The 'Shroom:Issue 180/Palette Swap

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Director's Notes

Written by: FunkyK38 (talk)

Shroom2017 FunkyK38.png

Happy March, all! Welcome to issue 180!

I don't have much to report- I recently started CrisTales, which I had been looking at for a while before it came out. My friend gave it to me for Christmas and had been asking me if I'd started it yet, so I'm happy to finally have it in my Switch and playing. I think my favorite thing about it so far is the art style, the colors and art are both gorgeous. The voice acting isn't the best I've ever heard but I think it's my preference with the actors and less of a quality issue. But by the time this issue comes out, we'll only have a week until Kirby and the Forgotten Land drops, so I doubt I'll be working on CrisTales for long!

Now that we're settled into a new 'Shroom year, I'd like to add that if you would like to submit art to The 'Shroom, or if you'd like to advertise your art (maybe you have a blog or a website?) you don't have to submit a formal application with the 'Shroom staff. We want to open up Palette Swap for the members of our community to share their art with everyone, so if you have some art that you'd like to have featured, send it in!

This month, our writers really poured their hearts into their sections, and I'm so excited for you all to read them, so I'll let you get to it!

Happy reading!

~FunkyK38

Section of the Month

Last month we had a BIG tie! In first place, we have RubberLuigi's latest short story in RubberLuigi's Reads. Next up, we have a five-way tie for second: Booguette's Koopamon, Magolor04726 (talk)'s World of Plight, Waluigi Time (talk)'s Waluigi Time Comic, winstein (talk)'s Drawn and Pressed, and Lakituthequick (talk)'s Site Seeing. Bringing up the rear, we have Waluigi Time (talk)'s Shmaluigi, Private Investigator. Thank you so much to everyone who voted, and please keep it up for this month!

Palette Swap SECTION OF THE MONTH
Place Section Votes % Writer
1st RubberLuigi's Reads 8 32.00% RubberLuigi
2nd Koopamon 3 12.00% Booguette
2nd World of Plight 3 12.00% Magolor04726
2nd Waluigi Time Comic 3 12.00% Waluigi Time
2nd Drawn and Pressed 3 12.00% winstein
2nd Site Seeing 3 12.00% Lakituthequick
7th Shmaluigi, Private Investigator 2 8.00% Waluigi Time

Art
Think quick to make your escape from these levels!
Eat your greens and you'll grow up big and strong!
That's really not going to help your posture, WT!
Fictions
Good and evil collide!
The end of this case is bananas!
The thrilling conclusion to Mario's first gym battle!

SMMS Logo.png

Written by: Goombuigi (talk)

Greetings, all! It's been a while, but Super Mario Maker Showcase has returned. This time, for good. If you're new to this section, Super Mario Maker Showcase is all about highlighting various levels from all sorts of creators, and explaining why they stand out to me, whether by level design, structure, or creativity. Note that this section will feature some spoilers for the levels, so if you'd like to play them on your own, I'd recommend doing so before reading. Enjoy!
Note: All information present is relevant as of March 12, 2022.

★ Mario Becomes a Doctor ★

Super Mario Bros. Name: ★ Mario Becomes a Doctor ★
ID: W71-1X7-4MF
SMMS 180-1.jpg Creator: Riblet 067
Description: ★ Mario becomes a Doctor and does many jobs. ★
Tags: Themed, Art
Difficulty: Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe


In this level, you get to live through the experience of being a doctor, as the player is tasked with curing patients and ridding them of sicknesses. Mario's first task is to save a Koopa Troopa from viruses (represented by Rotten Mushrooms) by entering his mouth, and hitting POW blocks and ON/OFF Switches to make his way forward and repeat the procedure. His next patient is a Piranha Plant, who Mario needs to refresh by using Mechakoopas' lasers to revive from the graveyard. Afterwards, he needs to feed a Boo a Dry Bones by once again using POW blocks, and lastly, he needs to save his own brother from viral Poison Mushrooms, which attempt to pursue him in a wild goose chase.
Although it is simple in gameplay, this lec stands out for being creative and presenting a spin on the concept of Mario being a doctor. It's like if Dr. Mario was a platformer instead of a puzzle game. Although this level is primarily puzzle-oriented, it makes use of platforming as well, although it isn't very challenging. Overall, Mario Becomes a Doctor is a fun level with an intriguing concept.

Molten Manor [2P Coop]

Super Mario Bros. 3 Name: Molten Manor [2P Coop]
ID: 769-DSB-FVF
SMMS 180-2.jpg Creator: 2P CO-OP ★
Description: Enter the molten Manor. It alters if you bring a friend!
Tags: Standard, Multiplayer Versus
Difficulty: Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe


In Molten Manor, one or two players race against the clock as molten lava threatens to swallow them. The level makes uses of the Frog Suit and the night castle theme, which uses underwater physics. The Frog Suit is fun to use underwater, but if you lose it, the level can turn into a slog with the underwater physics. The course starts with several narrow pathways, in which the player needs to swiftly activate POW Blocks and P-Switches to proceed. Following that is a section where Mario needs to dodge claws, followed by a Snake Block section, followed by a part where he needs to transport springs to activate an ON/OFF Switch. Then, Mario shortly gains the abilities of the Fire Flower to melt ice blocks blocking his way. He then gains a Shellmet, which is used to bounce Munchers in order to proceed. At last, Mario faces off against Wendy, in a decently challenging battle where he needs to activate Bob-Ombs in order to defeat her.
Molten Manor is a hectic level where the player(s) need to act quickly in order to not get caught in the lava below. There are a variety of obstacles, and it can be easy to get stuck if you aren't familiar with them, as that happened to me on several occasions. Once you wrap your head around the various traps and puzzles, though, you have a fun and fast-paced level. Not only that, the level is also available to play for two players, with an altered layout to accommodate them. This layout is mostly similar to the single-player version, but is altered to encourage the players to cooperate in order to conquer the level.

Dungeon Escape

Super Mario Bros. 3 Name: Dungeon Escape
ID: 7GL-PBG-1FF
SMMS 180-3.jpg Creator: Vazkeks
Description: Try to escape from the collabing temple
Tags: Speedrun, Single player
Difficulty: Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe


As the title implies, Dungeon Escape has the player escaping a collapsing dungeon being destroyed by Thwomps. Mario has to race through a narrow walkway with Thwomps from every which way threatening to crush him, before entering a short icy cavern, followed by an area with Skewers. He then emerges into the dungeon below, with his enemies this time being the rising lava and the Bulls-Eye Bills. Then, the player has to ride a vehicle while avoiding flaming Bob-ombs being spewed from pipes. The level then combines lava, Bills and Thwomps in yet another chase, before Mario returns to the overworld. One last chase ensues before Mario can finally reach the end.
Like the previous level, Dungeon Escape requires the player to be on their toes at all times in order to successfully master the course, for one mistake could be the end for them. It is perhaps even more intense than the previous level, for whereas in that one, the player had some time to breathe given they could outrun the lava, here, the Thwomps activate as soon as Mario is within their eyesight, so there is little time to breathe. Dungeon Escape is a fun level, but it's one with little margin for error besides the power-ups and the checkpoint given to the player.

Don't Trust Your Instincts!!

Super Mario Bros. Name: Don't Trust Your Instincts!!
ID: K5J-79B-DLF
SMMS 180-4.jpg Creator: TRK311_YT
Description: WARNING: Mario is mad at you and now he is messing with your mind!!!!!!!!!!
Tags: Puzzle-solving, Technical
Difficulty: Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe


In Don't Trust Your Instincts, the player's instincts are constantly being subverted by the level's puzzles. For example, the first puzzle requires the player to choose the path with spikes that actually do not kill them, the second option has the player choosing the path with seemingly unpassable Munchers, and so forth. As the level progresses, the puzzles become more difficult to solve - at first it's a matter of choosing the seemingly wrong path, then the options begin to widen as more possible paths appear, and the true path becomes harder to get to. Some wild things happen as the level moves on, such as that Big Mario glitches through the wall at one point in order to proceed. The level ends with pulling a bait-and-switch on the player, making them think that they'd have to restart the level, but in actuality, revealing the goal just ahead. Overall, Don't Trust Your Instincts is an unusual level in which the player is doubting every choice they make.

