The 'Shroom:Issue 130/Critic Corner

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Director's Notes

Written by: Hypnotoad (talk)

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Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhappy New Year! 🎆🎊🎉🍾 To start the year off we're bringing you a pretty wide assortment of critiques, reviews, lists, and stuff with no set group theme! C'est magnifique!! Be sure to give all of them a good read, even at one a day you'll have more than enough time to read them more and ruminate. We all put in time and effort to bring you fresh and juicy opinions for you to experience various emotions about being the humans that you are. You are human, right? Don't make me put a cryptocurrency proof-of-work captcha here to filter out bots...although it would net me some side cash. Bots are welcome!

Thank you to everyone for having voted Half-Baked Reviews as December's CC Section of the Month! Please keep voting in this poll and spreading love and appreciation to everyone who puts in a ton of hard work here in our nice and cozy Critic Corner! We also do have a humble little special section called Critic Corner's Review 2017 down below for those who want to take a look!

Finally, for the next month or so you might see another face heading this helm. Don't worry, I'll still be around, but I will be moving across the country and would like to just set aside enough time for me to focus on that as well as all of the personal and bureaucratic shenanigans that come about such a thing. Superchao (talk) will kindly be keeping Critic Corner's seat warm, so if you are a regular writer, or would have to contact Critic Corner in any way, please defer all messages to him (and cc me as well). As of me typing this out right now it's -6°F here in New York and everything is coated in a inch thick layer of ice with another 3 inches of snow covering it. The next time you'll see me I'll be in Florida where it'll be 75°F and I'll be in several inches deep of sand 🌞🌊⛱️

Section of the Month

Critic Corner SECTION OF THE MONTH
Place Section Votes % Writer
1st Anton's Half-Baked Reviews 9 30.00% Hypnotoad (talk)
2nd Could Have Been 5 16.67% Alex95 (talk)
2nd Marioverse Reviews 5 16.67% PowerKamek (talk)
3rd World Wide Weeb 4 13.33% Freakworld (talk)
3rd G. TV 4 13.33% MsRetroGeek (talk)



Opinion Pieces

A few remarks on the past year, 2017!
[read more]

Take your Magikruiser offroading into an alternate MKWii universe.
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i'm ntno drunmk yOUR'R DRUNUJIMKO
[read more]
Reviews

What's evil about Resident Evil? Yoshi876 will let you know.
[read more]

Break the ice with FunkyK38.
[read more]

Nab up some more 2017 flicks you may have missed.
[read more]



Critic Corner's Review 2017

To help give 2017 one final goodbye, a few peeps sent in some reviews of the previous year! There's been a couple of threads that popped up on the forum , such as this one, that served a similar and less-wordy purpose as this special section did, so there weren't as many responses as I initially intended, but with the few we got I hope that this inspires a small annual tradition here in our cozy Corner.

Meta Knight (talk)

Every year has ups and downs. I like reflecting on the year because I can take into account everything that happened to me, both good and bad, and determine if the year was mostly positive or negative. Looking back at 2017, I feel that overall, it was more positive than 2016 for me. Sure, there are some pretty terrible moments with things such as politics, terrorism, etc., but I usually just reflect on my own personal experience. Throughout 2017, I had reached milestones in my personal life, deepened connections, further contributed to this community, and played some cool games.

I graduated high school in 2017, as well as earn a two-year Associate's Degree. These are both achievements that will further my career in the real world. I also turned 18, which marks the start of adulthood in the US. Overall this year I've gained a greater sense of independence, and have gained a better sense of my character. Throughout these events though, there has been a couple family issues that have occurred. I don't wish to disclose, but I was disappointed how things kept popping up to try and ruin my atmosphere when reaching said milestones. I've been doing my best to stay positive though, and look at the bright side of things. In particular, I really love all the times I got to spend with my significant other. I've felt a sense of freedom, and I'm glad I've been able to be with her.

I also like just spending time around the other people I care about and being able to bond more. I don't have to do anything big to have a good time, simply joking around IRC and other outlets of the community puts a smile on my face. I also am grateful for the trust people have put in me as 'Shroom Director. I've gained more confidence in myself, and have grown my leadership skills. I hosted the Community Awards, and it was amazing to recognize all the people that help the community, and the exceptional quality put into presentations. This year has had many moments that have further cemented my adoration for this community, and I hope 2018 brings many more.

There's some pretty good games I've enjoyed playing through such as Super Mario Odyssey, or Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, or Metroid: Samus Returns. There were many nights where I'd stay up late playing Overwatch in voice chat, and there were some funny shenanigans that took place there. It's been a pretty good year for geek stuff (I love a geeky person). I had some great times watching each Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that came out in 2017 in the theater. It was a blast to watch, and even better to make memories with the people I watched them with.

Overall 2017 has been pretty good. 2018 has just started, but I can already tell that there are going to be plenty of challenges. The most I can hope to do is overcome them to the best of my ability. I appreciate all the support I have from my family and friends, and I hope 2018 has some more positives to bring.

MsRetroGeek (talk)

Challenges, life choices, love, and advances within my life are what had made my 2017. After I had graduated from High School in 2014, I honestly didn't know what I had wanted to do with my life. It had taken me a year to finally discover what I had wanted to do, which was to continue school. I chose to pursue my Associate's of Arts degree and with that chosen path I had met my significant other of one year, met new and old friends and finally finished my degree.

It's funny how when you look at a person you never realize the impact they will have on your life. Looking at him the first time in our class together I never realized I would have fallen into a life with a year full of adventures with him. I'm grateful towards him, because it wasn't for him then I would have never gotten the chance to become a part of this community and meet all of these great people. I was looking for a home online, and now that I've found one I never want to leave it.

Challenges were most definitely a thing in my life. There were issues such not being able to obtain a job due to a lack of skills. I had continued to pursue each job opportunity that I had, with no real luck. However, I didn't give up thanks to the support from my family, friends, and significant other. I was told that if a job opportunity wasn't meant to be it wasn't meant to be. Through determination throughout the year I was able to land a job at the Post Office in November. It was sheer luck but I was able to pull it off. I had my rough patches and things had gone wrong throughout the year. I had family drama, a car crash which ended with contemplation that would have possibly ended my life. I also felt afraid due to the many shootings that had happened last year and the decision of our current President. I'm still in fear over what else could happen to America and other areas around the world.


Jumping onto a brighter note! With my achieved Associate's degree which was considered a Direct Transfer Associate's I was able to transfer to the school that I been hoping to go to ever since I had visited my school's Transfer Universities Fair. Through the amount of school work that I did, I was able to get into the program that I had wanted to which was an online ITAM (Information Technology Administration Management) major that specializes in Cyber-security.

I am grateful for the life I was given last year, as well as the new friendships I had gained in this community and the opportunities I was given and for the family I was given, as well as for the heart I was able to steal. Gazing at him right now, I know I'll have a definite successful future with him by my side. With the timeless memories we've shared of us watching movies at our local movie theater, our first ball together, and him constantly encouraging me in my work. I know that the future looks bright. I'm excited to see what 2018 has in store for us.

Lord Bowser (talk)

2017 has been a pretty big year for me in many ways, and I'm happy to say that it was an overall net positive year for me. In this community, I've grown a lot from a cringey shitposter early in the year to being very involved with The 'Shroom, the Awards Committee, and the Poll Committee, which I'm very grateful for. I've established some really strong bonds with a lot of people here, and I'm happy to say that this community has become like a second home for me. Talking to people on #mwchat in IRC and in the Discord server I made this year, which now serves as a bit of a hub for a few community members, has been a great experience and I'm so glad to have been a part of it; I've made a lot of valuable memories now thanks to this. I've polished a lot of skills over the course of the year thanks to here, namely my art and writing, which I am very grateful for.

On the more personal side, I've become somewhat more confident in myself. In real life, I'm slowly becoming less and less closeted, and have now told a handful of friends that I'm gay. I've even revealed this to my sisters, which I was previously terrified of doing, and I'm very glad everyone I've come out to has been so supportive. I've even managed to get into my first ever relationship early in the year with a guy I knew for a while, and while it was sadly short-lived, it was a truly valuable experience and one I'm glad to have had with him. Lately I've been feeling a bit lonely, but I'm still faring much better than I was before; I'm now more confident about my appearance and body image than earlier in the year. Moving on from the mushy stuff, my grades in school have been improving, and I'm looking forward to moving on from high school this year, finally.

It hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows (heh) this year, though. I still struggle with depression, trust and dependency issues, and lots of anxiety everywhere. My relationship with my parents has only become more strained, but thankfully my relationship with my sisters has grown to compensate. I'm still a bit awkward and have few friends in real life, but I've definitely improved from being a complete and isolated loner like I was before. Politics and other such things have been... interesting, to say the least, but we've heard all about them by this point. I don't support and haven't supported the state of the US government for a while now, and I really hope things start to improve sooner rather than later on that end.

Moving on, it's been a great year for games as well. I went full weeaboo trash and engrossed myself in the Danganronpa games, and they've all been great fun... though Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony a bit questionably so. I got into Overwatch over a year late but I still did!! and it was fun to play for a while. Most notably, however, is the Nintendo Switch. I only have 3 games for it at the moment -- Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Splatoon 2 -- but I've invested dozens of hours into all 3 and they've been amazing fun, especially with my wiki friends for the latter two games. I still haven't played Breath of the Wild and I'm probably gonna get lynch mobbed for that, but I promise I will soon!

In short, 2017 was an over pretty nice year. It's had its ups and downs, but overall I don't regret it. Here's to an even better 2018!



Could Have Been

Written by: Alex95 (talk)

The original logo

Hello everyone! My name is Alex95 and welcome to Could Have Been. In this segment, I talk about features that didn't quite make it into a game's final release and see just how the cut content would've affected the game. This month I'm taking a look into what is quite possibly the longest selling Mario Kart title to date, Mario Kart Wii. So let's jump right in and take a look at what could have been.

Some kart and bike concepts
Concept of Dry Dry Ruins

First let's take a look at some concepts. One of the newest and biggest editions to Mario Kart Wii was the introduction of various bikes. In the concept to the left, you can see bikes based on a Mechakoopa, a Magikoopa, a Lakitu's Cloud, and a duck. The duck ultimately became a bike called the Quacker, the Magikoopa one became the Magikruiser, and the other two got dumped entirely. I wonder if the Spiny-like hubcaps would've added to the Lakitu's Cloud bike's weight.
Of the known concepts for races, Dry Dry Ruins is significantly different. Things that aren't in the final race include an oasis and Thwomps with Mii faces on them…yeesh! Glad they got rid of that! There is also a halfpipe room with Pokeys in it, which isn't too far off as there are Pokeys and halfpipes, but never the two together.

E3 2007 HUD

Moving on to some pre-release stuff, a trailer during E3 2007 showed off Mario Kart Wii. The trailer shows some slight differences in courses and a HUD showing a different item display box. Very early versions of the game also used assets pulled from Mario Kart DS, which likely didn't look right considering the resolution difference between the DS and the Wii. Aside from the logo seen at the top-right of this section, that's really it for the pre-release stuff that I'm able to find documented.

The Forbidden Trio
Koopa Paratroopa
The Forbidden Trio
Hammer Bro.
The Forbidden Trio
Petey Piranha
The Forbidden Trio

The real meat of Mario Kart Wii's development comes in its unused content. Three, count 'em three, characters were cut from the driver roster: Koopa Paratroopa, Petey Piranha, and Hammer Bro. Paratroopa and Petey would've returned from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! while the Hammer Bro. would've been an entirely new character. As to why they were cut, I can't say for certain, but I can guess. Paratroopa would've just been a copy of Koopa Troopa but with wings, so I guess they wanted variety and brought in Dry Bones. Petey is rather large, which actually had to make the devs raise the camera angle whenever he's playing in Double Dash, so I can assume the developers didn't want to add that extra coding or shrink Petey down. I got nothing for Hammer Bro., though I'm rooting for him to appear in "Mario Kart 9".
There also exists an unused Mii Outfit C with the outfit being based on Toad. There's a bland copy of Mario Circuit (GCN), and by that I mean there's no enemies or obstacles, and a demo course resembling Mario Circuit (Wii), but the game looks in the wrong place for the textures so everything looks screwed up. An unused Chain Chomp item graphic is in the code, but it's not clear if it would act like its Double Dash counterpart. And while it's not exactly "unused", the Galaxy Colosseum is now inaccessible through normal means; it was used for certain Wi-Fi Tournaments. There are three other item graphics, two of which have been found to be a Wiggler and a Fireball, which appeared during the tournaments.

One of the most recent findings, and mean really recent as it was found in 2017, is an unused mission mode, similar to Mario Kart DS's. These missions would've given you objectives to complete, such as drive through gates in a certain order or restricting your style of turning. None of the mission menus have text, so the only way to tell what they would've been is to look through the code. They got as far as Mission 2-4 before deciding "Nah!" Shame. With the tournaments down, this would've been a good extra mode to fall back on. Here's hoping that returns for "Mario Kart 9" as well!

If you'd like to know more about the random coding and my sources, check out our page on the list of Mario Kart Wii pre-release and unused content and the page on The Cutting Room Floor! Until next time, I'll see you around!



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Written By: Hypnotoad (talk), Featuring Art By: Toadbert101 (talk)

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Licor 43

I already forgot how the conversation came about but basically this is Edo’s favorite booze and I was like “hey I’ll review it” because my to-do list for reviews for January was a vague mash-up of some other nonsense I have in my backlog, and instead of taking care of that backlog I decided to just chug a bunch of booze, which is appropriate for a new year celebration anyways!

