The 'Shroom:Issue 197/Palette Swap

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Director's Notes

Written by: FunkyK38 (talk)

Shroom2017 FunkyK38.png

Hi, everyone! It's August and also time for a new 'Shroom!

We've got a smaller than normal issue this month for you due to Awards, but don't let that stop you! Meta Knight (talk), winstein (talk), and Waluigi Time (talk) have brought their best for you to read, and Shoey (talk) has contributed another volunteer section! I won't take up any more of your time, so get it to!

Happy reading!


Section of the Month

We had a very good turnout of voter this month! You all voted in force! Coming in first this time is winstein (talk) with The ? Panel, and following up are Waluigi Time's (talk) two sections, Waluigi Time Comic in second and Shmaluigi, Private Investigator in third. Thank you to everyone who voted, and please keep it up!

Place Section Votes % Writer
1st The ? Panel 13 27.08% winstein (talk)
2nd Waluigi Time Comic 12 25.00% Waluigi Time (talk)
3rd Shmaluigi, Private Investigator 10 20.83% Waluigi Time (talk)

What lies hidden?
Super Mario... Space Shooter?
It's already Freaky Friday?
Being a winner is not easy!
Did you remember your library card?

Meta's Poem

Written by: Meta Knight (talk)

The following poem you're about to read was created during Roserade's (talk) Poemtober 2022. For those unaware, during the month of October, every day you feel like, you create a poem! Each day had a prompt that was a singular word and you could write about however you interpreted it. This poem was written for the theme Deceit. If you wish to know more about the creative process, or anything like that, you're welcome to read my commentary as well.


A man exudes physical prowess to fulfill pressuring expectations,
Keeping the inability to shake the facade that reveals a sensitive soul.
A woman embraces the nurturing nature to silence the crowded cacophony,
Suffocating the fiery spunk in a burial sputter.
Lacking the courage to throw away the mask,
Never to find their other half for they've lost their own.

Author Comments
For this poem, it's my own spin on the tale where two individuals put on a mask to hide their true selves or to blend in, then walk past each other and fail to see they would have been a pretty good match. People have expectations about others and to some extent they only see what we put out there. I think it's important to make sure that we aren't compromising a part of ourselves for the sake of blending in.

Random Image of the Month

By: Shoey (talk)

Hello, and welcome back to Random Image of the Month, The 'Shroom's best source for volunteer Mario art opinions. Good news, everyone! It seems this section willing remakes into existence was a one-time thing, with no Donkey Kong 64 remakes anywhere on the horizon. I'm pretty sure that trend is going to continue with this month's image, the box art of 1989's Alleyway. A preeminent classic in the "wait, that's a Mario game?" category.

North American box art for Alleyway
North American Alleway Cover
Japanese box art for Alleyway
Japanese Alleway Cover

Man, remember the days when Mario and friends could be thrown into anything in an attempt to boost sales? Got an unmarketable puzzle game? Fuck it, add Yoshi! Got a boring edutainment game? Well, now you've got a boring edutainment game about Luigi saving Mario! What's that? You made a pretty generic Breakout clone? Well, now it's a game about Mario destroying the Vid-Grid, because this game, outside of a few Mario-themed puzzles, has quite literally nothing to do with Mario. They only threw him in it because they wanted to sprinkle a little of that mascot magic on what is really just a poor Breakout game. I do love how the boxart attempts to make the game sound exciting. "Cruise through the Alleyway! Slam Energy Balls to destroy the Vid-Grid." That's a pretty radical way to describe a game where all you're doing is bouncing the ball into blocks to destroy them.

Speaking of the boxart trying to big up the game, this is some classic 80s deceptive boxart work. Look how epic this boxart makes the game. You have Mario frantically piloting his space ship by himself, the solo pilot facing down the dreaded Vid-Grid. The Vid-Grid looms ominously, an expansive wall bearing down on Mario, growing ever closer to destroying him, humanity's last hope. Finally, you see Mario's only weapon, the ball bouncing off the Vid-Grid at max speed, barreling back towards our lone pilot who knows that, if he loses control of it, humanity is doomed. It's a very epic boxart for what is, again, just a very by-the-numbers Breakout clone, a game where all you do is bounce the ball at angles and destroy blocks- Oh, sorry, I mean the Vid-Grid. It's a classic 80s-style boxart that doesn't really represent what the game actually is. Instead, it served to make naive consumers go "woah, this game looks badass and, oh my god, is that Mario driving a space ship?!" And then they buy it and are disappointed. It's a great eye-catching boxart and, if you saw it in a videogame shop back in 1989, it would cause your eye to drift towards it. One interesting thing to note is that the Japanese boxart, while still making the game look like a space epic, doesn't feature Mario in it. I think that's odd. I mean, you're throwing Mario in here for a reason! You might as well fully advertise him as being in it! At the end of the day, both boxarts are good because they'll both catch your eye, which is what it's meant to do, but I think the Western boxart is better, because it not only catches your eye, but it also prominently displays that Mario, the most popular character in gaming, is waging some sort of space war, which I think would lead to more people buying Alleyway than the non-Mario version of the boxart.

Waluigi Time Comic

Drawn by: Waluigi Time (talk)


The ? Panel

Drawn by: winstein (talk)

Q Panel 8 - Floaters.png

Shmaluigi, Private Investigator

Written by: Waluigi Time (talk)


The Wildflower: Part 2

You know, when I woke up this morning, I didn't expect for someone to waltz into my office out of the blue whose presence would pretty much confirm that the mysterious cruise I took last summer was, in fact, real. I certainly didn't expect to find out that somehow I'd ended up in a parallel world of sorts for a time. And if anyone said to me I'd be traveling through the fabric of reality itself with my brother and some woman I just met, I would've thought they were crazy.

But here I was.

Fordley's machine, well, it worked? To say it did so like a charm would have been far more generous than I was willing to be, but it could've been worse, I suppose. I was still alive at least, so instantaneous death was out of the question. The real test was going to be if it brought us to our actual destination.

Speaking of destination, this portal didn't seem to be all that great at exiting near the ground.


I plummeted several feet from the air and landed in a patch of grass. All things considered, there are worse spots to land. I pulled myself up off the ground and looked around, finding myself in what appeared to be a city park.

"Ack... I'm going to feel that in the morning. Now I'm regretting signing all those waivers," I grumbled to myself. "You okay?"

"I think I broke my nose," Shmwario said in a muffled voice. I looked over and saw him planted facefirst in the dirt.

"Hey, where's Shmaisy?"

Shmwario popped his head out of the ground and looked around. "Dunno."


Quite the obnoxious scream for someone usually so composed, I thought. Well, at least everyone's accounted for.

"Ugh... That hack really needs to invest in some safety equipment," she groaned.

"Now we just have to figure out if this is where we're supposed to be."

The best way to do that seemed to be looking for any evidence of the existence of the S.S. Circinus. I pulled my phone from my trenchcoat, but it quickly became apparent that it wouldn't be very enlightening. "Hm, no service. I suppose that's to be expected."

Shmwario pulled out his own phone, revealing it to be dented and the screen horribly cracked. "Uh, yeah, me neither. It was kinda in my front pocket."

"I'm not getting anything either, but it's been months since I actually paid my phone bill," Shmaisy said.

"Okay, well, this is fine. There has to be a public library around here or something like that. Hopefully those still exist..."

We set out from the park, just aimlessly wandering about the city in hopes of finding what we were looking for. I feel like I spend a lot of time as a private investigator just wandering around hoping to find something, actually. It does seem to work more often than not, though.

To tell the truth, a roadblock as it may be, I wasn't too concerned about not being able to just look this information up on my phone. Call me old if you want, but I just really don't like browsing the internet on that tiny screen. Seriously, who came up with that? Give me an actual computer any day. I could probably count the amount of times I even opened the browser on my new phone on my fingers.

Now, if this were a more time-sensitive issue, I'd be singing a much different tune. Probably a very disgruntled one.

As we walked, my internal opining about the size of digital screens in the modern age was interrupted by the gravely voice of my brother. "Whoa, check out that guy! He's crazy hairy!"

"Shmwario, could you not?" I said. Anyone who's ever met my brother knows he doesn't have any kind of filter. That's how he's unintentionally started brawls at the grocery store, the DMV, the airport... I'm not even going to get into how many times he got detention in school over that.

"Yeesh. He's gotta be, what, two years behind on haircuts?" Shmaisy said. Just my luck that she'd have Shmwario's social graces.

I sighed. "Grow up, you- oh, wow."

Well, I never said I was perfect.

As we pressed on through the city, I couldn't help but notice that the locals passing by seemed a bit... off. Green, blue, red, even purple skin, horns, I'm pretty sure I even saw someone with snakes on their head. Granted, this is absolutely the pot calling the kettle black. I come from a place filled with fungus, reptiles, whatever Shy Guys are, and I could keep going on and on about that. It just struck me as peculiar, that's all. Either these people weren't exactly human, or this place really gets into Halloween. In the heat of summer.

I didn't have to wonder for long. Our search for a library ended at, of course, the Monstropolis Public Library.

"Oh, so this is Monstropolis," Shmaisy said, "I've heard of it, never been here before, though. It's pretty closed off from the rest of the world. Plus I don't travel much."

"Well, that's a good sign, assuming this is the right Monstropolis," I said.

"Eh, what are the chances there's two of 'em?" Shmwario added.

"When you're jumping through alternate realities? Decent, probably," I replied.

I couldn't help but wonder what sorts of unusual books a monster library might have as we entered, but that wasn't what I was here for. The library had clearly been around for quite some time, giving it that kind of musty, distinguished feel, but not unwelcoming. It had a quiet atmosphere, as to be expected, with various types of monsters here and there browsing the library, reading books, and the like. What was most striking to me however was how normal it all was. In media, you get the stereotype that things like claws, horns, and wings are ingrained into monster architecture, but not here. I could easily find a place just like this back home. In hindsight, it makes sense, I suppose. I mean, when have you ever seen a building designed by Goombas that has eyebrows all over the place, or something like that?

Luckily, it was pretty easy to find the computers. By modern standards, they were pretty clunky-looking beasts. I had to wonder when the last time they updated their technology was.

"Shmaisy, you might want to stick around for this. Shmwario, you, um... Just don't get us kicked out, okay?" I whispered. I wasn't too keen on the idea of getting on the bad side of whatever kind of librarian this place had.

Finally, after almost a year, I had the chance to learn what became of the Circinus after my, well, let's just say untimely departure. Whatever the truth was, I could handle it. I've been through worse.

To make a long story short, the Circinus never made it to its destination, and remained lost at sea to this day. I suppose that's to be expected when it's hijacked for Killing Game purposes by a demented jackalope. Apparently, another one of Starline's vessels met the same fate, and the cruise line quietly shut down after their stock tanked from the incident.

In most cases, that would be the end of the story, but that wasn't the case here. Seven months after the disappearance, the survivors from both ships returned, piloting an airship back from a desert island. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that most of my fellow passengers managed to survive the aftermath. As for the sister ship, the S.S. Cetus, well, either they had a significantly smaller amount of passengers to begin with, or they didn't manage to fare so well.

Even as I was temporarily back in their world, I didn't expect to meet with any of them again, but I was glad to know that most of them had made it home safe. They certainly deserved it after the nightmare they were put through.

With most of them alive, though, that was potentially a good lead towards uncovering the identity of the Golden Phanto for Shmaisy. The thief was definitely on that ship, so if nothing else, they all had to know... right?

I decided to do a search for the Phanto to see if I could find anything of interest. Sure enough, they had all but disappeared, and hadn't been seen since the Circinus left port. That was confirmation the thief on the ship was the real deal, if I ever needed it. More importantly, the Phanto's identity had been revealed, by none other than Mr. Sholmes and Dr. Bushroot, no less. I should've known that if anyone could figure it out, it would be those two. And the identity of that mysterious thief was...

"Dr. Alton Acraman?!" I exclaimed.



"So, what, the Golden Phanto was some doctor or stuffy professor this whole time?" Shmaisy asked.

"No, that's not right, it can't be... Acraman was very dead by the time the Phanto showed up. This doesn't make any sense."

Either something was very wrong here, or Acraman never actually died, or came back to life somehow? And if that was the case, then I tasted hand sanitizer trying to solve his murder for nothing. Wouldn't that just be great.

"I think we're going to have to dig deeper on this one," I said. "Now where did Shmwario end up..."

"Hey, guess what guys! I found the café!" Shmwario said, walking up to us carrying some tray of... something unidentifiable. Edibility status unknown.

"Do I even want to know what that is? And are you supposed to be bringing that back into the main library?"

"Well, uh..."

With my research wrapped up, one shush, and at least one library rule potentially broken - who knows what else Shmwario got up to unsupervised - it seemed like a good time to leave.

As we exited the library, I couldn't help but feel uneasy about the road ahead. I knew I had to find someone else who had been on the ship, and it's not like I hadn't met them all before and gotten along with most of them, but after how things ended for me, seeing them again would be awkward, to say the least. Would they even want to see me?

"So, what's your big plan, detective?" Shmaisy asked. "I'm kind of in the dark here."

"Just give me a minute, I need to think this through..."

I didn't really want to be on the main streets right now, so I ducked into a nearby alleyway for a breather. Come on Shmaluigi, pull yourself together...

"Ugh, graffiti," Shmaisy grumbled. "Don't these lowlifes have anything better to do?"

I don't know why, I've seen my fair share of graffiti living in New Wikisburg, but for some reason I turned to look at it.


Crudely spraypainted on the brick wall, the graffiti read "POLLY GEIST - Say Her Name 3x for a Good Time ;D".

"What does... semicolon D mean?" I asked.

"It's a winky smile, duh!" Shmwario said, still eating the mystery substance. You'd probably think otherwise, but I wasn't too surprised he knew. He's hung out with quite the eclectic crowd over the years, most of whom he owes money.

If anyone from the ship was willing to talk to me again, I figured it would probably be her. Or maybe Mr. Greenwood, but this place definitely wasn't his stomping grounds.

"Okay, here goes nothing," I said.

"Are you crazy?" Shmaisy asked. "We're in the middle of an investigation and you're really going to-"

"Ms. Geist was on the Circinus, she would know about the Phanto!"

"Ohhhh. Okay, um, carry on."

I took a deep breath.

"Polly Geist, Polly Geist..." I hesitated, then I decided to just rip off the metaphorical bandage. "Polly Geist."

As soon as I finished speaking, a blue ghost began materializing out of thin air, talking to herself. It was the first time I'd seen anyone from that cruise again in the... flesh? Ectoplasm, maybe?

"Aughhh... I really need to wipe off that graffiti. I wonder what kind of creep is summoning me this time. If it's another salesperson, I'm gonna-"

Once she fully materialized, we locked eyes, and her expression quickly went from one of annoyance to one of shock.


"Um, hello Ms. Geist. It's been a while."

"Omg, boo! It's been too long! How have you been? Ya know, I tried searching for you in the Ghost Zone once I made it home, but the platypus was the only trace of you I could find."

"Well, things haven't been too bad. Still kind of rattled from that whole Killing Game business, but you know, just moving on... There's plenty of detective work to stay occupied with. And, ah- wait, did you say the platypus?"

"Yeah! Ya know, for a platypus, he actually did quite a lot. Gotta love the little guy."


"Ahem!" Shmwario yelled, with all the subtlety of a pile of Brick Blocks.

"Uh-oh! How rude of me. I assume Gruncle is related to you since you both have such a striking family resemblance, but who is this adorable lil’ lady?" she asked, looking at Shmaisy, then leaned in closer to me with a smirk. "See!? I told you that you'd find love on!"

"What? No, she's not, err..." Leave it to her to throw me off guard like that. "Ahem, this is Shmaluigi's older brother, Shmwario, and um, this is just Shmaisy."

"Um, how do you do?" Shmaisy said. I could tell she was thrown off by the comment too, even though she tried to hide it.

"Oh yeah! You must be that ghost lady who thought my bro was old. Nice to meetcha!" Shmwario said, then elbowed Shmaisy. "Seriously, you don't think I look old, right?"

"I would say you're not a day over 45."


"...So, how's unlife been treating you?" I asked.

"It's been A-MAZ-ING, boo! I went to summer camp, met the grim reaper themself, went on a road trip with some friends, and had a much-needed spiritual awakening. You know, the usual things you do after having a traumatic experience!"

"Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to move on, right? There's lots of worse ways you could deal with that sorta thing. I'd probably just spend a month in front of the TV," Shmwario said.

Ms. Geist's face became more somber. "Ha. Yeah... Well, it wasn't easy, but whenever I found myself feeling down, I'd ask myself 'W.W.D.A.D.'"

"W.W.D.A.D.?" I asked.

"'What would Dr. Acraman do?'"

"Um... Eat a plate of tainted cookies?"

"Exactly, boo! Dr. Acraman died doing what he loved. We need to feast on life, like Dr. Acraman did when he inhaled that plate of cookies. We need to live each and every day to its fullest, making good memories and spending time with our loved ones, before it's too late."

That was a lesson I'd learned long ago... I doubted Ms. Geist knew it, but she hit pretty close to home with that one. "Well, hard to argue with that. Sure beats swiping USB sticks with ketchup-spattered hands."

"Dang. Now I want cookies," Shmwario said.

"So... When are you and Shmaisy getting married?"

"What?!" I sputtered.

"Ha Ha! I'm just messing with you, boo!"

"Oh, heh heh... Speaking of Dr. Acraman, Shmaisy here has been trying to track down the Golden Phanto. We did some research, and it sounds like Mr. Sholmes and Dr. Bushroot said Acraman was the Phanto? That just doesn't make sense, if those poisoned cookies somehow didn't actually do him in, well, we certainly took care of that by the time the Phanto showed up. Did something crazy happen, or...?"

"Oh, boo... you missed a lot."

Ms. Geist filled me in on the events that followed my untimely departure from the ship. To keep things brief, it turned out that the Golden Phanto was actually Mazza Moretti, one of the ship's crew. He betrayed everyone and attempted to leave them to die on the ship as it sank, but was struck down by Ms. Geist herself. Oh, and I guess there was a whole thing about briefly returning as a ghost seven months later and causing even more problems, but by that point, there was a bit too much going on in this story for me to really grasp it. After the survivors got back, Mr. Sholmes and Dr. Bushroot decided to attribute the Golden Phanto identity to the deceased Dr. Acraman to rob Moretti of any potential notoriety. I can't say I blame them. The doctor was certainly a memorable character, and it's not like he had the cleanest of reputations himself.

"So Moretti was a fraud the whole time," I said.

"Yeah, you think you know someone..."

In the past, I'd mused about how Killing Games can turn allies into foes on a dime, but apparently, some people just start out that way.

"The Golden Phanto's dead, then? Good riddance. Knowing how much of a piece of work the guy was kind of makes me wish I got my hands on him myself, though," Shmaisy said.

The conversation hit a wall at that point. We all looked around at nowhere in particular, and you could hear the breeze whistling through the alleyway. The silence was broken by the sound of the library's side door opening.


The door slammed shut, and we all burst into laughter. A rare situation where getting yelled at by a monster librarian breaks the tension.

"Well, it's been good catching up, but we have more work to do, and getting eaten by the librarian doesn't seem like a good way to spend an afternoon, so we should probably be going now. Take care of yourself, alright? And if you happen to run into anyone else from the Circinus, tell them Shmaluigi says hello."

"Wait, Gramps! Before you go, I have something to give you," Ms. Geist said, then disappeared in a flash of light.

"Uhh... Is the gift absence?" Shmwario asked.

"I don't think so, but I can think of a few people I wouldn't mind getting that from," I replied.

Then she reappeared holding a polaroid photo and handed it to me. It was the two of us on the cruise, sharing a high five.

"I think you should have a copy of this. The original print went down with Mazza and his camera, buuuuut a little ✨magic✨ can bring almost anything back. I hope it means as much to you as it does to me."

I smiled as I looked at the photo. Even in the midst of the darkest clouds, sunlight can break through... This was definitely going in my office.

"Thank you, Ms. Geist."

"No problem, boo. And remember! If you ever need me, I'm only three name calls away!"

We waved goodbye, and I stashed the photo in my pocket. Definitely don't want to lose that.

"Alright detective, you've fulfilled your end of the bargain," Shmaisy said. "I'm back home, more or less, and we found out what became of that Phanto creep. So what did you come here looking for?"

"Well... I'm on the trail of a platypus."

She looked at me with a raised eyebrow. "A platypus?"

"The last time I was here, I ended up with a weird platypus costume, and I don't really know how. After I put it on the first time, things got... weird. Thoughts and actions I thought I would never have or do. I wanted to think there was some relation, but I figured I was just kidding myself. I wanted to see if I could at least find out where it came from, and maybe find out more. But you heard what Ms. Geist said, right? She found it in the Ghost Zone, whatever that is. There has to be something more to it. I mean, it's not like clothes can die. Plus, I never did figure out how I managed to get on the Circinus if that wasn't actually the cruise I had booked..."

"Well, whatever you say. I'm along for the ride."

"I suppose the best place to start is where this all began. Back to Port Montague..."

To be continued...

And that's a wrap for the second part of this arc! Special thanks to Auburn for helping with this part and writing the dialogue for Polly! Next month, the adventure continues, and who knows where it will take them? Besides Port Montague, I guess. That one's kind of obvious. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you then!

The 'Shroom: Issue 197
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