Many SPOILERS are contained throughout these posts. You have been warned!

10 gaming video content creators I recommend

This is a list of my 10 most regularly watched youtube/twitch gaming channels, and my recommendations for anyone who happens to enjoy my blog and wants to see some of the other stuff that I'm into.

They don't do much anymore these days, but I've always enjoyed their commentary on various obscure, mediocre adventure games that would otherwise be very boring to watch on their own... and there was also the hilariously bad flash games that they did some amazing commentary on... They also used to riff other people's LP videos a long time ago, but they stopped doing that because it started to get stale and they were running out of fresh ideas.

This french Canadian dude loves his Mario fangames to death. He consistently uploads 2 videos per day on average, one being a Mario fangame LP and the other being a "B-side" LP of something other than Mario that his fans recommend for him. His commentary style is very weird and random when the gameplay is easy and boring, but when the gameplay gets serious his commentary gets very serious too and often you get to see his in-the-moment criticisms and complaints or praise for the games he's playing. I find it very entertaining, especially when he's playing something that I've played before myself.

If you want something like raocow, but with commentary ALWAYS being on the weird/random side, this channel has got you covered... His entire channel just consists of him playing retro ZX Spectrum games while rambling nonstop about the weirdest nonsense... The commentary gets REALLY weird at some points... in fact you'll probably get strange looks if people overhear you watching these videos.

The Geek Critique
His recent Metroid review series is honestly the most sincere, heartfelt love letter to a game series I've ever seen, and I enjoyed every second of it. I'm totally looking forward to his upcoming Metroid Prime review series. His earlier Donkey Kong review series was also very interesting and insightful (yes that's right, he acknowledges the ENTIRE Donkey Kong series, not just the DKC games like a lot of other people would do).

Mark Brown
His "Game Maker's Toolkit" series is incredibly insightful and fun to watch. But the thing that drew me in initially was his Zelda dungeon analysis series called "Boss Keys". This series was amazing... I have to give props to anyone that reviews the entire Zelda series and even gives proper time and attention to the underrated DS Zeldas, and to Skyward Sword which a lot of people didn't care about, but I adored that game and really appreciated his dungeon review of it.

snomaN gaming
Similar to Mark Brown, his "Good Game Design" series is very well thought out and interesting. He also does a lot of game recommendation videos with mini bite-sized reviews that usually match my own opinions fairly frequently.

Honestly I could do a whole other post for video game music cover artists, but this one is my absolute favorite and deserves a spot on my "top gaming video creators" list for sure. Her video game music vocal covers are so consistently amazing, every single upload she does I just have to click on instantly, and listen to it over and over while I wait for a download link... Other honorable mentions in this same category I'd like to plug: michelleheafy, insaneintherainmusic, itoki hana, Active NEETs, and brentalfloss.

His Mario Maker and Yoshi's Island speedrun highlight videos are dank as hell. As far as full-time twitch streamers go, his channel is pretty good because he also mixes in a healthy dosage of real-talk and "youtube n' chill" in his streams, so it's not just super serious time all the time with his streams. Occasionally he also streams blind casual playthroughs of other games, and I've enjoyed watching him play Twilight Princess HD and Breath of the Wild for the first time. He says he's planning to do other Zelda games in the future that he's missed out on, I'm looking forward to that.

The Completionist
I don't usually care for these big name, superstar e-celeb youtube gamers, but if I had to pick one to include on this list it would be ma boy Jirard. His reviews have a very interesting take on them because he reviews games solely on the merit of whether he enjoyed the 100% completion aspect or not. Keep in mind he might be a bit biased against games that have a lot of things to do in them, because of how he forces himself to do EVERYTHING in a very short amount of time, with a lot of games in rapid succession, and the burnout he must feel from that probably affects his opinions somewhat... I watch these mainly for his unique take on reviewing stuff, not necessarily because I agree with his opinions.

Giant Bomb
This is my goto channel for checking out what's going on in the mainstream "gaming news" sphere. Even if I don't particularly care about a lot of the new mainstream stuff that comes out, it's kind of fun to see their take on it.