Given the content of this review, I do not advise kiddies under 21, or whatever the legal age for alcohol consumption is in your area, to follow suit. Instead leave this to me, a professional adult, who will tell you to always drink safe, drive safe, play safe, stay safe, always know your limits and what to do if you or anyone you know exceeds them. If you ever have any questions or need advice about this topic, I am open to answering and helping, and have done so before thanks to my super chat mom friend powers.
My extremely legible notes

That being said, let’s continue the review! After Edo brought up that it was his favorite booze, which I suddenly remembered the context of being online grocery shopping and he saw that it was available, I decided to look at what it even was. Licor 43 is a Spanish liqueur made from citrus fruits and flavored with vanilla and a bunch of spices and herbs and whatever--43 of them to be exact, hence the name. Further description of it on Wikipedia reads like a Super Mario Wiki page on Daisy: “In color it is yellow tinged with a touch of gold. The aroma is sharp, warm, and complex, with vanilla up front; and then tangy sweet fruit, spices, and an aged rum-like presence. The flavor is similar to the aroma; vanilla, complex intermixed spices, tangy fruits, and hints of citrus, carried by a flavor similar to aged rum.” The simple fact that it is described with the words “citrus” and “sweet” was enough to convince me to try it, but Edo also said that it mixes well with milk and that sealed the deal.

J’ai bu comme un trou

Buying Licor 43 was a bit tough itself in appearance, as it is a privately-owned company which someone said meant something, and that it doesn’t really fit into categories of other drinks, such as bourbons, vodkas, rum, etc. Luckily for me there’s a huge liquor store near the mall I always go to so I just went there and spent like 20 minutes searching for it in the store because it was impossible to locate until I had to ask a worker where it was. It took a while for one of them to come to me because I wasn’t an older well-dressed person perusing their wine selections, but once I appeared to be a serious customer the worker showed himself and helped me immediately locate the Licor 43 near its random placement by the coffee liqueurs because “it doesn’t really fit anywhere else and this is where [they] had open shelf space”. Probably could’ve placed it more closer to the fruity liqueurs but who am I to critique the store layout? Fast forward like a week to Christmas Eve. I got out of work after the big rush of orders and closing early, and found that I was going to be home alone for the next couple hours without anywhere else to drive until later, so I decided to take my socks and pants off and sit around in my underwear (kept my shirt on, don't want to be too lewd) testing out alcohol combinations based on what recipes are available on their official website.

Puro 43

The first step in mixing things is by knowing how each of the components functions on its own. This applies to all kinds of chemistry, and is a concept I became familiar with in creating glazes for pottery, which has its risks with creating toxic compounds or combinations that would spell fatal for the vessel once in the kiln. So for science, I tried Licor 43 pure from the bottle. Immediately upon opening it I’m blasted with a whiff of what I can only compare to nail polish remover with some spices tossed in. I can’t really dig at Licor 43 for this as this is a universal sensation of alcohol, plus the fact that I paid money for this and still need to review it, combined with the fact that it wasn’t nearly as oppressive as an alcohol smell as vodkas I’ve had or as raunchy as basically all beer, so I continued with drinking it. It’s noticeably smooth, almost similar to drinking honey (definitely the color of it) or syrup that has a higher density but still thin enough to be drinkable. It made my body quiver and face kinda spasm on the first sip, but there was absolutely no burn going down that I expect from pretty much every other alcoholic drink. I can taste a lot more of the vanilla and a bit less of the citrus; there’s definitely other spices and flavors like cinnamon with a prominent sweetness there, but my palate isn’t quite as refined to pick them out as are those of wine bloggers and average shoppers on review aggregate sites who apparently can sense all 43 ingredients individually enough to comment on them totally, really, totally, for sure, really. Ultimately, while it tastes alright, I can definitely sense that it was intended to be mixed with other stuff.

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Blanco 43

Now we begin mixing stuff. I had a vague list of things to try, and then went to the website I’ve linked in the header just above to apply my vague ideas and suggestions to genuine recipes, and then when those recipes call for some nonsense I don’t want to try like locating lemon wedges or using ground cinnamon and basil leaves, to just try something similar enough because honestly who cares that much to put so much effort into a drink? I just want to sit in my couch in my underwear getting tipsy without throwing up instantly. This recipe calls for a 1:3 ratio of Licor 43 to milk, chilled with ice cubes. This drink is very dangerous because it’s delicious and I chugged the entire thing immediately. In fact, while writing this out I decided to go pour myself a huge cup of it, like easily 20oz. The syrupy feel to the Licor 43 really blends well with the creaminess of the milk, bringing the smoky flavor of the vanilla to the forefront. It tasted like drinking melted vanilla ice cream that’s more creamy than sticky. It’s absolutely perfect and I drank quite a few. Encore un autre, s’il vous plaît!

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Asiático 43

This recipe calls for a bunch of fancy and unnecessary stuff that I don’t care about getting. The whole thing is 1 part Licor 43, 1 part Spanish Brandy, 3 parts condensed milk, 1 hot espresso coffee, evaporated milk, 2 coffee beans, cinnamon powder and lemon peel, to garnish. What I instead did was use an equal amount of Licor 43, milk, and some rum coffee mudslide thing that my dad already had rending the Kahlúa I had bought useless. After making my laziness concession I went and tasted it, and it just wasn’t as good, and it’s almost entirely the fault of the coffee flavor, but isn’t objectively bad. If I had tried this first I probably would’ve liked it, but just the 43 and milk is astoundingly better. Stirring a couple spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream into it fixed it right back up, and muted the coffee flavor while bringing back the creaminess. The original 1:1:1 mix tasted alright but not really enough for me to want to keep drinking it. It just tasted like really bitter coffee and I normally like mine completely drowned in sugar and creamer. Adding a couple spoonfuls of ice cream really set it back in balance.

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Balón 43

The Crush 43 is pretty similar so I’m including the link, but the Balón 43 is more similar to what I had available and did. Instead of sparkling water and “juice from half a lemon”, I used Sprite, because honestly that’s much better anyways and already prepackaged. 1:3 Sprite tastes good, but feels weird as I can sense both the smoothness of the Licor 43 but the fizzy bitey bubblies of the soda. The Sprite absolutely helps bring out the citrus flavor more but doesn’t squash the vanilla. By this point i've had like the equivalent of 10 shots in a short period and I can feel my hand-eye coordination lagging as well as my reaction time. I feel smooth.

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Maracuya 43

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1:1:1 43, Sprite, passion fruit juice. I know this recipe doesn’t call for anything fizzy but I wanted to anyways and it’s my review so nyeh. The passion fruit juice smells like the inside of a boot but that’s ok because I already know it tastes good. I poured it and then forgot about it and instead sat on my couch harassing people in #mwchat for a little bit. This combination so far was superior, as it brought more sweetness to it, and quelled the alcohol burn going down my throat allowing me to down the entire glass at once. I then went and poured another so I can taste it again, and I can confirm that it was good again, so I had another. Zut alors! It felt very refreshing, I felt relaxed, I felt simultaneously rejuvenated and revitalized, but like I was being wrapped up in a blanket left to sip on some subtly fruity sweet bubbly stuff that smells nice. Unlike the Blanco 43 which was also perfect, this didn’t feel heavy because of the cream, and instead felt very light and airy and I felt light and airy too. I’m not too sure if it was this particularly mixture being really good that soothed me or if it rendered my perception inaccurate to the point of believing this was literally ambrosia, but either way I briefly fell asleep. Now herein lies the issue with numerical and limited scales, that being once you determine what is a perfect score, you may come across something that’s even better. Thank you Maracuya 43 for retroactively validating my decision to use an arbitrary and wholly personally subjective Chex Mix-based scale for ratings in my reviews!

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Choco Glow 43

By this point I’m riding at the very least a pretty heavy buzz and enjoying feeling relaxed, so of course it has to come to a sharp halt. I see lights, indicating that someone is pulling into the driveway. Using my magic power of foresight I had already locked the door so it would buy me a few extra seconds to at least get some pants on because it’s at least socially acceptable if I can’t get my socks back on in time. As an apropos bummer, the next drink I tried was my first chocolatey one. Choco Glow 43 calls for hot chocolate and espresso, because everyone knows that the potentially deadly combination of caffeine and alcohol--a stimulant and a depressant which don’t neutralize each other and instead just risk throwing off your heart rhythm--is perfectly fine so long as there’s chocolate (that’s a joke, kids, don’t mix energy drinks and alcohol). I didn’t want to make hot cocoa so all I did was mix in some chocolate syrup and for coffee I used more mudslide, but I certainly did have an ample amount of whipped cream. It tasted alright enough and probably would’ve been good without the rum part of the mudslide since it just felt too like..alcoholic, I guess. The chocolate, too, didn’t even really taste appetizing or even welcoming, and just didn’t blend well with the citrus undertones. If Licor 43 was a pure vanilla-flavored liqueur it would work, but it isn’t, so it didn’t. I wasn't exactly recoiled by tasting it, it just tasted like disappointment and wasted materials which all would’ve been good separately. I’d rather just have a spiked caffè mocha with the Licor 43 or even just some vanilla creamer instead.

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Carajillo 43 and After Dinner 43

Since I was already trying coffee stuff, I figured I’d go down the line. These two are similar enough--assuming that you’re not enough of a java snob to consider espresso that wildly different from coffee--with the only major difference being in the After Dinner 43 you’re supposed to plop some mango chunks and garnish it with edible rose petals. Instead, I just used mango juice, and didn’t even bother with edible rose petals because honestly what?? For coffee I was going to use the mudslide again until I was made aware that a pot of coffee had been brewed so I used that since these were intended to be hot drinks anyways. So first I poured just the Licor 43 and some coffee, took a small sip because I didn’t know how hot it’d be, and I could just feel my body reject and stopped before I got a mouthful. Figuring that it was just the coffee being really bitter I added in the mango juice hoping the the sweetness would offset it as sugar tends to do and why it’s offered side-by-side. It smelled actually really amazing but when I took a sip I instantly recoiled from the extreme bitterness that the mango juice couldn’t adequately counter. I could feel my stomach immediately sour and I had to go sit down and stop drinking for a bit as I sat hunched over trying to keep the contents of my insides on the inside. My experiences in previous reviews, such as drinking KeVita Kombucha, help buffer the After Dinner 43 from being considered the most disgusting thing I’ve tried just by virtue of me knowing that the most disgusting thing is kombucha tea, but it doesn’t free it from being something I will actively avoid, suggest to other people to actively avoid, and get a retching spasm feeling when I recall the smell or flavor. Maybe if I poured milk or creamer into it it would taste better, but honestly by that point I’d be shaping it into a different concoction entirely and may as well just drop the coffee altogether and just go back to chugging Blanco 43s. I’ll testify that this isn’t just sickness from binge drinking, because it hit literally as soon as I swallowed this coffee mango nonsense, and went away after I absorbed it with sourdough pretzels, then quickly went back to drinking other stuff.

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Mango Mambo 43

While I had the mango juice out, I figured to next try the most mango-y one on the list. The Mango Mambo 43 once again calls for actual mangoes to be chopped up and plopped in but honestly no, mango juice it is. It also calls for rum and lemons but I don’t want to retry it with rum at all yet and the “lemons” I have is Sprite, so I have vaguely higher hopes than the last few blunders. The recipe is roughly 4:1:2 Licor 43, mango, lemon, and since I used Sprite instead of lemons I put more in because I like it. It tasted good but mango just doesn’t have the same kinda feel as passion fruit. Like, it’s one of my favorite flavors but mangoes just have a denser and smoother feel, and I don’t think it works as well as the sweeter and more watery passion fruit. With Licor 43 already being a more syrupy liqueur, mixing it with another heavier texture just multiplies the effect, and if you like that I guess here you go, but I didn’t feel like it was as successful as it could’ve been. It smelled very nice, at least!

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Cheeky Peachy 43

This one I tried because my dad came over realizing I had a counter full of drinks and nonsense and put some of his own on there, including a peach pre-made margarita thing. Wanting to use it, I checked the website to see if it had an easy peachy one, and it totally did, so here we are in this today. This recipe called literally for Sprite so hallelujah or whatever and I followed it mostly except for throwing fruit chunks in because honestly no. The only drink that should have chunks in it is extra pulp orange juice. I probably used probably more Licor 43 and peach margarita mix stuff than what the recipe calls for, but I just didn’t want the flavor too diluted because peach stuff is tasty. As I was hoping for, it was really good, and has the sweetness I like without it being like drowning in a bag of sugar, which might be in part due to whatever brand of margarita mix this was since those are usually the culprits for being saccharine (cough cough Bud Light Lime-a-ritas and assorted other flavors, just ask 2257 (talk) how that went for him).

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After crossing out some redundant recipes I went back and made a huge glass of of an unknown large amount of Licor 43, a generous pouring of passion fruit juice, and a topping off of Sprite enough to bring it to an acceptable bubbly level, and sipped at that for the night.

