The 'Shroom:Issue 188/Pipe Plaza
Somehow it's already November! Look I don't know why it feels like the last few months of the year are moving so much more quickly than the beginning of the year but I am choosing to blame my college friends in this particular case because one of the last times we all ate lunch together we got into shenanigans that resulted in everyone using too much brainpower than was necessary.
Speaking of college, my college is currently hosting an event for high schoolers and I'm spending my weekend helping out with it! Basically we have several hundred high school theatre students here for a two day theatre festival. They get to watch shows, do workshops, and other fun stuff. I actually went to this event multiple times while I was still in high school, so it's nice to have come full circle, in a way.
We're a little short on sections this month, but that's okay because the ones we do have are still pretty great! You too can write a pretty great 'Shroom section! Just go to the sign up page to get started!!
Enjoy the rest of the month, and try to stay warm!
Section of the Month
|PIPE PLAZA SECTION OF THE MONTH
|Poll Committee Discussion
Hey it's me PanchamBro. It's time for this month's NIWA News, a section regarding news with each of the 32 members of the Nintendo Independent Wiki Alliance. We'll be going through staff changes and related wiki news over October and into November.
|Zelda Wiki declares its independence
For years now, the question of Zelda Wiki's independence has been brought to light numerous times, in and outside of NIWA. It's been a looming topic ever since the wiki was first sold to in March 2017, only to be followed by a double-whammy when . Plenty of talks happened publicly and behind the scenes on what to do with Zelda Wiki, while Zelda Wiki had yet to do anything, . Days turns into month, into years. And so, time passed. Zelda Wiki . People talked about Zelda Wiki and its place in NIWA on social media and more. Zelda Wiki . Now . And throughout all of that, time passed. With no Ocarina of Time, changing the inevitable fate of the wiki seemed hopeless. Talks on explusion from NIWA soon became clear. And so, time passed.
Suddenly...suddenly! ! After more than five years of laying dormant on Gamepedia and Fandom, Zelda Wiki has finally regained its independence. The seal has been undone, and Zelda finally broke free.! And it soon spreads to places like , , , and even
Okay, let's roll back the overromanticizing, shall we? To happily confirm, yes, Zelda Wiki has indeed regained its independence. Of course, given that it's Fandom involvement, it's only plausible to do a fork to leave the service, which Zelda Wiki staff did. Zelda Wiki is now being hosted by Prod of StrategyWiki and Inkipedia fame. Many staff members and editors from Zelda Wiki have moved with the change of host, with a few exception (which I'll address in the next section), and the Discord server and related social media account for Zelda Wiki will also transfer over. Zelda Universe has also redirected traffic away from Fandom and into the independent Zelda Wiki.
If you're excited about this news, but realized you actually had a Fandom account that edited on Zelda Wiki in the past, you're in luck! There's a guide for how to migrate your account from Fandom. If you're interested, please visit the link here on Account Migration.
|Several wikis celebrate their huge milestones across their respective communities. To recap:
Congratulations to all of these wikis for their success!
|Move? Or not move?
|It seems that the deadline for Dragon Quest Wiki's move to their new host, longtime contributor Follower of Light, has been delayed a bit from their initial deadline within October 2022 due to technical problems. Details on the move are still slow, but I'll keep you updated with this news as it progress.
|Retiring the polls
|After four years of operation, Inkipedia has sadly retired their poll system on October 10, 2022. Due to inactivity by the main person in charge, Shahar, has formally close it down. I wish Shahar and the rest of the Inkipedia community their luck in future community engagement, especially with their new Discord server being the priority.
|New banner for the Pikmins!
|WiKirby and co. set out on their own adventure...
|It has been 11 years since Fire Emblem Wiki has been with Grifkuba. It's been 9 years since WiKirby has been with Grifkuba. It's been 2 years since Pikmin Fanon has been with Grifkuba. And it's been under two years that and has been with Grifkuba. But after all these years, these wikis have chosen to venture on out their own.
As of October 29, these wikis are no longer associated with Grifkuba and have moved to new host, a service run by former Grifkuba technical admin Ampera. Thanks to issues related to how Grifkuba was being run over the past couple of months, including an outage of all Grifkuba hosted wikis for an entire day, with representatives from Fire Emblem Wiki, WiKirby, Pikmin Fanon, Fanon Wiki, MiiWiki, and MiiWiki coming together to ask to move out of Grifkuba. With this departure from Grifkuba, these wiki are now ad-free, and plans for donation will be set up. I hope you join these five in their journey to self-preserve!
|Over at our affiliates,has made its move last month with an alliance with Anigaming, a collective of various gaming wikis, mostly from Fandom. If you're a Spanish reader of The 'Shroom, why not check them out !
That's it for any related NIWA news that I could gather for this month's 'Shroom. I'll see you next month!
