Joe Z’s Retro Gaming Adventure

I’ve spent some time listening and seeing others play modern video games, and I realized that I don’t care. Most modern games look incredible, however, they also appear to be incredibly time-consuming. Which is good for some, not so much for me. One of my favorite things about the games of my youth was that I could pop in the cartridge and play. One of my favorite quick plays was the now 20-year-old pal of mine, Mario Kart 64.

Mario Kart 64box.png

Let the adventure begin! MK64, if you don’t know it, consists of eight playable Nintendo characters, four cups, and four levels of difficulty (you must unlock the fourth, which is all of the tracks with turns reversed at 150cc). To start I messed around with the Time Trials taking turns with each character. Mario/Luigi are the most balanced, Peach, Toad, and Yoshi are quick, while Wario, Bowser, and DK are strong and not easily bumped. I found myself preferring Yoshi, when I was a young buck I’d go with Toad or Donkey Kong. Now off to the races!

 

 

Mushroom Cup:

This cup features Luigi Raceway, Moo Moo Farm, Koopa Troopa Beach, and the Kalimari Desert. It’s the basic introduction with no obstacles too difficult to avoid and obvious secrets to go after. If you can get the timing down for the starting line burst you’ll be able to win every race here with ease, especially the Kalimari Desert (you can get by the train while all other drivers stop giving you an uncatchable lead).

Best Track: Koopa Troopa Beach – it’s fun with secrets and shortcuts!

Lame Track: Moo Moo Farm – I see more groundhogs, that the game info has listed as porcupines, than cows.

Flower Cup:

Now we’ve got some more obstacles and sharp turns. The lesson on Toad’s Turnpike is to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and…dodge. It’s a significant difference from you Mushroom Cup cruising experience, you can fall off ledges, get smacked around by cars, and crushed by chocolate boulders. Playtime is over, and if you can’t handle the Flower Cup, than don’t bother going forward. Actually if you do 50cc or 100cc the game makes it easier for you by having fewer obstacles and barriers so you don’t slip and fall because you don’t understand that the R button gives you the gift of drift.

Best Track: Mario Raceway – it’s a grinding battle track whether you’re playing against friends or the system.

Lame Track: Frappe Snowland – more like Crappe Snowland, am I right? Yes, yes I am. Compared to the other tracks, this one is a basic bitch with an easy cheat. There’s a glitch in the game you can try that allows you to skip a lap, you race two instead of three.

Star Cup:

As you can see there is another cup after the Star Cup, but seriously, I found this to be the most difficult of all. Wario Stadium is the second longest track in the game, Sherbet Land has some penguins belly sliding and coming after you, Royal Raceway is a break with sharp turns, and FUCK BOWSER’S CASTLE. What a bitch-a-roony-doony that course is. I had a rage building inside me from my struggles with the course. Sure, I figured it out, but this track can go to hell and die.

Best Track: Wario Stadium – it’s a fun bumpy ride.

Lame Track: Bowser’s Castle – Fuck Bowser’s Castle.

Special Cup:

Here we go with what we thought would be the hardest of them all really isn’t so bad after all, that’s not true, it’s still a pain in ye olde nards. Funny thing, when I first played this game 20 years ago, I was terrified of Rainbow Road, in fact it’s the easiest track in the Special Cup, also the longest track in the game. Brutal for the beginner, the best for the experienced MK64 players. The Yoshi Valley will spin your head, in case you forgot there are multiple routes and you can’t see who the leaders are. It’s a good time, as well as a fun finish to the game if you raced the cups in order.

Best Track: D.K.’s Jungle Parkway – That big jump! Go off the track and get pelted with rocks by “restless natives” according to the game’s guide.

Lame Track: Banshee Boardwalk – the near replica to the SNES Mario Kart’s “Ghost Valley” track. It’s boring compared to most other tracks, especially in this cup.

That’s all folks! What game should I try next? What are your favorite tracks from MK64? Tweet @JoeyHAHAs and let me know!

N64 GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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18 Years Later or A Smokey Holiday

To some folks April 20th is a holiday for stoners; to others it’s a chance to point out that it was Adolf Hitler’s birthday. It’s also the 18th anniversary of the Columbine Massacre, which looking back on, I wasn’t fully aware of how severe that day was. I was thirteen years old, my mom was freshly bald from starting chemotherapy (18 years cancer free now!), was a stressed kid who saw the news, but didn’t care. Gus Van Sant’s 2003 film Elephant hit me like a sack of bricks, I felt the emotions I probably should’ve felt then, and feel now every time there is a school shooting. It’s tragic that tragedies continue to happen, isn’t it? Yes, it is, however, I’m not here to preach my thoughts on solutions.

If you’ve never seen Elephant, I highly recommend it. The brilliance of this film was its attempt to capture as much realism as possible. Gus Van Sant, did not cast known actors, rather these individuals are considered “non-actors” (a different way of saying new, or, non-professional), and used their actual first names. The majority of the dialogue in the film is improvised and Van Sant allowed the cast to collaborate in the direction of scenes, and that gives an authentic feel to the in school scenes. This movie is going to leave you sad, frustrated, and questioning. Give it a go

OR

If you simply want to get high, eat junk food, and watch movies, go ahead. I thought of making a list of stoner movies, but guess what buttercup? THERE IS A TON! Besides, you know the good ones, you people of the internet don’t need me to tell you to watch Half Baked, Friday, or Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke. You’ve got it covered.

Z