The 'Shroom:Issue 152/Pipe Plaza
Hello my dear readers, and welcome to November! We're about halfway through the month and the amount of stuff that's been on my plate has beaten, battered, and broiled me alive. The combination of a fall show, senior government, and college comp has been rough to say the least. But that first thing is over with and the second is nearly done! And on top of that, it's already snowed here so that's been my cue to start breaking out the Christmas music. (despite many people I know yelling at me that "It's Thanksgiving first!!" But what good are Christmas songs if you can only listen to them one month of the year, anyways?? Most of them are really good!)
My deal aside, 'Shroom Recap has returned after a lengthy absence! Be sure to check it out! And remember that we're always looking for new writers, so head on over to the Sign Up page if you're interested!
To the American readers, I hope your Thanksgiving goes splendidly and may you not be trampled in your Black Friday adventures. To everyone else, enjoy what the rest of the month has to offer. Without further ado, the offerings of this month's Pipe Plaza awaits!
Section of the Month
Rain may make icicles when it's cold, but don't let this interview with IcicleRain leave you frozen!
Hello, 'Shroom readers! It's me, Perch! Here with yet another interview - my second to last, actually. Just this month and December, and then I'm out. Can you blame me, though? It feels like two years is about how long I can handle doing this section at a time. Don't worry, I'll still be around writing other things! But in the meantime, we've got two more to go, and one of them's with IcicleRain. That one you're getting right now, so go ahead and give it a good read!
Poll Committee Discussion
Hello, 'Shroom readers! It's everyone's favorite unelected Director, Superchao! I'm doing Poll Committee Discussion this month, so... time for some discussing of the polls!
Poll Committee News
Not much to say here! We've got some plans in the works, but no need to spill the beans just yet. More importantly, we'll soon be opening a new position in the Poll Committee! Get those applications ready!
Are you interested in the upcoming game, Luigi's Mansion 3? (ArchagentEverlasting (talk), Roserade (talk) and LudwigVon (talk), October 14, 2019)
Nintendo recently added 20 SNES games to the Nintendo Switch Online service. How do these games affect your opinion of the service? (Doomhiker (talk) and Roserade (talk), October 20, 2019)
How important is a Mario game's soundtrack to your enjoyment of the game? (Koopaboye (talk) and Roserade (talk), October 27, 2019)
And that's all the polls I have the info to discuss this month! Next month, expect an extra-large poll analysis!
After an extended hiatus, I'm overjoyed to welcome you back to The 'Shroom Recap! Raregold has, for personal reasons, elected to step away from this section, so, for the foreseeable future, the Section Feature will no longer be a part of this section. If anyone out there happens to have in interest in digging into the history of The 'Shroom, though, it can certainly make a return.
That said, the User Feature is making its return this month. For this month, we'll see if we can't strike a chord with one of The 'Shroom's prominent writers from the paper's early days. Yes, remarkable towards the end of his tenure for his music, Stooben Rooben has a long history with The 'Shroom as both a writer and a staff member. So, what did this musician do for the paper?
Early History: Real Tips and Tricks and Fake News
If you've been reading The 'Shroom for some time, you might be aware that Stooben Rooben was the first Strategy Wing Director, taking the helm of The 'Shroom's gaming-centric team and creating a platform for those looking to share tips, tricks, and histories for games of all kinds. Would you believe, though, that Stooben sowed the seeds for that major development with his very first section? Stooben first joined The 'Shroom all the way back in issue XI, where he debuted From the Mushroom Vaults, a section which explained its purpose rather succinctly with its tagline of "Tips, Secrets, Hints, and Cheats for Mario's games!" That description wouldn't sound too out of place for the team he would eventually go on to direct, would it? In his first edition, he quickly established the section's usual structure by divulging some secrets for The Thousand Year Door, providing hints for Super Mario Galaxy, sharing some cheats for Super Princess Peach, and sharing some tips for how to best make use of items to win at Double Dash!!
