Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 (1994)

Up next on the list we have the last “Mario” game which is really a Wario game. From the antagonist in Super Mario Land 2, Wario becomes the protagonist in his own story. I’m not sure what Gunpei Yokoi had against bringing a normal-ass Mario game to the series, but I guess for either expressive or technical reasons the team decided to switch over to Wario completely, as the two games that followed this were Wario Land II and Wario Land 3.

I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of Mario games, but it still seems messed up that Mario only gets one slightly good game with Super Mario Land 1, and relatively good game with Super Mario Land 2. It seems like they could have continue to improve on the progress and make a definitive Mario game, but instead the developers decided to switch over to Wario entirely. That being said the Wario games are pretty good as far as games go, taking control of the antagonist, getting money and saving up to buy a Castle. Overall I can say that this title is enjoyable, but I would have liked to see another attempt at a Mario entry.

Rom Hacks

Unfortunately there are no ROM hacks for this game. With Super Mario 1 & 2 having DX hacks, and Wario Land 2 & 3 being on the Gameboy color, this game seems like an ideal option to have a color hack but it doesn’t seem to exist. I’ve looked around to see if the people who made the colorized ROM hacks left any tutorials, and I couldn’t find any. I can’t say I’m a fan of reverse engineering things that shouldn’t have to be reverse engineered, but at least it seems like there might be something to go off of. If we look at the original ROM and the patched rom and compare the differences we might be able to identify specifically which aspects of the ROM need to be changed to have color implemented.

We could also get lazy and color in screenshots with paint to simulate what a colorized version would look like.


Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (1992)

Super Mario Land 2 is the next entry in the Mario series, and the last main line Mario on the Gameboy. A lot of improvements were made to the format and Super Mario Land 2 feels like a more conventional Mario game when compared to the first game. The sprites are a lot more vibrant and detailed, and the game plays how you would expect a Mario game to play. The Koopas can actually be kicked around, and Mario’s fireball actually bounces across the ground. The game itself is structured like Super Mario World for the Nes where Mario is able to move around on the overworld and select which levels to play through.

Overall there aren’t that many points to take off from this game as it’s pretty enjoyable from start to finish. While not god tier, it’s definitely not mediocre and ranks in at all around good game.

Rom Hacks

A notable ROM hack for this game is the “DX” version which colorizes the game and adds Luigi as a playable character: https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/3784/


Super Mario Land GB (1989)

The first entry is Super Mario Land 1989 and the first game that I bought with my Gameboy as a kid. Overall this game is pretty short and simple, with the biggest issue is that the game doesn’t feel like a Mario game. And that makes sense since the game wasn’t developed by series creator Shigeru Miyamoto, with development being handed off to Game Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi. The biggest issue with this game is that it seems to go against series conventions. The game doesn’t seem to take place in the Mushroom kingdom instead being in Egypt and Easter Island, and there are a lot of different enemies like bees, goombas with wings, and exploding koopa’s that are a little off putting.

That being said, the over all game, while short is still generally enjoyable. And surprisingly one of the best aspects of the games is the vehicle sections like the submarine and airplane that play more like a shooting game than a Mario game. Maybe Gunpei Yokoi would have made an incredible shump on the Gameboy given the chance. The game is pretty short with 12 levels, and while not an amazing game for the system is still over all a good game for the system.

Rom Hacks

This is a section where I highlight any interesting ROM hacks that exist for the game. In this case there is a color hack for the game, which colorized the entire game as if it were made for the Gameboy Color. https://www.romhacking.net/hacks/4477/


25 Definitive Gameboy Games

The Gameboy Color is an iconic handheld system. It has a small color screen, with a D-pad, two inputs, start and select buttons. As iconic as the system is it seems to be remembered for Pokemon and Links Awakening DX. And outside of those two games, most of the library seems to be devoted to poor adaptations of N64 games, and bad movie spin offs for bad movies. It seems like with the Gameboy Color’s limited pallet and limited controls, it seems like there should be more simple games built around the limitations of the system. So that’s going to be the focus of this Gameboy series of blogs is to look into the Gameboy’s library to find the most notable entries for graphics and gameplay on the system, and try to find the best games in addition to Pokemon and Zelda that are on the system.

1. Super Mario Land 1 (DX patch)
2. Super Mario Land 2 (DX Patch)
3. Super Mario Land 3 : Wario Land 1 (no Patch)
4. Wario Land 2
5. Wario Land 3
6. Links Awakening DX (New Awakening Patch)
7. Tetris DX
8. R-Type DX
9. Legend of Zelda (Ages and Seasons)
10. Shantae
11. Metrod II (DX Patch)
12. Pokemon Red and Blue (DX Patch)
13. Pokemon Yellow (DX Patch)
14. Pokemon Gold and Silver
15. Pokemon Crystal
16. Megaman XTreme (1 & 2)
17. Castlevania (GB)
18. Pokemon Trading Card Game
19. Project S-11
20. Metal Gear Solid : Ghost Babel
21. Harvest Moon (1 , 2, 3)
22. Commander Keen
23. Worms Armagedon GBC
24. Contra Operation C
25. Dragon Warrior