Wonder Boy 1 playthrough comments

This is one of those extremely simple old platformers. I love this kind of simplistic, but tight platforming. Every obstacle is designed so there's a relatively easy way to avoid everything even when you don't have the hatchet attack... but if you do have it you can make things easier, or screw up and die while trying to do so...

The skateboard powerup is always useful to have when you can get it... You are way more likely to die by getting hit than by falling in pits in this game, and while the skateboard makes it more likely for you to fall off if you aren't careful, it also protects you against a single hit.

The Tawna bonus rounds you get from the accessories only appear once, and if you restart the level from a continue they're gone.

The bosses at the end of each level are all exactly the same, it's just a matter of hitting their head a variable number of times while avoiding their slow attacks.

This game starts out very easy but it ramps up in difficulty very consistently through the 10 worlds (called Areas). Area 4 is where I had to start being more careful. I was still keeping most of my lives at that point though... Area 8 is where the game starts to get serious.

8-4 is a cloud land with lightning, bees, and birds dropping rocks.. the lightning isn't as bad as the volcano/waterfall rock eruptions though. This is the kind of difficulty I really enjoy

Started getting a few game overs at 9-1, an ice level with spiders and boulders and stuff... At this point the levels take a lot of trial and error and memorization to beat them.

9-2 wasn't bad at all.. another water cloud level...

9-3 a very tricky cave level... had a few more game-overs there, and couldn't find the doll...

9-4 Took a few gameovers before I could learn how to beat it. The first 1/4 section if you're just starting from a continue, you have to avoid a bunch of spiders without a hatchet. That's the hardest part of it. I have to take back what I said earlier about how "you can always avoid everything even if you don't have the hatchet"

I don't even know if I got all the dolls... Nope... got the message at the end of world 9 saying that I needed to collect all the dolls to get to the real ending.

Played through it all again, using a guide to collect all of the dolls this time... it's a lot easier when you look up the level on youtube first and then you know what to expect and how to avoid everything... of course that wasn't an option back when this game came out.

I thought Area 8 and 9 were hard enough, but then I made it to Area 10.

10-1 and 10-2 have NO axe powerups, so you have to avoid enemies and go really slow and carefully but also fast enough to keep your vitality up. 10-2 is especially bad if you don't have an axe, it's full of jumping water enemies that would've been easy with the axe, but without it it's insane...

10-3 and 10-4 actually gave you an axe in the level so they weren't that bad.

I've finally 100% completed this game with all dolls, but I used a lot of continues. I bet I could 1cc this game with enough practice...


DuckTales HD playthrough

I started playing this today because I don't remember much about the NES version, it's been too long... First I'll play through the HD remastered version by Wayforward, then I'll replay the NES version.

I don't remember this tutorial level at all, I'm pretty sure this is new. They also added a lot of cutscenes that interrupt the gameplay, but you can skip them easily.

Playing on Hard mode... The Amazon level is fairly long. Some parts have spikes on both the floor and ceiling and I'm not sure how you're supposed to avoid getting hit... also that part with the falling rocks is very annoying. I got game over the first time I made it to the boss, but he's not hard once you get a feel for when his shockwaves cancel your pogo.

Got over 1.6 million points on that stage. I'm pretty sure I found every treasure, but probably didn't get the max possible score. Took me over 30 minutes just for that one stage.

Also got over 1.6 million at Transylvania. Could've got more if I bothered to take the minecart route a couple more times.

Got over 2.2 million on African Mines. Himeleyas had a was really easy despite not being able to pogo on snow, but only got like 1.3 million there. I'm pretty sure I haven't maxed any of the levels and missed a few treasures here and there..

Got over 2 million on the moon, and like 1.4 million on the volcano stage.

Ugh... the last part of the last level on hard mode... the lava goes up WAY too fast. It's like just barely possible with frame-perfect chain grabbing.

