The launch of Super Mario 3D All-Stars brings with it a long-awaited port of Super Mario Galaxy. The original Wii game was excellent, but also mired in an era dominated by motion controls. Even common abilities, like Mario’s mandatory spin attack, were assigned to a waggle of the Wii Remote, and collecting Star Bits meant painting the entire screen with a motion-controlled reticle.
Obviously, with a different control scheme — the Switch doesn’t support Wii Remote functionality — the system is limited in terms of what it can faithfully reproduce from the original game. So how does Super Mario Galaxy actually work on the Nintendo Switch? Does it ditch the motion controls entirely?
In Super Mario 3D All-Stars, Galaxy’s control scheme changes dramatically depending on whether you’re playing in docked mode or in handheld mode, so we’ll dive into each.
Playing Super Mario Galaxy in docked mode
Whether you’re using a Switch Pro Controller or two Joy-Cons when playing Super Mario Galaxy, the results are the same. The original game’s motion controls, including the ever-present reticle, are back. This time, you’re able to move the reticle around the screen thanks to gyroscopic sensors, but effectively, it feels the same as it did when you aimed with the Wii Remote. While you can walk over Star Bits to collect them, you’ll have to use the reticle to collect any that are out of reach (which is usually much faster than chasing them down).
Some levels remain heavily dependent on motion controls, whether you’re balancing Mario on top of a rolling ball or riding a manta ray through an interstellar ocean. In these levels, the motion controls are mandatory. If you happen to be using a third-party controller that doesn’t come with a gyroscope, you won’t be able to play them. You can, however, complete the main game without playing through every single stage, for what it’s worth.
Thankfully, there was one consolation made in the name of removing some of the motion controls: Mario’s spin attack can now be activated with a button, rather than having to waggle the Wii Remote. Given that it’s his most prominent attack, this makes a huge difference in playability.
Playing Super Mario Galaxy in handheld mode
When using the Switch in handheld mode, Mario’s spin attack can still be activated by a button press, but the motion control requirements return for many of the unique levels. For example, rather than tilting your controller to steer your manta ray, you’re now tilting the Switch in your hands.
As for the reticle — for collecting Star Bits, activating certain obstacles, and selecting menu items — it’s controlled by the Switch’s touchscreen. This means having to move your hand off of one side of the controls to touch the screen at various moments, which can be decidedly clumsy, especially in moments that require careful platforming.
Unfortunately, neither solution, docked or handheld, is ideal, although it’s a testament to the quality of Super Mario Galaxy that the game is able to overcome these hangups. But if you’re totally averse to motion controls, know that you’ve been warned.
Twitter is expanding voice tweets on iOS and introducing trans
When Twitter introduced voice tweets earlier this summer as a way to send more personalized messages, it caught a lot of flack for not including accessibility features. Now, the company said it will add transcriptions for voice tweets as part of an initiative to promote accessibility within its products. It’s also expanding the voice tweet feature, which is still only available on iOS, effective immediately.
We’re rolling out voice Tweets to more of you on iOS so we can keep learning about how people use audio.
Since introducing the feature in June, we’ve taken your feedback seriously and are working to have transcription available to make voice Tweets more accessible. (1/2)
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 29, 2020
After voice tweets arrived in a testing phase, critics pointed out that it should have had captions from the get-go as required by Federal law. Twitter then surprisingly admitted that it didn’t have a dedicated accessibility team, but instead relied on employees to donate additional time to work on those features. Since then, the company has launched two separate teams dedicated to accessibility, including one for its products.
Amazon starts offering virtual classes and sightseeing tours via new Explore platform
Amazon has launched Explore, a new platform which it promises will let you “explore anything from lessons to landmarks.” It works via a video stream, with tour guides, instructors, and personal shoppers providing one-on-one sessions. Amazon says the video is one-way, meaning only the host is on camera during the virtual experience, but the audio is two-way so you can ask questions and make requests.
The Explore page provides an idea of the range of experiences on offer. These include relatively cheap sessions like a $10, 40-minute virtual shopping experience in Ridgeland, USA, to a 45-minute virtual tour of a mansion in Lima, Peru for $70, or a $129 bagel cooking class. In some cases Amazon lists ingredients and supplies to buy before a session, but it says that these are optional if you just want to watch along from home. TechCrunch reports there are a total of 86 experiences across 16 countries.
Amazon is just the latest company to start offering virtual events this year, as people have had to cut down on trips and other in-person activities. Earlier this year, Airbnb launched its own virtual travel experiences, and fitness company ClassPass has shifted to offering online classes.
Apple was initially criticized for taking a 30 percent cut of these virtual purchases, The New York Times reports, but last week said it would temporarily stop taking its cut on virtual purchases from Airbnb, ClassPass, and Facebook’s online events feature. Amazon’s Explore product pages note that customers are able to browse and purchase experiences on mobile phones and tablets, though it’s unclear whether these will be subject to Apple’s 30 percent commission.
According to Amazon, hosts come from a range of established tour guide companies including Intrepid Urban Adventures, Bamba, and Essence of Berlin. TechCrunch notes that hosts are in charge of the prices of their sessions, but says that Amazon declined to comment on the revenue split. If you take a virtual shopping experience, any purchases are handled via Amazon’s payment system.
According to TechCrunch, Amazon Explore is currently only available on an invite-only basis to customers in the US. You book by choosing an experience, and then picking a date and time for a session, and these can be cancelled or rescheduled with up to 24 hours’ notice. Although Amazon says you can browse and book experiences on mobile, you’ll need to switch to a laptop or desktop computer for the session itself.
Ford makes the 2021 Mustang Mach-E a little cheaper
Ford is hoping to take the edge off some of the sticker shock when you buy a new Mustang Mach-E. Autoblog is reporting on a leaked memo, published on the Mach-E Forum, that purports to have been sent to Ford dealerships in the US. The instructions from HQ say that the electric crossover’s price needs to drop from between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the model.
The entry-level Select and First Edition models both get $1,000 shorn from their price, while the CA Route 1 gets $2,000 knocked off. If you’re opting for the Premium versions, either in all-wheel or rear-wheel drive, then you’ll get $3,000 off the sticker price, before incentives and extras and all that yadda.
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