26. Crystalis
27. Star Ocean: Blue Sphere
28. Survival Kids
29. Kirby (GB)
30, Megaman V
31. TMNT


Tobu Tobu Girl : https://tangramgames.dk/tobutobugirl/
Micro City : https://github.com/AntonioND/ucity
Floracy : http://www.nesworld.com/article.php?system=gbc&data=gbchomebrew
Space Invasion : http://www.nesworld.com/article.php?system=gbc&data=gbchomebrew
Tyrian 2000 : http://www.nesworld.com/article.php?system=gbc&data=gbchomebrew

– Dark Souls
– Legend of Zelda NES (remake)
– Gun Star Hero’s
– Ikaruga
– Luigi’s Mansion

Open Source Console

After spending some time to design an open source console based on a Dreamcast themed concept kind of looks stupid now that I’ve fleshed it out. Ideally I think a PsVita/ Vita Tv approach is probably the simplest and easiest. For the PS Vita everything can pretty much stay the same except for usb-c inplace of the micro-usb, SD card instead of the Vita card format, no touch panel on the back, no R2/L2, 800×480 resolution, and X-input for the buttons. I think the analogs could also be replaced with nubs, but that’s kind of beside the point.

Likewise the VitaTv can basically remain the same except swap out the barrel jack for a USb-C and the game format for micro-sd (system~ and SD card (game). The controller can basically be a stadia controller. And I think that would be a pretty simple, pretty compelling open source console concept.

Top Dreamcast Games

01. Ikaruga
02. Skies of Arcadia
03. Jet Set Radio
04. Power Stone / Power Stone 2
05. Phantasy Star Online
06. Shenmue / Shenmue 2
07. Typing of the Dead
08. Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram
09. Dead or Alive 2
10. Ill Bleed
11. Resident Evil Code Veronica
12. Soul Calibur
13. Rival Schools Project Justice
14. Sonic Adventure / Sonic Adventure 2
15. Samba De Amigo
16. Sword of the Beserk: Guts’ Rage
17. Space Channel 5
18. Grandia II
19. Evolution / Evolution 2
20. Time Stalkers

Hosting thoughts

I moved mml.dashgl.com and dashgl.com hosting to gitlab. For gtk.dashgl.com I could probably download the entire site as static pages and then host the static pages on Gitlab as I’m probably not going to be adding anymore gtk tutorials. For blog.dashgl.com, I’m not taking very much advantage of this site. So I might switch the blogs to minds.com or something where I can post things and not need to manage a VPS.

Quick thoughts

A few thoughts for hardware of things I’m thinking about buying but probably shouldn’t buy.

1. WiiU – Would be pretty nice to have for some of the Wii HD ports, but it’s not very likely for me to have time to play with this device and I don’t know how much I could use the tablet on its own and how much I would be need the screen for.

2. PspGo – WOuld be pretty nice to have a thin and light Psp to carry around with for NES / SNES / GBC / GBA / PSX / PSP games. Problem is that I don’t know how well the controls perform with the analog stick. And while it would be a cool device to have and play around with, i’m not sure how much of a practical device it would be.

3. PsVita – I have a black PsVita with a broken right analog stick. The device works well enough and it’s a little tempting to buy a new white model that works to be able to play Psp and PsVita games. The weird thing about the Vita is that it feels weird to start adrenaline and use the device like a slightly better Psp, when you could just buy a Psp.

So for all three of these, it seems like it would be a better idea to look for an android device with built in controls for to play emulated games on. Because that would probably handle Dreamcast and possibly Gamecube as well if I got one with good specs. The Switch Lite could also be a possibility, but I don’t want to mess around with CFW on a system with an active life-cycle.

Pixelbook comparisons

I was about ready to jump in on the Pixelbook, which still seems like the leader. But once I’ve confirmed how much the Pixelbook will cost, I should then do a double check of what can be done for the same amount of money. So in quick and dirty equation, we can say the Chromebook will be $600, pen $100 and then a Pixel 2 (phone) $200, so we’re looking at about $900 plus shipping and handling. We can take an opportunity to ask, if we’re shelling out $900 for hardware, what else can we get for the same amount of money, and how does it compare?

Galaxy Note:
We can do a quick comparison against a full-on note setup. Galaxy Note 8 ($300), Chromebook Plus V2 ($370), DexDock($40), 15 inch 4k monitor ($300). So we end up with around a thousand dollars. I guess the 4k monitor isn’t needed since i have a fullHD model at home. So we basically have around $700 for a computer and phone combination. And then $200 leftover to spend on Raspberry Pi stuff or commissions.

Normal Computer:
Options are Dell XPS 13 and Thinkpad X1 carbon. I’d be tempted to go with the X1 carbon if I can find a 1440p model for a decent price. Though I can’t find either of these computers are a price that costs less than both a chromebook and a phone. So there’s there’s that. The only normal computer that I think I would consider is the Surface Laptop 3, and that’s out of my price range.

