The 'Shroom:Issue 188/Palette Swap
We're coming to the end of the year, everybody, it's the last regular issue of The 'Shroom! Welcome to Palette Swap!
Last month, I mentioned that I would be starting Bayonetta 3! I have started it, but it hasn't hooked me yet (mostly because I find the change up in graphics a little unappealing.) I really need to get a move on, because Sonic Frontiers is already out and we're a week out from Pokemon as well. My winter is going to be busy, it seems! I hope all of you have a lovely November as well.
This month marks the return of Lakituthequick (talk)'s Site Seeing! Welcome back, LTQ, it's good to see you again! He's going to be moving back to his regular schedule as well, so look forward to more upcoming analysis of Nintendo's best websites!
Section of the Month
Section of the month results are in, and unsurprisingly, they are almost all Waluigi Time (talk)! In first is his Shmaluigi, Private Investigator, and then in second is his Waluigi Time Comic. Not to be outdone, however, winstein (talk) took the third place spot with Drawn and Pressed. Congratulations to our two writers from last month, and a big thank you to all of our readers who voted! Please keep voting this month as well!
|PALETTE SWAP SECTION OF THE MONTH|
|1st||Shmaluigi, Private Investigator||10||50.00%||Waluigi Time (talk)|
|2nd||Waluigi Time Comic||5||25.00%||Waluigi Time (talk)|
|3rd||Drawn and Pressed||4||20.00%||winstein (talk)|
Drawn and Pressed
PreTeena is a comic strip created by Allison Barrows, and it ran from 2001 to 2008, which is a good 7 years of material and is not too shabby. The comic strip mainly centers around a preteen girl with her friends and family, and is a comic that accelerated my appreciation for comic strips because when it was printed in my newspaper, it was shown in six days on Wednesdays, making it easier to follow. Also, it didn't quite hit me on how important it is to have a woman do a comic strip until I reflected on PreTeena, which I felt is the first comic strip I've really gotten into that features a female character created by a woman. To wit, they offer some very unique perspectives in a male-dominated industry, and indeed, I've noticed how many comic strip I've covered are created by men.
In the late 1990's, Allison Barrows originally pitched a comic strip named Evan & Hel, which don't quote me here, sounds like a religious comic strip. That strip did not get approved, which was the same fate for her much older comic strip Friends Fatales that was pitched in the 80's. Barrows would put everything aside for some time, before stumbling on her past draft about a children's book named PreTeena. She decided that the characters would fit the frame of a comic strip, and naturally it was approved. Otherwise, this article wouldn't exist, would it? The idea behind the comic strip is that the main character is a preteen, around the age of 10 to 11, and children around that age would not have gender stereotypes that is often portrayed, so like while the girls do play with dolls, they are also into video games, meaning that there is a sort of nonbinary in their choice of activities. Indeed, I've actually mistaken the main character and her best friend as boys because they don't have typical female traits. There is also a lack of self-consciousness in their image, which comes with being too young to feel inhibited by being undignified, making them perfectly suited for writing, since the author expresses a sort of envy for this carefreeness.
The main character is Teena Keene, who is best described as a sensible and intelligent, if excitable and innocent girl. Her enthusiasm and unfiltered observations can get on the nerves of her teacher and sometimes others, especially her sister Jeri. She is also basically the straight man of the cast, and can also get snarky. The surname for the main character's family, Keene, is named after the author's hometown. In fact, the author prefers a more personal approach in setting rather than a non-specific setting that is frequent in comic strips (Garfield might be a good example of this), which might be reflected in the comic strip's setting even though I don't know much about New Hampshire to appreciate them. Her sister Jeri, by comparison, is much more flawed, for she is more snarky, lazy, and vain, and naturally their contrast attracts sibling tension between the sisters. Because of these characteristics, Jeri could be said to be one of the best characters in the same way that foils within a nice group of people are, like Garfield and Wario. Their parents have art careers and are not only happily married, but also presumbly successful given the type of home they live in. Notably, their careers mirror the author's, for she had an eye on being a children's book illustrator (and in fact did some books), and her husband is an illustrator.