Poll Committee Discussion
Look boys, I'll be honest here; this issue's Poll Committee Discussion is probably not going to be quite as in-depth and lengthy as Turboo (talk)'s last issue, and that's for a couple reasons. Mostly because I am not insane, but also because this week I'm just filling in as a backup instead of being the One True Scribe of the Polls.
That being said, I've got a couple of borderline record-breaking polls to share with you today, so let's dive in and take a look.
Do you enjoy when platformers such as Super Mario 3D World feature playable characters with unique abilities? - (Waluigi Time (talk), October 10th, 2022)
|Do you enjoy when platformers such as Super Mario 3D World feature playable characters with unique abilities?
|I enjoy it, but would prefer if there was more focus on characters having unique abilities and mechanics 32.11% (637 votes)
|I enjoy it, as long as there are no characters whose abilities are much better or much worse than the other characters. 19.35% (384 votes)
|I enjoy it, as long as any player can choose any character that they want, even in multiplayer. 14.57% (289 votes)
|I enjoy it, as long as all of the characters have a relatively similar playstyle otherwise. 13.56% (269 votes)
|I enjoy it, as long as players aren't forced to play as characters that make the game much easier (i.e. Nabbit in New Super Luigi U). 9.98% (198 votes)
|I have no opinion. 4.99% (99 votes)
|I care more about which characters are included than their abilities. 4.59% (91 votes)
|I do not like it and would prefer all playable characters to have the exact same abilities. 0.55% (11 votes)
|I do not like it and would prefer games to only have one playable character, with recolors of them for multiplayer modes. 0.30% (6 votes)
|Total Votes: 1,984
|What was your reaction to The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) teaser trailer?
|I was excited about the movie before the trailer and this movie increased my excitement. 35.49% (1154 votes)
|I was skeptical of the movie before the trailer, but I am now excited about it. 20.97% (682 votes)
|I am excited about the movie, but I have reservations about the voice acting and casting. 16.79% (546 votes)
|I am excited about the movie and the quality of the voice acting and casting surprised me. 11.32% (368 votes)
|The trailer has not changed my thoughts about the movie. 6.18% (201 votes)
|I was excited about the movie, but the voice acting and casting disappointed me. 4.18% (136 votes)
|I have not seen the trailer. 3.94% (128 votes)
|I was excited about the movie before the trailer, but now I am skeptical of it. 1.14% (37 votes)
|Total Votes: 3,252
Do you enjoy when platformers such as Super Mario 3D World feature playable characters with unique abilities?
Well, we've all played at least one game with multiple playable characters, whether it be a mainline game like Super Mario 3D World, literally any single one of the sports spinoffs, or one of the Smash Bros. games, and if you haven't, then... I dunno, go do that, because Waluigi Time (talk)'s bringing us another banger of a poll about that very subject. Now, I know what you're thinking: Why did I make the rather bold claim that this poll is "borderline record breaking"? Well, for that, I'll point you to our final option.
I'm not making the claim that it's the least votes an option's ever received, but I'm only not doing that because I don't personally feel like going through every previous poll option to see if this record's been broken. The people have spoken, evidently, and besides six of them, they want diversity in their character playstyles and appearances, dammit. Honestly, I can't see this being a particularly controversial point though - historically, the roster of a game's characters, even if they all play the same, has usually wound up being the most hyped (or in the case of the recent Mario Strikers: Battle League, it's most derided) aspect of a game. As a result, I can't see a game where every playable character plays exactly the same and also is just a recolor of each other being particularly beloved for its roster. Thankfully, outside of a few older arcade games, this hasn't really been a thing in the franchise, with the exception of maybe the ScareScraper mode in more recent Luigi's Mansion games, which aren't platformers anyway. Even then, it's mostly just funny to see a bunch of Luigis moaning as they shake various pieces of furniture, so I don't exactly think it would be received very well if this sort of thing was tried out in a mainline game.
Interestingly though, the option just above it, with a close, still awful second at only 0.55% and 11 votes, shows us that it's still an overwhelmingly unpopular opinion to want different characters that all play the same. This makes a certain level of sense, as historically the franchise has, for the most part, engaged with the idea of giving its characters different mechanics and moves, even if in some cases its just physics changes. This dates all the way back to Super Mario Bros. 2, which notably featured four characters: Luigi, Mario, Princess Peach, and the enemy of RPG-lovers everywhere, Toad. Whether 2D or 3D, the platforming side of the franchise has generally trended towards characters that play differently, which is evidently something the playerbase values, with one notable exception. New Super Luigi U featured the character of Nabbit, a playable character that was practically invincible and rendered the game a total joke in terms of difficulty. While I suspect several of the higher voting options also agree with this point, 9.98% of voters simply don't want a character that turns the game into easy mode, or more specifically, they likely want the option to play as other characters without making the game extremely easy. I won't pretend to be some "epic gamer" who thinks that no game should ever have handicaps or difficulty options, but this sort of thing was much better implemented via the Super Guide system in earlier games. As it stands, if someone happens to be a fan of Nabbit, they can't actually play as him without kneecapping the game, and I think that's kind of sad.
A few of our higher options seem to back this point up, namely focusing on wanting to keep playstyles similar and balanced, as well as giving anyone the freedom to choose any character they want to play as. I find it hard to find an argument against any of this personally, as games should ideally be balanced between all of their characters, and I find it rather annoying myself when I am forced to play as one character when I am playing alone, such as in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, where player 1 always has to be Mario for some reason, despite Luigi existing as part of the roster. Once again, none of these are much of a surprise, but the first place option... Well, I find that one rather interesting, if I do say so myself.
32.11% of players actually want Nintendo to go even further with the concept, and focus even more on unique abilities and playstyles. I generally didn't expect this one to dominate the poll as hard as it did, being over 10% above the next closest option, but here we are. While many of the games in the franchise have their characters play or feel differently, it's very rare for a mainline game to give its characters completely different traversal or combat mechanics, besides the notable exception of Super Mario 64 DS, in which Mario had his basic moveset, Yoshi embraced the idea of becoming an unholy skinwalker and transforming into other characters with the use of magical caps, Luigi was overpowered, and Wario sucked nuts. I think there's a case to be made for trying this sort of thing again, albeit with better balancing, and it seems like a large chunk of the voters agree. Platformers are often at their best when you're traversing levels in unique ways, and it would be truly fascinating to see something like Super Mario Odyssey except with levels that accommodate multiple movesets and ways of playing.
Now then, on to a slightly more... topical poll.
I'll admit, I've got opinions on this one. You see, I'm well aware of Illumination Entertainment, the studio behind this movie, and in turn I am aware of the movies they've put out thus far. I'm not really much of a fan, to be honest. The trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie admittedly did look very pretty, and Jack Black's Bowser, from the one or two lines he had, sounds pretty good. However, I think the writing is going to sink this thing for me personally. Illumination largely makes films for, well, young children, so I'm very likely not the target audience for this movie at all, and don't feel much, if anything , in the way of hype. That being said, the movie's target audience may well be both the audience for this poll and also maybe this article, so if I'm found dead in Brazil over the next couple weeks after saying that, you know who to blame.
That won't narrow down the suspect pool though, because as far back as I can go in our poll provider, Crowdsignal's history... this is the second most-voted-for poll in history, if you don't count those pesky multiple selection polls. The first place winner, mind you, being some weird, esoteric poll about the death of "beloved community hero, Mario Mario" that was created last March and apparently is still up for voting somewhere, because it's getting votes as recently as last month somehow. Yeah, I'm not counting that one either. Congrats, this is officially the most voted poll in recent history!
It's not hard to see why though. The Super Mario Bros. Movie has been a mystery for years now, with little information circling beyond the voice cast. It's no surprise that the reveal of this thing would finally be the spark that ignites a flood of poll voters eager to share their opinions. Upon a cursory glance, the general opinion seems quite positive, with only 1.14% being actively disappointed by the trailer. I actually completely understand why the number ended up this low for this one, and its because, to be honest, I actually think the trailer was way better than I expected, even as someone who has no hype for the movie at all. The animation is quite nice, as I said earlier, and some of the voice acting is decent. I expected a dumpster fire, but I was overall pleasantly surprised, and I think many people were as well. I'd be curious to know as to what turned these 37 voters off of the movie, but I've got my theories that I'll probably address in a later category.
And that later category comes now! Disregarding the few who didn't watch the trailer at all, 4.18% were disappointed by the voice acting and casting, which is where I think the majority of people's problems with this thing lie. While the consensus is that largely Bowser is pretty good, and Toad is decent as well, there's a big, fat elephant in the room, and he's wearing bright red overalls. That's right, our leading man himself, Mario, voiced by generic Hollywood man Chris Pratt, is probably the standout performance of the trailer, and by that, I mean that he stands out because he sticks out like a sore thumb. I'm not gonna join the droves who say that he "just sounds like Chris Pratt", because in his second line of the movie, he does more than that. Instead, he sounds like a high school drama student (and not even a good one) trying to do a New York accent. I suspect that this is where a lot of people who were let down by the trailer are finding their grievances, and honestly? I agree.
That's not to say it's all gloom and doom though, because 11.32% of voters thought the voice acting to be a pleasant surprise. I... also agree with this, though mostly because the voices for the supporting cast were pretty good across the board even if I don't like Mario himself. That being said, this, along with the next statistic of 16.79% of voters being still excited for the movie but skeptical of the voice cast, just goes to show how divisive of an issue this is going to be. I've got a feeling in my gut that this is going to be the sort of thing that's talked about for a long time afterwards. I still want to hear Luigi before I make any hard judgements myself. If Charlie Day can carry this movie, then let it be so.
Finally, we've got 20.97% of voters who were iffy on the film but got turned around by the trailer, and 35.49% of voters who were already hyped, and only got more excited by the trailer. Again, what can I say? The general opinion is that the trailer was generally better than anyone expected it to be, and evidently that extends out to both people who weren't interested, as well as those already invested in the movie conceptually. If anything, I think this is a testament to the trailer's strength. While I've still got reservations myself, the trailer did definitely turn out better than expected, and the ripples of this effect have spread long and far.
Now, all we have to do is wait. Presumably, we'll still be on the 13th Committee when the film launches, and I can't wait to get everyone's opinion on the subject. Maybe I'll be proven wrong and it'll be amazing, maybe it'll just be a basic kids' movie. Maybe it'll totally suck! Who knows!
Well, I actually ended up typing way more than expected, whoops. I was just gonna do a quick substitute discussion, and ended up writing a thesis on the Super Mario Bros. Movie. Whoops.
That being said, there is something I wanted to bring up to everyone here today. You may have noticed that we haven't done the usual yearly Awards Analysis yet, and that's mostly due to the Awards Killing Game that currently has its finale in the works, taking up the attention of several of our committee members. However... no one's actually seemed to miss it. I've yet to a see a single comment about it, and considering its a consistent feature of the newspaper, that makes me wonder.
What's your opinion, as readers, on the Awards Analysis done by the Poll Committee? Is it worth doing at all? Do you read it? I'll be asking this question in the thread soon after the issue drops. I think it's important to address both for the future of the committee, and for the community at large. While the Awards Ceremony is a classic community spectacle, I think its worth examining as to whether the Poll Committee's traditional followup is actually worth doing or not.
Happy November, and welcome to another Mario Calendar! If you’re in America, happy Thanksgiving month, and if you’re not, happy normal month that’s right before holiday month! Let’s get into this before I ramble on too long…
|All Regions (JP/NA/EU/AU)
|Nintendo Entertainment System
|Family Computer Disk System
|Super Nintendo Entertainment System
|Game Boy Color
|Game Boy Advance
|Nintendo Wii Virtual Console
|Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console
|Wii U VC
|Nintendo Wii U Virtual Console
|Game and Watch
|Nintendo 64 Disk Drive
|Microsoft Disk Operating System
|Texas Instruments TI-99/4A
- November 1
- 1992 (NA): Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (GB)
- 1998 (EU): Game & Watch Gallery 2 (GBC)
- 2000 (JP): Mario Tennis (GBC)
- 2013 (NA): New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U (Wii U)
- 2019 (JP): Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Switch)
- November 3
- November 4
- 2005 (EU): Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (GBA)
- 2015 (EU): Photos with Mario (3DS eShop)
- 2016 (NA): Mario Party: Star Rush (3DS)
- November 5
- November 6
- 2009 (NA): Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (Wii)
- November 7
- 2003 (JP): Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GC)
- 2005 (NA):
- 2013 (AU): New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U (Wii U)
- 2014 (EU): Ultimate NES Remix (3DS)
- November 8
- 2002 (JP): Mario Party 4 (GC)
- 2004 (NA): Mario Power Tennis (GC)
- 2007 (JP): Mario Party DS (DS)
- 2013 (EU):
- 2014 (AU): Ultimate NES Remix (3DS)
- 2018 (JP): Luigi's Mansion (3DS)
- 2019 (EU/AU): Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Switch)
- November 9
- 2001 (AU): Wario Land 4 (GBA)
- 2013 (AU): Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (Wii U)
- November 10
- November 11
- November 12
- November 13
- November 14
- November 15
- 2004 (NA): Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (GBA)
- 2005 (CHN): Super Smash Bros. (IQ)
- 2009 (NA): New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii)
- 2011 (NA): Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Wii)
- 2013 (NA): Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games (Wii U)
- November 16
- November 17
- November 18
- 1994 (EU): Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
- 2001 (NA): Luigi's Mansion (GC)
- 2005 (EU):
- 2011 (EU):
- 2012 (NA):
- November 19
- November 20
- November 21
- 1990 (JP): Super Mario World (SNES)
- 1992 (JP):
- 1994 (NA):
- 1995 (JP): Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES)
- 1997 (JP/EU): Diddy Kong Racing (N64)
- 2001 (JP): Super Smash Bros. Melee (GC)
- 2003 (JP): Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga (GBA)
- 2004 (NA): Super Mario 64 DS (DS)
- 2010 (NA): Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
- 2013 (JP): Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
- 2014 (NA): Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U)
- 2015 (AU): Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash (Wii U)
- November 22
- November 23
- November 24
- November 25
- November 27
- 1995 (NA): Virtual Boy Wario Land (VB)
- November 28
- November 29
- November 30
This month is very interesting to me, since it has some super busy days and some super tame days. It seems that earlier and later in the month, things calm down a little, but the middle has an incredibly large amount of games. And of course, that means that a good portion of them are very high quality! The big one is Super Mario Galaxy, which came out this month. Mario Kart DS is a classic as well! Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next month!