After you beat hard mode, you unlock Extreme Mode, which is the same as hard except no saving, hard pogo is always on (which means you have to time the pogo button instead of just holding it), and no continues if you run out of lives... I guess this makes it more like the NES version?

Shortly after this, I went and tried to replay the NES version... I got to the Moon level on normal mode but for some reason I wasn't able to beat the boss on this level. They definitely made the bosses easier on the HD version.  I could probably beat it with enough practice... did I really beat the NES version without cheating as a kid? wow...


Disney's Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers - no continues attempt

I was SO close to 1cc-ing this game... most of it was very easy, but then it ramped up in the last couple levels, with fans blowing wind at you, and conveyor belts and nearly-undodgable enemies that take 2 hits... I got to the last boss on one life, and died right away because his pattern requires a very precise rhythm that you have to just know going into it.

Up until that last boss, the game is very fair.. too easy even. As long as you don't skip out on collectables it gives you plenty of 1ups... all the bosses involve throwing a red ball at an enemy that has one slow-moving projectile attack, well except for the last boss who has a really fast attack that you need to know about in advance.

The last boss took me about 4 tries. beat him on my last continue. at least getting to him again wasn't a problem. Probably not worth trying this again...


Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros 3 100% playthrough comments

On my 2nd playthrough of this GBA port, I played through every level with Luigi, and getting the "white mushroom house" secret in each world. The GBA version actually puts a coin counter on the level with the mushroom house secret (only after you beat the game), so you can see how close you are to getting it.

wow... I actually found a secret passage in 5-1 that I never knew about before... you have to use a star to kill the chain chomps, then fly up with the tail at the beginning to get to a pipe... after that point I explored more found a bunch more bonus rooms in this level that I either never knew about or forgot...

Then I started playing through all the e-Reader levels, called "World e", using a save that had all of them unlocked. This save even included the Japan-only e-reader levels... 36 levels in total.

These levels are surprisingly good... first there were some SMB1 level remakes, that's nothing exciting... then a bunch of gimmick levels using stuff like note blocks etc... there was sky world levels, a really complex world 7 style maze level, an ice level where you had to use fire flower to get some of the A coins... this world also had a "get all the coins in the level" challenge, it was a level filled with bob-ombs that kept screwing up my maxing out the 10-coin blocks... I managed to beat it eventually.

Then even more surprisingly, it also started using stuff from SMB2 and SMW.
- some levels had vegetables you could pick up out of the ground...
- it had the cape powerup, with the same flying ability from SMW and everything..
- there was also a level where you had to use the boot to hop off thwomps, just like spin jumping in SMW
- triangle blocks that let you run up walls, were used a lot for flying and timed switches
- had a bunch of enemies from SMW like flying hammer bro, wiggler, round goomba, etc...
- this one level was really easy to beat, but really hard to get all the A coins on... it had a bunch of doors on a mountain, most of those doors were exit-only.. you had to fly up to some of them... and inside the doors were puzzle/action rooms with an A coin and/or connecting rooms between doors.. however some rooms had invisible walls/floors all over the place.. I found out you had to find the tanooki suit in the level and use its power to see the invisible walls.
- there was even a SMW-style ghost house level with a Big Boo battle at the end.
- then there was a desert level where you had to go inside a pyramid and dig through sand...
- got to this one really hard Bowser Castle level... seems to be based off SMB3's Bowser Castle, but also has a bunch of stuff from SMW like dry beetle, falling spikes, magikoopa, jumping bowser statues... also a choice of 3 rooms at the beginning, each of them has the 1st of 4 A coins. I beat all 3 rooms while getting their coin... the part that gave me the most trouble was the Bowser battle at the end. the blocks were arranged differently making it take longer, and making it harder to dodge flames.

and... done... completed every E level with Mario... that was really fun. It felt like a SMBX game with everything about SMB1, 2, 3, and World rolled into one.


Super Mario Advance 100% playthrough comments

Got high and went through every single level with Mario and used no warps...
lol I used to be so bad at this game when I was a kid, and thought it was way too hard to beat without cheating... I actually find this game easy now. Only got game over twice at 5-3. I think I got about 65% of the "A" coins along the way..

