The 'Shroom:Issue LXII
|The 'Shroom calendar for 2021|
|Issue 176||May 19th, 2012||About|
Hello readers of The 'Shroom! Welcome to our May 2012 issue. This month, I have a few announcements.
When this term started back in February, the Core Staff immediately began discussing the plans for the year. This included some ideas shared by myself, Tucayo (talk), and Marioguy1 (talk) during the Director's Election of 2011, new ideas the other members of the Core Staff came up with, plans that were designed last year (and even a few years ago, in some cases) and were never implemented, and much more. One of the topics that one might imagine coming up in these discussions is the concept of the Special Issue. After considering a few ideas for this project, we all ended up agreeing that Issue LXIV (July 2012) is when the next Special Issue will be.
As of such, one thing we have planned is the Feedback Survey. Last month, I announced that the Feedback Survey would be held this month. However, the Core Staff determined that it would be better to merge the initially-planned May 2012 and September 2012 surveys into one that will be run from the release of the Special Issue through the August 2012 issue. That is what we ended up deciding to do, so there is no Feedback Survey this month.
Finally, the Poll Chairperson Election of 2012 will begin next month and will run until the Special Issue. Anybody that wishes to be the Chairperson of the Poll Selection Committee must run a campaign that follows the rules that will be posted when the election starts. Those who intend to run a campaign must have an account on the Super Mario Boards (or must create one during the election cycle in order to qualify for the nomination), must select six members that will agree to serve in their committee (one of whom must agree to serve as Vice-Chairperson), and must agree to uphold the responsibilities that come with the position of Poll Committee Chairperson. Debates will also be held if there are multiple candidates, although attendance at these debates is not required to maintain one's status as a candidate in the election. If you are considering a run for the position, be sure to start planning. More information on this election and what the Poll Committee does will be provided in the election article next month.
Please be sure to check back on June 16th, 2012, when the next issue is to be released.
Until next month,
Hello, lucky beings and welcome to the second installment of Activity Announcements! I am your Activity Director, Marioguy1 (talk) announcing the official beginning of 'Shroom Mafia II! This game is bound to be fun, and the first phase will begin tonight!
I also have a special announcement about the game, specifically focusing on all 'Shroom writers playing in the game. As a thank you to all 'Shroom writers, they will be given a special item to start of the game - an item not obtainable in any shop. Use it well!
As for the 'Shroom Spotlight, we really need more people to sign up for it and we need those who signed up to help out. Last month we covered Super Mario Bros. and I didn't see any significant edits to the articles from any of our members. We need to work harder, people! Remember, the person who edits the most will receive an honourable mention in the Activity Announcements, and for those who constantly help out, the end-of-year awards might have something waiting for them.
Sign up here and edit! This month we will be covering a nice, classic 3D game, Super Mario Sunshine! Often considered an outsider in Mario games, Super Mario Sunshine had a completely different method of attacking - water! Let's see what you guys know about it, edit any article relating to Super Mario Sunshine over the next month and I will announce the winner next issue!
Section of the Month
|Section of the Month|
HI, everyone! I'm your always-shiny Statistics Manager Tucayo! And this time, I come in peace to present the winner of the April 2012 Section of the Month. In case you're wondering, why are you doing this? Well, I am the guy who handles the voting process, so yeah. And let me tell you one thing, the amount of votes we got last month was nowhere as high as I expected it would be. It's in your hands to decide, and it takes you less than a minute to vote, so please do, so the result can properly reflect everyone's opinion.
On an unrelated note, this is my 50th Main Section! Congratulations to me! (that's another thing the Statistics Manager does). Now, for the SOTM winner.... With 30% of the votes, Toad85 (talk)'s section, A History of Video Games, has won its second SOTM award, congratulations!
In this section, Toad85 told us the story of how Shigeru Miyamoto got initiated in Nintendo. And let me tell you, it's a pretty good story. So if you didn't read it, what are you waiting for? It's a great chance to know how the company we all now love got first started in the video game industry. Did you know Nintendo first pursued the license for "Popeye", but failed?
May's Section of the Month
As I previously mentioned, we received way too few votes last issue, so please take some of your valuable time to acknowledge those writers that do a great job. Please be honest while voting, and don't vote for entire sub-teams. Votes like "Fun Stuff" or "Fake News" are invalid.
Here ya go. Voting starts May 19th and ends June 9th.
Hey guys, welcome to another Fake News! Today, I'll be doing the regular editorial stuff, and also explaining why I couldn't do Should Have Been, Forum Update, or whatever else I do, I can't remember why can't you remember you're the worst coffee mug I've ever had I'm getting a divorce.
Soo, staff changes: firstly, BMB, who wrote the Fake Interview, resigned when he left the forum, and then was fired by the Core Staff anyway. Don't worry/do worry, he's returned to the forum. As well as this, KoopaTroop, ex-writer of the Character Battle, retired from the community. Too bad to see them go, but maybe there's some new talent around the corner. Is it you? Yes, it is you. Get to work.
Want to sign up? First, find a vacant position on the Sign Up page (Fake News only), then go to my talk page. Don't ask for a position on the talk page, or you will be ferociously ignored. Do follow the instructions in the orange box at the top of the page. If you can figure out how, you can also use it to play Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal and Team Fortress 2. Just don't spill anything on my carpet.
As for the other sections, my keyboard on my laptop was screwing up a lot recently. It ranged from keys not working, to keys working too much. For example, my S key kept repeating without even pressing it, and my D key stopped working (not making any Creeper/Porplemontage jokes). But now I've got a new keyboard, so that's all fixed now.
So, a bit of a longer editorial this month. Hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you will enjoy this months Fake News:
Summer is just around the corner. No, seriously. It's literally right around the corner. Summer's been stalking me lately. Anyways, now that the temperatures skyrocket, all of your favorite vacation spots get unbearably hot. Need a place to cool off? All signs point to Plack Beach!
First off, the beach has the water to cool you off. It's why it's called a "beach". You can also stand on the huge cliff to get a great view of the beach (and hope you don't get pushed off by a Pendril). You can also see the legendary statues of the sage Chakron, and rarely, Chakron himself. Oddly, he's standing on his head. If you ask why he's doing that, he'll say it was because of some basket thingy.
Accommodations are easy to find. The beach is rock-free and easy to snooze on. Don't worry! You'll be safe. There's only a 95% chance you'll be attacked by a Toothy overnight. The Sea Pipe Statue also likes to hang around on the beach and might attack travelers for no reason. I wonder who added the nuts to that statue.
And that is why you should cool off at Plack Beach. Do it now, before the heat gets to you!
Hi everybody! Here’s your hostess, Chivi-chivik! And this is Cooking Guide, where we teach you how to cook excellent dishes!!
So, let’s go!
Today I’m going to Saffron’s because I’m sure Dyllis wouldn’t be very glad of seeing me...
Me: *opens door* Hi!
Saffron: Hi, Chivi! How are you?
Me: Fine, thanks!
Saffron: Really? Because Dyllis told me that he was very pissed off with you...
Me: Eh... don’t worry, I’m fine! ^^;
Saffron: Okay then. So... what are we going to cook today?
Me: We are going to cook... Some Meat Dumplings!
Saffron: Oh! This is a very tasty dish!
Saffron: Okay, please give me the Power Steak and the Cake Mix.
Me: *gives her the ingredients*
Saffron: Well, first of all we have to mince the meat.
Me: *writes down* Okay...
Saffron: After this, we have to spice and fry it in the pan.
Me: *writing down*
Saffron: When you have it, separate the pan from heat. Now, get the Cake Mix and put all of it in a bowl. Add some water and begin to mix until you have a well mixed dough.
Saffron: Now make discs with the dough, put some meat inside and close it. Do as many dumplings as you want.
Saffron: When you have all the dumplings done, preheat the oven. When it gets hot enough, put the dumplings in there. Wait for 10 minutes.
--After those 10 minutes...--
Saffron: *takes the dish out* The dumplings are ready to eat! ^^
Me: Yay!! *takes one* Oh, so hot!
Saffron: Be careful!
Me: *tastes* Amazing as always! *w*
Saffron: Glad you like it, sweetie! ^^
Saffron: Who could it be?
Dyllis: Saffron!! SAFFRON! I know that TOADSTOOL is there with YOU!!
Saffron: Oh no! He discovered me!
Me: Oh crap! I’ll leave through the window! Thanks for all!! *jumps out*
Dyllis: *enters and looks everywhere* She left... damn it!
Dyllis: I’ll come back!! When she appears again! *she leaves*
Saffron: What a woman...
- Mince the steak, spice and fry it.
- Mix the Cake Mix with water until have a dough.
- Make discs with the dough and put some meat in them. After this, close them.
- Preheat the oven. When it heats up, put the dumplings in it for 10 minutes.
- After that time, take them out.
Use/Effect: This dish increases your power.