Hello again! This is MightyMario with Roleplay Update! Let’s see what happened in the Roleplay section in October!
No new RPs, unfortunately.
- In Mushroom City Car Wash, the Invader Zim arc by Toadettefan continues when Princess Peach and Bowser are kidnapped by Zim and GIR after using sparklers to set fire to the Car Wash. Will our Mushroom City pals get out of peril?
- Meanwhile, in the ongoing second tale of Tales from the Megaverse, the crew of the Halberd find themselves in more antics as they meet a familiar face on board while Axel gets taken off the ship by the criminal Bowser. Meanwhile, Zerris heads for his job interview at Ketsa Industries.
None. Keep that streak going!
And this was another edition of Roleplay Update! I’m MightyMario and see you in December (my birthday month) for more updates!
What's in a Campaign?
Hello again, Pipe Plaza readers, and welcome to What's In a Campaign?, a section where we look at various competitors from the hit UK TV series Robot Wars. Folks, this month you're in for a very special treat. This month we're going to be looking at a real icon, a legend, and, well, a robot that's very near and dear to my heart. We're going to be looking at the Series 2 run of Napalm <3.
The successor to Series 1's Detonator (a robot that famously lost in the second round when team leader David Crosby failed to put a new battery in the robot) and representing the Dartford Girls Grammar School, Napalm was built by teacher David Crosby and his students, with Clare Greenaway and Rebecca Glenn representing the students on the show. Napalm sports an interesting design... to say the least. It has a plow at the front made of titanium with a flame color scheme. The plow also has eyes, which I think makes the robot look like a bug. The armor is a mishmash of metal grills, mesh metal, and, funnily enough, a hazard sign. Now, none of this is very strong; in fact, Napalm might have the squishiest armor in the entire series. Despite the fact that the armor quite often gets beat up, it actually does a pretty decent job of protecting the internals. Because it's so squishy, it actually absorbs most of the blows itself, which protects the internals. Powered by two 12 volt batteries, Napalm is surprisingly fast at 15 miles per hour. For a weapon - and this is the best part - Napalm in theory has a two-pronged weapon system. Its main weapon is a fearsome store-bought chainsaw, with its sub-weapon being two ax-like (?) mandibles that, when they come down, activate the chainsaw. It's kind of funny, because Napalm has a reputation for being a piece of junk - and it is! But, at this point in time in Series 2, it's actually not that bad of a machine, all things considered.
Much like Diotoir, you can't talk about this robot without talking about the team itself. As I said, the robot was built by a group of students and their teacher David Crosby. The team members themselves are a blast, and they have two different gimmicks. The first gimmick, and the one that exists in this series, is that as soon as anything goes wrong, David Crosby immediately tries to take the controls from driver Clair Greenaway.
It's funny every time; it never fails to make me laugh at how quick he is to try and take control. The second, and the better gimmick that we sadly will not be seeing, is that in Extreme 1 and Series 5, the girls wear Discotech-like clothing and David Crosby wears a fucking suit. Again, it's funny every time. Another great thing is that they know they haven't built a great robot, and they're having fun with everything. I mean, they're not engineers, and most of the stuff they used to build Napalm was donated to the school. Usually, teams with bad robots seem like they're shocked when their robot turns out to be bad, but not this team. Oh, they know, and, by the time the later series roll around, they actually seem to relish it. They just come off to me as people who enter because they like doing it even though they know they aren't going to win.
With the team introduced, let's jump into Napalam's campaign.
As a reminder, all pictures are sourced from the fantastic Robot Wars Wiki. If you'd like to watch any of these fights, check out this video. Time stamps are provided in the section.
In Series 2, Napalm was placed into Heat A, the first heat in the series and a heat that will go down as absolutely the worst debut to a series Robot Wars has ever had! See, most series tend to start out with heats that feature the previous series' champions, so they tend to not be great. The way the series is built, they tend to be created around getting the previous series' champ to the semi-finals quickly, with the only upshot being that you at least you get to see the series champion dominate some bad robots and, you know, sometimes you see interesting fights from the other robots. Not this heat, though! Series 2 isn't great as a whole, because robot combat was really primitive, but still there were still legitimate robots you could build an episode around (and they do!). Series 1 Champion Roadblock, or producer favorite, the 40,000 pounds sterling robot Mortis, or Rex Garrod's revolutionary Cassius are all legitimate Series 2 fighters! There's a lot of good and great robots you could have built your debut around, and, because it's your first episode you'd assume you'd want to put on a good show, right? But, no. Heat A is the worst heat in the whole series, and it's full of bad robots that wouldn't make it to the arena stage in better-curated heats. Like, Napalm is legitimately either the best or second-best robot in this heat, and that should be impossible!