So the main comparison that we’re down to is the combination of a Pixelbook with a Pixelphone, or a Samsung Galaxy with a Samsung Notebook (or a NexDock). In general there isn’t too much reason that I couldn’t buy a Pixelbook and a Samsung phone, but I really like the idea of having two different devices that use similar design language. The main reason that I want a Samsung Galaxy phone is that the idea of having Dex sounds really appealing. I really like the idea of being able to have a phone, pop it into a dock, and then be able to use the phone as a desktop.

The main issue is that I would like to try this approach or have this option available. I don’t have much time to sit down at a desk very often, so I should go with the device with a better laptop functionality and that’s the Pixelbook. Also right now the Samsung phones have Dex enabled, but if desktop mode were to become an option on the Pixelphones, then that would make the case for the Pixel-family really one sided. As that’s the main reason I have for leaning towards Samsung in general.

The other comparison to make in this situation is the Chromebook experience. In terms of flat out Chrome usage, I don’t see much reason to choose the Pixelbook over the Chromebook Plus V2. Since I would be using both for light emulation, browsers and terminal availability. It’s mostly the idea of putting Linux on the device is what gives the Pixelbook massive advantage over the Samsung options as the 64GB on the Chromebook Plus v2 would quickly become a limiting factor. As for the pen, I really like the idea of having a store the pen on the Chromebook Plus v2. But that’s in the case of ChromeOS. Otherwise in practical application I don’t mind leaving the at home, and being able to use the pen only when at home, and using the computer as a standard computer otherwise.

So I still have a few more questions to address. How much would the Pixelbook be compared to the Zenbook I have now? And which version of the Pixel phone makes the most sense?

Chromebook comparison

I don’t know what it is about Chromebooks that allows designers to make the decisions that they do. But for what ever reason functionality-wise Chromebook are infinitely more compelling devices that normal Windows laptops. If I had the option to buy Chromebooks with a normal copy of Windows and the option to install Linux on it (without having to flash the bios) like any normal computer, then hands down, I would use that.

I would like to have a Ryzen laptop, but since all of them except the Surface 3 are capped at 1080p, it really makes Chromebooks look that much more appealing. The three options I’m considering are the Pixelbook, Samsung Chromebook Pro, and Samsung Chromebook Plus V2. And for specs I think I can make one table comparing all three of these.

Model CPU MEM Storage Screen Size Resolution Price
Pixelbook i5 8GB 256GB 12.3 in 2400 x 1600 $600
Samsung Chromebook Pro M3 6Y30 4GB 32GB 12.3 in 2400 x 1600 $400
Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 Celeron 4GB 64GB 12.2 in 1900 x 1200 $370

Generally we’re not here to compare specs. The aspect that I’m interested for each device is functionality. So it seems like the best way to compare these computers is to focus on weaknesses and try to narrow down from there.

At the top we have the Pixelbook which is going to be the no compromise option. It has a great keyboard, great trackpad, and USB-C ports on each side for charging. It’s also the most expensive option. So the main question is going to be are the cheaper Samsung options going to have some functionality to bring to the table? My prediction is probably not. In terms of downsides the main issue is going to be a lack of sd card slot, but that’s something that can be done with a dongle and isn’t a huge deal.

For the Chromebook Pro, we have a few weaknesses. Generally in terms of keyboard flex, smaller outer keys, and then the 32GB of storage. This can probably be made up for a little bit with the fact that it has a micro-sd card slot with a cover. But I’m not really a fan of the idea of installing operating systems to the micro-sd card should I try installing another OS, plus the possibility of losing pen support. So it’s probably a good idea to eliminate this option.

The last device is the Plus V2, which is a surprisingly compelling little device. The resolution isn’t terribly high, but this seems like a cheap but capable device that I could probably consider leaving ChromeOS on it to act as a thin client, and do most everything over SSH. This device on it’s own isn’t The compelling part is more that because this device is cheap, I could pick up a Samsung Galaxy S8 for $280 and the DexDock for $40, and pick up a few devices for the price of the Pixelbook.

I think we can safely eliminate the Chromebook Pro. With the limitations on keyboard and storage, I think it would be passable but with a lot of compromises. And I don’t think I would get enough functionality out of the pen to balance out those short comings. For the Plus V2, it seems like a cute little device with a good keyboard and more functionality with the pen. In this case I think it would make a great ChromeOS device, but be lacking and potentially even lose the ability to use the pen with Linux installed on it. I tried to rationalize one of the Samsung options by thinking, “I could buy a Galaxy Phone and a Chromebook for the price of the Pixelbook”, but in general it really looks like the Pixelbook and Pixel 2 is a stronger option, even if it is a little pricier.

I think the next comparison to make between the pixelbook and another device would probably be the Samsung Galaxy S9, or Note 8 with a DexDock and NexDock for one option, with the Pixelbook as the other option. I think the Pixelbook would come out on top, but it would make n interesting comparison.