The 'Shroom:Issue 182/Palette Swap
Greetings, everyone! Welcome to the May issue of The 'Shroom!
This month our weather skipped right over 'spring' and proceeded straight to 'summer'- the temperatures jumped about 30 degrees in the span of about a week and MAN was that some whiplash. I have to say, though, it does beat the snow and ice cold. I'm still chugging away at Rune Factory 5, and hopefully I'll be done with it by the time Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes launches in June. We'll have to see.
This month we have a new fic section beginning! Long John Spaghetti (talk) has returned to Palette Swap with a new original story based on Luigi: Luigi and Associates Detective Agency! Follow our hero Luigi as he takes on cases and meets new friends- the prologue is available for you in this issue!
I do have some sad news this month for you, Booguette has decided to retire Koopamon. Hopefully he will be back in the future with more of his writing for us, but we've enjoyed Koopamon. Looking forward to your next project, Booguette!
We have another guest section from Hooded Pitohui this month as well, so I won't keep you from reading that and all of our regular sections!
Section of the Month
We had a tight race this month! In first is Waluigi Time (talk) with Shmaluigi, Private Investigator. Next up, we have a tie for second between Lakituthequick (talk)'s Site Seeing and Magolor04726 (talk)'s World of Plight. Following them, it's Waluigi Time (talk)'s Waluigi Time Comic, then Flygon64 (talk)'s submitted Community Comic, then winstein (talk)'s Drawn and Pressed. Finally, we have Hooded Pitohui (talk)'s guest section of Mario's Boombox. Thank you for voting, everyone, and please keep it up for this issue as well!
|Palette Swap SECTION OF THE MONTH|
|1st||Shmaluigi, Private Investigator||11||30.56%||Waluigi Time|
|2nd||World of Plight||6||16.67%||Magolor04726|
|4th||Waluigi Time Comic||4||13.89%||Waluigi Time|
|6th||Drawn and Pressed||3||8.33%||winstein|
|7th||Mario's Boombox||1||2.78%||Hooded Pitohui|
Drawn and Pressed
In reality, retail can be a very stressful and thankless job mainly because of what the average worker has to deal with on a daily basis. They can involve the multitude of tasks imposed by the managers to achieve unrealistic goals, while still dealing with low pay despite the amount of work required from the workers. In general, there is a degree of unfairness about this, given how deplorable or unreasonable the customers or management (and even the employees themselves) can get, making the experience less-than-stellar for everyone involved, a lot of the time anyway. Because of the problems that comes with the job, it makes for a juicy subject for a comic strip due to the ample material that could be mined from real experiences, and Norm Feuti is just the person who did that. Given how Norm Feuti himself was a manager in retail for many years, the ideas for this comic strip did not come out of nowhere. The employees and customers may not realise their own misbehavior, so the comic strip would basically allow them to reflect on that, as well as from the person on the other side.
Of the main characters, four of them were introduced in the first strip and they stayed until the end: Marla, Cooper, Val, and Stuart. Marla is an assistant manager who is generally reasonable at management, even though the troubles that she had to put up (either with management or customers) practically challenges her goodwill, and in fact basically acted as a straight man to any incompetent managers. Cooper works at the stockroom and is generally a creative type in between his box crafting and making practical jokes on people he disliked; he is also the least well-off, since he generally had to work to make ends meet and thus he is shown to have the widest range of jobs within the comic's history (not all at once, obviously), given his less fortunate upbringing. Val is a department supervisor who has a writing ambition and would like to be an accomplished writer one day, even though she took retail due to how the writing did not pay well. Of the four characters, Val felt like she fits the role of the support character the most. Finally, Stuart is a manager who is very uptight about management and being on the corporate's side, so much that he is not very well-liked by the rest of the staff mainly for how much he burdened the employees.
Beyond these four characters, certain characters would show up throughout the run, and some of them would basically be retired from the strip in the middle of it. One character introduced very early is Lunker, who is a strong and big guy that works with Cooper in the stockroom, but displays some hidden skills that surprises the other characters. On the other hand, Courtney was introduced very early too and displays the unsavoury combination of wanting to avoid work and being of unpleasant character, but she was written out in the middle of the run. Other characters that are established early include Alan, who manages the shoe department; Craig, who is the head of the electronics department; Warren, the mall's security guard; and Josh Tobin, who is very nitpicky about policies which is something Stuart likes about him and got more irritable as time goes on (eventually, he was fired for a misconduct). One of the interesting things about the comic strip is how despite some characters being introduced later, they don't feel out of place, which makes sense, given how employees can come and go. A few of the later-introduced employees that stayed until the end are Amber, Donnie, Heather, and Crystal. In general, if a character is of decent nature, they have a higher chance of sticking around.
As a comic strip about retail, one can expect it to be about the tribulations that occur in a department store, played for comedic effect. The difficulties can come in different ways: uncooperative coworkers, overbearing superiors, self-important customers, and those are just a few ways that gives the ordinary employee a difficult time. The fact that they have complaints about their pay did not help their motivation to work. Of course, the workers aren't perfect either, as they might make mistakes themselves. There are recurring jokes about common issues faced, such as how certain customers begged the employees to let them do a last-minute shopping when they're about to close, which are either reacted to by toying with them or to relent to their pleas (where they tend to shop for too long anyway). On certain weeks, there would be a theme that runs for a week, such as one about difficult customers on the last week of February 2013. Adding to that, there were at least a couple instances of shops going out of business, which dealt with the closure that lead up to it, which is a fact of life since there are just some businesses that just cannot be sustained in the long run. Despite the generally thankless job of working at retail, there are some bright spots, such as working with employees of decent attitude, or if the customer is reasonable. The latter is very easily noticed by the employees mainly because they are also people, so being treated fairly makes their lives easier.
The timing of some key events occur in a cycle, so for example, before the Black Friday (occurring in November) and Christmas days, there would necessarily be interviews with potential prospects to help out, and that's not to mention how even before certain holidays occur, seasonal sales items were already prepared. What I mean by this is, even though Christmas would be months away, the Christmas goods were already on the shelves during Halloween. Despite some guarantees on what would happen during certain times in a month, there is still ample breathing room for characters to go on with their lives and to experience the hard life of retail, so it never felt too busy. It is not apparent at first glance, but the characters experience consistent aging, which would be due to how most of the main characters are adults so the change was not felt. As an example, Cooper was stated to be 25 years old in a 2008 cartoon, but a 2013 cartoon puts him at 32 years old. I guess working in retail must have aged people faster than usual. The only evidence that time passes for the characters is that Fiona, the daughter of Marla and Scott, who by the time the comic strip nears its end, she is already able to think and talk properly.
One of the great things about the comic strip is how plot points tend to reach satisfactory and/or logical conclusions. One such example occurred early on around February 2007 which is when Marla met the bartender Scott at a bar. This would normally be unassuming, but the relationship developed here, and every now and then a new development occurs, strengthening the relationship that cumulate to living together, making plans for the future, marriage, and having a child of their own. Cooper and Val also have a similar relationship upgrade as the comic strip goes on, but it had a slower but more thorough development. Moreover, the comic strip is not afraid to write out long-running characters, whether they are likeable or unlikeable. For example, Jerry Deco is unfairly critical to Marla, and is generally not pleasant to work with except with Stuart, but he is later written out when he was basically promoted. Arthur, an assistant manager, was a pleasant co-worker, but he resigned when he got an office job a few years after he was introduced. While the comic strip is not necessarily perfect with resolutions, it did not always feel out of place if that happened. As an example, while Marla had plans for her own shop, it never worked out due to life changes (such as having a child to support), but at the same time some things worked out such as her promotion to manager. The only arc that I can recall ending suddenly is when Cooper won a lot of cash to cover his hospital bill (even the cartoonist acknowledged how unusually lucky it is), though I can understand not wanting his crippling debt to loom over the comic strip that is already about the drudgery of retail.
Eventually, the comic strip had to come to an end. Similar to The Pajama Diaries, the author of Retail has decided that the way of a children's book author is the best path of his career, and so took steps to end the comic strip. It is not known exactly when he decided to end it, but it is likely that, given the pattern on how the comics tend to introduce a seed of a future story arc, it started when Grumbel experienced a downsizing in which a few stores experienced closures, and later on there is a deafening silence of the fate of the company, leading to characters contemplating about how their livelihoods are under jeopardy. Since the premonition is felt by the characters, they had to take the next steps in their plans. The final week notably shows where they're heading, where the three main characters have decided on their next career move, some coworkers have already started looking for opportunities elsewhere, and a couple of them stayed within the collapsing company to oversee its closure, while basically leaving Stuart behind. Indeed, the final comic basically showed the cutthroat nature of business, where despite Grumbel's closure, a new one immediately took its place. Despite the end of Retail and the author's primary focus on being a children's book author, he still works on Gil, another comic strip about a boy and his life with his divorced mother, though they only get produced every Sunday despite officially ending earlier than Retail did.
This is a comic strip that is given a strong recommendation by some people, including one of the members of the Super Mario Wiki, and when I decided to comb through the archives, I can see why the advocacy is strong with this one. I do not know if the reasons given by the folks who loved it is shared by me, but my personal reason for favouring this comic strip is how it builds the characters and the plots. Essentially, some of the plots are given a head-start veering into foreshadowing, though new plots without the foreshadowing generally felt natural. It's also about a realistic subject matter that struck the balance between idealism and pessimism well, so it's neither too flowery nor gloomy. The characters are also generally great all-around, with a lot of decently likeable ones, some love-to-hate ones that generally do not overstay their welcome, and the newer characters are well-written in tandem with the older cast so they generally felt cohesive rather than being in their own world. I do admit that the comic strip is generally quite wordy, which makes reading everything over a few days very overbearing due to the density. Clearly, these are not meant to be read in one go, so perhaps it's recommended that a few bites are taken each time the strip is read.
It's a very enjoyable strip from start to finish and shows that even newer comic strips has what it takes to be enjoyed, and well worth a read, even though I consider most of the comic strips that I covered to be worth looking into anyway.
Retail comic strips can be read at: http://retailcomics.com
Thank you for reading.
World of Plight
The King, the Hunter, and the Rescue
“GUYS! LOOK OUT!”
Mario whipped around just in time to see the enormous swirling canvas descending on them. With a quick backflip and a handspring off the frame, Mario was able to leap over the painting. The others… weren’t so lucky. The bottom of the frame swept everyone of their feet and they all fell into the swirling abyss of the canvas.
“Tsk tsk, Mario! Trying to run?” It was King Boo. He must have been lurking in a corner during the fight, invisible. “You’ve done this before,” he continued, “It should be EASY!” The painting was thrust at Mario once again, but before it could absorb him, he rolled out of the way and slammed into a corner.
King Boo drifted closer, brandishing the painting menacingly. “Any last words?”
“Ah… how’s your head?”
“My- head?” King Boo turned just in time to see the massive, spiked ball that was hurtling at his face. It SLAM!med into him with astounding force, causing him to drop the painting with a clatter. He turned, dazed, to see who had assaulted him.
“NO!” he cried as a whirlwind pulled him towards his attacker. “NOT AGAIN! WAAAAaaaaa!”
And with a SHWEEERRPP-SHLOOOOP-WHOOORPP-SHLEEEOOORG, the king of ghosts was sealed away in the Poltergust G-00.
“Luigi!” Mario cried, running over to hug his brother.
“Dedede!” I exclaimed as the monarch of Dee’s stored the Gordo wherever he puts them. “Where did- How did-”
“I found him in the cells and busted the door down with my hammer.” He held up a stick in one hand and a large wooden object in the other. “Unfortunately, my hammer head broke.”
“Oh dear.” I replied.
Mario tapped Dedede on the shoulder. “Give us a hand with this, will you?” He motioned to the painting, which was face down on the floor. With an “Oof!” an “Urg.” and a “Lift!” they hefted the heavy painting upwards and leaned it against the wall.
I gasped. “… How much do you suppose that would sell for?” I asked with a grin.
“In all honesty,” Sakurai replied as Luigi clicked on the Dark-Light Device at the painting, “Probably something in the millions, if not billions.”
I wish I could say that I saw everyone jump out and thank Luigi, but I can’t. I assume they did. I hope they did. But if they did, I didn’t see. I guess Captain Falcon thought he was being released into a cell or something, because he leaped out of the painting and Falcon Punched Luigi right in the nose. He came hurtling at the screen and by the time I got it upright again, everyone was out and discussing what to do next.
“… ever get used to that?” Simon was asking. Mario shook his head in response.
“We need to get the others,” Sonic said.
“How do we find them?” Samus asked. “This place is huge!” Sure enough, the tower split off in several different directions that undoubtedly each branched into more. “We know Azcron is up, but-.”
“Leave it to me!” Sonic dashed off down a corridor before coming back. “Nope!” he yelled and ran down another. In a moment, he was back and running down another.
“How does he do it?” I asked.
Suddenly, he was back and no longer running. “Fifth floor, you can’t miss it!” And in another instant, he was gone again.
Quickly, we ran to follow him, everyone hoping to see their friends and family again. Within a few minutes, we came to a long hall of cells, dimly lit with lanterns and torches.
Snake moved toward the nearest cell and pulled on the bars. “Hey!” he whispered sharply. The person within looked up.
Pikachu ran up and grabbed the cell too.
Snake placed something on the lock of the cell and stepped back. With the push of a button and a small *pop* the door swung forward and Incineroar lumbered out, flame low, but otherwise looking fine.
“What should we do?” Ryu asked. “He doesn’t seem to be in a fit state to fight.”
“Leave it to me!” Mario exclaimed and pulled a small green object out of his pocket. “Sakurai? Is it ready?”
Sakurai pointed a thumb towards the door and nodded in that direction. I jumped out of my chair and ran down the hall to the Main Menu Mess Hall. In the middle of the room, a Rocky Wrench and a Toad in a construction hat were building a Warp Pipe. “Is it ready?”
The Toad nodded and gave me a thumbs-up. “Send ‘em through! The hospital is ready to receive the patients too.”
I ran back to Sakurai and gave him a thumbs-up. “All clear, chief!”
“Ready to go, Mario!” Sakurai said into the microphone.
Mario flicked his wrist and the little green thing flew towards the wall. In a glimmering flash, where there was once an empty wall now stood another Warp Pipe, shining a brilliant green. Incineroar lumbered over and disappeared down it and, based on the shout of surprise from the mess hall, the pipes were connected. As Snake, Samus, and Mega Man opened the remaining cells, the squadron of able heroes discussed what to do next.
“Azcron must be further up the tower,” Marth mused.
“It’s-a where I would be…” Wario mumbled as he shuffled past, carrying an unconscious Pichu in his arms.
Dedede nodded. “Me too.”
“Alright!” Mario said. “Let’s-.”
“Wait!” A powerful voice resonated inside my head, but no one had spoken. Everyone else seemed to have… “heard” it as well. Mewtwo floated towards the group and planted its feet in the ground. “I am coming. Inexplicably, Azcron never stole my strength. I can replace his majesty, the Dee king.”
“Normally,” Dedede said, almost irritated, “I would tell you to go back and that I could do this on my own, but since you’re so insistent, I’ll let you step in.”
Mewtwo rolled his eyes and gestured towards the pipe.
“See you in Halcandra!” Dedede said before disappearing down the green cylinder.
“Right then!” Mario said with vigor. “Let’s-a-go!” He started to the end of the corridor and the group made their way up a flight of stairs. I set the drone on autopilot and muted the microphone before turning to Sakurai.
“Sir, I… I have a feeling they may need backup.”
He arched his brow. “What do you propose?”
Shmaluigi, Private Investigator
If The Shoe Fits: Part 2
With the Phineas J. Shoe case - or, what we were assuming was the Phineas J. Shoe case, at least - placed under my supervision following a string of particularly odd break-ins across the city, it was time to get to work. I had no idea how much time was left before whatever he was building was finished, and if I took too long, the whole thing could very easily slip through our fingers.
To prepare myself for what was ahead, I decided to take another look at this strange fellow's case file. It's, er, certainly one of the most colorful ones I've seen in my time as an investigator. Trespassing on protected grounds, conducting ethically questionable science experiments, that one time he woke up an entire neighborhood with a helicopter intercom... Almost makes me wonder if the guy is trying to fill out a bingo card of villainy or something.
I did come across an interesting tidbit, however. Seems that some time ago, he advertised his services to a large number of villains, which, in theory, should have included a mailing address, though unfortunately we don't have it on file. If he doesn't use a P.O. box, then either he's the dumbest villain alive or his lair is armed with enough tricks and traps to look like the home base of the main villain in a spy movie.
Unfortunately, I'm not exactly on speaking terms with any villains who could willingly give me the information, for obvious reasons. If I wanted to crack this, I'd have to do some investigating of my own.
MEANWHILE DEEP WITHIN THE CENTER OF AN AWARD WINNING LABORATORY, THAT DELUSIONAL CRETIN PHINEAS J. SHOE WAITS ON ROSE FOR THE FINAL PIECE TO HIS MOST DANGEROUS INVENTION YET.
"Where is that incompetent boob Rose?" Phineas thinks to himself, staring at what appears to be a generator with multiple hoses and tubes attached to it.
"I'm sorry I'm late, sir," Rose says, entering the lab panting.
"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ROSE? I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR HOURS!" Phineas shouts, demanding answers from his assistant.
"I'm sorry sir, I had to go to three different hardware stores trying to find a 4,000 watt lightbulb," Rose explains, still out of breath.
"But you did find the bulb, correct?" asks the impatient doctor.
"Well, uh, no sir, I wasn't able to find a 4,000 watt lightbulb, but I did find two 2000 watt lightbulbs!" Rose says, handing Phineas the bulbs.
Seeing that Rose failed at finding a 4,000 watt bulb, Phineas turns red. "YOU FOOL! YOU FOOLISH FOOL! YOU'VE RUINED EVERYTHING! NOW WE'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO POWER MY GREATEST INVENTION YET!" he screams.
As Phineas rants, Rose takes a look at the machine and notices something curious. "Uh, sir, if you only needed one bulb, why did you build two bulb slots?" he asks.
Phineas looks into the powerbox and sees that he did indeed build slots for two bulbs. Seeing this, the doctor turns white and sputters out, "Well, uh, you see, I knew you would fail me, and being the brilliant doctor I am, I thought ahead so I could correct your predicted misake," he says, clearly trying to save face as he screws in the bulb, causing the machine to light up.
"YES IT IS READY! SOON THE WORLD WILL BE ZURG'S AND THE MONEY SHALL BE MINE! HAHAHAHAHAHA!" laughs Phineas as he imagines himself swimming in a pool of gold.
"Very impressive sir, but what exactly does it do?" Rose asks, looking at the confusing gizmo.
"I'm glad you asked, my dear Rose. You see, first this hose here sucks up salt water. Then the water enters this tube here. Then, using the heat of our two 2,000 watt bulbs, the machine turns the salt water into magma, which is fired out of this hose," explains Phineas. "Now quickly Rose, load the machine onto that cart! We must go to Zurg at once and collect our bounty," Phineas says, gleefully pinning his 2021 Favorite Active 'Shroom Writer bronze medal and a little pin that says Etemon 2024 to his coat.
"Sir, are you sure it's wise to antagonize Zurg by openly supporting his departed rival?" asks a concerned Rose.
Hearing this, Phineas scoffs. "As if I would be afraid of that jumped-up toy. Now quickly Rose, we must make haste," Phineas says as the two depart with the magma shooter in tow.
Whenever I need information from people who would be, erm, less than savory, there's one place to go to, and that's the Despair Pub. Well, the last time I came here, things didn't turn out so well, but it's not like I had any better ideas... I went up to the bartender, hoping there was some alternative.
"Hey, Shmaluigi's looking for someone with information."
"I remember your face, we've been through this song and dance before," the Hammer Bro. said. An impressive memory.
"Yeah, well that Pokerface guy wasn't exactly the best lead, let's just say. Got anything else?"
"Hmm... Can't say that I do. None of my regulars, at least."
Drat. I figured I could ask the bartender, but I doubted that someone like him would end up being on Phineas J. Shoe's advertising list.
Well, here goes nothing. I went over to a table in the corner to talk to Pokerface. Last time I took help from him, I ended up trapped by my archnemesis and only narrowly escaped certain demise. Whether this guy was in on it or not was up for debate. He looked up as I came closer, still wearing that trenchcoat with sleeves despite the lack of arms.
"It's been a while, detective," he said.
"Yeah, your last tip was a bust."
He seemed a little surprised. "Huh... How'd things go down?"
"Long story, yadda yadda, mafia trap."
"Hm... Well, my guy did think that their guy was kinda shady. But I doubt you came here just to reminisce about old times."
"Right. Shmaluigi's looking for information on a certain Phineas J. Shoe. He understands the guy went and mailed out his address a while back, sounds like a real genius."
"Hm... Yeah, yeah, that rings a bell... I think I know a guy who knows a guy, who knows another guy who says he knows someone on the Black Sugar Gang... Could get it from Captain Syrup, maybe? Buuuuut... I can think of several people off the top of my head who would be after my skin if I ratted the doctor out to the fuzz, and I'd kinda like to keep it."
"Reasonable, Shmaluigi supposes..."
I wasn't all that interested in pressing harder. This was a time-sensitive matter after all, and going through a chain of at least six people for some information didn't seem like the most ideal course of action here.
"Until we meet again," I bid him farewell and then got up and left, hoping I could think of something else in time.
Elsewhere, Phineas J. Shoe wanders the halls of a self-storage facility, while Rose pulls the contraption behind him.
"ZURG, WE HAVE ARRIVED," Phineas shouts at the closed door. "I SAID WE HAVE ARRIVED," he screams again as the door doesn't move.
"Boss, perhaps he's not home," Rose says.
"Not home? Preposterous. I SAID WE HAVE ARRIVED!" Phineas screams once again while banging loudly on the door.
After a few seconds, the door of the unit slowly lifts up, revealing Emperor Zurg himself, surrounded by suitably small furnishings.
"So, we meet again, Foot Fungus... FOR THE FIRST TIME!" booms the diminutive emperor.
"YES IT IS I, PHINEAS J. SHOE, MASTER OF EVIL INVENTIONS, AND THIS IS MY ASSISTANT ROSE" Phineas shouts dramatically.
"WAIT a minute! WHAT is THAT??" Zurg asks, pointing at Phineas' Etemon 2024 pin.
"THIS IS A BANNER FOR THE ONE TRUE EMPEROR ETEMON, THE HARD ROCK EMPEROR OF ALL!" exclaims Phineas.
"DAAAH!! That FOOLISH SPACE MONKEY! I don't even know WHERE he ended up, but here I am plotting GALACTIC CONQUEST!!! That proves that I am the SUPERIOR EMPEROR!" Zurg rants.
"THE SUPERIOR EMPEROR? HA! AS IF A SMALL MAN AS YOURSELF COULD POSSIBLY BE-" Phineas starts to rant before being cut off by Rose.
"Sir, don't you think you should show him the invention?" he asks.
"WHY YES OF COURSE, MY BRILLIANT INVENTION. Ahem, behold Zurg what I have created is the greatest machine of destruction ever created. Taking advantage of the many oceans of this planet I have crafted a machine that sucks up simple everyday salt water and turns it into 1,500 degree magma which the machine then spits out. But don't just take my word, for it watch as Rose pours just a small cup of water into the machine," Phineas explains in his best pitch voice as he gestures for Rose.
Rose pours the small cup of salt water into the machine. The machine begins to rumble before spitting out a small ball of magma at the wall of Zurg's lair, melting it immediately and disintegrating a crudely vandalized Buzz Lightyear poster.
"BRILLIANT! I will be able to RAVAGE many PLANETS with this! HAHAHA!!!" Zurg laughs, surveying the contraption. "Bring it into my LAIR and then we will discuss your COMPENSATION!!"
"Yes of course. Rose take the machine into the other room while we talk business," Phineas orders.
"Yes boss," Rose says, grumbling under his breath as he moves the heavy machine into place.
"PERFECT! Now I need only to wait for those Joja FOOLS to build my transportation and I will be primed to RULE THE GALAXY! Your PAYMENT is in that CONTAINMENT UNIT!" Zurg says, pointing to a treasure chest.
The mad doctor hops over to the treasure chest and opens it, finding a large quantity of bills in various colors.
"LOOK ROSE! MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, AND IT'S MINE, ALL MINE!" Phineas joyfully exclaims, rummaging through the colorful money.
"Uh, sir, I don't think that's real money-" Rose tries to explain before being cut off.
"DO YOU THINK I'M A FOOL ROSE? NOW GRAB THE OTHER END OF THIS CHEST AND WE'LL BE RICH AS KINGS!" Phineas yells as the two grab the chest and scurry away.
I walked down the street, trying to clear my thoughts and think of some way that I could track down that crazed villain. I had pretty much accepted that there was no way I was going to be able to find his lair in time, unless I were to stumble upon it by pure chance... Not exactly odds that you want to rely on as a private investigator, or really in any situation at all. And if I blew this one, Chief Palmer would never let me hear the end of it! Me and my big mouth.
As I continued to walk, I could hear someone inside a store throwing a fit. I figured I might as well check it out and popped inside, but I certainly didn't expect to see this. It was Phineas J. Shoe himself, berating the poor cashier.
"YOU DARE DEFY ME SHOPKEEP? YOU DARE REFUSE THE BUSINESS OF I, THE BRILLIANT PHINEAS J. SHOE? DO YOU REALIZE WHO I AM, WHAT I CAN DO? IF YOU VALUE YOUR BUSINESS YOU WILL SELL ME WHAT I DEMAND!" screamed an enraged Phineas.
"S-sir, I'm telling you, this isn't real money!" the cashier said, clearly exhausted and overwhelmed with the whole ordeal.
"DO YOU THINK I AM A FOOL? DO YOU THINK I CANNOT TELL REAL MONEY FROM A FORGERY? ROSE, REASON WITH THIS FOOL, I GROW TIRED OF THIS!" Phineas screamed, gesturing to Rose.
"Well sir, the thing is, uh, she's right, this isn't real money," Rose said with his hand on his forehead.
"What are you talking about, of course it's real money. Look, a bronze 500 dollar bill," Phineas said, waving a bill in Rose's face. Even from a distance, I could clearly tell that it was from the board game Monopoly.
Rose, exasperated by his boss, took the bill from him. "Boss, I want you to take a really close look at this bill," he said, putting the bill in Phineas' face.
"This is ridiculous Rose, as if I could be foo-" Phineas stopped, presumably realizing that the bill says Monopoly on it and clearly states it's not legal tender. Embarrassed, Phineas sheepishly apologized to the cashier before remembering the source of this money. "THAT TRAITOROUS ZURG! HE THINK HE CAN TRICK ME? THE GREAT PHINEAS J. SHOE! HOW DARE HE ATTEMPT TO MAKE ME THE FOOL. COME ROSE, WE'RE GOING BACK TO ZURG AND GIVING HIM WHAT FOR!" Phineas screamed, storming out of the store.
I got out as fast as I could and ducked out of sight, following the two villains from a distance. As far as I could tell, the transaction was already over, but it seemed like I was getting another shot at finding out who Phineas was working for. Here's hoping, anyway.
I continued tailing Phineas and Rose across the city, until finally we reached... a self-storage facility? Perhaps this Zurg character was operating it as a front for his evil schemes. Or he could be pulling the old running a legitimate business to fund your illegal activities plot, it happens a lot more often than you'd think. I expected to follow them to an office or something, but instead, they stopped in front of one of the storage units.
"Boss, please calm down," Rose pleads with the doctor.
"I WILL NOT BE CALMED, ROSE! THAT TRAITOR STOLE FROM ME. OPEN UP ZURG YOU COWARD!" Phineas said, banging on the door.
The door opened to reveal a very small figure who, by my estimations, couldn't have been much more than a foot tall. They almost seemed robotic.
"What do you want, FOOT FUNGUS? I thought we were DONE!!" shouted the figure. I guess this little guy was Zurg.
"YOU DETESTABLE TOY, YOU DARE TO BETRAY ME? I GIVE YOU UNMATCHED BRILLIANCE AND YOU REWARD ME WITH FUNNY MONEY!" shouted Phineas.
As the mad doctor continued to rant, I snuck away to radio for backup, just in case things went south. With the amount of bluster those two had, I figured it would be fine to leave them alone for a minute. I'd know the second they went out of earshot, after all.
With my location on the record now, it was time to move in. Alright Shmaluigi, you just have to arrest three criminals at once by yourself, what could possibly go wrong?
I returned to find Phineas and Zurg still hollering at each other. I interrupted by loudly clearing my throat.
"Alright you three, the jig is up! You're all under arrest!" I announced.
"FOOLISH MUSHROOM! You have led DETECTIVE FUNNYFACE here straight to my TOP SECRET EVIL LAIR!!!" Zurg yelled. "Prepare to be DESTROYED, DETECTIVE!"
In a flash, Zurg pulled out some kind of handheld cannon and began launching a barrage of yellow orbs! I backed off in an attempt to dodge them, but as I did, I noticed them bounce off of the walls and land harmlessly on the floor. I picked one up out of curiosity. It didn't seem like any sort of actual ammunition, it seemed like... foam.
"Have you had ENOUGH, PUNY DETECTIVE?!?" Zurg yelled from down the hall, ceasing his assault. I wasn't sure what else to do, so I took the foam ball I was holding and chucked it back at him. A direct hit! Zurg got hit right in the face and fell backwards onto the floor with a resounding "clunk". Nice to see that the old pitching arm's still in good shape.
"DAAAAH!!" Zurg yelled, trying to upright himself. It would seem that not having legs was working to his detriment. I walked over to him and "detained" him by picking him up.
"Now you're under arrest," I said.
"FOOLISH DETECTIVE! You are LUCKY that I have ran out of AMMUNITION! FOOT FUNGUS! I DEMAND THAT YOU SAVE ME!"
...Wait a minute.
I looked around, and there was no sign of Phineas J. Shoe or Rose. They must've slipped out in the commotion.
Drat. Slippery little Goomba...
A full sweep of the facility later, and it was clear that Phineas was gone. But the good news was we were able to apprehend Zurg and confiscated Phineas' latest invention, whatever it was.
"There has not yet been a cell that can contain the EVIL EMPEROR ZURG!!! I will ESCAPE and make you ALL PAY!!!!" Zurg shouted from inside his cell.
"Man, we're gonna have to soundproof that guy's cell," Deputy Shell mused.
"Yeah, Shmaluigi thinks not letting any of the other inmates sleep falls under 'cruel and unusual punishment', heh heh," I jokingly replied.
"STOP CRACKING JOKES AT MY EXPENSE!! DAAAAAHHH!!!!"
That's a wrap! Phineas J. Shoe escapes to cause havoc another day. Thanks once again to Shoey for writing the dialogue for Phineas J. Shoe and Rose, and for additional input on the story. It's good to have the mad doctor back in Palette Swap for a little while. That's all I have to say for now, be sure to check back in next time as Shmaluigi reunites with an old acquaintance. Thanks for reading!
Luigi and Associates Detective Agency
Issue #0: Origin
‘This was a mistake!’ Luigi thought as he rushed down the volcano, looking to meet up with his cohorts. After hearing about the untimely death of his brother, Mario, at the hands of Wingo’s mafia, Luigi made the foolish decision to assist the Toad Brigade investigate the crime. ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time…’
Luckily, Luigi soon caught an eye at his fellow investigators (or so he thought).
“Oh! Hello!” Luigi said, relieved to find his ‘friends’ still alive, “Come with me! Kamek will be here soon!”
Unfortunately, at that moment, Kamek appeared, riding his broomstick. Raising his wand up high, Kamek cast a spell at Luigi and his gang, but they leaped out of the way just in time. This had the side effect of sending all of them tumbling down the volcano’s side, ricocheting off of rocks. Kamek, providing no mercy for the survivors, cast a portal leading to the top of Wingo’s Watchtower. Noticing that they were no longer rolling, Luigi slowly started to regain his footing, taking notice of his surroundings.
“M-Mamma mia..!” he shouted, “I-I don’t really do well with heights!”
Luigi suddenly felt a sharp pain on his back as he was flung forwards. Whatever had hit him seemed to have paralyzed him to a certain extent, though, unfortunately, it didn’t knock Luigi into unconsciousness. Luigi knew exactly what was happening. He was falling to his death. And there was nothing he could do about it.
Luigi knew screaming would be useless. So, he simply took a deep breath and closed his eyes, waiting to hit the ground and hope that he had a spare life left.
Pain. That’s all Luigi felt at first. Excruciating pain all over his body. But, in some weird way, it was comforting to Luigi. That's how he knew that, yes, the 1-Up Mushroom did it’s job once again and provided him with an extra life. And considering the unbearable pain that occurred every time a 1-Up Mushroom brought Luigi back to life…he was sort of used to it by now.
“Oh…man…” Luigi winced as he slowly regained his vision.
Luckily, the pain from the 1-Up Mushroom didn’t last for very long, five minutes maximum, so Luigi quickly came to his senses and felt refreshed, as if he woke up from a good night’s sleep. Looking around, Luigi was now at the bottom of Wingo’s Watchtower. Unsurprising, seeing as how he took the fast way down. Yawning, Luigi pulled out his phone to see how long he had been halfway dead for, when he noticed something…off about his phone screen. Instead of his lock screen, bearing a photo of himself and his brother, Mario, he found himself staring face-to-face with a college-aged young woman with purple hair and eyes. That started to talk to him. Through his phone.
“O-Oh, uhm, hello!” The young woman spoke with a British accent, “Wh-who’re you?”
“Oh, hey, uh, sorry, but I think you got the wrong number.” Luigi stammered out.
“This…isn’t a phone call, sir…as weird as this may sound…I’m inside of your phone.”
“In my phone? What d'ya mean ‘In my phone’? What is this, some crappy sci-fi dream?”
It was then that Luigi felt a jolt through his phone, mildly electrocuting himself (though nowhere near enough to do any real damage).
“YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOUUUUCCHHHHHH!!!” Luigi screamed, “Did you do that?! What was that for?!”
“You can’t feel pain in dreams, Mr. Luigi.” The phone lady replied.
“Y-You know my name? H-How do you know my name now?!”
“I simply cross-referenced your face using the inward camera to images already available on the internet. You’re quite the accomplished hero, if I might say.”
“O-Oh, well, I wouldn't say that…It’s Mario who does all the hero stuff…I’m just…the drag-along…who…lets…everybody…down…”
Luigi winced at remembering what he was doing at the bottom of the watchtower in the first place. He wanted to help avenge the death of his brother, and yet, he ended up letting down so many more people, he let an entire mafia overrun an innocent town, and, shoot, it was Mario! He probably would've eaten a 1-up Mushroom, anyway if not more! Everything Luigi had done was most likely for nothing.
The Phone Lady quickly interjected, “I wouldn’t say that. Every good superhero has a dependable sidekick, you know?”
Luigi’s head slowly perked up, “...yeah…yeah! And…hmm. I’ve had this on my mind for a while now, but I think now is finally time to put it into practice. It’s time for this sidekick to become the hero. And I don’t have time to waste now. I have people who aren’t coming back, like Mario. I need to do this. For them. Hey, Phone Lady-”
“I’m Yuri, actually.”
“-Yuri. I can’t do this alone. I know I’ve only known you for like, 3 minutes, but will you help me?”
“I…don’t have much argument, sir. And even if I did…I don’t have much of a choice, seeing as this is your phone and all.”
“Alright then…Let’s-a do this thing!!”
A few months later, Luigi was now looking sharp, dressed to the nines in an-all black tuxedo with green and blue accents, complemented with a top hat. His phone was plugged into a computer that sat on a table at a desk near a wall in a somewhat small and cramped office. On said computer, Yuri now had access to all of the computer (though she preferred to stay in the phone). A million thoughts raced through Luigi’s mind, though he turned to the computer, and by proxy, Yuri.
“Any updates on Shmaluigi’s latest case, Yuri?” He asked.
“The racecar just fainted, sir.”
“Darn. I liked the racecar.”
Luigi then started rummaging through a stack of assorted papers before pulling out a yellow folder.
“Eh, no worries. I just got us a case of our own, no Shmaluigis allowed.”
“Oh?” Yuri was a little surprised by this revelation, due to business at Luigi’s detective agency being…less than ideal, “Where to, sir?”
Luigi opened the folder to double-check.
“Waluigi Time Cereal Factory.”
Thank you for reading the zeroith issue of Luigi and Associates: Detective Agency! Honestly, when I first used the idea of “Detective Luigi” in the Shmaluigi ask thread, I never knew I’d wind up writing a Shroom section about him. I hope you like reading it as much as I did writing it.
Coming up in Issue #1: The Wedding of Luigi and Yuri!
There are plenty of lyrical covers of videogame music out there, and, if I'm being honest, most of them aren't very good. When viewers aren't going to want to sort through a bunch of mediocre lyrical covers, how can you draw in viewers? One route might be with a song package. It's a route that Creationary Studios took with its "Morpho Knight Package".
The core concept of the Morpho Knight Package is simple. The various notable allies from Kirby Star Allies battle against Morpho Knight, with each video adding lyrics to the track associated with each character or group of characters. What makes the package worth a listen, however, is that these songs aren't just battle themes, but instead use their lyrics to tell a story that's more than just two character fighting, giving each song in the package a strong sense of identity. Of all of the package's (released) songs, my personal favorite, and the one which scores the highest points on the quality of its audio and lyrics and the story it tells, is "Tarazna VS. Morpho Knight with lyrics". Rather than just telling you the tale of a battle between Taranza and Morpho Knight, this video, through its opening dialogue and through the lyrics of the song it features, tells a story of Taranza choosing between the slim chance that the deceitful Morpho Knight, who promises a grand and brighter future, can restore his lost love and his allies who attempt to help him move on from the past and to move forward with his life. It may be simple, but it's easily the most memorable story in the package, Taranza's desperation and pain coming through amidst the tug of war between a chorus of allies trying to turn him away from Morpho Knight and Morpho Knight and his promises and temptations, that's what gives this song character.
Some songs aim for a more light-hearted and simpler story, but these songs usually make up for it with strong characterization. "The Squeaks VS. Morpho Knight" may start with the premise that the Squeak Squad is going out to pilfer the Jamba Hearts before they're drawn into conflict with Morpho Knight, but the simpler story is more than balanced out with the strong, distinct voice each member of the Squeak Squad is given here, both literally and metaphorically. Not only does the singer here adopt a different voice for each character in the song, but there's tight enough characterization here and enough of a reasonable division of each character's lines that you can get a pretty decent idea of the nature of the Squeak Squad's members even if you go in unfamiliar with them. "Gooey VS. Morpho Knight", meanwhile, gets its identity by leveraging Morpho Knight's shock when he realizes how powerful Gooey is, contrasting Morpho Knight's ambitious nature and his focus on Gooey's power with Gooey's relative innocence and straightforward view of right and wrong. There may not be much story beyond "Gooey confronts Morpho Knight," but the song still sets itself apart from the other entries in the package through this contrast between its two leads.
Of course, even if each song has a strong identity, the Morpho Knight Package wouldn't be much of a package if the songs weren't connected at all. An overarching story has been built up here, primarily communicated in the opening dialogue of each video and in the artwork at the end of each video that shows which characters have already fallen to Morpho Knight and which characters have yet to join in the fight. It appears to be building up to a grand finale, but, according to an update video on the channel, the finale has run into some technical difficulties. All that can be done is keeping an eye out for it if you happen to like the package and want to see the rest.
The Morpho Knight Package isn't all that Creationary Studios has to offer, though. A creation of Magolor04726 (talk) (who you might recognize as the writer of World of Plight in this very team), the channel has a few different projects to its name, but, most importantly for our purposes, it has a whole playlist of "Game Songs with Lyrics" which includes a number of lyrical covers of videogame music that are worked on by Magolor and, for more recent videos, a small team of artists who either lend their voice to the channel's songs or make artwork for them. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I've provided some feedback on some of the channel's lyrical covers, mainly watching versions of them that go unseen by the public and pointing out major, glaring audio issues so they can be fixed up for the final version. I'm otherwise unaffiliated, though.
Among the most notable one-off lyrical covers on the channel are "Feather Fiend with lyrics" and "Mine Menace with lyrics", both of which adapt tracks from Donkey Kong Country Returns, giving Colonel Pluck and Mole Miner Max some villain songs. I'd call them the best the channel has to offer right now, particularly the latter, which works in some fun lyrics which make these moles feel like 9-to-5 blue collar works and gives Max, the smaller mining moles, and even the Tiki which hypnotizes them all some time in the spotlight. For something a little different, there's "Library Piano with lyrics", an adaptation of a track from Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, which is as much about the Gloomy Manor as a whole as it is about any particular boss or enemy.
With all of that, you should have a decent taste of what Creationary Studios offers, at least in terms of videogame covers. The channel's lyrical adaptations have come a long way in a about a year and a half's worth of time. You can certainly see the difference in quality and production value between its earlier videos and its more recent ones. As a result, you might want to mostly check out the more recently-posted songs. If you like them, I'm led to understand more is coming down the road, so there'll be plenty to look forward to! In particular, I suggest keeping an eye out for more Donkey Kong Country Returns songs, given the channel's track record with them.
|The 'Shroom: Issue 182|
|Staff sections||Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight|
|Features||Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing|