Reuben Qualls or something you find in dirty diaper. We aren't sure.

Reuben Qualls

Mario Kart Event Recap: The Dad Gaming League, Sponsored By Planters

(The Dad Gaming League)

Hey gamers. We did it. AGAIN. We’ve completed the second event for The Dad Gaming League, which we couldn’t have done without our sponsor, Planters.

We had 200+ people sign up for the Mario Kart event, which is outstanding!

Thank you to all the racers who showed up to the track, and shout out to our streaming hosts, Joel and Bayesic.

On September 18, we ran private tournaments for three categories. Battle Mode (6 battles), 150cc (12 races at high speed), and 200cc (12 races at ludicrous speed), streamed on The Dad Gaming’s Twitch channel.

We invited the top 12 of both the 150cc and 200cc categories back for the Grand Finals and the results were decisive, to say the least! Your 2020 The Dad Gaming League champion Mario Kart-er is: Mc (Brad McCaffrey).

We gave away prizes for the top three racers in ALL categories. As always, in the spirit of casual dad gaming, we also gave away a handful of random prizes, prizes to the first and last place racer in the first race with Joel (in both 150cc and 200cc), and possibly even some other surprise winners!

Prize winners are getting an epic loot box, with an official The Dad Gaming esports jersey and delicious Planters snacks. (First and second place in the Grand Finals also get $100!)

Congratulations to the champ, Mc, and all of the prize winners!

This was so much fun, everyone brought their A game and we saw some fantastic racers out there on the track.

Our next event is Super Smash Bros on October 9. Sign up now at thedadgaming.com. Then we have Rocket League (November, go here for a great Rocket League primer!), Apex Legends (December), and more!

If you have suggestions or ideas on how we can continue making these events better, we’d love to hear them. Email [email protected]. The Dad Gaming community is the best.

Squad up. Join The Dad Gaming FB group and Discord. Follow The Dad Gaming on Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Mario Kart Results

Battles:

12. 1genxer

11. TootLaRoo

10. M.A.T.

9. Solace

8. TJ

7. Matthew

6. Bayesic

5. MickyWinz

4. ElRey

3. SharkBait

2. Kaokoo333

1. Mc

 

150cc:

12. MickyWinz

11. Snock73

10. Kristie517

9. TootsLaRoo

8. Hunna

7. Josh

6. CampBean

5. SharkBait

4. GmrDad

3. Bayesic

2. MrTeets

1. Mc

 

200cc:

12. TootsLaRoo

11. Hunna

10. ElRey

9. Trey

8. thedadJOEL

7. Rhino

6. Kristie517

5. GmrDad

4. Bayesic

3. SharkBait

2. Mc

1. MickyWinz

 

Grand Finals – 150cc:

12. Ruben

11. CampBean

10. Snock73

9. GmrDad

8. MrTeets

7. TootsLaRoo

6. SharkBait

5. Hunna

4. Kristie517

3. MickyWinz

2. Bayesic

1. Mc

 

Grand Finals – 200cc:

12. Ryan’s Dad

11. GmrDad

10. ElRey

9. thedadJOEL

8. Hunna

7. TootsLaRoo

6. Kristie517

5. Rhino

4. MickyWinz

3. SharkBait

2. Bayesic

1. Mc

This post was sponsored by:
Planters

The Dad Gaming Bootcamp: Mario Kart & How To Completely Destroy Your Kids

Dad's racecar crosses the finish line

(Expert advice from The Dad Gaming Mario Kart Season 5 winner Joel Willis. With expert consultation from Season 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 winner Mick Winzeler and Season 9 winner Martin Flores.)

As dads, we want our kids to be winners. Usually. The main exception being when we play them in Mario Kart.  It’s written in The Dad Law that dads are never to take it easy on their kids in Mario Kart. EVER. Life doesn’t work that way, and neither does Bowser on his Wild Wiggler on Rainbow Road. So pick up the sticks and try not to cry when you get lapped, son. 

