Sunday, June 22, 2008

S and More Different S!

You know, I realized something earlier today: I've miscounted days. Yes, I've been saying that the Z entry will be posted on June 30th. What I didn't anticipate was how the damn calendar would play out. I started the A entry back on the 4th. On the B entry the next day, I said I'd continue to Z on the 30th. It seems that I must have counted the A blog along with that total, because 26 days including June 4th isn't June 30th, it's June 29. Daily blogging might end, but it'll be back to the "Whenever The Hell I Feel Like It" status that it was.

To distract you from this grim finding, here are some things that start with S.

Spaceballs: Everyone has at least one movie where they have to stop whatever they're doing, unplug the phone, close the curtains, tape the dog's mouth shut and watch it whenever it comes on TV. It doesn't matter if the TV version is horribly edited and they have every version of the movie that's been released on DVD and such, the whole goddamn world will stop spinning if they don't take the time to watch it because it seems so awesome. My such movie happens to be this one.

A Mel Brooks classic released in 1987, its the famous bona fide parody of Star Wars. The movie also parodies the likes of Star Trek, Alien, Planet of The Apes, and the Sci-Fi genre itself.

The Spaceballs' planet has run out of air, so they must steal it from the neighboring peace-loving planet Druidia, but not if our bumbling heroes have anything to say about it. The Spaceballs are headed by Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis as the movie's Darth Vader parody) and President Skroob (Mel Brooks) along with Col. Sandurz, and a crew that shares the surname "Asshole." Then we have our protagonists: The Han Solo/Luke Skywalker Archetype (Lone Starr, played by a before-he-was-slightly-famous Bill Pullman!), the Chewbacca parody (Barf, a Mawg played by the awesome John Candy), the Druish Princess (Princess Vespa, played by Daphne Zuniga), the Droid (Dot Matrix, who has the voice of Joan Rivers), and the Yoda-like mentor Yogurt (Mel Brooks again), who teaches Lone Starr the ways of The Schwartz (which is completely different from The Force). Oh, there's also appearances by John Hurt from Alien, Micheal Winslow, Jim J. Bullock, Dick Van Patten and Dom DeLuise as mobster Pizza The Hutt.

An excellent before its time moment comes in the form of an "Instant Cassette," which shows the Spaceballs the entire movie before it's released, fast forwarding up to the point that they were currently at for some added surrealism. There's also Yogurt's insistence with merchandising, as "that's where the real money is made." He features Spaceballs The Coloring Book, Spaceballs: The Doll, Spaceballs: The Lunchbox, and Spaceballs: The Flamethrower (kids love that one). Be sure to spot "Spaceballs: The Bedsheet" and "Spaceballs: The Place Mat" later on in the movie.

What I love most about this movie is how insanely quotable it is. Not only is every piece of dialogue hilarious, I find myself quoting it at least once a day.

"Ludicrous Speed! GO!"

"I'm a Mawg: Half man, Half dog. I'm my own best friend."

"What's the matter Col. Sandurz? Chicken?"

"I can't make decisions, I'm a president!"

"Funny, she doesn't look Druish."

"I bet she gives great helmet."

"That was my Virgin Alarm. It's programmed to go off before you do!"

"I see your Schwartz is as big as mine!"

"You call this a radar?!"
"No, sir, we call it...Mr. Coffee."

"When will it be now?"

"They've gone to plaid!"

"I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate!"

You might have noticed that yesterday's closing line was also a Spaceballs quote. It's the cap of one of my favorite scenes, where the Spaceballs' radar is literally jammed by Lone Starr, and features Micheal Winslow playing the sound effects of the radar himself. Hilarious and needs to be seen if not seen already.

Super Mario RPG: One of the greatest games Nintendo ever made. Released for the SNES near the end of its run, it broke the mold on the classic Mario Genre. Three dimensions? In MY Mario game? It was more likely than you thought. It's also the first Mario game to be RPG based, but there's plenty of platforming and puzzle solving to keep one satisfied.

It also has one of the better stories in a Mario game: When Bowser kidnaps Princess Toadstool...again, and Mario comes to her rescue...again, a giant Sword drops down from the sky and scatters our heroes and villain across the Mushroom Kingdom. Of course, the villain is an evil machine king named Smithy who wishes to gain the Seven Stars from the Star Road (where all wishes are granted) in order to rule the world. You (as Mario & Co.) then set out to get the Seven Stars before he does. It also marks the first game where Bowser joins you good-guy team (or, how he puts it, you join him), and where Princess Toadstool first really kicks some ass. Ever wonder where Peach's Frying Pan used in Smash Bros. is from? Here. You're also joined by Mallow, a puffball who uses weather attacks, and Geno, a spirit inhabiting a doll that uses gun attacks. I won't reveal any more of the plot, but it pretty much kicks ass.

Along the course of the game, you face several enemies so awesome and unique, but were sadly never seen again. There are several familiar enemies returning as well, such as Goombas, Pirahna Plants, Spinys, Chomps, Bob-Ombs, Shy Guys, Snifits, Bullet Bills, Hammer Bros, Magikoopa, Birdo, Bloopers, even Donkey Kong. The only major Mario enemy to not appear in this game? Koopa Troopas. Sure, we got Paratroopas, Fat Paratroopas, and Dry Bones, but not the normal type of Koopa Troopa. Later RPG games would fortunately correct this.

I can't talk about this game without mentioning its awesome soundtrack. The Midas River, The Pipe Maze, the Boss Music, Bowser Castle, Booster Tower, The Final Battle(s), even the overworld music kicked ass. Most of the music in general was derived from the classic Super Mario Bros music, but arranged in different fashions. There was even a place where you could compose your own music, with a little challenge derived from inputting several songs that you hear along your quest. This is by far the game's most famous song:

The theme to the Forest Maze aka "Beware The Forest's Mushrooms." Named such because eating certain ones found in the Forest Maze in battle would turn you into a mushroom. This status condition sucked, you couldn't do anything except heal HP.

The game was made by Squaresoft before merging to form Square-Enix to produce the rest of the Final Fantasy Games elsewhere, and in turn owns the original characters seen in the game. It explains why Geno, Mallow, Smithy, Booster and This Guy were never seen in Brawl, or any other game since. It's also why we never got a true sequel to the game, nor a release on the Wii's Virtual Console...yet. Thankfully, it's confirmed for a Japan Release later this month, so a US version is hopefully on its way.

I remember being decent at it when it was first released, but gradually got better. I remember it took me months to figure out how to ram the doors to the chapel in Marrymore. I hated that part. When I finally beat the game, I ended up winning on a fluke, with a few freebie Red Essences (made you invulnerable for 3 turns) saving my ass from instant death. I had it easier the second time around a few years later. When viewing youtube vids of each battle...I realized I sucked at it. I'd definitely be better at it now. When is that VC release coming?!

The closest things we ever got to a sequel were the Paper Mario series and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga. Speaking of Superstar Saga, I've been trying to track down a copy of it since I wrote the K entry. Any leads to a pak needing a home will be greatly appreciated.

Super Mario World: Every Nintendo system has its Signature Mario Platformer, upon which all subsequent games on said system would be judged upon. This game was for the SNES, but unlike RPG, it was one of the very first ones released.

The plot for this one? Bowser kidnaps Princess Toadstool, Mario goes to save him, you battle 7 bosses, etc. But it's the journey that was awesome instead of the destination. Although the final battle with Bowser was pretty awesome. It's the first game where Bowser rides around in his Flying Clown Car and the only one that I'm aware of where you battle him as he rides it. It's also one of the few games to feature the Koopalings as the Seven Bosses. Major firsts for this game include Cape Mario (obtained by getting a Super Feather), the ability to hold objects, using a Key to find an alternate exit, Koopas getting their shells knocked off, the first Mario game with awesome graphics & backgrounds, and is the first game to feature Yoshi.

Basically, all of the awesome elements that you see in present Mario games that weren't introduced in the three previous Super Mario games began in this one. Like Super Mario RPG, there was never a true sequel made for this game either. Sure, Yoshi's Island was given the title of "Super Mario World 2," but let's face it, it's a completely different game. An awesome game, but much different than its predecessor.

I got my SNES a few years into its run, and mine came bundled with the rare Super Mario All-Stars + Super Mario World combo game. I remember actually beating this game, as I'm usually either too crappy at it or had no patience to get to the end of it. It's one of the first Mario games where the game isn't done when you beat the final boss. You also must beat the Star Road, which is accessed by the Stars in the overworld. When you beat THAT level, you move on to Special World. Every stage in that world was named after 90's surfer slang like "Gnarly," "Tubular," and "Way Cool." Once you beat Special World, the game makes a complete change. The environment is now Autumn themed as opposed to Summer, and the enemies are slightly different. The Goombas wear Mario Masks, Koopa Shells are now Pumpkins, and the Pokeys are different colors.

Since the game has been around for so long, it's been the subject of several upon several game mods that fit the designer's own sick visions. This one in particular is a favorite of mine, where the stage and every action is perfectly synced to a medley of Japanese Pop Songs:

Steve: My real first name. It's obvious to see why it's a favorite letter of mine, as I have to write that letter every goddamn day of my life. The name is Greek for "Garland or Crown" and a man with the names "thrives on innovation and fast forward thinking." This is all from one of those hokey "What Does Your Name Mean?" certificates that I got from my parents as a Christmas gift a few years back.

I believe that the name Steven (or any variation thereof) is name symbolizing power, and many famous Steves are famous geeks and nerds. My best friend is also named Steve (weird coincidence), and together we form Steve Squared (a name not coined by me).

To prove that my name is awesome, here is a list of other famous Steves:

Steve Carrell
Stephen Colbert
Steve Jobs
Steven Spielberg
Steve Irwin
Steve Urkel (and his smooth alter-ego Stefan Arquel)
Stephen Lynch
Steven Wright
Stevie Wonder
Steve Martin
Steve Buscemi
Steve Harvey
Steve Allen
Stone Cold Steve Austin
Steve Forbes
Stephen King

Need I argue? I'm quite happy that I fulfill the average classroom's Steve Quota. There should always be a Steve in every classroom. In my schooling experiences, it's usually me.

"I love the Sexy Slither of a Sultry female Snake."~Barry White


Anonymous said...

One of the local theaters started playing flashback movies this summer. This week's movie was Spaceballs! I missed it though :(

I absolutely love Mel Brooks, and of course Star Wars too. I have to be totally honest though, if it came down to it I'd have to take History of the World Part I, Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles to the deserted island with me over Spaceballs if I had to make the choice.

Dan said...

I loved all the Mario goodness in this one! Super Mario RPG was one of the last games I bought for the SNES because I had just bought a PS1. I don't know how many hours I spent playing that one or whatever happened to it but I still love it to this day. Super Mario World is also a great game but I was never good enough to beat all the individual worlds, I admit it, I sucked.

And I gotta go with Squee, I love Mel Brooks and SW but my all time favorite movie of his is Young Frankenstein (which I hope to see in your Y entry).

DC said...

Spaceballs! I love this movie. It's just so silly and dumb that it's awesome!

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Spaceballs. I haven't seen it in a while, but it was one of my favorite movies when I was like 15. The bits of dialogue you quoted in this post had me laughing, so I should watch it again sometime.

Dude, Super Mario RPG is so awesome. That was the first RPG I played, and it's just so damn fun. I need to play through it again sometime.

Ah, and Super Mario World. That's quality entertainment right there. I spent so many hours with that game.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I also like the Strongbad reference in the title of this post. XD