The 'Shroom:Issue LVIII
Everything that I really would have covered in this month's Director Notes is covered in my Directorial Address. Be sure to check that out to find out what will be happening over the course of the next year!
Be sure to check out the Feedback Survey. Last time we got ten votes, which was twice the amount of the previous survey's responses. So let us aim for twenty votes and beyond this time! The survey covers a wide range of important topics, including certain plans that might be implemented throughout this year. So be sure to make your voice heard and to give us some feedback!
That is all. Be sure to check up on February 18th, 2012 for the next issue (the first of this new term)!
Until next month,
Hello again, fellow readers. I am Super Mario Bros. (talk), the incumbent Director who has been elected to a second year of managing The 'Shroom. I am happy to have been given the chance to serve the paper for a second term in this capacity, and I will do my best to make this year one full of improvement, innovation, and excitement for The 'Shroom. I would like to thank my supporters for ensuring my reelection, and I would also like to thank my opponents in the election, Marioguy1 (talk) and Tucayo (talk), for sharing their ideas and participating in the election process.
For the past year, the Core Staff, the writers, and the readers have worked hard to improve The 'Shroom. We increased the amount of affiliates, expanded The 'Shroom Awards from five awards to ten awards, held multiple feedback surveys, created new Core Staff positions in order to better manage certain projects, improved the application form, had several Special Issues, and introduced the Section of the Month process. It was a good year for The 'Shroom, and I am happy to have presided over the paper during this time of innovation. Towards the end of the term, however, certain sub-teams lost a huge amount of writers and have been doing their best to recover. During the past election, my proposed plans have centered around further improving certain aspects of The 'Shroom and ensuring that we get good writers for the paper.
I would like to first announce the Core Staff that will be helping me implement these plans throughout the next year:
The individuals that I have selected to participate in the Core Staff are completely dedicated to bettering the paper over the course of the next year. I know that they will do their best, that they will accomplish what they need to accomplish, and will be overall productive members of the team. My team and I will work hard to bring forward necessary improvements in order to make this year the best year The 'Shroom has ever seen!
Throughout the next year, we will have a maximum of two Special Issues to make sure that they remain as special and of the highest quality as possible. These sorts of projects are extremely time-consuming and require a lot of effort from the writers and the Core Staff, and to have them on a regular basis would not only be undesirable, but it would also be practically impossible. Having a smaller amount also increases each individual Special Issue's uniqueness and quality, and will enable the readers to look forward to each one as they come.
We will also start posting more on our social networking accounts and add more affiliates. We have created a new position titled "Social Networking Manager": the individual that holds this position (Tucayo (talk)) will make posts on our Facebook and Twitter accounts in order to make announcements, communicate with the readers, and advertise new issues. Adding affiliates will allow us to network and create good relationships between other news projects, as well as potentially bringing in more readers and writers to The 'Shroom.
The About page and the Archives page will also be overhauled. The About page will be expanded to provide more information about paper and will also cover more of the history of The 'Shroom. The Archives page will be significantly changed in order to make access to the older issues easier. We will also be working on fixing up any errors any of the archived issues may have that were not originally included (an example being if the entire content of the Front Page of that issue was deleted accidentally during a move) and making sure that all content that is included in The 'Shroom is on the wiki (this includes images that are linked to).
Feedback Surveys will be run three times throughout this next year: May 2012, September 2012, and January 2013. Questions about existing processes and on various new ideas will be included in each one, and decisions and changes will be made based on the results of the surveys. The readers must have a voice in how the paper goes: without the readers, the paper would be nothing.
The forum board and chat will be used more often this year. We will have events every time we have a Special Issue, during election debates, and much more. Some of those events will be held on the forum, and others will be hosted on the chat. Logs of the events held on chat will be posted up on the forum in order to allow people to see what happened and to encourage more posting in the board. Polls will be posted after every issue on the forum by the Statistics Manager (Ralphfan (talk)). We will also try our best to keep the 'Shroom Awards (which is held on the forum as a part of the Awards Ceremonies) at a total of ten Awards.
Finally, we will take several steps in order to counter the current employment situation for the paper. We will simplify and condense the rules on the Sign up page so that finding out how to join The 'Shroom is not a hassle. A one-week time limit for the staff to review applications will also be implemented in order to prevent them from piling up and applicants waiting ages for a response. We will maximize writer turnout by allowing people to contribute to The 'Shroom in three ways: either by committing to a monthly submission schedule, committing to a bi-monthly schedule, or submitting a one-time section voluntarily (a question regarding which one the applicant would like select will be added to the application form). We will also allow each sub-team Director to increase or decrease the section limit in order to fit their team's needs.
I hope that these plans will allow The 'Shroom to grow and move forward, as well as to be able to serve the community to its furthest extent. Thank you once again everybody, and I look forward to the rest of this year! Be sure to check by on February 18th, 2012 for the next issue, which will be absolutely fantastic!
Section of the Month
We need your opinion!
As the core staff of this paper, it is our responsibility to ensure that the 'Shroom meets a certain standard. We want you to enjoy your time here. In that spirit, we would like to hear your opinion about the current state of the paper. What do you like? What do you find unenjoyable? How and where can we improve the paper for you?
This will be the third of three surveys available to you, giving you an opportunity to voice your concerns in an organized fashion.
There are four categories in this survey:
The survey itself can be found through the link below.
This survey will close on February 18th, 2012, with the release of Issue LVIX.
Thank you for your time. It is very much appreciated.
Fake NewsMusic & Artwork
Hello again...uh, Fake-lovers(?), and welcome to another edition of the Fake News. This is the fakest Fake News to ever fakely hit the fake shelves. By the way, Happy New Year! Now, sadly, due to a few unfortunate complications, there won't be any Fake TV, Cooking Guide or Ask '3K this month. But we do, however, have a few sections.
On the subject of news, we have a writer for Character Battle, after a very long time of...not having a writer for Character Battle. KoopaTroop (talk) will be writing this section from now on. We don't have much, this month, but it's of good quality, so enjoy!
KoopaTroop here with this month's edition of "Character Battle"! This month, it will be an explosive battle between Bowser's minions and Mushroom Kingdom residents, Bob-Omb and Goomba! Different, you say? PM me your ideas! You can also vote for the next competitors on the forum! Now, the battle shall begin!
And the winner is Bob-Omb! He had Goomba fooled, and made his move. What an explosive finish!
Hello all to the
BMB: Just got to say, love your cooking, probably the best in the town.
Zess T.: Hey!
BMB: Maybe next month Zess, but not now.
Tayce T.: Okay, what do you want to know, sweetie?
BMB: Well…did you bring me some of your tasty – yes, punny – samples like I asked?
Tayce T.: I was supposed to bring in treats?
Tayce T.: Um, sorry sweetie, I don’t make Snow Bunnies.
BMB: And she doesn’t even make Snow Bunnies! Everything is so chaotic this month!
Tayce T.: Ahem…sweetie, don’t you have an interview to conduct?
BMB: Ah, yes I do. Hm…well, what was one of the most traumatic situations you have even been with during Paper Mario?
BMB: Remind me to keep the stage crew from catching your sight. Anyways, what’s one of your-
Tayce T.: SHY GUY!!!
Shy Guy: He ho?
BMB: RUN FOR YOU LIFE SHY GUY! RUN LIKE I’M GOING TO GIVE YOU MINIMUM WAGE!
Tayce T.: AHHHHHHH!
Tayce T. starts attacking the poor Shy Guy with a frying pan.
BMB: Come on, don’t hurt him. Ouch…stop smacking him with that! Ow…he’s been on here many times before, please…oh, that had to hurt.
Shy Guy: White Flag, white flag! Help...me...
BMB: Well….while they are doing that, why don’t we take a short intermission and-what? Seriously, I don’t have one of those? Well, no intermissions I guess. Let’s see if I can pull Tayce T. back into focus.
Tayce T.: I’m going to kill you and every one of you masked weirdos!
BMB: Actually, I think we should cut off now. Wasted about enough time only to cause a massive war to happen. I’ll see you guys next month.
Tayce T.: GET BACK HERE!
BMB: Well…if I can stay out of her way.
MST3K received no questions this month. If you have an account on the Super Mario Boards, our forum, you can send him a question by personal message.
This also marks the end of my term as Fun Stuff director for this ‘Shroom year. Whether I’m the director or not is up to the new (or former) ‘Shroom director. I hope you enjoy this issue.
Music & Artwork
Hello, everyone, and welcome again to Music and Artwork! To those who read last month's special issue, I hope you enjoyed it very much. I am very thankful for those of you who volunteered to write for it. You guys did a great job! If it's your first time reading, I am very pleased to welcome you here, and I hope you enjoy the issue!
There are currently two open sections for Music and Art, and they are: Photoshopped Image of the Month and Box-art of the Month. If you would like to write for one, or both, contact me either by PM, or on my talkpage. If you're not interested in either of them, but want to write, you can also head to here to see other 'Shroom jobs and more information about signing up. Also, if you have any Mario-related drawings that you want to show on the 'Shroom, you can send them to me, and I'll put them here.
Alright, I think that's it. Enjoy!
Screenshot of the Month (Fawfulfury65)
This month, I've chosen a picture of Yoshi from Mario Kart 7 as the screenshot of the month. It may not be the biggest picture out there, but it shows very beautiful scene. The track that Yoshi is racing on is Wuhu Mountain Loop (or Maku Wuhu, as it is called in North America), a straight-forward (no laps) track that is based off of Wuhu Island from Wii Sports Resort and other Nintendo games.
This main reason I chose this is because of the scenery. The sky really caught my eye, and the palm trees make it look a relaxing place to be. I like the bridge too, and the area overall looks like the perfect vacation spot. Far behind Yoshi and his Bumble V kart, you can see Donkey Kong, and, in the air, what seems to be a bomb-omb. Other than that, there doesn't seem to be any other racers or hazards in view, since the track is pretty low on obstacles.
This picture definitely deserves to be a Screenshot of the Month. Sure, it's a little small, but the image itself is just breathtaking. That's all for this month, and I hope to see you again for the next Screenshot of the Month!
Character Artwork of the Month (Marwikedor)
Happy New Year, 'Shroom Readers! Of all the sublime character artwork of the Marioverse, which one stands out to be named my pictorial pick of the first month of the year? When all is said and done, there is only one: Donkey Kong dressed like a wizard, 'tis you. My decision to name this great work the victor is imbued by that unbelievable fact that Mario Party 2 turns one dozen years old this month for we yanks. Mario Party 2 came out, believe it or not, in January 2000 in America. Not since that time has Uncle Sam ever played a Mario title just released in January. Let it sink in: A dozen years. I simply, emphatically, cannot believe it. I remember exhaustively playing Mario Party 2 when it first came out like it was only... Well, not twelve years ago, that's for sure. The artwork of Donkey Kong personifies the wonderful, yet lost concept of each character wearing different costumes/outfits suited to the theme of each of the game's board maps. DK also dons the garb of my favorite horror-theme board ever, Horror Land. A poster with this image of DK along with various other characters dressed accordingly to other boards to this day adorns my Nintendo Room wall. It is a poster from Brady Games. The only difference in regards to this particular image on the poster is you cannot see DK's feet because Yoshi's head is blocking them. Mario Party 2 is Mario Party at it's very best. How fitting this statement is, going along with the winning artwork: Mario Party 2 left us spellbound. Not just for Horror Land, but Pirate Land, Western Land, and all the great, delightfully simple yet utterly magical lands and moments brought to the fore. And in the future, I don't care how many marvels await us such as virtual reality games, etc. Mario Party 2 will always be a masterpiece of a party game. Not that Wii sports or party or resorts or whatever anyone calls that garbage. Mario Party 2 twelve years later is every bit as great as it was six and one or half a dozen minus six years ago. And it will be every bit as great 144 years from now. Even if no one plays it then, assuming man is still here, the euphoria the game gave I and millions others by playing it can never be extirpated from history. MP2 has left it's mark on the world. Here's to you, Mario Party 9. May your resolution for the new year help us all do what they say you can't: Go home again.
Sketches Related to Mario (Fawfulfury65)
I didn't receive any artwork this month, unfortunately. To make this section more interesting, I'll entertain you with a picture drawn by Shigeru Miyamoto, the individual responsible for everyone's favorite plumber. It seems to have been made for New Years, so it's appropriate for this time of year.
Hello readers of the Shroom. New Super Mario here, writing for the Review Corner section. Lots of 3DS games have been released lately, so I thought I would review one of my personal favorites, Mario Kart 7.
Ah, welcome to another exciting interview with I – Baby Mario Bloops! It is the start of another year, where people try to restart their lives with resolutions far beyond their reaches, snow falling in forms of silver storms, and the annual Director Election for our beloved ‘Shroom!
Yes, that’s right, the debate between Super Mario Bros., Marioguy1 , and latecomer Tucayo is nearly almost done. The votes are tight, neck and neck. It will only take just a matter of one or two votes to swing the election entirely! We’ll be doing the interview with last year’s director, and potential director for 2012, Super Mario Bros! Let’s dive right in!
And with that, we have a good enlightenment about one of our own candidates! I wish all three of them the best of luck for the upcoming event! And, as a message from all three, be sure to support The ‘Shroom in any way possible sometime this year! With that, I’m BMB, and I plan to see you all next month!
This month, I'm going to cover Super Mario 3D Land. Oh, and, before you asked, nobody suggested anything: send me a personal message on the Super Mario Boards if there's something you want me to cover.
What should have been in this game?Mario games, but that's usually only for 2D platformers. This is a 3D game, albeit still a platformer, so I'd expect there to be a better story behind it. The design for the overworldsNew Super Mario Bros. Wii, I think they really could have looked better.
Next, I think there should have been more different bosses in this game. There were only, what, four Bosses in this game (not counting rematches or final battles or whatever)?Worlds, so there's a load of repeated fights (and some worlds without any bosses at all). I think there should have been more different bosses in this game, because the battles just get a bit same-ish (or don't happen at all). Maybe each world could have had a different boss, maybe with Boom Boom or Pom Pom at a tower level in the middle of a world.
The Super Leaf returns in this game (in case you haven't looked at anything about it ever before), but arguably its most useful feature, the ability to fly through the air, is missing. While the player can Flutter Jump while wearing it, I don't think this would be as useful as flying. Flying, in my opinion, would eliminate the need of the Invincibility Leaf, in my opinion. Alternately, the Statue Leaf (which, in my opinion, was a pretty useless update to the Super Leaf) could have had the ability to fly, instead of Flutter Jump.
Now, each of the 16 worlds has only about four or five levels: I would have honestly preferred less worlds to less levels per world. I would have also liked if there was a distinct theme for every world, e.g. jungle, forest, ice world etc., but all of the levels in each world just seem...random. Next, there is a good chance some players will not be able to get the stars which appear on their profile, after completing certain aspects, to sparkle. To get the sparkling stars, I think you have to complete every level without losing no less than 5 Lives. I think there should be another way you can get these stars, if you lose these lives. It's only a minor thing, but it's the little things that count.Now onto something that some people really think was toned down in this game: the difficulty. Now, I personally think this game has a pretty good level of difficulty, especially in the later levels. But I do think it takes quite a while to kick in: Special 2 was, where I felt, I began struggling on some of the levels. In a normal game with around 8 worlds, that would respond to about World 6. Yet I felt, in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the same level of difficulty kicked in at about World 5, or maybe even World 4. The game seems very forgiving with the Invincibility Leaf and whatnot. I think the game could have been less forgiving.
Enemies who should have been in this game
Beta elementsWorld 1-2, in the Warp Zone, there were three green Warp Pipes as opposed to one orange one. The Ball 'n' Chains only appeared above the bridge, and there was one more than in the final version. There were also two Paragoombas where three Koopa Troopas are. In World 3-3 (World 4-5 in the final release), the orange-yellow Platforms were smaller. There was also no Boomerang Bro. where the Mystery Box was.
Upon Stomping an enemy, Mario would have to collect the Coin manually, instead of automatically. The game was originally called Super Mario, then Super Mario 3D, before gaining "Land". The Invincibility Leaf was originally meant to appear after 8 lives were lost, then the P-Wing after 16. The pause menu interface was changed, and some glitches were fixed. The battle with Boom Boom on the World 2-Airship originally used Peewee Piranha's theme from Super Mario Galaxy 2.Boomerang Mario was the only one revealed after that, so it's easy to assume some were cut out. The Goomba's Shoe was, apparently, once confirmed, but didn't appear in the final game. Golden Tail Goombas were once in the game, but were cut out. They could glide further than normal Tail Goombas. In fact, how come they can glide, but Mario can't? Anyway, touching the Midway Flag would originally give Mario 100 more seconds on the timer. Finally, a grassy level with Donut Lifts, Platforms and Arrow Blocks was cut out of the game.
Well, that's all for this month. Don't forget to send me a personal message on the Super Mario Boards if there's something you want me to cover. See you next month!
Welcome, Brawlers, to this month's edition of Brawl Tactics! Since Sonic is wrapping up his 20th birthday celebration, I thought I'd put a little blue spin on this month's issue. I will be covering Green Hill Zone!
Anyone who has played a Sonic game, from classics like Sonic the Hedgehog to newer games like Colors or Generations, has played on this stage. It's probably the most recognizable location in Mobius, to say the least. It received the Brawl makeover- looking totally new yet still possessing the retro spin that older gamers enjoy. Throughout your battle you will see Tails, Silver, and Knuckles running around on the loop in the background, but don't let them distract you too much!
This stage has some pretty significant advantages and disadvantages. The first and foremost are the sides. This stage has very strange sides. When you start to go off screen, the camera will not follow you. Although there is a bit of room back there, you will take damage for being off camera, and that will hurt you in the long run. The edge also comes up fast once you're off camera, and that makes for an easy KO. I've done a few right at the beginning of the battle when my opponent has almost no damage done. If you get an assist trophy of Knuckle Joe or Little Mac, keep your opponent near the sides, because these two pack a wallop when it comes to launch power, and one hit from one of them is enough to send your opponent off the screen. The shallow sides are perfect for Final Smashes like Jiggypuff's or Donkey Kong's, because your opponent will have nowhere to hide if you are right in the middle. Ironically, though, this stage does not give Sonic much room to run around, so if you are playing as him, be careful not to go too far off screen when using his Final Smash or you will have no time to recover.
The second notable trait is the way the loop will give way if you pound on it too hard. Using bombs, Pokemon, assist trophies, or Final Smashes can do major damage, so be careful that you're not standing on the ground when it gives way. If you miss your recovery jump, or if you are playing a Final Smash where you will drop after using it, such as Samus, be careful. The other thing to do when the stage collapses is to get your Landmaster to the edges where the pilot can jump out safely. I don't think I need to elaborate on what will happen if you don't.
Thirdly, the balloon bumpers make things interesting. They do a lot of damage if you hit them hard enough and they have a lot of launch power. Set them off near the edge of the stage if you can and box your opponent in so that they will be KO'ed when the bumper hits them and knocks them back.
Finally, watch your views. Although you will get some view when you are off-screen, it will not be much, and there really is no way to tell what's going on. Due to the stage's box-like construction, mid-battle shots are out of the question when you're in the loop, as the land will get in the way when you are trying to get a new angle, making the only decent shot on this stage straight at the front.
Well, that's all for me this month, Brawlers! Enjoy using the Green Hill Zone, and I'll see you next time on Brawl Tactics!
I'm so behind the times I didn't bother playing as many 2011 releases as I prob'ly should've so I can't make a top 5 list. Oh well, mistakes were made. So of the ones I've actually played, I'll just suggest Portal 2, Bastion, inFamous 2 and Rock of Ages as some 2011 games you should totally play. Happy New Year, by the way.
...oh don't give me that look; it's been a slow couple of months. There was Skyrim, which is way too big a game for a wanna-be critic like me to pretend to dislike; Star Wars: The Old Republic, which I won't touch because I'm scared that associating myself with anything from this series anymore will immediately turn me into an overweight, cheese-fingered social outcast with greater fluency in Shyriiwook than in English; or Afterfall: InSanity, and I'll sacrifice my cat to appease the pagan God of overused concepts before I put up with another fucking alternate history Russian/American war fantasy this year. So I was out of options, and trust me when I say that I'm not going to enjoy this anymore than you will, which should already give you a hint at the tone of this review.
My problem with Nintendo is that they have a terrible habit of constantly rereleasing the same games over and over again, abusing their high position as the long-standing king of gaming to put as little effort into their work as possible. They've grown complacent in the knowledge that they have millions upon millions of rabid, obsessive animals ready to eat up anything with the Nintendo Seal of Give Us All Your Parent's Money on it, almost all of whom are more than willing to wage war on any irate small-time whingepot (such as myself) who dares even slightly slander the infallible sanctity of Nintendo's worn out and shrivelled cock. Admittedly, much of this applies to a great number of leading game publishers, but I'm not likely to piss off as many fanboys here if I call those guys out. I have no problems with developers making a few extra follow-ups to perfect a promising but messy formula, that's how sequels are supposed to work; but it doesn't take over fifteen full-length games to get it right! One of the most potent weapons in Nintendo's arsenal of quick and easy cash is The Legend of Zelda, which is now celebrating its 25th anniversary of running around in a short skirt and slinging your little nuts around at whatever laughs at you for it. Except it's totally different now because it's with giant birds that look like the monstrous offspring of a discoloured albatross and a demented pelican. You play as the usual protagonist – called 'Link' when you're feeling mature enough to not abuse the naming feature, and any assortment of filthy names every other time – this time a resident of a group of magical floating islands collectively labelled 'Skyloft', which sounds like the name of the most boring mountain resort in the world. Zelda gets in trouble yet again, so Link sets out to save her by collecting the Master Sword – oh wait sorry, Goddess Sword, my bad – and then setting out to find an assortment of plot-driving treasures hidden away in a variety of dungeons to eventually find the Triforce, blah blah blah, you know how this works.
I won't say much about the core gameplay because chances are you've played a Zelda game before and therefore know what to expect, so I'll instead jump straight into the brand new motion controls; the MotionPlus allows you to control the position of your sword and swing in a variety of different directions to allow for a "strategic" approach, but nothing has been done to remedy the ever-present delay between Wiimote motion and on-screen action. When taking into consideration that almost every enemy in the game has directional blocking moves that force you to carefully aim your sword so you can hit the one part of their deformed figure that isn't being covered in shame, the delay pretty much ensures that whatever you intended to do is done a second too late and met with a counter move that you're typically unable to dodge because Link is too busy stumbling in awe of your ineptitude. In the heat of battle, it can be all the difference between having fried lizard with fairy garnish for lunch and being Hylian platter for a banquet of irate goblins. This isn't aided by the motion sensor having a hard time distinguishing when I wanted to strategically reposition my sword to get a proper swing in and when I wanted to unite both our weapons in a brief but loving embrace. It could just be that I'm biased against motion controls, but I don't feel you can build the entire combat system on flailing two unresponsive sticks at the screen in hopes that the enemies take pity on you and let you get a free shot in, and aiming your bow or slingshot with the Wiimote has all the accuracy and precision of a man with Parkinson's trying to knit a sweater in the middle of an earthquake.
Among the many inane additions to the game is the stamina metre, because this incarnation of Link is a tremendous bludger who can't even go for a little jog without having to rub his aching ovaries every five seconds. Draining the metre leaves Link unable to do anything but drag his lazy cartilage around for a few seconds until he realizes people are watching him and pretends like it never happened. I don't see why I should be penalized for wanting to get to my next destination as fast as possible, game; I thought I was through with this shit when I finished school! Also shields can be broken now, with rather alarming frequency at that; I guess even Skyloft's manufacturing is struggling so much they need to import their goods from China. It's not really that big a deal unless you forgot to stock up on potions before entering a dungeon, but later on you're able to purchase a shield that repairs itself over time at a very rapid rate, so the durability doesn't seem to serve much purpose other than to piss you off when you first realize defending yourself only actually works about half the time. One thing you could say about previous Zelda titles is that they usually introduced at least one or two new equipment in what I like to call the Street Fighter approach to innovation, but of course those aren't Skyward Sword which hasn't a single original idea in its head! The closest item to "new" is the flying mechanical beetle which is basically just the seagull gimmick from Wind Waker given a practical use, which I suppose is one way to innovate but it's also a sign of desperation when the best they can do is bring back a small diversion from a previous game and make it control even worse. I suppose you could argue that the harp is new, but I swear Nintendo are just throwing in the towel with that thing. All you do is sway the Wiimote side to side in rhythm to aura pulsations in the ground, and most of the time they don't even give you that requirement; a great many fanboys will find themselves disappointed when they decide to buy the inevitable Zelda brand harp only to learn it's not quite that simple to play.
At the very least the franchise goes out of its way to introduce new methods of transportation every few games, and having already used horses, boats and trains, the only logical step up would be flying around on a cross-eyed thunder bird. It's almost fun to side-strafe other pilots, skydive towards a lone floating island and forget to activate the parachute before hitting the ground head first, but it controls like ass and all the novelty wears off quickly when you realize there's fuck-all to see up there aside from one overly bright shopping centre and a small witches' brew. It isn't as expansive or interesting to explore as, say, Wind Waker, and considering your only entry to the main world is through disjointed gaps in the clouds, you start to see Skyloft for what it truly is – a glorified level hub, which is the worst possible thing you can include in a game that's meant to feel big and open. This could've been forgiven, but there's really just not much variety or intrigue in the level design; you have your pick of a river forest, a volcano, or an arid desert. That's seriously all there is. Is it just me, or does Hyrule become smaller and more boring with each passing game?
I found myself more engaged in the side-missions than the main story, which may be because doing favours for people makes a prissy gargoyle give you larger money bags, but more likely has to do with how boring, trite and predictable the overarching story is. A chaotic race of demons trying to get their hands on an artefact of the Gods to awaken a sealed monstrosity, and now a defenceless chosen one and her attractive guardian have to travel the world to fulfil a divine prophecy to vanquish them all? How about you fuck off, destiny, so I can continue my war against all the fragile jars of the world? I guess I'd feel more of a threat if the villains had actually managed to accomplish anything; by the second quarter of Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf already has the entirety of Hyrule grovelling at his feet as he patiently allows Link and Zelda to go about their adventure so he can steal all their progress from under their feet in the end (spoiler alert), but the villains in this game can't even get their hands on Zelda let alone plunge the world into darkness. I feel the demons would benefit from a change of leadership, seeing as their current mastermind likely spends more time in the beauty salon than in his office. No really, this guy is such a flaming, whingey poofter – he wears earrings and make-up; dresses in skin-tight, fetishistic clothing; throws juvenile tantrums when a spanner is thrown into his incredibly simple, ill-thought out plans; and invades Link's personal space more times than is necessary to get the point across that he's meant to be the bad guy. It's like a backstage event with David Bowie. It's unsettling, especially in a game geared towards a younger audience, and springs to mind bad memories of a large number of Square Enix titles.
Come to think of it, much of the game reminds me of anime-esque RPGs; the environments, the graphics, the dialogue, the personality-less cast of characters, the clumsy progression of the story... it's all reminiscent of cliché-ridden Japanese titles such as Tales of Symphonia and Eternal Sonata. There's even a new "helper" character that fills the role of Navi if Navi were a stereotypical submissive emotionless teenage anime girl in fishnet stockings with two flamboyant cuttlefish covering her arms, which is only made more disturbing by the fact that she's more or less the anthropomorphism of your sword. This must be how children develop fetishes. All she ever seemed to do was jump out of the sword every other minute to point out some rock in the ground or a door I was standing right in front of and tell me the statistical probability of it being important in the most drawn out, wordy phrasings possible. I understand the main demographic for the Wii are five-year olds, but I'm sure even they can figure out half this stuff without having to read a slow breakdown of their situation every single time by a computer wearing paint for make-up.
Much of the game could be passable if they didn't stuff you around all the time with so much unnecessary padding. There only being three worlds, there's a considerable lack of variety in the dungeons and their puzzles; after completing the initial three and slaying a giant scaly worm thing that's supposed to be the big baddie, you're sent back to each location to complete another three trials, but they feel like continuations of the first three dungeons since they basically just run on the same themes and gimmicks anyway. They do try to justify this as you occasionally exploring parts of each location that you weren't able to visit before, but it's not like they couldn't have created a few more distinct locations to make the second lot of dungeons feel a bit more original; a tundra couldn't have hurt. But after doing all that you're forced back to each world for a third fucking time to collect parts to a song just so you can gain access to the final dungeon that is quite literally just all the gimmicks from all the previous dungeons mashed up into a complete mess. There's padding in the boss battles too, as that demon ponce poses as the boss for two entirely separate dungeons in generic fights that just entail wailing on him with the sword until one of his fingernails breaks, while the aforementioned main villain is fought thrice throughout the game in exactly the same fashion each time; if slicing off Orochi's eight heads on three separate occasions in Ōkami pissed me off, then smacking the pimple on a giant muppet's forehead isn't going to fare any better. This isn't epic storytelling; this is just bad pacing and pointless repetition in a desperate bid to artificially lengthen the game for a few more agonizing hours. It reached the point where it began to feel less like I was the grand hero chosen by the Gods to prove his worth and save the world from the eternal darkness that hasn't even happened yet, and more like I was being punished with a never ending stream of tests and trials for spiking my potions with the blood of so many innocent bugs.
I'm not so irate and cynical that I can't admit there's still fun to be had here, such as the mine and ship level. But the overall experience constantly hovers somewhere between dull and infuriating aside from the few brief moments of creativity spliced in, and I'd go as far as say Skyward Sword is one of the worst Zelda games I've played thus far. All the few changes and new additions are completely token and shallow, and the rest of the game's content merely further illustrates Nintendo's unwillingness to take any risks, continuing the series' trend of taking refuge on the coattails of its predecessors and adding yet another heavy load for the core formula to drag around with its now-aching, withered out bones. I find it ludicrous that we consider one or two new features and a graphical makeover every couple of years to be innovative and worthy of perfect scores, especially for a series now running on its sixteenth mind-numbing instalment; if I had my way as harsh dictator of the world, any and all game companies that tried to pull this shit would be raided and shut down on international theft charges. I say throw the game in a furnace and just go buy Ōkami instead, you craven fanboy drongos.
Hello Mario Karters to the Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner. This is Coincollector, here to tell you the first tip of the year 2012. But first I want to tell you that 2011 was an awesome year for Nintendo enthusiasts: The release of the Nintendo 3DS, the announcement of the Wii U in the E3 2011, the announcement and release of Mario series' games Super Mario 3D Land and, of course, Mario Kart 7. I also want to thank all of you in the The 'Shroom's End-of-the-Year Awards of December in which I could earn five of the six categories (Mario, Bowser, Peach and Toad), and a honorable mention in the Golden 'Shroom category along with other featured editors. After all, MrConcreteDonkey (talk) was the winner of that award, as he has made nice articles about games and their dumped concepts, and elements not seen in their release. As proof of that, I suggest to go to this interesting article from December that is about Mario Kart 7. Enjoy reading it, and congratulations to MrConcreteDonkey and all of the members of The 'Shroom who have done an excellent job this last year.
The Baby Booster (Booster Seat in North America) is a kart in the shape of a baby stroller with an engine and long exhaust pipes. It has also two headlamps on the front and a roof that covers the cab and usually opens and closes when characters perform a trick. As a curious note, the kart can change its appearance when you select some characters (If you select the Baby Mario brothers, the kart doesn't have fringes hanging on the roof and if you select Koopa Troopa or Dry bones, the hub caps show the design of their shells.) Now let's see the stats:
The Baby Booster is the slowest kart in the game and one of the lightest. In contrast to that, the kart has the best mini-turbo, acceleration and handling.
The Bubble Bike (Jet Bubble in North America) is an unlockable motorbike with a streamlined fairing and a dome-shaped windscreen protecting the headlamp. The Bubble Bike can be unlocked by winning the Leaf Cup of Mirror engine class. These are its stats:
The Bubble Bike has in general balanced stats. The speed and its drift are the only stats that go above the average, whereas its weight goes below, similar to the Baby Booster.
In my opinion, the Baby Booster is the least practical kart you can have, as it is the slowest vehicle in the game. However, it can be useful for beginners to learn the basics and to understand vehicles' stats. On the other hand, the Bubble Bike can be ideal for intermediate players because it has good speed and drift. Additionally, the Bubble Bike is the only well-rounded motorcycle in the small size class, excluding the weight stat.
And that's all for this month ladies and gentlemen. See you next month for another tip in the Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner of The 'Shroom.
Hey everybody, it’s Toad85 again. Welcome back to another issue of The ‘Shroom! In the last issue, we went over how the Video Game Crash of 1983 began, explaining various causes behind the fall of console gaming. In this issue, let’s wrap our segment up by explaining the effects of said crash. Ok? Ok.
Obviously, the first immediate effect of the Video Game Crash was a large distrust in the industry. I mean, how can you blame them?
Several high-profile Atari games were complete flops. And Atari was the center of the game industry. People felt screwed over, and called the industry a dead fad.
I think you get the gist here, so moving on.
Look back to last issue. Remember when I listed all of the various console makers that were active around 1983? Now count how many you recognize. That’s what I thought.
The Video Game Crash of 1983 led to a ‘’massive’’ industry shakeout, most of shift of the industry being moved to Japan, not the US. Companies like Coleco, Mattel, and Magnavox abandoned the industry completely. Atari was too deep in bankruptcy to do anything, and would never truly recover. Games were being made über-fast and being put in bargain bins for the defunct systems.
Fortunately, however, Japanese companies like Nintendo and Sega filled the void later on, though they had to convince buyers that their consoles were not consoles, but “master systems” and “entertainment systems.” No American companies would become competitive in the console war until Microsoft’s Xbox arrived in 2001.
New measures of software control
One of the primary dilemmas with the industry in 1983 was these newfangled gangs called “third-parties.” Early console makers had no impression of how third-parties would soon become a dominant factor in game development. Many early companies (most notably Atari) saw them as a nuisance because not a dime of customers' money that was spent on third-party games went to the console maker. However, they had no way of “locking out” unlicensed third-party games, so they had no leverage with which to counter the third-party companies.
Well, when Nintendo came along, they through Atari’s unspoken “policy” out the window. They not only allowed third-party games to freely be sold alongside first-party games, they saw third parties as ‘’tools’’ to increase the number of great games on the system. Nintendo knew that other companies had the potential to make games that were just as good as their own, so including third-party games as equals, Nintendo presumed, would be a huge boost to the NES library. That didn’t mean Nintendo didn’t have restrictions, though. Nintendo observed the crash, and they didn’t want to make the same mistake Atari did by having no protection against unlicensed games.
First, Nintendo said that developers could only make five games per year on the NES. This kept the excess of games that plagued earlier systems relatively low; some third-party companies created dozens of games per year. Then, Nintendo told third-party companies that all cartridges would be built by Nintendo, who would include a "lock out" chip to prevent cartridges not made by Nintendo from working. This chip would become the foundation of future third-party control measures in the future. Last of all, Nintendo required a portion of all revenue from third-party games to go towards Nintendo itself. How could they resist?
PC market grows in Europe
As I said last issue, the growing PC market was a major threat to console sales. However, by the late 1980s, the NES had widened the gap between PC and console games. PC gaming was no longer a serious threat to console sales in America, thanks to the NES’s popularity.
The same could not be said for the continent of Europe, though. While the USA’s video game industry had floundered during 1983 and 1984, Europe’s had not received as grave a problem. Most of this could be attributed to the ever-growing PC market around that time. The significant low price of floppy-disk computer games, compared to more expensive cartridges for consoles, strengthened their domination; rather than falling alongside console games, computer games were on the rise. This allowed video games in Europe, which by that time were mostly European-developed and European-made computer discs, to thrive despite the crashing American market.
On a similar note, Japan also managed to thrive during the crash, who in 1983 saw the debut of the Famicom (read=NES) and MSX, two systems that would dominate gaming there for the rest of the Eighties.
One more thing…
There is one more thing I’d like to mention about what happened directly 'after' this era. A console.
One forward-thinking company dared to try to bring the console market back to America in 1985. It was a risky move, yes, but what company would dare to do such a thing?
ALL WILL BE REVEALED NEXT ISSUE.