The 'Shroom:Issue 133/Critic Corner

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Director's Notes

Written by: Hypnotoad (talk)

Shroom2017 Anton.png

Welcome to another month of Spring, where northeast US is still trapped in eternal winter and the southeast has already been in blazing summer for 2 months. How's the weather elsewhere? Who knows, as it doesn't matter thanks to climate change! Anniversary Awards stuff is chugging along pretty well, too. Be sure to check out Ltq's Anniversary Announcements over in Pipe Plaza as it'll give you a nice round-up of what we've been doing. As for our own Corner here, we're a bit short on sections this month, but each one more than makes up for it in length. Half the reviews with twice the content, what a bargain! (Please write for us)

Thank you for your votes to make Half-Baked Reviews Critic Corner's SOTM once again! And super big congrats to Nabber (talk) and his Late Night with Nabber winning the whole 'Shroom SOTM for March! We also say hello again and also goodbye (for now) to Luigi 64DD (talk)'s Countdowns. Wish him luck with school and other stuff he's off doing!

Be sure to recycle, kiddos, and vote out anyone who doesn't! Vote vote vote!!

Section of the Month

Place Section Votes % Writer
1st Anton's Half-Baked Reviews 10 37.04% Hypnotoad (talk)
2nd Could Have Been 8 29.63% Alex95 (talk)
3rd Movie Reviews 4 14.81% Yoshi876 (talk)

Opinion Pieces

Don't Panic, because uhhh, idk you're on your own with this pun. Panic!
[read more]

It's the Final Countdown DO DO DO DOOO 🎶
[read more]

Don't be Blue, because Yoshi876 is mine >:[
[read more]

What's the mystery behind this character? Ba dum tss
[read more]

What's Spring without Ladybugs?
[read more]

Could Have Been

Written by: Alex95 (talk)

Hello everyone! I am 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 introducing a new section to this segment, appropriately named "What Could Have Been?" First, I'll talk about the content that was removed or left out of the game like usual, and then I'll speculate about how that would have impacted the game. Which is…something I was supposed to be doing from the start, but, I, uh, kinda slacked on it. So, uh…yeah. Super Mario Bros. 2 everyone! Let's dive right in and take a look at what could have been! *cough* beforeIgetfiredfordoingmysectionincorrectly *cough*

A Lamp from Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic
The Magic Lamp
A Heart from Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic
The large Heart
A lock from Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic
The unused lock
A block from Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic
The unused platform
An unused smiley face (likely a placeholder) from Super Mario Bros. 2

First of all, the obvious stuff. Super Mario Bros. 2 was originally a Japanese-only title called Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic. The game was not built with Mario in mind, so when it was converted into Super Mario Bros. 2 for western audiences, it played significantly different from the first Super Mario Bros. This conversion also gave us leftovers! In Doki Doki Panic, the characters used a Magic Lamp to create magical doors and they collected large Hearts to increase their health points. Super Mario Bros. 2 replaces these with the Magic Potion and Mushroom respectively, but the Magic Lamp and Heart sprites are still in the code. There are also a lock and a metal platform, meant to hold the captive kids at the end of Doki Doki Panic. Since no one was actually captured in Super Mario Bros. 2, these sprites go unused. There's also a smiley face for some reason; it's likely a placeholder, as it is not used in either game.

The ending from the prototype version of Super Mario Bros. 2.
The prize money at the end of the game

Back in 2005, there was an old prototype of Super Mario Bros. 2 that was sold on eBay for three hundred fifty dollars! Whoever bought it (I don't know who) was kind enough to dump the ROM online, dove into it, and found all sorts of things! This prototype seems to use internal batteries, like with Doki Doki Panic, meaning progress saving was possible like in The Legend of Zelda, which was released around the same time. It also offers unlimited continues, compared to the final game's two. The character sprites are also different, with Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach lacking the sclera (the white parts) of their eyes, Peach having some extra hair pixels, and Small Toad had feet. The characters are also set to holding items at the height of the original characters they replaced, which was adjusted for the final game. The prototype also made it impossible to run. Running wasn't a feature in Doki Doki Panic, so the mechanic wasn't added yet into Super Mario Bros. 2 here. Wart took four hits to defeat instead of six, and the player would get "prize money" at the end based on the total amount of times they died throughout the game. Dying more would equal less money, and the code is still in the final game, but it goes unused. The Magic Lamp from earlier was also still in use, having not yet been replaced by the Magic Potion. Some stage layouts are also different. The end also just says "The End", lacking the image of Mario sleeping.

Box art of Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic
Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic

Now then, the biggest mystery of them all (not really)! What changed between Doki Doki Panic and Super Mario Bros. 2? I don't mean like the leftover graphics that got replaced, as I mentioned above. I mean what got completely changed and overwritten, so they no longer even exist in the code? Doki Doki Panic uses a large number of sprites that are ultimately left out of the coding in Super Mario Bros. 2. The biggest change being the character line-up and story. Doki Doki Panic starred an Arabian family of six, whose pet monkey, Rusa, found a magical book and gave it to the twins, Poki and Piki. The twins fight over it and end up ripping off the last page, which frees an evil toad named Mamu (later Wart) and he pulls the twins into the book, capturing them. The twins' family then jumps into the book to rescue them. Super Mario Bros. 2 instead (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) takes place in Mario's dream. The Mario characters replace the original ones, snuffing them out of the coding and taking their attributes. Mario takes the brother, Imajin's, role and is the balanced character. Luigi takes the mother, Mama's, role and is able to jump higher. Peach takes the brother's girlfriend (fitting), Lina's, role and is able to float. Toad takes the father, Papa's, role and is able to run and lift the fastest. Despite this nothing being a Mario game originally, the character traits of the Mario characters mostly remained a part of their attributes ever since, with some exceptions. Various gameplay mechanics are also different: Alongside the aforementioned save feature and lack of running, Doki Doki Panic also had Phanto swooping in from off screen whenever a key was collected rather than being on screen at all times, the characters do not shrink when they have one hit left, and enemies scream when they are defeated.

What Could Have Been?

Welcome to "What Could Have Been?"! This new section is meant for me to talk about how the changes could've impacted the game in one convenient place. Again, let's start with the obvious: What would have happened if Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic was released as is in other areas? The only real reason why anyone knows of this game is because of the conversion into Super Mario Bros. 2. Without the Mario popularity, Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic likely would've faded into obscurity, gaining few fans. The reason why this game was given the Mario treatment is because the actual Super Mario Bros. 2, better known as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, was deemed too difficult for western gamers, so another game was quickly changed into what we now know today as Super Mario Bros. 2 (which ended up becoming Super Mario Bros. USA in Japan. Funny how that works). If Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic and the Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 were released in the west back then… Well, I can't say for certain, but it may not have been good. Having beaten The Lost Levels myself, I can personally confirm that it is veeeeeerrrryy hard. Many gamers would've gotten frustrated with it back then, probably more so than they would be now, after how simple the original Super Mario Bros. was, and would've completely ignored Doki Doki Panic. If that were the case, Super Mario Bros. 3 may not have happened, as after playing Super Mario Bros. 2, many fans would've likely sworn off gaming at that point. And if Super Mario Bros. 3 did happen, no one would've wanted to play it after experiencing how difficult Super Mario Bros. 2 was, expecting Super Mario Bros. 3 to be the same or more difficult.

On the lighter side of things, what if some mechanics in Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic were carried over to its Super Mario Bros. 2 counterpart? The save feature would most definitely have been helpful! Nintendo really seems to like taking out this feature for western releases, Metroid and Kid Icarus being other examples of having their save feature removed overseas. The lack of running would've made things difficult; there's a shortcut in World 1-1 that only Luigi or Peach would be able to cross if that were the case.
Perhaps the biggest mystery is how these dream characters, Bob-ombs, Shy Guys, Pokeys, etc., are able to exist outside of a dream world. My personal headcanon is that Super Mario Bros. 2 takes place as the final game in the series, and Mario is just dreaming of various creatures he's encountered over the years, plus some extras. But I'm not here to discuss my headcanons, as Doki Doki Panic would've held a much more plausible answer. The characters were originally in a magical book, a book that, for a brief moment, allowed the characters within to interact with the real world. If this storybook storyline was kept in Super Mario Bros. 2, it would've made a better explanation for how these characters exist in Mario's world. Well, it would be a better explanation, not a perfect one. The book was only opened twice, once at the start of the game and only Mamu came out, and again at the end when the family escaped after defeating everyone in the book. But perhaps if the book was opened again in Mario's world…

Well, that's all the time we have for today! There are a few more tidbits not covered here, such as unused sound effects, that you can find on our pre-release and unused content page of Super Mario Bros. 2 and the Super Mario Bros. 2 pages on The Cutting Room Floor. Until next time, see you around!


Written By: Hypnotoad (talk)

Welcome to the Anton Has Moved to Florida special where I try some Florida things, all while realizing that I’m amassing an enormous backlog of things that I have tried thanks to me now being more open to new experiences through the lens of this ‘Shroom section and am having trouble finding a way to navigate space and time in regards of when to write and post things I have tried and in what quantity with ever-changing questionable relevance.

Publix Sub

There’s a cult following of the subs that come from this southeast American chain grocery store’s deli department, even having been recently declared America’s best sub, according to a quick google search. Ever since I began telling people that I was moving to Florida I got an onslaught of recommendations--”You’ve gotta go get a Publix sub! They’re the best! Much better than here!” I didn’t appreciate this because the subs I made at the deli were absolute perfection and I lay awake at night thinking of them and how I’ll only ever taste one maybe once or twice more ever. Being the most prevalent grocery store, and probably store in general, here in the south, being able to find one of them every few blocks akin to a Tim Hortons or Starbucks in the north, Publix is a hard institution to avoid. I have family who work there, as well, so it’s second nature knowing all of the sales, stock, inventory, and culture around it. We make a trip basically every other day, so it was pretty hard to turn down visiting the deli to see how good these were myself.

Right off the bat, getting in line for it was difficult, as the queue has way too many bends in it for such a tight space it’s in, with the line for it blocking the entire flow of the aisle. As annoying as this is, this can only be a testament for how popular these are. Finally, I get to the counter; the options seem limited from what I’m used to working at a deli myself, but it just seems to be more of a result of them having specified and named subs. You can have whatever sub you want, but it might just not be listed, and subsequently the price range and options aren’t really a known factor until you purchase it and get used to the system. After looking like a loser having to repeat myself and ask for the worker to repeat themselves as well due to how loud the oven fans were, I got The Ultimate, which is turkey, roast beef, and ham. I replaced the ham with salami because ham is a garbage meat and a bad option always, and there were apparently options for what kind of turkey, which online has a varying price structure, but in-person the lady who put together my sub didn’t care and subsequently didn’t charge me for it. So blah blah, I get home and start chompin’ on it. Pretty unimpressed. They were generous with the toppings but there’s just not really any flavor whatsoever. I will concede that I got white bread with no dressing, but I still got lettuce, onions, green peppers, black olives, and banana peppers on it, so I could feel something more to it than cold bread. If I need additional dressing and spices for something to not taste like refrigerated paper, then I may as well just dip my hand into an oil and pepper McFlurry and slurp it off of my hands. The best part of it by far is the bread, which tastes fresh and full, not deflating as soon as I wrap my hand around it. There’s definitely promise in this, as the prices are fair, so I will have to try another selection and be a bit more bold in my options.

So here I am two weeks after I typed that last paragraph out being at Publix again while also not having any set plan for dinner. This time I got the Italian sub, which had ham, cappacola--which they spelled capicola and is apparently the correct spelling even though I’ve always seen it as ‘cappacola’ and I’ve worked at a deli??? but they called it “cappy ham” anyways like babies--, and salami. I opted not to change the meats, even though ham is garbage filler and I don’t particularly like capicola, but eh, why not. I got the same veggies and stuff I usually do, but this time I also opted to get black pepper put on it, which is something I do to my own subs. The result was a “spicier” sub, in terms of me being as white as a dry-erase board, which subsequently left more of a flavor impact. It was enjoyable; I felt like I was actually eating something instead of just filling my stomach. I don’t really know how else to describe it, it just tasted like a sandwich worth the money I paid for it. I could still feel the texture of the ham which I think is disgusting, but I could at least feel it which is more than I could say for the turkey which I normally prefer. It was better and more filling than Subway if you really need a tangible comparison.

The article that originated the “America’s Best Sub” marker itself says:

“So what exactly makes these grocery store subs so excellent? Like so much of the culture and the residents in Florida, the sub (...) migrated down south from the east coast. There is nothing about a sub from Publix that would make you immediately think of palm trees and pink flamingos; there are no ingredients that are unique to the Sunshine State. You can get the house deli meat, or you can pay a little more and get cuts from the New York-based Boar's Head. The bread, while baked in house, is just a good version of crusty white sub bread. The vegetables, all chopped fresh from the grocer's produce aisle, is your standard gamut of options that can also be found at any Subway: lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, green peppers, onions, black olives.”

As the article goes on to further explain, the appeal is mostly in the consistency (which any chain brutally enforces), customization options (like literally every sandwich shop that’s not a sit-down restaurant has), fresh ingredients (that every place but Subway will have), and that it’s just surprising that a grocery store will have something of this higher quality. If some of the main points are that it comes from the northern east coast, then perhaps in all of your journalistic expertise you’d go and try something from the northern east coast. Coming from New York I can say that Wegman’s does this already, and does it better, and there’s a plethora of mom-and-pop shops and small local chains that do it fresher and better, and that the only reason it’s a remarkable feat is that there’s nothing comparable in the south. There’s more to America than the south, so if you want to say “Best sub in the American south” then by all means go for it and I’d probably agree with you if we’re taking into account multiple factors beyond just taste and presentation, but please don’t elevate mediocrity as a legendary godsend just because the Jimmy John’s in the next plaza over was just a tinge too rushed.

Rating: MuddyBuddies.png Muddy Buddies

Explanation: It’s really not as great as the hype makes it out to be, and unless you know what you’re doing or just don’t care, it’s pretty substandard and generic. Everyone talks about how it’s the best thing around, and that you have to try it, but it’s kinda just a basic snack that has more potential to be disappointing than it does to be enjoyable, so it’s almost not even worth the purchase until one day you’re like “wow, I haven’t had this in a while” and end up throwing more money at it.

Cuban Sandwich

Alongside Publix subs, another Florida sandwich staple is the cuban sandwich. Originating in cafes in Tampa and Key West to appeal to Cuban workers, it is typically made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard, and salami on Cuban bread, just like how Wikipedia says with me removing syntax. Publix also has a version, but it includes mayo, which not only is unfaithful to the original, but is disgusting. While googling up prospective places to try this, I realized that there is quite a wide variety, ranging from chains, to mom-and-pop shops, to fine dining establishments. Being in Orlando, which is not a home city for this sandwich, it was a bit harder to find places that I could realistically deem as providing an authentic meal without either being ridiculously expensive, or existing in a neighborhood

Achilles Art Cafe

I opted for two types: an authentic and humble shop, and this one, a well-intentioned high-brow/low-cost cafe. It’s situated in a strip mall with generic business fronts titled “Dentist” and “Nails”, with itself simply being called “Coffee Shop”, in a community that looked like it could apply to be part of the cast of a prospective Real Housewives of Orlando, but nestled in a little nook occupied by college students who you can’t tell if they’re fashionable youths with excellent thrift shop skills trying to live a life with a perfect balance of mind, body, and spirit, or if it’s swarm of heirs to golf championship-turned-advertising spokesman fortunes trying to blend in with as close to common society without having to actually smell Miller Light.
HalfBaked 133 1.jpg
Being that I vibed with both of these worlds, I gave it a shot. The Achilles Art Cafe is populated by a bunch of college peeps who will likely see this review if they google the cafe name hard enough, and was a bit jarring to enter. It was like entering a portal to another dimension; you don’t expect a cozy setup that basically looked like someone’s house, complete with a living room setup and the cashier doing dishes at like...a basic kitchen sink and dishwasher, but with a hookah bar in back and artisanal baked goods decorating the counter. I could even look past all of the vintage-style advertisements for the products they sell because places like Target market that aesthetic to this demographic. The “Art” in the cafe’s name comes from them displaying the artwork from local artists all over their walls, at no cost to the artist, which if you are one you know that everything costs money for you to even be seen, so that was neat. This place was absolutely packed, though, almost entirely due to a business decision to forego efficient table setups and instead just having a few actual couches and coffee tables and basically patio furniture scattered around, making what could’ve been a seating capacity of 35 into crammed at 12, with the added effect of having to sit uncomfortably close--or with--someone else entirely. Definitely not an atmosphere that someone with incredible anxiety such as myself should enter without having a solid two days to mentally prepare for.