Never tell to Dyllis where I am!!
Thanks for being here reading, until next Cooking Guide!!
Hello, Chief TravixMan here, and I say, I am here reporting that crime rates have been increasing... Increasingly low. The fellows who made the crime have fled. However, I know that my great officers will get them into their cells. Their seats are warm, plus we have fresh chocolate chip cookies! Boys and girls, just listen to this crime story.
1. Wario and Waluigi's Greatest Escape
All was peaceful in the Mushroom Kingdom Treasury. All the coins have been placed into their correct storage. That was, until Wario and Waluigi broke inside. They used Bob-ombs to break the doors, took all the gold coins, and even knocked out Bank Toad, who was guarding the treasury. They even went to Princess Peach's Castle and kidnapped Princess Daisy, who would've been at the treasury to help out, if she wasn't sleeping that is. When Princess Peach called HQ, they fled the scene. If any sightings of two weird looking yellow and purple plumbers, contact the Mushroom Police Squad.
So that's all a story like that is about. Greedy Thieves stealing gold coins, and kidnapping beautiful women. See you all next month, at the same spot of Fake Police Blotter!
'3K couldn't submit his section this month. You can ask him questions by sending him a personal message on the Super Mario Boards.
That is all.
Nothing to say. I hadn't sent my section to Gamefreak, so I apologize for that.
- Which Kong can bypass B. Locker with a glitch if he or she does not have enough Gold Bananas to enter the new world?
- Fungi Forest was originally going to appear in what game?
- Who are the only Kongs who can enter the Crystal Caves?
- How many Gold Bananas are needed to enter Crystal Caves (w/o taking advantage of any glitch!)?
- What is the number that Wrinkly Kong tells DK will come in handy (and it does) outside of Fungi Forest?
- The last enemies/obstacles to getting a certain Golden Banana with Donkey Kong in Creepy Castle resembles what Banjo-Kazooie character?
- T/F: In the mission from the previous question, it is required for DK to use the Kong Barrel to get the Gold Banana.
- T/F: In the Jetpac game, the player is never required to leave the first screen to get the Rareware Coin.
- What Kong does cowardly Chunky try to get the player to select instead of himself if the player is going to pull Chunky out of the Tag Barrel?
- In the final two Beaver Bother games (which appear in Creepy Castle), in order to complete the games, the player controlling the Klaptrap must herd into the hole one Beaver every how many seconds?
- Bonus: In the Donkey Kong Arcade, on what screen is the Kill Screen? That means, on what numbered screen does the game become unwinnable because there is simply not enough time to possibly complete the screen?
|Click to find answers!|
Did you know that...
- Mario was originally a carpenter?
- Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels is the first game to feature Luigi with a higher jumping ability?
- The International Super Mario Bros. 2 is actually a port of Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic with Mario characters?
- Despite being called Tetris Attack" the game Tetris Attack has very little to do with Tetris in terms of game play?
- "Yoshi's Safari" marks the first time Princess Toadstool was called Princess Peach outside of Japan?
Guess that Game
- This game was released in 2006 in all regions except South Korea and China.
- The player does not have to visit all of the worlds; rather, only six are required to beat the game.
- This game has eighteen 1-player minigames (most of them were taken from another game on the same system).
- Six of the bosses made their first appearance in this game (none of them appeared outside of it, barring the first boss of World 8, who went on to become a playable character and boss in spin-offs).
|Click to find answers!|
- This character has not appeared in any Mario spin-off yet.
- However, this character has appeared in almost every game from their own series to date.
- This character has their own action figure in Japan.
- This character's personality was drastically changed for their series' cartoon adaptation (moreso than any of the others).
|Click to find answers!|
Find the Differences
Music & Artwork
Director's Notes (Smasher)
Hello everyone! This is Smasher, the new director for Music & Artwork. Thanks to Fawfulfury65 for directing this section for the past year and few months, you did a great job. I hope that I do a good job directing this section as well. I don't really have anything else to say, so enjoy, and I look forward to directing this section!
Character Artwork of the Month (Rise Up Above It)
Character of the Month: #200 - Spiny
This month's character is a fairly well-known enemy and Koopa subspecies, the common-or-garden Spiny! Now, while you may loathe them with a passion for mainly being thrown at Mario's face just as you get him to jump over a long bottomless pit, you can't deny that they are rather cute. Especially the paper ones. And it's not exactly their fault that cloud-driving lunatics have a penchant for plucking the poor little critters off of terra firma to use as throwing ammo. Who wouldn't find it hilarious to toss around some very spiky creatures around from the vantage point of high up in the clouds? Just me? Oh.
Also, I think that it's a pretty cool moment when you're playing Super Mario Bros. 3 and you meet your first Lakitu, who promptly bombards you with Spiny Eggs, and see the eggs uncurl and start shuffling along so you're like "OH MY POOCHY THEY MOVE!!!!"(...wait, if you're only playing SMB3 for the first time and haven't played other Mario platformers, how could you possibly know of Poochy yet???? o_0). Thanks for reading! Next Month - #210 Ancient Minister
Random Image of the Month (Ralphfan)
The image you see here is one of the most iconic pictures of Baby Mario, a scene of him using his Hammer from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. Hammers were one of the primary methods of attacking in the game.
Music Factoid (Post-Damage Invincibility)
The Super Mario 64 Slide Theme is easily the most recognizable slide-related video game song in the entire world... period. The theme was just not used for the secret slide, but also the penguin races on an icy/snowy slide.
Let us not forget the beetle races in Donkey Kong 64. These slide challenges were far more difficult than any challenge taking place on a slide in any Mario adventure. They are considered some of the hardest Golden Bananas to collect in the entire game with it's hundreds of bananas. Some people think the beetle race with Tiny in Angry Aztec is more difficult, and other's think Lanky's race with the beetle in the Crystal Caves is harder. Without all things considered, it should be noted that unlike Tiny, Lanky can outrun the beetle in the race's final stretch.
Sprite of the Month (FunkyK38)
FunkyK38's Sprite of the Month
Sprite of the Month: For the month of May, I have this sprite for you: Pokey from Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time ! The flowers are growing right now, and unfortunately, so is this one. Don't run into it while driving a MarioKart. Trust me on that one if you don't know already.
Screenshot of the Month (Fawfulfury65)
Here we have one of the greatest scenes in video game history. Mario dodged a countless number of Koopas and Goombas, hopped over numerous pits, and conquered a whole castle to find out... he went to the wrong castle. That's why I just had to choose this for this month's Screenshot of the Month.
I don't have much else to say about this picture besides that, but it's such a classic that I couldn't resist. Oh well. I hope you enjoyed this month's screenshot. Hopefully I'll be around next month to display a new image!
Director's Notes (Paper Yoshi (talk))
You! Yes, you!! Welcome to the May Issue of Pipe Plaza! This is Paper Yoshi, your one and only Pipe Plaza Director, speaking. I've got important announcements regarding this sub-team, so let's get to that!
First of all, the NIWA News section will be removed from the paper. However, Marioguy1 (talk), the former Pipe Plaza Director, will take over the section and bring you important news as they come, rather than every month. As for the second announcement, Ralphfan (talk) has been fired from his Pipe Plaza position, Anniversary Announcements writer. He will be replaced by the Awards Committee Director, Turboo (talk). Monthly Report, Featured and Projects Seeking Contributors are vacant Pipe Plaza sections, so be sure to sign up for any of the positions if you still haven't done so!
Now go on to the other Pipe Plaza sections!! They're eagerly waiting to be read!!
Hello, welcome to May's edition of the Community Report.
Policy Changes and Updates
Proposals from the Past Month
Currently Running Proposals and TPPs
Sitenotices from the Past Month
Promotions and Demotions
Mario Calendar (Paper Yoshi (talk))
Hey there, readers, and welcome to this month's Mario Calendar! Paper Yoshi (that's me!) is here once again to show you all the Mario, DK, Yoshi and Wario games released in the fifth month of the year, May! Here they are!
And so we're done with this month's list! Upcoming Games is absent from this issue, so I'll see you next month; until then, farewell!!
When discussing proposals on the proposal page, make sure you are arguing relevant information. The proposal page can grow to massive lengths if proposers don't stay on topic. If you have to argue with another user on something, do it on their talk page.
Can you guys believe it? My second month as Activity Director and I'm already hosting 'Shroom Mafia II! So this month, Fading into Obscurity is going to commemorate that by reviewing a pseudo-mafia of our own; the Axem Rangers.
The Axem Rangers are five teenagers garbed in colourful costume who work for Smithy. In the events of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, they steal a star piece and then find Mario in their battleship Blade and battle him.
The rangers are:
- Axem Red, the leader, increases his attack and defense
- Axem Yellow, the hungry one, has very high physical stats
- Axem Green, the physical weakling, has very high magical stats
- Axem Pink, the only girl, uses recovery and status-inflicting magic
- Axem Black, the newbie, can attack multiple times per turn
After their appearance in SMRPG, the Axem Rangers and Blade flew off, into the dimness of obscurity.
