Sundry Sunday: Professor Item Explains How To Care For Peepy

Sundry Sunday is our weekly feature of fun gaming culture finds and videos, from across the years and even decades.

This one comes from a fairly deep subculture that I can’t completely explain here, partly because I don’t understand it all myself. I feel like there is something in the origin of creator/website/video maker/memester/online shop itemLabel, some necessary context, that I don’t yet know. But they make fun videos, one of them intrudes upon our territory, and I need something for today’s post. Full steam ahead!

Here is what I can tell you. Peepy is a heavily memeable plush toy, that its makers insist, probably for safety and legal reasons, is a piece of art not a plush toy. It looks kind of like a fluffy peanut with googly eyes and a round beak. Like this:

There are a variety of style of Peepys (Peepies?). Peepy is one of a number of character toys artworks sold by itemLabel that are kind of friends to each other? Or not? The videos seem to indicate that they are part of a shared universe, but don’t actually create much of a shared lore. Explanations I’ve seen say that they’re written to suggest a shared lore without there actually being one, in a sense that people familiar with the Cthulhu Mythos will immediately understand: any solid connections are left for the viewer to invent.

Peepy and acquaintances are the subject of posts on itemLabel’s Youtube account, TikTok account, Instagram account, and Twitter account (link purposely omitted). The only two solid things we know about Peepy’s place, within the greater Peepiverse, are that Peepy loves to eat peanuts (makes sense, they are what they eat) and to commit crimes (wait what?). Its description on the characters page of itemLabel’s website reads: “A peepy thrives in the shadows, using its wit to stun enemies. Its ability to steal may surprise you. It loves peanuts and will commit any heinous act to get them.” This description belongs to a creature that, I remind you, looks like this:

But let’s set all of this aside and concern ourselves with the burning question: how does one care for a Peepy? To our rescue comes Professor Item! Professor Item tells us about Peepy’s habits and feeding through a video where he lives in what seems to be a portable gaming system like a Nintendo DS. In fact, he looks a fair bit like a 3D version of the Professor from the cult classic game Contact by Grasshopper Interactive, and has a similar kind of personality.

Without further ado, here is Professor Item to explain how Peepies are to be provided for:

Don’t have enough Peepy in your life? It’s not game-related, but let’s relax the rules slightly this once. Here is their theme song, written and sung by Japanese musician Emamouse:

And here is the incredibly trippy animation Peepy’s Secret, which features several other of itemLabel’s characters. If you can understand the words you have better ears than me.

MobyGames Offering “Pro” Membership

It’s a bit upsetting to see that MobyGames is going a bit more for-profit, and now offers a trail Pro membership account. Usually this kind of move means fewer features and a degraded experience for those not sending in their dimes. The trial rate is $5 a month, which seems both high ($60 a year?) and low (how much revenue will this bring in given the small number of people with a paying need for MobyGames information?).

MobyGames has long been a useful resource for game research and images, but was recently bought by Atari, which is not the same as the old Atari, although as time passes that distinction becomes slowly less relevant? The company calling itself Activision has slightly more continuity with the Activision that was founded by ex-Atari developers to sell VCS/2600 games, but very little of it remains I’m sure, and they passed through a phase where they had renamed themselves Mediagenic, which worked out badly. The CEO that pulled Activision out of their nosedive, as it turns out, is Bobby Kotlick. There’s a name that’s been in the news lately and on which I will not comment at this time!

So, it seems inescapable that Atari is behind this move by MobyGames, to try to get the site to pay for itself. I honestly don’t think there’s much of a market for these features unless they make the site downright painful to use for free users, and how many people are willing to pay for full MobyGames access? When people (myself included!) contributed to MobyGames all those years, did they know they were merely building up Value for later Purchase? Will this turn into yet another Gracenote situation? Does anyone now remember what Gracenote did?

Well, this is speculation on my part. Nothing necessarily means MobyGames will soon be ruined. But it is a pattern that’s happened many times before, so let us keep our eyes open. At the very least, it seems like a ripe opportunity for someone to create a new game cataloging site. Me? No no, it can’t be me, I’m sorry, my brain is too full of things, and I have this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side….

Indie Interview With Lee Easson and Odd Infinitum

For this perceptive podcast, I interviewed self-taught indie developer Lee Easson about working on his first game Odd Infinitum. We discussed what it’s like to learn game dev today and how that has changed over the years and the challenges it brings to indie developers.

How Speedrunners Get N64 Control Sticks

The Nintendo 64 broke ground for Nintendo in many ways, but arguably the worst part of that was the controller.

I’m not one of the people who complains about not understanding the controller or how to hold it. That part’s pretty easy to understand: you hold it one way, with the central prong in your left hand and the right handle in your right, for games that use the control stick like Super Mario 64; you hold it with one handle in each hand for games that instead use the Control Pad. It makes sense that Nintendo still wanted to feature the Pad prominently since it was one of the defining characteristics of the NES and SNES era.

The Control Pad is durable and easy to use, even if it does result in bruised thumbs when pressed with force, as can happen in challenging games. What’s not so durable is the N64’s signature control device: the Analog Stick. A special design that didn’t see much update after the Nintendo 64, because of the “white dust of death,” a mysterious fine powder that emerges from the inner workings of the stick after heavy use. Along with the powder always came degraded control performance: the stick would lose some of its tight feel, wobbling when shaken, and would no longer recognize the full extend of its range. All official N64 control sticks would succumb to the dreaded dust with time.

During the console’s life the source of the powder wasn’t common knowledge. It turns out it’s the result of the control stick grinding against its housing and actually rubbing itself in a fine dust. The looseness came from the powder getting into the tight confines of the stick’s mechanism, and from the pivot chamber getting looser as it was ground away by the joystick.

Some games were notorious for decreasing a controller’s working life. The Mario Party series was infamous for demanding rapid spins of the control stick, that could produce the dreaded dust and wobble after surprisingly few games. But with use, it seemed that all the official joysticks would succumb to it eventually. Third-party sticks, such as the then-ubiquitious MadCatz sticks, didn’t suffer from the problem, but their control sticks weren’t as sensitive, and required a smidge more force to push. For demanding play, the official sticks are a must.

This has resulted in a big problem. Since all the Nintendo-made N64 sticks degrade eventually with use, and Nintendo isn’t making them any more, speedrunners playing on original hardware have few options for playing games the way they were intended by their designers. Some jealously hoard pristine sticks, which have become expensive, while others work to make replacements.

Retromeister on Youtube has made a 24-minute video explaining the problem, and the lengths to which runners have resorted to keep themselves playing. And this, following, is that very thing:


I posted links to this elsewhere to so-so-reception, but darn it the idea is amusing enough to me: take an old 3D game that got really poor reviews, hack it to make it better (not to mention playable on current Windows), and post the hack online.

The game involved is a Garfield game for PS2 and PC that I hadn’t even heard of before. The person who did this objectively silly thing is a Youtuber, and they uploaded a 20 minute video on the game and their modifications. You can even download their modification to play yourself.

No one was clamoring that they do this. They themselves admit the game isn’t really that great. But they love it, for irrational reasons, and that’s fine by me. It’s not really terrible, they surmise that the egregiously poor reviews (0/10!) were part of the Internet Pile-On Effect, where the reviewer finds something it’s okay to hate, and proceeds to do so as much as they can. In this case, the game’s greatest sin is being a licensed game, and those are always the absolute worst, aren’t they?

Anyway, here’s their video in an embed. Again, it’s 20 minutes long, so it might not fit into your schedule. That’s okay.

Indie Showcase 3/5/24

Each indie showcase highlights the many games we play here on the stream and I’m always looking for submissions for future episodes.

0:00 Intro
00:14 Kilta
3:21 Rail Route: the Story of Jozic
5:26 Maggie the Magnet
6:45 Panic Mode
8:59 Star Valor
10:50 Lost Twins 2

7DRL 2024 Is Underway

Slipped my mind, but as I mentioned last month, the 7DRL game jam for 2024 is underway! There’s still time to get in a whole week of work!

They made a promo video for it (2 minutes), which shows some popular games from the jam over the years, and reminds us that this is the 20th year the jam has been running, making it nearly an internet institution by this point! And the video also reveals the theme-which is “roguelike,” hah.