I had already researched the menu and prices so when I got there I insta-capped the sammich and a mango smoothie. I fumbled a little when I was met with confusion when i tried to pay right there, which I had done because the food order was placed at the counter like a sub shop order, rather than at the table like a traditional restaurant, which instantly marked me as The New Customer. The cashier dude must’ve mixed my smoothie in a blender for like literally 5 minutes, which was kind of aggravating because it was a blender that was on for 5 minutes, but it produced the smoothest and freshest tasting smoothie I’ve ever had, and I would hit this place back up for another one just on that alone. The cuban sandwich they made is “maple ham, swiss cheese, pickles, mayo, & mustard pressed on cuban bread (of course)”, of which I request no mayo because, again, it’s gross and also against traditionalism. It’s probably unfair to the review of it by changing up how it comes, but they also ran out of swiss and defaulted to provolone, so, eh, whatever. The sandwich eventually arrived, after me babbling on for two-and-a-half large paragraphs, in a fancier setup than I was imagining, alongside some kinda of strange goop that I could only assume was to dip the sandwich in. I’m pretty sure it was olive oil, with sun dried tomato chunks, basil, garlic, and probably something else. It tasted like nothing but I would’ve felt bad not using it so I did what I did. The bread used seemed a bit more brittle than it probably should’ve been, with each bite causing large chunks to splinter off and immediately crumble to dust, but not enough that made it wildly out of control and I instead had to just change my plan of attack. The overall taste of it wasn’t bad, but it just felt a bit off to me. I’m a fan of pickles and love vinegar, but they just didn’t really seem to mesh well with the rest of it, and it instead became a competition for which flavor would stand out the most. I’m not sure if swiss would’ve made this worse or not. Maybe if the bread was softer it could’ve absorbed some of the pickle juice or mustard or whatever, but it just all felt very isolated. Maybe it’s the fact that lettuce isn’t included on this that made it feel alien? Maybe it was how salami was excluded from this particular sandwich would’ve made it more well-rounded?

Rating: OffbrandMix.png Offbrand Trail Mix

Explanation: Don’t get me wrong, I finished the sandwich, but I would lean this less on the side of “artfully prepared sandwich” and more on “should’ve been a salad”. The atmosphere is very specific and enjoyable if that’s what you like, and the food and service is good; it’s just that if you want the real thing you gotta go to the real place.

​Los Autenticos Cuban Cafe​

Up next us the authentic shop, which you can see by its name. In true Orlando fashion, it’s located at another strip mall on Colonial, which of course looks super sketchy. After sitting in the parking lot for a few minutes gathering up my anxiety I noticed that this is the cleanest and most chill-looking place in the plaza, and even in the general area. Upon going inside I noticed that it appears to be staffed by just one dude, and me being a reasonable and decent human being with basic concepts of understanding and politeness, I patiently wait as he takes a moment to get to me. This place reminds me of the deli I used to work at, having a similar vibe, and it made me feel almost at home.
HalfBaked 133 2.jpg
In the meantime, I peruse the menu that I’ve already looked up ahead of time so I don’t even need to study it to know what I’m getting but end up messing up anyways. I ended up getting the Cuban Special, instead of the Classic Cuban. The Special had ham, pork maybe?, mustard, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and if it had cheese on it at all I couldn’t tell. Still no salami. A vast search of places within a reasonable driving distance have all turned up nothing for a sandwich that fits the entire description Wikipedia put forth of a Cuban sandwich. Maybe I’d have better luck in Tampa or Miami, the two cities that battle for being the hometown of them, but a picture perfect recipe does not a tasty sandwich make.

Regardless, now that I have an idea of what it should taste like, I can kinda tune in better to nuances. Before I get to that, though, I’ll mention the sides. Along with the deal I got maduros, which are fried sweet plantains. They tasted pretty alright, and were definitely sweet, but felt more like a potato wedge that you happened to eat right after biting a banana. They’re not bad, but I was certainly expecting something crunchier, so it just threw me a little off. I also got a passion fruit shake for like an extra dollar instead of just getting a fountain or can soda, and it was really tasty!!!!!!! So finally, the sandwich. The bread is pretty clearly pressed, but isn’t brittle. It feels soft, like a regular sub roll that was just smashed. It’s a lot more palatable and not as jarring of flavor combinations; whereas with Achilles I could taste each ingredient as their own completely separate entity, the Los Autenticos is more cohesive. I just think being able to scarf down a compact hand-held sandwich quickly is definitely a more authentic and approachable take of a humble working class meal than it is to have to carefully nibble and dip artisan bread while taking time to process what you’re eating, and that’s that on that.

Rating: DarkChexMix.png Dark Chocolate Chex Mix

Explanation: A mixture of things that are objectively good (candy coated chocolate, chocolate chex, yogurt covered chex), alongside things that are typically kinda gross (dark chocolate pretzels, whatever those dry excuses for cookies are), somehow rendering the entire mix edible at least for once in a blue moon. I normally don’t like tomatoes, pork, or ham, and can barely tolerate mustard and pickles on a sandwich if it’s layered any heavier than wafting its essence across the room with an oscillating fan towards the direction of the sandwich, but this just somehow all works together to meld into a whole greater than the sum of its parts. The atmosphere was pleasant and familiar, and will serve as a nice once-in-a-while shakeup to remind me that it’s ok to eat more than food court Chinese chicken.

Tune in next month where I review stuff! So specific! Also, tell me what to review next! It can be games, 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!


Written by: Luigi 64DD (talk)

Hello fellow wikians! It's been a while since this section has graced the virtual pages of this newsletter. I'm finally returning with a new issue, but it is with regret that I'm announcing that I'm retiring from this section until further notice. I meant to continue this section for much longer, but a lack of motivation and the relative difficulty of writing it have caused me to miss many issues. I've decided that it's better to stop writing entirely than to only release an issue every few months. I do intend to return to the Shroom most likely in the summer, but it will probably be with a different section. I hope you enjoyed this section, and be aware that it may come back someday. Until then, look out for that other section I'm thinking of doing.

Now onto the actual section. This month's theme is the Top 10 Super Mario Odyssey Music. What tunes from Mario's latest escapade are the most enjoyable to the ears? That's what I've set out to determine, and I've got some very nice songs for you to add to your playlist. Obviously, this section has spoilers, particularly of the musical kind, so if you want to experience these songs for the first time in their natural habitat, avert thine eyes (and ears). With that said, let's all jump up super high to some amazing tunes, just like any self-respecting Jammin' Toad.

10. Mollusque-Lanceur Battle

Mollusque-Lanceur in Super Mario Odyssey
Doesn't exactly look like the humble type, am I right?