Some of the differences I really liked about it:
- Killing more than one enemy with a single throw gives you hearts. Health was very rare in the NES version and it made that game kind of unfair later on.
- There are giant versions of some regular enemies, and killing them gives you a heart.
- The koopa shell actually bounces off walls now instead of disappearing. It makes it more risky to use because it can kill you, but it also gives you a heart for every enemy you kill with it.
- Every stage has 5 "A" coins, similar to the Dragon coins in SMW, which gives the game some extra challenge if you feel like collecting them all.
- There are stationary heart pickups before bosses and at certain hard sections, but they become less frequent at later levels to keep the difficulty going up at a fair pace.

This game is a terrific improvement over the original SMB2.

Oh yeah there's also the "Yoshi Challenge" after you beat the game, where you have to find 2 yoshi eggs hidden somewhere in the potion world of each stage. it's kind of tedious though, there's no kind of indicator to help you find them so it's just a matter of luck. I used a guide to find the eggs cuz it would just be way too tedious otherwise. Getting to them is pretty easy, but if you die before finishing the level you gotta collect the eggs again...Getting the eggs in the last level was intimidating, because after getting the 2 eggs, I had to beat 2 conveyer belt birdos, the birdface (which is easy), and Wart, without dying once... but it was actually not that hard with Toad.

Used the level select mode to collect all of the "A" coins, mostly using Peach. Unlike the Yoshi Challenge, I was able to find all the "A" coins without a guide. I guess exploring the levels to get the eggs first made me more familiar with the layout and made finding the "A" coins easier.


Super Mario Bros. DX 100% playthrough comments

I just 100% completed Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for the first time.

I'm now convinced that DX is definitively the best version of this game. It has so many different varieties of goals to complete besides just "beating the game", making you see this game in a whole different light than what you are normally used to when you just focus on surviving till the end or getting to the end as fast as possible with warp points.

The Challenge Mode is all of the individual levels of the main game with extra goals added, including finding the hidden Yoshi Egg and 5 red coins that were added to each level. There's also the individual level high score goals. These target scores aren't insanely unreasonable or anything, but they really require you to practice the level and gain a much more in-depth understanding of the level's construction than you would normally get from just beating the level normally. You need to figure out all the ways you can combo enemies and collect the coins and hidden 1ups/powerups for extra points while still beating the level quickly for the timer bonus. It makes you think "hmm, would it be better to take this vine/pipe to a shortcut area with coins, or would it be better to take the normal route and kill all the enemies along the way?"... stuff that you would never think of when playing the game normally on the NES version.

After clearing all the challenge mode levels, I went back to the main game and beat hard mode, and got a final score of over 800k due to all of my practice in the challenge mode. The requirement for unlocking the Lost Levels mode is only 300k so it's not really required to do that well or anything, but going for a high score is a very interesting way of playing through the game compared to just survival or speedrunning.

There's also the Boo Race mode, which is a bunch of challenging extra levels that are on a very strict timer, so you need to be basically running forward all the time and memorizing exactly when to jump and everything. It has mechanics that aren't in the normal SMB like switches and switch blocks...

There's also a goal incentive of killing all 8 Bowsers with fireballs... pretty easy to do after all the practice you get from the Challenge mode. I wonder how hard this challenge would be in NSMB?


Wind Waker HD Hero Mode playthrough

Just finished this game on Hero mode. I didn't go for 100% completion, but I did all of the major sidequests and stuff without ever opening a walkthrough.

Here's some spoiler-filled screenshots that I took throughout my playthrough

man... my love of this game is totally renewed. I always seem to forget exactly how great this game is until I go and replay it again.

The triforce hunt (or as some call it, "cheese hunting"), is actually my favorite part of the main quest. I don't know why some people complain so much about it. It's the only part of the game where you aren't directed exactly where to go, and you have to explore and figure some stuff out on your own. The ghost ship chart in particular was really hard to figure out. It felt like I was playing Zelda 1 again, with how the game gives you so little direction for it other than cryptic hints...

Other than hunting for triforce shards, the main quest only has 5 real dungeons (not counting the Fortress and Ganon's Castle, which are really just boss battle areas), and they are all pretty easy. Compared to Ocarina, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword, the dungeon content in this game is kind of lackluster.

But the sidequests/optional content are where Wind Waker really shines. Just like with Majora's Mask, Wind Waker manages to make up for its lackluster dungeon content with very fun, extensive sidequests that can take longer than the main game itself. I didn't do 100%, but I did about as much as I could manage without ever opening a walkthrough. I thought I was being VERY thorough with talking to all the characters and clearing out every island/reef/platform/submarine/octo/etc, but I STILL managed to miss about 8 treasure charts and 7 heart pieces, and some other sidequests with just rupees for rewards. I'll probably go for a true 100% playthrough on new game+ when I feel like replaying it again.

After looking at a walkthrough to find out what I missed... turns out a lot of the treasure charts I was missing, were actually from minigames that have multiple prizes if you kept playing them over and over again. Also I completely missed the tingle statue sidequest somehow..

And yeah, Hero mode really helps balance out the game's difficulty. It makes the first half of the game the hardest, because you don't have many bottles or heart containers yet, and potions/fairies are hard to come by. The latter half of the game, when you have 4 bottles and instant unlimited access to fairies and soup, it becomes easy again. The Savage Labyrinth and the rest of the end-game battle trials usually took out a fairy or 2, but still no big deal.

According to Wii U log, this playthrough took 38 hours total.


Super Mario 3D World is everything great about Mario games bundled into one

If there's one series that has consistently gotten better and better with each new sequel, it's the main console Mario 3D platformer series. The last one we got was Super Mario Galaxy 2, which did every thing Galaxy 1 did but way better. Galaxy 1 was better than Sunshine, and Sunshine improved upon what made Super Mario 64 great.

Super Mario 3D World looks like it takes every that was great about the 3D Mario games, and blends it with everything that was great about the 2D Mario games, and adds a whole bunch of new unique things ontop of all that. I wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be the best Mario game ever.

Super Mario 3D Land, the 3DS Mario game that came out a couple years ago, is said to be the prototype of this new console Mario. If 3D Land felt kind of cheap to you, it's probably because they were saving up all their real effort for 3D World. THIS is the next full-fledged, main Mario title.

The four playable characters in this game are Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Peach, which is reminiscent of Super Mario Bros 2 USA. And just like SMB2, each character has their own traits. Mario is well-rounded, Luigi is slippery and jumps higher, Toad is faster and can't jump as high, and Peach floats in the air. It also goes back to Mario Galaxy 2's idea of having hidden green stars to find in every level.

All of this info has been known since the trailer that was revealed at this year's E3. And since then, it looked like the cat suit was the only new power up in the game... But a new trailer has come out recently that revealed a LOT more things:

There's these Zelda-ish fairies, that Bowser captures and puts into a bottle. Apparently there are 7 of them... heh, I'm sure this Zelda fairy reference was intentional. At least he's not capturing Peach this time.

Some of the new powerups include:
  • A cherry that creates a clone of your character. And you can get multiple of them, so you can have who knows how many clones of your character on the screen all at once.
  • A Canon block... it literally turns your character into a cannon
  • A Goomba suit, that lets you walk around peacefully among other goombas
  • Kuribo's Ice Skate, an upgrade over the Kuribo's shoe from SMB3
  • You can also pick up Piranha plants and use them as weapons
There's also a bunch of returning powerups, like the Boomerang suit from 3D Land, the Propeller, the Gold block from NSMB2, Tanooki suit and Fire Flower, etc... There seems to be more powerups they still aren't showing us, too. It looks like this game will have even more powerups than SMB3!

As for enemies, this game looks to have about an equal amount of both new enemies and familiar returning enemies.
  • Some new ostrich with sunglasses and a spiky shell, and the Chargin Chucks from SMW:
  • Cat Bullet Bills and Cat Goombas:

  •  As well as Goombas that float on the water:
  • Whatever these things are:

  • The Bullies from Super Mario 64 make a return, and there's a snowman variation of Pokey:
  •  The Super Mario World variation of the Goomba is back also: 

There's probably many other new/returning enemies I'm not even mentioning here. Nintendo seems to be certainly going all out with the quality on this game. Which is to be expected, considering it is the same team that made the Mario Galaxy games... Anyone who thought this would be just a bland retread of Super Mario 3D Land, is going to be pleasantly surprised.

You know what this game is still missing? A Yoshi of some kind.

Wait what? There's some kind of giant, aquatic variation of the Yoshi in this game?
Well, that's an unexpected twist...

Other interesting things about this game:
  • The bunny-chasing minigame from Super Mario 64 is back, and seems you can also chase birds and other things, not sure if they will have a purpose other than to waste time in the levels.
  • The world map is a freely roamable board, with hidden level entrances that can be found by exploring.
  • In multiplayer, the character who gets the most points on a level gets to wear a crown in the next level, and other players can try to take the crown from them.
  • It's even taking little bits of themes from obscure spin-off Mario games, like Super Mario Strikers and Mario Sluggers. Some levels have soccer balls and baseballs that you can whack around to destroy enemies with.
  • Bowser has a new ride:
"Straight Outta Koopton"

Here's something else I noticed. What's that area that's faded out up in the top right corner?

Is that what I think it is?

Yeah, it seems to be the Comet Observatory from Mario Galaxy 1.

What could this mean? Is there gonna be a Galaxy bonus level, like how SMG2 had a throwback Mario 64 level?
Or maybe Rosalina will be an unlockable 5th character?
Who knows... whatever it is, I'm sure Nintendo is keeping its secret locked tight until the game is released on November 22.


Sonic 3 & Knuckles high playthrough 2

After my first high playthrough a month ago, I played through Sonic 3 Complete again with Tails only, then again with Knuckles only... and then I started a Sonic-only file and used the special stage rings found in the first 2 acts of the game to clear all the special stages and unlock Super Sonic... now on that save file with Super Sonic unlocked, I'll play through the game again while high...

This is basically an easy mode playthrough at this point, because of how Super Sonic makes you invincible as long as you keep collecting rings... it'll be interesting to go through the whole game like this and see how different it feels from my earlier high playthrough.

Lava Reef Zone... overall I think this is my favorite zone in the game... even with Hyper Sonic, gotta be careful not to get crushed in Act 1 or fall off in Act 2... Act 2 also leads into that weird Master Emerald shrine bathed in darkness, in a cave...

Oh, this place is actually Angel Island Zone, which got burned in the first level of Sonic 3... and now has the Death Egg ontop of it, making it feel like Knuckles is the last boss... until you get to the Hidden Palace...

lol this Lava Reef boss is a joke when you have the flame shield... until I needlessly squandered it on getting hit... but then it was still easy anyway.

Hidden Palace feels more like an adventure field area, like in SA1, than an actual level...

Eggman took the restored Master Emerald, so Sonic took the restored chaos emeralds and went after him.

Death Egg Zone... that springy part can get annoying...
Act 2... barely made it with all my rings in tact... enough for the energy ball minigame... stocked way up on rings... for a boss that actually there's not much benefit to using Super Sonic on...

Doomsday Zone... the true last level...  Egg robo running away... rings getting progressively harder to find... this last boss is so awesome. Only chance is to go hyper...

That playthrough took exactly an hour... It wasn't that much easier than the first non-Super Sonic+Tails playthrough, it was just more cool, and going through all the levels again for like the 2nd or 4th time made everything seem like practically automatic. The Knuckles playthrough was the easiest, and the Tails playthrough was easy too but I spent a lot of extra time combing the levels looking for 1ups (as you can tell by my file select screenshot). I guess I've mastered this game now...