Mario Super Sluggers (New Super Mario)
I have been playing Mario Super Sluggers recently, so I am going to review it.
Mario Super Sluggers is the second baseball game in the Mario series. The baseball played here follows most baseball rules, with much added Mario gimmicks.
Challenge Mode is great fun for when playing alone. While playing, Mario must recruit members for his team, by asking people, using special abilities to locate them, and beating characters in challenge. These characters are all throughout Baseball Island, and you will need the help of other captains, Peach, Yoshi, Wario, and Donkey Kong. Once you have recruited your team, you must challenge Bowser. By winning it, helps you gain Star Power, allowing you to make certain players even better than they were before.
There are nine stadiums in the game. Mario Stadium is a field with no gimmicks, just what you would find when you watch a regular baseball game. Peach Ice Garden is a field with ice floors. Because of this, the field team, especially the outfield, will tend to slip a lot while going after the ball. There are also [[Freezie]s in the outfield that trap the outfielders in a block of ice, preventing movement. It will be broke after a while, but you can manually break it with a shell or the ball. The short fence at the end also makes it good for Ground Rule Doubles. Peach Ice Garden is an average course in my opinion, but I can see how it could get annoying for some people. Yoshi Park is a very cool field. At the edge of the fence in the back, a Yoshi Train (Or a Wiggler one at night) rides in the back, which can make the outfield hit it and make catching the ball harder. There are also warp pipes in the field which can teleport the ball to a different pipe. The next field, Wario City I enjoy as well. Set in a concrete field, there are manholes and arrows on the field. If the ball lands on an arrow, it will push away in the direction the arrow points, making it harder for the fielder to get the ball. The manholes shoot out water, sometimes hitting players. DK Jungle is an ok field. In the field, barrels roll and can hit the players. There are also flowers that release fragrances that stun the player. These are all the starting fields, I won’t talk about the unlockable ones.
There are a lot of playable characters in the game. I like most of them, but I won’t talk about them since there are so many. The captains are Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Yoshi, Birdo, Wario, Waluigi, DK, Diddy Kong, Bowser Jr., and Bowser. Each Captain has their own unique special powers for pitching and hitting. Mario’s are pretty average powers. For pitching, he throws a fast fireball, which can screw up some people with late reactions. For batting, he does the same thing, just sending it out in the field at the players. It burns the player it hits, but it can easily be avoided and caught by botching it to another teammate, eliminating the flame, and having them catch it. Luigi’s powers are terrible in my opinion. Both involve tornadoes, and are the same as Mario’s, but with a tornado ball. His pitch is usually inaccurate, and the hitting isn’t very effective. Peach has great powers! For her pitch, she covers the ball up with many hearts, making it hard to see the ball. For batting, it is even better, and it stun all of the male players. It is effective when playing all male rosters, but don’t use it if you have females in the infield. Daisy’s pitch involves sending a flower ball at the batter, which, if it is hit, usually makes the ball go really high, making it an easy out. He batting power is good. Where ever the ball is supposed to land, a garden of flowers will be put around it, making it unreachable to the fielders. There are many other good Captain powers, but you can check those out yourself.
The final thing I will talk about it Chemistry. When characters like each other, they have chemistry. By placing these such characters in different spots can help your game a lot. To use an example, I will take Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, and Baby Peach. Let’s say these players were all after each other in the batting order. Because they all have alliance, it will allow them to use items. Items are a good way to screw up fielders, good ones being the shell, POW ball, and banana peels. They are key to helping home runs, so always do this! It is also good to put alliance characters in the outfield together. Let’s say Baby Mario was in center field, Baby Luigi in right, and Baby Peach in left. Now, let’s say the ball is hit between center and right. Then Baby Mario and Baby Luigi can run to the ball, and do a Buddy Jump to jump up and catch the ball! It is a good way to prevent home runs from the other team. Buddy Throws are also common. Let’s say King K. Rool is on 3rd base. Pianta is up and hits a ball in front of Baby Peach. Because Baby Peach and Baby Mario have alliance, they can perform a Buddy Throw, by having Baby Peach botching it to Baby Mario. It will result in a SUPER fast throw, which is likely to get King K. out considering he is so slow. Chemistry is key to winning games in Mario Super Sluggers.
Good Features: Challenge Mode, Good fields (for the most part), Great roster, Gimmicks, Special Powers, Chemistry, Items
Bad Features: Long time to unlock everything, minor character and field flaws.
NSM’s Rating: 9.5/10
Got any suggestions for what game to review? PM me, New Super Mario, on our forums!
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Nabber)
Good morning, MarioWiki! It’s your friendly neighborhood Nabber here with a review of a much-loved game: Super Mario Galaxy 2! It’s the sequel to what many remember as one of Nintendo’s finest works - but does it hold up to the legacy? Let’s find out!
I’ve often said that I don’t judge a game by its graphics. I still stand by that, but on of the problems with Super Mario Galaxy 2 it that it just completely ignores every aspect of a game besides the gameplay. There’s just no atmosphere. You can clearly tell from the box art that Mario’s adventure this time is filled with bright, happy colors, but that’s as far as the mood goes. Remember the original’s touching story, how we found out exactly how Rosalina created the Comet Observatory? Nintendo decided that the best way to follow up to that is to have as little story as possible. Bowser’s grown to the size of Peach’s castle, kidnapped the princess, go save her. And speaking of Rosalina, she appears in the game, but it’s easy to tell that her only purpose it to please her large fanbase that she had amassed.
But what about the gameplay itself? Well, I can definitely say that Super Mario Galaxy 2 has some really neat concepts. The cloud flower is especially cool - you can create your own platforms in midair!
Shame that’s the only thing in the game that appears for more than three levels.
Because Nintendo just had too many ideas. They just couldn’t perfectly fit it all into one game. So instead of seeing a variety of uses for an item, you’ll only see a couple of levels - separated far apart from each other, mind you - that actually use that item. So you may first encounter a Blimp Fruit in the beginning of World 3, but that’s the only level you’ll see it for until the end of World 4. Let me make a small chart for a few power-ups and how many galaxies they appear in:
- Rock Mushroom - 3
- Bee Mushroom - 2
- Boo Mushroom - 1
- Spring Mushroom - 1
- Rainbow Star - 4
- Dash Pepper - 3
- Blimp Fruit - 4
- Bulb Berry - 2
See what I’m getting at? There’s 122 missions in this game, and many of them are repeats with an extra requirement or condition. While it’s fun to use these power-ups, I just wish we would get more experience with them.
Speaking of experience, that’s one of the things I loved about Super Mario Galaxy: the galaxies themselves. They were all unique, with their own inhabitants and quirks. Between the 6 or 7 missions you would spend in them, plus the rerun with Luigi, you would spend quite a while learning the ins and outs of these places. But in SMG2, the galaxies only have 2 or 3 missions. So you would only really be spending half of the time in these places as you would in the prequel. And considering that the biggest difference in these galaxies is their look, you’re not going to be able to tell the Sky Station Galaxy from the Space Storm Galaxy. It really takes away the great feeling you got when playing SMG1.
Am I done with my rant yet? Nope. Galaxies in this game now resemble solar systems instead of actual, full-sized planets. So each galaxy is really just a string of challenges connected to each other by a launch star. Yay. And the biggest insult is that despite the many planetoids you’ll be running on, most of the challenges in this game are really just simple platforming challenges that don’t use gravity at all. It’s just not fun anymore.
Okay, I’ll concede that this game is fun. To an extent. There’s a good difficulty curve here, and some of the later levels are genuinely challenging. The final level will take actual skill to beat. Unfortunately, you have to rack up 9,999 Star Bits in order to unlock it, something that wasn’t exactly needed.
You also need to get all of the Green Stars to unlock. These are 120 stars that are spread out through the galaxies, doubling the amount of missions in them. They’re just placed in random spots, so it isn’t really a new mission, but it’s a good incentive to go back and review the galaxies.
Super Mario Galaxy 2, sadly, was not better than its predecessor. It’s a fun time-waster, but it lacks the elements that made the original the mind-blowing game that it was. SMG2 receives an 8/10 from me. It’s cool to play, but if you had to choose between this and Super Mario Galaxy, then you should go with the the prequel.
Oh wow, it's that time of the month again? No, not that time of the month, you gutter-brains... Time for another interview! Hosted by none other than me! (Because no one else would do it.) I guess the first thing I should note is that this may be my wackiest interview yet. So, don't go in expecting a ton of serious conversation...but don't prepare for top-notch humor, either. Do I look like a comedian to you?
This month, I thought I'd take a break from reminiscing with some oldsters around the community, and hit up some newer blood. At first, I considered interviewing a guest, since there is no newer blood than that...but then I realized my horrendous line of questioning would result in scaring off a new member. So, I opted for someone a bit older...but still pretty new: Smasher.
Anyone who knows Smasher, knows that he's a beloved icon on our forums nowadays. In a little over one-year's membership, he's accumulated more posts and friends on the forum than anyone I've ever seen. His post count is almost as large as the state he hails from, Texas. His list of friends might be even larger, I honestly have no idea.
On the wiki, Smasher is a semi-frequent editor, mostly taking care of maintenance work, as well as voting on a large amount of proposals. He is also a #mwchat Operator, a position he earned very early into his membership, I might add. I would say more about that, but unfortunately, I don't go on chat much these days. Smasher has also taken up a large amount of responsibilities in this years' Anniversary preparations. He helps keep track of award documentation, help keep the awards chatroom civil and on-topic during meetings, as well as keeping track of all the votes that happen during each meeting (which...is a lot more tedious and important than it sounds, trust me). In addition to all that, Smasher will also be helping prepare and manage some events being coordinated around the Awards Ceremony. ...But you'll have to wait until then to find out what!
Oh, and I almost forgot: He's recently been appointed the new Music & Art Director for The 'Shroom. Give 'im a round of applause, folks! I'm certain he'll do a fine job.
Me: I have come to claim YOUR SOUL.
Me: Do you accept?
*Smasher shoots Stooby*
*Stooben cancels the interview in place of his own funeral*
*Smasher unshoots Stooby*
Me: oh god what lol
Smasher: couldn't resist :p
Me: what did you make me dooo
*Stooben shoots Smasher*
*Smasher gets interviewed from beyond the grave*
Me: The long distance bill is going to kill the producers.
Smasher: TOO BAD.
Me: I'm going to be the only one left soon. :(
Me: Wait, if you're dead, does that mean I can have your sunglasses?
Me: I'm assuming you're ready to be tortu—er, interviewed now?
Smasher: FIRST I MUST GET READY TO DO SOMETHING THAT I NEVER DO ON CHAT
Me: THIS SOUNDS EXCITING!
Me: MAY I DOCUMENT IT?
*Smasher begins capitalizing proper nouns and using periods.*
Me: That was a shock.
Me: Alright, folks, it's time for another interview. This time, I'll be interviewing everyone's favorite person to draw.
Me: No, not Rose from Titanic. Smasher!
Me: And no tomatoes were thrown on this day.
*Smasher gets hit by a tomato*
Me: WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?!
Me: Should I call security?
Me: Well, then. I guess I'll get the ball rolling with the basics. When did you join the wiki, and how did you run across it?
Smasher: Uh, if I remember correctly, I joined on September 9th, 2010.
Smasher: And I think I found the site while looking for info on Warioware D.I.Y..
Me: WarioWare D.I.Y.... I think I remember when that game first came out. I think Garlic Man edited that page like crazy.
Me: So you've been here closing in on two years. Not bad.
Me: Do you remember who your first friend was?
Smasher: Mario Fan 123, who I no longer like much. :P
Smasher: I think MCD was my first friend who I'm actually still friends with.
Smasher: oh wait why did i say that
Smasher: I HATE MCD GO AWAY YOU CRAZY—
*Smasher is hit by another tomato*
Me: Get that Heinz-chucker out of here.
Me: Also, about MCD, you just can't resist his British charm, can you?
*Smasher slaps Stooby*
Me: I deserved that.
Me: I may deserve another one after this question:
Me: Tell me...would you consume green scones and tea with your pal MCD?
*Smasher slaps Stooby again*
*Stooben throws a tomato at Smasher*
*Smasher falls out of his chai*
Me: So, you would drink chai, not tea.
Me: Got it.
*Smasher slaps Stooby a third time*
Me: I can'th feel my fayshe...
Me: I will throw a tomato orchard at you.
Me: So, um...you're clearly a celebrity on our forum. How does that make you feel?
Smasher: It makes me wonder what the heck is wrong with everyone.
Me: Maybe you slapped them too much and gave them all brain damage. :)
Smasher: I have a sudden urge to slap you again.
Me: This is going to be a very violent interview, isn't it?
Smasher: Most likely.
Me: Good. People like violence. Which means people will like this section. Which means I will get 'Section of the Month' again. Please, continue to slap me.
*Smasher slaps Stooby*
*Smasher slaps Stooby*
*Smasher slaps Stooby*
*Smasher slaps Stooby*
*Smasher slaps Stooby*
*Stooben is punch-drunk*
Me: It was just one cookie, MOM... Oh, look at the pretty circling birdies...
Smasher: That might have been one slap too many.
Me: wait WHO ARE YOU and why are you sitting on my cookie jar
Smasher: I'm uh...
*Smasher suddenly rewinds time*
Me: This is going to be a very violent interview, isn't it?
Smasher: Most likely.
Me: Well, we wouldn't want that!
Me: So, I will continue with my questions.
Smasher: Okay then.
Me: What do you think about all the pictures and drawings people make for you? There's even an entire thread on the forum dedicated just to that.
Me: Is it creepy?
Smasher: why me
Smasher: Actually, I don't really mind it that much.
Smasher: I'm not entirely sure why people want to waste time making a picture of me, but whatever.
Me: I think people get put under a spell when they look into your sunglasses.
Me: You...uh...you don't get fan mail too, do you?
Smasher: Only from a crazy woman in Kentucky.
Me: Run far away.
Me: That might work, actually. You won't get hit by tomatoes there!
* Smasher gets hit by tomato*
Me: Damn it.
Me: Let's see... You seem to be a huge fan of Mafia on the forum. What made decide to start playing?
Smasher: That's actually one of the things that finally got me interested in the fourm.
Smasher: I saw a few threads as a guest and thought they looked fun. I even play on another site now
Me: Oh wow, really? I did not know that. It must be nice to play with different people sometimes. :P
Smasher: Yeah, I enjoy playing over there a lot.
Me: I should probably start playing Mafia on other forums again, it's been a long time since I have. Maybe Superchao's forum...
Me: Actually, Superchao reminds me of the Awards: How has your time on the Awards Committee been this year? Are you excited for the upcoming ceremony?
Smasher: I've enjoyed my time on the Awards Committee for the most part.
Smasher: And, I'm excited for the ceremony, though I probably won't be able to attend the full thing. :(
Me: Ouch, that sucks. :( Well, unless you're doing something fun that day. But if it's school, or a doctor, or something like that... that really sucks.
Me: Too bad the forum doesn't have TIVO.
Smasher: I will most likely spend the entire day working. :[
Me: Aw dude...that really bites. Sorry, man.
Smasher: At least I'll be able to view it when I get in the house. ...And I might be able to attend, you never know...!
Me: Well, that's something, at least! Good thing the whole event doesn't take place on chat, that way you can check things out on the forum afterwards.
Me: Speaking of the forum, I look around at people's profiles, and notice two popular themes. Both of which, I'm 98% sure you like.
Me: So, I ask you: Homestuck or My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?
Smasher: Honestly, I prefer MLP. I like them both, though, yeah.
Me: Cool beans. What makes you like MLP more?
Me: I would assume not having a completely convoluted story would be part of it, lol. (But I'm one to talk, being a huge Lost fan.)
Smasher: ...I don't really know why I prefer it, lol.
Smasher: I just...do. *shrug*
Me: Fair enough. Sometimes it just works out that way.
Me: As for other things you like...hm, well, this is an obligatory I have to ask, 'cause I'm me. What kinds of music do you like?
Smasher: Let's see...most people know that I love grunge, classic rock, and alternative rock. I also like punk, new wave, indie rock, some metal, and just about anything to do with rock, really.
Me: Very nice! All genres I enjoy quite a lot as well. :)
Me: Any artist/song recommendations for our readers?
Smasher: My favorite artists are Nirvana, R.E.M., Foo Fighters, Paramore, and Linkin Park.
Smasher: My favorite songs are Nirvana's "In Bloom", R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion", Foo Fighters' "The Pretender", Linkin Park's "In the End", System of a Down's "Toxicity", and Paramore's "Misery Business".
Me: Linkin Park and System aren't quite my cup of tea, but those two songs are major guilty pleasures for me. (Actually most of the albums they are off of are guilty pleasures.)
Me: Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Paramore, R.E.M., on the other hand, all get massive <3 from me.
Me: Alright, continuing this trend of "SMASHER, WHAT DO YOU LIIIIKE", what's your favorite Mario game?
Smasher: All of them.
*Smasher is hit by a drum*
Me: I didn't throw that.
Smasher: Seriously though, probably Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, with Mario Kart DS as a close second.
Me: Awww yeah, TTYD. *fist pump*
*Smasher is punched in the face*
Me: You're supposed to fist pump me back. I thought we rehearsed this. :(
Smasher: But I'm a Smasher.
Smasher: I fail at most things.
Smasher: You should know this.
Me: During this interview, you fail at nothing. :)
Me: Except dodging tomatoes.
*Stooben wipes the tomato stuff off with a French fry.*
*Stooben throws the French fry in the garbage*
Me: Aw damn, now who will answer the rest of my questions? :(
*Smasher clone number 21381083108 suddenly appears*
Me: THAT WAS CONVENIENT!
Me: Well, let's see, what's your favorite non-Narmio game?
Smasher: ...Of course, I spelled "Mafia" as "Nafia" recently.
Smasher: If Super Smash Bros. Brawl doesn't count, I'd say Rock Band.
Me: Rock Band is so much fun. Especially since you can learn the real instrument parts with Pro Mode now. :)
Me: But even regular mode is tons of fun.
Me: Brawl...haven't played that in too long, but man, that game was addicting. Cue cheapness that is Meta Knight, tho.
Smasher: I haven't played Pro Mode yet. </ashamed>
Smasher: Though, Rock Band is one of the main reasons why I love rock music so much, along with Guitar Hero.
Smasher: Also, Lucario >>>>>>>>>>>> Meta Knight
Smasher: Nothing anyone can say will change this.
Me: To me, Kirby >>> Lucario, but I'm assuming I count as 'anyone' :(
Smasher: Yes, you do.
Me: No fair.
Smasher: ...Though Kirby is awesome too :)
Me: Oh, yay! Most people I ask seem to think he's too weak.
Smasher: Kill them.
Me: That reminds me: Should we kill Shoey after this interview, or should we wait until the camera stops rolling before plotting such a thing?
Smasher: You just mentioned it.
Smasher: There's not much of a point of keeping it secret if everyone knows that we're plotting to kill him.
Me: But...but...I can bribe the producers into editing this out...! (PRODUCERS' NOTICE: This never happened.)
Smasher: in that case can we kill him now please
Me: man the cannons
*Smasher somehow gets blown out of a cannon*
*Smasher lands into the belly of a shark, as another clone takes his place in the chair*
Me: Now that's entertainment.
Smasher: I'm funny.
Me: Yes. You don't fail at humor.
Me: But now is not the time for praise!
Me: Now is the time...for STALKING!
Me: What hobbies do you have in real life?
Smasher: But I like prais—
Smasher: does being on this all day count
Smasher: Though, I like gaming, and I collect stuff, and uh...
Smasher: Wow, I can't think of anything else.
Smasher: i have no real life
Me: You aren't going to tell anyone about your multi-million dollar sunglasses-manufacturing industry, or how you've met Harrison Ford in real life and dined on his life-sized model of the Milennium Falcon?
Smasher: OH YEAH!
Smasher: I did all those things too.
Smasher: Also, I secretly rule the WORLD.
Me: Explains all the brainwashed fans.
Smasher: ...And why there are clones of me programmed to automatically gain all my memories and stuff when I die.
Me: Smash Jung-Il.
Me: Also, what kinds of stuff do you collect?
Smasher: Uh, I collect stuff related to video games and rock music.
Me: More manly than me. I used to collect Beanie Babies. :P
Me: I still have a box with, like, 200 of them.
Smasher: I used to too, lol.
Smasher: Only when I was like 7, though.
Me: Oh...I was doing it up until the age of 16, lol.
Me: i'm sad
yes you are
Me: (at least I won't have to format that!)
Me: Let's see...what's it like in Texas?
Smasher: Though, it's nice for the most part. Just hot a lot.
Smasher: And there's almost never any snow down here. :(
Me: That sucks, snow is awesome. It makes winter...well, winter.
Smasher: I did get a lot of snow during 2010-2011's winter, though.
Me: Oh? How many inches? Were you able to build a snowman? Or a snowmidget?
Smasher: I don't really remember how many inches.
Smasher: I did build a snowman, though.
Me: Did you put your sunglasses on it to see if it would come to life? :D
Smasher: I don't actually own sunglasses in real life.
Smasher: I used to, but I have no idea what happened to them.
Smasher: is this bad
Me: Yes. This will break the hearts of...pretty much everyone.
Me: I may edit this out of the interview. (PRODUCERS' NOTICE: He never did...!)
Smasher: I need to get a new pair soon.
Me: You really should. Texas sun is brutal.
Smasher: You don't need to tell us that the sun is brutal here :P
Me: Lol, I suppose not. You're the one getting all the heat rays.
Smasher: We already have a swimming pool up.
Me: So, are you going to have a pool party this summer with babes and barbecues?
Smasher: Probably not, because I'm too lazy to host one.
Me: What if I provide the babes?
Me: ...maybe this interview is starting to sound too fictional.
Smasher: Maybe. xD
Me: I guess I'll circle back around to the wiki before wrapping things up.
Me: What's your proudest achievement around the community?
Smasher: Probably the fact that I was promoted to chatroom operator after being here for only 8 months.
Me: That is quite an achievement. :) Promotions always feel nice to get, especially when you know you've earned them.
Me: I also don't think I ever congratulated you on that, although I knew about it. So, congratulations! </inexcusably late>
Smasher: you should have done that 13 months ago
Smasher: b& >:( </op abuse>
Smasher: I can't view YouTube videos on dial-up. :(
Me: It's a clip from The Emperor's New Groove, saying "Boo hoo, now I feel really bad. Bad llama. *slaps self*"
Me: But now I do feel really bad. :(
Me: Well...to save myself from further embarrassment...and to set you free from this ridiculously long interview (which has actually cruised by compared to most interviews), I will bring out the big, final question.
Me: (Or so you think!)
Me: Isn't this NOT the last unquestion?
Me: You know what's funnier than 17?
*Smasher slaps Stooby again*
Me: cookies...cookies EVERYWHERE!
*Smasher throws explosive cookies at Stooby*
Me: Yay, snack time!
*Stooben explodes into itty bits*
Smasher: Now who will finish the interview?
Smasher: Screw it.
*Smasher steals Stooby's TV and escapes from the studio*
Having been a member of the community for roughly two years, Smasher's clearly made a name for himself. Chat Operator, 'Shroom Staff, core member of this year's Awards Committee, and even forum celebrity. Everybody loves Smasher, it seems. Really, this could be him in 20 years. And really, I get why. He's friendly to just about everyone, knows how to take and crack a joke, is a cool person to just sit and shoot the shit with...but in that same light, he's not just all fun and games. When somebody gives him a job to do, he does it, and he does it well. I think this year on the AC Committee and his near-tenure as a chat operator is proof enough of this.
So what if he's not a wiki Sysop or forum Moderator? You don't have to have a grand position of power around this community to prove yourself as a contributive member and gain respect. I like the way Smasher handles the things he does, and I personally think he's a great member of this community. If you pay attention to what Smasher does (and maybe take a brief break from making silly doodles of him in order to do just that), you should be able to see why I think that.
I guess that's it for this time! Don't want to rant for too long, but I think I already have. I enjoyed this interview, and once again, look forward to providing you with more fun and facts with another member of the community next month. Thanks for reading, and have a great month!
The Super Mario Land 2 Hippo serves one basic function: To blow a bubble which Mario can use to reach the fan favorite Space Zone from his own Hippo Zone. Like the Bubble Plant, he is an ally of Mario's. The bubbles he blows are out of his nostrils, indicating they may well be snot bubbles.
Powers & Abilities
He can blow bubbles. That is it. However, unlike the Bubble Plant's bubble, Mario has the power to float through the air with the Hippo's. Inside the bubble of the Hippo, the player can control Mario exactly as if he is playing an underwater level in any 2D Mario adventure. However, one touch of an enemy will destroy the bubble and send Mario falling.
As a hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious), he is characteristically large in physical appearance. He loves to be by water like all hippos. He may be very lazy, which would explain why he is not seen to move. Many believe him to be not an actual hippo, but rather a hippo-statue. However, nothing has ever been confirmed. The game is 8-bit, and thus it is not possible to tell what the developer's intentions were.
The Bubble Plant of Paper Mario fame does something very similar. Like the Hippo, he is absolutely necessary to beating the game in which he appears. He helps Mario float over a vine pit that would be fatal to him and his party were he to fall in, and then reach the Sun Tower.
Powers & Abilities
Their powers are identical, and yet different. They both blow bubbles that Mario can fly in. However, unlike the Hippo who used nothing (other than most likely snot and saliva from his nostrils), Bubble Plant needs a Bubble Berry to make his massive bubble. Mario must proceed to collect a Bubble Berry from a tree in Lily's area. Bubble Plant's bubble is probably more durable than the Hippo's for two reasons. One, the Bubble Plant's does not an cannot break. However, this may be due to the fact that the player has no control over the bubble, so the bubble never comes in contact with an enemy, much less the vine pit below. Unless a bubble blown by a Bubble Berry is stronger than an ordinary bubble, the thorns below may have possibly popped it. The second piece of evidence for the bubble's strength is the fact that it is strong enough to carry not only Mario, but all seven members of his party.
