The latest from VGM band Rare Candy, "Finally"

10 classic tracks. 

only posting this a year late, so the titular 'Finally" can also apply to this blog post. Incredible renditions of classic music from Mario Kart, Sonic, Metroid, Chrono Trigger, Castlevania, and more!

Baltimore VGM Tribute band Rare Candy has released their second album, FINALLY.
— Rare Candy

Watch LONELYROLLINGSTARS perform a rock remix of "Royal Rainbow Road" from Mario Kart Double Dash

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The fully capitalized LONELYROLLINGSTARS have recently published their first music video on their brand new, official Youtube channel.

Listen to the soaring sounds of niche classic Mario Kart Double Dash!! from the oft-forgotten Gamecube era. This song makes me continue to hold out hope that Co-op play will one day be reintroduced to the Mario Kart series.

"Alas, my children, the time has come for cosmic reconfiguration. The portion of my being known as Grant "Stemage" Henry has graduated to realms beyond my reach. May this prince soar for a fulfilling portion of eternity. But indeed the stars hath bestowed upon me a puzzle piece identical in shape to the gap left behind. I beseech you welcome into the fortress of our heart the newest Lonely Rolling Star: Ryan "MegaBeardo" Postlethwait.

Watch Hot Chocolate Party's Mario Kart 8 inspired music video “Luigi Death Stare”

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Take a look at this hilarious hip hop music video from the the group Hot Chocolate Party. Watch as they apply the lessons learned from Mario Kart 8 to the real world trials of their lives. Read the lyrics and rap along, because they are awesome and included lyrics in the youtube description.

I'm still playing Mario Kart 8 damn near every chance I get. Mosty because I have it downloaded to my Wii U, so every time I fire it up, I see that little MK8 logo beckoning me. Alright, just a race or two...

Take a look at the "First Mario Kart 8 hacks!"

Some awesome proof of concept work by Bean and Chadderz (former Mario Kart Wii modders) in hacking Mario Kart 8 on Wii U. To be fair, I have more research in the area of "Wii U hacking" to read up on before this video makes complete sense to me, but initial chatter is siding with this being legit. So it appears that the path of the Wii U may take a drastic turn in some areas of the gaming community.

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It's clear from the work in this video that a 1080p "Mario Kart 8: Black" could be a definite possibility! This simple yet far fetched notion makes me excited beyond belief, almost as much as imagining an HD re-release of Mario Kart Double Dash!! for Wii U.

I for one, am obviously on the optimistic end of the spectrum on where this Wii U exploitation is heading. Although, I am the type of person that had more fun soft-modding my PSP than actually playing games on it. In fact, the only game I've beaten on the PSP was a GBA rom of Summon Knight: Swordcraft Story.

So what do you think about the latest news about hackers finding an exploit in Mario Kart 8? Have you ever played on a hacked game console before?

Hack in Black: A look at Mario Kart Black

Sometimes, around the borders of the video game worlds we are so enchanted with, buried behind message boards and traded in the more obscure reaches of the internet lie the odd hidden curiosity. As most people know (certainly the readers of this site do), the obsession of video games for most goes beyond simply playing them. We are inspired by video games, enough so to create them and/or pay tribute to them in a variety of ways. Considering the influence games can have on a varied collection of people, it's not surprising that some have found more imaginative or niche outlets for their creativity than others.

One of these niche curiosities I have encountered is a texture hacked version of Mario Kart Wii created by Roobix available here, or here (registration required). Don't forget to grab the soundtrack as well, you can thank me for that later. For those in the dark, simply imagine an unlicensed remix of the same core game, swapping out colors, palettes, and maps, and editing them heavily. Unlike some well known hacks, this one is of a purely cosmetic nature, but don't let that deter you from this one of a kind Mario Karting experience.

 

Yes, it is self rated as Mature.

Among my friends, I seem to be the only one that takes Mario Kart to a high degree of seriousness. Probably too seriously, according to the restraining order from the local LAN center. When I get behind the wheel of these outlandish carts, my mind shifts into a focused, aggressive racing machine. Considering the sales, and constant excitement for new Mario Kart games, I am sure I am not alone in this reverence to Mario and his Karts. Now it is with that frame of mind that I decided to try out Mario Kart Black.

Once I went through all the necessary adjustments to get this hack running on my console, I realized that the only reference I had as I started Mario Kart Black were memories of the last time I played Mario Kart Wii and the not quite so Mario-esque artwork that accompanied this unofficial re-imagining. I was completely unsure of what I was in for in this strange texture hack, though the warning screen of Mario smoking a joint quickly gave me an idea.

At least he's off the mushrooms.

As the race starts, I'm reluctantly crouched at the starting line, engines, pumping...ahem. Sorry. See, along with the cosmetic changes, we are also treated to a completely new soundtrack, ripped from what must be an odd assortment of the creators own racing playlist. The song that marks the first race is non other than racing themed rock ballad Going the Distance by Cake. An agreeable choice, if not the most original. Although, while carving the now muddy raceway known as Dark Oval, it's hard not to sing along. It takes a moment to recall the original Luigi's Circuit as you tear through the dirt track, sending the now thuggishly renamed characters like Dro Bombs and Lil' Daisy to the back with a well placed chrome turtle shell. Yeah, they're chrome now. All of them.

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Leading from the new but reasonable sights and sounds of the first level of Mario Kart Black, we take a turn for the mad in Mad Cow Meadows. As you slide in and out of a farm now in the throws of Autumn, the psychedelic cows may cause you to veer dead into them while the nostalgic, ambient tones of Alice by Pogo breeze along on the fall winds.

 

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The third track in Mario Kart Black's Platinum Cup course sealed the fun of the game for me. A surreal night drive through an Alice in Wonderland inspired track brings you into an almost brand new game in the course, Shroom Bouncin'. Trumpets blare in a funky head bobbing beat courtesy of my favorite track in Mario Kart Black, 1976 by RJD2. Bounding across neon shaded shrooms in search of first place while a catchy chorus rolls alongside you is exactly where MKB hit it's stride. The moonlit scenery had sufficiently warped the memory of Mario Kart Wii in my mind. Now Mario Kart Black had become it's own experience and not just a simple palette swap.

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Shroom Bouncin'

Though the time it takes to install the Homebrew Channel, and subsequent other programs and files to your Wii may take a fair bit of time, depending on your skill with such things (A skill I have none of, I must say), Mario Kart Black is well worth the effort if you have been looking for an excuse to bring Mario Kart back into the rotation of games you and your friends play. Each race track has a brand new feel, shifting the original into a series of psychedelic, evil, nostalgic, or just plain strange lands. Each of which is accompanied by interesting and entertaining song choices, from dubstep, to hip hop, to even showtunes. There are some courses that feel more inspired than others, but each of them work well to create a varied and new experience that seems to be more than the sum of a couple changed texture files. If you are in the mood to jump back behind the wheel, then check out this post over at mario-mods.com to get started.

Before I leave you to enjoy the game though, I have to mention a course that simply has to be played (especially since there are no quality videos of it on Youtube). To take it all in, you need sharp eyes, quick reflexes, and a slight obsession with cult classic RPG Earthbound. What results is the tracks namesake, Sensory Overload. Couple this with the surreal pop classic Downtown by Petula Clark blaring as you rush down the crowded streets of none other than the bent reality known as Moonside.

"I can sense...that...you have a controller...in your...hands..."

"Welcome to Moonside. Wel come to moo nsi ns dem oons ide."

"If you stay here too long, you'll end up frying your brain. Yes, you will. No, you will...not. Yesno, you will won't."

The streets are pitch black, with the exception of the cars rushing all around you while neon lit buildings loom over the racetrack. With a keen eye you might notice a few of the many references littered across billboards and along the sides of trucks as they quickly zoom past you. There isn't much time to take in the scenery though, since you will have your hands full careening around the barely visible course and weaving through the downtown traffic. Unfortunately, there is no Mani Mani statue to destroy to make it back to reality this time.

"We know how to sing but we don't know how to handle money or women. Do-wap. do do wop."

UPDATE: Added links to the game and soundtrack in the third paragraph.

The OneUps - Super Mario Kart Album release

After announcing it sometime ago, The OneUps finally emerge from the studio with a brand new and highly anticipated release. Simply titled Super Mario Kart Album, it's clear what this album encompasses. We are presented with ten tracks covering all the memorable themes from the Title Theme right on through to the classic final track Rainbow Road.

Though Super Mario Kart is a well known title with beloved music, it seems that the soundtrack to the game has long gone overlooked by the rock and remix communities. So it is great to see that the group behind one of my favorite SMK remixes (Koopa Beach from The OneUps Volume 1) have come together to pay tribute to this gem of 16 bit gaming.

The entire album lays down some funky jazz rhythms starting off appropriately enough with a laid back latin jazz style rendition of the Title Theme which leads right into the funky moods of Mario Circuit. The album keeps things diverse with tracks like the drum driven Ghost Valley and the wintery tones of my personal favorite piece from the album, Vanilla Lake. This album would clearly make a great soundtrack for a laid back road trip or your upcoming summer barbecue with it's driving catchy tunes that provide a relaxing upbeat atmosphere.

The album is available now as a disc or digital download via The OneUps Bandcamp page for the reasonable price of $9.99. You can also give the soundtrack a listen in it's entirety on that same page. This is also a good time to mention that The OneUps' official site has gotten a fantastic make over care of the fantastic artist and web designer MazeDude.

Finally, here is a brand new video the folks at OneUp Studios and Waverly Films have put together for their first single from the album.

8-Bit Artist goes Mode 7

Looks like the ever impressive 8-Bit Artist has gone super and stepped up to 16-bits recently. Super Nintendo being the best system ever in my opinion, these paintings have simply amazed me every time he finishes one off. Check out the canvas paintings below. These hand painted masterpieces can very easily be mistaken for screenshots of the games they originate from! Also, both the Mario Kart and Zombies Ate My Neighbors paintings are both currently on sale for you prospective buyers out there! If interested in purchasing them, or if you want to check out more of his magnificent art (and you SHOULD want to), head over to his myspace page and check out his enormous body of work.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past acrylic/magnet perler beads on canvas 36x36

Super Mario Kart acrylic on stretched canvas 20x16

Zombies Ate My Neighbors acrylic on stretched canvas 16x12

Entertainment System starts work on new album

East Coast creators of "Kick ass video game rock" (and possible Mario Kart champions?) Entertainment System have started work on their newest album, SUPER Entertainment System.

DJbackwordz of ES states, "An undertaking that has been in the works for 5 plus months has finally bore the sweetest of fruit." He speaks of the first finished track from the forthcoming album, which is from Kirby's Dreamland 3 for SNES, and is definitely some sweet listening. So head over to myspace.com/entertainmentsystem and give Kirby's Dreamland 3 a listen!