The 'Shroom:Issue 137/Critic Corner

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Director's Notes

Written by: Hypnotoad (talk)

Shroom2017 Anton.png

Hey guys, it's been quite a busy month, especially considering the Mario Awards ceremony stuff wrapped up the night before this issue's release! There's still some more tournaments going on, though, with Killing Game, a handful of Scavenger Hunts, and Minecraft Games on its way. Also, for most of the duration of this issue's time on the main page, our Super Mario odyssey scavenger hunt is still going on! Please come by and play it, it would make me very happy! Be sure to also check out the results of the Art Contest!

Thank you for your votes last month for Half-Baked Reviews as July's CC Section of the Month! Keep up the votes and show your love for your favorite sections :D

Oh, and before I forget! For the first time in its history our humble little Critic Corner here won the award for C6 - Favorite 'Shroom Team!!!!!! I'm extremely excited about this since myself and our writers put a lot of time, thought, and energy into the sections here, and I'm so happy that it's going noticed! Thank you!

With it being such a busy month, I don't think I have much else to say at the moment, so onward with the reviews!

Section of the Month

Place Section Votes % Writer
1st Anton's Half-Baked Reviews 16 55.17% Hypnotoad (talk)
2nd Character Review 6 20.69% Yoshi876 (talk)
3rd Could Have Been 4 13.79% Alex95 (talk)

Opinion Pieces

Watch out for banana peels!
[read more]

No use crying over spilled milk tea
[read more]

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Yoshi876
[read more]

Hammer swing your way over to another review
[read more]

Could Have Been

Written by: Alex95 (talk)

Diddy Kong Racing Adventure title screen
The available demo only calls the game "Diddy Kong Racing"

Hello everyone! I am Alex95 and this month, I'm going to do something a little different here on Could Have Been. Usually I take a look at what went into making a game that's been released. But what about the games that don't see the light of day? Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64 got a sequel on the Nintendo DS aptly named Diddy Kong Racing DS, but did you know that there was going to be a different sequel to the N64 game? Well, I'm here to tell you more about it! So let's dive right in and take a look at what could have been Diddy Kong Racing Adventure. Since the game never released, this month's section will be one big "What Could Have Been?" that is usually the second half of my section.

First of all, what was Diddy Kong Racing Adventure? It was meant to be a sequel to Diddy Kong Racing, meant to release on the Nintendo GameCube sometime in 2004 or 2005. It was created and pitched to Nintendo by the now-defunct Climax Group subsidiary of Climax Studios. They created the demo of the game around April 2004 using the Xbox hardware tools the team was used to. The demo was actually never revealed to the public until a video game archivist got the prototype and made a video on it in 2016, twelve years later.

As for the plot, Wizpig was supposed to make a return, but this time he allies himself with Donkey Kong Country's Kremlings. While Diddy Kong is off visiting Timber Island again, the Kremlings and Wizpig are at work capturing the other Kongs, with Wizpig wanting to convert Donkey Kong Island into a new race track. No doubt he's doing this to get back at Diddy Kong for helping in his defeat in the first game. Diddy Kong comes back home to see the Kremlings bulldozing down the forest, so Diddy does what any monkey would do at this point… Race! But the way it would've been done is different than the other two games. Planes would've returned, along with new jet skis, quad bikes, buggies, and hover scooters. I'm not sure on standard cars and hovercrafts, but with buggies and jet skies, they likely would've replaced their respective counterparts. It also seems possible to have ridden Animal Buddies through races, as Diddy Kong is shown riding a rhino in the video. Even with these vehicle changes, the story progresses similarly to Diddy Kong Racing: beat bosses to move forward and open new locations. However, an earlier document shows a different boss named "Baron von Snort" instead of Wizpig. Adventure Mode was also planned to have a four-player mode, an improvement from the unlockable two-player mode in the first game!

Diddy humping a rhino, from the prototype of Diddy Kong Racing Adventure.
Diddy Kong riding a rhinoceros

With different vehicles comes different gameplay! Apparently, you would've been able to adjust your character position on the vehicle using the C Stick. I'm not sure what that would do, but maybe I would affect how you throw an item? Like, positioning your character to stand up would allow them to throw an item further? Maybe? You could've also been able to change vehicles mid-race, which would allow for some interesting courses. Come to a waterfall in your jet skis? Switch to an airplane! Items also return, and it looks like characters would've also had special items specific to them. By collecting a certain amount of fruit, the characters would be able to use a certain type of attack. Alongside standard racing modes (VS., Grand Prix, etc.), there were also going to be a "Knockout Cup", in which the last player to finish a race gets eliminated; "Elimination", which is a demolition derby; "Simon Says", in which the players have to perform various skills, likely meant for when you're off your vehicle; and a "Fruit Bowl", where the players have to collect fruit.