Among other characters, Teena's best friend is Sabra Naomi Klein, otherwise known as Stick for her waifish figure. She is another character who makes the comic strip lively, for she has many flaws, namely her huge range of allergies and low immunity that require a lot of medication to deal with them, and generally being eccentric that may even be too much for Teena. Despite this, Stick is still Teena's best friend. Gordo, full name Gordon Brandt, is Teena's other friend, an African-American, and in fact a childhood friend, and is athletic and musical, the latter no doubt is due to his parents' musical professions. They have some form of romantic affections but are nonetheless not very overt, and it should be noted that the author intended their relationship to be romantic but maybe it was downplayed because the interracial relationship might attract controversy. Auguste, or Goose for short, is later introduced by Gordo and would be part of the group, and he is more or less nerdy and addicted to the computer. Rounding up the regular friends is Johnson Pinecone, who has a crush on Jeri but she did not reciprocate the feeling until later on. Of the characters, the most memorable ones that stick out are (ahem) Stick and Jeri, who both are portrayed with strong flaws and they easily play off the more straight Teena.
The comic strip is naturally gag-a-day, but one thing that is more apparent later in its run is how a story arc is presented in a week's worth of strips, meaning that it's easier to read them at once to follow it through, which was how it was presented when it was printed on my newspaper before it ended. Also, despite the characters retaining their ages throughout the strip's lifespan, continuity exists so it's not merely a strip where the status quo snaps back. One example is how the Keene family owns a swimming pool, and it becomes a regular fixture of the strip for years to come. This extends to the characters as well, as for example, Johnson started out lanky, but gained a muscular figure that stuck around. Despite all this, it should not require past knowledge to enjoy the later strips because they don't really shut out those who do not follow the story in detail. In fact, following the comic strip from the beginning gives the feeling that the characters have their own lives, which is in turn something that is easier for a single artist to keep up.
On the day of 18th May 2008, the comic strip came to an end, but not before creating a very suitable finale before coming to an end. The cited reason for ending the comic strip soon is to give room for potential new comic strips to flourish, and hopes that innovation and new ideas could hopefully attract more readers to the comic strip pages. This makes sense, because a lot of the time, the comic strips from decades past are too firmly rooted to give newer cartoons a chance due to the inertia. The author added that the famous comic strips like Peanuts are still used despite their end. To this point, I feel like it's difficult to assess, because while yes, Peanuts gets reruns, it's also a very proven comic strip with generations of readers, but a relatively less-known strip like PreTeena might not get many chances to be rerun, so I think that older strips would benefit from being distinct to get noticed if they were to be open for a rerun. Anyway! What are the final strips about, you might be wondering? Basically, Teena had a dream and wanted to share them with her best friend, which are the futures of the established characters. One particular thing to note is Gordo's, who is stated to live a family life, but to Teena, that is the best life, because as it turns out, the wife of Gordo is the main character herself. Given how Gordo was envisioned to be Teena's boyfriend before the syndicate decided that interracial relationships should be downplayed, it made sense that it came to this. Come to think of it, it's rather rare for there to be interracial relationships in the comic strip world, which is bewildering to me.
Overall, I really enjoyed this comic strip and it felt like it's destined for greatness, but I understand why the author decided to call it quits. The artwork for this comic strip is amazing, where the characters are drawn beautifully and the backgrounds drawn with enough detail to know what's going on. Its humour is also on-point and I generally enjoyed how continual the strip feels. Because of its relatively short seven-year run, it is a recommendation to check it out if you can, because currently there does not appear to be anything similar to its focus on preteens.
PreTeena strips can be read at: https://www.gocomics.com/preteena
Thank you for reading.
Hello dear readers and welcome to Site Seeing, in which I'll go over some of the websites Nintendo releases to inform the public about their games and series!
Today we will do a little cross-over to a different Nintendo franchise than what our home base is about, with the website of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild!
This website is structured a bit more like a traditional website, in that the home page serves mostly as an eyecatcher with links to the other pages.
Starting with that home page, one can indeed say that it is an eyecatcher. It starts off with a big hero banner that fills out the screen vertically, which starts by materialising the game's logo in an animation with flying petals. After a couple of seconds, the logo repositions itself to the top right corner in smaller size, to make place for what's happening underneath: a video of Link looking out over Hyrule, with every couple of seconds, a short clip of in-game footage or a cutscene. These clips are different depending on the time of day; between 7:00 and 19:00, daylight clips are used, while between 19:00 and 7:00, it's nighttime clips.
The hero is followed by a button to watch the trailer, which was shown at the Nintendo Switch presentation in 2017. All in-between clips from the hero banner are also from this trailer.
Then there are three panels in a row, each of which advertises an aspect of the game that can be clicked through on. From left to right, these are the game's world, linking to the Features page on this site, the Nintendo Switch's ability to play at home or elsewhere, linking to Nintendo's website about the Switch, and amiibo, which links to an amiibo page on this site.
Below that, ratings from several news media are rotating with a quote from their review, and this is followed by a separate portion saying the game is available for purchase, although all mention of the Wii U has been removed at some point since the website launched. This last banner is included at the bottom of all pages.
Moving on to the next page, Features. This page, as well as all the other ones following, has its own hero banner clip, which is smaller than the one on the home page. It includes a montage of action shots highlighting the various things one can do in the game.
The page describes the initial plot of the game, followed by the main feature of the game: the Sheikah Slate, including coloured line art on the left and a blurb on the right. Below that, two videos and one screenshot list the Slate's features, being the map, runes, and inventory organisation (the latter of which, in reality, isn't actually a feature of the Sheikah Slate itself). After the Sheikah Slate, the game's open world is described, including Sheikah towers, shrines, villages, and stables.
After a banner showing the champions, important characters in the game, but not further elaborated on here, we are shown a few more features: horse riding, combat, hunting and gathering, and outfits, each with a video that can be started to show the feature in more detail.
The next page, amiibo, serves as an overview for which figurines are compatible with the game. The hero banner clip shows cinematic closeups of the main amiibo: two variants of Link and a guardian.
The amiibo are categorised by importance, starting with two Links, Zelda, a bokoblin, a guardian, and the four champions Revali, Mipha, Urbosa, and Daruk. After these, eight other compatible The Legend of Zelda amiibo created for other games are listed. The last one listed, Wolf Link, is accompanied by a video and information, due to an extra perk that comes with it, which is transferring Wolf Link into the game as a companion.
Media, the third page, compiles several kinds of media. The first category is videos, and lists seven trailers and gameplay clips. The second is wallpapers, which has eight images that can be downloaded in four formats for desktop or mobile use. Finally, there are eight pieces of concept art with a description.
The fourth page goes into DLC, which for this game is the Expansion Pass. It lists the price and a direct link to the eShop to purchase, and then the two DLC packs' contents are each described. A few other methods of purchase are listed further down.
The last page, Buy now, links to a few places where the base game itself can be purchased, digital or physical.
This website uses colour and design elements from the game itself, taking from the Sheikah Slate, decals and banners found in Sheikah houses, and towers and shrines. As such, the theme is brown with sides of gold and blue. The backgrounds include swirls and lines carved into various Sheikah landmarks. At the same time, different elements are also accented by more futuristic looking lines and circles, as well as Sheikah language glyphs (spelling out "the Hyrule fantasy" backwards) serving as section dividers in a few places.
Circle and line pattern accents, specifically, are used for headers and frames. Headers use straighter ones, while frames use angled ones.
The menu at the top of the site reacts to mouse movements by changing the line underneath to include similar wave patterns and circles underneath the highlighted link.
Headers, buttons, and menus use the Medula One font family, which shares similarity with e futuristic Sheikah markings, and thus perfectly fits within the site. Other site text uses Libre Baskerville, which is a serif font family that suits more with the old age of Hyrule and its history.
This part may not be of interest to everyone, or may you even understand any of it. But it can be interesting to some people who are curious about some of the technology used to create this site.
This site is built of smaller, not widely used components built by Nintendo and/or a marketing firm, thus it is not possible to easily summarise it. It is easy to summarise how it is hosted: Amazon Web Services.
The good news about the smaller components is that we have observed them before in Site Seeing, back in December. Similar to then, it appears that packages from We The Collective are once again used, as well as Nintendo's own nclood library.
We The Collective is a marketing firm with a bunch of open source libraries. It's not unreasonable to think they are the ones that developed this site as well, but I cannot affirm this. An example of a library used here is wtc-controller-element, which is used to abstract the logic behind some interactive elements on the site.
Nclood, which is a pun on "include" and the N for Nintendo, is a library that includes a bunch of commonly required features that are used on Nintendo's sites. This includes things like accounts, eShop connections, metrics, and social media, but also more standard things like navigation menus, headers, and footers.
There are also some more widely used libraries in use. The petal animation we saw the moment we entered is powered by PixiJS, a powerful graphics library that makes use of the user's GPU to render, Video.js, which is used to create a video player for videos that play in modals (the hero banners do not use it), and GSAP (GreenSock Animation Platform), which is used to animate some elements.
I like this site! The hero banner videos are very catching, the site looks good and faithful to the game's design elements, and it is dynamic. It also actually includes quite a bit of information about the features the game has, and the downloadable media is a neat touch which I have not seen in a while. It's lively. We need more of these sites.
And that brings us to the end again! I have been absent for a while due to Awards Killing Game: Odyssey, but now I will be back again on a regular schedule, starting again next month! See you then!
Shmaluigi, Private Investigator
Through the Groucho Glass
"...You're kidding, right?"
I deal with a lot of pretty strange people in my line of work. It's not just the people I run into during an investigation, either. Every now and then I end up with a client who asks for something incredibly bizarre. Today was one of those times, but this one had to take the cake.
"No, I'm completely serious."
I stared at the Thwomp sitting across the desk from me. "So, let's make sure Shmaluigi has this straight... You're hiring a private investigator to get you Groucho glasses? Shouldn't you be looking at a personal shopper for that? Or, you know... Online shopping?"
"Perhaps I should explain more... You see, I'm a member of the Conkdor Lodge, and every year about this time we have a big gathering where we all wear novelty masks and funny hats. It's kind of a big deal. It's happening tomorrow, so I'm afraid ordering them online is out of the question," he explained.
"And you had so little foresight for an annual event that you didn't think to get them ahead of time."
"Oh, no, we had them... There was a little bit of a barbecue accident, and we didn't find out until a few days ago. We've been looking all over, but it seems Halloween wiped out the supply."
"Couldn't you just reschedule?"
"Of course not, we already printed out the fliers. Do you realize how much ink costs these days?"
I sighed, wondering how various circumstances could come together to create this very specific situation. More importantly, I thought about how much of a waste of time this was. I could be busting mafias, or solving mysteries, or pretty much anything more important than running errands. Even trying to crack old LT-5!
"Look, Shmaluigi's... sorry, but there's more important business he could be spending his time with."
"I'm willing to pay you substantially. Just see if you can find anyone who bought up a bunch of them, okay? I can buy them off of them if they're willing to sell."
Well, that changed things. The rent's not going to pay itself, after all.
"...Alright, Shmaluigi's on the case."
I started my search at one of New Wikisburg's party stores, passing by the cheesy Halloween decorations they were still trying to sell for 50% off on my way to the cashier. I felt a little ridiculous doing this, but at least no one else knew the details of the case...
"Shmaluigi, private investigator. You mind answering some questions?"
"Uh, no, not at all, what's up?" asked the Monty Mole.
"You sell Groucho glasses here, correct?"
"Yeah, but if you want to buy one you're outta luck, we're all out."
"Did anyone come in here over the past few weeks and buy a lot of them?"
"Well... These kids came in and bought up five of 'em... I don't know if you'd consider that 'a lot', but that's all I got. Honestly, probably wouldn't have thought anything of it if they weren't raving about solving some mysteries or whatever."
"Hm, interesting... Thank you for your time."
"Mind if I ask what this is about?"
"Oh, um, that's classified, sorry."
Well, technically, it's my investigation, so I can "classify" anything I want...
I left the party store, wondering where I could find these mystery hunters. Find the mystery and you find the hunter, I suppose, but that's much easier said than done, of course. It's a big city, and it's not like I usually hear what, say, Luigi and Yuri are working on.
Come to think of it, I don't hear much about those two solving anything...
I stepped out into the crosswalk consumed in thought, and nearly got run over by a van! Luckily, they swerved out of the way in the nick of time and slammed on the brakes, and I managed to avoid being splattered across the road today. It's the little successes that keep you going in life.
A Tostarenan wearing a pair of Groucho glasses stepped out of the driver's side. "Whoa... It's him... Uh, sorry about that!"
"No problem, Shmaluigi's been through worse," I said, brushing off my trenchcoat.
"This is kind of weird, but we're big fans of yours."
A Ninji, Ukiki, and Polterpup came out of the van, followed by a Gearmo with significantly less energy. All of them were wearing Groucho glasses.
"You can call me Shmostarenan, and this is Shmolterpup, Shminji, Shmukiki, and Shmearmo."
Oh, more of these copycats... They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I'm starting to wonder if I should get a lawyer.
"We're the Mystery Dudes!" said Shmostarenan proudly.
"I thought we were going with Fact Finders?" asked Shmukiki.
"I still like Truthseekers," Shminji commented.
"Okay, fine, so we haven't totally agreed on a name yet," Shmostarenan said. "The point is we're mystery solvers! You know, like you! We have our first case and everything!"
It was about that time that I started hearing the honking of car horns.
"Maybe you should consider relocating this conversation, nitwits," Shmearmo said bluntly, "We're blocking traffic!"
"Oh, yeah, you're right," Shmostarenan noted.
"We're moving, hold your horses!" Shmostarenan snapped back, although I couldn't say I blamed the driver. "You wanna come with us and we can talk more?"
Normally I'd be a little more apprehensive of getting into the van of someone I just ran into on the street, but I figured that this group of amateur mystery-solving teenagers wasn't affiliated with the mob. Probably. "Yeah, sure."
As a rule of thumb though, don't go into a stranger's van.
"So the other night, I was out walking Shmolterpup, and we saw these fishy guys in an alleyway," Shmostarenan explained as he drove, "so I figured something was up."
"You know, you could get into a lot of trouble seeing something you weren't supposed to," I said. Something I was more experienced with than I'd like to admit...
"Oh, yeah, of course! That's why I sent Shmolterpup to check it out, it's one of the perks of having a ghost dog."
"So... Your source of information is your dog?"
"She's really smart actually, take a look at this!" Shmukiki said, holding up what appeared to be a blank white canvas. Shmearmo illuminated it with a black light, revealing a series of surprisingly explanatory drawings.
"Well, if Shmaluigi is looking at this right... There's a Craw demanding money from someone from Papa Joe's Pizzeria, and using the restaurant as a cover for something?"
Shmolterpup barked in approval.
"So we all got together and decided we were going to solve this mystery," Shminji said, "we're on our way there now to talk to the guy and see what's up!"
"You realize that's probably not going to work, right? If he's in serious trouble with this guy, he's not going to talk to just anybody."
"Huh, you're probably right," Shmostarenan said. "What should we do?"
"Well, if you're interested, Shmaluigi has another idea..."
The six of us arrived at Papa Joe's Pizzeria, and camped behind the building just out of sight.
"Alright girl, you know what to do," Shmostarenan told Shmolterpup as she phased through the walls of the building. She returned shortly afterward and got to work with another blank canvas.
"Let's shed some light on this," said Shmearmo, opening a compartment and shining a black light on it again. The black light revealed the Craw from the previous drawing, along with a Sledge Bro. and a tall, spindly figure. A pit formed in my stomach - I was pretty sure I knew exactly who these three were.
"There's only three! We can take 'em!" Shminji said, observing the drawing.
Before I could protest, the five of them ran over to the door. Shmostarenan creaked the door open and we peeked inside. Just as I suspected - two of Monty Brando's lackeys, Sledger and Crawford, and the assassin droid IG-11.
Sometimes I hate it when I'm right.
"I still don't get why da boss made us go with da junkheap as a babysitta," grumbled Crawford.
"Probably because we bungled it last time," Sledger replied.
"Look, dat was not my fault! Dat cardboard cutout looked just like a real coppa!"
"I am here to ensure that your directive is completed successfully. Obviously you two cannot be entrusted with such matters," IG-11 said.
"Yeah, yeah, just shut ya yap, ya bucket a' bolts. Don't forget who fished ya outta dat volcano."
"Look, these are some really dangerous people, Shmaluigi doesn't think-"
Shminji charged in followed by the rest of them, and I followed suit. Here goes nothing...
"What da? Shmaluigi!" Crawford exclaimed. "What are ya doin', babysittin'?!"
"Not for long. IG, stop standing around and wipe 'em out," Sledger said.
"Shmearmo! Magnetize!" Shmukiki exclaimed. As IG-11 raised his blaster, Shmearmo revealed a large magnet, pulling it from his mechanical grasp, disarming him.
"Manufacturer's protocol dictates I cannot be captured. I must self-destruct."
"WHAT DA- Don't self-destruct, scrap-for-brains!! Da both a' us is still here!"
"Self-destruct commencing in ten seconds."
"Uhh... Have fun wit' dat, suckas! We're outta here!"
"Not so fast! Shmearmo, take out the robot, we've got these two!" Shminji said, leaping towards Crawford.
"Hey! What are ya doin'?!"
As the rest of them charged into battle, Shmearmo revealed what seemed to be some kind of EMP weapon, totally neutralizing IG-11.
"Superior technology at work!" boasted the Gearmo.
The other four made quick work of Crawford and then turned on Sledger, taking him down almost as quick. It was a sight to behold, and I couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed getting upstaged by a bunch of teenagers.
"Wow, you guys can really hold your own, eh?" I said.
"Yeah, I guess," Shmostarenan said nonchalantly. "I wonder what's in all these crates..."
We looked inside one of the crates and found various items of highly questionable legality. "They must've been using this as a checkpoint to move things around," I thought.
After alerting the proper authorities to get things cleaned up at Papa Joe's, I decided to have a little talk with the Mystery... whatever.
"You all did pretty well in there. Shmaluigi thinks you have a good future ahead of you, but you know, if you really want to get noticed, maybe you should try to... You know, do your own thing instead of being copycats."
"Maybe you're right," Shmostarenan said.
"And, ah, on that note, about those glasses... Shmaluigi's working for a client who needs them for some sort of shindig and can't find any. You don't have to, but he said he's willing to pay for them if you're okay giving them up."
"We could use the funds," Shmukiki noted.
"Maybe we can get enough to have Shmearmo reprogrammed with a tolerable personality!" Shminji exclaimed.
"Hardy har har."
Thanks for reading! A bit of a lowkey story this time, but I think we need a bit of a break before getting back into the heavy stuff soon enough. I'd like to give a shoutout to Rose for suggesting the concept that lead to this story. Next month, we're going on Christmas vacation! Shmaluigi, I mean, not me. I'll still be here. I'm sure it'll turn out better than his last vacation... Right?
|The 'Shroom: Issue 188|
|Staff sections||Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight • Awards Director Election|
|Features||Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing|