Sundry Sunday: Medieval Cover of Super Mario Bros.

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

It’s a cover of the theme to Super Mario Bros. played in a medieval style (1 1/2 minutes). That’s all for today. This video has lurked in my files for months, I figured I’d go ahead and get it posted. Remixes of the SMB music are one of the oldest genres of internet meme music there is, so here it is in a really old mode. The channel it’s from does medieval covers of a variety of music, so if that sounds entertaining, please ambulate towards that vestibule.

Sundry Sunday: Baldur’s Gate 3 Goes Too Far

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

From the excellent D&D-focused animation channel Dungeon Soup. I won’t say anything more except it has to do with Baldur’s Gate 3 (as it says in the title), and that it’s NSFW in theme if not technically in visuals.

Sundry Sunday: The “Ending” to 7 Grand Dad

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

How surprising is it that nothing related to Silvagunner has yet appeared in these electric pages? Their reaction to “7 Grand Dad,” a Chinese bootleg of The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy that replaces Fred Flintstone’s face with that of Mario brought the fanbase a lot of joy that, truthfully, I cannot say much about, because I am not a regular follower of Silvagunner.

But a number of people did collaborate to create this “ending” to the game, which is amazingly full of references.

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.

Sundry Sunday: The President’s Story

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

Youtube animator Wooden Turtle has done Pikmin animations before, and we’ve linked some of them here: The Groovy Long Legs Experience, and Cooking With Louie #1 and #2. They’re fun riffs on Pikmin’s lore and backstory, and this week’s video is another of those.

In Pikmin, the game’s backstory was communicated mostly through Olimar’s Log, which was a situational message given at the end of each game day that reminded and expanded on its events. Pikmin 2 kept the idea but changed the messages to emails from Olimar’s employer, called Sacho. In the opening, it’s revealed that the freight company that he owned and Olimar works for undertook a gigantic debt due to the loss of a cargo of highly-expensive Pikpik carrots that he was responsible for. (To find out what happened to them, you have to finish Pikmin 2 to 100% completion.)

In Pikmin, you have a strict 30 day time limit to get enough parts of your ship to return home. Pikmin 2 has no time limit. You can take as many days as you want to collect treasures, and the number of days it requires is more like a score. To keep the pressure on the player, as the days reel off, you receive a series of increasingly frantic email messages from Sacho, who as it turns out unwisely covered the debt with an organization called “All-Consuming Black Hole Loan Sharks.” Their means to insure repayment are ruthless, but in fairness to them, you should know what you’re getting into from their name.

Sacho is forced to go on the lam to escape their wrath, and for a time lives beneath a bridge and befriends the animals there. But you don’t need me to tell you of those events: they’re animated in Wooden Turtle’s latest production! It’s eight minutes long:

Sundry Sunday: Gyruss Themes

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

While there are examples of excellent music from the classic era of arcades (Frogger comes immediately to mind), I don’t think there is much that can equal that of Gyruss’ arrangement of Bach’s Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor. Here it is, isolated from the rest of the game’s soundtrack, from Youtube uploader StyleK226 (1 1/2 minues):

Wikipedia tells us that the arcade arrangement is reminiscent of a version of the song from the British band Sky, titled just “Toccata” (4 1/2 minutes):

If you only know Gyruss from the NES port, you might be surprised that it’s an almost entirely different arrangement from the arcade version! Maybe it was changed because of the similarity to Sky’s version. Some people prefer that one, it’s got a bit more variety, although I think the arcade’s is a bit better. Judge for yourself (3 minutes):

The Toccata is only used for the intro and the first warp on each planet, which is a bit of a shame, the rest of the music isn’t bad, but it’s not Bach. In Japan, Gyruss was a Famicom Disk System game. The FDS had extra sound hardware, and the result is an upgraded version of the NES soundtrack (14 minutes in all):

There’s been a number of fan versions of the Gyruss soundtrack, although most of them seem to be inspired by the NES port rather than the arcade original. Here’s a metal medley of that particular musical mutation (3 minutes):

As commenter @Fordi says, “What I love is that Intro / Stage 1 is a genre cover (metal) of a game’s adaptation (Gyruss) of a genre cover (Sky – Toccata) of classical music (Toccata and Fugue in Dm).”

Sundry Sunday: Megalixir

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

A really recent one this time! BitFinity, a.k.a. Matthew Taranto, who made Brawl in the Family and a fair amount of Waluigi music, animated and wrote this terrific little song about item hording in Final Fantasy VI, sung by Taylor Robinson.

Sundry Sunday: Stop-Motion Promo for Metal Slug Awakening

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

I’ve always been a little ambivalent about Metal Slug. Not about its gameplay, which is excellent, but about its theme. It’s been said that it is impossible to depict warfare without glorifying it in some way. I think there is some truth to that, and there is no question that the Metal Slug games depict the hell out of it.

I think the Metal Slug makers recognize a bit of that, because of how humanely the enemy soldiers are depicted. They’re all trying to kill you, but they’re far from snarling villains. When not actively trying to bring about the end of Marco and Tarma (and Fio and Eri)’s lives, they’re chatting with each other, having a meal, sunning themselves on the deck of a ship, using the toilet or just hanging out. When they spot the invading players, they often react in terror. Sometimes you don’t want to shoot them, even when they’re climbing on your Slug and trying to throw a grenade in the hatch. Even their leader, General Morden, is not the typical villain. His backstory says that dissatisfaction with corruption in the Regular Army’s ranks, along with the loss of his wife and daughter due to an act of terrorism, was what caused him to launch his rebellion, and his solders admire his leadership.

It’s almost enough to make one want to overlook the questionable aspects of his army’s symbology, for which I can only thank my lucky frog the usual suspects haven’t latched onto. Morden is rehabilitated a bit in the endings of Metal Slugs 2 and 3, where he’s betrayed by the Martians he joined forces with, and helps the player’s commandos defeat, but its true that he’s always the antagonist at the start of each later game. Metal Slug, for all its sci-fi, zombie, magic and other trappings, is still a game about depicting conventional warfare, no matter how one-sided and improbable it may be.

Ah, as is often my habit, I used the subject of the post to write a short essay on some aspect of gaming. I hope you don’t mind. Here is the video, a stop-motion recreation of a typical Metal Slug scene, made by official entities to promote a mobile game. It seems appropriate to the subject.

Metal Slug: Awakening | Full Stop Motion Video (Youtube, 1 1/2 minutes)

Sundry Sunday: Stop-Motion Kirby Dance

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

The Youtube channel Animist did a stop-motion recreation of the famous Kirby victory dance a couple of years ago. (Well, one version of it, there’s many.) Most of the 9 1/2-minute video depicts the making of, including showing off the toys that were used, so if you just want to get to the finished version use this link. Here it is in full:

Making Kirby’s Victory Dance in Stop Motion (Youtube, 9 1/2 minutes)

Sundry Sunday: From AGDQ, A Dog Replaces R.O.B. in Gyromite

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

This week’s fun video isn’t decades old, in fact it’s from just a few days ago, from AGDQ.

The NES title Gyromite, a.k.a. Robot Gyro, is a very interesting game from a design standpoint, possibly more interesting than it is to actually play (although I think its music is very catchy). It’s never been rereleased by Nintendo, for the probable reason that it relies on the accessory R.O.B. to play.

R.O.B: It’s not just that funky Smash Bros. character! (Image from Wikipedia, taken by Evan-Amos.)

R.O.B. was a motorized accessory that activated servos in its arms depending on light signals sent to it from the screen. No cords went from R.O.B. to the NES. It used photoreceptors in its “eyes” to detect the screen signals, which were ultimately caused by player input on the controller. A fairly roundabout means of control, honestly.

Only two official R.O.B. games were made, and Gyromite (Going by its Japanese name “Robot Gyro” according to the title screen) used the “gyro” accessory for play. A platform is placed in front of R.O.B., on which you place the controller for Player 2.

On the controller is a device that spins the “gyros,” colored weighted tops. By manipulating the arms with action on Player 1’s controller, making them swing around and opening and closing the claws at the right time, you can cause R.O.B. to lift the spinning gyros from their platform, then set them down on the NES controller’s buttons. In the game, this caused colored pillars to rise or fall according to the control signals.

R.O.B. with gyro setup. Image from the blog Nerdly Pleasures.

While manipulating all of this, you also have to watch out for the action of the game itself. Gyromite is a simple platformer, but one without a jump button. The difficulty comes from having to essentially play two games at once, the platforming on screen and manipulating R.O.B. to position pillars in the right places in space and time.

R.O.B.’s motions are not simple to command either. It takes time for the arms to pivot between their destinations, time that must be accounted for in the on-screen action, and while the tops spin for quite a while they will eventually have to be collected and set back on their pedestals so they can be spun back up to full speed, or else they’ll topple over on the button. This doesn’t produce a failure state in the game. It’s just left to you to pick the top up yourself and put it back on its stand to be spun again. R.O.B. isn’t capable of such feats of dexterity.

There’s a lot more to say about R.O.B., and how it was mostly distributed as part of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s “Deluxe Set” in the U.S., the more expensive version that didn’t come with Super Mario Bros. Instead of that, let’s talk about how, due to the fact that R.O.B. is just a fancy-shmancy way to press controller buttons, that you can replace it entirely with some other mechanism, or indeed, even animal.

That’s what happened Wednesday at AGDQ, where Peanut Butter the Dog, with coaching from JSR_, left R.O.B. gathering dust in the closet as they played through Gyromite Game B.

They didn’t make it all the way without running out of lives, but they picked back up and kept going. And that doesn’t detract at all from Peanut Butter’s skills, or amazing doggy focus. They are intent on reading those hand signals and getting those tasty treats. So while they didn’t earn a world record, for “Dog playing Gyromite Game B,” their accomplishment is of definite note.

There are around four minutes of introductions at the start of the video, so if you want to jump right in to the run, begin here.

Gyromite by Peanut Butter the Dog & JSR_ in 26:24 – Awesome Games Done Quick 2024 (Youtube, 33 minutes)

Sundry Sunday: Shinra’s New Boss

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

Newgrounds videos aren’t as easy to embed as with Youtube, but once in a while I find one that’s worthy enough to try. Plus, it’s a Final Fantasy VII animation, and that’s a type of fandom that we cover here extremely rarely. Rarely enough that… I’m not sure we’ve ever exhibited Final Fantasy fanwork here, other than the occasional romahck. Huh.

Well, here is a short Flash animation, rendered into video of course because of our cold and heartless age, from Newgrounds, of a bit of audio from Team FourStar’s Final Fantasy VII Machinabridged Episode 10.

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Shinra’s New Boss (Newgrounds, 47 seconds)