Featured Super Mario Odyssey

Death is Cheap in Super Mario Odyssey, and I Love It

Common wisdom in video game design says that you can’t make death cheap. While you never want the player to quit in frustration, you also want to make them think. If death lacks consequences, players feel no tension. So a bullet wound or bottomless pit usually leads to a reload or level restart.

And then along comes a game like Super Mario Odyssey, where getting mauled by a Tyrannosaurus only loses you 10 coins, which you can go back and recover 30 seconds later. What gives with that?

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Apparatus of Kwalish

Weird Magic Items I Wish I’d Used

Originally posted on Sidekickcast.com

Thanks to whatever weirdness inhabited the heads of Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, fantasy gaming has some really bizarre stuff baked into its history. I’ve gamed long enough to use a lot of that weirdness (including my personal favorite, the deck of many things), but there’s still so much more out there. Here’s a quick list of some of the fun items in Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder that I’ve always wanted to slip into an adventure but have never quite been able to make fit.

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Nitpicking Movies: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

After the smashing success of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the franchise needed a strong follow-up. Failure to keep the momentum could have caused the film series to stumble, as happened with Disney’s ill-fated attempt to adapt all seven Chronicles of Narnia. Fortunately, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets did the job well.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets provided a strong second chapter that continued the trend of staying mostly true to the novels that served as source material. It showed that Warner Brothers had struck gold with the casting of Daniel Radcliffe and demonstrated the progressively darker tone that sequels would take.

It also has several things that make me scrunch up my face and go, “Huh?” So, as with its predecessor, I’m going to launch into a series of nitpicks about this film.

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Argument

The Anatomy of Nerdrage

2018 marked the year I burned out on fan forums on the Internet. I always knew those places bred negativity, but I also like to communicate with nerds about nerdy things. Unfortunately, the deadly seriousness with which some people treat their hobbies eventually made me something of an Internet recluse.

It didn’t help that I familiarized myself with the controversy surrounding The Last Jedi, that Pathfinder announced a new edition, that the Hulk got punked by Thanos in Infinity War, or that Doctor Who introduced a female Doctor. Change hit all my areas of interest, and that always brings a wave of negativity with it.

But the big question is: Why? Why do people take entertainment so seriously? Why does it seem so much easier to focus on the negative rather than celebrate the positive? And what can fans do to create better discourse in the future?

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Council of Thieves Carriage

Gaming Stories: The Ignominious Death of Machiavelli

This is a story about chaos and mismanaged expectations. It involves the death of a PC whose player had only started gaming two sessions ago. Somehow, my botched GMing didn’t drive him away from the tabletop for good and in fact became a tale that many who were there recall fondly.

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Super Mario Pathfinder

Super Mario Pathfinder

I have a son who is getting interested in role-playing games. He is also extremely interested in the Mario franchise, to the point where he refers to himself as Mario. His sister gets to be Princess Peach, his mother gets to be Princess Daisy, and I’m stuck as Luigi.

Recently, I decided to fuse these two interests together, resulting in a Super Mario Brothers edition of Pathfinder.

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