Concept art for Diddy Kong Racing Adventure.
Concept of the Pirate Lagoon

Now, what would a racing game be without characters and race courses? Diddy Kong, Tiptup, Timber, Krunch, and Conker the Squirrel would've all returned from the original game. There would've also been a "dark" variant of Diddy Kong, along with Pipsy and Bumper. Each character has their own special move to use once enough fruits have been collected. Since the game takes place on Donkey Kong Island, various Kongs and locations would've appeared as well. Donkey Kong would be playable after winning every race, and Dixie Kong and Lanky Kong were also considered. Banjo and Mumbo-Jumbo from Banjo-Kazooie were also considered, but if they weren't able to be used (which would be odd, considering Conker's already in the listing), another member of the Kong family would've stepped in.
For the locations, most would've all been based on locations seen on Donkey Kong Island before. Planned race courses would've been one going through the Kong Family village, Icy Peaks with Candy Kong's ski chalet, Pirate Lagoon with Funky Kong's surf resort, a rainforest, the Kremling construction site and industries, Krunch's den, and Wizpig's Lair.

So why wasn't this game released? There's clearly a lot thought out here, but my guess has to do with Rare Ltd. acquisition by Microsoft. The demo was built in 2004, two years after the buyout, and it used some of Rare's properties, such as Conker. Additionally, Microsoft already had their own console, the Xbox, so having their sub-company make a game for a rival system wouldn’t have gone over well. The fact that the demo was using Xbox software likely didn't help its case, either. This wasn't quite the same case for Diddy Kong Racing DS, as there wasn't (and currently isn't) a handheld Microsoft system, so that game was given the go-ahead. However, there's still a chance here! With Nintendo and Microsoft recently becoming buddies so Minecraft can happen on Nintendo consoles, it's not entirely out of the realm of possibility that a new Diddy Kong Racing game can happen. And if it does, I hope they look back on these concepts and improve upon this lost game.

I covered pretty much everything, but you can take a look at our Diddy Kong Racing Adventure page if you'd like anyway. And that video I keep mentioning, you can find it right here! Until next time, see you around!


Written By: Hypnotoad (talk)

Part 4 of Anton’s Half-Baked Pre-Written Reviews 2018, the “actually still working on it the day before release but had most of it done months ago” edition

Bubble milk tea

After hearing a bunch about how good these are, I knew this had to be on my list at some point. I first remember it as my high school librarian’s favorite drink, for some reason I can’t recall being unable to get in the United States, or at least cross the border with it. She said she loved going to Chinatown in Toronto because it was the only time she could get this. I’m not sure if this is because western New York is just cold garbage and has nothing cool around at all, or if some kind of law changed in the last 10 years, but either way it is now available all over the place from what I can tell. Beyond that, my only other exposure to it is knowing that it’s what’s in Junkrat’s canteen in Overwatch for some reason, because I guess that makes him vaguely quirky, yet soft, instead of having it be diesel gasoline in lieu of moonshine to round out the Mad Max inspiration. From what I can tell, bubble milk tea has like 14 different names that are based on the different types in Mandarin Chinese, but ends up getting jostled up when translated into English and essentially become interchangeable, including also boba tea, milk tea, pearl milk tea, boba, maybe other stuff.

Bubbleology - Boba tea thing

I think this is the same brush I use when I draw. I’ve been gentrified! *shakes fists*
While out shopping at the mall one day, I noticed in the food court that there was a kiosk for Bubbleology. It was pretty bright and clean-looking, with a rainbow of colors and white-light lit display cases, along with a bunch of math equations to, I guess, give credence to the “-ology” part of their name and marketing. I was pretty excited to skirt this trial quickly in an unexpected run, knocking off something on my to-do list, I ended up being a little more pleased with myself than I should’ve been.
Capri Sun trained me for having to stab the plastic open with the incredibly large straw

