The 'Shroom:Issue 165/Palette Swap

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Director's Notes

Written by: FunkyK38 (talk)

Shroom2017 FunkyK38.png

Welcome, everyone, to the 'Shroob Holiday Special issue! The Shroobs have taken over!

Over the past few weeks, I've been working my way through Hyrule Warriors with a friend. It's a LOT of fun seeing all the plot twists with a friend and talking about Zelda! If you liked Breath of the Wild, you should definitely check out Age of Calamity as it's an enjoyable game that incorporates a lot of the mechanics of Breath of the Wild into the popular Dynasty Warriors format of fighting. This was my first Warriors game, and I had a ton of fun with it.

This month, we've got a lot of great sections for you, and we have a guest appearance from Hooded Pitohui (talk), who came back to write a special Mario's Boombox section to celebrate our purple mushroom men.

~FunkyK38

Section of the Month

I see we had some British comic fans coming out to vote this time! winstein (talk) wins our Section of the Month for November! He looked at Ollie and Quentin in last month's Drawn and Pressed. Coming in second, Magolor04726 (talk) wrote a new chapter of World of Plight that featured Mr. Game and Watch and a large cliffhanger to lead into this month's issue. Yoshi876 (talk) rounds out the rankings by featuring the boxart of Mario Tennis Open in What's on the Box? A big thank you to everyone who voted! Please keep it up for this month as well!

Palette Swap SECTION OF THE MONTH
Place Section Votes % Writer
1st Drawn and Pressed 7 46.67% winstein
2nd World of Plight 5 33.33% Magolor04726
3rd What's on the Box? 3 20.00% Yoshi876

Art Sections

私たちは引き継いでいます
[read more]

LTQ looks at the website for a Donkey Kong game frozen in time!
[read more]
Music Sections

A whole album's worth of Juno music!
[read more]


What's on the Box?

Written by: Yoshi876 (talk)

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Hello readers, and welcome back to What's on the Box.

You may have noticed that this month we're all decked out now with Christmas decorations, but actually with Shroob decorations (a much better alternative, if you ask me). This did run me slightly into a dilemma, however, as I already covered the boxart for Partners in Time, way back when 'Shroom issues had only recently been swapped to a numerical system. Thankfully, on that occasion we covered the North American boxart, and this game does have different boxarts, depending on where you are in the world. This time, we're going to be taking a look at the game's Japanese boxart.

The North American Partners in Time boxart was one of the best boxarts for the series, and the one before artists for the series started becoming lazy and just doing about three things on there with a white background. However, it looks like those designers took inspiration from this Japanese boxart with how bare-bones it is when compared to the North American one.

Where that one has time holes and a whole host of the supporting cast, this one simply feature Mario, Luigi, Baby Mario and Baby Luigi looking heroic – if you ignore Luigi wiping his nose, but you don't want your boogers to be featuring too prominently in pictures – and then a whole group of Shroobs. At least one of them is holding a remote, so they might be about to order an attack on the Bros. Although the babies are able to operate independently during the game, it does look like Baby Luigi might have alerted the group of Shroobs to the group's presence, as his pose looks like he's only just caught up with the rest while running from the enemy. Although, given the character usually just cries, it's a little surprising that the group wasn't the one running to meet and protect him from this unruly bunch.

But that's all these is to say, there's no Princess Peach, Baby Peach, Toadsworth, Baby Bowser, Kylie Koopa, Yoshi etc., and it's a shame because this game has an absolutely wonderful supporting cast, and there's a lot more to the game than just the babies and the Shroobs. I much prefer the North American boxart, but that should be pretty obvious by this point, and it shouldn't take a genius to figure out what I want for this boxart. More stuff and a less boring white background, please.

World of Plight

Written by: Magolor04726 (talk)

(Special thanks to Echolight for reviewing my stories and helping with edits! I've never known someone more encouraging!)

Magolor04726

A quick summary of last month’s entry:

During an average day in the lunch room, a mysterious cloaked intruder appeared and cast an explosive spell into the center of the room. As everyone struggled to figure out what had happened, someone shouted out for help (who it was remains to be seen). However, no time was left to figure out what was going on, as the room quickly descended into the chaos of people trying to attack the intruder. For my own personal protection and on total accident, I fell backwards over the counter and into the kitchen, and this is where I currently am. This brings us to now, where I open with the closing paragraph from last month.

As I struggled to get my head out of the pot, I could hear shouting coming from all over. When I managed to right myself and pull the pot off, I watched as the battle before me unfolded in a hectic frenzy of lights, color, and magic.

When the cloaked figure floated to the center of the room, it dropped to the ground, spread its arms out, and shouted something incoherent. Then, to my astonishment, a massive translucent dome shot out from around them, touching both walls on either side, essentially cutting the mess hall in two. The dome had vague swirling shades of blue, pink, and green, much like a dream world portal. When the dome appeared, it pushed everyone back away from its edge. (Wario was unfortunate enough to be standing between a wall and the barrier, so when the barrier pushed him, he went right through the wall, making a large hole.) Everyone stared at the figure inside, not daring to touch the dome. Then, they waved their hands and a small portion of the dome parted on either side. They beckoned for one person from each side of the room to enter. Cautiously, Mario and R.O.B. crept in, one from each side. Then, the figure in the top hat swiped their hand and the dome sealed itself once more. They then pointed at a speaker in the top right corner of the room and spun its hand. The speaker screeched, and a voice shouted,

“3!” The person shook the ends of their sleeves.

“2!” Mario and R.O.B. looked at each other.

“1!” Mario nodded to R.O.B. and R.O.B. spun his arms around into a battle stance. The person glanced from one to the other before chuckling.

“GO!!”

With that, Mario and R.O.B. charged at the cloaked person, ready to fight. However, before they could attack, the intruder vanished in a puff of smoke, then reappeared on the other side of the dome.

R.O.B. skidded to a halt, about to crash into Mario, but Mario leaped over him, then hit the ground running. As he hurtled towards the magician, R.O.B. readied his gyroscope top as the opponent spun his arms in a large circle, twitching his left hand while doing so. Although I shouldn’t have been surprised, I was shocked to see a star-shaped portal open up and the Lor Starcutter shot through the portal. (Yes, the cafeteria is big enough to fit a ship. The amount of people required to keep this place running is ludicrous, so the amount of space needed to feed them is even worse.) I watched in astonishment as the ship almost crashed into Mario. R.O.B. wasn’t so lucky. The hull of the ship barely missed him, but the oars on the side were swinging violently, and all three slammed into R.O.B. as the ship passed through another portal that had opened up.

R.O.B. was propelled into the edge of the dome, where he ricocheted off it and onto the floor, sparks shooting from his… ‘neck.’ (If you can call it that. Meanwhile, Mario was trading blows with the magician, who seemed to know all of Mario’s moves before he made them. Mario leaped into the air and attempted to deliver a powerful punch, but the magician dodged and countered. Mario quickly recovered and kicked in midair, but the magician dodged again, teleported across the room and put their hands together. Then, a yellow orb appeared in their hand, and from the orb, several large platforms quickly floated out and began moving around the dome. The magician then threw the yellow orb at Mario with surprising force. Mario rolled to the side, allowing the orb to hit the ground, but when it did, the ground inside the dome suddenly became yellow, spreading quickly outward from where the orb had been thrown to the ground. Mario and R.O.B., not wanting to find out what would happen if they touched the yellow floor, leaped onto the platforms and attempted to fight their now levitating foe.

“This guy is amazing!” I muttered.

A rattling of some nearby pans alerted me to another presence in the kitchen. I turned and saw Chef Kawasaki cowering behind a stack of trays. It took a moment to register this, but then I realized he was probably in danger here and rushed him out of the room. By the time I came back, Mario and R.O.B. had continued their fight with the magician. As the trio continued the fight, a glow suddenly surrounded Mario, and then R.O.B. Final Smash!I thought. This should be just the edge they need.

Mario leaped into the air and punched at the magician, and R.O.B. spun his arms wildly at him, but the Magician teleported out of the way and hovered a short distance from the platforms. Then, in a strange rush of power, Mario and R.O.B. used their Final Smashes at the same time. But… it gets stranger than this.

Instead of Mario shooting massive fireballs and R.O.B. blasting away with the Robo Beam, R.O.B. converted his body into a pedestal of sorts with weird claw-like clamps pointing out. Mario then back-flipped onto R.O.B., and the clamps grabbed Mario’s arms and legs. With a sudden burst of energy, the claws electrified and Mario seemed to absorb the energy. Rearing back, Mario shouted “LET’S-A-GO!” and thrust his hands forward. With the force of a hurricane and a roaring rumble, electrified fire, swarming colors of a blazing red and shocking blueish white, erupted from Mario’s palm’s, engulfing the magician in a matter of milliseconds. A fierce white glow shone from the raw power of the move, totally enveloping the dome. When the glow died down and silence descended, I peered over the counter to see what had happened.

The dome was gone, with only a few splashes of a queer swirling liquid-esque substance left around the room, and these vanished in a few moments. Smoke was rising from various areas that had been within the dome. Burn marks covered the floors and walls, and few tables and chairs had survived. The blast had knocked everyone back, and Wario was just now climbing out of the hole that he had created earlier.

“What did you losers do now?” he barked.

“Oh, be quiet,” Snake retorted.

Cautiously, I stepped over the counter, and walked to the center of the room, where Mario and R.O.B. stood, looking around at the damage.

“Where we responsible for this?” R.O.B. inquired.

“That was amazing!” I exploded. “How did you do that?!”

Mario simply shook his head and sighed. I noticed his hat was on the floor nearby. I walked over to grab it, but then I noticed something on the floor as well. Etched in the ground was a message. It was glowing a soft orange, and the glow was slowly dimming. It read, “Well played. Perhaps I was a bit too cocky. In any case, you have won the battle, but the war is far from over. You will have much trouble to come, but evacuating will do nothing for you. Staying will be more prudent for all. And besides… no one can hide from him.

And underneath, in flowing eloquent cursive and glowing a soft blue hue, was a signature.

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Hey guys! Thanks for reading the latest entry of World of Plight! I hope you enjoyed it and are excited to find out what occurs next in the story now that a mysterious new foe has appeared. If you have questions for me, have any leads for me in the story, or simply want to chat, head over to the Mario Boards and contact me there.

Hocus pocus diddly doo,

Magolor04726,

Hufflepuff of Hogwarts.

Drawn and Pressed

Written by: winstein (talk)

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Mutts is a comic strip by the author Patrick McDonnell, who is of Irish and Italian-descended heritage. As its name suggests, it was conceptualised as a comic strip about dogs, but eventually other domesticated animals are starred. Having first heard of this comic strip, I had the faintest idea that it was an old comic strip given its similarities with the works of old, so to my surprise when I got a compilation of author-chosen cartoons in the first ten years, I learned that it started in 1994 which is relatively recent. Nonetheless, its brevity and simplicity in its art are both eye-catching.

The first Mutts comic strip.

The comic strip's central animal characters are Earl and Mooch. Earl is the Jack Russell terrier and was introduced first, where he is shown to be under the care of Ozzie, a bachelor. Mooch is the tuxedo cat that was introduced in the strip's second week and is shown to live with an elderly couple Millie and Frank that are neighbours with Ozzie. Together, the two animals form the comic's central characters where their differing personalities play off each other, similar to that of the yin and yang (the default Sunday title panel even portrays them as such). Interestingly, the comic strip was going to mainly focus on Earl while Mooch was basically going to just appear for a week or two, but according to the author, "Mooch wandered into [this] comic strip home and took over"[1]. Indeed, Mooch has a wild personality and a penchant for making snappy remarks so his behaviour practically makes him figuratively the star. It's difficult to imagine if the comic strip is just about Earl, but it would probably be slightly less lively since Mooch has his own brand of energy.

The way new characters are introduced could best be described as organic, because the author doesn't plan for a character rollout within the comic strip's life, which is a valid approach especially if the existing characters are enough to make the strip satisfying. Among the characters introduced gradually, we have: Butchie, the owner of the Fatty Snax Deli, a regular hangout for Earl and Mooch; Bip and Bop, the squirrels who like to throw nuts at anybody unfortunate enough to pass by; Crabby, the cranky crab; Sid the goldfish, who lives with Mooch and wishes to be free; Sourpuss the cat, who is pessimistic (hating Mondays is one notable case; sounds familiar?) and wishes to be left alone; and an unnamed Guard Dog who is intimidating and is perpetually chained in his yard. Given the variety of established characters and not to mention scenarios, the comic strip has a lot of material to work with for decades to come.

An example of a character introduced organically. In this case, Phoebe is introduced as a caged bird that Phillipe loved.

Within this comic strip, there is a very strong focus on animals, despite the presence of humans. In fact, the premise of this comic strip, at least early on, is the world as seen through the eyes of companion animals, which is inspired from the author's wondering on what his beloved Jack Russell also named Earl is thinking, to which Earl is based on[1]. Due to this, the animals in this comic strip are sentient and able to communicate with each other regardless of species. As the author created more comic strips about animals, it provided him a sense of empathy and awareness on them and their situation[2], which is why topics on animal issues such as fur coats and extinction were a natural fit. In fact, one of the things that occasionally happen in this comic strip is the "Shelter Stories", in which an animal is highlighted with a tragic tale as a plea to be adopted. This is to say that the author is a huge advocate for animals having a home with a loving family, and this shone through this comic strip.

One of the things that stands out with this cartoon is the simple yet gorgeous artwork. The simplicity could be found in not only the way the characters are drawn, but also the backgrounds which tend to end up beautiful to look at, especially if the added benefit of colours are involved. The author cited McCay's Little Nemo, Herriman's Krazy Kat, Segar's Popeye, Kelly's Pogo and Schulz's Peanuts as his inspirations[1] for their way of giving life to their stylistic choices with the tools of drawing the comic strip. Indeed, this comic strip evokes a classic comic strip feeling even though it started its run in the 90's. Much like Garfield, on every Sunday we are treated with a unique Sunday title panel, which can include those from various inspirations including the works of Vermeer, van Gogh, Gauguin, Donald Baechler and Ernest Shepard[2] except with the use of the cartoon's characters as the subject of the panels.

An example of a special Sunday title panel, which isn't printed on certain types of papers.

While Mutts is the author's primary body of work, it wasn't his first experience with cartooning. Prior to starting it, he also did some illustrations for magazines and a monthly cartoon named Bad Baby, which did have a collection so it's not totally lost in time. The author basically started Mutts as a sort of beginner, where some of the art was rough around the edges (note the freehand borders in the first comic strip), but as he worked on this comic strip for years to come, he had learned to take the uncertainty of the next cartoon in the never-ending deadlines with stride, allowing the ideas to come to him[3] as he continued his career of over 20 years of cartooning. The author believes the comic strip to be an underappreciated art form that is visual and literal poetry when done right[1]. Moreover, the comic strip's tendency for brevity and directness, owing to their shorter format, is attractive in getting to the heart of the matter, similar to a Zen koan or a parable[4].

On occasion, there would be Shelter Stories with a particular animal's tragic tale.

Because of Mutts' unique position as a cartoon about animals, his work and by extension, himself, McDonnell is recognised as an advocate for animal rights, and so was asked to join the Humane Society of the United States[5] and eventually became part of the Board of Directors. Moreover, the work of Mutts is recognised for its excellence, even gaining a Reuben award in 1999 and winning the Harvey Award for several years. I've already cited the author's inspirations for the comic strips, so I will add that even some of his inspirations recognised his excellence, namely Charles Schulz, who went on to praise the author for his excellent comic strip. The first Christmas comic strip is even given to Schulz, which found its home in the museum of his namesake in Santa Rosa, California. Given the accolades, Mutts is a special comic strip.

The comic strip that ended up at the Charles M. Schulz Museum.

All in all, Mutts is a really delightful and at time profound cartoon, which is worth checking out as it has a little something for everyone, especially if you are an animal lover. It's also inspiring that a work with noble intentions could work as a vehicle for positive change and even change the author's life for the better. It makes me glad to discover this little gem of a comic strip.

Mutts' comic strips can be read at https://mutts.com/shop/strips/. Note that this is a shopping page, but it contains the comic strip's entire run.

Thank you for reading.


References

  1. ^ a b c d The Best of Mutts (pp. 6)
  2. ^ a b The Best of Mutts (pp. 44)
  3. ^ The Best of Mutts (pp. 21)
  4. ^ The Best of Mutts (pp. 117)
  5. ^ Where the Mild Things Are - The New York Times

Site Seeing

Written by: Lakituthequick (talk)

Hello dear readers and welcome to Site Seeing, in which I'll go over some of the websites Nintendo releases to inform the public about their games and series!
Today's edition for this special edition of The 'Shroom is the Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze site. Fitting for this month's theme, in addition to the snowy site, we will actually be time travelling today as well!

Overview

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This site, just like the 35th anniversary Mario website, is divided over a few pages and pages are sometimes subdivided themselves.

We'll start off with the time travelling right of the bat, as this site is not entirely available in its original place anymore. While the subpages are still available at their original URLs, the home page now redirects to a generic game page. Of course, the internet archive wouldn't be the internet archive if it didn't have the home page archived, so we can still view it right here.

On the home page, we see a big hero banner featuring the game logo, and artworks of Donkey Kong on a vine while Diddy, Dixie and Cranky hold onto him, and Funky Kong on his surfboard. Below this, a few positive accolades from the media are shown.
Up next is an image of a Nintendo Switch in which an excerpt of the trailer plays, which invites you to watch said trailer. When you do, a modal opens in which the video should play, but this seems not to work in this archived version.
We then go over to four wooden panels, shortly introducing Funky Kong, multiplayer, the other Kongs, and this episode's enemy crew. Then we arrive at the footer. The main page isn't that large.

The second page, dubbed "Save DK Island" in the top menu, "about" in the code, and "Story" in the page title, has a lot more meat on its bones, which might be why this page is still live and the original front page isn't.
Of course, we get greeted with the big bad of the game, Lord Fredrik, menacingly in the background of the text "Save DK Island". Scrolling down, we see a short summary of why things are so cool around DK Island, as well as a button for a video, which still works.
We are then properly introduced to the Snowmads, the icy villain group of this game, by five artworks of four enemies (including one boss) being shown.
In the next section, the modes of play are being introduced, most prominently of course is the new Funky Mode featuring Funky Kong, the biggest selling point this game adds, including a gallery of the easy features he has. Then, the original mode is shown, albeit with less galore.
Continuing onto the third section, the co-op features of the game are quickly shown, in a feature of a tabletop Nintendo Switch and detached Joy-Con. Following is a section that shows the online leaderboard features.

Nice of Lord Fredrik to send us a postcard, eh Diddy?

The final section shows off a gallery of the different worlds and levels in the game. It does so by showing the locations on postcards you can look through, and features all six main worlds.

Onto the third page, "Meet the Kongs", which introduces all the Kong members. Banana puns galore, we are shown Donkey and Funky Kong as the main features, and Diddy, Dixie, and Cranky Kong as the sidekicks. Each of the characters has artwork, a blurb of their abilities and a video showing them in action.

The last page is the sales page. This one features Tawks on a branch, referencing Funky's Fly 'n' Buy, where you also buy stuff. This page also features the Nintendo Switch cover of the game, and buttons to places where you can buy the digital and physical versions.

If you find all KONG Letters, confetti will fall.

Throughout the site, you can also find the staple KONG Letters from the series. One letter is hidden on each page, and upon finding them all, DK congratulates you and you could collect a bunch of My Nintendo points. This doesn't appear to work anymore, also in part because the original home page isn't available anymore, which makes the K noncollectable by normal means.

Design

As Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a snow and ice themed game, most colours on this site are from a cooler palette, think light blues and whites. Still, more colourful colours are used to represent the colourful cast of Kongs, such as bright red and yellow. Sections on pages alternate between backgrounds made out of ice, a cold jungle backdrop, a very bright yellow scene with palm trees, the Lost Mangroves, or multiple cases of wooden planks. The icy backgrounds come in two variants; a light blue, more traditional image of ice, and a darker variant which streaks of mystical light peek through. The footer of the site has a unique festive snowflake and banana pattern to it.