Brownie 43

And now for the crowning moment, le chef -d’œuvre, la pièce de résistance, le tour de force, le poisson de mer. In IRC Edo kept asking me if I liked Licor 43 and I refused to cooperate and give a solid answer beyond “I need to try the brownies first”, so here I am finally trying the brownies. I didn’t feel like doing the full recipe because effort and money, plus the fear of the unknown and failure, so I bought some Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix because it was top-shelf and 2/$5, plus had the same kinda nonsense in it the recipe called for as well as the same physical amount of powdered nonsense. Noticeably, with what the box recipe called for, the Licor 43 replaced the water entirely, which I assumed would make it particularly thicker and maybe more dry. Blah blah mixing blah blah waiting DING brownies are done!!! After waiting impatiently for them to cool, I finally tried them: they kinda just like...taste like a regular brownie. Probably would’ve been just as good with water instead of Licor 43, but I am noticing that there’s a very slight citrusy something to it and it baked differently: it’s chewier on the inside but with a firm crust. It definitely feels heavier than what a regular brownie would. Fast forward a few days as I’ve been eating them over time, and they noticeably got harder and more brittle a lot faster than what brownies made with water would do, meaning these are intended to have the entire tray consumed while they’re still fresh and warm. I’m really unsure how to rate this because they are tasty brownies but I don’t feel like the Licor 43 had any worthwhile impact. It would be a shame to give this just a barely passing score so I’ll consider it better than that. The brownies are a success!

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C’est la fin des haricots

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I 500000% know that I would love the Pink Panther cocktail because it’s basically the Blanco 43 but with more alcohol and with grenadine lobbed into it, which is one of my most favorite flavors ever, but I just didn’t feel like buying it even though it’s cheap. There’s definitely more potential in this liqueur than what I have sampled. There’s an immense amount of variety within just this one drink, which is possibly due to all of its ingredients being able to function on their own separately, having their own strengths to them to allow more pairings. Like, you can definitely dump vodka, rum, bourbon, whatever into a whole bunch of stuff and get a new drink, but it’s all pretty derivative and the differences are unremarkable and attributable to what it’s being mixed into. I guess this may be true also of other liqueurs and distilled drinks, given how they are made and function, but in my experiences Licor 43 has been the only one to be able to stand alone and do well, mix with dairy and do well, mix with soda and do well, mix with fruits and do well, mix with coffee and do well, mix into desserts and do well, and with each one bringing to the forefront a different property, whether it be the honey-like texture, the citrus, the herbs and spices, or the vanilla.

Rating: GoldenPretzel.png

Explanation: The Golden Pretzel isn’t a light award, and isn’t handed out without serious consideration or as a joke for at least 1 of 2 times now. I was considering rating it just below as like Chocolate Chex Piece or something because not every recipe and combination was a homerun, and some were even disasters, but the fact that there are just so many plausible combinations that hit the mark regardless of what your preference is makes this now a must-buy for any event I do.

Thank you to Toadbert101 (talk) for providing stunning and emotive face rating scale whatever images! I can assure you that these are true-to-life and I do actually look like this and experienced all of those emotions while reviewing this.


Tune in next month where I post a pre-made review because I'll be busy moving! Also, tell me what to review next! Here’s my Steam Inventory filled with games I haven’t played for some ideas, but things you can tell me to do can also be movies, shows, physical actions, trying new foods, music, literally anything and I’ll cover it eventually if it’s not too ridiculous. Just send me a message here on my talk page or PM it to me on the forum. Don't like what I have to say? That's fine, and probably bound to happen because I've been told about how much people like Super Mario 64 and how they feel about any criticism of it! We at Critic Corner will welcome your alternate review of it as a new section for the next issue!



Movie Reviews

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
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Genres Science-fiction, action, horror
Release date December 2016
Starring Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter
Runtime 106 minutes
Ratings 15 (UK)

So, just like with Jigsaw, I need to start this review off with a disclaimer, and say that for the most part I do enjoy the Resident Evil series. Yes, of course, they're hardly the best things ever put to celluloid, but at the end of the day they are a perfectly enjoyable way to kill a couple of hours. Well, that is until you get to this entry of the franchise.

If you can remember anything from the previous entry in the franchise, then forget about it, because none of it appears here. The cliffhanger that we were left on has either been resolved or not resolved, and all of the characters that Alice was with are either dead or not dead. There's no indication to their status, and barely any, if any at all, mentions of them. The movie starts, after its prequel scene, with Alice in the middle of somewhere, with no explanation of what's going on. If you haven't watched the previous Resident Evil movies, then this isn't a good one to start with, because speaking as someone who has seen them, even I was confused as to what was happening.

The rest of the film follows standard Resident Evil fare, with a ragtag group of characters who quickly die off. And I mean quickly. There's barely any time to form any sort of emotional connection with any of them. One shining example is a character who isn't named, doesn't really get any dialogue and then dies after about 15/20 minutes of screen time. How am I meant to care about a character who I know literally nothing about? And even with the characters who do stick around for a while, they're so plain and mundane that you don't care about anything that happens to them.

The plot is incredibly confusing, mainly because of the unnecessary cloning spiel they've opted for. Don't fool yourself into thinking the main villain is dead, because he has about 400 clones. But wait a minute, clones are unsanitary, or something, and now they're all fighting because they think they're the original, and all the others must die. The movie's plot is a mess without this mass of confusion being introduced in the closing 20 minutes. And it's not like the main plot is interesting to follow anyway. There's something to do with a poison, and a cure, and of course all the clones, and maybe some social commentary on the upper class and religion, but it's all so ham-handedly handled that nothing makes sense, and nothing sticks in your mind. There is not one single scene that I can vividly remember, and yet there many scenes from other films that I haven't seen in years that I recount easily.

Usually, I find reviews on subjects that I don't like easy to write about, but I haven't here. The film is so bland that everything just sort of meshes together into some form of forgettable mess. There's honestly nothing else to say about this. If you're not a fan of the Resident Evil series, then this film is everything wrong with that series, and if you are a fan, you probably won't be after watching this.



World Wide Weeb

by Freakworld (talk) and Stargazing (talk)


Love Live! School Idol Project Review

Disclaimer: The contents of this review do not necessarily represent the actual views of the reviewer(s). There is overstatements around every corner. Do not let yourself get fooled though, your life will still be ruined if you get dragged down into the idol hell.

The Legacy.

In all of my years in this community, I have seen numerous fads come and go. Such as Miitomo. Or fad lists. But one thing seemed to have stuck, out of all of them. The one phenomenon to rule them all. One virus that infected the masses and continues to spread its vicious disease all over innocent users.

What I am talking about is the most unholy conglomeration of pop music and Japanese school girls that I have ever witnessed. I am talking about Love Live! School Idol Project. And no, I did not make that exclamation mark up in order to prove my point or something. It is actually a part of the title, of course.

The cast of Love Live!

American Idol Except Less American And There Is No Casting.

So what exactly does this entail except for pop music and Japanese school girls? Not much, really. I mean, for what it is worth, this alone is more than enough for the average weeb to feast their soul upon. Generally speaking, Love Live is a series spanning across multiple media that follows the likes of school idol pop groups as they participate in a nationwide competition, aptly named: Love Live. And by multiple media I mean, basically anything you can imagine. But let's tackle these one by one, just to show you the sheer maliciousness we are dealing with here.

So first off, there is a manga. Of course there is, there is no anime without a manga. So essentially, in the manga, these nine girls go to a high school that is in danger of getting shut down due to a regressive number of students. So they, being led by a girl named Honoka, come up with a plan. In order to save the school, they have to sell their souls to the devil, and become school idols.

Depending on which incarnation of her you are facing, Honoka is sometimes more than just slightly annoying.

The Descent Into Hell.

While this works out for the most part, they soon face some hardships, etc. One thing they did here, was stylize every girl to have a very unique personality, such that you would be compelled to selecting your one true favorite girl, and worship her for the rest of your life. There is also Nico. She is like, a giant meme.

Anyways, the manga honestly is not bad. However, the mangaka is slow as fuck, so he has put out like four volumes so far? And it still feels like we are at the very beginning of the story. But fret not! For there is a completed anime that we can throw our hearts at instead. And oh boy, the fun merely begins here.

The meme known as Nico.

When Your Anime Is Faster Than Your Manga By A Couple Of Years.

So the first thing you will notice in the anime versus the manga, is that nearly all of the characters are different. Honoka is less of a leader and more of a hugely annoying brat. Kotori (One of the top tier girls tbh) and Nico kinda switched characters and she became even more of a giant meme.

I guess one thing the anime got right were the music videos though. Because that is what half of the anime is, after all. For the most part though, you can tell you are descending down a deep, dark path the more you watch this anime. This culminates with the dedicated Love Live movie, which essentially the Honoka show. Which basically means it is almost unbearable to watch.

This is a better Honoka.

Fire Emblem Heroes Except You Buy Cards Instead Of Orbs.

Alas, of course the absolute madmen behind this franchise did not just stop there. Oh no. After the success of the original series, they created a whole new series called Love Live! Sunshine!!, again not making up the exclamation marks here, which features an entirely new band who strives to be as great as the band from the previous series. The characters in this one are also quite… peculiar, but going too in-depth about this is probably not a good idea.

But, god forbid, it does not stop there. Of course, there was a video game adaption of the entire franchise made. And it is one of these ridiculous quote-on-quote “free to play” type of games. Nonetheless, of course, it has gained a cult-following with very crazy fans of the series. I approached one such specimen, and they have written a… guide or something of how to approach the game, I guess? I didn't quite catch it, but it seems as if they know what they are talking about. Nonetheless, I had to annotate some parts, which are in bold.

Love Live! School Idol Festival

Love Live! School Idol Festival is a relatively simple game on the surface. It revolves around two mechanics, rhythm gaming and digital card collecting. The digital card collecting plays into how well you score on a song, and the rewards you get from high ranking the song play into how many more cards you can receive with your resources. Let's quickly jump into the start-up process in case you want to install at home and play around with it yourself. Warning: Installing the game probably constitutes a criminal offense in some regions.
Okay, let's be honest though. The advertising for this game is simply irresistible.

When you install the game, you may or may not be prompted to complete a quick download, and then the game restarts to you choosing your name. Once you're all finished that, you are given a little pop-up with 9 circles that have cute anime faces in them. You have my attention OP There's also another tab at the top, which gives you 'another' 9 circles with cute anime faces in them. Just pick whoever you like the best, it's… surprisingly not that important who you pick. Now, decide if you want to do the tutorial or not, and relax as you get hit with another download so long that it'll take 5-20 minutes! Also, you'll run out of space. The entire space on your phone will be taken up by anime. Might as well find something else to do temporarily, since you have to keep your device on and Love Live! open for the entirety of it. Cool, I finally have time to read my Love Live mangas and cuddle with my Love Live dakimakuras

Now at the home screen, there are a few tabs you could hit while here. Or just, you know, shut the game down while you still can.

  • Home: The tab that appears when first booting up the game. Has a few shortlinks to pages, as well as the menus to add, remove, and view friends, view game information, and check your Goals. It also features a spinning content wheel of recently released cards.
  • Story: You can view all different types of stories you gain here. Has a button that lets you switch between the two currently-running bands.
  • Members: This is where to go to view your cards, add cards to a team (more on that later), practice cards into another card to make it stronger, and remove cards altogether. Most of the functions here require G to work, which is the coin-looking icon in the upper corner of the menu that includes your rank, LP, and EXP. It also has a menu to organize your School Idol Skills.
    • ”Hey, wait, what is a School Idol Skill?” They are strings of 1-4 circles you gain after completing a live, and they go on a card to either improve their skill or improve their stats. You can put them on a card at any time by going to Members -> Member List and tapping on a card. Some cards have more room for more of these, and some have less.
      • ”Wait wait wait! Okay, calm down. What's this Special Practice tab?” Well, there's much more to cover there, so I will get back to you on that. Just know that you can use this if you have 2 copies of a card, and in one other case.
  • Scout: The whale magnet tab- 'ahem' I mean the card collecting tab! By completing songs in a certain way, or just by logging in, you can get the required amount of resources to successfully attempt to pull for the featured card on the banner, and then cry because no matter how many times I try, Angel Riko will never come home to me. Tfw your waifu will never come to free you of the sorrows of this rotten earth.
    • You can scout using Friend Points (uses the handshake icon) for mostly Ns with a few Rs, or with Love Gems (commonly called loveca, and uses the heart icon) for mostly Rs with a few SRs, SSRs, or URs.
      • N cards are the weakest cards, and do not have any voice acting. Rs are in between Ns and SRs, have voice clips, and start to feature members from the bands in outfits that they use in their song. SRs are stronger than Rs and mostly use game-exclusive outfits. SSRs gain drawn backgrounds, and URs are stronger (and usually prettier) than SSRs.
  • Shop: You can either expand how many cards you can hold using a love gem, refill your LP using a love gem, or purchase more love gems and the “packs” at the bottom of the screen with real-life money.
    • Word of legitimate caution: Either do not play this game or disable all in-app purchases if it can put you in financial harm. What Star is trying to tell us here is that this game will feast on the measly NEET income of the average weeb.
  • Other: Contains miscellaneous content, such as an album of all your collected cards, titles and wallpapers you have collected, your wallpaper, and an option to swap language. Currently, the game only supports 3 languages, but more may come soon. Please no, the infection must not spread.

You may be thinking, “Woah, Star, this is a lot of information.” And you know what? You are absolutely right! TLDR?

Now, there's one more menu left, the Live Show menu. This ties in a lot of mechanics you see in the other menus, which is why some sections did not have much elaboration. The first thing you'll notice when you pop into here is, like with the Story and Scout tabs, there is yet another option to swap between the two bands. What I failed to mention, though, is that swapping the tabs in one menu carries the option throughout the entire game, including what members are more likely to “surprise pop-up” and even the background music in most tabs. The gameplay mechanic of Love Live is fairly basic, which helps as a mindless mobile game escape. The cards you select to make up a team are put into a semi circle-type formation, and your goal is to tap icons when they make their way directly on top of a card. Not sure where to create a team? It's in the Members tab! Not sure how to make a good team? Well…

A good thing to keep in mind is that songs are split up into 3 colours, which are called attribute. A smile song is pink, a pure song is green, and a cool song is blue. If a correct-coloured icon hits a correct-coloured card, your score for that tap is increased by 10%. Normally, it's optimal to make 3 teams, one for each colour, but some cards have exceptions that make them valuable to put on any team. Even so, you should probably make those 3 teams anyways, it's just a matter of “will this card perform well enough on this song?”.

Speaking of that, though, how exactly can I tell what attribute a card is focused on? It depends on the cards rarity. This was briefly mentioned in the Scout section of this section, but I clarified that there are 5 rarities, and the 2 rarities that were given the highest value have drawn backgrounds. For these, the top-left corner has an icon with the rarity on it, along with the colour of the attribute, and the bottom-right corner has another icon with the attribute colour as well. For N, R, and SR cards, I said how they had no background. With these cards, they have all the same icons, but the key difference is they have a full coloured backdrop instead of a background, depending on the rarity. N cards have polka-dots, for example. These backdrops are coloured in the attribute colour of the card.

Let's focus back a bit, though. I mentioned how songs are split up based on attributes, but I've been silent on the two different bands, besides just mentioning the fact that they exist. They also have more than just a cosmetic factor in game, which is a cool gimmick I really want to elaborate on. Lots of people who have no experience with the mobile game, yet have heard of Love Live, know this, but the two bands are called μ's (who I will be referring to as Muse) and Aqours. Like putting a pink card on a pink song, putting an Aqours card on an Aqours song will give a 10% score bonus when you tap on it. Each band has 9 individual members, each member having a year group and subunit. “Star, you're getting ahead of yourself, what are those?” Well, in order to express that fully, I should also talk about how these two things incorporate themselves in game, meaning I have to fully cover center skills. Teams are made in groups of 9, as I've mentioned, but that only leaves 4 to each side. The member in the middle, called the “center”, joins both groups together and grants a perk known as the center skill, which can boost your team's overall performance in a song. The center skill a card will give depends on its rarity.

  • x Power: Increases the points of the team's x attribute by 3%. Reserved for R cards and all promotional login cards.
  • x Heart: Increases the points of the team's x attribute by 6%. Reserved for SR cards.
  • x Star: Increases the points of the team's x attribute by 7%. Reserved for SSR cards.
  • x Princess: Either increases the points of Smile attribute by 9%, or increases the points of x attribute by 12% of the team's Smile attribute. Reserved for UR cards.
  • x Angel: Either increases the points of the team's Pure attribute by 9%, or increases the points of x attribute by 12% of the team's Pure attribute. Reserved for UR cards.
  • x Empress: Either increases the points of the team's Cool attribute by 9%, or increases the points of x attribute by 12% of the team's Cool attribute. Reserved for UR cards.

These all seem fine and all, not overly confusing, but how do years and subunits play into this? Well, believe it or not, some cards have a dual center skill! This extra center skill only shows up on Star, Princess, Angel, and Empress cards, and can incorporate members from bands, year groups, and subunits. On all band-boosting dual skills, the percentage is halved. For Star cards, it's 2% for year groups and subunits, while it's 1% for the band as a whole since it has more members in it. This is 6% and 3% respectively for the UR skills. What is worthwhile to note, is that there are currently 6 subunits with 3 members in each of them (for the total of 18 members), and all subunits have members from the same band. For example, the subunit Guilty Kiss is made up of 3 members, Sakurauchi Riko, Tsushima Yoshiko Yohane, and Ohara Mari. These 3 members are all part of the main band Aqours. Year groups, 1st 2nd and 3rd years, have 6 members in them, and there can be band overlap. The 2nd year group is made up of Kosaka Honoka, Takami Chika, Sakurauchi Riko, Minami Kotori, Sonoda Umi, and Watanabe You. These 6 members come from the 2 different on-display bands, which means you can use these to make multi-band teams if that's what you wish.

Now, you've actually made it through this mess, and decide you want to play. That's great! I'm going to help you out by giving off some tips before I hand the entire stage back over to Freakworld. The Live Show tab is split up into 4, sometimes 5, tabs. They are Easy, Normal, Hard, and Expert, with Master showing up on tabs called “B-Sides”. All B-Sides songs have time constraints, while songs under the Hits tab are permanently available. I recommend starting with Easy and working your way up slowly, to ensure you do your best. But, what if you want to speedrun it and go straight into Expert and Master songs? I don't blame you, I did the same thing on one of the hardest Expert songs in game! I didn't do 'great', but that's a story for another time. I recommend always looking out for the song difficulty ranking, which is shown in a star to the side of a song. Another thing to watch out for is… they don't label daily songs as “Super Hard” anymore? Man, they're gonna cause all these new players to suffer...

I recommend watching out for any Expert song that is labelled with an “11”, and any Master song that is labelled with “Swipe” on its cover art. Those songs have trippy mechanics and are not good for learning. If you want a good Master song to learn, I recommend trying out “Mo Hitori jyanaiyo”, a 10 star song that will hopefully still be in rotation when this section releases. That's not to say the song is easy, as there are still things to watch out for. The same goes with “Moshimo Kara Kitto”, a 10 star Master song I got to try out before its release. However, I have no idea when it actually is releasing. In general, when you start a Master song, aiming for a 10 song is the safest approach, same with 9 star Expert songs.

I believe that's all I have to cover, so I'll be passing back. Thanks for listening to me!


TL;DR: The game is absurdly complex and only absolute madmen are able to grasp the full span of what the game has to offer.

As for an overall rating… Does please do not touch classify as a rating?

This has been World Wide Weeb, signing out!



Book Review

Written by: FunkyK38 (talk)

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
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Author Neil Gaiman
Release date 2009
Genre Short stories
Pages 400
Available From


Greetings, readers, I'm back again with a new Book Review for you! This month, I will be looking at Neil Gaiman's short collection, Fragile Things.

I've had this book on my pile of books to read for a long while now, and since I've been working through that pile, reading this one was inevitable. So, let's get started.

This one, it's an odd one. Fragile Things is a collection of short stories and poetry previously published by Gaiman (except for one new story, "How to Talk to Girls at Parties"). There's even a small excerpt/story inspired from one of his other works, American Gods. The stories are all over the place, although you might notice a few characters are in multiple stories, although it doesn't happen very often, and you need to be paying attention to catch it. The whole collection is hard to describe, to be honest, but I'll start here: it's not for younger readers. There are a lot of mature and very dark themes in here, and there are a handful of very graphic moments that even I found myself going "what the fork??" at. If you're not a fan of violence and sex, I wouldn't even bother with this one.

Beyond the graphic moments, though, there's probably a short story that will catch anyone's interest here, though. A Sherlock Holmes-esque tale at the beginning of the book, a strange story of a culinary club that tries to eat everything, even the months of the year sharing stories with each other, this one explores all things odd and whimsical. Fans of Gaiman really should check this one out, it's full of his dark yet magical style.

Would I recommend this book to you? If it's your first time reading a book by Neil Gaiman, no. Read Stardust or Coraline first. This book is full of sensitive topics that are handled a bit bluntly, so proceed with caution. If you've read his books before, though, absolutely go for this one.

That's all for me this month, readers! Tune in next time for a new edition of Graphic Novel Reviews!



Character Review

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Bugaboom

I guess you could stamp on it, depending on your shoe size.

There aren't that many insects in the Mario franchise, and when you think of the ones that do exist, the only ones that probably spring to mind are Wiggler and the Scuttlebug. But, there are many more bugs than just those two, and this month we'll be taking a look at the demented Bugaboom.

Bugaboom is a mantis-like creature, who is capable of flight, and dropping bombs – just to clarify I don't know if real life mantises are capable of the latter ability. Bugaboom is also kind enough to come with a target on its back, just in case you didn't know where you were meant to aim. But the main thing about Bugaboom is the eyes. Many a fan theory have revolved around this as being proof that Bugaboom is “insane”, and to be perfectly frank, as the Mario series is generally allergic to characterisation, it's certainly an interesting prospect.

Of course, this is the main issue with Bugaboom, he's too open to interpretation, because of this lack of characterisation. Bugaboom and his minions invade the Honeyhive Galaxy because the game requires them to, there's no real motive. It would be really nice if we could get a motive, or at least some understanding of who Bugaboom really is. Is Bugaboom insane, and that's why the invasion took place? Or perhaps, Bugaboom is power-hungry, as opposed to insane.

At least the boss fight isn't as disappointing. As one of the first bosses of the game, Bugaboom's not too hard, but I definitely remember struggling quite a bit with it when I was younger, especially the final phase.

Despite my criticisms, I do like Bugaboom. I think it's a really nice concept for an enemy, and I wouldn't be opposed to Bugaboom appearing in a future Mario game, although I would at least like some clarification on why he invaded Honeyhive Galaxy.



Late Night with Nabber

By:Nabber (talk)

Hello, ‘Shroom folk! 2017 is over, and you know what that means. It’s time for Nabber’s Top 2017 Movies… Honorable Mentions! There are still a couple of films I want to see that I haven’t been able to get around to seeing, so I won’t actually have a proper Top 10 until next month. Or the month after, because I’m lazy and it takes me two solid months of procrastination to really get those creative juices running. Instead, here are some movies from this year that, while not my favorites, made a pretty big impression on me that I think more people should check out.

Blade Runner 2049

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It’s worth taking a moment to wonder at how Blade Runner 2049 can even exist in today’s movie industry: a blockbuster that cost more than $150 million dollars to make, that runs nearly three hours and sure as hell takes its time getting to its conclusion, that’s a sequel to one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, and it somehow isn’t completely awful. That alone would be a miracle, but 2049 is honestly really good, and even if its ideas don’t always hit the mark, its moody, contemplative atmosphere is a pleasure to sit through. And it has Ryan Gosling giving one of his great patented “cool guy” performances as he grapples with the existential crisis of being a sad robot with a cool jacket in a world of sad humans with cool jackets. It’s also more or less the most aesthetically pleasing movies of 2017, so give it a watch.


I, Tonya

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I’m pretty sure no one on this site is actually old enough to know who Tonya Harding is, which makes I, Tonya a fascinating window into the 90s, and how the craziest thing the 90s news cycle could whip up is “Olympian bashes her competitor/friend’s kneecaps in,” which is now fodder for awards season dramas. Can’t wait for the movie on shithole countries in 25 years. But the Olympian sabotage is honestly the least interesting part of this movie; what’s far more fascinating is the look at fashioning of an ice-skating prodigy into an idol, one who’s not quite good enough to please America and certainly not good enough to please her own mother. It’s one of those fucked-up screwball comedies that hides something deeply sad right underneath its surface, if you can stop yourself from laughing long enough to contemplate it. It also has one of the best soundtracks of the year.


It Comes at Night

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It Comes at Night is peculiar in that it it takes the universe of a horror movie and populates it with realistic, intelligent people, rather than the over-the-top triad of gore, monsters, and jump scares that tends to come with the genre. With movies like this year’s fellow pronoun-titled movie It, I find it hard to be scared or unnerved because I know a crazy clown is eventually going to come and murder everyone, and I find it hard to feel terribly sorry for the characters because they make the classic horror movie mistakes that everyone does in these kinds of movies. But It Comes at Night’s horrors are ambiguous, and its characters know better than to split off or make horribly rash decisions. And that’s what makes it so tense – and so irresistible. When you upend horror movie clichés, you can’t know what to expect, and the tension is ratcheted ever higher.


Okja

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Okja is absolutely fucking nuts. Released on Netflix, Boon Jong-ho's Okja is what you’d get if you genetically spliced together a bunch of early Steven Spielberg movies, added in some pig DNA, and then derailed the entire metaphorical train into a pool of acid. Ignoring that horrible metaphor, Okja is about the bond between a little girl and a genetically engineered superpig, that’s basically a giant hippo, and how their love is threatened by the evil clutches of capitalism, represented by Hillary Clinton as played by Tilda Swinton and a coked-up Jake Gyllenhaal as Bear Grylls gone wild. Also, Paul Dano plays a pacifist PETA terrorist agent. If this summary has given you severe whiplash, that’s because the movie jumps between like ten different genres throughout its running time, yet it’s never anything but a complete blast, a kind of “what the fuck am I watching” movie that also happens to be kind of really sweet. It’s the sort of movie you might want to raise your kids on, if you thought Spirited Away wasn’t disturbing enough for them.


The Shape of Water

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There are very few things in this world quite like watching a movie by Guillermo del Toro, the creator of such wondrous worlds as Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim. Del Toro holds a passion for his craft unlike any other, and if you’re like me, seeing someone else’s love for something is almost as beautiful as feeling that love yourself. The Shape of Water’s love story of a mute woman falling in love with a sexy fish man, while unusual, isn’t unique in and of itself; we already had a Beauty and the Beast remake this year. But it’s the execution that that feels so completely otherworldly. The voiceless Elisa is brought to life by Sally Hawkin’s magical performance, and though her character claims she is incomplete, it is hard to say while watching her that there is anyone in the world more whole and human than she is. With the aid of Alexandre Desplat’s sumptuous score, The Shape of Water is a visual treat that will remain one of the most memorable films of a viewer's mind for a while.



The 'Shroom: Issue 130
Staff sections Staff NotesThe 'Shroom SpotlightDirectorial Address
Features Fake NewsFun StuffPalette SwapPipe PlazaCritic CornerStrategy Wing
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