Stooben would continue following this strategy of providing one example of each category in the section's tagline every month until he reached issue XVII, at which point the section's structure became more variable from month to month. After one more month of a random smattering of games in issue XII, he took to giving each month's edition a theme, announcing the month's theme right next to his name in the upper right corner of the page. In the following months, Stooben would theme the section around retro games of the time, Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, Mario RPGs, Paper Mario, DS titles, Nintendo 64 titles, obscure Mario titles, DS Yoshi titles, and the outgoing Director Blitzwing as he produced a new edition month after month. The first major change came to the section in issue XXIII. Theming the edition around the Famicom, Stooben announced that, from this point on, the section would feature only one, slightly more extensive cheat so that he could focus more on his duties as Director of The 'Shroom. Beyond that point, the section slowly began to dwindle away. It was absent in issue XXIV, so Stooben showcased two cheats in his SNES month in issue XV. The section covered Wario Land 4 in its final edition, before disappearing once more in issue XXVII. The section's story comes to an end with the Director's Notes in issue XXVIII, where Stooben promises From the Mushroom Vaults will return the following month. Unfortunately, that promise would not come to fruition… in the near future, at least. Even though the section unfortunately came to an end without a proper conclusion at the time, it remains notable as Stooben's first endeavor with The 'Shroom, one which lasted two years.
From the Mushroom Vaults wasn't Stooben's only section during this time period, though. Stooben juggled three Fake News sections around 2008 and 2009. He made his Fake News debut in issue XII, writing Obituaries. He had a simple take on the section, keeping to the core idea of providing humorous accounts of the deaths of various Super Mario characters ranging from Don Pianta to Bowser Jr. He stuck with the section through issue XVIII, only skipping issue XIII and XVII in that time. Simultaneously, he briefly wrote Local News from issue XIV to issue XVI, coming up with absurd news stories about various community members, including on about his own mysterious disappearance. Fittingly, that edition brought an end to his time with the section. He returned as a Fake News writer to write a single edition of Poll in issue XXIII before completely moving away from his early work with Fake News, though. Of course, he had a rather good reason to be invested in Fake News during this period. He was the Fake News Director from issue XIII to XVIII. Records list him as Fake News Director in issue XXII, as well, but as far as I'm able to tell, there is no Fake News in issue XXII. Normally, I'd have something to say about Stooben's work as Fake News Director, or I could at least give a nod to his Director's Notes for the team, but, looking through old editions of the paper, it's difficult enough to even verify that he held the position at the time. There's little indication of Stooben's activity in the position beyond The 'Shroom's historical records.
Stooben's early work may not have always been the most organized or predictable, but whether a long-runner like From the Mushroom Vaults or miscellaneous sections like the two editions of Monthly Report he added to issue XXIII and issue XXVI, his numerous contributions added a significant amount to the publication as it found its footing. He didn't limit himself to writing in this period, however. He would soon aim for a much more substantial position within the paper…
(Sub?) Directorship and Interviews: Stooben's Middle Years
In the middle of this busy period of writing, Stooben ran for the Directorship at the end of 2008, ultimately winning issue XXII's Director Election with forty-seven voters endorsing his leadership. Tucayo, who took second place in the election, with five votes, would go on to become Stooben's Sub-Director when he officially stepped into the role of Director in issue XXIII. In that very same issue's Director's Notes, Stooben lays out some ambitious plans for the paper. From that issue onwards, Fun Stuff is formalized as its own team. In order to improve the quality of the paper, Stooben also introduced a rule stating that any writer who is at least one month late with their sections must be fired from The 'Shroom. Stooben also promised two new sections which he planned to debut in issue XXIV. The second of these two sections, Fan Fiction Monthly, was intended to be a showcase of an user-created content which members of the community wanted to share. It never materialized as a formal section, but similar concepts have been used in Palette Swap and its precursor Music and Artwork. The first proposed section is a bit more unique, and nothing quite like it has since arisen. As Stooben puts it, "Additional Commentary allows users to PM or e-mail 'Shroom staff members questions, comments, or suggestions." The staff member who users reached out to with their commentary was expected to provide a publishable response to Stooben. Unfortunately, this unique idea never truly materialized as a regular section either. There were instructions in the Director's Notes of issue XXIV letting users know they could contact any staff member to offer their commentary, but no commentary was ever published. When issue XXV came out, the idea was scrapped in favor of providing a "Contact Us" link on the Main Page.