For the 2nd event in The Dad Gaming League, we’ve teamed up with Planters to throw an all-star, all-dad Mario Kart tournament! On Friday, September 18, we’ll have a 150cc tournament, a 200cc tournament, and possibly even Battle. Reminder, you do not have to be good to play any event in The Dad Gaming League. (In order to play this tournament though, you need Mario Kart 8, a Switch console, Nintendo Online and the will to take your child’s optimistic spirit and crush it without remorse.)

To sign up, click here. Whether you’re competing in this tournament, or you want to level-up your skills in order to impress/destroy your kids, we’ve got you covered. So, pop your favorite Planter’s Pop n’ Pour and join us on a spin through The Dad Gaming Bootcamp. 

These tips progress from easiest and most essential, to more advanced. So be sure you master the first ones, and then move on through the list to become a Mario Kart esports pro. LET’S-A-GOOOOOO.

Don’t go in the grass, dirt, or hit the walls

So this one is unbelievably obvious and basic. But as I most often shout to my kids whilst trying to coach them, “Stay in the middle of the track! Go in a straight line and quit swerving all over the place!” 

The first goal is to keep Basic Max Speed, which you achieve by not getting slowed down by obstacles or the path. As soon as you touch a non-track surface such as grass or dirt, your speed drops dramatically. In 150cc (the 2nd fastest kart in the game) or below you can basically hold the gas down the whole time. So stay on the track and you’ll keep at the basic max speed. Beyond that, you’re going to need boosts. 

Speed boost at the start (just after 2)

The earliest boost you can get is right at the start! Here’s a protip: Watch the start countdown. “3… 2… 1….” Start holding down the gas immediately after “2.” This will give you the most boost. If you’re a little late, it’ll be a little less boost. If you are a little early, you will burn out. This is relatively easy to master and starts you off right, and teaches the most important lesson: timing is everything. 

Jump on bumps

In Mario Kart 8, there are ramps all over the place. Right at the top of a ramp, hit the jump button. Your guy will do a little flip and get a speed boost. This move can quickly become a habit and you’ll do it even without thinking, and because, again, there are ramps all over the place. It can help a ton.

Actually, try it off of any bump you see. It doesn’t just have to be a proper ramp. Any track object that gets you airborne for the slightest bit can be used to get a jump boost. These can add up quickly!

Hold an item behind you for defense

Now that you’ve got a good start and are getting a little boost for every jump, you’re going to quickly find yourself out in front of the pack, especially if playing my children, who are notoriously trash at this game. To maintain your lead, it’s time to play a little defense.

You gain items in this game by driving through the multi-colored question boxes littered around the track. Certain items you can hold behind your cart by holding the “use item” (L) button. You can do this with bananas, green shells, red shells, and bombs. While driving, you’re holding gas anyway, if you have one of these defensive items, you will hold L as well and it’ll stay behind you. It may feel weird at first, but it’s worth getting used to. Now, if someone fires a red shell at you, the item will deflect it!

When you release the L button, the item gets released. If you hold back on the joystick while releasing, it will shoot the shell, banana, or bomb behind you. This all makes it difficult to snag some snacks, so keep your Pop & Pour nearby for quick-crave release. 

IMPORTANT: If you hold a bomb behind you and it gets hit, you’ll get caught in the explosion! So best to release those back behind you if anyone is approaching.

Holding items behind you does not save you from a blue shell! Only a Super Horn can help with that. (You may also use a mushroom to speed away just before the blue shell drops, but it’s gotta be perfectly timed!)

Get 10 coins as quickly as possible then don’t worry bout more

Coins are dramatically misunderstood by many Karters, especially my kids, who are just so, so bad at this game. 

Coins increase your base speed. More coins you have, the faster your core speed. Great! But the max effect is 10 coins. So try to get 10 coins quickly, then don’t worry about ‘em.

Drifting – turn boosts

Drifting is absolutely essential to being competitive in Mario Kart. The only reason it’s so far down this list is that it’s a little tricky for noobs, like my kids, who are terrible. But give it some practice and you’ll be drifting on every turn in no time.

To start a drift, do a little hop right before a turn. You’ll want to hold down the jump button (R). Depending on the direction your guy is facing when landing, your kart will begin turning a bit more in that direction. Keep holding the jump button! Try steering left and right with the joystick. You’ll find that if you turn into the drift, the kart turns EVEN MORE than normal. But if turning against the drift, it’s impossible to even turn that direction, but you can get the kart nearly going straight. 

As you keep turning and holding that jump button, eventually colors will appear behind your cart. Blue… orange… pink. The longer you hold a drift, the more powerful the boost when you release. After the turn, let go of the jump button and OFF YOU GO. Boom. That’s it. 

The most important skill in the game.

Know it, love it, master it. You’ll find that the mechanics of drifting also help taking sharp turns faster, and you’ll wonder how you ever turned without it.

Item management

Now that you’re drifting and boosting all over fools like my abysmal kids, you’re gonna be wayyyyy out in front. You need to start thinking strategy. The differentiator amongst top competitors is often item management. There’s some randomness when it comes to items, but there’s also strategy in how you manage them. Everyone’s style here may be a bit different, but there are some things to know…

If you’re out in front, you really want to have some defense. That is, holding a shell or banana behind you. 

When you’re in front, the items will almost always be a coin or a banana. So try to get a double item box so you can at least get something for defense if you need it. This also means that if you have a banana, you can drop it right behind the double item box, quickly replace it, and make that double item box tougher to get for those behind you. Muauahahahaha. Eat it, kids. 

Bombs are absolutely destructive if there are karters just behind you and you’re out in front. Drop that bad boy behind you and speed away like you’re in an action movie. 

Getting used to the best way to use each item is a matter of trial and error. If you have a big lead and someone overtakes you unexpectedly, how did they do that? What items did they use?

When you get mushrooms or a star, resist the urge to blast it immediately. Try to use it to cut difficult corners or take shortcuts, because the boost item will negate the speed loss of going off track. 

Know the courses,  time trials, & shortcuts!

Speaking of shortcuts, I guarantee there are more of them out there than you know! In The Dad Gaming Mario Kart we do a different time trial each week. Some people will spend HOURS on a track, sometimes trying to beat their own best time by just tenths of a second. You can’t do this without knowing all of the track shortcuts. 

There are lots of videos on YouTube to search for more intel. (You can start with MK8DX Records.) After learning the above tips…. Watch a record time for a particular track on YouTube, note all the shortcuts, and then spend 20 minutes trying to get a good time on your own. Now do that for every track. That is BY FAR the best training you could do in Mario Kart 8.

Know the courses – proper lines!

Time trials and watching record times on YouTube is not just about shortcuts. Also watch the “lines,” or the path you take on the track. Sure, taking a turn on the inside is faster, right? Well entering and exiting turns in particular spots, on particular tracks, can be more efficient and also set you up for what’s next. Getting down to that level of detail is important to be elite, which my kids have no hope of achieving.  

Drafting

If you get right up behind another racer, after a few seconds, you’ll see a wind effect blowing and your Kart will speed up significantly, then you’ll blow by them!

I tend to see this happen the most at the start of a race when everyone is so close together. It doesn’t happen quite as much as you’d expect otherwise, because a few seconds behind someone is kind of a lot. But if you can make it happen, the boost is pretty solid. Just watch out for the guy in front dropping a banana on ya!

Whether you’re attempting a draft of not, you can see the item the person in front of you has. So if they have a green shell or banana, don’t try to trail directly behind them.

200cc, get used to brake drifting

Once you’ve mastered all of the above, and you’re ready to put it to the real test, strap in and kart-up to the start line of a 200cc match. Everything you’ve learned still applies, except faster. You will no longer be able to hold the gas down the entire match! You may even need to press a button you’ve never pressed before: the brake. 