The pattern of triangles.

Sections are separated by a diagonal divide, making the sections look like they are overlapping and skewed slightly. This design trait isn't used a lot, making this site look more dynamic than if they were straight. The 'upper' sections are edged with a triangle pattern fitting the jungle theme of the series.

Loads of loading with loads of bananas.

Whenever we enter a page, it first needs to load. While it does this, the screen is covered by the tokens of this series, bananas, plus a bouncing DK logo. Upon finishing loading, these rotate and shrink away, just like in the games.

On the home and character pages, many elements are decorated with bushes, sometimes filled with bananas. On the home page, the bushes behind the four panels will even shake a little when you move your mouse over them.

On the home page specifically, the hero banner features an animated background, with clouds crawling by, and upon opening the page, Funky and DK animate in. The four panels each feature an image, a catch phrase, and a button to view more (although you can click anywhere on the panels themselves).

On the about page, the various sections are introduced by a parchment with a title and short intro. This parchment is not entirely unlike the backgrounds used for menus in-game.
The Island Hopping section is especially interesting. The six islands of the game are shown in miniature in six bubbles, and below that is a stack of postcards with screenshots from those islands, post stamped and all. When navigating with the arrow buttons, old cards simply drop down, revealing the next picture underneath. Very creative use of the theme.

The character page is filled in similarly, but on a background with planks. Each character is shown with their main artwork and a video.
The buying page doesn't contain special new elements.

As for other small elements: as one sees on more websites, this site has a back-to-top button at the bottom. On this site this button is a Red Balloon with an upwards arrow on top of it. This same balloon with a downward arrow is also used on the home page to hint at more content under the "fold", meaning the bottom of the screen before scrolling.
Further, modal windows open in a similar parchment frame as some description boxes do. Certain stylised headers are coloured red, white or yellow, with an outline in another one of these colours or blue, and use the Luckiest Guy typeface.

Another dynamic menu.

I must also, again, point out the amazing top menu. The items hang down from vines, and when active or hovered over, they excitingly drop down or pull back up. Can't go wrong with that!

When viewed on a small screen such as a phone, most things will simply be laid out on top of each other. The fancy menu becomes a simple hamburger menu, though it does spice things up by having the options inset into the wood, and Tawks is here as well.

Tech

This part may not be of interest to everyone, or may you even understand any of it. But it can be interesting to some people who are curious about some of the technology used to create this site.

This site is set up relatively simple. It appears to be a handcrafted site, using a few moving elements from a library shared with other Nintendo microsites. No frameworks have been used.

What has been used for a few elements on the site is a suite of libraries called CreateJS. This suite contains libraries to abstract graphics and sound in JavaScript, to be able to quickly build immersive animations. For this site, the TweenJS and EaselJS libraries were used.
EaselJS is used to abstract drawing on a canvas away. On a normal HTML/JavaScript canvas, you have to feed it instructions on what to draw, in the right order, and if you were to change one element on it, you have to redraw the entire canvas again manually. See it as an actual canvas: you draw on it, element by element, and if you want to change something, you have to remove the canvas from your easel and start with a new one. EaselJS allows a developer to define the shapes, and whenever something changes, it makes sure to do the redrawing for them, without them having to think about it. It also supports spritesheets!
TweenJS abstracts animation away, allowing the developer to set keyframes for any property and have the library handle the rest.

Give me a K!

I explicitly noted the support for spritesheets, because these are used to animate the bushes and KONG letters, and of course the letters' containers (the O's ice block, the N's crate, the G's cannon). The library is also used for the menu animations, in which the buttons and leaves are sprites, and the vines are lines that are drawn on the fly.
These elements aren't plentiful, but do add a lot of life to the site.

For the less exciting parts, but noteworthy to make note of, is VideoJS, used for the videos that play in modals. This library makes playing HTML5 videos nicer, for both the developer and visitor, as it handles user interaction better than browsers do, and supports streaming more complex formats.

This website is not hosted on a third party service, as you often see, but on Nintendo of America's own servers in Redmond.

Conclusion

I guess you could say this is a *puts on sunglasses* cool site. It is a few years old now, but doesn't look old and is fairly informative as well. If anything, it loads kinda slow and having those rotating bananas on screen does get old after a few loads. Nevertheless, this is a good site with a bunch of interactive elements, and I hope the rest of it doesn't get taken down soon as well.

And that is the end of this Site Seeing, hope you enjoyed it, and I'll see you again in February. Happy holidays and have an enjoyable new year!

Mario's Boombox

Written by: Hooded Pitohui (talk)

Hello to all of you readers of The 'Shroom, now properly rechristened The Shroob in honor of those great fungal galactic conquerors. To celebrate the conquest of the paper, it is only natural that I highlight an artist who has created a musical tribute to the excellent leader of the Shroob armies, Elder Princess Shroob. To that end, let us delve into the works of Juno Songs, an artist specializing in adding lyrics to music from videogames.

The sun will not set on the Shroobs yet! Or maybe it will...

Right off the bat, Juno establishes the style of his works with "The Final Battle with Lyrics", a take on the battle theme of Elder Princess Shroob that attempts to add words to the unusually-somber final battle theme. Elder Princess Shroob's battle theme stands out, even unaltered, among the final battle themes in the Mario & Luigi series because of its hint of melancholy. Other final battles in the series have high-energy, epic themes with a grandiose tone. They immediately evoke the feeling of a climactic duel, and focus on that world-altering moment itself. Elder Princess Shroob's battle theme looks beyond that moment, at what comes next. Whereas the other songs feel like the rising of a new dawn, with the nature of the coming day being determined then and there, Elder Princess Shroob's theme feels like a musical version of the setting sun, carrying naught but the promise of the end of a day. Does Juno's version of this piece capture that same feeling? He does, but he puts his own spin on it. Rather than make the Mario brothers or their young counterparts the viewpoint characters of this song, he opts to make Elder Princess Shroob herself the singer as she rages against fate and tries to make a final stand against the plumbers opposing her conquest. She vows to stand and destroy the Mario brothers and lead her species in their renewal, but, at the same time, she laments the plight of the Shroobs by noting how many of them have been defeated and sacrificed already and what a sorry state their original, dying world is in. It all comes together for an interesting take on the piece that retains the somber tone of the original piece while adding an element of "fighting against fate in vain." The underlying musical track conveys the message of the song; despite Elder Princess Shroob's words and the way she rages, the end is inevitable and the sun is already setting on the Shroobs.

Juno has been at work for years, though, so he has much more than just a single song from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time to offer. He actually has a sizable number dedicated to those pathetic mushroom heads and turtles inhabiting the Mushroom World. He may not be a Shroob, but Waluigi shares their purple color scheme, and he has two songs. "Waluigi Pinball with Lyrics" recounts Waluigi's experience playing (and trying to cheat at) his own Waluigi Pinball machine, while "Destruction Dance with Lyrics" sees Waluigi hurling lyrical insults at Mario and Luigi to the tune of his signature dance song from Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix. Popple and Rookie perform their own battle theme together (and riff off a certain Robbie Rotten, at one point) as they recount their attempt to steal the Chuckola Cola. In "DooPliss Battle with Lyrics", Doopliss (or, accurately, DooPliss) taunts Mario (or, well, Slick, as he puts it), and even Boom Boom gets to hype himself up through a song. If the high-pitched voice used for Bowser Jr. is something you can tolerate, it's worth giving "Enter Bowser Jr.! with Lyrics" a listen, given how cute it is to hear the Koopa prince eager to impress his father. In June of this year, Juno dropped a cover of Mario Kart 8's N64 Rainbow Road theme in celebration of Pride Month, if you're interested in something not tied to a specific character and want a wholesome Mario-inspired piece. "Ignorance is Bliss" is another cover from Juno with a different focus than highlighting a specific character, though this one has lyrics that weren't made by Juno himself.

The tragedy of Magolor's hubris and greed, now in song form!

If even all of that isn't enough Mario content from Juno for you, then get ready to "hail the Origami King!" Juno has created loosely connected lyrical covers of the battle themes of various members of the Legion of Stationery from Paper Mario: The Origami King, with three (plus a joke one for The Fanged Fastener, Stapler, consisting entirely of dog barks and growls) songs for the collection as of this writing. With each one having the feel of a song from a stage musical, with some spoken dialogue and the interjection of a crowd of Toads watching the battles, it's worth checking out "The Missile Maestro, Colored Pencils with Lyrics", "The Disco Devil, Hole Punch with Lyrics", and "The Elastic Entertainer, Rubber Band with Lyrics". King Olly may be a mere pretender compared to the mighty Shroobs, but his minions have some catchy music to their names.

Juno has given a fair amount of focus to another planet out there in the galaxy, too. Planet Popstar may not be suitable for colonization, given how accustomed its residents have become to responding to threats from far-flung corners of the universe, but its inhabitants have earned themselves a few noteworthy lyrical covers. Some pitiful penguin who fancies himself a monarch has a ten minute medley which weaves together lyrical adaptations of five of his theme songs throughout the series. "Meta Knight's Revenge with Lyrics" recounts the time a masked warrior rallied his followers to rid Dream Land of its lazy habits, complete with capturing the feel of Meta Knight's Revenge by incorporating the same generals who comment on Kirby's progress through the Halberd in Kirby's Super Star. "Under My Control/C-R-O-W-N-E-D with Lyrics" is a double feature which begins with Magolor's battle theme, describing his treacherous plan to take the Master Crown and conquer the world in the first half. By the second half, the battle theme changes as Magolor discovers why even an advanced species like the Shroobs doesn't try to take advantage of matters most dark. Finally, "The Planet-Conquering Traveler (Void Termina Theme) with Lyrics" is a cover of Void Termina's theme which sees Void Termina singing as it tries to lay waste to the world, sees Kirby and his allies singing as they seek to defy the god of destruction, and sees Hyness and the mages working under him providing the chorus.

Moving away from the Mushroom World and Planet Popstar, Juno has produced songs for a variety of games from AAA publishers and indie developers alike. It would be unreasonable to cover them all, so I'll give nods to a few. The slow-paced "Turkey Day with Lyrics" fits the cute, charming vibe of an Animal Crossing holiday, and, coming out only earlier this month, shows that Juno remains active. "Fódlan Winds with Lyrics" is one of a number of Fire Emblem songs that Juno put out in the latter half of 2020, and features Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude rallying their followers and pronouncing their motivations for fighting. The cover of Marnie's battle theme from Pokémon Sword and Shield typifies Juno's approach to his Pokémon lyrical covers. Just as he does by giving Marnie a noticeable accent and delving into her relationship with her brother, Juno gives each cover a unique tone without sacrificing the overall positive messages expected of the Pokémon franchise. The cover of the theme of Mad Mew Mew from Undertale has some elements of a stage musical, with portions of spoken dialogue lifted directly from the game and lyrics which perfectly capture the subtext of the in-game confrontation.

It's not your usual song, you know...

It would be easy to keep listing songs, as these don't even cover all of the standouts, but, as always, the best thing to do is to go and give Juno's music a listen at your own leisure. To do that, take a look at this full playlist of Juno's covers, including all of his videogame covers and a few covers of songs from other media.

Normally, this is where this article would end and you would be free to go off and blast some tunes, but I fear that I might be in for a bad time were I to end the article here. As it turns out, Juno has a storied history with making meme-filled lyrical covers of Megalovania. His joke covers of Sans' battle theme have become a well-known part of his channel, and replace Sans with singers as diverse as Matt from Wii Sports, Waluigi, and the LEGO City Rescue Helicopter. You can likely tell that these are far from serious. He even created a special version featuring various characters taking a turn at singing their own versions of the piece, those characters being ones suggested by fans of his channel. If you feel inclined to look at some of the other variants of Megalovania that Juno has put together, there's a playlist of them.

With all of that information covered, now is a good time to put on the "The Final Battle with Lyrics" and sing out in praise of that brave defender of Shroobs everywhere. After that, you might consider giving all of Juno's other pieces a listen and finding the selection that appeals to you.

The 'Shroom: Issue 165
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Specials Switch It Up!Killing The Killing Game

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