Tl;dr it was terrible. In some concession, I had no clue what I was doing, how to order, or what I was getting. Beyond that, it looked like something that should’ve been pretty easy to go about ordering, but ended up being confusing. The actual tea flavors and milk stuff were downplayed immensely, to the point that I literally did not see any except for “original”; instead a bunch of bright and fruity flavors were listed. I got uhhhhh mmmango, I think, and then peach “popping bubbles” because 1) I had no clue at the time that the balls in it were SUPPOSED to be yogurt thing 2) I had no idea that “popping” bubbles were what they ended up being, and 3) the “popping bubbles” didn’t have the same flavors available as the drinks, or just mixing two fruity things felt compatible at least. Instead of chewy thing, the popping bubbles were just like little balls of concentrated juice that I guess dissolved with heat, because if it was liquid they’d just fall apart inside the drink. They were not a very pleasant experience because all they ended up doing was just feeling artificial, as if I’ve just put marbles in my mouth, which suddenly exploded into even more artificial flavor, providing me with nothing but a sense of being jarred.

Gentrification is a dirty word, with discourse surrounding it that may sometimes teeter on the fence of healthy exploration in something that is not part of your culture or class, or selling out or usurping traditions just to wash them clean for easy middle-upper class consumption, making debate on what is and isn’t a bit tricky, especially for me, a mid-20s college-educated cis white gay male who moved into the city. This is even MORE difficult given that the boba tea trend has come from Taiwan with this kind of en vogue marketing vibe that lends itself to exploiting the younger generation, but even I can see that Bubbleology has overdone it. Even for a mall kiosk, this feels very exploitative, cashing in on a trend with no particular care for its source.

In one final concession, I tried this back in September 2017, and cursory Google searches to verify names and details shows me that it looks like they’ve updated how their menu looks and their prices appear to be cheaper, where people are spending between $5.75 and $6.25 for a drink, while I spent $7.19. Those are still ehhhh prices if I’m in a frugal wallet-shielding mood, but it’s definitely a lot better than $7+. I feel like I should give this another try, but forgiving a company that has shown to have predatory business practices is hard to overcome, and probably should be unforgivable if I’m to abide by my hipster appearance.

Rating: The Chex Mix twitter page

Explanation: Hopping on what already is already vaguely disingenuous trend, it attempts to appeal to an audience it doesn’t know through the visors of corporate suits who only know how to generalize, twist, corrupt, and sell-out. Trying to be cool and funny, mimicking one success story, it ends up missing every goal. It’s a clear product of marketing that is transparently for masquerading itself as something other than a faceless vulture. If it tried to just be what it was meant to be it would be much better, but instead it just dilutes what’s en vogue to exploit people who don’t know any better.

Eastside Asian Market - Milk Tea

My brother being an amazing hand model
Feeling like I’ve overdone it by stepping outside of the local Asian goods stores and markets that I’ve been visiting for all of these things, I decided I should return to one to get a genuine milk tea so I actually know what they’re supposed to be like and if they are as bad and vulturous as Bubbleology was. Eastside Asian Market was one of the places I looked up before I moved down here and it looked pretty neat. Their advertising seems to really cash in on foodie hipster blogger trends, which I first chuckled at, until I realized that that could easily define me if I weren’t so rash and bitter. I’ll forgive myself for this by saying that I selected this place because it had a virtual tour on its website that allowed me to see that Milkis was stocked there without me having to call and ask. This also helps place when I’ve tried milk tea in conjunction with purchasing Milkis and Calpico, and where the Calpico was dropped, for those out there working day and night to compile a Half-Baked Historia.

Anyways blah blah did shopping and got some stuff, lady dropped a can of Calpico on the ground, but before fleeing or I guess during I went to their cafe thing where they had regular milk teas with no messy customization. All that was asked was “with boba?”, to which I responded with “yes, please”. It was pretty alright! It just...tasted like..tea, I guess. You see, I’m a freak who already puts milk in my tea as if it were coffee, so this really just tasted like that, except cold and with pudding orbs flying up into the back of my throat. With this being my first experience with tapioca pudding orb bubble things I guess I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t instantly kill me, or that they didn’t destroy the drink entirely. They definitely disrupt the flow of drinking the actual liquid, which is vaguely annoying, but I guess most people who order milk tea with boba know what they’re getting into and expect it.

Rating: HoneyNutSwirl.png Swirly breadstick in Honey Nut Chex Mix

Explanation: Tastes a bit odd, giving both a feeling that it’s quite different from a regular breadstick in terms of texture and flavor, but is itself pretty mild in comparison to the rest in the Mix. This milk tea is a nice constant and balancing force without yielding any of its own personality.

ViVi Bubble Tea - Taro Milk Tea

Bonesy would like this
So I was writing the stuff for the above trials and thought “hm, I should go try out another one because I’ve seen a bunch of specialized shops and chains for boba all over the place” so I went and did exactly that. Over in the same section of the city where the rest of the Asian stuff is I knew there was some boba place that had a really cartoony logo that I would drive past often enough so sure i went there. ViVi Bubble Tea is inside a building that seems to be 3x larger than what they need, so a lot of it looks unfinished and unused, as if it were either still under construction or had recently had a hurricane blow through, but the actual area in which people are meant to sit looks really cute. Their menu is pretty extensive, but unfortunately is not very descriptive for people like me who have no idea what any of this is, barring the bunch of different fruity teas. Not wanting to jump in the deep end of whatever the 3Q Milk Tea is, I opted to just dip my toe into the taro milk tea since it was still somewhat adventurous.
A very hot day meant the boba orbs dissolving very quickly

Well, it sure did taste like someone did dip their toe into it. Taro is apparently basically a vanilla-flavored potato, which when in artificial flavor form is purple for some reason; looks cool, at least. I got tapioca boba again with it, which was pretty alright again. This time I had my brother with me, and it was a delight trying to get him to try it, but he skillfully slurped it while purposefully avoiding the tapioca boba because it frightened him. Either way it was incredibly starchy, which I guess is to be expected from a root vegetable, but it’s not exactly something I would consider refreshing or an appropriate texture sensation for a liquid. The flavor wasn’t bad during the initial point of each sip, but as you swallow it and it coats your mouth it just gets exponentially more awkward. The taro flavor and feel stayed in my body all day; each burp, each belly rumble, each moving of my torso too quickly would send that starchy vibe back into my throat, and I’m not sure I really enjoyed it. Additionally, it had some magic ability to never deplete, even though I swear I was slurping on that thing for a good part of two hours, and since there was no ice in it, whether it was forgotten or I was supposed to ask, it got uncomfortably room temperature very quickly in the Florida heat. Not wanting it to go to waste, I ended up making it into a smoothie milkshake thing because Google convinced me people drink taro smoothie milkshake things, but drowning it in more milk, sugar, ice cream, and blending it on ice crush for 15 seconds did not resurrect it.

Rating: TurtleChex.jpg Turtle Chex Mix

Explanation: It looks flashy and cool with all of the chocolate and candy pieces displayed, and looks like a fancy bit of indulgence. As you take your first bite, it has a feeling of unfamiliarity, but your brain is too confused to register it until after you’re already eight handfuls in and all your body can feel is cheap artificial caramel coating the entire inside of your body that doesn’t leave no matter what you try.

Chewy Boba Company - Thai Milk Tea

Kinda just looked like used paint water, so go get this if you've ever had the urge to drink that!
There’s another milk tea boba place like across the street so sure I went there too. Chewy Boba Company seems like a more caucasianly accessible tea shop, giving more of a touristy beach concession vibe even though it’s in the middle of a cramped mess of concrete tucked sorta in an alleyway behind what appears to be a photo repair. I don’t have as much to say about it because it was a spur of the moment thing and I’m late with writing this BUT I was still adventurous enough to try Thai milk tea. I had no idea what it was, and had to basically yell at the worker that I said Thai and not chai, which I also had no idea what it was. Apparently Thai milk tea is just like the same base as regular milk tea but has star anise, tamarind, and whatever else mixed in. Spices. It, uh...tasted ok! Kinda just like...I don’t even know. Vague fruity sweetness, but smooth? Almost cinnamony but not like Christmas shop cinnamon where they think it’s supposed to be a bitingly hot sensation. Maybe me just coming from a tragically white family devoid of any flavor besides just more table salt has rendered me unable to perceive the subtleties of other flavors. I hope to outgrow this by bumbling through international import shops only to end up buying familiar-appearing brands and unadventurous chocolates. I also made this into a smoothie milkshake thing because I didn’t drink all of it the same day and didn’t really want a tea with half-dissolved tapioca just chillin’ in it. It went ok, but as with the taro one earlier, the boba doesn’t really blend into a pleasant texture, which I can’t fault it for since it wasn’t meant to be blended.