Much like Series 1, Series 2 is not an all-combat series, and just like, Series 1 it starts out with a gauntlet. They made some changes to the gauntlet, though, to make it a little bit fairer to all robots. One change? They took out the turntable so now the gauntlet can't start before a robot is ready. They also made it more difficult by adding new obstacles and changing the routes. For reference, in Series 1, sixteen out of thirty-six robots completed the gauntlet, but in Series 2, only twenty-one out of seventy-two robots completed it. The gauntlet is still split into three routes, which are:
Left Route: This route didn't have a lot of obstacles, per se, instead featuring House Robots patrolling the area, having two pits into which they can push the robots trying to complete the gauntlet. In this episode, the left side is protected by the newly-debuting Sir Killalot, but Sir Killalot doesn't just protect the left route. Since each competitor goes individually, the House Robots are able to go to any route, but usually only Sir Killalot moves between routes, with the other House Robots staying here on the left to herd robots into the pits.
Center Route: This route has wall that's sometimes made of bricks and sometimes made of barrels, and the wall protects a seesaw. Robots who get over the wall can take the seesaw, where they will meet a House Robot (in this episode, the flamethrower of SGT Bash). Getting past the House Robot will lead to the end goal.
Right Route: Probably the most difficult route to navigate, it starts with a moving wall of spikes and saws that can pin a robot down if they're not careful. Getting past that, the robot then has to face off against the tusks of Matilda, and if they get past her, they'll reach the end.
The goal of the gauntlet is either to make it to the end or to not be the robot with the lowest amount of progression! For their run (0:59), Napalm, who is actually the first robot to attempt the gauntlet in Series 2, immediately charges at the brick wall, knocking down a large amount of bricks. Despite their best effort, they aren't able to get over the bricks (David Crosby immediately tries to get the controller, by the way) and are stuck. Sir Killalot then comes in and picks up Napalm by the grill and begins pushing it up the gauntlet. This does count for Napalm's score, by the way, because your end score is based on where you stopped, so House Robot interference can help you (but it usually hurts you). Oh, also, as Sir Killalot is pushing Napalm up the ramp, the chainsaw falls off because it was just attached by cables. The team would never put it back on, leaving Napalm with just the mandibles as weapons.
Napalm ends its run having traveled 7.5 meters, which isn't a great score, but it's good enough for 4th place in this failure heat. Of the twelve heats Napalm, would have failed to progress in only two heats, those being G and K. The robot that ultimately goes out here is the spinning-disc bot, Caliban, who goes out entirely because Sir Killalot basically says "fuck you" and pushes it all the way to the start of the gauntlet, giving it a finishing distance of only 0.2 meters. You know, because the gauntlet is horseshit! As a little fact for this heat, this heat has the first appearance of the wacky robots of Team Death, with their robot Pierce De Resistance making its debut here.
Team Death would go on to appear in four series total (including this one), with a a number of weird robot monstrosities, and this robot, which might be their worst, is the only one to make it out of the first round of a competition! Again, we have a failure of a heat!
Series 2 would also keep Series 1's second round, the trial stage. This round is basically a series of minigames where the lowest scoring participants are eliminated. For this episode, we have skittles, which is basically a robot just knocking down as many barrels (that are filled with sand) as possible in the time limit. There are a total of 100 barrels stacked in stacks of 10 inside a large triangle. The House Robots can mess with robots during this trial, but the triangle that the barrels are in operates as a huge exclusion zone that the House Robots cannot enter. Basically, once you get inside the area with the barrels, you're safe from House Robot attacks. For this run (2:13), Napalm starts by ramming through the entire outside left side, knocking over a few barrels. Napalm then drives inside the pyramid, but it doesn't really seem to be knocking down any barrels as the time runs out.
Napalm would end up with nine barrels, which somehow is good enough for Napalm to tie with Panda Monium for second place. Just for a little reference for how uneven these trials can be, skittles was done again in Heat G, and, in that heat, Limpet was eliminated, having knocked over twenty-three barrels. The winner of this heat's skittles run was Demolition Demon, who only knocked down twenty barrels. Every robot in Heat A would have been eliminated if they were in Heat G. Once again, this is the episode they decided to debut Series 2 with, for some reason. Oh, also, the robot eliminated here was Pierce De Resistance, who, despite turbocharging their motors (they put in bigger batteries), failed to knock down a single barrel!
