The way to a hero’s heart (a QotM answer)

June’s Question of the Month is brought to you by Luna from GamersUnited GG Blog: one of the friendliest bloggers in the WordPress community who has a positive outlook on life. To find out more about her and her site, as well as how you can get involved, take a look at this post.

How on earth is a villain meant to successfully take over the Mushroom Kingdom, Green Hill Zone and Hyrule? Each are protected by some of the most well-known and loved heroes, feared by their enemies and adored by their fans: Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog and Link. If you were a boss who was planning on taking over the world, you may decide to revise your plan when it came to these locations or even give up on it altogether.

However, this is the challenge set for the community by the lovely Luna and it’s one we must therefore see through bravely. I have to admit it stumped me for quite a while and at one point, I was going to opt out of this month’s entry; but while browsing through Instagram recently, inspiration hit and I think I’ve now formulated the perfect scheme. And it’s one that doesn’t involve any violence or bloodshed, just plenty of calories.

What do Mario, Sonic and Link all have in common besides being courageous defenders of their realms and sometimes incredibly unlucky? That’s right: each member of this trio is male. And what’s the thing they say is the way to a man’s heart? Apparently, it’s food. To be honest, it’s one of the ways to many women’s hearts also – including my own – so this answer is intended to be tongue-in-cheek and not in any way discriminatory!

First let’s head to the Mushroom Kingdom. Watching The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! in the late 1980s taught me that Mario’s favourite meal is spaghetti but we also know he’s partial to a slice of cake: Princess Peach usually bakes her Italian plumber a sweet treat upon her rescue. So he’d clearly love a homemade carrot cake and Peach would be thankful that someone had given her a break from the kitchen. No mushrooms harmed in its making and plenty for all the Kingdom’s inhabitants.

Next up we have the Green Hill Zone. Continuing my education from cartoons, it’s obvious from the Sonic the Hedgehog show that the blue hero’s preferred food is chili dogs (apologies for the poor quality of the video opposite). After speaking to him about the poor nutritional value of such a meal, someone would be able to persuade him to try a spicy meat skewer instead; and he’d then declare that everyone in the Zone, particularly Robotnik, should switch to a healthy diet.

Hyrule is last on our list. Although not something learned through watching The Legend of Zelda cartoon (well excuse me princess!), Breath of the Wild revealed how well Link could cook. But the last thing you want to do after completing a bunch of quests is make dinner and it must be really difficult getting a takeaway delivered by horse in the kingdom; so if someone was to step in and offer to make this green-suited saviour a three-course meal while he put his feet up, how could he say no?

And who would this someone be? Why, none other than the gorgeous Teri Mae from Sheikah Plate. She’s the hostess with the mostess and has been putting out her interpretations of recipes from the latest instalment of The Legend of Zelda series since May last year. While scrolling through Instagram recently, I came across her photograph of Wildberry Crepes and note about her first blogging anniversary – and then it struck me how she’d be the perfect villain for June’s QotM answer!

The thing is though, this blogger isn’t the sort of person who has it in her heart to be villainous. She could easily sneak a little something extra into any of the meals mentioned above and knock out the heroic trio in an instant but this isn’t a deed I ever could imagine her doing. She’d be more likely to invite the residents of the Mushroom Kingdom, Green Hill Zone and Hyrule to a dinner party and win them over with her kindness and charm.

So that’s my answer this month: my ‘villain’ would be Teri Mae and her ‘weapon’ would be amazing food. Congratulations to her on her first blogging birthday and may there be plenty more to come.   🎂

Question of the Month: December 2017 edition

T question of the month is back and will see us attempt to answer a quandary that has been puzzling the gaming community since it first wielded the Master Sword. We’re going up against our friends and blogging neighbours in order to find the ultimate response in less than 100 words – and we’re asking you to choose the winner by voting in our poll.

But first, let’s take a look at last month’s question and find out who won!

Results: which video game character wears the least appropriate clothing for the activity they’re doing?

We received 12 votes in our November poll and you lovely people voted for… drumroll, please… it was a tie! Votes were split across six different answers so there was no clear winner.

But still, congratulations to everyone involved! A big thank you to all of our competitors for taking part and to you amazing people for voting. Now let’s see the competition start to heat up for the next question of the month

December’s question: which video game character would do a better job than Santa?

We all know and love Santa Claus, but maybe he needs to get with the times and consider new ways of doing things. Maybe there are some video game characters out there who can give him a run for his money! Let’s reveal our contenders for the December 2017 trophy…

Answer 1: Manny Calavera from Grim Fandango

Head over to GeekOut South-West to visit Tim, where he’s discussing why he’s chosen Manny as his answer this month.

Answer 2: The Dragonborn from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Chris from OverThinker Y says: “The Dragonborn from Skyrim has a few things going for him / her, not least of which is a handy little ability called ‘fast travel’. The power to almost instantly teleport to anywhere you’ve already been makes zipping around a giant world much quicker; if it’s somewhere they’ve not been yet, just get a carriage ride – they’re just as quick! Remote location? No problem: hop on a horse and allow it to gracefully gallop up the side of a totally vertical mountain, completely unfazed. Storm in the way? Just use the Clear Skies shout and you’re golden. It’s such a heavily modded game that I bet ol’ Dovahkiin’s already donned the red and white at some point!

“(Oh, and I know fast travel technically does take time in-game, but let’s not forget that our horned-helmeted friend has access to a slew of time-altering abilities: they can slow things down while aiming a bow, or use a Shout to slow time or move faster through it, or if you want to get really funky, there’s always console commands!)”

Answer 3: Link from the The Legend of Zelda series

This month, Imtiaz from Power Bomb Attack has decided to go for Link as his answer. Head over to his site to read about his reasons why.

Answer 4: Kratos from the God of War series

Want to know why Nathan has chosen Kratos as his answer this time around? Go say hello to him over at Hurricane thought process and read his argument for this character.

Answer 5: Guybrush Threepwood from the Monkey Island series

Kim from Later Levels says: “Four reasons why Guybrush would do a better job than Santa:

“1) I’ve already proven why he’d make a good mailman. And what’s the main thing that mailmen do? Make deliveries.

“2) Guybrush can carry literally anything in his inventory, meaning less cruelty to reindeer. Need to transport seven-billion presents around the world? No problem: he’ll find a way to cram it all into his pockets.

“3) Forget socks: expect imaginative gifts such as voodoo dolls, monkey wrenches and rubber chickens with a pulley in the middle.

“4) Running late? Simply double-click to transport anywhere instantly and ensure those gifts are delivered on time!”

Answer 6: Max from the Sam & Max series

Luke posts his thoughts on his blog, Hundstrasse, along with his monthly answers. Take a look at this post to find out why he chose Max this time.

Answer 7: Mario from the Super Mario series

Kevin from The Mental Attic says: “Mario’s done it all, from saving the world to playing tennis while moonlighting as a Doctor. He’s proven he’s a man of many hats — quite literally at times, especially if you consider his latest outing, Mario Odyssey — so donning Santa’s hat would be a cinch. He already looks good in red, he’s got a ship and chimneys are kinda like pipes, which we all know are his specialty. And considering the many Warp Pipes we’ve seen over the years, he’s probably got one that goes to every kid’s house. Also, his overalls can hold items — like toys—of ludicrous proportions!”

Answer 8: Oliver from Ni no Kuni

Say hello to Ian from Adventure Rules, and find out why he’s chosen Oliver as his answer to December’s question of the month.

Answer 9: Bowser from the Super Mario series

The lovely LightningEllen from LightningEllen’s Release has chosen Bowser this month, and you can read her reasons why here.

Answer 10: Sonic from the Sonic the Hedgehog series

Luna from GamersUnitedGG has opted for Sonic the Hedgehog this month – will this will be winning answer? Take a look at this post to read her argument.

Answer 11: Sonic from the Sonic the Hedgehog series

Could Faith be a good replacement for Santa this year? That’s what TriformTrinity thinks – head over to his site and take a look at this post for his reasons why.

So who’s got it right, and who’s got it so wrong that they deserve to receive nothing for Christmas except a lump of coal? Place your votes in the poll opposite or give your own suggestion in the comments below, and we’ll reveal the most popular answer on Tuesday, 02 January 2018 along with the next question.

Got a question you’d like to see us struggle over next month? Leave us a message or get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!

Question of the Month: July 2017 edition

It’s that time again: the question of the month is back and will see us attempt to answer a quandary that has been puzzling the gaming community since it first yelled at Navi to shut-the-hell-up. We’re going up against our friends and blogging neighbours in order to find the ultimate response in less than 100 words – and we’re asking you to choose the winner by voting in our poll.

But first, let’s take a look at last month’s question and find out who won…

Last month’s results: which video game contains the most surprising plot-twist?

We received 29 votes in our poll – our highest response yet so thank you to everyone who took part – and received additional answers from the community. Here’s the breakdown:

Poll answers:

  • 10 votes: BioShock, submitted by Nathan from Gamely Giving
  • 6 votes: Metroid, submitted by Kim from Later Levels
  • 5 votes: Metal Gear Solid, submitted by Luke from Hundstrasse
  • 2 votes: EarthBound, submitted by Tim from GeekOut South-West
  • 2 votes: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, submitted by Kevin from The Mental Attic
  • 1 vote: Corpse Party: Blood Covered, NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog
  • 0 votes: Baten Kaitos Origins, submitted by Ian from Adventure Rules
  • 0 votes: Silent Hill 2, submitted by Chris from OverThinker Y

  • Additional answers:

  • Fable III, submitted by Luna from GamersUnitedGG Blog

  • And so BioShock was the clear winner last month! A big thank you to everyone who voted, and now let’s see some competition going for the next question…

    July’s question: which video game has the best idle animation?

    Sometimes it’s necessary to put down the controller for a while and tear yourself away from the screen for a moment, maybe to make a cup of tea or answer a phone call, and it’s always pleasantly surprising when you return to find your character passing the time in their own special way. But which game has the greatest idle animation? Let’s reveal our contenders for the July 2017 trophy…

    Answer 1:   Discworld

    Chris from OverThinker Y says: “In the old Discworld adventure game, a few minutes of doing nothing would cause the game to zoom in super-close to (the protagonist) Rincewind’s face, whereupon he would tap on the screen and call out ‘Helloooooo?’ at the player. For bonus points, he’s voiced by none other than Eric IDLE.”

    Answer 2:   League of Legends

    Tim is a guy who likes to get dressed up, have a good time, meet people who are passionate about their respective geekdoms and encourage everyone to be vocal about who they are. He’s also vocal about his answer for this month’s question – check out his argument for League of Legends over on GeekOut South-West.

    Answer 3:   Mega Man

    Kevin is a geek and proud of it: no matter the situation, no matter the environment or the people around him, you’ll hear him discuss novels, games and films with anyone who’ll listen. He’ll also discuss his answer if you ask him nicely and you can find out why he chose Mega Man on The Mental Attic.

    Answer 4:   Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

    Ian has been playing video games since his early childhood, primarily on Nintendo consoles, and he began to seriously experience tabletop gaming as a hobby in college. His passion for writing began at ten and he hasn’t stopped since! Head over to Adventure Rules to find out why he chose Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door as his answer this month.

    Answer 5:   Sonic the Hedgehog

    Kim from Later Levels says: “When you’re the world’s fastest spiny mammal and can reach crazy top speeds, there’s nothing more annoying than being forced to stand still – and that’s exactly the attitude shown by Sonic when you put the controller down during Sonic the Hedgehog. When you leave the little blue guy alone he’ll look at the screen, tap his foot impatiently, check his watch and point towards the end of the level – and the Sonic CD version of the game, he’ll even jump off the ledge and kill himself to punish you for taking so long. Get a move on, bro!”

    Answer 6:   The Lion King

    Luke writes about his long and varied gaming history and current musings over at Hundstrasse, and rates the selling of his copy of the truly bizarre Street Fighter: The Movie: The Game for PlayStation as one of his biggest gaming blunders. Read why he chose The Lion King here.

    Answer 7:   Tomb Raider: Legend

    NekoJonez from NekoJonez’s Gaming Blog says: “Tomb Raider, such a great series. But sometimes you need to stop and take a look at the screen for a puzzle or a breather. It’s always fun to see Lara strech and pull at her glove to immerse you in the experience. Like in Tomb Raider: Legend.”

    So who’s got it right, and who’s got it so wrong that they deserve to be stuck in a bad idle animation for the rest of eternity? Cast your votes in the poll opposite or give your own suggestion and we’ll reveal the most popular answer on Friday, 04 August 2017 along with the next question.

    Got a question you’d like to see us struggle over next month? Or would you like to join in and add your own answer into our polls on a regular basis? Leave us a message in the comments below or get in touch!

    Step right up: a video game theme-park

    Have you ever played a video game you’d love to experience in real-life? Nintendo fans will have something to look forward to after the company announced at the end of 2016 that themed-areas will be coming to the Universal theme parks in Japan, Orlando and Hollywood over the next several years. But what about the rest of us?

    There are so many games that would make an excellent theme-park or at least an attraction within one. The lovely Luna from the GamersUnitedGG Blog posed this question to her nominees for the Mystery Blogger Award recently and this post is dedicated to her: here’s what I’d do if I was going to build a pleasure ground dedicated to the world of video games.

    The planning stages

    Theme Park, video game, snake, slide, visitors, planning

    This one may be obvious but what else would you use to plan the layout for a new theme-park? Bullfrog’s construction and management simulation enabled players to design and create their own attractions with the goal of making money and expanding across the world. I’d use Theme Park to give a visual representation alongside my business case for a profitable amusement park, which I’d take to the bank and convince them to give me a huge loan so I could start the building work. Simple.

    Sonic Boom rollercoaster

    Sonic the Hedgehog, video game, Green Hill Zone, palm tree, rings, blue hedgehog

    A rollercoaster would be the perfect way to recreate Sonic the Hedgehog’s speed: imagine hurtling round the track to the music from the Green Hill Zone in a train of blue cars. Cliff-drops and vertical loops through palm trees would have your stomach flipping over and screams being let out involuntarily. You know how Sonic looks when he loses his rings after taking damage? That’s exactly the look I want to see on visitors’ faces when they get off the ride – before promptly throwing up.

    The Ishimura’s Dread ghost train

    Dead Space, video game, monster, alien, necromorph, Isaac, astronaut, space suit

    Imagine a trip through the USG Ishimura, the necromorph-infested space vessel from Dead Space. Live actors would take on the role of these mutated antagonists so the experience is slightly different each time and the fear-factor is amplified. Isaac Clark would make an appearance to ‘save’ the visitors just in time at the end of the ride – and also provide an excellent opportunity for autographs, signed t-shirts and photographs upon exiting. For which of course you’ll be charged an over-inflated price.

    Welcome to Rapture log flume

    BioShock, video game, Rapture, 1959, sign, New Year, rubble

    Step onto my log flume for a tour through the wondrous underwater city of Rapture. See the amazing sights of BioShock’s setting: Neptune’s Bounty, Arcadia, Big Daddies and Little Sisters. The ride would grow gradually darker as it progresses and scuttling will be heard in the shadows as robotic Splicers draw closer… before you’re thrown over the edge in pitch-black and plunged into a pool of freezing cold water. You may have to spend the rest of day wearing soggy clothes, but it’ll be worth it.

    Bowser’s Bash bumper-cars

    Mario Kart, Mario Kart 8, video game, racing, cars, race track, Bowser, Mario

    The bumper-cars are one of the most-loved attractions at any amusement park so how about combining them with one of the most-loved racing games, Mario Kart? But let’s give our visitors a proper race-track rather than a square plot to drive around. Optional plastic cagoules would be handed out before the start of the ride to protect your clothing from squid ink; however, it should be noted that the park management cannot be held responsible for any injuries resulting from wayward shells and stray banana skins. Thank you.

    Aperture Science educational area

    Portal, video game, GLaDOS, robot, eye

    Most of the theme-parks here in the UK have an area where school-trip kids are taken for some ‘learning’ – usually as a way to stop the teachers from feeling so bad about their class going somewhere fun as part of their education. Que the Aperture Science room, where tutor GLaDOS teaches the little darlings about physics through the wonders of high-tech virtual reality. She may have them crying by the end of the lesson but at least they’ll be rewarded with cake on the way out. Or is that a lie?

    The Uncharted: Live show

    Uncharted, Uncharted 4, A Thief's End, video game, Nathan Drake, explosion, jump

    What do you get if you combine a cheesy Nathan Drake lookalike, appearances from Sully and Elena, pyrotechnics, vehicle crashes and plenty of climbing action? The Uncharted: Live show! Audience participation would be highly encouraged with selected volunteers taking on the role of pirate hostages, so our hero can rescue their butts and save the day. And of course there’s the additional perk of another autograph and photo opportunity – just watch your mum around Drake and make sure she keeps her hands to herself.

    Mother’s Heart Zero Zoo safari

    Horizon Zero Dawn, video game, robots, beasts, animals, dinosaurs

    A lot of theme-parks have a zoo or safari-type attraction but in this day of eco-awareness and conservation, perhaps using real animals isn’t the best way to go. That’s where Horizon Zero Dawn comes in: mechanical beasts are the future! No need to feed them or clean-up their mess, just turn them on and watch them go. Of course, the park staff will need to be watchful for unexpected murderous stampedes; but at least visitors can take home their very own blaze canister as a souvenir.

    The Big Whoop restaurant

    The Secret of Monkey Island, Monkey Island, video game, Scumm Bar, pub, inn, pirates, Guybrush

    A sure-fire way to rake in money at theme-parks is to have a restaurant complete with mascots, and Monkey Island fits the bill perfectly. Imagine Guybrush or Elaine showing you to your table in a place decked out like the Scumm Bar, undead pirates serving up ‘meat with condiment’ and cheese squigglies, and a three-headed monkey showing up halfway through your meal? With root beer for the kids and grog for the adults, there’s something on the menu for everyone – plus complimentary breath mints.

    Tingle’s Treasures gift shop

    The Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time, video game, shop, Hyrule Market

    Following on from the restaurant above, no pleasure ground can do without a gift shop – how else are you meant to claw those last few pennies from exhausted parents trying to drag their screaming offspring out of your theme-park at the end of the day? With the music from The Legend of Zelda’s Hyrule Market shops playing on repeat without a pause, visitors will be all too eager to hand over their remaining cash for some overpriced toot so they can get out of there and away from the annoying assistants who keep telling them to ‘listen’.

    I feel a Kickstarter campaign coming on… anyone want to be my first backer?

    (A big thank you to Tim, Kevin and Nathan who helped me out with the names of some of the attractions!)