The Purple Polluted Pipes

Super Mario Bros. 3 Name: The Purple Polluted Pipes
ID: 5G8-V5X-DTG
SMMS 180-5.jpg Creator: CreatorBob
Description: These pipes are filled with purple poison
Tags: Multiplayer Versus, Boss battle
Difficulty: Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe Artwork of a Super Star from New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe


The Purple Polluted Pipes, on top of having a name which can be difficult to say five times fast, is a level centred around platforming and pipes. It begins with the player equipping a Frog Suit and avoiding Mechakoopas before being thrown into a battle with Iggy. Following that is platforming with Munchers and Goombas, then a section where Mario needs to avoid the purple poison. It's a difficult section, as it requires the player to quickly traverse the area without getting killed by poison, which is easier said than done, considering that there is barely any safe land to stand on. The player has to wait for the poison to settle down before making a mad dash to the next safe land. Later on, the section gets even harder, with Fire Bars, Boo Rings and Cannons getting in the way. Once the section is over, the player can finally get a chance to breathe as they reach the end.
Although a fairly short level, The Purple Polluted Pipes is very challenging. The beginning of the level is an average difficulty, but things begin to ramp up once the poison comes into play. If you like challenging levels, ones that you might need to replay a few times to beat, I'd recommend to play this one.


And that concludes this month of Super Mario Maker Showcase. I hope you enjoyed reading about the featured levels! If you'd like to submit a level to be featured in this section, whether it is your own or one that you've played, you can submit the name and ID in this thread and it may appear in a future issue. I'll see you next month with more Super Mario Maker 2 levels to showcase!

Drawn and Pressed

Written by: winstein (talk)

PS-PopeyeLogo.jpg

The art of newspaper comics started as early as late 19th century, and some of the highlights of that era were Katzenjammer Kids and Yellow Kid. The generally positive reception of such an art form were maintained for quite a while, and more comic strips started being brought up. Of the comic strips that started in early 20th century, Popeye is a notable case of an enduring icon. Initially, Popeye was not the main character, as the original name that Popeye debuted in was called Thimble Theater. Needless to say, Popeye was the character people loved that eventually, he became the titular character of the comic strip. What is interesting about Popeye is that, despite being created while the medium of comic strips was still in its infancy, it manages to have a long-lasting cultural impact in terms of longevity and global reach, compared to his contemporaries such as The Katzenjammer Kids (1897 - 2006) and Barney Google and Snuffy Smith (1919). Certainly they are older than the debut of Popeye's strip of origin, but not as many people would have known those faces unless they really study their comic strip history. Because of how much history and material Popeye amassed, I don't feel that my article would do justice on how fascinating Popeye is.


The first Thimble Theatre comic strip, before it became Popeye.

As Thimble Theatre, the comic strip was focused on Harold Hamgravy and Olive Oyl, who were recurring characters in different scenarios, therefore it's basically more akin to a gag-a-day comic strip. Later on, Olive's older but shorter brother Castor was introduced and the cartoon would become more of a serial adventure mainly featuring them. On one of their adventures, a sailor with one eye open and bulging forearms by the name of Popeye was hired by Castor because he was the nearest sailor around, and Popeye's awesomeness thanks to the good luck (bestowed by rubbing Castor's Whiffle Hen) struck a chord with the readers that when Popeye left after the adventure was over, reader demand basically gave Popeye more frequent appearances that he even supplanted the first main character Hamgravy and later on the name of the comic strip. In fact, Olive even dumped Hamgravy for Popeye, which made some amount of sense given Hamgravy's lack of faithfulness in their relationship, and thus starts one of the most iconic comic strip couples, and how, given Popeye's faithfulness to Olive and being a slacker. Castor stuck around for a bit to invite Popeye for more adventures, but he too became less frequent overtime (but he's not completely gone). The comic strip also introduced Wimpy down the line, who became a fan-favourite for his wits and his chill attitude, so probably similar to Jughead (if you know who that is), except he's more shameless. Bluto was introduced as a one-off, who got into a long fight with Popeye that lasted a while, but while the animated series would regularly use Bluto as a foil, the comic strip prefers a more varied cast of antagonists, one of which is the regular villain, known as the Sea Hag. Rounding up the main cast is Swee'Pea, a baby who is adopted by Popeye and is generally capable, and later on Jeep was introduced, who is a fictional animal with several powers, given to the Oyl family by a relative.

Popeye as was portrayed by different artists across multiple eras.

Because of how long Popeye lasted, the creators behind the comic will inevitably be changed. The comic was started by E. C. Segar (pronounced "see-gar", and he even includes a cigar in his signature), who laid the groundwork on how the comic evolved. The characters are generally portrayed with notable flaws, which is what made them memorable in the end. For example, Popeye is generally a no-nonsense grouch and sometimes beat other people over trivial matters, and there's Wimpy, who is a shameless lazy and thrifty con-man. E.C. Segar basically based the looks and personalities of the characters on people he remembered from his hometown, including friends, relatives, and even colleagues[1]. Of course, that's not to mention that the characters are generally not lookers themselves, especially Popeye himself, and Olive herself is very much unlike any attractive lady character like Betty Boop. Despite the cartoonish nature of the characters, the flaws and humanity of the characters made them memorable. The next-most memorable creator is Bud Sagendorf (real name Forrest Cowles Sagendorf), who started work on Popeye as an assistant, and in fact the only one, until the death of the original cartoonist at 1938, and while King Features saw fit to have different cartoonists take over the comic strip, he still went on to create new material for comic books. It was only until 1959 that he took over the comic strip, drawing the cartoons for every day until 1986, who was taken over by Bobby London while he continued to do the Sunday strips. After his death, Hy Eisman continued the Sunday duties, which is still something he still does to this day. As for the weekdays, Bobby London certainly had an interesting style for the strip, as he was practically hired to essentially inject the comic strip with new blood. He put Popeye into the then-modern culture, when the comic strip was content with being time-locked. His risk-taking nature was cut short when he made an allegory on abortion in 1992, which prompted the termination of London and caused the strip to host reruns drawn by the previous artist Sagendorf. As you can tell, the reruns certainly lasted for a while, and we are reaching 30 years of recycled material, so hopefully a change could happen eventually.

A cartoon of Popeye's Cartoon Club by Randy Milholland

As Popeye was born in the papers, so to speak, his time in the comics is rather prolific. As mentioned previously, the comic strip that Popeye comes from started in 1919, which runs to this day though it's only the Sundays that got new material. The comics can best be described as being serialised adventures similar to the likes of Prince Valiant or The Phantom, but is of a more cartoonish and comedic fare. It was not originally like this of course, because when it started it was more of a gag-a-day strip where the characters can take up any role as they see fit. One can say that the comic strip found its stride later on when it adopted this format, although the Sundays are still best described as gag-a-day so the format isn't totally abandoned. With that said, not all contributors to the comic are available. While E. C. Segar's works were published in multiple volumes, Bud Sagendorf's works were rerun and Bobby London's works were compiled in a couple of books, some artists like Ralph Stein & Bela Zaboly's works were more obscure, meaning to see a certain era's worth of works, it would require some fans to do the heavy lifting for now. With that said, Popeye did have a few comic book series, which basically allowed for longer forms of stories that the comic strip did not allow. The addition of a comic book series helped to increase Popeye's popularity, since they are generally more collectible and available compared to the staggered comic strips, despite the latter being generally available. It helps that as comic books, they are more-easily archived. A newer comic book series by IDW was published back in 2012 and was written by Roger Langridge with a help of some artists, and the comic series is interestingly styled like the old comic series, giving it an authentially classic look. One of the comic stories even had a crossover with Barney Google!

On Popeye's 90th anniversary, King Features started a new webcomic called Popeye's Cartoon Club, calling back to a section of the comic in the mid 30's. In this feature, different cartoonists offer their own take in the Popeye universe, using different gags but they all share one thing in common: a general appreciation for Popeye as a legacy series. Of the cartoonists, Randy Milholland managed to be the one who continue to draw new material for the strip, not only celebrating his past with references, but introducing some new characters while at it. His take on Popeye must have been liked by the management if he could do new material, but it's still up in the air as to if he would continue the Popeye comic strip, similar to how young cartoonists have a different and modern take on legacy strips like Nancy and Mark Trail.


