Saturday, June 14, 2008

What's So Special About "Special K?"

Seriously, I've never had Special K, what makes it so great?

We now come to the second letter already covered by someone else. I must admit that I will also cover one of his words, but here are some different words that start with K:

Koopa Troopa: One of the most basic and well-known of Bowser's Henchmen. Those little turtles pack a punch despite only being good for walking back and forth. They are also among the oldest enemies in the Mario series, appearing as "Shellcreepers" in the original Mario Bros game. Not "Super Mario Bros," mind you, the ORIGINAL Mario Bros. With the pipes and the crabs and everything. It wasn't until "Super Mario World" when someone finally realized that it would really neat if the Koopas could pop out of their shells. And it was, this simple little idea drastically improved the gameplay. It still didn't stop eight of them from marching in front of a lone shell that would coincidentally gave you a 1-Up if you managed to kick the shell at them.

A Koopa Troopa was also among the original 8 playable characters in the original Mario Kart game on the SNES. He was a heavyweight for some reason, but he was one of my favorite racers right after Toad. In Mario Kart 64, he was replaced by Wario and it was never the same. It wasn't until Double Dash on Gamecube where he made a triumphant comeback, and has been back in all of the games after that one. He remains as my favorite racer on Mario Kart Wii, where he's now a lightweight with Toad.

In the same vein as Goombas and Shy Guys, aside from being stupid, changing their color and giving them accessories changed what they were called and what they did. The most common of the Koopa Troopas were the Green Shelled ones, who just walked in a straight line, and the Red Shelled ones, who moved side to side and knew where cliffs were. Giving them blue shells made Yoshi fly, yellow ones made the Koopas invincible until Yoshi swallowed them and could create earthquakes with them. The red shells would also cause Yoshi to spit fire.

Adding wings made them Parakoopas. Adding a cape made them Super Koopas. Giving them helmets and hammers created Hammer Bros. Giving them a cloud to ride on create Lakitu. Making them fat and putting on a football helmet? Chargin' Chuck. Give them wands and put robes on them creates Magikoopas. Skeletons? Dry Bones. And so on.

Coincidentally, putting spikes on their shells made them either Minibosses (like Boom Boom), or bosses themselves, like the next entry.

The Koopalings: Yes, you can't talk about Koopas without talking about Bowser's seven children. Making their only major appearances in Super Mario Bros 3 and Super Mario World, these are characters who have been majorly underused. After some research after writing that last sentence, it seems that they also appeared as bosses in "Mario Is Missing" and "Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga." I'm seriously behind on my portable RPGs, I seriously need to play Superstar Saga, I hear it's good. In recent games, they have been upstaged by Bowser Jr. The network seems to have added him mid-season when the other 7 children were becoming less cute, thereby having to avoid covering actual issues. I wouldn't call him "Cousin Oliver," he's more like those Cosby Kids who appear during the season premiere and are somehow retconned into the series by explaining that they were just standing outside of the camera range the entire time.

In case you were going to ask, their names are Larry, Lemmy, Iggy, Roy, Wendy O., Ludwig von, and Morton Jr. All but Larry and Morton Jr. are named after musicians (Lemmy Kilmister, Iggy Pop, Roy Orbison, Wendy O. Williams, Ludwig von Beethoven), while the other two are named after talk show hosts (Larry King & Morton Downey Jr.)

Kirby: Moving on to a different game series, the Kirby series happens to be one of my favorites. Kirby is a pink puffball hailing from the planet Popstar who inhales enemies to gain their powers and usually battles a giant duck named King Dedede in order to preserve the Fountain of Dreams so Popstar can sleep easier. Yeah, I have no idea what's in the drinking water in Japan, but I want some. I have been a fan since I first played Kirby's Adventure on the NES, which remains one of my favorite games to the point of playing it through again on Virtual Console.

I also firmly believe that Kirby Superstar on the SNES is the best Kirby game ever made. Not only do you have about 20 powers to choose from (my favorite being Mirror), the game is comprised of 7 different short games including a full-scale rehash of Kirby's Dream Land, a race game between Kirby & Dedede where you must beat the other player while eating the most food, a treasure hunting adventure game, a timed adventure game featuring the kickass Meta-Knight, a short Kirby's Adventure-like game, and a game where you travel across the galaxy to summon a wish-granting satellite to stop the Sun and Moon from fighting each other. Yeah. When you beat all of these games, you unlock "The Arena," where you battle every villain in the game with only a single life.

Whenever I'm not constantly wondering why this awesome game isn't on Virtual Console, I think about the upcoming Re-Release on the DS at the end of the year. Awesome. Also expect future blogs on the Best & Worst Kirby Abilities.

Ketchup: Here it is, the almighty Ketchup! My favorite of the condiments, it's a fact that out of the last 8 or 9 years, there's about 6 days total where I went 24 hours without a single drop of the stuff. Hell, I've been known to drink it straight out of the bottle. It's strange: I hate tomatoes, but love ketchup, but I don't know why. Like many people out there, I put Ketchup on almost everything, even stuff that should not have ketchup anywhere near it. I've tried it on ribs, corn on the cob, steak, lettuce, shrimp, raw onions, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, carrots, hot wings, Ruffles potato chips, even slices of bread. The only foods that it doesn't seem to improve are breakfast items like Pancakes, Waffles and French Toast, not to mention Pizza. I'll stick to syrup for those, thank you very much.

I'm also from the region of the country that calls it "Ketchup." I seriously have no clue as to why people spell it as "Catsup."

Is it seriously pronounced as "Cat-sup," or is it spelled that way and pronounced as "Ketch-up" simply to piss me off? Hell, even the spellcheck agrees with me. I'd like to travel in time to find the guy who first coined the word and bash him in the face with a "Ketchup" Bottle. Perhaps I already did and the guy went through with the wording simply because of the experience.

My brand of choice is "Heinz," all other brands simply bow down mercilessly to it. Hunt's? Fuck you, you're just an impostor! My favorite bottle is the 62oz ones that you buy in twin packs at Costco. I've eaten ketchup so much that I've been able to determine that it has a different taste depending on which bottle it comes out of. The best ones are from the giant Costco bottles and the glass bottles you find in diners. The worst ones are those dumb squeeze tubes that were used when they sold Green, Blue and Purple ketchup. As much as I admired the concept, that ketchup sucked! Red simply occurs in nature, eating a burger with blue sauce dripping from it instinctively causes one to gag.

I also hate ketchup packets to the core. Sure, opening the first two are easy, but when you open multiples of 6 like I do, you hands begin to get greasy and it makes gripping those little ridges at the top of the packet that much harder. When my high school cafeteria decided to not use those huge squeeze jugs of ketchup, they replaced them with ketchup packets. Every single day I protested this and question right to the cafeteria people that they had actively sought to make me angry in order to bring it back and never did.

So when I got to college and found that the squeeze jug is plentiful, you could only imagine the freakout I give whenever it runs dry.

Speaking of K, I can't believe I actually saw Kazaam in the theaters. I'm one of those eight people who are still awaiting their refund.

"The KKK took my baby away, they took her away, away from me-eee."


Dan said...

Thank you for finally acknowledging the greatness that is the Koopa Troopa. He was always my favorite character in the original Mario Kart too, I even got into fights over who would get to use him. I was glad when they brought him and Koopa Paratroopa back for Double Dash and am happy to hear he's in Kart for Wii.
My wife is also a ketchup fiend and insists on putting in on damn near everything so your not alone in your obsession.

Anonymous said...

Catsup is the real name of the stuff, or it was. Ketchup came along as a trademarkable name but everyone started using it and it made its way into general usage and dictionaries.

DO NOT let anyone tell you the difference is a type of vinegar or other ingredient that one has and the other doesn't. DO kill people who try to tell you that. Obviously, every company is going to make their Ketchup or Catsup slightly different, which is why Heinz is so clearly the best.

DC said...

About 10 years ago I remember a friend of mine hoooked up his SNES at my place and one of the games he left was some Kirby golf game. I can't for the life of me remember what it was called, but I was obsessed with this game. I couldn't stop playing it! After that I decided I was forever a Kirby fan!

Galileo said...

DC: It's called Kirby's Dream Course. It was kinda neat for its time, but it grew old fairly quickly.

DC said...

Thanks. I know I liked it back then. It's been as LONG time since I've played it so, I'm sure I wouldn't enjoy it the same now.