Nintober - 31 Villains for 31 Days

Ah, October, my favourite month of the year rolls by once again and with it comes tales of horror and mayhem. My good friend Mark "Fryguy 64" Kelly of Nintendo Database has launched his October art project once again, a monstrous task of drawing 31 Nintendo villains over the course of this month. He first did a mini version of this in 2008, sketching 11 Nintendo villains, who were among his favourites. For two years, this project was left idle, but last year Mark entered a great drawing kick, and turned to his community for suggestions on a roster of 31 characters. That year brought great villains like Nightmare from the Metroid series, Mad Piano from Super Mario 64, and some obscure characters like the Mountain Witch from Shin Onigashima.

This year has gotten off to a great start with Dry Bowser and the Banette evolution line from Pokemon leading the pack. I know that he will deliver all sorts of great characters this year, including characters from more recent titles like Xenoblade and Spirit Camera, and of course more characters from classic Nintendo. If you have any interest in Nintendo at all, I highly suggest checking out his gallery, he already has 44 pics up from 2008, 2011, and the beginnings of 2012, and there will be 29 more coming for the month is over.

In one final note, this year Mark is raising money for MS research. His sister is affected by the disease, and he is raising money so that someday she can live a better life beyond what she has. If you would like, you can make a donation here, but please don't feel pressured to do so, as this is all for fun and there is no obligation. Have fun with Nintober everyone!

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9 - Volt ~ Game & Wario

Ah, it's the wonderful time again, the time for a new Nintendo console to launch and bring all sorts of games that we've been waiting for new entries to. Of particular interest to me, is the upcoming game, Game & Wario from Sakamoto's team and Intelligent Systems. When I was younger, I thought that WarioWare was stupid, and I had no interest in playing it, but later or my sister showed me Smooth Moves, and since then Wario has owned my heart. I've gone back and have played all of the WarioWare games except for Twisted, Snapped, and Mega Party Games, and I have loved ever single one of them.

Now once again, the Wii U brings a new WarioWare but not WarioWare game to me. Game & Wario, a game that removes the microgames from the package, and instead focuses on one larger minigame hosted by a member or Wario's company. We've seen Wario hosting Arrow, Jimmy T. hosting Ski, Mona hosting shutter, and Penny Crygor hosting Thief. There are also some other games shown in various videos featuring other characters, and other characters shown without games. Dr. Crygor is shown hosting a game based on a line drawing demo from E3 2011, while Kat & Ana, and Ashley are shown without any known games. The Shield Pose game from E3 2011 has also resurfaced, this time featuring Wario as the pirate captain, no character has been shown as the host yet, perhaps Wario-Man will make a reappearance?

So which of the original WarioWare cast haven't been shown yet? All that remains are Dribble & Spitz, Orbulon, and 9-Volt. Now I'm positive that Orbulon will host some kind of crazy game that I can't even imagine right now, but I'm a bit hesitant on wondering if Dribble & Spitz will get their own game. They're classic characters, but they never really seemed to get popular like the others. I'm sure that they will appear in some capacity, but maybe not as game hosts this time around.

Now about 9-Volt, I believe he has appeared in every WarioWare game except for Snapped, so I think he's a shoe in for a game this time around as well. The question though, is what type of game will he host? 9-Volt (and his creepy friend 18-Volt) are all about Nintendo nostalgia, and they must continue that tradition into Game & Wario. Hell, the name of the game itself is a throwback to the Game & Watch handheld line, so I have no doubt that this game will be bursting at the seems for retro Nintendo love. I have thought about it a little bit, and I've come up with two possible scenarios for 9-Volt (most likely no where near the final product).

The first idea is rather simple, and fairly lackluster in itself. This game would be all about the microgames. In this mode, 9-Volt and 18-Volt would have a series of Nintendo themed microgames that are designed to use the Gamepad in a variety of ways, sort of like a mix of Touched and Smooth Moves. I like the microgames from the series history, but perhaps this idea is way to straight forward for the game, perhaps it needs something a little more "Nintendo".

Now here is my second idea, and it's maybe a little radical. This is where my second idea comes in. A fully 3D remake of the original Famicom Wars. This would play a lot like the Advance War games on the DS played, with a sprite based map on the gamepad, but a fully 3D world on the TV like in recent console Fire Emblem games. Now, imagine playing this game with 2 gamepads supported. 9-Volt as the CO for Orange Star, and 18-Volt as the CO for Blue Moon. In single player, I would add another Nintendo twist and have Nintendo characters appear as the enemy COs for all the maps. Why not? The original game had Samus appear as a character in Donut Island. So who would be those CO's, I suppose it doesn't matter, as long as there are 17. But here are my picks in map order.

Waluigi, Samus, King Dedede, Captain Falcon, Luigi, Falco, Tingle, Melia, Nell, Zelda, Shulk, Fox McCloud, Adam Malkovich, Link, Bowser, Marth, and Mario. With regards to the armies, I would make two distinct armies, and distinguish them by using emblems in the same way that Mario Kart does.

Well, that's my thoughts on 9-Volt's game for Game & Wario. While I would love this, I have faith that what ever game they make, it'll end up being really fun in the end.

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A Reflection on the Greatest Nintendo Character ~ Waluigi

Remember me?!

Today I wish to talk about the lanky villain of the Super Mario Bros. family, the great and comical Waluigi. I know that Waluigi gets a lot of hate from around the internet, and I've always questioned that hatred. I suppose it has to do with how old people were when they were first introduced to the character.I can imagine people in high school and college were very upset at the reveal, here was this silly looking man taking the place of old favourites like Foreman Spike or Wart! Characters like Wart and Foreman Spike were beloved by these old school fans, and they didn't want some Luigi clone to be stealing their spotlight. Perhaps they were correct at their assertion at the time, there were some characters who were a part of the Mario canon, and they were being replaced by this strange looking upstart. Yet despite the changing times, it seems like this attitude is still quite common among Nintendo fans, and even though Waluigi has been around for over a decade, some still can't come to terms with the skinny man in the purple hat.

I do want to be fair to those that hate the character, but I honestly can't wrap my head around it. I understand that Waluigi is goofy and perhaps even a little lame, but isn't that a good thing? If you were to take a group of people who had absolutely no knowledge of the Mario franchise, how many of them do you think would say that Waluigi doesn't belong with the rest of the cast? I bet you that most of them would point out Donkey Kong or Yoshi before even thinking about Waluigi. Waluigi's goofiness and camp makes him the perfect member of the Mario family because everyone else is like that. We don't want our Mario characters to be stone faced, tormented characters. We want them to be funny and memorable, Waluigi does this in spades. What do you prefer, the serious antagonistic Bowser of Super Mario Bros, or the bumbling rival of the Mario RPG games? I thought so.

Camelot!

Yet despite all the hate Waluigi gets, there are those who have come to bat for him before, and they include one fairly prominent figure. That figure is none other than legendary voice actor, Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi. Martinet has come time and again, always talking about how much he loves the character, even going as far as suggesting for Waluigi to get his own game. I also find that younger gamers like myself are also quite fond of Waluigi. I personally do not know a single person who doesn't love Waluigi, for them, the character is integral to the heart and soul of all Mario spin offs. For instance, take the opening movies of the GameCube era Mario sports games by Camelot. Those movies are legendary because of the crazy antics Waluigi and Wario find themselves in. These are scenarios that Mario and Luigi would never take part it, but because there are butt monkeys like Wario and Waluigi, they work perfectly. Who says that you need to win to be loved?

Camelot is naturally very attached to the character, as it was Camelot designer Fumihide Aoki who created Waluigi, not Nintendo staff like Hiroji Kiyotake or Yoichi Kotabe. Perhaps because of this outside creation, Nintendo's internal teams have been reluctant to fully embrace Waluigi, while Waluigi has appeared in three EAD developed Mario Kart titles, the other branches of EAD have been less willing to accept him. If you look at the Mii costumes for New Super Mario Bros. U, you'll notice that the Mii's have costumes representing Mario, Luigi, and Wario, but no Waluigi. Is this EAD snubbing Waluigi, personally I think the actual reason is that the fourth costume just matches the colour of Blue Toad, not EAD having an anti-Waluigi agenda.

Note Waluigi in the bottom left.

However, Waluigi may actually be gaining traction inside of EAD. For instance, one of the hardest to obtain hats in Find Mii 2 for the 3DS is Waluigi's trademark chapeau. Also, look at the upcoming NintendoLand for Wii U. While Waluigi doesn't have his own mini-game, EAD has consciously included Waluigi's costume as one of the outfits for players in the Luigi's Ghost Mansion game. Yes, EAD has recognized that Waluigi truly is the fourth member of the plumber gang, and he has finally taken his place among the greats.

However, despite EAD's acceptance of Waluigi, many fans are still unable to cope with the inclusion of this guy. One thing I notice, is that on a lot of rosters for upcoming Smash Bros titles, there are still very large pockets of people who would rather ignore Waluigi, and place some other character above him. And as always, the same old cliche arguments come up again and again: "Waluigi is stupid! Waluigi is just a lame Luigi clone! Waluigi doesn't exist in my world!"

I'm creative!

OK, I admit that Nintendo does have a lot of doppelganger characters, such as Wario, SA-X, and the Star Wolf team. But what gets me is that these people who complain about Waluigi being a lame clone, are frequently championing the inclusion of Dark Samus, easily the laziest character ever created by Nintendo. Don't take this as a slam against the Metroid Prime games, I will be the first to admit that they are very high quality games. However Retro Studios does not have a good record when it comes to original characters. See the Tiki Tak Tribe and Tutorial Pig from Donkey Kong Country Returns (but don't you dare say anything bad about Squidicus!) How can anyone possibly find offense in Waluigi, but be perfectly fine with the existence of Dark Samus? Good lord, if you want a humanoid Metroid character for Smash, get on the Anthony Higgs bandwagon. At least he is a unique character with charisma.

Now, I want to address one last thing before ending this very long post. The absence of Waluigi in Mario Kart 7. I think this was the game where everyone finally realized they were taking Waluigi for granted. I remember when the final roster was revealed, people were furious over the lack of Waluigi. "Honey Queen! Where the hell is Waluigi?" "Needs more Waluigi Time!" After years of articles about how stupid characters like Waluigi and Tingle are (don't get me started on Tingle hate), people were writing about Waluigi as if a family member had passed away. About a month after the game came out, I even read on a Japanese website where Mario Kart 7 director Kosuke Yabuki addressed the exclusion of Waluigi. If I recall correctly, he was absent because there were no more slots available for him. Wario is to big to be excluded, Daisy and Rosalina are popular among female players, and Shy Guy was both a returning racer and a newcomer. With the inclusion of 4 new characters, Waluigi simply didn't have a spot on the roster. I remember shortly after the game came out, people were checking other Mario games to see if Waluigi was included, such mentality even led to this hilarious Fortune Street thread on Neogaf. Perhaps people really do care about Waluigi after all?

One final note. I hear that Waluigi is actually the most popular Mario character at Next Level Games leading to all his crazy animations in the soccer games. If true, I would more than happy to welcome them to the Waluigi fan club. Maybe have Waluigi has a secret unlockable character in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon? I would love you forever if you did.

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