The 'Shroom:Issue 125/Palette Swap
First off, I'd like to apologize for last issue's mishaps. We had a few problems with the staff wiki, so some sections were trapped there and we couldn't get to them. Everything is fixed now, so please enjoy all of the sections we have to offer you this month! Additionally, I forgot to mention last month that Hooded Pitohui will be writing Mario's Boombox bi-monthly, starting this month, so you won't see it next month. Unfortunately, this month, Yoshi876 (talk) is writing his last Ongoing Fan Projects. You'll still see him in What's on the Box?, though, and if you'd like to write Ongoing Fan Projects, send us an application!
As I always say, if you'd like to write for us, we'd love to hear your ideas! Send a completed application to Tucayo on the forums, or if you have any questions, you can send them to me on the forums as well.
With that, please enjoy this month's sections! ~FunkyK38
Section of the Month
This month, Hooded Pitohui and the return of Mario's Boombox take first place in Section of the Month! Congratulations! Thank you to everyone who voted, and please keep it up for this month, too!
Yoshi876 looks at the box art for the upcoming Rabbids crossover!
Take an inside listen of Bowser's Inside Story!
What's on the Box?
Hello readers, and welcome back to What's on the Box.
I'll be honest with you, never in a million years did I ever think that I would be writing what I'm about to write. I'm ncredbily open about Mario merging with other game series, but this isn't one I ever imagined would happen. I thought an actual Nintendo crossover, baring Smash Bros. would be more likely, but still here we are, about to look at the boxart for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
There is a lot going on in this boxart, and features Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Rabbid Mario, Rabbid Peach, Rabbid Yoshi, Beep-O and Rabbid Kong in the background. And I presume, looking at the scenery that this takes place in the game's first world of Ancient Gardens. All of the hero characters are firing their weapons, apart from Rabbid Peach who is focused on taking a selfie, a word I genuinely never imagined would appear in literally any of my sections.
Something to note with this boxart is that half of the main characters featured on it are using their official artwork, and yet the other half aren't, although I can't say much for Beep-O, as I haven't seen any solo artwork for him. This brings the question as to why these characters are in different poses. For Luigi, it could just be that they wanted to show him in a combat situation, although why this hasn't applied for Rabbid Peach I don't really know. Another question is why is Rabbid Mario so far away from the others? It doesn't look like he's fighting the Rabbid Kong in the background, nor does it look like he's been thrown by the enemy.
For some improvements to the boxart, I feel like the artwork poses should have been standardized, as opposed to half have new poses, half keep their old ones. Also, perhaps have Bowser Jr. and Spawny in the background as opposed to the generic enemy, or boss, as they seem to be the main villains of the game.
Ongoing Fan Projects
Hello guys, welcome to the Ongoing Fan Projects.
After an idea an Anton, it has been decided that the Ongoing Fan Projects will now cover all threads within the Fan Creations board, be it artwork, stories, or even 'Shroom section plugs. I hope you enjoy this new format. However, despite the new changes and freshening up of the section, I have decided that this will be my last Ongoing Fan Projects section. Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that this section returns to our newsletter soon enough. Thank you!
First off, I would like to express my hope that the readers of The ‘Shroom are having a wonderful August. Secondly, I would like to give a proper introduction to this section. This is a bi-monthly section which, as readers saw last time, is going to present a video-game related song and analyze some aspects of it. I apologize for the fact that the first edition of this section was a bit rough, with some poor wiki-coding, obviously missing images, and other issues. I do appreciate the opportunity to write this section and continue to improve, and I hope to make this enjoyable for our readers. This being said, I’ll jump into this month’s featured song.
Seeing as how many of our North American and European readers are returning to their classes, I thought it may be a good idea to take a look at “Pokémon University” by the gaming musical group, Random Encounters. This is a wonderful musical in which Random Encounters’ ability to create pleasant songs which are chock full of references to their source material stands out. It’s always clear with this group’s videos that they have done their research, and their videos are full of references (to both the well-known and the obscure) which are sure to make fans smile. “Pokémon University” is another shining example of this dedication to research.
“Pokémon University” seems to be based around the fact that the title of “Professor,” which every region’s local Pokémon expert holds, would indicate that these experts are doing some amount of formal teaching. I must wonder if this video would have been created had the localization team stayed closer to the Japanese script of the games, where the title is “Doctor” rather than “Professor” (Professor Oak’s name in Japan is Dr. Okido, for an example). I suppose holding a doctorate implies that you perform or have performed some level of formal teaching. Either way, the Trainer’s School already exists, so this is a simple logical extension. Enough of my speculation, though; it’s time to jump into the analysis. As I noted earlier, this video was built around the professors, so, rather than try to document and detail the multitude of references and in-jokes featured in the video, I’m going to focus this article on analyzing the portrayal of the students and professors featured in the video.