PS-PopeyeCastOfCharacters.jpg

As Popeye is a very long strip, there are naturally a lot of characters. Going by Wikipedia, E. C. Segar introduced a lion's share of characters, and the runner up for character introduction is the prolific Bud Sagendorf. The cartoons introduced quite a few characters, and the rest, which comprise a small amount, are introduced by the other creators. One of the interesting things about the characters is how, despite the serialised format of the comic strip, has a wide range of characters that are recurring, so those are never truly gone, which makes the extended cast all the more appreciated.

The character of Popeye has already been covered in an earlier paragraph, but there are some interesting tidbits about the character. One of the facts about Popeye is that he has a surprisingly deep backstory for a simple character, such as how he came be one-eyed and how he had a foster father named Whaler Joe in his younger days. Another thing to note is that in Popeye's first-ever story, Olive and Popeye didn't quite like each other, where she criticised Popeye for his looks, and he criticised her for her long feet. Popeye, in the cartoons, is depicted as requiring a serving of spinach to turn the tides, but in the comics, he was already depicted as strong precisely because of his diet of spinach, meaning that there is (usually) no emergency rations in the comic. It was basically a simple reply when he foiled General Bunzo's army, but the directors of the animated features saw potential in the regular use of spinach as a way to wrap up plots. Popeye has a couple of prominent family members, one being his similar-looking father named Poopdeck Pappy, who is less cultured and grouchier than Popeye, and the other being his Granny, who is the mother of Pappy, which makes her quite old, but still very much sprightly though not great with cooking. In the cartoons, he has four nephews Peepeye, Poopeye, Pupeye, and Pipeye who are basically diminutive versions of Popeye, which might have been made in response to the popular trend of giving a main character nephews, no doubt inspired by Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

Beyond the six main characters of Popeye, Olive Oyl, Wimpy, Bluto, Swee'Pea, and Jeep, there are several other characters who are not as regular as the main cast, but are nonetheless still memorable and part of the colourful cast in Popeye. For one, Olive has a family who have punny names themselves, which not only include her quick-witted but diminutive older brother Castor Oyl, but also her parents Cole Oyl and Nana Oyl. Another prominent character to be featured is the Sea Hag, who is basically a witch and a pirate, and is a more regular foil for Popeye in the comics thanks to his nautical profession. She has a pet vulture Bernard, and an army of Goons, which are humanoids where parts of their bodies are hairy, and one of them defected and is known as Alice the Goon, who became a part-time babysitter to Swee'Pea. To play off Wimpy's scamming ways, there are two characters who played off him: Rough House the cook who runs a local restaurant, who dislikes Wimpy for his tendency to mooch for free meals, and George W. Geezil, a cobbler who has a laser-focus hatred for him. Rounding up a few other characters are King Blozo, who is the ruler of Spinachovia and is a worrywart for being put into a position of ruling a kingdom, as well as Toar, a millennia-old caveman whose source of immortality is from a water of eternal life, and Oscar, who is strictly a side character and thus appears whenever he's needed, like accompanying Popeye on his adventures. There is also occasional appearances of the Professor O. G. Wotasnozzle, who is a professor who invents but his inventions have some side-effects or drawbacks, and though he comes from a backup series Sappo, his unique role might have been the reason he's written into some Popeye stories. Of course, there are more characters that are not covered here, but these should give you a rough idea on how vast the cast of Popeye is, something that is hardly covered in the more famous adaptations like the theatrical shorts.


One of the highlights in Popeye's career is as an animated series, which is still one of the main ways for many to be familiar with the character and is responsible for elevating Popeye's popularity to great heights. His debut cartoon, Popeye the Sailor, was produced by Fleischer Studios, and was billed as a Betty Boop cartoon as a means to introduce the character more widely. It introduced the basics that would be used for many cartoons to follow: Popeye and Bluto would be vying for Olive Oyl's attention, and when Popeye gets the upper hand, Bluto would use force to get Olive and would need Popeye's help, and with his trusty spinach to get the boost, he saves the day. The proliferation and generally well-liked animated shorts is the cause of Popeye's rise to fame, and it is helped by having three longer shorts based on other stories that were also generally great, one of them being Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor which was groundbreaking in its use of animation techniques. His animated career continued throughout the second World War, where he took on a navy and wore a white sailor uniform, a change that lasted until the early 70's. Moreover, the theatrical shorts around that time were produced by Famous Studios instead, which was basically the same studio, but reorganised due to the firing of the Fleischers. A series of cartoons were made for television during the 1960s, where a different style was used and certain characters from the comic strip were used, including King Blozo and the Sea Hag. Bluto's name was also changed to Brutus, as a result of a misunderstanding on who had the rights to the name until it was made clear that Bluto can indeed continue to be used. Even outside TV, different names referring to the character were used to get around not using "Bluto"[2]. After all, Bluto was originally used once in the comics but much more frequently in the cartoons, so it's easy to understand the confusion on who owns the character. The names kind of stuck, which is why even in the comics, the different names are justified as belonging to twins, meaning that Bluto and Brutus are kind of interchangeable and a few times, they appear together.

This short would be the inspiration for Donkey Kong.

As mentioned, Popeye wore a white sailor uniform until the 70's, and the first cartoon to revert Popeye back to his signature dark blue shirt, red neckerchief and light blue jeans is in Popeye Meets the Man Who Hated Laughter, a crossover between the many comic strips by King Features, where some of them were animated for the first time. It's very cool to see the many characters interact, akin to something like Super Smash Bros. where the various Nintendo characters got to be in the same place. The All New Popeye Hour was produced by Hanna-Barbara, which interestingly follows the comic strip's stylings more closely, such as the character designs (save for notably Popeye's cap) and reverting to the Bluto name. A second animated series by the same company was produced, which is Popeye and Son and features Popeye and a new character called "Popeye Jr." that hardly look like either Popeye or Olive. That series was meant to be a sort of reboot for Popeye that notably excised Swee'Pea, and this would have affected the comics but the then-current cartoonist smartly declined, and so the idea of a reboot was out of the picture. Beyond The Popeye Show (2001) which reruns the theatrical shorts but with added commentary, Popeye has a web series that started in 2018 called Popeye's Island Adventures, and it notably depicted the characters as younger. It is considered to be lacking as an adaptation, due to not using certain characters, lack of talking (except grunting), and the lack of violence that Popeye is known to use.

A live-action film adaptation of Popeye was also made during 1980, which notably features the late Robin William as the titular character, and lifted material from the comic strip, including the plot of Popeye searching for his long-lost father. While the film was indeed profitable, the expectations were not met probably because of how Popeye is a major property. Moreover, the film was not appreciated at the time because it was different from how the Fleischer/Paramount cartoons portrayed the characters, which had the consequence of being disowned by some of the film's creators, despite some of the positives like the acting. There is a CGI-animated film in 2004 called Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy, which as you can guess, it's about Popeye finding his long-lost father. One of the notable things about the film is how Bluto is portrayed as Popeye's buddy, though the Sea Hag is still the villain. As you can guess for a made-for-TV film around this time, the CGI is not so advanced. Interestingly, this special was going to be a claymation, but for financial reasons, it went to a different company to be animated differently. In terms of a future film involving Popeye, one was planned to be helmed by Genndy Tartakovsky, but he was off the project, then the film itself changed hands a few times, and then eventually Tartakovsky was brought back. As no word was last heard regarding this film since 2020, the status of it is currently unknown.


The best and most well-known Popeye video game.

One of the most famous moments with Popeye in the domain of video games is as a footnote on how it indirectly spawned the Mario series, since King Features rejected Nintendo's proposal to use their characters for the development of a video game to save the business. The central characters Popeye, Olive, and Bluto were substituted with Mario, Donkey Kong, and Pauline in Donkey Kong. Given how Mario is specifically designed around the limitations of the arcade machines, it would be interesting to see how Popeye would have looked like if he were used instead. The inspiration for the construction site setting in Donkey Kong is from a Popeye short A Dream Walking, which is basically about Olive sleepwalking all the way to a construction site, where Popeye and Bluto raced to save her[3]. After Donkey Kong was an overnight success that also surprised Nintendo, King Features gave Nintendo the blessing to develop a Popeye video game, which was released in 1982. Unlike Donkey Kong where the objective is to reach the top and to save Pauline, the objective of Popeye is to catch the falling objects that came from Olive while keeping out of Bluto's way. Given Nintendo's proven game designing skills and Popeye's strong licensing, the game can be considered a success[4]. Uniquely, the logo for the arcade game utilises a similar logo to the Popeye magazine instead of the standard Popeye logo. It eventually got an NES/Famicom port where the graphics are less detailed compared to the arcade's, and later on an edutainment game for the Famicom about English came in 1983, but only in Japan, which is not too dissimilar to Donkey Kong Jr. Math. Popeye even has a Game & Watch game released in 1981 where he must catch goods thrown by Olive, while avoiding Brutus' mallet. It plays similarly to Parachute, but with the danger of Brutus. Do note that although Nintendo developed Popeye games early on, they did create certain products with the branding before they delve into video games, such as playing cards and curiously, food seasoning[5].

Beyond Nintendo's efforts with Popeye games, his other video games are unfortunately not as remarkable, despite the prestige and reputation of Popeye. Some of them are serviceable like the Game Boy games, or mediocre like the Game Boy Advance game Rush for Spinach, or even lacking like the 2021 video game also called Popeye. The worst of it has to be the pinball game called Popeye Saves the Earth, which has some odd design choices, dubious use of the Popeye license in relation to the theme (it's about saving the environment), and being an expensive game that does not meet demand[6]. One of the positives for Popeye's non-Nintendo games is a game called Popeye: Ijiwaru Majo Seahag no Maki (Popeye: The Tale of Seahag the Wicked Witch), which is interesting because it employs the extensive cast of Popeye that not many cartoons or even games usually use, and it's a shame that there is no English release for that game due to its cancellation (another Popeye game for the SEGA Genesis was also cancelled). The game itself is a hybrid board game and platformer, where rolling the wheel allows Popeye to move on the map, and he needs to travel to certain levels to retrieve hearts to de-petrify his friends. In his journey, he might even battle against Bluto or certain challengers like Bolo or Ox on the map.


A sign of things to come?

Because of how Mario is a result of a failed attempt to use the Popeye license, I cannot help but draw some parallels between the two series. For one, both of them debut in the infancy of their respective mediums and managed to retain their popularity and have expanded creative works throughout the years, something a lot of their contemporaries generally did not succeed in. Like yes, Oregon Trail was an old work, but every game in that series is basically similar to the original. It also features main characters who are initially not the titular characters, but their general memorability made them the main star later on, and it stuck. Also, the main characters are generally not lookers, as they have a strong cartoonish appearance that made them stand out very well, even after the years. It also helps that when Mario was first established, the dynamic was lifted from Popeye, who has a love interest Olive Oyl and a strong regular foil Bluto, and their contemporaries are Pauline and Donkey Kong respectively.

Despite the clear parallels set up in the first Donkey Kong arcade games, the characters are definitely not wholesale copies of the originals. For one, while Popeye has a strong sense of justice and is willing to help those in need like Mario, Popeye is also grouchy, whereas Mario is generally cheerful. Bluto may want to always one-up Popeye, but Donkey Kong does not really have a need to do that and was basically acting on instinct and impulse, although they still went to kidnap the girlfriends of the main characters. While Princess Peach is clearly Mario's primary girlfriend currently, similar to how Olive is Popeye's girlfriend, Peach has a few parallels with King Blozo, who is royalty in a kingdom named after a food (Mushroom Kingdom for Peach, and Spinachovia for Blozo) and is generally portrays as being in distress that requires the hero's help (Bowser's kidnappings for Peach, and kingdom disarrays for Blozo), and a bit in common with Popeye, whose main role replaced the original character, meaning that, Pauline, like Ham Gravy, was the original character but was replaced by another for the same role.

I have asked a fellow Mario Wiki user on how Mario is managed better compared to Popeye especially because the latter is generally less relevant, and his response is that the ones who managed Popeye were not able to adapt to the changing times, which is the case for many properties like Felix the Cat and Betty Boop. Additionally, since the property is owned by a syndicate that manage comic strips, there is less incentive to make new works when the merchandise does the heavy lifting in profits. This is in contrast to Mario, who has the distinction of being owned by a business that favours creators, resulting in a lot of works that can keep fresh, as evidenced by the unique way each game under his name is designed, and their management style even leads to interesting things like the LEGO Mario series. Moreover, Mario has the capability to allow for imaginative scenarios and settings, which ties into the strong exploration aspect the Mario games like to do. Popeye may have the ability to travel across the sea, but the aesthetic and premise is more or less set in stone that it might be difficult to keep fresh.


Popeye's statue in Chester, Illinois

As a cultural phenomenon, Popeye has a profound effect that is best felt in the previous century. For one, Popeye's favourite food and source of strength is spinach. As a result of this, the spinach industry experienced rising fortunes as there is a higher interest in the vegetable. In addition to this, children are inspired to eat spinach because of how it benefited Popeye, which goes to show how effective role models can be in media. Popeye is even considered a precursor to the genre of superhero comics, no doubt due to his superhuman strength and resilience that became some of his signature traits. Even in Superman, a direct parallel to Popeye "Captain Strong" was introduced to have the two technically meet each other. There is even a dance named after Popeye around the 50's and the 60's, aptly called the "Popeye dance". One of the fun facts about Jeep is how the animal inspired the naming of the vehicle of the same name. The vehicle was referred to as a "GP" (Government Purposes / General Purpose), but it was slurred into "Jeep", which was basically coined from the Popeye character. Goon is another word that comes from the strip, as while it was not the first time the word was made, its definition as a "hired thug" came from the strip, where the species are basically large and strong humanoids that are used by the Sea Hag. It goes to show how influential comic strips if universally-used new words come from them, whereas video games do not have something like it.

In Japan, there is a line of magazines named after Popeye in Summer 1976, mainly because the creator's young son was a fan. Contrary to what Popeye is about, the magazine is a fashion and lifestyle magazine that targets young men, and is the first of its kind in Japan. There is even a magazine called Olive which is basically for young women instead, and then there's one named after Brutus! It's rather wild that a line of magazines are named after the main characters but are not strictly about them. It's wilder that it's still running to this day, since it is easier to assume that such a trendy use of a character name would make its use more temporary. Similarly, the fast food chain "Popeyes" is not related to the sailor man, and the name is likely coincidental, but that did not prevent him from being used as a mascot for a limited time. Popeye's even a subject for a few pop art, such as Andrew Warhol's "Saturday's Popeye" and "Popeye" (1961) by Roy Lichtenstein. Much like the hometowns of the brainchildren of Peanuts and Garfield, E. C. Segar's hometown (Chester, Illinois) has statues bearing the image of his characters. While Popeye was the first to be erected in 1977, the other characters would follow much later, starting in 2006, with Wimpy being the first of them all[7]. As far as I know, the line up is not done. What I have mentioned so far are but a few examples on how Popeye has a global impact, which is to say that there are still a good deal of ways that Popeye made an impact, like for example, in film and indirectly, video games.


It is no doubt that Popeye has a very interesting history and a lot of works associated with the characters, but it is not a secret that Popeye himself is not in the spotlight, since unlike the past century, he's not everywhere like he used to be, unlike his fellow comic strip mates Peanuts and Garfield, who still enjoyed worldwide popularity even in this day and age. That does not diminish the fact that there is a love for the character in the past, because the greatest works associated with the character can still be enjoyed in some form, and a good thing too, since a lot of the works of the yesteryear tend to get lost in time. As to my opinion, I didn't really think of Popeye that much, but it is only when I learned about how there's more to Popeye other than the guy who eats spinach to save Olive from Bluto, it becomes much more interesting. Given how the generation is able to easily take in more complex plots and lore, perhaps the extended universe of Popeye could be better appreciated this time around.

Popeye comic strips: https://comicskingdom.com/popeye
Popeye timeline: https://popeye.com/timeline/

Thank you for reading.


References

Waluigi Time Comic

Drawn by: Waluigi Time (talk)

WTComic-BedTime.png

World of Plight

Written by: Magolor04726 (talk)

Storming the Castle
By Magolor04726

“Hey Gary, I’ve been thinking…” “On a weekend?” “Well, it wasn’t on purpose, but I was thinking, maybe, I don’t know, I might retire or something.” “Woah, what?” “Yeah, spend some time with the missus and whatnot.” “Dude. We’ve gotten to see the craziest places in the world and you want to-.” “Gotcha!” “Oh. Ha. Good one.”

And then, right in the middle of that fascinating conversation…

*KNOCK KNOCK*

“Not it!”

“Ah, whatever.” Po lazily set down his lantern, stretched, scratched his head, and pressed his ear to the door. “Who’s there?”

“Falcon!”

“Falcon wh-.”

“PUUNNCH!!”

In a flash of flame, the giant doors flew off their hinges, knocking Gary and Po to the floor, as well as bringing down a considerable amount of the overhead archway.

Po replayed the scene in his head as he lay on the floor. “Punch? That doesn’t even make any sense.”

“Yeah, worst ‘punch’ line ever. Up top!”

“No, just… no.”

“Aw, come on, that was funny!”

“… are you done?” Little Mac asked.

“Oh. Right. Intruders.”

“Should we push the alarm button?” Gary asked.

“We should. Except-”

“Here, I’ll get it.”

“But-”

“I got it, I got it.”

“But-”

“But what?”

“The button was on the door.”

“Right, the door-”

Gary looked at the piece of metal lying on the floor.

“Oh. That door.”

“Ahem.” Fox interjected. “So, are you going to stop talking, or should we go?”

Gary and Po looked at each other. “Well, we could do this.” Gary suggested. Opening his mouth, he began to shout, “ALARM! ALARM!”

“INTRUUUUUUDEEEEEEERS!!!” Po chimed in.

“OK gentlemen, that’s enough.” Snake said, grabbing the two around their necks (I still don't know how he managed that) and laid them on the floor. They didn’t move.

“Y-you killed them!” I exclaimed.

“They’re just unconscious,” Snake replied, “Now let’s go before-”

Too late. Hordes of minions swarmed into the room. I recognized many of them, but some were off in a way. Some had sprouts coming out of their heads, others had glowing red eyes, and still others were spitting purple gas, the dangerous sign of Malatone Formula :X.

“Oh my.” I said, piloting the drone higher, only to bring it right back down as mind-controlled Magikoopas, brain-washed Boos, and other hypnotized henchmen hurried through openings in the ceiling.

“Eeeyah ha ha ha ha!”

Mario looked around in alarm, scanning the motley minion horde before us. “I know that laugh…” he muttered.

Then someone in a red cloak rose from the renegade ranks on a hover platform. The figure threw off his cloak to reveal a short green man in a pink jumpsuit. It was none other than-

“FINK RAT!” Fawful screeched. “We have the agains of meeting, but this time, Fawful has the might of the minion masses, and Red Stache has the missings of Green Stache!”

Ryu blinked. “Did any of you guys catch a word of that?”

“That’s-a Fawful,” Mario explained. “Luigi and I fought him a couple of times.”

“YOU WILL HAVE THE SURRENDERING TO LORD FAWFUL OR YOU WILL HAVE THE CRUSHINGS!!!” Fawful screeched.

Then a black line appeared to draw itself out of thin air, and in a flash, there stood-

“Now, now, Fawful, you must remember I have a bone to pick with this one as well.” Dimentio said.

“Is anyone not here?” Simon asked.

“Not really,” Dimentio said with a wry smile. He snapped his fingers, more lines appeared, and instantly, King Boo, Gooper Blooper, Ganon the Demon King, Queen Sectonia, Dr. Wily in the Wily Capsule, and other villains appeared.

Suddenly, a thought struck me. “Wait a minute, Waluigi was never the one stealing the burritos or the hospital equipment, was he? It was you guys!”

“He finally catches on, this one.” Dimentio drawled.

“It makes sense. Both were simply disappearing and Waluigi couldn’t have gotten all that out on his own. I… honestly have no words. You’re all working for Fawful?” I asked.

“Of course not.” A voice scoffed. The crowd parted like the Red Sea and in came the mystery robot from the secret passage. He was wearing a tux, of all things. “They work for me. Brilliant as Fawful may be, he couldn’t hope to pull this off on his own. I don’t think I ever introduced myself,” he said, adjusting the hem of his sleeve, “I am Metal Jaw, right hand man to Azcron, also known as your doom. You will surrender right now, or we will have to take you by force.”

“I cannot afford to lose!” Marth shouted, and surged forward, blade drawn.

Instantly, a torrent of noise erupted from every corner of the room.

“ATTACK!” Metal Jaw yelled.

“Let’s-a-go!”

“Falcon!”

“Showtime!”

“PIKAAAAA!”

As one, Good and Evil collided, fists flying, swords shining, blasters blaring and the room descended into chaos.

Shmaluigi, Private Investigator

Written by: Waluigi Time (talk)

ShmaluigiPrivateInvestigator.png

Termination Notice: Part 2

Well, one thing's to be expected in this line of work, and that's that you can't really expect anything. An ordinary trip to the grocery store can turn into a life-or-death situation where you're helping one of your worst enemies escape from being gunned down by an assassin droid just like that. Or maybe these kinds of things only happen to me...

After a chase through the aisles of JojaMart that felt like it went on forever, IG-11 was seemingly out of commission, crushed under a pile of Joja Cola boxes in the storeroom. Now it was time for the moment of truth.


I cautiously lifted one of the boxes off of IG-11 to inspect the damage. Thankfully, there seemed to be no signs of life, or artificial life, as the case may be.

"Shmaluigi thinks it's over..."

"Thank goodness that criminal intruder was so effectively taken out of commission. The damage to our merchandise was not ideal, but I believe you're entitled to a glowing evaluation otherwise, Mr. Shmaluigi," Mr. Morris said with relief, "It would be irresponsible of me to fail to address this matter, so I must ask, do you have any information on this criminal's identity, Mr. Shmaluigi?"

"That was IG-11, an assassin for a powerful mafia. Shmaluigi thinks he works for hire too."

"A hired assassin targeting me on behalf of an organization operating outside of the law? That's a preposterous sentiment! Ever since arriving here, I have worked day and night to contribute to the regional economy by delivering job opportunities and affordable prices. My work may go unappreciated, but surely it hasn't earned me ire. What would compel anyone to target me?"

"Well Mr. Morris, if Shmaluigi had to guess, someone doesn't like you. Shmaluigi can't imagine how that could have possibly happened," I said, with as heavy a dose of sarcasm as I could manage. "Now if you'll excuse Shmaluigi, he's going to try and find his groceries and leave."

"Wai-Wait, just one moment, please. Mr. Shmaluigi, you more than anyone should be aware that it is my job to seek out partnerships that will enrich our family. Expertise is not a resource to be squandered. Those who fail to acquire outside expertise fall behind.

You, Mr. Shmaluigi, are the only individual I know who has the investigative experience required to handle this situation. I fear we may spend ages reviewing other detectives before we find one with your qualifications. I can offer you a generous sum from my own pocket, if you would take the case."

I didn't know if he knew it or not, but I could see Mr. Morris shaking as he spoke. He kept a level voice for a man being hunted, but I finally had a chance to see what it looks like when Mr. Morris isn't in control of a situation. It was almost cathartic after what happened during our last encounter...

"There is more than a windfall in this for you, as well. When we have made it to the bottom of this mystery, there is no obstacle so large as to be insurmountable when it comes to publicizing your good deed. Even if not all of the details can be published - I shudder to think what the corporate office might say if our protocol violations become widespread knowledge - I will ensure you are recognized as the hero you are. What do you say to a man with his life on the line, Mr. Shmaluigi? Do we have a deal?"

Well, it looks like saying I'd never work with Mr. Morris again was coming back to haunt me, and a lot sooner than I'd anticipated. I hated the idea, but this sort of thing is in my wheelhouse after all, and having people running around hiring assassins isn't exactly something I want to overlook. Looks like I had no choice...

"Alright, fine, Shmaluigi will do it. Okay, so, we're probably going to need to get into this thing's data for clues. Help Shmaluigi get it into a shopping cart, will you?"

"Mr. Shmaluigi, I know this is an important matter, but, we cannot make violating rules and protocol a habit. JojaMart shopping carts must stay on store property! Any that are taken must be replaced, and replacements apart from our annual order will come out of paychecks."

I sighed in frustration. "Shmaluigi can already see this partnership is going to be great. Look, if you don't want to lend Shmaluigi the shopping cart, you're free to carry this thing on your back the whole time."

"Perhaps we can make one more exception, on second thought. That frog has, I understand, accumulated enough write-ups to qualify for a small deduction from his pay, after all."

"Mhm. Shmaluigi thought so."

After we got IG-11 loaded into a shopping cart, I paused, coming to a realization that we may have been under-equipped for this.

"Erm, do you have a way to get into its data? Because Shmaluigi doesn't," I asked Mr. Morris.

"The corporate offices do have advanced computer systems which are capable of extracting and analyzing the data, or so I'm led to believe by the head of our IT department. We could use those computers..."

"Oh, that's great-"

"...were it not for company policy barring us from plugging unknown external drives into our networks. I would grant you an exception this one time, but more members of our family than myself would have sway at the corporate offices, and they may not be as accommodating of a stranger plugging a criminal into our network. I apologize for the inconvenience."

I couldn't tell if his apology was a rehearsed line, or if there was a hint of sincerity in his voice. At least most of the time you could tell he was only regurgitating corporate lines. Those rare times you could hear some humanity in Mr. Morris' voice disturbed me the most because you could never tell where the man ended and the manager began. It almost made me want to shudder, thinking about it too much. Best to move on.

"Hm... And Shmaluigi's not sure about the NWPD, killer robots were never really our thing. Maybe that Lakitu at The 'Shroom can help, Shmaluigi hears he's really good with this kind of thing."


I rolled the shopping cart through the front door of The 'Shroom's headquarters, where we were quickly greeted by a bespectacled Toad, the notorious shill Wright Forde 'Shroom. He didn't seem too concerned about the deactivated robot we were bringing in, rather, he was laser-focused on promoting the paper.

"Greetings, fellows! Would you by any chance be interested in joining the writing team of The 'Shroom? It would mark an excellent opportunity for you! The 'Shroom is always willing acquire fresh writers, regardless of their experience."

"Oh, well, we-" I tried to interrupt him, to no avail.

"You may feel like your writing skills are not up to the standard of The 'Shroom, but do not despair, for The 'Shroom has positions suitable for practically everybody. As long as a topic that you are passionate about exists, you have the materials necessary to make an exquisite article!"

"Ah, listen, Mr. 'Shroom, we have some important business right now. Maybe some other time. Could you tell us where Mr. Lakituthequick's office is?"

"Certainly. His office is located on the third floor of the building."

"Thank you, much appreciated."

"Very well, farewell. Please spread the word around, for new writers would always be wonderfully handy for The 'Shroom to have."

We went on ahead, boarding the elevator which didn't have nearly as much personal space as I would have liked, considering the company I was with. It didn't take a detective like me to deduce that this wasn't designed with shopping carts in mind.

As I examined the elevator buttons, I realized that there was no option to go up to the third floor. "The elevator only goes up to the second floor?! Shmaluigi's going to need a word with whoever designed this..." I pushed the button, thinking about how I would manage to get this shopping cart up the stairs.

While we waited for the elevator to reach the second floor, Mr. Morris piped in. "That bespectacled Toad, wasn't he charming? You don't often see such strong values and loyalty to an institution. Yes, he would make a useful asset. If only he were employed by a more ambitious organization. You can see, Mr. Shmaluigi, his potential, yes?"

"Yeah, sure," I said. I wasn't sure if it was just because it came out of Mr. Morris' mouth, but that seemed oddly ominous.

We arrived at our destination - or at least a floor shy of our destination - and got off of the elevator. Now it was time to push a shopping cart up an entire flight of stairs... Fun. I considered making Mr. Morris do it, but knowing him, we'd get to the top and then it would end up tumbling back down the entire way like some old slapstick film. Nope, this was up to me.

"Well, here goes nothing," I mumbled.

After an excessive amount of clanking, I finally got IG-11 up to the third floor with no issues. Although, with all the noise we made, I'd be surprised if everyone in the headquarters didn't hear us. We turned down the hallway, and sure enough, there was the Website Manager Office. I knocked on the door and waited for an answer.

"Come on in!"

I opened the door and went inside. "Mr. Quick?"

"Hey there, detective Shmaluigi, what a pleasant surprise," Mr. Quick welcomed us in, holding a cup of coffee. I assumed he got it from somewhere else, considering the disturbing lack of coffee in The 'Shroom's vending machines. "Were you making all of that noise?"

"Oh, um, yeah, that was us, heh heh..."

"To what do I owe this visit of you and Mr...?" Mr. Quick looked at Mr. Morris inquisitively.

"That would be Morris, sir. It's a pleasure to meet you. Oh, and thank you for your service. I've been assured that IT specialists are of critical importance to most business operations, and I'm certain you not one of those types who would withhold vital information from a team for your own job security."

"We were wondering if you could help us with a little problem?" I asked, getting us back on track from Mr. Morris' rambling, "We need to get some data from this robot's memory banks, but, um, neither of us really know how to do that. Long story short, there was an assassination attempt and now we have to figure out who hired this guy."

"Unfortunately, this is a rather urgent matter. Time is of the essence, so please do live up to your name and make this process quick," Mr. Morris interjected.

"You'll have to excuse Shmaluigi's client, he's very impatient. And annoying."

"Right, right. Yes, I can see what I can do," Mr. Quick agreed, looking at Mr. Morris with a raised eyebrow.

The three of us lifted IG-11 out of the shopping cart and set him down on the floor. Mr. Quick started opening some panels and plugging cords into different places, and to be honest, I'd be lying if I said I understood anything he was doing, but he's the expert here.

"Okay, let's see..." Mr. Quick mumbled, "If I just... hmm... murder bots use EXT4, huh... and if I grep here..."

I had no idea what he was talking about, for all I know he was making it up. It sounded good, though.

"Verdorie." Mr Quick looked up from his screen. "Some sort of heavy encryption is at play here, I'll need a bit of time to figure out exactly which. Can I call you when I know something?"

"Sure thing, thanks for the help."

"Wait just a moment, Mr. Shmaluigi. Are you suggesting we sit idly and lean on the metaphorical counter? We can find work in need of doing if we look. I'm certain of it. Perhaps this-"

I turned toward Mr. Morris and noticed that he was reaching for one of Mr. Quick's pieces of equipment, clearly eager to push some buttons. Internally, I was panicking a bit, expecting Mr. Morris to unintentionally flub something up with this complex equipment and destroy our only lead in the case, or to blow up the entire 'Shroom headquarters with us inside, something disastrous like that.

"Come on Mr. Morris, let's leave Mr. Quick to his work," I said, grabbing the collar of his suit and dragging him out of the office.

"Pleasure meeting you too!" Mr. Quick called after us.


After wrapping up our business at The 'Shroom HQ, we went back to my office. I had hoped to get some other work done while waiting for an answer from Mr. Quick, but I was far too distracted by Mr. Morris incessantly pacing back and forth across the room.

"Would you sit down already? Or go somewhere else, maybe?" I snapped.

"You have a... quaint office, Mr. Shmaluigi. This space must be... free of distractions, as economical as it is," Mr. Morris replied as he continued to wander around the office, looking at various objects. Eventually, he approached the dartboard I had with a picture of his face tacked onto it. Not sorry.

"My, Mr. Shmaluigi, your taste in decoration is unique. Have you been trading interior decor ideas with the cashiers at our New Wikisburg location? This reminds me of the pincushion doll with my face affixed that I found hidden in the staff breakroom."

It seemed Mr. Morris insisted on making idle conversation regardless. Hopefully Mr. Quick called soon, because I wasn't going to get anything done at this rate.

"Oh, that. Shmaluigi's had it for a while. Gotten some good use out of it..."

"I see..." Mr. Morris seemed bothered for a moment, and rightly so, not that I really cared. He quickly moved on as the picture of myself with Detective Fulbright and Mr. Goose caught his attention.

"Are these former associates? Or, oh, yes, my apologies, I see now that this must be a former associate and a mascot. Do you still regularly contact him? I'm to understand that most private investigators have a tragic backstory, as it were. Is this your own, a story of a partner who betrayed you? Or might there be a case which went unsolved? A woman in your life who left you behind and unable to move on?

If so, I should remind you, Mr. Shmaluigi, that, while we may disagree on what methods are proper and necessary, I am a man who honors the deals I make. My hands may be tied in many ways, but there are some resources which I can offer you. An entire database of family members employed with us and who have purchased our membership, connections to numerous suppliers, links with financial institutions are all within reach. I'm certain I could call you an advertiser looking to buy information and get you a lead, if there is... perhaps... someone you find yourself desperate to track down in the future."

I wondered how Mr. Morris' statement could hit so close to home and yet be completely wrong at the same time. "What? No, this is from an investigation in Rogueport some time ago. That's Detective Fulbright and Mr. Goose, two of the finest investigators Shmaluigi's had the honor of working with. We sure stomped that mafia to bits..."

Reminiscing about the Rogueport case made me wish I was hanging out with one of those two instead of being stuck here with Mr. Morris. Actually, I'd rather be hanging out with just about anyone else than Mr. Morris.

"You enlisted the aid of a goose when you investigated that grimy port town? You're not lacking in surprises, are you, Mr. Shmaluigi?"

Mr. Morris continued to look around, but thankfully, my phone rang before he could strike up more small talk. Even if it wasn't Mr. Quick, at this point I'd be satisfied having a nice chat with a telemarketer.

"Shmaluigi, private investigator."

It was Mr. Quick, informing me that he was able to get into IG-11's data.

"Alright, thanks. We'll be right over," I hung up and turned to Mr. Morris. "He's in, we're heading back to The 'Shroom!"


We returned to Mr. Quick's office, hoping for some information that would give us a breakthrough. If this didn't work, I wasn't sure where we'd turn next...

"Alright Mr. Quick, what did you come up with?"

Mr. Quick leaned back from his screen. "Right, so, it seems that IG-11 has an encrypted storage of personalia, and a recently modified file describes a Wiggler that hired it to terminate Morris' life a few days ago."

"A Wiggler, eh?"

"A Wiggler?" Mr. Morris said with a tone of realization in his voice, "Could it be...? Er, Mr. Shmaluigi, do you think I could have a word with you in private?"

I sighed. "Mr. Morris... Is there something you want to tell Shmaluigi?"

"No, there's nothing that I can tell you. I may, however, be able to offer you... my informed speculation. Unfortunately, it may potentially regard an internal matter. If I were to speak on an internal matter in front of a member of the press - who, I am confident, does not want to hear only unreliable speculation - I would risk far more severe disciplinary measures than a reduction in my check."

"Alright, fine," I replied with a sense of dread, before turning to Mr. Quick. "Thanks again for the help. Shmaluigi will send someone from the NWPD to take this droid off your hands for safekeeping."

"Happy to help you, detective. I took the liberty to disconnect some of its wiring so it is unable to move and communicate if it were to recover from its coke shower, but getting rid of it from my office would be nice as well," Mr. Quick said. "Good luck with this Wiggler fellow."

I left the office with Mr. Morris in tow, and started a very tense walk back to my office. I should've known he was up to something shady. Again.


We returned to my office, and I shut the door behind Mr. Morris. I was prepared for the worst.

"Alright, what did you do now?"

"Please, sit down. I'm afraid it may take me a moment to explain."

Oh boy, that was a bad sign.

"Do you remember our new product, Mr. Shmaluigi? Jojanana Bites are a wonderful new affordable offering from the Joja Corporation, and I have been actively involved in every step of their development. Yes, I'm quite proud to be able to contribute to the goal of making banana-flavored candies available to all and putting smiles on the faces of children and adults alike.

Our initial sales projections, however... were not as high as we were expecting. In our test markets, we found that the younger, health-conscious generation showed a strong preference for real bananas over our banana-flavored product. Buying bananas in bulk from local suppliers was too costly, and required we pass along too high of a price to members of our Joja family or take a loss.

Our competitor, Mr. White's Tesco Chain, had, on the other hand, no qualms passing a high price onto consumers. Either our Jojanana Bites were to fail to move enough units to justify their production and our competitor would succeed at our expense, or something would have to be done.

I was tasked with finding a solution to the challenge we faced. There's a farm not far outside the Dimble Woods that is the area's main banana supplier. It's a family farm, run by a family of Wigglers. Of course, I first tried to negotiate with them, but we failed to strike a deal. The demands being placed upon me were growing by the day, and I needed to find a solution not only for my own sake, but for the sake of all the members of our family depending on the success of this product.

There was a group of impassioned young individuals. They protested the banana farming operation, and made a compelling argument it was unsustainable and damaging to the environment. Their organization was lacking, and their resources were few, but, with a few... charitable donations, they were able to expand significantly. They left an impression in New Wikisburg, reaching out to a youthful cohort which cared even more for the environment than health, and banana sales cratered.

I must stress that we had no links to this environmentalist group. Our charitable donations went through the Joja New Wikisburg Environmental Initiative Foundation, a wholly independent entity with the freedom to decide, separately from the Joja Corporation, what groups will receive funds.

Nevertheless, opportunity called, or, rather, the Wiggler family called. Their business was going under, and they were prepared to negotiate. Seeing a struggling family in need, the Joja Corporation bought their farm, providing them with a sum that was not only fair, but generous.

The rest, I will leave up to your imagination, Mr. Shmaluigi, but... You have noticed how few bananas are on the shelves of our competitors lately, yes? It truly is a miracle of modern science that you can create a banana-flavored candy for such a low price that you can more than offset the costs incurred by the... wholly accidental, I assure you, spoilage of tons and tons of bananas."

I sat in silence, processing everything that Mr. Morris had said.

"So you ran a family farm into the ground, basically."

"Such brutish terms are at odds with the reality of the situation! We made a deal that put money in the hands of a local family, and at the same time contributed to an organization which directs resources to groups addressing critical issues in our society. Say it correctly, please."

"Whatever. Shmaluigi has some work to do on this."


After a bit of digging, I was able to track down the address of the Wigglers. Newly relocated, shocker. Mr. Morris insisted on tagging along, and all I can say is, that was one very long drive to the countryside.

"You sure you don't want to stay back? It would probably be better if you did," I said, hoping he would change his mind.

"For my own peace of mind, Mr. Shmaluigi, I must see these criminals brought to justice myself!"

"Okay, but if things go south Shmaluigi will blame you."

I got out of my car, unsure of how things would go from here. It's no secret that an angry Wiggler is a force to be reckoned with, but an angry Wiggler willing to go to the lengths of hiring an assassin? To say things may get a bit dicey is an understatement. Not to mention the fact that I was bringing the guy who ruined their livelihood into their living room. Yeah, that's going to go over well. There's a reason I brought backup from the NWPD to be on standby.

We approached the house, and my first impression was that it left a lot to be desired. It wasn't much, and it looked like it needed a decent bit of work. I was starting to doubt what Mr. Morris said about the "fair, but generous" sum the Joja Corporation gave them. But I suppose honesty is a rare quality in corporate stooges.

"Oh, it does my heart good to see this family has found such a wonderful new home for themselves. All it would take is the construction of a few more homes here, a fuel station, and a diner, and their property value should soar," Mr. Morris said, observing the house. All I could do in response was roll my eyes.

I stepped onto the porch, with a small part of me expecting it to immediately collapse, and knocked on the door. Shortly after, a Wiggler answered. "Can I help you?"

"Shmaluigi, private investigator. Shmaluigi needs to ask you some questions, may he come in?"

"Oh, um, of course."

"You're already familiar with Mr. Morris, Shmaluigi presumes."

His expression turned to one of mild annoyance. If I had to guess, it was the same one I had whenever I had to deal with Mr. Morris. "Yes, we've met before..."

He led us into the house, and as I looked around, I could tell that the inside of the house wasn't much different from the outside. My gaze fixed on a framed portrait hanging on the wall - the Wiggler, presumably his wife, and two Squigglers - and as soon as I saw it I felt sick to my stomach. No matter how long I did this job, I was never able to get used to this. Having to break up a family really sticks with you, you know? And as if that wasn't bad enough, in this case it was only because of the scummy business moves of the Joja Corporation.

The Wiggler interrupted my thoughts. "Please, sit down."

I sat down and began asking questions. "So, Shmaluigi hears you were having some trouble with your farm?"

"Um, yes, there was this protest group saying our practices weren't environmentally sustainable. I wasn't too worried about them, they were never much of an issue, you know? But, um, a while ago, Mr. Morris contacted us and wanted us to sell the farm to the Joja Corporation. I wasn't really interested, my grandpa started this farm with his own eight hands, I thought maybe my kids could take over someday. So I told him no, and I thought that was the end of it, but then some time after that, these protesters just... I don't know, they got real big all of a sudden. We started losing a lot of money, and Mr. Morris contacted us again, and at that point I just had to sell, otherwise we would've lost everything. My wife insists that there's a connection there, but I'm not sure..."

"And as I have always said," Mr. Morris interjected, "I sincerely apologize that all turned out the way it did. Unfortunate small businesses like your own do not always have the resources to do business and properly care for the environment. It's a tragedy, hence our commitment not only freeing small business owners of their financial burdens by pouring our resources into their business, but developing new tools and guidance programs we can offer to small business owners."

"So would you say you're not too fond of the guy?" I asked.

"I guess so."

"Well don't worry, it's a big club. Now then, are you aware that there was an attempt on Mr. Morris' life?"

He looked surprised by this information. "W-what? You, um, you're not accusing me, are you?"

"The culprit hired a robotic assassin. It was captured, and its data indicated that it was recently hired by a Wiggler. Let's face it, you clearly fit the description and you have a motive."

"No, it wasn't me, I swear, I-"

Just then, the Wiggler's wife came out of the other room. "Mr. Morris?!" she gasped.

"Um, honey, this detective is here because someone tried to kill Mr. Morris," her husband said.

"Did a lousy job of it, he's still here," she said. I could see her skin turning orange from here, which definitely didn't bode well.

"Mr. Shmaluigi." I should have struck Mr. Morris with my elbow then and there when he began whispering to me. "Can we ensure we get that confession in writing?"

Within a flash, she turned what was probably the most intense shade of red I'd ever seen and lunged directly toward Mr. Morris. I did my best to hold her back, which wasn't an easy task. "Ma'am, please! Mr. Morris is a soulless goon with no moral compass but let's not resort to violence here!"

"LET ME AT HIM! I'LL FINISH HIM MYSELF!"

"GAH! Cease and desist this instant! Are you not already facing enough charges?!"

Despite my best efforts, she slipped out of my grasp and I was knocked to the floor. As she chased Mr. Morris around the family living room, backup arrived in the form of one of my fellow officers, a Sledge Bro. who was able to restrain her. Phew.

"So it was you that hired IG-11?" I asked.

"He ruined us... Our future... My children's future! I had to do something! I hope you can sleep at night knowing what you've done, Morris."

"I had no part beyond offering you and your family a fair deal, one which, might I add, your children will benefit from, living on a property nearly guaranteed to increase in value rather than struggling to run a farm facing massive protests. The only one who resorted to a criminal act and hurt your family is yourself. There is nothing for me to feel ashamed about," Mr. Morris told her before turning to me, "Mr. Shmaluigi, thank you for bringing this criminal to justice. When we return to the office, we shall discuss your compensation."

With that, the Sledge Bro. took her out to the squad car. Case closed...


A week later, the case was still on my mind. I'd barely eaten or slept since then. I wanted to do something to help that poor family of Wigglers after everything that had happened to them, but I didn't know what. I paced around my office, hoping an answer would come to me. As I did, I heard the mail arrive, and figured I might as well go get it.

Bills, Peddler's Place ads, a check from Mr. Morris for the case...

...

That's it! Maybe it's not much, but the least I could do was give the payment I got to them. Inspired, I ran out of my office to make the arrangements. I couldn't make things right, but maybe, just maybe, I could help with the healing.

The End


Woooow that was a long one. If you stuck through to the end, thanks for reading! If you didn't, well, you're probably not seeing this message anyway. Once again, I'd like to give a special thanks to Hooded Pitohui for helping with the story and writing Morris' dialogue, as well as my two other guest writers, Goombuigi as Wright Forde 'Shroom and Lakituthequick as himself. It was super fun bringing them on board and they all did a great job. (And listen to Wright Forde 'Shroom, people! He knows what he's talking about!)

Koopamon

Written by: Booguette

‘’’File 7: Mount Power Moon’’’

The tension was high. Mario’s first gym badge was on the line. It all depended on this attack. Time seemed to slow down as Mario’s Koopa Troopa revolved in its shell, heading towards the large Rock Chomp. Closer…and closer…almost there…WHAM! The Koopa’s shell hit the Rock Chomp hard, causing it to reel back. But it wasn’t quite enough to take it out. The Rock Chomp shook its head a few times, roared, and swung its stone chain right into Mario’s Koopa Troopa, causing it to faint.

“No!” Shouted Mario. Mario had more Koopamon, but none of them would be very useful in this battle. But they were his only chances. Mario sent them out, knowing that he was very likely to lose this battle. The only damage they did was chip damage, if any, and eventually Mario only had one Koopamon left. “Go, Fire Bro!” He called. The Fire Bro was released from the Koopaball, and looked ready to fight. Though Mario’s Fire Bro still had half HP and Stoad’s Rock Chomp had about a quarter, Rock Chomp hit hard and could likely take out Fire Bro before the opposite happened. “Fire Bro, use Headbutt!”

“Rock Chomp, use Tackle!” Fire Bro slammed its helmet into the Rock Chomp, with it returning the favor.

“Fire Bro, use Scratch!” Fire Bro attempted to strike the opposing Koopamon with its claw-like fingers, but the Rock Chomp got out of the way just in time.

“Let’s finish this! Rock Chomp, use Tackle!” The Rock Chomp hit Fire Bro hard, causing it to be launched backwards. Mario thought it was over, but then, miraculously, Fire Bro was able to get up. It had barely survived the attack and would be able to get in one more hit. “Amazing, Fire Bro! Now, use Scratch!” Fire Bro ran up to the Rock Chomp and scratched it with all its might, barely being able to get the KO.

“All of Stoad’s Koopamon have fainted!” Yelled the referee Toad. “The win goes to the challenger, Mario!”

“We did it, Fire Bro!” Shouted Mario, as he ran up and hugged his Fire Bro.

“Nicely done, Mario.” Said Stoad, walking up to him. “As a symbol of your victory, I present you with this Boulder Badge.” He handed Mario a small badge of a Rock Mushroom. “And here is a case to put it and the other badges you collect in.” Stoad made a motion to the referee and the ref pulled a case out of his pocket, walked up and handed it to Mario.

“Thanks a lot for the amazing battle, Stoad!” Mario said as he put the badge in the case and the case in his bag.

“I’m glad you enjoyed it. Train hard, catch lots of Koopamon and show them care, and before long you’ll be nearly unbeatable.”


And so Mario continued his journey. After leaving Hard Block City he went into Mt. Power Moon where he found some suspicious Toads walking around, calling themselves members of Team Wahket. After defeating them and catching a Luma, he entered Ice Flower City where he caught the Yoshi from the Christmas special and defeated the city’s gym leader. He then headed to the small area north of the city where he met Bill, a Toad who was studying Koopamon. Bill gave him his latest invention, the Koopamon Storage System, or KSS for short. It allowed Mario to store all the Koopamon he caught in the PC at Koopamon Centers. After thanking him, Mario left and headed towards Pow Block City. At Pow Block city he was able to walk around a ship that was going to leave the next day called the S.S Mona. There he helped the captain with his back problems (Which was why the ship hadn’t left earlier) and in exchange the captain gave Mario the Hidden Move (HM for short) Cut.

“HMs,” the captain explained, “are moves that your Koopamon can use both in battle and out in the open. This HM allows the taught Koopamon to cut down small trees. You can go lots more places with this.”

“But wait, why couldn’t I just go around them in the first pla-“

“Just cut them down, it’s easier!” The captain shouted. “Now, get going! I need to let the crew know my back isn’t hurting nearly as much anymore, so things are going to be a lot stricter around here!” And with that he left, and Mario followed suit shortly after to go and get his third gym badge.

The 'Shroom: Issue 180
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