He is a very tall, blue plant, and one of the most memorable characters from Flower Fields. His personality is easy to decipher, as he actually speaks. He seams somewhat braggadocios and show-offy, telling Mario how cool his ability is that he can only show him when he collects for him the berry. He feels all cool when he does it for Mario. It is not known for certain if he knows how much he is helping Mario, but since the vine pit is in front of him, and Mario goes out of his way to collect the necessary item for him, the odds are certainly in favor of it. However, it is impossible to know weather or not the Bubble Plant knows the details of Mario's quest. In fact, it is not known at all how plants rooted far away from one another in Flower Fields have the ability to communicate with one another.
There is no winner. You can look at this one of two ways: It is a draw, or they are both winners. They both have very similar powers that are imperative to Mario completing his adventures, and they both are very memorable characters from two great Mario games. They are both eternal parts of Mario's history, even if neither of them are ever heard from again.
Welcome, Brawlers, to BRAWL TACTICS! This month I will be looking at the Brawl stage Castle Siege!
Castle Siege is a four-part small to medium sized stage. Whether you are playing with Marth or Ike, it's Fire Emblem all the way.
You will start outside the Castle on the main walls. This is the smallest part of the stage, and it can get pretty crowded if you're playing with more than two players, especially if you're using bigger characters. My advice? knock away your opponents then use long range attacks such as Fireballs and Blasters to keep them from catching the edge. This stage has pretty deep sides, and on this part of the castle, you can really take advantage of them. Assist Trophies and Pokemon really work well here, too, so use them to your advantage.
Once you've gotten used to the first part of the stage, you will be fighting on the in-between part. This really isn't of much significance, it's just where you are while traveling through the castle. You can take a few knocks on your opponent here, but if you want to take them out, you will have to knock them to the sides this time.
You will finally arrive in the throne room. There are two tarps on either side of the stage that are fall-through, and there are two statues holding up platforms in the middle of the room. You can destroy these statues pretty easily and take down the platforms, it isn't hard. The tarps tend to catch a lot of items, so if you've got all the items turned on, be sure to check up there often. The sides are still deep here, so you can walk around on either side without too much worry about being KO'ed. This is also a good place to activate your Final Smash. If you are packing a lot of launch power, like Ike, swing for the fences. If you need a lot of room, like Marth, make sure your target is in range before going after them, because Marth will be KO'ed if you're too close to the edge.
After another quick trip, you will find yourself on a precariously perched platform atop a pool of molten magma. It won't collapse on you, don't worry, but make good use of the fall that you can force your opponent into by knocking them off the sides, which are still pretty deep. Like the first part of the stage, this platform is pretty small, so Assist Trophies and Pokemon can be your best friends here. Most of your KO's will be sent straight upwards if you are packing a big hit with plenty of launch, so take advantage of that and have a teammate get up there to finish the job if your opponent does manage to survive you.
That's all for me this month, Brawlers! Hope this inspires you to take a stand and fight you battles at Castle Siege! See you next month on BRAWL TACTICS!
|I Am Alive|
|Platform(s)||XBox 360 (XBox Live Arcade), PlayStation 3 (PlayStation Network)|
|Genres||Survival horror, platformer, third-person shooter|
|Platform(s)||PlayStation 3 (PlayStation Network)|
So last month's double up was a very poor attempt of mine to fit more games into my reviewing schedule without having to miss out on the excess of releases that usually clog up the industry around July to November, but this month I swear I have a justification for the double-up; they're both smaller PlayStation Network titles, so the review would be a little starved for content if I just reviewed only one. Also because I totally didn't expect to be going in for open heart surgery this month, so I wasn't aware I might be biting off more than I can chew until it was too late, which I'm sure you can guess really hurts when you have large surgical scars where your breastbone should be.
My first subject is I Am Alive, a suspiciously cheap outing from France's gaming tyrant Ubisoft in lieu of Outland and From Dust, perhaps in hopes that it will help people conveniently forget that the company has been sadistically holding Beyond Good & Evil 2 just out of our reach for a good four years now. Anyway, a dust-related cataclysm about a year ago has devastated the entire planet, killed off the vast majority of living creatures, and left a thick layer of toxic fumes around the lower levels of the planet, which is really bad news for anyone living around the Dead Sea. You play as one the unluckiest bastards in the entire world named Adam, who after having travelled across the country to the east coast is attempting to reunite with his missing wife and daughter by searching through the ever-crumbling shithole that was his home city, along the way either helping other survivors in need of aid or trying to pacify the alarming amount of complete fruitcakes residing there.
So if you're having trouble keeping up, the tone is decidedly grim. I'll be honest, despite initially being rather thrilled, I Am Alive isn't exactly what you'd call brilliant, but it still deserves props for its genuinely unnerving atmosphere that's rather uncharacteristic of big game development studios these days. Many times the game had the right sort of contrast between ominous calmness and belittling tension that good horror games are supposed to have; the city is dark and crippled, the streets largely empty and quiet save for the occasional machete-wielding madmen, and of course the near-blinding dust storms that spark up at lower levels that all add up into making the environments themselves feel hostile and unwelcoming. You spend much of the game exploring the city for resources and moving Adam to whichever objective is marked on his map at the time, although due to all the collapsed buildings and debris Adam has to climb his way to most of his destinations (this is the same team that gave us Assassin's Creed), which is kind of a let down in my eyes. I don't dislike parkour, but the paths are always incredibly linear and the climbing tends to take precedence over the actual survivalist aspect of the game, which I thought was supposed to be the main draw. Aside from recovering from the dust, resources are only massively relevant due to climbing exhaustion, and they really aren't as scarce as the game would like you to believe; indeed, half my resources were wasted just trying to find other resources, and I still found myself coping pretty well during the story sequences.
Horror games generally work well with terrible combat, but that's assuming you first have the ability to just run away in desperation from whatever is trying to hack your ears off. I Am Alive has a really bad habit of forcing you into combat scenarios without the chance to just leave the nutjobs alone to tend to their own private floating hell, and it's a little hypocritical of the game to tell you to ration out your bullets carefully and yet have the gun-wielding dills shoot you the very first chance they get; practice what you goddamn preach, game. The most efficient way to stop enemies is to hold a gun at them (possession of ammunition notwithstanding) and guiding them towards a hole or ledge to just push them off, but if you procrastinate they assume or realise you're bluffing them and run up to kill you, which is tense in its own way but the frequency with which these scenarios happen relative to how often you will come out unscathed quickly becomes draining.
It's actually a lot of fun to explore the world provided you have the resources to risk treading in unfamiliar territory, and indeed I enjoyed meself the most when I ignored the story and just did whatever I please; the moment I got the hookshot was a sanctimonious one, which is why it's blasphemy that you rarely get a chance to use it. Wow, the game missteps around all the bits of it that are actually fun, doesn't it? Exploring allows you to meet the more docile survivors, many of whom come across as insanely whingy and needy; you can give them your resources, but they don't offer all that much pay-off aside from a choice few blokes that give you genuinely useful shit like ammunition or a shotgun. Most of them just give you hints relating to the whereabouts of Adam's family, and extra retries, which begs the question why I'd want to give up so much of my hard-earned resources for spare lives when they could be put to much better use ensuring I don't die. Actually I might know why; even though the murky, monotone environments do wonders to set the apocalyptic atmosphere, they can be very confusing during parkour sequences resulting in half your lost lives being from misjudged leaps towards bits of scenery that exist in an alternate physical plane from Adam; losing all your spare retries forces you back to the very beginning of the level, a useless design decision I can only assume was added to completely piss me off.
On that bout of negativity, let's take a walk across the great class divide away from the doom and gloom into the much more cheery independent village with ThatGameCompany's latest release Journey, the last in a trilogy of obligatory offerings made to appease the tyrannical giants of Sony. It's no secret that I have a fondness for independent developers, since it's nice to see new designers with fresh ideas take baby steps towards making a relevant mark in this competitive industry, and ThatGameCompany won my heart over with their previous title Flower, a beautiful experiment in non-violent gameplay that was a nice change of pace from the gun-toting, sword-swinging or turtle-stomping titles that clog up the mainstream market. The only problem is that it wasn't so much a game as it was experimental new age relaxation therapy, which is exactly where Journey fills the gap since while it also shuns even the vaguest concept of combat or violent action on your part, you solve platforming puzzles, stealth around giant stone snakes, and glide along magical ribbons, a mechanic lifted directly from my fondest decoration fantasies.
So saying it early on, Journey is a good game. It really is exactly what the industry needs more of; an exciting, engaging adventure brimming with gorgeous atmosphere and personable charm that's fun without having to resort to cheap thrills and combat like every other bloody game does. What Journey emphasizes is the beauty and emotional impact of the overall experience rather than instant gratification, which is probably why the plot is virtually non-existent; you play as a robed liquorice-like figure that awakens in the middle of an expansive desert with only a large mountain on the horizon to walk towards. There's not really much to the controls; you walk around, jump, and shout, it's really about as simple as it can get, which isn't a bad thing since it makes sure there aren't any unnecessary convolutions drawing you out of the adventure. Most of the adventure entails walking across the very pretty if not extremely brown environments in search of bridges, seaweed and jellyfish made out of enchanted ribbons that require your magical powers to activate, which will promptly open the way towards the next scenic view. Activating these holy scarves also grants you the ability to launch yourself in the air and glide around for a short period of time, which is fun and carefree enough on its own but is also necessary to reach platforms far out of your normal reach, and your flying duration can be extended by finding glyphs spread out across the world.
It's all very pretty, tightly-knit, and loads of fun, but what really stands out in my mind is the “co-op”, which if played without renders the game as just an intriguing art project. Journey is a massively multiplayer online game in the most limited of terms; so long as you're connected to the PlayStation Network, you may meet another player along the way, although you can't see their name, communicate with them, or even interact with them in-game in any particularly meaningful way. It doesn't sound like a very good sell, but the minimalism is what makes it so effective; the inability to communicate with them prohibits harassment, and griefing is made literally impossible from the simple control scheme and platforming puzzles, which means ignoring you is the worst your partner can do. Spending any duration of time alone builds up a feeling of isolation leading to a wonderful sense of relief when you find another living creature just like you, and it was always uplifting when I lost track of my partner only to find them waiting for me in the next level; it creates a gorgeous tone of collaboration and genuine emotional attachment, more than I thought possible with a complete stranger possibly living in the hills of northern Azerbaijan for all I knew.
The last area had the strongest impact on me, taking place on the top of the frozen mountain, leaving us both huddling together to keep each other warm and sticking close to hide from the eldritch snake statues stalking the large wasteland for any signs of cloth. I found it particularly heart-wrenching when me and my partner had escaped the monsters and proceeded towards the mountain in the increasingly powerful blizzard, our momentum slowing and powers dimming the farther we walked before both eventually collapsing into the snow upon realizing the hopelessness of our struggle, swiftly followed by one of the most stunning finales I've ever seen in a video game. I hardly knew you, SilverCaribbean, but I'll surely not forget you anytime soon! Journey is, however, ridiculously short relative to how expensive it is, taking roughly three hours at the absolute most if you take your time. I guess this is just the general trend with ThatGameCompany, to refine their works to near perfection at the expense of length, but for twenty Australian dollars, I would've expected a little bit more to warrant opening a new bottle of liqueur muscat, and it might prove alienating for more budget-conscious gamers. But even so, there are enough locations to explore to keep you playing a little bit longer, and the sheer experience alone is beautiful and unique enough to warrant a few more play-throughs.
So looking at both games from the purely objectives standards of my own opinion, I personally recommend both games to you depending on what you feel is missing from your recent gaming experience; if you want cheerful optimism and are willing to empty your wallet a bit to savour the pleasant taste of the arts, then pick up Journey and enjoy the most heart-warming feeling you've ever felt from an hour-long digital simulation of life in north-western Mongolia. But if you want a bit more playtime for your dollar and are horrifically misanthropic, then purchase I Am Alive and witness the industry taking clumsy but rather uplifting baby steps in the right direction for the modern survival horror game before our own great apocalypse renders everything these two games have accomplished completely pointless. Have a nice month!
(Also I'm recovering quite nicely, not that you asked)
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner. Today I'll talk about an exclusive character that has made unexpected appearances in these last years. It came from the NES era as a toy, it's robotic, and it is your buddy. Yes, it's R.O.B.. R.O.B (Robotic Operating Buddy, AKA Famicon Robot in Japan) is a type of accessory for the NES that could be used for a few games that required it. Being a fundamental part on Nintendo's history, R.O.B. has appeared as a cameo in various games. It wasn't until 2005 where this robot appeared in Mario Kart DS as a playable character for first time. R.O.B is exclusive and interesting in this game because it's a character from other series. R.O.B. has never been part of the Mario series if you didn't know, and Mario Kart DS can be considered one of the few cross-over Mario Kart games that appeared so far (along with the Mario Arcade GP sub-series where they have Pacman and company as playable characters). Currently this can be the only game that our Robotic Operating Buddy appears in, as it has not reappeared in later Mario Kart games.
Being the unexpected one, as you can see, R.O.B is an unlockable character in this game. It can be unlocked if you earn all the gold trophies in Mirror Grand Prix mode, either racing the Nitro or Retro cups. Once unlocked, R.O.B already comes with its default kart Standard RB and its two special karts the ROB-LGS and the ROB-BLS. In the game, R.O.B is a heavyweight character, therefore its vehicles are also heavy (but not the heaviest).
The ROB-LGS is a kart with an unusual appearance. It has a high body with a small cab supported by two small wheels in the front and one big wheel in the rear. The wheels are connected to the body by leg-like hinges. When R.O.B uses it, it looks as if R.O.B had legs with roller skates, and if you see it from behind it almost resembles R.O.B riding a unicycle. The character's decal is located on the front of the body. Now let's see the stats:
- Speed: 9/10
- Acceleration: 5/10
- Weight: 7/10
- Handling: 6/10
- Drift: 2.5/10
- Items: 10/10
Despite its outrageous appearance, the ROB-LGS has an almost excellent speed with a contrasting acceleration, as usual in the heavyweight vehicles. The weight, as well as its handling, is decent but relatively low for a heavyweight. The kart has the lowest drift in the game, compared to other vehicles of its class, while the item ratio is on the top, granting high possibilities to obtain rare or strong items.
Now look to R.O.B's secondary vehicle, the ROB-BLS. This kart, like the ROB-LGS has a curious appearance as it is modeled after an accessory for a NES game called Stack-Up. Unlike the other kart that we talked about shortly, the ROB-BLS has a low body and a big cab where the character sits. The kart has five hollow round extensions with a stack-up piece of different colors over each one and with the character's decal over them. The kart has four small wheels coming from the sides of the body. These are its stats:
- Speed: 10/10
- Acceleration: 5.5/10
- Weight: 7.5/10
- Handling: 7/10
- Drift: 3/10
- Items: 3/10
The ROB-BLS has slightly enhanced stats over the ROB-LGS. It's the fastest kart in the game with an average acceleration, but a bit better than ROB-LGS'. The weight is also slightly increased and has a good handling and low drift (despite its enhancement, the drift is still low). The items ratio is low, as the vehicle is more suited for speed than for the player's awareness.
To resume, R.O.B's karts are extremely good. Both of its exclusive karts are good in several ways, but the ROB-BLS gains a bit of an advantage. It is one of the selected karts for advanced racers and is extensively used in Time Trial modes for being the fastest vehicle. Having a very good handling and low drift, the kart is also nice for running over loose and rough terrain, which is unusual for heavyweight vehicles in reality, as they lose much control, but R.O.B's karts don't. However, there is a disadvantage and that is that R.O.B's karts are really big. Because of that, it's possible to be an easy target for items like the Red Shells, as they can hit you from any direction, especially from the side. Even if you are protecting your rear, you need to maneuver well to avoid items hitting you or else you'll lose your place and it can be hard to regain the time you've lost.
On a side note before finishing: In the Japanese versions of Mario Kart DS R.O.B. is white and his arms are red, which is inspired from the Japanese R.O.B. models called HVC-012. All other regional versions depict R.O.B. gray. However, the staff ghosts from Desert Hills and Rainbow Road show R.O.B in its Japanese model, which can be justified as the ghosts were played by Japanese people who worked on the game.
And that's all, Shy Guys, in the Mario Kart's Wheel Tips Corner. See you soon for another tip next month, and for news about the upcoming E3, 2012!
Hello, it’s Toad85 again, with my seventh edition of “A History of Video Games.”
Cutting to the chase, it is now 1982. Nintendo’s Donkey Kong was taking the video game world by storm. There were licensed products, ranging from a breakfast cereal to a board game. Yes, a board game. Despite all this success, though, Nintendo was still a small company. And this year, the year after they finally made a big dent in the gaming market, they were forced to go up against Universal City Studios over a trademark dispute.
This, my friends, is Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd.
PART FOUR: THE LAWSUIT OF THE DECADE
In 1982, as I just said in the above blurb, Donkey Kong was the must-play game of the year. It was the bomb. Or should I say it was the bob-omb? Screw it, Toad, move on with the article.
Anyway, this company called Tiger Electronics (You know, the makers of those crappy LED handheld games you find at Target?) wanted to produce their own hit. Seeing how much of a bob-omb Donkey Kong was, wanted to cash in on its success. They developed a rip-off game, entitled King Kong, and went to Universal City Studios to get the rights. Universal did a background report on King Kong, finding little other than an old license with a costume-making company, and granted Tiger the rights.
However, when Universal did a second background report, and discovered Donkey Kong. Nintendo and a hardware company called Coleco were negotiating the terms of a port of Donkey Kong for Coleco’s new console. President of Universal Sid Sheinberg, wanting to cash in on the video game market, devised a plan to break into the market. First, he voided the Tiger deal, because profits from it were way too low. Sheinberg then confronted Coleco president Arnold Greenberg on April 27th, ordering that Coleco cease negotiations with Nintendo and give them a cut of Donkey Kong’s profits. If Greenberg complied, Sheinberg offered future business ventures. This was bad news for Greenberg’s console, for it was about to ship in a few weeks, packaged with Donkey Kong, but Coleco agreed to the terms anyway. To top it all off, Sheinberg declared that Nintendo’s hit game infringed on their copyright of King Kong, and wanted Nintendo to pay for it.
Nintendo responded by requesting a meeting to discuss the trademark issue. Representing Nintendo were Nintendo of America head Minoru Arakawa and lawyer Howard Lincoln. Universal’s lawyer demanded that Nintendo pay for their copyright infringement, and sought royalties from Donkey Kong. Lincoln responded to this with the immortal line “We’re not going to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.”
For those of you that don’t know, “buying the Brooklyn Bridge” means accepting or paying for something gullibly or foolishly, such as buying the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s a public bridge, maintained and operated by the NYC Department of Transportation. No one owns it. So no one really can sell it to you. Buying the Brooklyn Bridge from someone, even Mayor Bloomberg, would be absolutely silly.
Lincoln was dead-set in his belief that Nintendo wouldn’t fall easily for Universal’s offer of what was essentially the Brooklyn Bridge. In fact, Lincoln claimed that Universal couldn’t be making their copyright infringement contentions in the first place. Lincoln ran his own copyright back-check of King Kong, and found many unlicensed uses of the gorilla that had seen no qualms from Universal. So why the heck should Nintendo (who wasn’t even using King Kong’s name) be any different? Universal said that they had a chain of title that would prove Lincoln wrong, but never sent it. On May 21st, Nintendo officially announced to Sheinberg that he would not acquiesce to Universal’s demands.
Reportedly, Sid Sheinberg went ballistic, and the Sheinberg officially sued Nintendo (and some other companies that had made Donkey Kong products) on June 29th. Nintendo had entered a battle with a Goliath, and they weren’t likely to come back out alive. But they did, did they not? That’s why this website is able to exist, right? Here’s how:
Howard Lincoln hired John Kirby, a fellow lawyer, to represent Nintendo in the case. His disheveled attitude struck Lincoln as peculiar, but boy was he a lawyer. Insert lawyer joke here.
In all seriousness, Lincoln really couldn’t have picked a better guy for the job. Kirby was already famous for defending PepsiCo. in anti-trust cases, and had worked with General Foods and Warner-Lambert. Kirby was happy to receive the role, and quickly flew to Japan to meet with President Hiroshi Yamauchi (remember him?). Kirby researched the game’s development, including interviewing Gunpei Yokoi and Shigeru Miyamoto. Miyamoto said that he had in fact called the ape in Donkey Kong “King Kong,” during development, but had no intention of naming the character that. In Japan, “King Kong” was a generic term for any large ape. Kirby and Lincoln headed back to the ‘States for the first day of trial, expecting to put up a good fight, even if they were to lose.
But then came the discovery that changed everything.
You see, Universal City Studios had recently gone to court with RKO Studios in a similar case. However, Universal in that case had gone yards to prove that King Kong wasn’t their intellectual property, in order to publish Dino De Laurentiis’s remake. If Universal didn’t own King Kong, how could they expect Nintendo to pay royalties? Also, Lincoln and Kirby had unearthed documents proving Universal’s connection to Coleco, as well as Universal’s desire to enter the video gaming industry. Lincoln’s suspicions were right! Nintendo had done nothing wrong! Once the court saw this evidence, Nintendo would be home clear!
With Judge Robert W. Sweet presiding, Universal and Nintendo finally entered court. Nintendo stuck by their defense, even having one of their employees play Donkey Kong in front of the jury, to prove there was no similarity between the game and King Kong. Kirby also brought up the old court cases where Universal had proven that King Kong belonged in the public domain, not that they owned it, and mentioned that Sheinberg had mentioned that he viewed litigation as a profit center.
Sweet’s jury had no problem deciding upon the verdict. He made the following points:
- Universal did not own the rights to King Kong
- Because they did not own the rights to King Kong, they could not sue Nintendo for copyright infringement.
- Nintendo, even if Universal did have the copyright, would not have infringed upon anything by publishing the game, because people would not confuse the menacing King Kong for the lovable DK. Donkey Kong was a parody of King Kong at most, and completely unrelated at least.
- Universal was ordered to pay Nintendo $1,800,000 in damages, and to return the money they had taken from other companies that had made Donkey Kong products. That’s about $4,012,000 today.
Universal would appeal this case multiple times, of course being the sore losers they were, but failed to go anywhere with it.
This was a monumental case for several reasons. First of all, Nintendo set for the record that they were not going to be fooled with. They were firmly planted in the Americas, and wouldn’t be pushed around by bigger companies like Universal. Nintendo’s victory was a victory not only for itself, but for many small companies around the world who might fall into legal issues in the near future. Hey, if Nintendo can do it, you can too!
So where are they now?
Howard Lincoln, for his efforts, would be promoted to Chairman of Nintendo of America, and would remain there for a long time. After leaving, he became Chairman of the Seattle Mariners (which is owned by Nintendo. What a coincidence, right?)
John Kirby got a sailboat named “Donkey Kong” from Nintendo, as well as exclusive rights to use the name for boats. He is also probably the inspiration for the HAL Laboratories character Kirby, though Kirby’s creator Masahiro Sakurai has been quoted saying he does not remember if that was the case or not.
Colecovision would eventually go on to sell their console. It did fairly well, but the Video Game Crash of 1983 took a huge bite out of the company. It soon left the industry for good, and closed its doors in 1989.
Universal? Well, they didn’t forget about their dreams of owning their own video game company. Soon after, Universal would buy a little toy and gaming company called LJN.
Yes, that LJN. Thank you, Universal, for ruining James Rofle’s life.
Sheinberg started a production company in 1995 when Seagram bought Universal, and produced a string of bad movies.
And Nintendo? Well, take a look at how many of their games you own to tell where they went.
I’m Toad85, your local video game historian, and that’s the way it was.
Hello everybody! Welcome to another issue of Character Reviews. Man, I've been out of it for a while with this section. I guess I was just recovering from that TTYD run - never doing that again! I'm still accepting requests as to which character to review, but from now on, only one request at a time please!
So I had no requests this month, and since it has been exactly one year since Special Issue L was released, I decided to review a character very similar to Rawk Hawk, who I reviewed in that issue. This month I'm reviewing another bird, but a lesser-known one who was personally one of my favourite elements from Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Fluzzard!
Fluzzard doesn't have too much presence in the storyline of the Wild Glide or Fleet Glide galaxies, and I wish they had included more backstory to him. He's more of an element of gameplay than an actual character, which is what these reviews are all about. The extent of his backstory is that he is a shy bird; not very in-depth. Just giving Fluzzard the ability to speak could have made his character much more in-depth, however he remains just a tool to be used by Mario.
Fluzzard's design is pretty nice. One thing I really don't like about Fluzzard is his facial expression. It really seems that Nintendo is trying to imply (both with his facial expression and with the other elements of Fluzzard) that Fluzzard has some form of mental problem, or is just a stupid bird. I don't think that's a good way to portray any character in a colourful game as Super Mario Galaxy so, while I love Fluzzard's body design, his facial expression needs much improvement.
The implications that Fluzzard is mentally deficient may be a half-baked attempt at humour, but that kind of humour is not funny, so I don't really find anything about Fluzzard funny (except watching people try to fly him for the first time).
Fluzzard had much potential to be honest. They could have had an internal storyline within his galaxy, like they did with the Throwback Galaxy. For instance, Fluzzard is standing away from the group of birds in the Wild Glide Galaxy. When Mario talks to him, he reveals that he is shy and wants to race the other birds. Then they race together, and Fluzzard tells Mario that he now has the confidence to travel the galaxy in search of new challenges. That sets up the backstory for the Fleet Glide Galaxy.
Another option would have been to make Fluzzard another minigame, like The Chimp. They would just clear obstacles from the pathway of Fluzzard and have Mario fly on him to the finish line. I would quite enjoy that, as flying Fluzzard was really fun.
Not much. He makes two mute cameos and is then another Yoshi.
You totally thought this report would look different, didn't you? Wrong! I said I loved Fluzzard as an element of the game, and I do, but as a character, he really needed more development and usage. Flying was an ingenious idea that the game could have abused much more. I give Fluzzard a total of 5/10. You can see below for more information.