You won’t need the brake on straightaways, only turns. And since you mastered drifting, you’re still going to be drifting on almost every turn (holding the jump button). So the main thing you need to know for 200cc is brake drifting. When you’re FLYING around the turn in 200cc, holding down the jump button and drifting, just let off the gas and tap the brake button a few times. In some cases, you may need to press it, not tap, but a lot of the time, simply tapping it will keep you from slamming into the wall.

Get used to holding jump, drifting, letting off gas, and tapping brake. It’s a strange combo. But you’ll have it in no time and destroying peeps at 200cc. Then the biggest difference between 200cc and 150cc is your kids will be crying 2 minutes sooner.

So there you have it. You’re ready to compete with the big boys and bask in the defeat of my children and yours as well. Use their tears to wash down some Planters Pop & Pour and we’ll see you on the tracks September 18th! 

This article and The Dad Gaming League are sponsored by Planters. Enjoy delicious snacks without gunking up your controller with Planters Pop and Pour

This post was sponsored by:
Planters

We Pieced Together the History of Tetris

The History of Tetris
(CNN/Nintendo)

Everyone has played or at least heard of Tetris, right? It reigned as one of the top-selling video games for decades. In the fatherhood era, you mostly play the real-life version while packing for a family road trip.

What you may not know, however, is the history behind one of the most long-lived, widespread video games out there. I know I didn’t, but when I started looking into it I couldn’t stop digging.

What stands out when looking back to the Game Boy’s Tetris title screen is the obvious… Soviet-ness to it…

Game Boy Tetris Title Screen
(Miketendo64)

… And then there’s the theme song…

As it turns out, Tetris originated from Soviet Russia, during the final decade of the Cold War. Software engineer Alexey Pajitnov was in Moscow in 1984 working on the development of a new computer, the Elektronika 60.

Electronika 60
(Sergei Frolov)

Alexey developed a very rudimentary version of the Tetris we know and love today, to test the machine and have some fun. He said his inspiration for it came from a childhood game, Pentominoes, but he reduced the shapes from 5 equal-sized squares to 4. The name of the game itself is a mash-up of “tetra” (meaning 4), and Alexey’s favorite game, tennis (not sure how the two are similar, but we’ll go with it!). While not flashy or colorful in any way, the original Tetris is is still easily recognized today.

Original Tetris
(CNN)

With the easy to pick up mechanics, Alexey shared his game with coworkers and it spread like wildfire. Tetris ended up making its way to software exhibits outside of the Soviet Union and was adapted to play on IBM computers. Henk Rogers of Bullet-Proof Software eventually secured the handheld rights to the game and the Game Boy version was released. Taking the newly developing video game world by storm, Tetris even became the first game played in space when cosmonaut Aleksandr Serebov packed his Game Boy for his trip to MIR space station in 1993!

From its simple beginnings, 35 years later Tetris is still going strong. Developers are even creating mash-ups, like Tetris 99 (a “battle royale” Tetris game, where 99 players go head to head and last one standing, wins) on the Nintendo Switch! It may look a bit more colorful and hectic today…

Kotaku Tetris 99
(YouTube/Kotaku)

… but Tetris is definitely here to stay.

If you’re looking for an on-the-go fix, EA’s mobile Tetris apps recently got pulled from the App Store and Google Play, but don’t worry! They’ve been replaced by N3twork’s version, available in both the App Store and Google Play. The app is pretty basic for now, but it’s free to play (it has ads that can be removed for $4.99) and no micro-transactions. N3twork even plans to release a Tetris Royale which, while we don’t have the full details yet, sounds like it will be something like the Nintendo Switch’s Tetris 99!

Tetris Co Announcement
(Twitter/@Tetris_Official)

Dad Builds Nintendo Switch TV Frame For His Son

Todd and Son
(Todd Peterson)

Gone are the days of boring old wooden TV cabinets, or hanging your TV on a bare wall. The custom route seems like the new way to go, and the results are actually pretty awesome! First seen late 2019 by a Nintendo fan who goes by Suprman9 in his aptly named “Nerdvana“, this Nintendo Switch TV frame quickly went viral, and for good reason…

Suprman9 Switch TV
(Suprman9)

Since then, many others have built their own iterations of the frame, including one of our very own dads over at The Dad Gaming. Todd Peterson wrote in his post “My son loves his Switch. I love my son. This is the result.”

TP Switch Frame
(Todd Peterson)

Todd actually took it a step further from any of the versions I saw, including Suprman9’s original, and added shelving inside hinged Joy-Cons for storing games!

TP Switch 2
(Todd Peterson)

We reached out to Todd to find out a bit more about how his project came together. The nuts and bolts of it are basically 2x6s, plywood, and wood circles from a hobby store. “Basically I just measured my switch, meticulously, and used a factor of 6.75 to ‘expand’ everything so the switch screen became a 42″ TV,” he told us.

Well done, Todd! It looks like yet another project I’ll have to convince my wife I need should do for our kid…

There’s a detailed write-up about the process of building one of these badboys here.

Fortnite Player Livestreams Call to Mom to Say He Paid Her Student Loans

Aydan Conrad Calling Mom
(Twitch/Aydan)

College is expensive, it’s undeniable. According to a 2019 Forbes article, the average borrower from the Class of 2017 owes over $28,000! What would you say, then, if your kid called you and let you know you’re all paid up?

Pro Fortnite streamer Aydan Conrad’s mom doesn’t have to imagine anymore. While streaming on January 23rd, 20-year-old Aydan calls her up live with his followers (numbering over 1.4 million) watching. He tells her he wants to give her the Christmas gift he wasn’t able to give her before, but she says “I don’t need anything, Aydan. You’ve done enough for me.” Aydan just pushes forward, though, and proceeds to let her know she has no more student debt. After the initial shock and disbelief wears off (especially after Aydan dropped the name of, we’re assuming, her contact for loan payments), everyone gets a chance to witness a truly heartfelt moment between mother and son as the two share some happy tears over the phone.

Aydan humbly credits all his viewers for making it possible, saying “It’s not me, it’s all the people that are watching my stream right now”, to which she responds “Aw, I love them… everyone click ‘exclamation point sub’ and ‘exclamation point prime’!” (for those that don’t use Twitch, those are two chat commands viewers can use to support streamers with a paid subscription). Talk about a loving family that supports each other in their life goals!

NotCryingYou'reCrying
(Giphy)

Texas Gamer Saves Teammate’s Life From 5000 Miles Away

Texas Gamer Saves Teammate
(YouTube/Sky News)

Few situations in a game are more intense than when your teammate goes down and it’s up to you to pull off that long shot, last-second revive while under fire from all sides. What would you do, though, if you were suddenly the only one able to help your real-life teammate on the other side of that screen… and they were halfway around the world?

spongebob freakout
(Giphy)

Texas gamer Dia Lathora ran into this exact situation while playing online with her UK based friend, 17-year-old Aidan Jackson. Aidan told Dia he wasn’t feeling well mid-game and, shortly after taking off his headset, Dia told BBC News she began to “hear him seizing and breathing really hard, and sounds like he was choking and crying.”

Dia Lathora calls Widnes Public Safety
(YouTube/Sky News)

Unfortunately, he was upstairs with his bedroom door closed, so his parents couldn’t hear that anything was wrong. Where others may have panicked, Dia quickly began looking up emergency numbers in the UK she could try, eventually getting through to a live person via the public safety number for Widnes (where Aidan and his family live). As Dia had the address for her friend, she was able to direct emergency services to his home and get him the medical attention he needed.

“Next thing I knew I was waking up with police and my parents in my room saying that I had just had a seizure. I had no idea what was going on,” Aidan said during an interview with Sky News.

Talk about a clutch save for your team!

Needless to say, Aidan’s parents now ask him to game with the door open. In the end, this just goes to prove: Good gamer friends will have your back, both in and out of game!

“I thanked her at least 5, maybe 10 times for it. So yeah, I mean, I thank her every time I see her,” Aiden said.

Halo squad high fives
(Giphy)