This brings us to the arena stage, where, oh my god, Series 2 has the worst arena in the history of the show! In every series, the House Robots were basically confined to small corners of the map called Corner Patrol Zones, and, in these series, it's not a lot of the map and it's usually pretty easy to avoid them. Well, for some goddamn reason, in Series 2 they decided to make half of the arena into these new Perimeter Patrol Zones, so now the arena is structured in a way where basically the middle portion is safe but everything else is instant death. As soon as you enter the Perimeter Patrol Zone, a House Robot will come and kill you.
Most of these robots, by the way, don't have great turning circles, so it's really hard to stay in such a small area. It's madness! This series, though, does also debut the pit, which is essentially a hole of instant death. Later series would feature a button that would open the pit, but this pit is just always open. The flame pit also makes its debut, and they threw some big pendulum maces on the side of the arena because... I guess they were lying around?
Napalm's first fight is against Panda Monium, and, oh boy, is it a doozy. The two robots (3:02) slowly move towards each other with no active weapons. They make a small bit of contact, then Napalm starts turning. Then Panda Monium bumps into Napalm again, and now Napalm is barely moving. I'm pretty sure Napalm has broken down, but don't worry, for, luckily for our hero, Panda Monium decides to drive into one of the death corners! By that, I of course mean they attempt to attack Napalm and their momentum takes them into the Perimeter Patrol Zone.
Then Matilda basically decides to say "fuck you" and flips Panda Monium over, so Napalm wins by doing absolutely nothing!
This puts Napalm into the heat final, where they face off against wedge off-the-ground and circular saw (that apparently has horsepower - they said the blade has horsepower) bot, Demolition Demon. The fight (4:09) starts with Napalm managing to get under the off-ground wedge with its plough. Napalam takes advantage of this position by pushing Demolition Demon around the arena. Demolition Demon then pushed Napalm into the death zone, where it is immediately attacked by Shunt and Matilda, but somehow Napalm escapes. Napalm goes for another attack, and Demolition Demon gives 'em the ole slip, managing to turn the attack around and push Napalm into the wall. The two robots then manage to meet in the middle, where Napalm attacks Demolition Demon with its mandibles (one of which immediately bends on impact), causing -1 damage to Demolition demon... but scoring aggression points, I guess?
Demolition Demon continues its alleged assault, pushing Napalm into the death zone again, where it's attacked by Dead Metal, but again Napalm escapes. By this point, Sgt Bash is as bored as I am and has left the zone to hang out in the arena. Part of Napalm's (I guess what can only be legally defined as) armor comes off. Napalm then gets driven next to the zone by Demon, and Shunt decides he's bored out of his mind and attacks Napalm with his ax. Then Napalm manages drive on top of Demolition Demon's wedge (you know, the one not on the ground), getting itself stuck until Demolition Demon manages to get it on the ground.
Mercifully, the fight finally ends and is sent to a judges' decision, where based on four categories (style, control, aggression, and damage), the judges award the fight to waaait... NAPALM? WHAT? HOW? The crowd is thundering boos when this decision is made, and I do not blame them. I always say this when I see a controversial judges' decision: you have to remember, these are five minute fights that are being edited down to what is being shown on TV. It is possible that that actual fight was a lot closer and for some reason the producers only showed Napalm getting beaten up, but I do not personally think that's what happened. I think the judges got it wrong. I think Demolition Demon was the better robot and deserved that win, but, regardless, top dog Napalm is sent to the Series semi-finals, baby!!!
In Series 2, the semi-finals are also broken into three stages: Gauntlet, Pinball, and Arena. For the gauntlet, they kept the three stages, but, goddamn, they decided to add all the obstacles they could find, such as throwing a new static ramp into the center route along with the seesaw, and throwing a goddamn ball in the right route. They also kept the Sentinel, which was essentially a huge moving arm that was added to the left route in heat G. Placed in Semi-Final 1, for Napalm's run (7:45), Napalm just said "screw it," and took the center route again, going up the seesaw and down the seesaw with zero problems.
Shunt sees this and basically goes "oh god" as it moves to block Napalm from crossing the finish line, but it's too late and Napalm easily passes the finish line, completing the gauntlet in one of the fastest runs in the show's history. As revenge for making Shunt look like a fool, Matilda flips Napalm over as soon as it passes the finish line. Regardless, Napalm is awarded first place in the Semi-Final 1 gauntlet run, having both completed the gauntlet and posted the best time. This sends Napalm (and four others) into the pinball phase of the Semi-Final. For those curious as to who was eliminated, well, Panic Attack and a robot called Mace actually tied in the initial run of the gauntlet with a score of 6.9 (nice) meters. This necessitated a runoff race between Panic Attack and Mace, which Panic Attack would win after the Sentinel knocked Mace into the pit.
Pinball is essentially what it sounds like. They dolled up the arena with targets and things to hit and knock down, each one having a point value to it. The point values, courtesy of the Robots Wars Wiki are as follows:
- Barrels - 10 points each.
- Bricks - 5 points each if knocked down or pushed into a pit.
- See-saw ramp - 15 points for a completed run.
- Silver sphere - 20 points if it was knocked into a pit.
- Side targets - 50 (2 targets) or 75 points (1 target) if pressed.
For Napalm's pinball run (8:40), they would start by attacking the bricks and the barrels, scoring 65 points before attempting the ramp. Unfortunately, halfway up the ramp they would suddenly jerk right, driving themselves partially off the ramp and getting stuck. Sir Killalot would then grab Napalm before getting it stuck on its back, ending Napalm's run at 65 points.
This is a very poor, but Napalm should have gone through anyways. I say "should," because there is a lot of controversy in what happens next. What happens is, while Mortis (another semi-finalist) ran their pinball run, the floor spike shot up, taking out Mortis' track and preventing Mortis from scoring any points at all. This should have eliminated Mortis, right? Well, yes, but here's the thing. The floor spikes weren't supposed to activate at all during the pinball run, so the producers insisted Mortis rerun the pinball. Team captain and driver Rob Knight refused to drive for the rerun, thinking that it was unfair for them to be able to go again, so instead Ben Impey drove the robot for the first time. This rerun is also controversial, with Mortis scoring, according to the Robot Wars Wiki, 75 points, which by itself would have been enough to get past Napalm's score. For some reason, though, the producers gave them an additional 25 points, putting them at 100. Now, personally, I don't know if they actually scored 75 points, because pinball can be so hard to judge just from watching it since you have to count every barrel and brick they knocked over. Regardless, this would be one of the biggest controversies in Robot Wars history, and, for a long time, it was believed Mortis only scored about 35 points, with the House Robots scoring the rest. Whatever the case is, Napalm was sent out of the competition, having secured a top ten finish. Top ten made for a very respectable finish and a fairly memorable one, if a controversial run. As for Mortis, they would be placed up against Panic Attack in the semi-final arena, and, with Rob Knight still refusing to drive the robot out of protest, they found themselves easily beaten. Oh, also, Napalm and Mortis would have a "grudge" based on the fact that Mortis had a rerun in the pinball phase of the semi-final. For some goddamn reason, this match was actually the main event of the Robot Wars Series 2 grudge matches special, even though the first fight was Mortis vs Cassius, which was a fight between way better robots! I don't understand the producers in Series 2, man. Anyways, I'm not really gonna talk about this fight (11:16) since it was just Mortis dominating Napalm before pitting it, but just know there's a pretty cool moment in the fight where Mortis uses its ax to rip off one of Napalm's headlight bug eyes.
It's kind of funny Napalm is considered this all-time terrible robot and yet, in its first series, it's really not. It's not great, but it's a pretty standard mediocre bot that was the style of the time. Napalm would return legitimately unchanged (they didn't even repair the damage to the body) in Series 3, where it would make another heat final and survive a ferocious beating from series grand finalist Steg-O-Saw-Us in the heat final before losing on a judges' decision. After that, though, is when the Napalm team really gets its reputation, because in Series 4 they would bring a proper upgrade called Shadow of Napalm that also sucked. I've read before that it was something about the frame of the body that was causing mobility issues. Whatever was the case, for Series 5 and Extreme 1, the team would bring by Napalm as well as an "upgrade," Napalm 2 (I'm pretty sure Napalm 2 is just the internals of Napalm with a new shell). This is where Napalm's reputation as a terrible bot really comes from, because, at this point, it's a Series 2 robot that's still here for... some reason? But, to be honest, Series 5 and Extreme 1 are my favorite parts of the Napalm saga, because, despite being a terrible robot, it always manages to win a fight.
Take Extreme 1, where it wins its mayhem fight against The Spider and the clusterbot Gemini because The Spider drove over the flame pit with its exposed internals and then one half of Gemini got stuck on its wheels while trying to kill Napalm. Then the other half of Gemini gets stuck on its wheels trying to right its stuck other half, giving Napalm the win for no reason. Or take its first round fight against Warhog, where Warhog's fullbody spinner, which was a legitimately good spinner, just doesn't work! Napalm just pushes it around until both robots break down and Napalm wins! My point is, I love Napalm. It's one of my favorite robots from start to finish, and the parts of Napalm that everyone hates (when it's just this terrible robot that just sticks around) is my favorite part of the whole robot. Add in the fact that the team, by Series 3, are completely in on the joke, and you have a robot that's just a lot of fun.
That's all for this month, tune in next month when we look at another robot!
|The 'Shroom: Issue 188
|Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight • Awards Director Election
|Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing