The 'Shroom:Issue 199/Palette Swap
October is here, spooky and scary! It's the 'Shroom!
Last month, I mentioned that I was starting The Teal Mask, and now, I've completely finished it! I was able to play a lot that first weekend, and ended up finishing the story, the side quest, and the Kitakami Dex. While it was short, I did enjoy it, a lot. The setting was lovely, I really enjoyed the variety of Pokemon there was to meet, and the new characters introduced were really lovely. Kieran and Carmine had a lot more depth than I expected, and Perrin's sidequest was a lovely little surprise to play through. I'd go so far as to say that I wish they'd incorporate that type of gameplay into its own game, like Pokemon Snap but on foot instead of on rails, you know? I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do with The Indigo Disk in the winter, as it is supposed to be coming out this year. We'll have to see!
This month our regulars have come back, but you are welcome to do a guest contribution section for Issue 200 next month! If you have an idea for us, reach out and let us know! We'll be happy to work with you on it!
Section of the Month
We have Section of the Month Results! In first place this month we have Waluigi Time Comic, and coming right after in second is our second comic, The ? Panel! Following up in third is a two way tie, between Waluigi Time (talk)'s Shmaluigi, Private Investigator and Shoey (talk)'s Random Image of the Month. Thank you to everyone who voted!
|PALETTE SWAP SECTION OF THE MONTH
|Waluigi Time Comic
|Waluigi Time (talk)
|The ? Panel
|Shmaluigi, Private Investigator
|Waluigi Time (talk)
|Random Image of the Month
The following poem you're about to read was created during Roserade's (talk) Poemtober 2022. For those unaware, during the month of October, every day you feel like, you create a poem! Each day had a prompt that was a singular word and you could write about however you interpreted it. This poem was written for the theme Ominous. If you wish to know more about the creative process, or anything like that, you're welcome to read my commentary as well.
Every minute the sandman sprinkles dust through the hourglass into the eyes,
An endless drowsiness is the curse that inflicts.
A child gleefully absorbing heroes and villains with entertainment conflicts,
Grows the cynical ability to witness cracks in the tales' modern guise.
Figures of authority instill ideals into the youth that gives power to change the world,
Only for lawmakers to strip the adolescence of everything they thought possible.
So much chaos, escaping the bleak reality seems impossible,
We must find the light wherever we can to delay our visit to the underworld.
Some of the franchises I enjoyed in my youth are still around, but there's a part of me that just looks at a lot of these as products. I know everything must come to an end, yet it felt like everything I was fond of was pumping out garbage. I like Star Wars, the new stuff is bad. I like superhero stuff, the new stuff is bad. I like Nintendo, and while they have great stuff these days, they also had a period of mediocrity.
Also growing up, many people hammered home the notion that you could be whatever you wanted, and that we should strive to make a better world, yet sometimes it feels like it just...isn't. I feel like social media is partially to blame for a 24 hour news cycle that rewards negativity, but it's easy to get caught up in everything awful that's going on. It doesn't feel like things are getting better, especially when corporate greed and political misdoings are plastered everywhere so blatantly as they are.
Are all of these things truly getting worse at the same time, or am I just older and lost that sense of childlike wonder? Maybe a little of both, but that's the sort of conflict I was trying to engage with this poem. Despite all the horrors of the world I still think it's important to try to find something meaningful just to keep you going.
Random Image of the Month
Welcome again to another thrilling Random Image of the Month, The 'Shroom's most volunteer-based image review section. Folks, it's that time of year, the spooky month where people watch horror movies, watch Scooby Doo movies, and try to convince themselves Nightmare Before Christmas is a good movie (it's not). In honor of the month of spookiness, we're looking at a promotional Halloween artwork from 2021!
Right off the bat, I'd go to this costume party! It seems like a fun time, hanging around with not only Mario and his friends, but also Bowser and his crew. That just sounds like a great time. I mean, look at those Bob-ombs dressed up like candy. You think they actually contain candy? Are they, like, exploding pinatas? I ask because that'd be festive as hell!
Now, if this was like a group costume contest between Mario and friends and Bowser's army, well Bowser wins in a rout! First, you have Bowser himself going as a magician; that's fantastic! You have a Zombie Goomba (which is obviously a reference to the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! episode Count Koopula, you know, the one with zombie Goombas). Then, like, look at Bowser Jr. in his little devil costume! That's adorable! The mummy Blooper is also very cute, with his little eyes peering out of his costume. You have got Kamek dressed up in a cute ghost costume, Dry Bones using a jack-o'-lantern to be the headless horseman, and that's amazingly creative! I'm not a big fan of the Cheep-Cheep, because, like there are too many witches in this image already, and they don't even have a good costume. Bullet Bill is also pretty lame; I mean, you can tell he forgot about the costume contest and bought his costume at the last minute! Luckily, my main man Buzzy Beetle comes through with the sick spiderweb shell decal. To round out Bowser's side, you have the big guns, the Hammer Brother. Look at him! He throws lollipops instead of hammers! That's amazing! I'm sure he's supposed to be a magician, but, with his stance, he almost looks like he's a superhero whose arch-enemy is an evil dentist.
Conversely, the Mario side just isn't up to snuff. Let's start with the highs. I love Princess Daisy's pumpkin dress. That's a very creative costume, and I don't think I've seen that before. Yoshi, of course, looks adorable as a dinosaur, but is it a little fucked up that he's dressing up as what is essentially his own kind? Those are questions for the scholars, I suppose. Rosalina is very cute; the devil jester hat and the broom are nice touches. Toad also looks very cute in his little ghost costume, and the jack-o'-lantern lighting his way is a nice touch. Dragging down the party, there's Peach, and, again, why two witches? We didn't need two witches! One of them should have had to go home and change! I don't care for either Luigi's costume or BIrdo's costume. The wolf man costume looks dumb and honestly kind of low effort. I mean, all he did was buy a mask, tail, and paws, and that's laaaaame. Then you have Birdo in what should be a sick skelly boy costume, but, like, all she did was buy a costume with a skeleton outline, and that's not very cool. Also, is it messed up that she's wearing a skeleton costume to a party that Dry Bones is going to? Is that offensive? Again, we leave those questions for the scholars. Finally, we've got Mario's costume, and it's alright, I guess. It kind of looks like he's trying too hard. I mean, what is he supposed to be, a Pumpkin Vampire? How would that even work?! Also, he covered his cape in M's, the conceited fuck!
This is a very fun image. I really like how there are just Swoops all over it. They're not even Swoops in costumes, but just regular Swoops flying around because, you know, Halloween. This a very festive image with some really good costume design. That's why my final score is 9.82 out of 10. Okay, Nintendo, I reviewed your art, so now, Nintendo, please let me play as that Hammer Bro. in a video game.
The ? Panel
[Wario witnesses something off-screen and drops his mug, causing the mug to spin as he rushes to the right. Waluigi nonchalantly glances to the right]
[A brawl happens off screen, while Waluigi rolls his eyes and sips from his mug (SFX: Sip)]
SFX: Bash! Pif! Pow! Bam!
[Wario returns to the seat with some bruises, and Waluigi glances at Wario]
Wario: That'll teach him for sure.
Waluigi: [Points to the fainted giant spear man] You know, if you return that treasure, he won't keep bothering you.
Wario: [Holds a bag of treasure bearing a skull emblem on it tightly] Wah?! You kidding? The treasure's mine! All mine! I stole it fair and square!
Shmaluigi, Private Investigator
It was a chilly, overcast day in mid-October. I was keeping myself busy with menial work in my office at the time, when the door opened, preceded by no knock. I looked up to see a Chargin' Chuck in a suit entering. His eyes were obscured by a pair of sunglasses, very out of place for the current weather conditions.
"Hey," he said.
I recognized him from some time ago when I worked a case for Waluigi Time. This guy was his head of security, if I remembered correctly. Seeing him here meant that Time was probably involved in whatever my next case was about to be, and the realization gave me a sinking feeling...
"Ah, Mr. Charger, wasn't it?"
"It's Chuck," he quickly replied, "just Chuck."
"Right, right. What can Shmaluigi do for you?"
"The boss has a job for you. He told me to come bring you to him."
"What? Mr. Time should have Shmaluigi's phone number, why didn't he just call?"
"He said he wanted to be cool and dramatic."
Why did that not surprise me... He always was one to sacrifice efficiency for theatrics.
"Well, what's this about?" I asked.
"I dunno. He told me to go get Shmaluigi, so I did. I don't like to ask many questions, just complicates the job."
That wasn't very reassuring, but I didn't have anything better to do right now. So, a tad reluctantly, I was on the case, whatever it was.
"...Alright, let's go."
As we walked to Mr. Time's headquarters, I attempted to make small talk with Mr. Charger, but all I was able to drag out of him were mostly one-word answers. I expected that this case would probably be very mentally taxing, so I decided to just leave him alone for now. Somehow, the lack of conversation was actually making me look forward to meeting with Mr. Time, though...
After a brisk walk through the city, we arrived at Waluigi Time Cereal Tower, which was fully decked out for Halloween. For a moment, I questioned why they felt the need to spare no expense decorating the corporate headquarters when they were apparently not in the best financial state. That thought quickly disappeared when I remembered who I was dealing with. I couldn't help but notice that the pumpkin lights strung along the walls of the lobby would have made nice mood lighting if they didn't clash so much with the bright purple walls.
Mr. Charger led me to the elevator, and we took it all the way up to Mr. Time's reception room. There we were greeted by his secretary, Robirda. I'd never seen a Birdo wearing a Bride of Frankenstein wig before. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I'd ever seen a Birdo wearing any kind of wig before.
"I brought Shmaluigi here to see the boss," Mr. Charger said.
"You two can head on in, he's expecting you," she replied. "He said he was going to be doing nothing for the next hour."
We went inside, finding the office illuminated by the same pumpkin lights in the lobby, though their influence here was limited a bit by the giant window behind Mr. Time's desk, even with the overcast sky outside. The purple chair that Mr. Time usually sat in was turned away from us, facing out the window. I wasn't sure if he didn't realize we were here or if he was just getting a kick out of being dramatic again.
"I got Shmaluigi, boss," Mr. Charger said, announcing our presence.
"Good work, Chuck," Mr. Time replied, then spun his chair around to face us - which kept going and began making a second pass around, quickly stopped by Mr. Time grabbing onto his desk and straightening himself out. "Whoops. Hey Shmaluigi! Good to see you could make it here."
"What's this about, Mr. Time?" I asked. "Your employee here didn't provide any details."
"First of all, I'd prefer if you called me Dr. Frankentime," he said, pointing to his mad scientist goggles and lab coat. Somehow, I doubted that the title of doctor was an earned one. "Anyway, here's the deal. There's, um, something in my factory, and the workers are starting to disappear and they keep finding chewed-up cables, so it's probably not that great. They're starting to refuse to come in, and I can't really afford to shut down production, so what do you say? Want to help me find out what's going on and get it out of there?"
I could tell by the wide grin on Mr. Time's face that he expected me to accept, but I had serious reservations. Fishing out whatever nightmare beast got unleashed on his factory and potentially getting maimed or eaten in the process didn't exactly seem like something that was in my job description. Call me when the monster decides to start a mafia.
"Sorry Frankentime, but monster extermination is above Shmaluigi's pay grade. You'll have to find someone else to do the job."
"But it's a mystery..."
Mr. Time fidgeted in his chair a bit, then it seemed to hit him that I still wasn't going with it. "Okay, okay, how about I pay you double the usual rate and um, I'll throw in a coupon? Sales for the new candy have been pretty good, we can probably afford it."
Well... I'd be lying if I said that offer wasn't tempting. A little extra money would be nice to have the next time work is slow and Ms. Broxy comes barging through my door demanding rent.
"You know what, sure. It's a deal."