As the first entry on our list, we have a song that you might not expect to see here as it hasn't been talked about a lot. One thing to note with this music is that the beat bears noticeable resemblance to the beat of Super Mario Sunshine's Vs. Boss theme, a similarity that was very likely intended due to the Seaside Kingdom's many references to that game. I think what this theme captures very well is the haughtiness and arrogance of the aristocratic Mollusque-Lanceur. He clearly thinks very highly of himself, and he is enraged that you would dare interrupt the drinking of his exquisite libation. The music gets across that he is not as great as he supposes himself to be, but that he is still not a force to be taken lightly. My favorite part is the part starting at around 0:46 in the video and going on until the loop. One last observation about this song is that the first few notes really remind me of the theme song of The Flintstones, so don't be shocked if Siivagunner covers this song.

9. RoboBrood Battle
Next up we have another boss battle song, but I'd say this one has gotten a bit more attention than the last. First of all, this song continues the Japanese aesthetic of Bowser's Kingdom with a theme that you wouldn't quite expect for the Broodals' big finale. It doesn't have an extremely obvious melody for most of the song, but that doesn't stop it from being very nice to listen to. What this song conveys particularly with the part that starts at 0:40 is the Broodals' assertion that they're the Broodals, and united together, there's no way you can stop them! The giant wooden robot that they fight you in only supports this notion. There's a few details in the music that almost sound mechanical, which goes along with the robot as well. For the Broodals' last battle, you'd probably expect some sort of grand cover of the theme that plays on their ship, with all four Broodals fighting you in some sort of wedding-themed area. What actually happened is very different, but I think it works out rather well despite going against expectations. The quality of this music is a big part of that opinion.

8. Shiveria Town (Snow Kingdom)
Before Super Mario Odyssey came out, did you ever wonder what Santa Claus dancing a jig with a bunch of Irishmen on a pirate ship would sound like? I didn't either, but now you know. This little tune makes you feel very much at home despite the bitter cold of the Snow Kingdom. When listening to this music, it's hard to resist swaying back and forth to the jolly rhythm. In fact, I'm literally swaying as I type this sentence (which isn't exactly easy to do). The song's Celtic influences are sort of odd considering the fact that Shiverians are Russian-inspired, but mixed with Chritstmas-like instruments such as jingle bells, it fits the village perfectly. Any area where this music plays must be a place where you can escape from the cold, have a cup of hot chocolate, and dance a jig with the villagers (although I admit I can't really imagine what that would look like). And then there's the Snowline Circuit version, which completely destroys any doubts of Celtic influence. How does one of those seal guys go about playing a bagpipe anyway? Don't think too hard about it.

7. Bonneton (Cap Kingdom)

A male Bonneter with yellow eyes.
A right jolly old chap.
Imagine a dark, rainy night in 19th century England. Lights affixed to the sides of buildings illuminate their surroundings in spite of the darkness. Men dressed in black overcoats and top hats walk along the cobblestone roads holding umbrellas. It looks like it's right out of a Charles Dickens novel. That scenario is what this music makes me envision. This fits well with what they were going for in the Cap Kingdom, which happens to be one of my favorite Kingdoms aesthetic-wise. The song conveys a sense of wonder and mystery, which is especially exemplified in the chimes. I know a lot of people say they were going for a slightly spooky sound as well (and they're probably right), but it really doesn't strike me that way. However, the Cap Kingdom as a whole is very different from your typical first level in a Mario game and is not quite as cheery as the usual plains. It prepares you for the very different Mario game you are about to play, and I think this theme helps get that across rather well. Now if only there was a building in real life that wore a top hat...

6. Bowser Battle 2
For Super Mario Odyssey‘s final encounter, we get a very climactic sounding song. Now, my thoughts on this song are actually a little mixed. Much of the song is good but rather unremarkable, as it's kind of what you'd expect for the final boss music. However, the best parts are those that take part of the game's main theme and incorporate it into the song. That makes it more thematically tied into the game rather than just being a typical final boss song. The part where this song really shines starts at around 1:15 in the video, when the electric guitar comes in, representing the intimidating threat of Bowser. Immediately after this comes the organ at 1:27 playing the game's main theme followed by the electric guitar coming back in to finish. This part is my favorite part of the whole song and it is what really nails the song. It's just so epic and rather eargasmic. You really feel that the stakes are high with that part, and it feel like your entire adventure has led up to this moment, so you must succeed! So this is a pretty good final boss theme, but it certainly doesn't top Super Mario Galaxy 2's final battle theme in my book.

5. Forgotten Isles 2 (Lost Kingdom)
So there is one experience that probably happened to nearly everyone who has played Super Mario Odyssey: you saw the Metro Kingdom on the map, got excited, got detoured at the Cloud Kingdom, and then when you were expecting to finally arrive there, you ended up at the Lost Kingdom. Some may have been annoyed at this while others were more intrigued by the kingdom. In any case, the music of this kingdom is certainly good regardless of that. It has a sort of tribal feeling, making me think of Madagascar or some similar place. This is fitting for an island left untouched by civilization and only finally discovered by a freak accident. There is a certain mystery lurking in the music, but the kind that lures you in and makes you want to discover what is behind the bushes. It's a friendly tune that invites exploring the uncharted despite the purple poison that is all over the place. Lastly, this song has a time signature of 11/16 according to some Youtube comments. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but it's apparently unusual, which is all the more fitting for the theme of this tune.

4. Mount Volbono (Luncheon Kingdom)

Volbonans in Super Mario Odyssey.
Aren't they just adorable?

I hope you have an appetite, because this entry will make you hungry. The Luncheon Kingdom is literally made of food, so the song has to be food-related in some sense. This song does not disappoint. Throughout the entire song, you can hear what sounds like boiling liquid, which represents the stew that is the lava replacement for this kingdom. Furthermore, most of the instruments sound like pots and pans being hit with a spoon. Even the flute-sounding instrument towards the end could be a kettle whistling! This music sounds like you're in a hot place, but it differentiates itself from the standard lava music tropes. Besides the cooking aspect, the music also fits for climbing a volcano. It's adventurous and tells you that there are a lot of hazards to avoid, but it's not harsh or hostile like most volcano-themed songs. One of the highlights of the song is the flute-like portion towards the end, which is calming and certainly not intimidating. When I first came to this kingdom, I expected a more stereotypical Italian-sounding song (which is what the other song in this kingdom is like). I was surprised to find this song instead, but it quickly became one my favorites. What a delicious tune for an underrated kingdom!

3. Bowser's Castle 1 (Bowser's Kingdom)
Next up we have the second entry from Bowser's Kingdom on our list, a kingdom that I consider to be one of the best as far as music goes. Of course, the elephant in the room is that the kingdom has dropped the traditional lava castle theme and switched to a Japanese theme, a change which is thoroughly reflected in the music. This music is very relaxing, which seems to be a trend with Japanese-stlye music in recent Nintendo games. It's sort of ironic that the domain of the main villain has relaxing music, but especially towards the end the song manages to be intimidating while still being relaxing, which is an impressive feat. I like the constant beat of the drums and that the wind instrument does not follow that beat exactly but weaves around in its own way, kind of like the multi-colored smoke that floats around the kingdom. The airy flow of that instrument is very nice to listen to, with the drums and the the other instruments serving as a backing. Honestly, this is a song I can listen to for a long time without getting tired of, and spoiler alert-- it's my favorite song from Bowser's Kingdom.

2. Break Free (Lead the Way)
When I first heard this song when beating the game, I didn't think it was so great. It sounded like a generic song of its genre (I'm not even sure what that genre is called, though). However when I listened to it later, I began to appreciate it more and came to like it. This energetic song accompanies the ending of the game, which isn't a normal choice for Mario games. The electric guitar provides much of the energy that makes you want to bob your head. The song also features a good vocal performance from Kate Higgins. It almost sounds like she has a slight accent, which I think helps her performance sound better. The verses are a bit more subdued, but then the chorus comes with the full energy of the song. At the beginning of the chorus, the guitar drops out for a bit before coming back in full force. That's my favorite part of the song. The whole song energizes you to get to the end and escape. It makes you feel capable to break through all the rocks and make it to the goal while also being a love song at the same time. And that part towards the end has Bowser reminding you that it's all thanks to him. Now, you probably all know what the top spot on this list is gonna be.

1. Jump Up, Super Star!

Pauline with her band in Super Mario Odyssey.
Everybody during the trailer: "Wait, is that... PAULINE!?"
Yup, we all knew it had to be this one. It's the first lyric song in the history of the Mario series, and as soon as it was revealed at E3 2017 it received praise from nearly all who heard it. It's a cheery jazz song that you'd want to dance to with a big group. The lyrics imply that it's a love song in much the same way as the previous song on this list. However, this one almost has a slight twinge of sadness in it. Maybe it's because of Pauline's history with Mario, but there almost seems to be this feeling of nostalgia for older days long past. Even when I had only just heard it at E3, it had this quality, and I think that was part of why it was so great. The song reminds me of that E3 when we were all amazed by this new Mario game, and this song made that trailer much better than it would have been with any other song. I can imagine that people will look back at this song with nostalgia in ten years. The nostalgic quality of the song is rare in Mario songs and I think it's the only song on this list that has it. It's an amazing song that will be remembered even when the rest of these songs are forgotten. Oh, and listen to this great cover of it, please. You won't regret it.

Well, that's it, folks! Agree? Disagree? Wanna capture me and toss me off a cliff because Steam Gardens wasn't on the list? Whatever the case may be, you can share your thoughts at my Countdowns discussion thread. I hope you enjoyed this list. It's been a pleasure writing Countdowns, and I'm very grateful to everyone who encouraged me and gave me feedback. Seriously, thank you all for reading this. I hope to write for the Shroom again in the future. So again, thank you very much, and I'll see you all around!

Movie Reviews

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Love, Simon

Love, Simon
Love Simon.jpg
Genres Romantic, comedy, drama
Release date April 2018
Starring Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Logan Miller
Runtime 110 minutes
Ratings 12A (UK)

I have been reviewing films for The 'Shroom for about two years now. Never in that time have I claimed to be a professional movie critic, nor actually know what I'm actually going on about, but as this movie is so important I feel the need just to put that disclaimer here. And that is because quite simply, while this section will always be my musings on a film I recently watched, my thoughts on this movie are all genuine.

For those of you not familiar with what this movie is, it's the first romantic film with a gay lead that has been produced by a Hollywood studio, and that makes it a fairly important movie for us LGBTQ+ youth. But because of how important it was being lauded as, I was really worried going in. I had heard reports of it affecting people in incredible ways, I had heard reports of people coming out after watching this movie, so my fear was that it would all be too good to be true. And I more than happy to report that this is not the case.

We follow Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a 17-year-old closeted teen, who knows that he could easily come out, but is happy to have people assume that he's straight. One day, he finds out that someone has anonymously posted on the school's social media site that they too are gay. Simon begins communication with this anonymous person, who writes under the pseudonym of “Blue”, but one day their emails are discovered by one of Simon's classmates, Martin (Logan Miller). Martin has a crush on Simon's friend, Abby (Alexandra Shipp) and proceeds to blackmail him into setting him and Abby up. To be completely honest, the plot is the plot, and it's there to move the whole movie on when it needs to be. For the most part, you are not going to bother with the main plot, as you'll be too busy trying to guess who Blue really is.

Simon is an incredibly believable and relatable protagonist. Other than the fact that he is gay, there is nothing that sets him apart from any of the other characters. And that's what makes him so great as a character. He is an average person, who is doing normal things, much like you and much like me. Because of this, there are plenty of moments where I felt that I wasn't actually watching the movie, but instead watching a screening of This is Your Life. I have been watching movies for around 18 years, and I have never been able to put myself so firmly in the shoes of a protagonist before.

One of the best things about the movie was the portrayal of homophobia, because at the end of the day being LGBTQ+ is not always a walk in the park. The movie portrayed both open and subtle homophobia through bullies and the school's vice-principal. And what is striking is how the open homophobia is tackled, either by snide remarks or authority figures, but the subtle homophobia isn't tackled. But much like how Simon is an Average Joe, this works in the movie's favour, because for the most part open homophobia is tackled, whereas the subtle parts go unchallenged, and it shows how we still need to progress on this issue.

One worry I had coming into the movie was the fact that it was being hailed as one of the most important for the LGBTQ+ community, and yet its gay lead is played by a straight actor. But once again, this isn't to the movie's detriment. Robinson manages to portray a very believable gay character, he has amazing chemistry with Blue, and I feel it was actually a clever move to have a straight man play Simon, especially for the coming out scenes. If I was an actor, I would pull that scene from my own coming out to people. Robinson was never had to come out, so when Simon comes out in the movie, both he and Robinson are doing it for the first time, much like we would have when we first came out. And as an end result, it makes those scenes more striking and powerful.

My only vague criticism is how the movie sometimes feels like it needs to hammer you on the head about how it's a gay movie. We know that Simon is gay, do we really need an admittedly funny Whitney Houston dance sequence? And the stage production that the school is putting on is bloody Cabaret. They could not have gone gayer if they tried. But at the end of the day, they're both minor parts – even if most plot-related things happen because of the stage production – that it didn't bother me, and it shouldn't bother you.

Love, Simon is cute, charming, incredible, inspirational, emotional, and so many more adjectives that I can't even think of right now. If this movie was around in my youth, I think I would have come to terms with my bisexuality so much more sooner than I did, and I would have been able to start leading a happy, open life so much more sooner.

I implore anyone who is LGBTQ+ to go and watch this movie, you will struggle to find a movie that so accurately portrays what it is like to be gay. If you are straight, I implore you to go and watch this movie for all of the adjectives that I used in the paragraph above, it is simply a sensational movie. If you a parent of a child who is LGBTQ+ who has someone stumbled across this review, I implore you to go and watch this movie, it will help you understand all of the things that your child has gone through so much better. Simply put, I implore you to watch this movie, it is without a shadow of a doubt, the best film I have seen in my life. You would be doing yourself a disservice to miss it.

Character Review

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Mr. E

Mr. E (MPA)
A-ha! A boring character!

Many of us are probably unfamiliar with Mario Party Advance, and I can't particularly blame you, as it's not that interesting of a game. However, one thing that it does pretty well, is having characters, and giving them an actually personality, something that for the most part is completely foreign to the Mario franchise on the whole.

Mr. E is a lazily named Toad who loves, you guessed it, mysteries. Sadly, however, he fulfills the common trope of “character who is obsessed with mysteries, only to be frightened by actual mysterious things” and this is not limited to aliens, prehistoric dinosaurs and ghosts. And that really is the full extent to his character. Proclaim a love of mysteries, and then get scared off the second one actually starts to happen.

In a game that's filled with likeable characters with fun and zany personalities, it's a massive shame that Mr. E is one of the ones who gets the most screen time. If he was consigned to the one quest where he demonstrated his timid behaviour, then that would have been fine, instead we have to have him show up multiple times, each to give off the same gag. I like how a Mario characters, especially in a Party game has been given a personality, but did it have to be so one-dimensional?

Mr. E is really just a dull character. They couldn't even come up with a decent name for him. His ending bio states that no one knows where he's disappeared to, and as long as he doesn't make a return to the overall franchise, I'm happy for him to stay wherever he is now.


Written by: MsRetroGeek (talk)

Hi Guys! It’s Geeky coming at you with an adorable cartoon that you’ll be sure to love. If you’re a fan of magical high school girl animes that allow the protagonists to transform into super heroes like Sailor Moon or Tokyo Mew Mew then you’ve come to the right review. This is a huge cartoon that’s been extremely hyped up ever since its first episode was released. This is also a cartoon I had decided to revisit when I had heard news about this cartoon having a season 2.

Now that I’ve gotten to watch the episodes that had been released to America. I found the passion to write about one of my favorite cartoons. I’m going to be splitting my review of this show into two sections. I’m just going to be delving into the first season of this cartoon. Without further ado, I shall now reveal the cartoon that I’ve been so hyped about.

Miraculous Simply the Best! ~
Just to give you guys some background information before I delve into my review, here’s some information for you guys. Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir otherwise known as Miraculous Ladybug is a French Cartoon that had first debuted as a PV which starred a cute bubbly school girl with a dark brooding young man. The girl tries to win his affections and in turn he shoots her down. At night the duo turns into a dynamic pair fighting off villains together.
Such a cute drawing style <3
The ironic part is the boy she strongly like, likes her as her Super hero counterpart. Moving on from the PV to the cartoon. They basically take what they had done in the anime like trailer and make it into a cartoon. Except this time, they give the character’s proper names, a plot, an evil force that they need to fight against, and an actual voice cast.

Our cartoon begins with the main character a girl with lovely blue pig tails and blue bell eyes named Marinette Dupain-Cheng. She’s basically what every stereotypical female anime main character is like ditzy, adorable, and clumsy. She lives in Paris, France and has a little bakery with her parents and goes to a post-secondary school otherwise known as a Middle School or Junior High School in America. She also has a typical huge crush on a new student in her class who was basically sheltered from the world. He’s a renowned model in Paris and the son of a famous fashion designer his name is Adrien Agreste. Together with the charms that they had found in their rooms one day, given to an unknown person. With these charms that they had been given they have the power to transform into Ladybug and Chat/Cat Noir. With these powers, they must save Paris from their arch nemesis Hawk Moth and capture the evil spirits also known as little creepy moths that attach themselves to their owner giving them awesome super powers that sadly don’t last and are only used for capturing Ladybug’s and Cat Noir’s ring and earrings. They must work together and capture all those evil moths to save their beloved city from disaster.

Definite difference from PV to this
Favorite Episode

Although, there are an awesome arrangement of episodes from this Season. My favorite episodes are episode 25 and 26, a two parter called Stoneheart Origins Part 1 and 2. These episodes introduce take the viewer through a portion of the tale of the Miraculous and the power each one of the main character has. We start off with being introduced to the main villain of the series who has the Moth Miraculous. It isn’t identifiable about who exactly the person behind the holder of this charm is although it can be hinted to who it might be. Nooroo the kwami a moth spirit of this charm tells him of the powers of this item he now holds. It basically gives the holder a way to give people powers and in turn they must follow the holder. He tries to tell his new master about not using his powers for evil, but these powers sound like a straight up power for any villain to use. After that the holder transforms into the main villain of the series Hawk Moth. This moment allows for the protector of the Miraculous and his Turtle Kwami to know that they needed help to fight off this new threat. This leads into our two main character’s lives, Marinette Dupain-Cheng and Adrien Agreste. We first start off with Marinette being called downstairs to the kitchen by her Mom telling her she has school, she goes onto complain about the school’s bitchy rich girl Chloe and how she’ll most likely have a class with her. This leads her running off and saving the Protector of the Miraculous when she sees him about to get hit by a car. This leads to her ultimately being chosen as the holder of the Ladybug Miraculous. We then transition to when she arrives at school, Marinette chooses a seat at the second row of the class. However, she doesn’t stay long when Chloe goes ahead and forces her out of her seat. My favorite character and bae of the series, Alya comes to Marinette’s defense and tells Chloe off and in turn they become best friends automatically. Then we transition to see Adrien running away trying to get to school but his personal assistant catches him before he can go into the front of the school’s doors. However, he sees the Protector of the Miraculous reaching for his cane and grabs it for him helping him up before he leaves with his assistant and chauffeur. Once Marinette and Adrien get back into their rooms they discover these mysterious boxes and open them to reveal their Kwami’s. Marinette meets the Ladybug spirit Tikki and Adrien meets Plagg the Black Cat spirit. They explain to them that they had been chosen to be the wielder of the Ladybug and Black Cat Miraculous’. They transform and get down to business to try and defeat Marinette’s and Adrien’s classmate and free him from Hawk Moth’s grasp.

You guys done fucked up

What I honestly like about these episodes are this is a great way to introduce the characters. You can sympathize with Adrien just wanting to go to a normal school and not having to be constantly pent up at home being home schooled by his assistant. He wants to be normal just like others his own age and try and make friends with children his own age. You can relate with Marinette with going through this sudden change of suddenly becoming Ladybug. It’s a lot of responsibility for her to take. Especially when you must be the brains of the team. She’s got to think of how they’re going to solve this while trying to get a hang of her new powers. I kind of like how Adrien lives in the moment of becoming Cat Noir. I understand that he must have been experiencing freedom for the first time. He also came off very noob like when we tried to use his powers to stop Stoneheart. I really like that they also made a mistake by not capturing the moth Akuma. This just proves that these two are still in the state of learning how to become Superheroes. The conflict Marinette goes through in this episode is an interesting one as well. She goes through the conflict of not wanting to be a Superhero, but she knows someone needs to save the day. She knows that Cat Noir needs her to be her partner as well. The force and the brains as I like to call the two. I believe that from this point they have a great basis to start from as a super hero duo and form a great connection by the end of episode 26.

This scene had me fangirling so hard! These two are just...!!
Pros and Cons
There are a lot of Pros to this Cartoon. I believe that it is an adorable cartoon for any age group. I’m 22 and I seriously love watching this cartoon. It
This is example of how cool the Akuma's powers can be
also isn’t directed towards any gender could watch this. I watched a few episodes with Meta Knight (talk) while reviewing this cartoon and he was fairly intrigued by it.
Where is the difference???
It also has this cute animation sequence for when Adrien and Marinette transform. They do a great job with defining a good majority of the characters and giving them personalities. Something I do adore though is that they make the villains that Hawk Moth Akumatized’s strictly unique to that person, giving that person a motive for doing what they’re doing and a special item that the use to attack with. This cartoon also has a lot of awesome action sequences I also find the cute romances and crushes to be cute.

Where there are Pros there are Cons. One of those cons would be that Ladybug just straight up treats Chat Noir like a nuisance. I get that he likes to flirt with her, but at least be civil towards him. This really comes into play during one episode in Season 2. I know that Chat Noir likes to show off, but that’s who he is. I also dislike that Chat Noir’s character can be sometimes pushed off to the side because so many of the characters always think of Ladybug first. If the title includes both Ladybug and Chat Noir, then focus on him as well. They barely give him enough scenes to show off how he can be just as smart or as capable as Ladybug in my opinion. I really want him to be given more cool action scenes. I would also like the creators to explain how Hawk Moth can easily pick up targets if he’s stuck in an evil lair trying to control his new target to capture Chat Noir’s and Ladybug’s Miraculous’. I’m still very confused about what his motivation for doing this is. It wasn’t stated explicitly within the first season, I’m hoping the second season touches on it. I’m also really confused on why people don’t automatically know that Marinette is Ladybug. The two look exactly alike in comparison towards each other. There’s no difference in their hair, the have the same blue eyes, and the same skin color. The creators could have done something different for her transformation. This season also seems more like character development season than a story-based season. I'm hoping season 2 will do a better job with telling a story.

If you guys honestly have not gotten a chance to watch this cartoon I would highly recommend it. What’s not to love about an actiony, adorable, romantic cartoon that’s sure to please anyone. Please remember to check out all of the other writer’s sections for CC.

Have a Super Special Awesome Day!

The 'Shroom: Issue 133
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