The 'Shroom:Issue 200/Building The 'Shroom HQ
For storytelling purposes, The 'Shroom Headquarters has long been recognized as the "in-universe" place where this great paper comes from, being referenced in a myriad of sections and events. The definitive depiction of the HQ was created in 2017 for The 'Shroom Killing Game by GBA and Meta Knight, where the entire building was put together from the ground up to be the game's interactive map. When Ninja Squid, Goombuigi, and I developed The 'Shroom Mafia 4 last year, we mostly kept the original layout intact to use for the quest mechanic, making some changes to better suit our vision for the game.
I recently had the opportunity to build The 'Shroom HQ on a Minecraft server with some other community members, and it seemed like a good idea to make a special out of it so all of our readers could see it! I'm not the world's best Minecraft builder by a longshot, but it was a fun project and I hope you enjoy it. I mostly based this off of the version from The 'Shroom Mafia 4 while building, with The 'Shroom Killing Game's depiction used as a reference to decorate the building and fill in unused rooms, while also taking a few extra creative liberties of my own.
So without further ado, the Minecraft version of The 'Shroom HQ!
Visually, the exterior is specifically based off of a render made by TPG for Awards Killing Game 4. I originally experimented with regular bricks but the new mud bricks worked a lot better for it. I also wanted to build most of the interior (except for the team offices) with cool colors as a reference to the ending of the Warm Colors vs. Cool Colors 'Shroomfest, but I felt like that would look bad with the mud brick exterior, and that it would seem too chaotic if it was constantly switching colors.
Starting off is the Lobby, the only way in or out of the building, unless you do parkour shenanigans I guess. I originally planned to use white terracotta for the floors throughout most of the building, but I switched to gray concrete here for contrast with the mushroom logo, which stuck everywhere else. In the original game, the latest edition of The 'Shroom was put on display, so the lectern by the receptionist's desk... doesn't have it, actually! Transcribing an entire 'Shroom issue into a Minecraft book for a single gag that most people probably wouldn't spend much time looking at would've been a pain, so it's just a shameless plug for Issue 197 instead, which was the latest issue at the time I built it. The desk itself is staffed by a blue Toad, and I specifically chose that coloration as a nod to Goombuigi's character, Wright Forde 'Shroom. (Fun fact: Someone stole him, I had to reassemble him for this special)
All of the elevators are out of order, which was actually done to get around the issue of not having access to command blocks. Also, in KG, there was a secret slide starting in the Sub-Director's Office hidden in the wall. I started doing that here too, but by the time I got around to the second floor, it already wasn't lining up well because I was just winging the scale, so unfortunately I had to cut that idea.
There's also a restroom. It's a restroom. I would have liked to include a mirror over the sinks, but there wasn't any space for one, so you just stare at bricks while you wash your hands! The rest of the restrooms basically look like this one, so if you've seen one, you've seen them all.
In the hallway on the right side, you'll encounter a familiar square Boo floating by! I found this while searching through player heads to decorate with and I thought it would be funny to have Superchao appear somewhere on each floor as a little easter egg.
The Archives (hey did you know we revamped the actual archives, shameless plug) contains 44 full boxes, and since there's 200 issues of The 'Shroom, we can conclude each one contains about 4.5 issues. I'm not sure if taking a pair of scissors to every fifth issue for storage is the best idea for historical preservation, but what are you going to do? Right next to this is the Court Room, the first room we added for Mafia (or at least the first one we're encountering, anyway). By the end of KG, whatever this room used to be was destroyed by a satellite dropping into it, so we decided to use that space for the Court Room from 'Shroomfests. This is where winging the scale started to come back to haunt me, I think it could've been better with more space to work with.
The back of the HQ has a few extra rooms, starting with the Spotlight Office. Originally, this was a miscellaneous room that was formerly a staff office apparently, and since we wanted to have physical presence for Spotlight (in KG, all it had was a literal spotlight on the roof) we put it here. I thought it was a funny gag to decorate this room with shroomlights, that's something you can't pass up! Next is the Statistics Manager Office. KG had this as the Interview Room, which was basically the same thing, so it made sense to make this an office so all the core staff positions would have one in the build. The Mafia map actually didn't have one at all, because we just handwaved it away since Ninja Squid was in that position and the director at the same time. Finally, the Publicity Room, and my favorite detail in here (well, there's not many details to work with) is the tube that sends complaints down to the basement. There's not a direct link, but I did have enough room to make it disappear into "darkness".
Let's get into the three team offices on this floor, starting with the Fake News Office! Fake News was actually one of only two teams that got dedicated general space on the original map, making its placement easy. Something I wanted to do in all the offices was to have desks that belong to all of the active writers at the time by adding some decorations to them as nods to their sections. The froglights on the ceiling worked really well to evoke fluorescent lighting in my opinion. There's also several subrooms, the first being Waluigi Time's Office (hey that's me!). I wanted to try and make it feel like a "real" version of my staff portrait, including a Super Arrow bobblehead represented here by a Totem of Undying. That might raise some questions about his powerset... KG had a wardrobe nearby, but that seemed like something that was just there for gameplay, so it got deleted for more office space (not that it mattered much at the time). There's also the Newsroom, which is self-explanatory, and the Weather Room, housing a weather machine. Building the weather machine involved a thought process no more complicated than throwing blocks together to create a vaguely mechanical blob. This is referencing Weather Forecast of course, and it's been quite a while since anyone wrote for that (Issue 145, as a matter of fact), so there's cobwebs in the corner of the room. This is the only team that gets that much space, but I wasn't the team director yet so that's my get out of bias accusations free card!
The Fun Stuff Office proper didn't originally exist in KG so we had to put it together out of some other Fun Stuff-related rooms for Mafia. Originally I wanted to light this using soul torches since they're blue, but those have lower light levels and it felt a little too moody. I had a lot less to work with for desk decorations here (try visualizing Fun Stuff sections with stuff you can put on a desk, I'll wait), so most of the writers just got stacks of paper. FunkyK38 gets some representation for Where in the Marioverse is Carmen Sandiego? though, there's a spyglass on her desk! There's also a caged sea turtle in the corner of the room, representing a now-found hidden Koopa. Roserade's Office is again based on the respective staff portrait, featuring a small TV on the desk. I also threw in some roses just growing out of some dirt brought into the office, because there's not really a better way to present roses indoors since they're too big to stuff in a flowerpot.
The Strategy Wing Office was probably the hardest one to place when we made 'Shroom Mafia 4, since there was nothing based on the team here at all in the original KG. The only acknowledgment of it on the map was the Arcade in the basement, as a matter of fact. So, we just used some of the miscellaneous space in back for it, and it made sense to put it back here based on the presence of a bird. I was able to get desk representation for all of the active sections except File City Files unfortunately, because I couldn't think of anything that would represent it. Shoey's still here with The Anatomy of a Pikmin, though. Hooded Pitohui's Office breaks the staff portrait theme I had going because there's not really anything good to represent a checkerboard. He does have a heart of the sea on his desk as a reference to Pitohui's Pokémon Academy - just try and tell me that doesn't look like a Poké Ball! When I built this, I flooded the room with several parrots and a chicken, which turned out to be a colossal mistake because players checking out the build left the door open and I ended up with birds all over the HQ. Now there's just a few carefully placed parrots, and more importantly, they're tamed and not going anywhere.
Stepping outside into the Courtyard, there's a lot of grass! Yep. KG had this place simultaneously very big and not very decorated. Notable features here are Poochy's doghouse and allegedly staffer-shaped topiaries. Okay, it was impossible to get much detail at this scale, so you'll just have to use your imagination. These weren't here in the original build because I ran out of time, so they're a special feature special. If you count them, there's also one of RHG1951, who joined us as a Spotlight Manager after the original build was completed. Peddler's Place also appears as a mysterious alleyway filled with stuff.
This time I'm going to start with the last three team offices because they're all clustered around the staircase. The first is the Critic Corner Office, a fairly easy one to place since the Runway that was here originally was tied directly to the team, although we did do some redesigning that cut an extra room. It wouldn't be Critic Corner without stuff to review, so it's stocked with shelves of books and music discs. I really wanted to have a Vincent Price bust on Shoey's desk instead of a zombie head for Van Shoeul's House of Ghouls, but unfortunately the head database I was working with didn't have the horror legend so I had to settle. Anton's Office pulls more from the KG description than his staff portrait. At first I was going to use redstone torches for the mood lighting, but then I remembered that actual candles exist!
Originally the Palette Swap Office was just the Music Room with Funky's office attached, so it was an easy retool. Having paint buckets in such close proximity to those computers might not be such a good idea, though. FunkyK38's Office is another one pretty close to the KG description. The partially eaten cake ended up being fully eaten after people came through...
The Pipe Plaza Office contains... my greatest disappointment in doing this build. For all of the other teams, there was a wood type for the doors and signs that generally corresponded with the team color, but there's no green wood for Pipe Plaza, so I had to reuse warped wood from Fun Stuff. And then a month ago, Mojang announced that they're adding copper doors that turn green when they oxidize! Oh well, maybe in another future revision I'll swap those out. Anyway, Pipe Plaza was originally in the basement of the KG map. We didn't really want a team office stuck down in the basement, so we swapped its placement with the Gym. My favorite desk here is LTQ's containing a set of green, blue, and red bins for Anniversary Announcements. If you were in the Awards Committee this year then that's a very funny joke. I also added some lightning rods for decoration, but they're actually pretending to be pipes. Zange's Office had to be designed from scratch, and features the Fan Girl magazine from their staff portrait and music discs. There's no K-pop in Minecraft, but let's just imagine that's what it is.
Moving on we have the Cafeteria, and you know, it's a cafeteria. There's a nice balcony, though! It's also equipped with a Kitchen Studio ready for Cooking Guide. The pantry is stocked with various foods, including Kellogg's cereals against WT's wishes. The Infirmary was originally a room containing bunk beds in KG. I don't remember exactly why we added it for Mafia in the first place, but I think the concept for Dr. Raticus as a character came first and then we needed somewhere to put him. There's another restroom connected to this room but it's basically just the first one again. The Break Room was in the basement in KG, but we moved it up here for Mafia since the basement got a lot more sinister. This particular space used to be a library, but we figured the 'Shroom writers have probably digitized their resources by now. I'm ashamed to admit that in the original build I forgot to add the much-loved Vending Machine, but that issue has since been corrected. Oh, and the chiseled bookshelves below the TV are actually meant to be games, not books. A little imagination goes a long way.
The Graphic Design Manager Office contains all the paints needed for the position - as a matter of fact, KG had this as a paint storage room for Palette Swap - and a few nods to GBA himself since it is his office, after all! There's a crystal ball on a glowy table courtesy of sculk for Horrorscopes, a boat with a peculiarly out of place red torch above it as a reference to an obscure little forum game involving cruise ships, and a clock for his presumably self-appointed title as the CEO of Delays. More fun facts about things going wrong, the chicken from Pitohui's office escaped and somehow ended up in the boat up here. Don't ask me how. The adjacent Art Gallery contains some paintings and busts, and to make things a little more interesting, I hung the paintings on doors to look like canvases.
Last but hopefully not least, the balcony has a statue of Poochy, kind of! Like the topiaries, it was pretty hard to actually make it happen at this scale, but hopefully he's recognizable enough.
One of the sillier rooms in the build is the Overclocked Room, which mainly exists to stress all the writers out with deadlines! (haha i'm definitely not stressing over deadlines as i write this) Using the power of item frames, I covered everything except the floor in clocks. The rest of the floor is a lot more serious, starting with the Website Manager Office. The managers didn't have offices in KG, so it made sense to give LTQ one up on the directing floor. I got an op to place some command blocks for The 'Shroom's servers that LTQ so diligently maintains (there's no commands in them though, they're the exact opposite of LTQ because they don't do anything), and he also has a personal coffee maker since a previous 'Shroomfest decided that the HQ would only have cold beverages, and a parked cloud. Next door is the Programming Manager Office, which is actually nothing! In KG, this was the Token Office which I think was tied to a now-defunct Awards tradition, so for Mafia we turned this into the Treasury to hold The 'Shroom's money. But as I was doing this build, I guess I completely forgot about the Treasury? I legitimately had no idea what to do with this room, so as a joke I turned this into a vacant office with a sign saying to go see LTQ next door, since he holds both positions.
Designing the Sub-Director's Office was a bit difficult, because I already designed an office for myself in the Fake News offices downstairs. The closet is kind of fun though, it's filled with boxes of files and a model skeleton that's a little bit livelier than it should be, but don't think about it too hard! The Director's Office was basically the same problem, except worse because there was even more space to fill. It gave me the opportunity to build a larger parrot exhibit though, and this one is escape-proof! I also scattered feathers around the office and added a brewing stand stocked with potions of poison, referencing the poisonous hooded pitohui (bird). I also added an AC unit since Pitohui notoriously likes cooler temperatures. The balcony is pretty sparse, but it's there.
Sure is a rooftop. There isn't a whole lot going on up here, but I do like how The 'Shroom Skylight turned out.
Now for the complete opposite part of the building! We didn't do a whole lot with the basement in Mafia, so this is almost entirely pulled from KG, starting with the Casino. The slot machines use Super Mushroom colors, and the roulette uses literal mushroom blocks in its construction (they're not intended to actually be mushrooms). The Arcade was another fun one, filled with arcade machines and a very oversized claw machine. Scale in Minecraft can be pretty tricky sometimes. The prizes at the bottom are a blob of carpets in each of the six sub-team colors.
The Concession Stand leads into one of my favorite rooms, the Movie Theater! Coming up with the appropriately dim lighting was a challenge before I landed on soul lanterns, which not only captured the vibe I was going for but also let me hang them from the ceiling, otherwise I only would've been able to light the walls. There's also a Projection Room filled with more chiseled bookshelves in disguise, they're actually supposed to be stocked with film reels.
There's a restroom but it's the same again, so I'll just move onto the Gym. As I mentioned earlier, this is one of the few changes we made for Mafia. This was the location of Pipe Plaza in KG, but the two rooms got swapped around. The yoga mats are once again the sub-team colors. The Janitor's Closet features the final appearance of Perch in the build (unless you visit the basement before the second floor I guess). There's not quite the array of cleaning implements that were likely imagined for this since there's only so much you can work with in Minecraft, but I still got some brooms and stocked the shelves with bleach.
The Ninja Lair was another new room for Mafia, to tie in with the portrayal of the basement as Ninja Squid's base of operations as seen in the 'Shroomfests. This was part of where the original Break Room was in KG. It was actually three rooms in both games, but for the build I knocked the wall out since I didn't really need it. It has everything a ninja needs for plotting world domination, including a chest labeled real ninja plans that only contains fake ninja plans! Gotta keep Perch on his metaphorical toes. The large crate in this room contains NS' dreaded E.M.M.I., so please don't open it.
Next up is the best and most important room in the entire building, the Breaker Room. Please bask in its glory in the gallery below, it's very important. This was another Mafia addition because we needed the baddies to be able to tamper with the building's power.
I don't have too much to say about the Printing Press, other than the sign that says there's been 20 days since the last printing press related injury. That was the length of time between Issue 197 releasing and the build getting unveiled. Your guess is as good as mine about who got injured and what actually happened. The adjacent rooms are the Complaints Department with a bunch of complaints dumped on the floor, and the ultimate destination of said complaints, the Incinerator. Finally, the last room is the Chapel. Stained glass windows are kind of a no-go underground, so there's a nice Poochy mural instead.
And that is the Minecraft 'Shroom HQ in its entirety, for now! I hope you enjoyed this tour of the build.