"Great! You won't regret it!" Mr. Time exclaimed, though I doubted the truthfulness of that statement. "It was either this or discretely burn the place down and collect the insurance money, but I wasn't sure how that would interact with the mysterious otherworldly portal thing inside... Anyway, no one wanted to come into work today, so we can go there right now. Oh, are you armed?"
"Well, you should probably go get a weapon of some kind. Who knows what could be in there! Once you're ready, you can head to the factory, and Chuck and I will meet you there."
"Excuse me?!" Mr. Charger shouted. "Why do I have to go? You got him to check this out!"
I had the opposite thought - why would he hire me if they were going to go anyway? But I was getting paid double, so I didn't have a reason to complain about it.
"Shmaluigi's just the find-the-monster guy! You're head of security, it's kind of a security issue, so, there you go," Mr. Time replied.
"It's times like these I really hate my job, man."
I went home to grab my old golf clubs, the best thing I could find on short-notice. It seemed all my sporting equipment was getting more use as makeshift weapons than they did for their intended purpose these days. With that squared away, I drove over to the Waluigi Time Cereal Factory, slung my golf bag over my shoulder, and caught up with Mr. Time and Mr. Charger at the back door.
"Oh hey, you made it!" Mr. Time said, holding a bizarre-looking gun. "Check it out, this thing can fire an onion at speeds faster than a regulation kart! Neat, huh?"
"That's the other reason I brought my gear," Mr. Charger said. He was equipped with full football gear, wore a pair of brass knuckles, and was clutching a shovel for dear life. I could almost see the handle bending inward where he gripped it from the pressure.
"So, are we ready?" Mr. Time asked.
"Not really, but let's do it anyway," I replied.
"That's the spirit! Now you go first."
I sighed and pushed the door open, leading the way into the factory. Without the workers moving about or the hum of machinery, it was eerily quiet. All we heard was the sound of our footsteps on the cold, hard floor. As I let go of the door, it slammed shut behind us unexpectedly loudly.
"GAH!" Mr. Charger exclaimed with a jump. "Uh, heh, that was nothing..."
"So, where do we start, Mr. PI?" Mr. Time asked.
I wasn't sure how to answer that question. This place was quite expansive, far beyond the space needed to produce and store the company's products, mostly because Time was a nightmare of floor planning and architecture. To make matters worse, they'd gone bananas decorating for Halloween here too, even though I'm pretty sure it's not open to the public anymore. Finding whatever lurked in here could easily be like looking for a needle in a haystack, if it didn't find us first. That wasn't a comforting thought, but it seemed to be the more likely option.
"Hm... You said your employees found chewed-up cables, right? Somewhere with lots of those seems as good a place to start as any."
"Oh yeah, the computer room! I'll take you there."
We began walking towards the computer room, following Mr. Time's lead, and then... the power suddenly cut out, leaving us in darkness.
"WHAT WAS THAT?!" Mr. Charger shouted. "I don't like this, man! I'm the kind of guy who dies first in horror movies, I just know it!"
Luckily, I came prepared, and grabbed a flashlight from my trenchcoat. "Don't worry you two, now we just need to- GYAH!" As I turned around, I came face-to-face with a particularly grotesque Dry Bones prop and nearly fell over. I had half a mind to put Mr. Time on the receiving end of a golf club for deciding decorating this place was necessary.
"Oh shoot! I just remembered, I should've had you sign a liability waiver," Mr. Time said, fairly nonchalant about the whole situation. "Oh well, let's move on!"
"How about we move on out of here instead," Mr. Charger grumbled.
With my flashlight beam leading the way, we finally made it into the computer room. As I shined my light around the room, I found no sign of any creature, but there were plenty of chewed-through computer cables. It was hard to tell if the damage was recent, though.
"Well, it's certainly been in here, but that doesn't seem to be the case now. You should look into getting these cables replaced, though," I said.
"I should probably figure out which ones were important again, then," Mr. Time commented.
"Alright, nothing left to see here. Let's keep going," I said, and we turned and went back out.
I decided that at this point it was a matter of trial and error, so I just grabbed the next door I found. Suddenly, Mr. Time grabbed my arm and stopped me.
"Don't go in there, that's the maze!" he said.
"The... maze? Why would you put a maze in a factory?"
"You know the mazes on the back of cereal boxes, right? I thought it would be funny if there was a room in the factory with a maze in it, and then it's like, 'hey, this is the room where they make the mazes, haha isn't that funny?', you know?"
I couldn't help but just roll my eyes. Regardless, I heeded his warning. A maze seemed like an opportune place to get mutilated by a mystery monster, best to steer clear. Continuing our wild goose chase, we pressed on, and then I heard something skittering around in the dark. I didn't know what it was, but it made the hairs of my neck stand up.
"Did... did you hear that?" I asked, darting my flashlight around trying to catch a glimpse of whatever the source of the noise was.
"Yeah, it almost sounded metallic," Mr. Time replied, audibly nervous for the first time since we came in here. "Chuck, you got the shovel ready? ...Chuck?"
No answer came. I moved my flashlight around us, and there was no sign of Mr. Charger. That wasn't good.
"Oh no, he was right, he died first! What about me?! I'm next! I HAVEN'T FINISHED WRITING MY 'SHROOM SECTIONS!" Mr. Time cried, grabbing me by the collar and shaking me in a panic.
"Calm down, you're just making things worse!" I said as I pried his hands off of me. In the process, I dropped my flashlight on the ground, and its light instantly went out. "Shmaluigi rests his case."
I picked up the flashlight and hoped as hard as I could that it wasn't broken. Thankfully, it was only the battery getting jiggled out of alignment. Shaking it around a bit made it functional once more. "Phew, that was close. Alright Frankentime, now- um, Frankentime?"
With what little light I had, I could see that now I was alone. The dread set over me in no time flat, crushing heavier than a Thwomp. Why did I let Mr. Time talk me into this? Why was I here? Why couldn't I be elsewhere investigating a mafia or something? Or shopping at JojaMart? Yeah, that's how I knew I was in dire straits. I'd rather be in JojaMart.
I pulled the first golf club I touched from my bag - a putter - and gripped it as hard as I could in my left hand, holding my flashlight in the other. I had to find this thing. Maybe I could still save those two, if they weren't already torn to shreds. Then again, I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Time could cheat death, at least.
Then I heard it again, that metallic skittering across the floor. I spun around in the direction it came from, but I couldn't see anything. My heart was pounding ten miles a minute, and my gloves felt like they were filled with an entire workout's worth of sweat. And all that stood between me and near-certain death was a lousy set of golf clubs.
"Come on out you- you creature! Shmaluigi, private investigator can take you, just try it!"
Taunting the horrors of the dark probably wasn't one of my better ideas, but at least it gave me a confidence boost? That confidence quickly vanished when the skittering happened again, quickly becoming more and more frequent and moving ever closer. I still couldn't catch sight of it, and before I knew it, I had backed myself right into a wall. Then this absolutely horrid monstrosity came lunging from the dark, and all I could do was hurl my putter at it and book it into the nearest door. Nope, nope, nope!
As I took a look around my new surroundings, I realized that I was now in the maze Mr. Time had warned me about. Great, wonderful. But it was better than whatever was on the other side of that door. Maybe there was another exit in here somewhere... I just had to get out of here before my flashlight battery died or that thing came in and gave me a spontaneous face removal, whichever came first. Unfortunately, everything looked the same - just shelves filled with cereal boxes in winding paths. I mean, it was creative, I had to give them that.
I wandered through the maze, hoping I wasn't just going in circles, or worse, heading back to the entrance. Then I was startled from a voice down below.
"Hey, watch where you're shining that light, you big oaf!"
I looked down to see I was shining my flashlight directly into the eyes of an unfortunate Goomba. I quickly moved it out of the way and saw several others - two Koopa Troopas, a Shy Guy, and a Toad. They all looked haggard, the distinctive look of someone who hadn't gotten a good sleep for several days that I was all too familiar with from personal experience.
"Huh? What are you all doing in here?" I asked.
"It's this stupid maze! We all came in here and can't find the way back out, and now the stupid power's gone out!" the Goomba said. "At least we got this cereal to live off of..."
Well, that explained most of the disappearances, actually... I wondered...
"Okay everyone, Shmaluigi thinks he can find the exit again, come on."
They seemed agreeable to that and followed as I attempted to retrace my steps. I mean, if I was trapped in a cereal maze for days I'd be following the first person who said they knew the way out too.
Thankfully, I was able to find the door without much trouble. Well, it was a door. But by now, who really cared? I just had to hope that my intuition was right... I opened it and found the monster still lying on the floor on top of my putter. In reality, it was just another stupid Halloween decoration, and frankly, not all that scary on closer inspection. I guess it's different when you're already on edge and it's flying straight at you from the darkness. But that still raised the question of what was scurrying around the place, and what happened to Mr. Time and Mr. Charger.
"We're free! Thank you thank you!" one of the Koopa Troopas exclaimed, jumping for joy.
"No problem, it's all in a day's work," I said.
Well, first things first, I may as well lead these people out of here, especially if there's still potentially something dangerous lurking around. I was, after all, the only one with a flashlight. Getting them to the exit was no problem, but I still had a mystery to deal with and stayed behind. Alone again, but I was less concerned. It seemed like there was more to this than meets the eye - or perhaps less?
"Alright you slippery little thing, where did you run off to..." I said, wandering about with my flashlight.
Then I heard the skittering again. Before I could react, the factory was once again bathed in light, and after the initial shock wore off and my eyes adjusted, I saw what I could only describe as a thing. Some sort of toothy bowl creature, with googly eyes and spoons for limbs. A freak of nature, to be certain, but mostly harmless it would seem. The creature began to run in circles for a bit, once again making the sound I'd been hearing all night.
"Bob! There you are!"
I turned to see Mr. Time of all people running towards us. I had so many questions.
"What the- Frankentime?! Where have you been? You hung Shmaluigi out to dry!"
"Oh, sorry about that! After the power went out and Chuck disappeared I thought wandering around in the dark was a really bad idea, but I know this place pretty well, so I got out of here and went to get Spanner so he could fix the power. Just some more chewed electrical cables, I guess those were pretty important."
"And... this thing?"
"This is Bob! I mad scienced him, isn't he neat?" he asked, as he picked Bob off the floor. What a name. "I guess this little scamp was responsible for those chewed-up cables this whole time! I've been looking for him forever."
"Uh-huh... Well, Shmaluigi solved your missing employee problem. They got lost in the maze."
"Ohhhhh... Maybe I should get rid of that."
"So uh, where's Chuck?"
"Well, Shmaluigi might have an idea."
With the lights back on, navigating to the computer room was an easy task. Inside, I found a discarded shovel and various electrical parts lying on the floor. The cover on one of the large computers nearest to the mess was loose, and I lifted it off, finding a Chargin' Chuck cowering inside the electronic husk.
"Oh. Uh. Hey."
"Wow Chuck, I can't believe you chickened out!" Mr. Time said. Probably a little hypocritical, considering...
"Uhh... You know, in my defense-" Mr. Charger started to defend himself before I interrupted him.
"Can you two deal with this later? Shmaluigi's leaving now, if there's no further need of his services."
"Oh, yeah, I think we're all good here," Mr. Time replied.
"Alright. You know where to mail the check."
The two of them started bickering again as I took my leave, retrieving my putter on the way out. After all this, I figured I deserved a long rest, and probably some painkillers. One thing's for sure, though. The next time Mr. Time calls, I'm referring him to Shmwario.
Thanks for reading this year's Halloween special! The moral of this story? If you're going to write light horror, don't try to rip off Van Shoeul at the end of your 'Shroom section with a moral, or you just might be contacted by his legal team. I'd like to give a shoutout to Magolor04726 for suggesting the original concept and name for this story! I'll see you again next time for the big Issue 200!
|The 'Shroom: Issue 199
|Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight
|Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing