The 'Shroom:Issue LXXXVIII/Interview
Hello, 'Shroom readers! I haven't been doing this for a couple months, have I. But I'm back!
And this month, I'm interviewing one of the MarioWiki's bureaucrats, Walkazo! Normally I'd try to come up with something for the introduction but I'm a bit out of it right now. So, have the text.
Superchao: Hello, 'Shroom readers! I'm finally back, and here with one of MarioWiki's current Bureaucrats - Walkazo!
Superchao: So, I might as well start with that classic question I always ask everyone.
Superchao: How did you, personally, find the MarioWiki?
Walkazo: It's a long story.
Superchao: Well hey, that's what the interview's all about!
Walkazo: My brother had a Mario-themed party one year, and my cousin was visiting at the time and we spent a lot of time sitting around drawing, but rather than random doodles, I wanted to actually work towards some sort of goal, and decided to do a Mario-themed comic.
Walkazo: Then I went online and started finding pictures to copy off of, and I'm sure I got some of 'em from the MWiki, but I wasn't paying any attention at the time.
Superchao: That's one way to learn how to draw Mario characters
Walkazo: It works better than those terrible How to Draw books Nintendo made, which use random Mario Party clothing designs and stuff.
Superchao: But we're on the MarioWiki! We're supposed to never mock the Glorious Leader Nintendo!
Walkazo: But that's no fun.
Walkazo: And there's such a fine line between loving and loathing.
Walkazo: Anyway, from the images, I moved on to looking up actual facts for the comic, since I really had no idea what I was talking about.
Walkazo: At first, I thought I was only using Wikipedia, and kept getting confused at how it was super-detailed half the time and bare and crappy the other half of the time. With some pages even changing overnight, it seemed.
Walkazo: Then I realized my Google searches were bringing me to two different wikis.
Walkazo: Needless to say, once I figured that out, I stuck to the non-crappy one. And thus, I am here today.
Superchao: Let me guess, the other one as the Mario Wikia?
Superchao: Our lesser known and lesser detailed (and lesser) competitor
Walkazo: No, the other one was Wikipedia. My computer at the time couldn't run Wikia without crashing.
Walkazo: Hell, my current computer has issues with Wikia.
Walkazo: Wikia has issues in general.
Superchao: It does, doesn't it. At least I found out how to lock it into the one sensible configuration.
Superchao: And I assume Wikipedia's issue was mostly due to the whole NOTABILITY NOTABILITY NOTABILITY deal :V
Walkazo: Yeah. Although I think it was less strict back then: I remember reading pages about certain characters that since got merged into list pages and whatnot.
Superchao: I've noticed that a lot; I remember some series that had episodes wiht actual pages that later became lists.
Superchao: I wonder if the rise of other, more focused wikis contributed to the clampdown on this?
Walkazo: Maybe. You'd think they'd still want to hold onto the traffic and whatnot, but they're probably big enough that they figure they can lose the niche audiences and have their editors and bots and servers and whatever stick with the broader stuff.
Superchao: I'd assume so, especially since Wikipedia covers plenty of things that don't get covered elsewhere.
Superchao: Lots of famous people, for example.
Walkazo: I feel like a Celebrity Wiki wouldn't work to well since one star's crazed fans won't necessarily have anything to add on anyone else's pages.
Superchao: We see that on this wiki, too!
Walkazo: And that's true too.
Superchao: Anyhow, what inspired you to join, instead of just read?
Walkazo: Typos. They bothered me.
Walkazo: Also, my brother and I lurked around on the Proposals and User Pages, and it looked like a cool place to be a part of.
Walkazo: Eventually I had some time to kill one day and finally bit the bullet and joined.
Superchao: And you never looked back.
Walkazo: Nope, not once.
Walkazo: Also, turns out the Mario Wikia was only founded around when I joined the wiki, so I /couldn't've/ gone there even if Wikia didn't kill my computer.
Superchao: Oh, good point. Guess it was Wikipedia after all, then!
Walkazo: They didn't even have a Mario page until 2 weeks later or something, hah.
Superchao: It took two weeks for the Mario wikia to make a Mario page?
Superchao: What a very good sign.
Walkazo: Yeah. Unless they're lying when they say they were founded in July 2007, or had to delete their original Mario page and replace it from scratch in August, but I doubt that's the case.
Walkazo: And either way, that place is a pain to navigate, so I'm not gonna bother trying to get more info out of it.
Superchao: Hahaha, doesn't matter, after all. Everyone knows we're the people to look to for good information.
Walkazo: It's good to be on top.
Superchao: You should know. After all, you and Squiddy are second only to Porple.
Superchao: But you had to start somewhere. Why not walk us up the ladder of your promotions?
Walkazo: Well, it started on Userpedia, actually. My bro was really into wiki fiction so we made an account there too and I kept on fixing typos and things, and eventually they asked me if I wanted to be a Sysop.
Walkazo: My brother and I were sharing an account at first because the computer was a pain about multiple accounts and we were too lazy to sign in and out all the time, but one of the conditions of my promotion was no more account-sharing.
Superchao: What's his name again? P-something?
Walkazo: Pantaro Paratroopa, although these days he usually just goes by Pantaro or Pan. After I kicked him off the account, he made a new one, but he never really used it and drifted off onto other things.
Superchao: Yeah, I've not seen him around in forever.
Walkazo: He was around on UP for a bit longer, but yeah, it's probably been more than 5 years since he did anything anywhere in the community.
Walkazo: He might've been part of the Steam group at some point, but I can't remember.
Walkazo: Anyway, after I was promoted, I became a lot more active on UP and a lot less active around the wiki. A couple month later I was made a Bureaucrat, iirc because Chaos Ninji was retiring and needed replacements.
Walkazo: That was Sept. 2008, but it didn't last long because UP Scribblewiki went down about a month later and we lost almost everything.
Superchao: RIP Scribblewiki.
Superchao: Died of a shitty host.
Walkazo: Yes, 'twas a sad day indeed.
Superchao: And it probably killed Userpedia overall, quite frankly.
Superchao: Good thing the 'Shroom's going strong!
Walkazo: Good thing.
Walkazo: And yeah, UP never recovered. We bounced around different wiki farms for a bit, but everything sucked in one way or another and I was busy with school so I never bothered joining any of them anyway.
Superchao: Didn't you get put in charge of Referata, though?
Superchao: Which got overrun by either trolls or spamsbots, but still
Walkazo: Referata was the best option we found except for its crippling lack of space for uploading images: back then, sprite comics were the medium of choice, but the site would never work for hosting them.
Walkazo: The other option was Wikia, but I couldn't use it and a lot of people didn't like it either for obvious reasons.
Walkazo: The idea we came up with was that Referata would be where we kept the fact-based stuff, while Wikia would be where we hosted the comics and all the fictional facts.
Superchao: And from what I remember, that... didn't really work in the end.
Superchao: Mostly because people stuck to one or the other, I believe.
Walkazo: Most folks just bucked up and went to Wikia: a couple users helped me clean up Referata for a bit, but all it really did in the end was earn me a reputation for hating fun or some shit like that.
Superchao: That must have been hard to overcome.
Walkazo: Yeah, it was annoying. Didn't help that I was in the middle of my angsty teen years at the time, lol.
Walkazo: Anyway, I eventually gave up on UP altogether. Even after a proper host was found, I just really didn't care anymore and wanted to focus on the MWiki instead.
Walkazo: Since my activity had increased after UP's death and seeing as I'd been around for a while before that, I was promoted to Sysop in Jan. 2009.
Walkazo: I hadn't moved on from UP by then, tho: I was still active on the forums with the other admins and whatnot, at least until the whole thing with Maria in the fall.
Superchao: What'd that do?
Walkazo: When Maria got into Stooben's accounts, that's when the trolls really took over U-Referata (which had been periodically spammed before that, since no one was around to look after it), and so we just had it shut down.
Superchao: Oh, I see. And thus another Userpedia crumbled to dust.
Walkazo: Yep. They got the old Wikia too at the same time, but UP had already moved on.
Walkazo: I guess that was all spring and summer 2009, rather than fall, come to think of it.
Walkazo: Anyway, it was handy being on both staff teams during the whole thing instead of only seeing one side or the other, but after the dust settled, I think that's when I switched to the Mario Wiki full-time.
Walkazo: It was a while ago, so it's hard to remember exactly.
Superchao: Yeah, pretty sure that whole kerfluffle kind of killed off a lot of the activity UP had scrounged up.
Walkazo: Yeah, as if it needed another nail in the coffin.
Walkazo: But anyway, after that, things were pretty boring. I joined Stooben's Xephyr board and started spending a lot of time hanging out there, plus I started University in the fall so that was another huge activity sink.
Walkazo: I still edited and was part of admin business, but I didn't really start editing again in full force until 2011, and that eventually brought around my last promotion to MWiki 'Crat in July.
Superchao: And what's that been like?
Walkazo: Mostly the same as being a Sysop, only now I feel a greater sense of obligation to stay active and keep admin business moving long and volunteering for the more unpleasant things rather than sticking them on a regular Sysop of Patroller.
Superchao: This is why we should have lower ranking mods.
Superchao: That way I could stick things on them.
Walkazo: I guess I always assume the Patrollers and other admins have patrolling RecentChanges and things like that covered.
Walkazo: But I'd feel bad making them carry out the dirtier work, especially when I'm usually the one calling for it.
Superchao: And by that do you mean the horribly tedious stuff?
Walkazo: Not really - I'm perfectly happy to leave that sorta stuff to them.
Superchao: Not 100% altruistic, I see. ;)
Walkazo: Hell no.
Walkazo: I meant more like things like vetoing proposals or dealing with problematic users.
Walkazo: Stuff requiring admin discussion before acting.
Walkazo: Although we also take turns with a lot of that, so it's not always the same person raining on the parades.
Walkazo: Spread the love.
Superchao: Reminds me of how we try to cycle who sends the warnings or does the bans on the forum.
Superchao: I'm sure if we compared notes there would be a lot of similarities.
Walkazo: Great minds think alike :P
Superchao: Anyhow. What's it like in general, being wiki staff?
Superchao: Rewarding? Awful?
Walkazo: I think it's enjoyable. The staff all gets along pretty well and the userbase is pretty awesome too, so it's not an overly stressful job most of the time.
Walkazo: And I guess it can be pretty rewarding at times to be at the center of a nice, strong wiki: whenever I see it mentioned on fanfiction.net or something I always think "aww yeah, that's my stomping ground".
Walkazo: But it's such a community effort, so really, anyone who's been here for a long time probably feels the same way regardless of rank.
Walkazo: At least, I think we should all feel proud of this place.
Walkazo: But I'm biased.
Superchao: Well who wouldn't be biased if they were in charge?
Walkazo: Haha, so true.
Superchao: But anyway. We know that you didn't get into Mario through the games.
Superchao: Did you get into the games through Mario? :V
Walkazo: When I was little I played the games a lot, so originally I /did/ get into "Mario" through the games.
Walkazo: But yeah, it was that silly comic idea and then reading the wiki and fanfiction that got me really into the series.
Walkazo: Then I started collecting the games, including some more obscure ones I never would have played if I wasn't actively out looking for them.
Superchao: Like what? Perhaps you will educate some of our readers?
Walkazo: Yoshi's Safari's the big one: I got a Super Scope just so I could play it.
Superchao: But was it any good? That's the real question.
Walkazo: Yep, I always have fun playing it, although you can beat it in an afternoon.
Walkazo: I also got copies of DK94 and SMRPG, which were both fairly costly so if I was just looking for games I would've passed.
Superchao: From what I heard DK94 is actually ridiculously long.
Walkazo: It really is. I've only played through it once, and it took weeks to finish (although I was only really playing it for a couple hours every few days). There were lots of levels, and some had pretty decent challenges.
Walkazo: Finally beating it was very satisfying.
Superchao: Would you place it as one of your favorites, then?
Walkazo: I'd say it's my favourite puzzle game (it's better than its MvDK spiritual successors), but as for platformers in general, I've gotten more enjoyment out of DKC, SMW and SMB over the years.
Superchao: In that case, what is your favorite Mario game?
Walkazo: Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Walkazo: If I was on a desert island and could only take one game, it'd be that one. I could play it forever.
Superchao: While I agree DD is a good game, why that over any other?
Walkazo: I dunno, it's just fun. No cheap items like the thunder cloud thing or the Blooper like in MKWii, nice graphics, good music, good course selection, good character roster, properly challenging computer players on the high CCs.
Walkazo: Plus my brother, my parents and I used to play it all the time as a family, and I always play it with my friends, so there's good memories that come with it.
Superchao: Family time is always a good way to get interested in a game. I remember bonding with my mom over Pokemon as a kid, in fact.
Walkazo: My Red version's save file was actually started by my dad - my bro and I didn't read the instructions and didn't know to press "start" to find the save feature.
Superchao: Doesn't it say that in Oak's lab, too?
Walkazo: If it did, we clearly weren't paying attention.
Superchao: Well, that happens to me too.
Superchao: Better than trying to play games in languages you can't read, though. I can't begin to tell you how many games I had to figure out the controls on the fly.
Walkazo: Eh, it adds to the challenge.
Superchao: True, but when you get to the last level, and only then do you discover the Q key did something all along, it feels a little awkward.
Walkazo: Just say it was a self-imposed handicaps to add to the challenge even more. Q key moves are for squares.
Superchao: But I missed out on the cardboard box. It was a great tragedy of the modern age.
Walkazo: I'd say cardboard boxes are for squares, but I'd be lying, because who doesn't love a good cardboard box?
Superchao: Liquid Snake, probably.
Walkazo: Then he's a square.
Superchao: So, was Pokemon your first game? it sounds like a pretty early one, at least.
Walkazo: It was my first Nintendo game, but my first gaming experience was with my parents' old Atari 2600.
Walkazo: So Pac-Man and Asteroids and random Activision games like Chopper Command and Keystone Kapers.
Superchao: Man, Atari? That's oldschool.
Superchao: I didn't get into consoles until Gamecube.
Walkazo: Our parents got us into videogames nice and early. I was in kindergarten when they broke out the Atari, I think.
Walkazo: But it died a couple years later ToT
Superchao: To be fair, I got my first portable as the GBC.
Superchao: It was just consoles that took forever. Outta curiosity, was the Atari Pac-Man really as bad as they say?
Walkazo: I enjoyed it. Never played any other version of Pac-Man, tho, so I'm probably not the best judge.
Superchao: Well, that's a surprise. Anyhow, I'd have to ask...
Superchao: Besides Double Dash, any other Mario games that really stand out?
Walkazo: Well, the platformers I mentioned earlier are all faves, and I really like SPM and M&L:BIS too.
Superchao: Well, some people would argue that SPM is a platformer. Others would argue it's terrible! Buuut they're not you.
Walkazo: Aside from Pokemon, turn-based battles always make me impatient, so getting all the RPG plot with the constant action of a platformer was win-win as far as I was concerned.
Superchao: Huh, interesting choice.
Superchao: Most people preferred the RPG battles.
Walkazo: Usually it just seems like "bash them until they're out of HP". Maybe with some weakness-finding, but how much strategy you need depends on the game, in my experience.
Superchao: True, I've played some pretty strategical games. Paper Mario was... less strategical.
Walkazo: Yeah. But the series makes up for it with good dialogue and stories. Same with the M&L games.
Superchao: I loved M&L, personally. Except Dream Team, never could get into that.
Walkazo: Haven't played it yet.
Walkazo: I'll get around to it someday, but it's not my highest priority.
Superchao: Now that we've covered some Mario games you like, might as well do the usual and look at the opposite end of the spectrum
Superchao: Namely... Mario games you dislike!
Walkazo: Well, PM:SS for farting all over everything that people love about the Paper Mario series, for one. iirc, Bowser doesn't even have a single line in that game - talk about a rip-off.
Walkazo: Yoshi Topsy-Turvy was also a pretty underwhelming game.
Superchao: What was problematic about it, if I may ask?
Walkazo: It was just boring. Not terribly challenging, pretty short, bland plot. WarioWare: Twisted! made WAY better use of the tilting stuff.
Superchao: Huh, I never knew that was tilting-based for some reason.
Superchao: Then again I haven't kept up with WarioWare
Walkazo: You should. It's a great series. So much silly fun.
Superchao: True, I have heard it's pretty wacky. Seems like it's more popular than the main Wario games, even!
Walkazo: The Wario games are tragically underappreciated. They're none too shabby as far as platformers go, and they have a very different feel to them than Mario. More puzzley and bulldozerish than frantically racing towards the goalpost.
Superchao: It's probably because people tend to think of Wario as "gross" and "terrible", from what I've seen on the boards.
Walkazo: Lol, I was reading an interview the other day, and apparently the developers like to think of him more as "macho" and "manly".
Superchao: Well, that is how Wario thinks of himself...
Walkazo: Ya have to hand it to the guy - he's got no self-esteem issues, that's for sure. He's also got babes and money, so he's doing something right.
Superchao: Although from what I remember, he only actually cares about the latter!
Walkazo: Quite true.
Superchao: I still love the Shake Land ending where the princess is going in for the kiss and he just hurls her out of the way for the bag of infinite coins.
Superchao: That scene is Wario in a nutshell.
Walkazo: Yeah, definitely one of the best parts of the game. Bonus points for being fully animated, too.
Superchao: Well, we've discussed Mario, and we've discussed Wario. But not Mario & Wario.
Superchao: Any other parts of the Mario series you may perhaps want to discuss?
Walkazo: Hmmmm, that's a rather open-ended question.
Walkazo: Oh, I know.
Walkazo: Everyone should watch the anime movies.
Walkazo: They're fun.
Superchao: I've never seen them, alas. Just the live action movie.
Superchao: Which was very stupid, but still somehow fun.
Walkazo: I actually love that movie.
Walkazo: Everyone should read the comic sequel to that too, by the way. It's pretty interesting.
Walkazo: Bu anyway, while the live-action film is more like it's own thing loosely based on the games and full of references n' stuff, the anime film is more faithful to the game's plot.
Superchao: Wait there's a comic? They actually were able to make a sequel as a comic?
Walkazo: It's online.
Superchao: But yeah, it was kind of fun to catch the references. Even if some of them were... odd.
Superchao: Hmm, I should definitely read it. NOW THAT CLIFFHANGER WILL BE RESOLVED
Walkazo: Big Bertha is way more awesome as a bouncer than a fish, tho, I gotta say.
Walkazo: And yes, the cliffhanger is answered.
Walkazo: And the references continue, too. Plus the authors are really active on the site and answer people's comments, which is nice to see.
Superchao: Well, since this is the Mario Wiki, it shouldn't be hard to find info about the comic!
Superchao: ...Right? :V
Walkazo: It's sorta in a grey area. The guys who wrote the script of the film are writing it, but it's not endorsed by Nintendo, so it's kinda fanfiction.
Superchao: Oh, didn't realize that. Well, I'm sure it'll be interesting to read, at least.
Walkazo: The film's page has a section for it, but that's all afaik.
Walkazo: So you'll have to read the comic if you wanna know what happens in-depth!
Superchao: That's one way to advertise.
Walkazo: And they don't even have to pay me.
Superchao: Well, I think we've covered the Mario series quite nicely for right now.
Superchao: That can't be the only game you care about, though. What are some non-Mario games you'd recommend?
Walkazo: Star Fox for the SNES was always a good time.
Superchao: Never played anything in Star Fox, alas.
Superchao: They are among the characters I learned about from Smash.
Walkazo: I've only played the original, but it's a lot of fun. And also pretty hard.
Superchao: What's the difficulty stem from? There's a difference between fair hard and bullshit hard, after all.
Walkazo: It's fair. You just have to practice and get good at dodging and aiming and all that jazz.
Walkazo: The more I played it, the further I got, and you really feel like you earn every level progression later on in the game.
Superchao: Oh, that kind of game. Sounds up my alley!
Superchao: Anything else? Perhaps even non-Nintendo, if you have ever tried such a thing?
Walkazo: Well, the Atari 2600 from my childhood had no Nintendo games - none that we owned anyway. But it's probably pointless to recommend any of those games.
Walkazo: Although I heard there was an Activision compilation game with lots of classic titles, or something like that. That'd be worth getting.
Superchao: I know a friend of mine's a fan of them. Helps that he got it for cheap.
Walkazo: I was at a store recently that had an Atari for $70. I was SO tempted to get it, but then I'd still need to hunt down all the old games we had, since my stupid dad threw them all out when the console died.
Superchao: Ouch, that's always annoying. I mean my Gamecube is dying, but I'm not chucking my games.
Superchao: Then again, I have a Wii for that, so...
Walkazo: lol, yeah. Backwards compatibility ftw.
Walkazo: But either way, consoles can be replaced, but good luck duplicating libraries without seriously denting your savings.
Walkazo: And if you are sure about getting rid of your games, sell them, don't chuck them.
Superchao: Yup. he could at least have made some good money off them!
Walkazo: Well, maybe. But it's not even that: selling them means other people can play them, but throwing them out is just a waste.
Superchao: Of course, sometimes you don't want other people to play them
Superchao: Any non-Mario games that were just really bad?
Walkazo: I can't really remember, tbh. I don't play games very much anymore thanks to writing, school and work taking up all my free time, and while I used to rent games all the time as a kid, I can only remember the highlights nowadays.
Walkazo: I'm also pretty easily entertained.
Superchao: That does make sense. Too bad to hear about your lack of games, though - it kind of makes it hard to ask more questions about them!
Walkazo: Yeah, sorry...
Superchao: Well, there's other interests you have, right? Like birds!
Walkazo: Oh yeah. Besides Mario, birds are my other main interest.
Walkazo: I volunteer at a bird research station in the spring and fall, do other andom research projects in the other seasons, and am hopefully going to do a Master's project on 'em.
Superchao: What got you interested in birds anyway?
Walkazo: I've always liked nature, and one day I was totally failing at drawing some birds, so my dad gave me this giant book of birds to use as reference, and I ended up reading it cover-to-cover, and at the same time, started paying more attention to the birds at the birdfeeder in my backyard.
Walkazo: In particular, we had a family of Common Grackles hanging out at our place, and I taught one of them to take peanuts from my hand.
Walkazo: His intelligence and personality really inspired me, and a few years later, I started volunteering at the station and from the first day there, I knew that working with birds was what I wanted to do with my life.
Superchao: Well, it's always nice to find your inspiration early. Hopefully you've made progress towards it!
Walkazo: Yep. Unless I get screwed over by some unforeseen bullshit, I'm pretty much next in line to take over the research station once my current boss retires in a couple years.
Walkazo: And in the meantime, I'm hoping to do post-grad work on the data from the station. But I'm still waiting on my funding paperwork to come through before I know for sure if that's happening or not. Finger's crossed!
Superchao: Just gotta stall it out and kill time. By doing productive things, like editing a wiki about vidya games.
Walkazo: So very productive.
Walkazo: And hey, it's good to stay well-rounded.
Superchao: On the note of being well-rounded, any other hobbies you keep up with that you'd like to tell us about?
Superchao: Everyone needs a hobby, after all.
Walkazo: A few. I watch anime pretty regularly, and took Japanese for a couple years in University undergrad.
Walkazo: I also took a Shakespeare class last year and fell in love with his History plays. I'm trying to watch as many different versions of them as I can, since each one sheds new light on the subject matter, and I'm hoping to write an adaptation of the series someday.
Walkazo: So having a lot of supplemental material to work with will be handy, as the language can be rather thick sometimes.
Superchao: Explains why you took to that userpedia thing so quickly.
Walkazo: I've been adapting Shakespeare plays to "Mario" for years, so I couldn't not get a piece of the UP-adaptation action.
Superchao: Well, now that we've covered all that, I'd like to ask you my next question.
Superchao: And at this point i'm only asking it because it's expected, but is this the last question?
Walkazo: Which is?
Superchao: That one, the one I just asked.
Walkazo: No, the one I asked was.
Superchao: Well, I suppose you've got me there.
Superchao: And even if I asked another question that one wouldn't be the last because of it.
Walkazo: Victory is mine!
Superchao: Well, thanks for being the first interviewee in three months.
Walkazo: And thank you for asking!
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