Hello readers, SMB here! I would like to thank everybody for making this issue work this month. I would like to congratulate Turboo (talk) and Superchao (talk) for their victory in the Awards Director Election that was held last month! I know that they will do well for the next Awards Ceremony. I would also like to thank and congratulate Edofenrir (talk) for all of his hard work and dedication to The 'Shroom— as of this month, he has been Sub-director of The 'Shroom for an entire year! Without Edofenrir doing the job that he does (as well as the tasks he has often volunteered to do that go above and beyond his duties as Sub-director), this news project would not be the same at all. It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with him on this project.
And that is all I have to say for this month. Please check back on November 17th, 2012 for the next issue. I will have more information to share in regards to the months that are ahead.
HI, readers! I'm your raucous Statistics Manager, Tucayo, and welcome you to Section of the Month! This month we had an average of 68 votes per poll, which is surprisingly the exact same as last month. Sounds like sorcery to me. What did change was the amount of votes we had for the Main Team poll, which was 28 (4 more than last month). Before I bore you with my numbers, let's go to the detailed results of the Main Team SOTM. For Sub-Team results, refer to each Sub-Team's Director's Notes-
For the third time in a row, Toad85 (talk) has won the Main Team SOTM! His winning article, A History of Video Games, took us back to 1989 (long live the eighties) and continued SEGA's history, telling us how SEGA went head-to-head with Nintendo. Well, NEC and Hudson Soft were also there, but honestly, who cares about their consoles? At least Hudson Soft gave us Mario Party. But that's out of the topic at hand; Toad85 told us how SEGA managed to get their famous mascot, Alex Kidd! What's that? Alex Kidd was a major flop? Oh well, he told us the story of none other than Sonic, who used to be fatter.
Last issue's results were closer than other issues. Toad85 got 32.14% of the votes. The Awards Committee Commentaries by the Awards Committee were our runner-up, getting 21.43% of the votes.
Happy same month as halloween! Because of this event, this issue of Fake News will be...TERRIFYING!
Now time for some TERRIFYING STAFF CHANGES! Koopa K (talk) has been hired for the Fake Games and Fake Shop sections, so congratulations to him! Taking on two sections at once isn't easy, I'm saying that from experience, so wish him luck. Also it's halloween this month so something TERRIFYING might happen to him, so all the more reason!
Who won the TERRIFYING Section of the Month? Could it have been anyone else but Toadbert101 (talk)? Probably, but he and his Fake Ads won it anyway, with 33 votes, so congratulations to him! Runners-up were Koohitsu and Chivi-chivik, with the Fake Interview and Cooking Guide, with 28 TERRIFYING votes each.
Oh, and there's a TERRIFYING monster at the end of Pyro's section. Watch out.
Dang. Well, anyways, welcome, ladies, gents, Goombas, and Cake Mix! Welcome to a spooky, Halloween-ie version of Pyro's outstanding, detailed, and persuasive Travel Guide! I almost sent in my section late. Why? Because A. I was busy in the latest tourist spot and B. I was busy fighting off angry people for me hating Gravity Falls! That aside, I'll present to you, the Pumpkin Zone!
This spooky place is run by many Cyclops, Boos, and those things that have a knife stuck in their head. Those guys really need to see either a therapist or a doctor. Or both, it doesn't matter. Enough with that, let's talk about what the Pumpkin Zone has to offer!
The spookiest tourist spot around!
The Pumpkin Zone has many graveyards that the kids will love to explore, but don't forget the (ghost) Repels to fight off those pesky (ghost) Zubats. And many other things that aren't Pokémon. To stay at this spooky zone, you can go to Terekuribo Inn. There, for the price of your soul - er, I mean, five dollars a night, you can rest your soul, or what's left of it after you sell it - er, I mean, rest all you like.
During the night, the Boos come out and give live entertainment, while you can also go over to another part of the Zone and carve pumpkins until your life ends - er, I mean, until you get what you desire.
So, that's it for the Pumpkin Zone! Go there soon, to meet your doom.
Also, I totally am not actually a spirit speaking and totally have not stolen Pyro's body, nope-nope-nope!
This month we have a great new game coming out called Super Yoshi Kart! Everyone is talking about it! Well, at least on Yoshi's Island. This game is going to take Karting to the next level! There are many characters in this game including Yoshi, Shy Guy, Birdo, Kamek, Boshi, Yoshi Kid and more! Players race around different stages of Yoshi's Island including Yoshi Town, Kappa Mountain and Baby Bowser's Castle! All the while trying to avoid Yoshi Eggs thrown by other players! Items introduced in this game are Green, Red, and Spiny Yoshi Eggs! Get a Yoshi Cookie and gain a Speed Burst! Yoshi Eggs and Cookies also come in Triple Variety! Finally, when in doubt try to get the YoshiCopter! You will get an extreme speed boost and automatic turning! This a great new game, get it at a retailer near you today!
"Sorry I'm not here, Halloween has come a bit early for me. Too much crimes at once. I'm only one guy, not to mention every single officer quit on me. I'll be back next month to give you many results of each crime.
I apologize if I come across as a little moody. I am still thinking about last month's interview and the huge disappointment it was in my opinion. It was supposed to be the best thing ever, and then it wasn't. Well, but at least I got paid this time, which I guess is one way to look at it positively.
Anyway, today's guest is as repulsive and unattractive as you can get, negating any chance of me enjoying this interview at all. That is a good thing, because it means I will not be disappointed when it is over. In fact, I can't wait for that.
Please welcome: Gruntilda, the Witch
"You cocky brat, you have some spine, denying I am fair and fine. With those big eyes I wouldn't speak, your nose is a melon, what a freak."
"I have you know that my nose is perfectly average for my species, and so is the size of my eyes. At least mine are the same size."
"My mismatched eyes offer variety, makes men go crazy, I guarantee! An image of perfection this body is, and you are jealous, little miss."
"Ok, that is a load of bull."
"She said with envy, feeling dull."
"'Bull' and 'dull' doesn't even rhyme properly, you–"
"Ok, never mind."
"Just tell us something about yourself. We are all dying to know. "
"Well, I am this lovely maid, hot and smart and underpaid. I wish I was in another game. The last one, it was kind of... not living up to its full potential."
"In any case, my ugly dear, I must ask you: Why am I here?"
"Uhm... You're here because I invited you...?"
"I know, but why, you silly tart? You're supposed to invite some Nintendo fart."
"Well, you were with Nintendo once, though."
"That little stunt was ages ago. Doesn't hold up as far as arguments go."
"There is also a lot of fans that say, since Banjo exists in the same universe as Diddy Kong, and Diddy and Donkey Kong exist in the same universe as Mario, that you technically exist in the same universe as Mario as well."
"That is dumb, and so are you, believing such a pile of poo. "
"Hey, I didn't say I believed it. Just that this theory is out there."
"'Out there' hits the head on the nail. This theory is a massive fail. It really gets this wench to think, how low will today's fanbases sink?"
"Tell me about it. I mean, some people even believe Mario and the Princess make a good couple. And the same people scoff when I tell them about my Mario x Bowser fanfic."
"What's with the silence?"
"That is so wrong, you make me cry! You might be eviller than I!
"Shut up! It's a good pairing!"
"Your pairing sucks, fills me with fright! Upon the earth, it is a blight! I would blast you now with glee, but then a hero I would be. My reputation would be wrecked, then Rare finds out, and I get sacked."
"You really think this pairing is a bad idea?"
"It is a hundred bad ideas rolled into one!"
"Hey, you didn't even rhyme that time!"
"That's how bad of an idea it is!"
"As if you knew anything about the subject."
"I know enough, shipping is bad! A waste of time that makes me mad! But if it's Grunty who's the lead, I might forgive your godless deed."
"No, I highly doubt you are really romance material."
"Ignorant brat, what do you know? I am the star of every show! Just write me in, and you will see, a masterpiece your filth will be!"
"Well, I guess I could... give it a try?"
"That's the spirit, little one! Just try it out, I'm lots of fun!"
"Ok, let's think of a good premise then!"
"Chop chop, get to it, little punk! Go pair me with a handsome hunk! Eight feet tall, with tanned skin! Some chiseled abs and smashing grin!"
"That would be terribly generic, boring, and not my style at all! I already got someone in mind for you anyway."
"Who might that be, you little nut? He better be a sexy stud! So wisely choose who'll be the lad, and if it's Klungo, I'll be mad!"
"No, don't worry. It's not him."
"It's gonna be great! See, the two of you are going to be trapped in this elevator."
"I'll not allow what I've just heard! You will not pair me with the bird!!"
"So after some fighting, the two of you put your differences behind you, and fall in love."
"That is ghastly, you are crazy! Someone shoot me, I'm too lazy!!!"
"The two of you look deep into each others eyes, and after a while you say 'My pretty bird, I never knew, the feelings I have had for you. Your eyes shine like the brilliant moon, I love you dear, you make me swoon...'"
"Then the two of you slowly approach each other, and--"
"Enough! I can't take more of this! I'll shut you up, oh what a bliss! Your mind is filthy and I can't unsee, so a filthy pig you shall now be! SHAZAM!!!"
"A filthy mind, a fitting face! The brat is gone, let's loot her place!"
Hello, sports fans from around the world! McZaky29 here to bring you the latest edition of the Sports Report!
Today’s heated matchup comes from the MKLS (Mushroom Kingdom League Soccer) – the Bumpsy Plains Flifits, and the Blubble Lake Crawfuls. Blubble Lake won the coin toss, meaning the Flifits got to kick off. The kickoff took two decent bounces, rolling into the goal. The goalie for the Crawfuls beaned Flifits inside forward in the back of the head. The penalty got the goalie a really sweet ricochet a yellow card, and not even three seconds were gone from the game. It was about twenty minutes later until someone scored again – the Crawfuls finally got on the board with a header off of a corner kick. There were only 12 minutes left in the half at that point. The referees were getting way too hungry, so they called halftime early.
At the second half, to avoid getting scored on at the kickoff again, the Crawfuls changed from their standard 4-4-2 formation to a 5-4-1. With only 2:08 in the game, the Crawfuls scored again to take the lead 2-1. Time ran out, but apparently there’s this thing called “additional time”. Additional time took awhile, but right when the ref was about to call the end of the game, the Flifits scored the game tying goal, which bounced off of the crossbar and in. So it went into overtime. Defenses ruled in overtime, or extra time, as they call it, until Flifits’ forward threw a punch to the fullback of the Crawfuls. A penalty kick ensued. From what I could see, the goalie for the Flifits decided it was more important to lean up on the side of the goal and relax than to try and block the game-winning goal. The shot went straight forward into the back of the net as time expired. Coach of the Bumpsy Plains Flifits was seen strangling his goalie for easily allowing the goal that lost the rivalry to a team that the coach hated more than anything. As for the Crawfuls, they are eligible for the MKLS Championship Series.
Hi! It's Koopa K, with another edition of Shop Scout! This month, I decided to check out Paper Mario and partners shop. This shop was started by Mario's paper form and Goombario. Many partners came in soon afterward. When I went into the shop I saw none other than the Co-Founder Goombario! When asked why he created the shop, he responded "Well, there was this one day, Paper Mario fell into our village and asked me to go on an adventure with him! Of course I said yes, than I realized this could be a big money maker! I could see it 'Paper Mario and Partner'. It was perfect! Then there was a certain Blue-Shelled Koopa who joined on and we had to make it Paper Mario and Partners. It was still perfect though." I immediately excused myself to the cash register before I got too bored. Where Goombella was ready to take my order, here are the items for sale...
"This Mushroom recovers 5 HP and costs 5 coins"
A Life Shroom
"If you have 0 HP this will give you 10 HP. Costs 50 coins"
A pet Goomba
"This little guy is a Goomba like me and Goombario, but he can be a bit rebellious, he keeps yelling "RELEASE ME FROM PRISON!" costs 15 coins.
A drawing of Luigi.
"This a highly accurate photograph drawing of Luigi! Cost 5 coins"
A drawing of Mr. L
"This is also a photograph drawing, but of Mr. L. Luigi's evil doppelgänger. Costs 5 coins"
A Brick Block
"How did we get so many of these? These are free."
I decided not to buy anything after thinking about how other shops would offer lower prices, and the lack of quality in some of the items.
HI, readers! I'm your ubiquitous Statistics Manager and counselor, Tucayo, and welcome to Ask Tucayo! I got seven questions this month, which I believe is a record, yay! I invite you to send meany questions you have, on any subject. Gaming, sports, personal opinions, relationship advice... Ok, maybe take out the last one, I suck at that.
Without further ado, let's get to this month's questions. Epic Nitwit asks:
Have you ever played a Mega Man game?
Uh-oh, I knew this day would eventually come... I'm ashamed to say I haven't! I know it's one of the most popular and beloved series in the Super Mario Wiki community, but I have never been really interested into playing it. I played a small Mega Man X demo, but it was just for a couple of minutes. I should probably get one for the Virtual Console, though. Any recommendations?
Next we have your favorite Patroller (or not) and Pipe Plaza writer, Bop1996, who asks:
What is your opinion on cream puffs?
I have to admit I asked myself "what are those things?" So as the good writer I am, I went on and googled them. Did you know you can use Google as an ingredients checklist?! Technology is amazing, I tell ya. Back when I was a small Koopa, if we wanted to cook something we had to go all the way to Toad Town and get Tayce T. to cook it for us. And half of the time we would end up getting some terrible stuff, but now a single webpage can tell you how to make them, amazing. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, I googled them and I found out I indeed know what they are, it's just that I call them profiteroles. It's actually been a while since I last had one, but I absolutely love them. Especially when they are covered in chocolate.
We have marioman1213 (this guy wanted my job!) who asks:
What's your favorite cookie? :"I hope you had Evil Milk with it!"
My favorite cookies are Principe cookies (the front three in the picture, the one in the back is baaad), but since I'm pretty sure most people outside Mexico don't know them, I'll go with White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies! And yes, I love to have them with evil milk from the cows Bowser himself raised.
And last (but not least!), four questions from RandomYoshi:
TUCAYO WHY ARE YOU CALLED TUCAYO
TUCAYO WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK THING
AND YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DO ON THE WEEKENDS, I GUESS
AND YOUR FAVOURITE WAY OF GREETING PEPOLE!
NICE, FAVOURITE. Let's go in order:
It's a misspelling of the Spanish word "Tocayo", which means "name-sake". I first got called that in elementary school, about... 10 years ago? Holy Poochy, it's been 10 years since I was in elementary school!?!? Damn.
My favourite book is... a very difficult decision. I read a lot and I like most of the books I read, so it's hard to settle for one. The first book I read was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, so it holds a very important place. Mockingjay is the only book that has made me cry, so I guess that holds a special place as well. The Inheritance cycle is also amazing. As you can see, I'm a fan of fiction/adventure.
On Saturday I like to go out to eat with my family and then go out with my friends and watch a movie, go get a drink, or something. On Sundays I like to go over to my grandparent's and watch baseball/football/golf/soccer and then watch some series.
hehe, this one should be obvious.... HI! I started using it in chat over four years ago and now I use it everywhere!
That was it for this month's Ask Tucayo, please remember you can be the star of this section! (Or something like that). Just send me a PM asking about anything. Have fun, BYE!
HI, readers! I'm your spooky Statistics Manager, Tucayo, and welcome to yet another installment of Mystery Images! As you all know, Halloween is just around the corner, that is why, this month's images are all Halloween themed. Kinda. Have fun!
Ha ha ha! Hello readers of the Zombie 'Shroom! Happy October! PDI here. Another All Hallows' Eve is nearly upon us. Prepare to embark on a terrifying journey to complete 31 Questions in honor of the 31 days of October. Approx. 1/3 of these questions will be from Luigi's Mansion in the beginning, after that, it could be anything petrifying or of the macabre Mario or his friends have encountered! Don't let the undead of Mario's World pick your brain for the answers!
Put the following Forever Forest oddities in order of their appearances: Stone Face, Slow-Motion Flowers, Tree Face, Red Eyes in the hollowed-out-tree, Glowing Mushrooms, Non-Shrinking Violets.
How many Thwomps must the four teamworking players avoid during the Boo-infested Running of the Bulb?
Names the enemy which is attached to horizontal white platforms that show up in fortresses, and move left and right, to-and-fro on the top and bottom of the platform.
Unscramble the spooky character from any possible game: Yoksop Restpedes
Unscramble the following character: Billhonce
Unscramble the following character: Mipvare Irowa
What does Smokey the Dragon say immediately before your first race with him?
Complete the Spriteling quote from Horror Manor: You've gotta beat the __ ____-____ up ahead or you can't move on! ____ _____ __ ___!
Unscramble the following place you may have recently visited in the Marioverse: S'obo Rhorro Satlec
Complete the Hotel Delfino guest's quote: I lost it when I heard this was a four-star resort! I mean, c'mon! _____ ______ in the _________? That is SO low class!" You would think he would have been more irked that the hotel was haunted.
True/False: There were no doors on any of the bathroom stalls in Hotel Delfino.
In Creepy Castle, there are two crossed what to the entrance of the museum?
You've guided Diddy and Dixie through the Ghostly Grove and made it out alive! How many Krushas did you see?
At the very end of the level from the last question, you see a what with a very creepy face?
In Yoshi's Story Ghost Castle, Miss Warp number what is waiting for you to your left immediately after you unlock the door and enter it?
What is the first enemy to attack Wario in the Forest of Fear?
Lots of hard questions so why not an easy one? The Baron K. Roolenstein persona is (nominally) a spoof on what literary character?
Name the Star that has the only appearance of the Boo Mushroom in Super Mario Galaxy 2.
So you've made it this far alive. It's time for your final question. It's one more from Luigi's Mansion after all! What word does Boolicious use to describe himself? Farewell, and Happy Halloween!
Click to find answers!
Book of Riddles
The most important thing in the game: Your health
Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula, The Wolfman
The Twins' Room
Red Eyes in the hollowed-out-tree, Slow-Motion Flowers, Tree Face, Glowing Mushrooms, Non-Shrinking Violets, Stone Face.
I just realized how terrible my last word search was. Anyways, here’s the answer to those of you who need them.
With Halloween coming up, why not do a spook-tacular Word Search? Can you locate these 31 enemies that give people chills? Do you hear that? It is the sound of people screaming. Why? Monsters that are so scary, you do not think you will never go to the bathroom at night ever again!!! Ghouls so ghastly, that you will never be able to look under your bed for the rest of your life. Poltergeists so pesky, that…*words*
P.S. for one of the differences, you probably want to zoom in on something that isn't a Yoshi. Just a hint...
By General bob-omb (talk)
As if he didn't have enough money... Why is he even still a plumber? I am guessing its just a title. Anyway, to celebrate greed the release of NSMB2, this month's section is themed after it. It seems that the little Koopa wanted to get in on the wealth, hope he doesn't become the coins he's trying to collect. (Note: the Paratroopa and Koopalings don't count)
It was inevitable that sooner or later I'd pick a Bowser artwork. But to break things up from all the pretty hand-drawn artworks, here's a more modern piece that I rather like. It's the newer, consistent-of-appearence detailed Bowser in a nostalgic pose from (as I know it) the sticker artwork of Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World!
Hello, everyone, and welcome to Random Image of the Month!
October's Random Image comes from the same game as the one from August: Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It depicts Pokémon Stadium, one of the forty-one stages from SSBB, as it appeared in said game.
Pokémon Stadium is one of the two Pokémon stages from Super Smash Bros. Melee, being unlocked by default. It reappeared in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, this time as an unlockable stage. There's a similar stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl called Pokémon Stadium 2, which is an enhanced version of Pokémon Stadium.
It starts as a simple stage, with two floating platforms, but, later, it changes into one of four types of terrain: Water, Fire, Rock and Grass. Unlike Pokémon Stadium 2, no Pokémon appear in any of the different forms the stage changes into during battle.
Enjoy the Luigi's Mansion Theme. Luigi's Mansion's was composed by Shinobu Tanaka and Kazumi Totaka, Totaka's Song can also be found in the game in the training area.
Totaka also composed the great music of Super Mario Land 2. Enjoy the Pumpkin Zone Theme!
Grant Kirkhope produced the music of Donkey Kong 64. Enjoy the scary Creepy Castle theme. As you probably know, he wrote the DK Rap, which contained the word "hell". In most English-speaking nations, "hell" is considered profane (albeit mildly) when used as a curse. This is usually the case in Great Britain, but not when it is used as an intensifier. Therefore, Kirkhope had no idea he was doing anything wrong. I don't either, even if by chance he had known. Turn the lights out in your room, and enjoy the Halloween-theme music. I hope it gets you in the spirit.
Expecting a sprite of Bowser? TOO BAD. MIDBUS TIME. I bring you Midbus, from Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story! Why did I choose this villain? Because I will be choosing VILLANOUS sprites from now until January to celebrate the upcoming release of Wreck-It-Ralph in theaters! Bowser will make a cameo in this, along with Sonic and Dr. Eggman! So you should all go see it! It looks great!
Hello, readers, and welcome to another issue of Pipe Plaza!!
Last month, I got my first "application" as Pipe Plaza Director. It was reviewed thoroughly by the Core Staff, and we all decided to hire the "applicant". So, I'm happy to announce the new Monthly Report writer: please welcome myself, Paper Yoshi (talk), to the team! (Even though I'm already part of the Pipe Plaza team.)
Section of the Month
The Section of the Month poll for the September Issue got only 22 votes, so please be sure to vote in this month's poll!
Anyway, the winner, with 7 votes (31.8% of the total) is...
Mario Calendar brings readers a list with all the Mario games released during the month in which the newest issue of The 'Shroom is released. Last month, it covered the games released sometime during September. Featured, a guest section written by me, got second place, with 6 votes (27.3%). The third-placed section was Community Report, written by Bop1996 (talk), with 5 votes (22.7%)
And that's all I have to say for now. I hope all of you enjoy this month's issue!
Hello, readers, and welcome to the October issue of Monthly Report!! As previously announced in the Director's Notes, this will be the first issue with myself, Paper Yoshi (talk), as the regular writer for Monthly Report. So, be sure to check this section every month for the site-wide statistics and a comparison between each month's statistics, in sets of two.
Without further ado, these are the wiki's statistics for August, September and October:
(Credit goes to Stooben Rooben (talk) and Super Mario Bros. (talk) for the table coding. Stooben originally created it when writing this section back in Issues XXIII, XXV and XXVI, and SMB based his coding for Issues XXXIX, XL and XLI – which I am using in this issue – off of Stooben's coding.)
As explained on MarioWiki:Signatures, all signatures must fit inside this 35 x 225 pixel box. Please ensure your signature is not too large. This includes variable text, which often extends far beyond the maximum sig length.
Hey, guys, welcome to September's Forum Update! A lot happened in September, such as...uhh...
Top Stories: A public ban log was put up in General Discussion, by Mason. The log shows all of the users who have been permanently banned (since September 13th) and all of the users with currently active temporary bans. It also shows the reason, and, for temp. bans, the amount of time it lasts and the date it expires.
So let's board the ban train. Yay. Starting off, Gardevoir (Boidoh (talk)) was permanently banned, for "Constant derogatory posts and spam, among other rulebreaks. Previously recieved warnings and two temp bans."
ColonelKR, who originally came to the forum to propose his idea of a new Mario movie against the idea of fellow user Supermariofan (and was greeted with a lot of Nicolas Cage) was banned for 4 weeks, for flaming. However, he evaded his ban as DupliKR, and returned to the thread. Because of his sockpuppeting, his ban was extended to 6 weeks. It now expires on October 25th.
"At this point, I don't know if ColonelKR is a truly gifted performance artist or merely diseased." - Glowsquid
Legault was banned for a month for flaming, and his ban expires on October 21st. Christian Brutal Sniper (Marcelagus (talk)) was also banned for two weeks for trolling, but that's already expired.
Statistics: In September, 33 members joined, and 138 was the highest amount of users online. 29269 posts were made, and 518 topics were created.
Green signifies the user is at a higher position than last month. Blue signifies the user is at the same position as last month. Red signifies the user is at a lower position than last month. Bold signifies the user is a new entry to the top 10.
Mafia: Currently ongoing are New Super Mario's Magnificent Mafia, Cheyenne Bodie's (Raven Effect (talk)) Shoey Mafia and Nabber's Portal Mafia.
BMB's game, Mafia, The, was cancelled when he left the forum.
The Innocents and Yoshiwaker won Epic Nitwit's Mafia game.
Lakituthequick's Mafia was won by the Mafia and Cheyenne Bodie (Raven Effect (talk)).
Okay, this one is a bit confusing, but Pyro's Reverse Mafia was won by the Innocents (who were the evil party in this game).
The Third Party (me, Palkia47 and Marioguy1) won Smasher's Roleless Mafia.
That's all for this month! Thanks for reading. Next month will be my first anniversary writing this section, so expect something...uhh, well, expect something! Bye!
Try your hand at research! The more you know about the game you're working on, the more you can contribute, and that means the better the Wiki can be! This gives you an excuse to play that game, or buy that issue of Nintendo Power that highlights it. Just make sure you give credit where credit is due.
And here we are! Welcome, fellow The 'Shroom readers, to this issue of Upcoming Games!
There's plenty to discuss this month, so let's get to that quickly!
Wii U News
Nintendo has finally announced the release dates and prices for their newest home console, the Wii U, along with the launch day games.
The Wii U will be available to customers in two different models, Basic and Deluxe. The Basic set will include a white Wii U console with 8 GB of memory, a Wii U GamePad, an AC adapter, an HDMI cable and a Wii U sensor bar (European and Australian Basic Sets will not include a sensor bar). It'll cost $299.99 in the United States, ¥26,250 in Japan and $349.95 in Australia. The Deluxe set will include everything in the Basic set, with some differences and additions. The Wii U in the Deluxe set will be black, with 32 GB of memory; said configuration will also include a GamePad Charging Cradle, stands for the GamePad and the console, and a copy of Nintendo Land. It'll cost $349.99 in the United States, ¥31,500 in Japan and $429.95 in Australia.
Nintendo has also announced the games set to be released alongside the Wii U. The list contains only one Mario title, New Super Mario Bros. U. Game & Wario will be released during the Launch Window, which starts on release day and ends in March 2013.
Nintendo 3DS News
The last 30 days have yielded interesting news regarding 3DS Mario games, mainly about the Nintendo eShop.
Starting this month, first-party titles will be available for download in the eShop. The first games to be released in digital form are Super Mario 3D Land, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Mario Kart 7 and Star Fox 64 3D.
Additionally, Nintendo announced the release of downloadable content – for the first time in the company's history – for New Super Mario Bros. 2. Each one of the three DLC packs will cost $2.50 in North America, €2.50 in Europe and ¥200 in Japan.
Still in the topic of eShop downloads, four Mario games will be released for the North American Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in the following months. They are Mario Golf (GBC), Dr. Mario (GB), Wario Land II (GBC) and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (NES).
North America: November 18th
Europe: November 30th
Australia: November 30th
Japan: December 8th
New Super Mario Bros. U: Wii U launch title
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
North America: November 11th
Japan: December 6th
Europe: December 7th
Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 – Digital download
Europe: October 4th
Australia: October 4th
North America: October 18th
Japan: November 1st
Mario Golf (GBC) – 3DS Virtual Console
Japan: October 3rd
North America: October 11th
Dr. Mario (GB) – 3DS Virtual Console
North America: October 4th
Wario Land II (GBC) – 3DS Virtual Console
North America: December 20th
Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels (NES) – 3DS Virtual Console
North America: December 27th
And that concludes this month's Pipe Plaza! See you in November!
"Stay tuned to Upcoming Games for news on the games you'll be playing soon!"
Been a wee bit busy lately. You can read all about it in both my sections this month, which proves how badass I am; I still got them done despite all that work I had to do! …even if one of them was a few days late! After I finish writing this, I'm going back to practicing guitar before heading off to work, but I guess I'm obligated to give some news; MrConcreteDonkey (talk) has shifted to a bi-monthly schedule to accommodate his busier school schedules, which is also the reason he couldn't get anything in this month. Everyone else not shown here are just irresponsible, it seems!
Raven Effect (talk) suggested to me a new section about reviewing old Virtual Console games, so I figured why not! It's as solid idea as any, after all. And what do you know, Raven is writing it! Congratulations to him!
YoshiMonsta (talk) applied for Entertainment Section, and I decided to give him a go like a good little Aussie. So welcome our two new writers, certainly made up for the emptiness that this issue of Critic Corner was heading towards!
Oh yeah and Henry Tucayo Clay (talk) is doing another Book Review as a guest section, although by this point he might as well just start writing it full-time. Thanks again for that, compadre.
Critic Corner Section of the Month
I'm so disillusioned! Only two votes for moi, and after putting my heart and soul into playing such a dreadful game and writing a full review of it while agonisingly sick! You people are so mean! But seriously, here are the results for September's Critic Corner section of the month.
Should Have Been – 33 votes (%75) Character Reviews – 6 votes (%13.64) Super Nabber Reviews – 3 votes (%6.82)
I'm doing 147 Newcomer Characters that could be in Super Smash Bros by JustSmash22
This video has many good ideas and frankly many that could never possibly come true, such as the paper & bit characters. The person, if he plays as much Nintendo games as he acts like he does, would know that mostly all of his ideas have no hope of becoming a reality, not only had the new owner of Nintendo stated that very little new characters would be added, but he included many characters that are minor, and who's body frame and structure would never work, along with adding characters that would be extremely redundant such as Toon Zelda and Toon Ganondorf. He also talked about characters that would be not so hard to do but even more copies of characters, such as the Paper and Bit guys who would just be awkward, and unnecessary. It would also be redundant to add even more Kirby characters, and all of which, other than Bandana Dee, would be extremely awkward with the gameplay that are already there. He was not wrong with some of the Sonic characters but most of them were off, perhaps they should include characters like Shadow, Knuckles, and Tails. No characters like Silver that are less main. The returners from Melee are not a bad idea, but it is unlikely that they would include them after excluding them in Brawl. The Donkey Kong characters would definitely not fallow up, maybe Dixie and Funky but any more would seem as if they are putting in everything that comes to mind. The Earthbound characters are a spot where he made a score and put in the possibility of Porky. Porky would have similar physics to Ness and Lucas except using technology as he appears to in the series. Waluigi is an unlikely addition, and though people would want it, I feel he needs to be in a series game first. Most others were minor characters or just assist trophies.
The Virtual Console is perhaps the Wii’s best feature, because for the first time (outside of emulators), gamers can purchase their favorite old-school (or retro) games en mass and play them on the same console as modern games. For many, this function is used to buy Nintendo classics such as Ocarina of Time, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Star Fox 64, as well as other recognizable games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Chrono Trigger, and Mega Man. While this is fine, since all of those games are indeed considered classic titles (although I personally didn’t like Sonic the Hedgehog and I’ve never played Mega Man), the tragedy is that many other good games are ignored and go unplayed as they struggle to compete for the attention of the potential buyer against other better known games such as Super Metroid and Super Mario World. They are also ignored because many gamers know that it’s a gamble to download titles that they aren’t familiar with as a large portion (maybe even a majority) of Virtual Console games are bad and were only thrown onto the Virtual Console so the company can make money. Examples of these games include China Warrior and Donkey Kong Jr. Math. Gamers are hesitant to buy unfamiliar titles because unlike a regular game there is no way to get any of your money back when buying a downloadable game. That is where I come in, for I’m going to review some of these under-appreciated games that got lost in the mix of the Virtual console.
The first game I’m going to look at is the real-time strategy game/historical simulator/thing game Nobunaga’s Ambition for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, developed by Koei and released in 1993. The game takes place in Feudal Japan and centers around Oda Nobunaga and his dream of unifying Japan (ironically enough, the guy who actually did unite Japan, his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi, does not appear in this game.) The game itself is made up of four modes. The first mode, Battle of the East, contains only 16 areas - or Fiefs, as the game calls them. The 2nd mode, Daimyo Power Struggle, contains all 50 Fiefs, which are all independent at the start. The 3rd mode, Ambition Untamed, is a lot like Daimyo Power Struggle but with a few places having been conquered. Finally, the 4th mode, Road Towards Unification, is once again a lot like the 2nd mode, only Oda Nobunaga now controls about ¼ of the map. Each mode plays the same with the only real difference being how many Fiefs you need to conquer. The game has 5 difficulty settings, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest (obviously.) The game also supports up to 8 players who pass the controller around when it’s another person’s turn (whose turn it is is randomly generated, and the more Fiefs you control the more turns you get.) Having more than one player is a blast because you can play the game one of two ways. You can either play to help each other by being in an alliance and not attacking your friend, or you can play where you are both competing against each other to see who can unify Japan first.
Now that we have all that stuff covered we can move onto the game itself, right? Well not exactly. First you have to pick a mode and then pick which Fief you want to control. Each Fief is different in layout, with some being completely barren other than the town and the castle, and some having lots of trees and mountains. Each Fief also has a Daimyo, and believe it or not, the Daimyo you chose actually effects the game, because, you see, some Daimyo’s are older than others. This plays a tremendous role because it is possible to die of old age in this game. Also, some Fiefs start off with more troops then others (Oda Nobunaga’s Fief has the most) and have different loyalty ratings among the troops and civilians. This is where the game becomes a little cheap, for you see it is actually possible to have a rebellion before you even get to do anything, depending on the Fief you choose. For example, the Fief Noto is very hard to play as because you almost always get a rebellion before you get your first turn. After you pick the Fief you want, have to pick the Daimyo’s stats, which you choose via a random number generator. The stats are:
Health: This is pretty self-explanatory. The higher health you have, the longer you will live, and the lower the chances are that you will get sick (being sick prevents you from moving your Daimyo to a different Fief and prevents you from declaring war effectively).
Drive: This affects how successful your invasions are, and I believe the higher the drive stat is the easier it is to train your troops.
Luck: This mainly affects how successful your offers to marry your daughter to other people are. (It also might help with Ninja attacks.)
Charisma: Helps make your efforts to marry your daughter off more successful.
Intelligence: Helps with the effectiveness of wars you declare, goes up if you win and down if you lose.
I personally don’t like the generator because it’s hard to get good stats, since the numbers move so fast, and it seems like every good run is ruined by a stat in the 60’s.
And with all that done you can finally start the game now the first thing you might notice is how many options there are and let me be the first to say that this game is deep and complicated. Each option acts a folder and contains other options for you to do these folders are
The Military contains all of the combat options these are:
War: This option is what you chose if you wanna declare on a neighboring Fief.
Move: This option allows you to move troops between Fiefs but is limited as you can only move troops to Fiefs that are right next to them (you can also move the Daimyo but only if he isn’t sick)
Recruit: This allows you to buy more soldiers (the longer the game goes the more expensive soldiers are)
Ninja: This consists of 5 options Uprise which encourages soldiers to rebel, Revolt which encourages citizens to rebel, Destroy which lowers the flood control rate in a Fief, Attack which sends a ninja to kill the Daimyo of another Fief, and finally Fire which sends Ninjas to lower the town rate of another Fief. Ninjas work based off troop and civilian loyalty and will fail if the opposing Daimyo has loyal subjects.
Train: This makes your soldiers stronger and is effects by how loyal they are (also training can max out and the number that it maxes out at is different with each Fief)
And finally arrange: this option allows you to change the distribution of your soldiers between units.
The Next folder is Domestic this folder contains things that involve your Fief and contains the following options.
Tax: The higher the tax is the more money you draw in each year (tax is affected by two things Loyalty and Town rate the higher these two things are the more money you make)
Send: This allows you to send money and rice to any Fief that you control.
Develop: This is made up of 3 options
Town: The higher the town rate the more tax money you earn.
Flood: This helps prevents Typhoons which appear at random and destroy your rice fields.
Produce: This increases the amount of rice you earn produce each year (it also lowers your civilian’s loyalty for some reason)
Trade: This is a seasonal option and is divided into 3 different sets of options
Getting a Loan/repaying a loan: This allows you to get more money (the loan is payed automatically at the end of the year)
Buy/Sell Rice The more rice you have the soldiers you can send to war without the fear of them dying of starvation. You can also make a lot of money by selling rice you don’t need.
Arms: This allows you to have a stronger military with better weapons.
And finally Give: This allows you to give gold or rice to peasants or soldiers increasing their loyalty (and in the case of peasants the amount of peasants you have)
The next folder is labeled Diplomacy this one contains all things pertaining to other countries (that aren’t war)
Pact: Basically this gives you the option of trying to get a country to not attack you by paying them.
Marry: This option allows you to try and sell your daughter.
Bribe: This option bribes civilians of other countries.
The other major folder contains the different viewing options and gives you the choice to view territories you control and territories you don’t.
The next major aspect of this game is the combat system and even this is fairy deep for you see your army is made up of 5 units.
Infantry: These are the weakest type of soldiers and they make up units 1 (which also contains your Daimyo/general), 4, and 5.
Cavalry (or as me and my friend call them Ponies): The Ponies are two times stronger than the Infantry and make up unit 2.
Rifle Men: These are the strongest soldiers being 4 times stronger than the infantry, they make up unit 3
The Combat system works like this you invade an area and place your soldiers inside the dark parts of the grid. Which was you invade from will determine where you can put your men.
There are 4 ways to win/lose a war:
Run out of men
Run out of rice (the enemy receives all your troops if this happens)
Run out of time (battles only last 30 days and the enemy gets all your troops if this happens)
Retreat (I don’t recommend this option since it gives the enemy all of your troops)
It is important to note that this game requires strategy anyone who wants a game where they can just rush in to battle after battle needs to look elsewhere because this game requires lots and lots of patience and you can go hours without doing so much as conquering another Fief.
The games Sound is kind of annoying it’s basically a few brief songs played over and over again (depending on what you are doing) and while I rather like the music at the start (I often times find myself whistling it) the rest of the music isn’t very notable and gets annoying after a while)
The Graphics are ok I guess I’m not really one to judge something based off it’s graphics but you can tell what everything is and the pictures at the beginning look really cool.
Now that I’ve described the game let me say this I absolutely love this game the sheer depth is amazing for a Super Nintendo game, this game is also a lot of fun to play and you’d be surprised by how addictive it is. However the game does has its fair share of flaws such as the fact that the music is repetitive and somewhat uninteresting and the game can get boring if you are playing by yourself, the game is also cheap in some places and some things it does won’t make any sense like having a military rebellion even though your troops loyalty is over 100 or having a high flood control level yet still getting hit with multiple typhoons. But in spite of those flaws I still strongly recommend this game and I give it an overall score of 9/10
Sleeping dogs is something that I so wish my new puppy would decide to be, since between my new job, arduous guitar lessons, and my time-consuming push back into higher education, playing with this little fuzzball for just thirty seconds feels like I'm in the fucking Running of the Bulls. Completely unrelated is the latest sandbox title from United Front Games labelled Sleeping Dogs, although I can't fathom why they'd call it that since that idiom doesn't adequately describe the game at all. Something like Rogue Fascist Cop Power Fantasy would've been more precise, but I guess that wouldn't have gone so well in marketing outside of Alabama.
So yeah, Sleeping Dogs is a crime sandbox game and technically the third instalment in the now forgotten True Crime series, which I'm not familiar with directly but I at least know it was the very core of the term “Grand Theft Auto clone.” But the catch here is that you play as an American-Chinese undercover cop named Wei Shen, who returns to Hong Kong to infiltrate his old gang before shit hits the fan and rival triads attempt to take all of the city for themselves, forcing Wei to keep up his façade of an unrelenting murderous thug to get to get to the bottom of this war whilst remembering his job as an unrelenting murderous cop as well.
This ties in to the RPG elements of the game with an experience bar for cop points and one for gang points, although it's not really about good and evil seeing as the police force really could not seem to give a toss. If you stick to rival gang members then the cops will conveniently turn their eyes back to their donut boxes, and I can't even vouch for their concern over civilians either. I've never been to Hong Kong, but I'm sure even their tenuous ethics would find a man who paints the streets red with the blood of his rivals to be a little off the deep end, although I guess we can chock that all up to the British influence. An exploration of Wei's inner conflict about his loyalties and allegiances could've been an interesting venture had the game not vomited up the concept on the carpet in favour of breaking people's legs for sport with no consequence.
Not that your choice has any bearing on anything, you can play both teams for chumps and neither will be particularly bothered by it, but since there's no story-related bias you can get all the power-ups from both factions which is nice. I've never liked how developers use dual morality as an excuse to lock off a good chunk of the power-ups, or whip obsessive-compulsives into playing through the story a few more times solely to see all the endings, but it does beg the question why they would even bother having a dual faction system at all. You don't even lose cop points for being a naughty boy, you just get less than the usual score no matter how much property you destroy or civilians you knee in the stomach, but that's our glorious Commonwealth justice for you.
But that's not really the juicy core, is it? The sandbox is what people are coming into this bar for, but if you were expecting to experiment with your cocktails you'll be sorely disappointed. I understand that sandbox is now just a thing that we've all come to accept as a new format of gameplay, but Sleeping Dogs at its best of times feels like a rip-off of Grand Theft Auto where everyone drives on the correct left side of the road (suck it, Sepos!). You take on a series of repetitive car-based missions around an annoyingly large, open city, driving at high speeds until you violently crash because motor vehicles always control like a cheetah in ice skates, although the ability to leap out of your current vehicle to hijack a nearby one at speeds likely to cause Jimi Hendrix's wrists to snap is genuinely invigorating. Or alternatively you can run around on foot with the game's very fluid free-running mechanic to sprint-karate kick square in the face anyone who looks at you funny, and a whole lot of people who don't as well.
Something that becomes apparent fairly quickly is the low emphasis on shooting people, with guns apparently being hard to find in the peaceful wonderland of the Orient, except for all those rival gangs whom seem to have no shortage of firearms. I guess they buy their weapons over eBay, or this being China, probably something like dBay. Which is just as well since it's all cover-based shooting anyway, made even more frustrating by a reticule too transparent for even the enlightened ones to see, although that could just be my low-resolution television. Oh and there's also bullet time, which wouldn't be so bad if Wei could activate it at times other than leaping over cover, and even then it only lasts for what always feels like a nanosecond so you may as well just paint a huge flashing target on your jacket for all the good it does.
Instead of shooting, the majority of the combat is built on mixed martial arts in a system very distinctively similar to that of Batman: Arkham Asylum, and being like Batman is always a positive step-up. Quite a lot of effort has been put into this aspect of the game, actually, and it's hard to ruin that feeling of pleasure when you successfully combo an enemy into the ground, counter one of his mates, steal their cleaver, hack out a few litres of triad blood, and then finish it all off with a heavy roundhouse kick to the skull, and there are enough unlockable skills to keep things interesting and varied. If you get bored you can grab one of them and push them into a buzzsaw or a pool of eels a la MadWorld, so the combat is overall well-rounded and consistently fun to indulge in.
But I still had difficulties getting engaged in the game because it's just too bloody easy; the cops are a joke, acquiring new skills are always a quick sidequest away, and the missions are too simple and repetitive to really pose any sort of challenge. Even the fist-fighting gauntlets and dull shoot-outs (which become more prominent later in the game) are just a step above child's play, so I was starting to feel a bit disappointed whilst remembering earlier GTA games having missions that would make your eyeballs melt into fine yolk, and that's how we liked it! Are you trying to tell me that China is somehow less extreme than the West, United Front? I find that fucking hard to believe!
There's a sidequest thing where you have to hack cameras in drug trafficking hotspots so you can catch dealers in the act, which I thought would entail careful observation of each person's mannerisms but it's literally always the bloke in the suit every fucking time, and taking roughly ten seconds to decide causes the game to place a big shiny arrow over the culprit like even the Buddha are telling you to get a move on, making any deductive reasoning about as relevant as a piss in the wind. And It's OK if you want to throw in small minigame-esque gameplay mechanics here and there, United Front, but the first rule of detailing your game is to actually make them fun. Calibrating bugs is all well and good even if it resembles the hacking minigame in Arkham Asylum a little too much, but when I'm asked to first twirl the analog stick around just so I can unscrew the vents, then that just feels like my time is being wasted. And there is never a scenario in which karaoke is a necessary gameplay mechanic, in or out of the rhythm genre.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh, Sleeping Dogs never outright infuriated me the same way Darksiders II did, although that may be due to the lack of any real challenge. It's still a well-designed game that will likely give you your fair share of enjoyment, but of course it is, it's just Grand Theft Auto as directed by John Woo, and I found myself forgetting most of the stuff I did in the game immediately after turning the console off. Still, the combat is rock solid, so I guess a recommendation all boils down to whether you think Jackie Chan or Batman would win in a fist fight. Send me your answer in PMs and let's solve this age-old nerd conundrum once and for all!
Hey guys, I'm back after being really sick last month. Although I've also been really busy this month, what with my new job and endeavours to get back into higher education. Finally getting my life sorted out and organised, which hopefully means I can do these more often, and so with that I wanted to expand on my Immersion discussion from two months ago by elaborating on what I loved so much about Spec Ops: The Line, a game that has become probably the first huge triple-A game to be so deeply engaging without being fun, which to me is a huge, exciting sign of maturation in the medium.
As I said in my review, Spec Ops: The Line will likely be the single best game of this year, and easily one of the best ever made. It was a release that wasn't afraid to make a meaningful statement about the modern state of gaming and Western society as a whole, and to actually stick to this statement in all aspects of the game no matter how uncomfortable it would be for the players. And that's exactly why it's such an amazing title. Now please note that this is going to be very spoiler-heavy unlike my review, necessary to elaborate on my point, so if you want to play the game for yourself without being spoiled, I would highly recommend doing that. In fact, stop reading now unless you're absolutely sure you're not going to pick up Spec Ops: The Line within the next few months; it is so much better played blind. OK, have you made your decision? Yes? Good, then let's get to it.
So I think we'll start out with first impressions, which Spec Ops: The Line uses to incredibly grand effect. Just looking at the boxart alone, it's very easy to mistake the game for another Call of Duty or Battlefield clone that glorifies American military conquest, a line we've seen spewed far too many times in recent memory. Many of the early levels even reflect this, as the first couple of areas have you shooting Arabs for no discernible reason than “they shot first!”, but that's exactly what the developers wanted you to think. To give you this aura of comfort and familiarity with false impressions of careless shooty action to lure you into the experience nice and steadily, all the while slowly but certainly pulling that comforting comfort from under our feet without us even noticing it immediately, only gradually picking up that something isn't right.
As I said in my review, Spec Ops isn't supposed to be about making you the hero. The primary goal of so many developers – especially the ones making military shooters – is to make the player feel like they're a powerful defender of justice, overcoming impossible odds for the greater good no matter what the unintended negative implications of that might be. But Spec Ops deigns to employ the same “one man army” theme of a lot of military shooters to point out the sheer disconnect so many modern military shooters have with the real thing, to point out just how silly they've become. It analyses the disconnect between the mindless shooty action of many military shooters with all of the moral dilemmas, consequences, and suffering caused by actual warfare, and employs the same style whilst calling attention to it in order to make the player feel uncomfortable with what they're doing, to make them feel wrong for playing the game and trivialising the lives of everyone they're killing. The majority of the enemy soldiers in the game are even American, to make the primary intended audience of military shooters feel really disturbed for killing those that their society and all forms of entertainment media glorify as defenders of the country and justice, putting the player into a position that… well, that I'm sure many Russian and Arab gamers must feel about other military shooters!
I'm sure plenty of gamers went through Spec Ops trying to justify their actions to themselves with the loose rational “but… but this is a game! I'm supposed to be shooting people… right? No, it's… it's the games fault; the game is the one forcing me to do all this! Yeah, that's right; it's not my fault!” What make this so poetic is that this is more or less the exact same excuse the main “protagonist” Martin Walker has for everything he's doing, as he keeps loosely justifying all the atrocities he's committed as just being his duty as a soldier, instead blaming all the travesties on Joseph Konrad, the man running Dubai under martial law.
But while the game does slowly reveal that this is not the game most people were walking into, the first time the player is likely to feel this inner conflict to such a soul-crushing degree is in the first “shocking” moment. Unlike the once-off “shocking” moments in other military shooters, Spec Ops just keeps piling them on to such a great effect by directly engaging you in them. The first time something like this happens is when you come across an entire army waiting for your arrival, but notice a conveniently located white phosphorous (which is a highly controversial weapon, mind) mortar nearby and proceed to use it to thin the enemy numbers, who will all be represented as mere white dots on the computer screen. This segment of gameplay resembles the helicopter missions in several Call of Duty games, which is exactly what the game wants you to think; it eases you into it so you have the mindset of “Oh, I know this little mini-game! This should be fun, let's burn some soldiers!” You'll notice an entire encampment not too far off full of white dots, assuming that's where the majority of their troops are hiding away, so you proceed to blow it up.
However, after walking through the ghastly wreckage that you have just created, still breathing soldiers begging for mercy from you, you soon discover the encampment you just destroyed was full of innocent Arab civilians that the soldiers were sheltering. It's not the scene itself that carries so much weight, nor that you were the one who directly caused it, but that your thought pattern during the siege was that it was fun, thrilling, exciting, and then to realise the atrocity you just committed, thinking back to how you thought of it at the time… that's what makes you feel distressed. That's what makes you feel doubtful about yourself, start to loathe yourself and the twisted, desensitised enjoyment you get from shooters; it is that reversal of mindsets, that exploration of our mental state, that allows the game to excel as a legendary experience without even being fun. It's really quite a profound critical statement against the state of the shooter market lately.
The game itself not being fun also speaks a thousand words about the feelings of the characters. When the three protagonists start out fresh like you, they think it's going to be a simple in-and-out operation without any major complications. The player, alongside the characters, probably doesn't think much about the experience at first. But as things start to go wrong, as a deeper militaristic and political mess unfolds and you find yourself knee-deep in it, the characters gradually grow more and more tired and frustrated with their mission, becoming more distrusting and argumentative amongst each other right up until the aforementioned “shocking” moment wherein they just become completely jaded and spiteful of the operation, everyone in the city, and even each other. They too are certainly not enjoying themselves the same way the player isn't, but they keep ploughing ahead because it's their job as soldiers! That's what they do! …almost the same way that the player keeps pushing ahead because it's their job as the player! It's exactly like how the characters in Apocalypse Now grow increasingly more detestable and inhuman, creating a strong disconnect between the viewers and the supposed roles these “heroes” are meant to play, only Spec Ops has the player live out those inhuman actions and grow ever more disconnected with themselves.
The game essentially invites you to either keep going to become the hero you so desperately want to be, or to just turn the game off to save yourself the emotional gamble. I said in my review that the ending is one of the greatest I've ever seen in any entertainment media, and if you're fine with being MASSIVELY SPOILED, then read on… with his crewmates dead, and now left to confront Konrad by himself, Walker realises that Konrad has been dead for months, and that he construed this image of him as the true villain to alleviate himself of the guilty of everything he had done. We realise many of the events in the game weren't actually happening the way Walker imagined them, that we weren't really being put on the spot to make tough choices that only a hardened military hero could; as Walker's hallucination of Konrad even says, “You're here because you wanted to feel like something you're not; a hero.” Then to top it all off, the ending makes its final emotional impact by having Walker – you – given the decision to shoot himself, to shoot Konrad, or to just not shoot at all… and the very fact that you actually have to think about it speaks wonders of your own internal conflict and self-questioning, your own insecurities over everything you've done in this game. After about ten seconds of waiting, I personally wound up shooting Walker, since I had grown to hate him – and thus, myself – so much that I felt it was best for him to leave this world the monster he was. That is how games can be so emotionally investing and deep.
The type of involvement and game design philosophy Spec Ops: The Line presents is very interesting, a style that I think has largely been ignored for the past 30+ years. Games that aren't fun – possibly not in even the slightest way – but are instead incredibly engaging through its exploration of concepts, mental or physical states, even more mundane, every day concerns. Spec Ops: The Line doesn't entertain the player, it drags them into its exploration of post-traumatic stress disorder, militaristic consequences, grey-area struggles, Western interference in overseas affairs, and especially the feeling of unease the player feels as they choose to proceed through the game and sell more of their soul in the name of being a “hero”. It's truly something emotionally gripping, something that leads the player to contemplate how they view games and their own involvement in how the events are played out, in the same way a movie like Shawshank Redemption or Schindler's List are emotionally engaging to the viewers but probably not so fun, except this has the interactive element which is what truly makes Spec Ops shine.
What video games can accomplish that other mediums can't is directly engaging its audience, getting them involved in the story, its own unique exploration of themes, and all the elements that have gone into making the game immersive and engaging, allowing the player to directly feel like their fate and mental or emotional state are tied to the experience. And that most certainly does include fun games, no doubt; a world where every game is a deep, meaningful arthouse title without any sense of humour or enthralling gameplay would be even worse than the reverse! But engagement shouldn't just include fun games; titles like BioShock, Mass Effect, or Assassin's Creed are discussed just as much for their philosophical and historical themes and observations as for their fun gameplay, which is already a show that other themes outside the limiting purview of what counts as “fun” in the medium play a big part in how much the player enjoys or feels engaged by a game.
Why couldn't such a philosophy be applied to games focussed more on drama, romance, or even edutainment? On the opposite side of the spectrum, Journey is a game that manages to completely immerse and engage the player through the sheer beauty of its emotional experience, the attachments you build with other players across your adventure, whether you're the one being guided or the one doing the guiding; it was that feeling that your bonds with other players were something meaningful and important that gripped people in, not necessarily because the gameplay was tonnes of fun. No More Heroes is also a good example of dull gameplay being employed to make a statement about player desensitisation and bloodlust, and in fact basically all of Suda51's early line-up are held in high regard more for their quirkiness and sense of humour than their admittedly muddy gameplay.
I think the term “game” carries with it a lot of limiting expectations, since we tend to associate that word with recreational enjoyment or fun and nothing else, rather than what the medium really should be considered; interactive art. And there has never once been an artistic medium that only ever explored one facet of the human condition or only one emotional response, so why should games be restricted by our own perceptions that every game must be fun, at all times, no matter what? Games have the potential to be more than just recreation; we can make this medium something that can truly be viewed as art in the broadest possible way. I'd love to see more games try to explore less common themes and methods of immersion, and really branch out the medium's artistic reach. And just because those new types of engaging games will exist, won't stop the games that are fun and immersive by our current conventional standards from being made.
Well, I hope I didn't come off as incoherent again. I hope you enjoyed this section as much as I enjoyed writing it, and if you agree with me, great! If you don't, then I don't mind hearing your own take on the matter, so long as we're civil about it. And if there's a topic you want me to discuss in a later issue, or even just a question you want to ask me, just contact me and let me know, I'm always willing to listen. Thanks again for reading, and I'll see you next month.
HI, readers! I'm your groovy Statistics Manager, Tucayo, and welcome yet another guest Book Review! Remember, this section is open, so if you want to sign up, just contact good ol' Crocodile Dippy (talk).
This is my third review. For my first one, I reviewed a German collection of short stories; for my second one, I told you about a Chilean book that told part of the history of said country. So, naturally, the next step is to review a science-fiction book by a Texan obsessed with 80's pop-culture and video games (could it be Smasher (talk)? Maybe, but we'll never know for sure). This book is none other than Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Books about dystopian (the opposite of "utopian") futures have been the latest sensation, especially with the huge success the Hunger Games series had, and this book is also part of that wave, being set in 2044 in a world in ruins and with very scarce resources. But luckily for the inhabitants of our beloved Planet Earth, two talented video game producers developed an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online game) called the OASIS, to which everyone with a few bucks to spare can go to. But this is not your 2012-ish MMO, this is the real deal.
Author's Note: There are no major spoilers in this section, I just talk about the first chapter or so
Thanks to highly advanced and costly technology (yeah, why spend the world's resources on food when you can spend them on video games?), players actually get in the game and get to work, earn money, go to school, make relationships, play, hunt, chat and whatnot. So basically, this is the Utopia to their Dystopia, the place where everyone can escape to under a different name and an avatar and no one knows your real identity (just like our internet!). But one not-so-good day, James Halladay, the mastermind behind the OASIS, died. The guy was a multi-billionare, so the obvious question was who would get all his money, his luxurious house in Oregon, his possessions, his virtual castle, his wife, et cetera. James Halladay, being the weird person he was, decided to host a MASSIVE Easter Egg Hunt all over the OASIS, and whoever managed to find the Easter Egg he hid would be the rightful heir of all his possessions and would get superuser access to the OASIS. But, naturally, it was not supposed to be an easy task. Those who were to search for the Easter Egg had to complete various quests all over the OASIS (which is ginormous). It was so hard that almost everyone gave up quickly. Almost everyone, except for some guys; among them Oklahoma-native Wade Watts (AKA Perzival), who happens to be the main character of the story.
If you want to know more about the plot, you'll have to read the book, you lazy fella. Naturally, the book is packed with pop culture references. Music, video games, movies, anime, books, you name it. And that is very entertaining to read, especially when you actually know what they're talking about. But even if you don't get most of the references, it's highly probable you'll like it, since the topic of a virtual reality is so common nowadays. You're reading this article in said reality, as a matter of fact, and since that's the case, I assume it's a safe bet to say you would like the book. It is fast paced, witty, easy to read and certainly keeps you interested in what will come next. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the book's film, so we'll probably be seeing it in a couple of years.
As an additional detail, the author, Ernest Cline, released himself an Easter Egg Hunt much like the one seen in the film. The quest consisted of setting records and getting certain achievements in classic video games. The lucky winner of the contest got a DeLorean! Not bad, huh?
So you heard me (read me, whatever), if you like internet, video games and 80's pop culture, you have to give this book a read, I promise you won't regret it.
HI, readers! I'm your reptilian Statistics Manager, Tucayo, and welcome to another installment of Retro Feature. This time, I'll be changing things up and bringing you a slightly less-retro contributor. He actually last wrote for us some months ago, but his work dates back to 2009, when we was a major force in helping us overcome what has been our worse writers' drought.
Let's take a quick look back at what 2008 was like for the Super Mario Wiki and its community. 2008 was a hard time for the wiki, and it was reflected in the other aspects of the community, such as The 'Shroom, where we were really struggling due to the lack of writers and the decreasing quality of the newsletter. But the sub-team that suffered the most was Fake News, without a doubt. The original Sub-Team disappeared for almost half a year, being absent from issues XIX-XXII. Stooben Rooben (talk), who directed the last issue before that period, left his job as FN Director. After Stoob left, 3Dejong (talk) (the subject of last month’s Retro Feature) was brought to try and release the next 3 editions of the Fake News, but due to the lack of writers, those editions were never released. After 3Dejong, Stoob returned once again for the last issue of Glowsquid (talk)'s term, but no Fake News were published. Many of our readers were disappointed by this fact, but one particular reader, Ralphfan (talk), went on to create his own Fake News, called the "Real" Fake News. He hosted them on his userpage and delivered them to various user talks (the modern day equivalent of a newspaper boy). After some issues of the "Real" Fake News, Ralphfan contacted Stooben (who had recently been elected Director) and myself to solicit the long-gone job of Editor-in-Chief. Since the EiC job no longer existed, he applied for the Fake News team, which made a modest return in Issue XXIII. But the section that took the spotlight was Ralphfan's incredibly detailed Fake TV section, where he developed a full soccer tournament among the characters of the Marioverse. Ralphfan quickly stepped it up, and wrote 7 sections for next month's Fake News (he was the only writer), including one of the first events The 'Shroom had, which was a Match Game. Over the course of his first 5 issues, Ralphfan got past the 30 sections mark (the fastest writer to do so), and so made it to Fake News Director in just his 4th issue as a writer.
And here is where I am supposed to tell you about all the sections the user in review wrote, but I won’t do it this time, because, over the course of 23 issues, Ralphfan basically wrote every Fake News section, bringing his Fake News sections total to 97, which for a long time was the record for most Sub-Team sections. But not only did he contribute to the Fake News, he also has a good number of Main, Music & Art and Pipe Plaza articles, his most recent one being Random Image of the Month in May 2012. He also co-wrote with me what has to be one of my favorite sections ever, if I’m allowed to say so, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Recap. As you can see, Ralphfan was a hard working fella, and he proved that by creating the Writer History spreadsheet and managing it for over a year. He also held the Editor in Chief position for one month, after Yoshario (talk) resigned and before Twentytwofiftyseven (talk) was elected.
But his hard work wasn't the only thing that characterized Ralphfan. A major incident in chat during August 2009 put Ralphfan on the bad side of many chat users. This incident led to the de-affiliation of #mariowiki as the official Super Mario Wiki chat. Moving to the forum, Ralphfan was banned in 2010 for trolling, which led him to not be able to direct the Fake News for Issue XXXVII, leaving that job to Super Mario Bros. (talk) He was warned by the Core Staff, but that wasn't the last time Ralphfan would get into trouble. After Wayoshi (talk)'s retirement from the Super Mario Wiki in 2009, Ralphfan became the Mario Awards Director. He led the 2010 ceremony, which ended in the infamous coup d’etat where Ralphfan took over the Mario Awards accounts and its chatroom. Despite the takeover, Ralphfan's position as Awards Director wasn't questioned and he directed the 2011 ceremony, which went on swiftly, but the same thing can't be said about the preparation for the 2012 ceremony. Ralphfan started as director once again, but his attitude quickly changed into a directorial one, overruling majority votes, ruling by his own law and trying to steer voting in his favor. This led Ralphfan to being fired from the Awards Committee and the 'Shroom Core Staff, where he had worked for nearly 3 years. He stayed as a writer for a couple of months but soon-after resigned.
He has written so many sections that it was hard to pick one, so I’ll be showing you the Ultimate Character Tournament he introduced in September 2009. This was a massive event that got over 56,000 votes and ran through August 2010. 222 characters from all over the Nintendo series entered, but only one came out triumphant. Who was it? Take a look at how the event developed and how the voting went:
Welcome to the 1st annual Ultimate Character Tournament! I'm Ralphfan, and I'll be your host. What is the tournament? It's a series of polls in a bracket to determine the best character from the Mario, Sonic, Kirby, DK, Zelda, Banjo, and Conker games! Right now, we're in the sixth round, and you can vote in the polls listed below. Meetings were held in #mwUCT, which can be accessed here, on Userpedia, Darkmyst, Mibbit, mIRC, PJIRC, Chatzilla, or etc. We are also on the forum!
SMB and I covered the Banjo and Conker series with help from MG1 and SLNO.
We determined a schedule:
9/16: Conker and Banjo
9/23: Zelda and DK
9/30: Sonic and Kirby
10/7 - ?: Mario
Mario might take a long time.
14 Conker and 7 Banjo characters were accepted, and 4 more from Conker are on the bubble:
We covered Zelda. SMB missed a lot because of dinner, Tucky was there for most of the meeting, SLNO was logged on but inactive, Castle Toad was there towards the end, and MG1 was there throughout. We didn't have time for DK, plus I pinged towards the end.
9/16: Conker and Banjo
10/21 - ?: Mario
We added 18 Zelda characters, and two others are on the bubble:
We covered DK. SMB was there for the last half-hour because of dinner, but MG1 was able to cover, and Tucky was able to drop by.
We covered Sonic. SMB helped out, as did MG1, Turboo, Noahp89, and Tehchomps. Tucayo was probably watching the Yankees-Twins game.
9/16: Conker and Banjo
10/21 - ?: Mario
We added another 17, and put one on the bubble:
We covered Kirby. SMB was my only assistant, but he did a great job!
9/16: Conker and Banjo
10/21 - ?: Mario
We added 11 characters and 0 maybes.
We began Mario and got about halfway through because we ran long. We got through every game from Jumpman to SMRPG. We're going in chronological order by when the games were released. MG1 was there for most of the meeting; Tehchomps was very active as well; Packy was there for a good chunk of time; SMB, SLNO, and Yoshario also pitched in. Hopefully, we'll finish Mario next week, but I have the feeling it will go into November 4th's meeting.
9/16: Conker and Banjo
10/21 - 11/4?: Mario
We hope to finish next week, but it'll probably run through the start of the November 4th meeting.
We added 46 more characters and 0 maybes.
We finished the Mario series. SMB was there, but busy, SLNO was there for a while, and Tucayo dropped by for a while, and Tehchomps was there for a bit.
9/16: Conker and Banjo
10/21 - 10/28: Mario
11/4 - ?: Brawl, Seeding, and Bracket
We added another 63 characters for a total of 109 from the Mario series and 194 total.
We did final touch-ups, covered SSB, and began seeding, but we didn't get much done, due to the World Series and people not really wanting to pay attention. However, I was able to work with a few users during the week, so we were able to make progress nonetheless.
For seeding, we have 222 characters. To narrow it down to 128, we will need to eliminate 94 of them. Therefore, 34 of the entrants are being given first-round byes and will advance directly to the second round. The next 94 will be matched up against the bottom 94.
Continue seeding and fill out bracket.
We added 28 characters, for a final? (unintentional) count of 222. I was going for something between 128 and 256, so it worked out well.
We worked on the second tier of seeding. SLNO was there for a bit; Tucky and MG1 were the major contributors. We didn't add any new characters, but MG1 suggested the SMG bosses; you can now vote whether to include them or not.
MG1, SMB, and SLNO helped nearly round out the second tier of seeding in a short meeting. It looks like the SMG bosses are going to pass; the poll will close at the start of the next meeting.
MG1, SMB, Noah, and Tucky finished out the seeding groups. Since the Galaxy bosses pass, we finished with 231 characters. We're going to organize them into a bracket and set up dates beginning next week.
MG1, SMB, Tucky, SLNO, and Noah helped organize the bracket. Because of the number of characters, 25 characters get byes, or free passes, to the second round. They have been placed throughout the bracket. We plan to open the first round of the tournament on January 6th or 13th.
Hello, once again, ardent 'Shroom readers! This month, I've returned with yet another interview, although it was one I had hoped to have up in time for the Awards issue. Alas, I'm late to the show. Surprise, surprise. This month's interviewee is someone whom I think most people would not consider a veteran user. He's still been around here for a little while, but was mostly unnoticed until earlier this year. This month, I will be interviewing New Super Mario.
New Super Mario, like many of our other members, came to this community seeking Mario knowledge. He eventually decided to stick around once he warmed up to some of the other members of the community, mostly keeping steady activity on the forums. He's become an active participant in the forum's many mafia games, even earning a position in the Mafia Hosts' Guild (basically, a team of skilled mafia players that try to keep all of this community's mafia games in order). He also went on to write for The 'Shroom for a fair amount of issues before resigning from that position. However, his efforts in The 'Shroom did not go unnoticed at this year's Awards Ceremony. New Super Mario won the 'Shroom awards for "Best Main Team Writer", among many other awards he won (mostly in the "Userpedia" category — for starters, his fanfic, "New Sherlock Mario", won the Best User Fiction award.)
Unlike some of my previous interviewees, NSM has not achieved administrative status on the wiki or forum. However, he is still a very active part of the community and often tries to help out with disputes on the forum. His Mafia Host Guild title is also a good indicator of how dedicated he is to the forum's favorite game. NSM had also served on the Awards Committee this year, which I believe he said he may join next year, as well.
Anyway, I'll stop yammering on. Here's the actual interview.
*Stooben coughs into the microphone* Me: Welcome, ladies and mentlegen, to yet another wonderful interview for The 'Shroom. Me: This month, I decided to interview somebody unexpected. Or, at least, I'm hoping. Me: Everyone say hi to NSM! New Super Mario: Hi everyone! New Super Mario: *waves* Me: You can give out autographs later, if you want. Me: I guess I'll start with the same question as usual. Me: When and how did you find the wiki? New Super Mario: I found the wiki way back in the 4th grade. New Super Mario: I was just searching stuff. Then I kinda abandoned it, but later came back and decided to make an account. New Super Mario: Like, 3 years later or so. Me: Wow! That would have been quite a while ago. I didn't know you ran across the site so long ago. New Super Mario: Yeah, I've known about it for ever I just really didn't bother making an account until later. My three year anniversary is coming up soon I think. Or maybe fourth. Me: What kind of stuff were you researching? Glitches? Character artwork? Or just general Mario information? New Super Mario: Just researching games so I knew when to get them. New Super Mario: I always had to beg my parents the first day every game came out.... :P Me: Heh heh, I did that with my parents when Super Paper Mario came out. Me: I think they got it for me within two weeks or so... :P Me: So once you made an account, what did you do? New Super Mario: I loved Featured Images. Like, that was all I would do. Looking back, I don't really know why. New Super Mario: I also started doing some 'Shroom stuff. Me: Ah yes...I believe you actually received an award for your work with the 'Shroom during this year's Awards Ceremony. Me: Favorite...Main Team Writer, I think? Me: That must have felt awesome. New Super Mario: Maybe one. I really didn't think I deserved it though. New Super Mario: Toad and Dippy are way better writers than me. New Super Mario: Plus, I resigned after the polls were put up. Me: Well...I don't think resignation should exclude you from the awards. That would have just been one month before the ceremony, right? New Super Mario: Yeah aroundish, maybe 2. I just didn't have the time for it really anymore. But I did enjoy it for the time I had it. Me: I definitely love Dippy's material... Toad85, I was surprised he didn't rank higher than he did. New Super Mario: Yeah, Dippy is amazing. Toad is probably my favorite. Me: Let's see... I think I skipped over some history stuff that some people might like to know. Me: For shame, Stooben. Me: Who was your first friend around here? New Super Mario: Hm, first friend... I had a bunch of minor friends, but maybe Quizmo or Rocker64, even though we don't really talk to each other as much as we used to. Me: Quizmo and I are pretty good buddies, but...yeah, we don't exactly talk much either. :P Me: I don't know Rocker very well personally, but people don't give him the creds he deserves in Mafia. Me: He's pretty good, at least as a teammate, I've found. New Super Mario: Yeah, Rocker used to play a lot more but he doesn't as much now. Me: I'll have to invite Rocker to my next game. New Super Mario: Yeah, now I pretty much talk to Toad85, Nabber, Lily, and Baby Mario Bloops. New Super Mario: They're probably my best friends here, since we share lots of interests. Me: Ah...BMB left recently, I heard... Do you think he'll come back? Me: He probably will. Most people that have at least some friends do. It's a pretty tight-knit community. New Super Mario: Maybe. He changed him password or something. I keep in touch with him still though. New Super Mario: Yeah, BMB gets to much disrespect from some members of the community New Super Mario: I think he just needed a break from it. Me: I can understand that. Things can get pretty nasty or pressuring around here sometimes. Me: Sometimes a week or two is all you need to cool down, or realize that there are good things here for you that trump the bad. Me: (i.e. friends) New Super Mario: Yeah a lot of people leave for a bit, so he might come back. Me: I'm glad he still keeps in contact with you. It's sad when a friend gets driven away completely. Me: Hm...I forgot...I had a question about Mafia. I was wondering, what got you interested in the game? Me: You're even the Mafia Host Guild, you play so much. New Super Mario: Well I just saw it on forum games, it was Gamefreak's DK Mafia. New Super Mario: And I completely sucked at it. New Super Mario: You see, I was the vigilante I think, and yeah. It was awful. Me: lol, Mafia is hard to pick up at first. It was for me. Me: Vigilante is a baaaad role for a newcomer. New Super Mario: So, Gamefreak gave me some pointers. Me: Oh, he did? New Super Mario: And yeah, I got way better in, like, a year. New Super Mario: He really helped a lot. Me: You can hold your own now, I agree. Me: By the way, that Rabbid role you gave me in Nintendo Mafia is still one of my favorites I've had. Me: I have no idea how I survived that long on my cardboard alibis. New Super Mario: Oh what was that? I forget. Me: I had to survive till Day 9 or 10, and then I would automatically go to the moon and detonate a rocket that killed all the innocents or something. Me: It was weird, but fun. Me: Kind of a challenge since I had no other powers. New Super Mario: Oh yeah, "Moon Missile Launcher". Me: Yeah, that was it. Me: ffff... I forgot to ask another question. Me: About the Userpedia Awards you won this year: how surprised were you that you took...3...4 victories? Me: You're a pretty popular guy. New Super Mario: Yeah. Again, I REALLY wanted to give them to other people. New Super Mario:New Sherlock Mario is obviously not the best story. I mean, plenty of other fics are amazing compared to my stories. There really was only one successful story. New Super Mario: Mason and SonicMario and some others deserved them. Me: Maybe your story appeals to more people. Me: Either way, I think it's pretty kind that you feel that way. New Super Mario: Yeah, I guess. But eh, I'll take best article. I didn't really like that award anyway. Kinda pointless. Me: lol Me: Yeah, some awards were...definitely filler. :P Me: I hope there will be more time next year to mull things over and make better awards. New Super Mario: Yeah it's to hard to vote on "best article" of all things. Me: Yeah. :P Me: Hm...I guess I'll move away from the wiki for a bit and ask some real life questions. New Super Mario: Ask away! Me: I'll start out simple. What kind of hobbies do you have? New Super Mario: Well, video games obviously, but other than that, playing my piano. New Super Mario: And watching Big Brother. Which is kinda pathetic. :D New Super Mario: Oh, and biking. Me: I'm not afraid to admit I watched the first two seasons of Survivor and Big Brother, since reality shows were somewhat new at that point. :P Me: I got bored of them kind of quick though. *shrug* Me: So you play piano? That is awesome. Me: Do you know any songs? New Super Mario: Yep. I can play the athletic theme from Super Mario Bros. 3. New Super Mario: And the overworld theme for Super Mario World. New Super Mario: Oh, and Baby Park. New Super Mario: And a bunch of other little Zelda, Pikmin, and Spyro songs. New Super Mario: For anything that's not in video games, I'm pretty good at Canon in D. Me: Impressive! The Zelda series has some pretty great tunes. Definitely a fan of their soundtracks. New Super Mario: Yeah, I tried learning Groose's theme but it didn't work out. Me: Canon in D is pretty tricky. New Super Mario: Yeah, Canon in D took me, like, 5 months to practice. Me: Now that's dedication. Me: 5 months is pretty extensive. New Super Mario: Yeah I have lessons weekly, so that was like my "concert" piece. Me: Very nice! New Super Mario: Thanks! Me: On the subject of music, who are some of your favorite artists and songs? Me: I always have to ask that. :P New Super Mario: Well, for non-video game, I love "The Entertainer". I used to play that all the time but I'm forgetting the left hand! New Super Mario: By Scott Joplin, by the way. New Super Mario: Also, I like Vivaldi and his Spring from the Four Seasons piece. New Super Mario: But for video games, it's just Koji Kondo. New Super Mario: Oh, and Bach and Beethoven. Me: The classics. People may say they're cliche, but...well...they kind of were the best at what they did. Me: Their pieces were incredibly complex. Me: "The Entertainer" is one of my favorite rag songs. <3 New Super Mario: Yeah, they sound amazing. New Super Mario: It's so catchy. <3 Me: Indeed. Me: Hm...on the subject of Kondo (of Mario and Zelda fame :P), what is your favorite Mario game? New Super Mario:Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door.
*commence obligatory brofist* New Super Mario: I'm almost done with my first run! Me: Awesome. I remember my first time playing TTYD... *nostalgia* Me: Who is your favorite partner? Favorite boss? So far, anyway. New Super Mario: I got the game like last year or so. I wanted it so bad but it was really hard to find. New Super Mario: I'm in the Palace of Shadows. Me: Enemies up the wazoo there. New Super Mario: And my favorite partners are Vivian, Bobbery, and Flurrie. New Super Mario: And boss, I don't really have a favorite. Me: Bobbery is my favorite next to the Yoshi kid (obviously). Vivian's one of my favorite to use for defense, though. Me: Grubba is my favorite boss. :P Me: They're all really cool, though. I love the second battle with Doopliss. New Super Mario: I loved that chapter. The concept of it was really cool. New Super Mario: Anyway, for worst fight I hated any of the Magnus von Grapple fights. And Smorg was kinda boring. Me: I enjoyed the sheer randomness of Smorg, but the battle was underwhelming. dat claw, though. New Super Mario: Yeah, I wanted something more creative. Me: Magnus 2.0 is a pain in the cactus. New Super Mario: Magnus 2.0 wasn't that bad. I kept dying on the Lord Crump fight at Keelhaul Key. Me: That one is unexpected, and a pill if you don't have some badges or items on you. Me: The machine gun used to slaughter me when fighting Magnus 2.0, though. New Super Mario: Pretty much my story right there. New Super Mario: I think I used Bobbery for Magnus 2.0 most of the time. Me: Yeah, he and Goombella are the most useful for that battle. Me: Vivian kind of, but her attacks aren't as strong. Me: Boy, when I ramble, I sure do ramble. :P New Super Mario: It was a good ramble. :P Me: lol, thanks Me: Hm, I'm actually starting to run low on questions...oh no... Me: Oh, I know. Me: Halloween is coming up. Me: You got anything planned for that? New Super Mario: Hm, probably not much. New Super Mario: Just chilling at home and stuff. New Super Mario: My brother keeps complaining that I'm making his Xbox lag. Me: Oh. I'll try to speed things along. New Super Mario: Yeah, he's so whiny. Me: BaseballYoshi, right? :P New Super Mario: Yes. Me: I remember him. He never comes around anymore, as far as I know. New Super Mario: Not really. New Super Mario: Too busy playing Call of Duty or something like that. And, Supremo left which was the only person he really cared about for some reason. Me: Anyway, you HAVE to have a favorite kind of candy that you get on Halloween, right? It's all about the candy. D: New Super Mario: Of course. New Super Mario: I love Twix. <3 Me: Aw yes. Twix are wonderful. New Super Mario: What do you like? :D Me:Sixlets are probably my favorite, although I love pretty much all the Hershey's and Mars stuff. :P New Super Mario: Sixlets? New Super Mario: What are those? Me: They're kind of like M&Ms, except they're balls instead of coin-like things. New Super Mario: Oh yeah, I know those things. Me: They come in a package that resembles a caterpillar. New Super Mario: Well, I'll be sure to have some Sixlets before Halloween this year! Me: Lucky. Now I have to buy myself some so I won't be jelly. :P Me: On the other hand, I can't stand Dots. They murder my teeth. New Super Mario: Oh, I used to love those. But now I think they are SO gross. Me: When I was really little, I didn't mind them. I think because I didn't have teeth for them to adhere to, lol. Me: They taste okay, but the texture is just downright horrible. New Super Mario: Yeah, I agree. Me: (Can't stand the licorice ones though. :S) Me: Hm...I only seem to have two questions left, so I think we're almost done here. New Super Mario: Cool. Me: What would you say is your proudest achievement around this community? New Super Mario: Hmm.... Tough one. New Super Mario: Maybe getting into the Guild. It just made me feel good. Me: It is a nice feeling to be in a group of hosts that make pretty solid games. You get to do some cool things, too, but there isn't any overwhelming responsibilities. Me: It's a pretty good gig. New Super Mario: That's a good way to put it. :P Me: Heh. :P Me: Well...I guess this is...wait, maybe it's not... You tell me! Me: Is this the final question? New Super Mario: Eh, I can do 5 more. Maybe more. New Super Mario: Whatever you can do! Me: I...'ve never actually heard that response before, lol. Me: I'm not really sure I could come up with many more questions. That's just a joke question I ask at the end of each interview. :P Me: But! New Super Mario: Yeah, I'm gonna put my brother through the misery. :P Me: Ahaha, okay then, I will assist you. New Super Mario: Thank you. New Super Mario: *evil laugh* Me:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfUM5xHUY4M New Super Mario: He just got two hitmarkers. New Super Mario: Whatever that means New Super Mario: Oh, and again! Me: Hm, you ARE in the Mafia Hosts Guild... What would you say is your favorite game you've hosted? New Super Mario: Luigi's Mansion Mafia. Me: I think you invited me to that one, but I couldn't play. Me: I remember it, though. New Super Mario: Yeah, I really enjoyed most of it. Me: What were some of the roles in the game? New Super Mario: I remember Mr. Lugg's role could grant roleblocking abilities or something. New Super Mario: And Jarvis had some jar-making role. New Super Mario: I also used your hider role! I really like that one. Me: Oh cool! I didn't know that. Thanks, haha. B) New Super Mario:http://www.marioboards.com/index.php?topic=13821.0 New Super Mario: Right there. Me: Jarvis' role sounds cool. New Super Mario: Yeah, he had to choose different jars each night like a purple and red one and different colors. New Super Mario: And then something happens. Me: "Two of the jars would protect him from daykills, and if he chose the one, he couldn't be killed the next day." Me: That's incredibly useful. New Super Mario: Oh there. New Super Mario: It would be awesome if he was actually active, though. :P Me: Yeah, that would help. Me: lol, Chauncey was the Granny? New Super Mario: Yeah, and I think Lydia would die in Chauncey's place or something. New Super Mario: Or die with him, actually. Me: Chained-death roles always make for a good plot twist. New Super Mario: Yeah, like the Lover roles. Those are cool when they are on separate parties. Me: Yeah, I like using the Lover role on separate teams. Me: Is your brother annoyed yet? :P New Super Mario: Yeah, he's complaining. New Super Mario: We can end whenever you want. :D Me: Mission accomplished. Interview completed and brother annoyed. Me: eet eez good day New Super Mario: Now he's mad that someone killed him. New Super Mario: Baby. Me: He's probably ready to declare war on his murderer, but... Me: He's probably too late for the "war" bit. New Super Mario: Probably. ;D Me: Thanks for taking the time to do this, man. It was nice to interview you. Me: Be sure to say bye to your fans. Me: And sign autographs. :P New Super Mario: Bye Mariowiki! Enjoy the rest of The 'Shroom! New Super Mario: And yes, autographs are available at the west doors. Me: (But you must first pay me $5 to see NSM and get them.) Me:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfUM5xHUY4M
NSM's a pretty popular guy around the forum. He's certainly one of the most well-known members, and a friend to many, from what I gather. NSM hasn't had to accomplish over-the-top tasks around this community to receive recognition. He's...mostly, just been himself, which I think is good. Who says you have to make five-thousand edits or need bright-colored stars to be somebody? I've seen him try to help out his friends on the forum, and try to stop various arguments from reaching a head. The time he spends trying to create original mafia game concepts is time well-spent, too, in my opinion. His games are usually pretty fun, so try signing up for one if you see him hosting. Maybe you'll befriend him in the process. From my point of view, that would be a good thing.
Happy Halloween readers of the Zombie 'Shroom! This month, those of you with weak constitutions may want to turn back. For I will be comparing some of the most affrighting, horrendous, terrifying, mysterious abominations in all of Mario lore. Incidentally, we know less about the creatures I am going to discuss than any others in Mario's world. I can't even assign them names. But perhaps that is what makes them so creepy, the fact that these entities are so, in a word, mysterious. For indeed the imagination is a powerful thing, and what we can't know about them causes our spines to tingle. It may even horrify us.
Hell Valley Sky Tree
The first creatures I am going to be discussing are the coterie of unidentifiable beings of the Hell Valley Sky Tree. That is the name of the game texture name of these beings, most commonly believed to be aliens, in the Shiverburn Galaxy of Super Mario Galaxy 2. While in first-person mode, Mario must look up at the glacier to see them. Nothing can be known about these creatures except one thing: They're watching you. They can also be seen spying on Mario in the Grandmaster Galaxy by the Pull Stars as well. There is no way to get closer to them, as they are part of the background. Perhaps we will never know more about them. But one noteworthy question remains unanswered: What are we to make of that mysterious UFO in 1-3 of Super Mario 3D Land? Could that have been their ship? Were they spying on Mario for a second time?...
...Which brings us to our next creature, to whom our first trio is being compared. That, my friends, is the fiend that appears at the very end of 4-4. Let's call him the Unidentified Shy Ghost'. Unlike the Hell Valley Sky Tree creatures, which we do not know with absolute certainty are aliens, we do know with absolute certainty that this creature is indeed a ghost. Many people believe he resembles a tall, slender Shy Guy. If he were indeed the ghost of a Shy Guy, it would not be the first time such a spirit was seen. Ghostly Shy Guys of course were in Luigi's Mansion, and though their masks could be sucked off, their faces still could not be seen due to it being too dark and shadowy under their hoods. But none of them could compare to the unnerving terror of the 3D Land ghost. It is located just past the Flagpole, near the gate. As you can see in my video link, it suddenly appears out of nowhere. It begins to brightly flash, and then it's mouth eerily opens huge and wide. He then fades away into the blackness from whence he came, in pure dismay. He is truly a somber apparition. And he strikes terror into the souls of unsuspecting gamers unfortunate enough to stumble upon him. Like the Hell Valley Sky Tree entities, the Unidentified Shy Ghost is also an Easter Egg. What are some other Easter Eggs that have scared gamers the world over?
Luigi may not have seen a Shy Guy (or the spirit thereof)'s face in Luigi's Mansion, but a few years later, in Mario Power Tennis, he did! This happened during one of the Award Ceremonies. We, the player, did not see it, of course. But let's get back to Luigi's Mansion. Some creepy elements were taken out of the game because Nintendo did not want to scare small kids. For example, there was originally going to be a hunter ghost in the Safari Room who planned on adding Luigi's head to his list of trophies. While head-hunters had been mentioned in Cool, Cool Mountain a half-decade prior, they had never been seen. I, for one, think the decision to remove the ghost and leave us with an empty (of Portrait Ghosts) Safari Room was stupid. Having such a character is no worse than what may have been in a Disney kid's film of the 1940s. But there is an Easter Egg from the game that makes the nixed hunter pale in comparison on the creepy scale.
I'm referring to, of course, the Hanging Luigi Shadow in the Telephone Room. While talking to either Toad or E. Gadd on the telephone, when lightning strikes, an image of Luigi hanging from a noose can briefly be seen on the wall. Perhaps it is an illusion created by the Boos or any of the other evil spirits in the mansion to scare Luigi out of there. But it's there. The noose can clearly be seen wrapped around his neck. The rest of the rope cannot be seen simply because the screen does not go up far enough. Some say it is even stranger than it seems because there is no window in the room. But there is, on the south wall, and can only be seen with the Game Boy Horror. Some naysayers say that it is not an Easter Egg but a glitch, or a pixel error. If that is true, why did this only happen once in the game? Nintendo may have said it was unintended, but I believe they are lying. It is true that you can not depict a lynching, real or imagined, in an E rated game, and it would get recalled for inappropriate content. But the fact that this is an Easter Egg makes it a horse of another color. I think the developers wanted to have a little fun, and I love this spooky little piece of Mario history. The developers can sneak little stuff like this is, so don't think they can't. For example, much covert and a few over sexual innuendos were snuck into two RarewareN64 games about a certain bear and bird...
When it comes to chilling our bones, they are all winners. Really, they are all great, they are all scary, and they are all mysterious. Besides, even if there were a real winner, I dare not pick it, for the loser(s) might come after me and turn me into another enigmatic Easter Egg...
What's up, Brawlers? This month on Brawl Tactics, I will be spotlighting a certain pink puff! That's right, everyone, this month, I will be focusing on Jigglypuff!
Jigglypuff is a small- sized fighter who's pretty light. She doesn't move very fast, but she's got a surprising amount of power for a fighter her size. Her jump is not very impressive, but her Final Smash can really turn the tables- but not always in the way you might expect.
Jigglypuff's Standard Special is Rollout. This move isn't much like the Rollout some of you may know from the Pokémon series. She won't hurl rocks at your opponent, but she will roll herself at her opponents. Hold down the B button until she's going fast enough for you, then let her go into a super spin! You will bowl over your opponents, but you need to be careful. She's hard to stop, but you can turn her fairly easily. I would still approach this move with caution, but it can be really helpful at times. Let's say you need a quick getaway! Use this move and do damage to your opponent as well!
Jigglypuff's Side Special is Pound. I know, I know, it can be a lame move in the Pokemon series. It's kind of lame in Brawl, too. If you knock her far enough off the side and she uses up all of her jumps, she will continue to Pound the air in front of her until she finally KOs herself. It will take awhile, and it really gets annoying. But enough about that! This move can be used repeatedly easily, which can put your opponent into a mild stun. It won't do much damage, but it's a fair distraction, or it can prep to a bigger, more damaging move.
Jigglypuff's Up Special is Sing. Please be aware that this is NOT a jumping move and you CANNOT USE IT FOR RECOVERY. Just getting that out of the way first. Onto it's usefulness. You all must know Sing from the Pokemon series. If other Pokémon couldn't learn it normally, it would most definitely be Jigglypuff's signature move. I mean, it's known for putting people to sleep! If you use this move, use it when your opponents are either close to you or coming towards you. It's pretty accurate at putting them to sleep, when they get close enough. And this is a full-on sleep. Not some little nap, it's for real. So if you get caught in her soporific melody, mash those buttons as hard as you can to wake up your character, because falling asleep while fighting Jigglypuff is not a god idea.
Jigglypuff's Down Special is Rest. I know what all you Pokémon fans are thinking. "I'll just use Rest and get my health back!" NO! It doesn't work that way. This move is significantly weaker in Brawl than it is in Melee or Super Smash Bros. You will not get a super powerful shock like you do in those games. You will get a flower. So not only is it hard to use, the effect doesn't even really make up for it, and if you fail, you fall asleep!
Jigglypuff's Final Smash is Puff Up. This is not a real Pokemon move, but it's an interesting Final Smash. If you're working with a teammate, you might want to warn them before you activate your Final Smash. This move pushes everyone within range off to the side, and it can fling you quite far if you're not watching. I suggest saving it for the middle of the stage, or a smaller stage. Get her growing, and watch the show start. She's invincible, so if you're not expecting it, watch yourself! Take on enemies of all sizes with Puff Up!
I hope things are cleared up for you with the Puffy Pokémon Jigglypuff! If you can master her powers, watch the entire game crumble at your feet! See you next month on BRAWL TACTICS!
Boo, Mario Karters! It's me Coincollector, here to tell you the monthly tip of the Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner. First, I want to apologize for my absence of the last month as I couldn't connect to the web and submit my work. Hope that situation never happens again.
For this month I'll give you the theme of horror and fear. There are stories about a scary place, where specters and ghouls reside in. For no reason, this place was the prize of a gullible-looking and slim plumber who had no other choice but to visit that place to rescue his beloved older brother who disappeared in there and clear that place from the evil spirits. That's right, it's Luigi's Mansion... But not that Luigi's Mansion! Our lovable coward, after saving his bro, turned the place into a racing course.
A nice yard for a nice house.
The course appears in Mario Kart DS as the last one of the Mushroom Cup. It's located in the mansion and its surroundings. Most of the race takes place outside, in Boo Woods, and for a little part inside the mansion istelf. In the haunted mansion, decorations tend to move, like the frames with pictures of boos shaking the frames and trying to get out of them, and ceiling chandeliers falling and rising crazily. However, despite their way to make you feel scared, they have no real purpose on the track. There is only one real obstacle in the course and are the odd trees that walk around, but they only appear in a small stretch of the track. Unlike other hazards that make roll out of control or bowl over, walking trees just stop you and block your path and there is no item, no Star or Bullet Bill, that stuns or destroys them.
Players start the race outside in front of the mansion in a yard with gravestones and dead trees. Just after the line, racers will meet an abrupt S bend facing to the right and then a straight section that leads directly to the entrance of the mansion. Before entering, racers will find the first set of Item Boxes in front of the entrance's stairs. Once inside the mansion, players enter to the Foyer and go straight downhill through a corridor over there that eventually bends to the right. The hall ends in the mansion's basement below the foyer, where once again racers must go straight. The area below resembles the Anteroom with a table in the middle of that stretch that serves as the path's median. Right after that another hall that leads the racers to go out of the Mansion. The hall is slightly curly and uneven, and has the second set of Item Boxes. Again outside, racers instantly swerve to the left in a curly pathway across the Graveyard of the Mansion. The trip in the graveyard ends after crossing a wall at the end of the curly path. The road bends again to the left into a swamp area. This is the only section with obstacles and gimmicks, which are the walking trees and the slippery mud covering mostly this part. The mud makes several karts to slide to the sides when trying to turn around, even if they try to drift. This section of the track is unusually wide and has some patches of ground that racers can take if they don't want to spend so much time slippering in the mud. The last set of items boxes can be found there in a patch of soil in the middle of the mud. However, this last set appears to be haunted as they move around in a circle. The swampy area finishes in a gentle curve to the left leads racer to the finish line to complete the lap.
Another view of the paradise, and better when you look at it in real 3D!
This course reappears in Mario Kart 7, as the final course of the Shell Cup, with some changes beside the usual graphic revamp from the Nintendo DS to the 3DS. The graveyard has a blue ramp to activate the kart's glider found over the grass and behind a gravestone to the left side of the road. The swamp also has a small hill near the item boxes section. On the top of that there is also a blue ramp and some Item Boxes floating there, ordinary dead trees were added along with the walking ones and are enough tall to block the path even to karts flying from the heights.
The course has no relevant shortcuts. However, the parts with curves outside the mansion has zones of grass that can be easily trespassed with a Mushroom or Star, for example the graveyard area or the S bend of the beginning. As I said before, the swamp has some parts of solid ground, but it's not recommended to go over all of them as you lose time and your place and in rare occasions, get lost in which way you're going. In Mario Kart 7 The wall located in the graveyard to enter the swamp has also a big hole to side of the gate that works as shortcut, but a speed booster is needed to cross the grass over there.
Don't you think that messy fights will bother the spirits?
Oh, but you thought that we were walking just about a race course? Luigi's Mansion actually made its debut in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, but instead of a race track, it was a battle course that must be unlocked after earning the gold trophy of the Mushroom Cup in 150cc class. Unlike other custom courses that are basic and simple in layout, Luigi's Mansion is rather complex. The course is divided by three floors, the first one is a hall, the second one a spacious Ball Room where racers always begin the battle and the third is the terrace. The first and second floors have Item Boxes while the terrace doesn't and instead there is a large hole that make players fall into the second floor. The second floor connects to the others with tightly-curved corridors, three for the first floor and one corridor for the terrace. If you have some time to explore the place beside battling with opponents, you can notice the walls with portraits of several ghosts that Luigi met.
And that's all for this month. See you next month for another tip in the Mario Kart: Wheel Tips Corner.
You unlock this door with the key of history. Beyond it is another dimension —a dimension not only of text and images, but of mind. It is a journey into a wondrous land where legendary developers and artists shape an industry of imagination. That’s your signpost up ahead. Your next stop: the Toad Zone.
Hey y’all, this is your resident gaming historian Toad85 here ripping off Rod Serling to kick off my 12th ‘Shroom article. You know, when I browse around the internet, I’m surprised at how many people overlook the portable market when discussing gaming events. Or if they do remember, they only focus on one series (like Kirby or Pokemon) or quickly write it off. In reality, the handheld console market was much more competitive than most gamers know. If events had gone just a little bit differently in any direction, we could be seeing an entirely different market in the present, and some of our favorite games would never have existed. It almost reminds me of Sterling’s 1959 romp through another realm, and how just a teensy thing off kilter could frighten a generation of TV watchers.
So, to kick off the fall, I’ll be discussing how Nintendo, Atari, and Sega went head-to-head for the hearts of your hands.
CONSOLE WARS: THE PORTABLE WARS
Well, first thing’s first, let’s discuss the first handheld for a bit.
The first all-digital handheld electronic game produced was Mattel’s Auto Race, a 1976 LCD racing game. The player’s car (a dashed line) must make it to the top of the screen 4 times (4 laps) to win, but in order to do so, they must swerve past other dashed lines and avoid wrecking. It’s simplistic, but it’s 1976, so what do you expect.
In 1979, Gunpei Yokoi introduced the Game And Watch, a device that functioned both as a clock and as an LCD game console. The Game And Watch featured decent graphics, considering the technology it was using, and was a moderate success. Unfortunately, though, the system only played one game; if you wanted another Game And Watch title, you had to buy another system. Several advances that would eventually become the norms in gaming were actually first seen in the Game And Watch series: the modern D-Pad was introduced in Donkey Kong; the double-screen that made the DS famous in 2004 was what made Donkey Kong II unique in 1983; Squish featured two distinct gameplay modes that were radically different from one another.
Perhaps the closest precursor to a true 80’s handheld console, though, was Milton Bradley’s Microvision. Produced around the same time as the Game And Watch, the Microvision was the first handheld to use interchangeable cartridges, and utilized technology typically reserved for home consoles. Unfortunately, the Microvision was a financial flop, mostly due to poor marketing and a lack of a “must-buy” game. By 1981, Milton Bradley had moved onto other projects.
However, these three did popularize the idea of gaming on the go, and companies like Tiger Electronics became famous off of their LCD exploits. Cut to 1989, and Nintendo and Atari both happen to be working on a new cartridge-based portable gaming system.
Let’s discuss Atari’s gizmo first. The Atari Lynx was conceived by an independent hardware manufacturer named Epyx, but Epyx didn’t have the money to release the console by itself. So Atari was called in, they made some tweaks, and slated release for 1990. The Lynx sported all-color 8-bit graphics, a backlit screen, and a powerful engine running the show. At first glance of the system, you’d swear you were playing a really tiny NES.
Goodness in monochrome form.
Gunpei Yokoi’s Game Boy, on the other hand, was sticking with an LCD screen and simple hardware to keep design costs down. What Nintendo did have an advantage over Atari in, though, was price. While the Lynx was scheduled to retail at $199, the Game Boy cost almost half that. Plus, Nintendo had much more name recognition; remember, Atari still hadn’t lived down their ’83 Crash reputation. Despite having the superior console, Atari was the one fighting the uphill battle.
The handheld market should have been tighter than it was. You’ve got the all-powerful color portable system with great graphics and sound versus the little-system-that-could with the black and green screen, cheap price and great battery life. Ultimately, the victor had to be the system with the better games. While the Lynx did have some quality titles, like Chip’s Challenge and Joust, the Game Boy’s library blew Atari and Epyx out of the water. You’ve got Super Mario Land, Dr. Mario, Mega Man, Batman, and a whole crap ton of other well-received games to choose from. But the crown jewel of the Game Boy was its pack-in game: Tetris. A fairly popular Soviet game designed by Alexey Pajitnov, Tetris was unearthed by Nintendo of America President Minoru Arakawa at a 1988 arcade expo. Obsessed with the game, he decided it would be perfect for the still-in-development Game Boy.
Super Mario Land in all its puke-green glory.
However, because the Cold War still hadn’t ended, Arakawa had a bit of trouble securing the rights to publish Tetris. And Arakawa wasn’t the only one gunning for Russia’s brick busting technical marvel; Atari, Sega, and Proof Software were also attempting to purchase the license to sell Tetris. In the end, the Russian government just decided to divide up the Tetris license depending on how each company planned to release their version. Atari was granted the right to port it to home consoles, Proof Software was given the brand for use in Japan, and Nintendo was allowed to produce copies of Tetris for handheld consoles like the Game Boy.
With the help of Tetris, Game Boys sold at a frightening rate. Within two weeks, Nintendo had sold through its entire stock of 300,000 units. By the end of 1990, that number had reached numbers that took the NES three years to top.
But Nintendo’s problems weren’t over yet. Sega began developing its own color handheld, the “Game Gear”, late into 1989. Sega had a bit of an edge over Atari for one reason: while Atari had failed due to a lack of good, original games, Sega was the new, “cool” kid on the block with a heap of new ideas and franchises to milk. Much like their strategy with the Genesis, Sega was marketing the Game Gear as doing everything the Game Boy couldn’t. To combat the Game Boy’s “creamed spinach colored” screen, the Game Gear was essentially a portable Master System. While the Game Boy’s bulky shape made it wearisome for users to hold for extended periods of time, the Game Gear was streamlined and fit a gamer’s hand comfortably. The Game Boy lacked a color screen, so Sega plopped one into the Game Gear. With a North American release date set in 1991 and a reasonable price of $149, Nintendo had good reason to be spooked.
Fortunately for Nintendo, though, the Game Gear was a dud. How, you may ask? There are three main reasons. Perhaps most importantly, the Game Gear appeared a full two years after the Game Boy. That’s a lot of ground to lose, and without a must-buy title the like of Tetris, the Game Gear couldn’t drive any stake into the handheld market vampire. Sega’s second slip up concerned its eco-friendliness. To put it bluntly, its battery life sucked. Six batteries were needed to make the system run, and that only lasted four hours. If you wanted your Game Gear for a long car ride, you’d better bring an extra set of double-A’s.
But the biggest reason for the Game Gear’s downfall, and what would doom countless other consoles and portable devices, was a complete dearth of third-party support. While Sega did churn out some fine titles, a system can’t last if there isn’t a quasi-constant stream of quality games to back it up. By the mid-‘90s, just as the Poké-craze was heating up, the Game Gear was officially discontinued. The Game Boy and its successors would maintain almost a monopoly on the portable gaming market until the PSP’s release in 2005.
Now, what if Sega and Atari had not taken the fall? Would we see a greater parity of handheld classics? Would the technology of handheld devices be much greater than what the PSVita and 3DS currently offer? Would some of our favorite games and series, like Pokémon, Kirby, and Professor Layton, ever had seen the light of day? Or if they did get the green light, how different would they be? How much would our gaming libraries be changed if the Lynx and Game Gear had been successes while the Game Boy line bit the dust?
Imagine it: a world with no Game Boy. That means 118 million less pieces of metal and plastic formerly lining pockets around the world. That also means $10.7 billion less in revenue generated by Game Boy sales, plus $12.1 billion for the Game Boy Advance. Combined, that’s more than NASA’s entire space budget! And that’s not even mentioning all the money Nintendo made selling first-party games to play on those trinkets. If Sega and Atari had been able to capitalize on all the profit to be made in Nintendo’s absence, dude, what would happen?
Anything’s possible in the Toad Zone.
I’m Toad85, your resident gaming historian, and what’s the way it could have been?