Friday, January 29, 2010

Beetle-Mania Week: Spiny and Lakitu

Lakitu isn’t a Beetle. He’s a turtle. That much is obvious. The Spinys he tosses however, I believe qualify. So here we are on the last day of Beetle-Mania Week.

Here’s what Lakitu looked like in SMB. He flies above you throwing Spinys to cover the landscape. He can be taken out with a fireball but his high position on the screen makes getting near him a difficult proposition. His behavior didn’t change much in the change over to SMB3 but when he’s such a perfect character why would he want to?

Spiny takes the danger of Buzzy to a new level. Fire can get to him but stomping can’t. When Lakitu is filling your screen with these bugs, you can quickly run out of room to live.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beetle-Mania Week: Spike

Some people might claim that Spike isn’t strictly a beetle but they’re crazy. Look at that shell! Spike acts a lot like Buster except he has an infinite supply of projectiles. You see… he vomits up spike balls. That has got to hurt.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Beetle-Mania Week: Parabeetle

:The Parabeetle only appears in one level of the whole game. That sounds crazy but that is what makes SMB3 great. The fact that such a cool, unique and iconic character was just a throw-away idea is just amazing. In their one appearance you have to use the beetles at platforms to traverse an airborne course.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Music Review: Dan Black – Un

I’ve been a fan of London band “The Servant” since they first popped up on my radar as the music for the Sin City trailer. Great music. Too bad they broke up in 2007 without ever performing in the US. Since then I’ve been waiting patiently for their lead singer and creative mastermind, Dan Black, to release his first solo album. That’s why I feel like a fool for missing the release of his album “Un” when it came out in July. It still hasn’t seen a physical release in the US but it’s available for download and it is worth the listen.

The best parts of The Servant have survived the transition. The music is catchy, precisely produced and well written. The precision of the music is in direct conflict with my usual tastes. I prefer down and dirty garage rock to electronica any day, but Black’s fidelity doesn’t take away from his energy like so many other pop artists. In fact Dan Black’s meticulous debut album is one of the best releases I’ve heard in a long time.

Beetle-Mania Week: Buster Beetle

Buster Beetles are quick and dangerous. They can pick up and throw ice blocks. Thankfully their shells aren’t as strong as Buzzy Beetles as they only take one stomp to take out. They are quite dangerous is you let them get a hold on any ice blocks to deal with them as quickly as you can.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beetle-Mania Week: Buzzy Beetle

Welcome to Beetle-Mania Week So far we've seen koopas, plants, and goombas but those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Meet Buzzy Beetle.

He first appeared in SMB1.

He's tricky, cause he can't be beat with a fireball. (unlike a koopa in his shell)

We'll meet the rest of his buggy buddies throughout the rest of the week so watch out!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bonus: Oh How We’ve Changed

The change from Super Mario Bros to Super Mario Bros 3 was a big one. The biggest changes were to gameplay but the first thing you noticed was the new sprites for the classic enemies. Let’s take a look.

-> The black outlines of SMB3 give the Goomba much more definition. The shine on his feet adds much as well.

-> The bobbing of the Koopa-Troopa hasn’t changed at all but his detail has. It’s amazing how much more appealing the SMB3 sprites are.

-> The biggest changes are saved for the Piranha plant. The addition of lips manages to gives the plant much more personality.

The theme, across the board, is to make the sprites more  cartoonish and appealing. It may seem odd to make the enemies of the game more likeable but it adds a lot to making the whole game more interesting to look at.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tripton Follies Redux

The differences might be subtle but it’s worth posting the second (and possibly final) draft.

Tripton Follies Poster

The Jennings County Players are putting together a variety show so I leapt at the chance to design the poster. The goal was to make an old-timey vaudeville-ish poster to go with the show’s unique premise. Naturally that means to over-design it to the limit and to shift fonts whenever it feels good. This is the first draft of the poster and I’m very proud of it. I’m hoping that a few people will get a chuckle out of the poster before they even see the show.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Plants Week: Ptooie

What’s this? A walking piranha plant? With a floating spiked ball? After exploring all the weird possibilities for plants the SMB3 got weirder. Ptooies keep the ball afloat by blowing on it. Your first move upon encountering one of these should be to fireball or tail whip the body. The ball will then drop so get out of the way. Don’t try and fight the ball. You won’t win.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Plants Week: Munchers

Munchers may seem like black nipper plants but they’re not. They act more like animated spikes than living creatures. In-fact, I’m fairly certain that code-wise the game engine refers to them as blocks and not as enemy sprites. As a result these horrible creatures are completely invulnerable. That isn’t entirely true, part of being a “block” leaves them vulnerable to being turned into coins by a p-switch. Certain levels have long runs of these that can only be traversed while in possession of a Starman or while riding in Kurribo’s shoe. Other levels feature Munchers frozen in ice. A stray fireball can free them, replacing an otherwise benign ice-block into an invulnerable killing machine.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Plants Week: Nipper Plants

Nipper plants and about as bothersome as any enemy you’ll ever face. The vertical variety will spoil you landings when they pop up an bite at your heels. The horizontal brand is even worse. Imagine a para-goomba that can’t be stomped on. It hops around endlessly, until of course a fireball puts it out of its misery.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Plants Week: Venus Fire Trap

You used to be able to depend on things. Possibly most important was that the only people who could sling fireballs were Mario and Bowser. In SMB3, fire is everywhere! Now even the plants spit fire!
Their patterns are simple and they’re easily disposed of, but the addition of projectiles is such a big change from the start that SMB3 is defined by it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Layout

A week ago I tried out a customized Mario 3 based layout but it was so dark and gloomy that I just couldn't keep it. This theme is a bit more generic but I've already begun work on it that should make it more me.

I suppose, this is also a good place for me to say that I had a great birthday. Thanks to everyone in Indianapolis for making me feel welcome. I miss living with you all so much.

Plants Week: Piranha Plant

Time to start plants week of right with the classic Piranha Plant. Piranha plants still exist as they did in SMB, popping out of pipes as they are wont to do. They, like the Koopas and the Goombas get a giant upgrade as well. We’ll spend the rest of the week seeing how they have evolved to combat the Mario menace.

Obviously you can’t jump on a Piranha Plant, (obviously) but what you can do is hit them with fireballs, raccoon tails, turtle shells, and pretty much anything else but your feet.

Paper Mario 3?

I apologize for the factual mix-up on Friday. I'll be doing a real post soon but until then accept this sweet little video as retribution.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Koopa Paratroops

Today is my birthday so I’m keeping things short.
Koopas get a flying upgrade just like the Goombas did. Sometimes they just hop and flutter about and sometimes they fly in left-right or up-down patterns. They also take an extra hit to defeat. (or more if you can’t deal with the shell)
Oh and you get giant clumsy Paratroopas too.

(And now: birthday time!)

[EDIT: I was being factually inaccurate. Paratroopas were in SMB in both red and green. The only additions for SMB3 were the giant Koopas and the ability to pick up the shells. Birthday's make a man lazy.]

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Goombas aren’t the only classic bad guys making a return in SMB3. Oh no, Bowser’s favorite soldiers the Koopa-Troopas are back back as well. They act just like they did in in SMB except now you can pick them up after popping them in their shells.

These turtles also get the giant world upgrade. They don’t seem so big here on this blog, but when you first kick a giant turtle into a giant block you realize something… big has happened. Also: Never forget green will keep on walking without ever turning around. Red turns around when it reaches edges. This information is invaluable.

Piledriver Micro-Goomba

Ah crap! I totally forgot to post this in time. I’ve got to schedule these for publishing early.

On to business: That jumpy little bugger is the Piledriver Micro-Goomba. He hangs out with real bricks pretending he’s one of them. Trick is, he doesn’t shine like them. That let’s you pick him off early. Otherwise just jump on the brick when it lands. It seems easy but when there’s like 5 of these guys jumping it’s easy to take at least one hit before you get away.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Baddies: Para-Goomba

Yesterday we talked about the how Goombas stepped it up a notch with their ultimate weapon (the shoe) but when you think about it that pails in comparison to today’s entry. Para-Goombas are Goombas that hate you so much that they grew wings. That’s horrifying. Really. Thankfully you can still stop them to death but the first time only takes their wings away. Of course the red ones can’t really fly. They just hop around spastically.

Speaking of spastic jumping, the regular color Para- Goombas have a secret. They’re moms! While flying overhead they drop parasitic Micro-Goombas on you. Micro-Goombas cut your jump height down to inches. Once they’re on, all you can do is hop around like a mad man till they finally pop off. All the while the mother is swooping down to finish you off.