Rating: SweetSaltyPopped.png Sweet & Salty Chex Mix Popped

Explanation: It’s definitely got a bit of a different vibe that regular, but the regular is already pretty sweet and salty on its own, and really it’s just some popcorn tossed in to outweigh more expensive ingredients. That’s not to say it isn’t tasty, or doesn’t do the trick, but more like you have to be more attuned to the subtlety of the difference for it to actually be worth your while, otherwise just get the original or something wildly more outrageous. Perhaps it’s a stepping stone, shrug.

Overall, I would absolutely give more milk teas a shot! There's a huge amount of variety, apparently, so there's no way to cast one single judgment upon them all; all that's left to do is explore.

Tune in next month where I review some more Asian stuff I tried like a year ago! 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!

Movie Reviews

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

Paddington 2

Paddington 2
Paddington 2.png
Genres Comedy
Release date November 2017
Starring Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant
Runtime 103 minutes
Ratings U (UK)

The last time I reviewed a kids movie for The 'Shroom, it was a middling affair. The movie itself was serviceable enough, but it didn't massively hold you. Paddington 2 is a strange beast when it comes to this affair.

I'm aware the with films you regularly need to suspend belief, but with this film you really need to suspend any form of belief. There is not a single character who would act in the way that they did if this movie had even an ounce of realism in it.

The main plot of the film sees Paddington (Wishaw) sent to jail after being framed for burglary by Phoenix Buchanan (Grant). The main issue with this is that the film then mainly centres on Paddington's hijinks while he's in prison, and as amusing as they are, the film ends up bogging down with no progression happening. This plot works in a way, but it feels like it would be better suited to a TV show based around Paddington. And this is a shame considering that the film has a better plot on the side, that being Buchanan trying to track down treasure using a book that Paddington wants for his aunt. Yes, it's a plot that's been done to death, especially within the kids genre, but at least it's a plot.

And as a result of Paddington being in jail, the whole Brown family go underused and end up feeling like minor side characters. However, this does leave room for Hugh Grant to steal the show as Phoenix Buchanan. Grant does an amazing job at creating the villain, and it's clear that he loved every second of his performance. To some it may feel like he's overdoing it, but it considering his character it works amazingly well.

The first Paddington movie was incredibly funny, and while this one certainly has plenty of laughs, it doesn't have the same comedy level that the first one did. Thankfully however, none of the comedy feels forced, in the way that this universe is presented all of the gags seem like normal parts of it. And as humourous as the film is, the standout scene is still the incredibly heart-warming final scene that is moving on many levels.

However, the film really underperforms when it comes to twists. Paddington's opening monologue basically gives out what every member of the Brown family will do as the film moves towards its climax with Paddington chasing down Phoenix to get the book back. Which is a shame because everything before that moment feels fun and natural, but those moments just feel incredibly forced.

Paddington 2 is not a bad movie, but when compared with its predecessor it does fail on pretty much every other level. What this film instead is, is a fairly decent pitch for a Paddington TV series, because all of the situations contained within the film would actually make decent episodes in that environment, rather than the film environment.

Character Review

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

King Dedede

Artwork of King Dedede from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U.
King Penguin.

I'm mostly a Nintendo gamer, and one of my favourite series outside of the Mario series is the Kirby series. I enjoy the gameplay, the enemies and the various ways that the Copy Abilities are implemented in. And I love the bosses, and one of the most prominent is King Dedede.

In the first Kirby game, he was the final boss and he's played a boss role in a whole variety of different Kirby games, even if most of the time he's possessed by some evil entity. However, despite being somewhat on the larger side, like most Nintendo character he isn't really that fleshed out. At least, not until Super Smash Bros. came along.

Yes, he wasn't playable until Brawl, but his animations he quickly became more like King Derp, and this was only further emphasised in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, and I doubt I need to mention his expressions in the reveal of King K. Rool.

Some people may be turned off by this, but I love how this characterisation. King Dedede never seemed like the sort of person who would actually rule a kingdom through competence. He was barely competent in the anime Kirby series – which if you haven't seen you absolutely need to – and like all villains his poorly thought out nefarious schemes fell through.

Yes, King Dedede isn't a villain with a lot of motive, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to some of his earlier villainous appearances, but he's still a core part of the Kirby series, and his stupidity and derpy expressions only make him more endearing.

The 'Shroom: Issue 137
Staff sections Staff NotesThe 'Shroom Spotlight
Features Fake NewsFun StuffPalette SwapPipe PlazaCritic CornerStrategy Wing
Specials Awards 2018 Art Contest Results