Friday, February 02, 2007

Video Game Diaries: Luigi's Lost Languid Lothario


Third day of the "Melee" tournament. No fights yet, since contestants are still funneling in from wherever the hell it is they come from. I have to admit, I can't say I'm feeling as excited as I did a couple of years ago.

Well, okay, maybe that's presumptuous. Things were a little bit more fun for me back in '99, what with Mario Party AND the first tournament kicking off - you know, before then novelty wore off. Back then, it was a privilege, to get all of us together from whatever "universe" we came from to have a little bit of fun. Even during the first Smash tournament, with all of us ripping each other apart, we were having a ball. Even THAT somehow turned into a party every night, with my brother Mario as the grand master of it all. Back when we were all got to know Donkey, Link, and Fox a little bit better - you know, the good 'ol days. There was a lot of promise there, and somehow it just kinda dried up in two years time. None of us kept in touch - I mean, this is the first time we've seen each other since then. So it's kind of... unusual.

Maybe I'm just biased? I don't know. The tournament's included a crapload of new characters and levels but I'm just not feeling it. My absolute favorite place to be during the first tournament was Saffron City - industrious, clean, vibrant, plenty of cool people there. Just a nice place overall - a helluva lot more INTERESTING than, say, the Mushroom Kingdom, which is full of pricks half the time (maybe I just feel that way because I live there??).

But, of course, Master Hand had to get rid of it. Ha ha! He replaced it with... you know, I don't even remember. They had to move the Pokemon levels out of major cities because - and I don't know how legit this claim is - there was a risk of (and I'm paraphrasing) "illicit, rogue, and untrustworthy" trainers attempting to capture Pikachu and/or Jigglypuff and keep them hostage, possibly attempting to sell them on the black market. So I guess they needed damage control.

We're all meeting in a place called the "Smash Plaza" - kind of a tacky name, but eh. They were thinking of hosting it near the back entrance of the Mushroom Kingdom courtyard, but there were complaints that using our world as a hub AGAIN wasn't gracious enough to our fellow Nintendo brethren (as many have called them, despite the fact that we barely ever see these people outside of events like this). Some anonymous contestant (coughcoughkirby'saprickcoughcough) wanted the hub to be in a "more neutral" zone. So now we're in this plaza in the middle of this vast field - blue skies, green grass, sun shining, etc. There isn't even a nighttime in this place. It's like limbo. I don't know how to describe it further.

Rumor has it that we're actually smack dab in the middle of Dream Land. Haha! That'd be ironic. Falcon told me that one, though, so it's probably bullshit. Honestly, I'm just surprised he managed to say something to me that wasn't his own name.

The new characters are... nice, I guess. New people are nice, but of course my brother tries to be buddy-buddies with EACH and EVERY of them, no matter who they are - even with the villains! I mean, really, what's the point of that? If I see someone like Ganondorf or Falco standing alone in the corner, you know, brooding - well, jeez, maybe they don't feel like talking.

Well, okay, Falco isn't a villain, but he's got his own agenda, you know? He won't look you in the eye - I mean, he just doesn't want to have much to do with any of us. That includes Fox, who's known him for years. It's his style. Doesn't deter Mario, though. All yesterday he was following him, asking him about "what he's heard about the Mushroom Kingdom" and how he's been thinking of "getting into space travel." Cute, Mario. I'm sure Falco's SO enthralled, just by hearing you mention his occupation out loud.

What's sad about this is that, well, Mario COULD get into space travel if he really wanted to. Honest. He's got the money. But no, I don't think he's genuinely interested in that. Besides his little trip to the moon in Land 2 (which I think was mostly promotional - "Mario In Space!", that whole schtick) I doubt he'll ever get into space exploration. His money's better spent of biplanes and water pump backpacks (no kidding). He just mentioned "space travel" so Falco would take a shine to him.

Fat-ass chance.

And as for what he's "heard about the Mushroom Kingdom", well... my guess is he's probably heard what everybody else has - that Mario refuses to walk around the castle without Lakitu filming him on a constant basis (from EVERY POSSIBLE ANGLE), and that Toad won't even let you past the front gate without buying his (apparently patented) "Super Happy Mushroom Dude Hat!" It's a mushroom hat that essentially makes you look like him. Apparently it makes him "more comfortable" around strangers.

I've never understood Toad. Ever. But I'll save that for some other time. I could write a fucking novel.

One more thing - and I don't know how this'll affect the rest of the tournament, but it's really cheeky nonetheless - I was called to have a little meeting with the Tournament Advisors late yesterday afternoon. I'd never been to their office, but... well, it was a trip. A single platform, in the middle of a giant vortex. Don't ask me how I got there (it was randomized teleportation, I have no clue how it works - although maybe Mario's studied the matter to get friendly with Samus, who knows), but it's a very private place. So I could tell something was up. I talked with Master Hand (behind a surprisingly undersized desk), Cranky Kong, and - this one shocked me - Pitfall Harry. God, he looks old - I had no idea his career had dried up this badly, taking a job as an advisor for a franchise he has little or nothing to do with. Guy's in his early 40's - younger than me! - and he's very disheveled. Very thin, too - I heard he had to deal with an eating disorder a few years back. Sad, sad.

They felt I was copying Mario too much, with my fighting style. Apparently I'd just been "fighting exactly like [my] brother, just with a less compromising jumping ability". Basically, I was completely outclassing my brother in terms of physical ability, and they don't like people taking a shine to me over Nintendo's Mickey Mouse. So they want me to get "goofier" - you know, jumping at an awkward angle, flailing my limbs around more often, shooting myself forward without any regard to where I might be headed. In layman's terms, they want me to suck worse than my brother.

Jesus Christ, people. Mario and I worked on that move set TOGETHER. Mario recognizes it, and so do I. I mean, I'll admit, he masterminded the whole concept back in '83, but man, it was the two of us! And now I've gotta fuck it all up so I can push the "dottering, awkward younger brother" stereotype. Wanna know why Mario can't jump as high as he used to? He hasn't done jack-squat since '96, that's why!! I've been practicing, he's been golfing. That's just the truth.

Whatever. I don't want to pull the jealousy card here; that's disingenuous. But I'm not the same, submissive little pipsqueak that I was back in the early 90's. I've grown up a bit, and I'm tired of this pity-image thing. But what can I do?

They are giving me a game, though. "Luigi's Mansion." I'd been in talks with Miyamoto about my own 3D platformer, kinda like Mario's - only "zanier." That's the word Miyamoto used. I thought maybe it'd just be like Mario 64 only I'd be getting shot OUT of green pipes, harrassed by Bowser, degraded by Toad with a set of witty quips (as if he were capable of that) after I failed to save the Princess 'once again' - you know, that kind of dumb stuff, but with the same basic gameplay in mind. Turns out that "zaniness" he mentioned consists of me sucking up ghosts with a vacuum cleaner. So it'll be like Mario's Missing, combined with a shitty Ghostbusters ripoff. AWESOME.

This is going to be a Gamecube launch title, by the way. Not Melee. Makes perfect sense! Can't wait to produce the piece of shit.

Lord, I sound bitter.

I need to call Diddy. I don't know why he wasn't invited to the tournament. Problems with Rare again?? Quite possibly. I know he's been getting a lot of calls from Bill Gates recently. Not a good sign.

I'm tired of sounding morose. If you talked to me in person, I'm sure you'd find me to be a very chipper individual. It just doesn't translate on paper. Oh well.

Good tidings to you.




Daniel said...

This seems familiar. Good job.

Luke said...

I really liked this one. I'm not sure if it's just me, or if these stories are done somewhat better than other genres, but I've always enjoyed these "realistic" stories with random characters. There is one thing that bothered me, however: "Back when we were all got to know"? Excuse me, but you are an English major, correct? Because if you really are, I suggest you edit your work. ;-)

In any case, how're you doing?

Paul said...

I agree with Dan. Very familiar. Nicely done though.