easter Island Moai statues.

“Moe-aye” are the basic sounds of the word Moai, which makes pronouncing the word easy. Super Mario Land for the Gameboy featured these statues. It is likely that “Moe-aye”
connect back to Nintendo’s early handheld Mario games.

The addition of the sunglasses is also a fun way to re-imagine the Moai statues.

Moeaye

Nintendo connects events of the past with its stylish new game in a playful way. Mario encounters a stone creature called a “Jaxi”, which resembles an ancient Mayan mask.

There is a reason for this resemblance:

It’s likely “Jaxi” combines the words jaguar and taxi.

Mario can call a ride from these stone Jaguars to get a lift across the vast red sands at breakneck speeds. This explains the taxi part of the name. But why a jaguar?

Mayan mythology regards the Jaguar as a symbol representing the energy of the sun. Similar to the sun god Apollo from the Greek pantheon, the Jaguar sun deity, called Ahau-Kin, travelled across the sky during the day.

My theory: this myth inspires the “Jaxi”

Like if Apollo became a ride share driver with his sun chariot.

Another playful idea from Nintendo that reaches back into past traditions.

Jaxi

Samantha Robertson says that Super Mario Odyssey embodies all the great experiences that the development team had while travelling overseas from Japan:

“[Mario Odyssey is] a love letter to our experiences travelling”

Kenta Motokura – Super Mario Odyssey Director, and Developer at Nintendo.

Nintendo’s Youtube channel contains all the E3 announcements from this week. Including the footage of the Sand Kingdom, and New Donk City, which I’ve added at the end of this post.

For more gaming content on the Wallflyer and you can follow me, Joe, on twitter @thewallflyer.

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How to Catch Celesteela in Pokemon Moon

Celesteela is only available in Pokemon Moon version. If you have Pokemon Sun, you must trade for this Ultra Beast

This post plainly describes one method of catching the Ultra Beast known as Celesteela in Pokemon Moon Version.

What you need to catch Celesteela: Beast Balls from Aether Paradise, and healing items like Hyper Potions.

The main item you will need is a Beast Ball.

To obtain Beast Balls, you will need to follow a the sequence of events that form the Ultra Beast side quest. Note that you will also need to progress this sidequest, and capture the initial Ultra Beasts to reach a point where Celesteela will become available:

  1. Complete the main story, including a battle against the Elite Four and Champion.
  2. Go to the north coast of Akala Island, and enter the hotel on Route 8, which will trigger the Ultra Beast Sidequest.
  3. Fly or ride the Ferry (the ferry is a far slower travel method around Alola) to the Aether Paradise. Beast Balls are given as a gift in the basement laboratories.

While you can catch Ultra Beasts in ordinary manufactured PokeBalls, the Beast Ball has a far higher catch rate, which will make capturing all the strange and enigmatic Ultra Beasts easier, especially if you are aiming to catch one with a specific nature.

Healing items for your Pokemon team are also essential. I recommend Full Restores. Hyper Potions will do if you are low on PokeDollars. A way to raise some money for items is to send your Pokemon into the caves in the PokePelago to find rare treasure. You can also battle the elite four repeatedly.

With items accounted for, you will need to prepare your team.

Pokemon that will help you catch Celesteela: A Pokemon with high attack power and False Swipe, and a Pokemon that knows a status changing move like Sleep Powder or Thunder Wave.

Bringing Pokemon who can content with a steel type is essential. Steel type are all about physical defensive. A Pokemon with false swipe and a high attack power speeds everything along – Scyther or Scizor are good choices. Using False Swipe will always leave a Pokemon with 1 HP remaining.

A Pokemon who can inflict status conditions helps stop Celesteela from demolishing your team. Sleep and paralysis strategies will both help you. Alolan Raichu using Thunderwave, or a grass type using sleep powder or spore traps Celesteela, reducing its chances to attack.

As an added strategy, I added a Pokemon with focus energy and baton pass to my team. A ghost and flying type Pokemon first introduced in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl called Drifblim for example. One of these Pokemon arrived on my PokePellago’s Isle Abeens. Drifblim used focus energy and baton pass to send the boost to Scyther, which helped to add an extra attack bonus when using False Swipe.

A note on Pokemon natures and Synchronise

You can use a Pokemon with the ability Synchronise to influence the nature of wild Pokemon. An Abra with a modest nature and Synchronise will increase the chance of finding wild Pokemon with a modest nature by 50 per cent. Be aware that if your Pokemon with synchronise is at a low level, escaping from wild battles might be harder. If your Pokemon with synchronise is fainted, however, it’s ability will still work. You can also equip the Pokemon with a Smoke Ball item to ensure an escape from battle if you don’t want to leave a Pokemon fainted.

Where to find Celesteela: Malie Gardens, or Haina Desert on Ula’Ula Island.

The Ultra Beast lurks around Ula’Ula island – The largest of the four Alolan Islands. It can be found either in the Haina Desert, or in Malie Garden. Two Celesteela are available to capture.

I decided to search for Celesteela in Malie Gardens, since they were close to the Malie City Pokemon Centre, just in case anything went wrong.

Celesteela can be found in any patch of grass in the gardens, and appears on level 65.

My team had Scyther (lv67) and Drifblim (lv56) in the battle. My Abra with Synchronise was a far lower level, and I switched out Abra quickly. I used a Victreebel I had transferred from Pokemon Red version to put Celesteela to sleep with Sleep Powder.

After about five to seven turns, Scyther weakened Celesteela, lowering its HP. I then caught the Ultra Beast in a beast ball.

You can find more games related content here, and you can follow me, Joe, on twitter @thewallflyer.

Boomerang trivia from Breath of the Wild

Since I shared one of Tristan Cooper’s Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild discoveries this week, I thought I would share one more. This trivia relates to the Boomerang item. It’s worth watching the animated gif in the embedded tweet to see the Stal-Lizalfos arm flying.

Zelda: Breath of the Wild fighting for mental health.

Content Warning: This post discusses mental health and suicide. Please contact a counselling service or mental health professional if you need help.

It is always good to see a game reaching out to touch on, and check in on, the audience’s mental health. Dorkly articles editor Tristan Cooper has made many discoveries, and tweeted a list of small but stunning details in Breath of the Wild.

While Cooper found many instances that play out like a short stories while exploring Hyrule, just one stood out to me. When standing on the edge of a bridge, one Hylian man will talk Link down from the edge. They will encourage Link to come down, and offer to talk to him for a while. Even if there is a shade of comedy to a non-playable character being concerned for a hero with a full health bar a programmed encounter, a simple sidequest, can adjust the audiences world view. A basic encounter could save a life. I’m not exaggerating.

On the other hand, such an interaction in game might been seen as annoying at best, or a superficial and fizzling stand against suicide at worst. I think it is a big deal. Small details placed strategically can have more impact that one large message designed to have widespread appeal. And glancing at all the detailed discoveries Zelda fans are talking about online, Nintendo is standing up for mental health.

You can ready the full list of Tristan Cooper’s finds at Dorkly. Beyond Blue has information and resources for anyone in need of mental health assistance.

Heavy content, but very important content. For something more lighthearted, I’ve also written about the Link Breath of the Wild Nendoroid.

Nendoroid Link from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

With the Nintendo Switch release, the uptick in Nintendo and Legend of Zelda discussion on social media might be close to saturation point. That being said, there is 12 days remaining to pre-order a Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Nendoroid Link. Having now played the game, I think collectors or Legend of Zelda fans might benefit from knowing that the Nendoroid is still available to pre-order til March 16, 2017.

The artwork behind the Nendoroid toys is high detail, and there are two versions of the Breath of the Wild Nendoroid Link:

The standard Nendoroid Link.979497f3fddcbd31106b389dcade57d8

And the Deluxe Nendoroid Link.2daeafa4b87ee0e6ad9c38bf2b344164

The key differences are:

The Deluxe version contains “an axe, club, chicken leg as well as his hood and even a horse for Link to ride on” (GoodSmile.info).

The Deluxe versions Recommended Retail Price is 1203 more Yen compared to the standard version before tax, and not including shipping.

Pre-orders for both versions of the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild Nendoroid Link are still open until March 16, 2017.

Exclusive Breath of the Wild artwork and art book from Nintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Art and Artifacts gathers and displays artwork from 31 years of Legend of Zelda games. This includes entries in the art book from Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which was released today, March 3, 2017 alongside the Nintendo Switch.

Just nine days ago on February 21, 2017 the new art book celebrating the 31st anniversary of Legend of Zelda games was released, alongside a special edition of the art book. The special edition featured a master sword acetate cover. The art book is published by Dark Horse.

This isn’t the only exclusive artwork Nintendo has released for the Legend of Zelda anniversary, and for the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild release. Some of the earlier ideas, the initial thoughts and brainstorming that Nintendo worked through, behind Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild were available to view at Game Developers Conference 2017:

I like Link’s flying V guitar, even though it works against the fantasy genre standards.

This gives an insight into the steps Nintendo’s development team went through to reach the Breath of the Wild idea. Not all ideas are of no use. Mostly, they are stepping stones to stronger ideas. This is why brainstorming and developing an idea is so useful to learning to write stories.

You can find more information on the Art and Artifacts art book on the Dark Horse website.

How Nintendo handled the Pokemon 20th Anniversary – a retrospective

How Nintendo managed and progressed their Pokemon games on their 20th anniversary represents a significant trend in culture to look back over. This short post is a summary of what Nintendo did for Pokemon’s 20th Anniversary year.

Released a rare Pokemon each month through card distribution, or online

Legendary Pokemon usually come in sets of three, but there is always one rare, unique legendary – Mew, Celebi, Jirachi, Deoxys, Manaphy, Phione, and Darkrai for example. Releasing one of these unique legendary Pokemon each month kept the gamer and collector fanbase engaged throughout the year.

The rarest Pokemon were always at the front of the community’s collective mind, particularly on social media. Pokemon trainers tweeted out reminders of when new Pokemon were available, and when new plushies and merchandise were on sale. When legendary Pokemon were available through a code printed on a GameStop or EB Games distribution card, gamers shared their extra cards through social media.

Re-released the three original Pokemon games, and linking these games to the most recent titles

Just as the Pokemon 20th anniversary started, Nintendo re-released Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, and Pokemon Yellow for the Nintendo 3DS virtual console. The release came with the announcement that the older games would link to the most recent.

Just before the end of the 20th anniversary year, the Pokemon Bank link between the oldest and newest games went live. Nintendo kept a key promise to the fanbase.

Released PokemonGO, after a strong trailer and marketing plan – the effects of which were unprecedented.

From my point of view, PokemonGO was significant, bringing Pokemon back to the levels of phenomenal popularity not seen since the mid to late 1990’s. One of the best outcomes?Many gamers  reported leaving their house, meeting people, and making new friends through the app’s outdoor gameplay.

Looking back over the past year, Nintendo has celebrated the impact their Pokemon games have had on gaming culture and the history of gaming and animation, artwork and world culture. They made several promises, and kept them.

One more legendary Pokemon distribution  event continues for another few days. The rare Pokemon Magearna is still available to download from the American Pokemon website, and from Australian website Pokemon Australia.