After Professor Oak’s brief introduction to the “World of Pokémon” we get a rapid introduction to the students of Pokémon University. The four students shown here identify themselves as “Junior Trainers,” indicating that they’re members of relatively weak trainer classes with common Pokémon. A perfect fit for this song, these trainer classes are generally depicted as rookies who are working to learn the basics of being a Pokémon trainer. The students specifically identify themselves as a “Youngster, Beauty, School Boy, [and] Lass,” four trainer classes which fit the criteria of a junior trainer and are often found in or around Trainer’s Schools in the main series Pokémon games. Ultimately, the video does a great job of answering the question of how a college student might behave in the Pokémon World. The students perform mundane and relatable tasks like sitting around to discuss assignments and grades, but also remind viewers of the unique nature of their world as they discuss technical machines and berries.
Of course, the first professor the video introduces is the Kanto Region’s Samuel Oak. Oak may be an iconic part of the franchise, but he has never truly developed much of an interesting personality. Of course, fans have taken to portraying Oak in a variety of ways, ranging from an odd old man who can’t identify people’s genders to someone who monitors everyone, wherever they might be, to ensure that they’re not riding their bicycles indoors. Random Encounters seems to have mixed Oak’s legacy with the more humorous portrayal of Oak which circulates in the fandom. While Oak starts off the video with the standard “World of Pokémon” speech which starts off every main game in the series, he’s later shown as dangerously forgetful and a blunt photo critic. “Pokémon University’s” Oak ultimately provides a few references that dedicated fans of the franchise may enjoy, but doesn’t provide quite as much to discuss as the five other professors featured in the song.
The next professor featured in the song is Augustine Sycamore, the professor from the Kalos Region. Sycamore introduces himself by noting that he has a “course on fighting / It’s pretty darn exciting!” This portrayal of Sycamore as a researcher of Pokémon battling fits well with his characterization across the franchise. Sycamore studies Mega Evolution, a phenomenon which only occurs during battles, so it makes sense that he would have gained quite a bit of knowledge on how Pokémon fight. Viewers learn more about Sycamore’s battling course a bit later on in the video, when he assigns his students “papers judging Dragons versus Fairies,” a reference to the Pokémon franchise’s type matchups. A second look at Sycamore’s course comes from his last solo line in the song, where he informs his students that “There’s a test on battling Ghosts,” followed by a helpful reminder to not “forget the Silph Scope.” This is a reference to the key item from the original games which was required to battle the Ghost Pokémon in Pokémon Tower, and again ties nicely into Sycamore’s characterization as an expert on Pokémon battling.
The next professor introduced (more informally than the others) in the video is the Sinnoh Region’s professor, Professor Rowan. The two most notable aspects of Rowan’s personality in the Pokémon games are his curt attitude and his focus on researching Pokémon evolution. These characteristics are not quite carried over into Random Encounter’s portrayal of Rowan. Instead, his stern demeanor is used as a basis to portray Rowan as a sadistic professor who revels in failing his students. It’s not necessarily a faithful portrayal, but artistic liberties excuse it, as it adds a bit of additional humor to the video. The line “I hate every color but red!” sums up “Pokeémon University’s” Rowan quite well. Before leaving him completely, one other aspect of Rowan must be mentioned. At about two minutes and twelve seconds into the video, the professors are gathered in a teacher’s lounge-like area. During this scene, Rowan runs off with a large stock of food. While this could just be a simple gag, I would guess, based on Random Encounter’s track record of doing detailed research for their videos, that this is actually a reference to Rowan’s sweet tooth, as shown in Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. Examining Rowan’s fridge in these games, players find it to be, as Bulbapedia notes, “full of nothing but sweets and candy.” If nothing else, I suppose this part of Rowan did carry directly over to “Pokeémon University.”
Immediately after seeing Rowan for the first time, the students introduce viewers to the Johto Region’s professor, the hopelessly absent-minded Professor Elm. Now, in the Pokeémon games, Professor Elm is both a brilliant researcher of Pokeémon breeding (in Pokeémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal, he’s credited with having discovered the Pokeémon Egg.) and a nerd who gets so caught up in his work that he ends up disorganized and forgets to eat. Elm’s personality is faithfully carried over to this video and is used as a tool to satirize some of the stanger aspects of the Pokeémon World. The students first introduce Elm with the statement that, “Professor Elm / became confused.” Elm shows of his awkwardness as he asks where his primary subject of study, Pokémon Eggs, come from. To be fair to Elm, it is repeatedly stated that no one has actually seen a Pokémon produce an egg. While that issue can be waved away as Game Freak having to keep the games appropriate for children, recent games have presented the possibility that Pokémon Eggs are not eggs at all, but some sort of cradle. The nature of eggs aside, viewers get to see the clumsy, absent-minded Elm drop his lecture notes and get attacked (presumably by a wild Pokémon) when he accidentally steps a bit too far into the [https://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Tall_grass tall grass. Elm’s later appearances in the video aren’t quite made to show off his personality and don’t require much discussion, but it’s still a bit of fun to watch Elm excitedly lecturing about Mega Evolution in front of his crude illustration of the process. Elm’s awkward personality fits this musical video perfectly and leaves the Johto professor with some memorable scenes.
After Elm’s introduction, viewers first see Unova’s Aurea Juniper. Juniper has little screen time in the video, so her personality doesn’t receive much exploration or reference. All that can really be noted is that she seems fond of surprising the students outside of class by casually walking up and interrupting their other activities, whether that be playing a Game Boy or fighting. Although, her interruptions may benefit the students, as she seems to constantly be reminding them of upcoming due dates. Unlike her personality, Juniper’s focus of study is well-represented in the video. Juniper’s speech in Pokémon Black and White’s Chargestone Cave reveals that the focus of her research is “the origins of Pokémon and the era they appeared.” Immediately it becomes clear as to why Juniper is reminding students that their “Origin theses are due.” Juniper’s first line about a “Pokédex project” may seem, at first glance, to be a general reference to the franchise’s electronic encyclopedia, but further research reveals that the line is actually closely tailored to Juniper’s research. As conversations about Chargestone Cave and Celestial Tower reveal, information on Pokémon distribution over time is quite important to Juniper’s research into Pokémon origins. With the Pokédex providing location data on caught Pokémon species, Juniper would certainly benefit from the device’s data. Juniper’s appearances in the video may be short, but they do accurately convey the focus of her research. A similar situation occurs with the final professor featured in the video, Professor Birch.
Hoenn’s Professor Birch has one solo line in the song, but it does represent his personality and research interests. At one minute and thirty seconds into the video, Birch appears and advises a student in the field to use apples, rather than a Pester Ball in order to get the desired image of a wild Pokémon. As Birch is well known for studying Pokémon habitats and for doing hands-on fieldwork, it’s perfectly sensible for him to be out in the field showing students how to work in an open setting.
All in all, “Pokémon University” is a clever and light-hearted parody which uses and shows of the personalites of the professors quite well. The song is so enjoyable and full of references that even realizing how well the professors are actually integrated into the song is difficult without actively analyzing their roles in the song. In any case, it’s a clear love letter to Pokémon series, and any fan will appreciate it.
Game Soundtrack Reviews
Yoko Shimomura, the game's composer, is actually the composer for the entire Mario & Luigi series, and as such is responsible for countless musical gems found within the series, Bowser's Inside Story of course included. She definitely earns my respect as a wonderful composer, and I'm glad she shows her talent so well within the series. But enough background information; let's get to the music!
The first song you hear in the game is, as expected, the title screen theme. I like it because it just sounds like it's welcoming you to this fresh new adventure, which makes for a great opener in my opinion. Also early on in the game, you hear the themes for Toad Town and Peach's Castle; while I do like the theme for Toad Town, I'm not so much of a fan of Peach's Castle; the reverberating notes that play throughout the song just don't work well with me. I prefer the theme from Partners in Time by far. We hear Bowser's theme in the beginning of the game as well, and I enjoy it a lot; it really sounds intimidating. Afterwards, we hear the battle theme for Mario & Luigi; while right then it kind of kills the vibe set by Bowser's theme, it otherwise sounds pretty damn catchy with how silly it is. The battle victory theme is a cute jingle, pretty nice for such a frequently looping song.
After the intro, we hear the theme of Fawful as he tricks Bowser into eating a Vacuum Mushroom. I like the swanky feel they gave it, and I wish they did more with that sort of feel. After Bowser
The game's beginning actually debuts some of my absolute favorite tracks in the game, such as Cavi Cape's theme; I might be biased as this is what we hear when we truly play as Bowser for the first time, but I really like this theme, because it just sounds adventurous and gets you pumped. It makes for an excellent "first level" theme, though unfortunately a trek through here never lasts very long. We also hear Bowser's battle theme for the first time here. I like the military vibe it has; almost reminds me of the Shroobs from Partners in Time. When Bowser's flame pipe is blocked by a Scutlet, Mario and Luigi team up to battle it, while the game's boss battle theme plays. This is my favorite boss theme in the series, and it's notable for starting a trend for boss themes within the games; starting out fun and whimsical, then changing tone to a more dark and sinister song about halfway through. This is a genius idea, as it shows that the games can be lighthearted and serious simultaneously. My only complaint here was that this theme was used for every boss fight, bar the final boss; I wish some more bosses got their own original themes, because this song occasionally kills the mood of the fight.
Moving on, we then hear Plack Beach's theme. It sounds pretty good too; reminds me of a beach party. Past Plack Beach is Dimble Wood, whose theme is one of the weaker tracks in the game. It sounds rather boring, and with Dimble Wood being such a large and frequented area in the game, it gets tiresome quickly. The same applies for the grassland theme, which plays in Blubble Lake and Bumpsy Plains. The song is just meh, and since it plays more often compared to other overworld themes, it can sometimes even get annoying. Blubble Lake is also where a potentially unpopular opinion of mine comes in; my dislike for the underwater theme. The notes in this song are very high pitched, and often annoy me because of it. I also don't like how this plays while you're controlling Bowser; if it was for Mario and Luigi, it'd be better, but as Bowser it just feels very conflicting, especially when his starkly-contrasting battle theme keeps playing as he battles enemies.
To make up for this, though, we're given Giant Bowser battles. These are the most hype battles in the game apart from the final boss, and the Giant Bowser theme makes it even better. It's a great remix of his normal theme, and helps to set the mood well. We then make it to Bowser's Castle, which has been overrun by Fawful and his army. The theme for Bowser's Castle illustrates this quite well, as it sounds more depressing and hopeless instead of the usual "alright let's DO THIS" vibe Bowser's Castle usually gives. It really exemplifies the dire situation Bowser (and in turn Mario and Luigi) is in, making it a nice tune. We hear more of this direness later in the game, with Fawful's secondary theme, also known as the Dark Star theme. It makes for some truly suspensful moments in the game. The most chilling tracks in the game, however, would have to go to the Peach's Castle Gardens theme, especially the inside Bowser version. They sound absolutely terrifying in comparison to the rest of the themes in the game, and would make good contenders for some of the darkest tracks in the series.
At the end of the game, we have the Peach's Castle Interior theme. This sounds honestly very depressing, as if something close to you was lost forever. I love how they remixed Cackletta's theme in it, though. We then reach the Dark Bowser and Dark Star Core fight, with the insanely popular tune, In the Final. This is where another unpopular opinion of mine comes in; frankly, I find the final boss theme overrated. Don't get me wrong, it's a good song, but I think it gets lauded a bit too much at times. This is second to Partners in Time for me; the song that plays when fighting the final boss of that game outshines this. I did really like the game's credits theme; the medley of all of the common themes in the game was very well done. However, the game ends with one song after this, and it's almost tearful; the ending theme. This song, coupled with the final cutscene, make for a happy and emotional end for a fantastic game. I myself nearly cried at this part when I first beat the game, and I still do to this day; it's just so adorably done, and I can't help but feel really good inside while it plays.
And with that, my review of the soundtrack of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story comes to a close. It's a great game with (mostly) equally great tunes, and always worth a listen. Overall, I'd give the soundtrack an 8.5/10; mostly pretty solid, but with a few kinks that could be ironed out. Thank you for reading Game Soundtrack Reviews, and be sure to check back next month for some more rundowns of video game music!
HI, everyone! I'm your nifty Statistics Manager, Tucayo, here with the August edition of Take Cover! It's been a very busy month so I won't bore you with a long intro and let's instead dive right into our covers.
Mashups are covers' awkward cousin, so to leave you with a bit of awkwardness this month, I give you a mashup of Drake's Hotline Bling and the Wii Shop music for something that works unexpectedly well. Enjoy.
Packy's Songs of the Month
Hey everyone, I'm finally back! My sincerest apologies for not having Songs of the Month in July's issue of the 'Shroom; with the staff wiki going down, I had no way of retrieving and finishing my work until the wiki came back up days later. But hey, I'm here now, and that's all that matters, right? Right?! ...help?
Either way, this section is going to be a super long one, similar to how June's was. This time, however, I have with me what was supposed to be July's section, along with August's section! The first ten songs listed below are my ten from July, and are written the way I had them back in July; nothing has been changed to them whatsoever. The ten songs below that, then, are for August's section!
I don't have much more than that, honestly, but I did want to showcase that I made a thread over on the Marioboards for this section in the Fan Creations board - here is a link to that topic! The OP basically features a listing of the songs from each section. My other intention with that topic is I would love for you guys to request songs for me to listen to, and to possibly feature in Songs of the Month sometime in the future - I'm always looking for new music to add to my Spotify playlists and, if I like them enough, to use for Songs of the Month. So please, if you have any songs that you would like for me to hear, please suggest them to me in that topic! Thank you guys! I hope you enjoy this month's section! <3
A friendly reminder: what you just read was supposed to be July's section, and the songs following this message are for August's section. I'm really happy with these batches, and August's section features the first time I've taken two songs from the same album in the same month! So, exciting stuff, I guess! Either way, I hope you all enjoy, and I'll see you guys next month! Love you guys! <3