Sundry Sunday: Our Standards

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

Welcome to a different sort of Sundry Sunday! This week, I’d figure I’d explain to you how weirdly seriously I find this section to do!

You might think just finding a random funny or weird game-related video on Youtube is the easiest cyberthing in the compuworld. It’s only been one of the most popular form of videos on Youtube since it started up. Newgrounds has been around for how long again?

Well, you see, that’s kind of the problem. Newgrounds is part of what I’m going to euphemistically call gamer culture, and that tends to be what I’m going to understatedly call extra. Surely I don’t need to go into the many excesses of gamerdom, at this late date.

So I have to choose carefully. And it’s not just gamer culture I have to carefully circumnavigate, but some other examples of the excesses of fandom.

I figured I’d illustrate by showing a couple of videos that I would not otherwise present in this forum, and note why I wouldn’t. Let us away!

The Ultimate “Super Mario Bros Wonder” Recap Cartoon

3 minutes:

The word “Ultimate” is in the title. It doesn’t reflect my feelings.

This one’s borderline. The opening gag of Bowser turning into a salaryman is a good one. But then a flower starts cussing Mario out, and Luigi slaps the ass of Elephant Daisy. And British hunters poach Elephant Mario, and Mario gets cussed at some more and gets squished to paste inside an inchworm pipe. And there’s a Lion King parody that is just a reference without a point. And then Peach grabs a Wonder Flower, making an enemy bulk up like on steroids, and reacts with anticipation as it then approaches her. You know. “Adult” humor.

“Adult” humor is a difficult thing to apply well. Just having kids’ characters react in such untoward ways is not a positive or negative on its own, but that is my point, just that isn’t enough for me to recommend a video. It feels like I’m recommending a Family Guy sketch, a style of animated comedy of which I’ll litotically say I’m not a fan.

Furthermore, the whole video is just a series of vignettes like that. A single funny joke in a video has to carry the weight of the whole rest of it. I’m not going to say this video is sloppy because obvious effort went into animating it, and there’s even some good ideas in there. But there’s always going to be reasons not to link to something, all it takes is one, and I knew it wasn’t going to be right for Sundry Sunday (outside this context) the moment Luigi slapped Daisy’s butt. Sometimes I despair of finding something good to put in on Sunday, but I’d rather not present a culture find that week at all than one that crosses a grossness line. That’s just me, but then, I’m me, and I’m writing this.

Early on in Mario and Luigi’s Plumbing Career…

1 minute:

This video has the opposite problem. And it’s not really a problem, I’d say, it’s fine, it’s not intended as a value judgement against it, except that, by rejecting it for here (again, outside of this context), I am unavoidably judging it by a value, the value of being right for Sundry Sunday. What I mean to say is, it isn’t bad. I just can’t quite bring myself to say it’s good.

What causes me to reject this one is two things: it’s not funny, and on top of that, it’s kind of glurgy.

In summary: in the universe of the recent Super Mario Bros. movie, Mario and Luigi’s old boss, Foreman Spike, comes into a room to find them messing up on a job, and at first berates them for poor work, but then eases up and has a bonding moment with his two employees, fixing the leak himself while telling him a story of his own early career. And that’s really it. It’s supposed to be heartwarming, but it comes off as ingratiating.

It might work better if there was more at stake. If we had a bit more prior insight into Spike’s character (he’s not a big part of the movie). I’m not as concerned with the fact that the video is just a voiceover of a dramatic presentation of a fancomic, I’ve presented things like that here before.

I don’t dislike it, but I think the bar for inclusion here is a little higher.

Sundry Sunday: Sonic History Lesson for Future Aliens

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

From Newgrounds, that hotbed of gaming stuff for twenty-eight years now, which suggests to me that it might be better called Oldgrounds by now, but that is not here, there, nor anywhere. This video, from user PoultrygeistGame (I have not checked if that is on their driver’s license, if they have one), is about Sonic the Hedgehog fandom, and how difficult it is to properly deduce the general opinion of that fandom of its series just from the content. Here is the video, for which I have to try using a new form of embed in order to present here, since Newgrounds embedding isn’t as automated as is with the Tube of You. Note: contains profanity, if that is of concern. Also alludes to certain unhealthy aspects of online culture. You’ll see.

News 10/6/2022: Deku Stick, Stadia’s Demise, Chaos;Head Noah

“We scour the Earth web for indie, retro, and niche gaming news so you don’t have to, drebnar!” – your faithful reporter

Ollie Reynolds at Nintendo Life reports on why the Deku Stick item in Link’s hands looks different between Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. It has to do with a subtle texture reference error.

Oli Welsh, demonstrating that there’s nothing good that can last, tells us that three Disco Elysium developers have left the company. Details are scarce, but it seems it was not by choice. Is it possible that there’s an NDA involved, or else, a non-disparagment clause?

At TechCrunch, Devin Coldewey claims that Stadia, Google’s streaming gaming service that they just finally killed, died because no one trusts them to keep anything alive. I still remember (and tend to repeatedly mention) how frustrated I was when they killed Google Reader back in 2013, in order to make way for a social networking service that no one remembers, and that feeling never really went away.

Chaos;Head Noah, screenshot from Mobygames

Kyle Orland at Ars Technica mentions a visual novel Spike Chunsoft is releasing for Switch that they’ve cancelled for Steam, due to mandated content changes by Valve. The game is called Chaos;Head Noah (their punctuation, not mine), and was originally released for the Xbox 360, with a Vita re-release, that both received very restrictive ratings. Later releases had an edited script which allowed it to be released with a lighter rating, which an anonymous source says is the version to be released on Switch (and not on Steam). Chaos;Head Noah is a sequel to the previous Chaos;Head, and both are part of the same series as Steins;Gate.

The mainstream gaming press suffered another blow. John Walker writing for Kotaku mentions that the ubiquitous Fandom wiki empire, formerly known as Wikia, has purchased a variety of other websites, including Gamespot, GameFAQs, and Giant Bomb, in addition to TV Guide, Metacritic, Cord Cutters News and Comic Vine. The NetHack Wiki changed over from Wikia many years ago, yet Fandom’s out-of-date version of it still confuses Google search results today. And it doesn’t feel great that so many properties have their primary source of knowledge about them owned by one business, which now engulfing a much larger percentage of the fan media landscape. I point you again to the line in our sidebar that says, “Just say no to!” And yet, if you want to find information on some things, Fandom sites are largely inescapable.

Final Fantasy V, image from Mobygames

Marshall Honorof at Tom’s Hardware goes through the six English releases of Final Fantasy V and tells you which is the best to play-although, pointedly, it is challenging to buy these days. It contains a screed about game preservation that I am entirely on board with.

Video Games Chronicle’s Jordan Middler discusses a Bloomberg report that controversial Activision chief compliance officer Francis Townsend has stepped down, a former Bush administration officer who was unpopular with both fans and employees for not addressing reports of harassment.