Why did those ambitious plans get derailed? Well, as it turns out, Stooben went inactive a month into his tenure as Director. Though he was still considered the Director in issue XXIV, Tucayo had to step in to write that issue's Director's Notes and put The 'Shroom together that month. By the time issue XXV released, Stooben had swapped positions with Tucayo, becoming the Sub-Director. Given his circumstances at the time, Stooben decided that Tucayo could better serve as the paper's Director, and settled into the Sub-Directorship to aid him as he could. Stooben continued to serve in his new role through issue XXVI and XXVII, before again swapping places with Tucayo and resuming his Directorship in issue XXVIII. The wild up-and-down ride continued in the following issue, as Stooben resigned and Tucayo once again rose to the occasion and filled the Director position. At that time, Tucayo expressed his uncertainty as to whether Stooben had resigned completely or had elected to return to the Sub-Directorship. As it would turn out, Stooben had chosen the latter route, and would once again serve as Sub-Director under Tucayo from issue XXIX to issue XXXIV. As it turns out, Stooben would remain a significant force during this second tenure as Sub-Director. In response to arguments about the quality of The 'Shroom and the future of the paper in the wake of the proposal which reconstructed the Wiki's Pipe Plaza project as a team in The 'Shroom, Stooben proposed some major revisions to The 'Shroom in The Director's Notes of issue XXXII. As he explains:
Stooben's proposals included a section limit on users, keeping writers limited to only actively writing two sections at a time. He advocated for increased standards for grammar, formatting, spelling, and content. As part of this, he proposed the requirement that a section should have a minimum of seven-hundred characters (excluding coding). This suggestion remains a part of The 'Shroom Manual of Style to this day, albeit in a modified form. He proposed that trusted users be put in charge of overseeing teams and sections to ensure they met standards of quality, proposed creating a position for an Editor-in-Chief who would proofread and edit issues before release, proposed an overhauled method of handling situations where writers could not submit their sections on time, and advocated for the abolition of multiple sign-up pages for different sub-teams. That there is currently only one centralized page for anyone interested in writing for The 'Shroom reflects the influence Stooben's suggestions had on the evolution of the paper. Of course, not all of his proposals remain relevant. He suggested that the paper be split between Wiki news and entertainment, with Wiki news being The 'Shroom's priority. As the paper's six varied teams show, subsequent developments have taken The 'Shroom in a different direction.
At the end of 2009, Stooben once again tossed himself into the fray in issue XXXIII's Director Election. While the results were more divided than they were in his first election, Stooben won with 21 votes with a campaign in which he continued to promote the reforms he introduced during his time as Sub-Director and promised that, with his recent retirement from Userpedia, he would have more time to devote to The 'Shroom. Stooben assumed the Directorship in issue XXXIV, and, with Tucayo once again at his side as Sub-Director, started his term off with a short survey for all readers and an outline of his ambitious plans to expand The 'Shroom's team of writers and create new systems of rewards and surprises. This second tenure as Director proved much more stable than his first, and The 'Shroom made some major advancements in this period. By issue XXXVI, Stooben had already overseen aesthetic improvements, with Tucayo making new banners for the paper's teams to give them extra personality and visual appeal and Super Mario Bros. introducing the paper's new seasonal backgrounds. Though he contributed nothing but his signature to them in issue XXXVII and almost completely ceased writing the Director's Notes starting in issue XXXIX, Stooben's second term as Director proved much more stable than his first term. Stooben remains the Director for his entire term, seeing the position through all the way to issue XLVI. In that time, the paper continued to grow and improve. One notable leap forward came in issue issue XL, where Stooben briefly resumed writing Director's Notes to announce the creation of an Awards system for The 'Shroom (the precursor to the current End of the Year Awards) and to update the community on his plans to overhaul The 'Shroom Sign-up page. Unfortunately, Stooben did disappear for a short spell when issue XLII released. With Stooben missing and Tucayo unavailable, Super Mario Bros. stepped up as a substitute director and put the issue together that month. Thankfully, Stooben returned the following month to see out the end of his term.
Stooben didn't leave The 'Shroom just because his time as Director came to an end, though. While he was still Director, he conducted his first interview' with Super Mario Bros. in issue XXVI. Though it would be a short while before Stooben fully committed to writing the section, this early experience helped him to establish his style of providing a short summary of his interviewee's history with the community before moving on to an extensive interview. His first regular edition of the section debuted in issue LX, where his interviews with Master Crash and Crocodile Dippy snagged him the Section of the Month Award and set the stage for a series of regularly-published interviews. He would go on to interview Superchao, Smasher, Ralphfan, Tucayo, Anton, and New Super Mario before conducting his last interview with Edofenrir in issue LXIX.
Outside of Interview, Stooben's engagement with The 'Shroom was limited during this period. He assumed the now-defunct position of Affiliates Manager for a brief time, taking the position up in issue L and holding it through issue LVIII. Of course, no one would ever know that without looking at The 'Shroom's historical records. As far as I can tell, his tenure in that position is never once mentioned in The 'Shroom itself. He also contributed an extensive reflection to issue LXVI's Awards Committee Commentaries, sharing detailed thoughts on his experience as a member of the Committee that removed Ralphfan from the directing staff, his experience hosting a Team Fortress 2 tournament and co-hosting Awards Mafia with Smasher, and his overall impressions on making presentations and watching the ceremonies come together. Stooben ended this period of his time with The 'Shroom with his special contribution to Palette Swap in issue LXIX. Yes, Christmas in the Key of 2012 both referenced the popular notion that the world would end in December of 2012 and showcased Stooben's musical talent by presenting to readers an original edgy Christmas song about the apocalypse. As it would turn out, though, music and Team Fortress 2 would go on to be significant factors in his grand return to The 'Shroom…
Stooben's Big Finale
After an extended absence, Stooben Rooben makes a grand return in issue 100, where, in The 'Shroom's largest issue to date, he contributes a Rare Crossword themed around the game development studio Rare and celebrating the then-upcoming Yooka-Laylee, an introduction fo his upcoming 'Shroom Mafia III game, a special Police Blotter honoring The 'Shroom's beloved mascot, the first edition of two new regular sections, and a brand new team with himself at the helm. In addition, he worked with the rest of the staff to produce a tribute to Satoru Iwata in the form of Please Understand: A Satoru Iwata Memorial. We'll return to Strategy Wing and Stooben's efforts there in a moment. Before we dive into that, it's worth looking at what Stooben was up to in other sections of the paper during this busy period.The first of the two regular sections Stooben debuted in issue 100, 8-Bit Amphitheater put Stooben's musical talents on full display. The premise of the section is simple. Every month, Stooben shares a number of chiptune versions of popular songs and songs from videogames that he created himself. These chiptunes are neatly displayed in a compact table packed with information and links so that readers can listen to Stooben's music through whatever medium they prefer. He then goes on to explain his reasons for selecting the songs to, share some general thoughts on each song, and gives readers some insights on the process of creating these chiptune versions. He dutifully kept chipping away at his chiptunes through issues 101, 102, 103, 104 105, and, after switching to a bi-monthly schedule in issue 106, issue 107. The decision to put the section on a more relaxed schedule helped to alleviate the time crunch that led to issue 105's edition lacking the usual videogame music chiptunes. It might have allowed for the section to continue on past issue 107, but unfortunate circumstances intervened to bring the section to a premature end. There will be more to say on that in a moment, though. Before moving on completely, though, it's worth noting that Stooben put his musical talents to work with one other special section during this time period. Stooben worked with Crocodile Dippy to create the 12 Days of 'Shroom Christmas, the two of them not only coming up with the lyrics, but actually performing and recording the song so readers can listen to it. It's easier to just listen to the song and read the lyrics than to read about it, but the highly unusual holiday piece does an excellent job of celebrating The 'Shroom's staff from the time it was written.
Stooben wasn't just making music, though. He also put together a Halloween-themed Super Mario crossword puzzle in issue 103, an issue in which he also debuted the new bi-monthly Critic Corner section The Stoob Tube. The section's tagline puts it best, asking with characteristic charm "[y]ou say you need a TV junkie to review TV junk?" He starts off with a review of Supernatural in issue 103. Though he misses issue 105 due to computer issues, he makes up for it with his Bojack Horseman review in issue 106 and immediately follows up with a review ofThe X-Files in issue 108 as he tries to get back on schedule. Once again, the section came to an early end after issue 108 because of unfortunate circumstances, but we're still not quite there. We still need to discuss Strategy Wing!
Yes, in issue 100, Stooben becomes the first Director of the newly-created Strategy Wing team. Month after month all the way through issue 111, Stooben leads the fledgling team through a major debut followed by a period of fewer sections marked by a struggle to attract new writers. Even though it was not the largest of teams, Strategy Wing found its footing under Stooben with a selection of consistently high-quality sections. He was able to celebrate as he finally attracted his first new writer in issue 105, and he gave his Director's Notes a bit of flair each month by including nods to Team Fortress 2's Medic in his notes and his staff portrait. It only seems fitting that the writer who so long ago had his start with The 'Shroom writing From the Mushroom Vaults and covering the hidden secrets and strategies which could help readers beat various videogames should go on to oversee the creation of The 'Shroom's videogame-focused team.
Speaking of From the Mushroom Vaults, actually, it must be noted that the section made its grand return in issue 100 as a cornerstone section of Strategy Wing! Yes, after a hiatus which spanned more than seventy issues, the section even returned with the same tagline of "tips, secrets, hints and cheats from Mario's games!" The section kept the same simple premise it had been built around during its original run, though it now emphasized quality over quantity. Rather than aim to have one example of each category in its tagline, it now focused on one or two extensive examples. In issue 100, it covered Donkey Kong Land and Yoshi's Woolly World. After skipping issue 101 due to technical difficulties, the section continued with an overview of all of the secret exits in New Super Mario Bros.2 in issue 102 and a look at the locations of all the Speedy Spirits in Luigi's Mansion in issue 103. Stooben missed issue 104, but kept the section going into issue 105 with cheats from Donkey Kong Country 3. He skipped out on issue 106, and forewent the section in issue 107 in favor of putting together the Zelda Calendar and the Pokémon Calendar in order to showcase how much had come from those two franchises in their respective thirty years and twenty years. While Stooben would continue promising the section would continue in his Director's Notes through issue 109, it unfortunately never returned with Stooben as a writer. Like Stooben's other sections during this period, From The Mushroom Vaults came to a premature end with the changes in staff and the changes in the community which resulted from the tragic death of Walkazo.
The 'Shroom's tribute to Walkazo, issue 111, would turn out to be Stooben's final issue with the publication. As he explains in his final edition of Strategy Wing's Director's Notes, Stooben decided to leave all of his positions with The 'Shroom in order to focus more on his personal life. He may have left in this issue, but he did not leave quietly. In this single issue, he shared his retrospective on 'Shroom Mafia III, worked with Crocodile Dippy to create an annotated list of the best one-hundred songs of the decade, wrote a fever dream of a Cooking Guide with Dippy, Packy, and Super Mario Bros., joined the community in sharing his memories of Walkazo, and created one last chiptune for a special 8-Bit Amphitheater as a farewell to Walkazo. With that final song, Stooben Rooben's long history with The 'Shroom came to an end.
All in all, Stooben's work with The 'Shroom continues to echo in the structure of the paper and its policies today. He's no longer with the publication, but dig deep enough and you can find his traces of his proposals which continue to shape The 'Shroom. It seems unlikely he'll return, but he's left a legacy behind nonetheless.
Thanks are offered to Crocodile Dippy (talk) for the tables and LudwigVon (talk) for allowing us to modify them. All information is accurate to the best of our knowledge as of issue 151.